Attack on Titan Movie: Where’s Levi?

I’m not a Manga fan nor am I an anime fan, but I am a huge fan of Attack on Titan. I stumbled across the series by accident. I was home sick from work for a few days and started surfing through Netflix. I came across Attack on Titan and was immediately hooked. I binge watched the series over the two days at home and couldn’t get enough. I liked all of the main characters but identified most with Captain Levi. I’ve been anticipating the release of the movie ever since I heard the announcement last year. the U.S. release for part 1 is September 30th of this year. What’s perplexing is why did the film makers decide to ignore Levi completely? Some of the blogs I have read mentioned that the film wanted to concentrate on the relationship between Mikasa Ackerman and Eren Jaeger and they felt Levi would get in the way of that. Granted, I haven’t read Attack on Titan 1 so I don’t know if the brother sister relationship between the two turns into something else but keeping Levi out of the movie seems to me to be akin to Star Wars without Han Solo.

LeviRegardless, I plan to watch the movies. Some say its awful others call it good. I’ll see for myself and enjoy it for what it is good or bad. Thankfully I have Levi at home that I can look at from time to time and consider how much better the film would have been with him in it.

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Tea and Civilization

QueenTeabedCorgis.122044Twenty three years ago I married into a family of English and Irish expatriates. It has been, as I’m sure it is with most families, an experience filled with its share of foibles, fun, frustration and love. The bouncing back and forth between the London and Limerick accents was especially challenging for me. As the years have gone by my wife’s family and I have come to understand one another through many different ways. But the one place we have gained our greatest appreciation for one another is over a cup of tea and a brace of biscuits.

I have always liked tea, even when I was young but I never fully appreciated it’s civilizing effects until I became a part this family. My in laws have both passed away in recent years but the memories i have of tea and conversation with my Mum-in-law will be cherished forever.

Part of the magic of tea is certainly what flavor you imbibe and the company you keep, but it is also the vessel you use to drink it with. In my younger days I didn’t pay much attention to what I made my tea in or what I drank it out of. It wasn’t until i received admonishments from my lovely bride that I began to take notice. It had to be English made and it most definitely needed to be fine bone china. I thought that was a bit absurd at first but as time went on I could see the reasons for it. Tea is not to be slugged down or sucked away in a crude manner. Tea is to be tasted, enjoyed. It is for relaxation and refreshing the soul. Drinking your tea from a finely crafted work of art has a civilizing effect on ones nature and helps to create a certain sense of well being.

To that end I have spent my time at estate sales always on the lookout for fine bone china cups and saucers. I have discovered an amazing array of patterns and styles. Items that years ago would have gone unnoticed are fully appreciated today because of the experience and joy I have found in a cup of tea. A small sampling of what I have found are shown below.

I would love to hear any comments or tips you may have on tea and where I can find hard to get patterns. or if there is a certain pattern you are searching far please let me know what it is and if I happen to come across it I will pass the word along.

Grindley England Cream Petal

ridgway queen anne royal albert dog rose royal albert moss rose royal albert Narcissus royal graftonroyal stafford sweet violets Royal Grafton

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Estate Sales; Are They Right For You?

 forsaleAttending estate sales is a more recent experience for me. Being ignorant of the process I always thought they were auction style proceedings held in county warehouses or in large manors of the wealthy. They do happen in these arenas but the more common estate sale happens within someone’s home and rarely are they auction style.

The reasons for an estate sale vary. Most often it is someone downsizing after a lifetime of collecting, a forced sale due to taxes, abandonment of property, or the elimination of an estate after a loved one has passed away. Whatever the reason may be the benefit to you can be great.

hummelI attend estate sales for two reasons. first to find products to sell through my enterprise and second to find furnishings or precious items for my home and office. I just wish I would have considered them when my wife and I first started out our life together. It’s a great way to find really nice furniture for a fraction of the retail cost. Many sales have furnishings that are used up but quite a few i have found were selling barely used top line furniture and appliances at 1/3 the cost of new.

