Mission Rucksack by Toffee Cases – Review


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Summary

The Mission Rucksack is a messenger style bag designed to hold an iPad, smartphone and accessories. It is made from soft waxed cotton with leather and metal accents and is very well made and durable. The bag is compact, smart and professional looking and has a cool retro design.

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

If you are looking for a slim, stylish way of carrying your iPad and other essentials with a cool retro feel then you will love the Mission Rucksack from Toffee Cases. The Mission Rucksack is a messenger-style bag made from soft, water-resistant waxed cotton with leather trim and is available in black or mustard. The mustard colored Rucksack does remind me of a classic old canvas military rucksack from a bye-gone age.

The bag has a pin-stripe lining with a sewn-in name and address label inside the bag. Inside the bag as well as a main compartment there is also a zippered pocket to fit a smartphone or wallet, and a padded iPad pocket secured with a leather strap and snap. The iPad pocket is designed to hold an iPad Air but will also fit an iPad Mini or an older model iPad (as long as it isn’t in a very bulky case.) There are also 3 more pockets – a roomy zippered pocket on the back which could easily fit an iPhone 6+ and 2 slip-in pockets on the front which could be used to hold accessories.

mission rucksac

The main compartment is closed via 2 canvas straps which feed through metal buckles – this takes a little more time than the fake buckles with snaps behind them that you see on similar styled bags, but it means a much more secure closure. The shoulder strap is made from a strong woven material with leather trim and metal clips. The clips have swivel ends which help to prevent the strap from twisting when in use. The strap is adjustable in length, and very easy to remove. The bottom of the bag is reinforced with leather.

If I were to make any changes to the bag it would be to add an extra closure to the front outer pockets. They rely on the straps closing the bag to keep them shut, so if you don’t close these tightly it is possible smaller items could slip out, however I have not had any problem with this happening.

 

mission rucksac2

The bag is really well-made and after a month of use looks like new. All of the buckles, zippers and clips are heavy duty and look like they will withstand a lot of wear. It has a really tough, rugged feel to it, but at the same time looks stylish. I love how padded it is to protect my iPad and iPhone, yet at the same time it is light and comfortable to carry. If you are looking to carry a lot this isn’t the bag for you, but for when you want to travel light it is a great option. The Mission Rucksack is perfect for carrying an iPad, Smartphone, documents and a small amount of accessories – it is compact, and looks smart and professional. It’s design is unisex – a businessman or woman or a busy mum would all be equally at home carrying it.

Available from Toffeecases.com, Amazon and other retailers RRP $99.95

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

Power2U Power Outlet with USB Ports by Newer Tech – Review

Power2U Power Outlet with USB Ports by Newer Tech 

Our homes are constantly being filled with more and more devices that need charging via a USB port. Digital cameras, Smart Phones, iPads and other Tablets, back up batteries, keyboards and more; all charge via a USB. Often these need more power than a computer USB port provides, so you end up with a lot of different chargers all over the house. One solution to this issue is to use multi-port chargers, but another is to replace some of your household electrical sockets with ones with built-in USB chargers. The Power2U Power Outlet with USB Ports by Newer Tech is designed as a DIY solution to adding electrical outlets with built-in USB chargers to your home. They are available in 15 and 20A versions, so you need to check which is compatible with your home wiring system.

I tackle most DIY projects around the home, but I typically leave electrical projects to my husband as he is an Electrical Engineer by training. With any electrical project safety is very important, so only do this installation if you are comfortable safely doing basic home electrical work, such as installing or replacing electrical sockets, otherwise have an electrician do it for you.

I watched my husband do this project so my review is based on his comments, plus my observations. I initially asked him to install the Power2U on our kitchen island as I often charge my phone there. The first issue we ran into was that the installation box is on the large side, and it wouldn’t fit in the hole in the island where our current outlet is and as we didn’t want to cut a bigger hole that location was out.

