Tips: Find Family Friendly Videos For #Kids With YouTube Kids #App

YouTube Kids LogoBecause kids have access to browsers on many devices they can roam the internet which can result in kids seeing inappropriate content. The best defense for parents is to make sure they educate their kids on internet safety and have regular safety talks -so communication between kids and their parents is key. Along with that, introducing family friendly apps can also help kids stay within the boundaries of family friendly content. I am excited to announce that YouTube has created the YouTube kids app as a step to help families provide a safer place for kids to view videos online.  While I could not attend the press event in New York, I will be meeting with YouTube to get a demo soon. Event though the ideal age for this app is only 2-8, this is a great step in the right direction for family friendly apps in general.  National Geographic Kids shared “We are so excited to be a part of the new YouTube Kids app launch with National Geographic Kids original and curated video content,” says Michelle Sullivan, VP Digital. “We want kids of all ages–and their grownups– to enjoy our playlists and spark their curiosity to go out in the world and learn more.

 

For now I wanted to share the information from the YouTube kids press release so parents can test it out for themselves:

 

The YouTube Kids app is available now on iOS and Android:

LINK FOR YOUTUBE KIDS iOS APP on the Apple Store 

LINK FOR YOUTUBE KIDS ANDROID APP on Google Play

 

 

YouTube Kids Screenshot

Photo Credit: YouTube

 

 

 

FAQ’S FROM YOUTUBE KIDS PRESS RELEASE:

Parental Controls: 
Timer: Let the app be the bad guy with a built-in timer that lets you limit kids’ screen time. The app alerts your child when the session is over, so you don’t have to. (You’re welcome. ;) )
Sound settings: Sometimes you need a little peace and quiet! You have an option to turn off background music and sound effects, so your kids can keep watching while you catch a breather.
Search settings: If you’d rather limit your children to just the pre-selected videos available on the home screen, you can turn off search.
Product feedback: Our goal is to improve YouTube Kids all the time, so we’ve included a space for you to give us your feedback.
What age group is this app appropriate for?
Right now, YouTube Kids delivers enriching and entertaining, early literacy content, ideal for kids 2-8.
 
Which devices are supported?
Launching in Google Play and the App Store, YouTube Kids is a fun and interactive place designed for families to explore and enjoy a vast selection of videos on tablet or smartphone.  You can use YouTube Kids on your smartphone or tablet with:

  • iOS 7 or above
  • Android 4.1 or above

 
Can I log in to the app with my YouTube account?
No, we currently only support a logged out experience.
 
When will YouTube Kids be available in other countries and languages?
YouTube Kids is currently available to users in the United States, but we’re working to expand to other countries.
 
What kind of content is available in the app?
The app is a kid-appropriate experience built around the breadth and depth of content that kids love. With a vast selection of videos, across a variety of topics, the choices match a child’s endless curiosity and interests, offering something for every kid; find how-to build a volcano, countless train videos, sing-along versions of favorite songs, crafting projects, match tutorials, answers to questions (what if we lived on the moon?), and much more.  You’ll also find popular programming like National Geographic Kids, Sesame Street, DreamWorks Animation and Thomas & Friends, online hits like Mother Goose Club, Super Simple Songs and TuTiTu, plus kid-friendly content from filmmakers, teachers and creators all around the world.
 
Are you COPPA compliant?
Yes. YouTube Kids is a signed-out app experience, so it does not collect, use or disclose information connected to a Google account, including the user’s name, address, contact or other personal information.

 
Here is a YouTube video demo of the new YouTube Kids app:
 
 

 
 
NEW SHOWS ON YOUTUBE KIDS (from press release):
 
 

  • The Furchester Hotel is a series for 3 to 6-year-olds set in an ‘almost’ world-class hotel run by a close-knit family of cheerfully incompetent monsters. The series, which is designed to encourage creative problem-solving, introduces brand new characters and also welcomes the beloved Elmo and Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.*
  • New digital videos for Thomas & Friends features Thomas the Tank Engine™ as fans have never seen him before, having adventures off the Island of Sodor in fascinating destinations like London, Paris, and New York City, and coming to life in children’s playrooms.
  • Explore the amazing technology that surrounds our everyday lives, in this exciting new original series called uTech, presented by Reading Rainbow and YouTube. In the first episode, join host LeVar Burton as he takes a look at some of the places you may have not realized we encounter technology (from the moment we wake up to an alarm clock, until we go to bed at night and brush our teeth).
  • National Geographic Kids playlists are an exciting and educational way to explore the very best of YouTube. Hosted by kids for kids, these curated playlists on awesome animals, cool science, natural phenomenons, and more are perfect for curious kids who want to explore, laugh, and learn.
  • Two new shows from Hank and John Green, the Vlogbrothers:  SciShow Kids will tap into kids’ curiosity and answer their many “why” questions with animated explanations, live-hosted experiments and field trips. And Crash Course Kids will empower both educators and students with customized elementary school lessons, hosted by some of your favorite YouTube stars 
  • WONDER QUEST: Set in the world of Minecraft, one of the most popular kid’s video games today, and starring Joseph Garrett, better known to millions of fans as Stampylonghead, “Wonder Quest” brings audiences family-friendly adventure with an educational twist. Will Stampy accept the quest from a friendly wizard? Will Stampy and his friends save the town of Wonderberg from a fate of really bad jokes? A fun way for kids to explore, Stampy invites friends to build an online world that encourages wonder — all based on Core Curriculum and Next Generation Science Standards. 
  • A new series from Outfit7, Talking Tom and Friends will chronicle the adventures, hijinks, and inventions of Talking Tom and the gang as they shoot their own reality television show.

 

I can’t wait to try out the new YouTube kids app with my kids. How about you?

