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Spring cleaning tips for your digital devices

digital spring cleaningLots of people take advantage of this time of year to declutter the house, air everything out after the long winter, and get everything clean and fresh for spring. Well, the same applies to your devices, and this is a great time to do just that. We’ve got a few suggestions of things that you can do to help keep your devices running great and clearing up space.

Computer (Laptop/Desktop)

  • Actually clean the hardware! Get a can of compressed air and clean between the keys of your keyboard, buy some wipes or spray cleaner that’s made for electronics. It’s tempting just to use your standard glass or surface cleaner, but do you really want to risk damaging your valuable computer with the wrong chemical?
  • Make sure all the connectors are tight and secure; Take that compressed air and clear out connections, make sure everything is plugged in tight.
  • Check for software updates and run anything that should be updated; also see if there are any applications or games you aren’t using anymore, and uninstall them.
  • Back up your photos and important documents! This should be something that you do on a regular basis, but if you don’t, now is the time to start! You can set up cloud-based storage that will automatically back up for you, every few days or so, or buy an external hard drive and use that back everything up. We can’t stress the importance of this enough.
  • Organize your files and folders. Do you tend to accumulate files on your desktop, even though there are things you don’t need, or that could be stored elsewhere? A nice clear desktop will help keep you focused on the task at hand, and you’ll save time looking for the things you need.

Mobile Tech (Phone/Tablet)

  • Use those wipes or spray you got for your laptop and clean the screen really well; chances are, you don’t even realize how grubby it is until you really clean it off.
  • This is also a good time, as long as the screen is clean, to apply a protector to it. You can pick them up online or at an electronics retailer, and it’ll help protect the screen from cracking.
  • How about a new case? If you tend to drop your phone, or have kids who ever use it, go for a really protective one that will keep it safe and secure. If you aren’t as worried about that, go for pretty! Your favorite color, sparkly crystals, sports teams… the options are endless!
  • Remove all those apps you don’t use anymore; there are probably games you don’t play, or you already finished. They’re just taking up space.
  • Back up your photos! Save them to a safe location and then free up space on the device. It’s also a good time to go through and delete the bad photos, or just select your favorites from those 37 picture bursts you made while trying to get the perfect selfie.
  • Clear the cache of apps; there are some apps that take up more and more space as they create cache files, and the only way to make them smaller again is to delete and reinstall them. On an iPhone, you can see what’s taking up how much room by going to Settings > General > Usage > Manage Storage. Some things, like Music and Photos, will be huge but that’s because those files take up a bunch of space. Other things *cough Facebook cough* just grow and grow, so deleting and reinstalling will get rid of that bloat for you.

How often do you clean up your digital life? Did we miss any tips you love?

Life360 families and the age of independence

Times have changed a lot since today’s parents were children, there’s no doubting that. There was an article floating around a while back, with a “First Grade Readiness Checklist” that had been published in 1979. Several of the items were pretty simple and to be expected of today’s first graders, like the ability to tell left from right, or to count out ten pennies. Some of the things, however, are a little more controversial in how different they are from today (like how many baby teeth the child has lost) but there was one that especially caused conversation:

Can he travel alone in the neighborhood (four to eight blocks) to store, school, playground, or to a friend’s home?

Can you imagine, in 2015, a parent letting their six-year old walk 8 blocks to the store? It’s just not how things are done any more, because times are different.

We recently surveyed more than 3,000 Life360 users (Chosen based on US location, Circle Admins, who have used the app for 90+ days) and found some things that we find interesting about families today.

Life360_Infographic_v4

How does your family compare to our findings? Is there anything here that’s surprising to you?

We’re hosting a #Life360FamilyChat Twitter party, tomorrow, April 7, at 5PST/8EST. Click here to RSVP, and follow the hashtag to join in!

 

iOS follow-up for our users

Dear Users,

We wanted to update those of you who experienced the bug this weekend which sent a message asking you to sign up for our Premium offering. As part of the fix for that issue, we disabled our Premium sign ups temporarily. We have a fix, but in order to turn Premium back on, we ask that you take a few minutes to upgrade all iOS devices to the latest version (9.1.1).

We truly appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

Thanks,

The Life360 Team

Life360 and Yahoo! Japan are Working to Improve Family Safety in Japan

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 7.47.27 PMExciting news for families in Japan!  We are proud to announce we have partnered with Yahoo! Japan to bring a specialized version of Life360 to Japanese families.

Safety and security is the top priority for families in Japan, especially in the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.  This partnership will provide millions of Japanese families with greater peace of mind when they are apart by allowing them to view loved ones on a map, check-in with the touch of a button, message each other via private chat, and even send a panic alert in an emergency.

We are also excited to be delivering some specialized features for the Japanese market.  Yahoo! Japan and Life360 are partnering with local schools to become the official safety app for families and are also working with police departments across the country to make sure that users have relevant crime and safety information.

Visit Yahoo! Japan here

A message to iOS users

prem dialogOn the evening of Friday, March 27,  after upgrading to the latest version of our iOS app (version 9.1), you may have noticed that you’re getting an App Store dialog to purchase our Premium offering. This was completely unintentional, and due to a bug in our most recent release. Unfortunately for our iOS users, the side effect felt like aggressive marketing. We want to assure you this is not the case. Our users come first and we are dedicated to providing your families with the best possible experience.

