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Wednesday, February 03 2016 07:26

A Fun-Tastic Year for TALKING ANGELA...

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Yesterday, TALKING ANGELA celebrated her birthday, though the fashion-forward feline declined to let anyone know exactly how old she is. Her star is rising, with her own dedicated YouTube channel logging over 159 million views so far, and Talking Angela has taken the digital world by storm; cat-apulting into the apps record books with her series of apps including Talking Angela, My Talking Angela and more.  Reaching new viewers each week in Talking Tom and Friends: The Animated Series (an adventure that follows the crew as they make their own reality show), let's take a quick look at Angela by the numbers...

When it comes to high-quality, innovative technology-based play for kids, I can't think of anyone that's released as much cool stuff over the past few years as VTech. Real-world functionality and durability is the hallmark of their Kidizoom line, and for 2015 the Kidizoom Action Cam makes my annual Holiday Wish Guide, a fitting follow-up to last year's excellent Kidizoom Smartwatch. We received a review sample back in August, and The Rock Daughters have been using it regularly to document the big world around them. It's the exact thing that I would've absolutely LOVED to have growing up - back in a time when I made movies with Super 8mm film and audio cassette tapes. Having a working video camera at a young age can inspire later pursuits (I speak first-hand on this), and in an age where grownups have their GoPro's, the Kidizoom Action Cam is the perfect thing for budding action filmmakers. In the spirit of the Holiday Season, VTech and THE ROCK FATHER Magazine are giving you a shot at winning one of these for your own little Director! Wanna see how it works? Check out some footage shot by six-year-old Addie...

I do believe this is a "first" here at THE ROCK FATHER Magazine - I've removed a toy from my annual Holiday Wish Guide.  When making my yearly picks for items to recommend, there's a lot of factors that come into play while evaluating both items we've purchased and samples that we've received. Occasionally, having something for an extended period of time can find opinions shaped differently, and that's usually why I like to "live with" things for awhile when I can - having time to really experience them with the family and the kids... a point that sometimes can irk marketers that occasionally look for a "quick flip" review to be posted within a couple weeks of sending a sample. When it comes to the Wish Guide, the one thing that it all boils down to is the answer to a question: "Would my wife and I buy this for our kids?" With MY FRIEND CAYLA, the answer is simple - No, we would not.

As a member of the Best Buy Network, THE ROCK FATHER has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

I do a lot of photography, and with much of it featured here at THE ROCK FATHER Magazine and on Instagram, one of the questions that I'm most-asked is "What App are you using?" Most of the time, I'm not using an "app" at all - but using Adobe Photoshop right here on my desktop PC. Truth is, I've been a loyal user of Adobe products for over 15 years, and now with the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan from Best Buy, I really can take the power of Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom anywhere - right here on my office PC, or as an App on my iOS devices. For the Photo Enthusiast on your holiday gift list, you can help them take their best shot and make it even better with the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan - a featured pick in my 2015 Holiday Wish Guide!

Sunday, October 25 2015 21:14

Holiday Wish Guide: SKY VIPER V950HD Video Drone

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Much talked-about, curious, and even "controversial," Drones are some of the hottest items for the 2015 Holiday Season. Whether you consider the consumer grade to be Quadcopters, Drones, or simply radio-controlled toys, there's a lot of fun to be had in this category, and the folks at Skyrocket Toys are leading the charge with their Sky Viper Drones. The latest series was announced in the spring and is hitting stores right now, with the v950HD Video Drone topping the "must have" lists this season, and securing a spot in my own 2015 Holiday Wish Guide here at THE ROCK FATHER Magazine. What makes this Drone worth checking out? Check out some hands-on video below, along with my full review...

