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Nanit baby video monitor evaluates baby’s sleep

nanitFirst comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the Internet of Things in the baby carriage.

After Baby Gigl, the smart baby bottle that notified caregivers via an app of the quantity of nutrition babies received and detected bubbles that could cause colic, now there’s Nanit, the “Tesla” of baby monitors and the first video monitor which can measure sleep and evaluate how well the baby is sleeping— without a wearable device.

Going beyond mere surveillance, Nanit provides comprehensive reports that measure a baby’s sleep behavior throughout the night. Since it launched, Nanit has been featured in Forbes, Fortune, BabyCenter, and The Today Show. In December 2016, Business Insider included Nanit in its “Best startups to launch in 2016” list.

The creators say Nanit is the most advanced baby monitor ever created, using cutting-edge computer vision technology to deliver scientifically-backed insights designed to help babies and entire families sleep better.

Nanit features a mobile app experience that allows parents and caregivers to share important information with each other via Nanit’s private social feed. Other key features include an easy set-up floor stand, a night light, a “white noise” maker, six nature soundtracks, a fully integrated cable management system, sound/motion notifications, and HD surveillance of the nursery.

Nanit is designed to help new mothers (and fathers) for whom baby’s sleep is as elusive as those sheep jumping over the fence.  It might even help those weary parents get a few extra winks too.

Check out the video here: https://youtu.be/qASwMefxodM

 

Nanit costs $279, not including an additional monthly subscription fee for analytics.
 

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Xess giveaway! Own the newest Alexa enabled smart home hub

The next generation of smart devices is here, to make your life easier, and more fun!

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The joke among tech geeks at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show, the annual massive showcase of new gadgets, was “Does it work with Alexa?”

Indeed, Alexa will soon be commanding the market – or rather we will be commanding Alexa – and the innovators at the helm are the ones finding new and exciting ways to incorporate the voice controlled app into our homes and lives.

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One of the most anticipated incarnations of this technology is TCL’s Xess, pronounced “excess,” the next generation of Amazon Alexa enabled devices, in the form of a tablet. Similar to Amazon’s Echo and its offshoots Dot and Tap, and Google Home, the device uses the Alexa wake word, or it can be programmed with the user’s chosen word, to turn respond to voice commands. In addition to following voice commands, the Xess 17.3-inch touch screen responds to hand gestures, which can control functions like scrolling, taking pictures and other tasks.

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Xess also comes with a home security camera that can remotely monitor a room on 1/3 of the screen or on the full-screen, to keep an eye on kids, pets, or an area of a home.  Tapping on the camera icon can activate a video recording or capture still photos.

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Using Alexa app on Xess I am able to turn lights on and off and dim them, and I can also raise or lower the room temperature of my Honeywell Lyric thermostat.  I can also listen to my New York Times or NPR news briefs, get the weather or traffic report, find my phone with a tracker, ask Alexa to tell me a joke, and even be inspired by a daily motivational quote or guided in meditation or lulled to sleep by various skills I have enabled for those purposes.

My favorite companion for Alexa is the Lutron app, which works with Lutron’s Caseta wireless lamp plug-ins and remote controls as well as other peripherals, such as Sonos.  At this time Xess and Echo and its offshoots are not Alexa-enabled to use voice commands to control Sonos, but using the Lutron app I can play music on Sonos using scenes.

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Using programmed scenes on the Lutron app, which I can assign custom names and icons on the Lutron app, I can set lighting and music to match a desired mood or activity, such as dimmed lamps and mellow music for nighttime, or pop music and bright lights for my workout, which I can activate with the commands, “Alexa, turn on Sonos Chill-Out,” or “Alexa, turn on Sonos for Workout.”

Another terrific aspect of using the Lutron Caseta wireless platform is that the plug-in lamp dimmer acts as a range extender, which relays the wireless signal between smart devices, giving me an extra 30 feet for spacing devices.

At this time Xess is not integrated to use voice commands to play music from Amazon Music or read Audible books from Amazon and the like, but you can use these services on Xess just as you would on any tablet by selecting their apps on the screen and using the tablet interface.

One big difference between Xess and Echo/Tap/Dot and Google Home is that Xess can be controlled by hand gestures, such as an open hand to stop playback, a swipe motion to move screens or turn pages, a countdown with fingers for photos, and a shushing finger-in-front-of-the-mouth gesture to mute Xess.

Whereas the speaker-style Alexa enable devices are designed to be discreet, tucked away on a shelf or residing unnoticed on a countertop, the Xess is made to see-and-be-seen.

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The Xess is basically a portable mini flat screen TV. It features a retractable carry handle and an adjustable stand, so it can be set down on any flat surface and set a variety of angles. It comes loaded with a couple very useful apps, such as Kitchen Stories, a step-by-step cooking demo app loaded with recipes, making it a great chef’s assistant.  It also has a pop out hub for connecting USB devices, headphones and inserting memory cards.

