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Top 15 tech toys to buy this holiday #roundup

(TECH NEWS) There’s nothing like the impending doom of the holiday gift-giving season to keep us up to date on all the coolest new tech.

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tech toys gift wrap mother's day

Checkin’ it twice

There’s nothing like the impending doom of the gift-giving season to keep us up to date on all the coolest new tech. From home security to virtual reality and learning robots, this Christmas will certainly not be lacking in cool new gadgets. Give your family and friends tech gifts from our round up that will change their lives, or just buy yourself something fabulous. Either way, here are the top gadgets this holiday season. We want them all.

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Video creation and entertainment

video-entertainment
Snap Drone: $895
Snap drone is a foldable, packable, all-in-one video drone that tracks you via GPS and films you doing awesome stuff. Right now, it’s only available for pre-order (will ship early 2017) but it’s worth the wait. No other video drone comes close to this portability and price point.

Polaroid Cube: $70
The Polaroid Cube is a tinier and cuter version of a goPro. This screenless, one-inch cube shoots 1080p video on a wide angle lens, and is outfitted with a magnet so you can attach it to anything metal. Perfect for the photographers in your life!

360 degree 4K camera: $499
Make your own virtual reality videos with this 360 degree camera. Shoots in 4k, comes with a mounting system, and is ready to share your experiences with the world. Great for your favorite VR enthusiasts.

Safety tech gifts

smart-tech-toys
Roav: $300-400
While Roav may not get there in time for Christmas (they’re taking preorders and shipping in the spring of 2017), this new dash top display is worth mentioning. Roav connects with your phone and displays your directions, texts, and phone calls on a transparent screen that attaches to the dash of your car. It’s a great gift even if it won’t arrive until May.

Silver Mother: $499
Silver Mother is a sensor tracking system that helps caretakers make sure their loved ones are staying healthy from afar. Monitor their meals, comings and goings, sleep habits, and medication so both of you can keep your peace of mind.

Ring video doorbell: $200
Ring is the video doorbell that lets you pretend to be home even if you’re not. See and talk to the people on your doorstep from your smartphone, monitor package delivery, and protect your home every time someone rings your doorbell.

Nest Cam: $200 plus $100/year
Give your loved ones the gift of safety this year. Help them keep tabs on their house with Nest Cam, an indoor security camera that can distinguish humans from animals or objects, and let homeowners know when something at home doesn’t look right. With the Talk and Listen button in the app, your loved one can tell burglars to get out of their house (or say hello to Puff Kitty), even if they’re a million miles away.

Home tech

smart-homes
Google Home: $130
Google home is the latest in smart home innovation, cheaper than the Echo, and with more potential. Stream music simultaneously to Chromecast speakers, make shopping lists, turn off lights, and even play trivia! Google home is perfect if you already have Google products and don’t have an Alexa yet.

TP-Link Wifi range extender: $100
Make sure wifi covers every part of your home with this range extender. It expands your wifi network, acts as a port for a wired device, and even helps you find the best place to put it with its signal strength meter. Anyone with wifi range issues or an upstairs TV that needs a hard internet connection would love it.

Alexa-powered Smart bulbs: $19.99-49.99
These smart bulbs are fully integrated with your smartphone and Alexa. Set light timers, change light colors (16 million color options), track energy usage, and turn on and off lights from anywhere using the app or Alexa. These light bulbs can even track natural light throughout the day and turn on when you need it most. Awesome for anyone on your list.

Tech toys

tech-toys-literally
Samsung Gear VR: $60
Powered by Oculus, the Samsung Gear VR works with your galaxy smart phone to provide 360 virtual reality experiences. More high tech than the cardboard, GearVR responds to motion more accurately, and has a touchpad on the side of the head set for more control. Great for the kid on your list (or grown-up kid), Gear VR is this Christmas’s high tech View Master.

Xbox One S 500GB console: $299
Xbox One S will turn any TV into a smart TV with integrated DVD player and video apps. It’s not just for gamers (though the gaming is top notch), it’s for anyone who wants an integrated Blu-ray player, 4K content streaming, and high powered smart TV machine all in the same slim device.

Anki Cozmo: $180
Cozmo is your self-aware robot pet who learns as you play. With an app on your phone you can interact and teach Cozmo new tricks. See what Cozmo sees with streaming video, play games with power cubes, and unlock new tricks in the app. Perfect for the kid on your list who can’t stop talking about a puppy. You both might like this even better.

