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4 Ways to Improve Your Selfie (Using Your Smartphone's Camera)


Capturing the best YOU.


Everybody's doing it! Even if you don't like your picture snapped (like me) ocassionally you want to get yourself and a friend, or update a profile picture, so here are a few ways to improve upon the selfie.

1. Use Accessories
A few weeks ago I talked about a few Selfie Accessories like the Shutterball that will help you get that great picture that doesn't have a bathroom mirror behind it. Those are the worst!

2. Use Your Self Timer
I can't think of a single smartphone cameras that doesn't have a self timer. Why is this helpful? You can set it and know when to strike a pose without having to manage to hit the shutter. Most Samsung smartphone cameras and many others also have a voice feature you can turn on so all you have to do is say "cheese" and it will snap the picture. You need to go to Settings>Voice Control Turn it on, then make sure Camera is checked. Now when you take a picture you can say Shoot or Smile or Cheese and it will snap the photo, shutter button finger free!


3. Take advantage of the camera technology

The Samsung Galaxy S5 sports a feature that uses the front-facing and the rear camera at the same time. You can take a selfie and a picture of some amazing landmark behind you in one photo (without having to do any editing.)
The HTC One M8 has dual rear cameras that can create some really cool 3D effects. But more importantly, it has a selfie picture type editing feature. Do you want to make your face look a little thinner, maybe you want your eyes bigger or more sparkly! You won't believe what this phone can do!


4. If all else fails, use an app

If you phone is lacking in the camera feature mentioned above, there are plenty of apps and filters designed specifically for selfies. Pixtr and Facetune, can smooth wrinkles, brighten you smile and and chisel your look. CamMe works with gesture comtrols so you can avoid the selfie "look."  Selfie Cam uses smile detection to activate the shutter. Frontback combines the front and rear facing pictures.


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Must-Have Apps for Your Smartphone


There are tons of apps being developed on a daily basis. I am always on the lookout for cool new apps. Here's my Must-Have app criteria

  1. No one knew you could do this with your phone
  2. I can't wait to tell my techie friends about it
  3. Blows my productivity through the roof
  4. I can't put it down
  5. Solves a problem/Takes care of a need (You may not have known you had!)
  6. Wows me in general

If an app hits on 1, 2 and 3 it's blog worthy, so this is why I'm writing this article.

The first app is called TouchTunes. With it you can control Juke boxed in about 60,000 bars. This app acts as a remote jukebox allowing you to search music available and even play music from your own mobile device. Now you can see why this hits my #1 criteria! This app could get me in trouble! Irt's available on iPhone and Android. The app is free but you'll have to pay for the jukebox plays. Who cares, right? you can skip over the run of awful country music selections some bleeding heart stacked up!

Are you looking to meet someone online? Are you tired of all the hookup apps? Tinder is a spinoff of Facebook. You are probably already on Facebook so what Tinder does is it lets you get a look at people within the criteria you set, then you simply swipe one way for yes and the other for no. Then the only people that can reach out to you are people you've previously ok'd that want to meet you as well. That'll save a lot of time from undesirable people that you'd never consider dating, never mind texting, from sending you messages! The other cool thing is that using your Facebook criteria, it'll show how far this person is away, their first name, and any likes or friends you have in common. You can also message right through the app.

Cover is a really cool screen lock that enables you to have the apps you use readily available. It can also separate them to car, home and work. Using GPS it can determine where you are so it will make the appropriate screen available. Oh yeah, and it's really sharp looking. You can chose from preloaded photos or use your own. Sorry iPhone peeps, it only works on Android.


TimePIN is really clever for people who either can't remember their PIN or never change it which makes it susceptible to hacking. All you do is put the current time in so at 2;16 your PIN is 0216. As long as you don't let on you are using this app no one will ever hack your code and you'll never forget it...unless you forget you have the app! Sorry, iPhone fans, this is another Android specific app.

I am always getting asked how to block calls and text messages. With SPAM on the rise CallBlocker is great for both unwanted calls and texts and you don't have to log into your carriers website to do it. Android(free)  iOS($4.99)




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Take Pictures Like a Pro Using Your Smartphone


I come from a photography background and I don't mind telling you, the cameras on smartphones have gotten pretty dam impressive. There are so many good features and apps that will help you take pictures like a pro. I am going to give you some tips and apps that will improve your photos and enable you to do some pretty cool effects.

