Family computer holiday fun

While the holidays are a time for traditions like caroling and baking, sometimes a little innovation can make family activities even more enjoyable.
Technological advancements like touch screen PCs, built-in webcams and custom applications have made connecting and sharing the holidays with family and friends easier than ever.
Here are just a few ways you can use the family computer for holiday fun:

Create Slideshows – In lieu of sending friends and family the obligatory holiday card (that wastes paper and usually ends up in the trash days after it’s received), why not create an electronic greeting? A slideshow of family photos or personalized cards will be enjoyed by close relatives and friends and kids will enjoy picking their favorite photos to contribute. Built-in webcams let families exchange holiday greetings and fun in real-time.

Streaming Fun – Looking for a fast and simple way to entertain guests at a holiday party? Use the family computer to visit music sites, build playlists or stream holiday favorites. Most PCs also have built-in speakers that offer a premium sound experience.
Visiting relatives can also mean fights over the remote control. But applications, such as those available on the new HP TouchSmart 310, provide instant access to Netflix and Hulu and social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Now nobody has to miss their favorite TV show and can spend as much time as they want updating friends via their favorite social network.

Track Santa – It’s a little-known fact that the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracks Santa’s movements every year. Allow your kids to indulge in a little technological fantasy by visiting noradsanta.org. Everyone but the Grinch will get a kick out of it.

Keep Recipes at Your Fingertips – The holidays are a time for sharing meals and goodies with families, but saving and keeping track of all those recipes can be a challenge. Fortunately, technology is now the family chef’s best assistant. For example, HP’s TouchSmart PC lets you download and store recipes via its exclusive “RecipeBox” application. “RecipeBox” also lets you cook hands-free with voice commands which means less mess and more special holiday treats.

Read Together – If your kids like spending hours in front of a screen playing games or chatting with friends, take advantage of this to get them reading more. In addition to holiday classics, you can now get electronic versions of kids’ favorite comic books and superhero stories with new applications from publishers like Marvel Comics.

“Exploring what technology has to offer can strengthen family ties and put the focus back on sharing holiday fun,” said Ken Bosley, worldwide product manager at HP. “Today’s computers are designed to be accessible by everyone in the family, as well as powerful and feature-rich to maximize fun.” – StatePoint Media

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