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Lenovo CES 2014: Tablets Still Rock

*sponsored series

 
With all the new announcements at CES 2014, it may have seemed like tablets were not top priority. But I was excited to see the quality of new tablets that are truly becoming that one unified device for both entertainment and work.   A great example is the new Lenovo ThinkPad 8 tablet that joins in with the already released Yoga Tablet 10 and 8.

 

Lenovo ThinkPad 8 Tablet

Lenovo ThinkPad 8 Tablet – Photo credit: Lenovo

 

The Lenovo ThinkPad 8 Tablet is high definition enough for entertainment while also having the features needed for a successful work device. It has an a 10 point multi-touch 8.3 inch display (1920×1200) with Windows 8.1 Pro, 2MP and 8MP cameras, latest Intel Bay Trail Quad Core processor, up to 128GB of storage and Global 3G/4G LTE support.  Accessories include a USB 3.0 dock that converts the ThinkPad 8 into a full PC experience and a keyboard base. The Quickshot Cover enables converting to Tent mode and peels back to use the 8 MP camera. There is also a microHDMI port that allows connection to a PC to view pictures or photos or use Miracast technology to transfer them wirelessly.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet

Lenovo Yoga Tablet. Photo Credit: Lenovo

 

The Yoga Tablet 10 (10 inch) and Yoga Tablet 8 (8 inch) Android tablets offer a unique multi-mode design: it has a battery cylinder on the side that makes it easy to hold, Quad core 1.2 Ghz processor, Android 4.2 Jellybean, native storage of 16GB  or 32 GB and can add up to 64GB micro-SD card storage, micro USB for charging, a pop out stand for standing up (good for watching or listening to media and video chat) and the ability to “tilt” the stand (good for typing or gaming).  To really enable mobile use, the battery has a maximum life of 18 hours, lasting throughout the day and more.

 

Both the 8 inch and 10 inch Yoga Tablet have an HD 1280 x 800 display with a 178 degree viewing angle that is wide enough to share with the whole family.  The screen is  crisp, clear and easy to ready and the chrome design is stylish to look at.  Connectivity includes integrated Bluetooth, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and GPS. The sound is enhanced with the tablet’s Dolby Digital Plus speakers that face front. The 5.0M rear and 1.6M front cameras offer the ability to take high definition pictures.  For those that prefer using a keyboard, there is a touch keyboard with nice haptic response or an option to use Accutype keyboard Bluetooth accessory.

 

 

Lenovo Tablets

 

 

Our family had the opportunity to review the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 and 8. We found that the 10 inch is the perfect size for teens and adults to comfortably read content. The Yoga Tablet 8 inch is the perfect size for my 11 year old to watch ESPN and consume all types of content instead of squinting to see content on his small MP3 player. But the 8 inch would also be great for mobile adults looking for a smaller form factor. My husband has been looking for a tablet for a while now, evaluating different operating systems, form factors and performance. His latest experiment has been with the 10 inch Lenovo yoga tablet and it is proving to be very capable for both business and personal use.

 

 

He found that the set up of the Yoga Tablet was very straight-forward and similar to other Android devices. Charge it up, turn it on, establish the WiFi connection and start downloading the apps you need to be productive. The kids were very impressed with the games both familiar and unfamiliar in the Google Play store. LinkedIn loaded quickly and was easy to use, with the front and back camera on the Yoga tablet coming in handy to capture valuable information for various folders that help in home/family and business management.
One very handy feature is the built-in kickstand which enables the tablet to be used multiple ways in addition to holding it in your hands. With the kickstand down, the tablet props up like a computer screen in a landscape position. This is very handy when used in conjunction with a Bluetooth keyboard. Roasted 90 degrees, the kickstand also secures the tablet upright in portrait position, which is convenient when looking at an email inbox, photos, long documents or games. For those who like to use a tablet almost flat to the table, placing the Yoga down with the kickstand in place provides a tablet at a small angle to the table which is great for touch screen use. Our family really enjoyed these different positions, each with their own benefits allowing for customization of use according to what we were trying to do and whether we were sitting or standing.

 

The speakers provide high quality Dolby sound and are located on the front in the bottom corners, a much better design than speakers in back which can be muffled by a tablet cover. The volume controls and headset jack are conveniently located on the side and feel high quality to the touch. No loose headset connection where if you don’t press it in just right the stereo sound turns mono and the audio gets scratchy. And while it’s not usual to like the on/off button on a computer or tablet, the large button on the end of the built-in battery with a very clean motion when pushed is a welcome role model for what buttons on computers should feel like. Also impressive is the screen, with 1280X800 max resolution and a built-in graphics processor which delivers the quality needed for everything from writing documents  to watching YouTube videos and playing games.

 

Pricing as of Jan. 2014:

The ThinkPad 8 convertible tablet configure to order models start at $399 and Topseller
models start at $429.  The Yoga Tablet 8 starts at $199 and the Yoga Tablet 10 starts at $275.00.

 

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored series for Techlicious Lenovo blogger program  I received products for review as part of the program. My words are my own.

