Category Archives: Techie

A New Fitness App/Website

I’ve been looking for any sort of fitness app that can help keep me accountable.

I was told about one called SlimKicker and it’s pretty neat. It’s a site that turns your food and fitness tracking into a game where you level up to get rewards. I love that it has a website interface because sometimes logging things on a mobile device is pretty obnoxious. The site is pretty new so there aren’t a ton of people, but it’s growing. And with the new year I bet it’d be easy to convince some of your friends to join too.

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Pros:

  • The site is free and so is the app.
  • Leveling up makes it more like a game and more likely that I’ll log things.
  • Challenges: You can join or even create challenges that anyone can do. If you complete them, you earn more points towards the next level.
  • Rewards: You set up a reward for yourself when you reach the next level. I also heard that at higher levels you can actually earn rewards from SlimKicker, but I had a hard time finding information about that. Level up and see!
  • I also really like how they break down your food goals. They show you each nutrient and how you stack up against your goals.
  • Friendly tips: SlimKicker uses your input to provide you tips on what you’re eating or how much exercise you get.

Cons:

  • No Android app yet ūüė¶ – I guess my iPad and computer will have to do.
  • The food and exercise database need some work, but I believe they are adding foods and you can add your own foods too.
  • It’s still a new site, so there aren’t a ton of people yet, but you can always invite your friends!

Overall:

I really like the concept of turning logging food and exercise into a game. I’d love to see a larger food database and even some integration with fitness apps like RunKeeper or any of the slew of apps that track exercise.


Great Deals for the Holidays

I’m a huge cheapskate. I try to find a good deal whenever I can. In my travels, I’ve found a bunch of good places to find some discounts. The links are all¬†referral¬†codes, but with most of the companies you get a credit too!

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Ting

I’ve talked about Ting before, but by switching to them from Verizon we are saving $100/month! Ting runs on Sprint’s service and they just charge you a small fee for exactly what you use. No more crazy overages and no more paying for minutes you don’t use! If you use a crazy amount of minutes, texts, or data it may not be for you, but if you just use an average amount of each you will save tons. If you use my link you get $25 off your first device.

Dollar Shave Club

These guys are a little eccentric, but you get really good quality razors for $6 a month. The handle is free and you get 4 blades each month. If you don’t need them that often you can sign up to¬†receive¬†shipments every other month. Damien and I split the cartridges and just get it every other month. No more $12 razors! They actually work well, too.

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Plum District

These guys always have great voucher deals. Spend $15 to get $30 and so on. They have vouchers to Ecomom.com all the time and ecomom is a great place to get baby food or any sort of ‘hippie’ toiletries you might need.

Mamasource

Another voucher/deal site that also features good companies from time to time.

Zulily

Zulily offers tons of products at a pretty¬†good discount. Generally, the best time to order is if you have credit. It’s always smart to price check Amazon before ordering, but they often have organic clothing, great toys, and all sorts of things. I got my Boba baby carrier here and I’ve never seen it that cheap anywhere else.
The Honest Company

For December only if you sign up you get a $10 credit! Their disposable diapers are chemical free and their products are made with great ingredients. I really like their diaper cream(cloth safe) and their laundry soap and the diapers worked great when we were on a short break from cloth.The-Honest-Company

The Steal Network

Babysteals.com, Kidsteals.com, and Shesteals.com feature 2 daily deals at huge discounts. If you’re patient, just about any baby item you need will pop up. Just be careful, you don’t need everything!

Baby Half Off

Same concept as BabySteals, but only one deal a day. The best part? They are located in Mesa. Local pickup is free and shipping in the state is super cheap!

The Best Resource:

Baby Cheapskate – website and Facebook page. She has awesome lists of ‘Toys that Get Played With‘ and Buy It Now prices¬†for the hottest toys. Don’t buy anything for baby before checking Baby Cheapskate out!


Engineering Toys for Girls

I’ve always been fascinated by engineering. I have seriously considered going back to school and getting a second Bachelor’s in engineering. LEGO’s are just about the coolest toys I had as a kid and it never bothered me that there weren’t any ‘girl specific’ sets, but maybe that’s because I had brothers so Lego’s were cool because they had them. I do remember having one of the girly sets (that quickly was discontinued) and I did really like it. However, I realize that some girls aren’t into Lego’s.¬†GoldieBlox

A few weeks ago I saw this Kickstarter project and was floored. GoldieBlox are made just for girls and they look awesome! I don’t have a girl of my own, but teaching middle school I noticed how many girls are turned off by math and science and it’s tough to get them interested. GoldieBlox is for ages 5-9 and what a great way to develop your daughter’s (or niece’s or friend’s, etc) interest in engineering. Each set comes with a story with problems to solve and then the board and pieces to make it happen. Books 2 and 3 are already funded also. I love the mixture of the story with the problem solving. I think that’s a great way to get girls interested. The set is scheduled to be available in April of next year, but you can preorder them now.

I may not have a girl, but I’m tempted to get a set for myself! At the very least, I’ll be looking for a girl who needs them so I can help support GoldieBlox. It would be awesome to see them in stores.


Cool Gadgets – AfterShokz Bone Conduction Headphones

I thought I’d actually review another piece of technology. I had new headphones on my wishlist for awhile since I’ve been running and my brothers were kind enough to get these for me for my birthday.

