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For Kids

I am big on kids learning STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Skills through play so the toys I recommends fill that purpose.

Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Animals (6 mos – 3)

(It’s puppy love (and learning) with the Fisher-Price® Laugh & Learn™ Love to Play Puppy™! Play games, sing songs, and enjoy lots of learning fun with this snuggly, huggable friend for. The adorable puppy responds to a baby’s touch with more than 40 songs, tunes, phrases and games. He’ll introduce your baby to the alphabet, numbers, counting, parts of the body, colors, and more. And his heart lights up, twinkling along to the music and a special “I Love You” song!)

LeapFrog stuffed Animals (6 mos – 3)

Personalize this snuggly interactive puppy with a tablet, smart phone, or computer for learning fun with a true friend.*

Discovery Kids Build and Play Construction Fort Kit (3+)

The possibilities are endless with the Discovery Kids 77-piece Build and Play Construction Fort set. With connecting rods and custom connectors, you can create your own castle, tunnel, rocketship, and much more. Assembly is easy and children can build nearly any structure they can imagine.

My Grandchildren love DocMcStuffins and Paw Patrol (2-4) – Great for imaginative play. Lego — Always a favorite (depends on kit).

Lego Master Builder Academy kits (33 projects in one kit)

While LEGO Master Builder Academy will not make you an official LEGO Master Builder (you have to be an employee of The LEGO Group for that), it will teach you many of the skills, design secrets, and advanced building techniques that the real LEGO Master Builders use in their jobs, and help you to truly master the art of building.

Klutz LEGO Chain Reactions Craft Kit

LEGO Chain Reactions is packed full of ideas, instructions, and inspiration for 10 LEGO machines that spin, swing, pivot, roll, lift, and drop. Each machine alone is awesome, but put them together and you get incredible chain reactions. Then, combine the machines in any order you like to create your own chain reactions. Our team of experts worked with educators and 11-year-olds to invent the machines, then wrote a book that teaches the skills (and some of the physics behind the fun) kids need to create their own amazing chain reaction machines. (If you have lots of LEGOS at home this is an indispensable resource). Requires additional LEGOS to make projects.

Our book includes 33 special LEGO elements that combine with basic bricks from your collection to make your machines go. But don’t worry that you won’t have the right bricks; we worked with the folks at LEGO to make sure you’ll need only the most common bricks, and that there are plenty of substitutes. The result is a chain reaction of fun, as one thing leads to another…and another… and another.

Snap Circuits – (3-15 depending on kit)

Give your child an exciting, hands-on introduction to electronics with Elenco Electronics Snap Circuits. Color-coded, real circuit components that snap together to create working electronic circuits and devices.

Qwirkle (5+)

Featuring a massive amount of in-game choices, including three tiles each of thirty-six possible color-symbol combinations, Qwirkle is the perfect game to hone player’s tactical maneuvers, strategical planning, and forward thinking. The rules of the game are basic: simply build lines by matching tiles based on either color or shape, and score points for doing so. The ability to build complex combinations will keep children interested and engaged, and challenge them mentally. Qwirkle is playable from early ages up, allowing young children and older individuals alike to develop and hone their spacial recognition, planning, and problem solving skills. Great for family game night! Ages 6 and up, 2 to 4 players. Please note: Product contains small parts. Not for children under 3 years old.

No Stress Chess (4+)

With this revolutionary chess teacher, you’ll be playing the world’s greatest game in no time at all!. Finally, a way to learn chess without stress! The secret? An innovative deck of action cards. Each depicts a chess piece and how it moves. Once you become comfortable with the moves and powers of each chess piece, you can flip the two-sided board over and play standard chess. Includes rules for two variations of playing using the action cards, and all the necessary rules for standard chess.

Code Master Programming Logic Game (8+)

The Ultimate Coding Adventure! In Code Master, your Avatar will travel to an exotic world in search of power Crystals. For all 60 levels, you’ll have to use programming logic to help your Avatar collect the Crystals and land at the Portal. Think carefully, in each level, only one specific sequence of actions will lead to success.

Code Master Programming Logic Game (8+)

The Ultimate Coding Adventure! In Code Master, your Avatar will travel to an exotic world in search of power Crystals. For all 60 levels, you’ll have to use programming logic to help your Avatar collect the Crystals and land at the Portal. Think carefully, in each level, only one specific sequence of actions will lead to success.

Tech for Women

I prefer stuff that makes a women’s life easier — but I buy my wife toasters and pots and pans — Hey, she loves them!

Power Mat

Allow her to wirelessly charge three portable devices at once. Simply Drop & Charge your favorite devices (receivers for devices sold separately).

Flavour Shaker

Designed to crush, mix and release flavor from whole spices, herbs, garlic, nuts, citrus rind or even lime or bay leaves. It is easier to use and easier to clean than a mortar and pestle. In just a few seconds you can create and add flavor to all kinds of everyday dishes. You can make meat rubs for really aromatics roasts and grills; marinades, dips, oil dressings for salads, sauces and salsas just to name a few ideas. Simply pop your ingredients inside, add the magic ceramic ball and give it a good shake. The ceramic ball does all the work crushing, grinding and bruising the contents, releasing amazing aromas and zingy flavors. Liquids such as olive oil and creams can be added to create delicious dressings and marinades.

