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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It’s Hammer Time: Tablet Edition!

Tablets can be pretty sturdy but watch what happens when a child with MC Hammer strength plays with a tablet.  With our new protection plans, you can get unrivaled protection and savings.  Other protection plans can’t touch this!

 

 


 

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Taking a Phone Call – What Could Happen?

Some of the craziest things can happen when we least expect it.  One second everything is rainbows and butterflies, the next you can have your palm in your face.

 

In spirit of our new protection plans, see what happens here when Mom takes a phone call.

 

 


 

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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 Latest iPhone 6 Rumors

iphone 6 concept

Over the last few months, rumors of the new iPhone 6 have been circulating as it nears its September launch date. According to a survey of 4,109 US consumers the iPhone 6 is the most anticipated Apple smartphone ever.

 

Display

Along with a larger screen, the iPhone 6 is rumored to feature a durable sapphire display in at least some models, and may adopt slimmer bezels and a thinner chassis. The larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 might also incorporate Optical Image Stabilization as a differentiating feature from the 4.7-inch iPhone 6.

iphone-6-concept-display

According to Business Insider, of the many iPhone 6 prototypes Apple has made, one has a giant Retina+ IGZO display and a “new form factor with no home button. Gesture control is also possibly included.” The Retina+ Sharp IGZO display would have a 1080p Full HD resolution. A Full HD display for the iPhone 6 makes perfect sense, especially if it grows to a 4.7-inch screen as discussed, and the iPhablet will push things even further to preserve the Retina experience on a larger display.

 

iphone 6 retina concept

The most recent resolution rumors claim that Apple has been testing a pixel-tripling display which would have a resolution of 1704 x 960. The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 would have a pixel density of 416 ppi while the 5.5-inch model would have a density of 356 ppi.

 
Camera & Storage

The camera could get an upgrade to 13-megapixels, although not everyone agrees, with others indicating the existing 8-megapixel camera will see improvements. Analysts from Nomura Securities are also saying that the iPhone 6 will have better image stabilization. It is also possible that the larger iPhone 6 will be the only model with a 128GB storage capacity.

camera-iPhone-6
A8 Processor

The iPhone 5s incorporates a 64-bit A7 28-nanometer chip manufactured by Samsung. Apple’s iPhone 6 will reportedly utilize a 20-nanometer A8 chip from TSMC, which will be both smaller and more energy efficient. Samsung will continue to be involved in the production, however, helping to alleviate some of TSMC’s manufacturing load.

a8_chip

Earlier in the year, rumors pointed towards a quad-core 64-bit processor for the A8, but a July report suggested the A8 processor may in fact be dual-core with a frequency of 2.0 GHz or higher per core. The A8 may also be limited to 1GB of RAM, the same as the A7.

 
iOS 8

ios_8_logo

The iPhone 6 will come with iOS 8 installed, which Apple previewed in stage during the WWDC 2014 developer conference. It has revealed only a little about the software, which includes a new HealthKit app, more sharing options, tighter integration with OS X, and the introduction of widgets and third-party keyboard support.

 

Pricing

Apple’s legacy is a long line of premium devices donning premium price tags and you can expect that trend to continue with the iPhone 6. One rumor goes as far as predicting that the because the newest smartphone is set to have a larger screen, new glass covering the front and possibly even a new, more impressive, material used in construction, Apple will hike up the price of the iPhone 6, possibly by as much as $100 (around £60, AU$110). The iPhone has never been a bloater, but rumors have spread the next generation may be much thinner than ever.

iphone 6 price

 

That’s about all we have for now. As it has done for the past two years, Apple will likely launch the iPhone 6 at an event in early September, shipping the device later in the month on a corresponding Friday approximately a week after the launch event.

 


 

 

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Amazon Fire Phone Revealed – Everything You Need To Know

Amazon revealed their first smartphone today at a live event in Seattle. The device is Amazon’s first venture into the highly competitive market dominated by Apple and Samsung. Here’s what we know about the Amazon Fire phone from their elaborate event today.

 

Availability

The Amazon Fire Phone features an HD display designed to respond to user’s eye movements and is capable of displaying 3D images. Because Amazon already has a strong partnership with AT&T, their smartphone will be initially an AT&T exclusive.  The price is set at $199.99 with a 2 year contract agreement.  Pre-orders are already being accepted and the ship date has been set for July 25th. It’s still unclear if or when Amazon will sell their first smartphone on other networks. With the success of Kindle Fire tablets, the new smartphone will continue to use the company’s Fire operating system, which is a highly customized version of Google Android.

 

Specs

Like many other high-end Android phones, the Amazon phone sports a 1280×720 pixel 4.7-inch IPS display, a 2.2 quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, an Adreno 330 graphics processor, 2GB of RAM,  and support for 4G LTE. The main rear camera is set to be 13Mp and the front-facing camera is 2.1Mp.  Battery life seems to be a priority with 285 hours of standby time, and up to 22 hours of talk time.

