Dr. Panda Plus: Home Designer – Review



Dr. Panda Plus: Home... iconDr. Panda Plus: Home Designer is a physical toy which includes cards as well as the ability to take a photograph of them and display them on your device.  Inside the box are 51 flashcards, 12 non-toxic erasable markers and a QR code which activates the app.  Cards inside the box include everything you would find in a home ranging from bathroom items (sink, tub, toilet, towel rack); bedroom (crib, loft bed, bunk beds, lights, flooring, characters, clothing for the characters,rocking chair, bookshelf,  ); kitchen (table, counters, plant, laundry basket, stove, cabinets and living room (couch, stereo system, chair.)  Note these are not all of the items – they are selected ones that I picked out.

What we love…

fun interactive app that showcases what an iPad can do using a physical toy and merging it with 3D design

What we’d love to see…

ability to save your creations on the camera roll, ability to move from house to house more easily, an outside space for kids to design and play in

Summary

Super fun app which brings Dr. Panda to life in physical play.  It can be played for long or short periods of time or longer periods of time.  Dr. Panda Plus Home Designer provides a fun augmented-reality like experience which helps kids be creative with art and design while helping to familiarize letters and words.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

To play, first you launch load the app on your device.  Next you scan the QR code which is located inside the Dr. Panda Plus box to activate the app.  Then you can take out the cards and start creating.  When playing with Dr. Panda Plus: Home Designer with my kids – I usually separated the cards into categories like bedroom, characters, clothing and then also by room to make it easier for my toddler to follow along.  Each card is double sided – one that kids can color in using the included dry erase markers and the other is already colored in.  Once the card is done, you simply hold it up and take a photo of it using the camera on your device.  The object is rendered into 3D and then you can place it within the home.  My younger son loved taking photos of all of the objects to make his dream house – there were lots of flooring changes along with multiple beds in the bedroom,  With my older son – he’s a third grader he picked out specific cards he wanted to color prior to even launching the app.  He then colored them in using the included markers and making his own designs.  He was a bit more thoughtful in how he organized the house making a kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedroom as well as designing all the clothes for the various characters.  To wipe off the cards we used a baby wipe although any soft cloth will work.  A few times, my older son didn’t want to erase his creation so it did take a bit more “scrubbing” to get it off.  Each house has four rooms – and you can choose where you want the rooms to be placed.  When you take a photo the image can be lined up and then it “pops” into 3D mode for placing.  When you take the photo it also brings out letters which encourage kids to spell the name of the object they are creating – kids can choose to bypass this.  If you accidentally take a photo of an item or too many you can simply place it in the recycle bin.

I loved how easy this app and game were to use.  No rules no fuss!  I could play one way with my younger son and then with my older son he could be independent and color in his own cards to create the room and design it as he wished.  We could use the pre-designed cards or use the cards that we colored on/decorated and play.  I found it was easiest to scan things in bunches to complete one room at a time just to make it more fun.  My kids also enjoyed making multiple houses – they made one for Dr. Panda, another for Tao and a third for Meimi junior.  The also created a bunch of cute clothes for each character to wear.  In addition – my older son had a larger set of dry erase markers that he was able to use with the cards so he had more color choices.  The box holds the game and markers making it easy to keep everything together.  The cards are made of a sturdy cardboard that has stood up to repeated uses and did not bend despite the best efforts of my younger son.  The game can be used across multiple devices which was great as it meant my older son could play on his own iPad while my younger son and I could use a different iPad.

In terms of improvements – it would be neat if you could go from house to house within the app rather than having to open each house separately.  In addition, it would be nice if there were a “holding area” for you to scan your cards and that way you could wipe them off and make a different design without losing the first design.  We tried a few different ways to do this without success.  It would also be nice if there were a way to “back up” the QR code just in case something happened to the box.  It might also be fun to include mini games within the app from the various Dr. Panda titles to provide different activities for kids to do.

