National iPod Day: Ode to the Original MP3 Player

ipod timeline

Today, October 23rd is National iPod Day. In late 2001, the very first iPod was made public. Apple cleverly spotted the rise of digital music and the lack of a suitable piece of hardware. For this reason alone, they developed a hard drive based MP3 player. As with their recent computer models, Apple was strategic in the way they designed and marketed their product. From the very start, the iPod was given a sleek, sexy look and its target market was the young, style continuous, and music enthusiasts. Apple created a superb brand with an all-white look, with the white earphones being featured prominently in advertisements.

 

The real outbreak for the iPod happened when Apple launched the 3rd generation iPod in 2003. These units came bundled with Apple’s own iTunes software that was compatible on both Macs and Windows PCs. This opened up a whole new market as they could now tap into the Windows users. To this day, Apple has a an impressive 90% market share of the hard drive based Mp3 player market, and 70% share of the MP3 player market as a whole.

ipod sales

Apple has managed to keep their grip on the mp3 player market by releasing various versions of the iPod. The main iPod is now in its 5th generation and although the design is quite similar to the original, it has been made more compact and available with much larger storage capacities. The latest models can display color photos, even movies.

 

iPod Mini

ipod mini

Apple’s first iPod spin off was the iPod mini. This mp3 player was fairly similar to the original although smaller in size. It was the first iPod to be available in different colors and was designed to target a slightly different market.

 

iPod Nano

ipod nano

Apple decided to discontinue the mini in 2005, to replace it with the ultra-small iPod nano. These units are 62% smaller than the mini players and feature colored screens.

 

iPod Shuffle

ipod shuffle

This is another ultra-small iPod and was the first flash drive based iPod. They only have a limited capacity of 512MB or 1GB and do not have a display screen. Users can either listen to the songs on the player in a random order or set a playlist in iTunes.

 

iPod Touch

ipod touch

Apple unveiled the fifth generation on September 12, 2012. Improvements include a IPS display, 4-inch screen similar to the iPhone 5, Apple’s A5 chip, support for recording 1080p video and panoramic still photos via the rear camera, an LED flash, and support for Apple’s Siri since the iPhone 4S. Unlike older models though, this generation does not have an ambient light sensor.

 

The dominance of the iPod in the mp3 player market can be seen in other industries. In fact, cars are now being designed with docking ports to make it easier to integrate iPods to the in car system. Even clothes manufacturers are designing clothes with special pockets just to hold iPods. All manner of other iPod accessories are being created by various electronics companies.

 

So for National iPod day, let’s also take a moment to remember Steve Jobs, co–founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Inc. Thanks to him, we have our favorite tunes at the touch of our fingers right in our pocket.

 


 

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Technology Time Machine [Infographic]

 

Ever wonder what life was like before the advent of modern communications and consumer technology?  So have we.  We put together an infographic of all the popular devices that have advanced modern technology from 1876 to today.

 

technology time machine - evolution of technology


 

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A Peek into the Life of a Customer Service Advocate – Pt. 2

customer service advocate

Interview with Nicole (Nikki) Ibsen, Customer Service Advocate (not pictured)

 

Customer service representatives are more than claims handlers and insurance information providers. Insurance claim representatives are professional life savers and the 911 operators of destroyed devices and human devastation. In the words of Nicole (Nikki) Ibsen, a customer service advocate for Protect Your Bubble, reps are self-proclaimed “personal technology grief counselors” who respond to claims that range from “pretty ridiculous” to “absolutely haywire.”

 

Here is Pt. 2 of some of the most interesting claims we have received.  Click here for Pt. 1

 

1. A Moment of Grossness

We’ve all heard the story of a dropped phone in the toilet. But have you heard the one about the woman who dropped it into a full diaper?

 

One customer was left with no choice but to call PYB after she dropped her phone into a dirty diaper. “That one was pretty bad, and she was pretty disgusted too,” says Nikki, “but she didn’t know how else to go about it. It was just a ‘let’s share the grossness moment.’”

 

Lesson: Don’t have kids.

baby in diaper

Babies and smartphones don't mix

 

2. One-Handed Slip-Up

The lack of filter during these calls, and willingness to be quite explicit, adds to the hilarity of interacting with customers. Nikki shares how one woman was using both her phone and tablet in the bathroom to provide a little mood music while watching adult content and taking a bath. “She was crying on the phone when she told me she let it slip into the bathtub when she was using it one-handedly,” says Nikki.

