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Budgeting Made Fun, Chic, and Effective

I’m one of the few people who gets a weird enjoyment from doing my taxes. All those little boxes to fill in on Turbo Tax, organized receipts and watching the amount we owe slowly go down (hopefully). My husband and I open a bottle of wine to try to take the sting out of it and it almost feels like a fun game. Almost.

Since we’re both freelance and don’t have a company taking our taxes out of our paycheck, my husband and I have to make sure to set aside money throughout the year for the sole purpose of paying our taxes. It may look like we have the money in the bank, but we know better than to touch it! That’s where a budget is key.

A friend recently turned me on to You Need A Budget (YNAB). Started just a year before Mint.com, YNAB seems to take a different approach to budgeting. In addition to keeping track of your expenses and showing where your money is going, YNAB wants to help you improve your financial situation and save money towards the things that really matter to you. They offer a free nine day course to help you change the way you think about money (for the better), have free classes offered at multiple times to help improve your budgeting and finance acumen, and have created a sleek software that works across your phones and computer. The design in clean and good looking, which is a bonus. If you have to work on your budget, you might as well enjoy what you’re looking at.

YNAB software does require a one-time fee of $60, though you can take any of the classes or the 9 day course for free without signing up. But they boast that the median net worth increase for YNAB users is $200 in a month, so you may find yourself making up that initial fee and more in no time. The small cost to invest may also increase the chance that you’ll actually use it. I tend to find that when I have to pay for something, I’m much more likely to make sure I actually use it!

We’ve got a whole year before taxes are due again but I know now is the time to get a jump start on organizing and tracking our expenses so that next year is a breeze. I’m planning on signing up here  with my husband for YNAB’s 34 day full-featured demo and some of the classes to see if, as they claim, it will “change my life.”

If you check out YNAB or already use it, let us know what you think! What are your favorite features?

———–

Joanna Hyatt

Author of The Sex Talk: A Survival Guide for Parents

MY BLOG: www.joannahyatt.com

SPEAKING: www.joannahyatt.com/speaking-engagements

TWITTER: www.twitter.com/JoannaHyatt

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/joannahyatt1

  

I’m a “Hyster Sister” now…

Yes, I’m baaaaaack…after a long break. If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, I’ve actually been recuperating from surgery. A pretty major one actually.  And as I write this,  today (April 4th) marks 4 weeks post op for me.  I’ve decided to sit down and let you know what’s been going on and share a wesbsite (of course!) that I found is helping me get through it. If you haven’t figured it out yet, a Hyster Sister is part of a big club of women who’s had a hysterectomy.

(ok guys, here’s where you can check out if you’re not interested in hearing about female reproductive organs getting removed!) lol, but actually on a serious note, you might want to read on because chances are you’ll have a wife, girlfriend or even a daughter that might be going through it soon enough.

Like many things in life, we don’t discuss “everything” with each other and I suppose we shouldn’t have to if we don’t feel comfortable doing it. I certainly didn’t…at least initially anyway. That’s why I’m thankful for the internet because there’s so many resources and websites available that can make you feel like you’re not alone.

Thank goodness for Hystersisters.com.  I had sooooo many questions and concerns before my surgery and there were a couple of friends at work that shared their own stories of having a hysterectomy but they didn’t really go into great detail. And after I came home from the hospital, I had even more questions, so thank goodness for Hystersisters.com.  

Now, I’m not saying this website should take the place of your doctor, because your doctor should always be there for you to ask ANY questions you might have, but having that e-community be part of your support system, well, it really helps.

Everyone heals differently and all the effects of any type of surgery, so this website helped me tremendously when it came to understanding some of the things I went through afterwards and still am.

If you or someone you know is about to or just had a hysterectomy, tell them to check this site out.  I do have to admit that it is a little bit confusing at first when you get to the home page and to find what you’re looking for…but take some extra time to look at the different tabs and you’ll find your way around soon enough. I love how it emails you your hysterectomy checkpoints. It gives you an idea of what to expect each step along the way as you prepare and recover from surgery.  I particularly appreciated the different forums too. Especially the ones that were in line with your scheduled surgery. So, instantly you have this group of women, going through the same things you are! You can ask them if they’re feeling this way or that way…it really helps!