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As an Alexa addict, I love having two dimensions in which to interact with the Alexa app. I still love my Echo, for its awesome seven-speaker sound capabilities, but Xess offers another dimension with its visual capabilities, plus it features JBL built-in audio for decent sound; and besides, when I am not using it to control my smart home, it’s a carry-anywhere oversized tablet, for homework, online shopping, or streaming video, like this great video series of Xess how-to videos:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnby6EE00VpVsaAP8pPR39Kgvddasgers.

If you would like a chance to own a Xess, compliments of TCL, valued at $499, please follow these easy steps to be entered into a random drawing, to be held April 6, 2017.

  • Like TCL’s Facebook page and follow on Twitter using the hashtag: #TCLXess.
  • Like this blog’s Facebook page and Follow us on Twitter
  • Post a comment on this post stating what feature(s) of the TCL Xess would get the most use in your home.

The recipient of the Xess giveaway will be notified by Twitter and Facebook. Good luck!

A day without devices, March 3 is National Day of Unplugging

teens-cellphonesParents of teens and even elementary school age kids are often complaining of them being addicted to their smartphones and social media, and the sad reality is that these habits start early and follow them into adulthood.  In fact, many of them are modeling the behavior of their phone-addicted parents.

March 3 is a day to unplug and look around at all else the world has to offer, off of our phones, tablets, laptops and other devices. For many, it will be a day of reckoning, when they realize just how often they turn to their phones instead of human interaction.

According to a NationalToday.com survey, 77% of women and 68% of men spend 3 hours or more per day on their computer, phone, or tablet. Half of women and 41% of men spend 5 hours or more per day looking at a screen.

To conduct the NationalToday.com Day of Unplugging Survey, conducted Feb. 14, 2017, the pollsters at National Today [www.nationaltoday.com]—an online destination dedicated to quirky and fun holidays—asked 1,000 Americans to dish on their digital dependence.

TOP 3 MOST INTERESTING INSIGHTS ABOUT OUR DEVICES
#1: When I have down time, I spend it on my phone, computer, or tablet (35%)
#2: I spend more time interacting with people online than I do in person (13%)
#3: I feel like I’m addicted to my phone (13%)

MOST AMERICANS SPEND 3+ HOURS A DAY ON THEIR DEVICES
75% of Americans spend 3+ hours per day on their computer, phone, or tablet. 48% spend 5 hours or more per day looking at a screen, while 13% spend 10 hours or more.

TOP 5 PLACES AMERICANS SPEND THE MOST TIME LOOKING AT THEIR PHONES
#1: When I wake up (32%)
#2: When I’m in bed going to sleep (26%)
#3: On work breaks (20%)
#4: In the bathroom (10%)
#5: On my morning commute (4%)

BED ISN’T JUST FOR SLEEPING ANYMORE
For 58% of Americans, bed is the most popular place to check their phone, be it when waking up (32%) or when going to sleep (26%).

RANKING OF THE TOP 3 DEVICES AMERICANS SPEND THE MOST TIME ON
#1: Smartphone (76%)
#2: Computer (17%)
#3: Tablet (7%)

MEN CARE SLIGHTLY MORE THAN WOMEN ABOUT THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGE
5% of women say they closely monitor how many “likes” they get on social media, compared to 7% of men who say the same.

If you are looking for ways to unplug in life and stop and smell the real versus virtual roses, check out a great book that really made a difference in my life, Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters!

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And have a happy National Day of Unplugging!

The adorable portable battery that grows on you

This adorable portable battery will grow on you
With the dismal life of today’s smart phone batteries, everyone’s getting on board with portable batteries to charge up on the go. Some may last a little longer, some are sleeker, but Cheero FLOWERS Power Plus portable battery is so far the most differentiated power block that I’ve seen.
The brightly colored 10050 mAh mobile battery has a unique design of a cartoon face, with two round circles for eyes, and a triangle nose. Available in seven flower inspired colors, Cheero is ready to charge Apple and Android phones and tablets. The battery features two ports so it can charge more than one device at a time, and it is equipped with an AUTO-IC function, allowing the external battery to automatically recognize if a device is connected. The external battery optimizes the supplied power best suited for each device.

The most obvious appeal of this battery is its cute design is attractive to children and those who like cutesy things. It may encourage children to take a long their battery packs, so there’s no excuse for their phone dying when mom and dad are trying to call them coordinate a pick up at school.

Another advantage of its different look is that you won’t get it confused with everyone else’s black square of a battery pack, unless of course they also have Cheero.