 

 

 

 

Movie Preview: 2015 Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

2015 Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Slate

2015 Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Slate

 

The hardest part about preparing to write this post was watching the previews because I CAN’T WAIT until the new Disney movies come out for 2015. Disney movies are a family staple that people of all ages can enjoy together. Especially during holiday time, our family enjoys re-watching our favorite Disney movies just released and the classics. What I find interesting is that I enjoyed Disney movies as a kid, but as an adult when I watch them I see new perspectives and details. Listed below is information from the press updated on the Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Coming slated for 2015. Which movies are you most excited to see?

 

Action – Adventure & Science Fiction:
 
December 18, 2015 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Lucasfilm)  #StarWars  #TheForceAwakens
 
I have to admit that The Force Awakens is the film my whole family keeps saying “Is it December 18, 2015 yet??? My boys have the same connection to Star Wars that I had watching the first movies come out. I love to see them role play with light sabers and of course we can’t get enough of the Star Tours ride at Disneyland. Just looking at the picture below makes me remember riding in that galaxy during the ride..
 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Lucasfilm)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Lucasfilm) © Disney. All rights reserved.

 

Here is information from the press release on the cast: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens ( Episode VII ) cast including Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film. Star Wars: Episode VII is being directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Abrams. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, and John Williams returns as the composer.

 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Lucasfilm) © Disney. All rights reserved.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Lucasfilm) © Disney. All rights reserved.

 

This is Daisey Ridley as Rey as seen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser.   Or as I would like to think of as my alter ego to being a mom driving a mini van around!
 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Lucasfilm) © Disney. All rights reserved.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Lucasfilm) © Disney. All rights reserved.

 

 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Official Teaser:
 

 

 

May 1, 2015 – Avengers: Age of Ultron (Marvel) #Avengers #AgeOfUltron

 

Along with Star Wars, Marvel comics have given my kids the most content for years of pretend pay. One of our favorite series is the Avengers. A new Avengers movie is coming out 2015 is called  Avengers: Age of Ultron. Beyond our love of the Avengers story line, the great cast is making this movie another of my must see for 2015.

 

 

 Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron © Marvel 2015 All Rights Reserved.

Marvel’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron © Marvel 2015 All Rights Reserved.

 

Marvel’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron..L to R: Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), James “Rhodey” Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle), Dr. Cho (Claudia Kim), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson)..

 

 

 

 
 

July 17, 2015 - Ant–Man (Marvel)  #AntMan

 

Another Disney movie coming out in 2015 is MARVEL’S ANT-MAN – Shot on location in San Francisco, Paul Rudd stars as Scott Lang AKA Ant-Man. Marvel Studio’s Ant-Man, scheduled for release in the U.S. on July 17th, 2015.
 

Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal..MARVEL'S ANT-MAN  © Marvel 2014 All Rights Reserved.

Photo Credit: Zade Rosenthal..MARVEL’S ANT-MAN © Marvel 2014 All Rights Reserved.

 
 
 

May 22, 2015 – Tomorrowland (Walt Disney Studios) #Tomorrowland
 
Disney’s is taking the thrill and adventures of walking into Tomorrowland at Disney Parks to a new level. The movie TOMORROWLAND will feature a screenplay by “Lost” writer & co-creator Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird, story by Damon Lindelof & Brad Bird & Jeff Jensen and staring Britt Robertson as Casey will be coming out May 22, 2015. Here is more information from the Disney Movie Tomorrowland website“From Disney comes two-time Oscar® winner Brad Bird’s riveting, mystery adventure “Tomorrowland,” starring Academy Award® winner George Clooney. Bound by a shared destiny, former boy-genius Frank (Clooney), jaded by disillusionment, and Casey (Britt Robertson), a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity, embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known only as “Tomorrowland.” What they must do there changes the world—and them—forever.”
 

Disney's TOMORROWLAND Casey (Britt Robertson)   ©Disney 2015

Disney’s TOMORROWLAND Casey (Britt Robertson) ©Disney 2015

 

Here is the Tomorrowland trailer.. And yes, that is is GEORGE CLOONEY’S voice.
 

 

 

FAMILY FUN:
 
Strange Magic   (Touchstone Pictures / Lucasfilm) #StrangeMagic is now released so you can go see it at the Theatres! Lucasfilm shared the plot as “Strange Magic,” a new animated film, is a madcap fairy tale musical inspired by “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Popular songs from the past six decades help tell the tale of a colorful cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their hilarious misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion.”

 

 

Strange Magic  ©2014 Lucasfilm, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Strange Magic ©2014 Lucasfilm, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

 

The press release also shared that “Bog King (voice of Alan Cumming), Griselda (voice of Maya Rudolph) and Marianne (voice of Evan Rachel Wood) are part of a colorful cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps in “Strange Magic,“… Lucasfilm Animation Singapore and Industrial Light & Magic, which created the CGI animation for 2011’s Academy Award-winning film Rango, bring to life the fanciful forest turned upside down with world-class animation and visual effects. The Strange Magic movie story is by George Lucas and directed by Gary Rydstrom (Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation, Lifted).”

 

 



 
 

 

February 20, 2015 - McFarland, USA (Walt Disney Studios) #McFarlandUSA
 
McFARLAND, USA is one of the most inspiring movies of those coming out 2015 and is also tops on my must see list. Here is background on the movie from the McFarland USA Disney Movie website:Inspired by the 1987 true story, “McFarland, USA” follows novice runners from McFarland, an economically challenged town in California’s farm-rich Central Valley, as they give their all to build a cross-country team under the direction of Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), a newcomer to their predominantly Latino high school. Coach White and the McFarland students have a lot to learn about each other but when White starts to realize the boys’ exceptional running ability, things begin to change…. With grit and determination, the unlikely band of runners eventually overcomes the odds to forge not only a championship cross-country team but an enduring legacy as well. Along the way, Coach White realizes that his family finally found a place to call home and both he and his team achieve their own kind of American dream.