 

Lesson: Tablets are not an aquatic accessory for any type of extra-curricular activity.

tablet bathtub

Water and electronics don't work well together; tablets are no exception

 

3. Customer Service First & Foremost: Tears of Resolution

From an awkward mechanical malfunction and heartwarming anecdote to a relationship disaster and humiliating mishap, the reasons behind filing a claim can put a representative on quite an emotional, mental and problem-solving roller coaster. But the ride is truly rewarding, especially for Nikki.

 

From the customer service side, Nikki empathizes. “There are always people crying,” she says. “Pretty much anybody will be able to cry, whether they’re frustrated and want to try to get something or they’re just having a really hard time in life. It’s really hard to hear on the phone that their sister’s in the hospital, their dog just died, and now their phone, of all things, is broken.”

 

Nikki just wants to help. She wants to be able to do something and given the opportunity, the customer with the broken device is usually so grateful. Keep in mind, not every claim can be resolved, which is Nikki’s biggest struggle. “It’s heartbreaking,” she says, when someone may be deserving, but the claim isn’t in line with the policy terms and conditions.

emotional help

Helping others can be an emotional journey

 

What’s Most Important: Protecting Your Lifestyle

The goal of PYB is to protect your lifestyle and help customers achieve the most successful outcome. “Have documentation,” advises Nikki. Identify the documentation from when you first signed up for the policy and be willing to answer questions. Also, listen to the representatives and understand the reasons behind the questions we ask. Lastly, keep things in perspective. Losing or breaking a device may feel like the end of the world, but it will get resolved, starting with excellent cooperation and our helpful expertise!

 

Nikki sums up her professional experiences best by saying, “I think the one thing that people need to realize is that we basically get a glimpse into human day-to-day life and how humans react when something small feels out of proportion. It’s so enlightening.”

 


 

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Moms: Becoming a Multi-Device Maven

happy family on couch

Come on, guys, it’s time to get to school!

 

Remember when that used to be a phrase you spoke out loud? Fast forward to the 21st century—it’s probable that you just texted that to your kids from the kitchen.

 

Your phone, your spouse’s phone, your kids’ phones, their laptops, desktop, iPods, iPads, and televisions—electronics galore! Times have changed, and we may as well figure out how to manage the onslaught of technology instead of burying our heads in the sand about its potential dangers. But how?

 

Limit Screen Time

Most of us already know the risks of a sedentary, screen-overloaded lifestyle. Obesity, violence, irregular sleep, behavioral problems—not so fun. But how do we productively monitor and limit screen time for kids? A lot of little successes will come from your willingness to set a good example and keep firm boundaries. Keep TV and computers in the background turned off, keep electronics out of the bedroom, set rules during the school week about screen time and use recording devices to decide which programs to watch instead of scanning for what’s on now—these are the rules we live by in my house.

limit screen time

This child is the top ranked player on Club Penguin

 

Limit Texting While Driving

Would you let your kids drink and drive? I didn’t think so. Yet many of us text and drive, despite the shocking results of a study from the University of Utah which found that the risk of being in an accident while using a cellphone is similar to the risk of driving with a blood alcohol level at the legal limit of intoxication. Because of this, 35 states have passed laws banning cellphone use while driving—check what your state laws are, and be sure to set an example for your kids by avoiding texting and driving. To manage your kids’ texting behavior, consider enrolling your family’s phones into programs or apps like TextLimit, DriveMode, and Canary, which allow you to set the speed at which features like texts, emails, and beeps get disabled. Some apps also allow you to enable geo-locating and receive speeding alerts to keep a close eye on your kids.

teens texting while driving

Showing off his texting skills to his lady friend

 

Family Protection Plans

You may as well place wagers on how long the latest electronic devices will last in your house. If the kids don’t beg you for the newest devices each time one is launched, then they’ll ask for replacements because somebody dropped their backpack and cracked their iPhone screen. With all of the devices in your house, how do you keep track of when you purchased which one, and what level of insurance you have on this one, or that one? Use a bundled protection plan that covers smartphones, tablets, electronics, and even appliances for a low monthly price, with easy claims resolution and quick turnaround for replacements—it’s an investment all savvy moms should make to keep the household running smoothly.

bundled protection

Shameless self-promotion

 

Keep Your Kids Safe Online

There’s no need for scaremongering. However, back in 2004, the Youth Internet Safety Survey showed 1 in 5 youth received unwanted sexual solicitation online. Now, they’ve also found that cyberbullying can start as young as in second grade—lets pause so I can take a giant swig of mommy juice, that is insane!

cyberbullying

Face-to-face bullying is down; Cyberbullying is up

Anyway, the two-pronged approach to deflect this from happening to your family calls for you, the mom, to have explicit conversations with your children about online safety. Be sure to address valuing privacy online, stress to never give out personal information or photos and to never meet any online friends in person. Most importantly, teach your children to always be kind—because anything posted online will last forever.

