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Today’s post is brought to you by the Toshiba Satellite C55-B5287 15.6-Inch Laptop (Windows 7), currently being offered at 21% off on Amazon. Advertisers make it possible for Digital Media Mom to bring you great content each day for free, so thanks for your support.

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Netbook vs. Laptop: What’s a Netbook, Anyway?

It used to be that when you bought a laptop you knew exactly what you were getting: essentially, a portable version of a desktop computer. Then Netbooks came along late in the 90’s: machines that looked like laptops, but were typically smaller and had very little memory or ability to run programs because they were primarily built for web surfing, email and little else.

The Netbook never really took off and eventually faded away. But more recently, Netbooks are back — they’re just not being called Netbooks anymore, for the most part.

 

 

The Chromebook & HP Stream Are NOT Laptops, They’re Netbooks

The HP Stream pictured above costs less than half what you’ll pay for today’s sponsor laptop, and for good reason: it’s not a laptop. Like the Netbooks of old, this machine may look like a laptop computer and have some of the same features as a laptop, but it has an unbelievably small hard drive: just 32GB! 32GB hasn’t been an adequate level of hard disk space since before the days of Windows XP!

But this is by design, because this machine is not a laptop and is not designed to do everything a laptop can do. It is not designed to have a bunch of programs installed right on the machine that you can run offline, it’s only designed to get you connected to the internet so you can access “cloud computing” programs like Windows 365 (it comes with a free trial of Windows 365, by the way).

It’s also not designed for storing your photos, videos, personal documents and so forth like a laptop. With this machine, you’re supposed to keep all that stuff in the Cloud and only load the files you need to the machine temporarily, while you’re working on them. In my opinion Cloud Computing is not quite ready for prime time, and I’m in no rush to entrust all my files to a remote server. Besides which, even if your Netbook comes with a free trial period of Cloud storage, you will eventually have to start paying by the month or year to store your stuff in the Cloud.

And yes, what you may now be suspecting is true: a Netbook has very little functionality without an active internet connection. The HP Stream pictured above doesn’t even have a disc drive you could use to watch DVDs while it’s offline. For me, a Netbook would be virtually useless when it’s offline.

The HP Stream is a Netbook, but you won’t find that word in its title: it’s actually being called a “laptop”, and MANY Netbooks are doing the same thing. Nowadays, you have to be a smart shopper to be sure you’re NOT getting a Netbook when you expected a laptop.

 

 

How To Tell Whether You’re Looking at A Netbook or Laptop

It’s not hard to distinguish between Netbooks and laptops if you know what to look at.

1) Chromebooks (like the one pictured above) are ALL Netbooks.

2) Price – Any new Windows machine priced below $300 is probably a Netbook.

3) Small Hard Drive – Any machine with less than 250GB is most likely a Netbook, and most Windows laptops come with a minimum of 500GB of hard drive space.

4) NO Hard Drive – Many Netbooks don’t have a hard drive at all, and only use Flash memory. In the detailed description of the machine, this Flash memory may be referred to as a “solid state drive” or an “SSD Drive”. Whatever the case, the amount of memory will still be very small compared to a true laptop.

5) No disc drive – most Netbooks do not have any kind of disc drive for CDs, DVDs, etc. This is partly why they’re so much less expensive than a true laptop, but it also severely limits the machines’ functionality.

6) Fewer ports – Where a quality laptop will typically have two or more USB ports, an HDMI port, an Ethernet port and various ports for other devices like printers and scanners, a Netbook will typically only offer USB ports.

7) No SD Card Slot – many Netbooks don’t have any memory card slots, for SD or microSD memory cards.

 

For people who only use a laptop as a gateway to the internet and have no need to run local programs or maintain much in local memory storage, a Netbook will be fine. For everyone else, a laptop is the better buy.

