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Technically Speaking: Links of the Week – October 14

Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week features pleas from the police to upgrade your iPhone, Post-Its going digital, and new tool for people battling hand tremors. All that and more in this edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.

Should You Upgrade to iOS 7? The NYPD Thinks So

Last week’s launch of Apple’s iOS 7 had an interesting advocate: the New York Police Department. Officers were seen outside Apple Stores and subway stops handing out flyers urging iPhone owners to upgrade their operating systems. According to Kevin Bostic at Apple Insider, new security features of iOS 7 include Apple’s Activation Lock, which makes it more difficult to erase a phone and reactivate it. The NYPD hopes this technology will reduce the number of thefts of Apple products, which accounted for 14% of all major crimes in 2012.

Post-Its Go Digital

Post-it Notes Go Digital

Those Post-It notes surrounding your desktop monitor may soon be available wherever you go. Emily Price from Mashable reports that 3M and Evernote have teamed up to offer co-branded products with a 30-day trial for Evernote Premium subscription. Evernote’s iOS 7 app has a “Post-It Note Camera” feature which allows users to snap a picture of their notes and have the digital renditions available via their Evernote account.

Hi-Tech Spoon Helps Parkinson’s Sufferers

Lift Labs Spoon

Hand tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease can make even the act of eating a bowl of cereal a frustrating experience. According to the Atlantic’s Rebecca J. Rosen, Lift Labs has developed a spoon which can reduce the amount of shaking by up to 70%. The spoon works by sensing a tremor and intelligently counterbalancing for it. By reducing the effects of hand tremors, the company hopes users can shift their focus from the act of eating to their meal and the people they’re sharing it with. The company indicates that knife and fork attachments are forthcoming.

 

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Technically Speaking: Links of the Week – September 30

Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week features big changes for the iPhone, bomb-detecting lasers, and a new logo for Yahoo. All that and more in this edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.

Fingerprint Sign On One Major Change for iPhone

iPhone Touch ID

Apple continues to come up with more creative tech ideas for every new iPhone–and it appears the 5s has some extremely interesting advancements on the horizon. According to Alistair Barr of USA Today, the new iPhone will be able to read users’ fingerprints for authentication or to make purchases.

The fingerprint technology will be near the home button at the bottom of the screen. After the phone verifies the user’s identity the rest of the home screen will appear.

Google+’s Newest Feature is Embedded Posts

Google+ posts can now be embedded on other sites. Users who want to showcase a Google+ post on a blog or news story can simply click a new “Embed post” tab on the drop down menu in the upper righthand corner, reports Kurt Wagner of Mashable. A code will appear and the user simple copies and pastes it onto the site of their choice.

The best part? The post will remain fully interactive, meaning readers will be able to comment, offer a +1, and follow the author right from the embedded page.

Yahoo Gets a New Logo

Yahoo is hoping to get people’s attention with a clean, thin new logo that features a sans-serif typeface created by the company, says Heather Kelly of CNN. The new look features a darker purple and uppercase letters. Of course the well-known exclamation point at the end also remains (and it even moves around in some versions).

Experts say the new logo is only the beginning of some changes for Yahoo. This is the first change since 2009, and even then the alterations weren’t too different from the original one designed in 1995.

Lasers May be Used to Search Luggage at Airports

TG-02-3810

In the near future airline travelers might be going through a check-in line where lasers scan their luggage. According to Tim Hornyak of CNET, researchers say laser-equipped airport security checkpoints could be used to pinpoint trace amounts of explosives.

The lasers would probably be used in a conveyer-belt type system. The low-energy laser, which was developed by researchers at Michigan State University, uses a single beam fired in two pulses. The first pulse can find chemical frequencies found in explosives, and the second searches for discrepancies that could indicate a bomb.

 

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Technically Speaking: Links of the Week – Sept 16

Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week features a high-tech camera lens that attaches to smartphones, the release date of Microsoft’s new Xbox console, and the launch of this year’s iTunes Music Festival. All that and more in this edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.

