01 September 2014

Safer driving with new Navman GPS devices

We've all seen the TV and newspaper adverts about not using your phone while driving – a second of distraction can so easily lead to disaster.  But I think there’s something else that is almost as distracting – for me anyway – a GPS device.  

How much concentration does it take to follow a map on your GPS?  If you drive a larger vehicle or you normally wear glasses it’s even more difficult to see what’s on that small screen.  Thankfully, GPS screens are getting bigger.

Navman have just launched 5 inch and 7 inch models in their EZY range – with a simple layout that anyone can use easily.  

Both devices feature free lifetime map updates, including safety alerts, warnings about traffic congestion, speed limits, speed or safety cameras, school zones and accident blackspots.  They can even help you find the closes service station that serves your particular fuel type.

Both models are available now - the 5 inch model EZY255LMT is $169 and the 7 inch EZY270LMT is $279.

02 August 2014

Windows 8.1 - Questions & Answers

I get lots of questions about Windows 8.1 (the latest versions of Windows 8).  I think I've found the perfect way to answer those questions and create a place where anyone can refer to if they need help. 

18 July 2014

The future of Techie Mum

There are some changes ahead for Techie Mum.......

I have been offered and accepted a wonderful new position at the college where I have been teaching computer skills for the past six years.   My new job started this week, and the time I need to dedicate to it means that I will no longer be writing as regularly for Techie Mum.  At this stage I'm not sure how often I will be able to post, but I'm planning that with the reduction in quantity there will be an increase in quality.  

There are so many others writing about social media and blogging, so I will no longer be contributing on those topics.  I'm going back to writing for my original audience – my students and families in need of help with technology.  I will be writing more instructional posts and how-to guides that I hope my readers will find useful. 

I have really enjoyed writing about technology for the past two and a bit years, and while I will probably disappear from your Facebook News Feed, I hope you will still visit Techie Mum when you need a techie fix.  

15 July 2014

D-Link Wi-Fi Baby Camera - not just for babies

Those of you who know me know that my boys are no longer babies, so you might be wondering why I'm reviewing a baby monitor.  I do know that a lot of my readers DO have babies, so when I was offered the D-Link Wi-Fi Baby Camera to trial and review, I thought it might be something of interest, and I had some ideas for other uses for it too.  Don’t run away if you don’t have a baby – read to the end and you’ll see how this camera is a lot more than a baby monitor! 

D-Link Wi-Fi Baby Camera DCS-825L

When you first unpack it, the D-Link Wi-Fi Baby Camera looks like a large webcam.  Just plug it in to the power, download the app to your phone or tablet (it’s available for iOS and Android) and you’re guided through the Setup Wizard.  The camera has its own Wi-Fi code, which you enter into the app to link it to your phone or tablet, then you link the camera to your home Wi-Fi network.  The whole set up took less than 10 minutes.  The last step is to create an account with D-Link which means you can monitor the camera from anywhere in the world just by visiting the D-Link website and logging in.

What’s so special about this baby camera?

  • Rather than just hearing your baby you can see your baby.
  • Distance isn't a problem - you can be in the living room, in the garden, or at your neighbours home. 
  • High definition vision quality means that even in a dark room you can still see up to 5 metres.
  • 4 x digital zoom from your phone or tablet.
  • There’s two way audio, which means that as well as listening to your baby, you can also talk to your baby.  There’s even a lullaby player built in with five different tunes.
  • Set it to alert you when motion or noise is detected, or when there’s a temperature change in the room.
  • Insert a microSD card and record video or images.
  • Both the blue and pink coloured rings come with the camera, so you can colour coordinate with your baby’s d├ęcor.

This camera would be perfect for a parent who has to travel for work, or worse, who works/lives apart from their family for any length of time.  I know for me, being away from my family is hardest at night, and luckily that didn’t happen when my boys were babies, but to have been able to see them tucked into their beds and sleeping would have at least assured me that everything was OK.  Just log in to your camera via the D-link website and you view the camera images live, even from the other side of the world!