I’m planning to go back to work at 6 weeks post op… though my doc is recommending 8. I’ve had plenty of rest, thanks to my family and I’m hoping to be close to 100% by the time I get back to work. I’ll plan to still to take it easy for quite sometime as even now, it’s still a little exhausting to be up and about for more than a few hours. I can only imagine after a full day’s work.  From what I’ve been told and also have read, many women don’t feel like themselves again for at least 6 months to a year. Physically and emotionally. So hang in there girls!

So with that, I hope you’ll be patient with me as I get back on the saddle so to speak and I will also be patient with myself.

Check out hystersisters.com. I know it helped me a lot and it just might help you too!

Aloha from the newest Hyster Sister,

Maria

 

 

  

Gus & I were invited to a party! It wasn’t just a regular party though, it was to help raise awareness when it comes to our kids’ safety. Did you know that preventable injuries are the #1 killer of kids in the U.S. and that each year a million families around the world lose a child to these injuries.

Headed to the event, I thought I already knew all the important things….but honestly I learned there were so many more dangers to be aware of. It was a good reminder for me and the rest of the parents that there’s actually so much more we can do. We learned about the right kind of car seat a child should be in when it comes to their height and weight. Firefighters were on hand to show you how to put those car seats in the right way. Helmet experts were there, home experts showing the hidden dangers at home and so much more.

So take the time today to look around the house and make sure there aren’t any hidden dangers. When you head out to the car, make sure your baby’s car seat is nice & tight. If you’re not sure, to to the nearest fire station and they’ll help you. For more information on how to make sure your kids don’t suffer from preventable injuries, check out SafeKids.org.

p.s. Let me know in the comments below if you found any wiggle room with your baby’s car seat. Firefighters told me that more than 4 out of 5 car seats they see today are improperly installed!! That’s astounding!!! Is yours?

  
 Struggling to come up with a creative date with your partner that won’t break the bank?

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HowAboutWe.com  is a site that came onto the scene a couple of years ago for singles, but recently it ramped it up with a new feature that’s making sure you stay together! If you’re not familiar with this website and app yet, you really have to check it out. Whether you’re single or a couple. There are so many awesome and creative date ideas! And many at a discounted rate. In my home town of Los Angeles, I’ve taken advantage of recent dates ranging from dance lessons to dinner for two to a paint-with-your-body canvas kit.
In addition to the deep discounts, HowAboutWe.com also offers a membership program. With this, you get a FREE monthly date.HAW 2One month it might be luxury ice cream and coffee for two, and the next, sandwiches and a drink from a local BBQ place. These perks and more are available if you sign up for $18 a month. This will get you members-only access to sold out shows and their concierge services plus a lot more. When you sign up, you’ll get the first month free so you can try everything they offer without putting out any extra dough. You can cancel it if you decide you don’t need it. No worries though, you’ll still enjoy all the perks of the regular membership, such as many of the free deals being offered and the many great date ideas. It’s currently in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, with more cities to come.

HowAboutWe.com might be just the way to spice up your dates plus get to know your city a bit better!

HAW 3Click here to sign up and get your first month free for the membership, as well as a $50 credit to apply to your first date. Finding a babysitter is on you however.  :)

What’s the most exciting date you’ve planned recently? Let me know in the comments below!

  

I often get asked the question:  ”At what age should I give my children their first smartphones?”

baby-84626_640This is a great question and leads to so many more like “When should I get them their first computer? How long should I let them play video games or spend on my iPad?” etc…and most importantly “How do I make sure they stay safe Online?”

In today’s world, you can’t be too careful!

As Mindy from CuteGirlsHairstyles and I sit down to discuss some of the most important questions that face parents today, watch as we answer a viewer’s question and discuss how we try to navigate our kids and technology at home.  Personally, I have an older child and a much younger one so I literally have a second chance to correct some of the missteps I may have made the first time around when it comes to technology.

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This time, I’m definitely much more aware of what’s going on with all our gadgets and connectivity and I’m trying harder to stay a step or two ahead.  As a parent, it’s more important than ever for us to know about safety provisions and parental controls when it comes to smartphones, computer games, the internet and social media.
How do you feel about the American Pediatric Association’s recommendations on age restrictions when it comes to electronics? Do you have a different approach
when it comes to making sure your kids stay safe while surfing the interwebz?
Please share your thoughts below.
Thanks!

