Want $100,000? Just give up your smartphone for a year

Vitaminwater has issued a challenge: Don't use your smartphone for a full year, and you can win $100,000. On its website, the company has announced the "Scroll Free For A Year Contest." To enter, you need to post a photo on Twitter or Instagram explaining how you would use your year-long break from your phone. … Continue reading “Want $100,000? Just give up your smartphone for a year”

Vitaminwater has issued a challenge: Don't use your smartphone for a full year, and you can win $100,000.

On its website, the company has announced the "Scroll Free For A Year Contest." To enter, you need to post a photo on Twitter or Instagram explaining how you would use your year-long break from your phone.

The submissions will be judged based on "creativity and originality," "cultural or brand relevance," humor the quality of the photo and caption.

The winner, which Vitaminwater will select, will be able to enter a contract for a smartphone-free year for a prize of $100,000, with $10,000 if you make it six months. You'll receive a "1996-era cellular telephone" to use instead. That's quite some cash — but you do need to keep up your end of the bargain, as you'll have to submit to a lie-detector test at the end of the year.

So, if you're one of those curmudgeons who feels like your smartphone is stealing your soul, this may be your moment to shine.

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  • 10 top gadgets of 2018

    Technology advances quickly, and it can be hard to keep up on which gadgets and gizmos made the biggest splash. Fortunately, looking back on 2018, a few big themes developed — televisions became smarter, speakers responded to voice commands. Another interesting trend? Prices became a bit more reasonable for gadgets like the Apple iPhone XR. Here are the top picks in several categories.

    1. Phone: Apple iPhone XR ($749)

    Apple made waves this year by releasing three different phones (including the iPhone XS and CS Max with an OLED display), but the iPhone XR with an LCD display is arguably the best option. At $749, it still has an extremely fast A12 Bionic processor and a high-end camera.

    2. TV: Samsung Q9FN 65-inch ($2,999)

    Televisions are smarter than ever. The Samsung Q9FN can read your Wi-Fi settings and password from your Android phone, and it senses when you have an Xbox One connected and can adjust the display for 4K resolution and the best gaming color mode.

    3. Tablet: Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch display ($999)

    The big news with the Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch released this fall is that it uses a processor that is more powerful than some laptops, including Apple’s own MacBook line. Apps like Adobe Lightroom CC for iPad and Affinity Photo handle high-res images with ease.

    4. Laptop: Dell XPS 13 ($850)

    At just 2.67 pounds, the Dell XPS 13 is lighter than many tablets (including the Microsoft Surface line) but runs on a screaming fast Intel Core i7 processor. The claim to fame? Dell has figured out how to make the display run all the way to the edges.

    5. Desktop: HP EliteOne 1000 G2 34-in Curved All-in-One ($1,794)

    For productivity gurus, a curved wide screen like the HP Elite means you have more room for tabs in a browser, and more screen real estate for your apps. It’s also a brilliant gaming desktop and ideal for Skype sessions with a pop-up high-res webcam.

    6. Earbuds: Jabra Evolve 65t ($329)

    For those who have not quite accepted the reality of using wireless earbuds yet and prefer a wired connection, it’s time to reconsider. The Jabra Evolve 65t sound as good if not better, and have the added benefit of one-touch access to a voice assistant.

    7. Drone: DJI Mavic Pro ($999)

    Drones with fold-up arms became the norm in 2018, and the DJI Mavic Pro is the best of the bunch. It’s also much quieter and smoother during flight. The Mavic captures in 4K video resolution and doesn’t require a complicated setup.

    8. Robot: Neato Botvac D7 Connected ($699.99)

    The smartest robots let you leave them alone all day for weeks at a time, and they merrily go about their business. Set on a cleaning schedule, the Neato robotic vacuum will do its work without getting stuck or falling down a staircase.

    9. Speaker: Sonos Beam ($399)

    Speakers finally embraced the concept of voice control in 2018. The Sonos Beam lets you ask Amazon Alexa questions about the weather, but also syncs to the DISH Hopper 3 receiver for changing channels, finding shows, and raising the TV volume.

