Stop worrying about all the planning you have to do to prepare for the holidays – the Ryerson University Digital Media Zone (DMZ) has got your back! Brennan McEachran, a digital technology expert and founder of DMZ-supported company HitSend, has found the best apps and websites that will keep you on track and stress-free this holiday season:
Are you a Windows 8 user looking for the best deals this holiday season? Download WayTwoGood, a free app designed by DMZ team Three Red Cubes. WayTwoGood brings more than 25 daily deal websites together into one app, making it easy to access the best local deals all at once. The app also gives you the option to receive notifications on your favourite deals, so even those busy planning for the holidays will still be able to view and purchase the best daily deals. You can find this app at www.waytwogood.com.
Mejuri, a DMZ-supported online fine jewelry company, sells jewelry products with a twist: the company manufactures designs that are most popular with its online community. Jewelry designers from all over the world upload their designs to mejuri.com, then ask its online community to vote for their favourites. Mejuri selects the winning designs, manufactures them, and sells them online, helping you buy the most unique jewelry in the world. Visit www.mejuri.com to vote on designs or to purchase a one-of-a-kind piece.
Save yourself the trip to the mailbox by creating and sending your loved ones holiday cards using the Ink Cards app for iPhone, available at the App Store. You can upload photos, add special messages and send out cards using this free app, allowing you to personalize your holiday greetings without the hassle of stamping and sending traditional mail. Ink Cards also allows you to schedule birthday reminders, so you’ll never forget a birthday again!
NORAD Santa Tracker
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has been tracking Santa’s Christmas Eve journey for several years, using its military sensors and technology to detect his movements on December 24th. Your children can log onto www.noradsanta.org to track his toy deliveries around the world, but they can also visit the website now to play online holiday games before the big day.
Ensure your children use technology safely this holiday season by downloading the free Android app by DMZ-supported team Kytephone. This free parenting tool app was designed to allow kids to use smartphones safely and responsibly. Kytephone gives parents the option to choose what and how a child can use their phone, including who the child can call and which apps they can access. Plus, Kytephone can only be removed by parents, so even the most tech-savvy kids are protected. You can download Kytephone at www.kytephone.com.
Cooking a holiday meal for several family members can be a hassle, especially when handling multiple courses. iPhone app Cookit will help you sort out when to start preparing each meal item and remind you when it’s time to start cooking each one, ensuring that you’ll always have your entire meal ready on time. Download this app for free at the App Store.
Everyone knows someone for whom it is impossible to buy presents. Luckily, this year you can download the free El Gifto iPhone app, available at the App Store, to help you out. List your loved one’s personality traits and interests into El Gifto and it will provide you with several gift ideas that best suit them, cutting your shopping time in half.
Canadian Red Cross – International Disaster Relief Fund
If you’re feeling extra-giving at this time of year, why not download the free iPhone Canadian Red Cross International Disaster Relief Fund app at the App Store? This app allows you to easily donate to the non-profit organization and share fundraising updates with friends and family. This is a great way to give a helping hand to others around the world this holiday season.
Looking to get away during the holidays? To find the best airfare, hotel and restaurant details with just a click of a button, download the free TripAdvisor app at www.tripadvisor.ca/apps This app, available for Apple, Android, Nokia and Windows, will keep your planning time down to a minimum so you can focus on relaxing during your time off.
Find simple yet eye-catching arts and crafts ideas from across the globe to turn your home into a winter wonderland download the free Craftgawker iPhone app at the App Store. This app features craft ideas that suit any season, so you can get creative all year long.
Elf on the Shelf
Your Elf on the Shelf comes with a children’s book that explains the story behind the Elf on the Shelf: These elves use their Christmas magic to fly to the North Pole each night to tell Santa whether your child has been good or bad, and then fly back to your house before your child wakes up each morning. Buy your Elf on the Shelf at your local bookstore or toy store (prices may vary) and register your elf at www.elfontheshelf.com to ensure it receives its Christmas magic.
Digital Media Zone expert available for interviews:
CEO and Founder of HitSend
Contact Lisa Pires (details below) to speak with Brennan
HitSend’s first product, SoapBox, is a common place for communities to take ideas and turn them into action in an easy to use, transparent way. SoapBox allows a community to suggest and prioritize ideas and then get them directly into the hands of key decision makers. Users add ideas through multiple platforms, including mobile, websites and Facebook. These suggestions are automatically tagged, categorized and merged to avoid clutter. Users can then vote an idea up or down. When an idea reaches a certain level of support, it is sent directly to those who are able to implement the change. This way, decision makers spend less time figuring out what their community wants so they have more time to actually make change. SoapBox was originally envisioned by Brennan McEachran, who as a student at Ryerson University, wanted to create a way to make his school a better place by aggregating the input of his fellow students.
Opened in April 2010, Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone is a multidisciplinary workspace for young entrepreneurs infused with the energy and resources of downtown Toronto. Set atop Yonge-Dundas Square, this hub of digital media innovation, collaboration and commercialization is home to both entrepreneurial startups and industry solution-providers. With access to overhead and business services, students and alumni can fast-track their product launches, stimulating Canada’s emerging digital economy through innovation and job creation. Since its launch, the Digital Media Zone has incubated and accelerated 62 companies to launch more than 107 projects. Currently the Zone houses 266 innovators in 53 teams. For more information on the Zone, visit www.ryerson.ca/dmz.
Looking for more holiday tip sheets or experts? Visit: www.ryerson.ca/news/media/spotlight/holiday2012/index.html
Media relations assistant