Old School Photography Tips (Oldies but goodies)

  • Don't shoot into the sun. If the sun is behind you, your subject will be better illuminated. You may have to adjust slightly if the sun is causing them to squint. If you can't get the postion right, force the device to flash to fill in unwanted shadows.
  • Use flash indoors, especially if there is ANY movement. Unless you are going for the natural look, using flash indoors will eliminate the yellow blurred photos.
  • Use the rule of thirds. The most aesthetically pleasing photos are the result of splitting your frame into thirds. Position horizons one third up instead of exactly in the middle, and people one third in from the left or right. Just be sure you have locked the focus on the subject.


There are some accessories that will make your phototaking a snap (no pun intended). One of the best accessories to have is a tripod. Smartphones don't have a tripod mount so you can get something like a Grip Tight Gorilla Pod that will grip your smartphone.

Another really cool accessory is the Shutterball. With it you can take selfies or delfies (duo selfies) without trying to hold the device and hit the shutter button. Some phones are easier to take pictures with than others but the bigger the phone, the trickier to hold it, stabilize it and tap the shutter. Shutterball comes with an accompanying app that allows the phone to connect to the Shutterball via Bluetooth and when you go to take the picture you only need to hit the button on the Shutterball. A Grip Tight Gorilla Pod would work out nicely if you take a lot of group shots.


Lapse It

Lapse It is an awesome app that will allow you to take time lapse photos using any smartphone. You may want to get an accessory that allows you to mount your phone, like a Gorilla Pod.

Events such as movement of clouds, the rising and setting of the sun, a party with your friends, even individual activities or anything else that you can imagine. You will see them in a new way and otherwise undetectable patterns will emerge.


  • Native version both for iOS and Android
  • Powerful and blazing fast render engine
  • Well designed UI improving visual and usability
  • Capture resolution up to 1080p on the Pro version
  • Capture interval starting at one second
  • Cool effects applied while capturing or before rendering
  • No restrictions for capture length or frames
  • On screen information during capture
  • Upload directly to YouTube, Facebook and many others
  • Easily adjustable settings
  • Tested and approved by more then 500.000 people




Way back in the day, a camera that was able to take 360 photos cost over $20,000. Now all you need is your smartphone and an app that will stitch it all together. Photaf does an amazing job.


Aviary is by far my favorite smartphone photo editor. It is easy to use and has akl the tools you need. If you want to do instagram type effects you can do those as well. This is the only photo editor I ever use on my Samsung Note 3 and I use my pix all the time for blog articles etc. 

  • One-tap auto enhance
  • Gorgeous photo effects and frames
  • Fun stickers
  • Color balance
  • Crop, rotate, and straighten your photo
  • Adjust brightness, contrast, color temperature, and saturation
  • Sharpen and blur
  • Color temperature ("Warmth")
  • Color Splash Focus
  • Tilt Shift Draw and add text
  • Create your own memes
  • Cosmetic tools: fix redeye, remove blemishes and whiten teeth


This is a fun app but it's also great for organizing pictures into a grid or collage or filmstrip for posting to Facebook or even printing. Using the above pictures of Shutterball as an example, here is a nicer way to present the photos using PhotoGrid
Photogrid shutterball


Gone are the days you'd bring your roll of film to the 1-hour photo and get your part, vacation or holiday pictures back to show everyone. Now it's even easier, you take the microSD card out of your phone and go to any department or drug store to a kiosk where you can pick and choose the photos you want. Do you do that? No? Me either. And I know why. It's just as easy to show people your pictures right on your phone. Why bother printing them out? Well what if you want to frame them or create a collage gift for a friend or share a group photo with everyone in the group. What if someone you want to share with doesn't have a smartphone. It's still nice to hold a photo in your hand.
Groovebook is a really neat concept I found out about on SharkTank. You subscribe for $2.99 a month and get 100 photos printed and sent to you in an easy tear out book. And you don't have to leave the comfort of your....well, wherever you are comfortable. You can bail at anytime if you don't want to continue using the service, otherwise it's a no-brainer!
I hope you find some of these cool photo tips and apps helpful. Photo apps are among my favorite!