    10. Camera: Nikon Z7 ($3,400)

    A great camera, the Nikon Z7 snaps photos lightning fast, even at an athletics event. It uses a new mirrorless technology to capture stunningly crisp photos at 45.7-megapixels, letting in more light than a traditional DSLR.

    Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey denies using these devices

    Twitter users curious about CEO Jack Dorsey’s tech habits got some answers this week.

    Dave Gershgorn, a reporter for Quartz, tweeted at the 41-year-old Wednesday and pressed for details.

    "[Jack], serious question, do you use a computer/laptop,” he asked.

    FACEBOOK SAYS 50 MILLION USER ACCOUNTS AFFECTED BY SECURITY BREACH

    Dorsey, who co-founded Twitter, offered a short reply: “No.”

    It wasn’t long before AdWeek writer Marty Swant asked if Dorsey uses a tablet. Dorsey said he doesn't.

    A few hours later, Microsoft spokesman Paul Fabretti tried to get Dorsey to use one of the company’s products.

    “[Jack] can I get you a Surface Go?” he asked Dorsey. “Similar size, all the functionality of a great PC.”

    The tech executive, however, turned down the offer.

    IS TECH HARMING INNOVATION? ANTITRUST CHIEF ASKS IF THERE’S ‘CREDIBLE EVIDENCE’

    “Thank you but no,” he said.

    As the Press Association points out, this seems to suggest Dorsey relies on just a smartphone.

    Best streaming service, cut cell phone costs and more: Tech Q&A

    Track Emailers

    Q: I’m getting strange email. How can you find out who really sent you email? There has to traces somewhere!

    A: Remember when we would laugh at “Nigerian Princes” who wanted to give us millions of dollars and shrug off “Rolexx Waches” [sic]. Cyber-criminals have come a long way since then, and hackers have improved their English skills. It helps to know where the emails are coming from to help confirm their authenticity. Tap or click here to get the steps to learn an email’s sender.

    Budget Phone Service

    Q: My cell bill is so high! I found a lower plan with a different carrier. How can I make the switch?

    A: In the past, companies like Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T have required strict contracts, and users have struggled (and paid dearly) to break free. These days, those companies have loosened those restrictions, and it’s reasonable to terminate your service without breaking the bank. But do you get to keep your phone number? How do you know you’re making the right decision? There are a few things you should know beforehand. Tap or click here to switch to a cheaper cell phone carrier.

    Diagnose Slow Computer

    Q: My computer is running slow! How do I know if it’s the operating system or the hardware causing problems?

    A: Since the dawn of desktops, we have struggled with lots of moving parts, from viruses to background tasks to tired circuit boards. We can spend hours, or even months, troubleshooting those hundreds of moving parts. Luckily, there is a program that is specifically designed to analyze your computer for issues. You can identify every single physical part, as well as its manufacturer and place of origin. More importantly, you’ll get a detailed report about how well these parts are working. Tap or click here to make your computer good as new.

    Electric Car Costs

    Q: I keep reading about electric cars. It costs money on your power bill to charge the battery. Is this cheaper than gas or is it hype?

    A: Yes, it costs money to power your car, and the electricity isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s less expensive than gasoline. There may be certain tax incentives, and if you live in a state that accommodates electric cars – such a California – you’ll probably find a lot of convenient places to plug in. Basically, the technology is very new, but such cars are no longer the pipe dreams they once were. Tap or click here to get the whole story about whether electric or conventional cars are cheaper.

    Best Streaming Service

    Q: There’s Netflix, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Hulu and more! What’s the best streaming service?

    A: Now, I’m not going to tell you what subscriptions I have; it’s an individual choice. You’ll never be able to watch “Mozart in the Jungle” on Hulu, and you’ll never see “The Handmaid’s Tale” on Netflix. The only way to figure out which streaming services you want is to cross-reference what they offer. Tap or click here for a side-by-side comparison.

    What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call her national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen or watch to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim's free podcasts.

    Copyright 2018, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

    Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

    5 awesome apps for family road trips

    Nothing says summer like piling your kids, your dog, and 300 pounds of luggage into the family car and heading out on an inadvisably long road trip. And yet millions of us do it every year. Unfortunately, all too often the euphoria lasts about as long as it takes to get out of our driveways.

