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Mother’s Day tech gift ideas – The Digital Life

mom-tabletWith Mother’s Day just around the corner, we wanted to share some of our top tech picks for gift ideas for every mom out there.

Samsung Chromebook – $269.99

For the on-the-go business mom, the Chromebook is an inexpensive way to equip her with a computer that’s easy to use and portable! The Samsung Chromebook seamlessly merges sleek design with a Google Chrome operating system and built-in Google apps. Super fast and portable, a gadget- loving mom will have everything she needs in a computer.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0″ 16 GB Android 4.1 tablet with Exynos processor – $429.99

For the gadget-loving mom, upgrade her to the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 tablet. With an 8-inch display, S-Pen and all the functionality you can imagine packed into a truly portable device, it’s the perfect addition to her digital arsenal. For work, play, entertainment and anything in between, the flexible, intuitive and fun Galaxy Note 8.0 will be her go-to device.

Nike SportWatch with TomTom GPS – $169.99

For the fitness-enthusiastic mom, the Nike+ SportWatch is the ideal workout buddy.  It tracks time, distance, pace, heart rate and the number of calories she’s burned so she can get the workout and results she’s looking for. It features a built-in GPS, powered by TomTom, so she’ll always get accurate readings indoors and outdoors.

Kobo Aura 6.8″ eReader touch edition – $169.99

For the on-the-go mom, the new Kobo Aura HD is a premium eReader with an extra-large, 6.8″ high-resolution screen and a book-inspired design that will feel as natural to hold as mom’s favourite novel. With up to two months of battery life, copious customizable fonts, and a ton of storage, she can enjoy a truly immersive reading experience on the go.

Monster Diamond Tears Edge on-ear sound isolating headphones – $349.99

For the all-dolled-up mom, a mom that loves her music and loves looking great when she listens to it, the Diamond Tears Edge headphones combine Monster’s remarkable audio technology and pristine sound with a head-turning design. They feature a diamond-inspired finish and soft, breathable and roomy ear cups.

*Products are all available at Future Shop*


March Break: Staying connected while abroad

It’s that time of year again—March Break is here and many people are traveling abroad for vacation.  Here are my five tech gadgets to help you stay connected to your loved ones no matter where you are.

Samsung WB800F:

This camera has built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, and will allow you connect to your hotel’s Wi-Fi network and upload photos to your favourite online social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

GoPro HERO3:

This is a mountable, full high-definition video camera that’ll record hours of footage for upload to friends and family.  Whether you are skydiving or skiing, you can mount the camera on your helmet, chest, or even on the side of a car, and record footage using the built-in wide-angle lens—great for people with an active lifestyle.

Philips In.Sight:

If you are traveling abroad for any length of time, chance are you want to make sure your home and the contents in it are safe and secure.  This camera from Philips is wireless, and paired with an app on your smartphone, you can check in on your house no matter where you are.

BlackBerry Z10:

BlackBerry, known for their BBM service, will help you cut down on long distance calling bills when you are traveling abroad.  BBM’s new feature, BBM Voice, will allow you to make free calls to other BlackBerry users using this service—all using the wireless connection in your hotel or Internet café.

Avocado app for iOS and Android:

If you decide to go on a girls-only vacation trip and leave your partner at home, this app will keep you connected at all times.  This free couples-only app gives you the capability to send messages and photos, and even allows you to do things like virtually kiss and hug your partner all the way from another continent.

Products courtesy of Future Shop


Cityline visits CES 2013!

The Consumer Electronics Show—more popularly known as CES—is where hundreds of thousands of technology enthusiasts, journalists, and gadget-makers gather to find out what’s trending in the upcoming year in the consumer electronics market, and I had the pleasure of visiting the five-day event in Las Vegas, NV, on Jan. 7 through Jan. 11, 2013.

Among the sea of people were the latest innovations in technology today, including the smartest of smart refrigerators, eco-friendly app-controlled thermostats, and larger-than-life television sets.

Over the next year, the Smart TV Alliance will be working towards creating a connected environment across all of its member television manufacturers, like this curved, OLED television from LG.  The end result will include thousands of applications from weather to news to games to social media—all from the comfort of your television’s remote control.

When it comes to being connected, gadget-makers are pushing even harder this year to keep you connected to the Internet all the time.  For example, the Samsung GALAXY Camera is connected to the cellular network, so no matter where you are, your photos can be uploaded to your favourite social networks from Facebook to Twitter—all without a Wi-Fi network, USB cable, or computer!

