July 24, 2014

Nokia 2520 Tablet Productivity

VZW Disclosure

I’m a Mac girl. Macbook Pro, iPhone, iPad. But I gave up my iPhone exclusivity and added an Android smartphone to my purse. And I’ve been tech driving the Nokia Lumia WindowsPhone to stretch my familiarity with another OS.

At a Verizon Insiders Summit, I was given a Nokia 2520 tablet and asked to see how I can integrate a tablet into my family. Not just any table, though. A 10-inch Windows-based tablet with a world-class lens on a forward and rear-facing camera. Together with a power-case keyboard I traded in my Macbook Pro and smartphones in an effort to see how productive my family and I could be.

Here’s the most important thing I learned from this little experiment. Phones and computers are very distracting. They multitask very well. And not that you’re unable to multi-task on the Nokia tablet, it’s just not as easy. In a good way.

So, here goes:

6 Ways A Tablet Makes You More Productive

1. Mega battery life – The Nokia 2520 battery will keep you mobile for hours and hours. With the keyboard case, I had extra battery life so I wasn’t constantly looking for a wall outlet while I waited for BabyGirl at her different classes. And think about not having to sit on the ground or jockey for that one outlet at the airport. Or wishing your flight was shorter as you put your dead device away part-way through your flight.

2. Uni-Tasking – I know you can switch between apps on a tablet. The Nokia tablet can actually dual screen and you can see two apps at once. But the key here is that you’re not likely to open the 2nd app unless you really need it for the first. Less distractions! And with less distractions work gets done faster. The added bonus is that the Nokia comes with the MS Office Suite so I can work in standard documents, even if it was emailed to me while I wasn’t at my computer.

3. Photo Editing – This is a bit tricky because the 2520 comes with a Carl Zeiss lens that gives you amazing photos in the first place. But combine that with pro-quality photo editing apps you can turn out great images that can be incorporated into presentations, shared on social media, or sent to friends/clients/co-workers all while being untethered.

4. Instant Answers – Sure your phone can do that too. And your computer. But, where are they? Usually somewhere else. And even if your phone is nearby are you really going to hand it over to your child, co-worker, or colleague? With a tablet it’s large enough to sit with another person and do research together. It’s great for brainstorming and collaborating.

5. Portable – One of the biggest complaints of business travelers is not having enough space to use their laptop. For parents just trying to keep a child entertained on a long flight, the bulk of a laptop together with limited seat space make tablets the real winner when it comes to being productive when you travel. Even if that travel is by car, it’s so much easier to handle a tablet than it is a computer. If your virtual office consists of a mall bench, a waiting room chair, a shared coffee shop table, or even your car having a tablet make it easy to actually get work done.

6. Taking Notes – Whether it’s school, work, or home it seems like we’re always taking notes. I find with a tablet it’s easier to annotate and add notes and comments rather than type out an email response and hope it’s understood. For PDFs there’s an app for that! Several, actually.

Being productive on the go or just not having to be tethered to one spot making having a table a top priority for many. My friend Terri Nakamura recently opened Alki Surf Shop in Seattle and her Nokia 2520 tablet not only kept her productive, but has become a go-to device for running her shop.

I use mine everywhere. Relaxing on the couch at the end of the day, cooking, reading, working with clients, or when I’m out waiting for BabyGirl at her different classes. BabyGirl uses it to read, play games, make movies, and learn to code.

How does your tablet make you more productive?

Disclosure: I am a member of the Verizon Insider team and received a device to facilitate my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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July 22, 2014

Choosing Your Child's Name

I was in my early 20s the first time I decided on a name for a daughter if I had one. I wasn’t even married, but I knew the name I wanted for my daughter. She would be named after my mom and my grandma. Mind you, my grandma was still alive and naming a child after a living relative was never going to fly.

Flash forward about 10 years and when I got pregnant my grandma was still alive so I had to figure out a new first name for a girl. And because I wasn’t sure if it was a boy or a girl I needed to come up with a boy’s name too. CycleGuy and I needed a name that met all kinds of random criteria. It had to be at least two syllables. It couldn’t be something easily shortened. If it was shortened it had to still be a cool name. It had to be a name of a family member that passed away. And there were other much more random name-selection rules. Like it couldn’t sound stupid with her middle name and the monogram couldn’t be something that could hinder her growing up.

All of this because the name I had always imagined for my daughter couldn’t be used. While her middle name was still in play, since my grandma was still alive her first name could not be Marshon. Marshon was my grandma’s made up middle name. Yes, made up.

My grandma was born in 1920 and was not given a middle name. When she married my grandfather and got her new documents and updated her social security card she added a middle name for herself. And I’ve always thought it was a strong and unique name. It was only a few years ago that I found out she made it up. It’s a good thing even 80-year old brothers will tell their sister’s secrets.

So, I’m without a first name for a girl and I have no clue what I’d name a boy. For a girl my list of name options was very short. I’d thought of Emma, my Auntie, but her granddaughter had recently used it. Also, it was becoming very popular. Another thing on my “can’t have” list for names. My grandma was pushing for a variation of Harvey, my uncle. I adored my uncle and he was super cool, but I couldn’t think of a good girl name from Harvey. And calling her Harvey, as interesting as that may sound, was not able to pass my “doesn’t sound stupid for a girl” test. I also wasn’t feeling it to name a boy Harvey.

We came up with a boy’s name pretty quickly though. We would use my stepfather’s name, Charles, as the middle name and the first name would be Preston. No one is named Preston, but it was a name that was somewhat like my grandfather’s and it met all our criteria for a name. So, we had a boy name but not a girl.

Because I’d already used my mom’s middle name I didn’t want to use her first name, Eileen. I kept feeling I needed a stronger name. Out were my grandma’s sisters Minnie and Betty. They didn’t do much for me. And my uncle Herman told me that if I couldn’t figure out a name from family that it would be OK. Still, I really wanted to honor my heritage.

CycleGuy was named because his mom liked the name in the baby-name book. I was named after my great grandmothers. It’s not like we’re trying to maintain some family tradition, but it’s a lot of responsibility choosing your child’s names. And with most of my family gone and CycleGuy not all that connected to a family name, choosing a name for our daughter seemed harder than it really should be.

It took several weeks to decide on her name. Once I heard it though, I knew that was HER name. We chose my grandfather’s name, with a slight variation. He died about a year after I got married, but it seemed perfect as soon as we said it.

Yes, we gave her a man’s name. When I found out I was having a girl, it really clicked that we chose the right name. And while she was nearly 2 weeks late, her original due date was on his birthday. I took that as a sign.

The funny thing is that she has a lot of my grandfather’s traits and tendencies. The hardest part of naming BabyGirl after my grandpa was for my Grandma to hear his name again after being widowed 7 years.

As the years have gone by, more and more she shows me that we picked the right name. It’s the little things. My grandpa had a love for tape, as does BabyGirl. My grandpa loved to travel and read, things BabyGirl has enjoyed from very early on. And her sense of self. She’s a lot like my grandfather.

I love hearing stories of how people named their children. The stories are always fascinating and give a great deal of insight into family dynamics, heritage, and culture. It’s a big responsibility to choose your child’s name. Somehow, though, most names tend to be exactly right.

How did you choose your child’s name? Or, if you don’t have kids, have you thought about names for them if you do have them?



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