6 Ways A Tablet Makes You and Your Kids More Productive

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.”


3 Stargazing Apps For Every Smartphone

VZW DisclosureStargazing App

Summer is a time to relax and put the schedule aside. It doesn’t always work that way, though. And at the end of the day your mind goes over the 872 things you did that day and the odometer on the car that seems to spin like you’re looking for the $1.00 space at The Price Is Right showcase. And then night falls. And the quiet settles in and you’re thinking of heading outside to just sit and look at the stars.

Here in Phoenix, being out during the day is the last thing we want to do in the summer. We all do our best to manage it, but it’s just the reality here. Come nightfall though, we’re ready to go. Even though it doesn’t get dark until well after many kids’ bed time, sometimes you just need to stay up late and look up at the sky. With days upon days of cloudless skies and no school the next day, why not see what’s going on up in the dark sky?

Having spent time with professional stargazers and their expensive equipment, it spoils you. But we all can’t run out and buy a $10,000 telescope. What we can do, though, is download a few apps, look up at the stars and see what people have been look at for thousands of years.

1. Star Chart

What’s better than point and go when it comes to looking at stars that look like a bunch of little white dots in the sky? This augmented reality app is a top educational resource and will wow kids and adults alike. You can look at the sky visible to you or anywhere in the world as you turn your phone.

Available FREE on: iOS | Android | WindowsPhone

2. Sky Map

Another “point and look” app, Sky Map has over 11,000 star points and can pinpoint your location using GPS. While this app has the same name on all three mobile platforms, each is made by a different developer. Nonetheless, it’s a top app that works anywhere in the world day or night.

Available FREE on: iOS | Android | WindowsPhone

3. ISS Locator

Have you ever seen the International Space Station zip by? During an astronomy lesson I chaperoned for my daughter’s class we not only got to see the ISS fly by, but it was releasing a cargo pack and we should see that trailing behind as well. No fancy equipment was needed to see these. If you knew what you were looking for. Luckily, there are apps for all mobile platforms that will help you spot it no matter where you are in the world. Depending on where you live you may be able to see the ISS several times a week!

Available FREE on: iOS | Android | WindowsPhone | Web

So, get your phone, download these apps, and head outside after the sun goes down and re-live those times at camp when you’d stare up at the sky and wonder if the man in the moon really existed. Doesn’t matter if you have kids, if you’re a kid at heart, or just love checking out what’s up there in the dark of night these apps will surely make you popular at home or even at those summer evening garden parties.

Disclosure: I am a member of the Verizon Insider team. 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.


30 Ways Smartphones and Mobile Devices Have Changed the Way We Live


30 Ways Smartphones

VZW Disclosure

According to the Pew Research Center, as of January 2014, 90% of American adults have a cell phone. Of that 58% of American adults have a smartphone. Add in tablet ownership and we’ve got a lot of people using mobile devices in the US. And when it comes to the ways these devices can help us be better global stewards, it seems like the options are endless.

Just 5 years ago most of us were tossing yellow page books into the recycling bin without even bringing them in the house. Now, we don’t even get phone books because internet access is making them obsolete. With mobile devices, we can get that same information even if we’re not home. Think about all the trees saved with this change in how we access this information.

30 Ways Smartphones and Mobile Devices Have Changed the Way We Live

  1. Many of us no longer use paper for our lists because we’re using apps like Wunderlist or Evernote.
  2. We take fewer trips to the store because we can take a photo of what we need or want someone else to get.
  3. We photograph EVERYTHING yet rarely print anything.
  4. We (usually) don’t get lost when driving.
  5. Checking a map is less embarrassing than it used to be just a few years ago.
  6. There are apps to remind us to exercise. And drink water.
  7. Carpooling or car sharing is easier than ever with apps like CarpoolSchool, ZimRide, and KarPooler.
  8. We can downsize more easily by recycling or find new things by upcycling.
  9. Need help finding a recycling center for anything, there’s an app for that too. Actually, there are two great recycling apps.
  10. Our phones double as a flashlight, level, compass, and calculator.
  11. Music doesn’t need a separate device (sigh, Say Anything, sigh).
  12. Be prepared for medical emergencies with a First Aid app.
  13. Order food from virtually anywhere.
  14. Stay in constant contact with people even when you’re not with them.
  15. Share your travel photos with the world.
  16. We can read books, magazines, newspapers, journal articles, user manuals, and so much more without holding a piece of paper.
  17. Documenting history is no longer just for journalists.
  18. Kids can do homework or parents help kids with homework from anywhere.
  19. Asking questions of experts is a few taps away. And so is being an expert and answering a question someone else has.
  20. We watch TV differently than we did when we were growing up.
  21. And we document our lives in ways our parents never imagined.
  22. But it’s not all roses, because now we can’t just say “I wasn’t home”.
  23. Sometimes we’re more engaged with the conversation on our device than the one in front of us.
  24. We’re more likely document abuse and violence rather than just walk away not wanting to get involved.
  25. We shop differently, and those storied of “hanging out at the mall” no longer resonate with kids.
  26. Many of us don’t wear watches or own separate alarm clocks.
  27. Writing checks and mailing our bills is, for many, a thing of the past.
  28. We’re more informed consumers.
  29. We can wait less because of apps that help manage time at various events or attractions.
  30. Saving money has never been easier than with the plethora of apps and websites to help us.

I can go on to list more things, but these are a good start. We can do more with less and in many ways decrease our impact on the environment. Yes, these devices bring with them special considerations when they are discarded. But with all mobile carriers offering recycling programs it’s not difficult to dispose of them properly. And, I know there are drawback of having mobile devices connected to us 24/7. The point I’m trying to make is that mobile devices have changed the way we live and doing so in ways that can improve our lives, the lives of others, and the world.

How is your phone helping you reduce your carbon footprint?

Disclosure: I am a member of the Verizon Insider team. 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.