Apart from being a brilliant baby monitor/camera, there are plenty of non-baby uses I came up with

  • Pet owners – do you have a pet who frets when you’re not there?  You can talk to it via the camera, as well as checking that it’s not doing something it shouldn’t!
  • A sick child at home and you have to work, or go to the shops?  You can make sure they’re ok while you’re out.
  • If your house is for sale you can be a ‘fly on the wall’ during an open for inspection
  • An older parent living alone – you could check occasionally to make sure they’re ok
  • Recently my father spent his first night out of hospital with us.  I wish I’d had the D-Link then, because if he needed something in the middle of the night, all he would have had to do was speak into the monitor.
  • My parents still live in their own home and my father is the carer for my mother who has dementia.  They live in a two storey house and twice so far my mother has fallen over while my father has been downstairs.  With the D-Link camera set up he could have seen what was going on upstairs and heard my mother when she called for help.

Luckily it’s a few years since I've had to worry about this, but lately there have been a few posts on other forums, so I know it’s an issue a few face.  I once had a friend whose child delighted in tormenting one of my sons whenever they visited, but it was never when their mother was around, so she never saw what happened.  If I’d had the D-Link baby camera then I would have had my iPad in our view wherever we were so we could both see exactly what he little ‘angel’ got up to out of her sight!

Then there’s a whole lot of other uses once the kids got hold of it during the holidays

  • Hide and seek/44 Homes changes completely when the camera is set up to monitor a strategic location, with the iPad left on a table where those ‘in the know’ could casually take a look.
  • My boys love Prank Patrol on ABC3, so Aaron’s first thought was how to use the camera to prank his little brother!  The two way audio was perfect for making his little brother and his friend think the house was haunted!  He just hid the camera in Danny’s bedroom and spoke into my phone (and watched the results) from the other end of the house.
  • I really don't suggest this one unless you want World War III - set up the camera behind your opponent while playing a card game and you can glance at your phone occasionally to see their hand!

The D-Link Wi-Fi Baby Camera 825 costs between $180 and $250, depending on where you buy, and you can read more about it here 

What would you use the D-Link Wi-Fi Baby Camera for?

Disclosure:  Whilst I was given the D-Link Wi-Fi Baby Camera to review, all opinions are my own

07 July 2014

Lego apps, games and downloads

My boys have just about worn out the Lego Movie since I bought the DVD last week, and it has given their love of Lego a boost too.  Which lead to the Lego apps on the iPad being discovered again. 

There are lots of great Lego apps for both iOS and Android, especially some new ones based on the Lego Movie, so it's worth taking a look at the app stores, especially if your feet need a break from the real stuff!  For the older kids download the Lego Digital Designer to their computer and they can create without the need for actual bricks. 

To get you started I've put together a list for you of the latest Lego apps and software downloads

26 June 2014

Why I Write

The lovely Robyn from Mrs D plus 3 invited me to take part in this latest blog hop, talking about why we bloggers write as we do. 

What am I working on?

I've got a few things on the go at the moment.  I've been meaning to start a monthly newsletter for ages, everything is set up in Mail Chimp and I've been collecting subscribers – I just haven’t produced the first newsletter - but I'm determined to get it out on 1st July.

There’s an ebook in the works too – it’s a techie guide, but I'm not going to tell you exactly what – you’re going to have to wait to find that out.
I like to add a new How-To Guide each month to the collection on the blog, so I've got two half- finished that I'm working on.  Usually they will be guides on how to use a particular program, or a particular online tool.  I'm open to ideas, so if there’s something techie that you’d really like to know how to do – just let me know.

Apart from writing for Techie Mum, I am also a trainer, teaching courses in how to use computers and associated software.  I've just taught my last class of the term today, so I've now got the school holidays to prepare for next terms classes.  When courses repeat each term there’s not too much preparation, but next term I've got a new course in Windows 8, so I'm just starting on designing that at the moment, and, of course, Facebook is always making changes, so I need to check if my Facebook for Beginners manual needs updating.

How does my writing differ from others in its genre?

In America there are a quite a few technology blogs written by women, but in Australia the majority of bloggers in the technology genre are men who write about the specifications of the latest devices, the latest computer games and coding.  There are a few blogs written by women that occasionally feature techie topics, but Techie Mum is aimed at families, with articles and reviews aimed at the types of devices and techie tools that Mums, Dads and kids use.  

