Gadchick Reviews: Case Logic

When Case Logic contacted Gadchick to review one of their cases, I didn't hesitate to select the S4 Case with Credit Card Compartment. I have my phone with me 24/7 and the idea of having a spot to tuck away a few important cards intrigued me! 

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The case is very sturdy and fits very securely. It took some getting used to having the buttons covered by rubber, but it was easy to adapt. The blue portion of the case shown is a thin, pliable rubber that molds securely to your phone and fits like a glove. This is great and helps to provide stability, even when you are hard on your phone. This guy has helped my beloved phone get through one fairly serious tumble unscathed. What is disappointing to me is that it is very difficult to remove the case once it is on, rendering that cool card compartment useless. 

For the price, the quality of the Case Logic case is excellent. Being an "Android" doesn't exactly offer up many stylish case options for me, so I appreciated the selection (especially in pink!). If I were an iPhone girl, I would definitely have my eye on this one

 

The case reviewed was a gift from Case Logic, all opinions are the editor's own.

Gadchick Reviews: The Everpurse

When I first read about the Everpurse on Kickstarter, I instantly loved the idea and supported it. It's a clutch that comes in leather or fabric, and charges your phone and doubles as a purse. The purse is charged wirelessly by placing it on a charging mat. It sounds too good to be true but read on for the review! 

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This is what comes with the Everpurse

This is what comes with the Everpurse

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Place the purse on the charging mat, which is plugged in, and a full charge should last an average day. You don't need a special cord or a special case for your phone, you really just place it in the charging station inside the purse and let it charge on it's own. 

Everpurse is 8.5" by 7", your standard clutch size. There's enough room for essentials like your wallet and keys and throw in a couple lip balms. I bought the fabric purse, and I wish I bought the leather. What happens if I tear the fabric? Do I have to buy a new Everpurse for the charger? I didn't want the option for the strap, since I would just throw this in my bag. 

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It takes the iPhone and Galaxy and if you upgrade your phone and you need a new charger; instead of purchasing a new Everpurse, pay $35 and they will send you a kit to install your new charger in your Everpurse. 

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The Everpurse did the simple task- it charged my phone. However, it was a little cumbersome for just a charger. If I was using it as the purpose of the clutch only, it would be great for running errands or a night out. However, I need more than a clutch and I could use a smaller charger I plug in via USB smaller than the Everpurse.  I also had a larger case on my phone (the Otterbox to be specific) and it didn't fit. In order for me to use it, I have to remove my case, and it only allows for a slim case. It would also be nice if you can take out the charging station and put it in any other clutch Everpurse has but it's not made this way. 

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The charging pad is great, but it's also a little big to just charge the purse, plus the clutch is just one more thing to charge and make room for. I do love how it's magnetic and chargers wirelessly. It's also beautiful. I never thought I'd say this about a charger but even if I did have to make room for it on my nightstand, I don't mind the space taken up by something so nice to look at. 

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I think this is a great purse for the busy woman or someone who works all day and can't go home for a quick charge. The colors are fashionable and it looks like a bag, not a typical tech accessory. For $189 and up, the convince is worth it. It's a great company to watch for to see how else they expand the Everpurse. Buy it here. 

Through the Google Glass: Part 3

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Part 3: Through a Google Glass, Snarky

This week, we've taken a journey through a world of pure imagination. Well, almost. We didn't tour a chocolate factory, but in the end, they flew away in a glass elevator, so I think the reference works.

Today, I'm going to take the opportunity to answer your questions about the Google Glass. These have been gathered through every means a question can be posed, from social media to delightful jabs to sour grapes.

Let's get to it! 

What was your #ifihadglass application? 

#ifihadglass, I would:

1.       Chronicle 50 random acts of kindness.

2.       Document my cross-country roadtrip in May. (Author's note: unfortunately since I got my Glass in July I could not do this, but I'm planning on a presentation of a scrapbooking project I've been doing from my trip to fulfill this desire)

3.       Create a music video of life in Pittsburgh for my family living in Virginia.

4.       Encounter a beluga whale.

5.       I’m a writer: “Make good art” (Neil Gaiman said to do this).

Can you read on it? 

Right now, you can read on websites. When you do a Google search, it will bring up websites you can visit. Once there, you can "look around" the site and click hyperlinks using a button along the side of the strip. There is not currently a way to view, say, ebooks or documents, but I'm excited to see what sorts of links will be made between Glass and Google Drive. 

Is it water-proof? 

No! Don't go swimming with Glass! This was relevant to my interests, given the beluga item on my Glass application. Since then, I've found there's no danger in going out and getting caught in a few sprinkles, but it's very sensitive technology.

How well does the voice recognition work? 

Short answer: generally well. Google can recognize many familiar words and will adjust spelling as you speak.

An interesting story, though...I was initially concerned because I really hate how voice programs won't take into account natural punctuation. This often results in an email going, "Hi Josh we should hang out at the movies I can't wait to see you have you had lunch yet talk more soon." With Glass, I found that when dictating emails, I could actually say, "Hi comma Josh exclamation point" and have it come out appropriately! Neat, huh?

What social media functions with Glass? 

So many! Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Evernote, Pinterest and Tumblr are all accessible through MyGlass. Decide you don't want all that on there? You can toggle it off from the MyGlass page. 