 

These chats can be awkward, but someone has to do it. At the same time, be a smart parent and use your internet service provider’s parental controls, and check the history of your kids’ online usage—don’t snoop, be transparent about what you are doing. Make sure you know what their social networking profiles show, perhaps requiring them to give you their login and password information. Install a mobile security app like Snap Secure to protect your family in the digital space.

snap secure

Shameless self-promotion pt. 2

 


 

 

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U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-…Oh What Had Happened?

Protection Plan Regret

Have you ever found yourself engrossed in a show or big sporting event just to have the TV suddenly cut out?  If yes, then we know your pain!  Despite the advances in technology today, our high tech electronic devices will eventually suffer mechanical breakdown.  Our protection plans are designed to cover you in events likes this and other accidents.

 

Watch what happens when the unexpected occurs.

 

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Whoa! Protect Your Bubble Has New Protection Plans

Protect Your Bubble has released new protection plans that offer more convenience and value to you!  Now you are able to protect all your mobile & electronic devices as well as home appliances all under one plan.  The more you protect, the more you save.  Visit our protection plan page here to learn more.

 

Check out our comparison chart below for a clear picture of the value of our plans vs the other guys.

 

Protection Plans Comparison Chart

 

 


 

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The Essential Back To School Checklist

back-to-school header

It’s that time of the year, children are starting school soon. There is always a long list of items that must be purchased in preparation regardless of age. Beat back to school stress with this essential back to school checklist for all grades!

 

1. Backpack & Bagsnorthface backpack

Younger children prefer backpacks, if your children are a bit older – particularly in junior high or high school – they usually carry very heavy loads, so it’s ideal to spend a little extra on rugged, durable, chest strapped backpacks. College bound students usually prefer sling bags and North Face backpacks for their laptops and tablets.  North Face is the preferred choice for students who want to conform to societal norms.

 

 

 

2. Clothing

Be sure to buy shirts, pants, socks, and underclothing. Don’t forget to get new shoes too because your child’s feet are getting Shaq size. There are some students that require more than one pair, either for gym or athletic programs. You also want to have athletic or gym cloths if they’re required. These could include sweat suits, shorts, and t-shirts. Sweaters and lightweight jackets are usually needed for the cool early mornings, and heavier coats will be needed within a few months of school starting. Majority of schools have dress codes, so it’s a good idea to get a copy of that for reference before you go shopping for clothes.

 

3. School Suppliesti-83

This includes notebook paper, spiral notebooks, pens, pencils, folders, dividers and binders among other things. Most kids need all of these regardless of grade. Younger children might need art paper and older children might need a graph set, so the needs vary but the basics tend to stay the same. An oversized calculator is a great addition to the school supply checklist unless your kid is required to buy a scientific calculator.  TI-83’s are a must in more advanced math classes.

 

4. Schedule Doctor and Dental Appointments

Many kids need certain immunizations before school starts. Athletes in middle and high school need a routine athletic checkup. Find out if the school would certain medical forms for your child’s doctor to sign. Your child’s school may or may not require a physical exam, but it is highly recommended that he/she gets one annually from infancy through the teen years. An updated health check is always a great way to start the school year. Don’t forget about the dentist too!

dentist back to school

bagged pizza5. Plans for Breakfast, Lunch, and Overall Nutrition

Plan meals ahead of time, and pack healthy lunches for your children to make sure that they are eating nutritious food, rather than snacks and soft drinks from the vending machine.  Cafeteria lunches can be a hit or miss so make sure you know the lunch schedule beforehand and plan accordingly. Every kid loves prepackaged bagged pizza! Try to promote an active lifestyle, rather than a sedentary one for your child, and make sure he/she is getting enough sleep. It’s also important to keep stocked up on healthy snacks for your kids to eat when school is out.

 

 

6. Family Calendar

Put up a family calendar on the fridge so everyone will see it regularly. It will help keep everyone up-to-date on each other’s appointments, classes, and events. Nobody will miss a rehearsal, baseball practice, or music lesson. Talk about “no child left behind!”