Why do I write what I do?

Techie Mum started as a place where my students could get more information about the topics they were learning about.  If there was some information I wanted to give them at the end of the course I didn’t want to have to post it out to them, so I would add links to the documents on the blog, where my students could download or print those they needed. 

I started adding articles about technology to the blog, and soon discovered I really enjoyed researching and writing about techie topics.  The favourable comments I was receiving helped me decide to turn Techie Mum into a real blog – but still with a page where my students could go for their documents.

I have always loved technology, and love finding out about new devices, apps and online tools.  Techie Mum is where I can share all the techie things I find – news, new apps and gadgets, and hopefully help my readers by answering their questions and solving some techie problems for them.

How does my writing process work?

I try to post at least twice a week, but as I'm not writing about something I'm personally experiencing or about my family, the process of writing each post can take a bit of time.   Usually the inspiration of what to write will be based on something techie in the news, a new gadget, or answering a question or problem from a reader.  Because a lot of my posts are technical I’ll always research the topic, even if it’s one I know very well, just to make sure that what I'm writing is current and accurate.

I’ll spend some time every day catching up on the latest technology news.  Whenever I find something I’d like to know more about, write about, or keep for future reference, I’ll add them to Pocket.  Because I've got Pocket on my PC, iPad and phone I can catch up on some of my reading wherever I am.  If an idea for a blog post comes to me when I'm out I’ll usually jot down the idea quickly in Word on my phone, saving it to OneDrive, which means I can continue the post when I get back home to my computer.  I've got a lot of half-started posts! 

I now need to pass you over to some other lovely bloggers, and next week you’ll be able to read about why they write.

Jane from The Hesitant Housewife writes very honestly about her sometimes bumpy life, about being a wife, and a mum to a gorgeous daughter diagnosed with ASD.  Her posts are so enjoyable to read, and I've found they make me really think and reflect on my own life.

Holly from Simplify.Create.Inspire writes about her journey towards a simplified life, with posts about crafts, recipes, and family; but also really thought provoking posts and the dreaded work/life balance.  Holly’s is one of those blogs that once you discover it, you end up spending hours reading through her old posts.

19 June 2014

Techie Mum on Radio 2GB

I was on the radio this morning – Sydney radio station 2GB.  If you’ve just found Techie Mum from my interview with Andrew Moore – welcome.  Techie Mum is where you’ll find tips, information and product reviews on the types of tech gadgets that families use, new apps and software for Mums, Dads and kids, and recommendations and advice on how to get the most out of all your family’s devices. 

If you’d like more information about what I spoke about in the interview, I’ve added the links below to my articles on these topics:

My three favourite apps

Wunderlist - read about it here and here

More about my favourite apps can be found here

When it comes to cyber safety I defer to the absolute expert in the field – Leonie Smith, also known as The Cyber Safety Lady.  


Is instagram safe for children?   
Read Leonie's article here 



Leonie has also written a very popular article about Minecraft

Public Wi-Fi

What are Wi-Fi Hot Spots

Protect yourself when using Public Wi-Fi

You can also find Techie Mum on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.  Take a look on my Home page for the links to take you straight to these sites.

I hope you enjoy reading my posts, and I hope you will feel free to comment and ask questions if there’s something techie you need help with.

If you'd like to listen to the interview it's available on the 2GB website here

12 June 2014

New How-To Guide - Microsoft PowerPoint 2010

Have you ever explored this blog?  There’s more to it than just this page.  Take a look at the Guides and eBooks page – that’s where to look if you’re after step-by-step instructions on how to use techie tools and software.  There are two eBooks on there at the moment – Gmail Basics, and the new one – Microsoft PowerPoint 2010.

This new guide is suitable for anyone using PowerPoint 2007 through to 2013.  There are slight differences between the three versions (2007, 2010 and 2013), but mostly to do with the number of picture editing options, designs, transitions and animations.  The basics are the same for all versions.

At the moment these guides are FREE for you to download by clicking on the title.  

