A Little More Nokia Icon

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I recently got a chance to go to Seattle as part of a Champions Summit and it was fabulous! One of the things we got to do was have a little photography class! As many of you may know… Photography is not a natural (or existing) talent of mine. So I am always looking for tips.

I got to learn about the Nokia Pro app and how to use the tools that are built into the Nokia camera.

A couple things you don’t even really have to do anything for:
1)Turn off the flash.
2)Tell your camera what you want to take a picture of by tapping on your screen. Then give the camera a second and let it focus.
3)You can also slide to zoom and then tap to let it focus.
4)Always take your pictures with your camera turned wide ways.

Using the tools:
1)Pull your finger from right to left to reveal a dial with different circles. Play with them! All the pictures up top were taken with different options and zooms on that wheel! It can make a huge difference.
2)White balance has a huge effect. It can turn your pictures warmer or cooler. It can make your picture seem to have had more light.
3)You can also edit on your phone! The benefit of that is…. you will retain the image size! So crop in and it will save it for you but as a new image so you will also retain your original. (My favorite thing).

Those are the go to points that I came home with from the Windows Champions Summit’s photography session. What are your favorite tips?

Remember, just because Microsoft took me to Seattle all the thoughts and opinions are still mine!

Nokia Icon Camera

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I am not known for good pictures. I’m just not. But I like to try;). And when I received the Nokia Lumia Icon I was very excited to see how much better it could make my pictures! I mean, this has about 5 mp more than my point and shoot camera! Of course I took the standard selfies and pictures of my kids but I thought the pictures from the car wash were note worthy! And these haven’t been altered at all!

I absolutely love how the camera caught the water streaking across the windshield.

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This 2nd one was taken from the driver’s seat and is out the passenger window. No zoom or anything. I love how it still grabbed the drips and the light behind the twirling brush.

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This is what effect the zoom has! I was surprised to see that the colors became more vibrant. Zooms on other phones and cameras seem to close in on an object but not really bring out a whole lot more detail but with the Icon 20 mp camera seems to find detail that I really didn’t even see with my bare eyes.

The zoom was super easy to control with just a finger slide! So it means that it is great in a real life situation that doesn’t allow you to stage a picture;).

I am going to sound old here but have some patience;). I can not believe that my phone has phenomenal camera!!! Not only do I remember the days before digital photography, I also remember the first digital cameras and just how bad they were.

I have been so impressed with the Nokia Lumia Icon and its camera. It isn’t just the 20 mp but also the Zeiss lenses and all the software build ins that maximize this fabulous hardware. So in addition to the actual smart phone being great, the camera just makes this a fabulous phone!

(I am a Verizon Ambassador and a Windows Champion. While I did receive the phone to write about, all opinions and thoughts are mine alone!)

 

First Glance at the Nokia Lumia Icon

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I recently received a Nokia Lumia Icon to review and this was the first picture I took with it! The Icon brags a 20 megapixel camera so I couldn’t wait to try it. So when I saw this dandelion when I was getting the mail I had to try it out!

I am loving this phone over all! It is my first go on a Windows phone in a couple of years. They have come a long way! It runs faster and the apps are better! There are still some holes (like Hootsuite & Cozi) but over all they have just about everything I need now! Even Instagram!

This is a phone that is to rival the S4 and the iPhone and so far it is!!! I have been very impressed and am looking forward to diving in further!

(While this is a piece full of my own opinions, I was given the phone from Verizon. I am a Verizon Ambassador and a Windows Champions. But that doesn’t change my opinions just my subjects!

Panasonic Link2Cell & Saving Calls! (A Giveaway Too)

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I know I am not alone with the modern issues of cell phones and home phones. I mean, first off I have too many separate phones to track! Secondly, I don’t get good cell reception everywhere in my house.

This was a huge issue when my dad was sick and when he died. I was getting calls from my step mom on my cell and in order to have a conversation I would have to go outside or kick all my kids out of the living room because that was the only way I could get a signal! But that is no longer my issue at home because technology (and Panasonic) has a solution.

I recently got a Link2Cell KX-TG7742S telephone from Panasonic to review and I love it! At first look it just seems like a standard home phone set up with a base and handsets but it is more than that. You can link your cell phone to it by Bluetooth and it enables all your cell phone calls to go through it. You don’t even have to have a home line to use it.

Set up was extremely easy! First you place the base near the magic spot in your house where you get the best cell reception and therefore where your cell it. You can tie it to up to 2 cells. You punch in a code to pair it to the 1st and then the 2nd while you also pair it from the cellphone side too. That was it. You can even charge your phone off the base if you are out of outlets.

I love that in between rings it will audibly tell you who is calling based on caller id. While I don’t have caller id on my home phone, I do on my cell! I love it because I don’t have to go get the handset to see who is calling. If I am just going to let it ring through to my voice mail I just leave it alone.

You can pick up this phone from Panasonic and see all their options. My set came with a base and 2 handsets. You can also win a Link2Cell phone system here!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure: Panasonic gave me a review unit but all thoughts are my own. The prize is from Panasonic and they are responsible for all fulfillment.)

