Technology for Moms http://www.tech4mommies.com Everyone can be a tech expert Wed, 23 Apr 2014 00:31:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9 Label Printers are Alive and Kicking http://www.tech4mommies.com/2014/04/7488/ http://www.tech4mommies.com/2014/04/7488/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 22:00:42 +0000 http://www.tech4mommies.com/?p=7488 Epson Label Printer CollageDo you know how far label printer technology has come since my high school days when I used them for printing facetious name tags for myself and my coworkers at the movie theater? A long way. That thing was prehistoric compared to what Epson is producing now. When Epson offered to let me have one of their new models for free, I would have been much more pumped if I had known this. Okay, besides a fun toy to use when bored at work, what might you possibly want a label printer for? Does everybody need one? No, not everyone needs one. If you are more into piling than labeling and don’t see any mood swings in the forecast, you probably wouldn’t get much use out of it. I am, however, a labeler. I like to keep all my files, physical and digital alike, labeled and organized. Everything needs to have a designated place. And I pride myself on being techie, but when it comes to printing labels on a regular printer, I avoid it at all costs. I usually—gasp!—write labels by hand. With Sharpies. But if you want to make a quick, durable, and professional looking label, the label printer is the way to go. Epson Safety Kit Label Printer As the name indicates, it is intended for labeling your safety and emergency supplies so they are easier to locate in the dark (like in the case of a real live emergency and there isn’t any electricity). This is doable because they have glow in the dark and reflective tape that you print the safety labels on. The printer is capable of doing all sorts of symbols and little pictures, different fonts, and font styles (outline, bold, drop shadow, italics). So it’s got the skills for much more than labeling your emergency supplies. Mostly I used it to label my recipes. Not food recipes, mind you. When I do a refinishing project I mix chemicals, stains, paints, clear coat…you name it. Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember what cans contain mixes, and which ones are what the can says. And when I need to whip up another batch of stain-lacquer, how do I remember what I put in it the first time so that I can match it’s qualities exactly? Problem solved. Just label the can with the recipe it contains. My labeling didn’t end there. I also used it to label boxes so that we won’t have to go through every single box in the storage closet to find the Christmas tree ornaments this year. Now we’ll even know exactly which box has Halloween stuff. Then I used the labeler in my kitchen. In a visible area! I admit, I was just searching for more stuff to label just so I could keep using the label printer. It has such a smooth design, and it’s almost silent! And yes, I have Splenda instead of sugar. There are other label printer options available as well. You can create iron on labels (to label your clothes, or even create designs). There’s one that prints on ribbons, and another that is specifically designed to label cords and cables, which is awesome when you have a bundle of cords as thick as your thigh behind your entertainment center, and all you need is to find the Xbox HDMI cable. Bottom line: If you like to keep organized and appreciate durable, professional looking labels, you would do well with the Epson Safety Kit Label Printer, or one of the others.

Author information

Cecilia Harvey
Cecilia Harvey
I'm a technological enthusiast with a completely unrelated degree in English Literature. I've also been known to dabble in photography and DIY furniture refinishing, with occasional stints of fitness sprinkled among all of the above.
]]>
Epson Label Printer Collage

Epson Label Printer Collage Do you know how far label printer technology has come since my high school days when I used them for printing facetious name tags for myself and my coworkers at the movie theater? A long way. That thing was prehistoric compared to what Epson is producing now. When Epson offered to let me have one of their new models for free, I would have been much more pumped if I had known this.

Okay, besides a fun toy to use when bored at work, what might you possibly want a label printer for? Does everybody need one? No, not everyone needs one. If you are more into piling than labeling and don’t see any mood swings in the forecast, you probably wouldn’t get much use out of it. I am, however, a labeler. I like to keep all my files, physical and digital alike, labeled and organized. Everything needs to have a designated place.

And I pride myself on being techie, but when it comes to printing labels on a regular printer, I avoid it at all costs. I usually—gasp!—write labels by hand. With Sharpies. But if you want to make a quick, durable, and professional looking label, the label printer is the way to go.

Epson Safety Kit Label Printer

As the name indicates, it is intended for labeling your safety and emergency supplies so they are easier to locate in the dark (like in the case of a real live emergency and there isn’t any electricity). This is doable because they have glow in the dark and reflective tape that you print the safety labels on. The printer is capable of doing all sorts of symbols and little pictures, different fonts, and font styles (outline, bold, drop shadow, italics). So it’s got the skills for much more than labeling your emergency supplies. Mostly I used it to label my recipes. Not food recipes, mind you. Epson Label Printer in the Garage 2 When I do a refinishing project I mix chemicals, stains, paints, clear coat…you name it. Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember what cans contain mixes, and which ones are what the can says. And when I need to whip up another batch of stain-lacquer, how do I remember what I put in it the first time so that I can match it’s qualities exactly? Problem solved. Just label the can with the recipe it contains.

My labeling didn’t end there. I also used it to label boxes so that we won’t have to go through every single box in the storage closet to find the Christmas tree ornaments this year. Now we’ll even know exactly which box has Halloween stuff. Epson Label Printer in the Kitchen Then I used the labeler in my kitchen. In a visible area! I admit, I was just searching for more stuff to label just so I could keep using the label printer. It has such a smooth design, and it’s almost silent! And yes, I have Splenda instead of sugar.

There are other label printer options available as well. You can create iron on labels (to label your clothes, or even create designs). There’s one that prints on ribbons, and another that is specifically designed to label cords and cables, which is awesome when you have a bundle of cords as thick as your thigh behind your entertainment center, and all you need is to find the Xbox HDMI cable. Bottom line: If you like to keep organized and appreciate durable, professional looking labels, you would do well with the Epson Safety Kit Label Printer, or one of the others.

Author information

Cecilia Harvey
Cecilia Harvey
I'm a technological enthusiast with a completely unrelated degree in English Literature. I've also been known to dabble in photography and DIY furniture refinishing, with occasional stints of fitness sprinkled among all of the above.
]]>
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There Is a Solution to Ugly Flash http://www.tech4mommies.com/2014/04/there-is-a-solution-to-ugly-flash2/ http://www.tech4mommies.com/2014/04/there-is-a-solution-to-ugly-flash2/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 22:00:19 +0000 http://www.tech4mommies.com/?p=7481 Regular Flash with sharp shadows and dark background, and Lightscoop Deluxe photo with soft shadows and bright bakgroundThe Lightscoop deluxe. What in the world is that, you ask? It’s a little gadget that minimizes the symptoms of ugly flash. Taking photos indoors is a necessary evil, and unless you are next to a big window, or in a professional studio with an expensive lighting kit all set and ready to go, you’ve probably noticed the problems that flash photography causes. I’m talking about washed out subjects, dark background, odd color casts and the like. I have a mini battle inside me every time I take a picture indoors. If I don’t use my flash—adjusting the ISO, exposure, and shutter speed instead—it often ends with grainy, or blurry, but well lit photos. Which is worse? Flash or no flash? I was sitting in a workshop when the featured photographer mentioned the Lightscoop. Say what now? There’s a fix for ugly flash? My mind was effectively blown. So I set to work trying to get my hands on one, so I could solve my own flash problems. So, being a somewhat impatient person, I went and bought myself the Lightscoop Original. The good news is that after contacting the Lightscoop company, telling them I wanted to test their product, they sent me the Lightscoop Deluxe for free. I’ve had them for a couple months now, and I must say I’ve been pretty pleased. I take lots of photos of products for reviews I do for this site, lots of gorgeous tech. Regular flash puts a glare on the beautiful screens I’m trying to capture, and casts deep shadows from the product as well. It’s no good. How does it help? The Lightscoop is just a little mirror that you attach to your DSLR pop-up flash. It reflects the flash onto the wall you have it pointed at, which then bounces to the ceiling, and other walls in the general vicinity. All this light bouncing around fills the space with light instead of having the equivalent of a flood light pointed at your subject and stopping there. Lighttscoop works like a super compact fill flash, keeping your subject free of glares, minimizing shadows and lighting up the background. It’s kind of miraculous. There are some limitations though. You have to be within three to four feet of a wall you can bounce the flash off of, and it doesn’t work well in rooms with vaulted ceilings (see the above example). The light needs something semi close to bounce off of. This is where the Deluxe exceeds the capabilities of the Original. The original is always pointed directly behind you, whereas the Deluxe can swivel, enabling you to aim it at different walls for maximum efficiency. And I will admit, there is a little bit of scientific method involved in learning the best way to point your Lightscoop for the best effects. With all that said, I really like the Lighscoop Deluxe. It makes my photo editing so much easier. *all of the above images are straight out of my camera, and with the exception of adding text to the photos, they have not been post processed or doctored at all.  

