Thursday, October 20: Looking Forward to Halloween!

LOOKING FORWARD TO HALLOWEEN!

#FiOSNY

When:  TODAY, Thursday, October 20, 2016
9:00 – 10:00 pm ET
6:00 – 7:00 pm PT
Join host Misty (@mistygirlph) and the #FiOSNY team on Twitter at 9 pm ET on Thursday, October 20 as we Look Forward to Halloween!
With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to share our favorite fright night memories. That means our best trick-or-treat stories, our favorite Halloween costumes, and the movies and TV shows that make sure the lights stay on all night!
RSVP and attend the chat for a chance to win a Motorola Powerpack charger or a Kindle Fire HD 10 tablet!

(Click here to learn more about our Twitter chats. You must RSVP and attend the party to be eligible for a prize.)

To RSVP:
  1. Email RSVP@theonlinemom.com (subject line: FiOSNY) indicating your Twitter ID.
  2. Spread the word and RT this link on your Twitter feed: http://bit.ly/2dISo0A
  3. Join us on TweetDeck or HootSuite (#FiOSNY) on Thursday, October 20 between 9:00 – 10:00 pm ET.
  4. Tell your Twitter followers!
PRIZE WINNERS will be announced during the Party!

(The Online Mom LLC receives a fee for participating in certain promotional programs for Verizon.)

Alternatives to the Samsung Galaxy Note 7

By Tracey Dowdy

Just two weeks after the Galaxy Note 7’s August release, Samsung had to turn around and issue a global recall for the device. That translates into refunds and exchanges on over one million phones for Samsung. All US carriers have stopped sales and Samsung is working with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on an investigation into why the devices are catching fire or, in some cases, exploding.

If you are a Note 7 owner, you’ll need to decide which device offers the features you liked most about the device and decide what your replacement will be. Here are three great options.

  • Galaxy S7 Edge – On their recall support page Samsung lists several incentives for choosing another Samsung device. Loyal customers will receive “a $25 gift card, in-store credit, in-store accessory credit or bill credit from select carrier retail outlets.” If you’re one of those loyal customers, the Galaxy S7 Edge is a good choice as it has a lot of the same features including the identical IP68 dust and water-resistance rating, the same camera, microSD slot, and wireless charging. It doesn’t have the USB Type-C port, the S pen, or Note 7’s iris scanner but did you really need an iris scanner anyway?
  • iPhone 7 – One of the most appealing features of the Note 7 was that with its 5.7 inch screen it was a phablet – a phone/tablet hybrid. The iPhone 7’s screen size comes close at 5.5. inches. Of course, this means switching from Android to iOS, but if you’ve been on the fence, this is as good a time as any to switch platforms. The iPhone 7 promises 10 hours of battery life with standard use; is water-resistant; available in 32GB, 128GB or 256GB options; and has an excellent camera. Plus, Apple offers a “Move to iOS” app in the Google Play store so switching platforms isn’t the nightmare it used to be.
  • Google Pixel – If you’re willing wo wait just a little longer Google’s Pixel phone set to be released in late October is an option. The Pixel will be among the first to include Google’s answer to Siri, Google Assistant; is compatible with Daydream, Google’s virtual reality platform; charges up 7 hours of battery life in 15 minutes; and promises one of the best smartphone cameras to date. Users also get unlimited 4K video and photo storage at full resolution through the Google photos app; and customers can choose either a 32GB or 128GB device.

If you need further information on recall and exchange options, go to Samsung’s website or call 1-844-365-6197.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Tuesday, October 25: Fall Comfort Foods

FALL COMFORT FOODS

TwitterLogo450

When:  TODAY, Tuesday, October 25, 2016
8:00 – 8:45 pm ET
5:00 – 5:45 pm PT
followed by a 15 minute Facebook Live Recap!
It’s finally Fall and time to break out the scarves, crock pots and pumpkin-spiced everything! Fall food is easily one of the best parts of the season, so we will be talking about your favorite Fall comfort foods, slow-cooker meals and enjoying family meal time as the weather gets cooler.
RSVP and participate in the chat or Facebook Recap and you will be eligible to win one of TWO comfort food-themed prizes courtesy of Sanderson Farms!
(Prize includes a slow cooker and a $50 gift card to buy chicken and seasonings!)

