Category Archives: technology

AT&T Amber Alert Device — Perfect for Kids

ATT AMBER ALERT GPSWe have had AT&T for years, and I love their service and customer service is amazing!   We tried out a few different devices with AT&T when we needed to communicate with our kids, but aren’t quite ready to give either of the kids cell phones yet.   They are only ages 7 and 9 as of this summer, so when we first started trying AT&T devices last year, they were only 5 and 7.  The Filip watch was nice, and fashionable, but I felt like the AT&T Amber Alert GPS device held a battery charge longer, and didn’t require wearing the watch. This made it less likely to get lost or stolen.  Amber Alert GPS is a great device for both kids and adults who may need a little extra assistance.  For us, it worked perfectly, even on the ski slopes as they took ski lessons!

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Here’s how the device works:   We had our older daughter hold on to it.  It’s a small transponder with two-way talk/alert.   You can tell when there is signal as a blue light flashes.  For ease of carrying, we took a lanyard and attached it to the transponder so it fit around her neck, or she could put it in her coat pockets while skiing. When she wants to communicate with us,  she pushes and holds down the large button (Alert button), and it rings to the assigned phone number.  There is an app/website where you can configure all of this.  So, as soon as she holds down the button for a few seconds, it calls the cell phone programmed for two-way communications.  Only one number can call into the device, and only one number is called out from the device.   I programmed my phone to have it say my daughter’s name and GPS Alert, so I could immediately see that and answer.  Then, the device acts like a speaker phone for her.  We can have a normal conversation.  Conversely, if I wanted to reach her, I’d call the phone number assigned to this GPS Device and she’d push the same button to answer and talk.   The coolest part of this device is that I can see where she is at any given time as long as it is in her possession.  I could track her movements on El Dora Ski Mountain (phone signal there is bad), but I could still track her using this device, which was awesome!  When we left her for a sleepover, I knew I could call her and say good nite, or she could call me anytime if she needed anything, but it’s not like she’d disturb others with a smart phone, plus I think 9 is still too young for a smart phone.  The only place we don’t send it is school because there are rules in school about technology.  But, if you want to use the GPS feature, you can slip it into their backpacks.  I knew when my husband was safely making it down the mountain and canyon when he took the kids skiing in his rear-wheel drive car.   The device, software, and apps for it are easy to install and use, and log in and out of.  We even tried this device for my father-in-law, but I think the kids found it more user-friendly than he did.

I highly recommend the Amber Alert GPS device for younger kids, and even though the Filip watch looks more stylish, I found the Amber Alert Device held a charge better and longer, and the voice quality and ease of use were better.   The charge is only $10 a month on your existing wireless account, and the device costs $99 to buy from AT&T (but they are out of stock right now),  so you can also get it on amazon as well through this link:

*Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this particular post, but I did win the Amber Alert GPS device at an AT&T-sponsored event a couple of years back.  I have other posts for AT&T And have previously posted about their products and services.  The opinions expressed here are my own.

 

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Cool holiday gifts from AT&T

ATT-Holiday-Gift-IdeasAT&T has been my cellular carrier for as long as I can remember.  I previously posted about my Samsung Galaxy s5 Active and my gear fit watch.  I love AT&T and I love promoting them.  AT&T has amazing new products out in time for holiday gift-giving, or as a Christmas present to YOU!  Come on, you deserve it!

At an amazing blogger event I attended recently, AT&T gave away a drone!  Yep, a drone, and this one could be powered by your cell phone!  How cool is that?  The drone is the minidrone one pictured here, the Parrot Mini Drone SWAT and can be used at night.  Just don’t freak out your neighbors!

I didn’t win the drone or the awesome battery charger.  Lord knows with a car 11 years old I need one of these, but this device would really make a holiday gift for a loved one in your life, especially someone leaving for college or who accessories-4968c-964x750travels a lot!   The Cobra JumPack Jump Starter Kit is an excellent gift and I am even considering buying one this winter!  This kit comes with a jumper cable too.

Another cool gift we got to see is the Sengled LED light and wireless speaker.  We have a different version of this with the WINK connected through our Amazon Echo and it is cool.  The light bulb replaces your regular light bulb and then, you can wirelessly control these lights with your phone or an app.  accessories-4775e-964x750 This particular bulb plays music too and thus eliminating the need for a separate stereo system.  You can sync it with the other ones in your home and have a system.  Kinda cool! I love technology!

