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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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How to decide if you need Windows 8

With last month’s release of Windows 8, lots of PC users have been wondering whether they need to upgrade. While a decision will depend on each user’s individual circumstances, there are 7 questions you can ask yourself that will help you make a rational decision.

1. Did you download the beta version of Windows 8?

If you weren’t one of the millions of people who downloaded one of the preview versions of Windows 8, then we can assume that you are not a developer, a network administrator, a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, or just someone with plenty of time on their hands. If you didn’t even know there was a preview version available for download, then it’s a safe bet to say that you probably don’t need it – yet. (Although, see question 5 below.)

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Video Game of the Week – Nike+ Kinect Training

There were some excellent fitness video games before Kinect for Xbox 360 came along – Wii Fit Plus comes to mind – but to say that Microsoft’s body motion sensor has forever changed the genre would be an understatement. From dance-style games like Zumba Fitness to the outstanding Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2012, Kinect provides the kind of interactive feedback you can only replicate with a $150 an hour personal trainer.

And now we can add another video game to that growing list of Kinect-based workouts with the exceptional Nike+ Kinect Training from Microsoft Game Studios.

A common problem with many fitness video games is that they assume a level of expertise or familiarity with routines that can be instantly off-putting for the out-of-shape beginner. Not so with N+KT, which goes out of its way to make sure that your workout program is specifically designed for you in terms of weight, shape, fitness level and, most importantly, your fitness goals. (Not everyone wants to train like a triathlete!)

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The Need for Speed

More entertainment choices demand a faster Internet connection

When it comes to preaching ‘netiquette’ to my teenage daughter I always try to lead by example. That means no ranting on Facebook or Twitter, no gadgets at mealtimes, and no screens in the bedroom. Unfortunately, that last one has become increasingly difficult to enforce, as smartphones and tablets have a way of moving around the house largely undetected.

Perhaps that’s just as well, as I’m no longer much of a role model. While I don’t have a TV in the bedroom, my iPad is becoming a constant companion under the covers. The reason? Faster Internet speeds and the ability to download and stream TV shows, movies and more.

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Bundle Up for Big Savings

A friend of mine recently asked me to take a look at her monthly phone and cable bills to see if there was a way she could save money. Like most people, her TV, Internet and phone services were all billed separately and, in her case, the bills came from three different providers.

Having reviewed my own TV and home phone services just a few short months ago, I knew it was going to be easy to find some savings but even I was shocked at how much she was paying. As her kids had grown older, their demands for high-speed Internet and additional TV channels had grown with them. As a result, all her bills were an expensive list of add-ons and premium features which added up to hundreds of dollars a month.

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The Online Mom Blog - Thoughts on Life After Sandy

Four days after Sandy came barreling through our Westchester, NY neighborhood, we still don’t have electricity but things could be a lot worse. There was very little rain and no flooding, so damage was largely reserved for the trees and powerlines. As much as I would like to feel disadvantaged, I only have to read the stores of people living in southern New Jersey to know what true hardship is all about.

However, being without power, telephone and Internet for a few days does give you a different perspective on life. It shows you what’s important, like family health and well-being, and what can always wait for another day, like that latest episode of Modern Family.

It’s also a time to look around and make some observations about human behavior, about what works and doesn’t work in a post-crisis world. Here are just a few of my thoughts:

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Catch up on the digital lifestyle with Stacey Ross! [read on]
PlayStation 4 vs. Xbox One: Parental Controls
Which of the new gaming consoles offers better parental supervision?
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How To Make the Most of Those Daily Deals
Take a closer look at those daily deals to make sure you're getting a bargain! [read on]
Watch Out! Your Wristband Is Tracking You…
New ways to monitor two of the most important elements that factor into our overall health: exercise and sleep
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How To Beat Spam with Disposable E-Mail Addresses
There's an alternative to giving out your online information (or turning into a digital recluse): the disposable e-mail! [read on]
Managing Your Online Reputation
There are some simple steps we can take to safeguard our online reputations
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7 Apps for Finding Stuff Online
Loking to buy and sell online? Your smartphone can help! [read on]
How to Manage Your Cell Phone Bill
Don't be overwhelmed by that cell phone bill. We offer 7 tips that can help
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7 Social Networking Tips for Graduates
About to graduate? It's time to clean up those social networking accounts! [read on]
The Best Apps for Staying in Shape
10 great apps for turning your smartphone or tablet into your workout buddy!
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7 Steps to Smartphone Safety
Buying that first smartphone for your child? Make safety a top priority! [read on]
10 Essential Apps for the Busy Mom
Turn your smartphone into your very own personal assistant!
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