Author information

Cecilia Harvey
Cecilia Harvey
I'm a technological enthusiast with a completely unrelated degree in English Literature. I've also been known to dabble in photography and DIY furniture refinishing, with occasional stints of fitness sprinkled among all of the above.
]]>
Regular Flash with sharp shadows and dark background, and Lightscoop Deluxe photo with soft shadows and bright bakground

Regular Flash with sharp shadows and dark background, and Lightscoop  Deluxe photo with soft shadows and bright bakground

The Lightscoop deluxe. What in the world is that, you ask? It’s a little gadget that minimizes the symptoms of ugly flash. Taking photos indoors is a necessary evil, and unless you are next to a big window, or in a professional studio with an expensive lighting kit all set and ready to go, you’ve probably noticed the problems that flash photography causes.

I’m talking about washed out subjects, dark background, odd color casts and the like. I have a mini battle inside me every time I take a picture indoors. If I don’t use my flash—adjusting the ISO, exposure, and shutter speed instead—it often ends with grainy, or blurry, but well lit photos. Which is worse? Flash or no flash?

I was sitting in a workshop when the featured photographer mentioned the Lightscoop. Say what now? There’s a fix for ugly flash? My mind was effectively blown. So I set to work trying to get my hands on one, so I could solve my own flash problems.

So, being a somewhat impatient person, I went and bought myself the Lightscoop Original. The good news is that after contacting the Lightscoop company, telling them I wanted to test their product, they sent me the Lightscoop Deluxe for free. I’ve had them for a couple months now, and I must say I’ve been pretty pleased. I take lots of photos of products for reviews I do for this site, lots of gorgeous tech. Regular flash puts a glare on the beautiful screens I’m trying to capture, and casts deep shadows from the product as well. It’s no good.

Lightscoop Deluxe

How does it help? The Lightscoop is just a little mirror that you attach to your DSLR pop-up flash. It reflects the flash onto the wall you have it pointed at, which then bounces to the ceiling, and other walls in the general vicinity. All this light bouncing around fills the space with light instead of having the equivalent of a flood light pointed at your subject and stopping there. Lighttscoop works like a super compact fill flash, keeping your subject free of glares, minimizing shadows and lighting up the background. It’s kind of miraculous.

Lightscoop Original

There are some limitations though. You have to be within three to four feet of a wall you can bounce the flash off of, and it doesn’t work well in rooms with vaulted ceilings (see the above example). The light needs something semi close to bounce off of. This is where the Deluxe exceeds the capabilities of the Original. The original is always pointed directly behind you, whereas the Deluxe can swivel, enabling you to aim it at different walls for maximum efficiency. And I will admit, there is a little bit of scientific method involved in learning the best way to point your Lightscoop for the best effects.

With all that said, I really like the Lighscoop Deluxe. It makes my photo editing so much easier.

*all of the above images are straight out of my camera, and with the exception of adding text to the photos, they have not been post processed or doctored at all.

 

Author information

Cecilia Harvey
Cecilia Harvey
I'm a technological enthusiast with a completely unrelated degree in English Literature. I've also been known to dabble in photography and DIY furniture refinishing, with occasional stints of fitness sprinkled among all of the above.
]]>
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How To Fake Depth of Field with Photoshop Elements http://www.tech4mommies.com/2014/04/how-to-fake-depth-of-field-with-photoshop-elements/ http://www.tech4mommies.com/2014/04/how-to-fake-depth-of-field-with-photoshop-elements/#comments Mon, 07 Apr 2014 22:00:35 +0000 http://www.tech4mommies.com/?p=7464 How to Fake Depth of Field with Photoshop Elements 12When the Depth of Field effect is useful: Your photography subject looks great, but the background is a little distracting. Or you just want to make your subject pop. Or you adore the low aperture look, where the foreground and the background are blurry, but your subject is focused just right—except your camera isn’t capable of manually changing aperture, manually focusing, you don’t know how to change either, or you just didn’t have time to do it before you took the shot. Never fear, the Depth of Field effect is here, which will allow you to take your photo from this, to this. For starters you have Photoshop Elements 12 opened up, along with the photo you would like to process. Go to Guided mode and on the right side panel choose Depth of Field Once you’re there, you have the option for simple or custom. If you choose the simple option, it will blur the entire photo and you will add focus back in, in a radial form from the line you draw. Easy peasy. But if you want a little more say in what stays in focus and what gets blurred, you choose custom. That’s what we’ll be doing. Step 1: Select Quick Selection Tool button. Step 2: Click on Tool Options on the bottom of the screen to adjust your tool. Step 3: Select the area you would like to keep in focus by dragging the selection tool around the photo. Tip: Make sure the little (+) appears in the center of the tool to make sure you are adding the selection. If the (-) appears in the center of the tool, that means you are subtracting from the selection. This selection mode is adjusted by choosing one of the three options found in the Tool Options section at the bottom. You can also adjust the size of the tool with the Tool Options slider bar, or the [ ] keys. Step 4: When you accidentally select something that you want blurred, go to tool options and click on Subtract. Then subtract the area you mistakenly included until it is all removed from your selected portion. Step 5: Click Blur button. Step 6: Adjust the amount of blur with the slider below until you are satisfied. Step 7: Click Done   Voila! You have a faux low aperture shot!

Author information

Cecilia Harvey
Cecilia Harvey
I'm a technological enthusiast with a completely unrelated degree in English Literature. I've also been known to dabble in photography and DIY furniture refinishing, with occasional stints of fitness sprinkled among all of the above.
]]>
How to Fake Depth of Field with Photoshop Elements 12

When the Depth of Field effect is useful:

Your photography subject looks great, but the background is a little distracting.

Or you just want to make your subject pop.

Or you adore the low aperture look, where the foreground and the background are blurry, but your subject is focused just right—except your camera isn’t capable of manually changing aperture, manually focusing, you don’t know how to change either, or you just didn’t have time to do it before you took the shot.

Before and After Depth of Field Effect PSE 12

Never fear, the Depth of Field effect is here, which will allow you to take your photo from this, to this.

guided mode depth of field PSE 12

For starters you have Photoshop Elements 12 opened up, along with the photo you would like to process. Go to Guided mode and on the right side panel choose Depth of Field

2 simple depth of field effect PSE 12

Once you’re there, you have the option for simple or custom. If you choose the simple option, it will blur the entire photo and you will add focus back in, in a radial form from the line you draw. Easy peasy. But if you want a little more say in what stays in focus and what gets blurred, you choose custom. That’s what we’ll be doing.

3 selection tool depth of field effect PSE 12

Step 1: Select Quick Selection Tool button.

Step 2: Click on Tool Options on the bottom of the screen to adjust your tool.

Step 3: Select the area you would like to keep in focus by dragging the selection tool around the photo.

4 selection tool options PSE 12

Tip: Make sure the little (+) appears in the center of the tool to make sure you are adding the selection. If the (-) appears in the center of the tool, that means you are subtracting from the selection. This selection mode is adjusted by choosing one of the three options found in the Tool Options section at the bottom. You can also adjust the size of the tool with the Tool Options slider bar, or the [ ] keys.

Step 4: When you accidentally select something that you want blurred, go to tool options and click on Subtract. Then subtract the area you mistakenly included until it is all removed from your selected portion.

5 blur tool depth of field effect PSE 12

Step 5: Click Blur button.

Step 6: Adjust the amount of blur with the slider below until you are satisfied.

Step 7: Click Done

 Depth of Field effect Adobe Photoshop Elements 12

Voila! You have a faux low aperture shot!

