Jen Cohen Crompton – Digitalist Magazine

It’s that time of the year again and we are all checking our lists and checking them twice…to make sure we didn’t forget to purchase any last minute items for our loved ones who may have been naughty or nice (but either way, we still have to buy them something, right?)

Well if you’ve hit mid-December and still have a few people to check off this year and you’re stumped trying to figure out what Santa should bring, here are a few ideas for any tech-lover from ages five to 95.

For the music lovers

This year, just about Bluetooth-enabled will be a hit. With the adoption of smartphones hitting an all-time high, most of us are completely attached to these gadgets and products that help us get the most out of them seem ingenious.

The Ultimate Ears (UE) UE Boom portable speakers are probably the best Bluetooth product boom Jen Cohen Crompton – Digitalist Magazinespeakers on the market. Although rivals Bose and Beats have Bluetooth speakers that are better known, the UE brand offers more capabilities and a better sound. The UE Bluetooth speakers take moments to set up and through the app, you can hook up more than one speaker and create a stereo sound (something the other speakers don’t offer). Oh and did we mention that the speaker is waterproof? Think outdoor parties and being able to leave your smartphone indoors so it doesn’t get damaged. The UE Boom retails at $ 199 and comes in a variety of colors and even offers some with designs.

For teenagers or someone looking for a more visual appeal (and a product around the same price point), the JBL Pulse Bluetooth speaker absolutely has that visual side. With LED lights that move to the music, this pill-shaped device makes more than just music – it makes a statement.

For the one who hates wires

For years, products have tried to remove the BlueBuds X Storm White Packaging 300x300 Jen Cohen Crompton – Digitalist Magazinewires connecting our ears to our music players, but without much success and with compromising quality. However, this year, a few wireless headphone companies have come through in a big way and one of the best is Jaybird with the Bluebuds X. These beautifully designed wireless earbuds alleviate the confusion as to where you store your super gigantic Phablet-like iPhone 6 Plus while trying to take a stroll on the treadmill – you can store anywhere within the detectable distance and still hear great sound.

These headphones are great for anyone who enjoys working out or an on-the-go lifestyle and doesn’t want wires getting in the way. Although the $ 170 price tag is a little higher than its competitors, the quality and fit of these earbuds also seem to surpass competitors, so they could be worth the investment.

For the phone dead felon

Hate hearing the excuse, “my phone was dead?” In a world full of not having a charger or not being 1350x1240 wysiwyg helium ip5s Front Back 3QTR3 100713 300x275 Jen Cohen Crompton – Digitalist Magazineable to find an outlet, but living and dying by our phones, a better way to charge our lifelines is a must.

There are plenty of phone charging cases, but one of the best is the Mophie. The Mophie is a battery pack on steroids and versions of the product can bring your phone from dead to 100 percent in minutes (and some even offer additional storage). The case has versions for all types of devices and all it takes is a quick flip of the switch to bring power back to your life. The products hover around the 80-dollar mark.

For the organized (or wannabe organized) colleague or friend

Know someone who despises clutter and would love to get their paperwork more organized? Thanks to our digital lives and the ability to transmit data paperlessly, now is as good of a time as any to convert paper files into digital ones and consider decluttering all aspects of lives.

A great product to make this happen is receipts 610px receipt 300x235 Jen Cohen Crompton – Digitalist MagazineNeatReceipts, which is a portable scanner and smart organization system. All you have to do is scan the documents using the device and then the digital images are stored within the software where they become filed and searchable. Another awesome option about this product is that it does come with an app and you can use the app to scan images and the data will still be parsed accordingly. The NeatReceipts retails at about $ 180.

For the kids

And of course, we cannot forget the kids when we talk holiday gifts and technology. Of course there are plenty of mobile devices and tablets that are lots of fun, but let’s bring it back to good old toys – that are now synced with tech.

