Last night we went back to school night for my sons fourth-grade class. We have an eighth grader’s we’ve already been through this before. Most of our questions focused on changes from the routine from what we experienced four years ago. Something look harder and some things are easier, but it looks like our son will have a full day. We were struck by sex differences in study habits that may be our most evident at this grade level and beyond. Increasingly, studying becomes important, even when there isn’t a specific assignment. As parents of the young boy, we were eager to see more clarity in nightly assignments and expectations. While the kids are supposed to read 10 minutes per night, many of the parents, perhaps of boys, requested that this be more explicitly spelled out as class homework.
In our daughters eighth grade class, we hear parents even more adamant about the need for this explicitness. It’s not enough to say to some kids, “be sure to study for the test next week.” They need a reminder every day in their lesson plan that they should be devoting some time to studying ahead of the test. For those kids, luckily my daughter is in one of them, the parents need to review that list with their child every evening and make sure they’re staying on point.
As a father of a younger boy an older girl, I’m very aware of how they will have different styles of studying and preparation. I’ve already been exposed to how expectations for how a girl will act in elementary school might make a little boy seen at least temporarily less than capable. But I also know that my high school, sex differences in how we perceive more assertive, extroverted behavior will make the boys stand out. It all makes me think how, as a parent, you have to constantly modulate your style and approach, not only for each child, but for their different stages of development.
this new year will bring renewed focus to study and discipline. We’ve already upped the ante on piano practice. We been told that the extra reading we did last year for fun now must become routine. And finally, one of the major hurdles of childhood education, the learning of the multi location tables, we now know should be accomplished by the end of the calendar year. This will all mean more pain and suffering for a little boy, unless we add in all the extra tasks is just part of another average day and not develop in him a long-term distaste for learning.
I tried the new Eye-Fi Mobi SD card for digital cameras at a press event yesterday. I’ve been a long-time user of Eye-Fi cards from the early days (they launched in 2005). The big advantage of these cards is to make it easy to transfer your camera’s photos to your computer or the cloud somewhere without needing to ever remove and replace the card. The earlier versions of the Eye-Fi were both smaller in GB size and while fairly simple, took a bit of focus to set up and use consistently. Now Eye-Fi has come up with a new card for “impatient” people (their words) who want photo delivery fast and painless.
Based on the now well-founded assumption that you always have a smartphone with you, the Mobi uploads photos constantly to your Android or iOS app (including Kindle Fire). No waiting to get back to your computer or device. Mobi creates its own very small WIFI network, so as long as you’re paired with your phone, you are always connected. Your smartphone then seamless syncs with your computer through the cloud or your next hard-wired sync.
They’ve even made the set-up a very simple process. You can see the Eye-FI mobi setup here.
I tried the setup at home and it was as quick as they would want you to assume. One recommendation I’d have is to incorporate a QR or augmented reality code into their marketing materials to avoid a bit of data entry and clicking from landing page to download page to app download, but even that didn’t take too much effort (we do get lazy though, don’t we?).
While most people now are using their smartphone to take what used to be called “snaps,” many moms and dads also tote an SLR for better shots. For those busy parents, who aren’t interested in options like direct uploads to Flickr or Facebook (that can be done later), the Eye-Fi Mobi is a good choice.
GreatDad.com Review Policy: The featured product for this review was provided to us, at no cost, by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. We do not accept monetary compensation for reviewing or writing about products. We only review products that we have personally tested and used in our own homes, and all opinions expressed are our own.
In a search to prevent late middle age spread, I’ve been biking 6-7 miles every day at lunch. I arrive home hot and sweaty, so that must be a good thing, right? However, I also feelliberated to snack all afternoon and have a nice glass of wine with dinner, so I’m afraid so far the fat is winning. Like a lot people, I’ve measuring all this activity to feel like I am accomplishing something. I have a mini bike computer that measures the miles and time and I check is obsessively as I ride, to the great peril of pedestrians and small animals. A few weeks ago, I downloaded Argus, a steps and other activity tracker. Based on your location, it can monitor your speed, but also the amount of elevation based on your route for an approximation of calories burnt. Now that I’m looking at that, I’ve also given into the temptation to listen to music as I ride, which I don’t think is necessarily a safe habit but it is a lot of fun.
Wahoo Fitness PROTKT Bike Mount
Enter the need to then attach the iPhone to the bike so I can operate its controls and see the screen. I’ve been trying the PROTKT bike mount for iPhone 5 from Wahoo, a small company that is trying to get into the activity tracker business. They have a kickstarter project for the RFLKT smart bike computer, which may result in production as early as October 2013 For now, their PROTEKT bike mount makes monitoring your iPhone easy while riding your bike.
The first thing you need to know however, is that despite the image on the box cover, there is no bike activity app that comes with this case. The graphics are for an app in development. You’ll have to use a third party app like Argus or Track My Ride. They do offer other physical tracking devices that connect to the iPhone, which I will review in the near future.
In this review, I just want to focus on the PROTKT as an iPhone 5 bike mount.
First of all, the installation is very confusing. The creators found it was easier to include a QR code in the box rather than actual directions, so you need to scan and be directed to a URL to see the fairly basic directions in a YouTube video. I found that a little silly, since the video directions were not that clear, glossing over the parts that were the least obvious to someone looking at the device for the first time. For example, the case is held closed by a stretchy rubber band. Without knowing this, opening the case is not intuitive, and not that easy even when you do know how. The video shows this, but doesn’t make it very clear. However, once you get your phone in the case, you do feel very secure that it is locked down tight, which of course, is the most important thing since you likely are not going to be delegating the encasing of your iPhone to many other people.
