Search Results

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

Tech Toys for Today’s Modern Tot… with a Traditional Twist

New technology is constantly changing and evolving the way we live. This new technology is perhaps most profoundly affecting younger generations born into this new tech world. Dolls now come with USB ports and toddlers can operate iPads better, faster, and more effectively than their adult counterparts.

Here we’re taking a special look at toys for today’s tech-driven tots with a traditional twist. These toys aim to familiarize children with the thought process behind technology without bombarding kids with the technology itself.

Traditional toy blocks in iPhone form

Photo courtesy of technabob.com

 

  1. Laurie Ipsum” is a children’s book written by Carlos Bueno, a Facebook engineer. It does not attempt to teach children any specific technical skills, but rather, how to think like a computer programmer. The main character, Laurie Ipsum, is lost in Userland and she must use logic and reason to overcome challenges and find her way home. Naturally, Laurie Ipsum is available in digital form for Nook, Kindle, and iBook, as well as in paperback.
  2. The wooden iPhone is the modern mother’s answer to the pacifier. It’s the perfect size to chewed on but not ingested—and best of all, it’s not actually the expensive technological device. The techy baby can slobber all over his/her stylish smartphone without worry that Mom might be upset.
  3. Russian dolls take a turn for the techy with this set that teaches children the sequencing from a terabyte down to a bit. The exact same form and function of a traditional set, the 6-piece tech Russian Doll set will help lay a foundation for children to think in technological scale.

What tech-inspired toy would you have liked as a child?      

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

The Most Popular Electronic Device in America: the Television or the Mobile Phone?

Question: Would you guess more Americans own a television or a mobile phone?

Televisions, of course, have been an American mainstay and status symbol since the mid-1900’s.

On In the other hand, the mobile phone has quickly risen as a must-have technological accessory in recent years. In fact, today’s smartphone, with its bigger and better screen and video viewing capabilities, increasingly resembles a miniature television.

Answer: As drastically as the American media landscape has changed in the last two decades, the mobile phone has not overtaken the television as the most commonly owned electronic device in the U.S.

According to a January 2012 Nielsen report on media usage, 232 million Americans over the age of 13 own a mobile phone, while 290 million own at least one television. In fact, over one-third (35.9%) of American households own four or more televisions!

Check out the following infographic for more interesting facts.

How long until the cell phone overtakes the television? Or do you think it ever will? 

 

ZOMM reports on Nielsen's findings on American media usage.

Photo courtesy of blog.nielsen.com

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

Celebrating “National Inventor’s Month” with a Salute to Sven Mattisson and Jaap Haartsen, Inventors of Bluetooth

May is a month for celebrating. We recently commemorated “Better Hearing and Speech Month” with a post describing five useful smartphone apps for hearing and speech impaired individuals. Now we’d like to recognize “National Inventor’s Month” with an ode to Sven Mattisson and Jaap Haartsen, the inventors of Bluetooth technology.

Exploring the History of Bluetooth Technology

Photo courtesy of gandhiappliances.com

This illustrious Bluetooth history takes us back to the mid-1990’s. The leading technology companies agreed to the need for a standard way to connect devices wirelessly, regardless of their make and model. Representative of IBM, Intel, Toshiba, and Nokia, converged on Lund, Sweden, the home of Ericcson, to form Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG).

Mattisson and Haartsen, both of Ericcson, developed the Bluetooth specification, which is based on “frequency-hopping spread spectrum,” and are thus credited as the inventors. The most compelling part of the story, however, is how Bluetooth came to be known as Bluetooth.

 

The Viking King Harald Bluetooth is the inspiration behind Bluetooth technology.

Photo courtesy of neatorama.com

According to Jim Kardach, who ran Bluetooth SIG until 2001, Intel called their short-range wireless technologies program “Biz-RF.” Ericsson’s program was “MC-Link,” and Nokia had “Low Power RF.” These different—and unremarkable—names created confusion, and it became clear they needed to develop a single name.

Bluetooth allegedly came to be during a pub-crawl on a blustery Toronto night. Mattisson and Kardach, who represented Intel at the time, were drowning their sorrows after early proposals of “Biz-RF” and “MC-Link” were rejected by the early SIG, when Mattisson shared a story about the Viking King Harald Bluetooth.

Bluetooth had united warring factions in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, much like Bluetooth technology would unite different technology made by Intel, Ericsson, Nokia, Toshiba and any of Bluetooth SIG’s 16,000 current member companies. Marketing men threw around different names, including “Flirt—getting close, but not touching,” but Bluetooth stuck.

So, today, we pay homage to the pioneers Vikings of Bluetooth technology. Without these fearless nerds, the ZOMM Wireless Leash could not exist and you and your phone would be forever-warring factions.

Friday, May 11th, 2012

5 Apps for the Hearing Impaired in Honor of “Better Hearing & Speech Month”

Impaired hearing affects 14.9% of children, according to the Center for Hearing and Speech, and can dramatically impair language development. Only so much can be done medically for those who suffer, but there are ways to treat and cope. And now, there are smartphone apps to help.