Dr. Panda Plus Home Designer provides a fun augmented-reality like experience which helps kids be creative with art and design while helping to familiarize letters and words.  My kids have spent hours playing with the app and each time they create a new house or go into play it’s a fun new experience.  I encourage them to narrate and tell me what they are doing and making during the process which also helps familiarize them with various names of objects.

Dr. Panda Plus Home Designer is available on Amazon for $39.99.

Dr. Panda Plus: Home Designer
Dr. Panda Plus: Home Designer
by Dr. Panda Ltd

Category: Education
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 206.26 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
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Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

 

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.


Starry Station – Touchscreen WiFi Router by Starry – Review



Starry Station - Touchscreen WiFi Router - Simple Setup and Easy Parental Controls. Fast Gigabit Speed

What we love…

easy to set up router with great parental controlss which allow you to isolate a device with specific settings, super use friendly with touchscreen controls and access via your device, great for family time and device free time with the touch of a screen!

What we’d love to see…

more ethernet ports, potential for a web dashboard and more on the “network health”

Summary

Overall, this is a great router which includes parental controls and allows you to easily turn on and off the internet.  The parental controls differentiate this router from others on the market with the ease of a touchscreen or your device – all in one place and easy to use.

Our Rating

 

recommended-by-the-imums

Starry Wi-Fi StationThe Starry Station by Starry is a touchscreen wifi router that includes parental controls and simplifies how you use the internet.  When I recently set it up – I had it out of the box and running in less than 10 minutes and that included adding all of my devices to the new networks.  WiFi is fast – with good streaming and surfing quality much faster than my previous router.  It also works with all types of internet including fiber optic, cable and includes built in WPA2 Encryption.  The Starry Station is a triangle shaped router which stands on a side – the base is 3 inches wide and there is a fan behind it.

One of my favorite things about Starry Station is the ease of setup and the fact that I can have parental controls in the palm of my hand or by using the touch screen on the router.  I loved that I could set one device, my 8 year old’s to be off from a specific period of time or even just block his access entirely if I wanted to either from the router or from the app.  I also found that the speeds on the router were more true to what I paid for with Comcast compared to my previous router.   I have a bit of an unusual house set up – and in the past have had a boost downstairs because for some reason I can’t always get good network signal.  Although I did continue to use my wireless access point, it was easily reconfigured to Starry and gave me better and faster service than I had previously.  We live in a media friendly home, and regularly stream Netflix, cable TV, surf the internet as well as having several smart appliances.  Another bonus of the router was that it had the same name for the 2.4G as well as the 5G network, which meant that you didn’t have to remember as many passwords to login.  Using the touch screen or my iPhone/iPad I was able to walk around the house and easily add new devices quickly!  We had 10 devices online easily at a time and noticed no lags or slowdowns while using the router.  We also had some Apple and Android devices as well to try to see if the device mix would change how the network performed and didn’t notice an appreciable difference.  The router also includes a speaker and mic – for future voice control options which are not yet enabled.  I can’t wait to see those enabled.  It also includes guest access which is easily turned on via your device or touchscreen so you can choose who has access and who does not!
iPhone Screenshot 4A bit about the parental controls – this by far was my favorite feature of the router.  I loved that I could easily filter content, pause the internet (for one device or all) and limit access to specific apps using the app on my iPhone.   This meant I could set screen time rules for specific devices, like my son’s iPad without having to worry about blocking my iPad or my husband’s devices.  I also liked that I could set safe content and turn off access to social media all with the touch of a button.  At our house we usually have #devicefree Friday nights where we try to turn off our devices and spend time together as a family.  I always hated having to go upstairs to unplug the router so no one would try to “sneak” access to the internet – now with Starry it’s a simple tap of a button on my iPhone and the internet is off.  The offline hours are great as well – they help to ensure you don’t stay up too late because it can automatically turn off the internet at a specific time (although you can override as necessary).  I also liked the customer support I got when I needed it – I spoke with someone in the United States who took the time to help me answer my question about the wireless access point and ensured things were configured properly.

