Archive for the ‘
Apps ’ Category
Friday, May 17th, 2013
What if your thermometer could tell you what illnesses were going around in addition to taking your temperature? What if you could forecast the illnesses in your community to know the likelihood of your family getting sick ahead of time and be able to take preventative measures to stay well? A new smart thermometer and app being developed by Kinsa works to leverage the power, display, processing, and connectivity of your phone to create a real time map of human health to forecast the health of your community.
As parents, we know that one of the first devices we reach for in order to determine the health of our child is a thermometer since fever is an early sign of many illnesses. Kinsa’s Smart Thermometer works to collect your child’s temperature that is displayed by being plugged into your smartphone. At the same time, this data is being synched through the Kinsa App that uses GPS technology to track the health situation your community through a map displayed through your smartphone.
Called “health weather,” this map allows users to monitor the health of their community to know which illnesses are circulating. Parents can see if the flu, strep, or other illnesses are prevalent in their immediate area shared by others using the Kinsa Smart Thermometer and app. Even though you can’t tell who has what illness thanks to anonymous data, you can tell if there is an outbreak in your area and take preventative measures to keep your family healthy. Kinsa calls their goal of distributing 10 million Smart Thermometers over the next few years “aggressive” but is excited about creating the “world’s first living map of human health.”
While the Kinsa Smart Thermometer and App is still in development with plans to launch later this summer, it’s an innovative idea that leverages technology in a new way to keep families healthy and paves the way for other smart products.
Sick kid with high fever laying in bed and mother taking temperature via Shutterstock
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Thursday, May 9th, 2013
Before our daughter was born, I had the best intentions to create a beautiful photo album documenting her infancy but sadly, that album has sat in a box for the past nine years as the photos have lived on my computer in digital form. I have no shortage of digital photos documenting my kids’ lives but like many parents, I’m strapped for time and honestly, just not really great at taking my digital photos and sharing them on a regular basis. I know I’m not alone in my challenge and thankfully, there are apps and services that allow busy parents just like me with ways to do something with our digital photos quickly and easily.
Shoot and Share with Story by Disney
This week Disney released Story for iOS, a free iOS app that allows individuals to use the photos that are taken with their iPhone to create photo albums that can be immediately shared. Easy for kids and parents alike, Story is a powerful tool that allows families to share favorite moments in real time with loved ones quickly and easily from the palm of your hand. Photos from your iDevice are pulled directly into Story and compiled into albums. Edit, remove, add a 75 character caption, or adjust the layout from two stacked horizontal photos or two verticals side by side with the tap of a finger.
When you’re done with your Story, share it via email or social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest or embed it into a blog post. Want a more customized Story? Tap on the Story icon with the plus in the upper right corner to create a custom Story using any one of the 5 different themes with photos from the camera’s library and captions as text or take a photo or video right from your phone to incorporate directly from the screen.
Create a Blurb book out of your Instagrams
Chronic Instagrammers who share their favorite photos socially can create a book of their images using Blurb. Blurb boasts one of the most impressive arrays of photo books that are available in a variety of sizes. A square Instagram book that measure 7”x7” starts at under $20 for 60 pages and is the perfect way to showcase Instagram photos in an album format. If you’re more of a Facebook photo sharer, Blurb also offers Facebook Photo Books in the same size beginning at $12.99 for 20 pages.
Hang your Instagrams on your wall
Art worthy images captured in Instagram can be turned into canvas prints thanks to Snapbox with a single email. The service provides darling sized canvas prints that look great solo or grouped together on a mantle or hung as a collection on a wall and start at $10.
Man’s hand making photo of a little girl with a mobile phone via Shutterstock
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Thursday, April 18th, 2013
While we celebrate Earth Day on April 22, there’s never a bad time to start teaching kids about the environment. Young conservations can learn to care for the planet through interactive apps, educational programming on television and DVDs, and age appropriate websites. This guide featuring age appropriate suggestions for toddlers through teens is designed to provide engaging activities for everyon as they learn more about taking care of our planet.
Toddlers and Preschoolers
- Curious George Swings into Spring— From spring fever to spring cleaning, from a canoe ride to a hot air balloon journey, George and his friends get viewers ready to explore the outdoors this Earth Day in a one hour special airing on PBS stations on Monday, April 22. Curious George lovers who want to learn on the go will be interested in knowing that a new online game focusing on natural science concepts such as plant growth and butterfly metamorphosis will launch later this month.