    If you’ll be road tripping this summer, consider downloading a few new iPhone and iPad apps to help the miles fly by.  Here are five tried-and-tested apps guaranteed to keep everyone busy and happy.

    1. Mad Libs, Ages: 4 and up, free

    If your kid likes silly sentences—and really, what kid doesn't?—then this app is a slam dunk.  Even very young kids can get in on the action with a little help.  The app itself is free, but the books (which contain 21 stories each) cost $1.99 as in-app purchases.  Just so you know, the funniest noun in the English language is “hamster” and the funniest adjective is “hairy.”  You’re welcome.

    2. State Plate Bingo!, Ages: 6 and up, $0.99

    Can you find all 50 states in a single road trip?  There’s only one way to find out. This app is an ongoing quest for the entire family.  Note: The iPhone version works on an iPad, but isn’t optimized for it.

    3. Road Trip Bingo, Ages: 4 and up, $0.99/1.99

    Got two kids?  Download the only travel-themed bingo app that lets two players compete head to head, not to mention side by side.  Your kids can scour the landscape for everything from white cars and road signs to snow-topped mountains and airplanes.

    4. StoryLines, Ages: 8 and up, free

    This creative multi-player game lets everyone but the driver get in on the fun.  Player One types a well known phrase, such as “The early bird gets the worm.”  Player Two illustrates the phrase with a fingertip drawing.  Player Three captions Player Two’s drawing without seeing the original phrase.  And so on.  It’s a lot like the telephone game we all played when we were young, and absolutely hilarious.

    5. Geography Drive USA, Ages: 8 and up, $3.99

    Despite the fact that only one child can play at a time, this very polished educational app is well worth the relatively high price tag. Players road trip around country, earning fuel and money for correctly answering state trivia questions.  Between rounds, they can return to the garage to get a new paint job, upgrade their car, or just admire their trophies.  And if all that driving gets to be too much?  They can cash in their chips for an airline ticket instead!

    Jamie Pearson of TravelSavvyMom.com and BestKidsApps.com contributed this to MiniTime.com.

    More from Minitime

    5 Awesome Apps for Family Road Trips

    7 Tips for Flying with an Autistic Child

    Checking Out the New LEGOLAND Hotel

    5 Lighthouses Worth a Climb This Summer

    6 Great National Parks You've Never Visited

    Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey denies using these devices

    Twitter users curious about CEO Jack Dorsey’s tech habits got some answers this week.

    Dave Gershgorn, a reporter for Quartz, tweeted at the 41-year-old Wednesday and pressed for details.

    "[Jack], serious question, do you use a computer/laptop,” he asked.

    FACEBOOK SAYS 50 MILLION USER ACCOUNTS AFFECTED BY SECURITY BREACH

    Dorsey, who co-founded Twitter, offered a short reply: “No.”

    It wasn’t long before AdWeek writer Marty Swant asked if Dorsey uses a tablet. Dorsey said he doesn't.

    A few hours later, Microsoft spokesman Paul Fabretti tried to get Dorsey to use one of the company’s products.

    “[Jack] can I get you a Surface Go?” he asked Dorsey. “Similar size, all the functionality of a great PC.”

    The tech executive, however, turned down the offer.

    IS TECH HARMING INNOVATION? ANTITRUST CHIEF ASKS IF THERE’S ‘CREDIBLE EVIDENCE’

    “Thank you but no,” he said.

    As the Press Association points out, this seems to suggest Dorsey relies on just a smartphone.

    Best streaming service, cut cell phone costs and more: Tech Q&A

    Track Emailers

    Q: I’m getting strange email. How can you find out who really sent you email? There has to traces somewhere!

    A: Remember when we would laugh at “Nigerian Princes” who wanted to give us millions of dollars and shrug off “Rolexx Waches” [sic]. Cyber-criminals have come a long way since then, and hackers have improved their English skills. It helps to know where the emails are coming from to help confirm their authenticity. Tap or click here to get the steps to learn an email’s sender.

    Budget Phone Service

    Q: My cell bill is so high! I found a lower plan with a different carrier. How can I make the switch?