In terms of enhancements, I do wish the router had more ports on the back of it.  There are only two ports – one for internet coming in and the other for internet coming out..  I did get a wireless bridge to give me more ports so I could plug in all my Ethernet devices in my office.  I also noticed that the network health changed a lot – even when I was standing in the same place.  It was nice in theory because I could see what devices were on the network easily.  I would like to see a web based dashboard in the future just in case I didn’t always have access to my device and needed to tweak something a bit more than I could do with the touch screen.

Overall, this is a great router which includes parental controls and allows you to easily turn on and off the internet.  The parental controls differentiate this router from others on the market with the ease of a touchscreen or your device – all in one place and easy to use.  Plus, with the app you can turn on and off the internet even when you are not home.  It was easy to set up and use, and I love knowing that my son is safe while online as we work on setting our digital boundaries but give him access to a tablet and computer for homework. RRP $250 USD on Amazon.

Starry Station

Starry Wi-Fi Station
Starry Wi-Fi Station
by Starry, Inc.

Category: Utilities
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 56.87 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

Video Demo

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.The links in this post may contain affiliate links where The iMums will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on our link, this helps to support the costs of running this site and we appreciate your support.

Tech Specs

Power Dual-Band 802.11ac
Touchscreen 3.8″ LCD Touchscreen
Ports 2x Gigabit Ethernet ports: 1-in, 1-out
Security WPA2
Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

17 Terrific Tech Gifts

With Black Friday coming up very soon, the rush begins to get our loved ones the perfect Xmas or Holiday gift. At The iMums we love seeing all the great new technology that is being created, and seeing how the connected home is evolving year upon year.  We have been busy creating all our Holiday Gift Guides to showcase some of our favorite products and help you choose the perfect gift for your loved ones. Here are 17 of our favorite Tech products for the adults on your gift list, be sure to also check out our kids gift guide, our gifts for health and wellness, our gifts for parents and our gifts under $30.

Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping!

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Orbi- Whole House Wi-Fi

rbk50_lifestyle_livingroom_00820_medresThe single most important thing to keep all our connected home, computing and entertainment technology working well is a strong internet signal. With all the connected devices a typical household has competing for bandwidth, it is important to have a great router to optimize your Wi-Fi signal. The Orbi Home Wi-Fi system is designed to meet high demands for Wi-Fi connectivity, and comes with a base unit and a satellite. It is a mesh Wi-Fi system with a difference- the world’s first Tri-Band Wi-Fi system that has one channel dedicated entirely to connecting the router base unit and the satellite. What this means in practical terms it is delivers fast internet speeds without dead spots over a 4,000 square foot area. It is also incredibly easy to set up. As you move around your home your devices automatically switch to whichever unit is giving you the best signal, and the dedicated channel makes sure the Wi-Fi from the satellite is as strong as from the router. The Orbi router and satellite create a single high speed network where your devices can move between bands and to different parts of the home without ever having to reconnect. I love how the Orbi has eliminated Wi-Fi dead spots from my home, even in hard to reach areas where the signal has to go through interior and exterior walls. Available from Amazon,  Best Buy and other retailers  RRP US$399

 

SingleCue Gen 2

singlecue2

Until recently the idea you could control your home entertainment with the hand movement was the stuff of science fiction but with SingleCue it is a reality. The newly released 2nd generation Singlecue allows you to control your TV and a whole host of other devices including Media Streamers such as AppleTV, Roku and Hulu; Cable TV boxes, audio systems; soundbars, and even your Nest Thermostat or Phillips Hue lightbulbs.  A full list of compatible devices can be found here, it doesn’t yet work with game consoles or DVD players but the manufacturer is working on adding new devices (Nest was only added this month.) You can set up shortcuts for your favorite combinations such as turning on your TV & Apple TV together and automatically switching the TV to the right output for the AppleTV. You can also mute your TV instantly with a simple ssh gesture.  You don’t need to wear any special ring or have anything in your hand, it is all controlled via simple finger movements picked up from the SingleCue box. SingleCue is a really cool device for your living room and saves hours of hunting under the sofa cushions for lost remotes! Available from Amazon for US$149