 

 

 

 

Must Have Mobile Tech: AT&T Unite Pro

 *sponsored series

 

Must Have Mobile TechAs I checked into Treasure Island for CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2014, I was excited to have found a reasonably priced hotel in a central location. I was sharing my room with an east-coast blogger friend and looking forward to seeing her and other tech press friends. One benefit of Treasure Island is the optional “resort fee”, an extra added to the hotel bill which covers internet, health club use, morning newspaper and other amenities. This is great for those like me taking a business trip on a budget.

 

 

However, I was interested in paying for daily in-room Internet access. When they told me it was “20 dollars PER DAY” I was so excited to say “no thank-you” because I remembered I had my new AT&T Unite Pro mobile WiFi device with me. Considering that I would be staying at the hotel for 5 days, I saved $100 on the spot.

 

 

Working with NETGEAR (disclosure) to share information about the new AT&T Unite Pro was great because mobile WiFi is an important tool for my busy lifestyle.  The more time I spend with my own mobile WiFi, the more I realize how it frees me to work on the go no matter where I am. As a busy working parent who also travels, working on the go is essential to being productive each day.

 

My CES roommate was excited to share my mobile WiFi and not pay the daily $20 internet fee! In addition to the security benefit of using our own WiFi, it was great to know we had a reliable WiFi connection to complete our work at the hotel.  I was able to take the device with me to use on the go during the conference; this is a great benefit because I store most of my documents and media in the cloud.  With the AT&T Unite Pro BatteryBoost feature, I was also able to keep my smartphone charged, enabling me to keep my social media updates flowing to my fans without the dreaded “phone dead” syndrome some of my other tech press friends experienced.

 

 

The AT&T Unite Pro is an update from the AT&T Unite which I covered in my first blog post. Here are some of the key features of the AT&T Unite Pro:

 

AT&T Unite Pro

AT&T Unite Pro

 

 

  • Up to 16 hours of battery (all day!)
  • Internet access for up to 15 devices.
  • 2.4  inch Intuitive Touchscreen with keyboard.
  • Password protection and guest WiFi.
  • Advanced  LTE support. First mobile hotspot to offer Dual-Band WiFi which lets you maximize speed and reliability of your data connection.
  • Internationally compatible.
  • BatteryBoost: BatteryBoost lets you share the AT&T Unite Pro’s powerful battery to keep your smartphone going. Just plug-in the special boosting cable provided and connect your smartphone charging cord.

 

Having mobile WiFi also enables me to share connectivity with my kids so they can do homework on the go and reach their productivity goals each day.  In fact, when my teen brought the AT&T Unite Mobile WiFi to his study group, he realized that having a mobile WiFi that offered access to his friend’s devices saved the day by enabling everyone in the group to get their online research done. This also allows me to help one of my twin sons finish a class project while the other twin is at baseball practice. This reduces the logistical difficulty when my twins participate in different sports. Who knew that a mobile WiFi device would help support my twin’s transition into independent paths in life!

 

Pricing and availability:

The AT&T Unite Pro is $49.99 with a 2 year contract and AT&T offers other Unite models from $1 to $99.  There are several flexible and affordable monthly data plans as well.  Any of the Unite products can be added to an AT&T Mobile Share plan for only $20 a month.  Or if you want a stand alone plan, there is a $50 for 5GB monthly option available.  Visit www.att.com/data  for more information.

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored series. I received products for review as part of the program. My words are my own.

 

Check out the full line of AT&T Unite mobile hotspots from NETGEAR, including Unite Pro, Unite and Unite prepaid, at www.att.com/unitepro or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube at WiFiFamily.

 

 

New Lenovo Laptops in Multiple Form Factors: Yoga 2 Miix 2 & Carbon X1

*sponsored series

 

When it comes to finding technology for my work and my family, versatility is key. At CES 2014, Lenovo announced new versatile devices for the mobile professional and family.  I had the fun opportunity to meet with Lenovo to find out details about the new devices. The new Miix 2 (10 and 11 inch) premiered with a 3-in-1 detachable laptop design (laptop, stand and tablet). The popular Lenovo Yoga (my current Ultrabook) that first was updated with with the Yoga 2 Pro, now has new versions called the YOGA 2 (in 11 and 13 inch models). The Yoga 2 has my favorite selection form factors: Laptop, tablet, tent and stand modes. For those looking for a super powerful thin laptop for work and for entertainment, the Thinkpad Carbon X1 is only 2.83 pounds and 17.7MM thin with adaptive keyboard and rapid charge technology. So many choices!

 

Lenovo Miix 2

Lenovo Miix 2. Photo credit: Lenovo

 

 

The Miix 2 10 inch weighs only 1.3lbs, runs the new 64-bit enabled quad-core Intel Atom processor, up to Windows 8.1,  battery life of up to 8 hours, 720p high resolution 2 MP front and 5 MP rear cameras , full HD (1920×1200) 10-finger touchscreen display, WiFi and optional 3G, JBL surround speakers, up to 128 GB of eMMC storage along with a micro SD slot for adding up to 32 GB. The Miix 2 (11 inch) is 1.76 pounds has upgraded performance with its up to 4th generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor, greater storage up to 256GB of fast solid state drive storage and a Full HD 1920×1200 IPS wide-view display. The press release also shared that “Both models of the Silver Grey MIIX 2 make connecting, storing and moving content easy with their mini HDMI port to display content on larger screens, an SD card reader, micro USB port and micro SD cards along with USB 2.0 support on the keyboard”.

