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Using TomTom GO GPS to #GetHomeFaster

Disclosure: Sponsored post

 

The combination of being a busy mom driving my kids around with visiting clients and going to press events in San Francisco mean that I spend lots of time driving in my car.  When I drive across town with all of the traffic in Silicon Valley it can sometimes take as long as it does to drive to San Francisco (one hour)! With traffic it can be even a much longer commute (2 hours or more). Additional traffic challenges can happen due to holiday traffic, like the rush to head to the beach, parks or vacation areas this weekend for July 4th. The map apps on my phone don’t always work and at times have caused me major traffic issues. When TomTom (innovators in navigation technology) contacted me to about the new TomTom GO 500 Portable Vehicle GPS, I was excited to not only give it a try but also learn more from their press information.

 

TomTom GO Portable GPS #GetHomeFaster

 

First I set out to learn more about the TomTom GO Portable GPS Device from the press documentation:

 

TomTom GO Portable Vehicle GPS has been redesigned with real time TomTom Traffic, alternate routes pinpoint exactly where delays start and end so you know fastest route, 3D Maps that show building, Speak & Go to control device with your voice, and landmarks and interactive maps that allow you to zoom in and out to explore the map with your fingertips. TomTom has one of the world’s largest databases, covering 99.9% of the roads, with real-time traffic intelligence with the most up-to-date, accurate information on traffic anytime, anywhere so you can truly get to your destination faster. Routes can be planned ahead with the new MyDrive technology to be ready to hit the road as soon as she gets in the car. The TomTom Go is the only navigation device which allows you to start navigating in two taps and has “Jam Ahead” warning for traffic incidents”.

 

 

TomTom GO 500 Portable Vehicle GPS

Photo Credit: TomTom

 

 

Then I wanted to learn how it works:

 

“TomTom Traffic crowd-sources real time data from over 150 million vehicles and devices in the US. Their process combines community probe data with many other trusted sources to create accurate traffic data.  This data can pinpoint where delays start and end, how long delays will last and how fast traffic is moving.  TomTom chooses the fastest route through traffic because it knows the traffic conditions on all roads. Every pixel of the screen is utilized to provide rich map that distinguishes between primary, secondary and tertiary roads.  Every icon on the map is interactive

 

The TomTom GO 500 has GPS receiver chips that looks for satellites in the air. Once it finds 4 satellites it triangulates the location. The TomTom comes with preloaded maps that has details such as speed limits etc and Route IQ that incorporates historical data.  If you are driving in an area that does not have cellular service, TomTom can still give you directions because it uses satellite information and the downloaded maps that are updated 4 times a year. All of the GO products include lifetime map updates. The downloaded maps, combined with the real time map updates from the TomTom MyDrive app, provide fully accurate traffic information.  The MyDrive app is available on iOS and Android.

 

The press release also shared what’s new and the features of the TomTom Go 500 (or 600):

 

What’s New:

 

  • Lifetime “real-time” TomTom Traffic (Click here to view TomTom’s live traffic portal)
  • 3D Maps
  • Pinch to Zoom Interactive Map
  • Tap & Go to instantly get a route
  • Quick search to find destinations
  • My Places to see your favorite locations on the map
  • Route Bar for essential traffic and travel information
  • Speak & Go to control device with sound of your voice.

 

 

TomTom GO 500 TomTom GO 500 Portable Vehicle GPS

Photo Credit: TomTom

 

Features:

 

  • 5” (GO 500) or 6” (GO 600) Capacitive Touch Screen
  • Pre-installed with map of US, CAN & MEX
  • Lifetime map updates
  • Free daily map changes from the TomTom map share community
  • Advanced Lane Guidance
  • Spoken Street Names
  • Click & Go Mount
  • IQ Routes
  • Quick GPSfix

 

In the box with either the TomTom GO 500 or 600 is click & go mount, adhesive disk, car charger, USB cable for computer and quick start guide.

 

The screen has a Route Bar on both sides which shows lots of information in one place. The Route Bar shows estimated time of arrival, distance to destination, delay in current route, upcoming speed limits, road work, speed camera alert, traffic on route and speed and distance to next event. The screen also shows parking with “P” icon. When in San Francisco and busy areas, showing parking on the map is essential for finding parking near destinations. There are even notifications about speed limits and when you are going over them.

 

There is a free TomTom GO MyDrive mobile app – connects to smartphone via bluetooth. Note: your smartphone must be compatible, and include a data plan. Extra costs may apply. For more information, visit TomTom.com/Connect.

