Nerdy or Novice: Back to School With Linksys

Nerdy or Novice? Tech Talk With Beeb & Jai

Welcome to Nerdy or Novice?, our brand new technology column! Here, you will not only read about the latest tech toys, you’ll also get a well-rounded perspective thanks to my co-columnist (and fiancé!), Jai! A seriously tech-savvy guy, Jai owns a computer repair business, and will dissect the technical prowess of these gadgets and games. Meanwhile, I will be providing the layman’s perspective on the user-friendly qualities of this geek gear.

As summer winds down, parents are preparing for fall by stocking up on school supplies. And these days, back-to-school shopping isn’t just for glue and erasers – it can also entail electronics. The Internet is a crucial part of modern education, so today we have a great tech pick for today’s students: The Linksys E4200 Router!

Linksys E4200

Routers have become an essential item, as they allow anyone in a household to connect to the Internet, whether they’re using a desktop computer, laptop, or a wireless device such as an iPad. So if routers all do the same job, what difference does it make which one you buy? The answer is ease of installation and strength of signal. After testing out the Linksys E4200 Router, Jai and I were both impressed not only with its performance in these categories, but the additional features it offers that would make this router especially useful to students.

Jai set this router up, and it couldn’t have been easier. He explains: “This is very simple to connect to the network. Just plug it in to your modem, and when you go to ‘Connect’ it will bring up a prompt reading ‘This is the first time the device is connecting’. It will ask you to enter the number that’s stamped on the bottom of the router; you put in that number and it gives you a brief, simple screen that asks you to put what you want your network name to be, and suggests a password for you. You hit OK, connect, and it’s all done!”

We’re replacing our old router with the Linksys E4200 because its performance is superior. It has gigabit ports built in which are much faster in moving data over the ethernet cables – it’s full bar more powerful than our old 10/100 router. It’s also got better range than our old router. Previously, there were several corners of the house which could not pick up wireless; now, you can maintain an internet connection wherever you are. (Now I can tweet while doing laundry!)

A unique feature on this router is the fact that it also has a USB port built in. Using this, you could plug a portable drive directly into the network for all your computers to share and access seamlessly. Jai says this would be good for a home theater system; I think it would be great for sharing homework between computers and accessing files easily across the network.

The Linksys E4200 Router is available on Cisco.com for $179.99.

Thanks to Linksys for providing a complimentary router for the purpose of this review.

Linksys: Advanced enough to satisfy tech geeks, simple enough for an average user to set up with no hassle!


Back to school savings from Linksys

Back to school savings from Linksys

Right now, Linksys is offering back to school savings on a variety of wireless bundles. Check out these deals at www.linksys.com/backtoschool!

Kushyfoot Review

Kushyfoot

Kushyfoot.com are a company that specialize in shoes and socks. I received a few samples from them in the mail this afternoon, and I love anything girlie and fashionable, so I was excited to try them out!


Flats to Go


Flats to Go

The first item I tried was their flagship product, Flats to Go, in a fun snakeskin pattern. The concept behind this product is great: It’s a pair of extremely lightweight, bendable flats that fold up into a little plastic purse, which you can toss into your handbag for emergencies. Heels getting uncomfortable? Pull out the Flats to Go and get changed without having to carry a bulky second pair of shoes around with you. I can see where this could come in handy – I live in heels, but even I get uncomfortable in them sometimes. A few years back, we were at Jai’s high school reunion, and I wore a tall pair of white heels. By the end of the night, I was standing on the dancefloor in bare feet because they just hurt too much. Kushyfoots would have come in handy then!

I should note that this product runs small – the sizes are 5/6, 7/8, and 9/10; I wear an 8, so I received the 7/8 variety, but they are really too small to be comfortable on me, so unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be able to wear them. You may want to consider getting one size up in this brand.


Kushyfoot Foot Covers

Kushyfoot Foot Covers

The next product I received was Kushyfoot’s Lace Foot Cover in black. These dress socks are very pretty and have a soft cushion sewn under the ball of the foot for added comfort. I really like these a lot – they will be perfect to wear with a pair of open toed heels! The size I received was Regular (Fits 5-9), and again, they seem just a tad small on me, though I realize that these type of dress socks are meant to fit snugly.

You can find these products and more on Kushyfoot.com and in stores – click here for a list of retailers. Kushyfoot provided me with complimentary samples for the purposes of this review.

Activia Gift Pack Giveaway – 3 Winners – Ends 09/29


Activia Yogurt has introduced two new varieties: Activia Selects French and Activia Selects Greek. To celebrate, three lucky Contest Corner readers will win an Activia Gift Pack containing an Activia lunchbox, tote and mug with spoon, so read on!


