Intel Showcase of The Future Preview

*See Disclosures at the bottom of this post.
**GIVEAWAY WAS CLOSED 9/17
 

This summer I went to an Intel Future Showcase Press event in San Francisco to learn about  Intel’s current and new technology. I am always on the lookout to learn about the future and envision what exciting technology will help make my (and my family’s) life more efficient and productive.

 

Intel Edison - Showcase of the Future

Photo credit: Intel press release

 
GIVEAWAY CLOSED!
To celebrate, I am giving away an Intel-powered Dell Venue 8 Pro to a lucky commenter on this post who shares what future technology they are looking forward to using. Here are the details for the giveaway:

1. One Blog Post comment per person. One Blog Post comment is equal to one entry (so only one entry per person)

2. Winners are limited to US residents only 21 years of age or older.

3. If a valid email address is not provided in the entry, another winner will be chosen.

4. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded.

5. Approximate value of prizes may vary.

6. All decisions are final

7. By entering any giveaway on this website you release Techmamas.com from any liability whatsoever, and waive any and all causes of action.

8. Contest starts Sept. 12 and ends Sept 17. Winner will be notified by Sept 20.

 

 

INTEL FUTURE SHOWCASE – PRESS EVENT

 

At Intel Future Showcase, the press was shown some impressive form factors, technology and trends. The press release explained, “Intel is working with the technology industry to accelerate and deliver a smart, seamlessly connected and integrated digital world. Because Moore’s Law enables us to continuously shrink devices , technology is beginning to disappear into the objects and spaces that we interact with on a second nature basis even the fabric of our clothes. One day the need to remember to ‘bring your device’ may seem quaint because intelligent objects will encompass you to suit whatever you need in the moment.”

 

 

 

*Personalization is an important computer trend and this new app takes it a step further with a new 3-D mobile messaging app called Pocket Avatars. Pocket Avatars allows you to choose an avatar and then give it your “facial expressions, head movements and voice, and then maps this data onto a 3D character chosen from a library.” The Pocket Avatar app is available now for download from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

 

Intel Showcase of Future: Apps

 

 

**2 in 1 form factors are a hybrid computer/tablet that can detach, flip or slide. It also has multiple form factors and input including type, touch and stylus to write. The key advantage for the 2 in 1 form factor (highlighted at the showcase with Intel(r) 4th gen core processors) is the flexibility to use the devices for work, entertainment, gaming and more.

 

Intel Showcase of the Future: Devices

Photo credit: Intel press release

 

The whole trend of versatile devices extends from 2 in 1 devices to smartphones. Some of the key features are:
1. Screens that can be detached from the keyboard to become a lightweight tablets. Screens that can be flipped around, switching effortlessly from a traditional notebook into a tablet., Stand-alone tablets come in a range of sizes, including compact 7-inch and 8-inch devices that can be tucked into a handbag.
2. Devices that offer a dual-boot option with both Windows* 8.1 and Android. Intel processors also power mobile phones, including tablet-sized devices running Android. With cellular capability offering up to 32 hours of talk time , these devices also are ultra slim and offer a powerful, full HD display.
3. Intel is at the heart of Chromebooks*, too. Chromebooks are low-cost devices that run Google* Chrome OS and connect via the cloud to your Google services.

 

Mobile Security:


The Intel showcase also highlighted the importance of mobile security by sharing a recent McAfee Mobile Security Report which found that Android malware almost tripled from 2012 to 2013. Here is some information about Intel’s initiative: “As part of Intel’s initiative to make security an integrated part of the consumer experience, a full-featured McAfee solution is free for all Intel-based mobile devices. McAfee’s mobile security suite takes a number of steps to protect your Intel-powered device, including alerts regarding risky Wi-Fi networks you are trying to connect to and the CaptureCam feature that snaps a picture of someone who has made multiple unsuccessful attempts to unlock the device. The suite is integrated with Intel® Device Protection Technology to provide atom-level security extensions. It is high-tech peace of mind designed to protect your phone from today’s threats.”

 

Wearables and Maker Movement:


Two areas I find most interesting are the Wearable tech and Maker (#STEM) movements.  Wearing our tech devices offers a more seamless interaction than using a separate device. The wearable tech movement is just starting to offer more functionality and has a long way to go. The Maker movement is exciting because that it allows the general public to experiment and create their own devices, some of which will propel the wearable movement forward as well.

 

 

Maker Movement: “Both Intel® Galileo and Intel® Edison are designed for tinkerers and makers, taking personalization to the next level by designing creations from their own imaginations. CEO Brian Krzanich first unveiled Intel Galileo at the Maker Faire Rome in October 2013. Intel Galileo is Intel’s family of Arduino-compatible development boards featuring Intel architecture and designed for the maker and education communities. The Intel showcase includes a light installation that is controlled through Intel Galileo.”

 

Intel Showcase of the Future: Maker Movement

Photo credit: Intel press release

 

 

 

Wearables: “One technology that straddles today and tomorrow is wearables, devices that make technology truly personal. Devices can now measure running speed, heartbeat, steps, blood pressure and even gauge the quality of your sleep via wristwatches that act as a companion to – or even replace – your smartphone. Intel’s strategy is to imagine and create reference design devices and platforms ready to be used by customers in the development of wearable products. At the showcase, you will be able to see one example of Intel’s commitment to wearable devices in the form of the Basis Health Tracker, in addition to browsing some of the top entries to the Intel Make It Wearable Challenge. The Challenge celebrates creativity by inviting individuals, teams and organizations to develop ideas for wearable products.”

 

 

Intel Showcase of Future: Wearables

Photo credit: Intel press release

 

 

 

What’s in store for the FUTURE?

 

 

The Intel Technology Showcase highlighted some very interesting future technology. I was first exposed to some of Intel’s future vision back in January at CES, when Intel demonstrated the Mimo Baby Smart Onesie that interacts with devices to let parents know when the baby is sleeping and can also help predict when the child is hungry (and in the future WARM the bottle to prepare)! The Mimo Baby used the Intel Edison system on a chip. As a mom of twins, it just would of been great to have that technology out years ago when the kids were babies!

 

Listed below is the press information provided about some of Intel’s future technology:

 

Llama Mountain: “An Intel concept design fresh from its debut at Computex, Llama Mountain captures the future of 2 in 1 devices while remaining feather light, super sleek and staying cool without a fan. The concept 2 in 1 detaches from its keyboard to function like a tablet, features a 12.5-inch screen and measures just 7.2mm thick. The Intel® Core™ M processor makes the sleek design possible with 14-nanometer Backgrounder transistors, which are smaller than today’s 22-nanometer transistors of 4th generation Intel Core processors.”