10 June 2014

App review: Shadow Puppet

This week’s app review is for the kids.  Shadow Puppet is a simple iPhone and iPad app that allows children as young as five to create videos by combining their own photos as well as pics from the web, animated gifs, video clips, music, text and stickers, and their own voice. 

If you’re using photos it’s not exactly a movie – it’s more like a slide show, but you can add animations over the top, like flying streams of stars, blinking lights and hearts, and text, which can be animated as well by spinning, zooming, fading in and out.  You can add text to each slide as you go (the filming pauses while you add your text), or add the text to each slide before your start recording.

There’s no limit to what your child could use this for – a holiday diary, showing off their latest drawings or school art works (just photograph it first with your iPhone/iPad and it can be added to Shadow Puppet from your camera roll), or an impressive school presentation.

You can download Shadow Puppet here 

06 June 2014

Stay Smart Online Week - did you miss anything

Did you miss any of my posts on Facebook or Twitter this week for Stay Smart Online Week?  Don't worry if you did, because I've added them all to a Listly list and you can access them all from the links below:

Online threats - how to stay up to date

Access to the internet has become something we rely on, for shopping, banking, education, and communication.  However, the more time you spend on the internet, the greater the chance of being exposed to cyber security threats and scams that put your personal information and your money at risk.

It is essential that you keep up to date with the latest threats, and the Australian Government has made that easy with their Stay Smart Online Alert Service.  It’s a free subscription based service, where you can choose the topics you want to receive email alerts about – software updates, social media scams, online security issues and the Stay Smart Online newsletter.  You’ll also receive general tips on how to stay safe online.

Sign up for your subscription here 

If you suspect a scam, whether that is from an email or phone call you've received or something you've come across while online, visit the SCAMwatch website to help you confirm whether or not it is safe.  SCAMwatch is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) with the aim of providing a place where consumers and businesses can learn how to recognise scams, and avoid and report them.  

When you visit the website you'll see links down the left side of the screen where you can find information on particular types of scams - just click on the category you need to see if what you've found really is a scam.

Sign up for the SCAMwatch alert service and you'll receive an email when there's any increase in activity of a particular type of scam, or when a new scam is detected.

Visit SCAMwatch here

04 June 2014

Trend Micro's 'What's Your Story' competition

This week is Stay Smart Online Week, an Australia-wide initiative to educate Australians on how to best protect themselves online.  The theme this year is security on mobile devices – On The Go.   Our phones and tablets are becoming a normal part of our lives – we rely on them for so many tasks while we’re out and about.  But it seems that almost every day we hear of the risks to our children when they’re online, but what about the benefits to our children of living in a connected world?

To coincide with Stay Smart Online Week, Trend Micro, a leader in internet security, has launched the What’s Your Story competition, aimed at encouraging children to share their positive experiences about using mobile devices and the internet.

Children aged 8-12 can enter by creating a poster, and those aged 13-18 years create a two minute video, with the theme:

What do you enjoy doing On The Go on your mobile device and how do you do it safely?  Include any advice you can offer others too.

The competition will run until 13 July and there’s the chance to win iPads or iPad-Minis and more.  Entries can be submitted on this site from 16 June.  Your kids could even enter as a school or classroom.  Make sure you read all the conditions before your children start creating their entries.  Once the entries start rolling in the video entries can be viewed here and your child can vote for their favourites. 

One of the ways you can keep your children safe when they are using their phones or tablets is with mobile security software.  Trend Micro’s Mobile Security software provides advanced protection and privacy for Android and iOS devices by guarding against identity theft and viruses, blocking dangerous websites, protecting their privacy on social media, and more. 

To celebrate Stay Safe Online Week and the What’s Your Story competition, Trend Micro would like to give one of my lovely readers Trend Mobile Security software.

To enter, I’d like to hear about the positives to your children of living in an online world – how kids use their mobile devices and the benefits they bring (eg. organising, school, communication).  Entries can be from you or from your children (just make sure you include your name in the entry if it's your kids entering)

Giveaway Terms & Conditions
  • Submit your entry in a comment at the bottom of this post.  
  • Add a comment below a Facebook post about this competition letting me know you have entered
  • Like Techie Mum on Facebook here – if you don’t already
  • This competition is open to Australian Residents only
  • The competition is open for one week – from 4 June to 16 June 2014
  • All entries have an equal chance of winning – this is a game of chance
  • The winner will be announced on Wednesday 18 June 2014 on the Techie Mum blog, Facebook page, and Twitter
  • The winner will be contacted via the blog or by email address where one has been provided 
  • The winner has four days to reply, otherwise the prize will be redrawn.

