PhoneI don’t know about you, but I can hardly remember what life was like before cell phones, wireless, and all the other conveniences that our mobile devices provide us on a day-to-day basis.  I honestly start to feel a little panicky if I forget my phone.  My iPhone 5s works as my alarm clock, calendar, and pretty much does everything but cook meals for my family (although I do read recipes off my phone) and put my kids to bed.

It seems like many people agree with me, as according to a recent survey conducted by U.S. Cellular,  more than half of today’s wireless consumers report using smartphones as a morning alarm, to check weather forecasts and stay updated on news.

Since wireless devices have become an integral part of the daily lives of consumers, there are a number of questions that people have consistently asked. Here are U.S. Cellular’s solutions to some of the most common:

What is the best way to disinfect my wireless device?

o    The best way to keep your device free from germs, especially if you have a touch screen, is to use a screen protector like PureTek. Then, you can disinfect the protector with a simple alcohol or disinfecting spray. Pre-soaked wipes aren’t ideal as moisture can damage the device. Spray a soft cloth with ethyl or isopropyl alcohol and be sure the cloth isn’t soaking wet. Turn off your device and wipe it down. The less moisture you expose your gear to, the better. Be extra careful around the charging port and headphone adapter.

How can I make my device charge faster?

o    The fastest way to charge your smartphone or tablet is to turn it off and plug it in. The screen needs the most power, and users often have apps that run continuously in the background. If you don’t want to turn off your device, switch to airplane mode, which will disconnect you from cellular data and Wi-Fi. You also can stop all apps running in the background and reduce screen brightness to conserve the battery.

Can my smartphone read texts and emails out loud to me?

o    Most of the latest devices have this feature internally, and you can set voice control to your preferences. If your Android device does not have this feature, download the Voice Commands app to allow access to your phone’s core features and control system. Some hands-free driving devices, like the Jabra FREEWAY Car Kit, automatically turn on when you are in the car to enable these services.

How can I take a photo on a tablet without needing two hands to focus the photo and press the shutter?

o    Most devices have autofocus and allow users to touch anywhere on the screen to focus the shot. Apps such as Say Cheese Camera also let you use voice control to take pictures, turn on the flash and rotate the camera view. You also can purchase remotes and tripods to take your wireless device’s photography capability to the next level.

Can my smartphone alert me to messages other than through sound or vibration?

o    Most smartphones have LED lights that can flash different colors for emails, text messages and phone calls. On the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, users can enable the LED light flash, which will activate the device’s camera flash to signal an alert or phone call.

Thanks U.S. Cellular for answering those questions. I can now make my iPhone 5s work even harder for me!

As always Let U.S. Cellular make it easier by using the Parent/Child Cell Phone Agreement to set some ground rules.

I am part of the U.S. Cellular Blogger Brigade. I received an Apple iPhone5S and am being compensated for my time

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Three

by Katie on March 27, 2015

Cool CharlieLast week our Charlie turned three. I know every single mom ever always says the exact same thing…how is it is even possible for time to go this fast…but it is so, so true. I can still remember every single detail of the day he was born just like it was yesterday. I remember the way he smelled and the way he felt in my arms. I remember the way the sunshine poured into our hospital room and the pure happiness and joy that we felt the entire day.  I remember studying his face and knowing I would always remember just how perfect that day was.  So yes, I think it is safe to say that three years have passed in just a blink of an eye.

Charlie pretty much always has a smile on his face. He does not get upset easily and is just a laid-back kind of boy. He makes us laugh all the time and gets such pleasure out of being the little ham that he is.

IMG_2544Our boy is sweet and is very aware of feelings and often asks “Are you happy, Mom?” or “Drakie, are you feeling good?” He loves his big brother and is happiest when they are playing side by side.  He really likes bossing Skinner around, but equally likes loving him up.

Charlie also has a very ornery side that makes life interesting. He likes to test his limits and gets himself into the most odd and hilarious situations.  He really marches to the beat of his own drummer. He loves wearing his rain boots with pretty much any outfit. He had a Grinch Birthday party because he just loves the Grinch. He has a strong will and crazy ideas.

These last three years have been full of the biggest smiles and so many laughs all because of this boy. He really is one of a kind and it is such a treat and a blessing to be his momma.

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Mobile Travler

by Katie on March 15, 2015

View From the PlaneWith temperatures here in the Midwest having been in the 60s and 70s all week, summer is on my mind! One thing that we plan on doing this summer is taking our boys on our first big family vacation. We plan to hit the road and take in the sights and sounds of Branson! Thankfully there has never been an easier time to be a travel with all the mobile apps and other tech travel tools that makes travel a breeze! I know that my iPhone will play a major role in our vacation plans!

Whether you’re traveling across the world or having a staycation in your hometown, nothing beats spending time with your family. However, planning and managing travel logistics can cause unwanted stress. Fortunately, there are a growing number of apps and accessories that travelers can use with their mobile devices, such as the 4G LTE iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2, to streamline nearly every aspect of travel – improving the experience, as well as saving time and money.

o    Planning Your Trip: 68 percent of smartphone owners used their smartphone to assist them while traveling[1], according to a recent U.S. Cellular survey. Use your mobile device to find the best travel deals with apps like Expedia, Orbitz and Kayak. These all-inclusive apps present deals for hotels, rental vehicles and airlines. In fact, the survey found 27 percent of smartphone owners have booked a hotel room directly from their smartphone and 16 percent have purchased airline tickets.

o    En Route: Ever been that person fumbling at the ticket counter for your confirmation number? Go paperless with Gate Guru, which organizes your full travel experience – from flight and rental vehicle information, to airport amenities.

o    In-Flight: With more than 10 hours of battery life and up to 128 gigs of memory, the lightweight iPad Air 2 makes a perfect travel companion for reading, listening to music, watching movies or playing games. Talk about a great way to keep kids occupied on a long flight. Plus, you can create your own in-flight oasis with a pair of noise-cancelling urBeats In-Ear Headphones, designed for music lovers who don’t want to sacrifice sound for style.

o    On The Ground: Upon arriving at your destination, you’ll want to look like a local. TheAround Me app shows nearby restaurants, banks and more (including hospitals or emergency care centers for anyone traveling with an accident-prone family member), including directions to your destination. While you’re enjoying your vacation, Postagram keeps you in touch with loved ones. Just take a photo with the app, and for a nominal fee your message will be delivered as a mailed postcard!

o    After The Trip: Create an album of your favorite vacation photos on your phone so you have them on-hand any time you want to show them off or remind yourself how great your family trip way.

¹ Results are from a nationally-representative online survey of 738 smartphone owners conducted by U.S. Cellular in partnership with Maritz Research from November 12-20, 2014.

As always Let U.S. Cellular make it easier by using the Parent/Child Cell Phone Agreement to set some ground rules.

I am part of the U.S. Cellular Blogger Brigade. I received an Apple iPhone5S and am being compensated for my time

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All the Things They Said…

February 22, 2015

Charlie As he take his underwear off and chases after Drake “I’m going to kill you with my butt!” To the tune of All About the Bass “All about the bath, about the bath, no shower!” He says this hundreds of times a day “I’m eat you up!” or “I’ll bite you in the butt.” […]

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