September 19, 2014

Amazon Has a New Kid-Friendly Kindle Fire

Maybe you have an iPad, or an Android Tablet. Or maybe even a Kindle Fire. You love it. So do your kids. They get their greasy fingerprints all over your greasy fingerprints. (Aside: tablets have got to be a germaphobe’s nightmare. All that touching…)

Ideally, if you can afford it, you’d like to get your kid(s) a tablet of their own. Amazon hopes that you will buy their new kid-friendly Kindle Fire.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet

Called the Fire HD Kids Edition, this is not a kiddie-Kindle. It’s a full-fledged Fire HD, available with either a 6 or 7-inch display. What makes it kid-friendly are the following features:

A “Kid-Proof Case” is included. Basically it’s a protective bumper-style case that you can buy for existing tablets, but with the Fire HD Kids Edition, you don’t have to buy it separately and you can pick between three different colors — blue, green, or pink. More important is this next bit.

– 2-Year Worry-Free Guarantee. Here is the wording from Amazon.com: “Enjoy the peace of mind with an unprecedented 2-year worry-free guarantee—if they break it, we’ll replace it for free. No questions asked.” That’s huge. Really. Kids break stuff. It happens. Usually you have to pay a bundle for an extended warranty, and if the thing actually does break you have to crawl through broken glass to get them to repair/replace it. A 2-year, no questions asked replacement policy is a sweet thing.

– One Year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited. Described by Amazon as, “a hand-curated subscription of over 5,000 kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games,” this is presumably the razor blade to the Fire razor. Get a year for free, get the kid hooked, then start making your annual tithe to Amazon after the free year is up. There’s no obligation to do so, though. Sometimes parents forget that they can say no.

That said, here are two quotes from Amazon’s site:

“FreeTime is AWESOME. Age appropriate for each kid and the parental controls are priceless. My son has to read books for 30 min each day before it unlocks videos and games.” – Valerie
“I use Kindle FreeTime & it is PERFECT!!!! I can use the apps that FreeTime has, but also add other apps like Angry Birds, Temple Run, etc.” – Whitney

So you can use the tablet yourself when the kids are done with it. That’s handy. Also, as much as I prefer the idea of actually saying “you have to read a book before you can play video games”, the idea of assigning that task to a machine is… well, it’s future-thinking, it’s where we’re headed as a society (at least those who can afford it) and I like the feature. It’s not clear to me if you would still be able to use the Parental Controls/Kindle FreeTime without a subscription.

Bottom line: not a bad price for what looks like a pretty powerful and useful tablet. Available for pre-order now. Read more about it at Amazon.com, and also check out the articles below (which come from other sites and we take no responsibility for their content).



September 18, 2014

Cool Looking Watch On Sale (DaddyDeals)

Amazon has this cool looking watch on sale. Regular price $150.00, Deal price $104.99. It’s a Men’s PD0019 Black Reflex LED Digital Watch. Click through to see it, it’s kinda nifty, and if you’re in the market for a not inexpensive watch, at least this way you won’t be spending quite as much money.

Amazon.com: REFLEX Men’s PD0019 Black Reflex LED Digital Watch: Reflex: Watches.



September 18, 2014

Dad Concerned Son’s E-Gaming Career May Not Last Forever

The headline “Dad Concerned Son’s E-Gaming Career May Not Last Forever” may sound like it belongs on The Onion, but it’s real. Here are some quotes from an article that was on the FRONT PAGE of the New York Times a few weeks back.

(Note: the photo below is from a a DOTA Championship back in 2005. Remember 2005? Good times, good times. OK, not really.)

English: The top three finalists in DotA Allst...

English: The top three finalists in DotA Allstars, from WCG 2005 (a computer gaming championship). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His obsession with video games was a sore point with Mr. Dager’s parents during his teenage years, as it was for the parents of many top gamers.

“I, and many players like me, sacrificed everything,” said Mr. Dager, who is almost a senior in college but is not attending school now. “We gave up on sports and friends and school just so we can play more.”

Mr. Dager’s income was meager last year, amounting to less than $20,000. But he estimates his income so far this year at more than $200,000.

