Microsoft “Surfaces” with a new tablet and I’m just looking

TGIF!

We made it to another Friday, just in time for the mounting technology frenzy. I admit I’m a technophile and usually have to have the latest and greatest, especially if it makes my writing life easier. Yet for some reason, I’m not feeling the pressure to buy.
(Woo Hoo! I’m cured!)

(Credit: Josh Lowensohn/CNET)
Microsoft’s Surface tablet is hitting the scene on Oct. 26, and while it looks really slick, I’m not clamoring to buy one. I STILL love my IPad.

HOWEVER …I am checking out the features!

The Surface will run on two different platforms, Windows RT and Windows Pro. It seems light enough to carry around, just like the iPad. I’m going to assume it has all the apps for standard Microsoft features such as Word etc. What’s the point if you can’t write on the go?

The pricing is about the same: the $499 32GB version without a Touch Cover. But the $599 32GB and $699 64GB models, both have the Touch Cover included. You if buy the $499 edition, it doesn’t come with the Touch Cover so you have to spend an extra $120 for one.
(Credit: Josh Lowensohn/CNET)
The Type Cover keyboard (which is nice protection for sticky fingers and dust) that Microsoft offers would cost an extra $130. In the long run, it’s probably worth it to buy at least the 32GB, so you can get the Touch Cover. You’re doing to spend extra for the Cover anyway.

CNET reports on its functionality and some of the highlights they’ve tested. Here’s a rundown of the official specs that they provide:

Surface (Windows RT) tablet key specs
• Windows RT operating system
• Nvidia Tegra 3 CPU
• 9.3mm thick
• 676 grams/23.85 ounces
• 10.6-inch ClearType HD Display
• 31.5 watt hour battery
• Ports: microSD, USB 2.0, Micro-HD video, 2×2 MIMO antennas
• Storage options: 32GB and 64GB for Windows RT
• Front- and rear-facing “HD” cameras

Surface (Windows Pro) tablet key specs
• Windows 8 operating system
• Intel third-generation Core i CPU
• 13.5mm thick
• 903 grams/31.85 ounces
• 10.6-inch ClearType “Full HD” Display
• 42 watt hour battery
• Ports: microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort video
• Storage options: 64GB and 128GB
• Front- and rear-facing “HD” cameras

Microsoft is allowing people to reserve before the Oct. 26 release, which is cool. Building momentum always helps make money. From what I can see, it’s a thin tablet with a quite a bit to offer. I like the kickstand. Very slick.

(Credit: Josh Lowensohn/CNET)

If you’re in the market for a tablet, but don’t know where to start, CNET offers a comparison of prices and specs to get you going, in addition to their favorite picks. Although I’m not buying, I will go take a look in person, probably over the weekend with my grandson. You know …just because.

Today’s my grandson birthday. He’s four. And what kid wouldn’t like to go scope out the new Microsoft toy with his grandmother on their birthday weekend? 🙂 (Fun, fun!)

Hey, he loves me. Therefore, he puts up with me!

Have a great weekend! See you Monday.

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Getting the most out of your Author blog

For authors, whether you’re aspiring or established, social media has become the way to attract potential readers and yes, agents and publishers who may be interested in representing you. Although there is no agent or publisher involved, social media is also an Indie author’s best friend. It puts you where you need to be–connected to your readers.

At a past New Jersey Romance Writer’s conference, a group author friends and I were discussing our social media avenues. We all discovered that we were either blogging, active on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin or in the process of getting started.

This was great to see that many of us were doing what industry professionals suggest: Getting your name and brand out to the universe. You might ask, “How do I do that?”

One book, I found to be very helpful in answering that question is Christina Katz’s, “Get Known Before the Book Deal: Use Your Personal Strengths To Grow An Author Platform.”

IMHO, it’s a must have for any author writing or planning to write in the age of social media. Ms. Katz offers sound advice on growing your brand and building a platform, especially if you’re not published yet. And one way to grow your brand and build a platform is through blogging.

Let me sidestep and explain the brand and build a platform concept. If you think of Nora Roberts, Nicholas Sparks, or John Grisman, 9 times out of 10, you already know what kind of book you’re about to read, along with the theme and even some of their character types. It’s what they’re known for writing, it’s their “brand.” As authors, they have a strong, identifiable platform.

Now back to blogging. Nowadays, almost everyone has a blog. However, as an aspiring author or even an established one, are you getting the most from your blog?

A Writer’s Digest article, “16 Blogging Tips For Writing Fresh Content & Attracting Readers,” gives advice specific to authors who want to build a brand and their readership. As an author, there are a few things we should do, not only to separate ourselves from the pack of blogs, but to create a professional platform that will entice readers, agents and publishers.

Eavesdropping on a love story

I have a new toy. No, it’s not a telescope, new magnifying glasses or a writing pen turned camera (remember, Enemy of the State?)

It’s actually video and movie capabilities! I am the new Steven Spielberg!

Yes, I’m overdoing it.

But I am excited about another way to promote my book and perhaps, my blog. Or just have fun. We all know that we can make our own book trailers. And I’ve discovered a cool way to do just that, with animation.

I just happen to be browsing blogs in my Google alerts, and I ran across this cool blog where one writer made a video instead of an ordinary post.

Hmmm …the old brain starts to wonder if this might be something to look into to. It was. The site is called Storytelling: Xtranormal and it instantly turns your words into a 3D animated movie. Now, if you’ve heard of it, I have to shake my head and wonder, where the heck have I been?

It is amazing and so fun to create. There is a web version that I dabbled on first. All you have to do is create a login and password, and then you can get started. You’re given 300 xp (xtranormal points) which allows you to buy extra backgrounds, sounds etc.

The windows version of Xtranormal is downloadable, and can go on your desktop. This has a more actions for your characters to do, as well as more actors in a scene. I recommend playing around with the Web version first. Then try to download the Windows version. (Sorry Mac users, I’m not sure if there’s a version of this product for you.)

Now, nothing this cool is free. so note, that they have various plans that you can purchase for your filming needs. They also provide video tutorials and support.

I spent most of last night trying to make a video about one of the scenes in my book, (I can’t wait to get home to make another one!) and I’d like to throw caution to the wind and share it with you.

::::drum roll please :::

Be gentle with me, remember it’s my first. 😉