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Foursquare, a SXSW darling, brought the most fun to SXSW 2017

Image: justin breton of foursquare

SXSW is 10 days of fun. Many of colleagues (I see you Brett Williams) teased me (on Slack) for having a “great time with all the work down there.”

But, hey, it’s actually work. Attending panel after panel, speaking on your own panels, BBQ after BBQ, happy hour after happy hour isn’t easy no matter how fun it looks from everyone’s Snapchat (or Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, Facebook) Stories.

When I came back, and even during the whole ordeal, I found my favorite part to be the 45 minutes that I spent away from all the hullabaloo. It was the cycling class I participated with Foursquare and CYC on Monday, the midway point in my SXSW journey.

The invitation wasn’t extended lightly. Mine arrived in my inbox after I expressed my sadness (on Twitter) over Spotify not throwing their own cycling event, as they did in the year prior with SoulCycle. In 2016, I legit “Turned Up On A Tuesday” with ILoveMakonnen.

This year, Spotify didn’t have their official House. But, Foursquare, the app that gained fame in SXSW 2009, was there to provide me with a break from all the action and it was there that I was reminded the beauty of conferences like SXSW.

LOLO also performed during the first ride and then joined on her own bike.

Image: Sydney Torabi from Spinsyddy

“I came to South By for the first time last year. I remember we were bouncing from party to party, eating, drinking, but this is one thing that we missed the opportunity to take a step back from the hectic-ness of South By and take a break,” Justin Breton, Foursquare’s head of marketing partnerships, tells me in the hallway of the Westin.

This was the second of two cycling classes Foursquare held. The first was inside a donut shop. This time, we were on the recently remodeled rooftop of the Westin.

For me, similar to Breton, it provided an escape and a reminder that physical fitness is important.

For Foursquare, the events were a pretty big deal for its business.

“This is the first year that were doing something [on our own.] While its small scale, it allows us to be a part of the South By conversation. We wanted to keep it intimate,” Breton said.

Foursquare wasn’t doing anything flashy, however. “The conversation has evolved so much. It launched here at South By. It was a consumer app. It was a darling of South By. Now, we’re a very established company with a suite of business products,” Breton said. “I’m proud to be a part of a company thats forward thinking, not just focusing on one area of the business.”

Yes, Foursquare was a South By darling just like Twitter, Highlight and Meerkat. But we haven’t had one of those since 2015 with Meerkat. Two SXSW without a darling what happened? Is the tech world just no longer creative enough?

Image: Sydney Torabi from Spinsyddy

“I dont know. I was here last year, and it was the same situation. We didnt feel like we walked away with a new product,” Breton said. “I saw a lot of VR last year and saw a lot this year … Thats evolved.”

Breton also said he has seen the growth of tech companies embracing location (as in, what Foursquare has to offer businesses). Some of the tech giants, including Twitter and Snapchat, use that data to power their own features.

“I think location data is truly becoming more important,” Breton said. “We just launched our SDK. We’re allowing various brands and apps to use the magic. For a brand to be able to understand that someone goes to the movie theater four times a month, I think that’s something that’s becoming more a part of the conversation.”

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/03/26/sxsw-2017-best-part/

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When To Start Potty Training Boys And Girls

Potty training is a subject that keeps many parents awake at night, browsing forums and sites in search of tips, advice, and proven techniques. But how do you know which potty-training tips will work for your child and which wont? Surely, there is no “one size fits all” solution that applies to both boys and girls at different ages.

The truth is that potty-training readiness is related to the physical, emotional, and mental state of your child. Or in simple terms, you cant expect to introduce such a change in a childs bathroom habits if he or she is going through a stressful period, such as starting kindergarten or moving to a new house. Your child has to be both physically and emotionally ready for potty training.

Most children are ready to start when they are between two and three years old, but every child is different. Keep in mind that, as a parent, it is your responsibility to make the process as stress-free as possible. If its taking too long or you or your toddler is becoming upset and frustrated, chances are that you may need to try a new method. The key to potty-training success is starting only when you know your child is ready to learn.

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Signs Of Potty-Training Readiness

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Transitioning into underwear is a big step for every toddler. There’s no point trying to get a head start since its been proven that this can only be a successful endeavor when the child is physically or emotionally able. So the first thing to do is check for signs of potty-training readiness. The first and most important prerequisite is for your boy or girl to be able to control their bowel and bladder muscles. Having bowel movements around the same time each day, not having bowel movements at night, and having a dry diaper after a nap or for at least two hours at a time are all signs that they are able to control them. Toddlers must also be able to climb, talk, remove clothing, and have a few other basic motor skills before they can use the toilet by themselves.

As a general rule, children are likely to be physically ready to toilet train before they are emotionally ready, so expect some level of resistance to this change. While tantrums are common, potty training should be a positive experience with lots of encouragement on your part.

Disruptions or delays can happen if there are other stressful factors in the childs life, or major changes in routine. Sometimes, a child who is doing well with toilet training may suddenly have difficulty for no obvious reason. This is a normal part of toilet training and should not prompt the parent to scold, punish or make the child feel ashamed in any way. If there are frequent “accidents,” consider this a sign that your toddler is still not ready for potty training. Put it on hold and try at a later date.

