Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays from The Auri Group!

Well, it’s that time of year again. Time to blow your holiday budget on as many gadgets you can get away with buying without getting into too much trouble. Oh, and to spend time with family and friends, and play with their toys, too. Seriously, though, we wish you the warmest holiday season and a happy new year.

If you haven’t had a chance to enjoy it yet, take a gander at our holiday video, or last year’s, or the year before that.

The Auri Group 2011 Holiday Video
December 5, 2011

Why Aren’t You Syncing Your Stuff through the Cloud?

This weekend I had a rude awakening about backups. You see, I’m one of the rare folks who backs up every single night. My favorite laptop, an HP DM1Z, had a nice, pricey 240 GB SSD in it. The SSD took a dive. No worries, thought I – I have a backup! I use a Microsoft Windows Home Server from HP, and dutifully boot up my restore CD, only to find… I had only backed up the recovery partition. “***t,” thought I! Talk about a bonehead mistake – I never actually verified the stuff I wanted backed up was actually being backed up… I just assumed as much. So all was lost, and you feel really bad for me now, right?

Well, you shouldn’t. Yes, I lost all my original Israel photos and those I took in Japan this year. Yes, I lost my Kindle Fire review notes, and a few serial numbers. But you know what? That cloud thing is awesome. Here’s what I have:

· Microsoft Windows Live Mesh – All my music, important files, and so forth – even my Outlook signatures! – are automatically synced between all my PCs. All I did was sign on and all my files started rushing back to my laptop, ready to use. Note there are no storage limits as long as you’re syncing between PCs. Note that Live Mesh is only one of many great components of Windows Live Essentials.

· Firefox Sync – All my bookmarks, passwords, browsing history, were back on my machine in under an hour. Sync was included in FireFox starting at version 6.

· Windows Live SkyDrive – All the photos I had uploaded were all stored safely online. Yes, I lost the ones I didn’t send, and the online versions aren’t as high resolution, but hey, at least they’re not gone forever. Anyway, I can add my Photos to Live Mesh and not worry again!

· Facebook – Same thing for my photos again, cool. Still crappy Facebook quality, but then again, at least they’re there.

· Google Plus Instant Upload for Android – I may not use the service, but I sure do like the Android app’s feature where all phone images are automatically uploaded to a private album online. Sure, it doesn’t directly relate to this story, but should I lose my phone, I’ll be glad.

So, other than keeping my password as secure as possible, and hoping there’s no big breach of all those services (ahem, DropBox?), all my data is safely backed up in the cloud and on my other computers, automatically, for free. Talk about peace of mind. Can you imagine how this would have turned out ten years ago? You now have no excuse not to be backing up.

Thank you, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook, for giving us all free software and services that make our lives easier. I may even click an ad today.

P.S. I still love my Windows Home Server, and you should, too. It’s awesome how it backs up every one of my computers automatically every night. Just make sure you select the right drives to back up Smile

November 17, 2011

Reporter’s Notebook: B&N Nook Tablet

by Auri Rahimzadeh

imageI picked up a Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet on Tuesday, a day ahead of it’s official availability. These are my impressions after a few days’ use.

Overall: 4 out of 5 – Recommended, especially for parents and those looking for a media consuming tablet. If you’re looking for something with a camera, or a tablet to replace your laptop, look elsewhere – this is a media enjoyment device, and it handles that task very well.

Pros:

  • Beautiful display, with viewing angles wide enough for sharing.
  • Quick and incredibly easy to use, especially for $249.
  • Support desks at B&N stores across the country.
  • Easy to set up, well geared towards new tablet users.
  • Great attention to detail on the user interface, other than typical Android annoyances, like no animation when changing orientation.
  • Double the storage of Kindle Fire for only $50 more, and expandable via MicroSD, unlike the Fire.
  • Decently light, and feels lighter than Kindle Fire.
  • Article View in magazines is a nice feature to bring text to the forefront in a quick, scrollable fashion.
  • “Just works” at Starbucks – no login required other than choosing the Wi-Fi connection, which is expected.
  • 2 free hours of reading every day at B&N stores nationwide – quite good for the parents as a holiday gift, and gets them out of the house.
  • Free Books for [all] Nook Owners every Friday

Cons:

  • Nook App Store – many apps that are free on any Android device via Android Market or Amazon App Store cost money on B&N’s app store. Compared to the other two markets, which support a great many devices, this seems counter intuitive.
  • Free books are hard to find. No free books included with device to show off its capabilities. There is a same of National Geographic, though, and an excerpt from a cooking book.
  • No obvious ability to share web pages, or save them as PDF for later reading/viewing.
  • No built in sharing other than lending books to others.
  • Free Books apparently require a credit card number, although I have yet to confirm this.
  • Didn’t ask for B&N Member Rewards number during sign up.