- The Lorax— This interactive storybook app for iOS devices aims to create confident young readers thanks to three different ways that kids can interact with the well known Dr. Seuss classic. Children can choose to have the app auto play the story of The Lorax, have it read to them, or read it themselves as they work to build their reading skills. Words can be highlighted as they are read to help build sight word recognition in young children and kids can interact with the text and pictures with a tap.
- Sid the Science Kid— Through games, video, and printables, toddlers and preschoolers are exposed to a single scientific concept in a fun way. One of the themes is backyard science that encourages curious children to explore the homes of animals such as ants, birds, and squirrels that live outside their door since they serve as the building blocks for entomology, geology, and botany. PBS aligns available web content in order to allow them to learn more in parallel with available television programming.
Early Elementary Ages
- He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands —This DVD begins with a rendition of the American spiritual, “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands” and features a guide for parents and kids with tips on how to be green. Positive messages about diversity and beauty of the world are conveyed through stories like Jane Yolen’s “Owl Moon” that is about a magical, night-time walk through the snowy woods in search of the Great Horned Owl, “Come On, Rain!” an ode to a good, soaking, and the appreciative Thanksgiving address, “Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message.” With environmental issues top of mind, this DVD is perfect for a new generation of eco-conscious kids ages 5 and up.
- Ranger Rick Jr. Appventures: Lions — This story app lets young ones Explore, Create, and Play their way through incredible animal adventures as kids join Ricky Raccoon and his friend, Lars the Lion, on a trip to the African grasslands. Kids discover how lions spend their days, raise their young, and much more through interactive photo stories, engaging games and creative play activities centered around a specific animal.
- Wild Kratts— Brothers Chris and Martin Kratt combine science education with adventure as they teach kids about amazing wild animals through their adventures that feature live action and animation. Early elementary ages are exposed to scientific concepts that are relevant to the animals explored in the 30 minute episode.
- Ranger Rick’s Treehouse — This virtual tree house is packed with clickable animal stories, comic adventures, multi-level games, videos, nature activities and wildlife mysteries around every corner. Children have the incentive to learn by earning badges when the show what they’ve learned!
- National Wildlife Foundation Activity Finder— If you’re tired of hearing the words “I’m bored” from your tween, put them in charge of their learning by having them research nearby activities that will be fun for the family. From geocaching, hikes, and so much more, the Activity Finder suggests a plethora of activities that help families connect with nature.
- DisneyNature Chimpanzee— Families will enjoy sitting down to meet Oscar, a three year old chimpanzee who is orphaned and raised by another chimp through a visually stunning nature documentary filmed in Africa. Children get an inside look at the life of chimpanzees, relationship between those within the community, and their struggle for survival.
Boy embracing globe of world via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, March 20th, 2013
1099s, receipts, bank statements, tax deductions, and medical spending are just some of the documents that a family needs to pull together come tax time. The sheer amount of paper can be overwhelming but free online tools that have accompanying apps can assist with tracking expenses, storing copies of important documents safely, and capturing expenditures so you can throw away receipts.
Tax season doesn’t have to be daunting if you are good about keeping track of expenses throughout the year. Streamline your taxes by going paperless with these six helpful tools, which can be accessed through apps for your iPhone, iPad, or Android device and also on the Web.
Mint— If you’re a family that struggles with budgeting or likes to account for every penny spent, Mint helps pull together your bank accounts so you can view all of your financial information at the same time. Take a look at balances and transactions on the web or on your smartphone to get a big picture view of your family’s finances.
Expensify— Technically designed to assist with expense reports, Expensify can also be used to organize a freelancer or consultant’s business expenses and helps eliminate endless receipts. Start by logging into the website to create an account and then download the mobile app to use Expensify to capture and upload receipts. Use your smartphone’s camera feature to take a picture of your receipt, fill in information such as expenditure category, add some notes, and save it in a report that can be viewed online at a later date.