 

Sengled Pulse Link

sengledWith TV screens getting bigger and bigger we often find ourselves sitting further from the screen for an optimal viewing experience but that can lead to a less than optimal audio experience. The Sengled Pulse link is a simple solution providing surround sound without the need to wire in new speakers. The Sengled Pulse link starter set combines 2 products- a pair of Sengled Pulse Bulbs and a Pulse Link. The Pulse is an innovative smart bulb which combines a dimmable LED light and a JBL Bluetooth Speaker. The Link is a box that connects to your TV, via included 3.5mm or RCA cables. and allows it to remotely connect with the Pulse bulbs. They work with the Pulse app allowing you to control your lights from the app, listen to your TV through the Pulse JBL speakers and play music via Bluetooth from your phone or tablet. A really simple, flexible way to bring surround sound to your living room and play audio from your TV or audio device to JBL speakers . Available from Amazon for US$179.99

 

Petcube Play

petcubeplay The newly released Petcube Play might just be the ideal gift for the pet lover on your list. This new version of the Petcube is more compact and has an upgraded 1080 HD camera with night vision, 2 way audio and 3x digital zoom. It also features a built-in laser pointer controlled via the Petcube app so you can play with your pets when you are away from home, keeping them active and entertained. Even when your schedule is busy you can still get them playing by using the autoplay mode. The camera can recotrd 24/7 and for an extra fee you can subscribe to Petcube care for 10 or 30 day storage of recording history. Available from  Petcube.comAmazon , Best Buy and major retailers RRP US$199 BLACK FRIDAY SALE $50 OFF! $149

 

Drop Connected Scale

drop1The Drop Connected Scale is the perfect gift for the home baker or chef. The smart scale connects to the Drop Recipes app on your iPad or iPhone. Drop Recipes is an interactive cookbook with hundreds of tested recipes for Cooking, Baking and Cocktails. The Drop Scale weighs your ingredients accurately and can scale a recipe based on how much of an ingredient you have on hand. If you are out of an ingredient I will suggest substitutions, and there is even a community section in the app where users can upload and share their own recipes. Available from Amazon, Target and other retailers from  RRP $99.99 Currently US$78.99 at Amazon

 

Arlo Pro by NETGEAR

animated-arloIf you know someone who wants to keep a secure eye on their home inside or out, but wants the freedom to quickly and easily install cameras with the minimum of fuss the new Arlo Pro system from NETGEAR is a great gift. Like the original Arlo the cameras are totally wireless and mount via magnetic ball and socket style joint- making them a snap to install and move. The new Pro cameras run on rechargeable batteries with a staggering 5 MONTH battery life in normal use! The cameras are weatherproof and  have 2 way audio, night vision, motion detection, 130° camera angle, a smart siren, local backup option plus 7 days free cloud storage. A great gift for use in or outside the home  – for home security, watching a babies room, checking on a pet or elderly relative when you are away from home or a myriad of other uses. Available from  Amazon, Best Buy and other retailers systems from US$249

 

JBL Pulse 2  Portable Speaker + Light Show

jblpulse2The JBL Pulse 2 is a great sounding. splash proof,  portable speaker  with colorful light effects that make it fun to take the music with you where ever you go. It has a battery life of up to 10 hours and you can use it as a standalone speaker, or wirelessly connect multiple speakers via the JBL connect app. The Pulse2 can be used to answer calls and connect to Siri or Google Now. I really enjoy its interactive light show, which is also controlled via the JBL Connect app.  There are 8 different light shows to choose from including fire, rain, fireflies, stars, fireworks, traffic, hourglass and canvas- where you draw the light pattern. You can interact with each of the shows, for instance increasing the size of the flames, or the intensity of the rain or adding shooting stars. Many of the light shows also have accompanying sound effects. If you switch off the music you can listen to the sound of a fire crackling or rain pouring down as the light show mirrors the sounds. You can also change the light color to match a color in your environment by scanning it with the light sensor.  The Pulse2 is a 84mm diameter x 195mm tall (approx 3″ x 7.7″)  and weighs 775gm (approx 1.7lb)  A great gift for the music lover, this speaker sounds great, has a good battery life and some really fun interactive light shows with accompanying sound effects. Available from  JBL.COM, Amazon and other retailers RRP US$199.99 (currently on sale for $119.95)

