Lynktec Blog | Tech News, Tips, & Amusing Tidbits!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

8 Creative Mother’s Day Gift Ideas and Spring 2017 Projects You’ll Love to DIY

So normally we talk tech on the Lynktec blog, but we’re Chicago-based so we have spring fever because if you know anything about this area, you know winters can be tough! But it’s spring here (thank god!) and images fill the mind with everything from gorgeous greenery bursting with colors of spring to bright new home d├ęcor to trendy fashion.

If you’re like me, springtime means new and fresh – house, wardrobe, yard – all need a creative approach to shake off the last vestiges of winter!  Of course, we also have the inevitable spring cleanup projects and the rounds of gift-giving occasions like Mother’s Day.  I thought it would be fun to curate some fun, simple ideas to help inspire all of us to get creative this spring!  Here are my top 8 ideas to get you in the creative mood (and if they turn out the way you like, you can give them as gifts).

1. Calling all wine lovers!

Spruce up your patio or deck with these citronella candles made from your upcycled wine bottles (and help the environment, too). This easy craft makes a great outdoor table decoration and will help keep those bothersome mosquitos at bay.

Get the DIY tutorial at Hello Glow.

2.  Add a fold-over polka dot accented clutch to your accessory collection!

This pretty bag is made from soft leather and makes a great little evening purse or jewelry travel pouch.  If you’ve ever sewn a zip pouch, then this should be fairly simple for you to make.

You can get the tutorial at Polkadot Chair, including a few tips and trick to make your clutch as cute as the one in the photo.

3. Bring the colors of spring inside by creating your own miniature garden!

Terrariums came of age in the Victorian era and are enjoying a newfound popularity.  You can splurge by buying one already made at a fancy garden store or if you want to be more budget conscious, these are fun and easy to do yourself.  Makes a great project to do with kids!

TIP: Don’t use succulents or cacti in your terrarium as those tend to rot in a matter of a few weeks.

4. Create a photography gallery wall!

A blank wall (or just one that needs updating!) can be your own creative canvas.  The art to creating a beautiful gallery wall is in symmetry and selection.  For instance, try choosing all black and white images and framing them in frames of similar material, size, and/or color.

If you prefer a more eclectic look, you can use a variety of unique frames and sizes but then you probably will want your images to relate in some way (theme, finish, etc.) so that you have visual harmony in the space.

5.  Make your front door inviting with DIY 5-minute umbrella wreath!

If you like quick and easy projects that still pack a punch, this simple and slightly unorthodox, “wreath” requires only minimal supplies and prep. The results will have you smiling each time you look at your front door, or give it to your mom for Mother’s Day.

Find the instructions for this visual interpretation of the saying, “April showers bring May flowers” at One Good Thing by Jillee.

6.  Spring cleaning is in the air, but those fabrics and linens may still smell like winter!

So fling open the windows and try making an All-natural Fabric Refreshing Spray using essential oils.  This effective deodorizing spray contains just 3 natural ingredients, and has a much more subtle scent than its store-bought counterparts.

The main ingredient is baking soda, for its natural odor-absorbing powers. The baking soda is dissolved in a bit of heated distilled water, along with the essential oil of your choosing (the citrus blends provide a super fresh scent). And that’s it!

7.  Add charm to your garden pathways by creating (or custom ordering) personalized garden stones!

Believe it or not, I found these on fairly cheaply ($32) and thought that they would make a great Mother’s Day gift!

8.  Finally, you probably need put the sometimes heavy cuisine of winter behind you and nothing says spring like colorful, light foods!

Bon Appetit has a delightful recipe for Roasted Strawberry-Buttermilk Sherbet which you and your entire family are sure to enjoy!

We’d love to hear from you, so leave a comment or send us a photo of your DIY ideas!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Flip, Best New iPad Smart Stylus for 2017 Live on Kickstarter Now

Flip, the world’s most intuitive smart stylus, is a must-have for digital artists and everyday doodlers alike. 

You can check it out now on Kickstarter – the project currently has over 900 backers and has reached more than 800% of its funding goal.  

At any given time there are more than 5000+ Live Projects on Kickstarter, but Flip is capturing the attention of backers because this new smart stylus technology works just like the pencil you grew up with.  With Flip, the goal was to create a stylus with all the benefits and features of an active stylus, but without the complexity of smart stylus which utilizes complicated electronics to activate digital features.

With Flip, artists will be able to simply flip the stylus to the “eraser end” (without having to activate the in-app eraser function) to erase what they don’t want.   They will be able to rest their hand on their iPad screen because Flip has perfect palm rejection.  If they want to hover and zoom, Flip knows.  It also has an auto dimming feature which is great way to conserve battery life on your iPad.

