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School’s Out! 8 Exciting Ways Teach Your Kids How To Code This Summer

June 5th, 2015 by Tech Staff

Summer vacation is here and ready or not, the kids need entertainment FAST! Why not educate your kids this summer with fun and exciting games that incite problem solving, programming and learning how to code? There are lots of educational options that teach coding for kids these days.  Learning how to code is fun at any age and we’ve gathered a few of our favorite games, apps and more from the web that’ll teach kids ages 5+ how to code this summer.  Discover 8 fun ways to teach your kids how to code and they could learn how to build their own smartphone app by summer’s end…

 

 

 

Tynker: This coding game may just replace Angry Birds as your kiddo’s favorite game, and it’s even better because they’re learning along the way. It’s just a matter of dragging and dropping, and before you know it your little one is learning the basics of coding at the same time they’re learning the alphabet. Tynker is the perfect tablet game to keep your kids occupied.

 

MadeWithCode1

 

Made With Code: Leave it to Google to create an amazing new way to teach girls (and boys) to code. Kids can tackle different missions and projects right from their account on the site. They can even DIY their own 3D-printed jewelry thanks to a partnership with Shapeways. Your teen programming prodigies will even get matched up with mentors to inspire them to keep innovating.

 

Move the Turtle: This game sounds simple enough, but as your kiddos (five and older) move the turtle, they’re really tackling projects and learning the basics of programming, from the simple to the complex. They’ll become familiar with workflows and tasks of coding without even knowing it.

 

Tinker

 

Play-I: Want a bot for your smaller tots? Bo and Yana are just what you’ve been looking for. Your kids can work the bots from an iPad and the bots can even communicate with each other. They can play with classic kids’ toys and interact with the environment. It’s great for kids as young as five.

 

mbot-645x384

 

mBot: Yes, this robot can teach your kid all about programming. This bot uses Scratch to connect with open-source hardware so it can help your kiddos branch into robotics. Your kids can create their own bot functions with a simplified, color-coded wiring system. They can make a bubble-blowing machine and steering wheel to coordinate with an onscreen game. And that’s just the beginning. This project is a Kickstarter campaign that’s already topped $100K, so get it while the getting is good.

 

[MUST READ: Five STEM Programs That’ll Encourage Kids Of Any Age To Go Tech!]

 

Code Studio: This is an interactive open-source learning platform that teaches your li’l geniuses some computer science 101. Code Studioteaches the basics of coding with puzzles and familiar games that are great for kids in K-12. They even get to test their skills by going behind the screen of Angry Birds. This course will help your kids understand exactly what coding is and how it’s used.

 

 

bitbox

 

Bitsbox: Your kid will never get bored with coding if they’re getting lessons on monthly basis via USPS — plus, kids love getting mail! The service is available for kids seven and up and teaches them how to build apps. They want to give your kids the know-how to turn them into programmers by taking it one step at a time. They can even customize the Bitsbox app with their skills.

 

Tickle: This iPad app is for the slightly older crowd. Funded on Kickstarter, Tickle teaches kids to code and make their own apps and games with tools thought up in an MIT Media Lab project called Scratch. They can grab objects like blocks and build something that they can watch come to life right on screen. You know, kind of like when you played with LEGOs as a kid, but way more techy.

 

 

 

Now that you’ve got a few options that’ll keep the kiddies entertained and educated, you may have found a way to keep the kids focused on a favorite new game and away from downloading games on your smartphone this summer.  What’s your plans on keeping kids entertained and educated this summer? Share your thoughts below!

 

 

Walmart Family Mobile Gives You Data You Need To Share Summer #MobileMemories #Ad

May 27th, 2015 by Christen

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #MobileMemories #CollectiveBias

 

Walmart Best Plans

 

The official / unofficial start to summer kicked off this weekend and I couldn’t be more happier!  With summer comes plenty of holidays and family moments just waiting to become unforgettable memories forever!  Whether you’re sharing photos on Instagram or updating your play-by-play on Facebook – Walmart Family Mobile gives you the data you need to share your favorite holiday memories all summer long!