 

Royole Moon 3D Virtual Mobile Theater

moon_airplane-closeupFor the movie lover or serious gamer the Royole Moon 3D Virtual Mobile Theater is the ultimate gift. With the Royole Moon you can enjoy an immersive 3D cinema or gaming experience anywhere you wish. Two Full HD 1080p AMOLED displays at over 3000 ppi resolution simulate a giant 800” curved screen with stereoscopic 3D, and active noise cancelling headphones complete the experience. Moon’s screen is scalable, allowing full control over the screen size for a personalized viewing experience. It features a patented foldable design, ultra-soft headphone covers, and a premium breathable eye cover to ensure comfort even after long periods of continuous use. It also includes 32GB of internal storage and battery life of up to 5 hours of continuous video playback. Advanced optics allow most eyeglass wearers to enjoy Moon without their corrective lenses. Available www.royole.com and Amazon  MSRP  $799

 

01: The World’s First Dimensioning Instrument

instrumments_01_main_hero_rgb01 from InstruMMents is  billed as the world’s first dimensioning instrument. This makes it a great gift for anyone who wants to easily measure things- crafters, home handymen, and anyone who wants to design or create .01 rolls over straight, curved or contoured objects to intuitively capture, log, and share dimensions. Elegantly carved in aluminum, 01 is contained within a pen, pencil or stylus, and wirelessly connects to smartphones. Although it is currently being launched via Indiegogo it is already fully functioning and due to ship in time for the holidays.  Available from Instrumments.com or Indiegogo from US$159

Custom Made iPad or iPhone case from Dodo Cases

dodo-case-ipadair2_grandeEvery tablet or smartphone deserves a case to protect it. A really personalized gift is to have a case custom created just for your loved one’s iPhone or iPad. Dodo Cases is a San Francisco-based company that uses traditional book binding techniques to create iPad and iPhone cases, and offers a custom case making service. For the iPad cases you can choose from a range of solid or patterned fabrics or 4 colors of leather. You can choose a single or two-tone exterior. For the interior fabric you can choose from a variety of solid colors or patterns or  from a selection of city maps. The maps are a great way to personalize if you choose a city that has particular significance to the recipient. You can add final touches by picking the color of elastic and even have a name or message embossed on the front on gold or black letters. A truly one-of-a-kind gift! Available from DoDoCases.com custom iPhone cases start from $49.99 and custom iPad cases from $79.99.

 

SanDisk iXpand Flash storage for iPhone and iPad

ixpand1A problem most iPhone and iPad users suffer from is lack of storage space- unlike Android phones you can’t just slip in a micro-SD card to increase storage and it costs a lot to buy iOS devices with large amounts of internal storage. The iXpand Flash drive from SanDisk is a simple solution to this problem.  It is a very small, light flash drive that connects via the Lightning port of your iOS device.  It is very easy to transfer content from your iOS device to the drive to create space and you can then use its USB connector to transfer them to your computer. You can also set it up to automatically backup your camera roll whenever it s connected. If you are traveling and want to take a movie with you, you can load it on the drive from your computer and watch it directly on your device without ever downloading it ! It has a flexible connector that allows it to be used with most cases, and is available in 32GB, 64GB and 128 GB versions.  Available from Amazon and other retailers  from US$59.99

 