Check out Zoomer Dino. Zoomer is a robotic dinosaur that operates by detecting hand dino deco1 300x210 Jen Cohen Crompton – Digitalist Magazinegestures, or by remote control. Charged using a USB port, Zoomer uses its head sensors to detect movement and will respond accordingly based on some pre-programmed commands. However, Zoomer is a dinosaur so he can be somewhat unpredictable and get angry and go a bit crazy by spinning around and turning his eyes red. Overall, Zoomer is a pretty good time and he retails for about $ 80-100.

For kids who want a furry friend and parents who don’t want to have to take care of one, The FurReal Friends Get Up and GoGo My Walkin’ Pup Pet is a lifelike dog that barks, wags its tail, char page gogo 298x300 Jen Cohen Crompton – Digitalist Magazineand walks – but does none of the “un-fun” stuff and can easily be turned off. Furreal friends respond to voice prompts and interact with each other and the compatible app when downloaded and activated. FurReal pets can be found around the $ 50 price point.

There are plenty of other amazing tech toys out this season, so use these as suggestions and shop around to find some deals. After all, Santa may still come down the chimney, but he’d probably much rather be delivering presents while riding one of these.

]]></link> Fri, 05 Dec 2014 18:00:21 +0000 week in tech revealed the results from the holiday shopping kickoff weekend, Google Friday Flashback11 Jen Cohen Crompton – Digitalist Magazinemaking strides to become more kid-friendly and inspire coding, and Sony struggling with their recent hack that has gone from bad to worse.

Here’s what happened, this week in tech.

1. The Mad Rush to Shop…Online. After the busiest shopping weekend of the year, we have the results of this four-day sale phenomenon known as Black Friday weekend.

According to, this year, Black Friday spending reached $ 50.9 billion, which was lower than last year, but Black Friday online shopping went from $ 1.198 billion in 2013 to $ 1.505 billion this year. Cyber Monday sales showed success as they were up from the $ 2.290 billion spent in 2013, to $ 2.680 billion this year. Overall, online sales were a huge success for most retailers, while in-store sales weren’t as profitable. One retailer that needed to pull in some sales and did exceptionally well was Walmart. experienced over 1.5 billion pages viewed by customers, and “70 percent of its traffic coming from mobile devices.”

According to IBM and its Benchmark tool that tracks sales in real time, in total online sales were up 17 percent over last year and mobile continued to be a sales driver accounting for 51.2 percent of ecommerce browsing and 28.9 percent of sales.

However, some companies, such as Best Buy, experienced a website crash. During Black Friday (and actually for a bit on Saturday morning), Best Buy’s website was unavailable. A spokesperson for Best Buy reported that “a concentrated spike in mobile traffic triggered issues that led us to shut down in order to take proactive measures to restore full performance.” Fortunately though, Best Buy crashed due to high traffic and although they haven’t reported their numbers, it is predicted that the outage wasn’t that detrimental to their overall four-day sales total.

2. Google Gets Friendlier. Thanks to a focus on cybersecurity and keeping children out of harm’s way on the net, Google is now working on a kid-friendly version of its search engine. Since kids are big consumers of technology, being born after the advent of widespread technological adoption, Google searches from kids 12 and under are on the rise. This new focus for Google could include kid-friendly versions of YouTube and Chrome, with controls for parents to help manage what their kids may see and do. The vice president of engineering who is leading the way, Pavni Diwanji, stated that, “the big motivator inside the company is everyone is having kids, so there’s a push to change our products to be fun and safe for children.” There’s no official word on a launch date, but it’s rumored that this feature may make its debut sometime next year.

3. Light It Up. Speaking of kid-friendly, Google recently rolled out their Made with Code program to help girls become more interested in technology. Over 300,000 people – mostly young girls – helped design the lighting display for the 92nd Annual White House Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, which includes 56 official White House Christmas Trees. Girls ages four through 20 participated in writing the code to bring the Christmas Trees to life. One participant and Made with Code ambassador, Brittany Wegner, 20, will join ten other Made with Code girls to watch the lighting extravaganza. She explains that each code created will have a specific time for its debut, “down to the exact second.”