There are also new apps that are being developed outside of Google. For example, I am currently playing with Throughlass, a Facebook enhancement app. I also have a Glass To Do app, which allows me to make task lists on Glass.

Are you some kind of Glasshole? 

Ah, Glasshole. A word I've unfortunately gotten used to over the last several months. The fact of the matter is this: there will always be people who have a negative outlook when it comes to new technology. And with good reason, I suppose: just as you will always have your friend who can't put their phone down, there will probably be those out there who will only have Glass off their face if it's charging.  

Here's the thing: I enjoy playing with Glass and trying new things, but I am very conscientious about when and how I am using it. It isn't fair to generalize people who want to try something new and fun, especially during a time when the development of this device hinges on people experimenting with it and sharing their findings. Creating a negative atmosphere stunts growth by trying to make it seem like all Explorers are weird or annoying. 

Is it worth it?  (Another variation to this question is: what's the point?)

Another short answer: yes. 

A longer answer that also address the variation: Google Glass is what you make of it. When I was deciding whether or not I wanted to buy one, I was pretty open-minded. I tried not to have any concrete expectations, and I allowed myself to be pleased with the opportunity to uncover its many mysterious qualities and abilities.  

That said, if you are expecting an amazing cell phone, super capacity portable hard drive, and a digital camera that can photograph the eyelashes on a butterfly...all bundled into one Star-Trek-esque facial computer...sorry, pal. Consider this my invitation to join the club. I'd love that too, because Glass is not that.

If, instead, you are looking for something to enhance your perception of the world and put interaction with it in a more immediate reach, Glass is absolutely worth it. If you are looking for a tool to take your business to the next level or create a more personal interaction with customers, fans and loved ones, that is absolutely the point of Glass. 

 

Through the Google Glass: Part 2

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Part 2: Keeping It Glassy

Using the Google Glass is surprisingly streamlined. It takes a little bit of fidgeting to get used to which swipes of your finger do what, but it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. So instead of this article reading like an owner’s manual, I’m going to take you through common day-to-day use of Google Glass with some tidbits of info along the way.

First things first: if you are thinking that Glass is a laptop for your face, allow me to gently advise you that such is not the case. Google Glass is a companion piece of technology, meaning it relies on your phone or Wifi to live (more about this later). Getting started, you need an active Internet connection and an interface through which you can access the Internet, such as a smartphone, tablet or computer. Everyone who has Glass will have a MyGlass account page on Google. It looks like this:

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From here, you can log into Wifi or hotspots by scanning a QR code. This is also important: you cannot access Wifi using the Glass on its own. You must be able to scan the code.

The best way to access the many different aspects of the Glass’ capabilities is with the MyGlass app, available through Google. It should be noted, however, that the app requires Ice Cream Sandwich on Droid phones. But rest assured that, if you’re like me and have failed at maintaining the most up-to-date phone models, you can still use all the features except text messaging and GPS directions.

Here is a very basic video of Glass’ features to segue into the next section of information:

Now, we get into the magic words: when you’re on the main screen, you can say, “OK, Glass” and then one of several commands (take a picture, record a video, Google, etc.). The commands come up in a list or as individual cards, which you can also select without voice command.

This is where I’d like to get into a little bit of myth-busting. After I purchased Glass, it was no time at all before I started getting images like this from my ever-hilarious friends:

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Think again.

The video I referenced above was very generous about how long your main screen will stay up with the clock. If you tap your Glass to life (or nod, which is what I prefer, being all hands-free and whatnot), you probably have roughly five seconds to start talking.

If Glass can’t understand what you are saying, it won’t do anything.

If you don’t enunciate, it won’t do anything.

If it’s not on that first screen, it won’t do anything.

The voice activation is not something someone can hijack easily. It’s just not feasible.

Which brings me to my next point: Glass is not made to be in active use at all times. This is a very common misconception. Many believe that it’s exactly like on the promo video, with the box right there in your face, 24/7. Nope. Most of the time you have it on, it will be in standby mode. The more you use it, the faster the battery dies.

And guys? The battery dies a lot.

This is my biggest beef with the Glass in its current incarnation. With intermittent use, the Google Glass lasts about 8 hours. This greatly diminishes as you use it for video, phone calls, Google searches, and so on. And if you think your phone gets hot, this little strip of magical technology becomes a strip-shaped burning coal when you have it on for longer than about two minutes.

Speaking of phone calls…this is probably one of the most interesting albeit bizarre aspects of Glass. As you can see in photos, there is no earpiece or speaker. This is because the Glass uses a bone conduction transducer, meaning that it transmits sound to the ear through the bones in your skull. It is insane and amazing. I have never experienced anything like it.

In conclusion, the biggest thing I try to remind people is this: what I and the other Google Explorers wear right now is a prototype. It is constantly being worked on, upgraded, tinkered and tested. It is – in every sense except physically – changing each day. Every update brings something new, something more polished and something safer.

I am very excited to be a part of Glass’ evolution.

Have any questions I didn't answer? Go ahead and post them in the comments. Tomorrow, I will be doing an FAQ for Glass based on the questions I've received most since I bought this little toy.

If you’re interested in seeing Glass in action, check out my channel “Through the Google Glass” on Youtube. 

