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gadgets

Logitech Big Bang

GEAR, tech By January 20, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

Logitech Big BangMy normal week always consists of boats, rainstorms, kids sneaking off with (and dropping) my ipad to watch Stampylongnose, and a pair of eyeglasses getting scratched from being wedged into a huge purse. While coats can get wet and glasses can easily be replaced, it’s not always as economical to replace the sacred ipad Air. She is my new baby. And yes, she might have a name. I carry an android phone, an ipod touch, an iphone and an ipad. Two out of four of these things have cracked screens, all have overheated in the sun and three have been dropped in the snow during ski trips.

Logitech Big Bang

Logitech must know me well because one day I opened a package and it was the new Logitech Big Bang case for ipad air. In one of the most clever PR packages I have yet received, it came with marbles, a bath mitt and toy keys for a toddler. Double take! They were daring me to put the case to the test. And my kids and I obliged.

1. I left it on the deck of a catamaran during a downpour.

2. My kids knocked it off the kitchen counter.

3. We went to the beach and dropped it in the sand.

4. In my purse, keys scratch sunglasses and poke holes in the gorgeous leather wallet, but the ipad is fine. I am happy to report that my ipad is still perfect, and the case isn’t ever coming off. I wish Logitech could make a sunglass case..

Disclosure: UrbanMommies was provided a Big Bang case for testing purposes.

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My Summer Tech Timeout

LIVE, rest By June 18, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , 2 Comments

Summer Tech Timeout“Beep.  Ding! Ring!!”  Twitter is chirping, the kids just finished a dance-off with the Wii and my facebook feed is buzzing on the Blackberry. As summer approaches, Canadians have a growing social concern about the impact that digital devices and technology are having on family togetherness. Remember those long cottage days as kids when we spent hours playing Battleship, catching fireflies and beating the parents at Monopoly? (I think they let me).

I want my kids to have memories of their childhood that don’t involve Minecraft and exploding pigs.  So I have agreed to take the “Summer Tech Timout Challenge by life insurance provider, Foresters”.  It offers a call to action to experience scheduled time together without devices for one hour a day for a week this summer.  But I want to go much further.  My family will do the challenge for 8 weeks in July and August, and during one summer week, we will completely stash the tech.  No computers, mobile phones, ipod touches or ipads.  <Insert heart palpitations here.>

The interesting conundrum for me is that of all four members of my family, it’s me that will have the hardest time.  Granted, my business requires that I be constantly ‘plugged in’, but I admit that it’s hard to turn off and take a break.  Even when I’m globetrotting I buy roaming plans for the tech.  But not this summer.  I will unplug for a full week.  Read books.  Garden.  (Without instagramming the flowers – the horror!)  It actually makes me doubt my abilities as a mother that I have concern about being without technology.  And I am a very good mother.  But it is interesting.

Ironically, I don’t think the kids will mind at all – either the hour a day for 2 months or the full week without tech.  Our lifestyle ensures that we have at least an hour a day to bond and play with one another already, which is why I’m stepping it up a bit.  The difficult part will be for my husband and I – there is no ‘copping out’ as a parent by turning on the TV or letting them play even educational games on the ipad.  He will absolutely have a hard time without sports on TV.  But I know we will hit a field to play the sports ourselves.

The only thing I don’t think we will include (besides the telephone for emergencies and communication) is music.  We often have family dance parties and chats while listening to music, and I feel that it enhances our experiences with nature and each other.  So…. Bets on!  Who thinks we can do it?  (Me especially!!)

This post was generously sponsored by life insurance provider Foresters, but the opinions and images are my own. For more information, visit www.techtimeout.com

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Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium

GEAR, tech By April 4, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , 4 Comments

Office 365Meeting with the Microsoft Office 365 team, I got the feeling that I was their perfect target market.  I run the household, use many different brands of technology and need a better and more efficient way to do it all.  They spoke of Canadian families’ frustrations about not being able to use programs across different platforms and how frustrating it is when calendars can’t sync, or numbers and financial data aren’t easily accessible.  We are a new generation – multitasking and managing life from multiple locations.   We manage caregivers, aging parents and our kids.  We have great communication with teens with the advent of texting.  Grandparents are on Facebook and Skype, and people learn better nglish with the help of autocorrect.  (sometimes!!)  We need to be productive and connected between all different devices at home and in the office, on PC and Mac.