 

amazon fire specs
Camera

The Amazon Fire phone may look like other smartphones, but the latest news shows a front-facing camera placed at each corner of the screen. These will track your eyes to monitor exactly where you’re looking at, adjusting the image on-screen to provide the user with a “3D” experience without using special glasses. The upcoming handset will utilize a unique combination of cameras, sensors, and software to dramatically change the way users interact with a smartphone. The phone will also to be able to automatically zoom into images as it moves closer to the user’s face and can manipulate images and text as a person tilts the phone.  The rear-facing camera will be 13mp with a fast f/2 aperture lens.  Video taken with the camera will be in 1080p HD definition.

 

amazon fire camera

 

Audio

Amazon Fire uses Dolby Digital Plus creating a virtual surround sound experience.  Fire optimizes audio output depending on the media format whether it is watching a video or listening to music.  A big surprise is the inclusion of tangle-free ear buds.  That’s right folks, tangle-free ear buds!  We don’t know if this claim is 100% true, we’ll just have to wait to get our hands on it and see.  The ear buds have flat cables and magnetic buds that stick together.

 

 

Usability

Beyond 3D effects, Amazon’s new device will also enable an entirely new way for users to navigate apps and menus on the phone. The 3D screen includes a complete collection of gesture controls. By tilting the handset in different directions, without the user having to tap or touch anything, the smartphone’s interface will display additional information on the screen.

 

 

In the phone’s calendar and email apps where small icons are displayed with no labels, even a slight tilt of the device will reveal labels beneath each icon, informing the user of its function. If the user performs a tilt gesture after searching for a restaurant in the maps app, Yelp ratings will appear on top of the various results plotted on the map.

 

 

The new smartphone also includes a feature dubbed Firefly that allows its user to capture images of signs and real-life objects with text using the phone’s primary rear camera. The software automatically recognizes the text and converts it into a note using optical character recognition (OCR) and other technology. With the captured text, the software can translate text from a foreign language into English or read information on a business card and save it as a new contact entry.  With Firefly, you can basically identify real life items and search for it on Amazon.com seamlessly.  Firefly is so important; it has its own dedicated button on the phone!

 

 

Amazon definitely pulled out all the stops on their first phone. Let us know what you think of the Amazon Fire!

 


 

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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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Closecall Post Accident Phone Protection – Fast Phone Replacement

Broke your phone? No insurance? No problem!

 

Closecall Post Accident Phone Insurance - Phone Replacement

Introducing Protect Your Bubble’s latest protection plan – Closecall.  With Closecall, we’ll replace your damaged phone with a refurbished one and have it shipped to you overnight despite your lack of phone insurance or warranty.*  You will also have the option to insure your new phone with us moving forward to make sure you’re protected if you find yourself in this situation again.  It’s the closest thing to jumping in a time machine and traveling back in time to prevent your phone from getting damaged.  Closecall covers phone damages like cracked screens, water damage, drop damage, and more.  For the full details on this phone replacement plan, check out our Closecall Post Accident Cell Phone Insurance.

 

Happy man with cell phone

*Your replacement phone is a high-quality refurbished device and has undergone rigorous testing and quality assurance to ensure it will last. Replacement phone purchase requires eligible installment agreement and qualifying credit. Your monthly price covers your quality replacement phone as well as sales tax. You cannot cancel the monthly replacement phone fees. Call Preferred Warranty Services at 855-852-7383 for questions regarding the interest-free financing contract.

 

Overnight delivery applies to phones ordered before 2PM EST Monday-Thursday. Orders placed between 2PM EST Thursday and 2PM EST Friday will be delivered on the following Monday. Orders placed between 2PM EST Friday and midnight EST Sunday will be delivered on the following Tuesday.

 

 

In Florida, accidental damage and mechanical breakdown coverage are provided by an extended service contract through United Service Protection, Inc

 

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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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7 “Look Up” Tips for Smartphone Addicts

 

 

Gary Turk may not have know how far reaching his video would be when he wrote, performed, and directed it, but the message that he communicates is definitely resonating with those that remember life without a smartphone.  I have personally felt the same concern for my children who knew how to use a smartphone and tablet as early as 2 years old.

 

Growing up in the 80s, my parent’s had similar concerns about video games.  I could play Super Mario Brothers, Contra, Super Tecmo Bowl, and Street Fighter all day long.  At the same time, my buddies and I would disappear on our bicycles for hours at a time exploring the neighborhood, woods, or whatever felt adventurous to us at the time.  But smartphone addiction is different than a gaming addiction.  It is much harder to separate ourselves from a device that people expect us to have on us at all times.

 

Then it happens.  We get to a point where we actually fear being away from our phones.  We fear that we are missing something or that we may have to wait in line or in a waiting room with no way to tweet, email, or snapchat how bored we are waiting for something.  At Protect Your Bubble, we see it all the time as someone has their device lost, stolen, or damaged.  They will file a claim, and we will overnight a device to them.  But even in that short turnaround, there is a huge sense of urgency from our customers as they experience the mental anguish of being disconnected.