The battery comes with a cute canvas carry bag, so you can keep the little fellow from getting scratched. It also comes with a short micro-USB to USB cable. Cheero is available at select Nordstrom and at Amazon Prime for $39.99 at Amazon.com.

 

US cities with highest malware infection rates reported

Tampa, Orlando, and St. Louis had the Highest 2016 Malware Infection Rates in the United States

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Computers in Tampa, Orlando, and St. Louis are more likely than computers in any other city to be infected with malware. That’s according to data released today by ESG, makers of the SpyHunter anti-spyware program. The ESG research team compiled their latest data based on malware detection data from SpyHunter in the 100 largest cities in the United States in all of 2016. Tampa, Florida; Orlando, Florida; and St. Louis, Missouri each had malware infection rates more than five times the national average. Denver and Atlanta rounded out the top five.

The same three cities topped the list of highest infection rates in 2015 as well.

“There could be a number of factors including the demographics of the area, how widespread PC usage is (versus Mac or mobile devices), we’ve even seen weather play a role in infections from time to time,” said ESG spokesperson Ryan Gerding. “The important thing is that people in these cities, and everywhere else for that matter, need to always remain vigilant against malware, spyware, and other nefarious online activity.”

Malware gets on computers in a number of different ways. Sometimes it comes bundled with other legitimate software that users download from websites. Many times malware is installed when computer users click on bogus links in spam emails or hacked social media messages. Still, others get tricked into downloading malware by adult websites and illegal video streaming sites.

“Malware makers are always looking for ways to trick you into clicking on a link that will deliver their payload,” Gerding says. “Unfortunately, computers in Tampa, Orlando, and St. Louis seem to be more susceptible to these scammers.”

Infections can range from the annoying to the downright criminal. Some infections cause more pop-up ads to show up when users are browsing the web. Other malware infections can secretly change your default homepage and search engine. However, others create bogus messages claiming there is a different kind of malware infection on a user’s computer, and then ask the user to pay to remove the malware infections. One of the most insidious malware infections is called ransomware. Those infections lock up valuable files on your computer (photos, Word documents, movies) and refuse to unlock them unless you pay a ransom.

ESG offers three key ways for consumers to protect themselves against malware infections.

  • Make sure your operating system is up-to-date and change the settings so that updates are automatically installed.
  • Use a trusted anti-spyware program. We obviously recommend SpyHunter. But whatever program you use, make sure it is set to regularly and automatically scan your computer and install updates.
  • “Think about that link”. If you are asked to click on a link in an email message or a social media post, think twice. Ask yourself whether the link seems legitimate and if it’s something you were expecting to receive. If you have any doubt, leave it alone.

Top US Cities with the Highest Per Capita Malware Infection Rates in 2016

  1. Tampa 540% higher than the national average
  2. Orlando 525% higher than the national average
  3. St. Louis 520% higher
  4. Denver 407% higher
  5. Atlanta 370% higher
  6. Newark 322% higher
  7. Madison, Wisconsin 272% higher
  8. Washington, DC 242% higher
  9. Cleveland 213% higher
  10. Cincinnati 194% higher
  11. Minneapolis 129% higher
  12. Raleigh 125% higher
  13. Irvine, CA 121% higher
  14. Miami 109% higher
  15. Buffalo 99% higher
  16. Las Vegas 90% higher
  17. Pittsburgh 83% higher
  18. Boise 81.26% higher
  19. Greensboro 67% higher
  20. Seattle 61% higher
  21. Boston 58% higher
  22. Dallas 47% higher
  23. Columbus 46% higher
  24. Milwaukee 38% higher
  25. Norfolk, VA 36% higher
  26. Phoenix 32% higher
  27. Portland 28% higher
  28. Austin, TX 19% higher
  29. Honolulu 19% higher
  30. Baltimore 18% higher
  31. Birmingham, AL 13% higher
  32. Baton Rouge 11% higher
  33. Sacramento 10% higher
  34. Colorado Springs 7% higher
  35. San Jose, CA 4% higher

Six things to do on a treadmill desk

For the A-type tech junkie who likes to stay plugged in at all times, working on a treadmill desks is the ultimate multitask. Not only is walking while you work a great way to stimulate your mind and body to boost productivity, active lifestyle pundits like Kathleen Hale, founder of the Chair Free Project, point out that rising and moving instead of sitting all day at a desk could save your life.

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That’s right, sitting is the new smoking. Those long hours on your butt are not only the cause of what my desk-jockey cousin’s husband nick-named “spreading a**,” but sedentary habits are a factor in heart disease, diabetes, cancer and a host of other bad things that can happen to a body that sits too much.

So if you are so inclined to avoid overly reclining and chair sitting, here are some great tips for effectively using a treadmill desk to get work done while you do your body good.