To stop this message, press Cancel when that alert pops up, and you will not be shown this dialog again and you will not be charged for Premium.

One side effect of our current fix is that purchase of our Premium upgrade will be temporarily disabled for iOS users until we are able to get a more complete bug fix deployed, which we hope to have as soon as possible.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience and we hope you continue to enjoy the connection with your family through Life360.

Making the most of the new messaging features in Life360

This is an exciting update that we’ve been working on for quite a while, and we want to let you know some of the coolest parts, and some of the best ways to take advantage of our all-new in-app messaging!

First off, we now have emojis! (Insert woo hoo emoji here) Sometimes, a single emoji can express a whole sentence… Why type out “Let’s go get pizza and coffee before dance class!” when you can just put this:

emoji statement

While it isn’t a life-changer, we’re excited that it makes it a little easier to communicate with those closest to you.

Our new threaded messaging makes it easier to manage multiple conversations at once; rather than a single jumbled list of messages, it’s now easier to see who is responding to which message.

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We’ve added a typing notifier and read receipts. It’s so helpful, knowing when someone has seen the message, even if they haven’t had a chance to reply yet.

And not a new feature, but something that is great anyway; did you know that you can message only specific Circle members? You don’t have to message everyone with everything, you can easily select specific people. (This applies to Lists as well; not everyone in the Circle needs to be included on every list!)

IMG_7035

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration ideas

Looking for some ways to bring a little St. Paddy’s Day fun into your life next week? We’ve got some suggestions from a few of our favorite bloggers! Set aside some time this weekend to be ready for Monday, and don’t forget to wear green!

Glazed-Irish-Tea-Cakes-Sliced This Irish Tea Cake recipe sounds like a lovely way to kick off the day, with a lovely cup of tea for breakfast! [Source]

DIY-St.-Patrick’s-Day-piñata These adorable Mini Shamrock Piñatas would be a fun little gift for the special kids in your life! Thanks to The Centsible Life for sharing these! [Source]

Traditional-Irish-Soda-Bread-Recipe From Honest and Truly, this traditional Irish Soda Bread is simple to make and delicious! [Source]

Rainbow7 Oh my goodness, how cute are these Rainbow Goodie Bags from Me, Myself, and Jen? [Source]

CheesyIrishSodaBread We’re also loving this variation on the traditional recipe, from It’s Fitting: Cheesy Irish Soda Bread. [Source]

St-Patricks-Day-chocolate-peppermint-shake1 Yum! Why not finish off your St. Patrick’s Day meal with a yummy Mint Chocolate Shake, recipe from The Centsible Life. [Source]

How does your family celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

Putting the “Function” back in Executive Functioning

executive function“Did you remember your lunch?”

“Don’t forget your homework!”

“WE ARE NEVER GETTING OUT OF THIS HOUSE ON TIME!”

Does your morning sound like this? You are not alone!

After spending 2 years doing freelance and contract work from home, I recently decided to return to working in an office at a full-time job. I knew that it would be challenge, for many reasons, but mostly because my son and I have gotten into a morning routine that would need to change. I would not call this a routine of efficiency, mind you, but one that seems to scream “it’s a miracle that we even got out of the house today.”

My son is 8 and he has diagnosed learning and attention issues. A lot of this affects his executive functioning skills. Think of executive functioning as the CEO of the brain, controlling how you go about motor planning, reasoning, and problem solving. A great example of his executive functioning deficiencies are his putting on his backpack before he puts on his coat—he’s not thinking in quite the right order.

Unfortunately, working with him on his executive functioning skills has told me that I have the very same issues, in spades. While my motor planning is pretty good, I’m often running around trying to put together my lunch, or making sure I’ve remembered my laptop and my cell phone—I often leave the house without them, knowing that I’ve forgotten something, but not sure exactly what it might be. And let’s not even talk about the time I headed out in tights but no skirt.

It’s stressful for everyone, and it often ends up with one or both of us yelling at each other, to hurry up and tie shoes, brush teeth, or find the last yogurt for the lunchbox.

I knew there had to be a way to make it easier for us. After a great deal of reflection, it came down to a simple kindness, from me to me. Or rather, my Present Self to my Future Self, and it can work for you too…

Take your average Sunday night. You’re tired, and want to hang out your couch catching up with the goings-on of “The Good Wife”. You don’t want to worry about work stuff, because that can wait till the morning. But the truth is, it shouldn’t. Your Present Self in that moment should think about Future Self running around on Monday morning trying to keep everything together, and show a little kindness to her. Charge your phone near your bags so you don’t forget it. Pack your lunch and your kid’s lunch so it’s ready to run out the door with you. Pour cereal into bowls to save some time. Sure, it’s more work than you may want to handle, but when you prep the night before, you’re not under the gun and can think clearly. We’ve also taken to writing lists of everything that we need to do before we leave the house, and we work on tackling it together. This way, we’re both improving and helping each other. Having Present Self think of Future Self also gives us a context to understand why and how we are doing what we do.

We may never look like a NASCAR pit crew, but we’re getting better every day.