It’s a good idea to have an idea of what you are looking for before you go to a sale. I also recommend that you review the main estate sale websites to search for estate sales to attend in your area:

The listing agents almost always have pictures of what is being sold. At the very least they will have a written description. If you are looking for items to sell or collect bring a smart phone or tablet that will give you remote internet access. Often I will find figurines at what lladroI think are good prices only to find better examples available on line for a better price. The opposite is of course true but estate agents are no dummies. Much of their pricing is based off of what  like items are selling for on the internet (ebay, etsy, amazon, etc…,)

If a sale is being held over a two or three day period then there are usually a few rules of thumb. Day 1 prices will not be discounted. Day 2 they will typically knock 20% to 30% off of the price. Day 3 is almost always half off or better. The last day is where you can negotiate your best deals but you can also miss out on items you really wanted because someone was willing to pay the higher price the day before.

Estate sale agents are like any other business. Most of them are straight forward and honest. Every now and then though you run across someone that is not only ripping the seller (estate owner) off but they are ripping the buyer off also. Thankfully the vast majority of estate sales I have been too have been run by great people. When you run across a bad one avoid them like the plague and spread the word to anyone else you know to avoid them.

What you will see at many sales is a table set up that will have glass cases full of jewelry both real and costume. At first I thought they were part of the estate being sold. But I soon discovered that often these were items that are consigned from other sellers or pieces the estate agents purchased and are selling for themselves. It’s not bad practice it’s just something to be aware of.

Finally, you may find that you like auction style sales. I don’t care for that format and i personally avoid all auction sales. I don’t like the frenzied feel and I would rather find things and purchase them immediately. If you have never tried it though you should at least see what they are like. For the regular sale if you want to make sure you are able to get to the best items first be sure to arrive early. Read the listing carefully and they will tell you when it starts and when you can arrive to line up. Most sales will have a sign up sheet at the door or they will give you numbers when you arrive.

Bottom line is that if you are looking for furniture, appliances, designer clothes, kitchenware, jewelry or porcelain figurines for personal use or to sell estate sales are a great resource for you. If you take the time to research what you are looking for and monitor the estate sale web sites you can not only save a great deal of money you can make money too.lancelot

If you have any estate sale stories or tips I would love to hear from you.

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Royal Grafton China 1876 – 2007

Royal Grafton Fine Bone China was founded in 1876 in Staffordshire, England by Alfred Bailey Jones. Mr. Jones began his career as a pottery decorator and seller most likely at the Eagle Works in Station Square, Longton.

Then in 1900 the Grafton Works was built on Malborough Road (off Wood Street) in Longton, Stoke-On-Trent, England. The works took its name from the adjacent Grafton Junior and Infants School which opened in 1892. The Grafton pottery works was built on the opposite side of Marlborough Road from the school. Alfred Bailey Jones was joined in business by his two sons A. B. Jones and W. B. Jones in 1900 and formed the company A.B. Jones and Sons Ltd.

grafton gloria 2The Jones family went on to use the trade name “Grafton”. Grafton China then became Royal Grafton after being given a royal warrant by Queen Mary. Royal Warrants are a mark of recognition to individuals or companies who have supplied goods or services for at least five years. Warrants have always been regarded as demonstrating excellence and quality, and are highly prized.

In 1905 A B Jones was elected as the mayor of Longton and served until 1906 . In fact he was the last mayor of Longton before the pottery towns were federated which then gave rise to a Lord Mayor of Stoke on Trent

In 1940 the father, A.B. Jones Sr. passed away and the business continued under the management of A. B. Jones Jr. until his death in 1956. After his death his son, Alfred Leslie Jones managed the business.Marina

By 1966 the family decided they had had enough of the business and when approached by Crown House Glass Ltd. they decided to sell. After the sale Crown House continued to trade under the A. B. Jones & Sons name. Crown House Tableware also owned Dema glass, Denby, Edinburgh Crystal & Thomas Webb Crystal.

Royal GraftonIn 1971 the business was sold to the New Zealand based Crown Lynn Potteries Ltd. and renamed Crown Lynn Ceramics (UK) Ltd. By 1972 Royal Grafton fine bone china ceased trading. Then in 1985 there was a management buyout and the name was changed to Royal Grafton China Ltd.