02 June 2014

Stay Smart Online Week

This week is Stay Smart Online Week.  This is the seventh year it has run, although it was previously known as National Cyber Security Awareness Week.  The aim of Stay Smart Online Week is to help Australians using the internet – whether at home, the workplace or school – understand the simple steps they can take to protect their personal and financial information online.

The focus this year is on mobile security – On The Go.

All this week I’ll be posting about online safety.  Pop over to Techie Mum on Facebook for links to lots of information and articles about keeping you and your family safe online. 

Come back to the blog tomorrow for news of a great competition and a giveaway.

29 May 2014

My Favourite Apps

In my review of the Samsung Galaxy S5 (here, if you missed it) I mention some of the apps I use to manage me, my family and my business.  I've received a few questions about these apps and so I thought it was a good time to tell you about my favourites.  I have all these apps on all my devices – my iPad, and two Android phones – and almost all of them either downloaded to my laptop, or accessible online from my laptop.


This has been the biggest time saver I have ever used. I use Pocket to store everything that I want to read later - email newsletters, web articles - anything.  Pocket gets rid of all the extraneous stuff and keeps only the text and pictures from the web article, making it really easy to read.  I can read them offline and add tags so I can search for the articles I need. Those that I want to keep I can send to Evernote.  Pocket is on all my devices so that no matter where I am when I find something I want to keep I can add it to pocket, and I’ve always got something to read.


Evernote is an amazing organising tool.  Similarly to Pocket, it can store articles and web clips and you can tag them to categorise them, but Evernote can do a lot more.  You can add notes via audio (record your voice), webcam, screenshots, and handwritten notes, and even email directly to Evernote; and each note can be formatted – with checklists, tables etc.  Create a filing system and folders within Evernote to organise your notes, and tags allow for cross-referencing across different categories.  Evernote also has a family of products to help you do even more with Evernote.  I use Skitch to add notes and marks to photos and screen shots (also great for PDFs).  I also have Penultimate on my iPad which I use with a stylus when I want to take notes by hand.  The pages of writing are automatically saved to Evernote.  Lots of other apps also work with Evernote – I’ve got the Chrome extension to easily add any web clipping to Evernote; the Outlook add-in to quickly send an email to Evernote; JotNot on my iPad which turns it into a scanner with the scanned document sent straight to Evernote. 


This is my list manager - all my to do lists; what needs to be done in my business; in my home, in my life - everything. Items in each list can be given a deadline, and each item can have its own sub-lists. I can quickly refer to what needs to be done on a particular day and even print off the list for the day if I need it. 


Bitly is one of many sites where you can shorten URLs.  But, by creating an account on Bitly, I’m able to use it for much more.  The URL of each of my blog posts is copied to Bitly where, not only is the URL shortened, I can view statistics for each URL, including how many clicks it has received. I also add notes to each entry with the date each time I share or tweet a particular post (great for reusing older posts).  On my laptop and the iPhone app on my iPad (there's no dedicated iPad app)


Trello is where I manage my projects. Each project has a board and within that board I can break down the project into different stages. Within each stage I add the tasks to be completed. Each task can be dragged into a different spot - so important when you suddenly realise you've missed a step. Trello is on my laptop, iPad and Samsung phone so I can work on a project at any time.


I use Mail Chimp to create and manage Techie Mum newsletters.  You can sign up to receive the newsletter from the blog or from my Facebook Page.  But there’s often situations where someone would like to sign up for my newsletter but there’s not computer available, or not the time. Chimpadeedoo is a simple app on my iPad and phones that presents a single screen where anyone can signup for my newsletter, regardless of whether there’s internet access.  It’s linked to my Mail Chimp account so that once my iPad or phones are able to connect to the internet the registrations are automatically added to my mailing list.  Chimpadeedoo is perfect for an exhibition where you could have an iPad on the table for anyone to signup to a newsletter or mailing list (as long as you had a lock on the iPad to prevent someone running off with it) – the app can be set to not go to sleep so it’s always visible.