I hate normal headphones. It is incredibly unnerving to be outside or even just around the house and not be able to hear what is going on around me. On top of it really bothering me, it’s a safety issue when outside. I don’t want to be running with my two kids in a stroller and not be able to hear cars, dogs, or people that may be approaching. I thought I would have to resign myself to running without music, but then I stumbled upon these bone conduction headphones.

The concept is unusual, but simple enough. Instead of the headphones making sound waves that your ear then translates into vibrations, the headphones directly vibrate the bones of the inner ear. I was a little skeptical, but they are awesome!

Pros:

  • The headphones wrap around behind your head so they stay on during exercise. No earbuds falling out.
  • They are super comfortable since there is nothing pressed inside your ear.
  • The sound is great. The same or even better than traditional ear buds.
  • Because there is nothing in your ear, you can easily hear noise around you and be aware of your surroundings.

Cons:

  • The headphones have to be charged (although I let them sit awhile in between charges and they still worked). I think because they have to actually produce vibrations.
  • The headphones don’t come in a wireless variety.
  • The headphones allow you to hear all noise around you. If you are looking to block out surrounding noise, these are NOT for you.

Retail price is about $60, but I had added them to my Amazon cart to watch the price and I believe my brothers got them for under $40.

Overall, I give these a 5 out of 5 stars, because now I can actually use headphones without being weirdly disoriented.


IPad2 vs Nexus 7

I realized that I haven’t posted anything technology related in pretty much forever. I started blogging at least partially to share some of my tech nerdiness.

I love learning about new technology and we got an awesome tablet so I thought I would share (but I still love technology). We (I) have had an iPad2 since they came out and hubby just recently sold off his original iPad in order to purchase Google’s new Nexus 7. Here’s a comparison of the two.

Screen Size:

The iPad is a 10″ screen while the Nexus is sporting a 7″ screen. I use my iPad as a computer replacement because I generally don’t need anything other than the Internet and email. I’m even typing this post (and I mean typing, not using my thumbs or anything) on my iPad now. Because of this, the 10″ makes a big difference. There is no way I could type other than a distorted version of phone typing on the Nexus. If I only used the tablet part time or was on a computer for work or other times, the screen size wouldn’t matter. I’d just type long things on the computer.¬†

Browsing on the Nexus is great and the screen difference isn’t a huge deal – just the keyboard size issue for me. The advantage of a smaller size is the Nexus is much easier to read with in one hand and it actually fits in most of my husband’s pockets!

Cameras:

Technically, the iPad has 2 cameras, but the rear facing one is awful! It’s fine to Skype and show the room around you, but it is absolutely worthless as a still camera (which doesn’t matter since who on earth wants to hold up a giant tablet to take a picture?). The Nexus only has the forward facing camera, but this is fine. Most Skype-ing is done forward facing and it works great. Overall, I consider the two machines equivalent on this front.

Apps:

The iPad obviously has access to the iTunes store and the gazillions of apps made for Apple. Most popular apps have been modified to fit the iPad full screen and you have the same set of apps that you would on an iPhone. If you have already purchased apps for your phone or iPod, you don’t have to purchase them again.
The Nexus has access to the Google Play store. At this point, every app I can think of has both an iOS and Android version. There may be small differences, but I don’t see any reason for this to be an issue. An inexperienced user probably won’t even notice they are using a different market unless some very specific, beloved app is unavailable.

Overall Usability:

This basically an iOS vs Android issue.
iOS is generally an ‘easier’ platform with most things locked down tight and apps that are all approved and have similar looks and feel. For inexperienced users or non-techies, iOS may be easier to use, especially if you already have an iPhone or iPod touch.

Android is a more customizable operating system that lets you change more settings and offers more freedom to install custom apps that aren’t necessarily approved by Google. More experienced users and techies often like the freedom allowed by Android.

Speed:

The two machines run on different processors and somebody might try to say that the Nexus has this fancy schmancy whatever, but ultimately both are pretty much the same for performance. They are both quick and load apps right away.

Price:

We have the wifi only, 16gb iPad so it was $499 (the cheapest option).
The Nexus 7 is 8gb for $199.
Both can be upgraded for more money, but honestly we have no need for more. We barely use any of the storage (it’s not like we listen to music on the tablet, we have phones for that). Also, most places like coffee shops or whatever have free wifi so there’s basically no need to pay for 3G service.

In the end, the iPad is perfect for me and was worth the extra money since we bought it instead of buying a laptop and the Nexus is perfect for my husband since he uses a computer all day for business and just lightly browses or reads on his tablet.

***A side note: there are a ton of Android tablets out there and most of them are pretty terrible! If you are trying to stay away from an iPad, stick with a name brand. I would easily say the Nexus 7 is the best Android tablet available. The only other acceptable options in my opinion are the Kindle fire, the Nook color, or one of Samsung’s Galaxy Tabs.


Geek Books for Babies

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Since little man was born I’ve started to see more and more tech oriented books for babies. I personally think it’s great. I especially love that Goodnight iPad was written by the pseudonym Ann Droyd. Very clever!

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Another great one (although I haven’t been willing to dish out the $20 for it) is My Little Geek.

If you know any techie parents or parents to be these are some great gift options!