RazorPlatinum Powerbank from MyCharge

razorplatimunumOne of the cool features about the new MacBooks is that they can now to powered via a USB-C instead of needing a proprietary Mac charger. This opens up more possibilities for charging on the go. The new RazorPlatinum Powerbank from MyCharge has a built-in USB-C port and enough power to recharge a MacBook as well as USB-A port for your other devices. This 13400mAh Lithium Polymer battery has ultra fast charging and recharging. It measures 6.5 in x 4.8 in x 1.1 in and weighs in at under 1lb, making it very small and light for a battery of this capacity. Available from MyCharge.com and Best Buy for US$99.99

 

Amazon Echo

echoOne noticeable trend in the Connected Home market in 2016 is that more and more connected home devices are having Amazon Alexa integration . This means that if you have an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot you can control them via your voice. The Amazon Echo is a pretty cool device all by itself but with the integration of other connected home devices its uses keep multiplying. The Echo has immersive 360º omni-directional audio with far-field voice recognition so it can hear you from across the room even while music is playing. It plays all your music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more using just your voice, and controls a whole host of connected home devices. Echo also answers questions, reads audiobooks and the news, reports traffic and weather, gives info on local businesses, provides sports scores and schedules, and lets you shop on Amazon using the Alexa Voice Service. Available from Amazon  for US$179.99 BLACK FRIDAY SALE $139.99

Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon Echo DotIf you already have a speaker system in the room you are using your Echo in, you may prefer to get the more affordable Echo Dot, as it can connect to your existing speakers via a 3.5mm cable. Apart from the large speaker it has all the other features of its bigger brother the Amazon Echo. Like the Echo it has far-field voice recognition and can plays your music from Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more. It also controls a whole host of connected home devices, answers questions, reads audiobooks and the news, reports traffic and weather, gives info on local businesses, provides sports scores and schedules, and lets you shop on Amazon using the Alexa Voice Service. It has a small built-in speaker and you can use Echo Dots in multiple rooms to provide Alexa enabled control throughout the home. The Echo Dot is Available from Amazon for US$49.99 BLACK FRIDAY SALE $39.99 and is also available in 3 packs at a $20 savings or six packs where you buy 5 and get one free.

 

SMARTvr Virtual Reality Viewer from Dodo Case

shopify_smartvr-hero_grandeWith the invention of Google Cardboard there is more and more Virtual Reality content becoming available in iTunes and Google Play stores. This is great as it means more people can access Virtual Reality content without needing to buy an expensive VR headset like the Oculus Rift.   SMARTvr is a great way to access the content made available by Google cardboard on your smartphone, but using a more stylish and durable viewer than the original Cardboard. If fits most iOS and Android smartphones and folds to a flat package about the size of an iPhone 5  when not in use. The case is made from cast aluminum and ballistic nylon with a microsuede lens cover & light blocking shield. It is Google Cardboard certified and really simple to use You just unfold it, scan the QR code to link, slip the phone into the clips on the back, fold down the light shield, and you are ready to enjoy your VR apps. It is a great VR viewer- compact, portable, durable, affordable and flexible to fit different size smartphones

Available from DodoCase.com for US$39.99

Lightning Audio + Charge Rockstar from Belkin

 

belkin_lightningaudiochargerockstar_1 The new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus no longer have an audio jack as they are designed to use Bluetooth headphones. However, not everyone likes Bluetooth headphones, so there are several new headphones on the market that use the iPhone’s Lightning connector as an innovative way around the problem. This does however create a new problem- if your battery starts to run low you can’t charge the phone and continue to use your Lightning headphones at the same time. Belkin has solved this problem with the Lightning Audio Charge Rockstar which doubles your Lightning ports – providing one for listening and one for charging. RRP $39.99  Available from Belkin.com, Apple and other retailers.