 

McFARLAND, USA ©Disney 2015 All Rights Reserved.

McFARLAND, USA ©Disney 2015 All Rights Reserved.

 

McFARLAND, USA – L to R: “Damacio Diaz (Jamie Michael Aguero), Jose Cardenas (Johnny Ortiz), Danny Diaz (Ramiro Rodriguez), Victor Puentes (Sergio Avelar), Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner), David Diaz (Rafael Martinez), Thomas Valles (Carlos Pratts) and Johnny Sameniego (Hector Duran)…Ph: Ron Phillips..

 

 

 

 
 
 

March 13, 2015 – Cinderella (Walt Disney Studios) #Cinderella

 

Lily James is Cinderella in Disney’s live-action feature inspired by the classic fairy tale, CINDERELLA, which brings to life the timeless images in Disney’s 1950 animated masterpiece as fully-realized characters in a visually-dazzlling spectacle for a whole new generation.

 

CINDERELLA  2014 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

CINDERELLA 2014 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 

Cinderella (Walt Disney Studios) Trailer:

 

 
 
 

April 17, 2015 – Monkey Kingdom (Disneynature) #MonkeyKingdom
 
The  Disneynature Monkey Kingdom website explains the plotline as “Life is an adventure for Maya, the clever and resourceful blonde-bobbed monkey in “Monkey Kingdom,” Disneynature’s new feature film set among ancient ruins in the storied jungles of South Asia. Maya’s world is forever changed when she welcomes her son, Kip, into her complicated extended family…When their longtime home at Castle Rock is taken over by powerful neighboring monkeys, Maya’s whole family is forced to relocate, where she uses her street smarts and ingenuity to lead them to untapped resources amidst strange new creatures and unsettling surroundings. Ultimately, they will all have to work together to reclaim Castle Rock, where Maya can hopefully realize her dreams for her son’s future.

 

Disneynature's Monkey Kingdom ©Disneynature 2015 All Rights Reserved.

Disneynature’s Monkey Kingdom ©Disneynature 2015 All Rights Reserved.

 

Disneynature’s Monkey Kingdom Trailer:
 

 

 

 
 
June 19, 2015 – Inside Out (Disney / Pixar) #InsideOut
 
Here is the storyline from the press release “Disney’s Pixar’s “Inside Out” takes us to the most extraordinary location yet – inside the mind of Riley. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Anger (voiced by Lewis Black), Disgust (voiced by Mindy Kaling), Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Fear (voiced by Bill Hader) and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. Directed by Pete Docter and produced by Jonas Rivera, “Inside Out” is in theaters June 19, 2015.

 

 ©2014 Disney?Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

©2014 Disney?Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

 
 
 
Inside Out (Disney / Pixar) Trailer:

 

 

November 25, 2015 – The Good Dinosaur (Disney / Pixar) #TheGoodDinosaur
 
Storyline from the press release: “The Good Dinosaur” asks the generations-old question: What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? In theaters November 25, 2015, the film is a humorous and exciting original story about Arlo, a lively Apatosaurus with a big heart. After a traumatic event unsettles Arlo’s family, he sets out on a remarkable journey, gaining an unlikely companion along the way – a human boy. “The Good Dinosaur” is an extraordinary journey of self-discovery full of thrilling adventure, hilarious characters and poignant heart. Directed by Peter Sohn (“Partly Cloudy”) and produced by Denise Ream (“Cars 2″, “The Good Dinosaur” opens in theaters Nov. 25, 2015.

 

The Good Dinosaur ©2014 Disney Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

The Good Dinosaur ©2014 Disney Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

OTHER DISNEY MOVIES COMING OUT:

 

October 9, 2015 -  The Jungle Book (Walt Disney Studios) #TheJungleBook

 

Disney's The Jungle Book Conceptual Artwork ©Disney 2015 All Rights Reserved.

Disney’s The Jungle Book Conceptual Artwork ©Disney 2015 All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

Unamed Spy Thriller:  I love spy thrillers and anything made by Steven Spielberg and that has Tom Hanks acting in it. So whatever this spythriller is named – I will be there to watch it when it comes out! Here are the details from the press release: “ Tom Hanks (left) stars in Steven Spielberg’s (right) Untitled Cold War spy thriller, which is the true story of James Donovan, an attorney who finds himself thrust into the center of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on the near-impossible mission to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot.”

 

 

Unamed Spy Thriller: ©DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.  All Rights Reserved.

Unamed Spy Thriller: ©DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

 

What Walt Disney Studios movies are you most looking forward to watching?

 

 
Disclosure: This is a press post
 
 

 

Lenovo #CES2015 Showcase Tour

At CES 2015 this year we were excited to attend a lunch organized by Techlicious.com  and work on a sponsored project to share all of the announcements for Lenovo at CES 2015. I have been following Lenovo’s products with great interest after I saw their first Yoga Laptop come out years ago with multiple form factors ranging folded up as a tablet to a laptop with a keyboard and screen upright.  This flexibility is an important feature I look for in devices so I was excited to hear their new 2015 announcements.

