Staying Entertained on the Road

Staying Entertained on the Road

With summer in full swing, it’s the perfect time to kick back, relax and enjoy some high-tech gadget entertainment thanks to devices like smartphones, tablets and portable video game systems. Hotels, like Hyatt Place hotels, are helping make stays more enjoyable for modern travelers and families with amenities like free in-room Wi-Fi and ample USB ports as well. Put the two together, and you’ll discover that downloading and enjoying music, movies and on-demand shows is more seamless and simpler than ever.

As a response to the requests we received through the Hyatt Place Seamless Travel Series, I’ve developed a list of the of the latest and greatest gadgets to keep you busy on the road, and keep the fun chugging merrily along, whether you’re cruising to your next destination via plane, train or automobile.

Lenovo IdeaPad A10

www.lenovo.com

Many tablet PCs offer vibrant HD screens, hyper-intuitive user interfaces and enough computing horsepower to play just about any clever new app you could imagine. But this affordable Android model also offers something that many value-priced rivals don’t: Dolby stereo speakers that make music sound more warm and vivid than anything you’d expect to hear from such a compact and lightweight carry-on. If you’re an audiophile, be sure to check it out. One listen is all it takes to hear the difference.

PS Vita

www.playstation.com

Players of all ages can enjoy video games on laptops, tablets and smartphones of every kind. But this supercharged handheldunit is the closest you can come to experiencing the power of your favorite set-top device to go without packing a PlayStation 4 along. Connect to the free in-room Wi-Fi available at hotels like Hyatt Place, and you can even seamlessly access favorite Internet and social media services such as YouTube and Facebook, or stream movies from Netflix. With hundreds of software titles available from a colorful puzzler to a soccer simulator, you’ll find plenty of great excuses to keep those thumbs moving.

Garmin Forerunner 15

www.garmin.com

Stepping out for an occasional jog is a great way to sightsee, better get to know the places you visit and stay fit while on the road. Strap on this connected sports watch, which tracks the number of steps you take and how far you travel each day, and you’ll have plenty of incentive to hit the ground running. Capable ofhelping you set daily activity goals, and plot workout plans accordingly, just give it a quick charge from one of your hotel room’s USB ports, slap it onto your wrist and off you go. Literally.

Samsung ATIV Book 9

www.samsung.com

Want to stay in for the night and curl up with a great flick, or browse the best that the Internet has to offer? This slim and stylish all-purpose ultrabook, which combines the best features of tablet PCs and notebook computers, is just the ticket. Boasting a sporty HD touchscreen, and easily connected to free Wi-Fi so you can access streaming movie and music services, it also offers speedy Web surfing capabilities. Pack it along on your travels, and you can enjoy a convenient solution for staying productive and entertained on the road for hours on end thanks to the system’s considerable battery life.

DC Comics

www.dccomics.com

From Batman to Wonder Woman, all it takes is a tap to make dozens of classic superheroes spring to life on your Apple or Android device. Just load up this nifty app, choose a comic to purchase and read, and you’re set for the better part of any flight. All sorts of favorite titles are available for browsing, including all-star turns by caped crusaders like Superman, the Justice League and Green Lantern, and parsing each issue isa breeze since you can swipe between pages and panels in seconds. In short, it’s like having an entire comics shop right there along with you in your backpack.

Olympus Stylus Tough TG-850

www.getolympus.com

Why settle for any old digital camera when you can grab one that’s waterproof, freeze-proof, shockproof, and otherwise “ruggedized” to withstand just about any other form of extreme travel you can throw at it? A novel tilting LCD screen also provides entirely new perspective on shots, so you can climb up on rocks or submerge the device in water, as well as snap one of a kind images from a number of eye-opening angles. Vacationerswill especially appreciate this surprisingly cost-conscious camera’s high-speed capture capabilities and wide-angle lens, great for grabbing shots of national parks or squealing toddlers sprinting by after downing a popsicle or five.