 

Through the Google Glass: Part 1

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This week, I will be introducing you to the big, beautiful world through Google Glass. Ever since the first prototype in 2011, the more extensive announcements in 2012 and now the Explorer program for the public in 2013, this piece of gadgetry is setting the technological world ablaze. I’ll be taking you through my experience picking up my Google Glass and starting to play with it. We’ll talk about everything that’s awesome about Glass, and even a few things that might shatter your preconceived notions of what it’s all about.

There will also be lots of glass puns.

Just in case that wasn’t…clear.

Part 1: Getting My Glass Handed to Me

My journey of exploration began in February of this year. The initial announcement about Glass – accompanied with the following incredible advertisement – was that individuals would be invited to join the Explorer program if their application was accepted. The application could only be 50 words with up to five pictures or an accompanying video, tagged in Twitter or Google+ with #ifihadglass

Here is their ad, which hooked me in immediately:

So I applied and completely forgot about it until I received my notification that I could pick up Glass in June.

Yes, you read that right. “Pick up.” A stipulation of the Explorer program is that the Glass cannot be shipped. You have to pick it up in one of three locations: New York City, Los Angeles or San Francisco. Since I live in Pittsburgh, choosing my location was the easy part.

The hard part? Recognizing that I was paying $1500 for a developer version of the gadget. A friend of mine remarked, “That was the deal breaker for me. I'd love one, but I don't have the charisma it would take to talk my wife into letting me drop that much coin on a tech toy.”

It was difficult at first. But then, it’s difficult to justify any electronic in a world where it could be obsolete in 6 months. So I decided to stop thinking about it and jump right in (author’s note: I do not recommend this for everyone. I’m stupid. Think about what you’re doing and what you finances are like before making a decision like this). I paid for the Glass and made my appointment to meet Google at Chelsea Market in New York City.

After a terrifying drive from Pittsburgh through Eastern Pennsylvania into New Jersey – during which at some point I think I yelled something like, “If I had Google Glass, it would tell me exactly where to go to avoid being lost under bridges in Newark!” – I stayed the night in Newport. The next day, I headed into the city on the Path into a ninety-five-degree, sweltering NYC afternoon. I wandered around Chelsea Market (which was an experience in and of itself) until 3PM, at which time I headed to the Glass office on the 8th floor.

I immediately felt like a rock star.

It started with the view…

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And then I got a solid hour of one-on-one time with the Glass team. Navi (yes, we had the conversation where she explained that her name was like the sprite from Zelda or the race from Avatar) walked me through the set up and functions of the Google Glass. She and everyone I encountered in the office shared my incredible (vocal) enthusiasm, and that really helped me get a lot out of the experience.

They also gave me champagne. How awesome is that?

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I got the following items with the Glass:

  • A protective bag made from Japanese microfiber with a steel-boot-style bottom, made to protect the Glass when it wasn’t in use.
  • Two eyewear attachments for the Glass; one is clear and the other functions as sunglasses.
  • Extra plastic nose nubbins in two sizes for when the current ones wear out (or get lost – I anticipate this is the logical thing that will happen sooner than their losing functionality).
  • A USB data and charging chord.
  • A wall adaptor for charging.

I have to commend Google for its subtlety in packaging the materials. Everything went into a single box, which went into a sturdy, black bag. The bag had the Glass logo on it, but otherwise there was nothing indicating an affiliation with Google or a major electronics carrier. I did not feel concerned that I would be targeted on the street (which was good, given that I had to take a taxi to the subway and get back to Jersey).

That didn’t mean I went unnoticed. A young man and his girlfriend were sitting on the Path, and I saw him glance at my bag, mumbling something in her ear. If someone knows what they are looking for, it can make you a little conscious. So I smiled my giant, super, reserved-for-strangers smile and went on my way.

And that was only the beginning.

 

Coming up tomorrow – what does this thing do, anyway?

  

New Tech Tools to Leverage Your Paper Obsession

Even if you strive for a paperless office and purchase every new organizational iPhone app that hits the market, it is hard to resist the draw of a fresh and empty paper notebook. Like the Trapper Keeper we all needed for the first day of middle school or the first notebook bought embossed with our Alma Mater’s seal, technology might be wonderful but it may never 100% replace the physical page. Luckily, new products are hitting the market allowing us to combine our love of all things digital with the unique joy of starting the first page of a brand new journal.

Evernote is one of those dream applications with all of the qualities I love; a great web app, great desktop app, and great phone app all combined into organized. When you take a product that I already love and combine it with a beloved icon like Moleskine notebooks, you have magic and a product that the obsessed with order will love.

Complete with tags that can be recognized by your camera and the app, the notebook is designed with the purpose of having your pages scanned into the Evernote app for easy reference. While you don’t need one of these notebooks to copy your handwritten pages into Evernote, the added functionality, ease of use, and guaranteed readable quality definitely makes it worth it.

Designed exclusively to work with their proprietary app (for iOS and Android), Whitelines would’ve been perfect during my brief College stint as a paid notetaker. Similarly to the Evernote book, the Whiteline series of notebooks are designed for easy scanning for future reference. They combine this with a great feature allowing a simple check mark on the bottom of your page when scan to automatically email your notes directly to an address specified by you. When choosing between Whitelines and the Moleskine option, it might boil down to which color to you like more: White or Black.

