Category: technology

“You Can Be Anything!” with the Snoopy iPad App

I grew up with Snoopy and can never resist a favourite character from my youth! How can you not love how sweet Snoopy is?
I was very excited to review the “You Can Be Anything” Snoopy App from Story Panda. In this digital adventure Snoopy teaches children that they can be anything! This interactive story is a great way to start the conversation with our children on what they want to be when they grow up.
The You Can Be Anything Snoopy App was a great book to read with my son (it also has a mode where the story could be read to him) on our iPad. Snoopy had us laughing and learning lots of new careers and roles each one of us plays in life. Snoopy plays many roles in this great app inspiring children everywhere that we are special and we can be what ever we want to be.
The You Can Be Anything Snoopy App is full of animation, 3D effects, narratives and cool sounds. It also has a create mode where your child can create their own story to go along with the animations. My son had so much fun creating his own silly story using family names. He spent over thirty minutes on the app creating his own version. He was so proud of it at the end! He came up with cool jobs, neat story lines and was even able to change Snoopy’s clothes.
The You Can Be Anything Snoopy App was a huge hit in our home and for only $2.99 you can also explore this interactive story and create your own!
If your not following Story Panda yet you can find them on Facebook and Twitter.
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Capturing Perfect Moments with the Nokia Lumia 1020

I have always loved the arts. Painting, photography, sketching – they all bring me so much joy and help me unwind. There is nothing more satisfying than capturing that perfect moment in a photograph! My husband recently purchased me a new DSLR (which I have affectionately refer to as my third baby!) which I adore but because of it’s large size (and my fear of damaging it) I do not bring it out as much as I would like to. I tend to rely on my smart phone camera more than anything else. Up to this point I can’t say I have been really impressed with my smart phone cameras (in the past two years I have owned a BlackBerry and an iPhone). The quality has been grainy, blurry and very rarely can you ever actually have them printed out in a decent quality. 
I have been testing out the Nokia Lumia 1020 for the past month and I can honestly say it has blown the competition out of the water. The quality of the pictures I took were incredible. I could not believe that those photographs were coming from a smart phone!

To give you a little bit more background information on the phone, the Nokia Lumia 1020 has an incredible 41 mega pixel camera sensor, Pure View technology, Optical image stabilization and high resolution zoom. The device is powered by Windows Phone 8 and has the ability to create action shots, blur out objects (or even remove them!) or shoot in full HD video.
The Nokia Lumia 1020 was a bit larger then any phone I have ever used but I also found that was to my advantage when I was taking photos and editing on the actual device. Because of the lens it feels heavier on the one side so I would completely recommend purchasing the Camera Grip (which also adds to the phone’s battery life – something I learned at the Telus Learning Centre).
 I am pretty comfortable with technology and I have a super savvy tech husband at home if I ever have questions but the Telus Learning Centre session was very much worth the time to head in store for. The Telus rep that I met with was incredible. He was incredibly passionate and knowledgeable in his field. He taught me so much about the smart phone (things I was even able to show off to the hubby later with!). The Nokia Lumia 1020 also has an amazing battery life. I took it up to three days before having to charge it! This is coming from a person who needed to charge her Blackberry after six hours and the iPhone after twelve hours daily!

My favourite part of the Nokia Lumia 1020 was how versatile it was. Not only was it perfect to bring along to snap family photographs, I could bring it to work and use it for my day to day activities but I also challenged myself for the past month and a half to use ONLY the Nokia Lumia 1020 to take and edit photographs for my blog. To my surprise it cut down on my editing and uploading time! I was able to take photos and edit right there and then. No more taking my photographs, waiting for the kids to go to sleep, uploading to my desk top, editing the photos, putting my blog name on it and then uploading to the blog. The Nokia Lumia 1020 allowed me to increase my efficiency for my blogging and allowed me to spend more time with the ones I love.
I was able to capture so many bodies of work that I am quite proud of. I am posting a few of them here in my post but you can find the complete album in my Google + post here.
I found it so hard to believe how beautifully it captured the rain drops on this leaf while I was out hiking!
And then all the prickly ends on this bur!
Here is an example of how I was able to put together photos for my blog post.

Over the past month and a half I have fallen in love with my Nokia Lumia 1020. It makes my life as a mother, photographer and blogger that much easier! Not to mention it looks pretty darn cool in that bright yellow shell of its! It is definitely a smart phone worth looking into!

Disclosure: I received the product mentioned above to help facilitate my review. The opinions expressed are my own.
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React Mobile: Families Putting Safety First

The hardest part of being a parent? Learning how to trust and let your child venture out into the world. I am constantly scared for them. It is so much easier to ensure their safety when they are with me! 
The day will come when I have to let them out. When they will want to walk to school either with friends or alone. They will want to head to the park to meet their friends without Mom or Dad tagging along. As terrifying as this is as a parent, it is a right of passage for children as they grow into young adults.
I was recently introduced to a  mobile app called React Mobile. React Mobile is designed to fit into the lives of busy families and students. It is fairly common for many individuals, regardless of age, to carry a cell phone. I will personally be purchasing a cell phone for my son when he begins to want to walk home from school. React Mobile is an app for your iPhone or android smartphone that allows you to easily call for help with the push of a button.
So how does the React Mobile app work?
In an emergency, users are prompted to call 911. At the quick push of a button, users can send their GPS coordinates to a select group of emergency contacts via text message and email. Users can also send out an alert message to their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The React Mobile app has quite a few everyday uses (many that you hope to never have to use!). The app’s premium “Follow Me” feature allows the user’s family to follow them in real time if they are concerned for their safety. At any time the user can send an SOS alert to have their family monitor and track them. There is even an “I’m Safe” button that the user can tap when they have arrived safely at their destination (pretty smart right?! This is one of my greatest concerns for my children – knowing they have arrived safely to their destination).