 

Walmart Best Plans

 My brother – Shannon looking dapper in the Great room…

Over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, I got the chance to spend time with my family in Dallas, Texas.  We got the opportunity to stay in a lavish 3-story/4-bedroom indoor/outdoor home complete with koi fish pond, balcony and swimming pool.  Since this was our first mini vacation of the new year, we were determined to have a great time creating memories that’ll kick off the summer right!  Between my mom taking photos of the pool and my brother uploading a video tour of the home, we were in full social sharing mode within the first 10 minutes of arriving in the house!  Using my Walmart Family Mobile Samsung Galaxy S4, I snapped and shared plenty of memories from our vacation, including these moments below.

 

Walmart Best Plans

Mom couldn’t wait to take a dip in the pool…

 

 

Walmart Best Plans

I was excited to check out the grand 2nd level kitchen…

 

Not only does Walmart carry Samsung smartphones, but you can also find a variety of smartphone devices for you to choose from.  Walmart Family Mobile service is $29.88/month (for the first line) Unlimited Talk, Text & Data service plan which includes up to 1G of 4G LTE data, which means you can upload plenty of memories without any overages. With rollbacks happening every single day, you can even upgrade your iPhone with a family mobile starter kit, or choose from the following smartphones from your area Walmart store below:

 

ZTE Zinger – $29.88 starting 4/15

Galaxy Avant – $149.00 (was $199.99)

ZTE ZMAX – $179.00 (was $199.88)

Alcatel Fierce 2 – $119.00 (was $129.99)

Alcatel Evolve 2 – $39.83 (was $59.88)

LG L90- $99.82 (was $179.88)

Check out what’s new!

LG 450: Launch Price $29.88

Alcatel One Touch Pop Astro: Launch Price $64.88

LG Leon LTE- Coming soon

 

Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to Walmart.com or your local Walmart for current pricing.

 

It’s the best smartphones, with the best prices on using the data you want, when you need it!  Why wouldn’t you use the best data plans for your dollars by using Walmart Family Mobile Data plans today!

Want to learn more?  Check out all the great deals and available devices on rollback at Walmart.com and connect with Walmart Family Mobile online today! Connect with Walmart Family Mobile on Twitter! Follow @FamilyMobile for up to the minute sales, news and more!

I have shared how I capture special memories with my family using Walmart Family Mobile, what about you? How will you capture those memories with your family this summer? Leave a comment and let me know below!

Get A One On One @MasterClass In Tennis From @SerenaWilliams

May 12th, 2015 by Tech Staff

Serena Williams MasterClass

 

What if you could get tutorials from your celebrities in sports, acting and more? Launching today, MasterClass  – a new San Francisco-based company – makes it possible for anyone to learn directly from the world’s best. In its first set of online classes, two-time academy award winner Dustin Hoffman teaches acting, no. 1 ranked women’s tennis player Serena Williams teaches tennis, and world’s best-selling author James Patterson teaches writing. Legendary performer Usher and renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz will debut their MasterClass in the coming months with more classes to come throughout the year.

 

“I wanted to make my class feel as though you’re right there on the court with me. It’s like getting a private lesson,” said Serena Williams.

 

 

According to analysts, online learning is a $107 billion global industry that is seeing double digit growth. Tapping into this fast-growing market, MasterClass takes a unique approach to online learning by being the first to work with globally-recognized instructors and Emmy and Academy Award winning directors to create a new kind of class.

 

“We created the kind of online classes we’d be excited to take, from the people we’d love to learn from,” said Aaron Rasmussen, MasterClass co-founder, creative director and CTO.

Each MasterClass is priced at $90 and includes:
? 10-25 video lessons from the instructor (approx. 2-5 hours of video)

? Interactive exercises: for example, in Dustin Hoffman’s MasterClass students can be matched with other students to practice scenes from the class, and then upload videos for feedback from other students (and sometimes even Dustin himself!)

? Lifetime access, with classes that never expire

? Accessible from any device (access Serena’s class on your smartphone right on the court).

Classes available now at www.masterclass.com. Get social and connect with MasterClass via Twitter @masterclass, Instagram @masterclass and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/masterclassofficial today.

Mega Multi-tasking At Its’ Finest With HP Envy Touchsmart From @BestBuy #AMDFX

April 10th, 2015 by Christen

HP ENVY TouchSmart

Have you heard about the incredible deal on the HP Envy Touchsmart AMD FX Special Edition APU?  This laptop provides extreme performance of AMD’s most powerful mobile processer to deliver exceptional Gaming and Entertainment experience– the AMD FX Special Edition APU. Easily navigate through work and play with a touch-screen display and Windows 8. This laptop also features Beats Audio, which delivers great sound for movies and games. The HP Envy TouchSmart 15.6” touch screen laptop makes mega multitasking a breeze so you can spend less time working and more entertainment time with family!