Made to Code helps introduce coding to girls at a young age by showing the different possibilities there are to using this incredible skill. In Wegner’s words, “Made with Code is more of an introductory learning platform to get girls interested in coding so it makes it super easy.” Other girls wanting to be part of lighting up the White House this Christmas is encourage to participate through Google’s Made with Program. The White House trees will continue to add more programs for future submissions for those that missed the lighting ceremony.

4. The Sony Struggle. Last week, Sony was hacked and the initial thought was that the hack was possibly a result of misuse internal sources. Unfortunately, the story is unraveling and Sony has a bigger issue to deal with this week.

This week, movies were leaked and employee information (think social security numbers, salaries, health information, etc.) was exposed to the public. The hack was so serious, that the FBI is now warning other companies to keep a watchful eye on their data. Memos were also leaked from employees who are less than satisfied with Sony’s performance and this sensitive data puts Sony at risk for losing money, respect, and possibly employees. The salary leak revealed uneven gender and race paychecks, and exposed employee information puts thousands of Sony employees at risk for identity theft. With the threat of taking a year to sort through and deal with the hack, the fingers are now pointed at North Korea who may be the source of the attack as a rebuttal against the soon-to-be release of the film “The Interview,” in which the characters plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. Yikes!

That’s all for this week in tech. Did we miss anything?

]]></link> Mon, 01 Dec 2014 15:39:01 +0000 last week was full of being thankful and hopefully some tasty turkey consumption, Friday Flashback11 Jen Cohen Crompton – Digitalist Magazinethe tech world didn’t take time off.

Last week in tech, Twitter’s CFO made a little mistake that ended up on his Twitter page while Sony Pictures had some internal employee problems with hacking. There was also a former Netflix employee who went a little too far and Best Buy realizing they were ill-prepared for the biggest shopping day of the year.

Here’s a recap of what happened last week in tech.

1. #Tweetfail. Twitter’s CFO, Anthony Noto, accidentally tweeted a private message for the whole world to see. The public tweet, intended to be a direct message, read: “I still think we should buy them. He is on your schedule for Dec 15 or 16 — we will need to sell him. i have a plan.” Although it is now deleted, someone with a quick eye took a screenshot of his tweet making him fall prey to the “whatever you put on the Internet stays on the Internet” philosophy. There is no confirmation on the identity of the company Noto tweeted about, but it sure put the CFO’s skills into question and wondering if he knows how to use his own service…or maybe he only knows how to use it as well as Anthony Weiner. Unfortunately, this failed tweet came at a very inconvenient time and didn’t help Twitter gain any headway after their shares plummeted by 17 percent. Hopefully whatever the planned acquisition was for Twitter, it will help turn things around and meanwhile, Noto will get schooled on how to use Twitter’s private messaging system.

2. Sony Pictures Gets Hacked. While most hacker stories this year have been from outside sources or other countries, the hack on Sony Pictures appears to be an inside job. Last week, a massive data breach shut down Sony Pictures. These, supposed internal, hackers are threatening to share the company’s top secrets if their demands are not met. Reddit user and ex-Sony employee uploaded the image claiming that it appeared on all company computers. Sony Pictures is claiming this to be a “system disruption” and the matter is being investigated.

3. Netflix Sues Former Employee – A Netflix former executive, Mike Kail, was discovered taking kickbacks from outside suppliers. His job at Netflix as an IT employee was to buy outside services and computer gear. By taking advantage of his authority and charging referral fees from suppliers, he was able to take a pretty penny for himself. Exactly how many pennies? From two firms that Netflix paid $ 3.7 million for their services, Kail’s kickback was $ 490,000 – that’s a lot of pennies. Netflix is suing the now Yahoo’s chief information officer for charging this extra fee, which would be anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of every invoice.

The investigation began when Kail left to join Yahoo. Some Netflix employees questioned a few of the details of the contracts with outside companies and when Netflix tried to review those contracts (that were of course, signed by Kail) they realized he had locked Netflix out of his accounts. Kail used his consulting company, Unix Mercenary, which is conveniently not listed on Kail’s resume and does not have any records of existing. Neither Netflix, Yahoo, nor Kail had any comment on the lawsuit.

