Upgrade story time

Updated: Nov 24, 2019, 07:51 IST | Jaison Lewis | Mumbai

You can get your kids away from games and back to the classical bedtime story. Here's how

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Story time can be a great way for kids to learn core values and bond with their parents. Unfortunately, with smartphones being ubiquitous, the old world charm of a story book has all but disappeared. Don't fret. You can use technology to upgrade story time and get your kids interested in it again.

Google Assistant

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Your Google assistant now tells you a bed time story by just asking for it. Say "Google, can you tell me a bedtime story" and it will immediately start playing an audio book of a popular children's story. While the audio book is almost always good, you can't specify any book you want. The selection is always random.

Story Line

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Story Line is essentially a story book reading video service that is funded and operated by the SAG-AFTRA foundation based out of America. The foundation gets actors and celebrities to read children's books with a little bit of animation thrown in. There are a lot of books to choose from and you can probably borrow the same books from your local library to read alongside. The site is also available in the form of an Android and iOS app. storylineonline.net

Mrs P

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Mrs P's story time has television star Kathy Kinney. You will probably recognise her from The Drew Carrey Show. The content on the site is old, but the stories are classics so they are never outdated. Kinney does a good job of adding her own charm and comedy to the sessions, which are good enough to draw in any parent watching the video.mrsp.com

Audible Kids books

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Audible is another way you can bring some life into story time. The app has a huge collection of audio books, including for kids, all read out with character voices. The great part about Audible is there is a lot of free content on the site and, even when you have to pay, the price is negligible. Or, you could pay for the monthly subscription. You can also ask Alexa to play your audio books. tinyurl.com/smdaudible

Augmented Reality Books

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Another great way to integrate technology with books is to get some augmented reality books. The characters are brought to life, making for a much more engaging story. There are many of these books available in the market. Disney and DreamWorks publish a few, starting at around R500. Other AR titles include Ernies Wish Trail, Rocks in my Socks (www.rocksinmysocksbook.com), Pacha's Pajamas (pachaspajamas.com), Arbi and fire breathing dragon (www.arbibook.com).

Story Nory

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Story Nory brings books alive by attaching audio to stories. The stories, along with the text and the audio are listed on the website. While the arrangement on the site makes it harder to find specific stories, it does cover everything from fairy tales to works by famous authors. Each story has the text listed and some illustrations from the books. storynory.com

News

Your android camera can be hijacked

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Google and Samsung recently fixed a weakness in their Android camera app that made it possible for hackers to record audio and video, without any permission to do so. The whole problem stems from storage permissions grated to apps. Rogue apps can use it to gain control of the camera and upload pictures, videos and voice recordings. Security firm Checkmarx reported the vulnerability, and Google has already released a fix for all android phone manufacturers.

Game Review

Just Dance 2020

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Rating:4/5
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher:
Ubisoft
Platform: PS4, XBOX
Price: Rs 2,999

This is a dream party game with all the latest songs and easy smartphone integration to track dance moves. It also includes a one-month subscription to Just Dance Unlimited, which gives you access to content from previous versions of the game. However, as a whole, this one adds little over the 2019 version in terms of gameplay, especially if you subscribe to Just Dance Unlimited. If you don't already own the previous version, this one is a great option to get into the game as this is still fun and there is enough content to satisfy any dance freak.

Full video review: https://youtu.be/DjHlHcT4Dhw

Gadget review

Asus Zenbook Duo Pro

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Asus Zenbook Duo Pro has two screens and even though it might seem like a gimmick, using them has a genuine impact on productivity whether you are designing something or just accounting. With specs like an 8-core Intel i9 9980 processor, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, a Nvidia RTX 2060 graphic processor with 6GB RAM and two 4K Pantone calibrated screens, the ZenBook Duo Pro is a top of the line machine. Despite being one of the best laptops I have used, the price tag of approximately R2.5 lakh limits the people who can afford to use it. So, if you are looking at it from a gaming perspective, there are better machines available for a more reasonable price. Graphic professionals or heavy multitaskers, who could benefit from dual screens, should definitely go for this.

Full video review: https://youtu.be/ttdReKSs9AQ

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