Disclosure: I was provided with the use of a Nokia Lumia 920 phone and compensated for this post as part of the Microsoft #summerswitch program
I started this summer off by doing something really crazy that took everyone by surprise.
I switched from using my iPhone to a shiny new Windows phone.
You’re shocked, I know.
Here’s the thing... when I was asked to become part of Microsoft Canada’s #SummerSwitch program, I had a few reservations because (and this is hard for me to admit) I had a lot of preconceived ideas about using any Windows products. Since switching over to Mac and then the iPhone when it first came out, I fully admit that at times I can be a Mac snob.
The truth comes out.
But pretty much as soon as I opened it up after it’s arrival, I quickly fell in love with this fancy new gadget in my hands
After researching about the different options of the phone, I couldn't wait to get started, especially with the photos and apps.
The 8.7MP camera sensor with PureView made even photos in low light come out really well, and the closeup details were amazing.
I really liked the ability to use the SkyDrive cloud for managing and sharing files. The Windows Phone has built-in access to SkyDrive from the Office and Pictures hubs. It can also automatically upload pictures that you take to SkyDrive for easy access.
The HERE City Lens is a very cool app that give you a brand new way of revealing what’s around you. Just hold up the phone as though taking a photo, and HERE City Lens overlays the best shops, restaurants and points of interest right on your display. Lots of fun to discover interesting new places.
I also had some fun with the CamWow photo app
The Windows phone can connect to Xbox Live, which is great to connect and play with friends wherever you are. The Music + Videos Hub combined with an Xbox Music Pass gives unlimited access to millions of tracks you can download to your phone or stream from the cloud. Your iTunes library can also be synced to the Windows phone.
I really enjoyed the People hub and Live Tiles that are featured on the Windows phone. It made it super easy to find and navigate through contacts and apps. Kids Corner made is super easy for me to put apps just for my kids in one spot and not have to worry about my other apps getting accessed by them accidentally. It’s like a phone within a phone, just for the kids.
The one drawback of the Windows phone? The lack of apps, specifically ones that I use daily for my job as a community manager. Although the Windows phone features a huge range of apps, not having ones like Hootsuite, Stumbleupon, and Instagram made things a little more difficult.
The good news, though, is that Windows is adding new apps constantly, so if there are ones you are missing now, they will possibly be available soon.
So now that I’ve been through a #summerswitch with my phone, the question is — will I keep using the Windows phone? The answer is...for personal use, yes. Unfortunately for work use, it looks like I’m going to have to keep my iPhone in my pocket for the time being.
Whether you’re a sports enthusiast, a firefighter, someone who travels by motorbike or a pro athlete, using a helmet cam is an option that can be incredibly useful in many ways.
The popularity of helmet cams is on the rise, with a wide range of models available at affordable prices, videos from helmet cams are popping up on Youtube and Vimeo more and more.
Check out these top reasons for using helmet cams and take a look at the videos -
If you ever are in the unfortunate situation where you’ve been involved in a traffic accident, you have a first hand account to show what happened
Firefighter saves kitten and captures it on his helmet cam:
Recently the Chicago Bears put a helmet cam on quarterback Matt Blanchard’s helmet to get a better view of what the rookie athlete saw as the play developed. This gave the coaches a huge opportunity to understand their players better
(photo credit: Twitter)
Parasailing, hang-gliding and balloon rides will never look the same to a spectator. Outdoor enthusiasts use the cameras for — mountain biking, skiing, sailing, surfing, and more.
You could be on a motorbike and turn around to see Shia LaBeouf giving you a major stink-eye.
Spill it! Have you ever used a helmet cam or would you ever use one? Tell me about it in the comment section below!
Blog image: Youtube
The other day I counted the number of tech devices my family uses. It wasn’t long before I ran out of fingers and had to start using my toes.
iPads, iPhones, e-readers, video games, home computers, laptops, 6 phones for a family of 4 people. Seriously. It was looking like our love of tech was taking over. It was time for a tech timeout.