 

Gary Turk also did a great job of conveying the danger of our phones becoming our primary or only means of connecting with others.  Even to the point where young people have a harder time communicating with others in person or by phone.  Aside from communication proficiency, some of the funniest moments in my life were spent sharing a movie with friends, sitting around a campfire sharing stories (that no one had already seen on Facebook), or adventures that we went on in response to being a little bored.  Those deep connecting moments are the ones I remember.  I don’t remember any funny moments I’ve shared over social media.  Even 15 year later, being 1000s of miles apart, I can still call or go visit old friends, and we relive those moments, and it is literally like we never moved apart.  That’s a real connection and worth the effort of “Looking Up”.

 

Here are a few tips if you are trying to Look Up and connect better:

 

“Park It”

Your phone may need a break from you too!

Have a place in your home where you park your phone.  A place were it can charge and be away from you.  Give your phone some space.  Change the ringtones for important people in your life and only go check if it rings with those tones.  It will help you engage better in your home and to ignore the unimportant noises that grab our attention if the phone is always in your pocket.  I even have a buddy that keeps his work phone in the garage so that he doesn’t even hear it after hours.  It has a nice parking spot in the garage where it can rest for the next busy day.

 

“Look at the Phone, Pick up the Tab”

Taking your phone out for dinner?

If you are at dinner with friends, you can each put your smartphone on vibrate and leave them on the table facing up at the center of the table.  When someone calls, emails, etc, the phone will light up.  The goal of the game is to not get caught looking at the phone at all.  The first person to do it, or the person who looks the most, has to pick up the tab for dinner.  Make a big deal about it when you catch them sneaking a peak on the sly too.  If you are at home with the family, that person has to do the dishes before they get their phone back.

 

Engage People in Real Conversation

Many a great stories are told fireside

How good are you at engaging people?  More than tweet-sized texts and small talk about weather, sports, etc.  What are fun things do you like to know about people?  Instead of stalking them on Facebook, engage them in real life.  Put together a list of questions in your mind that you want to know about others.  My wife and I have a list of questions we ask our kids at the dinner table – like what animal or super hero would you be – and the responses are hysterical.

 

People love to talk and laugh about themselves – they just need a prompt.  It could be as simple as asking someone to tell you their story or how they got to where they are today.   Ask them dream level questions…what they love to do if they had all the time and money in the world to do it, what would their dream job look like, what is the funniest thing that has ever happened to them, what adventure would they like to go on, etc.   Learn what questions engage people and go looking for opportunities to use them.  People will be less likely to check their vibrating smartphones when you have them engaged in fun conversations.

 

Pay Attention & Be Polite

Get off your phone - come back 3 years!

The smartphone has become a refuge from talking to people in stores, on elevators, and in line, but prioritize being polite over getting 5 extra seconds of screentime.  If the message can be sent by your phone, it can probably wait for you to open the door for someone or to acknowledge the hostess at a restaurant.   Its usually not intentional, but staring at our phones can come off as rude and obnoxious to those that need us to be responsive in the coffee line.  Most of us would keep our eye up if we knew that others thought we were being rude or obnoxious.

 

DWT – Driving While Texting

Pay Attention!

If you have a tendency to check your phone at red lights or as you approach intersections, watch the sidewalks.  There are tons of bikers, runners, and others on the sidewalk or on the edge of the road whose lives depend on too many people looking at their cellphones while driving.  I run a lot, and the number of people looking down while driving is jaw dropping.  My friends and I have countless stories of close calls and many of them involve a cell phone.  According to Textinganddrivingsafety.com, 1 out of 4 wrecks involve cell phones and that you are 23 times more likely to have a wreck when looking at your smartphone’s screen.  Just keep in mind that not everyone is protected from you by their vehicle and pay attention when the phone lights up.

 

Explore Now, Tweet Later

Better than a retweet!

Go somewhere where the messages on your phone seem trivial.  Go hiking and listen to nature.  Go for a run or a walk in a peaceful or scenic place.  Go to a sporting event or a concert soak up the experience.  I’m terrible about seeing the sites when I travel for business, but hate sitting in my hotel room.  Going for a run in a new place has become my mainstay, and I’m amazed at how much of a city you can take in when running around it.  Even if you don’t run, just go explore.  You can take pictures, but tweet them later in the day.

 

 Turn off the Things that go Ding

"Ah, need to get this one..."

Your phone probably doesn’t need to make as much noise as it does.  Turn off the alerts and dings for non-critical apps or messages.  I laugh when the generic Apple SMS ding rings and 10 people pull their phones out.  If it doesn’t need your immediate attention, it doesn’t need to ding.  It is also great to customize dings and rings for the top people in your life so that you know when they are trying to reach you and when the rest of the world is pressing.  You’ll have better restraint to keep it in your purse or pocket if you have a better idea of who is contacting you.

 

And finally, as you walk down the street, sit at a restaurant, and talk to people, notice how hard it really is for us all to Look Up.  Laugh at how bad we are at it, and make mental notes about where you should look up in your life.  Good work Mr. Turk.  There may be someone out there that meets someone special because of your challenge to Look Up.  These devices are great and important, but the connections and the level of engagement we have with the world around us is much more important.

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