 

The first announcement was that Lenovo is celebrating the milestone of 100 million ThinkPads sold.   The next announcements at the Lenovo CES 2015 showcase included the new Yoga convertibles, tablets, mobile devices and accessories. We had the opportunity for a tour that we captured on video:

To add more details of the products discussed during the Lenovo showcase tour, here are some of the key announcements from the Lenovo CES 2015 press releases:

 

 

YOGA Tablet 2 family announced in Fall 2014:

The YOGA Tablet 2 8-in has four unique modes:  Hold, Tilt, Stand and Hang, Wolfson Master Hi-Fi noise reduction, Dolby audio, long battery life of up to 15 hours and is equipped with two front facing speakers. With Windows 8.1, its 8-in FHD display and Intel® Atom™ processor, users can strike a great balance between work and play. Lenovo AnyPen Technology lets you use any ballpoint pen or graphite pencil—really any thin metal tip.   

 

Lenovo CES 2015

Photo Credit: Lenovo CES 2015

 

Lenovo YOGA 3 “features powerful up to 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processors, stereo speakers, Waves audio and the classic YOGA two-hinge design allowing 360° flexibility with four special modes – Laptop, Stand, Tent and Tablet. Lenovo refined the hinge to now open and close more smoothly and also allow the screen to lay flat at 180°.

 

The Yoga 3 11-in model is just 15.8mm thin and 1.1kg (lightest convertible in the YOGA family). The new Yoga 3 14-in model has a backlit screen, envelope-thin design and measures 18.3mm thin or less. Lenovo includes Harmony intelligent software. Colors are Clementine Orange, Platinum Silver, new Chalk White or Ebony Black. Lenovo includes Harmony intelligent software which helps users discover and customize applications and includes automatic brightness adjustment when reading a book, enables motion control or optimizes audio settings in specific modes and recommends new apps.”

 

 

ThinkPad YOGA for businesses and pro-sumers:

“ThinkPad YOGA 12-in, 14-in and new 15-in convertibles with powerful up to 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processors,  large storage up to 1 TB , Dolby Home Theatre v4 and new ActivePen technology in select models.  Lenovo’s SHAREit app to share files easily between devices. Lenovo’s first 3D camera in a laptop (Built-in Intel® RealSense™ 3D camera) comes optional on the 15-in model.  3D cameras are being used by businesses for more personal video conferencing and scanning small objects for 3D printing applications.

 

The YOGA 12 continues to offer a digitizer/pen option that provides an internal garage for the pen. ThinkPad is creating an innovative hardware and software pen experience, regardless of pen technology Thin and light at just 19mm thin and less than 1.5kg on the 12-in model, these stylish convertibles come in black with an attractive backlit keyboard as well as FHD touch screen display.”

 

Lenovo LaVie Z Ultraportables (Available May 2015):

The LaVie Z HZ750 13-in convertible PC (Available May 2015) is just 2.04-lbs, has powerful up to 5th Generation Intel® Core i7™ processor, Microsoft Windows 8.1, 128 GB SSD storage and 360-degree hinge pioneered by Lenovo in its original YOGA family of convertibles.  It is just 16.9mm thin, uses a specialized magnesium-lithium (Mg-Li) body construction, which is 50% lighter than aluminum (which apple used in earlier Macbook models). New IGZO LCD display (Indium Gallium Zinc oxide) provides additional weight savings.”

 

Lenovo CES 2015

Photo Credit: Lenovo CES 2015

 


The LaVie Z HZ550 13-in laptop PC is just 1.72-lbs.

 

Among the many other innovative products announced, a few more caught my eye:

 

The Lenovo Vibe X2 Pro Mobile Phone was announced with accessories such as the VIBE Band VB10 wearable. What I found interesting about the VIBE Band VB10 was that it not only has up to 7 days’ battery life, phone–finding feature, 1.43” E Ink display, alerts (phone, SMS, and social notifications), measures fitness (steps, calories, distance, and sleep time) but that it also meets IPX7 waterproofing standard.

 

Lenovo CES 2015

Photo Credit: Lenovo CES 2015

 

But one of the most unique was the compact selfie flash listed below.

 

Compact SELFIE FLASH for the VIBE X2 PRO: “Plugs directly into the VIBE X2 Pro’s audio jack, works great in low–light conditions, Delivers natural color tones, 100% shutter sync – never miss that perfect selfie and up to 100 selfies on a single charge.

 

Lenovo CES 2015

Photo Credit: Lenovo CES 2015

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Panasonic Booth Tour #CES2015

My favorite Consumer Electronics Show (CES) activity is roaming the showroom floor and seeing all the new technology. This year I was excited to work on a sponsored project for Panasonic and Techlicious.com that included video coverage of the CES 2015 Panasonic Booth. I have been going to CES for years and always find time to tour the Panasonic Booth.  To get ready for CES this year we (my video Director Ben Blecherman and I) decided that we needed a new travel camera to capture pictures and video. I reviewed a selection of great cameras but was really looking for one that had a good price and was available in a bundle with accessories. We chose to buy the Panasonic LUMIX FZ1000K 4K QFHD/HD  because it was one of the top rated travel cameras that not only shot great pictures but also up to 4K video. We used that camera to shoot our Panasonic CES 2015 Booth tour video. So here it is!

One of the key technology trends at CES was 4K, which is a resolution level of 3840 x 2160. Having a high resolution means more “pixels” in the display which in turn makes the image appear more clear and crisp then lower resolution displays. Panasonic had many announcements including cameras, home monitoring, kitchen technology, personal grooming, TVs, and stadium screens. But one of the most exciting was the 4K infrastructure they announced at CES this year:

 

 

 

Panasonic 4K Ecosystem CES 2015

Photo Credit: Panasonic

 

 

Other Panasonic CES 2015 announcements included new cameras, home monitoring, kitchen technology, personal grooming, TVs, and stadium screens. Listed below are more details from the Panasonic CES 2015 press releases.