While writing this post, my husband commented that he wished there was a pen that would just copy everything he wrote digitally. When I told him that existed, he was so excited I felt the need to include it (and note it down for a future holiday).

The Echo SmartPen series is designed to allow you to directly upload your writing to a variety of programs (including Evernote, Microsoft OneNote, and Google Docs) for future use. It also allows for recording, making this another tool I wish I had in college.

Any other suggestions of great products marrying our love of the hard copy with the digital age?

Gadchick reviews: Gumdrop case and giveaway!

I recently had the opportunity to test out the Gumdrop Drop Tech Series for Kindle Fire case. 

 

 I am a heavy user of the Kindle Fire and I do not plan on replacing this case anytime in the near future! It is made of a durable rubber and provides excellent gripping for my heavy reading and my intense tower defense games. Thanks to this case, my Kindle has survived 2 falls without a scratch. In fact, I've "tested" it by having it tumble down a flight of stairs, hitting pretty hard, and it was still in tact. I think it could survive being tossed out of a second story window! It does however add a little weight or girth to the device. While it isn't "cute" like most of the cases that I gravitate towards, it provides the actual protection that my butterfingers need. The case pretty much envelops the whole Kindle, even covering the power button (but still keeping it functional, as it replaces it with a rubber power button.)

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My only complaint is that if you already have a screen protector film like I do, the Gumdrop case screen protector plastic does not make a perfect seal. I get air in between film and plastic which can distort the surface, but even that's only noticeable when the LCD displays black. Another thing worth mentioning is that the rubber parts have to snap into a frame that holds the screen protector, and it is at these snap points that the rubber case comes out (only during really heavy use).

Gumdrop is offering a Drop Tech Series Sleeve to one of our lucky readers! To enter, comment below with the Kindle Fire app that you are currently loving now.   

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Giveaway closes at 10 PM PST 9/23

A case was gifted to this editor, all opinions are her own.

 

September Wish List

Every month, we update our wish list. It's a great resource for gifts, or geek inspired ideas from our very own Gadchick writers and editors. Check out the rest here. 

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Rhianne 

I've recently been having some difficulties with my local photo lab due to a change of staff and the lack of control that I have with the quality of my photos is starting to really frustrate me - after asking my trustworthy film fanatic friends on Twitter - the favourite scanner seemed to be Epson Perfection V700 film scanner - unfortunately that scanner is double my budget, but in doing some research the V600 and the even cheaper, older V500 are both excellent choices if you budget isn't as generous.

Aline 

As we are enjoying the last days of summer, I am filled with the desire for alfresco eating and watching my favorite films projected against the house. This digital projector would also be awesome for Friday the 13th movies on my bedroom wall!

Katie  

What can I say? I feel like it's a birthday-Christmas-give-me-great-things kind of year, what with how many books are being put out by my favorite authors. Fortunately, The Milk one is a kid's book about a family's search for the eponymous milk. Adventures and oddness ensue.

Mandy

I'm looking into buying an iPad mini because I'm in need of an e-reader (and am a bit of an Apple snob). When I do get the device, I'm certainly going to need this cover to keep it safe—and being able to show off my nerdy side while keeping it protected is a total bonus.

Marisa

After installing hardwood floors throughout our house, I wanted to find a quick and easy way to clean them. I also didn't want to rely on any harsh chemicals since our floors will soon be home to a crawling ittle one. I picked up this Eureka Enviro Hard-Surface Floor Steamer and have put it to the test. It cleans really well and even works on super sticky hard to clean messes. (Which I'm sure there will be no shortage of when baby arrives!) 

Nina

When I first heard that there was going to be a six-part audio adaptation of Neil Gaiman's NeverwhereI flipped out... well, mostly it's one of my favorite Gaiman novels and Benedict Cumberbatch's name was attached to the project. I mean, that man's voice... *fans self* On September 5 an audiobook of the entire production will be released including unaired material (extended scenes, bloopers) from the original BBC radio broadcast! This'll be perfect to listen to on a dreary fall day with a cup of chamomile tea.

Kam 

Diablo III for PS3 is on my wishlist this month! This iconic role-playing game continues the battle against evil. Create the ultimate hero as you work through the interactive game environment while you explore the new take on character skill assignment and new batch of character classes. Defend the mortal world with the multiplayer functionality or go it alone (with up to three companions), it's your choice. While the changes to the gameplay may upset the fanboys, this Gadchick is looking forward to defending the land of Sanctuary.

FTC Blogger Disclosure- For our wish lists, we use affiliates. It's a small percentage paying our writers and editors for our 3rd issue, giveaways and brining you awesome content on the blog. Thanks for the support! 

 

Gadchick Reviews: Ouya

The idea for the Ouya was launched on the crowd-funding website Kickstarter a little over a year ago on July 10, 2012. The tagline for the proposed gadget was “A new kind of video game console.” The more you read about it, the believable it becomes that the Ouya was completely funded in the first 8 hours of its month-long Kickstarter campaign.

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The Ouya is a micro console that runs on a modified version of the Android operating system. This means that the games in the Ouya library are downloadable, much like mobile games in a smartphone application store. It means that both the software and hardware of the Ouya are completely open to modification; in fact, the manufacturer encourages tinkering with the console. Even means that you can run a number of emulators on the device, which allows you to play games from vintage and handheld consoles like the Nintendo 64 or the Gameboy.