Peace out

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Tagg Pet Tracker Lets Your Locate Your Pet on Your Mobile Device


If you have a pet, hopefully you are like me, and treat it like a part of your family. Well, why wouldn't you? They are easier to train than your kids, they don't talk back like your spouse and they are always genuinely happy to see you. The only drawback is feeding them and you'd have to feed another member of your family anyway but it's all in return for uncionditional love, all the time. So you wouldn't want that to go missing, right?
Just recently a woman in the Hartford area came home to her house burgularized and her beloved dogs missing. If you are an animal person, you can imagine how hearbreaking that is.

Because of all the fascinating technology available, there are ways to track and locate your pet. It's easy enough to track phones as they have GPS built-in but it's becoming increasingly easier to tack all kinds of things, luggage, your wallet, a bicycle, why not your pet? Tagg offers a great solution in the form of a tracker that attaches right to your pet's collar.

The Tagg™ pet tracking system allows you to track your pet’s location and activity from your computer or right on your mobile device. You can see where your dog is or monitor his activity levels 24/7. The lightweight pet tracker attaches to your pet's existing collar, and is designed to be worn at all times, even while swimming. It turns your existing collar into a gps collar for your pet!

Imagine you are at work and someone calls and says they think they saw your dog running around your neighborhood. Unlike a microchip, which won’t alert you if your pet is lost, Tagg is a GPS pet tracker that sends you a text and/or email (depending on the preferences you set) when your pet gets out so you can locate him right away. If you get a call like that you can look on your mobile device and know that your pet is home safe and sound.

Tagg pet tracker

With the built-in activity tracker, you can monitor your pet’s activity levels and spot long-term trends. Veterinarians recommend that dogs get 30-60 minutes exercise a day. Tagg allows you to determine if your dog is getting enough, so you can be proactive about his health.

I love Tagg for the occasions when I have to send me dog to a kennel or have a pet sitter, I can make sure they are providing the exercise I requested. It's like having a nanny-cam (without the actual video) attached to your pet!

Give yourself some piece of mind and start tracking your pet. This devices can be purchased at Wireless Zone stores. Be advised, not all stores will have them in stock but they can order one for you. Call your local store for details and availability.

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A Cell Phone Picture Is Worth 1000 Words and 1000TB of Data


Typing words into Google is so last year. Even speech to text to search

Google is so five minutes ago! The hip way to search now is with a picture! Whoever first said "A picture is worth a thousand words" must have time traveled to see what Google had to offer.
Here are a few apps that will enable you to use your phones' camera to get all the information  you need and then some about a subject that you took a picture of.


Google Googles

Since Google is a powerhouse of knowledge, having an app that will check algorythms against their database of images will allow you to scan almost any picture and identify it (unless you are trying to identify yourself in a selfie!) I have used it to identify plants to avoid, like poison ivy as well as plants I wanted to buy like lemongrass. You can alos snap a picture out of a magazine, the cover of a book or a CD or even artwork. This app is fantastic. Android Apple

google googles

  • Scan barcodes using Goggles to get product information
  • Scan QR codes using Goggles to extract information
  • Recognize famous landmarks
  • Translate by taking a picture of foreign language text
  • Add Contacts by scanning business cards or QR codes
  • Scan text using Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
  • Recognize paintings, books, DVDs, CDs, and just about any 2D image
  • Solve Sudoku puzzles
  • Find similar products


Ever have a glass of wine at a bar or a party you wanted to remember so you could buy it for yourself? Vinino will let you scan the label and retrieve all the information you'll want to know, like ratings, price and info about the winery. More importantly, you can save all your scans for future reference.

vivino app vivino results 

  • Take a photo and get to know any wine in seconds
  • Remember wines and explore more of them
  • Get personalized wine recommendations
  • Share experiences and be inspired by friends
  • Find the best rated wines in nearby shops


Have you driven by a house on a weekend that was close to what your dream house might look like and want to know the deets right away? Snap a picture in Homesnap and let your phone do the rest.


  • Get 20% more agent-listed homes than national portals
  • The same MLS data used by real estate agents
  • Add search filters like neighborhood, price, beds, baths, etc.
  • Get notified when new real estate listings meet your exact criteria
  • Log in to see your saved searches and faves across all devices
  • Connect with your own agent or one of our local pros

Free for REALTORS:

  • See your connected clients' snaps in real-time
  • Your brand on every home your clients see
  • Your clients can contact you directly with one tap


greenscan greenscan result
greenscan app 

Greenscan is a barcode scanner like no other! This mobile app that scans the barcode label on your favorite fruits and vegetables and discovers all the logistics of it's trip from the tree to your store!