4. Best Buy Crashes. On one of the busiest shopping days of the year, you won’t make it into the black if the website crashes. Unfortunately, this is what Best Buy experienced this past Black Friday. Best Buy has been doing very well with online sales, up 20 percent, compared to their in-store sales, which were down 2 percent last Black Friday. A spokesperson for Best Buy says that “a concentrated spike in mobile traffic triggered issues” led them to shut down and they took proactive measures to restore full performance. Unfortunately for mobile shoppers, the app was also affected. But, there was sunshine at the end of the storm since the site and app were back up by 11:30 a.m. ET…but of course, there was still quite a good amount of time that Best Buy was out of commission and could have been bringing in those sales. Hopefully, Best Buy learn from this and can work out the bugs and not crash today (Cyber Monday) since 44 percent of America plans to buy online this popular shopping weekend!

That’s it for last week in tech. Did we miss anything? Let us know.

]]></link> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 13:00:00 +0000 wave 2 thumbnail Jen Cohen Crompton – Digitalist MagazineAccording to a USA Today article, last year, 92 million people shopped on Black Friday while 131 million people shopped on Cyber Monday. Although this data shows a growing trend in online shopping (and it shows no signs of slowing), these stats show that some diehards still live for that Black Friday rush of physically pushing through stores, throwing elbows to keep their places in line, and the overall allure of those shiny Black Friday deals.

For those looking to chip away at the $ 804 that the average American shopper will spend on Christmas shopping (source: National Retail Federation), be sure you are well prepared for your shopping experience. Get ready by grabbing the basics: comfortable sneakers, some snacks and water, and your smartphone. And before you hit the streets and have to rely on data networks or wifi, preload that smartphone with these five essential apps that will make you feel like a Black Friday pro.

 Although this app seems pretty basic, it’s the solution to the 3942834 loyalty key tags that you just had to remove from your keychain. This app features loyalty card linking and Passbook-integrated coupons, making it one of the most convenient and smartest ways to get instant discounts with a smartphone (especially the iPhone). The app offers online and in-store offers, grocery and retail deals, and GPS-enabled notifications, which will ultimately help you save a ton of money. Brands such as Toys R Us, JCPenny, and Dick’s Sporting Goods are all on board, so make sure you download it on the App Store or Google Play.

TGI Black Friday. This app is well organized and easy to navigate. With deals sorted by product type and store, you can create a personalized shopping list with all the items you are looking to purchase. Use the “My List” function to create your list then get shopping. When you redeem an awesome deal, you can also share via social media so others can bask in all your savings glory.

Getting there, getting around, and getting home

Waze. Unless you’re considering taking public transportation, there is a good chance you will run into that Black Friday traffic somewhere along your journey. To give you the best chances of arriving on time and without too much headache, use a navigation app such as, Waze. Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app that allows you to join other drivers in your area who “share real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and gas money.” The app not only shows the best route from here to there, but also will reroute when a major distraction is detected up ahead. Get it, use it. You’ll be happy you did!

Honk. Yes, there are times when we all walk out to the parking lot and realize that we have no idea where we parked our car. With our hands full and bags on our shoulders, the last thing anyone wants to do is walk around aimlessly scanning the parking lot and furiously clicking the key fob to locate the missing car. Instead, use Honk, which is a car finder app (that conveniently doubles as a meter alarm to avoid the holiday parking ticket damper). When you park, the app will drop a pin and take all the guesswork out of the search.

Sit or Squat. Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now? If you or your shopping partner needs to quickly find a restroom, there is no better option than the toilet paper maker app Sit or Squat (from Charmin). Available for Android and iPhones, iPads, and the iPod touch (requires iOS 4.3 or later), the free bathroom locator currently has more than 100,000 bathroom locations in its database and shows public restrooms near your location on a map or in a list. A bonus is that clean bathrooms are awarded a “sit” designation while the not-so-clean facilities are given a “squat” label. Help out the person who has got to go next by leaving your own review or adding new, undiscovered toilet locations.