 

4K TV

 

The CX850 series of VIERA Smart TVs offers high quality 4K Ultra HD images with color expressions enriched by a new phosphor technology that expands the range of colors. Incorporating Firefox OS, the TVs also make it easier for users to access quickly the content they want. The CX 850 series features the Xumo Discovery Home Screen for seamless enjoyment of various VOD services.”

 

Panasonic also showed an 8K TV at CES!

 

Panasonic has developed the world’s first* 55-Inch, 8K (7680×4320 pixels) liquid crystal display, realizing the superior reality of 8K in a 55-inch screen, the size versatile for many B2B applications. The display features high contrast ratio of 1500:1, wide viewing-angle of 178 degrees, and high frame rate of 120 Hz, using Panasonic’s unique IPS-Pro technology. The 55-inch display can show four pages of full-sized broadsheet-size newspaper in one screen, convenient for CAD work. The 8K displays are shown in two formats, wall-mounted and table-top.    * As of January 6, 2015

 

 

Blu-ray 

 

Panasonic has developed Blu-ray Disc playback technology that supports the latest technologies such as 4K and High Dynamic Range that are expected to be included in the next-generation Blu-ray Disc standard.”

 

Kitchen Tech  

 

Panasonic announced the debut of its Cyclonic Wave Microwave Oven line at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).   Panasonic’s Cyclonic-Wave technology evenly distributes microwave energy to ensure that foods are perfectly thawed and evenly heated and cooked. Panasonic Cyclonic-Wave Microwave Ovens can be installed as countertop or built-in units and features electrostatic glass touch control panels, 1250 watts of cooking power, multi-stage cooking, 20 programmable sensor cook and reheat options, and a turbo defrost mode.  The SE985S features a 16.5-inch turntable diameter and the SE785S offers a 15-inch diameter.”

 

Panasonic unveiled its 2015 Bread Maker featuring a gluten-free baking mode at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).  The Panasonic Bread Maker is part of Panasonic’s expanded line-up of healthy-lifestyle small home appliances.  Unlike standard bread maker models which offer only one rise mode, the Panasonic Bread Maker offers a short-rise feature which enables users to also bake gluten-free foods using a wide range of recipes.  The bread maker (SD-YR2500) will be available in September via panasonic.com and other retailers.  Pricing and additional availability details will be announced at a later date.

 

Adventure

 

Panasonic introduces adventure products for outdoor activities including 4K wearable cameras and ruggedized compact digital still cameras.  (One Example is) The Panasonic TS6, a rugged water-, dust- and shock-proof compact digital still camera, and water and dust resistant 4K wearable cameras that allow for hands-free shooting of 4K30p video on active scenes.

 

Imaging

 

“Panasonic introduced new styles of photography and video expressions such as the “4K photos” function that enables the user to capture a still photo from a frame of 4K video and “hybrid photography” that combines still images and moving images. LUMIX cameras including the CM1 communication camera, which is a full-fledged digital camera with high-speed mobile communication capability (LTE), as well as new mirrorless single-lens system cameras and compact cameras. Panasonic also announced that it has been named a 2015 CES Innovation Awards Honoree for the LUMIX LX100 Digital Camera. The LX100 is also capable of smooth, high quality video recording not only in Full-HD 1,920 x 1,080 60p but also in 4K (QFHD 4K: 3840×2160, at 30 fps(NTSC) in MP4).  The LX100 is available at www.shop.panasonic.com and valued channel partners. ”

 

Panasonic CES 2015

 

 

Connected Home

 

Panasonic announced a new Home Monitoring System that offers the latest in wireless communication technology and is extremely easy to install. The kits allow you to remotely activate appliances, lights and devices in your home, perform surveillance and monitor your baby or pet. Powerful and compact, the DECT-enabled hub unit connects enabled devices to a secure long range (up to 1000ft.) platform which can be placed in any room or space.  It connects in seconds to your Wi-Fi router with the push of a button enabling you to control the system from your smartphone, tablet and system handset. There is no Ethernet cable necessary; as the hub operates completely on Wi-Fi. There is also no need for a PC to set-up the Wi-Fi connection as you only need a smartphone or the system handset. Unlike other systems, there is no monthly fee as remote monitoring and control is free of charge.  Including The Baby Monitoring Kit (KX-HN6001), DIY Home Surveillance Kit (KX-HN6002) and Home Monitoring and Control Kit (KX-HN6003) The Home Monitoring System is available immediately at Panasonic.com.
Automotive Solutions

 

Panasonic’s latest in-vehicle solutions, included infotainment system SYNC 3 to be delivered to Ford Motor Company and an Internet radio service, AUPEO!.”

 

Green Mobility

 

Panasonic’s green mobility solutions using its 18650 size, cylindrical lithium-ion batteries are showcased here, with vehicles powered by them. (1) Electric vehicle – Tesla Motors’ Model X, an SUV with benefits of a minivan, is on display as an example of the partnership between the two companies.  (2)  Electric scooter – Gogoro’s SmartscooterTM makes a world debut here. The company aims to achieve a smart city transformation with its electric scooters and battery-swapping infrastructure. More information can be found in Gogoro’s press release: http://www.gogoro.com/press/2015-01-05-gogoro-smartscooter-launch/. (3) Electric assist bicycles – Panasonic’s premium electric assist bicycle “Titanium Flat Road EB is on display.”

 

Salon

 

Panasonic also showcased an interactive mirror (prototype) that can check skin conditions, virtual makeup, make-up navigation and provide skin care advice when you simply sit in front of it. Men can try on virtual beards and mustaches that suit on the facial contour. Panasonic’s shaver featured “close-fit tracing head” that gives a smooth feel after shaving; five Japan-made blades that enable fast and deep shaving; and a “skin and beard sensor” that reduces burden on the skin. Panasonic introduced hair dryers equipped with its nano-e technology that allows for smooth passing of fingers through hair by balancing the moisture of the hair. Combined with optimized grip and operability and a quick drying nozzle, the nano-e dryers make it easy and quick to dry hair by untangling wet and clustered hair without the need for the user to shake the dryer.”