 (Click here to learn more about our Twitter chats. You must RSVP and attend the party to be eligible for a prize.)

To RSVP:
  1. Email to RSVP@theonlinemom.com (subject line: SandersonFarms) indicating your Twitter ID.
  2. Spread the word and RT this link on your Twitter feed: http://bit.ly/2dNx24S
  3. Join us on TweetDeck or HootSuite (#SandersonFarms) on Tuesday, October 25 between 8:00 – 8:45 pm ET.
  4. Tell your Twitter followers!
PRIZE WINNERS will be announced during the Party!

(The Online Mom LLC receives a fee for participating in certain promotional programs for Sanderson Farms.)

What To Do With Your Samsung Galaxy Note 7

By Tracey Dowdy

On a recent flight to Indianapolis the flight attendant delivered the usual pre-flight instructions on what to do with our tray tables and how to use seat cushions as floatation devices but then took great pains to emphasize that Galaxy Note 7 phones were to remain off for the duration of the flight. She mentioned it not once, not twice, but three times before the flight took off and again once we had reached our cruising altitude. I thought it was a bit odd but didn’t give it much thought. At the time I was unaware that the Note 7 has a tendency to catch fire – not the kind of feature most of us are looking for in a phone and certainly not one you want to experience on a flight.

Initially Samsung worked with service providers to offer customers refunds or replacements. The only problem is that some of the replacement phones have also burst into flames. As a result, Samsung has been forced to do the unthinkable: they have recalled every single Galaxy Note 7 that has ever been sold; that’s an estimated one million phones.

To be fair, Samsung issued the recall when only 35 phone fires had been reported but the number has steadily increased since. To date, over 100 Galaxy Note 7s have spontaneously combusted, and according to an article in The New York Times Samsung has no idea why this keeps happening.

But what to do if you’re the not-so-proud or happy owner of a Note 7? Good news. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has stepped in to help with the recall. In addition,

Samsung offers these instructions on their website:

  1. Exchange your current Galaxy Note7 for a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge and replacement of any Galaxy Note7 specific accessories with a refund of the price difference between devices; or

  2. Contact your point of purchase to obtain a full refund.

When you exchange your Note 7 for another Samsung phone, you will also be given a $25 gift card, in-store credit, in-store accessory credit or bill credit from select carrier retail outlets.

For more information or assistance, customers can go to the Updated Consumer Guidance for the Galaxy Note7 on Samsung’s website or call 1-844-365-6197.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Facebook Rolls Out Marketplace

By Tracey Dowdy

Looking for a used car? Look no further than Facebook. Yep, Facebook.

Facebook has had community buy and sell pages and groups for ages but they’re taking it a step further with their new and improved Marketplace.

If you’re thinking, “Wait, Marketplace? That sounds familiar!” you’d be right. Facebook originally launched Marketplace back in 2007 but it soon flopped. That’s how we ended up with the online yard sale model where users had to join specific buy and sell groups moderated by an administrator who also had to approve your admission into the group.

The new Marketplace does away with the moderator but whether that’s a plus or minus remains to be seen. With no moderator, there’s no one to protect users from scams so “caveat emptor.”

Facebook already had its Commerce Policy posted and the same restrictions apply, for example users cannot sell animals, guns or alcohol. If you decide to make a purchase, you go through private messaging to set up pick up and payment just like you did with the old Groups. If another user violates the Commerce Policy users can use Facebook’s reporting tools and have the post removed or flag a bad seller.

Of course, there are other options out there. Big names like eBay and Craiglist have been around for ages and there are plenty of yard sale apps popping up – Close5, Yerdle, OfferUp and Letgo to name a few – but none of them have Facebooks’ massive user base.

So why now? If they’ve already tried and failed, why bother launching again? Simple. Of Facebook’s 1.7 billion users, 450 million of them are searching at least one buy and sell group every month. That’s a lot of commerce. So far, Facebook hasn’t announced plans to monetize Marketplace in any way or to ask for a percentage of any sales but it does drive users to Facebook and they’re hoping will cause more users to take advantage of the site.