Grab these apps and make this year’s Black Friday shopping experience the best yet – and of course, enjoy your holiday and be careful!

]]></link> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:00:41 +0000 of us have seen it – the conference call spoof that we can all relate to in more than one way (I am often the person who gets cut off and has to dial back in, or I think everyone can hear me, but I am muted).

This Conference Call in Real Life spoof is a great example of edutainment – it’s entertaining while being educational as it brings to light a pressing real world issue: how to make meetings productive and relevant.

In the world of remote workers and the need for accountability, there are some meetings that are initiated by an organizer who doesn’t have a clear motive, agenda, or strategy – or format. Because of any of the stated reasons, these meetings can be complete fails.

But, because meetings will never be eliminated, we must work to figure out how to make them effective and how to minimize the meetings in the business world that often stray from the streamlined “what you need to know in a limited amount of time” to “let’s have a meeting about a meeting” – something we all dread. So instead of making these mandatory meetings ones where people “show up,” but aren’t really there (and often dread attending), consider a strategy embraced by some popular, fast-moving tech companies – standing meetings. Yes, these meetings are formatted so people are literally standing.

According to a Washington University in St. Louis study that used wearable sensors to measure participants’ activity levels, “standing during meetings boosts the excitement around creative group processes and reduces people’s tendencies to defend their turf.”

So, take a cue from these findings and consider standing meetings. They really do work because of these three factors:

  1. Standing meetings are short. Most people don’t enjoy standing for long periods of time, so meetings where everyone stands will be limited to a maximum of 15 minutes. Any meetings longer than15 minutes, will make most people want to sit. Knowing that the timeframe of a meeting is a strict 15 minutes or less (and the standing serves as a constant reminder) will allow the meeting organizer to stay on track and to keep the messages streamlined. Also, this could reduce the “dread” from attendees who would rather be doing something – anything – else.
  1. Standing stimulates paying attention. Go ahead and try it. Sit down at a meeting and then stand up. Immediately, when you stand, your body is activated and you become more alert and engaged. Standing requires work – and so does listening. So to ensure your attendees become more active participants in your meetings, make them stand and physically become engaged, which will result in higher mental engagement.
  1. Standing is associated with action (and energy). Consider sports teams who often hold pep talks and short meetings during breaks while standing. They generally don’t sit down and let the energy and excitement deflate from the group dynamic. Instead, the coach will encourage everyone to stand, huddle together, feed off the energy, then get right back to work. Keep the energy from meeting attendees flowing as they stand and prepare to take action.

Although standing meetings work best for status meetings and quick brainstorms as opposed to complete strategy or budget meetings, knowing the format that will work best for your content, having a clear goal, and inviting the right people to the meetings will always be the combination to organizing and hosting more effective meetings.

]]></link> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 18:00:17 +0000 Flashback11 Jen Cohen Crompton – Digitalist MagazineThis week in tech, we saw two popular tech companies fighting for attention at work and supporting better work collaboration through internal social networks. We also saw a new YouTube competitor brought you to by the Apple nemesis and a firestorm around the ethics and data abuse by popular social sharing transportation company, Uber.

Here’s what happened, this week in tech.

1. IBM’s Turn at E-mail. IBM is taking a shot at e-mail, following Google and Microsoft who each released their own new innovative e-mailing platforms. IBM Verse is an e-mail system for businesses, that uses collaborative calendars, to-do lists, and online documents. It also includes tools such as instant messaging, video chat, file sharing, and social updates. Using the new platform, IBM wants to help employees prioritize e-mails instead of aimlessly searching and sorting through e-mail chains. And speaking of better e-mail chains, IBM Verse uses a visual display of who is connected, how they are connected, and their titles within the organization (a little CRM added into the system). IBM says that this e-mail system learns over time, so if you’re missing an e-mail response or missing an important action item, IBM Verse can highlight who or what you might be missing. This e-mail system will start out as a freemium service, and is only aimed at businesses in the beginning stages.