We also had a raffle to win more prizes, including a selfie stick (I wanted one for a long time), amazing bluetooth and wireless headphones, the LG Tone Active,.  and countless other accessories like wireless charging, because we all know how quickly our phones run out of juice.  Some of these are so small they fit in your purse.

Visit an AT&T store for all your holiday shopping or order online and check everyone off your list!  As for me, I am in the market for an upgrade and the Samsung Galaxy s6 Active is speaking to me for 2016.  Happy Holidays, and check out all gift ideas.

wpid-20151214_114735.jpgOh, and if you live in the Cherry Creek area, or work there, don’t forget to check out #TrueFood.  What a healthy concept for food, and a menu that impresses. Also, check out these other blogs who are tech-geeks like me, and also ambassadors for #ATTDenver. Thanks again, AT&T!

Disclaimer: I attended an event sponsored by AT&T and was compensated for my time with gift cards and a prizes in a raffle. The opinions expressed here are my own.

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I gave up Facebook for Lent

It’s not a big deal at all, but it kinda was.  I left my personal Facebook for lent.  I had to keep up my Ratna GetCluedIn profile but only because I have an automatic post to Get Clued In! on Facebook.  It has been two weeks since I last posted and I have to go until at least April 5th.  The hardest day was a snow day we had here in Denver.  I so wanted to post all the snowy goodness that had covered our city, but could not.  But, so far it is so refreshing and nice to be off of Facebook.  At a minimum, I am glad the app is off my phone – deleted/uninstalled.  It is NOT coming back even if I come back to the desktop version in 35 days.  Here are some things I have learned through this experiment so far and I will do an after-action post when this is all said and done.

1.  First, it’s amazing how much people rely on Facebook for their social life.  It is a sort of alter-social life.  No need to meet in person or call, just check Facebook.  Done. It is nice to be in touch with good friends during this time, but they had to pick up the phone and call me, text me, or oh the horror, E-mail me.  It is nice to get E-mails from friends that I used to just direct message on Facebook.  Oh, the latest is that family members and friends are trying to friend me on my facebook account for my blog- Ratna Get Clued In.  I am not checking that site though either and apparently they are all messaging me there.  I have no idea why people can’t just email or call – oh the humanity!

2.  Other than grandparents, most everyone missed my daughter’s birthday.  I think because they are so used to relying on my posts sharing too much information all the time, they just expected to see it as a reminder.  Of course, the converse is true too.  I missed many of my friends’ birthdays too.  Hmmm… here is a thought in spite of Facebook, if we were real friends, why would I need a reminder.  Shouldn’t I remember such things? I really wanted to wish my dad a Happy 70th Birthday on Facebook because the phone calls, card and planned cruise in three weeks are simply not enough.  It didn’t happen if it isn’t on Facebook, right?  My birthday falls in the next 2 weeks too, and my page is deactivated, so it will be interesting to see who remembers.  My guess is just close family.  It’s okay.  It’s really no big deal.

3.   We have become so dependent on social media that we do not even want to see people in person anymore or call.  A friend of mine who never saw my post that I was leaving Facebook for lent texted me and asked why we are not friends, and why I cannot be found anymore.  It is distressing I suspect for all those who did not see my farewell post before deactivatng.  I mean no harm – I come in peace.  No, I did not “unfriend” you, I just need a break from all the stuff and information overload.  Frankly, I grow weary of over sharing my information too.  I am sure I am not even missed.

4.  But I do have friends who still call, E-mail, and text and we stay in touch. This is slowly but surely teaching me that IF I return to Facebook, I will be scaling back. It’s not that I do not like you, but I like myself more.  I respect myself enough that if I do not remember you, I will not let you into my every thought.  So, yes, it is okay to “unfriend.” When did that become a word anyway?  How can I “unfriend” you if I do not even remember you nor remember the last time you called me or spent time with me, or what you meant to me 25+ years ago, right?  A good friend has a rule for FB and I think I like it, “if I do not hear from you (phone/email/text) or see you in person at least once every few years, I am not going to allow you to see my life on Facebook.  I like it!  Why do we hold on to the past through social media if we do not do it in real life?