  • Discover how produce tastes and how to properly select it
  • Learn nutrition information
  • Get tasty recipe ideas
  • Meet the growers


Last but certainly not least is the mobile app for best shopping site ever. essentially the app is just the mobile version of Amazon's shopping app but it has a unique feature of allowing you to snap a photo to use in searching for an item. Using the photos below as an example, I took a photo of an SD card and used it in my seach. The next screen gives me a few buying options of the photo I sent.

AMAZON MOBILE PICTURE SEARCH Amazon mobile shopping app 











Next time you are about to ask Siri a question, think about how much more info your camera might fetch for you!

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Sochi Olympics Mobile Guide


Olympic competition in Sochi is here! This article has everything you need to know to be the ultimate Olympics fan. Where the heck is Sochi anyway? Well, I know because I am half-Russian, but for the rest of you, here is it in proximity to the US. Don't mind all my Google places' stars over in the US!

Sochi map Sochi small map 

It sits right on the Black Sea and it's actually tropical at certain elevations! Because the Olympics are there and it's Winter you are just automatically picturing something like Siberia, aren't you?

Here are a few photos to set the scene of what Sochi looks like. Soon enough, it'll be plastered all over TV, if it isn't already.

Russki Gorki ski jump  Sochi Black Sea
Russki Gorki Ski Jump built for the Olympics Sochi from the Black Seas

There are two main websites with all the info you need regarding schedules, teams etc. They are NBC's Official Olympics page and the Sochi Olympics Page.


Here is a quick view of the schedule of some of the more popular sports. Click here for a full Schedule
Olympics schedule

Mobile Apps

Sochi 2014 Guide iOS, Android, Windows Phone
NBC Sports Live Extra iOS Android Watch more than 1,000 hours LIVE for FREE with the NBC Sports Live Extra app, all 15 sports, all 98 medal events. All streamed LIVE!
Olympic Athlete's Hub iOS Android Discover and follow the verified accounts of Olympians across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Search by “Athlete”, “Team”, “Sport”, and “Game” and get a unique overview of Olympians.
Team USA Road to Sochi iOS Android Website The official Team USA 2014 Road to Sochi application provided by the United States Olympic Committee.
360 Cam iOS Android This is one of the coolest apps I have seen in a while. You install this on your device thaen you pick the athlete and control the view. Do you want to watch Shawn White doing the half-pipe from his helmet cam? This is the place to do it. Look up, down, behind and to the side of the athlete and see what he or she sees while training, and hear in their own words what goes through their mind as they train for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Chose from 360, Face or Follow view.
360 Cam Team USA

More Things to Check Out

Send Team USA motivational messages and upload photos on the Dream Stream
TeamUSA dream stream
You can also see all the motivational pix and videos other people have posted. It's a great page to visit to get yourself in an Olympic frame of mind! When I last visited the page, there were almost 108,000 #TeamUSA mentions.

Twitter and Facebook

Follow and use Hashtag #TeamUSA






Go #TeamUSA!


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Monday Morning Quarterbacking the Commercials and Half-Time Show


As I closely watched the trending on social media yesterday during the SuperBowl, there were a ton of people waiting for the halftime show, then planned to change the channel. Either the cross section of people I was listening to loved Bruno Mars and had no desire to watch the game or it was that lame and since the commercials can be found elsewhere now, watching the Superbowl Live seems to have lost some of it's appeal. Last week I posted a guide for Superbowl, today I am posting the Post Superbowl guide!

Halftime Show
The consensus (and I agree) is that Bruno knocked it out of the park. Because of copyright issues, the complete halftime show videos are randomly getting blocked but here is what I did find online in case you missed it. Bruno Mars/Red Hot Chili Peppers halftime show. If it gets blocked, please hit me up in comments so I can find a new link or wait for FOX themselves to post it.

From what I saw and what I am hearing, the commericials DID NOT knock it out of the park this year. Again, because the commercials have become posted elsewhere causing them to become somewhat fragmented, I don't think the companies are putting the money and effort they have in years past.