 

Wireless Charging:How many times have you had to hunt around for a charger and cable for your device? Families can often find that every plug in the house seems to have sprouted a charger with a mobile or tablet umbilical cord connected to the wall. And what if you have a device that doesn’t use a standard charger? If you’re running out of juice at someone else’s home or office and they don’t have the right connector for you to borrow, you’re in trouble.

Intel’s wireless charging bowl is a concept shown that is an example of how  meant to put an end to the ‘spaghetti junction’ of wires and endless hunt for a charging station. It’s a smart and smart-looking bowl that can charge a number of devices at the same time. Using smart charging coil technology, the wireless bowl is a consumer-friendly product that shows how powering up several different devices can be a no-brainer – even ones that use different connectors. And, as the icing on the cake, the bowl will look equally appealing in a chic corporate environment or in a home.”

 

Intel® RealSense™ Technology:Last year Intel made a foray into perceptual computing, which promises to bid farewell to the old way of interacting with technology: farewell to the mouse and hello to gesture-controlled devices. Since then, the technology has matured by getting smaller and neater. Intel RealSense frees you from clipping a chunky camera onto your monitor. The camera has been made smaller and moved into all-in-one systems and the lids of laptops. At the heart of the system is an integrated 3-D camera and 2-D camera model, which means devices can ‘see’ depth in the same way as humans.

As well as being able to control devices with gestures, Intel RealSense will be able to create 3-D objects on the computer that the user will be able to mold using natural gestures, and ultimately share those objects with others and print them out using 3-D printers. This will bring a whole new level of realism and interactivity to work and play: from gaming to calling grandma, from videoconferencing to designing product. Without the added distraction of bulky 3-D glasses, RealSense is the most natural way to interact with technology – and with distant people.

 

Intel Edison: “Honey, I shrunk the computer! Just when you thought they couldn’t get any smaller, Intel introduced Intel Edison a system-on-a-chip that isn’t much bigger than a stamp. The Intel Edison development board is a product-ready, wirelessly enabled general purpose compute environment. It is designed for inventors, entrepreneurs, consumer product designers and industrial IOT solutions providers that create wearable or small form factor devices to be sold through commercial channels to consumers. Intel Edison is slated for release in summer of this year. “

 

Intel Showcase of the Future: Edison

Photo credit: Intel press release

 

Make Your Own Robot:Meet Jimmy the Robot. Jimmy, who was shown off at the Maker Faire in New York at the end of last year, was created by Intel Futurist Brian David Johnson to demonstrate how anyone will be able to use open-source files to create their own robot and print it out on a 3-D printer.

 

Intel Showcase of the Future: Jimmy The Robot

Photo credit: Intel press release

 

Jimmy himself will soon be available for you to download and print for an affordable price, thanks to Johnson’s sharing of the “Jimmy template” with 10 teams at various universities. Once you’ve printed out and assembled Jimmy, the idea is that you’ll be able to program him and install apps to add to his capabilities in the same, simple way we now install apps on mobile devices.
Jimmy is a glimpse of a future when we will all be able to create and print our own robots – and their possibilities are endless. It’s up to you to come up with innovative applications for Jimmy; the only limit is your imagination.”

 

Future In-Car Experience:While there’s significant talk about self-driving cars, Intel’s vision of cars includes one where you’re still in control of the vehicle – although the car will be an intelligent device. You’ll be able to talk to your car and tell it where to go by talking to it – and the car will detect if you’ve got the kids on board and will automatically fire up their favorite movie to entertain them during the journey.”

 

At the Intel Future Showcase, a demonstration in the automotive space highlights how modern vehicles are now computerized. Many deeply embedded computers are responsible for monitoring and control of vehicle systems, such as telematics, infotainment, connectivity and advanced driver assistance systems. While such features enhance usability and convenience, they also widen the threat landscape significantly, increasing the potential for malicious activity. In the demonstration, there is a lightweight, trusted execution scheme optimized for the vehicle, which will demonstrate how malicious software manipulation can be successfully intercepted.

 

Intel Showcase of the Future: Car

 

 

Smart Solar Controller:Solar power is already ubiquitous, but Intel has envisioned a 500cm solar panel that uses the variable DC current output directly rather than converting the sun’s energy into AC. The aim is to use this device in developing world locations where there is no existing electricity to charge devices, such as the Intel® Classmate PC made for children. 

 

Intel Showcase of the Future: Solar charging devices

 

 

Embedded Security for the Internet of Things: One of the hot trends getting a lot of attention right now is the “Internet of Things,” where connected devices reach out to the cloud, sharing analytics and insights (e.g. data from local sensors) to add to and inform their functionality. Anything from cars to wearable devices and home appliances may be connected, but we have now given hackers a brand new, vulnerable entry point. Intel’s latest security research aims to identify these ports and ensure devices and information remain as safe as possible from cyber threats.”

 

 

This week was the Intel Developer’s Conference (IDF) where more future tech announcements were made: What’s New at IDF14.

 

 

One of the new projects it the connected Intel Connected Wheelchair Project explained in this video with Stephen Hawking:

 

 

 

 

What types of technology are you looking forward to in the future?

 

 

Disclosure: The information was obtained (in Italics) from a press event. This is press post. Products were given in the past for review purposes. All of the words are my own.

 

 

 

Tips For Moms on Using Facebook Groups

Tips For Moms: How To Use Facebook GroupsHow people communicate has changed significantly thanks to social media networks, especially Facebook which covers family, friends, business networks and more. I have written before about Tips for Parents: Facebook Privacy Settings for Teens but this time I wanted to cover Facebook Groups. It is important that parents understand online security and privacy settings in social networks, then help educate their kids and set up regular communication to help guide them when needed. In addition, moms can use Facebook Groups in several ways to assist in their own communication. I even showed my teen (and did it for myself) how to create a Facebook “close friends” list to see more of their updates on his timeline.

 

 

Lately it seems that every conference I attend, social media groups I am involved with and “In Real life” groups I join use Facebook Groups as communication central. I even have a Facebook Group for a business group I joined in college (made up of business majors from my alma mater). They use a Facebook Group to keep in touch and coordinate events. I recently attended their annual reunion and it was magical to sit with them in real life and catch up on information beyond their frequent online updates.

 

Coincidentally, I was able to join this local reunion because I was in town speaking at a social media conference which used Facebook groups to organize attendee communication.

 

As a mom, Facebook groups are a powerful tool to help organize school, meetup, sports and even fitness group meetups. I just joined a Facebook fitness group with other moms to help inspire us to exercise. My experience as a Facebook Admin for many groups helped me gain information that I have shared with other moms to help them set up their groups. For example, the Facebook Group Admin Help section has basic information on privacy and settings.

 

The most important decision for setting up a Facebook Group is whether your group will be open (anyone can join or be added or invited by a member), private (anyone can join, but they have to be added or invited by a member) or closed (anyone can ask to join or be added or invited by a member). I view Facebook Groups as set up for group communication. Some of my friends have businesses and they want to communicate with customers. I suggested Facebook “Pages” to them as a great tool for customer and community interaction. My next post will cover setting up Facebook Pages.