Operating system: Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)

System-on-chip: Nvidia Tegra 3

CPU: 1.7 GHz Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A9

Storage capacity: 8 GB internal flash memory

Display: HDMI (1080p, 720p)

Graphics: Nvidia GeForce ULP GPU

Input: USB 2.0 (one), Micro USB

Controller input: wireless

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n; Bluetooth LE 4.0; Ethernet port

Let's look at the pro's and con's on this new console. 

Pros:

-It's cheap. At only $99 for the console with one controller, the Ouya is at a pretty sweet price point, plus with a library of free games and demos isn't something many will regret.

-Every game is downloadable. No more gas or time wasted browsing at GameStop or Best Buy. Whenever you’re in front of the television, you can be surfing through the Ouya’s library of games (360 and growing) and picking out new ones to try.

-Every game is free to try. Every game for the Ouya is free to download and play. Have a credit card ready on file to start downloading, but won’t be charged until a game is purchased. There’s no rule to how the purchasing itself works—some games are demos with a set amount to play before paying for more; some offer extras on a pay-as-you-go basis, like mobile games’ “in-app purchases”; others have flexible pay-to-play price point, more like a “pay-what-you-can-to-play”. If you don’t want to pay at all, it’s completely possible to get hours of gameplay without spending a penny.

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Cons:

-It feels cheap. Or at least, the controller does. The controller is made of light plastic and lacks the weight of popular controllers. It made annoying squeaking sounds when you pressed certain buttons, and the design of the controller, while innovative, could use improvements: the touchpad in the center is a cool feature, but it can get in the way of play, and just getting the batteries in was confusing because you have to pull the arms of the controller apart (they're held together by strong magnets).

-Downloading takes time. Waiting for downloads is unavoidable no matter what the context, but it’s still frustrating. I would start a download and have to stay on that screen until the game was done because any attempt to go back to browsing during that time would freeze the system and require a re-start, often at the loss of downloading progress. A recent update has enabled me to browse while downloading, but the Ouya will still freeze if I try to download several games and continue browsing all at once.

-The price points of games are unclear. There is a comprehensive range of options for paying to play, depending on the game, but no price points—in fact, no real information—is given to the user on any given game’s description page. A short description and perhaps a screenshot or two is all you get. This can make for a fun surprise sometimes, but it’s also frustrating if you’re looking for something particular or want to know what you’re getting into.

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So who should try the Ouya? 

-New gamers or gamers with kids. Ouya would be a great starter system for someone who isn’t really a “gamer” but is curious.. It’s inexpensive and offers free games in a wide range of genres. It’s not a huge investment, and it could be a reasonable gift for a kid you want to keep off your more expensive consoles.

-Handheld or mobile devotees who want to try console gaming. Its form and function make it one step up from handheld systems like the Nintendo DS and the PSP, or smart phones with mobile games. Mobile gamers in particular will find the Ouya’s download-only system of purchasing games comforting and familiar.

-Gamers on a budget. As a college student,  myself, I can think of several ways in which the Ouya is perfect for gamers who are currently on a strict budget. Saving $100 for the Ouya is a lot easier than saving several times that for one of the “big” consoles. The Ouya can’t replace, or compete with, the PlayStation or the Xbox, but it could be plenty satisfactory for the poor college student needing a quick video game fix. The lower price also means you won’t be out as many if the console is stolen or broken.

-Gamers who love to travel.. The portability of the Ouya really comes into play here. Traveling and console gaming aren’t two things that can readily mix; you can’t really just throw your Xbox and a controller in your carry-on bag and be on your way. But the Ouya could fit in something as small as a medium-size purse, and since all you need to use it is a TV with an HDMI port, a power outlet and a WiFi network, it’ll be easy to set up in any hotel room.

From my experience with the Ouya, I’ve come to the conclusion that this game system is for a certain type of person—or several certain types of people, really. Which one are you? You can buy the Ouya here for $99.

Gadchick Reviews: AngelSounds Fetal Doppler

One of the best things you can do for your baby when you find out you're pregnant is relax, though that is much easier said than done. With my hormones out of whack, worrying about what I can and can't eat, scheduling appointments, trying to keep my morning sickness in control at work, and worrying that baby is doing okay; all the stress and anxiety just adds up. One thing that did help relieve some worry was the AngelSounds Fetal Doppler. Starting around week 12, you can listen to your babies heartbeat and rest assured baby is doing okay even before you feel any movements. 

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I didn't start feeling my baby move until half way through my pregnancy, around week 20, and even then it was very sporadic. I used the AngelSounds Fetal Doppler throughout my entire pregnancy. It's such a treat to be able to listen to babies heartbeat when you aren't at your healthcare providers appointments and in the comfort of your own home. A special feature on this Doppler is that is has two headphone jacks so both your and your significant other can listen at the same time. 

