Does anyone remember way back in 2009 when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) started cracking down on bloggers because of all the products and money they were 'raking in'? I did a post about a Nasoya product that I had received for free, and had incorporated into a banana cream pie. In my review I included a sarcastic riff about the FTC inquiries as they related to my meager freebie. I wrote:
"The June 22 edition of our local morning paper had a front page headline blaring, "Bloggers' Freebies are Under Scrutiny." Subhead: "The Federal Trade Commission is expected to issue guidelines for online consumer reviews, which can be tainted by perks." Gasp. The article goes on to describe how bloggers accept "free laptops, trips to Europe, $500 gift cards or even thousands of dollars for a 200-word post." Then it describes how a blogger from New Hartford, N.Y. who earns up to $800 per month as well as assorted gifts from her five blogs, now worries that even an innocent review of a product she purchased herself could bring an inquiry if the FTC gets involved in bloggers' lives. Does this free product thing sound familiar? I have to admit I didn't realize some bloggers were cashing in to this extent. Anyway, in anticipation of the proposed FTC scrutiny for every little review we bloggers do, I just want to come clean and say that although Nasoya gave me thousands of dollars, a free laptop, a free trip to Hawaii, a Vitamix and a new car, in addition to three coupons for their product, my review is totally honest and aboveboard. I'm stating only what I truly believe to be truly true. And that's the truth."
I don't know about you, but I 'rake in' a few cookbooks and a couple of product samples a year, and review them without compensation. So, when I was contacted by Staples representative, Britt, and offered a Google Nexus 7 tablet for me, and a Moleskine Evernote Notebook for one of my readers, I was stricken. This is a food blog. How would I explain this? My sarcastic youngest son suggested I should start a second blog called, 'Andrea's Easy Vegan Cooking Electronic Reviews.' Hahaha. Okay, so it's not a free cruise or thousands of dollars of free goods, or compensation for the review, but still. An electronic tablet is not exactly in the same category as a cookbook or a bag of chips.
Britt had suggested that the tablet would be handy for organizing recipes and reading blogs, and the more I thought about it, the more I started thinking how handy it would be to be able to take the tablet into the kitchen for reading blog recipes. And maybe I would finally start using the e-cookbooks I've been accumulating. I have a large iMac that sits on my desk. It's certainly not portable, and printing recipes has become so unwieldy, I don't want to do it anymore. I have thick stacks of recipes, and I can never find the one I want. I don't own a laptop, and had never used a tablet. Getting one to test was sounding more and more appealing. I said OK. I have to admit I was a little stoked that Staples had chosen a vegan blogger to test the Nexus 7. Seriously.
I've had it a week, and though I'm sure I've still got a lot to learn, in the short time I've owned it I've enjoyed using it immensely. I kind of love it. I uploaded all my e-cookbooks, and it's great to be able to look up recipes right in the kitchen. The tablet is approximately 4-1/2-inches by 8-inches, and the screen colors are bright and gorgeous. It's so easy to read, and the image size adjusts in a flash if I want it larger or smaller.
I love being able to read blogs — or facebook, e-mail, etc. — wherever I want — like in the living room in front of the fire, for instance. It's so much easier to read than my phone. (I never read blogs on the phone.) I can take it with me when I travel, and keep up to date. It's so easy to leave comments on blogs and fb, too. I've even left comments and sent e-mails using the voice feature. I speak, and the tablet types it out. (I wouldn't do this in public, of course.)
I can watch movies, listen to music, take photos, navigate, search the Internet. I'm about to start testing Ethiopian recipes for Kittee-Bee Berns' upcoming cookbook, so I asked Google where I could find gluten-free injera. It answered, "Here is a list of nearby places where you can find gluten-free injera." When I search for directions to a specific location, I love how big the map is compared to my phone, and how easy it is to read.
This is my first Android product after using only Apple computers and phones, and my first experience with a tablet. I've had a couple of learning curve incidents, but nothing too serious — it's pretty easy to figure out, though I must say that Google is not very helpful in the directions department. I've had to go on user forums to find the answers to my questions. I can't compare the nexus 7 to an iPad mini, because I haven't used an iPad, but I can tell you the Nexus is a lot less expensive. So far, the Nexus has been a real pleasure to use, and I'm very happy to have it.
Do you use a tablet? A Nexus 7? An iPad? How do you use it? I'm looking for more ideas for ways to make the tablet even more useful. And fun.
Along with my tablet, I received an offer to give away a Moleskine Evernote Notebook to one of my readers. I believe it works in conjunction with the Evernote app (which is a free organizer app for phone, tablet or computer) to turn hand-written notes and hand-drawn illustrations into electronic files. If you would like to have one, please write 'notebook' at the end of your comment. Notice, this is not an electronic tablet like mine. It is an Moleskine Evernote Notebook. And, as always, be sure your name links to an e-mail address so I can contact you if you win. I hate eliminating names because I can't reach you. The giveaway will end at midnight Nov. 9.
Happy World Vegan Day! Here's an article with lots of suggestions for how to celebrate World Vegan Day — and World Vegan Month.
Full disclosure: I received a free Google Nexus 7 tablet for review. I agreed to write about 600 words. I received no other personal compensation. All opinions are my own.