Gigaset G-Tag Review

I am a nightmare for loosing my keys, I’ve found them in the fridge and when I was pregnant even once in the oven!

Gigaset asked if I’d like to try their G-Tag fob which you can either attach to a set of keys, or chuck it in your car if you can never remember where you’ve parked (handy for Disney! I’ve lost so many cars there). If Miss L still had those ‘doll’ Clarks shoes I’d pop one in there, we can NEVER find her shoes in the mornings!

It works with the Bluetooth on your phone and it has an iOS and android app. You register with Gigaset pair your phone with the tag, and then off you go.

It tells you when it’s in range, and bleeps at you when you’re close (you can mute it if you don’t like noises, like me).

If you’re out of range it will bring up a map of where you last had it and handily your phone can be set to alert you, should you walk off and leave your keys or whatever you have tagged!

I was worried about the Bluetooth using up the battery on my phone but it seems ok so far, no worse than my car stereo. The battery in the fob lasts a year, I think it’s just a watch battery to replace.

They are £19.99 on Amazon and if you’re forgetful like me, dead handy!

**Full disclosure I received a G-Tag for free**

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Pin it Forward with Pinterest

Pin It Forward UK 2013

Pinterest are launching in the UK, well localising it probably a better term. They will have a new British English language setting and improvements, to make local UK content more easily discoverable for UK pinners when searching.  As I’m bit of a ‘Pinterestaholic’ (yes that is a new word and I couldn’t think of a better one!) they asked me to write about how I use Pinterest.

As most of you know I am a long time fan and user of Pinterest,  I find it one of the handiest sites around.  I was banging on about it back in 2011 when it first launched. And although we’ve had our ups and downs, Pinterest has remained I think one of the most useful sites out there if you have a crafty/design bent.

For those of you not familiar with Pinterest it’s like an online ‘Pinboard’ you can create ‘boards’ and pin images or posts from sites so you can have them all in one place (just remember to give credit where it’s due!). They are fantastic if you are planning a new room design, project or just a bit of digital hoarding.  You can have them public, private or collaborative with your friends.

For example I have a few boards, my most useful being Kitchen Inspiration

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Children’s Spaces

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 and Beautiful Gardens

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As I’m in the middle of re-making over the house, these boards and ideas are great for me to see what I want to do to the house and keep good ideas I spot all in one place.  The Bathroom board was invaluable when we were planning the new bathroom and I got so much inspiration from other people’s boards.

But my favourite board has to be my DIY Tips board – if you click on the image below you should be able to sign up to Pinterest and follow my DIY board. Nifty eh?

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I started the board as there are some amazing DIY tips on Pinterest and I’ve grabbed a selection from various creative blogger’s sites. I’ve learnt how to get a straight line when painting two colours next to each other (simple but who knew?), how to create a photo wall, paint furniture and clean kitchen equipement – all simple and straightforward.  Just the kind of tips I like.

Pinterest Pin it Forward

I’d like to introduce you to another Blogger Annaboo’s House who pins a wonderful crafty selection here her Crochet Board and Garden Boards are my favourites. And the lovely TeaWagon Tales who introduced me from her site, I think they are both gorgeous.  Go check them out!

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{Review} Wonderbook: Book of Spells

We were lucky enough to be invited to the launch of the PS3 game ‘Wonderbook – Book of Spells’ by JK Rowling.  It’s based on one of the Hogwarts textbooks written by Miranda Goshawk and in the restricted section of the Hogwarts Library – yeah you can imagine how much Miss L loves this!  Here’s the official blurb about the game and what the children can do with it:

“This advanced textbook will assist students on their journey to becoming an accomplished witch or wizard. Read, discover, learn and practice spells such as Incendio, Wingardium Leviosa and Expelliarmus, as well as discover mischievous notes, spells and humorous anecdotal facts scribbled into the margins by previous Hogwarts students. J.K. Rowling has written a conundrum that leads you through the experience, providing insight into the values a witch or wizard has to learn, and inviting you to journey through the book to unlock new content, rewarding successful students along the way.”

How much fun does that sound? Well we didn’t have a PS3 so Sony kindly gave us one and the game to try out – which made Miss L’s day, she’s thrilled with it.  The whole thing was pretty easy to set up, and you don’t need masses of space for the interactive gaming, which is handy!.