Artists will love working with the magnetically interchangeable tips that include the critically acclaimed TruGlide fiber mesh tip, a conductive artist brush tip, and a clear precision cross tip.  These quick-attach tips will inspire both professional and amateur digital artists to draw, sketch, and paint in all their favorite apps.

Flip is powered by magnets that interact with the existing hardware in iPads and iPhones, so users can easily write, draw, and erase on their iOS devices just like they would with a pencil and paper.  Flip comes with a free, easy to use note taking and drawing app called FlipNotes. Lynktec is currently working with NotesPlus, INKcredible, and ZoomNotes to integrate a software developer’s kit and plans to continue to add to the list of supported apps.

Visit the Flip Project Page on Kickstarter ►

Thursday, July 28, 2016

5 Useful Tips to Encourage Your Teen to Write

Back to school is looming ahead for some parents with great relief, but that is typically not the case for most teens. As parents, one of the best things we can do is to encourage our kids to write.
Why? Because writing is a key language skill proven to shape future success. We know that the more kids write, the better they will be at it.
The good news is that most teens believe that writing well is important to their success in life – a whopping 86% of teenagers believe this according to a recent PEW Internet and American Life survey. Even better, they are writing more than ever, but interestingly, they just don’t view digital writing (like blogging, texting, and email) as writing. So let’s build on this knowledge with some ideas on how to encourage your teens to put pen to iPad:

Embrace the Tech that Teens Like to Use.

Easy-to-use digital writing apps for iPads and Android tablets can quickly increase both the quality and quantity of written output. Encourage your teen to try digital writing by downloading one of the many free notetaking apps and consider getting them a good stylus (pen for digital hand writing). Sounds simple, but providing the tools they need will encourage them to create!

Encourage Blogging.

Kids like to be heard, and blogging is a strategy that provides the platform. Blogging can also be used as a powerful means of ongoing reflection. Here are some safe, free, intuitive to use blogging tools: Kidblog (for younger teens), Blogger, or WordPress.

Ask Them to Share Any Piece of Writing.

Teens feel inspired and motivated when they write something that matters in their own lives – poems, songs/raps, essays, journals – that has an impact. Let them know that their writing matters not only to you, but that what they are creating is socially relevant! (Just a word to the wise here, don’t share it publicly without their permission.)

Provide a Wide Variety of Reading Materials.

Budding writers improve their writing when they read. Encourage them to download good magazine apps like Flipboard (or even Newser) that offer articles with photos on a huge range of interesting topics. Pass on your own favorite authors, novels, and magazines to show your teen that you’re a reader, too.

Try Brainstorming.

Teens frequently complain, “I don’t have anything to write about.” We all have trouble getting started once in a while. Suggest that your teen spend a few minutes jotting down anything and everything that comes to mind – even, "I don’t know what to write"! This has a way of loosening up the writing process and getting ideas flowing.

Want to Get Started Now?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Top 10 Best Travel Tips

With Spring Fever in the air and Spring Break vacay plans in full swing, we started talking about travel essentials and best tips based on previous travel experiences around the world.  So for all you lucky vacationers (and to the seasoned travel warriors) out there, here’s our Top 10 Travel Tips:

1. Bring Your Smile and Be Patient.   When you walk out that front door, things can go awry.  The dreaded travel delays, forgetting some key item, losing luggage – all these things while stressful, will only become more stressful, if you freak out.  Other people (like Gate and Flight Personnel) tend to be more helpful to people who exercise self-control and even smile in the face of extreme aggravation.  So be a beacon of patience to your fellow travelers, and if nothing else, you will have earned the right to feel good about yourself!

vacation, relaxation, patience, traveling, smart travel

2.  Back Up Everything.  Keep both digital and physical copies of your passport, visas, driver’s license, birth certificate, health insurance card, serial numbers, and important phone numbers ready to go in case of an emergency.  Backup your files & photos on an external hard drive as well as online with software like Backblaze.

Travel, Backblaze, External Hard Drive, Software, Computer Backup

3.    Portable PowerYou’re definitely going to want extra juice for your devices when you’re traveling and you don’t want to be stuck looking for charging stations or glued to a wall plug.  We may be biased, but our all-in-one portable charger, Reeljuice, has everything you need to recharge.  All cables are included so you don’t have to worry about leaving cables behind.  Works with both iOS and Android devices.