When To Start Potty-Training Boys

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It is generally believed that potty-training boys can be a bit slower than potty-training girls, though its really a matter of how you approach the whole process. While every child is unique in his own way, there are common behavioral traits at different ages that can be used to determine when to start potty-training boys.

Ages 2 To 3

Potty-training boys age 2 to 3 has one big advantage: the child can comfortably sit down until hes mastered the basics. Because toddlers are still not peeing standing up, this is a suitable age to potty-train boys without any accidents. At this time, toddlers love imitating grownups, so a little encouragement and a loving, positive environment can work wonders.

Ages 3 To 4

You can start potty-training a boy as soon as he starts displaying interest in how his daddy or big brother are going to the toilet. Some parents prefer to make it a fun game of target practice, where you teach him how to pee standing up. The later age to potty-train a boy can turn into a real bonding time with Dad as he teaches him how to do his business like a “big boy.”

When To Start Potty-Training Girls

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Parents of girls are in luck, as studies show they learn quicker than boys at the same age. Girls also have a natural inclination towards cleanliness and tidiness, which works to your advantage when youre potty-training them.

Ages 2 To 3

Starting at an earlier age can produce great results, being that toddlers are naturally curious and love to imitate their parents, older siblings, and playmates at the kindergarten. If your girl has seen other children at her age or adults go potty, shes likelier to want to try it herself, so a good start would be to leave the bathroom door open when youre using the bathroom. The lack of privacy may be a bit uncomfortable at first, but this is also teaching her the valuable life lesson that there is nothing shameful about her body or its needs.

Ages 3 To 4

Although girls have a stronger desire than boys to stay clean and not wet themselves, sometimes they can take a bit longer before they display signs of potty-training readiness. Since girls more often play pretend games with stuffed toys and dolls, you can use these to show how “big girls” should use the toilet. Choosing comfortable, cotton underwear with your daughters favorite movie characters can also make potty-training fun and interesting for her.

While the average age to potty-train boys and girls is between 22 and 30 months, parents should remember that having realistic expectations is the first step to beginning the process of potty-training. Accidents are bound to happen and your child is never doing it on purpose, out of disrespect or with malicious intent. Do your best to be encouraging and very supportive, and hide your frustration when your boy or girl has a slip. Remember that nothing makes your child happier than making his or her momma happy too; your approval and love mean the world to them. Taking the time to make them feel comfortable, loved, and calm will make potty-training a breeze.

Read more: https://www.littlethings.com/when-to-start-potty-training/

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Little Girl Invites Friends To Birthday Party, Then They Show Up With Groceries Instead Of Gifts

Rachel Pearson of Petal, Mississippi, didn’t have atypical birthday this year. When she turned 11 years old, she had a very unexpected request for all her friends. Thankfully, they came through and made her special day even more meaningful.

She asked that her close friends bring groceries and other kinds of supplies to her birthday party instead of the usual toys, games, and clothes that most kids receive. She asked this with a very particular mission in mind.

In the video below, Rachel explains, “People don’t realize how much they have until they see someone that’s lost everything and I wanted to let them know that I care and I’m praying for them.”

Rachel planned to collect all the canned goods, toiletries, and other supplies she received on her birthday and donate everything to the victims of January’s EF3 tornado that ravaged the southern United States.

The birthday girl and her mom, Virginia, took the supplies to the Petal Children’s Task Force so that their collection of goods could be distributed to those who needed them.

“We were very proud of her. She’s always had a very great compassionate and caring heart for others, and so this made us even more proud of her,” Virginia says.

Demaris Lee, the executive director of the PCTF, boasts about her generous donor.

“We’re just overwhelmed to see she’s 11 years old. She’s thinking about others and not just herself,” Lee says. “Because, you know, a lot of children at that age, you always want your own presents, but she was thinking outside, thinking of other people. And it was just an honor to know that they wanted to bring us supplies.”

Hopefully Rachel’s selfless deed will inspire other kids her age to do the same.

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Read more: https://www.littlethings.com/rachel-pearson-supplies-birthday/

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Could this be Asia’s answer to the Amazon Echo?


Alexa, meet Clova
Image: Jeff Chiu/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Amazon’s Alexa may be up against big competition.

South Korean internet giant Naver, which runs Line, Japan’s biggest messaging app, unveiled on Wednesday its own AI virtual assistant.

The new assistant is called Clova, and will be entirely voice-based. It’ll be available as a smartphone app as well as a hardware speaker called Wave, similar to Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Clova is scheduled to be available in Japan and South Korea between April and June this year.

Naver is also tying up with huge conglomerates Sony in Japan and LG Electronics in South Korea, to get the Clova into toys and home appliances down the road.

Clova will address Asia’s high-tech market that’s been sorely underserved.

Clova will be able to respond to users’ questions, as well as provide information on various topics, from the weather to the news.

The offering will address a high-tech market in Asia that until now has been sorely underserved.

“We are aiming to make Clova Asia’s leading cloud AI platform,” Line CEO Takeshi Idezawa said during the Mobile World Congress show.

Line has 217 million monthly users, with a large majority of them based in Asian countries like Japan, Taiwan and Thailand.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/03/02/japan-clova-ai-assistant/