Thursday, May 26, 2011

Windows Phone web marketplace to arrive with Mango update

Another step in the right direction, keep chugging along.

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Windows Phone web marketplace to arrive with Mango update

Microsoft has announced its plans for a web-based version of its app Marketplace, where users can browse and install apps on their Windows Phone smartphone from a browser on a PC or Mac.

Similar to the web-based version of Google's Android Market, the Marketplace will allow users to pay for new apps with the credit card associated with their Windows Live account or assign a new credit card. The app will then be sent to the phone, via SMS or email, to be installed. The Marketplace will also keep a tally of the apps installed on a phone, so if a user switches devices, they will be able to reinstall the same apps they had previously. There will also be an implementation of parental controls.

[via The Next Web]


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Microsoft's iffy bet on 'Mango' to save Windows Phone

My faith is dwindling fast. I drank the kool aid on day 1 trying to believe in this but even with all the recent purchases they have made they are still falling behind. I sincerely like this platform, saw potential but they are taking too long. I know Microsoft wants to take their time and do it "right" but they are taking too much time and not exactly getting it right. A fail/fail scenario.

Pick up the steam!! Be the Little Engine that Could!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Google updated mobile maps for iPhone & Android browser - 'bout time

To answer the question posed "why not just use a native app?" not all users are into apps.

Search - Sometimes they are hard to find in the app store.
Cost - Browser is free.
Memory - Don't want to use your memory on that particular app.
Time to market - Apples approval process

I had a co-worker that didn't want to create a gmail account for his Android device so he couldn't access the app store and therefore no native apps. So there are some scenarios out there where this is relevant.
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Google has updated its mobile Maps website for the iPhone and Android browsers, bringing the mobile website up to speed with a lot of the features found in the native apps

When users visit in a mobile browser, and enable location sharing, they can now access features such as current location; local search complete with suggest and autocomplete; clickable icons of popular businesses and transit stations; driving, transit, biking, and walking directions; satellite, transit, traffic, biking, and other layers; Place pages with photos, ratings, hours, and more; and access to starred locations and My Maps when signed in to their Google account.

The new Google Maps mobile website is available now for the iPhone and Android phones, but it begs to ask the question, why not just use the native app?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wordless Wednesday's

Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty

In Primary Yellow of course! This Putty sits on my desk day after day. Gets pretty beat up from the amount of use. It has maintained it's color. I make fun shapes (Mostly inappropriate), it bounces, it tears into tiny little balls which I believe are what they consider the choking hazards and try to get thoughts from it but I think that is a lack of brain cells not the fault of the putty. It is a perfect gift for a co-worker. Thank you, Crazy Aaron!

One warning... Don't put it on your monitor and let it ooze down!

Disclaimer - I was not contacted by this company, this is a product that I have on my desk at work that I love.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How do I make it better for her?

I thought I would have years ahead of me to plan the right words, think it through and come up with a plan but my baby girl had her first breakdown Sunday night.  Sure I have seen the signs over the past few months and I have dealt with them little by little.  She would take her hearing aids out and say they "hurt" her, tell me she could hear ok without them in, ask me how long she will have to wear them for and not want to go to school.  Sunday night she let it all out.  Saying how much she hated her hearing aids, how difficult it is to hear from far away and how she doesn't like being different. 

During her IEP I had her evaluated for Anxiety due to her stomach issues and wanting to take her aids out.  I can't tell if the stomach issues are a concern or stress.  I've had new earmold impressions to make sure they are not the issue.  She goes in regularly for her audiological appointments.  I talk to her all the time about her aids and how important they are.  She uses her Phonak FM System and does really well with it during class but her hearing loss will ALWAYS be there.  It will always be a factor in her life.  I simply don't know how to make it better for her.

What. Do. I. Do?