Marketplace has had a trial run in New Zealand and parts of Chile and the US over the past year and clearly Facebook was pleased with the results. Users in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand will find the Marketplace icon at the top of their Facebook app on both iOS and Android devices with plans to roll out to other countries in the near future.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a basement to clear out.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

Thursday, October 13: The Need for Speed

The Need for Speed

#FiOSPhilly

When: TODAY, Thursday, October 13, 2016
8:00 – 9:00 pm ET
5:00 – 6:00 pm PT
Join Lindsay (@SeeMomClick) and the #FiOSPhilly team at 8 pm ET on Thursday, October 13, as we chat about The Need for Speed!
Whether you like to stream movies, play games or listen to your favorite songs, a fast and reliable home network is essential. We help you take a hard look at your existing Internet service and explore why FiOS is the gold standard for connected families everywhere!
RSVP and attend the chat for a chance to win a Motorola Powerpack portable battery charger or a Kindle Fire HD 10 Tablet!

(Click here to learn more about our Twitter chats. You must RSVP and attend the party to be eligible for a prize.)

To RSVP:
  1. Email RSVP@theonlinemom.com (subject line: FiOSPhilly) indicating your Twitter ID.
  2. Spread the word and RT this link on your Twitter feed: http://bit.ly/2ep5DaJ
  3. Join us on TweetDeck or HootSuite (#FiOSPhilly) on Thursday, October 13 between 8:00 – 9:00 pm ET.
  4. Tell your Twitter followers!
PRIZE WINNERS will be announced during the Party!

(The Online Mom LLC receives a fee for participating in certain promotional programs for Verizon.)

Students: Time to Reclaim Your Tech!

By Megan Valente

I like to compare my collegiate career to a boxing match. I voluntarily stepped into the ring with a crowd cheering me on, repeatedly got punched in the face, bled a little bit, tallied up a few wins, and then forgot what I was doing from getting punched in the head so much.

However, of all of the opponents we face in our own personal ring, the heavyweight champion seems to be who we least expect it to be, our own technology. Technology is the college student’s ultimate frenemy. You think it’s on your side and then WHAM, out of nowhere you have a black eye and a late paper because you fell three hours deep into scrolling through your Facebook news feed.

As if we don’t have enough to work through already, the last thing that should be getting in our way is that which is supposed to be helping us. Let us reclaim our technology, hours logged into scrolling, and ultimately our lives. Here is how you can make your tech work for you as a student, like it was originally supposed to.

Google Drive
I swear my life to Google Drive up and down. Computers crash all the time and you really don’t want to lose an all-nighter’s worth of work because your roommate spilled their cheap coffee on your keyboard. Google Drive automatically saves your work as you go and everything is online, so you can access it from any computer in the world at any time! Even your phone!

SelfControl
SelfControl allows you to set websites off limits for a certain period of time. Remember that hour that you promised to dedicate to your paper? Well this gives you no online excuses. It cannot, however, stop you from repeatedly going to the refrigerator and stress eating cheese. That’s your own (my own) problem.

EasyBib
EasyBib is THE ultimate lifesaver. For papers that seem to need an excessive amount of sources, you can just fill out the form and create an instant bibliography. One less thing to stress over!

TED
I love TED talks probably more than I should, but how can I resist? It’s a huge wealth of knowledge all in one place with engaging speakers on every topic you can imagine. Ted talks make for great references and they make you sound super smart in class, “Well, this speaker I was listening to yesterday…” *drops knowledge bomb*

Amazon Student
I used to spend an entire paycheck or two on books that don’t even arrive on time. Amazon Student always has the best deals and even has free Prime for 6 months with a student email address. I even like it more than Chegg, which says a lot because they send me a free Red Bull with my books, and I really like Red Bull.

Quizlet
Making a quizlet is such an easy way to study for an exam. You can custom make your own note cards and even use others/share with friends. Who said class couldn’t be a team effort?

Fitbit
It is frighteningly easy to gain weight in college. I’m talking “oh my gosh, when did my pizza binge eat begin?! Yesterday? Last week? Oh no, last month???” Fitbit helps you reach your goals by tracking your activity through a little bracelet. You can compete with friends and make a whole game of it. “Hold on, let me take a lap around the room. Gotta get those steps in!”