Wireless Headphones

Zik

 

Bose

 

AfterShokz

FitBit or Basis Watch

  • 24/7 automatic fitness and sleep tracking
  • Heart rate during exercise—no chest strap needed
  • BodyIQ automatically tracks walks, runs and rides
  • Automatic sleep detection with sleep stage insights
  • Smartwatch notifications for text, email, call on your wrist


LiveScribe Pen

Everything from paper, pulled into a mobile app:

  • Handwritten notes instantly appear on your smartphone and tablet.
  • Records audio that’s synchronized with your written notes using the mics on your smartphone or tablet.
  • In the Livescribe+ mobile app, notes become useful when they are tagged, searchable or converted to text.
  • Easily integrate your notes with the rest of your mobile life – create tasks, reminders, calendar events, contacts and more with just a few taps of your finger.
  • Livescribe 3 Pro Edition includes 100-sheet hardbound journal*, a leather smartpen portfolio, an extra ink cartridge and a 1-year subscription to Evernote Premium.

Polaroid POGO Instant Mobile Printer

Polaroid has reinvented instant photography for the digital age with the Polaroid PoGo Instant Mobile Printer. Sleek, stylish, and easy to use, the Polaroid PoGo Instant Mobile Printer lets you share photos whether you are on vacation or just hanging out with your friends.

Beddit

Every morning, the Beddit SleepScore shows you how you slept. It’s an intuitive scale that goes from 0 to 100 and gives you a direction – just like you’d be using something as simple as a weight scale.

Ice Sphere Maker (for your drinks)

Spherical ice cubes are more than just cool-looking cocktail accompaniments. They chill your drink evenly and melt slowly so your drink doesn’t get diluted.

 

MyBlossom

Tech for the Gardener – Control your sprinklers from anywhere. Weather Analytics watering. Conserve water and money.

Areo Garden

Grow Fresh Herbs on your counter – NASA-proven technology which allows consumers to garden indoors, year round, with no dirt, no weeds and no green thumb needed. Miracle-Gro AeroGardens are complete indoor gardening systems with built in, full spectrum grow lights, patented nutrients, auto-feed, water and lighting systems, and “smart garden” control panels for guaranteed success.

 

Tech for Teen and Twenty Something

BACTrack (21 or over)

Open the app and get your estimated Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in seconds

ThermaClear

Tech for breakouts – The ThermaClear is a sensational new Acne Treatment for personal use for acne skin to treat and clear mild to moderate acne and pimples. ThermaClear’s exclusive two-second ‘Thermal Pulse Technology’ reaches beneath the skin’s surface to trigger a highly effective dual-action healing process: neutralizing acne-causing bacteria from above while stimulating the body’s own powerful acne-fighting proteins from below, so you get clearer skin up to four times faster than if left untreated.

OnWatch App

With a single touch, this app sends your location to people you’ve preselected as emergency contacts. And if you sense something fishy could happen, On Watch lets you set an alarm that sends a text and location to your contacts when the countdown hits zero. Translation: You take that frat guy up on his party invite, but if you’re not outta there by midnight, your roomies get a message.

Blast Motion

Blast Motion is defining the future of wearable motion capture technology. The Blast precision motion sensor combines highly accurate, advanced 3D motion metrics with mobile video, giving you the insights you need to “know your metrics” and gain the competitive edge. The Blast precision motion sensor is always on and ready to capture your metrics – just play! Blast’s advanced natural motion algorithms automatically capture and identify key performance metrics, clip video to create highlights of your actions, and synchronize your video with dynamic metric builds.

 

Tech for Men

Amazon Echo (If they don’t have an iPhone)

Amazon Echo is designed around your voice. It’s hands-free and always on. With seven microphones and beam-forming technology, Echo can hear you from across the room—even while music is playing. Echo is also an expertly tuned speaker that can fill any room with immersive sound.

Roku 4

Thousands of entertainment options are at your fingertips with this Roku 4 streaming media player. Access free and subscription channels like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now and Amazon Prime for instant streaming of your favorite TV shows and movies, and search quickly and easily using the voice search function.

Parrot Areo Drone

Amazing footage streamed and recorded directly to your smartphone using the inbuilt 720p HD camera.

Bowers and Wilkins Wireless Zepplin

Discover the groundbreaking tech and engineering behind the sound of Zeppelin Wireless.

Lytro Camera

Introducing Lytro Illum, the first high-end camera that harnesses the power of light field – capturing the direction, color and brightness of the rays of light within the frame. That means the ability to explore your pictures from different perspectives, focal points and dimensions. A new era of photography has arrived. Now, with Lytro Illum, nothing stands in your way from telling a deeper story by truly capturing life in a different light.

UHDTV Curve

Get drawn into the action with an immersive curved screen, and a Smart TV experience that puts your favorite content at your fingertips. See the difference precise color, deep blacks, and amazing depth can make. With 4K UHD resolution you’ll enjoy a picture with 4X the crispness of Full HD. Plus, this 4K UHD TV complies with the Consumer Electronics Association specification guideline requirements that includes full RGB color resolution.