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To use the Doppler, you're going to need ultrasound gel though I used baby oil when I ran out and it worked just as well. It may take a while to find the babies heartbeat at first, especially when you are still early on in your pregnancy. The only thing that isn't so great about the Doppler is that when you move it to another location on your belly, the friction rub is super loud. I highly recommend turning down the volume whenever you move it to another location on your belly and then turning it back up to look for a heartbeat. This isn't as advanced as the Doppler your doctor uses but after some practice, it gets to be extremely easy to use and well worth the price for the reassurance that your baby is doing alright. 

You can purchase the AngelSounds Doppler here for $33.

Video Game Releases for Fall 2013


New York Fashion Week is in full swing and while I can't wait to see the upcoming styles, a different season has me even more excited. This year's fall video game line-up is no exception, featuring high profile sequels and unique new ideas promising brand new experiences for gamers. While this fall will be unique for the industry with two new systems arriving, the current line-up of titles guarantees something that will interest all types of gamers. Here are a few that you should keep an eye out for this fall:

A cinematic and philosophical look at the growth of a young woman from teen to adult trying to understand a supernatural force in her life, Beyond: Two Souls is the game I'm most excited for this fall. Starring Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe from Quantic Dream, maker of Heavy Rain, the game uses motion capture technology for a realistic and immersive experience.

The first Warner Brothers-led Batman game in the series, Arkham Origins takes place five years prior to the events of Arkham Asylum during Christmas time. The big addition for this game is a new multiplayer mode expanding on the investigative gameplay and combat of the previous editions.

An XBOX One exclusive, Ryse made a huge appearance at San Diego Comic Con and began building momentum based on its next-gen graphics and ancient Rome as its unique setting. As Roman General Marius Titus, players will command legions via voice commands and Marius via their controller.

Confession time: I've never played a Pokemon game. Maybe I was too old when they became popular or maybe I was too busy thinking that I was too old for it, but either way, Pokemon remains a largely unknown in my trivia vaults. However, similarly to how Animal Crossing: New Leaf suddenly took over our Twitter and Tumblr feeds, Pokemon X and Y will soon be taking over the internet as everyone relives nostalgia. This might even be the best time for me to learn what the big deal is, especially when I finally take a break from Animal Crossing.

 

Five Web-Comics to Check Out

In earlier years, comic book readers depended on independently released zines and compilations to see new artists and authors working in the medium. But with the growth of the internet, web-comics have become a new way for creators to directly engage their audience and gain attention for their work. This growth has also meant an overwhelming number of choices that can be hard to sort through.

To help you find your new favorite character or creator, here are five great web-comics that you need to check out. Make sure to leave your suggestions in the comments!

1. Anu-Anulan and Yir’s Daughter by Emily Carroll

A beautifully drawn and written love story, this folk tale isn't long but may send you down the rabbit hole of exploring Emily Carroll's other pieces of work. Carroll's story about a goddess who falls in love with the silvery braids of a mortal feels ageless and ancient all at the same time.

2. Help Us Great Warrior by Madéleine Flores

Quick and quirky strips, Help Us Great Warrior is the story of the most fabulous and brave warrior who knows the importance of both eyeliner and selflessness.  Each strip is giggle inducing and addictive, once you start reading, you will find yourself at the start of the archive before you know it.

 

3. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Nimona needs to have her own movie or television show or any other way for me to get to see her more often. While an upcoming book is in the work, the web-comic will need to satiate my needs for now. An often endearing and always entertaining series, Nimona is about a supervillain and his shape-shifting sidekick traveling, getting into fights, and showing that the good guys aren't always the heroes.

 

4. Doctor Cat  by Sarah Sobole

Not all comics need to be serious or have a message beyond stuff that is great like a cat who is a doctor. Literally about an adorable cat who practices medicine, readers are able to see his co-workers at the hospital, how cute his patients find him, and his buddy lawyer cat.

 

5. Strong Female Protagonist written by Brennan Lee Mulligan and drawn by Molly Ostertag

The only superhero comic on the list, Strong Female Protagonist is the book that you need to find on the shelf when you realized that your comic book shop pull list is lady deficient. About a female superhero who retires from fighting super-villains to go to college and learn what real world heroism is, Mulligan and Ostertag have created a character that feels honest and relatable to comic book readers.

Tech Support - Special Parental Unit Edition

Welcome to this week's special edition Tech Support! Our favorite links of the week for parents, future parents, and people who love little kid stuff!

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Apartment Therapy ran a great round up of nerdy books perfect for your baby. Including the adorably named, CSS for Babies.

Lego continues to make childhood awesome with a new architecture set, designed for the future architect in your life, the little one who wants a blank canvas to create, or yourself. All adults should have at least one Lego set.

Don't let him creep you out, he's here to help out your kids with some tech support

Don't let him creep you out, he's here to help out your kids with some tech support

BBC launches CBeebies Playtime App for Apple, Kindle and Android. Read all about the new playtime app here via Engadget. 

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How cool is this R2D2 LEGO? I'm sure to most parents aren't crazy about losing a piece or two and finding them embedded to the skin of their bottom foot, but how fun are they? It took a few hours but Diana got it done! Check it out here

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Gadchick writers who are moms-to-be already have our names picked out for baby, but if I didn't have a family name yet, I would have loved to own this book, Sci Fi Baby Names. 