  

I had the chance to unbox the new G Flex by LG.  At first glance I thought this was a huge device but then again this is not unusual for many Android users these days. Upon spending a little time with the device here are some of the key points to mention about the new LG G Flex for AT&T.

First off, the major selling point is the large 6-inch curved Plastic-OLED flexible screen. It comes with a 2.1 megapixel front facing camera and a 13 megapixel rear-facing camera. On the inside, this device comes with 2gigs of RAM and 32 gigs of storage space. This is incredibly useful as we are in the generation of social media. The G Flex utilizes a bendable detachable USB data cable (micro as port) to charge the device.

lg-flexSecondly, the G Flex has placed the illuminated Power button at the rear of the phone, under the camera in between the volume buttons to turn the screen on and off. You can also use the KnockOn feature or double tap the center of the screen or the status bar at the top of the screen.

This device gives you the option to add apps and widgets to the home screen by touching and holding the screen down. This gives you the option at the bottom of the screen to add apps, widgets and wallpapers. Widgets include but not limited to: calendar, contacts, bookmarks, AT&T traffic and search. Keep in mind that if too many widgets are added, this can make the home screen look extremely crowded.
Another interesting plus that the G Flex offers is the use of multiple screens simultaneously by touching and holding down the screen. The LG G Flex Interface is very helpful to and for new users or technology deficient folks (or the technologically challenged people). Each time you turn the screen on/off it automatically gives helpful tips on how to use the phone and it’s shortcuts.

For instance, if you hold the “back” button on the front of the device (to the right of the home button) you can open two app recent apps or new ones. Another cool shortcut, you can switch order of home screen by pinching the G Flex’s screen.

The G Flex has a feature called QSlide. It allows users to view apps in a smaller window (similar to picture-in-picture on tv). Users can drag the title bar to move or drag the bottom right corner to resize the window.

One of the most necessary features from AT&T on the G Flex is the fact that the address book offers a free backup service. You can easily recover your contacts if you ever upgrade, damage or lose the device. This feature also allows users to manage their contacts online.

The G Flex also offers VuTalk. By tapping an icon users can draw and chat with registered friend in real time. This is only available on LG phones, unfortunately.
The G Flex allows users to utilize screen share let’s you share location, images and more in real time.

The AT&T G Flex offers great safety options such as:
The phone come with numbers already stored in the device like:
AT&T check bill balance
Customer service
Directory assistance
Pay my bill
Spam text reporter!
View data usage
View minutes

Users can also store ICE or Emergency Contacts (not sure what the I stands for–kanye shrug). This could be very helpful if hurt or if phone is lost.

When sending text messages, the G Flex has a function called Text link. Basically, when users tap a message bubble with a chain link icon it will recommend apps related to the message content. I imagine this feature being cool and convenient or kinda scary for some. This may ruin some relationships… Anyway Textlink allows users to add the content to their calendar, search google maps, web browser or add to note pad in the device.

The camera picks up the colors in a low light situations well. The G Flex’s camera has a very vibrant that comes with photo editor (for even better selfies…or pictures of landscapes and things). I am not a big fan of the picture quality of the images that the camera produces especially those in indoor settings.

Camera has SmartShare technology that will allow users to beam images or select a video that you wish to play. Users can do this by connecting to wifi, wifi direct*, or Bluetooth. SmartShare can share between phone to phone, phone to tablet, phone to CPU and phone to TV.

Dual window is pretty cool in theory but a little tricky to use at first, which can be a bit frustrating. But if you can get past that it can be rather useful, especially for students or folks that like or need to multitask when using their device.

Voice mate, the voice activation command feature offered in the G Flex. The name sounds a little anti-personal; wish the name was different. No biggie.
Anyway, it allows you to do the following:
Calling contacts
Settings alarms
Searching the web

One cool aspect of the voice mate is when users open it from the lock screen, it activates by saying the launch command “LG Mobile”. When the user swipes left on voice mates main screen, a view of sample commands appear. Voice mate search uses Maluuba to find local restaurants, businesses, movies, etc.

Quick remote is awesome! It turns the device into a universal remote for your television, cable box, audio, DVD, Blu ray, air conditioner and projector! This is pretty cool. You can select different rooms as well. The G Flex uses a common IR (infrared) signal remote control to make this possible.

