Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Brief Tablets/E-readers Overview

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday upon us, I thought a brief overview of tablets and e-readers might be in order. Keep in mind that Apple is notoriously stingy on sales, so you probably won't find any doorbusters on the iPad. (Because we'll pay full price, like suckers!)

Manufacturer: Apple
Price Range: $299-529
Description: Apple's tablet was meant to compete with the Kindle. None of its models have e-ink; all operate as larger iPhones. iPad Air ("iPad 5," starts at $499) is the newest model, released November 1, it is thinner but also taller than the iPad Mini (starts at $299, $399 for retina display). Finally, the biggest of them all, is the iPad 2 ($399, $529 with a data plan). All models have an LED backlit LCD screen. Generally, they connect to the 3G network (with a plan). I can not stress this enough: iPads are bigger iPhones. So the idea is that you read news articles on a computer screen, use the same apps, and play the same games. (Occasionally there's an app on the iPad you can't get on the iPhone, and vice versa.) All models have cameras.

Manufacturer: Amazon
Price Range: $69-$89
Description: The first major e-reader on the market, the Kindle now has wifi but still has e-ink. Reading without ads will cost more money. It is a thin, app-free, digital reader. Users buy or download material to read, and carry it around.

Kindle Fire
Manufacturer: Amazon
Price Range: $139-$379
Description: Not to be outdone by Apple's shining screens, Amazon has its own tablet/e-reader. The Kindle Fire does not use e-ink. (Though you can download books and magazines.) This model has video, HD-ness, and all the stuff the iPad has. Apps! Movies! Video! A bright screen!

Kindle Paperwhite
Manufacturer: Amazon
Price Range: $119-$199
Description: A genuine e-reader, Paperwhite is the wifi- and/or 3G-enabled model of the regular Kindle. It also has an ads and no-ads version. It has a built-in light.

Manufacturer: Kobo
Price Range: $98-$196
Description: It uses e-ink! Sometimes. The Glo has a touch screen (with e-ink), the Aura HD also uses e-ink (incredible!), and reads PDFs and HTML.

Nook GlowLight
Manufacturer: Barnes & Noble
Price Range: $119
Description: A touch screen, wifi-only, e-ink reader.

Nook HD (and HD+)
Manufacturer: Barnes & Noble
Price Range: $129-$149
Description: A tablet without e-ink, the color, HD tablet is the Nook's response to the iPad and Kindle Fire. (It is app-capable.) It uses Android.

*This lesson was not endorsed in any way. I mean. Seriously, you didn't need me to tell you that, did I?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Vocabulary Lesson: BAMF

Today's brief lesson is R-rated!


BAMF is an initialism. It stands for Bad Ass Mother Fucker. (Unless you're not my mom, aren't you glad that I told you, and not your son, the senior in college?)

BAMF is pronounced "bam-fph" or " It is not offensive to any specific groups of people, though it is probably not grandparents-approved. Like many inappropriate words, it is satisfying to say.

This is a term you use in earnest (as opposed to my ironic usage of YOLO). When you are feeling especially bad ass, feel free to call yourself a BAMF. You have my permission, Old People.

For reasons that are both untrue and unclear, Googling "BAMF" will lead you to articles about Dane Cook. I can not conclusively prove the levels of Cook's bad-assery.

Additional Resources:
BAMF, Urban Dictionary
BAMF, Wiktionary

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Vocabulary Lesson: Ratchet


This post was written last night, when I had wished I was already asleep, so let's jump to it: Ratchet is a word Young People were using. It's been used in a few primetime shows (2 Broke Girls, Super Fun Night), and thus might be on its way out of the Young People Lexicon.

The nicest definition for "ratchet" is "Undesirable, coarse woman."

It has been used in a large number of hit hip-hop songs this year. A little history, from New York Magazine will provide further insight:
Ratchet can be traced back to the neighborhood of Cedar Grove in Shreveport, Louisiana. “You talk to working class black people [down there],” says Dr. Brittney Cooper, a co-founder of the Crunk Feminist Collective. “Ratchedness comes out of that. And some of that particularity gets lost when it travels.” The first appearance of ratchet in a published song was in 1999, when Anthony Mandigo released “Do the Ratchet” on his Ratchet Fight in the Ghetto album. “Mandigo introduced me to the word, He got it from his grandmother,” remembers Angela Nichols, who goes by Angie Locc and rapped on the track. In 2004, Earl Williams, a producer known as Phunk Dawg, recorded a new version of the song, featuring the better-known Lil Boosie (currently incarcerated), from Baton Rouge, as well as Mandigo and another Shreveport rapper named Untamed Mayne. This version, and the associated dance, caught on and Mandigo’s Lava House Records began making a name for itself.
From the same article, a modern definition:
In it, the Atlanta brothers pretend to be ratchet women describing their ilk: They carry outdated flip phones, go clubbing while pregnant, and try to punch other women in the face. “Ratchet is basically a lack of home training — being out in public and acting like you don’t have any sense,” Philip Houston told the Cut. “Putting a weave in the microwave just to curl it, that’s ratchet.”
Some women have "taken back" the word as a means of ownership. That does not make it OK for an Old Person to use. It's a loaded, unkind word, rooted in socioeconomic disparity. Don't use it.

The word has a nasty connotation. It's only used for vocal, outspoken, Black women. As an insult, it says that women must be demure, "well behaved," and exceedingly "classy;" women that are not ratchet have, apparently, gone to great lengths to earn respect.

Old People respect all types of people, regardless of gender, race, or social class. 

Additional Resources:

Ratchet, Internetslang.com
Ratchet: The Rap Insult That Became A Compliment, New York (read the whole thing)