 

One of Facebook Group’s features is the ability to store files (including DropBox files). For social media conferences, we create group files that contain everyone’s website URL and social media profiles so we can follow and connect with each other online. You can also load photo’s and video to Facebook Groups. I recently just started using this tool called Canva to create not only Facebook graphics but also Facebook banners for Groups and Pages.

 

I also stress the importance of establishing Facebook Group community guidelines with admins such as banning people who say inappropriate things. Communication can flourish in a Facebook Group that is focused on a theme (i.e. fitness, networking group, conference, mother’s group) and, in the same light, shut down if members don’t speak to each other in a respectful way, keeping inappropriate topics and language off the group’s timeline.

 

Managing any group of people can be challenging, especially one that is online. But with the right guidelines and members, it can be a vital source of connection and information exchange.

 

Facebook did some research related to moms and Facebook Groups and shared it to press. The information below is from that Facebook press release.

 

Facebook Press Release: Insight from Moms Group

 

Access/Usage:

  • Check the Group daily, as often as News Feed
  • Access via both mobile and web; also utilize email notifications to see new items in email and flag for follow-up

 

Why they use Groups

Top Reasons:

  • A robust resource – Group members are from all over the US and the world, so you feel that you can ask a question and get a variety of responses and perspectives.
  • They can relate – Moms can ask any question to see if someone else has gone through the same thing, what the outcome was, any first-hand advice.  Your friends or family may not have children, or children at the same age, whereas in the Group, you can connect with other moms in the same situation that you’re in.
  • It’s separate – The Group is separate from other friends/family/co-workers on Facebook so you feel comfortable posting in a secure, like-minded forum.
  • It’s fast – “It’s so easy to post a question and get several responses within minutes”

 

How they connect w/ other moms

 

Moms use Facebook Groups mostly to connect with other moms outside of their friends/people they already know, in some cases developing deeper connections –

  • “I have friended many of the women in this group, even though I have never met them. I started to recognize certain names and stories. I felt like I knew these women personally. So I would reach out and say hi and then our friendships began.”
  • “There are a few groups that have been spun off from this group. In some ways, there are moms that I see in multiple groups and stay in contact with them more than I see my husband’s posts!”
  • Some noted that the Facebook Group is even more supportive than local meet-ups in-person.
  • “I use a local meet-up group as another source of information and way to meet people, but this group is by far more supportive. Interestingly, my local group has since moved onto Facebook.”

 

How-To

Facebook Groups is an easy way to connect and share things with family or specific sets of people like teammates, coworkers, or anyone with a shared interest. Over 500 million people use Groups each month and hundreds of thousands of Groups are created each day with the goal of connecting with others on common ground.

 

Below are some tips from Facebook on how to create a Group as well as how to continue to maintain a successful and active Group:

 

How To Create a Group:

  • On web: From your homepage, go to the Groups section on your sidebar and click on Add Group. Click Create New Group, from there a window will appear where you’ll be able to add a group name, add members and select the privacy setting for your group. Click the Create button when you’re finished.
  • On iPhone: Tap More, then under Groups, tap Create Group and enter Group name, description, privacy setting, and an icon.  Tap Create in the top-right corner to confirm.
  • On Android:  In the menu, scroll down to Groups, tap Add Group, enter the group’s name and select the privacy setting.  Tap Continue to confirm.

 

How to Join a Group:

Go to the group you want to be part of and then click Join Group in the top-right corner. You can also join any Open group that you see on the About page of someone’s Timeline by clicking Join.

  • You may have to wait for a group admin to approve your request. In some groups, you can also be added by a friend who’s already a member.
  • Customize Your Groups Privacy Setting: You can select one of three privacy options for each group you create: Open, Closed or Private.
  • Open: Anyone can join or be added or invited by a member
  • Closed: Anyone can ask to join or be added or invited by a member
  • Private: Anyone can join, but they have to be added or invited by a member.

 

Tips for Creating and Maintaining a Successful Group:

  •  Post Early & Often: Groups are more successful when the Group founders visit the Group early in its existence and post more often – get your Group started with posting on topics that encourage members to engage, share from the get-go and Like posts from other members.
  • Spread The Word: Groups thrive when more than just the original Group founders invite people to join – add additional people as administrators for the Group and encourage other Group members to invite their friends or networks. For Open groups, add tags like life, sports, food, and more so that other people can find your Group and join.
  • Make it Visual: Facebook found that flourishing Groups include logos, pictures, descriptions, or other visuals.  Consider adding a link or visual to every post on the Group page. You can also add files to your Group – here’s more info on sharing stuff from your Dropbox with your Facebook Group.
  1. On your group’s page, start a new post and click Add File. You’ll see a “From Your Dropbox” section next to Facebook’s regular file uploader.
  2. Click Choose File. If you haven’t already, sign in or create a Dropbox account. If this is your first time, you’ll also be asked for permission to link your Dropbox account to Facebook.
  3. Select the file from your Dropbox, and a link to the file will be added to your post. You can also include a message with your post.

You can curate your News Feed for content posted to your Groups.  If you’d like to modify what you see from your Groups in your News Feed, click on the drop-down in the upper right hand corner of a post on News Feed, and select one of the following options:

  • I don’t want to see this
  • Unfollow your Friend
  • Unfollow the Group

 

You can also control the Notifications you receive from your Groups.  On the Groups page, click on “Notifications” in the upper right hand corner and select one of the following options:

  •  All Posts
  • Friends’ Posts
  • Off

 

 

How do you use Facebook Groups?

 

 

Disclosure: This is a press post.

 

 

 

Top 5 Ways To Help Your Teen Remember To Smile

Disclosure: I am a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board

 

Top 5 Ways To Help Your Teen Remember To SmileThe teenage years can be challenging enough with pressures from school, peers and awakening self identity heading to adulthood. Throughout it all, we try to help our teen (and our kids) remember to laugh and smile with techniques we have developed. Please share yours!

 

1. Ask the Question: Favorite Part of the Day?: At night we try to ask our teen what his favorite part of the day was.  While at first he rolled his eyes, now he actually looks forward to it. We especially like to ask him “what made him laugh” which usually ends up making us laugh!

 

2. Watch or Read Funny Content (age appropriate): When my teen gets stressed about school work at night we like to take some comedy breaks. When I was young we used to read comics, funny stories and jokes to laugh. The modern teen gets many of their content online. Because our family has regular “internet safety” talks we have discussed what web sites are appropriate and what are inappropriate. Lately it seems that videos of dogs wearing GoPro cameras really makes my teen laugh (my teen uses his GoPro all the time). But we still like a good old fashioned joke now and then to bring more smiles into our house.