    A: In the past, companies like Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T have required strict contracts, and users have struggled (and paid dearly) to break free. These days, those companies have loosened those restrictions, and it’s reasonable to terminate your service without breaking the bank. But do you get to keep your phone number? How do you know you’re making the right decision? There are a few things you should know beforehand. Tap or click here to switch to a cheaper cell phone carrier.

    Diagnose Slow Computer

    Q: My computer is running slow! How do I know if it’s the operating system or the hardware causing problems?

    A: Since the dawn of desktops, we have struggled with lots of moving parts, from viruses to background tasks to tired circuit boards. We can spend hours, or even months, troubleshooting those hundreds of moving parts. Luckily, there is a program that is specifically designed to analyze your computer for issues. You can identify every single physical part, as well as its manufacturer and place of origin. More importantly, you’ll get a detailed report about how well these parts are working. Tap or click here to make your computer good as new.

    Electric Car Costs

    Q: I keep reading about electric cars. It costs money on your power bill to charge the battery. Is this cheaper than gas or is it hype?

    A: Yes, it costs money to power your car, and the electricity isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s less expensive than gasoline. There may be certain tax incentives, and if you live in a state that accommodates electric cars – such a California – you’ll probably find a lot of convenient places to plug in. Basically, the technology is very new, but such cars are no longer the pipe dreams they once were. Tap or click here to get the whole story about whether electric or conventional cars are cheaper.

    Best Streaming Service

    Q: There’s Netflix, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Hulu and more! What’s the best streaming service?

    A: Now, I’m not going to tell you what subscriptions I have; it’s an individual choice. You’ll never be able to watch “Mozart in the Jungle” on Hulu, and you’ll never see “The Handmaid’s Tale” on Netflix. The only way to figure out which streaming services you want is to cross-reference what they offer. Tap or click here for a side-by-side comparison.

    What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call her national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen or watch to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim's free podcasts.

    Copyright 2018, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

    Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.

    5 awesome apps for family road trips

    Nothing says summer like piling your kids, your dog, and 300 pounds of luggage into the family car and heading out on an inadvisably long road trip. And yet millions of us do it every year. Unfortunately, all too often the euphoria lasts about as long as it takes to get out of our driveways.

    If you’ll be road tripping this summer, consider downloading a few new iPhone and iPad apps to help the miles fly by.  Here are five tried-and-tested apps guaranteed to keep everyone busy and happy.

    1. Mad Libs, Ages: 4 and up, free

    If your kid likes silly sentences—and really, what kid doesn't?—then this app is a slam dunk.  Even very young kids can get in on the action with a little help.  The app itself is free, but the books (which contain 21 stories each) cost $1.99 as in-app purchases.  Just so you know, the funniest noun in the English language is “hamster” and the funniest adjective is “hairy.”  You’re welcome.

    2. State Plate Bingo!, Ages: 6 and up, $0.99

    Can you find all 50 states in a single road trip?  There’s only one way to find out. This app is an ongoing quest for the entire family.  Note: The iPhone version works on an iPad, but isn’t optimized for it.

    3. Road Trip Bingo, Ages: 4 and up, $0.99/1.99

    Got two kids?  Download the only travel-themed bingo app that lets two players compete head to head, not to mention side by side.  Your kids can scour the landscape for everything from white cars and road signs to snow-topped mountains and airplanes.

    4. StoryLines, Ages: 8 and up, free

    This creative multi-player game lets everyone but the driver get in on the fun.  Player One types a well known phrase, such as “The early bird gets the worm.”  Player Two illustrates the phrase with a fingertip drawing.  Player Three captions Player Two’s drawing without seeing the original phrase.  And so on.  It’s a lot like the telephone game we all played when we were young, and absolutely hilarious.

    5. Geography Drive USA, Ages: 8 and up, $3.99

    Despite the fact that only one child can play at a time, this very polished educational app is well worth the relatively high price tag. Players road trip around country, earning fuel and money for correctly answering state trivia questions.  Between rounds, they can return to the garage to get a new paint job, upgrade their car, or just admire their trophies.  And if all that driving gets to be too much?  They can cash in their chips for an airline ticket instead!