The game itself is pretty impressive, you’ll need the Playstation move and eye add ons to play it – doesn’t work without them. The controller is turned into a wand on the screen and there is a book that comes with it.  The book on the face of it without the game just looks bizzare it’s full of blocks and nothing in it to read, but then put it with the game.  It is amazing, like something you would have played on at Disney 10 years ago, but it’s now in your lounge.  The book becomes a 3D augmented reality book which takes the children through the game teaching them spellings and earning them house points like they were at Hogwarts.

You can also link the game up to Pottermore, and your child’s account there so it’s all interactive with that world too.  There’s also quite a lot of reading involved – I like that kind of sneakiness in a game and it very much brings the Harry Potter world to life.   The only downside to it is that only one person can play it at a time, so if you have more than one child it’s going to have to be a team effort playing it and they will have to take turns.

Here’s Miss L’s verdict on the game:

‘This is a fun game for all the family, it’s an enjoyable game with amazing graphics.  You can create spells from a bubble head charm to a mythical animal.  My favourite part is the bubble head charm and I like spraying Mummy with water when I cast the Aguamenti spell (ed- that’s the water casting spell – she get’s to virtually spray me with water).’

And then she ran off to play it! But she’s invited most of her friends to come over and try it out, so she must be impressed.  I really hope there will be more downloadable content for it further down the line as it’s been such a hit with Miss L, it’ll be nice to carry on the adventure.

It’s available on Amazon from the 16th November – the basic game is £22.99 and the Starter Kit with the Move and Camera and Game is £59.99. And obviously in all other good shops that carry computer games 🙂

 

 

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Etsy Girl Geekery

I’ve been inspired by Abby over at Little Red Buttons who has been making the most amazing Etsy Treasury’s.   So I’ve made one of girl geekery, there’s tech love there for everything from the iPad and iPhone to the Playbook and Blackberry – not to mention the slightly geeky River Song’s journal.

Personally I am desperate for the the Jane Austen book iPhone charger below – that has just shot to the top of my Christmas list!

Thanks Abby for the inspiration, pop over to her’s to see how to make your own Treasury and join her ‘Treasury Tuesday’s’.


UPDATED Macbook Air 11″…

$79.99

Jane Austen’s Sense and …

$52.00

Kindle 3 Case Felt and Leath…

$30.00

iPhone Phone Cases STANDARD …

$54.00

4GB Princess Leia USB Lego M…

$35.00

Parudao Wood MacBook Teksure…

$24.99

Clear iPad stand

$10.00

iHeart my ipad 1 or 2 —–S…

$43.00

Apple Love – Inspired by Ind…

$4.95

Ipad Sleeve — Cute little …

$38.00

PlayBook Sleeve You Choose F…

$24.50

Ultimate Stash 15″ lapt…

$199.00

River Song’s Tardis Jour…

$47.00

USB Typewriter Computer Keyb…

$599.00

iPhone 4 case / iPhone 3g ca…

$15.00

Macbook pro decal mac decal …

$7.99

Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.

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RIP Dialup

Time has moved on….

‘Mum, what’s this movie’

‘It’s The Matrix Miss L, and you’re too little to see it’

‘Why not?’

“Too much violence, but I think you’ll like the story when you’re older’

‘What’s it about then?’

‘Well there is a big computer running a programme called The Matrix, and it’s tricked people into thinking it’s Real Life.  People use telephone lines to dial in and out of the computer system to travel between real life and The Matrix’

‘I don’t understand?’

‘You don’t understand what, sweetie?’

‘Dial up, what’s that?’

I explain the concept of dial up internet and using a computer constantly attached to a phone line….

‘You used WHAT?? HA HA HA HA HA’ Child runs off laughing at the ‘olden times’

 

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QR Codes

Okay so you know I’m an utter geek and need to get out more, well yesterday I spent a couple of hours playing with QR Codes (it was that or The Simpsons movie again!).  So what are QR Codes? I can hear you asking.  Well some of you may have noticed these little black squares popping up in Magazines, Newspapers and on Websites.