 

 

 Lenovo Yoga 2 13 inch 4 modes

Lenovo Yoga 2. Photo credit: Lenovo

 

 

At CES 2014 the Lenovo Yoga 2 (11″ and 13″ inch) was announced with the popular 4 multi-mode form factors (laptop, tablet, tent and stand modes). The Lenovo Yoga 2  (11.6 inch) is a light 2.9lbs and has HD (1366 x 768) 10 point touch display, up to 4 GB RAM, up to Windows 8.1, Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi connectivity,  battery of up to 6 hours and features up to the brand new quad- core Intel Pentium processors for snappy performance.  The larger Lenovo Yoga 2 (13.3  inch), called “workhorse”, has many of the same features with added battery life of up to 8 hours,  weighs 3.5lbs, up to 8 GB RAM, backlit AccuType keyboard, Full HD (1920×1080) display, rubber bumpers around the screen that gives more stability in tent mode and and features more processing power with up to 4th generation Intel Core i5 processor.

 

Lenovo YOGA 2 13inch

Lenovo YOGA 2. Photo credit: Lenovo

 

 

Both sizes offer 1 MP 720p camera, integrated speakers that suppport Dolby Home Theatre v4 and  lots of storage for important data, photos, music, movies and games with its up to 500 GB hard drive (the Lenovo Yoga 2 13′ also offers up to 500GB SSHD storage). The features also allow input/output flexibility with 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, Micro HDMI-out, 3-in-1 card reader. For personalization, the current colors available are orange, silver and black.

 

Lenovo YOGA 2 13inch Yoga Chef

Lenovo YOGA 2. Photo credit: Lenovo

 

YOGA 2 also has more apps that utilize YOGA Picks, Lenovo’s unique service that recommends apps based on the mode (i.e. Standing, tablet, etc). Yoga Pix software will recommend different apps depending on the mode.  App developers, such as Yoga Chef,  partnered with Lenovo to incorporate use of gestures for motions control. One example in Yoga Chef is the ability to advance pages of a recipe without getting “egg” all over the screen!  The camera software has been updated to recognize motion control which can be used to advance applications such as photo slideshows, e-books and Powerpoint slides.  Pop ups within the app can notify users that the app is motion controlled enabled.  Out of the box, the Lenovo Yoga 2 also has Yoga Photo Touch for photo editing that enables use of touch to remove objects, use skin tools and change frames. The Lenovo voice control enables users to execute simple commands such as opening an app utilitzing Nuance’s Dragon Assistant. Lenovo uses Nuance Dragon Assistant Software in Lenovo 2-in-1, tablet, Ultrabook, notebook, and AIO devices

 

The press release also shared quotes that summarized:  “With our detachable MIIX 2 and convertible YOGA 2 and Flex devices, people no longer have to choose between a laptop or tablet. Our multimode products give them the best of both laptop and tablet worlds plus even new modes that make it better and easier to interact and watch their personal digital content,” said David Roman, chief marketing officer, Lenovo. “Now the only decision they have to make is choosing which Lenovo multimode product they prefer – one that flips and folds or one that detaches.”

 

Lenovo’s elegant next generation of 2 in 1 devices open up entirely new ways for people to connect, share, work and play,” said Navin Shenoy, vice president and general manager of the Mobile Client Platform Division at Intel Corporation. “With powerful Intel processors, products like the MIIX 2 deliver the right balance of long battery life and amazing performance so people can stay productive whether they’re using it as a tablet or laptop.”

 

 

While  these next two Lenovo models may be geared towards professionals, they are also great choice for multi-tasking families that balance work and home.

 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. Photo Credit: Lenovo

 

 

The Thinkpad X1 carbon Ultrabook is currently the thinnest and lightest  14 inch around at 2.83 pounds and 17.7MM thin. The press release explained “Born from the same stock as aircrafts and racing cars, the X1 Carbon is forged from Carbon Fiber, which weighs less than magnesium and aluminum but is stronger than both“. The up to 9 hour battery life is powered up by Rapid Charge technology which provides an 80% charge in under an hour.

 

Additional features are optional built-in 4G, up to Windows 8.1 PRO, 8GB Ram, up to 512SSD, either i5 or i7 4th generation are 2 panel options (HD + 1600 x 900 and WQHD – 2560 x 1440). The adaptive keyboard is unique because it dynamically adjusts based on the software or application being used to highlight the most relevant keys as well as the advanced voice and gesture controls. To assist in taming the “cable clutter monster”, the new X1 Carbon utilizes the OneLink connector that the press release explained allows users “to get power, Gigabit Ethernet, and dual display support through a single cable via ThinkPad OneLink docking solutions. The ThinkPad OneLink Pro Dock includes multiple USB ports, audio and Ethernet connections and driver-free dual video support through DisplayPort and DVI on selected models. The integrated 90W AC adapter also provides power for the notebook, supports rapid charge and can also charge other devices such as a smartphone.”

