Feb 4, 2014 - Guest Author for the National Edition
From the La-Z-Boy I sat in to watch this year’s Super Bowl game, I was far less interested in the ball and way more concerned about the commercials. Each 30-second commercial we see costs big brands millions to produce, with the hopes of leaving a lasting impression on us, the consumers. From the last few frames of each advertisement, it’s clear that what’s carrying these messages over the goal line is the weight of the hashtag. The good ol’, viral hashtag. The select words composing a brand-affiliated hashtag are carefully engineered to transcend the television, straight to your Instagram account and future tweets. Hashtags are new, but even this most recent advertising strategy follows the classic rules of the trade, most of which I’ve learned by watching Mad Men. So which hashtags traveled furthest? Using Don Draper as my guide (as always), here’s my take on why some hashtags touched down this Super Bowl Sunday.
I'm here at CES and the buzz has begun. Where to begin... let me start with the very hot trend of this 4K TV situation. 4K is the new standard in TV resolution and it's 4 X the resolution of your current HD set which is probably 1080p. I'm loving this Ultra High Definition LED TV from LG, the 65 inch UB9500. Just yesterday, they announced the launch of their Smart TV platform, WebOS, which gives you the ability to move quickly between apps, live broadcasts and streaming content via voice and, get this, hand gestures! They also announced that their long relationship with streaming service Netflix is going to now be delivered in 4K via WebOS. Love it, need it, WANT IT!
Definitely home automation is hot here at CES this year and I am into the Nexia Home Intelligence systemfor making mom’s life easier and safer. Nexia looks at their system as a way to "Keep you connected to everything that matters most", and they're not kidding. Homeowners can control their home from almost any internet connected device, like your cell phone via their app, which can tell over 200 devices in the home how to behave. Remotly you can lock and unlock doors, check up on kids and pets with indoor and outdoor cameras, adjust your heat or air conditioning and control lighting to manage energy consumption and way more. I like this system above others I've seen for many reasons, but a top reason is because it doesn’t require any long term contract like most others AND it’s less than $10 a month no matter how many devices you connect. It's super easy to connect, setup and expand as it's totally customizable so it can grow with your home as your needs change.
Another cool item I bumped into here at CES 2014 is a lense company that's moving the technology of eyeglasses forward in a big way! Crizal® PrevenciaTM is a company that has made revolutionary protection for your eyes. You see, with all of the different screens in our lives, ie TV, computer, phone, the average adult is spending up to 5 hrs a day being exposed to damaging blue light. Even though we don’t fully understand the long term effects from this, studies show it can be very bad for our eyesight over time and may even cause blindness. I know my eyes certianly begin to hurt after hourse of typing. These lenses provide improved protection from harmful blue light while allowing beneficial light to pass through them. To find them you can use thier doc finder or you can simply talk to your eye doctor to find out more.
What have you seen coming out of CES that looks cool?
It's here!! And you haven't done your shopping yet, have ya? Well I've got you covered.
A recent survey by Sam’s Club and Harris Interactive found that 64% of people would like to receive a practical gift for the holidays, like the new Samsung Galaxy Note 3. It’s great because the larger screen makes multi-tasking a breeze and the camera and video quality are incredible. Becoming a Sam’s Club member opens doors to unbeatable savings on tech gifts. But this weekend – December 20 to 22 - everyone can warm up to Sam’s Club savings during a Last Minute Shopping Open House where guests can shop without additional fees!
Speaking of cell phones, how many times have you missed a call in your house because you can’t find your cell phone? Panasonic has solved that problem with their new Link2Cell, which allows you to make and receive cell phone calls right on your home phone handsets! These phones work with or without a landline and up to two cell phones can be connected. It even gives you text message alerts! So, forget about racing around the house looking for that cell or standing around in that one spot that has service, that’s now a thing of the past!
Personalized gifts are really in this year and you can use tech to make them! For example, I love the iClicknprint web app. You can customize and print all sorts of gifts right from your home computer - like holiday cards, stationary, and photo collages! Visit iClickn’Print.com and select the type of project you'd like to work on, and you’ll be making custom gifts in no time!
One of the most frustrating things about technology is that not all devices get along well with each other, making things like videos hard to share with friends and family. That’s why I love the FREE RealPlayer Cloud app, which lets you securely store your videos in the cloud so they’re accessible on any device, including your mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, even your TV! Doesn’t matter if you’re using an iphone and sending videos to an android device, the videos are simply there with no long buffering times. It’s great for the holidays so you can share moments with loved ones who are across town or across country! Download the app here:
Another great idea for kids on your list is to get them a mobile phone from Zact. They offer no contract, nationwide plans for significantly less than traditional carriers. Plus, they offer parental controls to set limits on your child’s phone usage, amount of time spent texting, which apps they can use, who can contact them and more. They have a Zact control app you can download on your phone which lets you set the parental controls on your child’s phone even while you’re on the go. Perfect for a first phone! Of course, because you only pay for what you use and even get money back if you’ve bought too big of a plan, Zact provides such big cost savings compared to traditional carriers, which makes it great for adults too!
Check it - there’s a great new app called Mashalot that's the ultimate shopping resource. It's the ONLY social network dedicated to shopping and will let you build gift lists and share items you want or have purchased with family and friends. You can even tag items and see what's trending locally as and if there's any great local deals. It will eliminate the stress of shopping and let you focus on more important things for the holidays.
Sears and Kmart Shop Your Way members can get Black Friday deals before anyone else! Sign up online at ShopYourWay.comto get a head start on shopping and saving. For instance, members can get 50% off an 8" tablet that runs the Android OS and has built-in WiFi!
iClickn'Print is a fantastic stationary editing tool (check out this video to see what I'm talk'n about) that I've fallen in love it! It's a web app that has design templates, clip art, fancy as well as plain fonts - and all of it works GREAT with your
in-store Geographics stationay purchaces, I've seen Geographics at many different retailers both big and small, as well as with the paper you have at home! These are my favorite designs I played with however it was hard to decide becuase they have so many options! I'm not a creative person so this tool allows me to look like I'm a pro- but really I simply dragged and dropped my way through it all. Check out this video too!
The Moen Brantford faucet with MotionSense technology is the ultimate hands-free convenience in a busy kitchen. It uses advanced its 2, yeah count 'em TWO, sensors to detect movement, perfect for when your hands are too full or too,umm, not clean to turn it on - this is THE COOLEST!
What are you asking for this holiday!! Have you been naughty or nice?