 

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And now, a word from our sponsor…

If you’re in the market for a new laptop (like me) and dread the prospect of having to switch from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 when you get the new machine (like me), then the Toshiba Satellite C55-B5287 15.6-Inch Laptop (Windows 7) is a terrific way to go. This model comes with Windows 7 Professional pre-loaded, and at its current pricetag of $472.99 (as of 3/31/15) it’s a great buy. For many years now Toshiba Satellite has been my go-to brand for laptops: they’re well-built, reliable, and come with many of the features you’d only expect in a higher-end machine.

 

 

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Fire Tablet Tech Tip of the Week: All About Docs & Downloads On The Fire Tablet

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#FreeMusicMonday For 3/30/15

Posted March 30, 2015 By Mom
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Today’s post is brought to you by the DKnight Magicbox Ultra-Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker, rated 4.5/5 stars across over 5,600 reviews and currently being offered at 70% off! Advertisers make it possible for Digital Media Mom to bring you great content each day for free, so thanks for your support.

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  Welcome To Free Music Monday! I’ve got two more great albums for you today: one featuring some new tracks from alterna-rock favorites, and one of gospel award winners.

 

The End Records Free Sampler 2015 (4.5/5 stars)

The 12 tracks on this album include new music from such 90’s and 00’s greats as Everclear, Better Than Ezra, HIM, Alien Ant Farm and Black Onassis. If you love those bands, you’ll love this album!

 

2015 Stellar Awards: Gospel Hits (5/5 stars)

12 award-winning tracks from contemporary gospel artists such as Andrea Melini, 21:03, Judah Camp, Nancy Jackson and J. Moss.

 

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And now, a word from our sponsor…

The DKnight Magicbox Ultra-Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker normally sells for $99.99, but right now (as of 3/30/15) you can get this 4.5/5 star -rated bluetooth wireless speaker for just $29.99 – and it’s eligible for Prime shipping, too!

 

 

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Fire Tablet Tech Tip of the Week: All About Docs & Downloads On The Fire Tablet

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#FreeAppFriday for 3/27/15

Posted March 27, 2015 By Mom
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Today’s post is brought to you by the Anker® 2nd Gen Astro Mini 3200mAh Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger External Battery Power Bank, currently discounted to $12.99 on Amazon (as of 3/27/15). Advertisers make it possible for Digital Media Mom to bring you great content each day for free, so thanks for your support.

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Free App Friday!

Here are some of the top 100 most downloaded AND highest-rated apps (4/5 stars or better) from Amazon’s Android App Store as of this writing. Note that where a given app has already been included in a Free App Friday post, a different one (still with a minimum 4/5 star rating) will be subbed in. Remember that free apps may include in-app purchase (IAP) options or be ad-supported, but given that these apps have been given very high ratings by MANY consumers, where IAP links or ads are present they must be pretty unobtrusive. Descriptions below are from the apps’ product pages.

Mini Carnival – A robust avatar editor to create any avatars you like.

Guess The Song – 4 Pics 1 Song Music Quiz – So, you think you know music? If you are a music fan, this trivia game is for you!

My Emma – Take care of Emma like a real baby and watch her grow up!

Guitar Tuna Guitar Tuners – GuitarTuna is the easiest, fastest and most accurate free guitar and bass tuner app out there!

Free Cell – FreeCell by Brainium is the #1 classic FreeCell [Solitaire game] you know and love for your Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Fire, and Android Phones and Tablets.

Relax Melodies Oriental – Relax Melodies Meditation is the ideal assistant to help you create an ambience of relaxation and meditation regardless of the location or time! With the help of zen sounds including water running, birds in a forest, or a distant storm with rain, reach a peaceful state of mind to increase your meditation. Perfect to release tension while massaging or during a yoga session.

Hit It Rich! Free Casino Slots – ICONIC GAMES – Play slots featuring The Wizard of Oz™, The Terminator™, Sex and the City™, and Duck Dynasty™

Reversi Free – Reversi Free is the best free Reversi (aka Othello) game on Android!

Stick Hero Free – Player must tap the screen continuously to strengthen the length of stick as per the need to clear the chasm

Pudding Pop – Pudding pop is a fun and simple puzzle game where you try to link three or more pudding blobs of the same color.