Author information

Cecilia Harvey
Cecilia Harvey
I'm a technological enthusiast with a completely unrelated degree in English Literature. I've also been known to dabble in photography and DIY furniture refinishing, with occasional stints of fitness sprinkled among all of the above.
]]>
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New Strain of the Green Dot Card Scam Hits Facebook http://www.tech4mommies.com/2014/04/new-strain-of-the-green-dot-card-scam-hits-facebook/ http://www.tech4mommies.com/2014/04/new-strain-of-the-green-dot-card-scam-hits-facebook/#comments Fri, 04 Apr 2014 22:00:06 +0000 http://www.tech4mommies.com/?p=7434 workhome (2)Old scam with a face-lift. They trick you into buying a prepaid card, then into giving them the card’s serial number so that they can drain the card and keep your cash. And they don’t even have to meet you. Lately, scammers have been targeting Publishers Clearing House as their front to squeeze money out of the unsuspecting. Publishers Clearing House even wrote a blog post about it cautioning their followers back in the beginning of January. Here’s a link. Someone close to me is a big time Publishers Clearing House fan. She even refers to it by the acronym PCH, which, I believe, illustrates her fandom more than anything. I’ll do the same here, but mostly because I don’t want to type out Publishers Clearing House. She’s been subscribing to PCH mail lists, email lists, and Facebook page for years. In fact, when there was a mail mix up, and the post office delivered some of her PCH stuff to our house by mistake, we made a bad judgment call and threw it away, thinking it was junk mail and we were doing her a favor. We only made that mistake once. Yesterday she got a Facebook friend request from Danielle Lam–of PCH fame (the lady that knocks on your door and hands over the big check…). Of course she accepted. Then Danielle Lam started messaging her. I was going to include a transcription of the conversation they had, but it has been deleted, along with Danielle Lam’s Facebook account (the fake Danielle Lam account, not the real one). The only evidence left of this whole scam is my friend’s side of that conversation. The gyst of the scam is: YOU WON THE GRAND PRIZE! All you have to do is confirm the prize by going to Walmart and buying a Green Dot Card and loading it with money (in this case they were going for $300). After buying the card you need to GIVE PCH the card serial number along with your cell phone number. QUICK, you must hurry! PCH is on its way to your house at this very moment with your giant cardboard check in hand, and you won’t be eligible for your prize if you don’t give them this information before they get there! Also, due to confidentiality and whatnot, you CANNOT TELL anyone that you’ve won, or why you are buying the Green Dot Card, or you will forfeit your prize. If the cashier asks you why you are buying the card, tell them it’s to help a family member. Why it’s was so sneaky: First of all, this is just one of the many ways scammers can use prepaid cards to scam you. The prepaid card, this time it’s the Green Dot Card, is a legit thing that can be bought at retailers like Walmart and CVS. It serves a real purpose for people who don’t have a bank account, or for people who want to give money to a friend or family member for whatever reason. So, the scammers use legitimate cards, with legitimate retailers to make their scam more plausible. Then they use a legitimate business as their front, Publishers Clearing House. All the scammers had to do was create a fake account under the name of a well-known public figure, or business (and use a picture off of Google for the Profile) to look like the real thing.  I’m sure this is only the latest incarnation of the scam. In reality, they could pose as any number of businesses. The next frightening thing is that they targeted my friend specifically because she had recently liked or commented on something on the real PCH Facebook page. They troll the real company page to see who likes them and then they already have a foot in the door with that person. And then there’s the tricky bit about forfeiting their winnings if they breach confidentiality. How can you tell it’s a scam? In general I think that the public would be wary as soon as they were told to go buy a prepaid card and give the third party access to it. Problem is, not many people are familiar with them. Had you ever heard of the Green Dot Card before this post? So they don’t understand what they are doing. Pay $300 to get a $100k grand prize? Sure no problem. First, if they are they asking for money to confirm winnings, complete the transaction, or submit the application (this scam has also been used on people applying for government grants), that’s not normal. Big fat red flag right there. Second, the whole cloak and dagger bit is another red flag. Hello, you must lie to anybody who questions why you are giving us money. Does that sound shady at all to you? It should. Third, you must do what we say, right this very second. Um guess what? They just want to get your money before they get reported, and Facebook shuts down their page. And because they don’t want to give you time to Google it, or second guess why paying them a few hundred dollars could possibly be necessary in order to claim your winnings. Fourth, try googling Green Dot Card Publishers Clearing House Scam (Or whatever keywords fit the current strain of the scam they’re pulling). Those results will stop you, if nothing else did. Fifth, put the Name of the person that they are alleging to be in the Facebook search bar. Do several options for the same person come up? Is this the one that has the most followers? Hope this helps keep you on top, so no fraudsters can pull one over on you.  

Author information

Cecilia Harvey
Cecilia Harvey
I'm a technological enthusiast with a completely unrelated degree in English Literature. I've also been known to dabble in photography and DIY furniture refinishing, with occasional stints of fitness sprinkled among all of the above.
]]>
workhome (2)

money

Old scam with a face-lift. They trick you into buying a prepaid card, then into giving them the card’s serial number so that they can drain the card and keep your cash. And they don’t even have to meet you.

Lately, scammers have been targeting Publishers Clearing House as their front to squeeze money out of the unsuspecting. Publishers Clearing House even wrote a blog post about it cautioning their followers back in the beginning of January. Here’s a link.

Someone close to me is a big time Publishers Clearing House fan. She even refers to it by the acronym PCH, which, I believe, illustrates her fandom more than anything. I’ll do the same here, but mostly because I don’t want to type out Publishers Clearing House.

She’s been subscribing to PCH mail lists, email lists, and Facebook page for years. In fact, when there was a mail mix up, and the post office delivered some of her PCH stuff to our house by mistake, we made a bad judgment call and threw it away, thinking it was junk mail and we were doing her a favor.

We only made that mistake once.

Yesterday she got a Facebook friend request from Danielle Lam–of PCH fame (the lady that knocks on your door and hands over the big check…). Of course she accepted. Then Danielle Lam started messaging her.

I was going to include a transcription of the conversation they had, but it has been deleted, along with Danielle Lam’s Facebook account (the fake Danielle Lam account, not the real one). The only evidence left of this whole scam is my friend’s side of that conversation.

The gyst of the scam is:

workhome (2)

YOU WON THE GRAND PRIZE! All you have to do is confirm the prize by going to Walmart and buying a Green Dot Card and loading it with money (in this case they were going for $300). After buying the card you need to GIVE PCH the card serial number along with your cell phone number.

QUICK, you must hurry! PCH is on its way to your house at this very moment with your giant cardboard check in hand, and you won’t be eligible for your prize if you don’t give them this information before they get there!

Also, due to confidentiality and whatnot, you CANNOT TELL anyone that you’ve won, or why you are buying the Green Dot Card, or you will forfeit your prize. If the cashier asks you why you are buying the card, tell them it’s to help a family member.

Why it’s was so sneaky:

First of all, this is just one of the many ways scammers can use prepaid cards to scam you.

The prepaid card, this time it’s the Green Dot Card, is a legit thing that can be bought at retailers like Walmart and CVS. It serves a real purpose for people who don’t have a bank account, or for people who want to give money to a friend or family member for whatever reason.

So, the scammers use legitimate cards, with legitimate retailers to make their scam more plausible.

Then they use a legitimate business as their front, Publishers Clearing House. All the scammers had to do was create a fake account under the name of a well-known public figure, or business (and use a picture off of Google for the Profile) to look like the real thing.  I’m sure this is only the latest incarnation of the scam. In reality, they could pose as any number of businesses.

The next frightening thing is that they targeted my friend specifically because she had recently liked or commented on something on the real PCH Facebook page. They troll the real company page to see who likes them and then they already have a foot in the door with that person.

And then there’s the tricky bit about forfeiting their winnings if they breach confidentiality.

How can you tell it’s a scam?

In general I think that the public would be wary as soon as they were told to go buy a prepaid card and give the third party access to it. Problem is, not many people are familiar with them. Had you ever heard of the Green Dot Card before this post? So they don’t understand what they are doing. Pay $300 to get a $100k grand prize? Sure no problem.