AT&T Drive Mode:

When this app is activated it automatically answers incoming calls, texts, and emails while the vehicle is in motion.

Overall, the LG G Flex is a an awesome device that comes packed with more than enough bells and whistles to make life simpler. I definitely recommend this device for professionals, students, artists, and even mommies. The G Flex makes it easy for you to customize the phone to your needs.

- Tyree Vance

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Every parent out there with a baby has faced that moment when they peeked in to the nursery to see if their baby was asleep, only to realize they woke them up by checking. And babies woken up before they’re ready to get up are not happy babies.

Our friends at Verizon Wireless sent over the new Belkin NetCam for me to review. The NetCam not only allows parents to keep an eye on their child via video, they can do so on their smartphone or tablet from anywhere in the world. For parents who work outside of the home, whether all day or just a meeting now and again, it’s a great way to keep an eye on whether or not your little one went down ok for a nap as well as see them when you’re away.

With the added feature of email alerts when there’s movement, the Belkin NetCam can also double as a home surveillance camera.  Click here to order a new Belkin NetCam.

-Joanna

___________________
Author of The Sex Talk: A Survival Guide for Parents

Based out of Los Angeles, Joanna Hyatt is a national speaker on dating, relationships and sex, and the author of The Sex Talk: A Survival Guide for Parents

 

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You know what I just did? I downloaded the iOS security patch for my iPhone 5!  If you have an iPhone 4 and later, iPod touch (5th generation), iPad 2 and later and haven’t downloaded the security patch yet that prevents hackers from getting to your device very easily, you better do it today!!!  Just make sure you’re on a private and secure wi-fi network and NOT at the local Starbucks.

I could hardly believe it when I first heard the news about how the latest generations of Apple devices had a major security flaw. All these years we’ve always been told how Apple was basically immune to hackers or different types of malware. And that hackers only got to the guys on the other platforms. Well, not anymore! And come to find out, we may have been super exposed and unprotected for a number of years!

Apple acknowledged that there was indeed a big problem last Friday saying on their website “IMPACT: An attacker with a privileged network position may capture or modify data in sessions protected by SSL/TLS …

DESCRIPTION: Secure Transport failed to validate the authenticity of the connection. This issue was addressed by restoring missing validation steps.”   Here’s the page they use to address it.  http://support.apple.com/kb/HT6147Frankly, it wasn’t much of a statement. A bit confusing in my opinion.

Basically it means that there’s currently an error in the encryption coding that leaves iOS users to something called “Man-in-the-middle” attacks. A Man-in-the-middle attack is one in which an attacker intercepts communications you think you’re sending to someone else while you’re logged onto an open wifi connection. This “attacker” pretends to be the website you are connecting to…transmits your communications to them acting as a proxy. Doing this all the while looking through your computer for identity and bank information etc. You are especially vulnerable to this when you’re connected to open wi-fi connections like coffee shops or hotels. So don’t use any of your iOS devices or lap tops on any open wifi connections until you’ve safely updated the security patch from a trusted and locked wifi account.

r02hlc_th

Here’s how to update your devices:

1. Tap “Settings.”

2. Then, Tap “Software Update.”

3. Click “Download and Install” to continue.

4. A “Terms and Conditions” window opens. After reading it (or completely glossing over it), tap “Agree” to download.

5. It takes about 3 minutes to download and update.  Your  device will auto-reboot to install the updat

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e. Please remember to keep your operating system up to date.

You should definitely do the same for your lap top. Go to the Apple drop down menu on the upper left hand corner. Select “Software Update”.  And while you’re at it, if you’ve got an Apple TV, update that software too.

 

34This was a little bit of an eye opener for me. I’ve always taken the security I thought I had on my apple devices for granted. I didn’t really ever think twice about connecting to a public wifi signal at the airport or anywhere else while traveling. Although I’ve downloaded the software security update, I think I’ll be using my own secured hotspot from now on, whenever I’m out and about.

Have you downloaded your patch yet? If so, how do you feel about your apple device now that you know it wasn’t as safe and secure as you thought it was? How do you keep your devices safe from hackers? I wanna know what you think, so leave me your comments below.

Thanks!

 

 

  
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BabyCenter, the popular online destination for moms and expecting moms, recently released their Millennial Moms Report. Considered the youngest and newest block of moms, Millennials (ages 18-32) are approaching parenting, work, and technology use differently than the generation before them.