 

The 13.3 inch Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, a multimode Ultrabook out on the market already, is light at 3.1 lbs, has up to 9 hour battery life, Windows 8.1 PRO, QHD+ (3200 x 1800) 10 point multi-touch display, up to 512 fast SSD hard drive and up to a 4th generation Intel Core i7 processors. Starting at $999, this makes the Yoga 2 Pro another great option for professionals or for families that need professional features.

 

 

The Jan. 2014*press release shared the following pricing and availability:

Pricing and Availability2 Models of the Lenovo MIIX 2 convertible laptop start at $499 for the 10-in model and $699 for the 11- in model. The 10-in model will be available beginning in March. The 11-in model will be available starting in April. They will be sold via major retailers and www.lenovo.com.  Models of the YOGA 2 13-in start at $999 and are available beginning in February at Best Buy, Best Buy Canada, Future Shop and www.lenovo.com. Models of the YOGA 2 11-in start at $529 and are available beginning in late January at Best Buy, Best Buy Canada, Future Shop, and www.lenovo.com. Models of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon start at $1299 and availability will begin late January. The OneLink Dock Pro is available now at $179.

 

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored series for Techlicious Lenovo blogger program  I received products for review as part of the program. My words are my own.

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Tame Holiday Chaos With OneNote Cookbook

The day to day adventures of a family with three boys is best described as controlled chaos. Adding the November/December holidays to the mix results in wonderful family events wrapped in noise, toys and meals best described as “feeding time at the zoo”. Trying to tame the chaos, I try to plan ahead and organize whenever possible.

 

One of the biggest challenges is the various food requirements of family and friends. I am starting down the road of plant-based Vegan diet as are several other members of my family. My three sons are happy to eat plant-based foods as long as they can have meat and fish in the mix. They especially love vegan Indian food with creamy coconut and curry sauce.  Another family member has Type 1 Diabetes so he needs to have non-starchy foods, lots of veggies, plant-based drinks like Coconut milk and protein. Other family members and friends have different food related requirements, including some with serious allergies. Everyone has found their personal balance with their diet, so I wanted to find a process to support them in their efforts. My solution is to use OneNote http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/onenote/ to organize recipes to be used for different events. I found this blog post on the OneNote blog that explains how to create a OneNote Cookbook that includes a template to get started and ideas about using different tabs for different types of food:

 

 

 

Because I already use OneNote for digital note-taking and organization, creating a holiday cookbook was both easy and efficient. I created separate tabs in my Holiday Cookbook Notebook for each of the categories required for a flexible menu: Chicken, Fish, Beef, Vegetarian, Vegan/Plant Based, Gluten Free, Nut Allergy Friendly.

 

 

 

Within each category/notebook I add “pages” of different recipes and sub-categories including “Vegan Appetizers”. All the pages have live links to the recipes online so I can check back when needed and create shopping lists. The OneNote screen clipper tool makes capturing what I want to add to my cookbook easy, especially when I am clipping from an online recipe because it brings the URL with the picture so I can click through to the recipe online.

 

I always try to have vegan dishes available for the Vegans and Vegetarians. For those who need protein I also include dishes with lean meats cooked without dairy plus a creamy cheesy dish (or at least a cheese plate) for those who love cheese! Providing a big salad, vegetable and fruit plate with hummus and olives also helps a variety of diets. Nuts are served separately to help those with a nut allergy stay safe.

 

Best of all, my husband also has OneNote on his mobile phone so we can share shopping responsibilities. Our OneNote Notebooks are synced via my cloud storage on SkyDrive, where we also store holiday photos and albums to be shared with family and friends. I can even share my OneNote Holiday Cookbook via Skydrive with family if they want to add recipes.

 

Getting organized in these ways helps gain some control over my busy holiday schedule. How do you tame your holiday chaos and manage a holiday menu to support different nutritional needs.

 

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

 

For more Holiday tech tips check out the one stop shop #MadePossible on who other people are preparing for the holidays and to show how anything is possible with Microsoft Products.

 

 

 

The Importance of A “Tech” Travel Checklist

Heading out the door to catch a plane, like many busy working moms, I stopped on the front steps and went through my mental packing checklist. Airplane tickets were in my briefcase, as was my trusty little technology bag. Arriving at the airport 45 minutes later, I discovered one of my most important travel tools was missing. I had left my AT&T Unite  plugged into its charger, forgetting to pack it in my tech bag. Public and hotel Wi-Fi can be unreliable and lack proper security. Time for Plan B.

I decided to jot down some notes and write the blog post later at the hotel. Arriving at my destination several hours later, the slow and spotty hotel Wi-Fi forced another change of plans. I quickly acknowledged that my writing, like many day-to-day tasks, depends on access to online research and I was starting to hyperventilate, thinking of missed work deadlines due to poor quality connectivity. I longed for my mobile Wi-Fi device on my desk back home, realizing just how dependent I am on that small piece of electronics and how confident I felt with it in my briefcase.