Dropbox is my favourite for cloud storage.  Any files that I regularly need when I’m away from my computer are stored in Dropbox, and with Dropbox on my iPad and both phones I can access those files anywhere.  On my computer Dropbox appears as just another folder so it’s easy to drag a file to it when needed.  I have it set up so any photos I take on my phones or my iPad are automatically saved to Dropbox.  That means all my photos are accessible on every device and it sure makes it easy to transfer them into my photo filing system on my computer.  As I took screenshots on my iPad and phone for this post they were instantly available on my laptop to add as I was writing.


I use the Infinite app on my iPad when I’m planning a new training session.  It’s like a board with lots of different post-it notes.  I create a note for each topic I want to include in the training and then I can move them around on the board/screen to get the order right.

What apps are your favourites?  I would love to know what apps you use, so please leave me a comment below and let me know what you use and how

14 May 2014

Phone review: Samsung Galaxy S5

As one of the Virgin Mobile Handset Tester Team I've been trying out the Samsung Galaxy S5 for the last two weeks. 

I love this phone, and if your phone contract is up for renewal or you just want to replace your phone the Samsung Galaxy S5 is definitely worth considering.   Take a look at my review video below...

If you're interested in the apps I talk about in my review, my next post will be all about them and the other apps I use to manage my business and my life.

Disclosure:  Virgin Mobile Australia gave me a Samsung Galaxy S5 to review but all views expressed are my own.

06 May 2014

App review: HomeLove

My new favourite time waster!  Home Beautiful magazine has introduced an app to help inspire you with your own home renovation and decoration, with thousands of images from the magazine grouped into galleries – Rooms, Styles, Products and Finishes (with more images added each month).  When you find an image you love just add it to your Favourites.  You can also create your own Moodboards, adding images from the app as well as your own photos from your smartphone or tablet – you could add a photo of the room you’re working on or the furniture you already have as the starting point for your Moodboard.

The HomeLove app is also where you can keep up with what’s happening on House Rules.  As each home is completed you can view photos of every room and details of the products that were used in the renovation – right down to exactly where to find a particular cushion, tile, lamp or mirror.

The HomeLove app is free for iOS and Android phones and tablets.

30 April 2014

InDepth - the toughest iPhone case

I've got a very special iPhone case for you all today - the InDepth iPhone 5/5S waterproof and weatherproof case. 

This isn't a pretty case to be left in your handbag – although they do look very smart - these are the toughest cases on the market – especially designed in Australia for the tradesmen, the adventurers and the active people who need a case that can take some hard knocks.  This case can take being driven over, taken on a swim, buried in dirt and survive the inevitable drops. 

The InDepth case makes your iPhone resistant to water, dirt, impact and snow. 

There are also some great accessories that you can attach to the case – a floating lanyard, adhesive mount, bike and bar mount, and a bottle opener belt clip.

You can buy an InDepth case here for $99.95 including free Express Post within Australia.  There is also an iPhone 4/4S case available for $89.95.

Would you like an InDepth case?

It’s all very well me telling you about this case, but unfortunately I can’t give it a really good trial – I just don’t think I could be tough enough on it.  So, I’d like one of my readers to take on the job of giving it a really good test run – and you get to keep the case too! 

If you or your partner think you could give an InDepth case a good workout just leave me a comment below telling me what you think makes you (or your partner) the perfect ‘tester’.
I'm going to ask the winner to let us all know how the case performed by answering some questions that I’ll provide.  I’ll then publish the review (and some pictures, I hope) on the blog. 

Competition Conditions:

  • This competition is a game of skill.
  • The prize is an orange InDepth iPhone 5/5S case with belt clip
  • Submit your entry in a comment at the bottom of this post.  
  • Follow Techie Mum on Facebook here – if you don’t already.
  • This competition is open to Australian Residents only.  
  • The competition is open for one week – from 30 April to 7 May 2014
  • You must own or have access to an iPhone 5 or 5s to trial the case
  • You agree to trial and review this case by answering the questions I will provide – within two weeks of receiving your InDepth case.
  • No responsibility taken for damage to your iPhone while using this case
  • The winner will be announced on Thursday 8 May 2014 on the Techie Mum blog, Facebook page, and Twitter. 
  • The winner will be contacted via the blog or by email address where one has been provided.  The winner has four days to reply, otherwise the prize will go to the next best entry.