5.  Finally, what I have found so far is that I am not curious at all.  I really do not feel that I am missing out on Facebook, other than for my blog and my blogging mom friends who may post exciting local events.  Other than that, I really do not feel I am missing anything.  Maybe all the over sharing just did me in and I think as 2016 approaches, it may prove to be a good idea to be off of social media altogether anyway.  Politics – sheesh!

I am so glad I gave up Facebook for Lent.  Stay tuned…

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Do we ever look up?

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Image blurred to protect the “technologically innocent”

Do we ever look up anymore, or talk with one another? Or are our heads buried in our phones, smart devices, tablets, and readers?

Here I sit at the tire shop- my tires need replacing. I can’t replace just the one or two in trouble. I need to replace them all. The country song, “knee deep” is blaring on the radio.  One guy is eating a meal from Whole Foods and on his smart phone at the same time!  I’m engrossed in writing this blog post, another guy is watching movies and streaming Hulu with headphones on his smart phone.  The guy across from me is watching all of us on our respective devices and is laughing. He’s an older gentleman and doesn’t understand what all this technology is about.  He makes me uncomfortable because he is the only one looking for conversation, looking around, not reading or texting or streaming a movie.  Why can’t he just look down?  These are the thoughts in my head as I hum along to the song I recognize.  I keep typing this post because I love the idea … do we ever look up?  No, because it means we may need to interact.  That seems uncomfortable to me.

When did we stop interacting with one another? When did we become so crazy and addicted to technology? I was mouthing the words to “knee deep,” and this provided him an opportunity to talk with me.  A few awkward moments of conversation later, I look back down, and am relieved to be typing this post again.  Typing, on my itty bitty magical handheld device. This provides me comfort, provides me with entertainment. This passes the time for me. I look up and no one is looking up or around save for that one gentleman who has no idea what the fuss is all about.

As I write this post, another guy has now sat down with his ultrabook and began working on it. That’s 7 out of 8 of us in this repair shop with our heads down, our eyes going bad from focusing on small writing and letters. That’s 7 out of 8 of us shut out from the world, but comfortable, happy, and completely complacent in not making awkward, unnecessary conversation with one another.  Will we ever look up?  I have no idea, but it is nice to have something to do while waiting for my car to get fixed.

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How much is too much social media? This is my story & New Year’s Resolution

I have written about social media as being overwhelming for me. I recently decided that it was time to cut back on social media- way way back.  Blogging? No… heavens no!  Writing is a hobby and I really enjoy blogging and writing but I have made a firm decision based on a myriad of factors, to ween off of facebook, twitter, and even deleted my LinkedIn account.  It was time.  It is not like I am always on it but then when friends and family notice and say “Your head is always down,” you start to wonder how much social media is too much? And yes, sadly this includes E-mail and all forms of social media.

This degree should vary from person to person.  If you are checking facebook and E-mails in the middle of the night, chances are, you are an addict.  When you are posting pictures constantly or updates constantly, you may have a problem.  I love keeping in touch with friends and plan on doing so still but my goal in the first few weeks is facebook twice a week only.  Twitter updates? Not sure on this one since blogging activities are posted there but probably the same rule. I really got over-friend managing social media sites and with the recent privacy issues on facebook, twitter and the like, I am just deciding to start cut some aspects of social media out.  If I can reach the point where I can control it, I may not deactivate my account.  But honestly, I want to live with my head up and not down in a phone.  My eye sight is suffering too because of my back lit Iphone, so it was time.

These days social media is also a place of political postings, often ugly to one side or the other, and I have been guilty of this too.  Twitter and facebook have actually made me angry and by blood pressure shoot up, and worse: I have lost friends over trivial things and miscommunications.  Tone is so tough through social media and E-mail.  I really do not want to have a forum with people I like where arguments ensue.  So, this is another reason to cut back as well.  Plus, does everyone really need to know everything in my life?  Nah…. from time to time, it will be nice to catch up with those I want to catch up with, but hourly has proven to be way too much for me with all the other responsibilities I have in this short day.

I recently had to hide my Iphone or rather, had my kids hide it so if I could not find it, I could not look at it.  It helped a lot. How much do you think is too much?  How do you find that balance? 

So, here goes nothing…. my New Year’s Resolution: to reduce the amount of time I spend on social media outlets.  I will still write and I love writing.  Look for my Blog Top 10 list soon and I will be on E-mail to stay in touch and conduct business but other than that, My resolution is:  Go from “too much” to “just right”… to maybe someday, NONE at all.

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