The Best Children’s Apps for Every Situation

Every parent dreads the constant possibility of a screaming, tear-filled tantrum. The key to avoiding these meltdowns may be in the palm of your hand. The next great parenting accessory isn’t a toy, bag or a stroller—it’s your smartphone. Kid-focused apps can help you in almost any situation, whether you’re looking to entertain your child or keep him quiet during a road trip.

For Fun:

Angry Birds ($0.99) – It’s become a cultural phenomenon for a reason: it’s fantastic. Shoot birds into pigs. The idea is simple enough for kids but addicting enough to keep them entertained for hours. Children ages four and up will enjoy trying to break down complicated pig defenses. Google Play reports that Angry Birds is the number one app of all time. Kids love it, and so will you.

Entertainment with smartphone

Bord ($0.99) – Let your little artist go wild with Bord, an app that turns your smartphone into a chalkboard. With six different colors and three different line thickness options, your child has the tools to make a masterpiece. When she’s done, save the work and embarrass her when she’s older.

For Learning:

Super Why! ($2.99) – He teaches kids to read, rhyme and spell on PBS. Now Super Why is taking his act mobile with the Super Why! app. Kids can improve their reading skills through animated interactive exercises. Users describe what the princess is wearing by choosing between coat, dress and hat, find the animal that rhymes with boat, and collect virtual stickers as they complete activities. If you don’t have PBS, http://www.install-direct-tv.com will help you jump aboard the Super Why! wagon. Until then, this app will help.

Park Math ($3.99) – Build your child’s math foundation with Park Math, a whimsical counting, addition/subtraction and sorting app hosted by friendly animals. Park Math offers three levels for preschool, kindergarten and first grade. Your child will enjoy interacting with the characters and gain a better understanding of basic math principles.

For Car Rides:

Mad Libs (free) – Get the whole family involved with this classic game on your smartphone. Let your kids fill in wacky, crazy and funny words and read from one of the 21 stories in each book. New books are available through in-app purchases for $1.99 a piece.

Netflix (free) – If you’re looking for a little peace and quiet in the car, the Netflix app can capture your youngster’s attention. Choose from hundreds of kid-friendly titles in the Netflix streaming library. The service costs $8 per month, but the app is free.

For Bed Time:

Bedtime Stories Collection HD (free) – Upgrade you and your child’s bedtime story with the Bedtime Stories Collection HD app, which features unique art on some of the most famous bed time stories in history. Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and the Hare and the Tortoise are all top 10 purchases. Each story costs a $1, but like any classic, you can read them over and over again.


Photography is shifting away from documentation to communication

Nilk Bilton writes for the New York Times on the disruption that the ubiquity that connected cameras are having on how we experience photography. “We’re tiptoeing into a potentially very deep and interesting new way of communicating,” said Mitchell Stephens. From the NYT:

Photos, once slices of a moment in the past — sunsets, meetings with friends, the family vacation — are fast becoming an entirely new type of dialogue. The cutting-edge crowd is learning that communicating with a simple image, be it a picture of what’s for dinner or a street sign that slyly indicates to a friend, “Hey, I’m waiting for you,” is easier than bothering with words, even in a world of hyper-abbreviated Twitter posts and texts.

“This is a watershed time where we are moving away from photography as a way of recording and storing a past moment,” said Robin Kelsey, a professor of photography at Harvard, and we are “turning photography into a communication medium.”

“You have images now that have no possible afterlife,” said Mr. Kelsey. “They are simply communicative.”

Read more.


Are Smartphones Changing Photography?


It has been almost 25 years since the first digital cameras were introduced to consumers, and 10 years since the number of camera phones eclipsed the number of stand-alone digital cameras sold worldwide. Is the prevalence of smartphones changing the way we take photos? I would reply unequivocally yes but GantDaily reports on a slightly different opinion:

“Image making and image transmission using cell phone cameras has become part of our popular culture,” she explains. Eastman Kodak company was founded in the late 19th century on the premise that cameras should be accessible and easy to use for a broad audience. According to Parizek, the early Kodak cameras “were not professional cameras and they were never meant to be. They were made for a different market than professional photographers. Smartphone cameras are made for that same popular audience, that same market.”

That immediacy is a big part of the appeal to smartphone users. “It’s not that people are ‘settling’ for smartphone photos. I think that it is more about accessibility and the ability to be connected to the world at any moment in time — as long as you have a signal,” Parizek says. “Since cell phones have become such an extension of our being, people have become addicted to carrying their phones with them everywhere they go, and image-taking and posting has become an extension of that experience.”