This giveaway has now ended - the winner is Karen Edwards.  I will be featuring Karen's review of the InDepth case in the next few weeks.

14 April 2014

App review: Eggy Subtract to 20

Special Offer - only until 16 April!

If you've been hanging around Techie Mum for a while you'll know that I love the Reading Eggs apps.  I've used quite a few of these brilliant educational apps over the years for my boys.  Adding to the collection is a new maths app – Eggy Subtract to 20. 

Designed for children aged 4-7 this app teaches subtraction skills using six interactive games – feeding monsters, throwing subtraction pies, snowboarding, helping Teddy climb the rope, finishing Dr Shocks subtraction grid, and a memory game.  Within each game there are two or three levels to complete, and as each activity is completed there are rewards to unlock.  Reading Eggs apps make learning fun with bright animations and catchy music.  Whilst the apps are created in Australia you have a choice of accents – Australian, English and American.

Eggy Subtract to 20 is compatible with iPads and iPhones and is $3.79 from the AppStore.  Although you’ll get it a bit cheaper for the next two days.  There’s a special offer on just for the next two days (until Wednesday 16 April) – all Reading Eggs apps (except the fabulous Targeting Maths range – damn!) are reduced to $2.49.  

I've reviewed some other Reading Eggs apps:

05 April 2014

Goodbye Windows XP

In October 2001 Windows XP was released and over the years it has become the most used computer operating system in the world.  In the 12 years since there have been three new versions of Windows released - Vista, 7, and 8/8.1, but there are hundreds of millions of computers all over the world still using XP – actually 18% of Windows PCs. 

If you’re one of them, you should spend this weekend thinking about what you’re going to do after Tuesday – because on 8 April Microsoft will cease to support Windows XP.  While XP is still a great operating system there could be some problems if you continue to use it after that date. 

Hopefully I can answer your questions about what it means to you:

What will happen on 8 April 2014?

On that date Microsoft will no longer offer any kind of technical support for Windows XP.  That means there will be no more automatic updates from Microsoft – of most concern is no more security updates. 

Support is also ending for Internet Explorer 8, which is the default web browser for XP. 

Without those security updates your computer could be exposed to malware, viruses and other security threats.

Will my computer still work?

Yes, the end of Microsoft support will have no effect how your computer works.

Should I buy a new computer?

If you've been thinking about it, then yes.  Now would be a good time to buy. 

If you've been hearing terrible things about Windows 8, then let me reassure you that it’s not that bad, it’s very fast, and if you bypass the modern tiled start screen there’s a familiar XP/Windows 7 style desktop.  It has also been rumoured this week that a future update will reintroduce the Start Menu. 

Most of the software that you used on your XP computer (unless it’s very old) will still work on Windows 8, or this could be a good opportunity to negotiate with the salesman when buying your new computer to see what software they can throw in - a one year subscription to Office 365 would be good!

To help you move your files from your XP computer to a new one, Microsoft has a free tool – PC Mover Express.  This tool will copy your files, music, videos, email, user profiles and settings from your old PC to your new computer running Windows 7, 8 or 8.1.  

If I don’t want to buy a new computer what can I do?

  • Use a more modern web browser – like Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox.  They are both free to download and will be supported on XP computers until at least 2015.  This will help to stop your computer being exposed to the most common threats.
  • Keep your internet security software up to date.
  • If your computer is suitable you could install a new operating system on it - you can still buy Windows 7 installation disks.  To check if your computer can run Windows 7 download the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor. 

If I buy a new computer is there anything I can do with my XP computer?

Yes, you’ll have no problems at all if you are not connected to the internet, so maybe keep it as a backup computer or for the kids for games or basic programs. 

Have a think this weekend about what you're going to do if you still have an XP computer and if you have any specific questions pop them in a comment below.