DE’LONGHI PRIMADONNA EXCLUSIVE (the ultimate espresso machine)

The PrimaDonna Exclusive is the ONLY bean to cup fully automatic espresso machine offering a unique Hot Chocolate System specifically designed for the most rich and satisfying Italian Cioccolata and Cafe Mocha experience at home.

Fotowelt Mini Self-Balancing 2 Wheel Scooter with LED Light

Fotowelt T1, two-wheel auto balancing electric scooter, giving a much more stable ride and a faster response, making it safer and easier to control. The turning radius can be zero, which means that it can be operated in a very narrow space, reaching almost every possible place where people can make. You can also stand still on it and even turn 360 degree in a spot. Just step on, you will be able to ride it.

MacPro

A groundbreaking Retina display. A new force-sensing trackpad. All-flash architecture. Powerful dual-core and quad-core Intel processors. Together, these features take the notebook to a new level of performance. And they will do the same for you in everything you create.

Thing Explainer

Puts complicated stuff in to simple words (Then they can be like me…) by Randall Munroe

Have you ever tried to learn more about some incredible thing, only to be frustrated by incomprehensible jargon?  Randall Munroe is here to help.  In Thing Explainer, he uses line drawings and only the thousand (or, rather, “ten hundred”) most common words to provide simple explanations for some of the most interesting stuff there is, including: food-heating radio boxes (microwaves)tall roads (bridges)computer buildings (datacenters)the shared space house (the International Space Station)the other worlds around the sun (the solar system)the big flat rocks we live on (tectonic plates)the pieces everything is made of (the periodic table)planes with turning wings (helicopters)boxes that make clothes smell better (washers and dryers)the bags of stuff inside you (cells)

VTech Data Breach

WHAT KIND OF INFORMATION DID HACKERS ACCESS IN THE VTECH BREACH?

The attack compromised the profiles of 6.4 million kids around the world, along with the 4.9 million parent accounts that they were connected to.
The parental accounts included names, email addresses, secret questions and answers for password retrieval, numeric Internet Protocol addresses, mailing addresses, download histories and encrypted passwords. But information in the children’s accounts was restricted to names, ages and genders, the Hong Kong-based company says.
The breach didn’t expose any credit-card or other financial account information, as payments are handled by an outside company on a separate website.
Some reports suggested that photos of children and chats between kids and their parents might also have been accessed, but VTech Holdings Ltd. says it’s still investigating and can’t confirm that yet.

 

WHY IS THIS A BIG DEAL?

The worry is that even basic pieces of information could allow nefarious people to start building profiles of children, potentially setting them up for identity theft or worse down the road.
David Dewey, director of research for Pindrop Security, says kids have no credit history and their parents generally aren’t checking their credit reports, making them easy targets. “Fraud could go undetected for years, till they try to open what they think is their first credit card account,” says Dewey, also a father to a pair of elementary school-aged girls.

While the worst case scenario would be for the information to be used to kidnap a child, the scenario of a “virtual kidnapping” is more likely, he says. In that kind of situation, a person would call a parent and use the information they had about their child to convince them that they had kidnapped the child and demand a ransom. A voice recording would make such a scam much more convincing, Dewey says. Voice is something that some VTech devices collect, but it’s unclear if any got stolen in the breach.

There is no SSL anywhere. All communications are over unencrypted connections including when passwords, parent’s details and sensitive information about kids is transmitted. These days, we’re well beyond the point of arguing this is ok – it’s not. Those passwords will match many of the parent’s other accounts and they deserve to be properly protected in transit.
Of course once the passwords hit the database we know they’re protected with nothing more than a straight MD5 hash which is so close to useless for anything but very strong passwords (which people rarely create), they may as well have not even bothered. The kids’ passwords are just plain text, but you could almost argue this is ok insofar as it’s not exactly going to open their eBay account or get attackers into their Gmail. I’m sure some people will vehemently disagree with me on that and insist they should be strongly hashed as well, my point is simply that whilst they would be easy to protect properly, they don’t present the same risk profile as the passwords of their parents.

Lack of cryptographic protection for sensitive data is yet another example of where it’s all gone wrong. Those security question and answer pairs are irrevocable pieces of personal information used to establish identity in all sorts of different places. Then there are some genuinely alarming practices such as returning a SQL statement is absolutely beyond me. On seeing the haphazard way that internal database objects and queries are returned to the user, I’ve no doubt in my mind that SQL injection flaws would be rampant. The other rampant practice that’s increasingly frowned upon in the security space it the extensive use of Flash. It appears consistently throughout their online assets and whilst it would have made sense many years ago, the continuous stream of security vulnerabilities it’s presented coupled with the lack of mobile support and ready availability of alternative rich UIs via HTML 5 make it an increasingly rare thing to see such a dependency. That’s not to say all of this is security gone bad, more that you get the distinct sense VTech’s assets were created a long time ago and then just… left there.

Despite the frequency of these incidents, companies are just not getting the message; taking security seriously is something you need to do before a data breach, not something you say afterwards to placate people.

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