Tag Archives: iphone apps for parents

Managing Children’s Screen time: There’s An App For That!


screen-time-app-for-dads.jpgIn an increasing digital age, our children are becoming digitally dependent.  Something that can easily slip our minds, but shouldn’t be ignored is the amount of time our children spend watching TV or playing computer games.  That’s where “Screen Time” comes in and saves the day!  More

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30 Days of ‘Fu’


Lets face it, no one ever has enough time in the day to do everything they want.  As you get older, you gain a career, a significant other, children, your responsibilities to other people begin to overtake your responsibilities to yourself, and things slowly slip through the cracks.  One that I’m guilty of, more so the past few years, has been my health and weight.  Sure, I’ve been determined on more then one occasion to get up and go to the gym.  I tell myself how I used to be in great shape, I used to love lifting weights, I can get back to that, I just have to get over the hump of getting started and it’ll be down hill from there.  Well, the hump is a bit more of a hill now, it takes longer to get over, and honestly, I always find something that I feel is more important then going to the gym before I get over that hump.

Part of my problem, or what I use for the biggest excuse, is my job.  My job is somewhat unpredictable in that there are days where I can’t guarantee I’ll be home at a certain time, and once I am home, I want to spend time with my kids, so the later home I get, the smaller the window I have before the kids go to sleep.  Things have to be thrown out, so they are!  Well through my random browsing, I came across a site; GymFu.com, where they currently offer 4 different apps in the Apple AppStore, all geared towards exercise, all using different techniques, and all being somewhat unique in their approach.

What the people at GymFu seem to have done is take the ideas people have now with the WiiFit, using equipment and motion as a means of support in exercising at home, because lets face it, you’re more likely to cheat if you’re at home, and shrunk it into the iPhone, using the device’s accelerometer to read and analyze your motions to determine the accuracy in which you do your exercises.  Which honestly, seems like a no brainer in terms of a use for the iPhone, its just something I haven’t come across before.

So, I decided, as motivation to get me back into the swing of things exercising, considering I do none currently, and as an excuse to blog more, I’m going to do 30 days of using GymFu’s apps.  This will be an extended, real time test and review of the apps.  I will weight once a week, follow the apps regimens and exercise, and will keep track of my calorie intake, testing out two apps there as well.

So, starting tomorrow, I will record my weight, start keeping track of my calories and will begin using the apps, which let me point out, short of just reading on them, I have not started using them yet.  I have not created accounts or anything else, I will start that tomorrow, as a means to begin just like anyone else would.

So, feel free to check back here tomorrow, and every few days as I will be updating on my progress, as well as my opinions and feedback on the apps, or follow me on Twitter @Michael_Parsons for updates from myself, as well as the apps as they seem to connect with your Twitter account if you choose to allow them access.  So check back with me, as I go through 30 Days of “Fu”

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An App in Review: Camera+


Title: Camera+ Price: $1.99 (currently on sale)   Developer: tap tap tap

4.5stars[4]

cameraAs a Dad, my iPhone isn’t my best, most advanced camera, but it is probably my most used camera, and is especially useful and irreplaceable in those rare moments when you just have to snap a picture.  In fact, being able to have a decent camera phone where I could save a number of pictures at any one time was one of the “excuses” I used when I was buying my original 3G after we found out Abby was on the way.

If you look in the App Store, there are what seems to be a million and 1 camera and photo related apps that you download.  One such app is Camera+ [iTunes link] which comes from photographer Lisa Bettany and developed and distributed by tap tap tap and is worth every penny!

On the straight forward side, when it comes to image capturing, Camera+ offers a grid, allowing you to help line up your photos, an image stabilizer, which takes advantage of the phones accelerometer.  By turning on the image stabilizer, the shutter button either will blink red, yellow, or green, depending on how still you’re holding the device.  Once you’re holding your phone steady enough for the shutter button to blink green, Camera+ will automatically take thePhoto2 picture.  This helps eliminate the blurry pictures you can sometime catch, but unless you have a steady hand or a surface to place to phone one to help keep it still, I’ve noticed its sometimes hard to reach the steadiness green requires.  Sure you could see it as a downfall, but the purpose is there, and the desire is a steady, clear picture, so you can’t really argue with the function of it.  Camera+ also offers a digital zoom, which when originally released, prior to iOS4, it was a bigger deal then it is now with digital zoom built in to the default camera app, but regardless of that, it’s a useful tool within this app.