2. Facebooking at Work? While Facebooking at work is something that is often prohibited, the popular social networking company wants to change that. Competing with sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook wants to put itself on your work to-do list. Creatively coined, Facebook at Work, the modified platform is meant for employee-to-employee communication in hopes of making it easier to collaborate on projects or plan that yearly holiday party. The goal is to create a separate space for each user so there is no correlation between a personal and work profile (whew!). Right now, the platform is being tested and Facebook’s 8,348 employees are successfully using Facebook to communicate internally and are using it as an alternative to e-mail. They are also using it as a project management tool, a way to share news, and they are even sharing pictures of broken equipment with the goal of getting it fixed. As of now, Facebook at Work is still in testing mode and is being implemented by some “unnamed companies,” but it will soon roll out to the rest of the corporate world. Get ready.

3. Milkin’ It. Samsung is launching Milk Video, which appears to be a competitor to YouTube. While the videos on the platform are currently exclusives for Galaxy devices, Samsung is curating videos from YouTube, Buzzfeed, Vice, College Humor, and Funny or Die, and the some sites are making some original content just for Milk Video. One of the biggest differences between Milk and YouTube is the absence of ads (although there is nothing mentioned yet about native ads or sponsored material). As of right now, Milk Video claims that the platform is not supported by ads nor will users see ads before videos, contrary to its YouTube counterpart. The Milk Video app is free, but only available to those using a Samsung Galaxy device. No word yet on whether Samsung is going to expand beyond these devices.

4. Uber Overdose. Uber might have outdone themselves this time – but not in a good way. After some not-so-great remarks made by CEO and founder, Travis Kalanick, and senior vice president Emil Michael, at what was intended to be an off-record lunch, the Uber path did not follow the GPS to success and the Uber folk definitely took a wrong turn. During the not-so-off-the-record conversation, Kalanick stated that $ 1 million was budgeted to find dirt on journalists who were critical of the company. The conversation included the intent on investigating the journalists through misusing their personal data and also mentioned they were targeting the journalists’ families. When Kalanick was confronted by another lunch attendee about the dangers of this practice, Michael replied that no one would know it was them. Wow.

And when it didn’t seem Uber could get their foot any deeper into their mouth, Kalanick made a very weak attempt at apologizing for Michael (which didn’t impress anyone), and published a blog post that outlined how Uber allowed employees to access rider data for “legitimate business purposes.” While Uber is trying to gain trust back from everyone, it looks like Lyft, Uber’s competitor, might be getting some new business in the very near future.

That’s it for this week in tech. Did we miss anything? Let us know!

]]></link> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 13:30:05 +0000 e1416450112766 Jen Cohen Crompton – Digitalist MagazineIf you’re new to cooking Thanksgiving dinner (or maybe you’re just trying to not burn the turkey this year), we have some interesting apps to help you through this hectic holiday dinner.

From getting your guests together to making the most delicious Thanksgiving meal ever, we have you covered!

Planning apps

Even if you’re a natural-born planner, you might want a better, more innovative way to plan. Here are two apps that can help get your guest and grocery lists organized.

  1. MealBoard – Making a grocery list can be painful on a normal day, but a grocery list for Thanksgiving can be a challenge for the most experienced planner. Here to help is the MealBoard app, priced at $ 3.99. Input recipes of your own, or a recipe from any cooking website, and this handy app will generate your grocery list for you. The app also supports major brand grocery stores, so you know how much you’ll be spending ahead of time.
  1. Paperless Post – If your Thanksgiving guest list has more people than fingers you can count on one hand, the Paperless Post app will be your hero (and it’s free!). It can send invites, track the RSVPs, and let you communicate with those attending your fantastic feast.