 

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And now, a word from our sponsor…

The Anker® 2nd Gen Astro Mini 3200mAh Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger External Battery Power Bank is handy to have on hand for those times when your cell phone or tablet battery’s about to die and there isn’t an outlet in sight. It has an average review rating of 4.5/5 stars across over 12,400 reviews and normally sells for $39.99, but right now it’s available for just $12.99.

 

 

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Ebook Tech Tip of the Week: How To Tell If A YA Novel Is More A Than Y Before You Buy

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SD vs. MicroSD – What’s The Difference?

Posted March 26, 2015 By Mom
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Today’s post is brought to you by the SanDisk Ultra 32GB UHI-I/Class 10 Micro SDHC Memory Card w/ Adapter, currently priced at just $15.99 on Amazon. Advertisers make it possible for Digital Media Mom to bring you great content each day for free, so thanks for your support.

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Today I’m bringing back another popular topic that regularly brings new site visitors: SD vs. microSD cards. I won’t bore you with all the technical details of what makes a microSD card different from a standard SD card, because I’m pretty sure all you care about is whether or not a microSD card will work with your various devices.

The answer is, so long as your device can accept a standard SD card, yes, it can accept a micro SD card — provided you have a standard SD card adapter or USB plug-in adapter (as pictured in this post).

You can buy micro-to-standard SD card adapters and USB plug-in adapters on their own, but plenty of micro SD cards come bundled with adapters, too.

To use a microSD card in a device that takes standard SD cards (most digital cameras, for example), you just slide the micro SD card into the adapter’s card slot, then insert the adapter into your device the same as you would any standard SD card. Notice how the adapter looks almost identical to a standard SD card.

To use a microSD card with a computer, you have two options. If your computer has a standard SD card slot, use the adapter method I just described. If not, you can use a USB plug-in adapter (pictured below).

The bundle shown below includes two microSD XC cards with a capacity of 64GB each, together with a USB plug-in adapter. You slide the microSD card into a slot on the end of the USB plug-in adapter, then plug the adapter into your computer or other device that has an available USB port. (Note that the microSD cards are magnified in this photo. In reality they’re pretty tiny and will definitely fit into the slot on the end of that USB adapter.)

 

 

 

Why Micro SD?

MicroSD cards were invented to provide extra memory on very small devices, like cell phones. In terms of functionality, from the user’s perspective they work just the same as standard SD memory cards. They’re just smaller.

For a long time the conventional wisdom about the two card types was that the standard-size SD card is typically less expensive and faster than its microSD counterparts, but over on Tested Wesley Fenlon reports that SanDisk’s “Extreme” line of microSD cards has largely closed that gap.

Since micro SD cards are more versatile, in that you can use them in a wider variety of devices than standard SD cards, a micro SD card + adapter combo is generally the smarter buy, especially if you can find the micro SD + adapter bundle with the amount of memory you want at a lower price than the comparable standard SD card.

 

What Does It Mean When The Card Is Labeled “SDHC” or “SDXC”?

HC and XC are designations that indicate the card uses advanced technology to speed up its file access and processing times, and provide additional memory capacity. HC cards can handle up to a 32MB capacity, XC cards can handle up to a 2 terabyte capacity. A terabyte is 1,000 gigabytes, so that’s a LOT of memory to squeeze into such an itty-bitty memory card.

When HC, and later, XC cards first came onto the consumer electronics market, only certain devices could handle the faster file processing so you had to carefully check to ensure your device could actually accept an HC/XC card before buying one. Now, HC is pretty much standard technology for any recent-model device that accepts SD or micro SD cards up to 32 GB, and XC is the typical designation you’ll find on a card with higher capacity than 32GB.

 

 

XC cards can also handle MUCH more capacity than HC cards: up to 2 terabytes in the standard SD card size. As of this writing, the largest capacity micro SD XC card you’ll find is 64GB.

 

Buy The Right Capacity Card For Your Devices

Micro SD cards are commonly available in capacities anywhere from 1 gigabyte to 128 gigabytes and their prices are very much in line with standard SD cards, but different devices have different limitations on the amount of memory they can handle in an SD card or microSD card so you shouldn’t just assume the largest capacity microSD card will be the best value for you.