 

Now whether I am heading out to work, meetings or business trips I review my technology travel list before heading out the door. Here’s my technology travel list – what on your list?

 

TechMama Tech Travel Check List

 

1. Tech Devices: I usually bring my laptop with me on business trips but powerful tablets may change that habit. I also bring other devices such as a video or digital camera depending on the event.

 

2. Smartphone: It’s like one of the family.

 

3. Backup charger: My favorite is a universal charger that works for both my laptop and my smartphone.

 

4. Mobile WiFi: Uninterrupted work on the go requires connectivity. The AT&T Unite (powered by Netgear) not only gives me a secure network but it also has a battery life up to 10 hours, which is enough to get me through my day.

 

5.  Travel Cases:  Keeping technology like chargers, cords and memory organized is essential. I have a stash of different zip cases and travel bags with zippers to store technology within my laptop bag and stay organized on the go. One case contains power cords, another has my smartphone, mobile Wi-Fi, backup battery and digital camera.  A final small case holds my extra business cards. In my purse I also have items separated in zip cases. One case contains my lipsticks and face powder. Another case holds odds and ends like mints, pens, bandages, pain relievers and basic travel items. For trips require a large amount of technology (such as the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas), I put my devices in separate cases with their chargers and accessories. Or sometimes I put all of my technology accessories in a few cases of their own.

 

 

6.  Travel Documents: As a backup, I have paper printouts of key travel and work information I need on the business including hotel reservations, driving directions and meeting agendas.

 

7. Memory:  Even though I store my documents in the cloud, I like to bring an extra flash memory cards (if I bring a camera) and USB Flash drive. Having a second copy of my presentation on a flash drive gives the comfort that if something goes wrong I always have a backup copy. But there is something ironic about having “memory” as a step in my checklist to remember what to bring to business trips.

 

8. Power Plug: I find that many hotels do not have enough plugs to charge up my tech each night. So I travel with a plug that has three outlets and two USB slots and that plugs into one wall outlet. Of course, if I am traveling in a different country, I bring the international plug.

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received an AT&T Unite as part of my sponsorship. My words are my own.

For more information, visit att.com/Unite or connect with WiFi Family on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midnight Launch of Microsoft Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 #spon

*Sponsored giveaway. See giveaway details and disclosures at the bottom of this post. UPDATE 10/22 Winner was chosen and notified.

 

Our family desktop computer and my work laptop are all running Windows 8. I appreciate the seamless integration between the devices, including single account sign-in and one common user interface. The next step is to add a Windows 8 tablet to the mix, aiding in productivity and mobility for the entire family. Want to win your own Surface 2? Meet me at the Microsoft Store in San Francisco for the midnight launch, tonight from 10 p.m. to midnight! The details are towards the bottom of the post.

 

 

*******In preparation for my participation in the upcoming Surface2 and Surface 2 product launch event, I was sent product information. Here are some of the features that I’m most looking forward to checking out at tonight’s Microsoft Surface 2 (10pm to) Midnight Launch event (where I will be able to take my first test drive!)  You’ll learn more about the cool things happening at the event below.

 

 

PRODUCTIVITY

 

  • The Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro are great not only for parents always on the move like myself, but also to help kids stay productive in between school projects and their many activities. The Surface 2 has a Tegra 4 chip with always on and the Surface 2 Pro has 1.6GHz Core i5 Haswell processor, which is especially important for parents who need fast devices to get things done during the few free moments in their busy day.
  • The machines come with multiple storage options. The Surface 2 comes with either 32 or 64 GB of memory and the Surface 2 Pro has up to 512GB flash. Both models include a hearty 200GB storage on SkyDrive, a full-size USB and a microSD card slot for adding as much storage as your heart desires.
  • Both the Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro have out-of-the-box (pre-installed) productivity with touch optimized versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote, along with 1 year of unlimited4 free voice calling to landlines in over 60 countries and free Wi-Fi at Skype hotspots .
  • Beyond the convenience of a tablet, they also convert to a laptop form factor with a kickstand angle and  two cover options:

 

The  TOUCH Cover 2 is similar to the original Touch Cover – it acts as a both a keyboard and screen protector. It now features backlighting and is thinner and lighter than the previous model, measuring only 2.75mm. The magnetic cover easily snaps on and is pressure-responsive so you won’t accidentally type while it’s closed.

 

The TYPE Cover 2 , now also with backlighting, is similar to a regular keyboard where you get to feel the keys work. It has a QWERTY keyboard, a full row of Function keys (F1-F12), shortcut keys, media controls, and trackpad. It’s also more rigid, offering a better experience when you’re using the Surface 2 in your lap.

 

 

  • The Power Cover  (coming out soon) will also be new for the Surface 2. It will offer a similar experience as the Type Cover while extending the Surface 2’s battery life up to 70% and the Surface 2 Pro’s up to 50%. If you’re constantly in action, this one is a great choice!

 

BATTERY LIFE

 

  • The Surface 2 has up to a 10 hour battery life and is ultra thin and light (less than 1.5 pounds and just 8.9 mm thick.) Ten hours of battery life will get me through my day, even though the days of work and kid management can seem endless (but fun!)