First, if they are they asking for money to confirm winnings, complete the transaction, or submit the application (this scam has also been used on people applying for government grants), that’s not normal. Big fat red flag right there.

Second, the whole cloak and dagger bit is another red flag. Hello, you must lie to anybody who questions why you are giving us money. Does that sound shady at all to you? It should.

Third, you must do what we say, right this very second. Um guess what? They just want to get your money before they get reported, and Facebook shuts down their page. And because they don’t want to give you time to Google it, or second guess why paying them a few hundred dollars could possibly be necessary in order to claim your winnings.

green dot card scam publisher's clearing house

Fourth, try googling Green Dot Card Publishers Clearing House Scam (Or whatever keywords fit the current strain of the scam they’re pulling). Those results will stop you, if nothing else did.

Fifth, put the Name of the person that they are alleging to be in the Facebook search bar. Do several options for the same person come up? Is this the one that has the most followers?

Hope this helps keep you on top, so no fraudsters can pull one over on you.

 

Author information

Cecilia Harvey
Cecilia Harvey
I'm a technological enthusiast with a completely unrelated degree in English Literature. I've also been known to dabble in photography and DIY furniture refinishing, with occasional stints of fitness sprinkled among all of the above.
]]>
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Five Boards to Follow to Inspire Kid’s Talents http://www.tech4mommies.com/2014/04/five-boards-to-follow-to-inspire-kids-talents/ http://www.tech4mommies.com/2014/04/five-boards-to-follow-to-inspire-kids-talents/#comments Thu, 03 Apr 2014 16:58:45 +0000 http://www.tech4mommies.com/?p=7401 2014-02-20 17.30.41My daughter is unique. She has never been into dolls, or princesses, or anything else typically reserved for the “female” side. I know she gets that from me, as I was always quite the tom boy as well. She is extremely talented and smart (I swear I’m not just biased, she really is insanely smart). She recently made this Olympic dragon for me during the Olympics (cause I am more than just a little bit obsessed with the Olympics)   She’s always drawing dragons, building incredible worlds in Minecraft, swimming (she is on a swim team), building with LEGO’s, and basically being all around awesome. When I told her that we were going to go see the All-New Tinker Bell Movie, “The Pirate Fairy” she was super excited and said “I can’t wait to see all the talents mixed up!” She has seen a commercial for it and knows that part of the movie all of the individual talents the fairy’s posses get mixed up and they have to perform the other fairy’s duties. I think it’s a great way for kids to see that not all things that they can do things that other kids can’t do well, and other kids can do things that they can’t do well. As a Mom, I like to encourage my daughter’s talents and interests, and help her to improve upon them. Pinterest is the place where just about every Mom gets ideas for games, products, activities, food and even inspiration for things to do with their kids. So when I went searching for ideas on things I can do with my dragon lovin, Minecraft building, swimmer, I just knew Pinterest would have the answer for me. So, drumroll please….. I give you my 5 favorite Pinterest boards that help me spark my daughter’s creativity and encourage her to improve her talents. Since we are heading to see the Pirate Fairy this weekend, pirates have been a pretty big deal in our house this week. Obviously, I turn to Pinterest to help me out. Before we head out the door on Saturday, my daughter and her little friend who is also very into crafty things, are planning on making these pirate ships. The Pirate Fairy is now on Blu-ray and Digital HD so they can bring the crafts they’ve made. Since most kids love LEGOs, this board is absolutely awesome. It’s got a ton of ideas on things to build, educational games to play with LEGO’s and so much more! Who would have thought in this day and age of HD graphics and bazillions of pixels that an 8-bit graphic game would take the world by storm. Alas, it has, and my kids are just as obsessed as the next. Pinterest definitely has the answer to Minecraft, and I found this board had the most comprehensive collection of crafts, games, and activities you can do to bring the 8-bit into the real world. As I mentioned before, dragons are the name of the game for my little girl. I found the perfect board for her to get all sorts of craft ideas on different ways to make dragons, and dragon related paraphernalia. She literally wanted me to go out and buy the materials to make this dragon immediately!   Last, but definitely not least, Maddie is a swimmer. She’s always been a little fish. Whenever we go to the pool I have to wait for her head to pop up above water long enough so I can call her name to tell her it’s time to go. She could seriously live underwater. I think she may have gills somewhere. With being on Swim Team comes a LOT of volunteer work on my part, and fun parties on her part. This is the best board I’ve found to help give Maddie some humor, inspiration, and definitely some awesome swimming related jewelry and crafts. So, if you have a little one just like Maddie, you may want to pay attention to those boards. It’s definitely where I start when she’s saying she’s bored and wants something to do!

Author information

Sarah Kimmel
Sarah Kimmel
Sarah Kimmel is bringing you the tech news and tips that you want to hear! Find out more on .
]]>
2014-02-20 17.30.41

My daughter is unique. She has never been into dolls, or princesses, or anything else typically reserved for the “female” side. I know she gets that from me, as I was always quite the tom boy as well. She is extremely talented and smart (I swear I’m not just biased, she really is insanely smart). She recently made this Olympic dragon for me during the Olympics (cause I am more than just a little bit obsessed with the Olympics) 2014-02-20 17.30.41  

She’s always drawing dragons, building incredible worlds in Minecraft, swimming (she is on a swim team), building with LEGO’s, and basically being all around awesome. When I told her that we were going to go see the All-New Tinker Bell Movie, “The Pirate Fairy” she was super excited and said “I can’t wait to see all the talents mixed up!” She has seen a commercial for it and knows that part of the movie all of the individual talents the fairy’s posses get mixed up and they have to perform the other fairy’s duties. I think it’s a great way for kids to see that not all things that they can do things that other kids can’t do well, and other kids can do things that they can’t do well. As a Mom, I like to encourage my daughter’s talents and interests, and help her to improve upon them. Pinterest is the place where just about every Mom gets ideas for games, products, activities, food and even inspiration for things to do with their kids. So when I went searching for ideas on things I can do with my dragon lovin, Minecraft building, swimmer, I just knew Pinterest would have the answer for me. So, drumroll please…..

I give you my 5 favorite Pinterest boards that help me spark my daughter’s creativity and encourage her to improve her talents.

pinterest2

Since we are heading to see the Pirate Fairy this weekend, pirates have been a pretty big deal in our house this week. Obviously, I turn to Pinterest to help me out. Before we head out the door on Saturday, my daughter and her little friend who is also very into crafty things, are planning on making these pirate ships. The Pirate Fairy is now on Blu-ray and Digital HD so they can bring the crafts they’ve made.

pinterest1

Since most kids love LEGOs, this board is absolutely awesome. It’s got a ton of ideas on things to build, educational games to play with LEGO’s and so much more!

pinterest3

Who would have thought in this day and age of HD graphics and bazillions of pixels that an 8-bit graphic game would take the world by storm. Alas, it has, and my kids are just as obsessed as the next. Pinterest definitely has the answer to Minecraft, and I found this board had the most comprehensive collection of crafts, games, and activities you can do to bring the 8-bit into the real world.

pinterest4

As I mentioned before, dragons are the name of the game for my little girl. I found the perfect board for her to get all sorts of craft ideas on different ways to make dragons, and dragon related paraphernalia. She literally wanted me to go out and buy the materials to make this dragon immediately!

pinterest5  

Last, but definitely not least, Maddie is a swimmer. She’s always been a little fish. Whenever we go to the pool I have to wait for her head to pop up above water long enough so I can call her name to tell her it’s time to go. She could seriously live underwater. I think she may have gills somewhere. With being on Swim Team comes a LOT of volunteer work on my part, and fun parties on her part. This is the best board I’ve found to help give Maddie some humor, inspiration, and definitely some awesome swimming related jewelry and crafts.

So, if you have a little one just like Maddie, you may want to pay attention to those boards. It’s definitely where I start when she’s saying she’s bored and wants something to do!