  

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BrightNest is one of my favorite current iPhone apps and one of my most awaited push notification each week.  After learning more about your interests and needs as a homeowner or renter, BrightNest provides quick weekly suggestions and DIYs on how to have the best house ever. These articles are also available online and many deal closely with the needs of parents. Check out a few like Help Your Kids Go Green, Kid-Proof Your Kitchen, or 11 Ways To Use Baby Wipes Around The House.

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There is very little to say besides that this is one of the simplest and best DIYs of all time and makes me want to do this adult-sized one morning.

RedBubble is a great place for adorably nerdy and tiny clothes. From tech-friendly and very hungry caterpillars to your own little vault dweller, there are a ton of options by small designers to ensure your child is the most fashionable geek in their playgroup.

Baby's First IPad - Kid-Appropriate Gadgets

Every generation's youth are residents of the future, or at least you would assume that by how quickly they understand new technology.  Children of all ages show a huge understanding and excitement about technology, and recent studies have even shown that on average children start using the internet at the age of 3.

However, for many of us gadget fans, we can remember fondly our own childhood of first CD players and brick-sized Game Boys. Part of our future love of technology came from that early exposure and if you have children in your life, you can help inspire that same love by choosing the best gadgets to expose them to. Luckily as our children slowly take over our tablets and smartphones, new kid-focused gadgets and technology stores have come out to let you take back (or kid-proof) your tools.

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Maker Shed is a technology and DIYers dream store. From robot kits to circuit boards, there are options for soldering newbies and McGyvers of all levels. For kids, they have numerous projects that could be perfect for your little engineer.  The Squishy Circuits Kit is a great example of an introductory project, using dough and LEDs to teach children about circuits. Another great option is the Sound Kaleidoscope Kit that walks you through building a speaker and microphone to explore frequencies and, using colored sand, display sound waves.

For many of us, our first gadget was a Nintendo product. You can recount your first Zelda game or the color of your first Game Boy, even tracing back your constant love of Tetris on long car rides (or that may just be me). For today's kids, the Nintendo 3DS is a great hand-held device with tons of family-friendly games like Animal Crossing: New Leaf.

Robots are just cool. While we still wait for our own housekeeping maid, we may be able to inspire the future inventor of it with a neat robot kit. There are numerous great ones on the market from the adorable Tin Can Robot to your child's first J.A.R.V.I.S..

Sometimes, the best gadget for your kid is the gadget that is already in your house. But while they may be able to beat your Angry Birds score, they may not be able to hold on tightly to your phone or tablet. Luckily some great cases designed to take a beating are coming from companies like Fisher Price to protect your gadgets while letting your children explore.

Best Apps for Future, Soon-to-Be, and Current Moms

Entry into parenthood comes with a new world of responsibilities and questions, and mobile apps have quickly come to fill the need for alerts, tools, and references for that new world. For each stage, from those planning future motherhood to parents in the middle of a toddler tantrum, here are a few great apps to check out.

Mothers-to-Be

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Period Tracker (Free, on iOS and Android, pro version available)
This app dedicated to tracking your monthly period goes beyond being just useful to expectant moms. Instead, it allows all women to learn more about their cycle and health. I highly recommend it for a great UI, accurate calendar tools, and trend reporting.

Hypermunes Pregnancy Wheel (Free, on iOS)
Wondering about your due date? This app will help you estimate when the special day could come and is similar to a tool used in your doctor's office.

Expecting Mothers

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WebMD Pregnancy (Free, on iOS)
I've discussed my love of WebMD's apps before and their pregnancy app is no exception. With support for expectant moms, articles to answer your questions, and support when you need it most, this app will be indispensable during your pregnancy.

Peaceful Nursery (1.99, on iOS)
As you start to plan for your baby's arrival and stock your home, Peaceful Nursery provides you helpful shopping lists, tips for greening their room, and what to avoid.

New Moms

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Baby Connect (4.99, iOS/Kindle/Android/Web Application)
In the first year of parenthood, it can be difficult to keep all of your information straight. From feedings to appointments to naps, Baby Connect serves as one app to track all vital information about your child. Combining functionality like bottle/diaper tracking, milestone tracking, and reminders, Baby Connect replaces the need for several apps and gives you the peace of mind that you are remembering all moments from the first year.

WebMD Baby
(Free, iOS/Android)
Another WebMD app that I"m happy to gush about. The first year of parenthood is plagued with questions such as, "Is it normal?" Or, "Should I worry?" This app helps placate your nerves and answer anything that might spring to mind during your 3 am feeding.

Parents

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Toddler Flashcards (Free, on iOS and Android, pro version available)
It is never too soon to learn the word for dog in multiple languages. This app is a great tool for learning with your child in a quick, easily accessible format.

Family Organizer (Free, on iOS and Android)
Every family requires their own Martha Stewart, someone to track the calendar, ensure delicious meals, and guarantee they are living the most organized life possible. However, while you may not have your own staff of managers, chefs, and landscapers to manage this, you can have a great app like Family Organizer to track your family's vital information.

Gadchick Demo's Orbit G2 Car Seat Base

As a mom to be, I wanted the safest and best car seat on the market. After much research, the Orbit G2 Car Seat and Base was the winner, we researched and talked to close friends who owned the product. It's so easy to add to a seat, we're thinking of buying an extra base for grandparent's if needed. Watch the video below for our demo! 

