Category Archives: Tech Talk
By Elaf Selim
Not too long ago, I was introduced to the magical world of mobile apps. I resisted the urge to move into this new era for quite some time, since I am already on the computer most hours of the day. I work in the IT field and I thought that I really didn’t need any more technology in my life. And then my husband decided to gift me a smart phone and I was hooked. I found so many awesome apps that can help me and other busy moms in their everlasting quest to become Super Moms. So, if you are struggling to find enough hours in the day, or to organize your busy life, here are a few apps that I’ve found to be very useful. They are all free and available on both iOS and android platforms.
Mint: Personal Finance & Money
This is one of the most popular personal finance apps. It is useful for busy moms since they can manage credit cards, bank accounts, personal income, monthly budgets all in one convenient tab.
This is a life saver, it helps you organize your schedule, send out event reminders, invitations and keep track of all your appointments.
This is a great app to help you store important files that you want to access on the go. I always use it to save Quran files, e-books and audios so I can learn on the go.
Athan – Islamic Finder
Necessary if you are on the go a lot and need to know prayer times. I need this app since I can’t usually keep up with the changes in prayer times.
This app is beautiful and can help you make good use of any waiting time you may have. It allows me to read Quran in transit, which is amazing.
I love this app for learning on the go or while I do housework. We are in the age of podcasts and you can learn just about anything from the amazing wealth of knowledge available.
Food Network In The Kitchen
This recipe app is very entertaining and useful. You have thousands of recipes at your fingertips and you can see videos as well.
This is a great app if you are on a diet. You can use it to calculate the calories you consume every day and make quick decisions. It can also help you plan better meals for you and your family.
Cozi Family Organizer
This app helps you organize your family calendar, manage to-do lists (can’t have enough of those), shopping lists and reminders for the important tasks in your life.
This is a popular medical app which allows you to check symptoms, get first aid information, and information about various medical concerns. It is always helpful if you have younger children who often get sick.
ShopSavvy UPC Barcode Scanner
This is a bargain hunting app. You can use it to scan the barcode of items using the phone camera to find the best prices on the internet and at nearby stores.
iMom – Pregnancy & Fertility
This app allows you to check the progress of your pregnancy. You can also manage your menstrual cycle/fertility calendar.
Are there any go-to apps that help your streamline your daily routines? We’d love to know how you use technology to make your lives easier.
About the Author:
Elaf Selim is a Software Engineer, a Jewelry designer, a blogger and a Mom. She is the owner of SkiesAndSparkles.com, a handmade artisan jewelry shop. She loves photography, writing, historical architectures and nature in all forms.
By Mona Ismaeil
I started my online business with my husband in 2010. I can’t believe it’s been that long! Elhamdulillah it has been a success and although it took a long time to get off the ground, it was worth the effort. When I chose to stay home with Manessa in 2013, knowing I had Modern Hejab to occupy my time as well as provide financial support for my family made that decision easier.
It was not easy at first and I would be lying if I said that an online business is easy – it is not! Although you aren’t opening up a store with long working hours, it is equally difficult but in a totally different way. Online selling gives flexibility and you can reach customers from all over the world, but there is far more competition for you which means you really have to know what you’re doing. Here are some tips to help make your endeavour a bit easier.
Know Your Product
When you decide what you want to sell, it must be something you really understand. You must be a product expert in order to be able to successfully sell it to others. Potential customers feel more comfortable buying when they feel like the seller knows everything about that item. For example, I sell hijabs. That means I must know everything and anything about hijab. That means fabrics, what’s good for each face shape, styling, washing, drying, EVERYTHING!
Know Your Selling Platform
There are so many places you can sell your product, you need to choose which one is best for your type of business, your commitment and your budget.
Great platform which can help you to move a great deal of product. Requires a big commitment as they have strict rules for images, postings, communication with customers. Also it is a great deal of effort to set up. You have to know how to play by the rules! Also, they have Amazon fees which takes a chunk out of your profit.
Fantastic site especially for handmade items . There is a certain culture that goes along with Etsy which lends well to more expensive handmade items. The only thing to consider is you have to pay $0.20 per listing per month. You’ll be investing into keeping the listing up whether or not you’re selling.
Ebay: www.ebay.com / www.ebay.ca
This site is easy to set up and can be great for selling but there is very high competition as you can have sellers from all over the world. Your prices needed to be very low in order to compete.
Your own website
It is always great to have your own site as long as you know how to drive traffic to it. Your website will not just show up on google on its own. You will need to put some effort into marketing and SEO. Also, the design and set up will take time.
This is probably your easiest option for setting up a selling space. It has the least amount of effort when it comes to set up. Be sure to make a PAGE, not a GROUP. You will have to set up some sort of payment system which you can do through PayPal. You will have to do some work in getting followers and engaging them to keep them not only interested but so that you continue to show up on their feed.
Know Your Competition
If you sell jewellery, you must be knowledgeable of all the other jewellery sellers as well in your style, price range and location (city and country). In the online world, you are not only competing with the store across the street, you are competing with every online store across the WWW. This means you need to step up your game when it comes to products, promotions and marketing.
Know your Customer
This takes time but you must understand your customer base. The way you market to moms is different than you would teenage girls. If your product is good for different ages, genders, etc. you must really work hard to cater to all of those and market to their liking.
Remember You Are Still a Mom
I’m not a stranger to getting frustrated with Manessa because I’m trying to work and she’s nagging at me. We must remember that you and your business but work around your child’s needs not the other way around. We are first and foremost moms and developing a balanced schedule and life is tricky but you can do it! Your passion for your business and your family will be your greatest asset.