 

The school year can be a crazy time, but you can simplify the transition of going back to school by having a checklist of everything your child needs. Make this new school year awesome!

 


 

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5 Father’s Day Gifts for the Cool Dad

Michael KeatonIs your dad as cool as Michael Keaton?  If yes, then he’ll probably like these gift ideas.

 

Dads may be relatively easy to please, but that’s no reason to drop the ball on Father’s Day. A good father will wear that ugly tie until he retires, but he deserves more. We all love our dads, but we are never sure what a great gift would be for him. The best gift ideas for Father’s Day always take a father’s personality and style into account.

 

1. Tickets to the Game

Let’s be real – most dads are sports fans so this is an easy one. Get your dad good seats to the game or tournament of his choice, whether it be basketball, football, golf, or any other sport. To hit the ball outside of the park, buy him several tickets and allow him to invite friends and family. Heck, he might even bring you along!

father+son+baseball

After 35 neglected years, Larry King's stunt double took his son to a baseball game

2. Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity and Sleep Wristband

Help Dad stay in shape in the least activity-intense way possible! Fitbit Flex fits a small monitoring device inside one of two included silicone wristbands that tracks your activity including how many calories you burn during the day and your sleep patterns at night. With the assistance from a free companion app for your iPhone (or a separate Mac/PC app) that syncs with Fitbit’s website, it stores and visualizes the collected data, along with information you enter about your activities, food, water intake, and more. The best motivation Dad needs to get going is smaller than the average watch and looks cool too.

fitbit

Fitbit tells you how many calories you burned using chopsticks

3. GoPro HERO3 White Edition Camcorder

This is the company’s most advanced GoPro camera to date. You can mount the waterproof (up to 197 feet) camera on just about any piece of gear and capture video up to 1440p resolution. Additionally, it takes 12MP photos for ultra high resolution action shots! If your dad has an active lifestyle, a resilient HD camera is exactly what Dad will need to make a digital copy of his memories. This device will capture all of Dad’s exciting experiences, whether it is underwater swimming with sharks, climbing to the top of the Himalayas, or spelunking in a cave in search for guano.

guano go pro

If this dad had a GoPro, he wouldn't have to put his face in bat guano

4. Ryobi One Plus Ultimate Combo Kit

One of the best features about the Ryobi One+ 18-volt Lithium-ion Ultimate Combo Kit is the can’t-miss canvas bag, Dad will be able to spot it no matter how dark and cluttered the garage gets. When he needs power tools, they’re all right there – all 6 of them. The drill alone is compact and powerful enough to handle about any job on Dad’s project list.

ryobi family

This father built a treehouse using a Ryobi drill and his bare hands

5. A Driving Experience

Dads and cars are like Kool-Aid – a homogeneous mixture! Give your dad a Father’s Day gift he’ll never forget by booking a driving experience in a Porsche, Ferrari, or Lamborghini. Participants can really test the car’s limits on a closed race track. Hitting 200mph in an exotic car is like overdosing on testosterone and adrenaline. Furthermore, you could rent your dad’s dream car for a day and let him drive it to the office and gloat about it to his friends. This gift will make him feel like an alpha male like Vin Diesel in The Fast and Furious!

Vin-Diesel

Vin Diesel is so alpha, he once broke up a fight while holding a baby

Just remember that these are only a handful of ideas that you can opt for when choosing the perfect first Father’s Day gift. What you want to remember is that the gift you pick should be memorable and fun! To further make this experience worthwhile, give Dad the gift that keeps giving – an electronic device protection plan.

 


 

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7 Video Games You Should Be Playing This Summer

Transistor Game

With the recent launches of the next gen systems, this will be the inaugural summer of next gen gaming as highly anticipated titles for the PS4, Xbox One, and Wii U are scheduled to be released. Prepare your thumbs and mind for an exhilarating summer full of nonstop rofl-stomping.  Here are 7 games you need to be playing this summer 2014, listed by release date.

 

1. Transistor | PC, PS4 | May 20, 2014

From the creators of critically acclaimed Bastion, SuperGiant Games brings its latest game to the PC and PS4. Transistor places you in the role of a female protagonist aptly named Red who conveniently carries around a behemoth, living sword with a big Red eye.  This sci-fi action rpg has it all, from the stunning hand drawn art style set in a not so distant dystopian city to its tight gameplay mechanics. Transistor is the Hideki Matsui of video games – Amazing!