New Xbox One Hits Shelves in November

Microsoft Xbox One

The long-awaited arrival of Microsoft’s new Xbox console is finally here. It’s been eight years since the company releases the Xbox 360, and now the software giant is rolling out the Xbox One, which is “all-in-one system to align games, TV and entertainment,” according to Samantha Murphy Kelly of Mashable.

The new console, which is set to go on sale on Nov. 22, allows users to stream movies, watch television and (of course) play games. An upgraded version of Microsoft’s Kinect sensor is included, so gamers can use gestures to control what happens on screen. Many gamers will line up to by the $499 console, while others will grab the comparable Playstation 4 from Sony, which will also be released next month for $399.

Apple’s iTunes Festival Features Original Concerts from Big-Name Artists

The beginning of September marked the start of Apple’s iTunes Festival, held London. The event features a live performance from a different artist every night of the month. Kevin Bostic of Apple Insider reports that “in total, more than 60 artists will perform in the festival, including Justin Timberlake, Ellie Goulding, Dizzee Rascal, and Robin Thicke.”

Apple has also updated its iTunes Festival app for iOS, and it allows all iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users to stream video from the concert.

Sony Creates Camera that Attaches to Your Smartphone

Sony’s new QX Smart Lens series of smartphone accessories combine the quality of top-notch camera lenses with the convenience of smartphones. According to Vlad Savov of The Verge, the Sony product includes a zoom lens, image sensor and processing chips, a battery, and stereo microphones. The lens connects to smartphones via Wi-Fi, takes photos, and allows users to share them from their phones right away.

Kindle’s MatchBook to Offer E-Books to Owners of Printed Books at a Discount

Are you the type of reader who has resisted switching to e-books because you feel a certain nostalgia for printed novels? Well, you’re not alone. Amazon is giving you the best of both worlds with the creation of its new Kindle MatchBook program, says Jeff Bercovici of Forbes.

The new program, which starts in October, will allow consumers to to purchase cheap e-copies of books they’ve already bought in hardcover or paperback. They can also buy both the printed edition and e-book edition of a specific title for a discounted price.

Technically Speaking: Links of the Week – September 3

Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week features the success of Netflix, office gadgets that make life easier, and NASA’s innovative tech projects. All that and more in this edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.

New Gadgets Help Make Work Days Less Stressful

Lumoback

Working in an office can be stressful for a number of reasons. Maybe there’s too much work and too little time; or a boss that’s a pain in the neck. Alice Truong of USA Today writes about some new, innovative tools that could make your work day a little easier. Lumoback (pictured above) is worn like a belt and it helps the user track his or her posture by connecting to a smartphone and sending an alert when posture can be improved. Another comfort item for the office is Trigger Point Performance’s Grid Mini, a small foam roller that can be kept in desk drawers. Simply roll it over your muscles and massage away the tension. Other tech items discussed include a clean air device, a drive for extra storage, and a speaker clock to help keep to a schedule.

Redesigned Google Maps Now Available to Public

For two months Google was only allowing a select few to check out their new Maps application via invitation only. However, according to Steven Musil of CNET, the new site is now available to everyone, and it comes with some pretty cool changes. The new Google Maps Web interface offers photo tours of locations and public transportation options. Google has switched from using graphical tiles to vector data, which allows the maps to load faster. Perhaps the most spectacular of the new features is the “zoom out” that now allows users to zoom out as far as outer space.

NASA Funds 12 High-Tech Space Projects

NASA funds 12 high tech space projects

Hoping to come up with some breakthroughs in the area of space exploration and science, NASA has announced the funding of 12 projects that will use technology to create innovative projects related to space. Mike Wall of Mashable writes that the projects were selected under Phase 1 of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program. All 12 offer a variety of different possibilities. For example, one will attempt to use a 3D printer to build biomaterials. A second would study how to induce deep-sleep torpor states in astronauts traveling to Mars. Phase 1 awards are in the range of $100,000 and will be used for nine-month initial analysis studies. After that, each of the project’s managers can apply for Phase 2 funding, which would be about $500,000 for two more years of concept development.

