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Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category


The new connected appliances from Whirlpool.

It’s been more than a month since I returned from Las Vegas and the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show. And while many a techno geek is still probably fantasizing about the cool new super thin, super crisp TV’s (and the booth babes who displayed them), I can’t get my mind off something else.  Though I am loathe to admit it, the (not even so) new crop of smart appliances are haunting my dreams.

Part of it is my own, sorry set of appliances, none of which are manufactured by companies that even exist anymore.  My 15 year old refrigerator, by the so under the radar you’d think is was defunct Amana, is starting to go both physically (falling shelves), and functionally (everything in the fruit and veggie drawers freezes!).  My Stove is by Magic Chef, a company that doesn’t even manufacture stoves anymore.  It no longer heats up all that well – so many’s the time I’ve called everyone in for dinner only to find out the chicken was still a bright, bloody pink!

So imagine how I felt, looking at the beautiful new Whirlpool White Ice appliances.  Sleek. Beautiful.  Presumably NOT freezing everything and properly cooking everything.  Just seeing them got me thinking that Stainless Appliance are just so…aughts.  Plus, some Whirlpool® Appliances have 6th Sense Live, which let you manage your refrigerator temperature, lock your dishwasher control console or know when your cycle is done. They can even help you save on energy costs, just by tracking usage.

The gas range in the collection offers super-fast pre-heating (mine takes forever), a big giant window to see what’s cooking without disturbing temperature (not that I need that option, since my current oven is never at the proper temperature anyway), and a built in convection option, for even faster cooking and better browning (I got nothing.).

(more…)

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Yes, it’s true. I am a Windows Phone geek.  the HTC Windows Phone 8X is my all -time favorite.  I love that operating system.

I love an operating system. How weird and geeky and sad.

But geekdom has it’s benefits:  HTC recently sent me its new Droid DNA to review, and while it doesn’t turn me away from my Windows Phone obsession, it does tempt me.  And that’s saying a lot. (more…)

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Comes in tons of cool colors, too.

Comes in tons of cool colors, too.

I love my HTC Windows Phone 8X.  Only it’s not mine.  It’s a loaner, given (lent) to me by HTC so I could review it.

Only I don’t want to give it back. Really, I don’t.

It’s no surprise that I love Windows Phone.  I love it so much that even though the only model Sprint carried with the operating system was the super heavy, super clunky HTC Arrive, I still paid my own actual money to get one.

I never liked that phone.  The camera was eh, the thing weighed at least 150 pounds, but the OS?  That Windows 7 sleek, intuitive, easy to use interface?  The real Word Docs, the Excel spreadsheets, the syncing between my Sky Drive and my phone.  That part I loved.

And then it broke. I mean really , really, broke. And guess what?  Sprint no longer carries Windows Phones. (or HTC phones for that matter….really?) So I was faced with a dilemma.  Do I switch to a non-windows phone, or switch to another carrier?  Since my contract with Sprint isn’t up until forever, switching will cost me $350. And since I’ve been with Sprint for forever, we have a pretty good deal.  So I was stuck.

And yet I still couldn’t bring myself to get an Android or (ugh) iOS devise.

Enter HTC, with an offer for a one-month loaner of their Windows Phone 8x.  Surely in a month, I’d figure out how to deal with my Sprint/No Windows Phones/No way out of my contract dilemma in a month.

Evidently not.

Instead, what’s happened is, I’ve fallen madly in love with my super sleek, super slim, super light, fabulously camera-ed, beats audio-ed Windows phone.  And I don’t want to give it back.

Ever.

Why do I love it? (more…)

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We’ve all done it.  Signed in to the WiFi at Starbucks, at the bookstore, even in public parks.  We want our online access, and we don’t want to give up our minutes to get it.

But  there is a risk.  And every time you sign onto a public WiFi network you take it.  Here’s how the FTC describes it:

“If you use an unsecured network to log in to an unencrypted site – or a site that uses encryption only on the sign-in page – other users on the network can see what you see and what you send. They could hijack your session and log in as you. New hacking tools – available for free online – make this easy, even for users with limited technical know-how. Your personal information, private documents, contacts, family photos, and even your login credentials could be up for grabs.”

Yikes.  I don’t even want to think about that happening. Some lunatic spamming my friends is the least of it. So what can you do to protect your information? Here are a few tips – adapted from the FTC website: (more…)

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app splash Drum roll please!!!

Today we are officially announcing the launch of the KidzVuz app, the only video submission app designed especially for tweens.

I’m beyond excited.  Why?  So glad you asked! (more…)

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Western Digital TV Live HD

Western Digital TV Live HD (Photo credit: Tolbxela)

Oh, the life of a blogger — you have to go to press junkets where Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway answer your questions.  You’re forced to check out hip salons like Blow (thanks MomTrends) where they absolutely make you get your hair done, fix your makeup, and serve you cocktails. And you have to be connected while you do it.

What’s a blogger to do?

Get some tech, of course.

Several months ago, just as my home network was starting to fizzle, I was lucky enough to get a WD My Net N900 wireless router at an event sponsored by Techlicious.  What does that mean in non-tech speak?  It means I got a pretty awesome wireless hub for my home network.  It’s faster than my old (Apple) router, and setting it up was easy even for me.  And when I did hit a snag – while the online help is less than spectacular – the human help was superb.  Seriously.  I kept getting bumped off the network – something to do with having two different portals – who knows?  They talked me through it right away.  And then they called me back the next day to see how everything was going.  Wow.  It was like when you get a tooth pulled and the dentist calls to check on you the next day.  Only not painful.

One of the super cool things about the router (you know you’re a geek when you type the words “super cool” and “router” in such close proximity) was a feature called FasTrack.  Fastrack can tell one kind of streaming from another, and it knows which one to prioritize.  In other words, if one computer on your network is checking emails now and then, or being used as an ebook, and another is streaming a movie — FasTrack knows that the computer streaming the movie needs more oomph (I think that’s the technical term), and gives that signal priority.

That means waaaaay less buffering.

Which is good and bad, because now my son, the streaming king, doesn’t get frustrated, give up, and go read a book.  His Netflix just streams like it’s nothing.

Damn you technology!

I also got a WD TV Live – which brings Netflix, facebook, Hulu, YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, VuDu and more to your TV.  Yep.  Any TV.  And it set up like nothing.  Seriously.  I can even make it tap into my shared network (tip – you have to enable sharing on the computer side of things too) and watch my bazillions of photo stream by on my TV screen like nothing.  Awesome at family events.  Seriously. (Because face it, no one but your family wants to see all of your pictures.)  I think it’s supposed to be able to play videos on my network, too — but so far, I haven’t been able to figure that one out.

For less than $100, it’s a pretty amazing little gizmo.  And I do mean little.  It’s about the size of a lunch plate…if you have square lunch plates, that is.

The final piece of my WD  Suite is perhaps the least technically exciting, but the one that I like the best: My Book Live.  It’s your own personal cloud. The thing holds up to 3 terabytes (I didn’t even know there was such a thing) of videos, movies, music, etc. and let’s you access it all from anywhere.  Just like “the cloud,’ only this cloud sits in your own home.  At first, I thought it would take the place of Carbonite — backing up all of my data.  But then I thought – if the cloud is in my home, and home gets damaged or robbed, I’ll lose everything.  So I still have to have offsite back-up, but with My Book Live, I can also have everything I want in a not “where the hell is the cloud anyway” kind of place.

There’s something reassuring about that.

The Best part is, all three items work in sync – I store the movies and pictures I have on The My Book Live, I play them on the WD Live TV, and it’s all made possible by the MY Net N900.

Not bad for a non-techie tech person.

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