Most current-model cell phones, MP3 players and other devices that accept micro SD cards can handle a 64GB card, but there are some that will only use up to a 32GB card and some older devices can only handle a 16GB card. Check your user’s manual, or if the manual’s long gone try checking your thingie’s technical details on Amazon or at the manufacturer’s website.

 

If You Buy The Wrong Capacity Card…

When you insert an SD or microSD card with higher memory capacity than your device can use, one of two things will happen. The first possibility is that your device will work just fine with the larger capacity card, but will only be able to use as much of the memory on the card as your device’s specifications say it can handle. The second possibility is that your device won’t be able to read the higher capacity card at all, and will show you an error when you try to use it.

Since you can’t know ahead of time which of these will happen with your specific device, it’s best to err on the side of caution and only use cards that meet the maximum capacity limit(s) of your device(s).

 

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And now, a word from our sponsor…

The SanDisk Ultra 32GB UHI-I/Class 10 Micro SDHC Memory Card w/ Adapter comes from a trusted name in computer memory hardware, has an average review rating of 4.5/5 stars on Amazon, is currently the #1 bestselling memory card in Amazon’s cell phones and accessories category, and is now on sale for just $15.99 with Prime Shipping eligibility.

 

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Ebook Tech Tip of the Week: How To Tell If A YA Novel Is More A Than Y Before You Buy

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Today’s post is brought to you by Where Did I Put It?, the easy-to-use app from Digital Media Mom that should make keeping track of those Easter goodies—or anything else you’ve temporarily moved, lent or hidden—a snap! Advertisers make it possible for Digital Media Mom to bring you great content each day for free, so thanks for your support.

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Lately I’ve noticed a lot of new visitors to the site end up here after doing an internet search on “Delete GameCircle progress”, so even though I’ve posted on the topic before I figured it might be time to address it again.

 

Clearing stored game progress on most game apps is as simple as uninstalling the app, re-downloading it from wherever you originally got it, and re-installing it.

Doing this should install a “fresh” copy of most game apps, but there are some exceptions and GameCircle games are among them.

 

Deleting Progress in Amazon GameCircle Apps With Whispersync

In order to “start over” on an Amazon GameCircle app with Whispersync, you’ll have to turn Whispersync off for that game app and then uninstall, re-download and re-install the game. From Amazon:

Only select titles in the Amazon Appstore for Android are compatible with Whispersync. If your game is compatible, the Whispersync logo appears when you launch the game:

To turn off Whispersync for Games:

From Home, tap Games, and then tap the Menu menu icon icon.
Tap Settings, and then tap OFF next to Whispersync for Games.

Your game progress for Whispersync for Games-enabled titles will no longer be saved. If you reinstall the game or purchase a new Kindle Fire, you’ll need to start a new game.

 

Helpful GameCircle Links

Here are links to Amazon’s GameCircle Help pages, where you should be able to find answers to any other questions you may have about GameCircle:

Amazon GameCircle Basics

Manage Your GameCircle Profile

 

 

Deleting Progress In Apps That Require Constant Internet Connection To Play

Some apps, like EA’s The Simpsons Tapped Out, require the player to maintain an internet connection the whole time they’re using the app. These apps store your game progress on their own servers, so the only way to get a clean slate with them is to either delete the login account associated with the game app, or create a new, second login account. If you’re allowed to do the latter, just sign out of the existing account and tap whatever link is there to create a new, additional account.

 

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And now, a word from our sponsor…

Where Did I Put It? (5/5 stars, currently priced at $1.99) was inspired by my annual frustration at not being able to find holiday gifts I’d hidden. This simple app makes it easy to keep track of hidden gifts, as well as anything else you may have temporarily moved, lent, put into storage, or hidden. As with ALL DMM apps, this app has no fishy permissions, no data-gathering, no ads and no in-app purchases, and it can run totally offline: no internet connection is required.

 

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Ebook Tech Tip of the Week: How To Tell If A YA Novel Is More A Than Y Before You Buy

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