Netflix Earnings Quadruple with Arrested Development Release

Is Netflix the new HBO? Many critics seem to think so, and if the company’s earnings are any indication, things are going quite well. The Huffington Post reports that second quarter earnings for Netflix have quadrupled, and 630,000 new subscribers have been added. One of the main reasons for the success is that Netflix decided to offer exclusive television shows, the most popular being the hit comedy “Arrested Development”, which had been canceled on Network television much to the dismay of hardcore fans. There are also original shows now available on Netflix as well, including “Orange is the New Black,” from the creator of the smash Showtime series “Weeds.” Netflix is a monthly service that streams video to Internet-connected devices.

 

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Technically Speaking: Links of the Week – August 12

Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week features a pen that’s tough on spelling errors, IFTTT for iPhone, and Google re-instating voice calling. All that and more in this edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.

Spell-Checking Pen Vibrates When You Make an Error

Learnstift Pen

Although some people ignore it, spell check is one of the most useful tools on our computers. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a spell check for all the handwritten work handed in to teachers and professors? Or a heads up that cereal is spelled wrong on the shopping list? Stacey Higginbotham of GigaOM reports that there is now a pen with a spell-check feature to help ensure there are no errors in your handwritten notes. The Lernstift pen was created by two fathers hoping to help their children detect spelling and handwriting mistakes. The pen combines electronics and connectivity to gently vibrate when a person using it spells a word incorrectly. The pen is currently on Kickstarter and can be had for a pledge of about $162.

Popular Website IFTTT Comes to iPhone

IFTTT, a universal automator that allows users to build “recipes” or groups of apps merged together, is now available on iPhone. IFTTT (“If This Than That”) makes apps more useful by merging features with other apps. For example, a recipe of YouTube and Facebook would allow users to easily post their favorite videos directly from YouTube to Facebook. According to Time Magazine, “the new IFTTT iOS app does exactly the same thing as the existing web-based version, but with an interface that’s been nicely rethought for the small screen.” The app is free and currently available in the iTunes app store.

After Users Complain, Google Brings Back Voice Calling to Hangouts

When Google updated its Hangouts feature in May it took away outbound calling services and left many users feeling slighted. Now, according to Todd R. Weiss of eWeek, the company has responded and restored voice calling to Hangouts in Gmail, Google +, and Chrome browsers. The move shows a pretty quick response from Google, which saw voice fans take to Google blogs and Google+ pages to complain when it was taken away. And not only is outbound voice calling back, but it’s also better than ever. Google has added new features to the service, like the ability to add multiple phone numbers and video participants to the same call, and an integration of the Google Effects app, which allows callers to play sound effects (like applause or laughter) while they are on the line.

Technically Speaking: Stories of the Week – July 22

Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week features a safer GPS, technology that can read fingerprints even if they’ve been wiped away, and contact lenses that can zoom in and out. All that and more in this edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.

Garmin Creates GPS that Projects Onto Windshields

Garmin HUD GPS

These days drivers have so many choices when it comes to choosing a GPS for their cars. There’s the built-in versions, the hang-on-the-windshield types, smartphone apps, and more. Garmin, one of the leaders in the GPS industry, has developed new technology aimed to make navigation safer and more useful, according to VentureBeat. The “Heads Up Display”, or HUD, connects to Garmin’s StreetPilot and Navigon apps via bluetooth and projects the navigation information onto the car windshield, keeping details in the driver’s line of sight. The cost of the HUD is $130, and it has to be paired with Garmin’s apps.

Contact Lens Allows Wearers to Zoom in and Out

It’s still in the testing phases, but if all goes well there will soon be a contact lens on the market that will give wearers the ability to zoom in and out on focal points. Nic Halverson of Mashable reports that “the telescopic lens is just over a millimeter thick and is composed of a central unmagnified optical path, surrounded by a ring of movable components that magnify the view 2.8 times.” The creators of the lens have been testing the technology using a pair of Samsung 3D television glasses. Although the prototype is still attached to the glasses, researchers are hopeful further testing will result in being able to bring the lens to market.