Monday, May 16, 2011

5 (unusual) reasons Verizon FiOS has made life easier

So most of you know I am a working mom that has to rely on not exactly "ideal" tactics to get  things done at times.  By ideal tactics it really depends on who you are talking to... I am no Donna Reed here and would never claim to be but you probably wouldn't think I am Mommy Dearest either.  BUT all dorkiness aside FiOS is great and helps us in everyday life.  Without it I wouldn't be able to get much accomplished at home.  I rely on it to help me with my cooking, cleaning, work, discipline and sanity.
  • Kids programming -- It has turned my 5yo daughter into a Big Time Rush FREAK.  I mean this is a serious issue, if she doesn't see that show on a daily basis there are tantrums.  She has learned to effectively use the remote.  It has improved her memory skills because she knows what time and channel.
  • On demand -- So when she can't get her fix of her favorite show or she misses it due to a TaeKwonDo Class Caitlyn knows how to navigate through the screens to reach her destination.  Of course there is a large variety of other shows to watch if you get bored with the few hundred channels that are playing. 
  • FiOS Internet -- For the whole family!  Yes, you read that right... even down to the almost 2yo.  We are all connected.  The kids love playing games and watching videos.  Keeping with the crazy 5yo theme – BTR has a website that she visits to watch their latest info.  I think at this point she must be their biggest fan.  On a personal note - it is helpful for me when the kids are sick and I end up working from home.
  • FiOS Phone -- Most days I question why I have a land line but I guess I need somewhere for telemarketers to call so I can hang-up.  I actually let my kids answer the home phone and where it is unlimited calling I don't mind when the little one sits there and just pushes buttons and doesn't really say much.   
  • Widgets -- Saved the best for last.  Since I am never really have time to watch TV it is so easy to pop the weather widget on in the morning while scrambling around trying to get the kids ready.  
My kids don't sit in front of the TV all day.  Their screen time is limited and by screen time I also have to include computer time... never thought I'd have to say that with kids so young! I also monitor what they watch too, yes I am picky with some shows.  Overall, you can't beat the technology; we never have issues with it like we did with cable.  Thank you, FiOS!!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Verizon FiOS sponsored blogging program. Any views, opinions or experiences expressed are my own.”

Saturday, May 14, 2011

4.5" is too big for a device: Samsung Infuse 4G review

Size really does matter... I'd never get this based on that one simple fact. I have girl pockets and it wouldn't fit in them very well. Go ahead and laugh but it is the truth. No matter how great it is, I still need it to be functional in every day life. The 4.3" devices even push it a little too far. The perfect size I've noticed is the 4".

The only 4.3" I was willing to get was the Droid Bionic and that is a mythical creature at this point. My last post about it was back on April 5th and there still isn't any movement -- I give up!

So, overall... it might be worth it but looks like everything else out there. I'd rather wait for the Android Sensation this summer.
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Samsung Infuse 4G review

We're just getting into the swing of spring, flowers blooming and skeeters biting, but already it's been a great year for Samsung -- if we ignore the whole lawsuit thing. Just a few weeks ago the company delivered to us our highest scoring Android phone yet, the Galaxy S II and, while that handset has not appeared on American shores, we were graced with the Droid Charge, which offers LTE speed, strong battery life, and an on-contract price that slightly exceeds its design.

Not so with the company's latest assault on American carriers. It's the Infuse 4G, it's $199 on-contract, and it has a decidedly high-end feel. It even looks a little like the S II -- if you squint. This is its own phone, though, a giant 4.5-inch screen setting it apart from its predecessors, and a giant battery inside giving it plenty of life. But is it really as good as it looks?

Laurel Hill Mansion - Philadelphia, PA

Friday, May 13, 2011

Insomnia - Why O' Why?

So the Dad Vail Regatta is tomorrow morning and I really need my rest but can't quite sleep.  Why is it on the nights/days that I need to go to bed early I can't?  This sucks.  Eyes are blurry.  I'm cranky and starting to act like one of my kids.

Almost tried one of those Dream Water's but decided that wouldn't be a good idea because knowing my luck I'd sleep through my alarm tomorrow. The experiment will take place tomorrow night!

Night all... hope sleep happens soon.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Microsoft set to buy Skype for $8.5bn in biggest deal in history

This is huge. Hopefully Microsoft will make Skype more stable. I think it is another positive relationship for them. First Nokia and now Skype... they may actually have a shot in the Mobile Arena IF they do this right.

C'mon Microsoft, kick Apples ass! Android is a little too far ahead but you have a good shot at Apple. On a completely side note -- it would be nice if Android would get their act together a little bit and be more organized.

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Microsoft set to buy Skype for $8.5bn in biggest deal in history

Microsoft is on the verge of buying Skype for $8.5 billion - despite the Internet phone service making a loss last year. 

The deal would be the biggest in the 36-year history of the world's largest software company.      

Microsoft has trailed Apple and Google in the mobile and Internet arenas. 

Despite doubling sales and profit in the last eight years, Microsoft's
stock has mostly languished at the same level.

It has left investors worried about
its ability to counter new rivals or adapt to new ways
of computing. 

Skype was formed in 2003 in Luxembourg and originally sold to eBay in 2005 for $3.1 billion. 

At the time, it was thought that Skype calls could be used in auctions by bidders or sellers but the idea never materialised.

In 2009, eBay sold a majority stake in Skype but retains about a third of the company.

Microsoft already has video chat as a function in its Windows Live
Messenger service, but it is not available on its Windows Phone 7

Skype is a well-known name but its profits are on shaky ground. It recorded a loss of $7 million last year.

Although 663 million people are registered on Skype, most of its services are free as calls are made between computers or in some cases internet-enabled phones.