The Quick AMD FX series processor is great for daily tasks such as managing your personal life or streaming movies or videos and provides great video quality for gaming or catching up on your favorite youtube videos.

 

 

HP Envy Touchsmart

 
If you love taking photos and downloading new music then you’ll love the 750GB hard drive for lots of file storage space.  The AMD FX Special Edition APU holds a sizable collection of digital photos, music and HD videos and movies. It even has HP ProtectSmart to help keep your data safe when the laptop gets bumped around.

 

 

HP Envy Touchsmart

 

The AMD FX Special Edition APU introduces mobile systems with AMD’s highest performing APUs, exclusive at Best Buy. When you are looking for a notebook, the AMD FX Special Edition APU will provide you with unbelievable performance, gaming and productivity. And On sale for $599.99 at Best Buy, what more could you want from a gaming computer?  

Did you know that Best Buy even offers free shipping and pickup options?  You can free shipping on any order of $35 or more and instead of trolling through store aisles, you can pay online and pick it up in stores in as little as 45 minutes or less!  Now that’s what I call mega multitasking at its’ finest!

 

Best_Buy

 

Disclaimer: The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

RECAP: Discover How To Unlock Your Potential With STEM #PotentialOfUs

March 31st, 2015 by Christen

Have you ever felt like you would have a greater impact on your community – or the world – if you could just amplify your voice, scale your business or hone your technology skills? Women hold less than 25% of our country’s STEM careers – it’s time to change that. During the 21st Annual Black Women’s Expo in Chicago – Verizon gave consumers insight into the opportunities awaiting them in tech (while celebrating the final days of Women’s History Month featuring trailblazing ladies of technology) with the “Unlock Your Potential” women in STEM panel.

 

The Black Women's Expo

 

An event designed for women by women, the Black Women’s Expo celebrates women’s aspirations and achievements and provides a platform for women to discuss solutions to the issues they confront in daily life. In its 21st year, BWE is the nation’s longest running empowerment exposition for the African American consumer, garnering attendance of more than 29,000.

 

 

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Leading the conversation on innovation, the “Unlock Your Potential” panel included Lisa Laws  – Engineer/Deputy COO for City of Chicago, Luvvie Ajayi – Blogger for AwesomelyLuvvie.com, and Abby Knowles – Executive Director of VZW Network in Midwest Area.  During the event, panelists generated compelling conversations that inspired the audience and informed how technology is being used and STEM opportunities available.  Guests left the panel with knowledge on how vast STEM truly is – whether it’s helping the lives of citizens in a community, building a nationally recognized blog, or operating the nation’s largest wireless network.

 

Check out live tweets from the #PotentialOfUs inspired panel via Storify below:

 

 

 

 

If you’ve ever wondered how to carve your own unique niche in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) you can discover ideas and innovators celebrated by Verizon by following their stories online and via social media PotentialOfUs.com #PotentialOfUs.

Jay-Z To Relaunch His New Tidal Music Service Today With Your Favorite Superstars #TidalForAll

March 30th, 2015 by Tech Staff

tidal

 

The music game is about to get real interesting! Tidal, the high-definition music streaming service acquired by rapper/music mogul Jay-Z, is gearing up for its official relaunch today, and it will be doing so by reportedly making a move to snag new releases by some of the biggest musicians of the moment including Kanye West, Madonna and Daft Punk, ahead of rival services like Spotify and Beats.

 


If you’re browsing social networks or follow music news, the list of artists gathering around Tidal shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise: a swathe of big-name musicians — including Madonna, Kanye West, Beyonce, Arcade Fire, Calvin Harris and others are using the #tidalforall hashtag on sites like Twitter and Instagram, as well as sending out messages or just changing their profile to a turquoise blue color to support the service.

 

Jay Z Tidal

 

What’s the pull for these artists? It’s partly the Jay-Z connection. His Roc Nation agency works with a long list of musicians to provide publishing, management, label and other services, with Tidal becoming yet another string on Roc Nation’s bow as a one-stop music distribution shop.  On the other hand, Tidal is also offering a more attractive set of terms to musicians than other streaming services — often agreeing to payouts of twice as much as its rivals.