Check out their video below going over the app:


You can never be too safe with the personal security of your loved ones! The React Mobile app takes personal safety to a whole new level on mobile phones. To download this free app head over here.
You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter for more information.
Disclosure: This post was a sponsored post. The opinions expressed are my own.
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How To Keep Your Personal Information Personal In a Social Media World #ESETProtects

Social media plays a huge role in my life. It is the number one way I stay connected to family overseas, friends from high school and network with new friends and bloggers. You can instantly share updates on your children, success stories and pictures. Sometimes without even realizing it we can share too much information and make information public that we may regret later.
Facebook is one of the largest social media sites that many of us use on a daily basis. If you are not careful about your privacy settings you can unintentionally share information not only with your friends but their friends as well! ESET shares with us their top tips on how to protect your privacy on Facebook. Our eldest son has already started to ask for a Facebook account even though he is not yet thirteen. He has many friends that have been allowed by their parents to join the social media site. We were firm with our decision that no he is not ready for a social media account. A certain level of maturity is required to safely manage a social media account and to prevent the sharing of inappropriate or unsafe content that will later be regretted.
Some key tips to remember when setting up a Facebook account:
  • Do not over share! If you give away to much information online it is easier for your identity to be stolen. Your friends and family members know you already – there is no need to share more than the basics.
  • Keep your private information private. Actively go in to your privacy settings and update them. You do not need to share every status update and photo in public mode nor should you want to. If you do not change your settings most of the updates you share will be public.
  • Update your Timeline settings. Did you know you can choose who can or can not see your Timeline? If you did not then you should look – you can chose to review posts that include your name, items posted to your timeline and so on.
  • Third party access – every once in a while check out who you have allowed to view your information (i.e. – birthday, friends, etc..). If you do not use the app remove that access they have.
  • Before you chose to log in with Facebook on some accounts or sites make sure you trust that site. You are giving them access to view your personal information!
  • Look at your Facebook friends. Every once in a while go through who you have added, accepted friend requests from, etc. Do you really know this person? Are you comfortable sharing information with them? If not then you may want to remove them from having access to your page.
Remember my post from last month about all the awesome features of ESET Smart Security 6? They even have you covered on Facebook with a Social Media Scanner! The scanner works to protect your Facebook and Twitter accounts from any form of malicious content. Pretty awesome, right?
Now that we have covered the basics of protecting ourselves on our social media accounts, what would you do if you were to lose your mobile device or laptop? I can not even begin to think of the nightmare that would bring! If you are like a lot of the people I know your mobile device is your calendar, it stores important dates/information, contact information, your social media accounts and so much more!
I was so surprised about how likely the chances of your mobile device or laptop being lost or stolen were. There are a few ways you can help to protect your personal information if your mobile phone or laptop are ever lost or stolen.
  • Password protect your devices. This will help to slow down anyone who may have stolen your phone (not to mention keeping your little ones out of your phone and posting updates on your behalf!).
  • Back up your devices. You can only really know the importance of this after losing all of your important papers or documents, pictures and so on. Safe yourself the hassle and regularly back up your devices.
  • Tracking software. ESET Smart Security 6 comes with tracking software that can help to locate your laptop. ESET also has mobile security for androids!
  • Do not tempt thieves. Be careful with your devices. Do not leave them out on a table and walk away. Guard your personal devices like you do your personal information.
  • Encrypt sensitive data or better yet remove sensitive data from your devices.
Have you had the online social media chat with your pre-teens and teens yet? What advice do you give them?
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ESET Smart Security 6 is a PTPA award winner! Check out their full line of products here. Don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
Disclosure: As part of the ESET Brand Ambassadorship I received compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own and I only support products that I love!
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Protecting Your Computer From Phishing #ESETProtects

In the past ten years various computer viruses and attacks has evolved as more of the population have begun to use the Internet. Online shopping is now incredibly popular as well as online banking and wire transfers (how can you not beat the convenience of this?).
The term “phishing” is used to describe the process by which a bait (usually an email) is sent out to a potential victim in the hopes that they will click on it and unknowingly download malware causing their personal information to be compromised. They can compromise usernames, passwords, credit cards and banking information.
It is so important to be careful not to fall for these scams but you have to be aware to be able to protect yourself. ESET gives us four great tips on how to identify typical phishing scams.
  • Email links : How many emails have you received asking you to click on the included link to verify accounts or the email, etc…Be wary if you do not recognize the account or if it looks suspicious. Don’t ever open any links from accounts you do not know!
  • Email threats: Do you constantly get emails threatening to close your accounts if you do not click the provided link? Don’t respond but if you are really concerned and you use the company give them a call to see if the email is valid. Better safe than sorry!
  • Spoofing companies and popular websites: These fake sites look so real but be careful if it doesn’t look right – exit and start over.
  • Security software: Look into installing additional software that will help protect you against these malicious sites (ESET Smart Security 6 is perfect for this!).
How do you protect yourself from phishing emails? Have you ever had this happen to you?
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