Cooking apps

After unloading the groceries and confirming your guests, it’s time to get into that turkey! Cooking multiple foods at once and having them simultaneously finished to perfection is about as challenging as herding cats. So, to help you out, here are a few apps to keep you from burning the turkey, making sure you have a synchronized ending, and that your guests’ mouths are watering (and their tastebuds aren’t rebelling) at the first bite of your delectable dinner

  1. Time to Roast – This app focuses on the turkey – or whatever else you plan on roasting. By selecting all your settings (temperature units, oven type, and preheating times) and your type of meat and the weight, the app will calculate the perfect cooking time and temperature. You can also select the time you want to have food on the table and the app will calculate a timeline for your turkey roast – from preheating the oven to serving.That will take the guesswork out of timing that turkey! Time to Roast is available for $ 1.99 in the iTunes store.
  1. Snapguide – While reading a recipe can get the job done, Snapguide gives you just a little more by showing a step-by-step visual guide for a variety of Thanksgiving recipes. This how-to app (which is free) is almost like having a personal chef in the kitchen showing you what to do next. From appetizers to desserts, Snapguide can get you through that tedious Thanksgiving prep. For an added bonus for those who are crafty (or try to be crafty), this app also gives visual presentations on DIY projects. Hello, post-turkey crafting with the kiddos!
  1. KitchenPad Timer – With many foods cooking simultaneously, it is easy to lose track of time for each burner, oven, or microwave (it’s totally okay if you use the  microwave – no judgement here). Having just one or two timers are not going to cut it – and that’s where KitchenPad Timer comes in. The app gives you a visual of burners and oven timers, which you can name individually, add designated temperatures, set different alarms for each, and of course, keep track of the time for each food item. At $ 1.99, this app will help you take control of your kitchen!

Activity apps

And how about those pre and post-turkey activities? While slaving away in the kitchen for hours, to produce what seems like only a few minutes of devouring the amazing food, is not the only perk of Thanksgiving day, there are a few apps that will help you enjoy the rest of the day with your company. Whether your activities of choice include watching football or seeing the amazing floats in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, here are a few apps that can help you enjoy Thanksgiving day, pre and post-feast.

  1.  NFL Mobile – Football has become synonymous with Thanksgiving. If you can’t get to a television, or you’re just wondering what time the game starts, the free NFL Mobile app can tell you everything you need to know – stats, times, and highlights. You can also use the app to check in on your fantasy team because seriously, you need to know who you can tease during dessert if your team is stomping theirs. The app also provides streamed video and audio so you’re always in the action.
  1. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2014 – For 88 years, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is now a tradition for many. This year (as they did last year), Macy’s has released a free app that lets you in on the fun even if you can’t physically be at the parade. Use the app to see video clips of classic balloons and to let the kids create their own parade balloons. The app lets you become an insider of one of the largest Thanksgiving Parades.

And although we highly recommend taking some time on Thanksgiving to take a digital detox and enjoy your time with those around you, hopefully these apps will help ease the stress of the day and give you more time with friends and family, all while impressing them with your planning and cooking skills.

]]></link> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 18:00:43 +0000 Flashback11 Jen Cohen Crompton – Digitalist MagazineThis week in tech, the U.S. weather service had quite a scare, thanks to (you guessed it) a hack. On a positive note, Sony entered the race for streaming television services, Facebook gets back to basics, and a company created a solution to that annoying smoke detector beep indicating the battery is low.

Here’s what happened, this week in tech.

1. U.S Weather Service…Hacked. Although the forecast for the impending Polar Vortex is unfortunately a fact and not just a cruel joke played by hackers, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) websites were recently hacked, which did cause some disruption. Four websites were affected and forced officials to shut down some of its services, which included cutting off satellite data, the National Ice Center website, and other related websites. While hacking the weather “did not prevent us from delivering forecasts to the public,” says NOAA spokesman Scott Smullen, the bigger scare is what may be hacked next.

