Finding the Right App for You

Over the past month, I have helped to create several materials regarding “apps” for various tablets (see our Extension Exchange Article and Cooperative Conversation). It only seemed fitting to round out this focus on tablet applications with a short blog post. Instead of focusing on what the best app is for something or my favorite apps like in the previous materials, I’m instead going to explain how I select the best app for my needs.

For those who have explored an app store, whether it is Apple’s App Store or Google Play, you know there are millions of apps on the market. So, how do you find the best app for your needs? Finding the perfect app is a lot like shopping for anything online! First, reading reviews can be very helpful when looking at something you are unfamiliar with. This can be useful if others have found glitches that affected their device. If an app has received a positive review it can ease your mind if you aren’t sure if it will meet your needs. Secondly, most app developers provide a nice selection of screenshots in the app store so you can look at the setup and design. This is particularly useful if you are looking for something specific in an app. Finally, many apps have a free version with limited features which allow you to explore the app before you pay money for the app.(It should be noted, that many free versions of apps may include ads as well.) This can be very useful, especially if the app is expensive and you want to see if it will suit your needs before purchasing it.
There are a wide variety of apps to choose from and they can make a world of difference in our everyday lives. Whether you are using a smartphone, a tablet or even a personal computer, enjoy exploring the app stores!

Why must buying a new TV be so confusing and difficult?

While browsing the electronics section at Wal-Mart recently, I ran into a man looking for a new television. He was trying to figure out which TV would be the best for his situation. He wanted a mid-sized television, approximately 32 inches, that would have a good picture and would be cheap. I decided to help him choose the best one for the money, and I quickly realized how confusing it was to pick out the best. Not only were all of the specifics not listed on the display models, the TVs were also displayed in a very confusing manner. After realizing how frustrating it could be to purchase a new TV, I decided to write a post covering the basics of what to look for in a new TV.

There are many different decisions that you need to make when purchasing a new television. The first choice you should make is what size of TV you need. This is very important because the size of the TV will help determine the two most important aspects of your new TV, which are resolution and refresh rate. There is no right or wrong size of television, so choose a size that will fit in your budget and that will fit in your entertainment center.

Now that you have picked out the size of television you are going to purchase, we can discuss resolution. To simplify this, think of resolution as how clear the television is going to be. If it has a higher resolution, then the images will be more clear than blurry. If you are purchasing a smaller TV, this is not quite as important. However, I would recommend getting a TV with at least a 720p resolution which is a lower resolution rate. If you are purchasing a larger TV, make sure that you get at least a 1080p which is a moderately good resolution rate. You can get all the way up to a 4k TV resolution, however that will cost you significantly more than a TV with 1080p.

Another important aspect to look at when purchasing a television is the refresh rate. TVs that show movement in a choppy manner instead of flowing smoothly are examples of bad refresh rate. As with the resolution, this is much more noticeable with larger televisions. If you are looking for a smaller TV, I would recommend getting at least a 60Hz refresh rate. If you are considering a larger TV, look for a minimum of 120Hz.

Something else you may consider is a Smart TV, which is able to connect to the internet and access services like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. Also, consider the number of ports (HDMI, VGA, USB etc.) the TV have to ensure you have enough for your existing surround sound system, DVD player, or other devices. Last but not least, if possible choose a better known brand (Samsung, LG, Toshiba, Sharp, Sony, and Vizio.) If you have problems with your new TV, better known brands will offer superior support. The last bit of advice I can give is go to a store that has multiple televisions on display. Look at them and see which one has the best image resolution and image refresh rate for you. You can see how the bezel of the TVs look and how large they will actually be. I noticed one of the cheaper TV brands at Wal-Mart was having issues with a line down the middle of the screen on several different display models. If you see something that looks like it could be an issue, avoid that line of televisions. Finally never be afraid to ask for help; you never know if the person standing beside you does technical support for a living and could help you find just what you are looking for.