Unleash the Moto X

W​hen Motorola changed their logo it signified more than new marketing! It showed a change in their whole phone design mentality and that is obvious with their new Moto X. I was recently invited to a “secret” event on the Google campus by the ever fabulous Guy Kawasaski (eep!) to get to see this new phone up close!

Before we get to the phone… Can I say how the geeky me was so stoked to meet Guy Kawasaki??!?! There was an audible squeal when I got an email from THE Guy Kawasaki inviting me to Motorola event. This was my first visit to the Google campus so that it totally geek worthy to begin with. When I got to the event I sat next to Kristi Yamaguchi and got a picture with her but it still didn’t beat meeting Guy Kawasaki! Ok, onto the phone.

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The new Moto X design is steeped in the results of multiple studies. Instead of focusing the phone design on solving a specific problem Motorola focused the Moto X on the end user. So they looked at studies on start screens, camera use and even hand size to influence the physical and functional design of the Moto X. There are lots of cool things that this phone will have (no, I haven’t really gotten my hands on it for a full user test yet) but I wanted to look at just a few of the most noteworthy to me.

1)Touchless Control: This phone will be listening for your voice all the time! I could get into the tech on the new X8 system including how 1 chip is a low drain chip that listens but you probably don’t care about that. What you do care about is that when you say “OK Google Now” you then get the phone’s attention and it is there to serve you! Of course you can do standard phone stuff with the Touchless Control (call, text, etc) but you can also activate the power of Google! Including all the normal Googling of facts.

2)Voice Training: One of my issues of using the S Galaxy voice features is that I have to turn off the radio and shush everyone in the car and then hope it works (I have found it buggy). Well, Motorola has worked in a solution to this with the Moto X. It has a 3 step training process so your phone can distinguish your voice among the crowd. I watched this work and I am so excited. No more holding it close (it has a great range too) in order to make sure the phone hears me and only me. I could even set it on the counter away from me while I cook or clean.

3)Active Notification: One of the things the studies told Motorola is that people turn their phone onn and off with in 15 seconds over 50 times a day! They were checking the time or finding out why their phone buzz/beeped/shook. They also found that everyone puts their phone facedown during meetings (and I thought it was just me;). To make our phones work better for us all you have to do is flip the phone to see the time and notifications. If you want you can then unlock it or the screen will just shut back off in a few seconds.

4)Quick Capture: Back to the studies to find out that it takes on average 4.5 seconds to 10 seconds to go from your pocket to being able to take a picture. In order to get that to 2 seconds they created “Quick Capture”.  You start with a specific gesture with the phone as it comes out of your pocket (it is basically a twist) and then touch anywhere on the screen to take a picture. It is that easy. Which means it will be easier to catch those action shots or silly things someone is doing before they realize you have the camera ready;).

5)Moto Maker: Siting the Ikea effect, Motorola is now allowing us all to design our own phone! You can go to the website and start choosing colors. You have 2 choices for the front plate, many choices for the back plate and even accent color choices. They also have custom clear covers you can order plain or with an accent color and even color coordinating accessories from other vendors. You may not walk out of the store with the phone (you can customize in store or at home) but you will receive it with in 4 days! In order to do this Motorola had to change all their manufacturing and bring it domestic. They are the only phone assembled in the United States!

This is just my first look at the Moto X and you can be sure I will be posting more as I get my hands on it!!! I appreciate Motorola bringing me out to Google to partake in this fabulous event!!! If you want to see what someone else thought of the even and the phone make sure you check out my friend TerriAnn’s great post on the event over at Cookies and Clogs!

Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Giveaway

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Recently I was very blessed to receive the opportunity to attend a gathering of bloggers at Verion’s headquarters recently! We were there to learn what great things Verizon is doing and to give them feedback. They blessed us with some great gifts while we were there. One is my brand new Samsung Galaxy S4 along with some cases. They also gave me a Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation and they gave me an extra to give to one of my fabulous readers!!!

So what is a Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation? It is similar to an external battery for your phone or any device that can be charged via usb cord. It has a 4000 mAh charge ability and works with just about all Android and Apple phones and tablets.

I was recently traveling to the Savvyblogging conference in Cincinnati and then straight onto Berkeley for the Disney on the Road event. So I was living out of my suitcase. I was using my Mophie on the planes and all around town. I have quickly become dependent on the safety of having a nice back up battery at all times.

So how would you like to win one? Just go through the Rafflecopter to enter!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to Verizon for the awesome Mophie to giveaway! While they gave me the prize, the words are all mine! Prize will only be shipped within the US!

1 Year with My Full Service Verizon Plan!!!


It has been on Verizon for 1 year! I made the jump from a $25 a month plan and was afraid that I would regret the jump and I haven’t at all! Having a great cell phone plan has really improved my quality of life!!! I don’t regret a dime.

#Disclosure I am a Verizon Ambassador and they have provided me a phone to us but all the thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone!