Fitness

smart-fitness
iWatch: from $269
iWatch series 2 is water resistant to 50 meters and is your fitness band with all the benefits of an iPhone. It’s a step counting, work out coaching, Siri-enabled, heart rate sensing GPS watch with awesome apps and features. It even tells the time. Fitbits just won’t cut it this holiday season.

Lumo Run (smartpants): $100
Give your loved ones the gift that melds with their lifestyle. Lumo Run is a sensor you clip on your running shorts that monitors your running form and gives feedback straight to your smartphone. It can coach you on basic running technique, from bounce to cadence braking and pelvic movements. If someone you know wants to run their first marathon this year, or is picking up a new hobby, this may be the perfect gadget for them.

‘Tis the season

These gadgets are on the cutting edge of technology today, and they’re no match for a pair of socks and an orange. Gift the gift of innovation this holiday season. We know your loved ones will fall in love with anything on our totally-cool-never-fail-innovation-station tech list. We know we would be. (Hint hint!)

#TisTheSeason

C. L. Brenton is a staff writer at The American Genius. She loves writing about all things, she’s even won some contests doing it! For everything C. L. check out her website

Tech News

How to build apps without knowing how to code (it’s actually common!)

(TECHNOLOGY) No-code app-building tools are becoming more available to the everyday user, which could lead to more inventive and original apps.

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no-code website

“Learn to code” is a common, frustrating refrain often hurled at job-seekers, entrepreneurs, creative professionals, and others. Depending on who’s saying it, the intent could range from well-meaning to willfully hurtful.

It does, in a way, make sense. Computer programming is the foundational language that modern life is built on. And while many people use technology that they don’t understand every day—from microwaves to cars—there’s something a little different about programming. It’s omnipresent for just about anyone, just about everywhere, whether they use it for work or not. And more people use it for work than ever. It’s the single most sought-after skill in the job market.

But “learn to code” isn’t practical for everyone. Not everyone with an app idea has the time to learn how to build an app from scratch, or the money to hire people to do it for them. That’s where the low-code/no-code movement comes in. It’s all about giving the people the tools they need to execute on an idea without having to learn an entire new skill set. When you bake a cake, you probably don’t grind wheat into flour, and when you build an app, you don’t have to start with Python.

No-code isn’t really a new idea.

The fact that computers have menus and icons is the result of early programmers realizing that non-programmers would have to use a computer sometimes. You could look to tools like RPG Maker that let people build their own video games back in 1992. RPG Maker was like a Lego kit for making a video game. And not only is it still going strong, it proved itself prophetic. It turns out that giving people tools and a sand box is a great way to enable creativity.

This has been the long arc of the Internet, too. There was a time when participating in the World Wide Web in a meaningful way meant learning to program. Places like Geocities gave you real estate to set up a website. But you had to build that site yourself. We’ve moved away from that as the Internet commodified. Sites like Facebook and Twitter remove customization in the name of uniformity.

But creative tools persist. Consider “WYSIWYG,” or “What You See Is What You Get” web editors. These are tools like WordPress that reclaimed some of that Internet customization. They give you assets to build a website, and you plug them in where you want.

It’s a middle ground between building from scratch, and having everything handed to you. It’s the sweet spot of accessible creativity. (If you’ve never heard anyone say “WYSIWYG,” that’s probably because these web development tools are so common that they don’t really need a special name anymore.)

Right now, one of the biggest areas of no-code design is in app development. These app dev tools are similar to building a WordPress site. They give you the raw materials, and you customize and assemble them however you want to. Adalo, a no-code platform for building apps, lets your bring assets and ideas to the table, and gives you a framework to organize those ideas into an app.

They aren’t alone. AppOnboard, a no-code software development suite, purchased Buildbox, a leading no-code game development platform. Their combined resources represent a stunning library of assets, full of potential.

What does this mean for coders? Probably not much. Specialized skills are still in high demand. But for the rest of us, a slow democratization of development is taking place, and it’s exciting to watch it take shape.

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Tech News

Recall announced by Daily Harvest via aesthetic post, gets major backlash

(BUSINESS) Trendy meal delivery service, Daily Harvest, sticks to branding by announcing a serious food recall via Instagram, met with obvious backlash.