YouTube AdBlitz  and Hulu AdZone posted the commericals almost as they were played so there was no urgency to watch them during the big game. They also had voting for viewers' faves. The results are not complied yet as the voting (YouTube at least) is open for 7 more days. On Facebook and Twitter, Budweiser's Puppy Love and Audi's Doberhuahua seemed to be the most talked about. I personally got a kick (No pun intended) out of Radioshack and Toyota with Terry Crews and the Muppets. A few other noteable were Volkswagon's Wings  Dorito Time Machine and Tim Tebow's Sprint Commercials.
There were plenty of celebrity involved commercials, like the aforementioned Toyota and Radioshack, which was noteable as it was chock full of 80's celebs and icons. Here were a few others: Sony Crackle with Jerry Seinfeld, Dannon Oikos with John Stamos and Uncles from Full House, Kia with Morpheous (Laurence Fishburne) and last but DEFINITELY NOT LEAST H&M Bavid Beckham.

There were a few that turned into a miniseries like BudLight's Epic Night Epic Night Part 2  which was cute but Ford's Nearly Doubles was lame and lost on me altogether.

There are certainly many more but unfortunately nothing else link-worthy. What were your favorites? Perhaps I missed something noteworthy. I didn't see any talking babies and GoDaddy was less than impressive so overall, I'm getting going to get ready for the Olympics.

One last mention, if you happened to catch the info from my last article about Verizon sponsoring Tweets lighting up the Empire State Building but missed the actual light shows (they happened everyday for a week leading up to the game), Verizon has posted some of them on their YouTube channel.
Opening Ceremony

Defensive Battle Seahawks Victory

Passing Game Broncos Victory

Peace out


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The Ultimate Mobile Super Bowl XLVIII Guide


It looks like it's going to be a balmy 30 degrees in New York for the big game and we are not going to get the storm of the century that threatened to push Superbowl Sunday to Superbowl Monday. Who's idea was it to hold it in New Jersey anyway? Wherever you plan on tuning in, here are some ways to follow it and interact online with other fans.

super Bowl tablet
The NFL Super Bowl XLVIII (48) is happening on Sunday, February 2, 6:30 PM on FOX and is being played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos are bound to freeze their cups off!


Where to Watch the Game

TV: Fox

Computer Live Stream: Fox Sports Go  (Beware you need to sign in through your cable provider to take advantage of this.)

iPhone/iPad: Fox Sports Go iOS

Verizon Device: NFL Mobile (There is a $5.00/mo subscription for this service)

Radio: ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes Radio


Where to Watch the Commercials

Besides watching the commercials as thet appear live on Fox, there are a few places you can watch before and after and interact by voting on and sharing your faves.

Hulu AdZone IV has all the commercials from last year and some teasers for this year. They will also have the ads as they air on gameday.

YouTube Ad Blitz in addition to watching your favorite commercials, you can vote on and share commercials from Super Bowl 2014.

How to Interact

Mobile Apps

NFL On Location Super Bowl (Android, iOS) - This app is handy for fans that make it to the big game. This mobile app allows you to:

• View event details for NFL On Location hospitality venues on Super Bowl Sunday.
• Receive push notifications for any changes specific to NFL On Location Super Bowl guests.
• Access interactive maps and event programming information.

Denver Broncos (Android, iOS, Blackberry)

Seattle Seahawks (Android, iOS, Blackberry)

NFL Mobile (Android iOS WindowsPhone Blackberry) If you can't sit in front of a big screen and you are a Verizon Wireless customer, you can at least get the game on your smartphone or tablet. The subscription is only $5 a month. Be advised, if you watch the game on your smartphone or tablet without using Wi-Fi, you will use a very large amount of data.

Homegating (Android, iOS) Throw the perfect Super Bowl party with this app. Schedule and countdown to your team’s upcoming game

• Essentials needed for throwing a great party
• View Recipes: Recipes updated regularly and tied to Season & Calendar Initiatives (Thanksgiving, Super Bowl, Draft, Kickoff)
• View Cooking & Party Tips: Tips on how to get your home ready plus cooking ideas
• Share Recipes and Products: Send your favorite recipes and products to friends and family using social media


How to Show Your Team Pride

Verizon is sponsoring one of the coolest social media interactive light shows using the Empire State Building as a canvas. The best way to understand the concept is to visit the website, answer the fan question of the day by tweeting for Broncos or Seahawks and the winning team of the day will have it's colors light up the Empire State Building. The website even has a live camera on the skyscraper so you can see the team colors in all their glory! The light show starts nightly at 6pm EST.

whosgonnawin empire state building


Denver Broncos

Seattle Seahawks

Fox Sports












Hashtags to Follow

#WhosGonnaWin (See info above)

Denver Broncos: #Broncos

Seattle Seahawks: #Seahawks

Official NFL: #SB48 #SBQuestions

Watch for Hashtags during the commercials so you can tweet out your faves.