 

When you first turn on the device it will ask you if you want to set up MyDrive. To do that you plug the TomTom GO it into your computer. MyDrive checks server then downloads maps through Internet to PC and then to device. When you get into your car the first time (before you start driving), just turn on Bluetooth on your smartphone (set to discoverability). Then log into the MyDrive app with the same credentials you use for online.

 

From your computer you can type address on MyDrive and it will send to your device which connects to phone and syncs up to cloud platform. The cloud sync also takes all favorite addresses and backs them up. If you had to reset device you have favorites online.

 

The 500/600 has microphone and voice control (Speak & Go).  You can speak an address (such as “Go Home” and even set your own wakeup word out of the box (Hello Tom Tom, Go home”). Voice commands can also change brightness, settings and wakeup words.

 

The voice prompts provides audio reminders when close to exiting such as “exit in 2 miles, get in right lane”. If you have multiple turns in a row the voice prompt will keep speaking to you “say right” “stay left” – both visually and audio.  Backroads are different – it depends on class on the road.  Another key feature is that you can use your phone and still get voice navigation. If you have a conference call then you won’t need to worry about navigation speaking over the call.

 

TomTom shared information to confirm how much parents drive their kids around: “A 2013 study said that the average mom drives her children around for 1,248 miles per year, or the equivalent of two weeks “.  Saving any time on the road is an important issue!

 

 

***GIVEAWAY****

 

How much time do you spend on the road and what would you do with the time you would have not stuck in traffic? Do you live in the any of the Top Most Congested Areas below? Sadly, I live in the second most congested city area (San Francisco Bay Area)!   Share your thoughts for a chance to win a TomTom GO 500/600. To win, enter below on Rafflecopter. Contest will run from July 1, 3pm PST to July 6, 3pm PST.

*Giveaway is over and winner has been notified.
TOP MOST CONGESTED CITIES

  1. Los Angeles
  2. San Francisco
  3. Honolulu
  4. New York
  5. Seattle
  6. San Jose
  7. Miami
  8. Chicago
  9. Washington, DC
  10. Portland, Washington

Check out TomTom on Facebook and TomTom on Twitter.

 

 

Disclosure: Sponsored post. Products were supplied for review purposes.

 

 

 

Gift of Healthy Smile: Oral-B PRO SmartSeries 5000 Electric Toothbrush with Bluetooth

Disclosure: Sponsored post. 

 

An important area of health that is also one of our biggest family challenges is dental health including making sure everyone in our family is brushing their teeth properly. No matter what I do, my tween boys still need reminders, cajoling and sometimes threats for loss of screen time if they don’t brush their teeth. When they do brush their teeth they only do it for a few seconds instead of for a full 2 minutes.  I am tired when I go to sleep at night and wake up early to get my kids to school. Sadly, I also don’t think I am brushing properly.

 

Oral-B Pro 7000 SmartSeries with Bluetooth Connectivity

Photo Credit: Oral-B

 

Oral-B just came out with the Pro SmartSeries 5000 Electric Toothbrush with Bluetooth Connectivity. Combining the Bluetooth 4.0 technology with this sleek electric toothbrush and the enhanced Oral-B App provides real-time guidance while brushing and records brushing activity that we could share with our dental professional. Everyone in our family has fitness trackers to keep our exercise routines on track, so having the combination of the technology and app of the Oral-B Pro 5000 SmartSeries will help create smarter routines to keep brushing on track. Most of all, I could have automated help to make sure I am brushing well with an app that would also allow me to step out of the process of nagging my kids – which is a great gift (hint hint, Mother’s Day)..

 

Oral-B Pro 7000 SmartSeries with Bluetooth Connectivity

Photo Credit: Oral-B

 

Here are some of the key features of the Oral-B Pro SmartSeries 5000 Electric Toothbrush with Bluetooth Connectivity :

  • The toothbrush Oscillates, rotates and even pulses with a brush head that is replaceable.
  • The handle is waterproof and has a 2 minute timer (to make sure no one is taking short cuts).
  • There is a charge level display and portable charging station.
  • There toothbrush is compatible with Bluetooth 4.0 devices and has an iOs app and an Android app.

 

The Oral-B app can show if we are brushing too hard, long enough and if our habits have improved over time with a weekly and monthly tracker of brushing habits:

  • Brushing “coach” that has a timer, alert if to reduce pressure when brushing too hard and guide to help with brushing.