Author information

Sarah Kimmel
Sarah Kimmel
Sarah Kimmel is bringing you the tech news and tips that you want to hear! Find out more on .
]]>
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How To Get Rid of Unsightly Exes With Photoshop Elements http://www.tech4mommies.com/2014/03/how-to-get-rid-of-unsightly-exes-in-photoshop-elements/ http://www.tech4mommies.com/2014/03/how-to-get-rid-of-unsightly-exes-in-photoshop-elements/#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2014 22:00:20 +0000 http://www.tech4mommies.com/?p=7423 recompose tool photoshop Elements 12The scenario: You have a great picture–everybody is smiling, you had your camera settings just-so, there’s no blur, ample lighting. The photo would be amazing, if it weren’t for the blight on your nearly perfect shot—the errant little wiggle worm who ended up at least two feet away from everyone else, leaving a gap. Or worse—some little goober photo bombed you at the last second. Or worse yet—there’s that special someone in the photo that you don’t want to remember. The good news is that all of these things can be easily eliminated. The even better news is that eliminating people in your photos is not illegal—especially compared with other methods of eliminating people. So how is it done? Getting rid of large unwanted things in your photo, be it a gap or a person, without spoiling the whole thing? It’s called the Recompose tool. Let’s learn all about it. As always, we have the photo to be edited pulled up in Adobe Photoshop Elements 12, and we’re in the Guided mode (I couldn’t find a naturally occurring example of a photo bomber…so I had to super impose one. But the principles are the same for removing unwanted people). Click on the Recompose icon on the right hand panel. (You can also use the recompose tool in Expert mode, but just for learning purposes we’re doing it step by step in Guided mode today.) You’ll notice at the top of the right panel is the automatic, quick and easy way of recomposing. Basically you just pull one edge of your photo inward and PSE calculates which parts of the photo are probably extra vs which parts should be preserved, and it crunches the unnecessary background stuff into a smaller space. Problems with doing it this way would include deformed looking people and objects. Notice my son is looking like we don’t feed him (believe me we do). I always avoid post processing deformities where possible, which is why I suggest always doing it the second way. The more precise, and much, much more effective way of doing it is to choose the second option that allows for finer details. Step 1: Select Protect brush, and adjust to desired brush size (using either the slider below the button, or the [ ] keys). Step 2: Color green the areas that you would like to protect from being resized or messed with by PSE. Usually this will be your subjects and items of import or interest. *If you accidentally color in parts you don’t want protected, just select the erase tool, to the right of the protect brush and erase the parts you didn’t want protected.* Step 3: Select Remove brush and adjust to desired brush size. Step 4: Color in the areas red that you would like to eliminate, like photo bombers, or unsightly gaps in group photos. *same deal as the protect brush, there’s an eraser for the Remove brush too. Use it to erase red marks from parts you don’t want eliminated. Step 5: Drag the edge of the photo inward and stop when you are satisfied. Adobe will do some awesome calculations for you to keep the photo as seamless as possible. Step 6: Click “Done” when you are satisfied with how the photo looks. Until then, you can start over with the reset button on the top right of the panel, or Ctrl + Z to undo. Step 7: Blend. Your background might have some seams running through it, or things could look a little bit choppy. This is when you go to Expert mode or Quick mode and use the clone stamp to tidy things up. All done! Good-bye photo bombers, exes you would rather not remember, and loners (or the appearance of loneliness anyway) in group photos.    

Author information

Cecilia Harvey
Cecilia Harvey
I'm a technological enthusiast with a completely unrelated degree in English Literature. I've also been known to dabble in photography and DIY furniture refinishing, with occasional stints of fitness sprinkled among all of the above.
]]>
recompose tool photoshop Elements 12

The scenario: You have a great picture–everybody is smiling, you had your camera settings just-so, there’s no blur, ample lighting. The photo would be amazing, if it weren’t for the blight on your nearly perfect shot—the errant little wiggle worm who ended up at least two feet away from everyone else, leaving a gap.

Or worse—some little goober photo bombed you at the last second.

Or worse yet—there’s that special someone in the photo that you don’t want to remember.

The good news is that all of these things can be easily eliminated. The even better news is that eliminating people in your photos is not illegal—especially compared with other methods of eliminating people.

So how is it done? Getting rid of large unwanted things in your photo, be it a gap or a person, without spoiling the whole thing? It’s called the Recompose tool. Let’s learn all about it.

Photoshoph elements recompose tool

As always, we have the photo to be edited pulled up in Adobe Photoshop Elements 12, and we’re in the Guided mode (I couldn’t find a naturally occurring example of a photo bomber…so I had to super impose one. But the principles are the same for removing unwanted people).

1 Guided mode recompose tool

Click on the Recompose icon on the right hand panel. (You can also use the recompose tool in Expert mode, but just for learning purposes we’re doing it step by step in Guided mode today.)

2 Recompose Simple Photoshop Elements 12

You’ll notice at the top of the right panel is the automatic, quick and easy way of recomposing. Basically you just pull one edge of your photo inward and PSE calculates which parts of the photo are probably extra vs which parts should be preserved, and it crunches the unnecessary background stuff into a smaller space.

Problems with doing it this way would include deformed looking people and objects. Notice my son is looking like we don’t feed him (believe me we do). I always avoid post processing deformities where possible, which is why I suggest always doing it the second way.

The more precise, and much, much more effective way of doing it is to choose the second option that allows for finer details.

3 Protect Brush Photoshop Elements 12

Step 1: Select Protect brush, and adjust to desired brush size (using either the slider below the button, or the [ ] keys).

Step 2: Color green the areas that you would like to protect from being resized or messed with by PSE. Usually this will be your subjects and items of import or interest.

4 Protect Eraser Photoshop Elements 12

*If you accidentally color in parts you don’t want protected, just select the erase tool, to the right of the protect brush and erase the parts you didn’t want protected.*

5 Remove Brush Photoshop Elements 12

Step 3: Select Remove brush and adjust to desired brush size.

Step 4: Color in the areas red that you would like to eliminate, like photo bombers, or unsightly gaps in group photos.

6 Remove Eraser Photoshop Elements 12

*same deal as the protect brush, there’s an eraser for the Remove brush too. Use it to erase red marks from parts you don’t want eliminated.

7 Resize Photo Photoshop Elements 12

Step 5: Drag the edge of the photo inward and stop when you are satisfied. Adobe will do some awesome calculations for you to keep the photo as seamless as possible.

Step 6: Click “Done” when you are satisfied with how the photo looks. Until then, you can start over with the reset button on the top right of the panel, or Ctrl + Z to undo.

Step 7: Blend. Your background might have some seams running through it, or things could look a little bit choppy. This is when you go to Expert mode or Quick mode and use the clone stamp to tidy things up.

recompose tool photoshop Elements 12

All done! Good-bye photo bombers, exes you would rather not remember, and loners (or the appearance of loneliness anyway) in group photos.

 

 