About the Author:
Mona Ismaeil is the Associate Editor Muslimmoms.ca. She is also an elementary teacher turned blogger and writer. Mona is the proud owner of Modern Hejab and stay-at-home mom to a sweet little girl. She loves to travel and see all the world has to offer with her family.
Are you an entrepreneur, or thinking of going that route? How do you manage your time to make sure that your business is as successful as your family life?
By Aaisha Zafar Islam
Handheld computing devices have fascinated the tech community for a very long time. While many manufacturers had flirted with the idea of a tablet since early 1990′s, it would be a good two decades before Apple and Steve Jobs’ vision catapulted tablet into the public domain. The first generation iPad was released worldwide in early 2010; in the four years since we have seen tablets literally take over our lives, changing the way our future generations learn and are even babysat!
In our part of the world, tablet technology is all pervasive. There are tablets that meet most budgets, from coveted ‘retina display’ ones to those that are more easy on the wallet. Price points also depend on other factors, including configuration of the device, its model, make and of course which age group it has been manufactured for. So how do you decode the jargon, make sense of the specs and chose which one is right for your child?
According to age
Thanks to smartphones and touch screen devices, our children are exposed to fiddling with screens at a very early age. In some cases, as soon as they have fine-tuned their gross motor skills! As mothers we are often guilty of handing over our phones to soothe a crying child, but does your toddler need a tablet all her own?
If you are in the market for tablets for young kids there are two notable brands that offer a child-friendly ‘tablet’ experience. With a camera, newer versions include wi-fi as well and their prices go upwards of 80 CAD. You might be able to score a good deal at seasonal sales.
One thing to keep in mind with these tablets is that they are all tied up with their own OS and app stores. Unlike grown up tablets, there are no free apps and anything that catches your child’s fancy, or looks like a good learning app that would sustain their interest for long is going to cost.
Then there’s the age factor. Though they list the appropriate ages as 5-9, truth is that even a five year old who has experienced his parent’s tablet, or a smartphone, is going to outgrow it soon.
For young children, tablets cannot be labelled as an essential learning tool. They make a good babysitter and your child might learn some new things. However, at such an early age it is best to limit children’s screen time and not rely overmuch on smart devices.
For older children, they can learn to share screen time on your own tablet, or you can get them their own, but make sure to monitor how much, and how they use technology.
OS and apps
There are two main Operating Systems that most tablets rely on: iOS by Apple and Android by Google.
The iOS is more user-friendly and has a more sleek interface. Then there is the iTunes app store. Just this past June the app store surpassed more than 1.2 million apps with more than 75 billion downloads. Whatever your need, there is sure to be an app for that.
Android, the Google based OS, lacks the polish and finesse offered by iOS, nor is it as user-friendly. However, like most things tech, one learns fast. If you are looking for a more budget friendly tablet, look for an Android based one. Instead of numerical, all versions of Android are named after sweets: it started with Alpha and the newest version is called Kit Kat!
Google Play, Android’s app store currently boasts more than 1.3 million apps available to users, signifying their rapid pace of growth.
Windows has also introduced their versions of tablets based on the Windows 8, however it is yet to gain widespread acceptance with the public. Little public appreciation in turn means a poor choice of apps.
Space becomes an issue because any and all apps you download are stored on your tablet. You also need space for any media you store on it. The iPad starts with a minimum of 16 GB while Android based tablets can range from 4 GB and upwards.
iPad does not offer any external storage option, you can store your data or pictures on iCloud. There is a minimum available for free but you can increase that space through buying a subscription
Some Android based tablets do offer the capability to extend storage/space through an external drive. If you do not plan to store much data or need that many apps, even a basic 8 GB tablet would serve the purpose.
Storage space is a deciding factor in pricing for tablets, so keep that in mind when searching for yours.
Display, dimensions and weight
The first generation tablets were nearly 10 inches of touchscreen display and weighed around 1.5 pounds. Mini version of the iPad came out three years later, reducing screen size to just under 8 inches and shaving off weight to around 0.7 pounds.
iPad also upped their game with their ‘retina display’ touch screen and ‘air’ versions that pack the same functionality in a lighter, sleeker pack. Of course these frills and fancies come at a higher price.
Android tablets, while adhering to similar screen dimensions, vary in terms of weight, image/display quality as well as how responsive their touch screens are. You get what you pay for; bear that in mind when considering a cheaper tablet. It is better to ‘invest’ in quality. Some cheaper tablets are not as responsive to touch or are prone to ‘freezing’ often. You don’t want that kind of frustrating wait on your hands!
Finally weight. When you look at a handheld device, you prefer something light and easy to hold that would not leave you with a Repetitive Strain Injury! Weight should not be a deciding factor in buying a tablet, but it should surely be considered, particularly when you add a tablet folio, casing etc. for handing it over to your children. Every gram counts!
As explained above, a lot of factors decide the price point for a tablet, including big brand names. Android tablets are easy on the pocket, but you still want value for your money and for that you will have to spend. Big brands spend big money over research, quality control and value customer satisfaction. When price is a concern, always search for reviews of the tablet you think is best and then decide.
Handheld computing devices are a valuable learning tool, however as parents, we have to make sure that our children are not glued to their screens. Life is the greatest teacher, and our children should be able to experience, learn how to observe and then decide how to act. That is something no app can teach.
About the author:
Aaisha Zafar Islam is the executive editor of MuslimMoms.ca and a strong advocate of limiting children’s screen time.
By Aaisha Zafar Islam
2012 was declared as the Year of the MOOC’s by New York Times. Pronounced ‘mook’, and short for Massive Open Online Courses, leading platforms for MOOC’s today include Coursera, edX and Udacity. The term was coined in 2008, by Dave Cormier at the University of Prince Edward Island, Canada and Bryan Alexander, then Senior Research Fellow at National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education.