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Family Activity For MLK Day And Beyond: Selma Movie

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Monday is not only a day of vacation from school, it is a day of meaning. “Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around the time of King’s birthday, January 15“. My boys enjoy learning about history so we make sure that we use holidays especially as teachable moments. This MLK day we will be going to see the movie Selma to not only honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day but also the incredible Director Ava DuVernay (who I think should of been included in the Best Director Category for the Academy Awards as well as the movie being included in the Best Motion Picture of the Year category) and the fabulous cast and team that made the movie. Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt were part of team of producers.

 

Selma is “A chronicle of Martin Luther King‘s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965“.  Many kids especially are visual learners so going to see this movie will help them learn about Martin Luther King Jr and the important equal voting rights campaign.
 
 

 
 

An exciting initiate around the movie Selma is the #SelmaForStudents which “Due to the generous contributions by so many of the country’s most prominent African-American business leaders, more than 275,000 middle and high school students will experience the critically acclaimed film for free at participating theaters while supplies last“.  The Selma For Students initiative is a wonderful way to help students get the opportunity to see the movie. We are going to buy our tickets on Fandango and I also hope that many others buy tickets as well to send ticket sales on Martin Luther King, Jr Day for the Selma Movie skyrocketing!

 
 

Selma For Students
 

What activities are you doing with your family on Martin Luther King, Jr Day to help not only honor MLK but also make the day a teachable moment?
 
 

 

CES2015: LG Electronics Home Technology Announcements

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by LG Electronics.
LG Electronics #LGMomCES

 

One of the key technology areas relative to families is home technology. LG Electronics invited a group of journalists covering family tech to a breakfast at CES 2015 Family Tech Summit to discuss their new product announcements.  When it comes to being a parent I appreciate technology that helps me manage my busy household. LG Electronics introduced updated and advanced versions of appliances that have unique features which offer great value to families.

 

The first announcement is an update which would help save energy, maximize cold air conservation and make it very convenient for my three boys to reach food when they raid the fridge multiple times each day.

 

 

LG DoubleDoor-in-Door Refridgerator

Photo Credit: LG Electronics

 

 

From the press release: “LG MEGA-CAPACITY DOUBLE DOOR-IN-DOOR REFRIGERATOR: LG is taking its award-winning “door-in-door” concept to the next level with the introduction of its new double Door-in-Door® mega-capacity refrigerator. With two independent Door-in-Door® compartments, this model offers the ultimate in convenience – better organization and easy access – while maximizing cold air conservation. The right Door-in-Door® is accessible from both the outside (with the push of a button) and from the inside, making it easy to load with often-used items like snacks, drinks, lunches and more. The left Door-in-Door® provides additional easy access storage space via a trigger on the bottom of the door. By using the Door-in-Door® feature on the new model, which is expected to be ENERGY STAR® certified.

 

My husband and I do lots of loads of laundry each day. This new advancement would really help save time by enabling two loads of laundry to run simultaneously!

 

 

LG Mini Washer

Photo Credit: LG Electronics

 

 

From the press release: “LG TWIN WASH™ SYSTEM + MINI WASHER:  LG introduces an entirely new category of washing machine with its revolutionary TWIN Wash™ System, which enables two separate loads of laundry to run simultaneously. With a new, separate mini washer in the pedestal, cycle times are reduced, fewer loads are needed and energy efficiency is increased.  TWIN Wash™ System: LG’s mega-capacity 30-, 29- and 27-inch washer-dryer pairs are the first to offer the game-changing TWIN Wash™ System. These new models feature 5.6, 5.2 or 4.5 cubic feet of capacity in the front-load washer. Placed under an LG front-load washer as a pedestal, the separate Mini Washer is designed to provide additional, simultaneous cleaning to smaller, more delicate loads of laundry like lingerie, delicates or active wear. By combining the Spin and Rinse cycles, LG’s new and improved Turbo Wash™ technology makes for a substantial time saver.

 

The next announcement is home technology that would not only save time from my many trips to the dry cleaners, it would help freshen up clothes quicker then waiting to make it to the dry cleaner!

 

LG Styler

Photo Credit: LG Electronics

 

 

From the press release: “Equipped with a range of features not found on any washing machine, the latest LG Styler freshens up clothes and fabrics both quickly and conveniently. The LG Styler’s Odor Removal feature uses steam to help remove unpleasant odors left behind by smoke, food and sweat, and, depending on individual tastes, users can choose between two different aroma sheets that provide refreshing, subtle scents. The Quick Refresh function keeps clothes looking, feeling and smelling fresh, while Moving Hanger Action gently shakes steamed items to remove everyday wrinkles. The new LG Styler also  features a built-in heat pump, which generates and maintains warm air at a low temperature to keep clothing from shrinking or being damaged while drying.

The LG Styler also provides effective sterilization with TrueSteam™, LG’s hot steam spray technology, which LG pioneered in washers and dryers. With a simple touch of a button, hot steam is released to eliminate 99.9 percent of the germs and bacteria that can live deep inside clothes and soft toys. The LG Styler features Smart Diagnosis™ and NFC tagging. Smart Diagnosis alerts the user via their smartphone when the unit needs maintenance or repair, and NFC allows users to down- load specialized cycles to their smartphones, which can then be uploaded to their LG Styler with a single tap of the smartphone to the appliance.

 

What home technology are you excited about?

 

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by LG Electronics.

