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End of the semester

Tomorrow I will give my final presentation to my class about Collech. As the semester comes to a close and the pressure to keep updating this blog ceases I hope my interest doesn’t go south as well. For now I will try to keep this thing updated but only time will tell if Collech continues.

Keeping this blog has definitely been a learning experience and has been extremely helpful in helping me understand where I want to take myself in journalism in the future. I hope that everyone who came and visited the site while I was running it found some useful and interesting information and that you will keep coming back if I keep the blog running.

Farewell for now.

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Holiday Cell Phone Roundup

With JC’s birthday fast approaching what better gift to give a college student than a new cell phone? Since we spend most of our time detached from reality anyway why not ask for a better phone that can do more that just texting. Here we’ll look at the four major U.S. carriers and their best phones, each with a hands-on.

AT&T

Iphone 3GS

Starting out with the obvious, in the cell phone world the Iphone 3GS is king and everyone else is still playing catch-up. Although it’s an all around great device on its own what really makes the Iphone stand out from its competitors is the endless amount of applications that can do almost anything, and can be downloaded for free (mostly)  right onto the device. The Iphone is a keyboard less device with a 3.5″ widescreen Multi-Touch display with a 480×320 resolution. The Iphone comes in either 16 ($199) or 32GB ($299) capacities so you can store video pictures and music and play them all back.

Hands on

The Iphone, just like any other Apple device is sleek. The slightly curved back feels nice in the hand and the phone has a nice weight to it as well. The Multi-Touch display is extremely responsive and the lack of physical keyboard is made up for by the accuracy of the Iphone’s touch screen.

Samsung Impression

A non-smartphone alternative on AT&T the Samsung Impression is a great texting phone, it has a 3.2″ AMOLED touch-screen and a slide out QWERTY keyboard. It also houses a built-in GPS and 3G wireless internet. After mail-in Rebate on AT&T’s website the Impression can be had for $129.99.

Hands on

A very impressive feeling phone, and the curved edges make it a looker as well. The touch screen is definitely the best part about this phone, the AMOLED display is very sharp. The screen was very responsive and it has one of the best keyboards on any phone I’ve tested.

Sprint

Palm Pre

Palm and Sprint get along, as evidenced by Palm’s big comeback debuting on the struggling wireless carrier back in June. The Palm Pre has the rare honor of being mentioned and put in comparison with the Iphone and rightly so. The Palm Pre is an excellent smart phone running Palm’s own fantastic OS. WebOS is what really shines here as the Pre’s software is second to none, pair that with one of Palm’s best hardware in a long time and you have an absolute winner of a smartphone. A Palm Pre after Mail-in Rebate with Spring is $149.99

Hands on

I have to say that the Palm Pre is my favorite phone, it just feels fantastic in your hand and the unique shape really makes it stand out from the rest. Pictures do not do this phone justice, you have to actually hold one in your hand to see how sleek it really is.

HTC Hero

HTC has really burst onto the cell phone scene lately and they continue to pump out quality products, with the Hero being no exception. HTC’s Sense UI takes an already good OS in Android and makes it better and more customizable. Wi-fi, Bluetooh, GPS, and wireless 3G are all features on this packed phone. After mail-in rebate you can get a Hero from Spring for $179.99

Hands on

The Hero is one of HTC’s only Android phones without the signature “chin” that has became famous (or infamous) with gadget lovers. While style is subjective I really like the chinless design of this Hero. The phone felt great in the hand although the call and home buttons on the bottom of the phone felt like they moved around too much.

Verizon

Motorola Droid

Big red has really been stepping up their phone game lately and it all starts with this winner right here. The Droid has been very well received since it’s release in November and the phone that is putting Motorola back on the map has finally got Verizon customers excited about a smartphone. It has a high-resolution touch screen display with a slide out qwerty keyboard.  The Droid is packing every feature you could want in a smartphone including Google’s own full turn by turn navigation that uses Google Maps as well as Android 2.0. You can pick up a Droid from Verizon for $199

Hands on

The Droid is on the heavier side for a phone, and that’s not a bad thing. The heavy feel makes the Droid feel sturdy in your hand and while the slide out keyboard isn’t the smoothest it gives the phone that same sturdy feel. The keyboard is a little cramped, but nothing you could not get used too. The display on the Droid is big and beautiful, the high-resolution really does make a difference.

HTC Droid Eris

Another android phone that came to Verizon recently is the Droid Eris, not to be confused with the previous Droid. The Eris is running an older version of Android but for those looking for a less expensive alternative to the Droid you can’t beat the feature set on this $99 handset. Also, if you prefer your phones keyboardless the Eris’ sleek design is sure to win you over. Surprisingly as well, the Eris offers pinch and zoom multitouch unlike Motorola’s Droid.

Hands on

Man this is a sleek phone, I really prefer the keyboardless design of the Eris over the Droid. The screen is very bright and sharp and the customization that is synonymous with HTC is there as well. The Eris feels very good in your hand and is almost the same phone as Sprint’s Hero with the trackball at the bottom of the phone.

