Thursday, January 3, 2013

Technology Gifts for Xmas

This year the main gifts in my family were all technology related.  I have a 10 year old son who got a new iPod Touch, a 7 year old son who got a new 3DS XL handheld game system and I got an iPad.

Doing the setup of all of these gadgets can be time consuming and frustrating.  Here are a few things that I learned during the experience.

  1. There are some good parental controls on both the iPod Touch and the 3DS.  You can use them to limit the types of things that your kids can download onto their device.  For example, I can limit my 10 year old so that he can't download movies that are rated R or NC-17, and he can't download music or Podcasts with explicit content.
  2. Just like gift cards for iTunes and the App Store, there are gift cards available for the 3DS.  You can load the gift card value onto the device so that the device owner can purchase games and other items from the Nintendo eShop.  If you don't live in the United States, the e-store may not be available to you.  I discovered this because my son's 3DS was still set to the default region location, which was the first in the alphabetical list, so it was Anguilla.
  3. Since I already had an iPhone, I was happy that I could use the cloud to get a copy of all my apps on both my phone and my iPad.  The bad news is that for the apps I have already loaded on my iPhone, they don't show up automatically on my iPad.  Anything new that I add from now on will show up on both devices.  Fortunately it seems that the apps that are not free will give you a copy on both devices at no additional charge (so far).
  4. Setting up a second device on my iTunes on my laptop was actually fairly easy.  My son's iPod Touch uses an email address of mine that I didn't use, so his Apple ID is different than mine.  That prevents him from having my apps, etc. and the reverse.  I can set iTunes to only download the music that he likes from my laptop, not all of my music (much of which he doesn't want).
  5. I still need to try importing a digital copy of one of our movies, to see how it works in iTunes.
  6. I am enjoying my new iPad, especially since I'm trying to use it as an e-reader.  I own far too many paper copy books.  I'm going to start reading the e-versions so that I don't have to buy any more bookcases.  There are a surprising number of free or cheap (1,2,3 dollars) books and other reading materials available in the iBooks store for my iPad  I need to also check to see if my local library will let me borrow books electronically.

Overall, this experience has not been too painful, which is a relief.  Stay tuned for more...

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