Now they look a bit weird and dull but in fact very, very cool and can contain all sorts of information!  If you have an a smartphone pop to your app store and download a QR Scanner.  The best one I’ve found is free on the Apple App Store and is just called Scan (made by QR Code City you can download it from their site)  – it must be on the Android Store too I would have thought? If not I’m sure they have their own version.

Once you’ve downloaded it you can can scan these little codes and find out what they say – try the one above for an example for the secret message I’ve put in it 🙂

But the most useful application I’ve so far found for them is adding them to your business or blog cards, here’s mine:

So when you scan it, it’ll create a .vcf file for your smartphone and you can just save it as a contact – no boring typing in, just scan and save.  It works off computer screens or from paper which is really rather nifty.  If you want to make your own QR code for business cards or websites, pop over to QR Stuff where there are lots of different codes you can make for your websites sites or your businesses.  Have fun!

(**Update** Nickie at Typecast has also done a great post about QR codes  – read more here )

 

 

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Dance Juniors for Wii Review

The PR company sent me a copy of this ages ago and I feel awful I’ve not reviewed it before. It pretty much kept us sane and warm through the horrid cold wet February half term.  I think Miss L is on the edge of being too old for it but most kids from 3 – 8  would have a great time.  I got all excited because some Wiggles songs were on it, I miss them! Miss L however was more impressed by The Jackson’s ABC being on there, she’s cooler than me, what can I say?. The songs on the game, were spot on for the younger age group and they were sung by kids – except the Wiggles ones – hurray!!!.

As it turns out, I utterly suck at dancing games and Miss L utterly kicked my butt everyday by more than 3,000 points – how embarrassing!  But it’s fun and a good workout, so I suspect we’ll get some of the more grown up versions and we can pretend to be Beyonce 🙂

Anyway check my girl throwing some dance moves to ‘All Star’ (no video of me doing it – what a shame!)

 

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Nokia N8 and Ovi Software Review

(Disclaimer: Nokia sent me a shiny new Nokia N8*)

It’s no surprise to most of you that I love testing new gadgets. So when Nokia asked me if I’d like to play with their new N8 phone and Ovi software I jumped at the chance. Up until the iPhone came out in 2007, I’d been a faithful Nokia owner for 14 years. I’m still very nostalgic for my  Nokia 8210 which I saw as a totally game changing phone. It was a fantastic innovation, when other phones were still bricks or horrific flip tops the 8210 was a tiny piece of class.

However my last phone from them was the Nokia N73 and it was an utter piece of crap. The phone itself was ok, the camera was decent but the software….. every time I took a call it ‘blue screened’ and turned rebooted itself – not ideal in a phone!  So when the iPhone came out in 2007, I broke my contract to buy it and I’ve never used a Nokia again.

Fast forward 3 years and I have a new shiny Nokia in my hands.  The phone itself is lovely piece of hardware not huge, pretty thin and very solid, it has a 12 mega pixel camera and video and it’s got a nice bright touchscreen like the iPhone. It’s still using pretty much the same software as Nokia has done for years and if you are familiar with it, it’s easy to use. I was a bit rusty, eventually it all came back to me (after a bit of swearing!).

The phone came with an international Sim Card, which didn’t seem work in the UK – well at least I couldn’t get it to work! So to use the software I hooked it up to my home wifi, so I’ve not been able to test it on phone calls, or texts or use it as a Sat Nav though which is a massive shame.

But onto Ovi – it’s the name of all the interactive software on the phone – Social Media, Sat Nav, there is also an Ovi Store where you can buy games and other applications for the phone.  However some of the games have prices that are much more than the same game sold on the Apple App store, for example Angry Birds on Ovi is £3.00 and on the Apple App Store it’s 59p. I know the prices are set by the developers for converting them to Symbian but seriously that much difference?

However the actual part they wanted me to try was the Sat Nav voice software. You can make the Sat Nav voice commands in your own voice, or have your children do it and it’s lots of fun. Easy to use and there are other voices – Pirates, Singing, etc you can download from Ovi for free.  But because of the Sim issues I’ve not been able to test the actual Sat Nav itself outside the house and away from the wifi.

Things I liked about it and had forgotten I’d missed about Nokia’s:

Being able to back it up via Bluetooth automatically as you sit near your laptop – Apple are you listening? Cables and connecting software are so 1996!