 

Power2U on left, too big for box in island

Power2U on left, too big for box in island

We also tried several other locations around the house where we encountered the same issue. We did eventually find a location which had a large enough hole. My husband said that if you have installed electrical outlets in the past that this shouldn’t be too big a challenge but that it is a little bit fiddlier than installing a regular outlet. It took him about 15-20 minutes to install, so it was pretty quick.

power2uinstalled

Once the Power2U was installed the hard part was over, it works really well. I love the convenience of having USB outlets right in my outlet without needing any extra charger. The USB ports have sliding flaps which automatically close to over the port when it is not in use. You can charge 2 devices at once and still use the regular electrical sockets at the same time (though not with any bulky plugs as they can cover up the USB ports). If you have certain rooms in your house where you routinely charge your devices it is worth considering replacing some of the outlets in the room with the Power2U outlets, but I would recommend first checking to see what size box you currently have housing your outlet – it requires a 16 Cubic Inch or larger single gang electrical box. You can find more information on requirements on the Newertech website.

Available online from Newer Tech,  Amazon and other retailers , 2-pack from $45.98

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

 

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).


Quandary by Learning Game Network -a Unique Free Game to Encourage Ethical Decision Making Skills



iPad Screenshot 1

Quandary

Quandary by Learning Game Network is a unique award-winning game developed to help youth work on their ethical reasoning skills. It has won Game of the Year at the 2013 Games for Change Festival, the Silver Medal in Education at the 2013 Serious Play Awards, and Most Meaningful Game at the 2012 Meaningful Play Awards. Quandary is free and available as an online game and also as an iPad app. The Learning Game Network  is a non-profit, and the game was funded via a grant, so there is no cost to play and no adverts. When you first play you are asked to create a player profile, which involves creating an account and logging in. You can just play as a guest instead, but creating a profile allows you to save your progress and resume your game on a different device or platform. As a parent I don’t allow my children to play online games often, but I felt this was safe – you are not interacting with other players, the account just lets you save progress and appear on the leaderboard.

I recently had the opportunity to learn more about Quandary in an online chat with it’s creators. In developing Quandary their mission was to create a game that would help children and young adults work on their ethical thinking skills. They deliberately made a game where there is no one “right” answer, to avoid players just picking the obvious right answers, and instead making them really think about the decisions and consider opposing views.  The focus of the game is learning how to take other peoples opinions into account, and working to create the best solution for the society as a whole, rather than for the individual. After the call I was intrigued and couldn’t wait to try it out with my almost 11- year-old son.

iPad Screenshot 3

The app is Science Fiction adventure based in the future, and you play the role Captain of a new human settlement on the far off Planet Braxos. The app currently has 3 episodes each with a different quandary that needs a solution. The background stories about the settlement and about each dilemma, are told via comic strips. If the player isn’t a fluent reader they can tap on the text and it is narrated.

As the Captain of the settlement it is your job to listen to the settlers and decide which is the best solution for the colony as a whole. You must listen as colonists propose different solutions to the current problem, listen to everyone’s ideas and opinions and make sure they are all as informed as possible about the possible solutions. The 3 episodes each feature a different problem- in “Lost Sheep” a native animal is attacking the colonists sheep; in “Water War” the colony well is contaminated, and in “Fashion Faction” discord breaks out in the colony when the colony tailor starts making special uniforms for his friends.

In the first section of each episode each colonist has something to say about the current issue. The player then sorts these into facts, solutions and other opinions. This encourages critical thinking – I liked how it made my son think about what people were saying – was it a fact or merely an opinion, where they offering a potential solution?

Next you look at the possible solutions you have identified and choose 2 possible solutions to explore further.  You listen to each colonists viewpoint on the possible solutions and you can also present individual colonists with the facts you have discovered, to see if it changes their mind. It is important to listen to both the arguments for, and against, each solution.  After listening to all sides you decide which you think is the best solution for the colony as a whole.

iPad Screenshot 4

You then recommend a solution to the Council back on Earth and present 2 arguments for and 2 arguments against the solution you chose. The council makes their decision and you inform the colony and see what the result is – did the Council agree with your recommendation and do people react how you think they will ?

The first time my son played the game I played with him so we could chat about the decisions he made, and why he chose them. I gave him the option of playing online via our Mac or on the iPad, he chose it play on the computer and was excited to learn later that he could continue his game in progress on the iPad too. The game is played via interactive cards – this was a new experience for both of us as neither of us had played this style of game before.  My son really enjoyed the experience and has chosen to replay the episodes several times to see how changes in his decisions affect the outcome.

