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December 2016 Newsletter

Santa Tracker is Live!

For 12 years, Google’s Santa Tracker has been a fun, educational and interactive way for fans to celebrate the holiday season.
The experience starts with the opening of Santa’s Village on December 1st. As we countdown to Santa’s departure, the village unlocks new games and experiences that allow visitors to practice basic coding skills, exercise their geography knowledge, learn different languages and get to know more about charitable educational organizations. Teachers can even download lesson plans to help teach their students about holiday traditions from around the world.

On December 24, the Tracker goes live allowing Santa fans worldwide to follow his progress on desktop web, mobile web (Android/iOS), Android app, Android TV app and Chromecast.  Try it here

For more than 60 years NORAD, North American Aerospace Defense Command, has tracked Santa’s yuletide journey. The NORAD Tracks Santa website features Santa’s North Pole Village, which includes a holiday countdown, games, activities, and more. The website is available in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Chinese. Check it out here

5 Hacks Amazon Doesn’t Want You to Know About

by Laura Miel for Medium

Secrets to shopping smartly on Amazon.

1. Automatically check other retailers and find coupon codes with Wikibuy

Wikibuy is a Google Chrome add-on that checks other retailers for the exact product you’re shopping for on Amazon and notifies you in less than ten seconds if it finds a better price. Rather than forcing you to check out on the other retailer’s site, customers can checkout on Wikibuy with a 100% money back guarantee and awesome customer support. It also automatically finds and applies coupons on hundreds of sites like Target, Expedia, and Macy’s.

I recently purchased a Fitbit Alta with Wikibuy and saved $36 on the Amazon price. It doesn’t always find a better price, but when it does, the savings can be huge.

Did I mention it’s free? Try it HERE

2. Prime memberships can be shared between two people
When you create a free Amazon Household account, Amazon allows you to share Prime benefits with one other person. This includes free Prime shipping, Prime Video and Music, and digital content you’ve purchased through Amazon.

Whether it’s a spouse, kid, or that guy from Craigslist, most everyone has a roommate. This one’s a no-brainer.

3. Turn your pre-paid gift cards into Amazon gift cards

Have a bunch of old prepaid debit cards laying around? Log into Amazon and navigate to the Gift Card page. After selecting custom amount, enter your prepaid card balance and contact information. Wait two hours, and voila, you now have an Amazon gift card in your inbox.


4. Camel Camel Camel alerts you when prices drop

Stop checking your wish list items every day to see if the price dropped. With Camel Camel Camel, you can monitor the price on millions of Amazon products and receive alerts when prices drop. Many product categories, like clothing, are very seasonal and see mass reductions during certain times of year.

Don’t think prices change that often? Test it out with a random sample of products and check back in a month. It’s also free!

5. Free photo storage with Amazon Prime

Quit paying for Dropbox and Google Drive. Use your Amazon Prime membership to receive an unlimited amount of photo storage with access on any device. If you upload photos online, this feature will pay for half your Amazon Prime membership.
Whether you hack Amazon prices with Wikibuy or start tracking price drops, make sure you’re keeping your Amazon addiction healthy!

Read the entire article here

The iPod Turns 15: A Visual History of Apple’s Mobile Music Icon

by Chaim Gartenberg for The Verge (adapted)

A look back at 15 years of iPod history

Fifteen years ago, Steve Jobs stood up on stage and announced the original iPod. Since that day, the iPod has changed the way people buy and listen to music, sold millions of devices, and laid the foundation for the powerhouses that Apple has had with the iPhone and iPad.
And while the classic iPod design was finally retired two years ago, and the remaining members of the iPod line are less important to Apple’s strategy today than they were years ago, it’s still an integral part of history, both for the company and the larger tech industry.

So here’s a look back at some highlights in the history of the king of MP3 players, from the physically scrolling plastic wheel of the original iPod to the smooth glass and aluminum of today’s iPod Touch.


The one that started it all, the original iPod launched exactly 15 years ago today for $399. It featured a 5GB hard drive, a FireWire port for syncing, and a physically rotating scroll wheel. A slightly updated second-generation version swapped the scroll wheel for a touch-based one and added Windows support.

The first major redesign for the iPod, and perhaps the farthest departure from the now iconic clickwheel that’s associated with the product, the third generation moved the media controls as separate touch-sensitive buttons on top of the scroll wheel. It also introduced the now-defunct 30-pin iPod connector, which would be the port of choice for all of Apple’s mobile devices until the Lightning connector was introduced in 2012.

IPOD MINI [2004]

The iPod mini was a smaller, thinner iPod with less storage (either 4GB or 6GB), but came in a variety of fun colors. More importantly, it’s the first iPod model to introduce the click wheel, which would remain a staple of the iPod design for the rest of the product’s history.


The fourth generation iPod is probably the image most people have in mind when they think of an iPod: a white plastic front with a gray click wheel. Available first in a black and white version, followed by a later iPod Photo model with a color screen.


The original iPod Shuffle was the first iPod to use flash memory, and also literally looked like a flash drive, complete with removable USB cap. With no screen, it was introduced as a lower cost, budget model iPod, a role its successor still fulfills in the product lineup today.


The iPod Mini was small, but a the iPod Nano looked almost impossibly thin when it was first released. (It was 0.3 inches thick.) The original Nano was only available in black or white, but a second-generation model brought back the colorful aluminum casing that the Mini had popularized.


The fifth-generation iPod got a wider body and screen as Apple turned its attention to video, adding TV shows, music videos, and later on, full movies to the iTunes Store. The fifth-generation model also was the first full-size iPod model to also come in black, in addition to the original white.


Released a few months after the original iPhone, the iPod Touch offered a similar iOS experience for users that didn’t want to get on board just yet with Apple’s vision of the cellular future.


Apple used the Nano brand to experiment a lot with various form factors, including the squashed third-gen Nano, and the elongated fourth-generation model. A fifth-generation refresh added a video camera and a speaker.


After the odd third-generation Shuffle, which removed the physical buttons from the device entirely to rely on headphone controls, Apple’s current iPod Shuffle is similar to the second-generation design, a small, clip-on device with hardware controls.


The fifth-generation iPod touch changed out the classic iPod-esque glossy aluminum back for more colorful brushed aluminum. The current sixth-generation model introduced last year uses a similar design but upgraded the processor to the iPhone 6’s A8 chip. (The current iPhone 7 uses an A10 Fusion processor, two generations ahead.)  Read the entire story here

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