In terms of social media, everyone wants to be able to share pictures you grab.  What’s the point in catching that once in a life time moment if you can’t show it off and brag about it, right?  Well Camera+ doesn’t disappoint in this area, as it offers the ability to share images directly to Twitter, facebook, and flickr, along with giving you the option to email directly from the app.  However where Camera+ truly shines and sets itself apart from other apps is:

Lightbox

This is when Camera+ starts separating itself from the crowd and truly makes its on of the top camera apps out there.  When you use Camera+ to capture images, it doesn’t throw the picture into your photo library with all your other pictures, but puts it in its own little album within the app itself.  I’ll admit when I first started using this app, I wasn’t sure about this function, after using the default camera app for so long, having these photos in a different area seemed alien at first, but after a couple of uses, I absolutely love this part of the app.  Basically The Lightbox allows you to store your photos you take away and out of the default photo album, giving you a chance to edit, share, save to your photo library or delete the photos you’ve taken.  One function I notice with the Lightbox immediately is that the possibility of duplicate photos is removed, where it has been an issue with other apps I’ve used in the past.

Editing, Effects, and Borders

Camera+ offers a robust selection of different editing possibilities for photos that you’ve taken.  You have the option to play with your photo’s exposure settings, with what is a very comprehensive set of tools, offering 11 different settings, or conditions including sunset and beach, but I have found that the auto exposure does a decent job of making your photo more vibrant.  Actually if you do nothing else with your photos, I’d suggest using the auto exposure.  I’ve even gone back to some photos I’ve taken prior to using Camera+ and improved theirPhoto1 quality using the auto exposure.

Another selection of tools allow for cropping of your photo, but where most apps will simply allow you to drag over what you want cropped, Camera+ offers you a good variety of presets that include 4×6 and square.

Camera+ doesn’t stop there, offering up a large number of special effects you can use on your photo, offering a total of 24 presets separated into 3 groups; Color, Retro and Special.  Although I’ve never been one for many effects past black & white (if you can call that an effect), I have found myself using a few of these more and more as just a fun way to spice my photos up.

Finally you have the border tool, which will allow you to finish your photo with 8 different selections including thin, classy borders, and gritty.  Giving you a chance to give your photos that extra “oomph” with that timeless Polaroid look!

Even though I can do any and all of these using Photoshop, but that takes away the fun and I find myself using this app more and more and simply having fun with it.   For a Dad, a parent, or just someone that likes to snap pictures at any given moment, this is a must have app to help open up your creativity on the go.  NOTE: Check out Lisa’s blog to see more info and a couple of short info videos on how the app works.

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iPhone Apps for infants keeps growing! A look at an up and coming star…


star I’m not going to lie, I’m not sure how or why I became a fan of Kiboomu Kids on Facebook, but it has so been worth it!  They have just released their first of what will hopefully be many more apps with distribution through OneApp Applications Inc, Kiboomu Kids first app Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Preschool Storybook Piano (iPhone App) is a knock out hit! (And will be one of the featured apps for my new “iPhone Apps for Infants: Summer Edition” coming this week).

What Kiboomu did, has taken the classic song that we all learned when we were little, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and in my opinion, made it into an entertaining, educational, awe-inspiring NEW classic for what I deem the iPhone baby generation.  Twinkle, Twinkle comes with four modes to play; Play Sing Along, Learn The Song, Karaoke Mode, and Freestyle Mode.  Each mode offers its own method to allow kids to learn this great classic, giving this app the unique gift of having renewed interest, even with kids that get bored quickly, allowing for separate methods of integration.  (My girl prefers the Sing Along mode, and will both sit and listen, or play on the piano while listening and “singing” with it, so the toughest critic I have to offer, has a ball with it).

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As from the parental perspective, I enjoy the app greatly.  I can sing along with it, or be goofy with it to get Abby to laugh, or on what I consider a pretty cool note, you can play the Learn The Song mode, and the app teaches you the notes and how to play the song.  As far as apps go, this is a knock out hit and shows great promise for future apps coming from Kiboomu Kids. Highly Recommended and Geek Dad Approved!

*Head on over to Kiboomu Kids to learn more about this great app and to enter to win a free copy!  And don’t forget to check them out on Facebook and Twitter

 

UPDATE:  Kiboomu Kids has been kind enough to give Geekasms a promo code for a free copy of their great app!  Simply comment on this post for your chance to win a free copy of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star Preschool Storybook Piano!!

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iPhones and infants


I’ve realized that there is a growing demand for information for apps for what I’m calling iPhone Babies. I’m in the process of testing other apps with my baby girl (but Peekaboo Barn is still the take all home run).  What I’m looking for are suggestions for apps.  What does your baby enjoy, what gets their attention?  Paid or free, doesn’t matter, I’m curious to see what other magic apps are out there for us tech savvy parents.  Feel free to comment below on what apps you feel fall under the category of “Must Have”.

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