 

Oral-B Pro 7000 SmartSeries with Bluetooth Connectivity

Photo Credit: Oral-B

 

 

  • The summaries show if all of the brushing steps were done (to remind myself and my kids to floss!)

 

Oral-B Pro 7000 SmartSeries with Bluetooth Connectivity

Photo Credit: Oral-B

 

 

  • Weekly and monthly tracker to monitor brushing habits.

 

 

Oral-B Pro 7000 SmartSeries with Bluetooth Connectivity

Photo Credit: Oral-B

 

 

 

 

The Oral-B Pro SmartSeries 5000 Electric Toothbrush with Bluetooth Connectivity makes a great Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or just a present to the whole family to help promote a healthy smile. Oral-B is already the toothbrush my dentist gives me after each checkup, so it is a trusted brand for our family.

 

*************************DIGITAL COUPONS *********************************************** 

Listed below: $20-off and $30-off digital coupons, available 5/3-7/4.

CLICK HERE www.orab.com/coupons to see the digital coupons offers posted#oralb

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, all of my words are my own.

 

 

 

 

Shuddle Rideshare Service For Families (Discount Code!)

Disclosure: Sponsored post. See below for special Shuddle discount code for Techmamas readers!

 

Shuddle

One of the biggest challenges for families is the minute by minute, ever-changing scheduling of driving kids to and from school, after school activities and everything in between. With a mix of minimum days, school holidays, after school activities, homework, sick days, sports and medical appointments, no two days are the same. Assembling a weekly transportation schedule is like putting together one of those 1,000 piece puzzles, and while I’m a master project planner (My Parent Plan), scheduling can be a challenge.

 

I decided several years ago to work out of the home for several reasons, including the flexibility to drive my kids around. Now that my three boys are getting older and I can keep track of their location by calling their phones, I feel the time is right to go back to working outside the home.  As I am planning this transition I realize the biggest challenge is transportation for my tween sons (twins). Several of my friends confirmed that they, too, have the same problem.

 

Shuddle

Photo credit: Shuddle

 

When Shuddle contacted me to work together on a (disclosure) sponsored post, I said, “How did you know that I have been looking into transportation options?”  The fact they contacted me happened to be a coincidence because I had independently planned to try their service. Shuddle is a rideshare service designed specifically to transport busy families with drivers that have caregiver experience. They undergo an extensive verification process (national criminal background checks, motor vehicle records check, employer reference checks,  in-person training and vehicle inspection), plus live monitoring and support for every ride.  I started my transportation hunt by looking into hiring a driver on my own, but the verification process was complicated and some information was hard to find. Shuddle’s verification process is a huge benefit.

 

The steps to start using Shuddle and scheduling a ride are straightforward.  The flexibility of having  until midnight to book a ride for the next day is helpful.  One key requirement is that riders must have a mobile phone in order for drivers to reach them. Even if your kids don’t currently have phones, there are a great selection of budget basic prepaid phones that have the ability to call and text. All of my kids started out with those types of phones anyway. Shuddle currently operates in the San Francisco Bay Area (Marin, Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, Burlingame, San Jose, Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Mountain View).

 

Shuddle Mobile App

Photo credit: Shuddle

 

Shuddle has an iOS and an Android app to enable managing and scheduling rides easily on the go.

 

As much as the transportation features offer great value, I also appreciate the flexible employment opportunities Shuddle is providing to women. Here are some of the interesting facts about  Shuddle:

  • “Shuddle has given thousands of rides and has a community of more than 200 female drivers, 80% of which are mothers themselves.
  • In contrast to other companies garnering praise for having 30% of their workforce composed of women (Lyft), Shuddle’s  community of all women drivers is unprecedented.
  • Shuddle is one of the only companies in which women are at the forefront of the ride sharing economy and is proud to be presenting an economic opportunity for them.
  • To make money with other rideshares, you really need to drive Friday and Saturday nights, and so there are understandably concerns about safety. That isn’t the case with Shuddle and whose value proposition speaks strongly  to women.
  • Shuddle rides can be scheduled by midnight the day before, giving drivers the opportunity to know who they are driving before they get in their car.
  • There are no late-night rides or rides with potentially threatening customers, etc.

 

***********DISCOUNT OFFER TO TECHMAMAS READERS***************************

 

If you would like to try Shuddle, use the code TECHMAMAS to have one free ride up to $20 in value

 

To sign up, CLICK HERE to load either the Shuddle iOS or Android Shuddle app.

 

To learn more about Shuddle (such as passenger requirements, driver screening and the ride experience), visit: http://shuddle.us.