With many artists complaining that digital music is not providing decent enough returns, the later of these could be a deal maker for Tidal. The big question is whether artists are willing to make the bet on payouts-per-stream over that of visibility: right now Tidal has only 35,000 subscribers paying $19.99 per month across the markets in which it is active, which include the U.S. and UK. By comparison, Spotify noted 15 million paying subscribers in January of this year. Tidal also offers a standard definition service at $9.99.

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How To Prevent Identity Theft During Tax Season

March 23rd, 2015 by Tech Staff

Prevent identity theft during tax season

identity theft

 

It’s the time of year when Americans gather their financial documents and anxiously await news of a tax refund or debt.  While many hope to get money back, Time Magazine recently reported that the IRS paid an estimated $5 billion plus in false tax refunds in 2013, and according to Bloomberg Business that number could potentially grow to $21 billion by 2017.

Technology has changed the way we live, offering consumers more convenient ways to take care of common activities like filing taxes, however, taxpayers should be aware that these technological advances have also made it easier for criminals to commit identity theft. Consumers need to be aware of how and where they divulge personal information and take steps to monitor the data that must be shared.

Identity thieves commonly use a person’s real Social Security number to claim fraudulent wages and file taxes, accepting that individual’s deserved refund. Taxpayers bear responsibility for accuracy of submitted tax returns, regardless of whether the return was prepared by an individual taxpayer or a tax preparer. Unfortunately for many, this means spending a lot of time and money to rectify the situation and minimize the long-term effects caused by identity theft.

Avoid the scams

Criminals use an array of tactics to steal personal information and file a false tax return. Know the common scams and take steps to avoid them.

 

Phone scams: The IRS reports that 2015 has seen a surge in phone scams from criminals impersonating authorities to obtain personal information. Phone scams are often aggressive and may threaten police arrest, deportation and license revocation, among other things, in order to scare victims into handing over information. Do not entertain a conversation with a hostile “IRS representative” and hang up immediately if the call seems suspicious.

 

Phishing: As daily activities continue to move online, cybercriminals are finding ways to take advantage of the Internet. Criminals may send consumers fake emails or to websites that look official, but are really designed to steal personal information. The IRS will not send taxpayers emails about bills, refunds or personal information and following insecure links from these sources may lead to identity theft.

 

Return preparer fraud: The IRS reports that about 60 percent of taxpayers seek assistance when submitting their taxes, but some tax preparers are actually criminals in disguise. Never sign a blank tax form and avoid tax preparers who claim they can deliver a higher refund than others. Choose a well-known tax preparer and ensure that he or she will be available even after the return is filed to answer outstanding questions.

Fraud protection

To stay safe during tax season, prevention and information monitoring is essential. Sign up for a free 30-day trial of MetLife Defender, a comprehensive personal data protection service that will monitor and protect your important information.

What You Need To Know From Today’s Apple Watch Event

March 9th, 2015 by Christen

Apple Watch

 

It’s time to Spring Forward with the most anticipated smart watch event of the year!  The Apple Watch event is today and you want answers (and so do we!)  Want to know just how smart this smart watch will be? So do we!  Want to know the design options, app availability and if you’ll really be able to pay with your wrist using Apple Pay? So do we!  As a matter of fact, there are so many questions that need answers, that we wrapped them up to the top five you need to know from today’s Apple Watch event!

 

5.  How long will the battery last?

According to sources, the Watch’s battery life is supposed to handle five hours of fairly heavy application usage. While it will not run out of battery during a normal day of active and passive use (similar to your phone), it is being reported that the watch will need to be charged nightly.

 

4.  How will the notification center work?

In addition to the already mentioned Heart Rate + Battery Life Glances, there is supposed to be additional ones for fitness, activity, your clock, weather, music, quick settings, calendar and maps. While all of those options are a lot for such a tiny display, there will also be a full Notification Center — similar to all other iOS devices — filled with alerts, reminders, to dos and more.

 

3.  How much storage will the Apple Watch hold?

The Apple Watch is speculated to include a whopping 8GB of storage. This will allow for music to be stored and played from the device without being linked to the iPhone via headphones or speakers over Bluetooth.

