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The Online Mom provides internet technology advice and information to help parents protect their kids, encourage responsible behavior and safely harness the power of technology in the new digital world. Social networking, photo sharing, video games, IM & texting, internet security, cyberbullying, educational resources, the latest on tech hardware, gadgets and software for kids 3-8, tweens and teens, and more.
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THURSDAY, APRIL 24, 2014

The Online Mom Blog - The e-book wars



Yesterday’s news that the U.S. Department of Justice has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five major U.S book publishers set off a firestorm of debate in the publishing world and beyond. While the companies are accused of colluding to prevent Amazon and other retailers from setting lower prices for digital books, the DOJ action prompted a much wider discussion of how the public buys books and the future of the publishing industry as a whole.

And while Apple and the publishers have been accused of anti-competitive behavior, many believe that Amazon is the true villain in this story, and the move to dismantle the publishers’ current pricing arrangements will only concentrate even more power in the hands of the vast online retailer.



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App of the Week – Instagram



By Sarah Combs:

We've always wondered if people from the future will look back and wonder what happened to the quality of photographs around the early 2000s. Was there a short period when something happened to the sun, which caused all pictures to have an odd tint to them? Why is everything sepia-toned?

In all seriousness though, Instagram offers fantastic photo filters (not just sepia tone) that make pictures look way cooler than they did when we had to depend on high tech cameras instead of our much more convenient smartphones.



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Smartphones get smarter



The last 12 months have seen a dramatic increase in the power and flexibility of mobile devices. Operating system upgrades, faster networks, and a deluge of new, smarter apps have turned smartphones and tablets into the intelligent productivity and media hubs that we have all dreamed about.

Some features, like the Siri digital assistant on the iPhone 4S, are well-known to consumers, having been featured in ad campaigns and dissected in tech blogs. But there are countless other features that are not so well-known; features that will bring a smile to your face when you suddenly realize what these smart little devices can now do.

Here are a couple of things you might want to try:



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Do digital books encourage reading?



It appears that e-books are surging to new heights of popularity. A recent study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that the number of American adults who have read an e-book rose to an all-time high of 21 percent in February of this year, up from 17 percent in mid-December.

The jump in the number of people reading e-books is attributed to a surge in sales of tablets and e-readers over the holiday period, and the increased availability and ease of use of digital content outlets. This second point was emphasized by the number of people who are reading e-books on more than one device. Among those who have read an e-book in the last year, 42 percent did so on a computer, 41 percent on an e-reader, 29 percent on a smartphone, and 23 percent on a tablet.



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Top 5 Tech Toys to Help Children Learn



By Rosanne Moulding

In this age of ever-developing technology, it’s important to ask the question: How can technology help us, and more importantly, our children learn? Gone are the days when children wouldn’t know how to work a camera. Now, most toddlers can operate a touchscreen phone if they get their hands on one! In this article I hope to cover some of the best toys out there which encourage children to learn.



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