 

3. Get Active:  There is something about either being outside, family hikes or bike rides, going to our health club or participating in sports that seems to put a smile on our boys’ faces. For my teen, going on mountain biking rides with his friends scores a bigger smile even if they make it a more challenging ride (which leaves him sore but happy). Sometimes we even just go for a walk after dinner and end up having a great discussion while in motion.

 

4. Get Social: No matter what type of mood my teen is in, going to social events either as a family or with his friends seem to leave him smiling. We even like to sneak a dinner out during the school week now and then to celebrate getting homework or big projects done.

 

5. Dental Health: One of the surprising things I learned about my son was that he was self conscious about smiling because of his teeth. Luckily that is something we could fix - so we set out to correct his teeth (crowding) with Invisalign. He is half way through his Invisalign Teen treatment and already he is feeling better about his smile. And there is something that always warms my heart seeing my teen smile!

 

 

 

Disclosure: I am a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board. My son has received complimentary treatment from Align, but all opinions expressed are my own. Here is information on the Invisalign smile assessment, treatment process and how to find a Doc.

 

 

 

 

 

Pantech Vybe Review: First Phone For Kids

Pantech vybe first phone kidsBack to school is a busy time for parents, preparing their kids for the classroom, fall sports and other activities. Choosing a new phone and managing cell phone use is also at the top of many parents’ list. Kids nowadays use phones as one of their main forms of communication with other kids as well as pesky parents who pick them up and drop them off places. I covered the topic of deciding on the right age to buy a phone and tips on setting up your kid’s first phone in a recent back to school post.  I drove to the AT&T store myself to try to figure out which phone I was going to buy for my twin boys who are starting middle school. After receiving an email about the Pantech Vybe, I decided to do a review of the phone with my twins.

 

As I mentioned in my “tips for buying your kids a phone” post, I believe phones should be given to kids on an as-needed basis. My kids are taking the bus, riding their bike or walking to school and activities on their own now we decided it was time for them to have their own phones. Because they are just starting middle school, I just wanted to have the ability to call, text and use phone tools while not using any social network or the mobile web. The Pantech Vybe is a great first phone because in addition to making calls it has a slide out keyboard that’s perfect for texting and has its own operating system so kids can’t use app stores to load up on apps and games. We also found it helpful to have the option to disable data on the phones if necessary.

 

Of course at first we the kids pushed back. They wanted an iPhone or another fancy smartphone like some of their other 11-year old friends. Beyond being RIDICULOUS that 11 year olds have full featured smartphones in the first place, tweens especially may not understand the consequences of all of their actions – so why give them mobile tools to do so?  We do believe as a family that all kids should be educated and make informed decisions about Internet safety but temptations and peer pressure can be hard for tweens/teens to resist. Already one of their peers is posting things on Instagram that are pretty alarming for their age group.  While many kids have full access to browsers and apps on tablets, desktops and laptops at home – at least those devices are being used at home and not being taken with them every day and used without supervision.

 

PANTECH VYBE SPECIFICATIONS AND FEATURES
FEATURES:
Here are the features of the Pantech Vybe:

  • Slide-out QWERTY Keyboard
  • 3.2” Touchscreen Display and 3 Customizable Homescreens
  • Hands free one-touch “Say-A-Command button”

 

The user manual has information on setting up and also found the Pantech support section of the AT&T website useful because of the setup videos.
pantech vybe home screen

 

Touchscreen Display, Navigation and Customizable Home screens:

The touchscreen display is 3.2 inches and can be customized with favorite apps such as notepad, calculator, contacts and more.  There is even a hands free one-touch “Say-A-Command” button. Pantech included a proprietary dual-user mode: “Easy Mode has one home screen and a simplified menu for a truly intuitive user experience. Advanced Mode is customizable and offers more options and flexibility. You can safely switch back and forth between modes without losing your contacts or favorites. ”

 

What I found useful to understand is that there are two types of “menus” in advanced mode. The main menu is called the home screen (starting point for using applications on your phone) . The home screen can be customized with a picture or standard backgrounds (customizable from “display” section of tools). One of the home screens can be customized to display shortcuts for favorite apps (Max 9 icons can be added) and another for web addresses. Once the main screen is set up it is simple to use the phone (unlock, tap and go).
The second menu is listed on the home screen in the navigation at the bottom as “Menu”. This has access to load lots of different tools (more than the 9 max on the home screen). In the tools area we loaded shortcuts for pre-loaded apps such as sketch pad, notepad, calculator, alarm clock voice memo, pictures, address book, video player, and camera.

 

Entertainment:
The “My stuff” folder has applications, games, audio (alert tones and ring tones), music, pictures, video, other files and info on memory. Available games include brain challenge and UNO (we bought the full version of Uno). You can insert a memory card if you wanted. For kids who do have data plans there is a video player and for those who want to load music there is a music player. The help section of the website has instructions on how to transfer music to the Pantech Vybe.

 

What I like about the Pantech Vybe is that it does not have access to an app store so kids are limited to what is loaded on the phone. As I said in my “getting your kid their first phone tip post”, having access to app stores can be expensive and give access to inappropriate apps for kids.  While the Pantech Vybe does have Facebook, Twitter and mobile web apps – I explained to my kids that we blocked the data plan so they can’t use those apps anyway.

 

AT&T Services:
Along with the other apps, the Pantech Vybe has AT&T services apps preloaded such as like AT&T Navigator, AT&T Address Book, AT&T Family Map, AT&T Drive Mode and myAT&T so I can help them see their account information.

 

Specifications:

The specifications have the phone at just 4.94 ounces so it is light for the kids to either carry in their pocket, bags or backpack pockets. It is also slim at just 2.32 inches width and 4.49 inches height (depth is only .51). The 3.2″ TFT Touchscreen Display has nice resolution (240 x 400) for a first phone and the touchscreen makes it more intuitive to use. Calls made to my sons on the phone sound great. I am able to hear them clearly and they have been able to hear me (even if they don’t want to!).

 

The proprietary operating system (Pantech Proprietary J2ME)  gives me comfort that they can only use the apps pre-loaded on the phone.  The Pantech Vybe has cellular technology to meet my kids need (2G – Quad Band (GSM/GPRS/EDGE) – (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) 3G – Tri Band (UMTS/HSDPA) – (850/1900/ 2100 MHz) and Bluetooth if they want to use it with wireless accessories.

 

Overall my kids are very happy with the phone and were able to start using it without any instruction from me. But we did of course spend the time to go over the family phone use rules, multiple times to make sure they understand (even though I had to hear “I KNOW Mom!!” multiple times).   With the Pantech Vybe I have the comfort of knowing they can call and text with a phone that has all the features they need right now (as a middle schooler) without having too much access to the wide range of apps available on other smartphones and in other app stores. When my twin boys turn 13, maybe we will allow them to use the Pantech Facebook app

 

Pantech Vybe Overview from press release:

Purchasing your child’s first mobile phone has become a rite of passage for tweens and young teens, and parents too. The big question looms: Is your tween ready for a cell phone?  The Pantech Vybe is a great compromise, offering your child plenty of must-have features like messaging, easy camera access and social media without unrestricted access to apps and a high data plan. The Pantech Vybe is your solution.