With the new Office 365, Microsoft has solved a ton of issues for families and I am pretty impressed.

The rundown:

* Includes the latest and most complete set of Office applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access
* One license for the entire household to use Office on up to five devices
* An additional 20 GB of SkyDrive cloud storage, three times the amount available with a free SkyDrive account
* 60 free Skype world calling minutes per month to call mobiles, landlines or PCs around the world
* Future upgrades, so you always use the latest time-saving technology
* Automatic save to SkyDrive, so your documents — and even your personal settings — are always available from virtually anywhere and on your favorite devices
* As you will have a microsoft acct, you get 60 mins/mth of skype long distance free
* At CA$99.00 for an annual subscription, Office 365 Home Premium costs the equivalent of CA$8.25 per month.

And I can use it on my new Galaxy too!  We’re giving away a one-year subscription to Office 365 Home Premium.  Simply use the rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also found on All Canada Contests and ContestHound

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back to school

The Back to School Shopping Guide

GEAR, style, tech By August 20, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 5 Comments

We all know that the end of August brings an obsession with things ‘wooly’ and the exciting task of acquiring school supplies and clothing for the kids.  Parents scour busy stores overflowing with pencils in order to outfit their children for back to school.  Not to worry!  The back to school shopping guide features lots of stylish goodies that can be found online.  In hopes you used a bit of the summer to de-clutter and inventory what you already have, you can fill the holes in your kids’ back to school shopping list with a few of our picks.  We’ve shopped around to find the best supplies, gadgets and funky fashions for your little collegiates.

Back to School Supplies

1.  The Spencer Stainless Steel Bento Box Container: Crafted of stainless steel with a spacious bottom compartment, an interior tray for separating snacks and a snug plastic lid, this is sure to be a winner.  Just make sure you check our our healthy snack ideas when you fill it!  $59   Available at www.potterybarnkids.com

2. Text Bands.  Now kids only have to bump fists in order to pass notes.  The text bands allow the message to appear on a friend’s wrist with a light bump.  You can type up to 10 characters and each band can hold up to 24 messages at once. (Turning the band off will delete all messages).  Now that’s a heck of an improvement from note passing.  Hallmark.com

3.  ABC Sigg Water Bottles are BPA and phthalate free. You can recyclable them at the end of their lifetime, and the nonporous interior lining in the bottles ensures that it remains taste and odor neutral.  Know what that means?  You can put grape juice in it (or something stronger for Mom) on the weekend and send it to school with milk on Monday. www.mysigg.com

4.  Fun, Fictional Flash Drives –  From The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Looney Tunes to skateboard USBs, students can transport files with their favourite characters.  Unfortunately, they do not come with your very own Princess Leah hologram.  You’ll have to hit the rides at Disneyland for that. www.staples.ca

5.  The Madbox from Land’s End is the coolest lunchbox we’ve seen in a while.  Five kids from Madison, WI set out to build a better lunchbox and Land’s End liked their idea so much – they produced it!  It comes with an adjustable ice pack that focuses the cold to the food that needs to stay cold and leaves room temperature food alone.  No more soggy crackers.  www.landsend.com

6.  Who doesn’t love labels?   Mabels Labels has a cool new Tween pack that is sure to delight your kids.  They’ve also got a rock-sold back-to-school pack and even preschool shoe labels.  www.mabelslabels.com

7.  New for the fall, the Native ‘Jimmy’.  From the makes of our favourite summer show comes the Jimmy, just in time for fall.  These durable and funky boots will look great with this season’s signature trench for kids.  www.shop.nativeshoes.com

8.  The Lunchkin reusable sandwich bag.  In Hermes orange, or course.  Wait.  That’s for me.  Well, if you want uber-cute, they’re available in crabs, sailboats, soccer balls and school apples too.  And they’re great for the environment.  And cool.  Need we say more?  www.raspberrykids.com

9.  Any flower-lover would eat every bite out out of this adorable PVC-free grab-and-go lunch purse.  But be careful.  Unless you snag a couple you may have a fight on your hands, as we guarantee you’ll want one too!  I think I may grab one and use it for a funky back tie clutch…  www.lavishandlime.com

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