The ability to have changeable home screens so you can set it to work or personal – nice if you have to use your personal phone for work.

Having your diary on your home screen – handy if like me your phone runs your life.

The Camera and Video couldn’t be faulted – excellent quality and an inbuilt flash.

Things I disliked:

The software…..it’s still the same old, same old.  Ridiculous hierarchy’s for changing the settings on your phone for example. To turn on Wifi  you go through 4 screens, to change the pin number ‘Security’ is now 5 layers in. I had a vague idea of where to look but I think it would really frustrate less techie people.  I’m going to be very interested to see how my Dad who’s getting it copes with it.

So other than my gripes about the software, all in all it’s a nice solid phone if you want an upmarket touch screen phone that’s not Apple related and your used to the Nokia software, but it’s not going to replace my iPhone anytime soon

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Martha Stewart iPad App

I spotted on my GReader that Martha Stewart Living had released a special iPad app ‘extra’ magazine, so as I know that some of you are iPad and Martha lovers I thought it was my duty to download it and review it for you 🙂  I’m not sure if this is going to be a monthly thing or if this is a one off?  First impressions, this is what the iPad was designed for and it’s very stylish and the animations and movies really bring it to life.  If this is the future of magazines, I can live with it!.

Image: Martha Stewart iPad App

It’s the same layout and style to ‘Living’ so you very much know what you’re getting.  It’s I think £2.15  (sorry I forgot to double check when I downloaded it) which is cheaper than the magazine in the UK which is about £4.50.  There is about the same amount of content once you take the ads out of the magazine.  However there are still a couple of adverts on the app version, which seems ridiculous as you are paying for the app – I’d rather pay £2.50 and not have adverts at all.

Image: Martha Stewart iPad App

I think this format will be ideal for the ‘Specials’ like Christmas and Easter, which are hard to get here in the UK. I look forward to seeing the next version and what they do with it with hopefully even more interactivity.  If you don’t have an iPad  and you’re interested there’s a Flickr set with a lot of the images from the magazine but it doesn’t give the ‘full’ iPad experience with the interactivity but good to look at.

I’ll be interested to hear what you all think of it?

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Best Dressed iPad

It’s official, I have the best dressed iPad in the UK.  Not only do I have the lovely covers Jen made me but I also received this beautiful iPad cover from Natalie at Etsy’s Sea Side Sew It’s just stunning and so well made. Natalie let me choose my fabric from a really gorgeous selection and then this arrived all the way from California about 10 days later.

So prettily wrapped – you should have heard me squealing 🙂

How gorgeous is this fabric?  And it’s waterproofed too.  It’s well padded and protects the ipad really well, in fact it’s swung my Mum from technophobe to iPad wannbe owner 🙂

It also has a closing velcro which is under this pretty tab – the buttons add a really classy touch.

I’m so impressed, I really am, with not only the service but the choice of fabric and the detail that has gone into making such a beautiful handmade item. Please check out Sea Side Sew for their full range if you’re an ipad, iphone or kindle owner there are some great covers on there.   Thank you Natalie x

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Half Term Fun

We had a great half term, we didn’t do a massive amount as the car is playing up (don’t even get me started on the Renault garage! Hopefully it should be fixed this week). But earlier in the week, we went up to Alton Towers on a freebie trip from 3 Mobile – thanks guys!

They sent us tickets for Alton Towers, an in-car Wifi system and an iPod touch for Miss L to play on. The journey from here to Alton is about 3 hours and I have to say the Wifi when we were in a 3G cell was amazingly good. We had the iPhones, iPod working off of it at the same time no problem and it was really fast. The only problem is that East Anglia and the East Midlands are the land that 3G forgot – we had hardly any 3G signal. For those who want 3G on the A14/M1 you can get it at Cambridge, Kettering, East Midlands Airport and Peterborough – which is maybe tops 20 minutes of the 3 hour journey. So as much as I thought it was a handy little gadget, living in the 3G blackhole where we are means that I won’t be buying one.