 

2. Watch Dogs | Multi-platform | May 27, 2014

Contrary to the game’s title, Watch Dogs is not a competitive doggy daycare simulator. It is, however, an open world action-adventure game with eerie real life overtones.  Set in a fictional and technologically connected Chicago, you play the role of an adroit hacker who can access protected electronic systems that control different aspects of the city and a to a larger extent, the world. It is developed by Ubisoft Montreal, the same team that brought you Far Cry 2 and Shaun White Snowboarding! Actually forget Watch Dogs, I want to play Shaun White Snowboarding!

Shaun White - Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson reluctantly approves of Shaun White Snowboarding

 

3. Mario Kart 8 | Wii U | May 30, 2014

It’s a me, Mario!Mario Kart 8 is the latest rendition of the beloved Nintendo racing series, dating back to the SNES days when moderately offensive ethnic stereotypes were still acceptable. It brings back some sweet features from the previous installments like motorbikes, hang gliders, and underwater racing! A new feature is anti-gravity racing, which allows for racing along walls and ceilings.  Talk about insane! Get hype for Mario Kart 8 and ready your blue shells to do battle against your friends.

 

4. Ultra Street Fighter IV | PS3, X360, PC | Jun, 2014

It seems like there is a new Street Fighter game every year. I would not be the least bit surprised if the developer, Capcom, were to release something like Super Hyper Ultra Combo Street Fighter IV.V next year. This is the fourth rendition of the Street Fighter IV series.  This time around each character has one extra costume color! But seriously, this version has tighter gameplay mechanics, five new characters, and six new stages. For you diehard fighting gaming enthusiasts, Ultra Street Fighter IV will be your go-to fighter this summer. For you casual gamers, I suggest you go home and be a family man.

 

Go home and be a family man

 

5. Valiant Hearts: The Great War | Multi-platform | Jun 25, 2014

This game looks sweet.  On a scale of sweet to super sweet, I would rate Valiant Hearts: The Great War cinnabon-sweet. The art style has a really indie feel to it and is a bit reminiscent of Metal Slug. More importantly, the gameplay mechanics are tight like jean shorts in the 90’s. I dare you to watch the trailer and tell me it doesn’t look tight!

 

6. Madden NFL 15 | Multi-platform | Aug 26, 2014

john madden brain

Mr. Madden! That's not a football you're holding!

Here comes the annual Madden game, this time with more dementia.  Our dearly beloved John Madden is 78 years young, but that hasn’t stopped him from making awe-inspiring video games like Madden NFL 15. The most recent Madden game has updated rosters that include 2014 NFL draft players like Johnny Manziel. Here’s your chance to simulate his upcoming season and achieve realistic stats – 584 YDs, 3 TDs, 19 INTs, and 7 fumbles! Go Football!

 

7. Destiny | Multi-platform | Sep 9, 2014

Destiny is a Destiny’s Child simulator, allowing you to immerse yourself as Beyoncé and overshadow the other neglected members. Experience real-life past events like rudely interrupting Kelly Rowland as she applies for a title loan or abruptly cutting Michelle Williams in line as you queue for movie theatre concessions.  Just kidding, this game is actually much more jubilant than Destiny’s Child’s history – it involves the slaughter of xenophobic aliens in an interstellar blood bath.

 

And there you have it folks. 7 games you need to be playing this summer. Subscribe to the blog below or get at me via Google+.


 

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Has Google Glass Gone Too Far?

Google Glass

Is Google Glass racist?

 

From my experience, the answer is a resounding yes!

 

With the onslaught of new technologies today, humans from all backgrounds have voiced their displeasure about the extreme prejudice and insensitive encounters they have experienced with high-tech devices.

 

racist camera

The Struggle is Real

A cute feature of Google Glass is the ability to message a friend or perform a Google search purely by talking to your device – no physical interaction is needed throughout the whole process, which ironically does not save time as you spend minutes trying to correct the speech to text errors.

 

Below is a video demonstrating the outcome of Google Glass’s voice recognition software by emulating people of various backgrounds as they attempt to speak English with different accents.

 

 

As you can see from the video, Google Glass is indeed racist.  The Australians, Irish, and Chinese have the toughest time.  The real question is will we humans just stand there and become slaves to our blatantly discriminatory tech overlords?  In the Terminator series, John Connor was wrong when he said there was nothing worse than SkyNet – a racist SkyNet.  Disclaimer: This is satire.  If you didn’t realize that, I feel bad for you son – you got 99 problems and satire is one.

 


 

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