#CrowdSource: What Was the First Tech Gift You Remember Receiving?

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photo credit: GoCloser! Total Control via photopin (license)

We could have gone with “what your first tech gift says about you,” but it’s almost Christmas already.

There comes a time in a kid’s life when the wishlist evolves from past dolls and dump trucks to games and gadgets.

It’s a refinement of interest, and taste. Rather than ask Santa for presents that speak when you spin the wheel/squeeze the paw/push the button, we request gifts of a higher order. Some are electronic; others, battery-powered.

All, though, signal our graduation from toys we’re still likely to chew on at some juncture, to those that require dexterity and thought.

I asked social media connections to share with Tech Life the first tech gift they remember unwrapping for the holidays. The answers spanned generations and complexities. Here’s what they came up with.

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3 Innovative Ways to Win Swag on Blogs

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How to maximize your chances when it comes to reaping the blog sweepstakes rewards

By Eli Pacheco

I watch them fly by on my Twitter feed … giveaways and sweepstakes on blogs.

Some are on blogs I trust. Others, just from bloggers I follow. I’ve won before – neat glass jars from Infinity Jars on The Mom of the Year blog. I’ve won a couple of excellent books, too, and once, a fresh pair of sunglasses that would never fit in my budget.

Often, bloggers win on other blogs. Hosts can ask for anything from a simple comment to a series of likes and follows through a third-party service, such as Raffle Copter.

“I won a littleBits Gizmos & Gadgets kit from More than Thursdays,” said Roxanne Pixel, who blogs on Unintentionally Brilliant. “I’ve been keeping it hidden, and am using it as a Christmas gift for my son. I know he’s going to love it.”

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How to Make Memes (& Why People Love Them)

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The right photo + the right words = viral appeal, copycats and more.

By Meaghan Flanigan

What’s the first word that comes to mind when you see a meme?

Hilarious? Insightful? Rude? Accurate? Dumb?

They’re all that – and they’re everywhere, from Twitter and Instagram to Facebook and Pinterest. How did a thing as simple as a photo and caption that makes a joke or offers an insight become some popular?

Richard Dawkins, in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene, first coined the word meme. It described how ideas spread through culture. It once took days, weeks, or years for ideas to disseminate; now they hit the Internet, and spread like wildfire.

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#AtoZChallenge: M is for Me Time (is it Possible, in this Tech-Heavy World?)

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Technology renders us hyper-busy by connecting us to everything, all the time. Can tech also give us peace?

 By Eli Pacheco

“I’m bored,” my 11-year-old said just this morning.

MBored? We grownups remember what that feels like. Don’t we? Let me put it this way: My Todoist app blows up my phone still, even though I deleted the app. How’s that possible? I have enough to juggle without my virtual to-do list barking up my tree every day.

Technology makes it possible to always be in pocket, and that’s its advantage.Technology makes it possible to always be in pocket, and that’s its disadvantage.

Hell, the organizational app Evernote’s proven track record speaks for itself. Yet, I struggle to organize the stuff I’ve saved to Evernote. User error.

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#AtoZChallenge: L is for Language Acquisition Apps

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photo credit: Kokolangues ! via photopin (license)

Learning a language? These apps can help you crush the bilingual game

By Brittany Smith

According to the BBC, there is an estimated 6,500+ spoken languages in the world today. The most widely spoken is Mandarin Chinese, with English and Spanish close behind.

LAlso, 75 percent of the world’s population doesn’t speak English, and a recent study by the Instituto Cervantes found that the U.S. is the world’s second largest Spanish speaking country. More people speak Spanish in the U.S. than Spain.

Which not only makes learning another language bad-ass for helping you pick up foreign significant others, it can also help boost brainpower and memory and give you better job prospects.

So why not get started today? We’ve compiled a list of some of the best apps to help you go from floundering to fluent in no time.

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#AtoZChallenge: I is for Inspiration for Writing

photo credit: 160402-paper-crumpled-notebook-spiral.jpg via photopin (license)
photo credit: 160402-paper-crumpled-notebook-spiral.jpg via photopin (license)

There are lots of websites and apps out there for writers hungry for inspiration.

By Victor Moreau

I covered a couple of websites in a previous post I did on breaking through writer’s block. Today, I’d like to go over three more resources that I find helpful in my day-to-day life.

750words.com

The goal with 750words is not to write hundreds and hundreds of words of solid gold content.

It’s all about freewriting with this site; getting everything inside your head onto a blank canvas. You can think of it in the same way a painter might start with a few abstract strokes until the vague form of something interesting takes shape.

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#AtoZChallenge: J is for Journaling, and How it Improves your Storytelling

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photo credit: Studio Area HQ journal via photopin (license)

The best stories are the ones that come from the heart, from an author who knows himself or herself, and understands the feelings and messages he or she wants to convey.

By Vic Moreau

Maybe I’m weird but, when I was a kid and I was trying to write my stories, I did not see the connection between writing in my journal and working on my manuscript.

I did not see the benefit of documenting my inner thoughts in feelings and a format nobody would ever see (thank the gods) and how it was supposed to get me through a particularly difficult section of my own work.

I have since learned my lesson and it might surprise some of you to know that journaling really can help your storytelling.

The best stories are the ones that come from the heart, from an author who knows themselves and understands the feelings and messages they are trying to convey.

Continue reading “#AtoZChallenge: J is for Journaling, and How it Improves your Storytelling”