Reeljuice, the award-winning, all-in-one portable power bank

4.  Keep Track of Things. Nothing worse than losing something essential like your phone when you’re on the road.  Check out the Tile which is an incredible handy product that you use with its very well-developed app so you don’t have to worry about losing your wallet, phone, or keys again.

The Tile App - Never worry about losing wallet, phone, or keys again.

5.    Pack Ear Buds.  Sometimes the best escape is to simply block out the noise around you. You can keep your zen-like cool by zoning out a crying baby, or super annoying person who just won’t stop talking with a pair of ear buds like the Bose Quiet Comfort 20i.  Although a little pricey, they are very highly rated both for sound quality and comfort. 

Bose Quiet Comfort 20i

6.    Chew on Ginger. Motion sickness can afflict even seasoned travelers if that flight or the seas get too bumpy.  We have found that ginger chews from Chimes and peppermint wipes from Herban Essentials are very effective in calming an upset stomach and has the added benefit of making you smell nice to your travel companions.

Chimes Ginger Chews Herban Essentials Peppermint Wipes Stomach Troubles

7.  Bring Your Own Drink. Always good to stay hydrated when you’re traveling and one of our office favorites is the S’well bottle. You can empty it before going through security and fill it up on the other side.  The swell thing about it is it keeps drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12! Plus, by carrying your own reusable bottle, you’re not filling up the landfills like with the plastic one.

Stainless steel S'well bottles look great and do good

8.   Be Preventative. Not to be a Debbie-downer, BUT flu and cold season is still hanging in there too, so don’t forget to be preventative by using your hand sanitizer every chance you get and we are also big fans of doTERRA On Guard Beadlets to give your immune system a boost.

doTERRA On Guard Beadlets

9.    Protect Your Eyes and Skin.  Escaping the chilly, nasty, over-cast spring weather to sunnier climes? (Okay, we’re from Chicago and even with global warming, winter is looong!) Don’t forget to bring along your sunglasses and to protect your skin with sunblock. Nothing spoils a vacation faster, then a painful sunburn.

Sunglasses on girl at beach while wearing sunscreen

10. World’s Best Travel Jacket.  Take the jacket that everyone is talking about with you – the Baubax Jacket. You will be sure to have room for everything we mentioned above and check out all the cool gear it comes with:

Baubax the World's Best Travel Jacket

Planning ahead for your trip is easier than ever. We are sure these ideas will make your trip more enjoyable for everyone. Don't see your favorite tips? Write in the comments below!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Best of CES 2016 – Cool Gadgets to Next Gen Tech

It’s always a crazy ride being on display in Las Vegas @ CES and this year was no exception!  While Lynktec’s Reeljuice Power Bank with its integrated 4 foot cord garnered its own fair share of attention, some of us also got a chance to check out some super interesting new tech that we thought you might like to see!

Best of Booth Award:  Reeljuice

Reeljuice Portable Power Bank, 4 Feet of Freedom to get the power you need

Reeljuice is an external battery pack for mobile devices that integrates a 48" retractable charging cable, so you always have four feet of freedom to get the power you need. This all-in-one charging solution includes both an MFI Lightning Adapter and a micro-USB connector and a removable USB charging module so that no extra cables or cords are required.

Best VR Award:  Oculus Rift

Virtual reality tech moves from something just previewed at meetings and tech conventions to something gamers and consumers start to use at home.
Consumer-ready VR headsets are finally set for retail launches in 2016  The Oculus Rift combination of the headset itself, spatial audio, Oculus Touch controllers (which "give you hands" inside virtual worlds) and – most importantly – its market-leading lineup of launch games makes it the VR headset to look for this year.

Best of CES 2016, Virtual Reality, Oculus Rift

Best Smart Car: Chevy Bolt EV 

With the ongoing development of Smart Transportation, it seems like CES has been taken over by car companies. The transportation world is transforming quicker than it ever has before and the Chevy Bolt is the electric and connected car for everyone. According to endgadget, it's “the consumers high-tech vehicle and it'll ready before the end of the year”.

Best of CES 2016 Engadget, Best Smart Car, Chevy Bolt EV

Best Smart Appliance: Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator
The Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator is a genuinely smart appliance unlike some of the unimpressive smart fridges in the past. With a 21.5-inch, 1080p touch screen built into the right door, you can leave notes for your family, set calendar reminders, and display artwork, just like a regular fridge. But there are also connected cameras inside that can show you what's in the fridge while you're at the grocery store, so you don't overbuy or forget something important. And if you don't have time for the store, you can order what you need right from the refrigerator itself. How cool is that! Price tag might turn you a little cold ‘tho:   it starts at $5,000.
Best of CES 2016, Best Smart Appliance, Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator