Best iPod and iPad Speakers and Docks

17 September, 2012 Play No comments
Best iPod and iPad Speakers and Docks

To be human is to love music. As a species, we’ve made some impressive technological advancements in the name of getting some oontz oontz oontz: Record players, CD players, 8-track players, gramophones (little spotted dogs particularly liked sitting in front of gramophones, head cocked to one side), and more. Currently, the most popular way to listen to music is via an iPhone/iPad/iPod dock—but there are dozens of them on the market. Which iPod dock should you buy? 

Taking cost, function ,and sound quality into account, here are five of the best iPod and iPad speakers and docks on the market. All you need to do is supply the party. 

Philips Fidelio DS3010 – The DS3010 is easily found for under $100 USD online or at a retailer. The sound is rich, the bass is heavy and clear, and the speaker quality is very good, even if the “doughnut” shape might not appeal to everyone. If you have a USB cord on hand, the DS3010 can even plug into a laptop and amplify the device’s speakers. 

Speakal iPig Stereo iPod Docking Station – Speakal’s adorable line of animal-theme iPod docks are ideal for kids’ bedrooms—and they produce a pretty good sound, too. The user-friendly iPig features five evenly-distributed speakers, a 15W sub-woofer, and is compatible with iOS devices as well as most portable handheld systems, game consoles, TVs, CD players, DVD players, and mobile phones in general. Warning: Do not attempt to fry and eat the iPig. 

Bose SoundDock 10 – This powerful little guy is on the more expensive end of the spectrum (about $600 USD), but its fans swear by its lifelike sound quality and powerful woofer. Using the SoundDock is as easy as plugging in your iDevice (most models are supported), though you can listen to music from other supported sources as well. You can even watch iPod video on your TV and filter sound through the SoundDock. 

Klipsch iGroove SXT –Launched around 2009, the iGroove SXT is a bit older as far as docking tech is concerned, but its affordability (about $200 USD) and dependability still make it a popular option. Klipsch claims the iGroove functions on “horn” technology, which allows for the little system to make big, clear sounds with comparatively little energy. It supports most iDevice models. 

Gear 4 SoundOrb Aurora – The SoundOrb offers very decent sound quality, but its real strength is in its visuals. As the SoundOrb shuffles through your iPod library, its round light gives off a soft rainbow of colors that will soothe you after a hard day. Magical! 

For more iPod dock buying advice, visit:

Best iPod Docking Stations at Good Housekeeping

10 Great iPhone/iPod Docking Stations at TechDigest

iPhone Dock Reviews at DigitalTrends

How to Save on Baby Products

How to Save on Baby Products

Modern Dad

News, reviews & trends for fathers – a contemporary parent’s perspective.

When recently discussing the high volume and cost of the numerous different products needed for newborns, we all got a big kick when a friend suggested that the best way to save money on baby products is to not have a baby in the first place. Seeing as how you’re probably past that option, here are some more realistic tips and advice for how not to break the bank when shopping for your bouncing bundle of joy. As for nannies and automatic diaper changing solutions, well…  that’s a different conversation entirely.

Talk To Your Friends With Kids – As you probably learned when you are pregnant, it’s nearly impossible for parents to refrain from giving at least some unsolicited advice when it comes to child-rearing.  Take advantage of the fact that others are excited to share their expertise and ask them specific questions about baby products.  Good questions include having them name something they thought was a complete waste of money, as well as what products have they found to be surprisingly essential.  Take their inside information and learn where to focus your resources, and what you can avoid.  My unsolicited advice: You don’t need specific bath towels or washcloths for baby – regular towels work just fine.

Shop Around For Diapers – While friends and can family can certainly debate whether most baby products are even necessary, the one certainty is that you’ll need to put your tike in diapers.  Make sure to shop around and find where the best deals are.  Babies R Us has great deals on diapers in bulk, but you can also have diapers shipped straight to your door from services like Diapers.com or Amazon, which may be more cost efficient even after you factor in shipping.  And warehouses like Costco and Sams Club all offer their own brands as well.  Shop around and buy them in bulk, it’s much cheaper than buying small packs.

Consignment Sales – There’s a healthy resale market for baby products as kids get older and necessity for baby items and toddler toys wanes.  Check local ads for consignment sales such as Just Between Friends, or for any local Parent Connection groups that may have regular swap meets.  You can find great deals from families who simply want to get rid of their stuff, as well as get more coveted insider advice if you’re willing to listen.

Hand-me-downs – One of the things that surprises many first time parents is the amount of hand me down clothes and other items they get from friends and family.  While it’s borne out of a need to help out those you are close to, it’s also a great way for other to clear this stuff out of their house.  See if you can talk to others with kids if they have any extra items they’re not using.  And if you don’t have anyone to help you out, pay it forward and share your products with someone else who needs it.  At the very least, you’ll get the good karma from helping someone out.

Don’t Just Buy The Cheapest Brand – Although that may seem counterintuitive as a way to save money on products, consider that if you buy a more expensive name brand stroller, for example, you’ll likely be able to resell it in a couple of years for close to what you paid for it, provided you kept in good shape.  So if you can stretch your budget now to afford a Double Bob or a Phil & Ted’s for $250, make it work and you’ll likely be able to get a couple years use of it for only $25 or $50 when all is said and done and you sell it for $200.  This applies to other products as well.  Keep an eye on the resale market for certain brands, and consider buying them now (even used) with the knowledge that you can resell for approximately the same price after you’re done with it.

Best Board and Card Games

3 September, 2012 Play No comments
Best Board and Card Games

Researchers have embraced the benefits of play as a key part of the development of the human mind, both for kids and adults.  So it’s important to take a break and play some games sometimes, and here are ten of the best board and card games to help you relax, laugh and maybe even boost your brain power all at the same time. Note: If you’re a lover of more hardcore fantasy, strategy or war games, be sure to check out what top-ranked companies like Fantasy Flight Games, Rio Grande, Mayfair, Hasbro, AEG, Games Workshop, Avalon Hill and others have to offer as well.

Apples to Apples – It’s been around for years now, but Apples to Apples is a great way to bring families and friends closer together as they plead the case that their card is the best match for the judge’s category.  Creative thinking, lobbying and even misdirection can be employed, but this game is completely wholesome.  Unlike the next one…

Cards Against Humanity – This game’s designers call it “a party game for horrible people,” and it’s essentially Apples to Apples but with a bad attitude.  One card is turned over, and all other players must play a card that they think will be chosen as the best match to the card, except the responses are usually anything but g-rated.  This is definitely not one to be played with the kids.

Dweebies – This card game for kids has colorful characters, and when you place them next to other Dweebies, you collect points.  Its simple gameplay consists of drawing and playing cards and is a great choice for families with kids.

Name 5 – This card-based party game asks you to name five specific things, which is actually a bit more difficult than it sounds.  Whether it’s pizza toppings, things that make you sneeze, or movies starring Tom Hanks, you’ll need to think quickly under pressure to name five items before time runs out.

Qwirkle – This game is kind of like Scrabble, a little like Dominoes, and sort of like Rummikub.  You get six tiles with a colorful shape on them, and you must make rows on the board that are either all of the same shape or color.  Get points for each tile you play as you fill up the board in what ends up being a beautiful pattern.

Rory’s Story Cubes – A great game to be played with kids, Rory’s Story Cubes consists of nine six-sided dice, each with a different illustration on them.  After rolling them, you must make up a story involving all the images that appear. It’s a great way to help encourage imagination and creativity.

Spot It – This fast-paced game uses 55 circular cards, each decorated with eights symbols.  As two cards are turned over, it’s a race to see who can spot the images that match.  And when there’s a tie, there’s even a way for two players to have a decisive head-to-head duel.

Telestrations – Telestrations is like a drawing version of the classic telephone game in which one player draws something for another, who must quickly replicate that drawing for another teammate.  While the words may be simple, seeing the drawings quickly transform and change adds a fun wrinkle to this drawing-style game.

Ticket To Ride – This board game places in you on a circa-1900 train journey to collect cards and claim railway routes.  There’s a little bit of history, a little bit of geography and a lot of fun in this highly detailed and charming offering.

7 Wonders – 7 Wonders is card game that lasts through three ancient ages, with players getting seven cards during each turn.  It’s a strategy game with colorful illustrations and historical gameplay that requires careful thinking and paying attention to your opponents.