The Pantech Vybe is an affordable, easy to use quick messaging phone, with access to the features and apps kids want at a price parents love. With a low-cost monthly plan for talk and text, the Pantech Vybe is an attractive option to add to a family plan at an affordable price.

In addition to being budget-friendly, the Pantech Vybe is tween and teen-approved with a slide-out keyboard for quick and easy texting, social media shortcuts, quick camera button, multiple customizable home screens and music and video players.

 

The Pantech Vybe is $29.99 with a two-year contract and can be purchased exclusively at AT&T. For more information on the Pantech Vybe, visit MyFirstPhone.com”.

 

 

Here is a video I received with the press release:

 

 

 

Disclosure: I have received products for review purposes.

 

 

 

Top Tips: Choosing First Phone For Kids

Top Tips to Help Kids Choose First PhoneOne of the most frequent requests I receive from parents is to discuss the right age to buy a child their first phone, what type of phone to buy and how to establish and enforce phone usage rules. Back to school is the perfect time for families to create family rules for existing kid phones and establish new rules for kids just starting to use cell phones.

 

Our older son received a call and text only phone for middle school and then a smartphone for high school after he proved he could not only follow our family phone use rules but also engage with us in regular “phone safety” discussions. Now that our twin boys are heading off the middle school, we decided it was time to buy them their first phone and set up new family phone use rules. Here are some of the tips from our experience of setting up our kids with their first phone. Please share your tips!

 

Tips To Buying First Kid’s Phone

 

TIP 1Buy your phone on as as needed basis:

Buy your kids their first phone on an “as needed basis”: I tell parents that the age when their kids should have a phone is dependent on when they “need” a phone.  Just because a third grader may say to their parents, “my best friend has a phone, I should get one too”, does not mean a new phone is one the way. Peer pressure is not a valid reason to get a child their first phone.  One appropriate reason is to keep in touch with your kids when they start transporting themselves to school (via bus or bike for example). But each child has different needs and different timing.

 

TIP 2 - Decide what type of plan (i.e. “emergency only”, voice, voice & text or voice, text and data phone):

 

When my kids started riding their bikes to school in 4th grade we decided to buy them inexpensive “pay by the month” phones that only had minutes for emergencies and were not for regular use. But when my twins went off to middle school this year, we agreed to get them a phone with a voice and text plan so we could communicate with them and they could communicate with their friends. A few of our friends purchased phones with a voice and text plan for their kids because they had multiple after school activities and sometimes needed a way to reach the parents where were driving.

 

Although our family phone plan has shared data, we do not allow them to use the data and can easily track this on the monthly bill.  We can also disable data from their phones if their discipline weakens or they don’t comply. The AT&T website (our phone service) has details on disabling data on phones.

 

TIP 3 – Develop family phone use rules and phone etiquette standards:

 

The most important thing to teach your kid when you give them their first phone is phone etiquette.  A cell phone can be a great communication tool or a tool that can get your kids in serious trouble (even danger). Parents should take the time to first educate themselves then create family phone rules. We started talking to our kids about cell phone etiquette a year before they had their first phone. Now we are creating rules as well as a phone “safe use” contract that they “sign” to confirm they understand. Breaking the rules means they lose use of the phone.

 

We checked online resources including the Common Sense Media Parents Guide to Kids and Cell Phones, Emily Post Top Ten Cell Phone Manners, Parents.com Teaching Kids Cell Phone Etiquette and more. We focused on different types of etiquette including appropriate cell phone voice and texting, cell phone etiquette do’s and don’ts (Common Sense Media),  email etiquette, school rules for phones (don’t use during school!) and overall phone safety rules such as not sharing personal information or location information with anyone but family and friends (and never accept “online friends” you don’t know if real life!).

 

My friend Sarah Granger just wrote a book called “Digital Mystique – How the Culture of Connectivity Can Empower Your Life – Online and Off”.  I recommend this book as a great starting point for parents to educate themselves on the online world. She interviewed me for the book and included something I always tell parents: “Internet Safety is the New Sex Talk”.  This includes cell phone etiquette because it opens kids up to a world of communication between other kids, even if it is just calling, texting, and sharing photos.

 

Most of all, I have written for years that the most important tool for proper cell phone use is active communication between parents and kids. We manage this communication by rewarding our kids for sharing their personal experiences and rewarding this open communication with freedom to use their phones. It has been hard at times, but we have a “discuss anything” policy and try not to be upset when they come to us – even with upsetting news. We want them to feel comfortable talking about their phone use and work with us to navigate the scary waters of cell phone use. When my oldest made a mistake or two in the past we discussed why it was wrong and how he can make sure it never happens again. We do not use apps such as “Ignore No More app” that limit cell phone use when kids ignore their parents calls because they do not treat the underlying issue: trust. Of course, each family needs to choose what works for them.

 

For example, the day oldest son received his first phone he attended a pool party that afternoon where he took pictures of his friends, several of whom were wearing bikinis. Some of the girls were posing in ways that could be seen as provocative and the photos were inappropriate. Luckily, our son showed us the pictures in an effort to comply with the “open communication qualification” for phone use. This gave us the chance to explain why the pictures were inappropriate and he deleted them from his phone. It was an innocent situation, which happens so often, but those are also the most dangerous because the kids don’t know that what they are doing is wrong.

 

We also explained that even if someone else takes a picture that could be perceived as inappropriate and sends it to him – he needs to delete it from his phone right away. If he shares a picture even that he did not take, he will still be held responsible and could even include being arrested.

 

TIP 4 – Choose a Phone:

 

I received an email about the Pantech Vybe phone around the same time I had just been to the AT&T store (my carrier) to look at possible first phone options for my twin 11 year olds.  Because I had already included the Pantech Vybe on my list of phones to investigate, I decided to do a review of the phone with my twins. Here is a link to the review “First Phone For Kids: Pantech Vybe Review”.

 

For my kids, we did not want to get them a “smartphone” until they were older. Because they are just 11, we decided that making calls and texting was appropriate for their age (in our family). We also felt that having access to an app store was something we wanted our tweens to do at home using our WiFi only devices.  For example, we set up home tablets to request a password sign-on before any app can be purchased. This allows us to review the app as a family before they download it.  But even then, having access to a device with an app store can have it’s challenges. Both Google and Apple faced lawsuits over in-app purchases by kids. Beyond the cost consequences of using apps, apps that “seem” family friendly can at times lead to inappropriate features. So I always recommend parents use “family friendly” rated apps together at first.