Seven years later  John Tams acquired Royal Grafton China Ltd. in 1992and used this purchase as an entry into bone china manufacturing under the names ‘Royal Grafton’ and ‘Grafton Living’. Eight years later in 2000  poor management sent John Tams Group PLC  into receivership and following a management buyout continued as Tam Group Ltd. using the brands ‘Tams’ ‘Royal Grafton’ and ‘Grafton Living’. These trade names went on to become part of the Tams China group (est 1874) which also went on to fail resulting in the sale of the modern industrial unit in Longton Staffordshire, in January 2007.

It’s a shame to see an enterprise such as this end with a whimper after a century of business. Royal Grafton never seemed to reach their stride after the war and finally succumbed to the flooding of cheap Asian goods into the marketplace.

Below are many examples of Royal Grafton China being sold on ebay. These are  live auctions and sales so they may change over time. Also, below are many of the vintage bone china products we have to offer. Finally I would like to acknowledge the websites listed below that helped as I researched this article. Please take a moment and see the information they have to offer.

Thanks for taking the time to read the article. I am learning more and more as time goes on about vintage china and porcelain and plan to write about the information that I find. If you have anything you care to share about fine English China I would love to hear it.

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It’s Not “Just Chocolate” Anymore

lipsThe moment your hand brushes the wrapping you know this is different. It doesn’t feel the same as it did when you grabbed a zagnut or took a chew of goobers. No, this is something else. You close your eyes and feel the give of the bag, your fingers sense the curves and bumps of luscious promise below. Your mouth starts to water, lips quiver in anticipation. Not able to stand it any longer you tear the top off, thrust your hand down firmly but gently so you don’t harm what your fingers need, your mouth craves.

Then you touch it, it seems to almost rise to your fingers. You bring it to your mouth, dark mmscloser, closer until your lips part and the smooth skin of the candy shell hits your tongue. You’re almost tempted to kiss it but you can’t help it, you bite down and the explosion of rich dark chocolate covers your mouth in a sensoral ecstasy. Dark chocolate m&m’s, once you go dark…., well, you know the rest.

If you find the dark experience to be too overwhelming you can stay with the milk chocolate. Well, you can try. Because even though the passion of dark was more than you could dark pnut mmshandle the milk chocolate will seem, vanilla-ish. So you search elsewhere. You know your limitations. You need to get experience, new sensations. The world is beginning to open up for you. You’re looking for Mr. Goodbar  but it’s not a goodbar that you want. You need something else. Something exotic, something wild, but not too wild. You have to learn to ride first. You need something that promises to take you all the way but will really just get you to the edge before going over.

Then out of nowhere she’s next to you.

No words are spoken just a look. It’s electric, shocking! Then you see it. You understand that she has exactly what you need, what you’ve been searching for. She reaches down to a hidden place. A place that holds the key, a place of magic and wonder. Her hand comes up, you craspberry mmslose your eyes, her finger touches your lips and she pushes it in. You feel it slide on your tongue. This is new, it’s different. It’s wild, it takes you where you want to go. Then you know! You feel, you taste, the chocolate, the raspberry. Oh my God! Two worlds that should never come together but do. In your mouth a new reality is exposed and excitement is renewed. Raspberry m&m’s will take you where you never dared go before.

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Accessibility of Art and the Work of the Masters featuring Ludwig Munninger


Austrian Winter Cottage

Austrian Winter Cottage

To most of us the work of the great masters will not be accessible. That is unless you are an art historian, critic, student or you live very close to a large metropolitan gallery or museum. Even more difficult would be the works of turn of the century German landscape artists. Such is the case of one such artist, Ludwig Muninger.

Born in southern Germany in 1929, Ludwig Muninger spent many years studying in France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria. Landscape painting seemed to have reached the peak of its popularity with the noted Dutch artists of the 18th century, and again gained fame with the Dusseldorf and Munich style in the 19th century. While honoring the work of the past, Ludwig Muninger established a new level of greatness with his winterscape paintings in the mid-20th century. His originals are in galleries and private collections all over the world. Prints of his originals were first published in 1957. Each print has been reproduced in the thousands on various types of media.