The Instagram Hole

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I admit it, I have recently fallen down the Instagram rabbit hole. I know, I am late to the party but I am snapping selfies and taking pictures of lunch. It is crazy!!! But why now?

My cellphone camera is really good and that is a life changer. I admit that while I have had a smart phone for a few years, this has been my first year with good ones. And I have been blessed to have a few different ones since I have been an Ambassador with Verizon (so they give me great phones;). All 3 of the phones I have used this year have had much better cameras than my old, barely smart, smart phone.

My current phone (Droid DNA) has an 8 mega pixel camera. I sheepishly admit, my Canon Powershot is only 10 mega pixels. Not only are there more mega pixels rivaling cheap point and shoots, you can also zoom and take rapid pictures. So I am finding that while I am taking silly pictures for things like Instagram but also I am taking pictures that are of a high enough quality that I use them on my blogs!!!

What does this really mean in life (not just social media) terms? I am always carrying a camera! A good one! And I don’t have to carry batteries too! I am taking more pictures of my kids and even more high definition video of them too. Due to the power of our cell phone camera we don’t really need to own a point and shoot camera anymore. A DSLR is still a wonderful camera but lets be real, are you going to be carrying a huge $1000 camera everywhere? No, but that cell phone is already in your pocket!

Which means… You really need to factor the camera into all your cell phone purchases! Look for features beyond just the Mega Pixel count! I love the fact that I can take rapid pictures and some other very nice features. So look at everything that these great cameras in a phone have to offer and choose well!

And join me in the Instagram rabbit hole;). I am TheNerdmom, follow me;).

(Disclosure: I am a Verizon Ambassador and they gave me a HTC Droid DNA. All the words and opinions are mine!)

An Overview of the HTC Droid DNA

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Recently I received the Droid DNA by HTC from Verizon to review it. I’ve been using a few weeks now and I’ve been pleased. I think overall I’m not impressed but nor have I been disappointed. For the most part is a standard Android operating system on a very nice high level phone design similar to the LG Spectrum I also have. But some of the extras beyond the OS have set it a little ahead.

I have been very please with both the camera on this phone along with the audio system return the camera have a lot of control with the rear and front facing cameras with great zoom capabilities. 1 of the things I like most about is you can take a string of very nice, rapid fire style pictures just like a DSLR. Just hold down the shoot button. It will also analyze which 1 was the best shot and get rid of the rest if you want.

The audio is done by Beats and is just great! There are speakers down both sides of the phone. Whether I am streaming music over wifi or listening to music downloaded to my phone, the sound is really good. It is not only louder but a lot fuller of a sound than I have ever heard on a cellphone.

Then comes the downside. The only real issues I have with the Droid DNA is the locked screen. Normally when a cell is on its locked screen you can’t do anything to it, right? You can’t change volume or anything when it is locked down. Not with the Droid DNA, you can still turn it up or down, you can look at the notifications off the top of the screen, and I find a really annoying because it when I stick it in my pocket so I can hit the rocker button and turn it completely off and not even really notice it. I also have security concerns with my kids because if they pick it up they have access.

Other than that it’s a great phone is have a lot of memory storage. It runs fast and it runs pretty clean. I haven’t had any crashing or any other issues with it so overall I give it a really high passing mark other than the lock screen issues (which I just really annoying and kind of sloppy design). I wonder if that will be fixed with a simple firmware update. If that isn’t an issue for you, I highly recommend the HTC Droid DNA.

(I am a Verizon Ambassador and received the phone to review. While Verizon may have picked the subject, the views and opinions are mine alone!)

5 Must Have Apps for Productivity on a Droid

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I recently got a new HTC Droid DNA to use from Verizon. While I love trying out new phones but no matter how shiny they are, you need some apps to get some work done! Lets face it, how I justify paying for a phone plan is because I can get some work done! But my 5 apps are not the ones just for cranking out work but the most helpful;).

1) Gmail: Gmail is my first, must have app! I find that the built in email client on the phone never works as well. Checking email is the biggest task I can knock out on my phone!

2)Hootsuite: Hootsuite enables me to tweet not only for myself but for my social media clients! It helps me to also monitor everything so that we don’t have a Burger King incident;).

3)Facebook: Ok, it may not totally be work but being able to deal with my Facebook on the go means that I don’t have to take the time to deal with it when I get home!

4)Wordpress: Ok, I don’t do a lot of blogging off my phone but I can edit mistakes and moderate comments. I hate knowing I have a spammy comment on a blog post and have to leave it there because I don’t have access to my WordPress!

5)Pinterest: I know Pinterest sounds like an odd must have app but hear me out. Being active on Pinterest is getting to be more and more important in the blogging world but it can easily suck up so much time (rabbit hole anyone;). By accessing Pinterest primarily on mobile devices helps limit the amount of time I waste!

There are near misses that I didn’t put on the list like SkyDrive, OneNote, and Pages. They are all important too but these are my first 5! What are your first 5 apps on a new phone?

(Disclosure: I am an ambassador for Verizon and they sent me the Droid DNA to use! All words and opinions are mine!)