Author information

Cecilia Harvey
Cecilia Harvey
I'm a technological enthusiast with a completely unrelated degree in English Literature. I've also been known to dabble in photography and DIY furniture refinishing, with occasional stints of fitness sprinkled among all of the above.
]]>
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Bring Out Your Child’s Inner Paleontologist with The Magic School Bus http://www.tech4mommies.com/2014/03/bring-out-your-childs-inner-paleontologist-with-the-magic-school-bus/ http://www.tech4mommies.com/2014/03/bring-out-your-childs-inner-paleontologist-with-the-magic-school-bus/#comments Fri, 28 Mar 2014 22:00:39 +0000 http://www.tech4mommies.com/?p=7370 Magic School Bus Dinosaur LeapPad Game FactsHow did the kids like it? The Magic School Bus Dinosaur game from LeapFrog was the surprising winner this week. I don’t know about you, but my kids are usually most excited about games and books that feature characters from their favorite movies. I tell you, they will play anything with Kung Fu Panda on it. Their propensity to stick with tried and true faves is the only reason I was surprised at my kid’s reaction to the Magic School Bus Dinosaurs game. While I have fond memories of Mrs. Frizzle and her off kilter teaching methods, my kids have none. Is it even on TV anymore? Anyway, when given the choice between four brand new LeapPad Ultra games—some featuring their favorite characters—the kids went for The Magic School Bus. I was surprised, but pleased. Maybe it’s because we take them to the nearby dinosaur museum on occasion? I’m still puzzling it out. What does it do?   Mrs. Frizzle’s students are putting on a play. Not just any play, but a dinosaur play, and some of the kids just aren’t feeling it. So, in order to save their production, Mrs. Frizzle whisks the kids off to three different prehistoric eras to learn first-hand about their dinosaur characters. The kids learn facts about each dinosaur as they complete tasks. When they pass the quiz at the end of the round they “win” that dinosaur and get to play a game as if they were that dinosaur. What I like about it: I love that it allows kids to learn about science in a fun and engaging way. I don’t feel like there are as many science games out there as there are reading and math. My kindergartner has an affinity to science, so this one was a bigger hit with her than many math or reading games—even without a Disney character embedded into the game. The kids get to reconstruct the dinosaur skeletons, as if they were real paleontologists, and learn the scientific names of the bones and dinosaurs. The kids learn to recognize the different dinosaurs by taking pictures of them hiding in different places. They love it. And I learn a few things just by sitting within listening distance while they play it. Have you ever heard of Argentinosaurus? I also liked that my pre-schooler was able to keep up with the game, although I had to help him with a couple of the faster paced games. It’s meant for 5-9 year olds, but younger kids can play it too with a little bit of help every now and then. And let’s be honest. I’m stoked that the kids are enjoying a game featuring an old school show that I used to watch when I was their age. Category: Educational Sub Category: Life Science Ages: 5-9 Compatibility: LeapPad Tablets, Leapster GS, Leapster Explorer Availability: LeapFrog app store, and game cartridges sold at retailers like Walmart, Target, Amazon.com…etc. Price: $25 Rating: 5 of 5 Recommended: Yes   *Disclosure: LeapFrog was generous enough to send me this game for free when I told them I wanted to review LeapPad games for our site. BUT I’ve been a LeapFrog fan ever since I discovered them when my eldest was just a wee babe. I’ve been zealously buying LeapFrog products ever since, with my own money. So, yes, everything expressed above is my true opinion.

Author information

Cecilia Harvey
Cecilia Harvey
I'm a technological enthusiast with a completely unrelated degree in English Literature. I've also been known to dabble in photography and DIY furniture refinishing, with occasional stints of fitness sprinkled among all of the above.
]]>
Magic School Bus Dinosaur LeapPad Game Facts


Magic School Bus Dinosaur LeapPad Game

How did the kids like it?

The Magic School Bus Dinosaur game from LeapFrog was the surprising winner this week. I don’t know about you, but my kids are usually most excited about games and books that feature characters from their favorite movies. I tell you, they will play anything with Kung Fu Panda on it.

Their propensity to stick with tried and true faves is the only reason I was surprised at my kid’s reaction to the Magic School Bus Dinosaurs game. While I have fond memories of Mrs. Frizzle and her off kilter teaching methods, my kids have none. Is it even on TV anymore?

Anyway, when given the choice between four brand new LeapPad Ultra games—some featuring their favorite characters—the kids went for The Magic School Bus. I was surprised, but pleased. Maybe it’s because we take them to the nearby dinosaur museum on occasion? I’m still puzzling it out.

What does it do?

Magic School Bus Dinosaur LeapPad Game Facts

 

Mrs. Frizzle’s students are putting on a play. Not just any play, but a dinosaur play, and some of the kids just aren’t feeling it. So, in order to save their production, Mrs. Frizzle whisks the kids off to three different prehistoric eras to learn first-hand about their dinosaur characters.

Magic School Bus Dinosaur Quiz

The kids learn facts about each dinosaur as they complete tasks. When they pass the quiz at the end of the round they “win” that dinosaur and get to play a game as if they were that dinosaur.

What I like about it:

Magic School Bus Dinosaur LeapPad Game Bones

I love that it allows kids to learn about science in a fun and engaging way. I don’t feel like there are as many science games out there as there are reading and math. My kindergartner has an affinity to science, so this one was a bigger hit with her than many math or reading games—even without a Disney character embedded into the game.

The kids get to reconstruct the dinosaur skeletons, as if they were real paleontologists, and learn the scientific names of the bones and dinosaurs.

Magic School Bus Dinosaur LeapPad Game Dino Photos

The kids learn to recognize the different dinosaurs by taking pictures of them hiding in different places. They love it. And I learn a few things just by sitting within listening distance while they play it. Have you ever heard of Argentinosaurus?

I also liked that my pre-schooler was able to keep up with the game, although I had to help him with a couple of the faster paced games. It’s meant for 5-9 year olds, but younger kids can play it too with a little bit of help every now and then.

And let’s be honest. I’m stoked that the kids are enjoying a game featuring an old school show that I used to watch when I was their age.

Category: Educational

Sub Category: Life Science

Ages: 5-9

Compatibility: LeapPad Tablets, Leapster GS, Leapster Explorer

Availability: LeapFrog app store, and game cartridges sold at retailers like Walmart, Target, Amazon.com…etc.

Price: $25

Rating: 5 of 5

Recommended: Yes

 

*Disclosure: LeapFrog was generous enough to send me this game for free when I told them I wanted to review LeapPad games for our site. BUT I’ve been a LeapFrog fan ever since I discovered them when my eldest was just a wee babe. I’ve been zealously buying LeapFrog products ever since, with my own money. So, yes, everything expressed above is my true opinion.

Author information

Cecilia Harvey
Cecilia Harvey
I'm a technological enthusiast with a completely unrelated degree in English Literature. I've also been known to dabble in photography and DIY furniture refinishing, with occasional stints of fitness sprinkled among all of the above.
]]>
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Tagg Pet Tracker Review http://www.tech4mommies.com/2014/03/tagg-pet-tracker-review/ http://www.tech4mommies.com/2014/03/tagg-pet-tracker-review/#comments Fri, 28 Mar 2014 14:15:08 +0000 http://www.tech4mommies.com/?p=7388 DSC_0241So, in the interest of full disclosure.  I actually have had this device for over a year now.  I was contacted by the company to do a review, and informed them that I already used and loved the device, so of course I’d be happy to review it, they didn’t even have to send me one… already got it! We love our Holly Hound.  My husband surprised us one Christmas with a dog.  Holly is a rescued lab from the local animal shelter.  My husband LOVES this dog.  I love her too, but he’s extremely attached.  I always say he’d make an excellent K-9 Officer because he just loves to work with dogs so much. I work from home, and sometimes when the kids come home from school, or a friend comes over to ask them to play, Holly wanders outside.  She never “runs away” but it’s definitely more of an exploration of the area.  She usually comes right back inside with a simple whistle or a “Holly!  Come on inside!”.  Often, though, the kids will forget she’s outside when they shut the door.  Holly takes this opportunity to wander the neighborhood. There has been 2 occasions where she has been actually honest to goodness lost.  Of course both happened under my watch, so I felt horrible!  Luckily in both situations, the neighborhood right next to ours has a Facebook group, and we just happen to be good friends with ONE family in that neighborhood.  The person that found Holly took a picture of her and posted it on their Facebook group, and the family that we know saw the post and texted us, knowing that it was our dog.  The second time it was a similar situation, but I am now a member of that Facebook group so I can know next time. We determined that after the second time though, that there wouldn’t be a next time, and started looking into things that could help us prevent it.  We finally narrowed down our options and settled on Tagg… here’s why…. Text notifications – First, when Holly leaves the Tagg “home area” the Tagg system will send my phone a text message notifying me of it.  Usually when Holly gets out, she doesn’t RUN anywhere, so if I know she is out wandering sooner than later, I can just run outside and whistle for her, and she’ll come right back.  Knowing when it happens right away is the main thing that has helped us keep her safe at home. Email notifications – Not only will my phone receive a text message when she gets outside of the “zone”, I’ll get an email message too.  Just in case I’ve got my phone charging somewhere in the house, but I’m working at my desk… Current location tracking – If she does happen to wander out and she has wandered further than I can see, or doesn’t come back right away when I whistle, I can pull up the Tagg Tracker app on my phone and find out her exact current location.  This definitely ends the need for me to ride my bike all over the neighborhood whistling, or hanging my head out the car window calling her name.  I can head to her location and get her leash back on and bring her home.   Activity Tracking – Just like I have a Fitbit to help keep me active and healthy, you can track your pet’s daily activity and they can earn Tagg points to help you keep them healthy.  Dogs need ___ of activity every day, and checking this setting can help you get them in that target zone, so they can be a member of your family for a very long time. We love our Holly hound so much, and could not imagine our family without her in it.  We are so grateful that we can be confident we won’t have a sleepless night wondering where our family member has disappeared to this time! This post is sponsored by Tagg Pet Tracker, but as I mentioned previously, I was already using and loving the product, so it was a no brainer!