How I discovered Herr Muninger was through, of all things, a porcelain art plate. I came across it as a fluke. I was at an estate sale that had 100’s of collector plates still in their original boxes. I opened a few and saw the usual sneering Elvises, cats driving cars, Norman Rockwell reproductions, etc…, Then I opened a box that caught me quite by surprise. It seemed to be almost alive in its depth and vivid depiction of people in period clothes on ice skates. I couldn’t stop staring at it. The muted colors, the cool sun, you could almost see their breath as they breathed their warm, moist air into the cold winter air. I was captivated.

I read the paperwork and learned the name of the artist and the painting “Ice Skaters in the Evening Sun” I started looking through the other boxes and came across other plates with reproductions Muninger’s work. They were gorgeous! It occurred to me as I read the information about the artist and the work itself I would have never known about this wonderful artist had I not discovered this porcelain reproduction. It gave me a whole new view of the world of collector plates and porcelain art plates. This was a way that people could appreciate some great works that otherwise would remain in obscurity but for the chosen few. These plates are no cheesy reproductions. They are carefully and lovingly presented in a way we can all appreciate.

In December 1976, Art magazine DECOR featured a motif of the artist on its front page. In 1997 Muninger died at the young age of 68.

Several works by the artist have recently been sold at auction, including ‘Mountain Landscape with Two Travelers at Dusk’ sold at Jackson’s ‘Important Russian, Asian, European & American Fine Art & Antiques’ in 2013.

If you have any experience with the works of this fine artist I would love for you to share them with me. I would also be very appreciative of any information as to where some of Herr Munninger’s works might be viewed.

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Anna Perenna Celebration Series with P. Buckley Moss

virginianMany lovers of art, the world over, are familiar with the works of P. Buckley Moss. She is well known for her rural landscapes and depiction of family life in the rural and farm communities of West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Anna Perenna is a maker of fine porcelain and collectibles known for their high quality and craftsmanship. The artist and the artisan have collaborated on many projects but no finer example, in my opinion, can be found than in the four plate “Celebration Series” issued between 1987 and 1990.

The first plate issued was titled “Wedding Joy”. This plate  was released in 1987. It is a wonderful piece of art that depicts a young couple on their wedding day in the back of a buggy being taken to their new home. Is very charming and speaks of the life in Amish style communities.

723363723_oSecond in the series is “The Christening”. A beautiful plate issued in 1988 that shows the married couple starting a family and the christening of a new baby. Lots of happiness and joy in the faces of the proud parents.

This is followed up in 1989 by the third issue titled “The Anniversary”. In this wonderful piece we see a joyful older couple 723099936_ocelebrating their many years of marriage by dancing on their anniversary. It is a scene the evokes what most of us hope will happen in our lives and that is to grow old and happy with the one we love.

In 1990 we finally come to “Family Reunion” the fourth and final issue in the series. Here we see the family altogether, young and old newlyweds and old hands enjoying their life together as family and celebrating the joy that family and community can bring.

It is a lovely series that is artfully done. Full of life, love, joy and happiness. Celebrating all that life has to bring.

If you have experienced the art of P.Buckley Moss please let us know what your experience was. SHe is a wonderful artist that needs to be shared by all.


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Holiday Chocolate – Gingerbread M&M’s for Christmas

gingerbread!Every Holiday season M&M’s comes out with new flavors to experiment with on the chocolate loving public. for Halloween it was Candy Corn M&M’s which were good but not wow. Then Pumpkin Spice for Thanksgiving. These were okay. I mean, I didn’t hate ’em but I don’t miss them either. Now comes along Gingerbread M&M’s. Now THESE are more like it! They actually taste like Gingerbread. It’s kind of an odd chocolatey Gingerbread mix but it works. They must have had the Peanut Butter M&M’s guy working on these because they work. peanut butter mmsDo I like them better than the PB M&M’s? Heck no, but they are a darn good effort and definitely worth the money. So I suggest you give ’em a shot and soon before they are gone and never return. I can get them to you no matter where you are. Unless of course you’re holed up in a cave in Tora Bora. That delivery would be a little dicey.

If you’ve tried them out I’d love to hear what you thought of them. Drop me a line or better yet leave a comment here and tell us what you think!