Apple’s New Macbook Air has All-Day Battery Life

2013 Macbook Air

On first glance, Apple’s new Macbook Air model doesn’t appear to be much different than the original design created two-and-a-half years ago. But it’s not the look that has techies excited about the product–it’s the life of the battery. According to Brooke Crothers of CNET the original 13-inch Macbook Air battery ran for 7 hours and 27 minutes, and the new version goes for 14 hours and 25 minutes. The design of the computer hasn’t changed, nor has the resolution of the screen, making the battery life the major upgrade for the 2013 model.

New Fingerprint Technology Can Provide ID Even if Surface has Been Wiped

Although it seems like something from the television show CSI rather than real police labs, a new form of fingerprint technology is making things tougher on criminals. TechnoBuffalo’s Brandon Russell writes that Leicester University scientists have developed a color-changing fluorescent film method to capture hidden or latent prints on metal surfaces. It can be used on weapons like guns or knives, as well as surfaces like doorknobs and appliances. There will still be ways around getting caught–like wearing gloves–but the new technology will put an end to being able to wipe away prints from a crime scene.

 

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Technically Speaking: Stories of the Week – June 24

Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week features a flying bicycle, the new PS4, and a revamped version of MySpace. All that and more in this edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.

E.T. Would Love This Flying Bicycle

Flying Bike

It’s an invention that will surely bring people back to the days they first saw E.T. fly on a bicycle in the classic 1982 film. In a convention in Prague recently a flying electric bicycle was displayed and could be seen taking off and flying with a dummy on board, says Keith Barry of Wired. Known as the “Design Your Dreams Flying Bike,” the invention was created by three Czech engineering firms who have spent the last year making it. The electric bike, which weighs 220 pounds, is lifted into the air by six horizontally mounted propellers. The creators say the finished product could be ready for use by the fall, and it will be as easy to operate as a regular bicycle. It will be able to fly anywhere from three to five minutes using electric power. The bad news? As of now the bike won’t be sold to the public.

Google Buys Popular Traffic App Waze for More Than a Billion Dollars

The mapping service company Waze, whose app is used by more than 50 million people, was purchased by Google last week for more than a billion dollars, reports Parmy Olson of Forbes. Waze’s product development team will remain in Israel and continue to operate separately for now. Google won out in a bidding war that was said to include many high rolling suitors, including Facebook and Apple. No word yet on whether Waze will become part of Google Maps or if it will continue to operate separately. Waze is popular for its community of drivers, who warn one another in real-time of upcoming traffic jams, accidents, and police traps.

MySpace Comes Back as Myspace: Will it Take Off or Crash and Burn?

MySpace is long gone, but say hello to its successor: Myspace. Other than switching from a capital “s” to a lowercase one, the company is also offering a whole new look and all new features, according to Mashable. The recently launched site has been marketed for months now with Justin Timberlake as the face behind the brand. It is now available to users, complete with an iPhone app, and it’s main focus will be on music. The vision of the new myspace, according to one of its new owners, Tim Vanderhook, is “a single place to house a profile, music, videos and fans, and a feedback system.”  Instead of building custom radio stations based on songs and user preferences like Pandora, Myspace is relying on its users— which includes many artists— to create stations.

A Look at the New PlayStation 4

PlayStation 4

Sony has just unveiled it’s new PS4 model, wetting the appetite of gamers worldwide. The console actually has a familiar look to past models but a lot of upgraded features, according to Brian Barrett of Gizmodo. Features of the PS4 include improved graphics, games booting instantly from sleep, games can download in the background, an x86 processor, an 8-core combined CPU/GPU, 8 GB of unified GDDR5 memory (PS3 had 512 megabytes), a local 500GB HDD. There’s also a list of games that will be exclusive to Playstation, including favorites like Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III. The console will be available sometime this holiday season and will retail for $400.