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Holiday Humor 2014

There are so many different emotions that my friends and I talk about experiencing during the holidays.  We feel the love of family and friends but at the same time the stress of holiday shopping, entertaining and then as parents making sure our kids have enough activities to keep them busy over the school break. So now that Christmas, Hanukkah and the other winter holidays are close to being over it is a great time to look back at the best holiday humor. Because let’s face it, laughing is one of the best feelings of all! Each year I think that I will see the same humor but each year the creatives win and new ideas are presented.

 

 

1. Holidays Lights went galactic with this “Star Wars Music Christmas Lights Show 2014 – Featured on Great Christmas Light Fight“!
 

 

 

2. Taylor Swift inspired the newest Chanukah song by Six13 “Shake It Off”:
 

 

 
3. Geeky Christmas Comics
 

Comic via foxtrot

Photo Credit: via http://www.iflscience.com/ via FoxTrot http://www.foxtrot.com/

 

 

4. Techie Hanukkah Comics:

 

miracle of hanukkah updated

Photo credit: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/45528646208868222/

 

 

5. Best “ORIGINAL” Holiday Graphics:

 

The following two graphics were created by my creative genius friends Jessi Sanfilippo of SHUGGILIPPO and Andy Herald of HOW TO BE A DAD. If you see any imitations online, please let them know you saw the “ORIGINAL” comic genius version.. Heh..

 

The Shelf of the Elf via @shuggilippo

 

The Shelf of the Elf via  @shuggilippo

Photo Credit: The Shelf of the Elf via @shuggilippo http://www.shuggilippo.com/eyecandy/the-shelf-on-the-elf

 

 

How to Be A Dad helps us continue the Star Wars themed holiday greetings with this “Darth Vader Santa Says“:

 

 

How to be a Dad Darth Vader Santa Says

Photo Credit: Any Herald of How to be a Dad

 

What were your (family friendly) holiday humor favorites?

 
 
Update: Next year think about sending some funny holiday cards like the ones Cool Mom Picks highlighted…
 
 
 

 

Holiday #Gift Ideas At @MicrosoftStore #Sponsored

Microsoft Store Holiday Gift GuideAfter countless experiences of giving my kids gifts they were asking for (even begging for), that they then abandoned after a short time – I pledged to try to buy gifts that last. During the holidays some of my favorite gift ideas (that last throughout the year) are technology devices and accessories. I was excited when SocialMoms and Microsoft asked me to participate in a sponsored blogging program to discuss holiday gift ideas at the Microsoft Store because they have such a wide range of technology devices and accessories gift ideas under one roof!

Here is a video that shows my fun adventure at the Microsoft Store checking out gifts that satisfies everyone from tech beginners to tech savvy, gamers, fashionistas, busy professionals, students and technology for the whole family.

Some of the great gifts I checked out at the store you can also check out online first, then head to the Microsoft Store to have your gift in hand for the holidays. If you don’t know exactly what they want, you can get gift cards for the Microsoft Store, XBox  or Skype. But there are also a range of phones, unique family touch enabled All-in-One desktops like the Sprout by HP, laptops like the Lenovo Yoga 2 in 1, tablets like the Surface Pro 3 Bundle or HP Stream 7 tablet (currently only $99!).
Microsoft Surface 3 Pro Bundle

 

 

All types of cases like  Brenthaven Collins Vertical Messenger Bag , Greene & Gray Device Purse  or the Knomo Foley Device Cross Body Sleeve.

 

Knomo Foley  Cross Body Device Sleeve

 

 

Wearables are another hot gift idea such as FitBit and stylish Misfit Shine that monitor activity, calories and sleep. But there are also many other app-enabled accessories to choose from!

 

Misfit Shine and Sport Band

 

Entertainment gifts such as the Jawbone Mini wireless speaker, XBox One Plus Kinect  and maybe a stocking stuffer of a new XBox Wireless controller.  “Makers” may want the gift of MakerBot-Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printer that can inspire all types of creative projects or the Go Pro HERO3 to unleash video creativity on the go.  I know that my kids are asking for some new video games but I also have some on my list including the Nike + Kinect Training and Just Dance 2014!

 

Xbox 360 Chrome Series Wireless Controller

 

Don’t forget tech toys such as the remote controlled aircraft like the Parrot AR Drone2.0 that performs smartphone-controlled acrobatic tricks.

 

Parrot MiniDrones Rolling Spide

 

 

 

What are you shopping for this holiday?

 

 

Disclosure: This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Microsoft blogging program #MSFTHoliday . The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

 

 

 

 

Online Learning @Curious, From #DIY Beading Jewels to #Coding Ruby on Rails

Check on the bottom of this post for a special link to get a Curious.com Course Credit.

 

Curious.com Sunset #GiftofLearning

 

 

Online learning has captured the attention of my friends and me as our children progress through Middle School and High School and we keep wondering why our kids should have all the fun, learning new skills and information online. Curious.com is a great resource in the quest for online education. It is a marketplace for lifelong learning that offers a wide range of online courses in formats friendly to anyone who wants to learn something new or advance their skills. The site offers “more than 10,000 interactive, video based lessons and courses available to anyone, anytime they feel like learning something new. Most courses typically range from $9.99 to $9.99“.

 

 

This month I was invited to a Curious.com DIY Holiday Gift Making and Wine Tasting media event featuring Sunset Magazine and The O’Neil Sisters. I was already looking at sharing the gift of learning with Curious.com gift cards to family who want to learn how to use a DSLR or learn more about coding in HTML/CSS and Ruby on Rails. At this event I was faced with something that my years of technology background could not provide: DIY beading.  It is well known in my circle of friends that I can bravely stand up to any technology challenge but I do have a fear of crafting. I want to learn, but let’s just say it does not come naturally to me.