Alton Towers was bit of a revelation – I’ve not been there since I was 15 and Paul hadn’t been since he was at Uni and it was really good – despite the pouring rain!. The staff were really friendly, they were kind to Miss L and made it fun for her which is more than the staff at Disneyland Paris did! So I think we’ll be heading back in a few years for a 2 night stay with Miss L when she’s a bit bigger. Although there was quite a lot for her to do at her current height but another foot, I think would make all the difference and she could pretty much go on everything then.

But totally showing my age, the gardens there are really beautiful. If you get time or are bored with the rides pop to the ‘Forbidden Valley’ and check out the large pond with the waterfall, with all the Rhododendrons around it’s just stunning as you can see in the picture above. Really beautiful.

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iPad and iPad Cases

ipad

Yes I know it’s another gadget, and you know we probably don’t need it but we pre-ordered an iPad on Monday – yay!

I’m going to be really interested in seeing how we use it and what we use it for.  Paul and I already rarely get out our laptops anymore for reading the news, blogs, and google readers –  we use our iPhones.  The same applies to gaming. Miss L tends to use our iPhones for playing games on now, rather than her Nintendo DS which is handy for us. I’d far rather buy a 59p game than something that’s £20 and she then doesn’t like/play with ever again *Brain Training I’m looking at you*.

So now I need somewhere to house my new little beauty…sorry I mean ‘our’ little beauty 🙂

As usual the offical cases are well – man like and dull as hell, so I’ve been scouring Etsy for something to store it in and there are some lovely cases on there.

All of these sellers are in the US, but ship internationally thankfully!

First up is Sea Side Sew their cases are handmade, padded and  water resistant.  They have an amazing selections of fabrics to choose from, just ask to see the selection.  They are sending me one to review, so expect a follow up post in a few weeks.

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The Wallaby Bag Company – use foam padding and are scotch guarded to prevents stains, they also have a handy front pocket.

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Blythe King makes these fantastic recycled vintage fabric iSockits

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Janine King Designs have made some really cute bags to house the iPad

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And these beautiful sleeves, which have space for power cords and phone/keys etc.

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All of these fabulous stores have covers for Kindles, Notepads, Laptop, iPhone and Blackberries.  So pop over have a look!

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What was I thinking?

I am an utter prat.  How long have I worked in IT….forever….

Did I regularly backup my iPhone? No I did not…

Why not? you may ask…..

Because it didn’t do it automatically via bluetooth or wifi like my old Nokia and I couldn’t be arsed is the honest truth.   Plugging it into my computer via a cable seemed so 1997 so I did it maybe 8 times in the 2.5 years I’ve owned an iPhone. The first one (2G) I had was so slow it was like pulling teeth to get it to sync so I left it and it was ok, no dramas.

Bought my shiny 3GS last summer and it’s been wonderful and the syncing was fast, but I still didn’t really do it. I’d gotten out of the habit and I still have to plug the cable which is a pain.  All was fine until yesterday.  I had a weird message the battery told me that it was at 3% so I left it as I wasn’t near the plug and thought I’d leave it to run down.  10 minutes later I looked at it again to plug it in and the battery was telling me 78%.  Odd, so I plugged it in and minutes later it was telling me 100%, I left it on the bedstand until this morning when I went to check my e-mail…IT WAS DEAD.  Dead, totally and utterly not working, plugged it into the mains and the red battery light came on. Fine left it, made breakfast came back STILL ON RED NOTHING HAPPENING!!

By this point I was feeling sick, everything in my life is on that damn phone, photos, video, contacts, diary….everything.  Tried not to panic and left it for a bit longer and went out for the day…7 hours later still on the same bloody red battery light!

So I scoured the web for a way to fix it and get my data back.  I didn’t want to take it to the Apple Store for them to just swap it out and to lose everything. But first I needed to un ‘stick’ it off the battery symbol.  I couldn’t get it working in recovery mode so I had to to a last resort reset.  This site told me how to get it into DFU Mode this resets it but of course it really, really helps if you have actually ever backed it up so you can get all your info back!!

I’ve lost all my Christmas photos, videos of the nativity play, new contacts, diary dates – you name it. I’m so annoyed at myself, so the moral of the story is backup your iphone and don’t be a dummy like me.  Oh and if I’m supposed to meeting you or have your number – please mail me x

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