1. Overview on The New Kindle Fire HDX

    The first thing you’ll notice about the new Kindle Fire is the glossiness of the screen. Amazon packed the screen with 323 pixels per inch (ppi), one area where the Kindle outshines Apple’s  iPad mini, which has 163 ppi. It should be noted, however, that Apple may improve that facet of the iPad mini later this month.

    The operating system, Fire OS 3.0, is much smoother than it was on last year’s tablet, and browsing and navigating through the tablet is a definitely breeze. Fire OS 3.0 is built on Google’s  Android 4.2 operating system, codenamed Jelly Bean, but it looks nothing like a stock Android operating system, and that’s more than good enough for me. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.2 GHz processor really allows the tablet to perform at a capacity and a level one would expect for $229 (users can pay an additional $15 to get rid of the advertising supported home page), perhaps even exceeding it a touch.

    An Amazon spokeswoman said Fire OS will be updated in mid-November as the company continues “to sand the edges [of the software] a little bit ahead of shipping to customers.”

    Watching movies on the device is a pleasure, as it was last year. This year, the HD is true HD, and while it still requires a bit of time for the HD to “load,” it’s a vast improvement. I found myself using X-Ray, the feature using Amazon’s IMDB website to look at actors names, and tidbits and trivia about World War Z, and felt that it added to the experience. There’s still no 16:9 aspect ratio on the device, so watching movies in the letter-box format is still somewhat unpleasant.

    X-Ray for Music is also cool as it actually shows you the lyrics to the song you’re playing that you’ve purchased from Amazon. I’m happy to report that I now know all the lyrics to Blurred Lines (though that’s knowledge I probably could do without).

    The Kindle Fire HDX continues to have terrific sound, using Dolby (DLB_) Digital Plus audio and 5.1 multi-channel surround sound. Watching an action movie such as World War Z, where sound quality is important, this is one area where the Fire HDX continues to surpass the iPad mini and Google’s Nexus 7.

    An additional feature (of course for an additional price), is Amazon’s unique Origami cover. The cover folds into a stand to make video watching and Web browsing much easier than with last year’s case. The iPad already offers a fold-able case to allow for this, but this shows that Amazon is continuing to catch up to the competition and refine its efforts, even if it is taking longer than it should.

    Buying apps, videos, books, magazines, and shopping on Amazon’s website are a breeze. Amazon has made the integration seamless, and given that it’s Amazon primary motive for selling the device, it should be.

    One innovative feature which I did like was the Mayday button, Amazon’s feature to help users who have troubles with their tablets. An Amazon Tech Advsor will access your device remotely, within 15 seconds or less, and help you with your queries. It’s still not fully staffed, since the device doesn’t start shipping yet, but it is a nice feature which I initially questioned.

  2. 8 Critical Tips for Extreme Couponers

    1. Start a stockpile.

    Extreme couponers have a stockpile of stuff in their garage or closet. The reason for having a stockpile is not to become a hoarder, but it allows you to buy stuff only when it’s on sale. Then you won’t be forced to pay full price on something you need because you have it in your stockpile. Your stockpile doesn’t have to be 100 packs of toothpaste, but enough to last you until the next sale. And start your stockpile slowly, buying 2-3 of an item when it’s on sale. Then you’ll be able to stick to your budget.

    2. Anticipate store sales and plan your savings accordingly.

    After awhile, you will start seeing a pattern at each store and know when things go on sale. Save the most during seasonal sales like after Christmas sales or Back to School sales. Here is a list of Grocery Sales Cycles and when things go on sale.

    3. Shop online.

    Couponing doesn’t always have to mean going into the store. The CVS.com website, for example, offers discounts like 20% off everything, from time to time, that can be used on anything you buy from their website. It’s like having a 20% coupon for every item you’re buying. And you know some products never have coupons so it’s great to use this to your advantage to stock up on these things. Plus, CVS.com gives you coupons and free samples with your shipments!

    4. Print coupons online.

    There are some coupons that you’ll never see in the Sunday paper. They’re available only online like at our iSaving.net database. Here are some other resources for printable coupons.

    5. Subscribe to magazines that offer coupons.

    All You is a favorite magazines among couponers. It’s popular because it has high value coupons you won’t find anywhere else.

    6. Follow your favorite brands on Facebook.

    Some coupons are available only on Facebook. Follow your favorite brands and be the first to know about special sales and exclusive coupons.

    7. Look for unadvertised deals.

    When I’m at the store, I always make it a habit to check prices on items I frequently buy, for unadvertised deals. About half the time, I’ve found these items on sale or even with a buy one get one free deal! It makes it worth my time to check prices.

    8. Always carry coupons with you.

    I don’t know how many times I’ve kicked myself for not having a certain coupon with me! It’s like leaving money on the table. Carry all the coupons you might possibly use because you never know when you’ll be at the store, that item goes on sale, and you could get a really good deal with that coupon. Use whatever works for you – coupon organizer, simple white envelope, or a pocket in your purse.