The military, local government, and businesses rely on the U.S. weather service for accurate information, and it is considered a vital asset of the government. Overall, it appears that China was the culprit behind the hack, which happened in late September or early October, but officials were not aware until October 20th. NOAA told the public that there was “unscheduled maintenance” on their network, which has now resulted in a controversy over whether or not the NOAA should have immediately shared the truth with the public.

2. Sony Tackles Television. Another company is hoping to capitalize on the desire from consumers to deviate from standard cable and enjoy a new way of watching “television.”  Sony is entering the television streaming market with Playstation Vue, a cloud-based service with 75 channels. This streaming service will include content from Fox, NBCUniversal, CBS, and some other popular networks. Although Sony isn’t launching Playstation Vue until early 2015, invite only beta testing will start later this month. With competitors like Netflix and Hulu, Sony hopes to bring in the market with competitive pricing and different viewing options.

3. Back to Basics. If you’ve been confused by the recent Facebook articles about their privacy policies, don’t worry because the company is stepping in to clear up any misleading information.

Recently, Facebook has updated many of its policies and noting what users really want from their Facebook experience. As a result, Facebook issued an update and although there is no drastic change in their privacy policy, Facebook has rewritten the policy using a more basic language so users can actually understand the policy and decipher between what is real information and what is not. A page, appropriately labeled Privacy Basics, guides the user on Facebook’s policies. With 36 languages, it’s meant for users to easily understand how to manage what their friends and advertisers see about them. A step in the right direction for user privacy concerns? Probably, since ensuring users can actually understand a policy seems like it could clear up a lot of confusion.

4. A Smarter Smoke Detector. There’s nothing more annoying than that constant loud beeping of a smoke detector when the battery starts to run low. Yes, it is an important function of the device, but it is no doubt a nuisance. But, no fear because the company, Roost is offering a solution with a new battery that will change the way the device is connected to the home.

The smart smoke detector features a smart battery that connects into an existing smoke detector and is then connected to an app. The smart battery is a typical 9 volt with a low-power Wi-Fi chip and lasts up to five years, costing $ 35 per battery. The app detects the battery level and sends an alert weeks before the battery is about to die, therefore, eliminating the need for the incessant beeping (that is, as long as you still take the time to change it). The app also does more than just prevent that terrible beep –  it provides access to emergency numbers and sends push notifications and alerts when the alarm is activated. And there you have it – a smart smoke detector.

That’s all for tech this week. Did we miss anything? Let us know!

]]></link> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 14:00:15 +0000 Rocky Balboa. Braveheart. Lassie. Everyone loves a hero.hero in story e1415837359131 Jen Cohen Crompton – Digitalist Magazine

Through the evolution of storytelling, one thing has always remained – we, as the audience, love a good hero. The story of a seemingly unlikely character overcoming the odds and accomplishing something amazing and becoming a celebrated hero is one that resonates with many – we want the “good” guy to win.

In a narrative, the hero archetype is the character who faces a challenge and is able to overcome the challenge. The challenge could be finding success in the face of adversity, showing the world that the underdog always has a chance, or showing a connection to a human that is so deep that it causes miraculous things to happen. No matter the situation, the hero is loved.

When it comes to business and storytelling in marketing, a great heroic story can work. A story featuring heroism can grab attention and unleash that emotional connection we often try to create through the hero’s journey.

But, finding a hero in your business story isn’t always the easiest challenge to overcome. To do it, you have to be creative and think outside the box and below the surface of what appears to be the story. You also might have to push your brand into the backseat.

For instance, take the story of the 23-year-old Chicago Bulls basketball player who was featured in a YouTube documentary, The Return, which chronicled the terrible leg injury he endured while competing in a game. The six two-to-three minute webisodes showed his journey from the injury to being badly injured and his ongoing quest to hit the court as a competitor once again. During the clips, Rose shares his feelings and is candid with his viewers about what’s happening inside and out.

And his viewers become intrigued. They want Rose to get back on the court. They want him to become a “hero.” Oh and a popular footwear company sponsored the show – and the brand was seamlessly integrated into the clips, but was not a

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Jen Cohen Crompton – Digitalist Magazine