In Between:

  • A higher resolution screen would be ideal, although the 1024×600 is acceptable and readable-enough for the price point. Those who complain really should just go get a book, or wait a year when higher resolution displays are cheaper for tablet makers and used across more devices.
  • Netflix content is on the device’s content menu, but not Hulu+. Hulu provides a lot of television shows, so it makes little sense it wouldn’t be integrated with the menus of a media consumption device.
  • Closing the cover on the device when it’s in a case should either lock the screen or dim the display. Neither occurs.
  • There may be a low screen refresh rate – or at least it appears that way in dark rooms. I’ll have to test for this issue a bit more.

Bugs:

  • When reading PDFs, there’s a grey bar on the top of the screen, taking up 5% of the real estate. So, no full-screen PDF viewing in Portrait orientation.
  • Included Netflix app Instant Queue doesn’t work instantly. Must first add the item to the queue, then close the window, then tap it to play, even though the notification icon has the play icon on it.
  • “Sign In” link on Home screen is for Netflix, which makes little sense. Also, I was already using Netflix on the device, but it wanted me to sign in again to “link” my Netflix account to my B&N account. Why didn’t it do that automatically when I used the Netflix app on the device? Or during setup?
  • The browser-based sign-in screens on the device only use 40% of the screen real estate, making it incredibly difficult to navigate.

Other Observations:

  • To make up for the lack of apps that I use for reading news, I’ve started using the [gasp!] browser again. The browser on the Nook Tablet is incredibly easy to use and fast. Of course, that’s to be expected – it’s basically a skinned Android browser 🙂
  • I love the sounds the Nook makes when it’s charging, charged, unplugged, and unlocked. It’s the little things that make the experience.

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From the backside. From left to right: Amazon Kindle Fire, B&N Nook Tablet, Samsung Galaxy Tab (original 7 inch).

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Face forward. From left to right: Amazon Kindle Fire, B&N Nook Tablet, Samsung Galaxy Tab (original 7 inch).

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Thickness comparison. From left to right: Amazon Kindle Fire, B&N Nook Tablet, Samsung Galaxy Tab (original 7 inch).

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Best buds. From left to right: Amazon Kindle Fire, B&N Nook Tablet, Samsung Galaxy Tab (original 7 inch).

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The Nook features a very well done, informative intro video. This product is well geared towards the non-techie crowd. Of course, I’ve also heard it is easily rooted (hazzah!).

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The Nook easily connects to Wi-Fi. At Starbucks and Barnes & Noble it automatically connects. When you enter a B&N shop, it even asks if you want to start shopping or read a book. Nice touch.

November 13, 2011

Guys Buy Stuff on the Internet, Too – An Article on Marketing to Males

My friend Andy Marken sends an email once a week containing an article that’s always interesting. See, Andy’s in marketing and communications, and has been for quite some time. He’s very good, very thorough, very connected, and very honest in his writing. I quit e enjoyed this week’s article, and I’m posting it on our blog. I think I may do this more often – while we write our own entries, I’ll post his as well to keep our followers informed 🙂

Best,

-Auri

From Andy:

You may not have noticed it but the other half of the population likes guys …they just don’t "like" them. Even the best of us are OK to have around sometime but women are always trying to remodel us.

Big difference is women have better role models and even when their role models are bad they’re good!

Just remember guys make decisions too – when the woman says he can, And hey we buy stuff…lots of stuff!

If you find it interesting/informative/helpful/fun, pass the piece along to those who want to/need to know.

Here’s the link — http://bit.ly/tLx3xQ

Use it as you want with or without attribution.

February 12, 2011

Eye Copy for Windows Phone 7 Now Available – Instantly Scan Anything to PDF With Your Phone

Eye Copy for Windows Phone 7 app is now available! Simply point your phone at documents, or anything for that matter, and combine all those shots into a single PDF, right on your phone! You can use the images on your phone, too. Send the entire PDF via email or send a link to the PDF, all on that awesome Windows Phone 7 device you love 🙂

Download it today by scanning the QR Code below or heading over here.

qr code

January 25, 2011

First!

Welcome to our new company blog… our goal is to write a new article every week on either tech or learning tech. Stay tuned!