 

 

Disclosure: Sponsored post. My words are my own.

 

 

 

 

On The Go With ZAGG Pocket Bluetooth Keyboard

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. See Giveaway details below.

 

Now that smartphones have features above and beyond making simple voice calls, they have become the top “on the go” device. From productivity, notes, creativity (photo’s, videos), communication, calenders, business documents, music and socializing and more – the smartphone is our own personal assistant that we have with us at all times. While phone touch keyboards are getting more sophisticated, typing is a challenge I could not seem to overcome. I typed short texts easily and quickly, but when it came to typing sentences or longer notes – I could not get my fingers to move fast enough…. Or I made all sorts of typing mistakes.. Or my hand felt cramped and uncomfortable. When ZAGG contacted me to create a video and giveaway about their new Pocket wireless Bluetooth keyboard, I was excited that to find a solution for my on the go typing challenges!

 

The ZAGG Pocket wireless Bluetooth keyboard an “easy, on-the-go solution for smartphone typing.” The keyboard is 85% of the size of a desktop keyboard so typing is more natural and it folds between the lines of keys to preserve comfortable key spacing.

 

Zagg Pocket Keyboard

Photo Credit: ZAGG

 

 

The keyboard folds into a 9” X 2.5” X .5” rectangle, which is a design I have not seen before in mobile keyboards.  Battery life is maintained automatically when you fold the keyboard, activated by magnets when closed. The built in stand holds smartphones and small tablets (around  7″). But I did use it for a regular iPad and it worked fine. The Pocket Keyboard connects via Bluetooth, which means it can connect to Apple, Android or Windows devices.

 

 

ZAGG Pocket Keyboard Side

Photo Credit: ZAGG

 

 

One of the best features is the battery life: the lithium polymer battery lasts up to two years of regular use* (*around one hour per day) between charges. That means I can charge it and then just store it in my purse without needing to recharge it for a long time! The convenience of the ZAGG Pocket keyboard is great for busy professionals – especially busy parents -because it means there is one less thing you need to remember to pack up each day.

 

ZAGG Pocket Keyboard

 

For example, I just recently attended a Women in Growth Marketing event in San Francisco. I barely got dinner on the table, kids situated with homework and the sitter set up for the night when I had to rush out the door to drive to San Francisco (one hour drive from my house). When I arrived and sat down, I panicked at first because I forgot my laptop and wanted to type notes. Then I remembered I had the ZAGG Pocket Keyboard; it was so light I forgot it was in my purse at all. The Pocket Keyboard along with my smartphone was all I needed to take notes during the meeting. Now I have an on the go typing solution that is always with me, so I can take notes whenever I need!

 

Below is a video where I show the ZAGG Pocket keyboard in action:

 

 

Even more exciting is that I have the opportunity to give one ZAGG Pocket Bluetooth keyboard away to one of my lucky readers. Here are the giveaway details (open from April 15 to April 20).  Because the giveaway starts on April 15 – maybe it can even be inspiration to start keeping tax notes on the go for next tax year.
 
*Note: Giveaway is closed. Winner was @SahmReviews
 
 
 
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All my opinions are my own.
 
For more information on the ZAGG Pocket keyboard check out their website, Twitter and Facebook.
 
 

 

Tips: Find Family Friendly Videos For #Kids With YouTube Kids #App

YouTube Kids LogoBecause kids have access to browsers on many devices they can roam the internet which can result in kids seeing inappropriate content. The best defense for parents is to make sure they educate their kids on internet safety and have regular safety talks -so communication between kids and their parents is key. Along with that, introducing family friendly apps can also help kids stay within the boundaries of family friendly content. I am excited to announce that YouTube has created the YouTube kids app as a step to help families provide a safer place for kids to view videos online.  While I could not attend the press event in New York, I will be meeting with YouTube to get a demo soon. Event though the ideal age for this app is only 2-8, this is a great step in the right direction for family friendly apps in general.  National Geographic Kids shared “We are so excited to be a part of the new YouTube Kids app launch with National Geographic Kids original and curated video content,” says Michelle Sullivan, VP Digital. “We want kids of all ages–and their grownups– to enjoy our playlists and spark their curiosity to go out in the world and learn more.

