Two enterprising teenagers create a startup for crowdsourcing product reviews

We’ve heard some great stories about smart kids building cool things, but here are two teenagers building a business, Tecca reports. Tyler Simpson and Brandon Keller launched a startup called OrbitFront that’s designed to connect companies with people who will review their products and get a commission when their reviews generate a purchase. The two founders are just 14 and 15 years old. Their thought is that customers are more likely to be swayed by a personal experience than an advertising campaign, so OrbitFront gives retailers a place to find those reviewers. The duo is hoping to list 20 partners and 50 products on their fledgling site by the end of the year. They’ve been selected to launch at VentureBeat’s DEMO Fall 2012 event for new startups, and startup events like that one often generate serious money and publicity for cool ideas…

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California governor signs bills to make textbooks lighter on wallets and backpacks

The younger generations may one day never need to lug around heavy and expensive textbooks for their classes, Tecca reports. California Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills yesterday that will fund the creation of 50 open source digital textbooks and will launch the California Open Source Digital Library to host them. The law could help bring down the ballooning expenses of college for students and their families. The 50 titles will be selected by the California Open Education Resources Council. The group will pick the textbooks from public, post-secondary classes, then collect bids for the creation of those materials as digital books in 2013…

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11-year-old wins $20,000 for app that discourages texting while driving

Texting while driving isn’t safe, and there have been plenty of examples this year alone of what can happen if you continue to do it, Tecca reports. In an effort to promote its “It Can Wait” campaign against texting behind the wheel, AT&T held a hackathon earlier this month where programmers were tasked with creating a mobile app to discourage the practice. Now the company has picked Rode Dog, created 11-year-old Victoria Walker, as the winner and awarded her $20,000. Walker worked on the app with David Grau, a designer from interactive agency WLDG who she met at the two-day event in Los Angeles. The sixth-grader came up with the concept for Rode Dog, which allows members of its users’ “packs” to see if they’re texting while driving and, if they are, send them annoying barking sounds until they stop. The concept was inspired by listening to her family’s three dogs barking, something she said was enough to get anyone to stop what they were doing…

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Watch: Harry Potter-themed Wonderbook: Book of Spells gets release date

One of the coolest announcements to come out of this year’s E3 gaming expo was Sony’s augmented reality Wonderbook peripheral, Tecca reports. Wonderbook works hand-in-hand with the PlayStation Eye camera and simulates living books, bringing their stories and characters to life for both youngsters and adults. As you turn the pages of the physical Wonderbook, images and scenery flow forth onto the TV screen, adding interactive elements along the way. The first — and what we assume will be the most sought-after — title for the Wonderbook is the Harry Potter-themed Book of Spells. We can only imagine the absurd number of incantations the Book of Spells holds, and now we finally have a date to look forward to: November 13. Potter fans will be happy to learn that J.K. Rowling has been very hands-on with the content of the new title to ensure the experience is genuine…

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Apple calls for several Samsung devices to be banned following court victory

After last week’s court ruling against Samsung found that the tech giant had violated Apple’s patents and awarded the latter more than $1 billion in damages, the technology world awaited both companies’ next moves, Tecca reports. Now we know that Apple is seeking to prevent the sale of eight Samsung smartphones in the U.S., according to a document filed today. While it might seem to be another huge blow for Samsung, the devices Apple is seeking to ban — notably the Galaxy S2 — are actually pretty dated at this point. The full list includes the Galaxy S 4G, Galaxy S2 AT&T, Galaxy S2 Skyrocket, Galaxy S2 T-Mobile, Galaxy S2 Epic 4G, Galaxy S Showcase, Droid Charge, and Galaxy Prevail. While some of the Galaxy S2 models are still offered by carriers, the selection is already limited, as these devices have already been replaced with newer models. In addition to these devices, Apple is seeking to extend an existing ban on the wifi-only Galaxy Tab 10.1 that went into effect in June to the 4G-enabled version of the tablet

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AT&T working on way for parents to disable texting and calling for driving teens

By now you’re probably — and hopefully — very clear on the dangers of texting while driving, not to mention the hefty ticket you can get if caught doing it (or talking on your phone without a headset) behind the wheel, Tecca reports. As much as parents would like to hope their kids are also also obeying the law when driving on their own, there hasn’t been a way to ensure they are — but there soon could be. AT&T is working on a smartphone and tablet app that will let parents disable texting, calling, and even internet access on their child’s phone remotely, switching these features off automatically if it’s determined that they’re traveling in a vehicle. The app could also send parents alerts if their kids are driving too fast or dangerously, keeping a log of potentially reckless activity so that they can be gone over once the child returns home…

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All Windows 8 apps will offer a try-it-before-you-buy-it feature

There’s nothing worse than shelling out a couple bucks on an app, only to find out that it’s absolutely terrible, right? Well, Microsoft has a plan to eliminate “app regret” — when you’re considering an app from the upcoming Windows 8 Store, you’ll be able to try it for free for seven days before you have to shell out cash for it, Tecca reports. The free trial program may be a necessary tool for Microsoft to overcome the challenges posed by their house minimum: All Windows 8 apps will have a price tag of $1.49 or higher (up to $999.99). That’s significantly higher than the Apple App Store’s 99-cent minimum. Microsoft no doubt hopes higher sales prices will mean more revenue — after all, the company just posted their first ever net loss last quarter. While you’re able to return Android apps for a refund within 15 minutes of purchase, Microsoft is truly offering a real try-it-before-you-buy-it option…

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Facebook launches App Center, makes app discovery a social experience

Today Facebook started rolling out the App Center: A mobile app portal within the social networking site. With 600 titles available at launch, App Center collects the apps that can post to Facebook as well as the ones that use the site for login authentication, Tecca reports. The list of titles includes many familiar hits like Draw Something, Instagram, Foursquare, and Words with Friends. Facebook App Center will recommend you not only apps your friends use, but also those that have exceptionally high ratings. And if you click on a title that you have to download on your phone or tablet (some titles are Facebook web apps), you’ll be redirected to the Apple App Store or Google Play where you can get it. We reached out to Facebook to ask if the new app hub is intended to be a competitor to existing app ecosystems like Apple’s App Store or to Google Play. According to a spokesperson from the company, “Actually, it’s quite the opposite. The App Center will drive growth for social apps whether they’re built on iOS, Android, mobile web, or on Facebook.” In May alone, Facebook sent people to Apple’s own App Store 83 million times…

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Watch: South Korean toddlers build the tallest Lego tower ever

What do you do those days when your toddler is a bundle of energy, so much so that you can can barely keep up? Asks Tecca. In South Korea, a bunch of adults tapped into the youngsters’ boundless energy by putting them to work building the tallest Lego tower on Earth. It took 4,000 kids, five days, and 50,000 bricks to build a tower that stands at a height of 31.9 meters, beating France’s previous record of 31.6 meters…

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3 educational iPad apps for toddlers

Welcome to Just Show Me on Tecca TV, where we show you tips and tricks for getting the most out of the gadgets in your life. In today’s episode we’ll show you some awesome educational apps for your iPad. Sure, the iPad can be lots of fun, but it can also help your child get a headstart on life. The apps we’re talking about are: Learn to Talk First Words, Peekaboo Barn for iPad, Fisher Price Laugh & Learn

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