    Jamie Pearson of TravelSavvyMom.com and BestKidsApps.com contributed this to MiniTime.com.

    More from Minitime

    5 Awesome Apps for Family Road Trips

    7 Tips for Flying with an Autistic Child

    Checking Out the New LEGOLAND Hotel

    5 Lighthouses Worth a Climb This Summer

    6 Great National Parks You've Never Visited

    Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey denies using these devices

    Twitter users curious about CEO Jack Dorsey’s tech habits got some answers this week.

    Dave Gershgorn, a reporter for Quartz, tweeted at the 41-year-old Wednesday and pressed for details.

    "[Jack], serious question, do you use a computer/laptop,” he asked.

    FACEBOOK SAYS 50 MILLION USER ACCOUNTS AFFECTED BY SECURITY BREACH

    Dorsey, who co-founded Twitter, offered a short reply: “No.”

    It wasn’t long before AdWeek writer Marty Swant asked if Dorsey uses a tablet. Dorsey said he doesn't.

    A few hours later, Microsoft spokesman Paul Fabretti tried to get Dorsey to use one of the company’s products.

    “[Jack] can I get you a Surface Go?” he asked Dorsey. “Similar size, all the functionality of a great PC.”

    The tech executive, however, turned down the offer.

    IS TECH HARMING INNOVATION? ANTITRUST CHIEF ASKS IF THERE’S ‘CREDIBLE EVIDENCE’

    “Thank you but no,” he said.

    As the Press Association points out, this seems to suggest Dorsey relies on just a smartphone.

    Best streaming service, cut cell phone costs and more: Tech Q&A

    Track Emailers

    Q: I’m getting strange email. How can you find out who really sent you email? There has to traces somewhere!

    A: Remember when we would laugh at “Nigerian Princes” who wanted to give us millions of dollars and shrug off “Rolexx Waches” [sic]. Cyber-criminals have come a long way since then, and hackers have improved their English skills. It helps to know where the emails are coming from to help confirm their authenticity. Tap or click here to get the steps to learn an email’s sender.

    Budget Phone Service

    Q: My cell bill is so high! I found a lower plan with a different carrier. How can I make the switch?

    A: In the past, companies like Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T have required strict contracts, and users have struggled (and paid dearly) to break free. These days, those companies have loosened those restrictions, and it’s reasonable to terminate your service without breaking the bank. But do you get to keep your phone number? How do you know you’re making the right decision? There are a few things you should know beforehand. Tap or click here to switch to a cheaper cell phone carrier.

    Diagnose Slow Computer

    Q: My computer is running slow! How do I know if it’s the operating system or the hardware causing problems?

    A: Since the dawn of desktops, we have struggled with lots of moving parts, from viruses to background tasks to tired circuit boards. We can spend hours, or even months, troubleshooting those hundreds of moving parts. Luckily, there is a program that is specifically designed to analyze your computer for issues. You can identify every single physical part, as well as its manufacturer and place of origin. More importantly, you’ll get a detailed report about how well these parts are working. Tap or click here to make your computer good as new.

    Electric Car Costs

    Q: I keep reading about electric cars. It costs money on your power bill to charge the battery. Is this cheaper than gas or is it hype?

    A: Yes, it costs money to power your car, and the electricity isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s less expensive than gasoline. There may be certain tax incentives, and if you live in a state that accommodates electric cars – such a California – you’ll probably find a lot of convenient places to plug in. Basically, the technology is very new, but such cars are no longer the pipe dreams they once were. Tap or click here to get the whole story about whether electric or conventional cars are cheaper.

    Best Streaming Service

    Q: There’s Netflix, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Hulu and more! What’s the best streaming service?

    A: Now, I’m not going to tell you what subscriptions I have; it’s an individual choice. You’ll never be able to watch “Mozart in the Jungle” on Hulu, and you’ll never see “The Handmaid’s Tale” on Netflix. The only way to figure out which streaming services you want is to cross-reference what they offer. Tap or click here for a side-by-side comparison.

    What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call her national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen or watch to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim's free podcasts.

    Copyright 2018, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

    Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.