 

DOCKING STATION:

 

  • If you’re looking to replace your laptop, try using the Surface 2 Pro in conjunction with the new Docking Station. It can literally transform your mobile experience to desktop, connecting to an external monitor while charging both the tablet and a cell phone. You can also run an external hard drive while making a Skype call on a USB headset.

 

 

ENTERTAINMENT:

 

  • Surface 2 offers a full entertainment experience including a widescreen Full 10.6″ 1080P ClearType HD touch display (Resolution: 1366 x768) providing a large view of your TV shows and movies. The audio has stereo speakers and microphone, as well as sensors (including Accelerometer, Gyroscope and Magnetometer) that will bring gaming to life with interactivity that my kids (and I) enjoy.
  • With the Surface Music Kit you can even mix your own music. My teen son has always wanted to DJ for either his friends or at school events. The music kit will allow him to mix his own music and share it using the Microsoft Surface. For more information, check out the #RemixProject website.

  

 

GIVEAWAY & LAUNCH EVENT DETAILS!

 

If you live near San Francisco, JOIN ME TONIGHT from 10 p.m. to Midnight for the launch of Microsoft Surface 2 & Surface Pro. You can win a gift card for a Surface 2 of your own! Here is the link to the event page: http://bit.ly/SFsurface.

 

 

Event details:

  • There will be a DJ, food and beverages and giveaways (hats, tees, gift cards, etc.) throughout the night
  • Microsoft Store will also be hosting a series of challenges for a chance to win a trip to the Orlando Store opening tomorrow morning, complete with a live performance and VIP meet-and-greet with Pitbull.
  • Three-time Super Bowl Champion Roger Craig will also be in attendance to meet and mingle with fans. He’ll be giving out autographed photos to the first 150 guests at the event!

 

Win your own Surface 2! In addition to the activations sponsored by the Store, you can also win a $550 gift card for a Surface 2 of your own from me! It’s easy to win, just answer the question: “How can you do more with Surface?” between 10 p.m. and midnight PT tonight!

 

Everything happens via social media, so you must do these two things in order for your entries to count:

 

 

I’ll be selecting the winner tomorrow and notify them via DM. Check out the complete rules here .

 

 

DISCLOSURE: This is a sponsored post and giveaway. All of my words are my own.

 

 

 

 

Sponsored: Top Ten Times My AT&T Unite Mobile WiFi Has Saved The Day!

Little did I know that when I was asked to do a campaign with AT&T Unite powered by Netgear, it would save the day in so many ways. Here are my top saves:

 

 

10. AT HOTEL: When I needed to drive 2 hours (each way) to drop my son off at a 2 day school event then pick him up each night, I could stay over night at an hotel 5 minutes away instead of driving back. Because I had my AT&T Unite (private mobile WiFi) with me, I did not need use hotel WiFi to get my work done during the day.  In my experience, hotel WiFi can be at times unreliable and not always secure.

 

 

 

9. HAIRDRESSER TIME CAN BE PRODUCTIVE: Instead of looking at beauty magazines at the hairdresser (that always seem to be nagging me to get in shape or buy new clothes), I rather spend my time being productive on my laptop. My salon does not have WiFi, but luckily I have my AT&T Unite to help me stay productive.

 

8. WHILE WAITING FOR KIDS AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES TO END: I find myself either waiting in the back of my car, on a bench or in a waiting area many times during the week. Having my AT&T Unite and my laptop gives me the ability to turn waiting time into work time.

 

7. ENTERTAINMENT ON THE GO: When I am traveling on business or with my family for leisure, I have the confidence that during downtime when my kids have their daily allocated “screen time”, we can always stream entertainment on multiple devices using our mobile WiFi.

 

6. DOCTOR OR DENTIST APPOINTMENTS: I have turn my time in doctor or dentist waiting rooms to be productive or watch a show time.

 

5. PRESENTATIONS: As a consultant that meets with clients in different locations, there are times that I require internet access for presentations. Using my AT&T Unite has been a great reliable mobile WiFi source.  No matter what client I am meeting with, I don’t ever need fuss with different WiFi passwords at their locations, that can also be unreliable.

 

4. AT CAFES: There are times where I take my laptop to a cafe. Beyond fighting for a table near electric plugs, in Silicon Valley the biggest fight is for public WiFi. It seems that everyone else from the Cafe also has some device they are using the cafe WiFi for. This not only slows the WiFi down, but I also never feel quite secure. Now I happily use my private AT&T Unite as my WiFi – so I always have internet access when I need it.

 

3. ACCESS TO THE CLOUD AT SCHOOL: My son likes to type his notes and assignments at school (when applicable) instead of write. There are times when he asks to bring the AT&T Unite with him to school (such as during a big assignments) so he does not have to depend only on his school WiFi to store his documents to do research online.

