Roku “Stuff Your Stocking”

Roku LogoOur friends at Roku are indulging in a bit of Christmas fun with their Stuff Your Stocking promotion. It’s a straightforward draw to win goodies such as a 40″ Hisense Roku TV, Roku 3 and Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI Version) along with subscriptions to Sky NowTV, Netflix and Rdio. The exact prizes vary from country and the competition is open to residents of the US, Canada and UK. There are different draws for each country so make sure you follow the right link.

Roku 3 Present

December Wallpaper Calendars

Smashing Magazine LogoContinuing the Christmas theme, Smashing Magazine have a bunch of unique festive wallpapers for your desktop and other backgrounds needs. Part of their regular monthly programme, the December wallpapers function as calendars too, with dates embedded in the wallpaper, which is pretty handy anyway – no need to start up an app to check the date.

All the heavy lifting has been done too with a range of resolutions for different monitors and desktop sizes – I use them as backgrounds on my tablet and smartphone. The only difficulty is choosing the best. I’ve included a few below but check out over 20 others at Smashing Magazine.

dec-14-xmas-time-cal-1024x768
dec-14-a-sleigh-with-gifts-is-coming-to-town-cal-1024x768
dec-14-snow-globe-cal-1024x768
dec-14-gifts-lover-cal-1024x1024

Christmas Icons from Smashing Magazine

Smashing MagazineThe Christmas season is officially underway with today’s opening of the first door on the Advent calendar. To help get festive, Manuela Langella and Smashing Magazine have produced a great set of Christmas-themed icons for holiday projects. They’ll look fantastic on desktops, websites, cards and invites, and are great fun for children too – your creative ability is the only limit!

Smashing Magazine Xmas Icon Set

Icon contact sheet courtesy of Smashing Magazine

The icon set  is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported licence and is free for private and commercial projects. It’s a 20-odd MB download and the icons come in AI, EPS, PDF, PNG, PSD and SVG formats which covers most needs. Stop making excuses and get making.

 

Toys for Christmas 2014

Minecraft FiguresOnce Hallowe’en is over, the holiday seasons begins in earnest with both children and parents thinking about Christmas presents and toys. Unsurprisingly, the Toy Retailers Association for the UK and Ireland is happy to give some advice on what it considers to be the likely favourites for Santa Claus’ sack and in the festive spirit, here are their top twelve toys of Christmas.

  • Bop-It! Beats from Hasbro
  • Disney Frozen Snow Glow Elsa from JAKKS Pacific
  • Disney Frozen Sparkle Doll from Mattel
  • Kidizoom Smart Watch from VTech
  • Little Live Pets Bird Cage from Character Options
  • Minecraft Figures (Assorted) from Character Options
  • My Friend Cayla from Vivid Toy Group
  • Nerf Demolisher 2-in-1 from Hasbro
  • Benny’s Spaceship, Spaceship, SPACESHIP! from LEGO
  • Toot-Toot Animals Safari Park from VTech
  • Transformers Stomp & Chomp Grimlock from Hasbro
  • Zoomer Dino – Boomer from Spin Master Toys

KiddiZoom SmartWatchAside from the fact that Disney’s Frozen features twice, the other item that stands out is the VTech’s Kidizoom SmartWatch. Smartwatches are hardly mainstream items, yet here they are. At a retail price of less than GB£40, these have to be the cheapest smartwatches available, with some great features, including lots of different analogue and digital clock faces, a colour touch screen, built-in camera, voice recorder (with effects), games and a rechargeable battery. I think there are some adult smartwatches with fewer features!

 

Underneath The Pringles Tree

PringlesPringles are running a Pringles Tree competition in December and each day you can open a virtual Pringles can to reveal the prize within. The prizes are inexpensive but there seems to be a good chance of winning as I’ve picked up a Pringles Speaker and a voucher for 7digital already. Other prizes include on-line games and receipes.

The Pringles Speaker arrived yesterday and it’s much better than I expected. The idea is that the speaker is inserted into the top of a Pringles tube once the contents have been munched. Powered by three AAA batteries (supplied), the sound quality and output is surprisingly good. For sure it’s not hifi and the bass isn’t great but for an impromptu party, it’s perfect. Plug in your mp3 player or smartphone and away you go.

Pringles Speaker

There’s 11 days left of Pringles Tree. Get popping, though it looks like this promotion is for UK residents only.

Angry Birds Christmas Goodies

If you can’t get enough of Rovio‘s Angry Birds (or Angly Birds as my daughter says), then you can satisfy your avian needs over at the Angry Birds on-line store. I’ve seen Angry Birds toys gradually appearing in shops, but I’d no idea there was such a wide range of things, from the expected soft toys to children’s costumes.

Angry Birds Fancy Dress Costume

Anyway, as we’re now officially in the run-up to Christmas, the Angry Birds store has a festive selection from Christmas stockings to tree decorations.

Blue Bird Christmas StockingChristmas Tree Decorations

The Bad Piggies Egg Recipes looks like an eggscellent (sorry) stocking-filler with around 40 egg-based recipes from the classics to the more interesting – the table of contents is shown on the website.

Bad Piggies Egg Recipes

There’s plenty of other merchandise to choose from too, including iPhone cases and flip-flops! Prices feel a little high at times for what are novelty items but the shop does appear to ship worldwide.

So You Got An iPad for Christmas…

If you got an iPad for Christmas, here’s what you did with it over the holidays, according to mobile telco Three.

– You had your iPad unwrapped and working by 10am on Christmas Day.

– You downloaded Maps, Skype, Angry Birds, ebay, YouTube and Sky Sports News apps.

– You visited Google search, iTunes and Facebook the most often, followed by ebay.  Were you selling unwanted presents or looking for the gift you didn’t get?

– While you were out and about and using 3G data, you were using GPS navigation, reading news websites and playing games.  You were also dreaming about your next holiday, surfing travel sites.

– But it wasn’t until Boxing Day that you really got to play with your new toy.

I know this isn’t exactly surprising but I think it captures in a snapshot the essence of consumer technology and activity at the end of 2010. Remember the iPad didn’t exist at Christmas 2009, Angry Birds wasn’t yet the phenomenon it was to become and no doubt 2011 will bring its own crazes and defining technology. It will be interesting to look back at this in a year’s time and see what’s changed.

Festive Family Films

As the festive (silly) season gets under way, the folks at Buffalo Technology polled 3,000 people on their favourite Christmas films.  Topping the chart is comedy Home Alone starring Macauley Culkin, followed by Frank Capra’s 1946 classic, It’s a Wonderful Life.  Rounding out the medal positions is the animated adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman.   Miracle on 34th Street and White Christmas complete the top 5.

The full top 20 festive family flicks is:

  1. Home Alone
  2. It’s a Wonderful Life
  3. The Snowman
  4. Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
  5. White Christmas
  6. A Christmas Carol
  7. Love Actually
  8. Santa Claus: The Movie
  9. Elf
  10. The Wizard of Oz
  11. The Muppet Christmas Carol
  12. Mary Poppins
  13. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  14. Jack Frost
  15. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  16. The Polar Express
  17. The Muppets Christmas Carol
  18. Bad Santa
  19. Home Alone 2
  20. Back to the Future

Maculey Culkin and Home Alone….what were they thinking!  And where’s The Sound of Music?  It’s a Christmas classic.

What’s your favourite Christmas movie?