When it comes to deciding on Christmas presents for parents, a funny thing happens; it’s either incredibly easy or ridiculously difficult. The trend seems to now lean towards the latter, ever since I moved provinces away. I remember it being so easy when I was a kid; plaid button up shirts for Dad and something with pansies for Mom. Times are different and I think parents are now looking for the cool toys too, though I will treasure anything my son gives me. Check out some apps and accessories that should make your geeky Mom or Dad happy.
The Shutter BugFor some, every family outing must be captured in images. This could mean saying “cheese!” until you become lactose intolerant. Family albums are a window to memories of every snowman, every hockey game and every piano recital. These days, those albums aren’t the only ones being passed around for everyone to look through; laptops, tablets and smart phones are joining in as well (a twist on file sharing perhaps?).
Camera Plus is one of many camera/image applications available for your BlackBerry. This application makes it easier to share not only individual images, but albums as well. Faster than you can get everyone to watch the birdie, you can sort through your images and email them off (up to 25 at a time), all from within Camera Plus. Another option for you is imgLite; an application that enables you to edit your images. You can rotate, resize or even crop your images (like cropping an embarrassing relative out of the picture).
You want to be in the picture too. You want to make sure the angle is just right. You don’t want to lug around a tripod where ever you go. What if you could achieve angles nearly as good as those pictures Peter Parker takes of Spider-Man? How does he do that anyway?! For smartphones and cameras, turn to Joby and their GorillaPod and GorillaMobile. This unique, and small, tripod features dozens of bendable joints with rubberized rings and feet. This provides you with a strong enough grip to take shots while hanging from the monkey bars, without you having to hang on as well.
The Grill MasterYour parents provided you with food, clothing, shelter and BlackBerrys when you were growing up. If you’re all grown up and they’re still looking after you, it’s time to move out of the basement already!! Okay, you could try helping out once in a while; set the table, do the dishes or even fold napkins. You could also get your parents a little more high tech; even with food prep.
If they’re spending more time dealing with fights between siblings rather than preparing a meal, they may lose track of time and accidently burn what was supposed to be a family favourite. Apps like the 5 in 1 Kitchen Timer help users keep an eye on even the more difficult of recipes. Especially handy for an amateur chef, the application can provide timers for each of your four burners, as well as the oven itself. 5 in 1 Kitchen Timer also provides both audible and visual alarms, alerting you to hurry before the Kraft Dinner burns.
I wonder if all Dads love to Barbeque; my Dad does and I know I do! The problem is that I tend to hover over the grill, constantly monitoring to make sure the food is grilled to perfection. Why is it a problem? Unless someone approaches me, I tend to be left out of the party, as I lose myself to my duty of mastering the flame. I found a possible solution in the Grill Alert Talking Remote Meat Thermometer. This monitor frees you from being behind the grill and lets you enjoy the party or play with your kids, up to 300 feet away. Basically you insert the sensor into the meat, then set the type of meat and how you want it prepared. On the receiver side, the LCD display will show you the current cooking temp, the target temp and the cooking progress. You will be alerted to when the meat is almost ready and also ready. With this receiver on your belt, next to your BlackBerry of course, you’ll look like the Barbeque Batman!
The Family ChauffeurEarly morning sports practice, driving to and from school, or even late night trips to the hospital; your parents are dedicated to getting you from point A to point B safely. What can you do? How about keeping it down back there! I mean it- I will turn this car around and there will be no new BlackBerrys for anyone! While they try to keep you safe, you should get them something that will keep them safe as well.
For safety and accessibility, no vehicle should be without some soft of car mount. With that in mind, I wanted to put the spotlight on the iGrip Car Charging Dock. This dock sports an adjustable swivel top to help you find the best placement of your BlackBerry; even if it’s portrait or landscape mode. If you also have a car charger, you might as well use this secure mount to charge your BlackBerry at the same time – just plug the charger right into the dock.
If lost, how many of your dads would opt out of asking for directions? Can I get a show of hands? These days, we put our faith in GPS, regardless if some of us follow directions straight into a lake or not. There are so many GPS BlackBerry applications to choose from; but the e-mobile GPS Companion definitely deserves a spot under the tree. With this app, you get real-time turn by turn directions, powerful search options (by contact info, address or distance). Not only can you look up location, but also information on venues, as well as contact info. E-Mobile GPS Companion also allows you to send your current location through email or text.
The Power ParentWhy we didn’t evolve a few extra arms, I don’t know. One thing I admired about my parents was their ability to juggle practically everything life (and myself) threw at them. It’s a gift that is continuously being augmented and challenged. You have to admit that it’s difficult to chase down a toddler while chatting on BBM at the same time (watch out for the wall!).
These highly adaptable parents also agree that they need to be prepared, packed and ready to go. A weekend getaway may come with a trunk full (and sometimes roof rack full) of luggage. Trips to the park may require a shopping cart. While it won’t eliminate a ton of luggage, a case like the horizontal organizer from PDA skins may lighten the load a little. This case, besides holding your BlackBerry, also allows double as a wallet. There are multiple sleeves and compartments for cards, cash or even another BlackBerry.
I’m a big fan of the BlueAnt line of Bluetooth headsets; especially the BlueAnt Q2. Not only do they offer superior audio quality and noise reduction, but an amazing audio user interface. As you and the headset talk back and forth with each other, you can perform various functions, such as bing 411 searches, sms readout and incoming call announcements – which supports the name or the number of the caller. This is a great function, as I’m not tempted to glance at the Call Display on my BlackBerry; keeping my eyes on the road and my hands on the wheel (or in some cases, hands in the finger paint).