 

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Technically Speaking: Stories of the Week – June 4

Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week features a mask with super powers, the start of 5G technology, and a flying car. All that and more in this edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.

Travel Like the Jetsons: Flying Cars Are Only a Few Years Away

Flying Car

In about eight years, sitting in traffic on the roadway could be a thing of the past. That’s because a thing of the future, flying cars, is looking like a reality, according to Chris Taylor of Mashable. The Massachusetts company Terrafugia is working on a full-on futuristic flying car, the TF-X, which it expects to start selling in the early 2020s. It’s being called a cross between a helicopter, plane, and self-driving car. For the most part,the TF-X will be a self-driving vehicle, using a system like autopilot works on a plane. The company predicts that learning to operate one will take as little as five hours of training.Right now no cost has been announced, but Terrafugia has hinted that it will pre-sell models to a select few customers in 2015 for $270,000. Is it worth that much to beat the traffic?

Does Facebook Make It Harder to Move on From Past Relationships?

Breaking up is hard to do–but with Facebook it’s even harder. Changing a Facebook status from “in a relationship” to “single” is an extremely painful process for manybroken-hearted people, says Chris Matyszczyk of CNET. A University of California Santa Cruz study found that Facebook users had difficulty deleting their digital memories. Half of those surveyed for the study said they immediately get rid of all signs of their exes (photos, posts, etc.), but they end up regretting it later. A third of those surveyed said they can’t bring themselves to delete the photos at all–hoping to cling to any memories they have.

Samsung’s New 5G Technology Would Be Several-Hundred Times Faster than 4G

Samsung announced this week that it has developed the blueprint for 5G mobile communications technology. Dave Thier of Forbes says that the company is saying that 5G would be so fast that movies could be downloaded in mere seconds. According to Samsung’s announcement, the new technology ”will allow users to transmit massive data files including high quality digital movies practically without limitation. As a result, subscribers will be able to enjoy a wide range of services such as 3D movies and games, real-time streaming of ultra high-definition (UHD) content, and remote medical services.” If this 5G technology materializes, it could be powerful enough to take over all wireless Internet connections, causing some concern for cable companies and Internet service providers alike.

High-Tech Mask and Helmet System Allows You to Adjust Your Senses

Edios Mask

It’s users may look a lot like Bane from the latest Batman movie, but a new mask and helmet combo created by the group Eidos offers up some really unique features. James Plafke of Extreme Tech reports that the device allows its users to manually adjust their sight and hearing on the fly, changing the two senses based on specific environments and circumstances. At a sporting event a user could turn the volume up or down; change the view to closer up or farther away. At a convention it could be used to hear a presenter from the back of a crowd. The device is put on by placing it over each ear, and wrapping across the lower half of the face, including the mouth and nose.

 

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Technically Speaking: Stories of the Week – May 28

Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week features a shirt that cleans itself, a bigger Kindle Fire, and a keyboard for people prone to spilling drinks. All that and more in this edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.

How to Build a Movie Theater in Your Backyard Without Going Broke

Open Air Cinema

With the warmer weather rolling around, wouldn’t it be nice to have an open-air movie theater in the backyard? The idea seems a little far-fetched for those without deep pockets, but with the right hardware it’s probably less expensive than many people would think. Rick Broida of CNET explains how an outdoor cinema can be created for about $1000. Components needed for the setups include a projector (approximately $700), a blue-ray player ($40-$50), a screen (around $170), and a sound system (around $200). Many of the items can be found for less (especially if purchased used or refurbished ones) and some can even be built.

New Kindle Fire will Have 10-Inch Screen

Amazon is preparing a new Kindle Fire that will be 10 inches, increasing more than an inch in size from last year’s 8.9 inch model, says Brandon Russell of TechnoBuffalo. Other features will include a 2,560 x 1,600 resolution screen, and an affordable price tag. The device is expected to help Amazon continue to compete in the tablet market with big guns like Apple and Nexus. Amazon also plans to release newer versions of its 7-inch and 8.9-inch models.