He recently looked at a condominium to buy in Fort Wayne. His father, Joe Dager, said he was proud of his son’s success but uncertain about the longevity of his son’s career.

“There’s hardly a week that goes by when we don’t reiterate the fact that that’s all fine and good, but at some point you do have to make provisions to finish school,” his father said. “We say that, but I don’t know if Bill Gates’s parents are still saying that to him.”

(Note: emphasis added above.)

Quick comment: making money playing video games does not mean you are Bill Gates. It doesn’t even mean you’re a programmer, or know a thing about how to start a successful business, much less the multibillion dollar Microsoft. So let’s not get too crazy.

What I say to kids who tell me they want an e-gaming/e-sports career is the following: start really young, keep your expectations realistic, and don’t skip college unless you’ve got something tangible happening where you are making actual money. Not potential money. Actual money. And any money you make? Save it. Put it in the bank. Invest it in something low-risk. (Unless you have a trust fund or something. In that case, be a mensch and donate your winnings. That would be a nice thing to do.) Because the game that you happen to be a master of could easily disappear as quickly as it became popular. Maybe even faster.

In E-Sports, Video Gamers Draw Real Crowds and Big Money – NYTimes.com.

 



September 8, 2014

Check Out This Dad’s LEGO Chess Set Kickstarter

Roger Sinasohn is a writer (we both wrote for AOL ParentDish before it became part HuffPo) and a dad and he had a great idea for a Kickstarter project — a LEGO Chess Set. I’ll let him explain.

I backed it. (I like t-shirts, and I like helping people with stuff like this when I can.) If you’d like to contribute, hit the link below.

LEGO My Chess Set by Roger Sinasohn — Kickstarter.



September 6, 2014

This Is Just Wrong (Links)

A 15-Year-Old Girl Was Forced To Wear A “Shame Suit” After Her School Decided Her Dress Was Too Short. (Buzzfeed)


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August 31, 2014

More Cool Space News

Ready for more cool space news? This Gizmodo headline had me at “hello world” — NASA Will Reformat Mars Rover’s Flash Memory From 125 Million Miles Away.

NASA Opportunity Rover

How neat is that? According to Gizmodo, “NASA’s Opportunity rover is still trundling across the surface of Mars… But its software is getting bogged down, so NASA’s doing a full system backup, memory wipe, and reboot. It’s just like your routine computer cleanup, just from the next planet over.”

The Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity (note to future Geek Gold Gard parents — good names for twins!) have 256MB of flash memory each.

Imagine it this way. It is the Dark Times, the days of Windows 95, 98, and (Lords of Cobol help us all) Windows ME. Eventually the computer running said operating systems becomes so filled with cruft that it is unusable. (To be fair, this happened to me recently with Windows 7, although that was more about the bloatware that came pre-installed on the laptop. But I digress.) You reformat the hard drive and re-install the OS. (In my case, after several years of this, you give up, buy a Mac, and become an iHole.)

Now imagine that you are doing something similar, but remotely. REALLY remotely. Like, you’re on Earth and the computer is on frickin’ MARS.

Remember, we promised to get more excited about space travel.

This XKCD comic was in the comments section on Gizmodo, but I’m reposting it here because (a) I can (XKCD is cool that way) and (b) it’s funny.

XKCD Spirit

NASA Will Reformat Mars Rover’s Flash Memory From 125 Million Miles Away – Gizmodo

Image via Wikipedia



August 24, 2014

Grumpy Pants Tries To Shut Down Kid’s Lemonade Stand

This of course happened in Florida. Because, you know. Florida.

Lemonade with straws.jpg
Lemonade with straws” by newleaf01Lemonade-009375. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Gawker points us towards an article on from the Tampa Bay Times about a 12-year-old boy with a lemonade stand. Apparently the boy’s neighbor is not happy and is trying to get the stand shut down.

(Note: We removed the embedded video because it was auto-playing and we think that’s annoying.)

This quote from Gawker was my favorite:

The Times reports that his most recent email to City Hall complained that T.J.’s lemonade stand was back for the summer, “AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!”

h/t Florida Man Asks Police to Shut Down Kid’s “Illegal” Lemonade Stand (Gawker)
via Tampa Bay Times