 

I have been reading Sunset Magazine for years and enjoyed hearing the Sunset Editors at the event discuss tips on choosing wines while we did some tastings at the event. The Sunset Seminars on Curious.com already helped me learn how to cook a holiday meal,  so I was looking forward to learning more by checking out the Sunset Essentials of Wine class and maybe event setting up a Container Garden. But could I get over my fear of crafting and make a DIY Beaded necklace?

 

DIY Beaded Jewelry O'Neil Sisters Video Curious.com

 

 

The O’Neil Sisters came to the event to do a live presentation of their DIY Beaded Jewerly class.

 

 

Curious.com O'Neil Sisters DIY Beaded Jewerly Class

 

 

The O’Neil Sisters helped me overcome my fear with their step by step instructions. I was thrilled to have finished my first official DIY project! To be honest, I was actually hyperventilating when I first saw the bag of beads and the hardware. But in the end I realized it was not that hard if you have the right instruction. My friends will be completely surprised to hear me say this, but I may actually start doing some crafting to make holiday gifts!

 

 

DIY Beaded Jewelry O'Neil Sisters Curious.com

 

 

Curious.com online learning classes also make great gifts. There are a range of courses including more DIY crafts, languages such as Mandarin and Italian, Spanish for Kids, Knife Skills and other Foodie classes, Health and Fitness including daily workouts, Music classes including rock drumming and beginning guitar, classes for Entrepreneurs such as business builder workshops and unique classes such as indie film making and ninja training.  Here are the instructions from their site on giving the #GiftOfLearning : “To gift a course, go to Curious.com and click on the gift icon next to any course. Gift-givers can them crate a personal gift message and schedule a delivery date. The course recipient will own the course and will be able to watch it again and again. Delivery of the gift messages and course access happen instantly. If the gift recipient prefers a different course instead, no problem — the course credit is fully transferable to any other Curious.com course.

 

 

At the event I was excited to learn that I would be able to share a course credit code with my readers! Sign up for Curious.com with this link: https://curious.com/invited/EKusCX-M44Q and you will get a $25.00 credit applied to your account.

 

 

What type of online class would you be interested in taking? Anyone else have a fear of crafting they want to overcome?

 

 

Disclosure: I was invited as media to the event and given a Curious.com course credit. All of my words are my own and I really crafted that necklace (with a little help from the O’Neil sisters and Curious.com)!

 

 

 

 

Tech To Prepare For Severe Weather Like #BayAreaStorm

Growing up in the East Coast helped me prepare for extreme weather. As a kid the school closing for a snow day was so exciting because it meant a day of sledding with my friends. But as an adult I have seen how dangerous extreme weather can be. In California we have had droughts the last few years which was dangerous in it’s own way. But it almost made me forget the steps to prepare for Winter weather.

 

Tech For Extreme Weather #BayAreaStorm

 

The good news is that today is big rainstorm (#BayAreaStorm) in a state that has been suffering a terrible drought.  The bad news is that rainstorms in my area of Northern California can lead to flooding, dangerous driving conditions, power outages, trees falling down and more. The current #BayAreaStorm has heavy rain and wind gusts. We dropped our kids to school this morning but there was flash flooding and road closures I had to watch out for on the way home. We started preparing last night for the storm and all the research inspired me to create a post to share some of my steps we did to prepare for our storm.

 

Step 1: Setup Up Websites, Apps and Alerts To Automate Monitoring Weather Conditions:  We find it important to always monitor weather conditions and with all of the websites, apps and alerts there are many ways to do that.  Websites such as the National Weather Service are used as basis for apps like the WeatherSphere Weather Alerts and other products and Simple Weather Alerts. States also have Emergency Services pages with sections for Floods and other weather emergencies. Weather.com and Accuweather have weather updates and alerts on their websites and apps. I like to sign up for alerts so I get updates for emergencies such as flash floods. There are alerts that appear on apps but also text alerts.  Luckily there are local emergency services that also automatically send out alerts because I received a text on my phone this morning about a flash flood that was not something I had signed up for. There are also websites such as Nixle that gather information from “over 7,000 public safety and government agencies at the local, county, and state level”.  Many phones or tablets enable you to load a weather widget on your home screen which automatically shows the weather each day.

 

 

NOAA Weather Alerts - Severe Weather Push Notifications & Warnings

NOAA Weather Alerts – Severe Weather Push Notifications &Warnings

 

 

Step 2: Charge Up Smartphones, backup batteries and gather charging supplies: As soon as we heard about the Bay Area Storm, we set up a plan to get ready. First we made sure we had enough flashlights, batteries for flashlights, candles & matches, backup batteries for the phones and emergency supplies up to date.  The day before we charged up all of our phones and computers but also multiple back up batteries to use if power was out for an extended time.

 

Today (day of the storm) we are keeping our phones plugged while at home to keep the charge going.  We also made sure we had extra backup phone chargers and a full tank of gas just in case we did need to leave the house for an extended time. The type of extreme weather we prepared for is just power outages and minor flooding. I know friends in locations all over the world that have different steps and supplies for their weather emergencies. So it important for everyone to check with their local emergency services website or office to get the right list for their area.

 

 

 

Step 3:  Organize alternative WiFi and Devices:  Because extreme weather can effect home WiFi, I like to have another backup WiFi source.. For example, I use the AT&T Unite Pro as my alternative WiFi device that I can also take on the go which is important especially for emergencies.  Radio Shack has a great supply of weather radios that are important to have if all WiFi and cell coverage is down.

 

 

Eton weather radio

 

 

PLEASE SHARE YOUR TIPS IN PREPARING FOR EXTREME WEATHER! Every area has unique weather conditions to prepare for.