Logitech Creates iPad Keyboard Folio that Protects Against Spills

Attention spillers: Logitech has created a new keyboard folio that may protect your iPad from your clumsiness. Engadget reports that the company’s new FabricSkin model has a liquid-repellent coating.The Bluetooth keyboard also doesn’t have any openings, meaning no liquid can get inside. The product, which costs $149, is set to be released this month and can be pre-ordered on the Logitech website.

The World’s First Curved OLED Television is Here

LG1

LG has created the world’s first 55-inch OLED television which is designed to bring ”IMAX-like” experience, with the entire screen surface being equally distant from the viewer’s eyes. The television is currently available for pre-order in South Korea and should be available in other markets in “the months ahead”, according to Mashable’s Stan Schroeder The TV is 4.3 0.17 inches thin, and weights just over 37 pounds. It features LG’s WRGB and Color Refiner technologies, and its clear stand doubles as speakers due to its baked-in transparent film speakers. The current price in South Korea is 15 million KRW, roughly $13,500, but prices have yet to be announced for other markets.

Never Do Laundry Again; The Shirt that Cleans Itself

An entrepreneur has come up with a button-down shirt that never wrinkles and stays odor free–so it can be worn over and over without being washed. The “better button-down” is made of wool that’s three times thinned than a human hair, CNET reports. The founder claims that the thin wool makes the shirts extra resistant to moisture. So far on Kickstarter the shirt has been a huge success, as $290,000 has been raised in just over a week.

 

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Technically Speaking: Stories of the Week – May 10

Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week features the tenth birthday of the iTunes store, pajamas that read to kids, and an app that keeps tabs on man’s best friend. All that and more in this edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.

iTunes Store Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary


It may not seem like it, but the iTunes store has now officially been around for 10 years. With iTunes, Apple forever changed the music industry, providing fans a way to legally access and own music online, says Megan Gibson of Time. In a time where many companies were trying to fight off illegal downloads, Apple developed an alternative that stuck around. This marked the birth of a digital music revolution, which later led to advancements and other services like Pandora and Spotify. iTunes continues to thrive 10 years later and there’s no sign of things slowing down anytime soon.

AT&T Launches App-Based Home Security System

AT&T has jumped into the home security market with its new “Digital Life” a wireless, personalized, app-based home security solution, according to eWeek. The solution allows users to remotely check in on their homes in real time, receive emails or texts alerting them to an issue, and remotely unlock or lock doors and windows. It’s an all-IP solution, running over AT&Ts 3G network. The company is offering several different packages ranging in price from $29.99 a month with a $149 setup fee to $39.99 with a $249 setup fee. There are also a variety of add-ons available. Digital Life is currently available in 15 markets and should be in 50 by the end of the year.

Is Your Dog Too Lazy? This New Tech Product Will Help You Find Out

A new product known as FitBark is a small device that attaches to a dog’s collar and keeps track of all activity, allowing owners to keep tabs on how active their pooch is. Emily Price of Mashable reports that data from the device is transferred to the cloud either through the owner’s smartphone, or a small “home base” station placed in the house. At the end of each day FitBark provides a “Bark Score” letting owners know how much exercise their dog got over the 24 hour period. The objective is to help make sure dogs stay active and healthy. It can also be useful when taking the dog to the vet because exact details can be given about recent lulls in activity.

Father of Six Invents Pajamas That Tell Stories to Children

Pajamas Read Books to Kids

Keeping one child entertained can be quite a task. Taking care of six? Now that’s quite a handful. Juan Murdoch, an Iowa father of six, has come up with the idea for smart, storytelling pajamas, reports Wilson Rothman of NBC News. There are 47 unique dot patterns on the pajamas, and each triggers a story or an animal lesson when scanned with a smartphone or tablet. There are free apps that go with the pajamas, one that has readings of Mother Goose, the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen classics; and a second that has pictures and information about 47 different animals. The inventor says he hopes to have at least three more apps out by Christmas. The pajamas can be purchased for $25 a piece.

 

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