 

TIP 5 – Privacy Settings and Digital Safety Toolbox:

 

To prepare for my kids for getting their phone, I created a list of digital safety tools and phone settings which they later helped me set on their phones. This includes location, which can be a safety issue for young kids.  The tools we implemented include  LoJack for Android, and Find my iPhone to track the device plus apps to track your kids (some of which are covered in this post on Tom’s Hardware “8 Apps for Tracking Your Teens”) including Life360 (family locator, messaging tool and communication app all in one).

 

What was the first phone you chose for your kids and what apps, settings and rules did you set up that worked or did not work?

 

 

Disclosure: This is a press post. Some items were provided to me for review purposes.

 

 

 

 

Back To School Organization Tips – Family Online Calender

Back-To-School-OrganizationAs kids head back to school many families start the process of organizing their schedules and lives.  I will be covering the tools, apps, tech and processes that I have found helpful for back to school organization over the next few weeks , and hope to hear from my readers what works for them. Because organizing for the new school year can be overwhelming, I suggest starting with setting up the school year and after school activity schedule.  While there are many paper based organization systems, my family prefers to use online calenders.  Here are the steps we took to set up our family schedule online:

 

STEP 1: Pick an online calender.

 

There are individual sites such as Cozi.com that have web and apps to capture family schedules, but there are also online calenders such as Microsoft Outlook, Apple iCal, Yahoo and Google Calenders. To help choose, look at the email accounts and operating systems that most family member’s use. At the same time consider that because online calenders can be accessed over the internet, they do work across operating systems and devices as long as you have either WiFi or a data plan for phones.

 

STEP 2: Gather School, Sports and After school Activity dates:

 

Gathering a list of school, sports and after school activity dates make seem time consuming, but it is worthwhile investment. Setting up an online calender in the beginning of the year (and updated seasonally) will help organize the family schedule and family life in general. Some schools and sports leagues have online calenders you can load to directly to personal online calenders (look for the “+” calender or “add calender” option).  If you only have paper printouts our online lists, I suggest putting those in a folder then pick a time that I call “input day” where I just input everything into the calender. It may seem like a big task, but it actually does not take as long as it would seem it I just start it at the beginning of each school year then just update as needed.

 

 

STEP 3:  Input school, sports and after school dates into the online calender.

 

Next pick a time (or a few times) to input the school year calender dates into the online calender. Check out the features of the online calender system so you know in advance the ones you want to use. For example, I use special features like “repeat” for the timing of each school day (8:15am-3pm) so it just repeats each weekday for a whole semester at at time. Then I delete or change the timing for vacations. I “invite” family members to events so they get it on their online calenders (such as school concerts).

 

 

But my favorite feature is the option to color code different calenders to represent different kids in my family of three boys. I then “invite” my kids via their email address to access their calender so they can not only see their schedule but also learn the process of managing their schedule. The goal is as they get older they will become independent by setting up their own online calenders. Color coding has also taken care of any “you did not tell me about that appointment” complaints because I can always say “it was on your schedule – so please check it”.  My teen has a smartphone with access to a data plan so I have higher expectations for him to regularly check his schedule versus my twins who have talk and text phones with no internet access.  I also try to print out my kids “color coded” online schedules and have them up in the kitchen as a reminder.

 

How do you set up your family school year schedule?

 

 

 

Video Chat With Doctor – Using LiveHealth Online #spon

*Disclosure: Sponsored partnership with LiveHealth Online. 

 

 

mother with sick sonParenthood has many requirements and playing Doctor to my kids scares me the most. While I can usually figure out any computer problem, medical issues always cause me stress.  Does my kid have a fever? Could it be a stomach flu, skin rash, food allergy, grass allergy or even homework allergy?  For some odd reason it seems like my most complicated questions about pediatric medicine pop into my head when the Doctor’s office is closed. Calling the on-call doctor can take time and seem impersonal. So when I heard about LiveHealth Online, a website that offers video chats with doctors 24 hours a day from either a computer or mobile device,

 

 

 

Live Health Online - Video Chat For Moms To Get Medical Advice

 

 

Here are some of the features of LiveHealth Online explained on the website and press releases:

 

  • The LiveHeath Online app  (for iOS or Android) offers a safe, fast and easy  way for moms to talk face-to-face with a doctor to get a diagnosis and  treatment for themselves and their families for urgent care conditions that pop up every summer such as hand­, foot­ and mouth disease, pink eye, rashes, sunburns, and other air ­and ­water borne viruses.

 

  • Moms can use the LiveHealth Online app 24/7, 365 days  to talk securely and privately by two­-way video chat with a U.S.-­based, primary care doctor.  If relevant, the LiveHealth Online doctor can send  prescriptions electronically directly to a local pharmacy.

 

  • Doctors can make diagnosis, prescribe basic medications if needed and answer questions. You can review doctor profiles and ratings to choose which doctor to see for your visit.

 

  • To use it, sign up at LiveHealth Online or download the app to use it via mobile devices , create quick profiles for yourself and your family members (by just entering name, DOB, and gender) and then search for Doctors within your state and based on language. Then you can choose which doctor you want to visit with. “LiveHealth Online is a cost-effective alternative to urgent care or retail clinics and costs $49. For PPO and EPO members of Anthem Blue Cross, a LiveHealth Online visit is covered at the same or lower out-of-pocket cost and in some cases, less than the cost of an office visit, and and claims reimbursement is automatically filed for a fast and easy experience.”

 

  • During the session, the LiveHealth Doctor can review your health history and send a record  to your regular doctor.  The site states that for emergencies of  course to dial 911.

 

As part of this campaign I received a complimentary session which I was excited to use. One of my sons has had Eczema since he was a baby, and as a tween it is has become even more bothersome.  His doctors are helpful but I have been looking for a second opinion for some time.

 

I visited the LiveHealth Online website, created my account profile and profiles for my kids and then requested to see a doctor from my state. Of course the only time I have free is after 9pm so that’s when I logged in for a visit. I was put in an online waiting room for a few minutes and then the doctor promptly joined in the live video chat . At first I apologized for calling so late and she was so upbeat and said – “no problem, what can I do for you” with a calming smile. It was comforting to be able to video chat live with the doctor from the comfort of my home computer.

 

I started by explaining the history and challenges of my sons Eczema as she reviewed his health history which I had prepared online. I told her that I have been looking for some time for natural ways to help him. I was then delighted to have a great conversation with her about different types of nutrition and natural remedies that might be effective. This is exactly the type of information I had been looking for some time.  Having the conversation on a video chat at a time that fit into my schedule was definitely more relaxing then the stress of making it into the doctor’s office.

 

Now I just wish that they had doctors that I could video chat about my kid’s homework allergy!

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All of my words are my own. I received a complimentary session to try out the service.