Potential: Teaming up with Skype could help Microsoft's position in the mobile and Internet arenas

Potential: Teaming up with Skype could help Microsoft's position in the mobile and Internet arenas

It makes money on voicemail services and calls to landlines or mobile numbers.

Microsoft's most high profile Internet purchase was the $240 million it paid for a 1.6 per cent share in Facebook in 2007.

Bill Gates's company has also invested in the MSN Internet portal and Bing search engine, racking up $7 billion in losses in the last four years.  

There is potential for Skype software to be combined with Microsoft's Xbox Kinect for an interactive gaming experience that would link up players across the world.

Apple's FaceTime video-calling service -- available on its latest iPhone and Mac computers -- has been a big hit with consumers.

Google recently followed suit by adding video to its popular Google Talk application for smartphones.

Competitors: Microsoft shareholders have been concerned about the company's ability to compete with rivals such as Apple

Competitors: Microsoft shareholders have been concerned about the company's ability to compete with rivals such as Apple

The deal is relatively small for Microsoft, which has $50 billion in cash and short-term investments on its balance sheet.

'I think the price is quite reasonable,' said Sean Lee, a
Taipei-based manager of the Global Top Dividend Fund at Shinkong
Investment Trust, which owns Microsoft shares.

Skype had recently been looking at other options including tie-ups with Facebook and Google.  

Microsoft and Skype declined comment.         


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Philly Zoo - Looks like a great time!!

Creatures of Culture Series Kicks off with a Taste of the Asian Culture

Philadelphia, PA, (April 11, 2011) - On May 14th and 15th, the Philadelphia Zoo will host a weekend-long festival showcasing the culture of Asia. The celebration, which is the first of four cultural events called the Creatures of Culture International Series,  will feature authentic  Asian  cuisine,  activities, performances and demonstrations while educating about animals found in the Zoo that are native to Asia. Creatures of Culture: Asia is free with Zoo admission, and will run from 10am to 4pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

Presented on Impala Plaza performances include Japanese Taiko drummers, traditional Korean dancers and authentic Indian dancers. Stations situated throughout the Plaza include activities that educate children on how they can help animals here and around the globe.

At the Creatures of Culture Series, guests will experience all that the Asian culture has to offer, while viewing majestic animals. Additionally, they can experience Xtink shun: a wild puppet
x perience, which features puppets who educate on the plight of their species.

“The Creatures of Culture Series connects visitors to conservation issues and shares how we can make a difference here and around the world,” says Vikram H. Dewan, President and CEO.  “It is an important series that we are thrilled to host.”

About The Philadelphia Zoo:
America's first zoo and one of the region's foremost conservation organizations, the Philadelphia Zoo is home to nearly 1,300 animals, many rare and endangered. The Zoo, fulfilling its mission of conservation, science, education and recreation, supports and engages in conservation efforts to protect endangered species around the world. The Philadelphia region’s leading family destination, the Zoo welcomed more than 1.2 million visitors last year. The Philadelphia Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. For more information on the Philadelphia Zoo, as well as to purchase and print tickets online, visit us at Philadelphia Zoo is a non-smoking facility.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Baby & Toddler Expo

I know I am a little late with this post but my day job has been a little hectic.  In the past 2 weeks we have released updates to our Android, WP7, and iOS mobile apps, updated the iPad app, launched a new honeycomb tablet app, and have a scheduled HTML5 release tomorrow.  I'm not even thinking straight at this point!

Soooo... close to a month ago I attended the Baby & Toddler Expo with my family.  It is hard to believe this is the last year my little boy will be considered a toddler.  Once we arrived at the expo we were greeted with a breakfast, free tickets to the expo, some swag and most importantly to me  -- some time to network.  During this time we had a chance to listen to John Bell from Parent's Express Magazine talk about the expo, the magazine and local events.

John Bell - Parents Express Magazine
Of course I wish I had more time to actually network but I had Caitlyn with me and she was having a blast running up and down the hall with Caitlin's daughter's.  I'd like to send a huge THANKS to Mama's Little Helper, the blogger event host that put the breakfast together.

After the breakfast was over we headed out to the expo to check out the vendors.  They had your run of the mill vendors that you typically see at every show but a few places really stuck out in my mind:

  • Mommy Sitter Club - what a great idea this is! You can share calendars and have a secure place to swap sitting services.  Right now I don't do this in a very organized manner.
  • BabyPop Capes - C'mon what kid doesn't want a cape... I know mine want them.  They even make teddy bear capes.
  • Small Print Jewelry - This would be a great mother's day gift.  A perfect keepsake.
  • Mama's Little Helper - Great local site for events, coupons and pretty much anything you need to know.  Chrissy also had little wipes for sticky hands - huge hit with the moms! 
  • Piggyback Rider - I wanted to stop and try this out but Conor was having a meltdown and Caitlyn was angry with me... it would be perfect for both kids.  What a great concept.