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With the fall season officially here, the calendar has flipped to my favorite season of them all. The crisp autumn air comes with shorter days that make way for earlier, and seemingly darker nights that are filled with mystery. There’s just something about fall that brings a feeling that you never know what might be lurking in the shadows... especially as Halloween nears, and if superstition is to be believed, the lines between good and evil grow perilously thin. In the virtual world, there can also be unsavory creatures lurking in the depths of our devices, those who slipped through the cracks during visits to the internet that could’ve been better protected. Thankfully, the folks at AVG have a full suite of products available to protect your valuable gear from unseen evil…

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BTSwithHP #CollectiveBias

#BTSwithHP

Back-to-School is still such a strange time of year around here - something that just seven years ago was decades behind us, and the thought of having one kid in school was unbelievable, much less having two. But now my wife and I do have two in school, and at the end of the month The Rock Daughters™ will be rockin' the halls once more. As our lives become busier with each passing year, and seemingly with each flip of the calendar, it's also incredible how much we depend on technology to hold it all together. Here at Rock Father HQ, my office PC is labeled with a Batcave-esque label that describes on the monitor exactly what it is: "THE ROCK FATHER - COMMAND CENTER." That HP desktop has been labeled as such for years, and my laptops are always a component of my "Mobile HQ" as I travel. Now it's time to tie the whole family into one, and for that we've added the HP Pavilion Liquid Platinum Gaming Laptop (15-AU010WM) to the arsenal - one of the all-new lineup of HP computers available at Walmart just in time for Back-to-School this year. It's a perfect machine for the entire family.

THE ROCK FATHER has partnered with Life of Dad, WiFi Family and NETGEAR for the #RuggedWiFi Promotion.

If “wearing many hats” is the metaphor for chronic multi-tasking, my virtual hat rack is full -- something that’s probably fairly obvious to anyone that’s followed my adventures on the social networks these past few years. On the surface, my #1 gig is being a parent - my wife and I raising The Rock Daughters™ with me as the (mostly) work-from-home parent while she maintains a career outside of the home. Thing is, as the years roll on, my travel has increased - the necessity of adventures in far-off locales… places where staying connected might not always be easy. On top of that, one of my lesser-known gigs involves my “other kids” - five of them. I serve as co-manager of the metal band Product of Hate - a gig that’s special to me as the boys are very much like my brothers, though on the artist management side there’s sometimes a “parental” vibe in looking out for their best interests, and part of that is helping to keep them connected to friends and family while out on the road. For their latest U.S. Tour, the AT&T Unite Explore by NETGEAR became a new tool in our arsenal - a Mobile WiFi Hotspot to put #RuggedWiFi* wherever the guys might be, as long as there’s a cell phone signal (4G LTE/4G where available).

The concept of a "Smart Home" is something that we've not really jumped on-board with here at Rock Father HQ, despite our ongoing #RockFatherRemodel Project and an abundance of future upgrades planned for the home that we intend to raise our daughters to adulthood in. If I were to pinpoint a single reason why, the big one is that I've turned out to be a lot more old-school that I once thought - a sometimes early-adopter that is immersed in tech daily, yet makes an attempt to keep his children as tech-free as possible, firmly believing that our age of "devices" has severely over-saturated the human species. However, I am intrigued by a lot of the tech that's been coming out for the home, and being so rooted in music, I'm always keen on new ways to bring the audio experience into new places. When the folks at Sengled got in touch to ask me about reviewing their recent Pulse Solo LED + Wireless Speaker, I took them up on it... despite not being entirely sure what to expect from a lightbulb with a Bluetooth speaker inside.

Sunday, April 17 2016 20:18

TALKING TOM CAT: The Legend is Back!

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Over the past six years, there have been over 3.6 billion total downloads for games and apps within the TALKING TOM and FRIENDS collection - with players having spent a combined 945 thousand years playing with Talking Tom apps; knocking him down over 191 billion times.  So how do you take a fresh approach to an old favorite? For Outfit 7, they went back to the original TALKING TOM CAT and gave the character some upgrades for 2016, relaunching the 'Cat with a whole new look...

MARIA BAMFORD is busy, the Minnesota native long-ago leaving behind "The Land of 10,000 Lakes" in favor of the Los Angeles River. Aside from doing stand-up and making appearances on shows such as ABC's FRESH OFF THE BOAT, Bamford is a prolific voice actor, lending her chords to everything from ADVENTURE TIME and KUNG FU PANDA to WORDGIRL and AXE COP. One of her most-heard roles is that of TALKING GINGER - a boy kitty, performed by a girl. As part of the YouTube hit,TALKING TOM AND FRIENDS: THE ANIMATED SERIES, millions have seen the character from Outfit 7's popular series of apps go on countless adventures. To celebrate Talking Ginger's birthday (today, April 8), Bamford took a few minutes to throw down some knowledge about the curious cat.

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?

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