 

2. CONFERENCE CALLS AT HOME – BUT SITTING OUTSIDE THE HOUSE: As many parents know, there are those days where there seem to be 100 kids over (ok – just five  10 year old boys).  There are times where I need to take a conference call that requires me to also either look online or video chat – and I need to be close to my boys outside. Instead of worrying about extenders that reach every part of our front or back yard, I can bring my AT&T Unite and laptop with me – to conference call while watching that the Styrofoam sword fight stays “pretend”..

 

1. MY SON USES IT TO IMPRESS THE GIRLS: It seems that beyond the normal things girls look for in a teen boy, having shareable mobile WiFi seems to be high on the list these days. A coolness factor I that I would of never guessed.

 

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received an AT&T Unite as part of my sponsorship. My words are my own.

 For more information, visit att.com/Unite or connect with WiFi Family powered by Netgear.

 

 

 

Sponsored: Three Wireless Products to Capture Ideas on the Go – V.me by Visa Innovator Series

I have always been uncomfortable entering my credit card information into multiple sites when I shop online. I prefer using an online payment service that securely stores my information in one place. This is why I am excited to partner with Visa to try out their new online payment service, V.me by Visa. Together with other bloggers I am highlighting innovation by sharing my curated product bundles available on http://vi.sa/14HRfxo that inspire innovation. For my bundle in the V.me by Visa Innovator Series, I chose to highlight wireless products that allow families and individuals to access information no matter where they are. As a working mom, having information at my fingertips allows me to be productive while on the move. Check out my feature: http://vi.sa/14HRfxo

 

New ideas for family management, new work projects and even birthday gifts come to me at different times of the day and different places, and mobile devices help turn these ideas into plans. I suggest three wireless products to keep innovation flowing no matter where you are:

 

 

To wirelessly print from any location:  The HP Envy 120 Color / All-In-One Color Printer has a sleek design, is quiet, can print, copy, scan, and access the web, has a USB port optimized to power smartphones and can scan and send straight to your email account. With the HP ePrint – I can print from anywhere by sending documents to my printer’s unique email address. This means I can develop my ideas on the road, send them to my printer, and have them waiting for me when I come home.

 

To wirelessly stream your music: I believe that every big or small innovator can benefit from listening to music. When I am working on projects or our kids are doing their homework we stream music to put us in the mood to create new ideas. To enable mobile music streaming, I am going to use the i.Sound GoSync Portable Stereo Bluetooth V2.0 Bluetooth Receiver. The iSound GoSync can wirelessly broadcast music from smartphones, tablets, MP3 players, computers and more to your home or car stereo, control playlists, includes a built-in rechargeable li-ion battery, remembers up to 6 devices and has a 33 foot wireless range.

 

 

Wireless accessories:  When I am working on my laptop I like to carry a wireless mouse with me for comfort and ergonomics. I am also inspired by artistic design. The Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 Artist Cheuk 4 is not only comfortable but has original artwork on it created by  Deanne Cheuk, a New York-based art director, illustrator and artist.

 

What wireless products do you need when creativity strikes?

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received $500 from Visa to buy my products on Newegg.com and used its V.me online payment service (available on the Newegg checkout). All of my words are my own.

 

How is some information on how the V.me by Visa online payment system:

 

1. Sign up for V.me by Visa at https://www.v.me/ to store one or more of payment cards (including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards ) and shipping addresses in your V.me account. A default card can be set or changed as needed.

2. At participating websites there will be a checkout with V.me by Visa button. This button enables paying at the online checkout by signing in with the V.me by Visa account (email address and password), confirming payment details and then clicking pay.

3. Payment information is stored behind multiple layers of security. Customized email or text message alerts can provide notification about purchase activity.

 

 

 

 

Moto X – New Phone That Listens To You Even If Your Kids Won’t

Over the next few weeks I will be covering new phones that I think offer great features for busy parents. The first is the new Moto X by Motorola.  I was invited by Guy Kawasaki to a media event at Google a few weeks ago to learn about the Moto X.  Guy is one of my favorite social media role models, so when he gets excited about a product – I want to learn more!  He started with a few opening remarks followed a presentation by Rick Osterloh, the SVP of Product at Motorola Mobility. I must admit, I had arrived on the Google campus curious how Motorola could differentiate a new smart phone from the really good Android phones already available. Well, the presentation helped me appreciate some new features that are perfect for busy parents (and everyone else!).

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

The unique features of the Moto X  were discussed during the media event. Listed below are some of the key points.  I will update my blog when I have a chance to spend more time using the phone.


Touchless Control: The Moto X responds to your voice (there is a 3 step training process) and is always on listening mode. To engage the controls, you just need to say “OK, Google Now” (for example “Google Now, navigate to 1234 Smith Drive, Mountain View CA”). Even when the screen is off, the phone is still in listening mode. The architecture of the phone allows it to be in listening mode without draining the battery.

 

 

Quick Capture: With the Moto X, it only takes a few seconds to take a picture.  With two twists of your wrist when holding the phone, the phone goes right into one-hand operation camera mode. Then press anywhere on the screen to take photo or video. The quick shutter speed is perfect for catching kids on the move. During the demo, the pictures appeared very clear on the phone’s screen.