 

For now I wanted to share the information from the YouTube kids press release so parents can test it out for themselves:

 

The YouTube Kids app is available now on iOS and Android:

LINK FOR YOUTUBE KIDS iOS APP on the Apple Store 

LINK FOR YOUTUBE KIDS ANDROID APP on Google Play

 

 

YouTube Kids Screenshot

Photo Credit: YouTube

 

 

 

FAQ’S FROM YOUTUBE KIDS PRESS RELEASE:

Parental Controls: 
Timer: Let the app be the bad guy with a built-in timer that lets you limit kids’ screen time. The app alerts your child when the session is over, so you don’t have to. (You’re welcome. 😉
Sound settings: Sometimes you need a little peace and quiet! You have an option to turn off background music and sound effects, so your kids can keep watching while you catch a breather.
Search settings: If you’d rather limit your children to just the pre-selected videos available on the home screen, you can turn off search.
Product feedback: Our goal is to improve YouTube Kids all the time, so we’ve included a space for you to give us your feedback.
What age group is this app appropriate for?
Right now, YouTube Kids delivers enriching and entertaining, early literacy content, ideal for kids 2-8.

Which devices are supported?
Launching in Google Play and the App Store, YouTube Kids is a fun and interactive place designed for families to explore and enjoy a vast selection of videos on tablet or smartphone.  You can use YouTube Kids on your smartphone or tablet with:

  • iOS 7 or above
  • Android 4.1 or above

Can I log in to the app with my YouTube account?
No, we currently only support a logged out experience.

When will YouTube Kids be available in other countries and languages?
YouTube Kids is currently available to users in the United States, but we’re working to expand to other countries.

What kind of content is available in the app?
The app is a kid-appropriate experience built around the breadth and depth of content that kids love. With a vast selection of videos, across a variety of topics, the choices match a child’s endless curiosity and interests, offering something for every kid; find how-to build a volcano, countless train videos, sing-along versions of favorite songs, crafting projects, match tutorials, answers to questions (what if we lived on the moon?), and much more.  You’ll also find popular programming like National Geographic Kids, Sesame Street, DreamWorks Animation and Thomas & Friends, online hits like Mother Goose Club, Super Simple Songs and TuTiTu, plus kid-friendly content from filmmakers, teachers and creators all around the world.

Are you COPPA compliant?
Yes. YouTube Kids is a signed-out app experience, so it does not collect, use or disclose information connected to a Google account, including the user’s name, address, contact or other personal information.

Here is a YouTube video demo of the new YouTube Kids app:

NEW SHOWS ON YOUTUBE KIDS (from press release):

  • The Furchester Hotel is a series for 3 to 6-year-olds set in an ‘almost’ world-class hotel run by a close-knit family of cheerfully incompetent monsters. The series, which is designed to encourage creative problem-solving, introduces brand new characters and also welcomes the beloved Elmo and Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.*
  • New digital videos for Thomas & Friends features Thomas the Tank Engine™ as fans have never seen him before, having adventures off the Island of Sodor in fascinating destinations like London, Paris, and New York City, and coming to life in children’s playrooms.
  • Explore the amazing technology that surrounds our everyday lives, in this exciting new original series called uTech, presented by Reading Rainbow and YouTube. In the first episode, join host LeVar Burton as he takes a look at some of the places you may have not realized we encounter technology (from the moment we wake up to an alarm clock, until we go to bed at night and brush our teeth).
  • National Geographic Kids playlists are an exciting and educational way to explore the very best of YouTube. Hosted by kids for kids, these curated playlists on awesome animals, cool science, natural phenomenons, and more are perfect for curious kids who want to explore, laugh, and learn.
  • Two new shows from Hank and John Green, the Vlogbrothers:  SciShow Kids will tap into kids’ curiosity and answer their many “why” questions with animated explanations, live-hosted experiments and field trips. And Crash Course Kids will empower both educators and students with customized elementary school lessons, hosted by some of your favorite YouTube stars 
  • WONDER QUEST: Set in the world of Minecraft, one of the most popular kid’s video games today, and starring Joseph Garrett, better known to millions of fans as Stampylonghead, “Wonder Quest” brings audiences family-friendly adventure with an educational twist. Will Stampy accept the quest from a friendly wizard? Will Stampy and his friends save the town of Wonderberg from a fate of really bad jokes? A fun way for kids to explore, Stampy invites friends to build an online world that encourages wonder — all based on Core Curriculum and Next Generation Science Standards. 
  • A new series from Outfit7, Talking Tom and Friends will chronicle the adventures, hijinks, and inventions of Talking Tom and the gang as they shoot their own reality television show.

 

I can’t wait to try out the new YouTube kids app with my kids. How about you?