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Brave Merida for Christmas

braveDisney Has been making snow globes for years. In the early 2000’s the Disney company treated us to something akin to a “golden age” of snow globes. The Hercules, Beauty and the Beast and princess snow globes were particularly well designed and crafted. In recent years though there seems to have been a fall off in the number and quality of Disney globes.

Then came the Merida Snow globe from Brave. This is a simple yet elegant globe that hearkens back to the quality evident at the beginning of the Century. It features Merida alone in the globe ready to strike with her bow. Her mother, Elinor, as the bear standing behind her.

Merida was sold at the end of 2012 and has since been retired. These globes are becoming increasingly difficult, to near impossible to find. Now that we are entering the holiday season this gift would be a “Brave” choice for that special someone in your life.


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Keep Calm and Carry On A Cottage Industry

your_courage_posterOver the last few years or so there has been a resurgence of the British World War II slogan “Keep Calm and Carry On”. It is a design that was inspired by the world war II poster commissioned by King George VI in 1939. This poster was intended as a morale booster in the event of expected bombing attacks or poisonous gas raids at the outbreak of the war. Over 2,500,000 posters were printed but only a few were actually issued in a limited release and none for the general public. The posters were largely unknown and remained forgotten until a copy of the poster was found in Northern England around the year 2,000. Since the copyrights expire on government produced artistic products after 50 years the image and slogan are now in the public domain. The owners of the book store that initially “rediscovered” the poster have sold over 40, 000 copies since 2001.

Freedom Is In Peril PosterIt’s interesting to note that this poster was to be the third in a series of three posters that included the slogans “Freedom is in peril. Defend it with all your might!” and “Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution will bring us Victory!” The first two were distributed across the UK to motivate and hearten the British people.

Today people see it as a symbol of the strength of the British people during what was arguably their darkest and finest hour and harkens to the resiliency we are all capable of.

keep coffeeThere has also been, because of the popularity of the original poster, a whole cottage industry built around these slogans. Especially the “Keep Calm” variation. Anything from clothing to dinnerware, posters, lunch boxes, you name it this slogan or a variation of it can be found.

I don’t think this is exactly what King George VI had in mind when suggesting this for a poster. Or for that matter did the Ministry of Information bureaucrats even dream of what they would unleash some 65 years later. But the simplicity of these posters speaks to what is in all of us and the times we find ourselves in. Whether it’s the terrorists who want us dead or the bureaucrats who want everything we have fought and struggled for in this life,we must maintain our diligence, our fight. We must “Keep Calm and Carry On”.

If you have anything to add on this subject I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or send me an e-mail!

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Lladro and Disney An Artistic Love Affair.

Many years ago Lladro created a series of figurines for Disney that included the 7 Dwarfs from “Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs” animated feature. They were sculpted and created in Spain by master sculptor Francisco Catalo. These figurines were issued in 1994 and retired in 1997. Each one stands 5.75 inches tall. They have been increasingly difficult to find. If you would like to have a better look at one try going here for Doc or go here for Sleepy.

Lladro has had a long association with Disney. During the 90’s and early 2000’s Lladro created many fine porcelain sculptures of Disney characters.  You can find most of the original Disney princesses in private collections today.  If you are interested in other Lladro figurines this site might be a good place to begin. They collect ads from around the internet for collectible figurines and place them on their site. Below are pictures of a couple of the Dwarfs I have and will from time to time post other dwarfs I may find.

Doc is Lladro figurine 7533 and Sleepy is Lladro figurine 7539. They are in New in Box Mint Condition. If you are looking to complete a set or start one Doc and Sleepy are what you are looking for!

If you have any information on the Lladro sculptor, Francisco Catalo or anything you care to share regarding lladro’s figurines I would love to hear from you.

Lladro 7533

Click on Doc!

Lladro 7539

Click on Sleepy!

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Hercules, A Treasure Remembered and Found Again

HerculesYears ago my wife was in the Disney Store looking at stuff with our kids when she came across a shelf full of snowglobes. We had both seen them in the store before but didn’t pay them much mind. but there was one that caught her eye. There was something a little different about it. When she brought it home I just kind of shrugged it off. A few days later I was working in my office and saw the box with the snowglobe in it. “HERCULES” was emblazoned across the front of the box just above a picture of the globe inside. My curiosity finally got the best of me and I opened it up. it took a few minutes to get through all of the packaging but once I got it out I found I was intrigued by it. The more I looked at it the more I saw how well it was made. Now, I realize it’s all glass and rosin, but there was something about it that was…, different.