Gadchick Mom Week + a Giveaway

Technically for mom's who read our blog, every week is mom week. This week is special on Gadchick because we are dedicating it to the tech loving readers who are moms!  Everything from apps, gadgets to make mom life easier, and resources. A big thank you to Beth, our editor, for putting it all together. 

My favorite part of this week? Our baby photos. I had so much fun putting them together, we're giving away a $25 iTunes gift card to buy your favorite kid apps. Some rules to apply-

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+ Match up the numbers to Emily, Mandy, Diana, Aline, Beth and Marisa to their baby pics (you can cheat a little by checking out our About Page

+ Opened to international readers 

+ Share Mom Week on Twitter, FB or your blog. Share the link with us in the comments below. Good luck! Winner will be announced at the end of Mom Week. 

 

 

August Wish List

Gadgets are constantly updating, and so is our wish list. Here is the best of what we searched for April. 

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+ Beth 

Summer makes me think of long days at the beach, warm weather, and cool desserts. I've been looking out for the perfect shaved ice machine since the temperature began to rise and this one is currently the front runner.

+ Mandy 

I hate the sound of a regular doorbell. I know that hate is a strong word, but when I lived in a house with one a few years ago, the sound of it ringing started to give me anxiety attacks. Now that I live in an apartment, I don't have to deal with the dreaded noise, but the fact that I can get a customizable MP3-enabled version from Swann makes me seriously reconsider my hatred. (Would it be weird to have a doorbell in an apartment complex?)

+ Marisa 

If all goes as planned, I will be having my first baby next month and I'm already freaking out. I just know I will do that "let me check she is still breathing" thing even if I'm ready to pass out due to lack of sleep. I just ordered this baby monitor that not only comes with the normal sound monitor but also a movement monitor. If baby hasn't moved for 20 seconds, an alarm will sound. Knowing I have this makes me feel baby is safer and may even help me catch some more precious Z's.

+ Emily

One of my best friends introduced me to the traditional version of Settlers of Catan back in my freshman year of college and it's been a favorite ever since. When I first glimpsed the Star Trek version in an Instagram photo on my feed, I knew it was wish-list worthy! I'd love to add Star Trek Catan to my collection of geeky merchandise one day.

 + Katie 

I have loved Francesca Lia Block's book since Weetzie Bat in high school. This new work by her is a dystopian reimagining of the Odyssey. Very exciting!

+ Aline 

It is no secret that I am a Harry Potter-phile and I'll be darned if I don't get these special edition, newly designed cover paperbacks.

+ Diana

My soon to be son's nursery is already decorated as a robot/space fusion room and this would be perfect for his first night light from Jerseymaids. 

 

 FTC Blogger Disclosure- For our wish lists, we use affiliates. It's a small tiny amount to pay for our issues and keep giving you awesome content. Thanks for the support!

 

 

San Diego Comic-Con 2013 Recap - Part 2

As the Summer convention season chugs on with PAX Prime, Dragon*Con, and GenCon all in upcoming weeks, I’m still busy recovering and unpacking my San Diego Comic-Con dreams, memories, and swag. Last week, we took a look at the growing video game presence and a tip for what panels to check out. This week, we’re taking a look at childhood glee and how to enjoy Comic-Con even if you don’t have a badge:

Place Most Likely To Make Your Inner Child Happy
Hello Kitty Fashion Music Wonderland

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Like many of my fellow Gadchicks, I love all things kawaii. For fans of cute things, SDCC is full of adorable plush toys, fetching gothic lolita costumes, and all sorts of tiny figurines for sale. However, this year Sanrio made a huge splash with the Hello Kitty Fashion Music Wonderland which was as much fun to visit as it is to say aloud. Featuring a Hello Kitty nail art tent, Hello Kitty inspired lolitas, and a roving truck driving around San Diego asking you to visit, it was hard to miss their colorful corner and their outside appearance only built on what you could see on the Convention floor which included visits from Tokyo-based Sanrio illustrators.

Best Place To Hang Out Without A SDCC Badge
Nerd HQ

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In its third year, Zachary Levi’s Nerd HQ has become the best geek clubhouse in San Diego each year that doesn’t required a Comic-Con golden ticket to enter. Supporting Operation Smile, Nerd HQ runs intimate panels with nerd luminaries and provides a lounge area for attendees featuring photo booths, video games, and parties each night. The panels are then broadcast over the internet for everyone to get an opportunity to participate and create gifs to post all over Tumblr.

This was my first year attending a Nerd HQ panel and it was a truly special experience. While SDCC panels are a great opportunity to see your favorite actors, authors, and artists in person, they are usually experience with a few thousands of your dearest friends. Nerd HQ panels are limited to under 300 people and this year featured stadium seating, allowing for a more relaxed environment. I highly recommend trying out one of these events even if you aren’t attending SDCC and just live in Southern California.  

Every year when I leave San Diego Comic-Con, I swear that this will be my last year and that there are other nerd conventions out there to explore. Every year, two weeks after leaving San Diego Comic-Con, I’m already plotting for my next trip and wondering who will be in attendance.

Readers, what does 2014 have in store for SDCC? Will it be the first glimpses at the new Star Wars? Will it be a look inside who will be taking over the cowl when Batman and Superman team up? Leave your predictions and your 2013 highlights in the comments.