Author information

Sarah Kimmel
Sarah Kimmel
Sarah Kimmel is bringing you the tech news and tips that you want to hear! Find out more on .
]]>
DSC_0241

DSC_0241

So, in the interest of full disclosure.  I actually have had this device for over a year now.  I was contacted by the company to do a review, and informed them that I already used and loved the device, so of course I’d be happy to review it, they didn’t even have to send me one… already got it!

We love our Holly Hound.  My husband surprised us one Christmas with a dog.  Holly is a rescued lab from the local animal shelter.  My husband LOVES this dog.  I love her too, but he’s extremely attached.  I always say he’d make an excellent K-9 Officer because he just loves to work with dogs so much.

I work from home, and sometimes when the kids come home from school, or a friend comes over to ask them to play, Holly wanders outside.  She never “runs away” but it’s definitely more of an exploration of the area.  She usually comes right back inside with a simple whistle or a “Holly!  Come on inside!”.  Often, though, the kids will forget she’s outside when they shut the door.  Holly takes this opportunity to wander the neighborhood.

There has been 2 occasions where she has been actually honest to goodness lost.  Of course both happened under my watch, so I felt horrible!  Luckily in both situations, the neighborhood right next to ours has a Facebook group, and we just happen to be good friends with ONE family in that neighborhood.  The person that found Holly took a picture of her and posted it on their Facebook group, and the family that we know saw the post and texted us, knowing that it was our dog.  The second time it was a similar situation, but I am now a member of that Facebook group so I can know next time.

We determined that after the second time though, that there wouldn’t be a next time, and started looking into things that could help us prevent it.  We finally narrowed down our options and settled on Tagg… here’s why….

Text notifications – First, when Holly leaves the Tagg “home area” the Tagg system will send my phone a text message notifying me of it.  Usually when Holly gets out, she doesn’t RUN anywhere, so if I know she is out wandering sooner than later, I can just run outside and whistle for her, and she’ll come right back.  Knowing when it happens right away is the main thing that has helped us keep her safe at home.

2014-03-17 21.00.22

Email notifications – Not only will my phone receive a text message when she gets outside of the “zone”, I’ll get an email message too.  Just in case I’ve got my phone charging somewhere in the house, but I’m working at my desk…

tagg1

Current location tracking – If she does happen to wander out and she has wandered further than I can see, or doesn’t come back right away when I whistle, I can pull up the Tagg Tracker app on my phone and find out her exact current location.  This definitely ends the need for me to ride my bike all over the neighborhood whistling, or hanging my head out the car window calling her name.  I can head to her location and get her leash back on and bring her home.

taggg2

 

2014-03-17 21.10.42

Activity Tracking – Just like I have a Fitbit to help keep me active and healthy, you can track your pet’s daily activity and they can earn Tagg points to help you keep them healthy.  Dogs need ___ of activity every day, and checking this setting can help you get them in that target zone, so they can be a member of your family for a very long time.

We love our Holly hound so much, and could not imagine our family without her in it.  We are so grateful that we can be confident we won’t have a sleepless night wondering where our family member has disappeared to this time!

This post is sponsored by Tagg Pet Tracker, but as I mentioned previously, I was already using and loving the product, so it was a no brainer!

Author information

Sarah Kimmel
Sarah Kimmel
Sarah Kimmel is bringing you the tech news and tips that you want to hear! Find out more on .
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Sell an Old Cell Phone On Ebay http://www.tech4mommies.com/2014/03/sell-an-old-cell-phone-on-ebay/ http://www.tech4mommies.com/2014/03/sell-an-old-cell-phone-on-ebay/#comments Thu, 27 Mar 2014 17:56:49 +0000 http://www.tech4mommies.com/?p=7390 SellYourPhone_YouTube_2560x1440My blog post was written as part of my collaboration with eBay. As someone who is on the leading edge of technology, and as someone who kinda gets to have the latest technology as a wonderful perk of this blog.  I amass quite a few phones over any given period of time.  While I never feel right about selling a phone that I was given for free (It’s usually a perk of being my friend, that you get brand new hand-me-down phones), I am definitely OK with selling phones that my husband and I have actually purchased (and yes, we do actually purchase phones from time to time as well). The most common use for old phones I’ve seen is the “giving it to your kid so they stop bugging you to play with your real phone” use.  There are definite advantages to keeping old phones around for this scenario (although, I’ve found my kids still want to play with my current phone, even when my old phone has the exact same apps), and we’ve all seen those commercials for re-selling your old phones (which always just look way too scammy to me).  So, did you know there’s actually a really easy and legit way to sell an old cell phone?  It’s called eBay.  It’s this brand new website, oh wait, except that it’s been around for YEARS.  I’ve had my eBay account since January of 1999!  See the proof…   Did you know that on average, a cell phone is sold every 4 seconds on eBay?  That’s because eBay has made it incredibly easy to sell an old cell phone.  You simply head to the landing page at http://www.ebay.com/sellmyphone.  From here you will be taken through some really easy options to  help you list the phone in probably under 30 seconds tops.  It even gives you a recommended price for your phone, AND tells you how to remove all of your personal data from the phone! I’ve got my stack of old phones, and I’m ready to get myself some money… Momma needs a new pair of running shoes! I mean really… have you seen my old ones??   So, I started digging through my cupboards to locate all of the phones I’ve got laying around.  My husband asked what I was doing digging around our kitchen cupboards, but I’m not going to tell him that I’m going to sell an old cell phone, mainly cause I want those shoes… and I don’t want to share.  :-)  Apparently… I found quite a few, so I may be able to buy him something too…   Like mentioned it took about 30 seconds tops to list each phone, and now I just wait…. wonder if I can find my new shoes on ebay too?  Answer … most likely. What do you usually do with your old phone when you upgrade?   This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of eBay.

Author information

Sarah Kimmel
Sarah Kimmel
Sarah Kimmel is bringing you the tech news and tips that you want to hear! Find out more on .
]]>
SellYourPhone_YouTube_2560x1440

My blog post was written as part of my collaboration with eBay.

As someone who is on the leading edge of technology, and as someone who kinda gets to have the latest technology as a wonderful perk of this blog.  I amass quite a few phones over any given period of time.  While I never feel right about selling a phone that I was given for free (It’s usually a perk of being my friend, that you get brand new hand-me-down phones), I am definitely OK with selling phones that my husband and I have actually purchased (and yes, we do actually purchase phones from time to time as well).

The most common use for old phones I’ve seen is the “giving it to your kid so they stop bugging you to play with your real phone” use.  There are definite advantages to keeping old phones around for this scenario (although, I’ve found my kids still want to play with my current phone, even when my old phone has the exact same apps), and we’ve all seen those commercials for re-selling your old phones (which always just look way too scammy to me).  So, did you know there’s actually a really easy and legit way to sell an old cell phone?  It’s called eBay.  It’s this brand new website, oh wait, except that it’s been around for YEARS.  I’ve had my eBay account since January of 1999!  See the proof…

ebay

 

Did you know that on average, a cell phone is sold every 4 seconds on eBay?  That’s because eBay has made it incredibly easy to sell an old cell phone.  You simply head to the landing page at http://www.ebay.com/sellmyphone.  From here you will be taken through some really easy options to  help you list the phone in probably under 30 seconds tops.  It even gives you a recommended price for your phone, AND tells you how to remove all of your personal data from the phone!

I’ve got my stack of old phones, and I’m ready to get myself some money… Momma needs a new pair of running shoes! I mean really… have you seen my old ones??

DSC_0217

 

So, I started digging through my cupboards to locate all of the phones I’ve got laying around.  My husband asked what I was doing digging around our kitchen cupboards, but I’m not going to tell him that I’m going to sell an old cell phone, mainly cause I want those shoes… and I don’t want to share.  :-)  Apparently… I found quite a few, so I may be able to buy him something too…

DSC_0227

 

Like mentioned it took about 30 seconds tops to list each phone, and now I just wait….

wonder if I can find my new shoes on ebay too?  Answer … most likely.