Compared to Gen X moms (age 33-44), Millennial are more connected across social media platforms and are more likely to experiment with new social networks as they emerge. This social agility may have to do with the fact that this group of moms are more likely to use their tablets and smartphones to connect, turning to them for everything from parenting advice and recipes to help in managing their finances.
Millennial Moms are also using technology to bring in an income for their families, either through creating products and selling them online or using apps that pay for running errands or helping others. Some of the most popular apps that will pay are TaskRabbit, GigWalk, FieldAgent, or EasyShift.   Girlatcomputer-15812
If you have some flexibility in your schedule and are interested in bringing in some extra money for little tasks, check them out! Or if you’ve used these apps before, let us know what your experience has been.

  

Did you know that February 11th is officially this year’s “Safer Internet Day“? In late 2012, then Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and European Vice President Neelie Kroes signed a joint declaration to bring Safer Internet Day to the United States.  It’s a day that’s been officially designated to help bring awareness and create a better internet for everyone. Most of all our youth.

Safer Internet Day - www.saferinternet.orgCheck out these simple tips from Google’s Safety Center.  Parents, get ahead and take the time to read through these. It’s your duty to know more than your kids when it comes to technology and your family’s safety when they’re more connected than ever.

According to a recent Pew Research Center Study, 95% of teens use the internet and about 75% of teens ages 12-17 are “mobile internet users” who access the internet on cells phones, tablets and other mobile devices. More than a 1/3 of teens own smartphones today.

It’s more important than ever for us to get educated on how to protect our youth and their online presence. According to another study, parents who practice more restrictive regulation have children who encounter fewer risks and less harm. Simple right? Well, sadly many parents don’t know to set privacy and safety controls on their devices.

As a parent, have you set privacy and internet safety protocols on your children’s devices? Looking forward to hearing how many of you are taking steps to make a Safer Internet for everyone!

 

  

After hearing about Graco recalling more than 3.8 million child safety seats, I had to run outside and see if my son’s carseat was one on the list.

The recall is for 11 different car seat models made from 2009 through 2013 by Graco Children’s Products Inc. of Atlanta. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, they’re unsafe because the children may get trapped due to the buckles that may not unlatch. The agency says the problem can make it “difficult to remove the child from the restraint, increasing the risk of injury in the event of a vehicle crash, fire or other emergency.”  Some parents have had to resort to cutting the harness to remove their child.

For now, this recall does not include the 1.8 million rear-facing car seats designed for infants. This has many parents concerned as these 7 different infant seat models have the exact same defective buckles. According to Graco, their tests found that food or beverages can make the harness buckles in the children’s seats sticky and harder to use over time.

Here’s the list of models being recalled.  Models Affected: Toddler Convertible Car Seats: Cozy Cline, Comfort Sport, Classic Ride 50, My Ride 65, My Ride 70, My Ride 65 with Safety Surround, Size4Me 70, My Size 70, Head Wise 70, Head Wise 70 with Safety Surround, Ready Ride, Smart Seat, and Smart Seat with Safety Surround. Harnessed Booster Seats: Nautilus 3-in-1, Nautilus Elite, Nautilus Plus, Argos 70, and Argos 70 Elite.

The reason why they aren’t recalling the rear-facing infant seats is because infants don’t typically get food or drinks on their seats, Graco spokeswoman Ashley Mowrey said. But they will send replacement buckles to owners of infant seats upon request.

For more information from Graco and also how you can get replacement buckles click link below. http://www.pages02.net/newellrubbermaid/harness-buckles

And by the way, no, my son’s carseat was not on the list. His is a Britax. ;)

  

Ok guys, (girls too), but I’m mainly talking to the verbally and poetically challenged guys who always write the same thing in a greeting card for their significant other. Well, we here at MLT have got your back… just in time for Valentine’s Day!!

Check out poemgrams. This site allows you to live-chat with one of 12 real-live poets who will,  for no charge,  write a personalized poem for your loved one.  Think of the movie “Her”!  This is so cool.  The poet will ask for a few personal details, such as the name of the receiver and general themes and ideas, before speaking to you at length about the various qualities you’d like to see in the finished piece. After that, they get to work on crafting your masterpiece of prose. The poets are available to chat between 8am to 8pm PST, until February 13th. I’m sure there will be quite a wait so you better hurry up.

