Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hi-Tech Gizmos

Because librarians are just brilliant overall when it comes to just about everything, we often have people ask us for recommendations of all stripes. While I feel very comfortable recommending a George Orwell book to a like-minded reader, I'm hesitant, nay, skittish about giving advice about devices such as laptops, MP3 players, or E-book readers. For technology, I compare myself to a driving instructor. I can show you where the tools are to make them work, but I'm not the best person to tell you what to buy.

Since this question comes up quite often, there are a couple of places you can go for help. First, Consumer Reports is the gold standard for pretty much most purchases. Also, you can always ask a salesperson about what you intend to use the technology for, and he or she can tell you which makes and models have those features. But in my humble opinion, the best place to start is a website like CNET. They have well-arranged product and software reviews, as well as downloads of various software. In addition to editor's ratings, they also have a techy (read: geeky) readership that contributes their own reviews and ratings that are also valuable.

While there are other sites of this type out there, (and you should definitely consult a few more, and we encourage you to post which sites you like,) CNET is a great place to start, and can definitely help you narrow down what can be overwhelming choices. Most importantly, have fun with your new hi-tech toy!

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