In honor of May’s designation as “Better Hearing & Speech Month,” we’ve compiled a list of great mobile apps, primarily for iPhone and iPad, to help diagnose and treat the hearing and speech impaired.

 

A list of five great apps for the hearing and speech-impaired.

Photo courtesy of freedomscope.com

 

  • Siemens Hearing Test—Do you suspect you may be hearing impaired? This free app tests your ability to recognize words from background noise and compares your accuracy to the average score of normal listeners. Recognizing you have a problem is the first step to treating it. This test can tell you whether or not you should seek further medical attention.
  • Hearing Loss Simulator—Living with someone who is hearing impaired can be a trying experience at times. This app costs $1.99 and can help family and friends better understand that loved one. The app even adjusts the simulation to the degree of their hearing impairment.
  • Speech Trainer 3D—This $7.99 app animates how the tongue, lips and mouth properly move during speech. The 3D demonstration helps the speech impaired practice certain sounds, consonants, and vowels in the English language. A recent update allows you to use iPad and iPhone cameras to film yourself speaking and do a side-by-side comparison to the animation.
  • Eye Contact – Toybox—Previously featured on “60 Minutes” This $2.99 app rewards children for focusing on the human faces displayed on the screen. Maintaining eye contact can be a difficult skill for children to learn and is especially important for hearing impaired individuals.
  • EarTrumpet—Best when used with a headset, the EarTrumpet offers hearing enhancement tools. The $3.99 app was developed by a medical student and applies scientific inquiry and analysis to help the hearing-impaired better understand the world around them. 

These apps demonstrate how modern technology is addressing real human problems. Likewise, the ZOMM Wireless Leash and the myZOMM app could be a great service to a hearing and speech-impaired individual in a moment of panic. The center button can be programmed to call either 911 or a number of the ZOMM owner’s choice when it’s held for a period of time.

How are you observing “Better Hearing & Speech Month”? 

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Restaurant Referral and Review Sites: Who Can You Trust?

Last week we learned that 95% of diners use their smartphones prior to dining out. Many of these people are seeking out restaurant referrals. Websites like Yelp and Urbanspoon offer reviews from strangers, Facebook and Twitter offer recommendations from friends, and services like the ZOMM Personal Concierge offer their own expertise.

But how do you choose which referral source to trust? Here is a breakdown of the pro’s and con’s of each:

referrals

Photo Courtesy of Guardian.co.uk

1. User review sites, like Yelp and Urbanspoon, can be a great resource when you’re thinking of exploring a specific spot you’ve never been and need a quick thumb’s up… or thumb’s down. The top 10 lists can be deceiving if you don’t read the criteria carefully and you must consider paid content. Yes, these websites are in business to make money and establishments that pay up benefit from greater control over their reviews.

2. Social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc., are great referral resources because your trusted friends are making the recommendations. According to one survey, marketers themselves trust Facebook more for referrals and product reviews than both Yelp and traditional advertising. But this source is not without its limitations—the recommendations are unorganized, random, and what if you’re out of town?

3. The ZOMM Personal Concierge, like social media recommendations from friends, is trustworthy. You’re paying for the referrals—instead of the referrals paying for you. This convenient resource is loyal to you and only you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, anywhere in the world. You call your concierge, describe your wishes, and the ZOMM Personal Concierge will not only come up with a recommendation, but make the reservation as well.

Which resource do you trust most for referrals?

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Smartphones and Restaurants: Taking Your Phone to Dinner [INFOGRAPHIC]

Imagine this: You have a dinner date with friends on a Friday night. You need to decide where you’re going, what time to get there and what to order. How do you decide? Chances are that you’ll use your smartphone to help you make one (or more) of those decisions.

According to research done by Lab42, 20 percent of you will user your smartphone to communicate dinner plans, 19 percent will use your smartphone to find a restaurant and another 20 percent will view a menu on your smartphone.

The infographic below shows these (and many more) facts about how Americans are using their smartphones before, during and after eating dinner out at a restaurant. If you’re planning a dinner date soon, consider trying our Personal Concierge service—they’ll take care of all the details while you play with your smartphone.

Smartphone infographic

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

How Much Does it Cost to Lose a Smartphone?

60 million. That’s the number of phones lost, stolen or damaged each year. If you’re lucky, you’ve never had to deal with the headaches, costs and general frustrations that come with losing a phone. To most people, losing a phone is worse than losing their keys, wallet or car. And when you break down what all replacing a lost phone entails, it makes a lot of sense.

lost smartphone
While the total costs to replace your phone will depend upon the type and the carrier you utilize, it’s not just the money that you have to worry about. Often times our smartphones hold business contacts, bank passwords and even photo galleries. So on top of the nearly $900 dollars it would take to replace an iPhone, you’ve lost valuable contacts, information and memories.