Or you can stick with the old “Roses are red, Violets are blue… ” thing and see how that works for ya.  :)

 

  

Paper | Stories from Facebook

Since many of my friends and family (and viewers) are still big fans of Facebook, I’m still on it too. In case you haven’t liked us yet,  here’s where you can find us! Facebook.com/mommylovestech  :) In fact more people than ever are on Facebook. 57% of all adults and 73% of all those ages 12-17. Among teens, the total number of users remains high, according to Pew Research Center surveys, and they are not abandoning the site as many have reported. But focus group interviews suggest that teens’ relationship with Facebook is complicated and may be evolving.  (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/02/03/6-new-facts-about-facebook/)

With the release of their newest app called Facebook Paper, I’m feeling a bit more apt to pay it more attention than I have been lately. Happy 10th birthday Facebook– my present to you!  Although I’ve been on Google+ much more these days, (that’s another blog coming soon! ) this new PAPER app is exciting.  I downloaded the free app on my iPhone and have been having fun exploring it.

What’s different about this is that it’s a mobile app that embraces mobile and the smaller screen size. Off the bat, I’m quite impressed. It doesn’t look much like the previous Facebook app. It’s a beautifully laid out “Newspaper” style-type feed.  Instead of scrolling down to read your feed, get ready to scroll right & left.  A feed of your stream is there at the start of course, but it also has other categories that you can customize your “Paper” feed with. From Headlines to Pop Culture to Sports and Tech. There’s a ton of choices to choose from to make sure you get the latest breaking news. Each section includes photos, videos, articles, essays and other insights.

If you already have the Facebook app on your mobile device, you might not want to throw it out just yet. At least initially. This new interface will take a little bit of getting used to. Not too long… but you’ll need a little bit of time to get acclimated with the swipes and scrolls to get to the different sections of the app. Once you get the hang of it though, you’ll appreciate the flow of information you can now access. From your own stream and writing posts slightly differently to accessing other important news you need to know. Stuff you weren’t really getting to easily with the previous version of the Facebook app.

The stories you’ll want to read appear ad free and in full-screen mode. At least… for now… they’re ad free. The pictures will catch your attention and keep you busy tiltingscrolling and swiping through the different sites.  https://www.facebook.com/paper

It’s smart of Facebook to go this route as more and more users around the world do everything through their mobile device. This new app makes it easy for you stay connected and entertained too wherever you are.

If you’re an android user, a version should be available in the Google Play Store soon. Download it and let me know what you think about it in the comments box below. Is Facebook still your go-to social media app?

________________

Maria xo

  

Los Angeles Local News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

It’s not too late to get your finances back on track! Was your New Year’s resolution to save more money? And more importantly to track your spending? (more…)

  

These days, you can make your own PEZ dispenser, spare parts for your dishwasher, or legos for your kids using a 3D printer. But would you go so far as to make a 3D replica of your baby? Especially your unborn baby?!!

That’s what 3D Babies is offering. Prices start at $200 for the “Mini 3D Baby,” a 2 inch model, and go up to $600 for the Lifesize 3D model, which measures in at 8 inches. Based on your ultrasound pictures, the models end up looking a bit alien like, in my opinion. If you’ve ever tried to compare your ultrasound pictures, even great 3D ones, to that of your actual baby once they arrive, you know they rarely tend to look alike.

As far as it being a great deal for cool technology, at this point I just don’t think this is the way to go. A better use of your money would be creating a unique toy for your kid or replicating your favorite art sculpture. Or better yet, just may want to wait until the cost to print 3D goes down or else  you’ll be gifting your 2 year old their college fund in the form of a personalized PEZ dispenser!

————
Joanna Hyatt
————
Author of The Sex Talk: A Survival Guide for Parents
MY BLOG: www.joannahyatt.com
SPEAKING: www.joannahyatt.com/speaking-engagements
TWITTER: www.twitter.com/JoannaHyatt
FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/joannahyatt1

  
Wanna know what to do with those videos and pictures you have just sitting there in your smartphone? (more…)

  

Let’s face it, living in a digital world can be a real pain sometimes. Especially when it comes to dealing with hackers trying to get your valuable information. (more…)

  

This was a different kind of CES this year. Every year there are usually 2 or 3 devices or technology that get a lot of buzz and has everyone excited. But this year, at least for me, not so much. Sure of course, there were lots of new tech – 4K TV’s, curved displays, tons of bluetooth speakers -(meh)- we’ve all seen it before. The consumer tech space seems like its going through a transitional phase.