Conference calls – Talk about thinking on your feet, walking and talking makes you a better listener and thinker; and stretching your legs is far better than distracted doodling on those long squawk box calls.

Pitching – Your prospects can hear a smile on the phone, and they can hear energy in your voice when you walk and talk. An upright, walking posture opens up your diaphragm and makes you sound robust and peppy.

Admin and busy work – Keep the blood moving and keep yourself alert for no-brainer work. Timesheets, deleting old files, archiving your inbox, and other boring tasks don’t feel like a waste of time anymore when you are improving your health while you tackle them.

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After lunch break – A conveyor belt under your feet does wonders to keep you from nodding off after a heavy lunch. It will also help your digestion and burn off a few calories.

Talk-to-text time – use a dictation program to go handsfree and knock out responses to those emails piling up in your inbox, update your social media, compose memos, and draft proposals or other long-winded documents that would otherwise have you sitting for hours. Dragon has a variety of software version for business or personal needs and is 99 percent accurate and three times faster than typing, and it can even search the web for you and integrate across all of your devices.

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Total Recall break – plug in your headphones, close your eyes and take a stroll on the beach without ever leaving the office. Amazon music has an endless selection of play lists for every mood, and if you have an Amazon Prime membership it’s free.

Amped Wireless Introduces ALLY Wi-Fi System

07_allyAmped Wireless, the leading manufacturer of high power, long range wireless solutions, is bridging Wi-Fi performance, security and simplicity with the launch of ALLY, a whole-home smart AC1900 Wi-Fi system with MU-MIMO. Available for pre-order August 23, ALLY is designed to deliver an unparalleled Wi-Fi experience for homes of all sizes.

 

The ALLY Wi-Fi system is the first seamless roaming solution with blazing-fast Wi-Fi speeds, MU-MIMO technology and whole-home coverage with award winning, high power technology. Offering easy setup and a mobile app for on-the-go control, the ALLY and ALLY Plus systems reach up to 15,000 square feet of secure coverage for seamless roaming and uninterrupted streaming.

 

Built with the digitally-connected family in mind, ALLY features intelligent parental controls that make online parenting feel easy and safe. Through ALLY’s customized user profiles, parents can manage and limit access to selected content, websites or apps. Additionally, parents can monitor and segment a child’s screen time, review an activity log, pause Internet service and even set a curfew schedule for their Internet use.

 

Parents can also feel at ease knowing that devices on their network are protected by AVG Technologies, the leading provider of software and services to secure devices, data and people. Customers can download the ALLY app and help safeguard devices from malware by activating AVG’s free, built-in web protection and real-time monitoring of network traffic. ALLY’s security features, parental control options and iOS and Android apps are built on Chime, AVG’s smart router platform developed by AVG’s Innovations Labs, an exploratory branch of AVG Technologies.

 

“Innovation is part of our DNA here at Amped Wireless,” said Jason Owen, Executive Vice President of Networking, Amped Wireless. “We are elated to announce ALLY and our partnership with AVG. By combining Amped Wireless’ award winning high power technology with AVG’s software and security expertise, we’ve created the industry’s best whole-home Wi-Fi solution. The result is a one-of-a-kind system that performs at the highest levels while providing a user experience that is second to none, bringing peace of mind to users as their network and families are protected.”

 

The partnership establishes ALLY as the only home wireless system that offers web protection that safeguards devices, including tablets, phones, computers and other devices. Additionally, the system alerts users when a new device requests network access, further protecting the network from unwanted parties.

 

“Gartner predicts the average family house will contain more than 500 smart devices by 2022. As the complexity of the connected home increases, so does the potential risk involved,” says Todd Simpson, Chief Strategy Officer of AVG Technologies. “AVG’s Innovation Labs created Chime to simplify security and router technology for connected families. In time this will be like an antivirus for the home that can stop threats before they reach devices.”

 

In addition to the advanced software and security, the ALLY hardware is also ahead of the innovation curve. All units are built with next generation 802.11ac, Multi-User MIMO technology. Traditional Wi-Fi systems stream data to just one device at a time, leaving the rest of the devices to wait their turn which results in slower downloads and video buffering. With MU-MIMO, ALLY is able to stream HD content at faster speeds to multiple devices at once, delivering increased speeds for homes with multiple devices. Pair that with Amped Wireless’ award winning High Power Technology and you have unparalleled reliability, coverage and performance. Every smartphone, tablet, computer, TV and more can connect from virtually anywhere in the home or office. It is the solution for a flawless, whole-home, reliable Wi-Fi system.

 

There are ALLY solutions for both small-medium sized homes, as well as medium-large sized homes, and everything in between. Both ALLY and ALLY Plus products have an estimated delivery of early October. ALLY is priced at $199.99 and ALLY Plus at $379.99. For purchase information and additional details visit ampedwireless.com.

 

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