Jeanette Pavini, contributor at Market Watch, shared a story about one of her readers:

“Her iPhone was stolen while she was on public transit. She didn’t have phone insurance, her renter’s insurance didn’t cover the loss, and she was told if she canceled her phone contract, she would be liable for a hefty early termination fee. In the end, she paid a small fortune and learned a big lesson.”

 The lesson learned? Don’t lose your phone! Stories like these are exactly why Laurie and our team created the Wireless Leash—so no one would ever have to deal with the pain and struggle of replacing a lost phone. With our Wireless Leash you can make a one-time investment that will protect your phone time after time.

Have you ever lost your phone? What things did you have to deal with to replace it? Share your story by leaving a comment!

 

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

The Lost Cell Phone Project

Have you ever lost your cell phone? If you found it—did someone else return it to you? Was it in the hands of a stranger for a period of time?

Apparently, most Americans would have rummaged through that lost phone of yours. Symantec recently conducted a study where they lost smartphones on purpose. The phones were bugged with tracking and logging software that kept track of where the phones went and what information was accessed.

lost phone study
From an article on MSNBC about the study:

“To spice up the test, the phones had an obvious file named ‘contacts,’ making it easy for any finder to connect with the phone’s rightful owner.   But the phones also offered tempting files, with names like ‘banking information,’ and ‘HR files.’  

Some 43 percent of finders clicked on an app labeled ‘online banking.’ And 53 percent clicked on a filed named ‘HR salaries.’ A file named ‘saved passwords’ was opened by 57 percent of finders. Social networking tools and personal e-mail were checked by 60 percent. And a folder labeled ‘private photos’ tempted 72 percent.

Collectively, 89 percent of finders clicked on something they probably shouldn’t have.

Meanwhile, only 50 percent of finders offered to return the gadgets, even though the owner’s name was listed clearly within the contacts file”

The results are pretty shocking to us—especially when you realize that most, if not all, of the lost phone finders weren’t criminals. These were normal, everyday people who found a lost phone and decided to snoop.

So how can you prevent this from happening to you? First, you can set a passcode on your phone—half to three quarters of people don’t take this simple step that adds a layer of protection. Second, you can invest in a device that prevents phone loss. Our Wireless Leash is made especially to make sure you don’t ever find yourself without your phone.

How do you protect your phone from being lost?

 

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Google Goggles – The Glasses of the Future?

The future is here. According to multiple sources, later this year, Google plans to release Android-powered glasses. The New York Times describe them as:

google glasses

Image courtesy of thecoolgadgets.com


 “…eyeglasses that will project information, entertainment and, this being a Google product, advertisements onto the lenses. The glasses are not being designed to be worn constantly — although Google engineers expect some users will wear them a lot — but will be more like smartphones, used when needed, with the lenses serving as a kind of see-through computer monitor.”

While no one (that can talk about it) has actually seen the glasses, they are rumored to be equipped with GPS, motion sensors, a camera, and audio input/output. It’s likely the glasses will allow users to play virtual reality games, and more:

“Through the built-in camera on the glasses, Google will be able to stream images to its rack computers and return augmented reality information to the person wearing them. For instance, a person looking at a landmark could see detailed historical information and comments about it left by friends. If facial recognition software becomes accurate enough, the glasses could remind a wearer of when and how he met the vaguely familiar person standing in front of him at a party.”

We’re excited to see the progression of this type of technology—and how we can use it here at ZOMM.

What do you think about technology like this? Will tech continue to go in this direction—could smartphones eventually be phased out as the technology behind them fuses with technology like these Google glasses? 

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

4 Common Gadgets Being Replaced by Smartphones

Smartphones are completely ingenious; there’s no question about it. As they continue to gain popularity, though, some other gadgets aren’t faring so well. When you have a handheld device that can do some many things, it’s only natural that other devices will fade to black.

smartphones
Take these four common gadgets for example:

Digital Cameras

Nearly all smartphone owners use their phone to take photos. The 8-megapixel camera in the iPhone 4S is just as good as, and in some cases better, than digital cameras.

GPS Devices

Mounting your smartphone in your car while you drive is the same as using a portable GPS system—and you don’t have to pay $200 extra for it.

iPods/mp3 players

Very few people want to actually carry around an iPod and a phone. When you can load your entire music library on to your phone, why bother with both?

Standard wristwatches

No, we don’t think watches will go away completely. However, between using a smartphone to check the time and the development of Android-based watches and wristbands for iPod Nano, the watch as we know it may be history.

As these devices make their way out, we’re especially interested to see what new innovations come about. The evolution of technology never ceases to amaze us.

Have you phased out any of these gadgets in your life? Are there others your smartphone has replaced?

  • Sorry, there are no posts for this topic yet.
  • Sorry, there are no posts for this topic yet.
  • Sorry, there are no posts for this topic yet.