This post was sponsored by Hyatt Place as part of its Seamless Travel Series. The opinions are my own and based on my experience.

Family Cloud Computing Tips: 5 Ways to Get Connected

Family Cloud Computing Tips: 5 Ways to Get Connected

Family Tech

Technology for parents & kids: Hints, tips, online safety strategies & more.

Adapt to survive and thrive! That’s the motto of today’s tech-centric world, and families can heed that advice by taking advantage of the latest digital solutions available. After all, technology hasn’t just transformed the way we communicate, educate and entertain ourselves. It’s also opened up a world of connectivity and convenience for today’s family.

Luckily for those managing a modern household (wait: when did the four year-old learn to use our smartphone?), balancing both real and digital life doesn’t have to be difficult either. All you have to do is tap into the power of the cloud – a.k.a. online services and solutions – to stay on top of your day and everyone’s schedule.

Case in point: A variety of new high-tech tools make it easy to connect the pixilated dots by putting everything you need, from photos to calendars and phone numbers, in one place and synchronizing data across all of your family’s devices. Using these cloud services – accessible from virtually any Internet-connected gadget – you can easily login and share contacts and calendars with loved ones, or access songs, snapshots or videos nearly anytime, anywhere. But the beauty here isn’t just the ability to keep everyone on the same page, or easily share all your favorite stuff with friends and family. It’s that you can use cloud services in unexpected ways to keep in touch with loved ones, and keep up with life’s thrilling twists and turns. In essence, wherever you travel, your family travels with you – and so does all of your favorite stuff.

What makes these online software applications so handy, especially for those of us on the go, isn’t just their versatility. (You can securely store and pull down everything from chart-topping tunes to book reports to home videos from Internet-connected devices on-demand.) It’s the fact that as a parent, you can also backup everything in one secure spot where it’s easy to grab and share, and  manage and monitor family life online.

For example, Snap One provides a handy method for sharing contacts and calendars or storing all of the stuff that matters most to you online, so you can easily grab it as needed or get it back if lost. The cloud service’s apps also provide a helpful way to stay on top of kids’ comings and goings, protect your family’s privacy, and enjoy greater peace of mind.

Looking to provide your family with a convenient way to stay organized, safe, and stay up to date? Maybe it’s time you put your head in the cloud. Here are a few handy tips that can help you start putting the best that this technology has to offer to work for you and your children- and putting your increasingly hectic schedule back together.

Store More

Want to put all of your favorite files at your fingertips wherever you travel, so no one “accidentally” leaves homework lying around, misplaces the babysitter’s phone number, or forgets to bring grandma those photos she keeps asking for? Cloud storage solutions (which can archive data online so it’s accessible anytime, anywhere) make it easy to take contacts, calendars and files wherever you go. Back-up your data to the cloud and not only are secure copies readily available to be enjoyed and shared with friends and family on-demand, they’re also available to berestored in minutes if data should ever get corrupted, or should you ever lose your smartphone or tablet. Inside tip: setting devices to automatically back-up information, especially at times when you’re not using them (e.g. overnight), can help ensure that your data is always up-to-date, and that it’s always nestled safely in the cloud. Oh, and if you’re headed somewhere sunny this Spring? For fun, try setting up your devices to send vacation snapshots up to an online private area that you can share with friends and family, so they can keep up with all your travels.

Get it Together

The average high-tech household owns nearlya dozen different devices – and we’re all using an increasing variety of mobile and desktop solutions to connect. To stay organized and on top of your digital life, consider using a cloud solution, which can unite your family’s favorite files and information in one handy spot. (And that are easily visited whether you’re using a tablet, PC, Mac, iPhone, or Android or Windows Phone device.) That way, you can synchronize contacts, calendars and files across a full range of gadgets, and provide your family with access to all of your favorite photos, songs and videos in one convenient online hub.

A great way to start Spring-cleaning this season: Organize documents, photos, phone numbers and more online, then watch as clutter quickly clears across your family’s full range of devices. If you’re a parent, you’ll especially want to consider personal clouds, e.g. those Snap One provides, designed specifically for families.

