With two little girls here at Rock Father™ HQ, my wife and I have purchased more than a few pairs of "kid-safe" headphones over the past few years, and frankly, most of them are garbage. From expensive ones that the kids find uncomfortable to the cool-looking, yet terrible-sounding licensed variety sold for cheap at retailers like Five Below, I've checked out a bunch and had never found any that I could really be excited about until now. At New York Toy Fair, I came across something unexpected while browsing the latest offerings from the crew over at Wicked Cool Toys. They've recently partnered with Halo Acoustic to help bring CozyPhones to a wider audience, and after bringing a couple of pairs back to Illinois, they're an immediate hit. CozyPhones are a 3-in-1 combo of headphones, sleep mask and a stylish headband.
The feature is brought to you in collaboration between Blackboard™ and The Rock Father™
For a guy whose entire life revolves around a digital presence, I tend to be notoriously old-school when it comes to my tools of the trade. In an age where many work on tablets and multi-purpose screens, I still prefer to do the majority of my work from a desktop pc with a mechanical keyboard them emulates the typewriters of old. Sure, I use a laptop for working on-the-go, and I've got an arsenal of tablets in both iOS and Android flavors, but for me nothing beats being in my office, in the chair, ready to work within my comfort zone. Even here, there were some very non-digital quirks until recently - in fact, until the summer of 2017, I kept my monthly calendar on a dry-erase whiteboard (I finally switched to Google Calendar at my wife's urging), and was apprehensive of cloud storage for my backups, my habits remaining in a physical world. Likewise, I've always had an attachment to writing - actual writing - in a true form, and until recently, there was no way to bring that into a digital world... but that changed. A product I didn't even know I needed came my way - Blackboard™ by Boogie Board - and now old-school meets new-school in a way that just feels right. It's Liquid Crystal Paper™, and there's nothing else like it.
The reviewer 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.
It's been more than eight years since my wife and I first became parents, and despite writing about gaming often, it wasn't until this year that I finally got to start spending some real time blowing up some pixels again. I upgraded from the Xbox 360 (which I still have) to the Xbox One S, promptly jumping right back into the kind of military-themed action I used to enjoy. After all, when it comes to fall, that means Call of Duty Season is open, but when I bought my system it came with Battlefield 1. Thing is, it's difficult to blow stuff up good when there's two little girls and a wife sleeping upstairs, and that means headphones. For the task at hand, I've got the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Surround Sound Gaming Headset.
Updated 10/23/17 - We're in day four of the #TwitterLocked situation, with more and more users coming forward with similar tales...
Original Story: It began on Friday, October 20th - hot on the heels of an announcement that Twitter had unveiled a new timeline for its efforts to combat online trolls, bots and stifle abuse on their platform. Unsuspecting users - potentially thousands of them - woke up to find their accounts locked out for "exhibiting automated behavior that violates the twitter rules." After resetting via a code on the app, they would immediately be locked out again, at which time twitter would make an automated phone call to provide another code. Once the account was unlocked, users reported losing some of their followers, but more concerning - they had lost the complete list of who they were following... a complete reset to zero. Most of the users affected did not appear to be breaking any rules, nor were they posting any offensive materials. Many of those who found their accounts locked were bloggers and members of the media. I know about this first-hand, as I was one of them.
It's not too early to be thinking about the holidays, and when it comes to gift-giving for tech-savvy kids, the folks at KD Interactive have a full suite of products that are worth of a look! Join The Toy Insider this Friday, August 4, for the #KDInteractive Twitter Party taking place from 11am-12pm ET for a chance to win some of the hottest new kid's tech! The Kurio Watch 2.0 Smartwatch, Kurio Snap Camera, Kurio Next Tablet and Aura Drone will all be featured as The Toy Insider shares information on each, along with serving-up chances to win! You must RSVP to participate: http://bit.ly/KDIntRSVP
Presented in collaboration between The Rock Father, BOSEbuild and Life of Dad
Perhaps you’ve heard of the “summer slump” - that mid-year break between the end of one school year and the beginning of another. While I’ve long-said that kids don’t have enough of a summer break, even a matter of weeks is enough to break the cycle of learning, and that can be troubling. As parents, it’s up to us to make sure that those curious young minds are still learning during the summer months, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities are a great tool to have. For those with kids curious in how things work, BOSEbuild has just the project - and it’s so much more than simply “building a speaker.”
There’s that old saying about “getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar.” Well, in 2017, I don’t actually know too many people that actually have a cookie jar that holds cookies (there are some cool display pieces out there), but there are certain ways to interpret that, both literal and figuratively. Let’s just go with the fridge, for example. My wife and I have reached a point with The Rock Daughters™ where they collaborate on shady endeavors - the kind of mischief that is apparently normal for kids rapidly approaching the ages of five and eight. One such habit is swiping food, and it tends to be yogurt (not cookies) that’s the object of desire. They sneak into the kitchen like little grifters - an “Ocean’s Two” of sorts, checking to see if the coast is clear before cracking the fridge. Thing is, if daddy spies on them, it becomes a little more difficult.
The Rock Father has partnered with Life of Dad and Capital One for this campaign. All opinions and experiences are that of James Zahn.
As we’re into the midst of January and just a few weeks into a new year, there’s been more than enough time to think about the future. I’ve said it before, but I’m not one to make “New Year’s resolutions,” and there’s a lot of reasons for that, starting with the fact that “New Year’s” is among my least favorite holidays, and I can’t explain why. I get an uncomfortable vibe about it, perhaps because I don’t like “Auld Lang Syne,” and the thought of being with all of those people in Times Square makes me feel claustrophobic. Most “resolutions” are made to be broken, so I make goals instead - though this year I’m actually breaking my own rule by committing to a resolution that I actually made some years back: a “Credit Resolution.” One powerful tool in my arsenal is CreditWise® from Capital One®, and not just because I’m already a Capital One customer (anyone - customer or not - can use it!), but because it’s a free and easy-to-use tool to help me maintain and improve my credit score. It’s something I resolved to do for my kids, and there’s a story behind it…
For being as immersed in tech as I am, I'm not a big "messaging" guy. I'm not a fan of the text-speak, I just started using emojis, and when it comes to GIF reponses, my defacto is The Emperor from RETURN OF THE JEDI with "GOOD, GOOD." above it. That said, quick-text GIF stories are all the rage right now, and I've even seen some of my daughters' little friends (I still shudder to think that these kids are the "under 10" crowd) breaking them out. So what's the new one I expect to see getting a lot of use in the months ahead? The Hello Kitty StoryGIF App is a solid bet, the first release to come from Zoobe Message Entertainment's partnership with Sanrio.
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
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.
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).