My entire office here at Rock Father HQ is Windows-based, and for the most part, it's been powered by HP for years. As a matter of fact, my main machine (the one these words are coming to you from right now) is an HP Envy 700 Desktop, and my laptop (which has reached the end of its life) is an HP as well - one I special ordered back in 2008. As I've been looking into new laptop options - particularly due to my travel adventures - I've been leaning back toward HP again, and then some ridiculously-perfect news rolled in yesterday: HP is releasing a STAR WARS Special Edition Notebook. My favorite film series + my preferred computer brand + my preferred color scheme of Red & Black?

Playing on the famous line offered-up by Sir Alec Guinness in 1977's STAR WARS (before it was "A NEW HOPE"), the makers of Sphero's BB-8 App-Enabled Droid have declared that "This Is the Droid You're Looking For." After seeing the big reveal today leading into #ForceFriday, this new tech toy based on the upcoming STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS certainly looks like the Droid I've been looking for... and believe me, I've owned a lot of Droids since '77! Take a look...

Thursday, August 27 2015 14:15

There's Been an Awakening... on Instagram

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Instagram rolled-out a pretty sweet update today - one that eliminated the need for resizing apps. It's now possible to go proper widescreen with both photos and videos, allowing users to share their content however it's intended to be. You can do portrait or landscape orientation, but I completely blame Periscope and Snapchat for making users think that it's actually okay to suffer from VPS: Vertical Phone Syndrome. Widescreen or square for me, and to demonstrate the new cinematic look to Instagram, the very first video to display the format is a pretty appropriate one - a new clip from STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS!

With our oldest entering First Grade this week, we've entered a new phased in the Back-to-School realm - that of having a kid in school all-day. With that, there's more supplies to be taken, and the potential for more things to go lost (which has happened), misplaced or mixed-up. With that in mind, the folks at Epson sent us one of their new LabelWorks Label Maker Kits for review - specifically, their Iron-On Kit. It was time to get to labeling!

Best Buy Back to SchoolAdvertorial: THE ROCK FATHER has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

We're right in the heart of Back-to-School season, and if you haven't thought of it already, now is the prime time to be thinking about memory for all those devices that the kids will be using this year. Whether it's a memory card or a portable drive, going into a PC or laptop, a tablet or smartphone - SanDisk has the solution, and my friends at Best Buy have the selection. And for capturing some Back-to-School memories, SanDisk has the storage you'll need for your DSLR or GoPro, too (I just picked up a couple of SD cards for that very purpose). From 4GB to 200GB, there's a portable solution that's just right. Here's some highlights...

Sunday, July 26 2015 18:18

App Review: MARS POP Bubble Shooter

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When it comes to casual gaming, I'm still old-school enough that I prefer things on a console - but I do have some apps in rotation on the multitude of devices available here at Rock Father HQ. We've got Windows, iOS and Android at our disposal, but I tend to think that the games usually run smoother on iOS (despite my overall lack of fondness for Apple). Outfit7's new MARS POP Bubble Shooter is a true cross-platformer - available for just about any device. Reviewed from my iPad Mini, Mars Pop is unique in that its a real-time bubble shooter in which players can take on a live opponent. Players are teamed randomly, or from Facebook friends, and the battle is on. Check out the gameplay video below...

Growing up as a kid in the 80s, Walkie Talkies were a big part of backyard and neighborhood play. Back then, they were big, bulky rectangular bricks of plastic - each equipped with the dreaded tin antenna - like the smaller TVs of the day. I didn't know a single kid that didn't bend and/or snap-off their antennae at some point. It was a part of the job, and that job was simple: having fun. A technologically-advanced version of THE LITTLE RASCALS-style tin cans with string between them, we had hours of fun pretending to communicate as Rebel pilots from STAR WARS... members of G.I. JOE or COBRA... JAMES BOND-style spies... or just ourselves. The fun would usually only end when the batteries or the antennae died. Fast-forward a few decades and walkie talkie tech has come a long way. Now, they're not only a way for kids to have fun and adventure, but also a tool to help keep kids safe and families connected - but there's still differences out there in the varieties available. 

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