Everyday Tips from the ComputerMom 

December 2017
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How is it possible that this is my last newsletter of the year? I hope you all enjoyed 2017, and are looking forward to an even better 2018!

Tablets have been around for a while, but I have never written much about them. With prices so low that they have become an impulse gift, anyone considering a tablet purchase this holiday season should appreciate my two part article. To round out this issue, an update regarding Windows 10 "free" upgrades and a loophole that is closing at the end of this month.

Here's to a wonderful holiday season, and a happy and healthy New Year!

Julie Marto 
PS - Need some help setting up that new tech gear? Give me a call!
How to choose a tablet   


Tis the season to buy tablets! Inexpensive, portable, and popular with all ages, tablets are handy little devices typically used to check email, surf the web, play games and watch streaming video.


I help folks with every type of tablet, and I'm often asked my opinion about which to buy and why, so here's an article breaking down your options.


iPad - By far the most popular tablet, the iPad really created the tablet market when it was introduced in 2010. Since then, Apple has introduced a whole family of iPads, ranging in retail price from $350.00 for the iPad mini to over $1300 for the iPad Pro. Basically a bigger iPhone without the phone, iPads are a good choice for everyone, but especially for older users, and those of you who are already invested in the Apple ecosystem.


Pros:  Cons:

Android Tablets - Ranging in price from very cheap ($50.00 or so) to quite expensive, they are offered by a wide range of manufacturers, but the biggest players these days seem to be Samsung and Asus. Never as popular as iPads, they are, however, more flexible. Many Android tablets have a Secure Digital card slot, so you can add more storage to them if you fill up the internal memory. 


A natural for Android phone users, Android tablets are also a good choice for younger users, especially tech-savvy teens who like to customize their devices.



  • Wide price range to fit any budget
  • Extremely customizable
  • Often expandible
  • Can be "rooted" to gain even more control
  • Quality varies widely with price
  • Manufacturers often don't provide security updates for very long
  • Bigger learning curve

Amazon Fire Tablets - a popular line of very competitively priced, high quality tablets, which are often heavily discounted at this time of year. Their operating system is based on Android but customized by Amazon to their own specifications, in order to more easily sell you products and keep you loyal to the Amazon ecosystem.


Amazon Fire tablets are a good choice for Amazon Prime members and their kids.


Pros:  Cons: 
  • Amazon's customized Android forces you to download apps from Amazon, not Google Play
  • Most tablets come with "special offers", ads you have to dismiss to get to your content
Tablets Part II - Specs

With table prices ranging from $40.00 to $1400.00, it's good to know what's worth paying for and why. As it's not possible to upgrade most tablets, what you buy is what you get. Here's a brief overview of potential tablet specifications and why they are important.

RAM  The amount of memory a tablet has - the more the better. Cheapest tablets come with 1GB, better ones come with up to 4GB. The more RAM your tablet has, the more it can think about at a time, and the faster it will run
Storage  The minimum built-in storage you should buy is 16GB, but again, the more the better. One downloaded movie can take up 3GB of storage space, so consider if you will download movies or TV shows to watch on the road. 

If you are buying an iPad, go for the most storage you can afford. On an Android or Amazon tablet you are safe to go for a smaller capacity if the tablet has an SD card slot, which most have. 
Size Smaller tablets are good for smaller hands. Bigger tablets are better for older eyes. All but the cheapest tablets have excellent screen resolution for watching movies
4g LTE Every tablet can connect to WiFi, but some also have data connectivity so you can connect to the internet anywhere. However, this is an expensive option, and you also have to pay for a data plan.

A better idea is to connect your tablet to your smart phone hot spot when traveling, which is my recommendation!
Last Chance for Free Windows 10 

As many of you know, Microsoft offered Windows 10 as a free upgrade to all Windows 7 and 8 users over a 1 year period, between July 2015 and July 2016. After that period was over, Microsoft continued to offer it as a free upgrade though a well known loophole.

The tech world is abuzz, because it appears that the  loophole is being closed on December 31st, 2017. If you are still using Windows 7, and especially if you are still using Windows 8, and you want to extend the life of your system by using Windows 10, you should take advantage of that loophole to upgrade your system before the end of the year. Please give me a call if you'd like me to do the upgrade for you!