Slice— Slice works with your email inbox to pull information from your e-receipts and organize them all in a single, easy-to-access record of past purchases. Slice keeps a record of online purchases through e-receipts so it can instantly assist you in finding lost or forgotten deductions and receipts such as textbooks, small business expenses, and travel. Slice presents purchases in an easy-to-browse list and stores your receipts so you can print them out or take a screenshot for your records. It also allows you to download and export purchase data to a .csv file.
Freshbooks— Small business owners or consultants who need to keep track of invoices and payments will appreciate the ease of Freshbooks. This cloud accounting service makes billing painless thanks to an easy to use interface. Freshbooks helps business owners create professional invoices and then send, receive, print, and pay them too. For added convenience, Freshbooks integrates with Expensify.
Evernote— If you’re in need of an organized, paperless tax process for your personal finance documents, Evernote can help. Scan and save documents such as receipts and financial statements, save logins for online accounts, or store contact info for tax professionals and accountants you work with. All information can be organized in a notebook or with a tag before sharing it with your spouse or partner if filing jointly.
Master Lock Vault— With so many online accounts and apps to help reduce the paper associated with tax season, it’s easy to forget each site’s login credentials. Master Lock Vault is a free service that works online through your desktop computer and a mobile app as a way to store and organize important information. It securely stores logins and passwords but also digital copies of your passport, social security card and other confidential data such as debit or PIN card numbers or online credit card account log-in information.
Closeup woman’s hand writing messages on business desk via Shutterstock
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accounting, Expensify, free, FreshBooks, invoicing, Mint, online tools, receipts, tax preparation | Categories:
Apps, Must Read, Tech Savvy Parents, Website
Saturday, March 16th, 2013
With spring break and Easter rapidly approaching, give your iPad a seasonal makeover with some affordable Easter-themed apps that will appeal to your toddler and preschooler without breaking the budget. These 5 apps provide diverse learning opportunities are are guaranteed to capture their interest but along with great game play, some of them also provide perfect opportunities to begin the discussion about social sharing and the pitfalls of in-app purchases at a very young age.
Practice hand-eye coordination
Preschoolers will have to be fast to spot adorable white rabbits and tap them as soon as they stick their heads out of holes. Bunny Bop (free) is like the Whack-a-Mole of the rabbit set where the goal is to bop the bunnies as fast as you can before they steal a carrot. Kids will love the independent play and competing against themselves as they try to increase their score with each game.
Decorate a virtual egg
Kids anxious to get decorating will love creating a virtual egg using the PAAS Heinz Egg Decorator site or iPad app (free). Start by selecting from 10 different egg dye colors, use the slider to watch as you adjust the color from lighter to brighter, and then choose tools like a paint brush, chalk, glitter glue, and assorted stickers to adorn the egg. Make a mistake? No problem! One of the tools is an eraser that can easily clean up any decorating mishaps. It’s also very easy to decorate all sides of your egg thanks to the rotate and tilt feature. Click on the arrows to spin the egg in the direction you want and hit the stop sign to make it stop. Grab your favorite tool and start the egg spinning to decorate all sides.
Read an eBook
Happy Easter, Little Critter ($.99 at time of press) supports early literacy for young readers with a familiar character. Words in the story are highlighted as they are read, providing kids with a chance to build up their site word vocabulary. Individual words and pictures can be tapped to help children make the association between pictures and the written word. The record feature also helps motivate beginning readers to read the story out loud for the reward of hearing their voices played back as often as they want. Another fun element is the hidden egg feature. 100 are hid throughout the story, providing the challenge of finding more with each reading of the story.
Work on problem solving and spatial abilities with puzzles
Puzzle Me!! Easter Free (free) is an iPad app that features 4 different levels of puzzles including 6 piece puzzles that are great for toddlers and ones with more pieces for older brothers and sisters. If a child is using the family’s iPad or a parent’s phone to play, there is the option to share success via Facebook so this provides a great opportunity to discuss social sharing with kids even at a young age.
Practice visual discrimination
Easter Find the Difference (free) provides kids and adults alike the opportunity to practice visual discrimination as they spot the differences between the two pictures presented side by side. Two different levels makes this game great for toddlers through adults as each will race the clock to find the differences that are randomized with each game. There are two different scenes that are free but do be aware that additional ones are available as in-app purchases so talk to your children about what to do when the pop up appears since additional levels will be charged to your iTunes account.
Beautifully decorated Easter eggs via Shutterstock
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