Installation on the bike:
Attaching the mount to the bike also requires watching a short video, which again loses a little something in the translation. The mount attaches to the bike using plastic locking ties (think the plastic cuffs you see cops use) that pull and lock the mount down tight. I did find that once the mount is attached and the phone is inserted, that everything works as planned. The PROTEKT shields the phone from the elements, allows access to buttons and screen and holds still on the handlebar or stem thanks to a slightly cushioned mount that hugs the metal.
While all the marketing materials show the PROTKT mounted on the stem, so right in the middle of your handlebars, this will not work on all bikes. My wife’s Giant has a stem that is both big enough and round enough to take the mount. My Trek however, has an oval shaped stem that will not allow the mount to tightly grab the bar. I had to mount the PROTKT on the handlebar next to my bell.
Once we figured out how to get the phone in the case and the mount on the bike, ongoing use was easy and simple.
The PROTKT also comes bundled with the Wahoo Fitness App for cycling – but you need to combine it with fitness sensors to get anything out of it. I am eager to pair my PROTKT’ed iPhone with the Wahoo Blue HR Heart Rate Strap and the Wahoo Blue SC Speed and Cadence Sensor to track my cycling through the Wahoo Fitness app. But that will have to wait until I get the the sensors.
Bottom line: there is a lot to like with this case. Installation is actually really easy once you get past a few confusing moments in the beginning. Best of all the mount really does feel secure attached to the bike. We’ve tried other options, such as the Text Hook that allow for more flexibility in terms of phone or device size, but in the end feel looser and riskier.
On the other side, this case is only for the iPhone 5 and will not fit the iPhone 4 and potentially an upcoming iPhone 6. At almost $70, it’s not a cheap case, though the cost of dropping your new iPhone is substantially higher.
- Ultimate protection: Tested in the most extreme conditions, the PROTKT will keep your iPhone safe through the sweat, the wet, the dirt and the dust.
- Secure and easy mounting: With a simple quarter turn twist, your phone is locked into place with a reassuring click and can be removed just as quickly and easily by twisting to unlock.The rubber stem and bar mounts included paves the way for a smooth ride.
- Full phone functionality: Data junkies rejoice: the PROTKT allows you to monitor your progress on multiple Apps without fumbling in your pockets or packs. The effortless quarter-turn mounting lock also makes it easy to pick up your phone for calls or for those can’t miss photo opportunities and of course full access to your music library.
Our entire family has now downloaded the new iOS for iPad and iPhone. I should say to start out that I’ve been an Apple user since 1992, and one of the faithful few even during the dark days. Our love for Apple has always stemmed from the human side of the product, and what Steve jobs try to medicate with the slogan “the computer for the rest of us.” While “real” engineers have always promoted the openness of Microsoft, and recently of android, it was the operating systems of Apple products that made us users feel that we were the master of the device rather than the other way around.
While I know many people in the past 10 years, since the beginning of Mac OS X, had sniggered about the faux leather look of applications like address book and calendar, these treatments, while I agree they are hokey, made us feel strangely secure in retrospect. When I look at my iPhone with a new iOS 7, I see a device that could easily be for Microsoft or from Google. Whether you like the new design are not, whether you like the flat colors or not, there is not a lot of humanity left in the design. Where former icons were made to amuse and delight–remember the joy to see it first snowing in the Weather app?– the new icons are now just visual treatments to communicate a concept. There are no icons for screens I’ve seen yet that make me smile, or appreciate the change. What is lacking also, is any type of brightness since all of the colors are so light and bright. In setup screens, is completely unclear where the important parts are; even in color, it almost looks monochromatic.
On the second day after its launch, my family already wonders if there’s a way to go back to iOS 6. So far, we have found few features to make us glad we switched. My daughter likes the new Apple radio feature that mimics Pandora, with the potential to make lots of money for Apple. I like the fact that Safari now stores passwords. But these are not real game changers and could’ve easily been integrated into the last graphical interface.
I have a nagging fear that this may be the beginning of the change everyone feared after Steve Jobs passed away. That without Steve, the company would sink to the temptations of the marketplace, milking as much cash as they can, and imitating the worst of their competitors. I have yet to read any other reviews expressing these opinions so my family may be alone in its revolt. Still, we now worry about the new OS X Mavericks coming out this fall and whether it will also start to destroy the relationship we have with our laptops.
I screwed up on Saturday. My son told me that he would be awarded his blue belt in aikido. Because he often makes declarative announcements, I checked with one of the organizers of the class who told me that the kids were not ready and that he could not imagine there would be a ceremony this week. So we did carpool as usual, picking my son up right as the class was supposed to be ending. Unfortunately, instead of finishing the class as usual, they ended with a test and the awarding of new belts.
My son was crestfallen that we weren’t there to see him reach what is actually the second the last belt he can achieve in aikido. He whimpered all the way home, with a “nobody loves me,” sadness that made us all feel very guilty. It didn’t really matter that we had been told that we didn’t need to come. All he knew is that he had told us to be there and we had failed him. All the other events we’ve attended over the years; the plays, the class performances, the soccer industrial games, none of it made a difference. He could only feel about the thing that he didn’t have. I told him I thought he was right to be mad, but that we do our best to be there for him as often as we can but that sometimes we fail.
As parents often do, I wondered what memories he will take with him into adulthood. Will he remember this all as “the good times?” Or will he remember the few times we weren’t there for him? I’m hopeful it will be the former, though I know there are events that are insignificant to us now that will imprint on his young brain and that he will take with them into the future. There’s not a lot I can do about that. But I do and agonize over how many there are and how to avoid them.