After awhile I finally put my finger on it. It wasn’t typical Theme park kitsch. This was really well made. But more than that it was the design. It was simple in concept and done in an almost loving way. You could sense that whoever designed this globe really cared about it and cared about the characters and the story.

This was the beginning of my love affair with Disney snowglobes. Especially the ones from what I call the modern golden age of Disney globes from about 2005 to 2009. During this time period they were churning out a number of large globes with all of the Disney characters in many beautiful and daring ways. Beauty and the Beast, Jack Skellington, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, just an amazing assortment of big, beautiful snowglobes.

Then around 2009, shortly after Disney bought back the Disney Stores, the number of globes began to dwindle until now on a good day you may find two or three in the store. The party was over.

The other day I was clearing out a closet when I saw sitting in a  dark corner a Hercules Snowglobe still in it’s box and still in the Disney Store bag I carried it home in over 4 years ago. I couldn’t believe I forgot about it. I gently opened the box to look at it and saw it was even more beautiful than how I remembered it. I sat there staring at it for a few minutes then decided to take some pictures of it.

I hope Disney decides to start making more snowglobes again like it did in the last decade. I know they still make them but not like they were six or seven years ago. Until that time I’ll enjoy  the few that I have and the Hercules Globe I’ll always keep.

If you have any Disney Snow Globes that are a favorite of yours I’d love to hear about them. Please leave a comment or drop me a line.

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Cherry M&M’s for Valentines

cherry mmsIn recent years M&M / Mars has been experimenting with different flavors for their signature M&M brand. Some have done remarkably well and have remained available since their release. Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate and Dark Chocolate peanut flavors come quickly to mind. Other flavors have hit the market like lightning strikes. Here today causing a great deal of sensation then gone in an instant. Raspberry and Wildly Cherry M&M’s created huge buzz for the chocolate maker. But for some inexplicable reason they stopped manufacturing these flavors even after the favorable consumer response. they also seem to keep flavors around that aren’t bad but aren’t great either. Coconut M&M’s are good if you like coconut but not many people seem to care one way or the other.

Which brings me to the new M&M seasonal entry, Valentines Cherry M&M’s. Where Wildly Cherry tasted like chocolate flavored Dr. Pepper and the Cherry Cordial M&M’s tasted, well, *blech* the Valentines Cherry M&M’s are the right Cherry Chocolate mix. They don’t have the zing of “wildly” but a clean, clear taste of cherry and chocolate. If you like cherries with your chocolate or chocolate with your cherries I think you’ll find these quite satisfying. But remember, this love affair of chocolate and cherry, like all great passions, is for a limited time. Embrace it while you can.

If you have had any experience with the Cherry M&M’s I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment on what your impression was.

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Kindle Fire and Ipad 2

At the beginning of 2012 I purchased a Amazon Kindle Fire. My reasoning was that along with being a great medium for books and music it also would provide a means for my kids to research and study on the go. At home we have one good laptop (mine) and a rather ancient and slow desktop (kids) In the evening my laptop becomes my high schooler’s  tool of choice for homework. My middle schoolers are then forced to use the old machine to do research and documents. It does the job but it can also be a source of frustration. The kindle gives them a way to work on their studies and do the occasion web searches they need to answer questions for their project. I have also found a number of books, reference materials and app’s that help them with their subjects. In particular I like the ability to e-mail documents to the KF and have them auto load into the tablet when it is turned on.

Although the KF was originally purchased as a tool for homework I started taking it to work with me during school hours and started using it for work. I discovered it was a great way for me to carry reference material at my day job and not have to rely on printing out hard copies of documents or instructions every where I went. Along with documents I now have reference books, diagrams, videos and web search capability (at least when in a WiFi hotspot) in a very small easy to carry package. So far I have been very pleased with the result. So much so That I decided to keep the KF for myself and purchased an Ipad 2 for the family.