 

 

 

Teen Health and Myths

Disclosure: Sponsored Post

 

 

peer pressure kidsBeing a teen is difficult enough, managing self-esteem and self-confidence at time when peers can be judgmental and mean.  With one teen child and two tweens following closely behind, our family is in the thick of that challenge. I decided to help my kids focus on health and wellness to strengthen their confidence and part of our journey involved creating a dental health strategy. As a member of the Invisalign Teen – Mom Advisory Board I had the opportunity to learn about Invisalign as an alternative to braces. Below are our top priorities for our teen’s health and wellness, including a dental health strategy, along with some myths and facts about Invisalign from a company press release.

 

1. Focus on Exercise:  We were shocked to learn that while some sports are great for a team experience (baseball), they may not satisfy a teen’s daily exercise needs. So we looked into setting up regular activities to help with daily fitness training including running, a rigorous work out at a health club, and aerobic sports including swimming and basketball.

 

2. Focus on Healthy Eating: Each of our boys has specific healthy food preferences but all three of them favor junk food when socializing with friends. In response, we talk about finding ways to fit healthy foods into their daily routine.

 

3. Focus on Mindfulness: We researched mindfulness to help our kids learn techniques to deal with stressful situations. One of them is a simple 5 minute meditation at night where they focus on their favorite place (i.e. the beach) and listen to the sounds of that place (waves).

 

4. Focus on Emotional Intelligence: We have regular talks with our kids about recognizing their own emotions as well as the emotions of others to help develop emotional intelligence. We then stress the importance of engaging with “positive” friends while disengaging with negative people (such as school bullies).

 

5. Focus on being Healthy instead of what peers think:  Being a teen brings with it certain social pressures to look a particular way. We try to help our kids understand that real beauty lies in being healthy, not “peer” determined standards. This includes getting sleep as well as exercising and eating well. My teen has been successfully managing Eczema (moisturize more) and addressed dental health by properly brushing and flossing his teeth as well as using Invisalign to fixing the crowding on this teeth. In a prior post I talked about the thousands of dollars I have spent on dental problems caused by my overcrowded teeth (that could of been fixed if I had braces). Fixing my son’s overcrowding during his teen years gives him a better chance at a healthy dental future. It also really helps that the Invisalign are clear so his friends don’t even know he is wearing them!

 

When I first research using Invisalign for my son’s second round of braces as a teen, I had many questions. The wires on the metal braces he used the first time around routinely broke, causing significant discomfort and maintenance challenges. As part of the Invisalign Teen – Mom Advisory Board I had a chance to get some answers – setting it straight on the myths of Invisalign.

 

Here are some of the information I received from Invisalign to help me understand answers to my questions:

 

 

Invisalign Myths/Setting It Straight

Myth: Invisalign can only treat minor or cosmetic issues.

Setting it Straight: Invisalign effectively treats a wide variety of orthodontic issues including severe bite issues. From underbite to crossbite, deepbite to overbite and overly crowded to widely spaced, advancements to Invisalign’s patented technology continues to increase the complexity of issues that can be treated.

 

Myth: Invisalign is more expensive than metal braces.

Setting it Straight: The cost of Invisalign is usually comparable to the cost of traditional braces and many dental insurance plans cover Invisalign just as they would braces.

 

Myth: I won’t be able to tell if my child is wearing Invisalign often enough for it to be effective.

Setting it Straight: Invisalign Teen aligners are made with small blue dots, officially called compliance indicators, that gradually fade as aligners are worn. It’s a quick visual check for parents and teens to confirm they wearing aligners long enough to get results. In fact, clinical data from orthodontists confirms that teens wear their aligners an average of 21 hours per day, just as recommended.

 

Myth: If my child loses their aligners, it’s going to cost me an arm and a leg to replace.

Setting it Straight: We know kids lose things, even their aligners! That’s why you get up to six FREE replacement aligners with Invisalign Teen.

 

Myth: After Invisalign Teen, my child’s teeth may revert back to their original position.

Setting it Straight: Studies show that without retainers straight teeth can gradually shift back towards their initial position. This is a common occurrence with all orthodontic treatment including braces, but is one that can easily be overcome. Ask your doctor about Vivera retainers from the makers of Invisalign.

 

Myth: I don’t need to take my child to see an orthodontist until they are a teenager.

Setting it Straight: The American Association of Orthodontics recommends taking children for their first orthodontic check-up no later than age 7. The American Dental Association says this is because, “Your child’s dentist can spot problems with emerging teeth and jaw growth early on, while the primary teeth are present.”

 

Myth: Invisalign takes longer to complete than braces.

Setting it Straight: The length of Invisalign treatment is comparable to braces. The average Invisalign journey averages about 12 months for adults. The length of treatment time for teens may vary depending on the severity of the case and can only be determined by a doctor.

 

Myth: If my child’s dentist or orthodontist recommends braces over Invisalign, I should trust their opinion.

Setting it Straight: Not all orthodontists specialize in Invisalign Teen. Visit www.invisalign.com and select “find a doctor” to locate experienced Invisalign and Invisalign Teen doctors in your area. If you are told your teen is not an Invisalign candidate, it may be worth getting a second opinion from more than one orthodontist. Doing so may help ensure that you have all the information you need to make an educated decision.

 

Myth: Braces work better than Invisalign.

Setting it Straight: Invisalign Teen was developed with leading orthodontists to correct the most common teeth straightening issues – from severe cases to more minor, cosmetic adjustments. Invisalign Teen’s clear aligners are removable and can straighten teeth without a mouth full of metal and all the disruption and sacrifice that comes with it. With Invisalign, teens look better and feel more confident than they ever could in traditional braces.

 

Myth: We can’t afford Invisalign.

Setting it Straight: Invisalign Teen is covered by many dental insurance policies just like traditional braces — up to 50% of the cost may be covered by insurance. Even if dental insurance doesn’t apply, many doctors will help parents find options to make straightening their child’s teeth more affordable. Many offer flexible and affordable monthly finance plans that can be as low as $99 per month.

 

Myth: Braces are a rite of passage.

Setting it Straight: Virtually invisible aligners, mean there is less social awkwardness to impact teen’s confidence and self-esteem during an already vulnerable time. There’s no need for teens to hold back or feel they’re missing out on anything when straightening their teeth with Invisalign.

 

Myth: Invisalign treatment will disrupt our lives.

Setting it Straight: With Invisalign, Teens can play sports without fear of injury and continue cheerleading, musical instruments, acting and singing with little to no interference. And because its removable, brushing and flossing is easy and no food restrictions to worry about either. Invisalign is much less disruptive for busy moms and dads too. Invisalign Teen eliminates emergency ortho visits for broken wires and brackets and requires fewer appointments since several aligner sets are provided in advance.

 

 

Disclosure: I am a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board. My son has received complimentary treatment from Align, but all opinions expressed are my own. Here is the link to the Invisalign Smile Assessment.