What do you usually do with your old phone when you upgrade?

 

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of eBay.Tracking Pixel

Author information

Sarah Kimmel
Sarah Kimmel
Sarah Kimmel is bringing you the tech news and tips that you want to hear! Find out more on .
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Zaniac: Helping My Daughter Build an App http://www.tech4mommies.com/2014/03/zaniac-helping-my-daughter-build-an-app/ http://www.tech4mommies.com/2014/03/zaniac-helping-my-daughter-build-an-app/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2014 15:54:22 +0000 http://www.tech4mommies.com/?p=7386 Zaniac - ignite their imaginationI had the opportunity recently to check out a great new facility in the area.  It’s called Zaniac and they have locations all over (definitely check and see if there is one near you!)  When I told my daughter that we would be going there, and told her what it was all about, she could not contain her excitement!  She started making plans right away as to what she was going to do while she was there (what can I say, she’s my daughter… we’re planner people).  Her plans may or may not have included the app she was going to write and the Minecraft Mod she was going to create (she also gets her visions of grandeur from me).  I had to let her know that, while I don’t doubt she’ll eventually be able to program her own app, and create her own Minecraft mod… it probably wasn’t going to happen during our visit on Friday night. We rushed home after her swim practice so she could shower and change and we could be on the road to head up to Salt Lake to visit Zaniac.  Zaniac is an awesome new place that encourages STEM education in children and gives them the tools they need to excel in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). As soon as we got to the facility the kids just about all ran over to the wall of computers and started playing Minecraft.  Maddie was SO EXCITED to finally be able to play multiplayer (as we don’t allow her to play Minecraft online with other users).  While the kids were playing we got to find out more about what they do there at Zaniac.  One of the really cool things I found out was that they use tools like playing Minecraft to teach the kids about science.  They explore different biomes in the Minecraft world and explain how different things are affected by the environment and how to find and use different materials.  I love that they take something that most kids already adore and help them see how that can help them learn in the real world. Once all the formal stuff was out of the way they split the kids into different groups and helped take them to the various stations throughout the facility.  There is Zane Math, Computer Programming, LEGO robotics, and of course Minecraft.  They also had several chess sets laid out and checkerboards, and really just anything a little geek in training would need to have the best day ever. Zane Math is a way for kids to really pick up and improve upon their math skills.  When he was showing me the program, I was surprised that the tests, homework and lessons were still paper and pencil, and not something they do online.  I could see the scanned document complete with doodles and other fun comments from the child.  You know my daughter’s paper would come back full of doodles of dragons.  When he explained to me the reason behind still using paper and pencil, it definitely made sense.  He said that the physical act of writing out the problem or solving the problem helps establish brain memory (I think I just made that word up, but it’s kind of like muscle memory, you do a task often enough, your muscles can just go through the motions without you thinking about it.  Brain memory would be the same, if you write out how to solve a particular problem enough, it’s going to help your brain remember that solution, or how you came up with that solution in the future.) What I loved about the computer programming track is that, especially at the beginning they don’t focus on a lot of syntax (actual coding).  They start out learning programming concepts and problem solving before moving on to coding basics.  I really think if you have a solid foundation for figuring out programming that the actual code part comes pretty easily.  This method definitely gives the kids the foundation they need to understand the complicated code later. They also had a circuit board where the Zaniac employee was showing some kids how power effects different things.  There was a spinning fan, and it was going at a certain speed.  Once he added the light to the circuit board the fan spun slower, and he explained why that would be.  Although it doesn’t quite show in this picture… Maddie was super interested in learning about how to put things together on a circuit board and how it can relate to creating/inventing other things. You can also learn Lego Robotics, Chess, Touch Typing, and get homework help at Zaniac! The best part about the event?  The kids were soooo entertained, that all us blogging moms were able to just sit around and chat while the kids were completely occupied.  While Maddie didn’t come away with a fully developed app on the first night, I have no doubt if she continued to attend Zaniac classes she would get there in no time at all!   I was compensated for attending this event, and writing up this post, but as you can see… Maddie had a blast, and we will be going back there on our own dime in the future.

Author information

Sarah Kimmel
Sarah Kimmel
Sarah Kimmel is bringing you the tech news and tips that you want to hear! Find out more on .
]]>
Zaniac - ignite their imagination

I had the opportunity recently to check out a great new facility in the area.  It’s called Zaniac and they have locations all over (definitely check and see if there is one near you!)  When I told my daughter that we would be going there, and told her what it was all about, she could not contain her excitement!  She started making plans right away as to what she was going to do while she was there (what can I say, she’s my daughter… we’re planner people).  Her plans may or may not have included the app she was going to write and the Minecraft Mod she was going to create (she also gets her visions of grandeur from me).  I had to let her know that, while I don’t doubt she’ll eventually be able to program her own app, and create her own Minecraft mod… it probably wasn’t going to happen during our visit on Friday night.

We rushed home after her swim practice so she could shower and change and we could be on the road to head up to Salt Lake to visit Zaniac.  Zaniac is an awesome new place that encourages STEM education in children and gives them the tools they need to excel in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

As soon as we got to the facility the kids just about all ran over to the wall of computers and started playing Minecraft.  Maddie was SO EXCITED to finally be able to play multiplayer (as we don’t allow her to play Minecraft online with other users).  While the kids were playing we got to find out more about what they do there at Zaniac.  One of the really cool things I found out was that they use tools like playing Minecraft to teach the kids about science.  They explore different biomes in the Minecraft world and explain how different things are affected by the environment and how to find and use different materials.  I love that they take something that most kids already adore and help them see how that can help them learn in the real world.

2014-02-28 20.44.45

Once all the formal stuff was out of the way they split the kids into different groups and helped take them to the various stations throughout the facility.  There is Zane Math, Computer Programming, LEGO robotics, and of course Minecraft.  They also had several chess sets laid out and checkerboards, and really just anything a little geek in training would need to have the best day ever.

Zane Math is a way for kids to really pick up and improve upon their math skills.  When he was showing me the program, I was surprised that the tests, homework and lessons were still paper and pencil, and not something they do online.  I could see the scanned document complete with doodles and other fun comments from the child.  You know my daughter’s paper would come back full of doodles of dragons.  When he explained to me the reason behind still using paper and pencil, it definitely made sense.  He said that the physical act of writing out the problem or solving the problem helps establish brain memory (I think I just made that word up, but it’s kind of like muscle memory, you do a task often enough, your muscles can just go through the motions without you thinking about it.  Brain memory would be the same, if you write out how to solve a particular problem enough, it’s going to help your brain remember that solution, or how you came up with that solution in the future.)

2014-02-28 19.31.03

What I loved about the computer programming track is that, especially at the beginning they don’t focus on a lot of syntax (actual coding).  They start out learning programming concepts and problem solving before moving on to coding basics.  I really think if you have a solid foundation for figuring out programming that the actual code part comes pretty easily.  This method definitely gives the kids the foundation they need to understand the complicated code later.

They also had a circuit board where the Zaniac employee was showing some kids how power effects different things.  There was a spinning fan, and it was going at a certain speed.  Once he added the light to the circuit board the fan spun slower, and he explained why that would be.  Although it doesn’t quite show in this picture… Maddie was super interested in learning about how to put things together on a circuit board and how it can relate to creating/inventing other things.

You can also learn Lego Robotics, Chess, Touch Typing, and get homework help at Zaniac!

2014-02-28 20.16.33

The best part about the event?  The kids were soooo entertained, that all us blogging moms were able to just sit around and chat while the kids were completely occupied.  While Maddie didn’t come away with a fully developed app on the first night, I have no doubt if she continued to attend Zaniac classes she would get there in no time at all!  

I was compensated for attending this event, and writing up this post, but as you can see… Maddie had a blast, and we will be going back there on our own dime in the future.

Author information

Sarah Kimmel
Sarah Kimmel
Sarah Kimmel is bringing you the tech news and tips that you want to hear! Find out more on .
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