The reason I decided on the Apple Ipad 2 were for all of the reasons stated above plus the $100 reduction in price since the Ipad 3 (or whatever they are calling it) came out. I purchased the base line black, 16GB WiFI only model at $399 plus tax. We have had it now for about a month and I am very pleased with it also. There are a number of app’s that both the KF and Ipad 2 have in common. But I have to say there appears to be more dynamic education and reference app’s for the Ipad than for the KF (android).   The BBC Wonders of the Universe app is particularly well done. I also like the Minds of Mathematicians, Khan Academy and Itunes University in particular. These four apps make the price of the Ipad more than worth it for me.The fact that the Ipad won’t do flash is quite irritating but you learn to work around it. It certainly wasn’t a deal buster for me. I also love the fact that HBO Go is available on the Ipad!

As far as storage goes, the Ipad definitely has more even in the base model. Both units have cloud storage (Amazon cloud for the Fire and Icloud for the Ipad). Both have worked seamlessly for me. Both can also connect to a computer via a USB cable. The advantage of the Ipad is that it has bluetooth connectivity and also can access files on other computers in your newtwork via file browser app’s. The Fire does have file management and browser app’s but they are not as robust as those offered for the Ipad.

All in all they are both fine devices. The Kindle Fire is a great lightweight tablet that certainly has uses for school and for work if you are looking for a way to carry interactive reference materials. The Ipad 2 has most of the same capabilities that the Fire does plus a great deal more that the Fire cannot do. The trade off is the smaller package and the $200 price difference.

If you have had experience with both of these tablets let me know what your experience has been. I would love to hear from you.

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The New Kindle Fire part II

Kindle Fire

I purchased a Kindle Fire from Amazon six weeks ago and have come to like it even more than I expected to. What first caught my eye and brought me to the KF was the $199 price tag. At $300 dollars less than the base line Ipad it was hard to pass up. I realize that the Firer is not a direct competitor for the Ipad. It is not intended to have all of the performance features the ipad has or to process the same type of software for business applications. What the KF IS intended for is media delivery and web browsing and this it does very well.

The applications I wanted the Fire for was web browsing, ebooks and video delivery. With rare exception the book delivery has been flawless. I have downloaded a couple of hundred books so far and have had very few problems. The vast majority of the books I have downloaded are free or in the $0.99 to $3.99 price range. Even the few first run books I have purchased have been worth the price. An unexpected benefit of the Fire is that I have discovered a number of web sites that I can download free books from that are separate from Amazon. I have also found applications that can take ebooks that are in different formats and convert them so the Fire can read process them.

The video delivery has been spectacular. I have streamed video from Hulu and Netflix without issue. Youtube videos have been less spectacular and have come across as grainy or smeary. I think this may have more to do with how they were shot than how they are delivered through Amazon.

Web browsing has been wonderful. I use it at home, work and wherever I can find wifi hotspots while I am out. There has been criticism that the Fire does not have 3g capability. For my purposes I have no problem with this. I have no need to surf while traveling on the Kindle and have no desire to pay the data fees. Recently I went to WonderCon in Anaheim, CA and carried the Fire with me wherever I went. The convention center had free WiFi which allowed me to not only download the schedule and maps for the event but also go the WonderCon website for any updates or news of the day. All in a 15 ounce package.

If you decide to purchase a Kindle fire I do recommend that you purchase a stylus, screen protector and cover for the device. Be sure to shop around. There were a number of screen protectors out there and most of them were despised by those that purchased them. I am listing below the products I purchased and am very happy with.

Fimir Crystal Clear (invisible) Screen Protector Film for the Amazon Kindle Fire with Ultra easy installation (2 Packs)

AmazonBasics USB Cable – 2.0 A Male to Micro B (6 Feet / 1.8 Meters)

Kindle Fire Genuine Leather Cover by Marware, Black

Also, some apps. that have been quite handy are Evernote, DealNews and CalenGoo.  Along with Hulu and Netflix I use these three apps the most. You can find them all in the kindle app store.

If you have experience with the Kindle Fire please share it here. I am always looking for new information and would be happy to hear what you have to say!

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