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HP Touchsmart

GEAR, tech By October 10, 2011 Tags: , , , No Comments

So I got this amazing all-in-one computer dropped to my door for a test.  And usually?  Tests are kind of hard.  Sure – it’s great to see the new technology, but it’s real work to do a good review of something, and we don’t usually get compensated for tests.

I told the kids that it was ‘theirs’ for the summer at my office, and I was hoping to get work done as they played… Cha-ching.  The nanny money saved was so worth the test!!  And the kids learned!  Starfall.com and the touchable-apps built into the HP technology were lifesavers, and by September my oldest knew his alphabet. Cold.  The youngest doesn’t quite get the ‘mouse’ concept, and when he realized he could simply touch the screen and select, move and slide?  He was so proud, and learned so much faster.

I needed to participate in a webcast discussion for a client, but was with the kids.  Expecting to use my iPad, I sat down for lunch and used colouring books to occupy the monkeys.  In the end?  I couldn’t get flash on the iPad, so I ran to the office and did everything on the HP Touchsmart.  Impressive.  The screen is huge and the picture was perfect.  We spent many a day watching movies on the screen as I worked as well.  The cd rom drive (upgradable to Blu Ray) is built right into the unit, and the speakers were amazing.

The screen is so huge!  My husband (an English Soccer/football fan) came to the office and watched Sir Alex Ferguson speak on his upcoming match against Chelsea.  We clicked the full screen version and my hubby (who has a 50 inch at home) .. (TV) was very impressed with the resolution.  The base is even removable in case you want to use it on a wall mount.  The other great part?  The screen tilts from 5 degrees forward to 50 degrees back.  Amazing for a low kids’ table, or a home office.

In the end?  They learned.  They played.  I got work done, and.. I was able to do stuff on this machine that I couldn’t on my existing technology.  Nice.

www.hp.com

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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surprising benefits of video games

Surprising Benefits of Video Games

GEAR, tech By September 15, 2011 Tags: , , , No Comments

I am a cool mom, but I’m not a mom who likes video games. In fact, I really dislike them. I hate seeing my kids (or anyone’s kids) blipping away in front of a game when the sun is shining outside or there’s homework or chores to be done. However, I am married to a gamer and I birthed four of them (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…), so I’m trying to keep cool about things, as long as it’s in moderation. I did some research, and there are some surprising benefits of playing video games. Here are some of them:

  1. It gives kids a safe place to socially interact. If they play a MMO or MMORPG (if you’re a gamer you’ll know the term…), they must interact with people in their various quests and missions. As long as you take some basic precautions and make sure they’re interacting with safe people, this is not bad. Psychologists say that it’s healthy for them to have a virtual life, one where they feel empowered and aren’t as socially awkward as in “real life.”
  2. It improves hand-eye coordination and reaction time. Although you may disapprove of violence, games that involve shooting, pointing, aiming, etc., can actually improve someone’s hand-eye coordination and their response and reaction times. The US military and others have begun integrating these kinds of programs in their training, but it hails all the way back to flight simulators and wargames.
  3. They can get some exercise. Yes, this is a recent development, but the Nintendo Wii, Xbox Kinect and other physical interaction games promote better health. There are games that make kids dance, play golf and tennis, etc., which is a very healthy development.
  4. It encourages competition in a healthy way. Gamers get to strut their stuff on the screen in a myriad of ways; they get to pit themselves against imaginary and real opponents in a platform that doesn’t discriminate against the non-athletic kid or the one with the physical disability. They get to set goals and achieve them, besting their own scores and breaking their own records.
  5. They get to decompress. School is tough: dealing with academic, social, and other pressures during the day can be stressful. Games provide an outlet to vent frustration, pent-up energy and emotion, and simply “decompress”.
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Our (Unsponsored) Back to School Picks

apps, books, GEAR, tech By August 29, 2011 Tags: , , , , 4 Comments

Now that it’s almost September we will succumb to the inevitible.  Admitting the summer is over is hard, but we have thick fall fashion mags to thumb and wool sweaters to cuddle in.  So here are our back to school picks – both practical and not very.

Kids:
1.  The Labels.  We like the funky designs from Emily Press.
2.  The Playdate cards from Minted.
3.  The Cool graphic T. from  Mini Mioche.
4.  The Fab Hat.  ChillMonkeys is the place.
5.  The Recycled Newspaper Pencils from Lavish and Lime.
6.  The Funky Backpack from Raspberry Kids.
7. The ID Bracelet from Vital IDs.
8. The Personalized Retro Lunchbox from Name your Design.
9.  The Reflective Vest from Ikea.
10.  The Custom Binder from Zazzle.

Moms:
1.  The Car Organizer from Leaps and Bounds.
2. The Mad Men collection from Banana Republic.
3.  The Home Meal Delivery Service from Luscious Living.
4. The planner – chalkboard, calendar, white board.  Whatever floats your boat (or your family at least).  We like the printables from Mommy Tracked.
5.  Reusable fridge stickies for artwork.
6.  The Emergency Contact Form.  And while you’re at it – check the kiddo’s passport expiry dates, make sure immunizations are up-to-date, and think seriously about investing in Nexus cards if you travel.
7. The cereal dispenser from the Container Store.
8. The Mophie Juice Pack Boost for when your texting lasts longer than your battery.
9.  The Missoni Collection from Target – we really like the rubber boots and the bike.  Available Sept. 13th
10.  The box of Greeting cards for the whole year from Crane.

– JA

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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The Best and Coolest Kid CDs

apps, GEAR, tech By August 10, 2011 Tags: , , , 1 Comment

Kids love music, just like we do. Childhood is when we begin forming our musical sensibilities and preferences, and it’s also when we learn like sponges. So, choose your Kid CDs wisely: select music that is smart and fun, and try something different every now and then, since variety is the spice of life! After all, how many times and ways can “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” be done? Here are some of the best, funnest, most popular and smartest Kid CDs out there.

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Best Gadgets for Mom

GEAR, tech, toys By August 10, 2011 Tags: , , , , No Comments

I love gadgets, but I admit that they’re intimidating sometimes. The purpose of a great gadget is to be easy to use and to make your life simpler and more streamlined. Modern mums have to be tech-friendly to a certain degree, especially hip mums like us, right? Besides the essentials (smartphone or PDA, iPod/MP3 player, laptop or tablet computer), check out these mom-centric gadgets that will make your life a lot easier…plus they’re a lot of fun!

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Cell Phones in the Car

auto, GEAR, tech By February 4, 2010 Tags: , , , , , , , , No Comments

Driving while talking or texting on a cell phone is now illegal in many Canadian provinces.  If you a) haven’t figured out your Bluetooth (or never remember to charge the batteries), or b) can’t seem to get off the phone in the car, we’ll give you a few options.  Urbanmommies spoke with Corporal Dale Somerville of the RCMP, who verified a few points for us as stated in section 214.1 of the Motor Vehicle Act.   Holding and talking on a mobile device while driving will now cost you $167.  Texting or emailing while holding a mobile device will cost you $167, plus 2 points off of your license.  Hands-free devices are allowed provided you only touch one button on the earpiece in order to answer or dial.  Ouch.  For busy moms who are used to returning calls in the car… what do you do?

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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