 

 

Active Display: A feature called “Active Notifications” allows you to turn the phone over and see texts, calls and other content on the screen without going into the specific app. Another convenience is that you can listen to recent calls on your desktop using the Chrome Extension.

 

 

Hands Free Authentication:  Devices that are authenticated can be connected to your phone without typing in a password.

 

 

Fits in your hand: Motorola did studies to find a form factor that fits nicely in your hand.

 

 

Assembled in the US: Always great to bring more jobs to the USA.

 

 

Custom Colors: Here are details from the Motorola press releaseThrough our online studio, Moto Maker, you choose the colors, and decide on the details: front, back, accents, memory, wallpapers, even add a name or a short message. When you’re done, we assemble your Moto X right here in the USA and ship it to you for free in 4 days or less (*Subject to parts availability).” I am happy that the colors include my favorite TechMama Turquoise (well that is the name I call it at least)..

 

Lots of Accessories: I was trying to take quick notes during the media event, but there is an extensive list of accessories available from brands including: Belkin, Sol Republic, Speck, Incipio, Lifeproof, Otterbox, Casemate, Griffin, Powersupport, M4DE, So-earphones & deck bluetooth,  JAX headhpones and speakers….

 

Price/Timing: Check carriers for specific pricing, but the Motorola press release stated price of $199 for the Moto X with a 2 year contract. Moto X will be available in the US, Canada and Latin America starting in late August/early September.

 

For detailed specifications, check out the Moto X website.

 

I did have a chance to play around with the phone for a while (and so did my social media buddy Kimberley Clayton Blaine).

 

 

 

 

I’ll be posting additional information on the Moto X after a trial run with the phone. I’m excited by the opportunity to have a smartphone that actually listens to me. Maybe my kids will take notice and follow the phone’s example, responding obediently to the verbal command, “OK Kids Now”. What do you think?

 

Disclosure: This was a media event.

 

 

 

Sponsored: Safe Mobile WiFi For Families – AT&T Unite

Public WiFi is like good piece of cake. It’s hard to resist but has inherent danger (to your privacy, not your diet). As someone with computer security experience I am concerned that many public WiFi spots have inadequate security, making their use risky. I was never quite relaxed using coffee shop or library WiFi, always concerned a talented hacker could steal my data or worse, infect my computer with a virus. Even scarier is that hotel scammers are out there creating FAKE WiFi accounts to steal personal information.

 

While the option exists to install additional security software or use a Virtual Private Network, I wanted to have my own wireless broadband. Using my phone as a hot spot would exceed the contract’s data limit, so I need a different option. So, when the team behind the AT&T Unite (powered by Netgear) asked me to partner with them to share information about the product, I was very excited to have my mobile WiFi issues SOLVED! The AT&T Unite is a secure mobile hotspot that provides fast 4G LTE (where available) Internet access for up to 10 devices.

 

 

The AT&T Unite :

  • Weighs only 4.2 ounces and has 2.4-inch touchscreen to monitor each connected device and shows battery life, signal strength, data usage, and more
  • connect up to ten Wi-Fi enabled devices to wireless Internet.
  • Has the ability to *block/unblock* specific WiFi devices from the Unite (which as a parent of a teen is a great option if needed!).
  • 4G LTE network (where available)
  • Up to ten hours without charging the battery.
  • No software to install
  • In the box: Unite mobile hotspot, rechargeable lithium ion battery, wall charger, USB cable, quick start guide, pre-installed SIM.

 

Many families use tablets, laptops, e-Readers and other devices requiring mobile internet access. The AT&T Unite enables families to have consistent and reliable mobile internet connection without the worry of finding public WiFi hot spots. For me, a mobile hotspot helps me get work done when ever I have a free moment, even sitting on a park bench waiting for baseball practice to end. In a business setting, a mobile hotspot get’s me online without concern for the slow response at hotels and conferences. I always have access to my own fast internet connection!

 

  • The AT&T Unite is also easy to use. Here are the easy steps (from the documentation) that I followed to get up and running quickly:
    Press and hold the Unite power button (appx. 4 sec)
  • Once Unite is powered on with homescreen visible, open the network manager on your tablet or laptop.
  • Select Unite-XXXX from the list of available networks. Enter the password shown on your Unite homescreen.
  • NOTE: After first connection, your tablet or laptop will remember the connection information and automatically connect to the Unite network in the future.

 

The AT&T Unite is also budget friendly. Currently for only $0.99 (yes 99 cents) with a 2 year contract and only $20 month on a mobile data share plans. Individual DataConnect plans are $50 a month for 5GB. Using a Data Usage Calculator, the information stated what 5GB “could” accomplish in a month (all of these together add up to 5GB):

 

  • 8,000 emails (25% with attachment)
  • 150 hours web surfing
  • 500 social posts with photo
  • 4 hours HD video streaming
  • 100 song downloads

 

Now that I am have my mobile hotspot I will be able to make better use of my time outside the house. Follow me over the next few months as I share my adventures with the AT&T Unite.

 

For more information, visit att.com/Unite or connect with WiFi Family powered by Netgear.

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received an AT&T Unite as part of my sponsorship. My words are my own.