 

 

 

 

Great Family Adventure Inspired by the film #EarthtoEcho

Disclosure: Sponsored Post.

 

official geocacheNow that summer is here, it is a great time for outdoor adventures and fresh air. One family activity my kids especially enjoy is called Geocaching“ a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices”.  Beyond the excitement of looking for outdoor treasure in hidden containers, Geocaching gives us exercise by riding our bikes while using the Geocache app to find local sites.

 

When I was asked to join in a campaign for the new movie “Earth to Echo” and document our own sponsored adventure using the Go-Pro 3 – I could not wait! It was a great opportunity to spend quality time with my teen and document it with the GoPro. Check out the bottom of this post for the video of our geocaching adventure!

 

Watching the trailer for the new movie (coming out July 2nd), I was reminded of my favorite childhood family films like E.T. which capture the excitement of an adventure between friends. “Earth to Echo” has the added twist of some new modern technology and a mysteriously cute alien.

 

 

Here is more information about Earth to Echo from the movie’s press release:

 

“Friendship is the greatest adventure of all.  Earth To Echo – In theaters July 2, 2014.

 

Tuck, Munch and Alex are a closely bonded trio of inseparable friends, but their time together is coming to an end. Their neighborhood is being destroyed by a highway construction project that is forcing their families to move away. But just two days before they must part ways, the boys find a cryptic signal has infected their phones.

 

Earth to Echo

 

 

Convinced something bigger is going on and looking for one final adventure together, they set off to trace the messages to their source and discover something beyond their wildest imaginations: hiding in the darkness is a mysterious being, stranded on Earth, and wanted by the government.

 

Earth to Echo

 

This launches the boys on an epic journey full of danger and wonder, one that will test the limits of their friendship and change all of their lives forever.

 

Earth to Echo

 

Rating: PG

 

Cast: Ella Linnea Wahlestedt, Reese Hartwig, Teo Halm and Brian “Astro” Bradley.

 

 

Earth to Echo

 

What family adventures are you planning this summer? Maybe start by heading to Theatres on or after July 2nd to see #EarthtoEcho, and stop off along the way to find some Geocaches…

 

Talk about adventures, here is the video my son and made sponsored and “inspired” by the film Earth to Echo to show our geocaching adventure.

 

 

 

INFORMATION ON MORE EARTH TO ECHO GEOCACHING FUN from press release:

Earth To Echo hits theaters on July 2, but you can prepare for the journey in the meantime with the brand new Geocaching EARTH TO ECHO Adventure now available in a few major cities! Geocaching is a family-friendly activity, where adventure seekers can use an app or GPS on their mobile devices to search for cleverly hidden containers placed in nearby neighborhoods.”

 

Geocache Earth to Echo

 

Go on a Geocaching adventure in your city with Earth To Echo! Play to unlock the mystery today, start here. Adventures are currently available in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle.

 

For more informationon the Earth to Echo film, check out – #EarthtoEcho, the Official Website, Like’ Earth to Echo on Facebook, Subscribe on YouTube or follow on Twitter, Instagram & Tumblr.

 

 

Earth to Echo

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All of my words are my own.

 

 

 

 

What happened when I went #DigitallyDark – sponsored GIVEAWAY

*Disclosure: Sponsored Giveaway*

 

WINNER: Robyn Wright from RobynsOnlineWorld.com! Congrats!

 

device theft solutionsIn my last blog post, I talked about device theft and smartphone security including the importance of protecting the data on our devices. Because I manage my personal life and business using my smartphone, tablet and laptop, I need to plan for the potential nightmare of my technology being stolen. I simulated this scenario as part of  Absolute Software’s #DigitallyDark challenge. This challenge involved going “dark”, with all devices turned off, for one day last week. Absolute Software solutions enable device location tracking, locking it against unauthorized users and data protection software that permanently erasing files from remote locations. Their two device theft solutions are called Absolute Data Protect and Absolute LoJack.

 

What happened when I went #DigitallyDark  (yes, shriek of terror) for a day?

 

1. Contacts: I could not make any calls or access my contacts. Even though my data is backed-up in the cloud, I needed a device to get to the cloud!!

 

2. Data files: I did not have access to all my personal, professional and family management data files stored on my devices. Also off limits the software I use to run both my business and my family management. If the #DigitallyDark exercise had been a real theft of hardware, I would be forced to re-install some of this software from the disks, which hopefully are in a convenient location in my house.

 

3. Music Playlists: Even the music playlists that I listen to when relaxing and exercising were not accessible, so chilling out to music was not an option.

 

4. Security: The personal information on my phone includes passwords to payment software, so a stolen phone or notebook is a big financial risk.

 

5. Theft reporting: If my devices really were stolen, I would not even know where to start. Where would I report stolen laptop, stolen smartphone or even report a stolen tablet? Who should I call first? I could report it to the local police… and then what?  If I had tracking on my device, should I pass that information to the police and ask them to track down my property?

 

Using device theft solutions like Absolute Data Protect and Absolute LoJack would give me peace of mind and more of a sense of control because the software can locate the device, lock the device to prevent access of personal information, and permanently erase files in order to protect personal information and prevent identity theft. Absolute LoJack also has the extra features of recovery and guarantee. Absolute’s Investigation Team springs into action building a case and then presenting it to law enforcement (recovery) and provides a Service Guarantee to help pay for a replacement.

 

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

Device Theft Absolute LoJackAs part of the #DigitalDark challenge get the opportunity to run a giveawa (6/19 – 6/25) where I will select one winner (at random) who will receive a family pack that includes FIVE -year Premium Absolute LoJack Subscriptions.

 

Rules: Each entrant can only enter once. To enter:

STEP 1. “Like” Absolute LoJack’s Facebook Page.

STEP 2. Comment on this blog post confirming that you liked the Facebook page and then share your thoughts on device theft.

 

1. One Blog Post comment per person. One Blog Post comment is equal to one entry (so only one entry per person)  2. Winners are limited to US residents only 21 years of age or older. 3. If a valid email address is not provided in the entry, another winner will be chosen. 4. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. 5. Approximate value of prizes may vary. 6. All decisions are final  7. By entering any giveaway on this website you release Techmamas.com from any liability whatsoever, and waive any and all causes of action. 7. Contest ends June 25 2014 -10pm pst. Winner will be announced by June 27 2014.

NOTE AS OF JUNE 27 – WINNER HAS BEEN CHOSEN AND CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. But feel free to still share your thoughts on Device Theft!

BONUS:

I also get the opportunity to share an exclusive offer:  30% off a 1-year Absolute LoJack Standard or Premium subscription.  Just enter promo code:  DARK30 at checkout: www.absolutelojack.com/challenge

**Offer is good until June 30.

 

 

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored giveaway. All of my words are my own.*