To get more from solutions like these, try using them not just to manage your family’s data, but also track kids’ real-world comings and goings, and/or browsing habits.

Connect Safely

As increasingly mobile and connected as today’s kids are, many parents are looking to technology to provide greater peace of mind. Be sure to take advantage of the parental controls built into Internet-connected devices and operating systemsto keep tabs on kids’ online activity, filter out inappropriate content, and block unwanted calls. Naturally, you’ll also find them built into many popular cloud applications as well. These tools can help you keep track of where kids are at in real-life, and where they’re hanging out online, without having to helicopter over them.

Using the parental controls built into family-oriented cloud solutions like Snap Secure (which offers many handy safeguards) doesn’t just provide the ability to monitor call and text history, track Internet browsing and block specific phone numbers either. It also allows you to pinpoint your children’s location at any given moment, receive alerts when kids step out of preset safety zones, and setup quick response calls in case there’s an emergency. Spring break is a fun time, but if you’re a parent, it pays to make sure your kids are enjoying they’re time in Orlando as agreed, not Cancun.

Disinfect Yourself

Viruses and malware are among today’s fastest-growing online threats on mobile and desktop devices and are a huge concern for Android users in particular. Actively guard against them by being careful about what you click on, which sites you browse, and not opening attachments from unknown or unexpected sources. Worried that a pesky infection may be going around? Be sure to setup automatic antivirus software scans – and to keep your software safeguards up to date on the latest updates (i.e. defenses). Cloud solutions such as SnapSecure, which employs the #1 ranked Bitdefender antivirus solution, help provide a further line of defense, letting you remotely schedule virus scans from your smartphone, or even wipe data from lost devices.

Of course, it’s also important to keep your personal information private. Always be careful of what you share with others online, and don’t assume privacy settings are set by default. The nice part about personal clouds, which we discussed earlier: you can quickly and easily set them up to provide access to those you trust – and prevent access by those you don’t.

Rock On

To get the most from the cloud, don’t forget to enjoy the freedom (and fun) it brings. Clearly, online apps can help us be safer and more productive, but did you know that these solutions can also entertain (and soothe the savage toddler) as well? Just one example: Using streaming media solutions such as Snap Play, which let you store and access your music library or enjoy custom playlists from virtually anywhere, it’s easy to bring the party with you wherever you go. (You can even listen to all your iTunes music on an Android device.) Put your favorite albums and songs in the cloud, and not only can you save storage space on your computer or smartphone,you can beam your favorite tunes down on-demand, and enjoy them whenever, wherever, no matter if you’re at a picnic or out for a afternoon jog. Plus, there’s always the added bonus of being able to pull up a movie for Mom and Dad as needed – or a cartoon, if a little peace and quiet is even more needed instead.

As you can see, cloud services provide a great complement to the technology and devices you already know and love. So why worry about whose turn it is to pick up the kids (you did remember to get them from school today, right?), when you can put all your family’s calendars, contacts and most important files just a click or tap away?

Get the whole family connected on a cloud solution to stay connected, organized and safe!

Great Gifts for Her: Fall and Holiday

25 September, 2013 Play No comments
Great Gifts for Her: Fall and Holiday

If it sometimes seems like finding the best fall or holiday gifts for women can be difficult, realize: Technology makes a great starting point, with loads of great gadgets, gear and accessories to pick from for every budget and interest. As technology improves, so too does value continue to compound as well – expect high-tech presents to be well-received, as they’re gifts that keep on giving. A few great examples of top picks you might begin with include:

Philips Sonicare Flexcare Platinum and AirFloss – Hearing someone with a camera shout “smile!” doesn’t need to be a cause for awkward hesitation – and certainly not when you’re taking extra-good care of those pearly whites. The Sonicare Flexcare Platinum is an electric toothbrush with extra-long bristles and pressure sensors that can help keep your teeth healthy and bright. The AirFloss takes care of eliminating plaque by getting into those harder-to-reach places by using microburst technology to distribute micro-droplets of air and water between your teeth. In short, you get a great looking smile and fresh breath – still more gifts that all can enjoy.