Happy Big Game day!


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Future Technology Announced at CES


There were 20,000 products announced at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in the beginning of January. Since there is no way to begin to scratch the surface, I will tell you about a few of the things that stood out.

Wearable Technology

One of the trendiest topics right now are Wearable Technology. Whether it be a smartwatch or a pair of socks that helps you analyse how you plant your foot when you are running, the purpose of all of them is to enhance our lives. There are many aspects of lives these devices cover. Here are a few.

Smartwatches: Pebble Steel

Pebble Watch
Watch Pebble Steel Video
  • 5-7 day battery
  • Apps
  • Notifications
  • TriColor display
  • Waterproof
  • Works with iOS and Android


Smartwatches: Hot Watch

Hot Watch
Watch Hot Watch Video
  • takes calls hands-free,
  • uses unique gesture controls
  • patented microphone/speaker design allow private calls
  • water resistant
Price and Availablility


Workout Companion: LG LifeBand with Heart Rate Earphones

LG Lifeband and heart rate earphones
Watch LG Lifeband Video
  • get incoming calls and text information
  • it pairs up with Android and iOS devices
  • pairs with Heart Rate Monitor earphones that track heartbeats by measuring signals from the inner ear
No release date or pricing info yet.


Google Glass 2

Google Glass 2
Watch Google Glass 2 Video

  • Speak to send a message.
  • Directions right in front of you.
  • Record what you see. Hands-free.
  • Share what you see. Live. 
  • Even share what you see. Live.
They will hopefully be for sale to consumers in 2014


June by Netatmo

June sun bracelet
Watch June Sun Bracelet Video

  • sensor detects UV rays and provides you with information on your iPhone
  • calculates, based on your skin type and that day's UV index, how much time you should spend in the sun
They will hopefully be for sale to consumers in 2014



Jarvis Personal Assistant Headset

Intel Jarvis headset
Watch Jarvis Video

  • Personal assistant
  • hardware listens for voice commands and it replies
  • make appointments cross-referenced with your calendar, check messages and set reminders.
  • To prompt the device to listen for actions, users just say the words, "Hello, Jarvis.”
Set for release this year


Smart Socks by Heapsylon

Smart socks
Watch Smart Socks Video

  • Generates valuable data that, if properly analyzed, can produce meaningful views of your activity and the way you use your whole body.
  • Sensoria Fitness is a fully instrumented sock with a virtual coach that monitors and guides you on how to improve your performance and achieve your goals.
Set for release this year





Smart Home

We've been seeing the technology where you can turn lights on and off from your phone or set the temperature but imagine your washer texting you when it's time to move your clothes to the dryer? How about being about to set your crock pot from your phone. The smart house is getting more and more sophisticated while still connected to your smartphone.

WeMo Wall Light switch

WeMo Light switch
  • allows you to turn lights on and off from anywhere
  • replaces a standard light switch in your home and can be controlled remotely with an Android smartphone or tablet, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
  • works with your existing Wi-Fi®
  • Easy for most Do It Yourselfers

 Smart Lightbulbs

belkin lightbulbs
  • 60W equivalents
  • last up to 23 years,
  • work through the WeMo Link device that controls up to 50 Smart Bulbs.
  • Each one of the bulbs is fully dimmable, controlled through the WeMo app,
  • vacation mode that turns lights on and off to simulate an occupied home.
  • control the bulbs individually or in groups
  • set them to dim as you sleep and wake up
The WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set with two Smart Bulbs and a WeMo Link sells for US$129.99 (individual bulbs are available for $39.99)


Crock-Pot WeMo Smart Slow Cooker

WeMo Slow smsrt crock pot
  • Belkin and Jarden Consumer Solutions -the Crock-Pot WeMo Smart Slow Cooker
  • allows you to receive reminders from the slow cooker
  • change cooking times
  • adjust temperature
  • check the status of your dish while you're away
avail in spring $99.99


Smart Toothbrush

Smart toothbrush
  • It keeps track of how long the brushing lasted, and how rigorous it was in terms of reaching each and every tooth, and the gums
  • The app can record data from multiple brushes.
$100-$200 avail Q4 2014


I haven't even covered the wonderful array of kitchen appliances that will talk to each other and send and receive messages from your smartphone. Check back to learn more about: Washers/Dryers
Mr. Coffee Smart Coffee Maker
HOLMES Smart Console Heater
HOLMES Smart Console Humidifier
HOLMES Smart Air Purifier.