Parizek also points out that, because of smartphones, people take more photos. “The difference is, in the past, images cost something. Film was expensive and it had to be developed, which also cost something, so there was a worth associated with this process. For this reason, people thought a little more before they snapped a picture.”

Due to the reduced cost, the convenience and the ability to take massive amounts of pictures with one smartphone, photography is shifting from documentation to communication. When I see people taking thousands of photographs I often wonder what they do with all that data. In the era of film, one might have a few albums and a few shoe boxes at most. Now the equivalent might be a warehouse.

Read more.


Season in Review for iPad

Season in Review from Teehan+Lax Labs on Vimeo.

Season in Review is an iPad app that displays interactive baseball stats on screen and via laser-cut acrylic graphs. If you love Baseball stats you may love this app.

Season in review

Season in Review is hard to categorize. It’s part data visualization experiment, part non-electronic digital product, and part tablet accessory. The combination of dynamically generated physical form, and taking advantage of pre-existing digital device characteristics offer an interesting alternative to crafting experiences.



For the mobile Internet, tomorrow belongs to Asia

After five years of explosive growth sales of high-end smartphones have hit a plateau and the $2 trillion industry – telecom carriers, handset makers and content providers – is buckling up for a bumpier ride as growth shifts to emerging markets, primarily in Asia. Jeremy Wagstaff and Lee Chyen Yee report for Reuters.

This year, the number of mobile Internet users in the developing world will overtake those in the developed world for the first time – growing 27 times since 2007, compared to the developed world’s fourfold growth, according to estimates from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

“The center of gravity in the mobile ecosystem is likely to shift from the United States and Western Europe toward Asia,” Mary Ellen Gordon, director at mobile advertiser Flurry Inc, said in an emailed interview.

Poor network coverage or the high cost of 3G access relative to phone and SMS services still hold many users back. Last year, according to market research firm Euromonitor, 62 percent of all mobile phones sold in China were smartphones, but only 16 percent of subscribers had access to a mobile Internet connection.

The three carriers – China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom – typically dole out billions of dollars of handset subsidies to entice users to subscribe to their networks, dragging down profit margins.

Read more. Via Textually.


ChargeLight

Chargelight

Interesting dual-function device, ChargeLight works as a backup power supply for your phone, with a Li-Ion cell that offers enough juice to fully charge a dead phone once or twice, and if the lights have gone out you have a handy flashlight at the ready. Useful idea with a range of colour options.



Outlier Hypercity Pack

Outlier Backpack

Outlier Hypercity Pack is made in Maine by Hyperlite Mountain Gear, this new waterproof pack from Outlier brand is super light and ready to travel the world. Interiour is bright so you can see what you are reaching for. Despite their position to the contrary it makes quite a visual statement.


Smartphone Users in Taiwan Turn to Eye Massagers

eye massage

In technology-obsessed Taiwan, the addiction to smartphones and computers may have resulted in a boom in an unlikely industry: eye massagers. WSJreports

The electronic massage goggles — which look vaguely like the oversized goggles worn by comic book superheroes — are seeing a surge in popularity this year. Vendors claim the reason is eyes tired from too much computer and smartphone use.

“We’ve been selling eye massagers for years with steady sales, but this year there has been a noticeable jump in demand, with sales up 30 percent (in the first half of the year from a year earlier),” says Sun Shao-qu, sales manager in Taiwan for OSIM International Ltd., which manufacturers massage chairs, eye massagers and other devices.

“We believe it is because more people have tired eyes from looking at screens all day.”

They need neck massagers as well, which the company sells, as almost everywhere you go you see people (抵頭族)straining their neck to look down at their devices, few notice the world between their over-sized phablets or iPhones.

Read more.


Women own most of the tablets in the UK

iPad woman and plaintronics

Photo by plantronicsgermany

In the UK the introduction of the iPad Mini has helped drive the adoption of tablet computers among women in the UK, previously pollsters put the figure at 43%, now 52% of the country’s touchscreen computers are owned by women. The BBC reports:

The trend has also helped boost the number of 18-to-34-year-olds owning one of the touchscreen computers – they now account for 26% of the market, compared with 19% a year ago.

“The early adopters of tablets have typically been affluent males,” said John Gilbert, lead director at YouGov Technology and Telecoms.

“As they buy the latest models, they have placed their old devices on to the secondary market or given them to other members of their household.

“A growing number of females and under-35s own older tablets, such as the iPad 1 and 2 while affluent males have the more recent iPad 3 and 4 and Samsung devices.

“Add to this the fact that it is women and young people driving the popularity of iPad Mini in the UK and it is clear where the surge in tablet ownership among females and under-35s comes from.”