T-Mobile

Samsung Memoir

The Memoir is perfect for someone who is looking for a new phone and camera. It features an 8-megapixel camera with flash on the back of the phone that let’s you take photos and upload them to popular sites like Flikr. The Memoir has no physical keyboard but the touchscreen is good enough to make up for its absence. The real feature on this phone though is the camera, able to take photos up to a resolution of 3,264×2,448 along all of the camera settings you would expect on a decent digital camera. The phone does lack wifi though despite a full HTML browser. You can get a Memoir from T-Mobile for $199.99

Hands on

This thing really could be mistaken for a camera however the ability to have both in one device is extremely useful. The area where you grip the phone to take a photo is wrapped in leather that gives a nice feel and grip to the phone as you are taking photos. The display is also very nice on this phone while on the smaller side (2.6″) but the phone is sleek, it’s only 0.6 inches thick.

Motorola Cliq

The Cliq is simply an easy to use functional and feature rich phone. It doesn’t do anything new or fancy or innovative but it is running Android on a good display with a slide out qwerty keyboard. The Cliq also packs a 5-megapixel camera that takes decent photos. The Cliq is also wi-fi ready and features some of Google’s unique features such as voice search and talk. Like the Memoir, T-Mobile sells the Cliq for $199.99

Hands on

If you prefer physical keyboards then you can’t go wrong with this one. The Cliq’s keyboard is one of the best out there making it a great texting phone, the display was also impressive and the home and back buttons on the bottom of the phone felt nice and sturdy.

So there you have it, a roundup of the top cell phone’s this Holiday season. Hopefully you end up with one of these great phones before the end of the year.


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Storage Solutions

One of the first things I realized coming to college was that even though I was studying as a “full time” student I had more free time then what I knew what to do with. As such, I became sort of a movie and TV show aficionado but quickly found out my laptop’s measly 150GB hard drive was not enough to store all of my movies, music and TV shows.

So I invested in a 500GB external hard drive that I promptly filled so I bought another 1TB drive that is now approaching capacity.

My habit of hoarding every episode of every TV show I’ve ever watched aside, an external hard drive can be a great piece of tech for a college student to have. Not only can it be used as a storage device, but if you have some sort of media extender capabilities you can play all of your files on your TV and not just your computer screen.

For example, if you have a Playstation 3 or an Xbox 360 you can attach an external hd via a usb port and play your files on whatever screen your video game system is attached too. There are even some televisions that support external storage devices and can take out the middle man.

If you don’t have a video game console or a compatible TV, don’t fret because there are other solutions that can be had for much cheaper . One example is the Western Digital “WD TV” which can support two drives simultaneously and has HDMI and composite inputs so you can attach it to any TV and play full 1080p video. The WD TV is $122.11 at Amazon.

Or if you want to get really fancy you can buy a media center extender which serves the same purpose as products such as the WD TV but can stream your media over your home network.

Going back to hard drives themselves, storage these days can be had on the cheap. Find yourself a good deal and you can get a 1TB (1000GB) hard drive for <$100 that’s less than $1 per GB.

As always places like Newegg and Tigerdirect constantly offer deals on external hard drives.

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Good Dealz

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Looking for a new monitor for your dorm/apartment perhaps?

This Samsung 2494sw 24″ 1080p Monitor with HDMI is on sale for $189.99 with a Logitech keyboard and mouse thrown in for good measure.

Normally $279.99, just be sure to use coupon code 8G2FHZ?KVLC1FD

edit: turns out this monitor does not have HDMI, but you can easily find a DVI to HDMI cable on the cheap

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The First ever Collech Podcast is here! We talk about the Droid coming out on Verizon and smartphones in general with regards to college students.

Download Brian DeRose - Collech Podcast

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Holiday Shopping

 

blackfriday

This is not fun.

 

Thoughts of Black Friday are usually filled with waking up at 5am, waiting in the cold outside of some retail store only to have that deal you were looking for snatched away from you by some mean middle aged women.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Plenty of online retailers offer Black Friday deals too, and instead of standing outside in the cold being shoved around by strangers you can sit in the comfort of your own home and hit the refresh button on your browser a thousand times.

There are various websites that give you the run-down on Black Friday retail ads and deals. Also plenty of stores have started deals early so you can get some good deals before November 27th.

Amazon usually offers good deals on Black Friday and any online store will usually offer some sales the day after Thanksgiving, just make sure you do your research and are actually getting a deal.

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motorola-droid-2

Verizon and Motorola officially confirmed the Droid will be releasing on Verizon’s network on Friday November 6th for $199, with a contract and a $100 mail in rebate of course. Reviews and impressions have been flooding in and have been as favorable as many anticipated.

Basically if you’re a Verizon customer and in the market for a smartphone you would be ill-advised to purchase anything but the droid.

Of course as with any other smartphone a data plan is necessary for the Droid, which will cost anyone upgrading from a non smart-phone extra.

Verizon plans on opening its stores pretty early on November 6th, so plan on getting up before the sun comes out if you want a Droid on launch day.

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