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How to Protect Your Holiday Tech Gifts



If you either were nice enough to buy yourself a swanky new smartphone or tablet, or maybe someone special picked you up a little something gadgetesque, there are a few things you'll want to be sure you do with it to extend the life of the device and make sure you are happy together for years to come.

1. Slap a screen saver on it.

Whether your intention is to protect the surface from scratches or breakage if the device should experience impact, a screen saver is a MUST. They are pretty cheap and much cheaper than replacing the screen or buying a new device. I'll use an iPhone5C for example. The cost to replace the front screen is $279. Even the back cost $229 to fix.
iPhone screen repair

There are many types of screen savers. The best one is the one you actually buy and apply to the device. The most important thing is getting it on the device ASAP. Nothing is more frustrating than dropping a brand new device.

Here is my latest non protected device dropped...and it was brand new with no screensaver or case on it yet.
cracked HTC One

2. Get a Case

Oteerbox iPad cases
There are so many case solutions out there now that there is no excuse for not having a case to protect your device. Whether you are an early adopter of gadgets and plan to trade/sell it or keep your devices forever, you'll want to protect it.
I always talk about Otterbox because they have many tiers of protection and almost all of them come with screen savers. You can get something that merely protects the edges and hopefully screen if dropped or go completely rugged and waterproof it.
Another great brand is Lifeproof. These are waterproof cases that will protect your device from all of the elements whether you work in them or simply hang around swimming pools a lot!


lifeproof nuud

3. Install or Activate a Device Locator

iPhones and iPads have Find my iPhone or Find my iPad pre-installed. You have to activate them and turn on location however. Here's how

  1. First, you'll need to go into the iPhone/iPad settings.
  2. Select "Privacy" from the list of settings.
  3. Select "Location Services" from the list of Privacy settings.
  4. Turn Location Services on by moving the On/Off switch to the right.
  5. Select "Find My iPhone/iPad" at the bottom of the list. From there you can activate it.

If you don't have the opportunity to activate it on the device, you can turn Find My iPhone/iPad on or off through the iCloud settings, however, if your Location Services are not turned on, Find My iPhone/iPad will not work.

lookout locator

I won't mince words, this is by far my favorite app (I used it to have the police to retrieve a stolen device for me once) so this app never gets old for me! Anyway, it's a simple download. There are several great things about it.
If you neglect to do install it on an Android before the device goes missing, you can always send it to the device because with Androids you can install apps over the air (OTA).
It is much more than a device locator, it has anti-virus software built in.

  • Protect your device from malware, phishing scams
  • Scan every app to ensure it's safe
  • See which apps access your private info
  • Block malicious websites
  • Wipe your data so no one can access it
  • Backs Up your contacts etc.
  • Free and Premium versions available

4. Insure it

If you don't understand why phones are so expensive to replace after the initial activation READ THIS...
Cell phones, on their own, are not big money makers, it's the service that puts the retailer's kids through college. When you buy a cell phone and you activate it on a two year plan the retailer makes his/her money on that 2 years of service. Let's use an iphone 5s as an example. If you buy it with a contract, the retailer sells it to you for $199. It cost them $649.99. They don't make all their money back until you complete the two year contract. Therefore, if you lose or break that device and go back to buy a replacement, they can't sell it to you for $199. It cost them $649 so that is what it is going to cost you to replace it. Insurance is the way to avoid this.

5. Trade In Your Old Device

Instead of throwing your old smartphone, eReader, iPad or tablet in a drawer, resell it. Many of these devices have a second life. You can get back a few hundred dollars for an iPad (obviously depending on the model). An iPhone 4S will fetch you at least $100. Why not make a few bucks and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time? This is a win/win/win for you, the environment and the next person getting your device at an affordable price. Also, this drives home why I am always suggesting that you protect your device.

Above all, have fun with the new device!

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