 

2. When will the Apple Watch be available online and in-stores.

Sources speculate that models could be available for pre-order as early as today and possibly ship by next week.

 

1.  How much will the Apple Watch cost me?

Hopefully you’ve saved up your coins.  With rumors spreading like wildfire, you could have the option of paying anywhere from $300 to $10k for your very own Apple Watch.

Apple Watch

We’ll keep an eye out for the latest news as it’s released from Apple and will keep you updated all day long! (So bookmark this page and check back often for the latest from today’s Apple Watch event!)

Are you looking to buy an Apple Watch? How much would you pay for an Apple Watch of your own?  Share your thoughts below!

HTC Unveils The New HTC Grip Band For Fitness Buffs

March 2nd, 2015 by Tech Staff

HTC Grip

 

 

Do you love your HTC device but looking for a equally comparable fitness band to match?  HTC unveiled its first high-performance, smart fitness tracker, the GPS-enabled HTC Grip. Powered by UA Record, the new health and fitness network from Under Armour designed for athletes and fitness enthusiasts, Grip fuses HTC’s renowned design with powerful, accurate tracking across a range of sports and activities, allowing athletes to set personal goals, then smash them. Compatible with Android and iOS devices1, as well as Bluetooth-enabled accessories like heart-rate monitors, Grip extends its functionality, providing additional performance data to the Under Armour Connected Fitness™ platform.

 
HTC Grip

 

The curved PMOLED display also makes it easy to read time, distance and notifications on the move.Available in three sizes,to ensure a perfect fit, Grip complements even the most advanced training equipment and apparel in both style and performance. Capable of tracking and recording a variety of workouts (from running and cycling to time spent at the gym), Grip is also waterproof, making it perfect for tracking every step, from the gym to the shower and beyond.

Its 100mAh battery lasts up to five hours when the integrated GPS is turned on, enabling Grip to accurately capture route, distance, pace and calories burned, all of which sync with UA Record in real time. Grip also connects to an assortment of external heart rate monitors, including the Under Armour A39, making it ideal for athletes wanting to track their heart rate. For everyday usage, Grip lasts up to 2.5 days on a single charge, ideal for tracking daily activity too.

 

 

HTC Grip
The HTC Grip will be available in DeepTeal/Limeat select retailers in North America,beginning this Spring. It will be available at HTC.com, Under Armour, Academy Sports + Outdoors, AT&T, Cabela’s, DICK’S Sporting Goods, Sports Authority, and Walmart. More information on availability will be shared in the coming weeks. Follow @HTCUSA and visit www.htc.com for more information.

Are you excited about HTC’s newest venture into wearables?  Have wearables

CogniToy Dino Super Computer Powered Tech Toy Is Kid (and Parent) Approved

February 17th, 2015 by Tech Staff

As a parent, what if I told you that you could buy a toy that could learn and grow with your child for years to come?  No more one and done toys and no more wasting money, right?!?  There’s a new Smart Dino Toy from Element Path, unveiled at the NY Toy Fair on Monday, is the first children’s toy to tap into IBM’s powerful Watson cognitive computing system.

CogniToy
CogniToy Dino is actually part of a planned line of cognitive toys. The idea behind them is pretty simple: the child speaks, and CogniToy, which is connected to the Internet (and IBM’s Watson cognitive cloud) listens and then responds. According to Elemental Path, the toy can learn a child’s personality traits and preferences, like favorite color, and then deliver age-appropriate content for their interactions.

Children are shown asking CogniToy questions and it responds, to the children’s delight, without hesitation. The toy dinosaur will be able to tell jokes and quiz the kids on simple math. It should also be able to change and grow – intellectually, that is — over time.  The company also plans on providing parents with a cloud-based console, on their smart devices, where they can track their child’s progress with the chatty little dinosaur. It will even show them the questions children asked CogniToy.

Cognitoy

 

Elemental Path hoped to raise $50,000 with its Kickstarter campaign and deliver CogniToys ($89 for early birds) by November. It has already succeeded it’s goal and has reached $65K and its an ambitious plan for a toy idea that could be considered revolutionary or as Elemental Path Co-Founder JP Benni says in the video, “We’re either really onto something or just absolutely crazy.”  Discover more by checking out the the CogniToy Dino Kickstarer page here.

 

 

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