I had heard about the “Tech Timeout” program recently launched by insurance provider Foresters, and I was very interested in finding out more info. After visiting their techtimeout.com website, I started to watch some of the videos featuring people like me (and you), people who needed to take a tech timeout—like this one...
Taking a Tech Timeout is hard because for many of us, it’s an addiction to have that tech device in your hand at all times (Have you read my blog bio?). Yes, I’m looking at you, people who “Throne tweet” and “Sleep-Pin.” You know who you are. I’m one of them.
So what exactly is a “Tech Timeout?"
Simply put, it’s a challenge started by Foresters to encourage families to take a daily break from technology. For one week, the families pledge to disconnect from anything electronic for at least one hour.
Sounds simple, right? It is, but the truth is that families nowadays don’t do it enough. Mine included. Sometimes you look around and everyone has an electronic tech device in his or her hands, heads down, zoned out.
The timing of my family's decision to take a Tech Timeout was particularly interesting. Not only was it the last week of the school year, but it was also my birthday. That being said, there were a few gifts of the technology variety given in our house that week, so for us it was especially hard to take a tech break. In addition, both my husband and I work from home—when it's often hard to shut the office door and put the "closed" sign up—so this made for a very interesting challenge indeed.
But it had to be done. Like many other people my age, I find myself reminiscing about what life was like before technology "connected" everyone. When I was a kid, we made phone calls and went out with our friends. When we wanted to play a game, we went to the park. Socializing was done at the beach or the movie theatres, where we actually sat with our friends and spoke words to people. I want our kids to know that feeling too and not get so completely enveloped into technology that they forget how to have an in-person conversation with people.
I have to admit, my kids surprised me. Despite how much they love their technology, they didn't complain about going without it and taking a break. We compared it to Earth Hour, which we do every year and every year say the same thing: "We should do this more often."
Tell the truth — do the people in this video remind you of anyone?
It’s time to change things up a bit and take the pledge. My family decided to take the Tech Timeout pledge because it seemed that the more we got “connected,” the more we felt disconnected. Ironic, isn’t it?
Taking the pledge is easy. Just visit the Tech Timeout website here and download this pledge form:
Get everyone to sign the form and put it up in the house where everyone can see it. It’s a visual reminder of a pledge your family is making to each other. A pledge to disconnect so you can reconnect.
And before long, you’ll remember how awesome it is to:
Paint with your kids...
Or take the dog for a walk...
Or play outside with the world's largest basketball...
Or appreciate how beautiful nature truly is...
Or build anything out of LEGO...
Or pick up that instrument that’s been hiding in the basement for too long.
I’ve also fallen in love again with curling up on the sofa with a good book (the paper kind, with pages). Board games have been rediscovered by the kids and I *may* have claimed the trampoline as my own.
Need more tech-free ideas? Take a look at this:
Techy that I am, I have to say that this tech-free time is quite fabulous.
Do you have a technology addiction? I do. It’s time to push the excuses aside and take a Tech Timeout. Take the pledge with me and let me know what your family is doing during your “Tech Timeout” in the comments below.
Still need more inspiration to take the Tech Timeout Pledge?
Lisa Thornbury has 11 Fun Offline Activities To Entertain Your Family.
Andrea Nair, psychotherapist and parenting educator, shares her five tips for families to use technology in a safe and responsible way.
Jennifer Kolari, family therapist, shares four simple strategies to help your family connect during your tech timeout.
And to help you reconnect with your family, we're giving away a $50 Family Game Set to ten lucky YMC Members, courtesy of Foresters. Enter today!
This is proudly sponsored by our friends at Foresters.
Foresters™ is the trade name and a trademark of The Independent Order of Foresters, 789 Don Mills Road, Toronto, Canada M3C 1T9; its subsidiaries are licensed to use this mark. Tech Timeout and the Tech Timeout logo are trademarks of The Independent Order of Foresters.