About Activia Selects:


Discover epically thick and creamy Greek nonfat yogurt and romance your taste buds with silky-smooth French yogurt. Activia is a delicious, creamy yogurt. Activia, with Bifidus Regularis® (Bifidobacterium Lactis DN 173-010), helps naturally regulate your digestive system when consumed daily for two weeks as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. Now Dannon Activia Selects lets you visit Europe from your kitchen by bringing the true taste of French and Greek yogurt to you in a cup.
For more information visit facebook.com/activia


Coupon


You can “Like” Activia on Facebook to access a printable coupon good for $1.00 off 3 Activia Selects yogurts – click here for all the info.


Giveaway Time!

THREE lucky Contest Corner readers will each win an Activia Gift Pack, containing an Activia lunchbox, tote, mug with spoon. Here’s how to enter:

1. For your first entry, click here to check out Activia’s full product line, then come back here and leave a comment telling me which of their products you’d most like to try. This step is required to qualify for the drawing.

Want extra entries? Do any of the following, and leave a separate comment for each one:

2. Write a post on your blog linking to this giveaway and Activia. Then come back here and leave me the link!
3. Write about this on Twitter, then come back and leave me the link to your tweet! One Twitter entry per person. You can use the button at the bottom of this post to tweet with one click!
4. Subscribe to my blog updates by clicking here. Then come back and leave me the email you subscribed with!
5. Become a follower of my blog by clicking the “Follow” button in my sidebar! Then come back here and let me know in a separate comment!
6. Post my button on your website – just copy and paste the following code, and let me know where you put it:

Rules, regulations, and other important stuff: Giveaway ends on September 29th at 11:59 PM, PST. Winners will be chosen the following day via Random.org. Winner has 48 hours to respond to my notification email, or a new winner will be chosen in their place. Giveaway is open to US residents. Activia is providing the prizing for this giveaway. I was not compensated for this post.

How to Find Giveaways That You Actually Want to Enter

How to Find Giveaways That You Actually Want to Enter

I recently got a great question from a reader that I wanted to feature here. Bonnie writes:

“I would like to see an article on how to find giveaways. I see the same names in the comments on many different giveaways and I wonder-how do they find these giveaways so quickly. I saw some of your suggestions, as google blog search, and linkys. Is there somewhere that I don’t have to wade through giveaways for babies and children, to find giveaways for general items. I spend tons of time everyday searching for giveaways I want, and really very little time entering them.”

I think a lot of people interested in entering giveaways wonder the same thing. How do you find giveaways that are relevant to your interests? In fact, one of the common misconceptions about sweepers is that we spend hours entering contests just to win useless items. Well, as you read in my post, “How Blog Giveaways Work”, that is definitely not the case! So how do you find contests for the items you really want to win without having to sift through dozens of giveaways for things that you don’t need? Here are my tips:

  • Narrow down your search.

One of my favorite places to look for giveaways is Online-Sweepstakes.com. On their front page, you’ll see that they have the option to view contests by categories, from electronics to food. Once you select a category, you’ll be able to further refine your search by contest type (Blog giveaway or other) and sort by expiration date. Another site that allows you to browse giveaway listings by category is Prizey.net. By using sites like these, you can immediately filter down contests to your category of interest. Both the sites I’ve mentioned list hundreds of giveaways, so you should have plenty of contests to choose from at any given time!

  • Find a giveaway you like? Bookmark the site.

If you enter a lot of blog giveaways, you might want to consider bookmarking the sites with giveaways you really like. For example, if you want to win food prizes and you discover a recipe blog that is giving away a tin of cookies, add that site to your bookmarks or RSS feed. If a blog caters to your interests, they’re more likely to have giveaways in the future that you’d like to enter; and you may run across niche websites that fit your situation. For example, if you want to win products for your cat, then you should make a note of any pet-related blogs that you find. And that brings me to my next point:

  • Use social networks to learn about new giveaways.

My personal favorite way of keeping up with blogs that I like is through Twitter and Facebook. At this point, I follow way too many blogs to practically keep up with each of them in my Google reader or email inbox. So when I find a blog that has a great giveaway, I often end up following them on Twitter or “Liking” them on Facebook. I’ve added countless blogs, giveaway directories, and fellow sweepers to my social networks, so every time I open my Facebook or Twitter accounts, I’m pretty much guaranteed to see at least one or two giveaways in my stream at any given moment. I have found and entered many giveaways this way that I may have otherwise missed. So use social networks to your advantage, and build a list of blogs that cater to your interests.

BONUS: Is there a brand that you really love? Look up their website and add them to your social networks. Companies often hold giveaways or other promotions through their social channels, so adding them to your networks is a good way to keep up with these offers.

  • Keep an eye on linky lists.

When I’m in a giveaway-entering mood, I usually do a quick scan through the low entry giveaway lists and see what’s on offer. Not all of the prizes listed will pique your interest, but it doesn’t take much time to glance at what’s there, and you’ll have better odds of winning the giveaways you do enter!

Readers: How do you find giveaways that interest you?