VIDBOX Video Conversion Suite

vidbox-video-conversion-suite_3d-front

Do you have a friend or relative who still has lots of home videos lying around on VHS tapes or on camcorder tapes? This could be the perfect gift for them. Tapes deteriorate over time and it becomes harder and harder to find ways to play them, so its important to get them transferred to digital formats or you may lose the content entirely. Instead of taking them in to be professionally copied (which can be cost prohibitive if you have a lot of tapes to transfer) you can convert them at home with VIDBOX Video Conversion Suite. To use VIDBOX you need a VCR or camcorder that can play your tapes, and a Mac or PC. The Video Conversion suite comes with a key to download the software or you can install it via the included CD-Rom. The VIDBOX little white box is the key to connecting your video output device to the computer. You wire it to your VCR/ camcorder via RCA to RCA cables (included) or RCA to S-Cable (not included) and connect it to your computer via the included USB cable. Once it is connected launch the VIDBOX software and follow the on screen instructions. The video will record as a digital file on your computer in real time as it plays on your VCR/ camcorder. Once the recording is finished you can preview it and save to iMovie or iTunes (on Mac). The Video conversion suite includes software for both Mac and PC or you can buy Mac or PC only versions for slightly less. Available from VIDBOX.COM or Amazon RRP Suite $99.99 or PC or Mac only $79.99. Suite currently $69.99 on Amazon


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Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).


News: Free BBC iPlayer Radio App Now Available Worldwide



Tablet - BBC Copyright

BBC radio fans around the world can now listen to their favorite stations whenever they wish as the BBC has just finished their international roll out of the BBC iPlayer Radio app. Available in the UK since 2012, the free BBC iPlayer Radio app makes it easier for audiences around the world to listen to a variety of BBC radio stations, including BBC World Service English, on their devices wherever they are.

 BBC World Service in English, which has a global audience of 66m, will automatically display on a touchscreen dial when users outside the UK open the app for the first time. Users can simply spin the dial to access more BBC Radio stations and discover more world-class content which includes news, music, drama, comedy.

As well as access to live radio programmes from the World Service and radio stations across the UK, users around the world with the app can:

–              Catch up or listen again to their favourite BBC Radio programmes

–              Download podcasts to enjoy anywhere, even when offline

–              Browse and listen to carefully curated BBC Radio highlights and collections

–              View daily schedules and categories quickly and easily

–              Discover audio and video clips, including many live performances

–              See what tracks are playing on air as well as track lists for on-demand programmes

–              Wake up to and doze off to BBC Radio with a built-in alarm clock and night mode

James Montgomery, Digital Development Director, BBC News and Current Affairs, says: “The new international BBC iPlayer Radio app makes it easier for audiences around the world to discover and enjoy the richness of our output – both live radio and to downloaded content.

“We hope that the app will be a destination on mobile homescreens for audiences around the world who want to explore the breadth of BBC radio, from news and current affairs to drama, comedy and music. This launch also comes at a time when the UK is at the centre of a huge news story which the BBC is helping to explain to audiences worldwide.”

Mary Hockaday, Controller BBC World Service English, says: “We have a valued audience of 66 million globally for the English BBC World Service. I’m thrilled the new BBC iPlayer Radio app offers another way for listeners around the world to find and enjoy our programmes, and take them with them wherever they go. With this app, we hope to give new audiences the chance to unlock a wealth of World Service content, as they explore what the BBC iPlayer Radio has got to offer.”

Currently BBC World Service English is available on analogue/DAB Radio, online, and through its partner stations around the world whilst other BBC Radio stations can be accessed outside the UK via the BBC website www.bbc.co.uk/radio

The BBC iPlayer Radio app is available today globally for iOS, Android and Amazon devices.

The BBC iPlayer Radio app is available to download from the Apple App Store, Google Play and Amazon Store.

iTunes Link:BBC iPlayer Radio – BBC Worldwide

BBC iPlayer Radio
BBC iPlayer Radio
by BBC Worldwide

Category: Entertainment, Music
Requirements: Compatible with iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 73.98 MB

$FREE

Screenshots
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Screenshots for iPad
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At launch, the BBC iPlayer Radio app supports iOS running 7.1 and above, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and above and Amazon Kindle Fire 2012 and above.

Find a list of stations available on the BBC iPlayer Radio app internationally here http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/stations

The BBC iPlayer Radio app has been downloaded over 10 million times in the UK since launch in 2012.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

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