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Man looking up Daily Harvest recall on computer.

What NOT to do when things go south.

We can learn a lot from other businesses’ mistakes. Check out Daily Harvest, for example.

Daily Harvest is a trendy food home delivery service. They are under heavy backlash from their customers following a recall on their lentil and leek crumbles meal. Multiple customers have reported stomach issues after eating this meal.

Users across social media accounts such as Reddit, Twitter, and Instagram have complained about nausea, vomiting, and liver damage symptoms after consuming this dish. Several customers even reported hospitalization.

How did Daily Harvest react?

As entrepreneurs, we are all aware that things are going to go wrong from time to time. And as humans, we know that how we respond to these issues determines the future of our business.

Well, Daily Harvest’s social team didn’t get the memo as you’ll see by their response on social.

They issued a recall notice by using a vague aesthetic product image of the questionable lentil meal with a caption that read “UPDATE 6/19: An important message regarding our French Lentil + Leek Crumbles. Link in bio with details.” Daily Harvest’s inability to take control and react with clear communication to aid their customers shows us how NOT to handle an urgent situation. Their ambiguous caption provides no real information or help to their consumers and they have noticed.

They have since deleted the original post from Instagram, but we all know the internet never forgets. This is how they launched their product recall.

Daily Harvest Instagram Post

As of 10:58 – June 22, 2022 this is how the notice appears on the main page of their website:

Daily Harvest Main Page

Upon further examination, I can find hardly a mention of the recall other than the home page and the actual product listing itself. I did confirm that I was not able to purchase the product through their web-based system at this time. Maybe most of their traffic lands on the home page, but why not go ahead and put the banner at the top of every page until this gets resolved? Not to mention how it appears at the top of the home page. It’s barely noticeable.

Daily Harvest Best Sellers

If you click on the details, the notice on their website details the steps Daily Harvest claims to be taking to handle the sickness reports from the voluntary recall, to direct consumer communication, and the investigation with the FDA along with current results.

Daily Harvest Recall

What’s the takeaway?

Do better than Daily Harvest and you’ll already be a winner.

No, seriously you will!

But first, consider posting eye-catching imagery or text for your consumer. The text should be in the image posts themselves and in the captions. Pin it to the top of your social media accounts. Share it to stories. Make sure every page on your website has a banner and it’s noticeable. Over-communicate with your customers.

Do all of these and you’re already beating Daily Harvest.

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Tech News

Make your current tech tools as useful as possible with these productivity hacks

(TECHNOLOGY) No downloading obscure apps to increase your production here. This site gives you productivity hacks to utilize the tools you already have.

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productivity hacks with productivity.so

If you find yourself searching for productivity hacks on the internet, chances are you’re already procrastinating. We’ve all been there and sometimes you do need to invest a little time upfront in order to save time long-term. The problem is that most “productivity hacks” recommend you download a new app or software which means you need to invest time in learning how to use it. All of this strays you further and further from your original goal of working more efficiently and saving time.

A new website called Productivity.so is designed to save you time by better utilizing the tools you’re already using. The websites founders are self-proclaimed productivity lovers who have devoted their own time to collecting a pool of productivity hacks for you iPhone, computer, Gmail, and more. No downloading obscure apps to increase your productivity here.

This website focuses on helping you make your current technology as useful as possible.

It’s a safe bet that there are dozens of ways you could be using your phone, computer, or tablet more efficiently. No one stops to read the instruction manual and even if you did it would only be so helpful because modern technology updates. Everything from your computer to your favorite social media app is constantly pushing out updates with new productivity hacks just waiting to be found.

It’s impossible to keep up on your own! Earlier today I realized you can switch between Twitter accounts by holding down the home button. I use this app every day, but I couldn’t tell you if this a new feature or if I just noticed it.

Productivity.so could be a great way to stay up to date on the latest UX tricks that will help you and your team speed up your workflow. The website currently hosts a small library of hacks that users can browse through. The next great breakthrough in your productivity could be waiting.

The website also offers a free weekly newsletter which promises to send you two new productivity hacks each week. These hacks will be simple tricks like switching between Gmail accounts by holding down your avatar. They’re easy enough that you can start implementing them into your daily routine right away.

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