Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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November 22, 2012

Slate: What not to buy on Black Friday

(Continued)

PALO ALTO, Calif —

Why am I telling you to pay $70 more for a small lamp inside your reader? Because I think illumination makes e-readers perfect. For years, my main beef with these devices was that I couldn't read them in the dark. I've heard the same complaint from readers. Sure, you can always use a book light, but I've noticed they create a distracting glare around the e-reader's display-defeating the main feature of these devices' E-Ink screens, the fact that they're easy on the eyes. The illuminated Nook and Kindle provide a beautiful, glare-free, even light that appears to emanate from within the page. The light is just bright enough to allow you to read, without being so bright as to cause eyestrain (as LCD screens do).

If you can't shell out $119, you can always wait-illuminated e-readers are sure to be cheaper next year. But if you buy a cheap, unlit e-reader to save a buck, you're sure to find yourself in the dark.

Do not buy an iPhone/iPod dock.

This year, Apple created a new dock connector for its phones, tablets, and music players. The connecter is the little plug that you use to hook up your device to other things. In 2003, Apple created a big, wide connector for the iPod, and it became ubiquitous, sparking a boom in iPod-enabled accessories like clock radios. The new connector is smaller and like the original connector, it's proprietary-you won't find it on non-Apple phones and tablets, and accessory makers have to pay Apple a licensing fee to make stuff that works with iOS devices.

In September I howled at the injustice of the new dock. (I argued that Apple should have gone with an industry-standard connector). Because I love the new iPhone, I'm resigned to living with the connector. But I've vowed to minimize the chance of getting burned by Apple's arbitrary dock policies -which means I'm never ever buying a device that relies on Apple's proprietary connector. I think you should do the same.

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  • Why a see-through mouse is a big deal for scientists

    A group of Caltech researchers announced in Cell Thursday their success in making an entire organism transparent. Unfortunately, this isn't any kind of "Invisible Man" scenario: The organism in question is a mouse, and the mouse in question is quite dead.

    July 31, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

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