Phiaton PS 210 BTNC Headphones – Usable with everything from the iPhone and iPod to laptops, MP3 players, CDs, and even DVD players, these headphones offer greater freedom of movement through Bluetooth 3.0, and provide noise-canceling and “MaxBass” technology, meaning that songs don’t have to be affected by ambient sounds from without or the reverb that would normally be caused within. The added microphone adds further functionality, allowing these headphones to enable phone conversations as well.

Parrot Zik Headphones – These headphones offer a degree of control unlike any other. Using touch sensor technology, you can do everything from adjust the volume to switching tracks, as well as take, end, refuse, or even set up dual phone calls with just a swipe. They even know when to play, based on whether they’re being kept around one’s neck or raised to the listening position, and can be configured to generate a concert hall-like effect, making the music sound as though it’s coming from in front of you.

Hawking HWREN2 Wireless Extender – Losing your home wireless connection is always irritating, but with this wireless extender, you can rest easy. The HWREN2 boasts not only double the normal Wi-Fi network coverage, but also a performance level that’s three times stronger than any extender or repeater on the market. This can be especially handy if you’re living in an older building with denser walls not made to allow signals to pass through.

iPhone 5S – The latest release in Apple’s seemingly unstoppable iJuggernaut is this revision of the iPhone 5. Available in three colors (gold, silver, and space gray), this iteration features an improved camera and a new sapphire crystal Home button that adds greater security by reading your fingerprint before unlocking the device, negating the need for a four-digit password. Not only do you get a stylish and handy smartphone that’s great for a variety of day-to-day uses – you also get heightened power and performance.

Nexus 7 2013 – The newer, lighter Nexus 7 is an Android tablet which features a 7-inch screen and provides up to nine hours of high definition video playback or ten hours of web browsing and reading. Play games, read books, watch TV, or listen to music, all in one half-pound portable device. Recharging is a snap, too, as this gadget allows the task to be handled wirelessly, making it easier than ever to keep your device ready at a moment’s notice.

Pikmin 3 – Get back to nature in a whole new way with this casual strategy game. Taking control of three different microscopic spacemen (well, two men and one woman), your objective is to direct groups of the eponymous plant-people to conquer challenging puzzles and predators in the oversized wilderness while retrieving enough of the giant fruit scattered about to sustain your hungry home planet. You can also challenge a friend in the two-player Bingo Battle mode, wherein you’ll each try to obtain four of the fruits on your card first for victory!

Saints Row IV – Though video games can often be seen as a boys’ club, everyone enjoys a good story and a bit of mayhem, and Saints Row IV brings both in spades. Whereas the Grand Theft Auto series has all but completely left behind the zanier part of its roots, Saints Row has come to not only embrace that brand of over the top craziness, but expand upon it as well. Create the character you want– male or female– as you prepare to take on the role of the President of the United States and fend off an alien invasion.

Targus UltraLife Thin Canvas Case –  Sometimes, having your phone or tablet around just isn’t enough; you need to have your laptop on hand. That’s where this handy case comes in: A top-loading compartment for laptop computers with screens up to 14.1 inches in size, a slim design, magnetic clasps, and storage for numerous other items mean you can have it all at your fingertips when you’re on the go. Plus, it comes in three different colors (black, gray, or white) and even features a retractable handle for when the shoulder strap won’t do.

Philips SatinPerfect Epilator – When it comes to hair removal, the SatinPerfect Epilator has you covered with an extra-wide head and textured ceramic tweezers which boast more hair removed in a single stroke. Use the built-in opti-light to reveal the tinier and finer hairs which might otherwise escape notice, and the controls allow you to set the speed you’re most comfortable with. One charge lasts for 40 minutes of epilation, and it recharges again in just one hour.