Now you know all of the moves for the ring, just put them into action. With your tech back on your side, you’ll be sure to avoid a few punches to the gut and maybe even win that big belt that champions get. See you in the winner’s circle!

Megan Valente is a lifestyle blogger and barista and is currently attending Montclair State University. Follow her on Twitter at @TheDayILived.

College Applications and Social Media

By Tracey Dowdy

Mercifully for my generation, most of our bad decisions in high school are lost to memory or stuffed in a shoe box of photos forgotten in a basement. Not so for our kids. Thanks to social media, bad decisions are more closely documented than the Korean War.

Many a social media account is littered with Red Solo cups, questionable comments or Tweets, and sketchy language. So what, they’re young. Not a big deal, right?

Not so fast. You might want to take a second look at your child’s social media presence if they’re applying for colleges or university, as more and more schools are looking at those profiles when they screen applicants. According to a study by Kaplan Test Prep, 40% of Admissions officers are scrolling through social media to see if what’s on the application matches what’s on the web.

Kids will be kids, right? Sure, but if your student is competing for placement or funding, those pictures of Spring Break 2015 could mean the difference between a scholarship and a student loan. Does that mean they have to take everything down? Not necessarily.

Help them see cleaning up social media as a transition from high school to adulthood. Part of the college experience is cultivating who you are, who you want to be, and how you want the world to perceive you. Some students shut it all down and come off social media entirely, while others choose anonymity and don’t use their real names to avoid negative attention. It’s entirely up to the individual what works best, and it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

Used as a self-marketing tool, social media can be an asset for your student. Creative students can use platforms like Instagram to showcase their art or photography, writers can utilize blogs, and Facebook can document humanitarian or volunteer efforts.

Encourage your student to comb through their social media accounts and use these guidelines from Kaplan as a litmus test of what stays and what goes.

  • Does this make me look like college material? It’s not just party photos or controversial statements; check your spelling and grammar. Little things weigh in the balance and can make a big difference.
  • Would I say this on television? Would you say it to someone’s face? Ask yourself: “Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?” Social media gives a false sense of bravado and anonymity. Be mindful of what you say. Your social media is a mirror of your character.
  • Does this post court excessive commenting? Are you trying to take a stand or are you just trying to stir the pot and be provocative? Taking a stand for what you think is right is important but realize your opinion may be polarizing. Be prepared to accept the consequences.
  • Is it offensive? Following on the heels of “Is what you’ve posted controversial?” ask “Is it at the expense of others?” Understand sincerity doesn’t translate to high moral ground or to truth. Many people hold sincere beliefs but can still be sincerely wrong.
  • Does everyone need to read this? Kaplan suggests that if the answer is “No,” don’t post it. Social media is littered with opinions, some good, some bad, some right, some wrong. If your goal is to present your best self to admissions and scholarship committees, cull your social media presence mercilessly. Use it as a platform to showcase your accomplishments and abilities to demonstrate why you are a superior candidate.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.

 

Friday, October 21: Choosing the Right Smartphone

MOBILE LIVING TWITTER PARTY

#VZWBuzz

When: TODAY, Friday, October 21, 2016
3:00 – 4:00 pm ET
12:00 – 1:00 pm PT

‘Choosing the Right Smartphone’

Join @TheTechDad and the VZWBuzz team at 3 pm ET (12 noon PT) on Friday, October 21 as we chat about Choosing the Right Smartphone!
With so many models and different operating systems to choose from, deciding on a new smartphone can quickly become a chore. Join us as we offer some tips for narrowing down the field and making sure you end up with a smartphone you will love!
(We also take a look at the brand new Pixel smartphone from Google!)
RSVP and participate in the chat for a chance to win a Fitbit Charge HR activity tracker or Samsung Level wireless headphones!

(Click here to learn more about our Twitter chats.)

To RSVP:
  1. Email RSVP@theonlinemom.com (subject line: VZWBuzz) and include your Twitter ID.
  2. Spread the word and RT this link on your Twitter feed: http://bit.ly/2cNKdil
  3. Join us on TweetDeck or HootSuite (#VZWBuzz) on Friday, October 21 between 3 – 4 pm ET
  4. Tell your Twitter followers!

(The Online Mom LLC receives a fee for participating in certain promotional programs for Verizon Wireless.)