CES2014 Intel-logoAs I pondered, what this next phase could be, I began to think about a concept that Steve Jobs talked a lot about – the “post PC era” where tech was no longer dominated by desktop and laptop computers but rather by more personal devices like tablets, phones and wearables, like smartwatches. However, I realised after the CES Intel keynote that “post pc” not only meant handhelds and watches but really almost anything around us could become “smart” –  from even the most mundane of appliances like the refrigerator to even a coffee mug sitting in a cabinet. Yes – this is now the dawn of the so-called “internet of things”.

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich put on a rather enjoyable presentation unveiling some of the company’s latest tech achievements.CES 2014 Intel Edison The most intriguing – the Edison chip. Edison is basically a full PC in the form factor of an SD card, complete with a dual-core 22nm Quark processor, RAM, flash storage, WiFi and Bluetooth radios, and a microcontroller for real-time I/O with external devices. So, the idea is that, Edison could be inserted into any device or object with an sd card slot and power supply and become smart. On stage Mimo showed off the “smart turtle” baby monitoring system — a monitor, powered by Edison, that clips to a baby’s clothing and keeps track of its heart rate, breathing, and movements. Edison then transmits these details to a smart mug, which gives the parent/babysitter constant status updates. (Check out our live demo here)

CES2014 Intel Mimo baby monitor

CES2014 Inte Smart EarbudsIntel believes very strongly that this is the direction tech devices are headed. Although they don’t make consumer products themselves ( they make the chips and components inside) Krazanich revealed several wearables like smart earbuds, a smart CES2014 Intel smart watchwatch and a wearable computer assistant named Jarvis. And to spur creative development from the inventor types out there, Intel is sponsoring the Make it Wearable Challenge , a competition that will distribute more than $1.3 million in awards to participants who have ideas around “wearable technology with the potential to shift universal perspective and improve the world in a meaningful way, or concepts that push the limits of what’s possible.”

So who knows what the future of tech devices will be…. but chances are we will be wearing it! And what will the CES of the future look like? Perhaps it will look less like a huge Best Buy and more like a gigantic Walmart with sections for clothing, bedding, appliances, utensils and housewares.

-Dennis Lovelace
MLT producer

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Special Thanks to Intel sponsoring our CES trip this year. #lookinside #intelAIO

  

Todd Warner, owner of the Los Angeles-based pet store “Tailwaggers” which has served the local community for over ten years, has launched The Tailwaggers Foundation, a nonprofit geared to affect positive change in the animal rescue community. Todd created the Foundation to serve as a financial resource for animal rescue groups who are struggling to cover the cost of medical care for sick and injured animals. Recognizing that healthy dogs and cats stand the best chance for finding a loving home, The Tailwaggers Foundation’s donations will directly facilitate the adoption process and will improve animal welfare in general.

The Foundation is hosting a very special event on Sunday, February 23 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel — the Tailwaggers Foundation’s Waggy Awards.  The ceremony will honor individuals who have worked tirelessly to improve animal health and welfare in the local community and globally.  Receiving “Waggy” awards will be Manuel Oteyza (producer) & Gabriela Cowperthwaite (director) of “Blackfish”, LA City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell and Chris Hogan, executive vice president of the Hogan Family Foundation & Lifeline 4 Paws.  More details about the event will follow. We thought Todd’s amazing work in the Los Angeles community to help animals in need and this exciting event would make a great story.

  

Day two of #CES2014 we check out the LG booth. It was a fun and different way of “walking” across the show floor.

The buzz this year is all about wearable technology. From fashionable tech jewelry, to coats that know how much warmth to give you depending on the air temperature outside to smart watches and wifi enabled cameras.  From driverless cars and connected kitchens, part of CES this year is devoted to making our homes even more connected with us.  And of course there are all those new, even bigger, better, curvier TVs and gaming consoles.

Today we check out the hot new LG Flex phone with a curved display and LG Smart appliances  that can actually text and tweet you!

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We would like to thank #intel for sponsoring our trip to CES.
#LookInside #IntelAIO