Here’s a look at what I found in connected technology for the home:

With parents constantly on the go and kids more digitally connected than ever before (be it at home or in the classroom), families are facing increased challenges to stay caught up with the latest technology. Apps, gadgets, and “smart” technology for the family are largely in focus CES this year.

Busy moms are in luck this year, too.  Baby monitors, like VTech’s Safe & Sound, will allow you to not only hear your baby, but now you can even see your baby from multiple camera angles on a 2.8-inch full-colour screen.  If you are looking for something to keep your child occupied, the MINDSTORM EV3 will bring your LEGO to life!

Check out my web-exclusive look at family gadgets here:

What are you most excited for in the world of technology in 2013? Share them in the comments below!

Camera by Alex Tutt.


Tips for teaching your kids the importance of wants vs. needs

Shopping for back-to-school can provide a great opportunity to teach your kids a lesson about finances and the importance of “wants” vs. “needs.”  Here are some suggestions on how to get the conversation started when it comes to managing money and priorities.

Before making the trip to the mall, have your child clean their room and pull out the previous year’s school supplies: This allows you to determine what he/she actually needs for the coming school year, as opposed to what would be nice to have.  It also cuts down on the drama while you are in the store.  Make a list that separates needs from wants, and talk to your child, to clarify what the absolute needs are based on your available budget.

It’s important to stay positive: Tell your kids that if they remain under budget, they could have extra money to purchase a few other items on the “wants” list. Budgeting is an important lesson to teach early on, and it’s one that will serve your children well throughout their lives.

Focus on ‘must-replace’ items and encourage your child to earn money toward nice-to-have splurges: It may be better to replace a broken backpack, and stick with a current laptop for another year if money is tight at the moment. If your child wants a new computer or cell phone but doesn’t really ‘need’ it, then discuss ways they can earn money to put toward those pricey purchases.

Do your homework: Before hitting up the mall, remember to do your research!  Go online – there are many great parenting resources like Today’s Parent, where parents share past experiences and shopping advice, and find out what your child really needs for their age group.  Needs shift as your kids move through elementary school, to high school, to post-secondary education, so make sure what you’re getting is age-appropriate and can be reused down the road.

What suggestions do you have when it comes to teaching your child about the importance of wants versus needs?  Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Repost from Cityline.ca


Five tips for back-to-school tech shopping

As the first day of school rapidly approaches, parents are scrambling to get the kids in gear – and that includes sending the kids off tech-ready.  Here are five helpful tips to keep in mind when shopping for back-to-school tech gadgets.

1.    Make a list, and prioritize.
A brand new computer can make a sizeable dent in your credit card. So, as with grocery shopping, when going back-to-school shopping ensure that you make a list and prioritize what you need and what you merely want.  Chances are you only need the bare necessities and the all of the other gadgets are simple wants.  Bear in mind that you can go a long way with a small budget — even when it comes to technology.

2.    Do your research.

Before hitting up the big box electronic stores, remember to do your research!  Keep in mind that stores often mark up prices come back-to-school time, and sales associates sometimes try to sell you electronics that you really don’t need.  Instead, go online – there are many great parenting resources like Today’s Parent – where parents share past experiences and shopping advice, and find out what your child really needs for their age group.  Needs shift as they move through elementary school, to high school, to post-secondary education.

3.    Hunt for the sales in flyers, and online.

Keep an eye on the weekly flyers and online on store websites. Parents often make the mistake of leaving back-to-school shopping to the last minute and they – literally – pay for the procrastination. Flyerland.ca is a great all-in-one destination for local flyers, and big box stores have sales early on in the season with limited quality items. Laptops also go on sale late-July/early-August, and that is the ideal time for families to head to the store and save some money simultaneously!

4.    Cash-strapped? Take a look at feature phones.

The reality is, we live in a smartphone-dominated world.  They aren’t cheap to start with, so if you are a little cash-strapped, be sure to take a look at feature phones. Cell phone carriers, like Rogers Wireless, offer an inexpensive alternative to having a smartphone that maintains access to social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and email; without the added cost of an actual data plan.  They can range from $7/month and up; versus the $25+/month with a traditional data plan.

5.    Find the free alternatives to expensive programs.

Companies like LibreOffice and OpenOffice offer free or inexpensive alternatives to productivity software tools like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop.  There are no strings attached – they are simply open-source software choices (maintained by free developers) that offer significant savings to a family, giving the same amount of functionality as the traditional paid software, without the high price tag.

What tips do you have when it comes to back-to-school tech shopping? Share them with us in the comments below, or email submissions@cityline.ca!

Repost from Cityline.ca