The survey also indicates that 22% of UK-based adults now own a tablet, and that 19% of non-tablet owners are “hot prospects” to buy one soon.

Read more.


Herschel Supply Co. Walton Weekender Bag

Herschel Supply Co. Walton Weekender Bag

Nice change of colour for a classic form from Herschel. A perfect weekender bag with durable woven canvas construction topped with colorblock detailing, double pouch pockets at the front with zip closure, side sneaker pocket with zip closure and carrying handles with snap closure. It’s fully lined in their signature stripe print



Is your iPhone making you a wimp?

iPhone posture

What are our devices doing to us? We already know they’re snuffing our creativity–but new research suggests they’re also stifling our drive. How so? It’s because of the all-too-familiar hunches that smartphones and laptops engender in their users. And if you didn’t know, Americans spend 58 minutes a day fussing with their phones, and they’re talking on them only 26% of the time. I think about these issues allot but haven’t given much thought how our devices affect our demeanour (FastCompany).

Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are. Lots of great ideas can be gleaned from this video.

The body posture inherent in operating everyday gadgets affects not only your back, but your behavior. According to a new study by Maarten Bos and Amy Cuddy, operating a relatively large device inspires more assertive behavior than working on a small one.

“We won’t tell anyone not to interact with those devices just before doing something that requires any kind of assertiveness,” Bos says. “Mostly because people won’t listen: They will do it anyway. But if you realize that, ‘hmm, I’m pretty quiet during this meeting,’ then maybe you should pay attention to how devices impacted your body posture beforehand (HBS Working Knowledge).

Via textually.


Wake N Shake Alarm App.

Alarm clock Wake N Shake has recently updated with a completely redesigned interface to make it minimalist in-line with iOS7, and a pleasure to use and look at… while maintaining its evil, merciless way of waking people up. Animations like a starry night sky fade-in to help users doze off. They also added animated Zzz’s that float away randomly when users take a nap. Other subtleties like having the minutes digits “drain” as seconds go by.

Via Transitloungers.



Phones and Tablets Will Die Out Just Like the PC

Photo by John C Abell

Photo by John C Abell

The personal computer is dying. Its place in our lives as the primary means of computing will soon end. Mobile computing—the cell phone in your pocket or the tablet in your purse—has been a great bridging technology, connecting the familiar past to a formative future. But mobile is not the destination. In many ways mobile devices belong more to the dying PC model than to the real future of computing. From technologyreview.com:

Chips and sensors are finding their way into clothing, personal accessories, and more. These devices are capturing information whose impact is not yet meaningful to most people. But it will be soon enough. The question we need to answer is: how will these intertwined systems of hardware and software be designed to meaningfully add to our lives and to society?

Today we are enjoying what computing has done to enhance our lives, but we do not like having to baby-sit all the devices that give us access. We have to tell them what to do. The next wave of computing devices will be different because they won’t wait for our instructions. They will feel more like natural extensions of what we do in our lives. The hardware and software technologies behind this ubiquitous-computing model will become the focus of a radically changed computing industry.

Link


Virtual Plastic Surgery Apps Come to China

Selfie app
China’s web developers have taken “selfies” to a whole new level. From The Atlantic:

Selfies, the young American term for self-portraits taken with a cell phone, just took a new turn in China. A new version of a recent Chinese smart phone app allows users to enhance photos of themselves by widening their eyes, lightening their skin or adding long eyelashes –in other words, attempts to look more Caucasian.

The app, called the “beautiful people camera,” or meiren xiangji, which was developed by Guangzhou-based photo sharing community and app maker POCO.CN, also allows users to remove bags from under their eyes, narrow their face, modify their smile and add anime-style makeup. Users can then post the photos to social media platforms such as Sina Weibo.

Read more.


How your cellphone betrays you

mobile tracking

Your cellphone is ratting you out. Stores can keep track of who you are and what you buy — unless you pay cash. Now they can also use your cellphone — even without your permission — to find out even what you’re just looking at or trying on. Latimes reports:

Nordstrom, the high-end department store, began using a technology that can use the Wi-Fi signals in shoppers’ smartphones to follow them virtually throughout the store, from display to display, item to item, and check how long they spent looking at what, just as websites can do now.

Nordstrom isn’t the only company trying this out. At least Nordstrom put up a sign to let customers know what it was doing, and not all of them liked it.

But can stores legitimately argue that they don’t have to tell us they’re shoplifting our data, and presuming that we give permission for them to do so just by setting foot in their stores?

Read more.

There is no privacy anymore. Walk by certain stores where I live, with default settings, and you start getting messages from retailers. What do they do with this data? See more: Trading Privacy for Convenience