After playing it on the iPad he discovered the extra feature on the iOS version that isn’t online – the Character Creator. With this  tool there are 5 more challenges. For each new challenge you select a fact and then need to create a new character and a possible solution for your character to present. You then create a second character with an opinion in support of your possible solution. Although you don’t get to work fully through these challenges they way you do in the episodes, I think the Character Creator is a really useful addition. My son enjoyed creating different characters, and I thought it was a great addition to the game as it got him thinking about creating his own possible solutions to new dilemmas.

iPad Screenshot 5

My son really enjoyed playing Quandary and I thought it did a great job of getting him engaged and really thinking about the issues. Decision making in general is hard for him, so I wasn’t sure if he would find it stressful making these decisions, he didn’t instead he found it fun. As a parent I appreciated the fact that it let him: work on his decision- making skills; had him practice discriminating facts from opinions; learn that decisions often are not black and white, and practice listening to different peoples’ perspectives. I also thought the Character Creator was a great tool for taking these skills one step further in thinking about your own possible solutions to problems. This is a video game I feel good about him playing, it is practicing important life-skills of critical thinking, decision making and perspective taking which is great practice for using these skills in real life.

I would love to see more episodes added in future, I would highly recommend Quandary and it is totally free to play too !

Play online at: QuandaryGame.Org

Or iOS version

Quandary – Learning Games Network

Quandary
Quandary
by Learning Games Network

Category: Games, Entertainment, Puzzle
Requirements: Compatible with iPadWifi-iPadWifi, iPad3G-iPad3G, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 87.49 MB

$FREE

Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

NOTE: This is a sponsored post as part of the Mission List / Quandary campaign. All opinions offered are my own.

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).

Eyefi Mobi SD card by Eyefi – Review

Transfer wirelessly

What we love…

Simple to set up and use with automatic sync to your devices

What we’d love to see…

reminders as Eyefi cloud is closer to expiring as well as a bit more use friendly interface

Summary

This card made me start using my digital camera again – I had so many photos that were on there that I had never downloaded – now it’s so simple!

Our Rating

recommended-by-the-imums

How many times do you take photos on your digital camera and find them “stuck” on the camera when you can’t find your camera cord, don’t have time to sync them or even worse lose your camera?  Eyefi has come out with an innovative card which allows you to wireless sync your photos from your camera to your phone, tablet and computer as well as storing them in the cloud – all without you having to do anything other than put the camera on view mode and sync with your wireless network once.

Eyefi Mobi is just like a regular SDHC card and is compatible with many cameras  including a point and shoot as well as a DSLR which includes a built in WiFi which will automatically pair your camera to your smartphone, tablet, or computer which allows photos to be synched in moments – without having to worry about finding the cord!  There is an app for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire to allow for easy interface and downloading.  The photos are instantly sync’d allowing you to share and enjoy your photos and enjoy them in the moment with the quality of a digital camera.  I loved how easy it was to sync and the fact that I didn’t have to worry about losing my camera or having pictures stuck on there until I did an annual photo book or needed one.

In terms of improvements, I would like to see enhancements in the iOS app.  I also found that my EyeFi Cloud membership expired one day when I went to sync my phone and it was a bit of a hassle to renew it which I had to do in order to download my photos.  The card comes with a free 90 day cloud service – and I wished that I had been reminded sooner so I wasn’t forced to renew it.  The unlimited cloud is $49 a year.

Simple, easy to use and preserve your memories.  This card made me start using my camera again.  I had misplaced the cord and had been unable to locate it.  We were without a desktop computer at the time so I was very excited to take photos of my kids with the card so I wouldn’t lose out on memories of them and they were better quality than what I was able to get on my smartphone.

NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.

The card retails from $49.99 for 8 gigabytes and a 90 day cloud storage to $99.99 and 32 gigabytes along with the same cloud storage. A full year of cloud storage can be purchased when you get the card as well. Available from Eyefi, Best Buy, newegg.Amazon another other retailers.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

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