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18 posts from November 2008

November 11, 2008

Watch Out For Bait & Switch Ads This Holiday (or SCADS)

I received an email to TechMamas from the Alliance Against BAIT & CLICK.  I had heard about Bait and Click before, but as always I had to check out the website first to see if they were for real. The site does have a valid URL - and some interested information. I also found an article about them in USA Today titled: Watch Out for "bait and click' ads.

Here is what the Alliance Against BAIT & CLICK explained a SCAD is:

  • Sponsored search results are advertisements that appear on search engines. Once you've run a query, they usually appear at the top and along the side of the page.
  • Deceptive sponsored search results (scam ads or scads) result when advertisers misrepresent themselves by using brand names they aren't affiliated with or authorized to use.
  • Scads lure consumers to their sites under false pretenses... bait & click!

Here is the information about How to Spot SCADS

I know there is added pressure this holiday season to find reasonable rates and fares - but beware of SCADS!  I get tons of emails every day, but this one I thought it was important enough to reprint on the blog. Click "continue reading" to see the email the alliance sent me with more information about SCADS.

Continue reading "Watch Out For Bait & Switch Ads This Holiday (or SCADS)" »

November 10, 2008

Twitter: The Scoop

For those that start using Twitter - there is no stopping. Twitter is an online application that allows users to type 140 letters (including hyperlinks - using TinyURL) describing what they are doing "right now". This has become a way to keep track of what others are doing (called "follow") and for others to follow you.

So, why would anyone want to do this?

It is a viral social networking that can be a way to connect and have a group of "followers". Before anyone ventures onto Twitter, they should determine what their online brand is and somewhat stick to that. I actively Twitter - about technology and parenting related subjects. I don't Twitter about anything too personal - because that is not associated with my brand. Twitter can help people social network with others in their same areas or across areas.  Most companies have a Twitter presence. It is also important not only "Twitter" about yourself - but link to relevant posts/articles that match your brand and respond (@) to people to converse. If you have a blog, you can have your Twitters listed on the sidebar. Twitters can also be loaded into other social networking applications, including FriendFeed. So in short, Twitter can also be used to microblog.

So then how do I get followers?

Great question - read this post by Guy Kawaski to find the answer: Looking for Mr. Goodtweet: How to Pick Up Followers on Twitter.

Once you define your brand/image and make sure you are not Twittering about anything related to you or your kids location, then "unprotect" your updates. You will get more followers that way. That is, unless you are Twittering updates from a tech conference - then it is ok to give your location away (especially if you are in a conference hall filled with people).

Can my kids use it?

No - Here is Twitter's Policy Towards Children:

"Our Policy Towards Children

The Site is not directed to persons under 18. If a parent or guardian becomes aware that his or her child has provided us with personally identifiable information without their consent, he or she should contact us at privacy at twitter dot com. We do not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from children under 13. If we become aware that a child under 13 has provided us with personal identifiable Information, we will delete such information from our files."

Online Safety for Kids

A fellow Silicon Valley Moms Group blogger posted about the dangers of social networking and one of the commenters linked to a page on Oprah.com that discusses online safety:

Oprah.com - Online Safety Rules for Kids

Those rules are something EVERY parent should not only read themselves but share with their kids. Here are a few other sites with valuable resources for Online Safety:

November 08, 2008

Nintendo Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia and A Real Ranger At Randall Museum

I had the pleasure of attending an Nintendo Event at the Randall Museum in San Francisco. The event was in honor of the new Nintendo DS game coming out next week, Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia. The first part of the event included a tour of the grounds around the Randall Museum and of the amazing animals inside. The Randall Museum has a mixture of science, nature and art.The next adventure was meeting a real Ranger and learning about what they do. Then we heard details about the new game.

Rangers:

We found out that Rangers protect people that protects people and animals. They do law enforcement, firefighting, rock climbing and cave rescue. The Ranger did an activity that showed how all in nature is inter-connected. The Ranger also talked about:

How to conserve water?
  Not use as much (when brushing teeth) How to conserve energy? Shut your lights out...  or get a flashlight without batteries (windup). How to use flashlights and compasses.

The Ranger Creed: Respect Nature and Wildlife, Always do what is right, Never play with matches & lighters, Garbage belongs in the trash not on trails, Expect the unexpected and plan ahead for safety and Reduce, reuse and recycle.

PokemonrangerNext we had the opportunity to hear about the new Nintendo DS Lite game coming out next week: Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia

Pokemon Ranger Game Preview

Summary for parents: This game is rated "E" for Everyone and is appropriate for kids, can connect via Wifi to get new missions and is a single player game. The themes include nature, being a ranger and helping to save others. The Nintendo website has a Pokemon Ranger Game preview with specific details on the game. All action is done with Pokemon, they "faint" if hurt or they are released back into the wild.

As we listened to details about the game, I realized my 9 year son and his friends were intently listening, making comments about the game details while I was trying to figure things out. At first I assumed that kids just pick up things quicker, then I realized they had played the older version before so they had a background in the topic. On the ride home they tried out the game, and all had fun - sharing strategy moves. My son said he liked the game because there was always something interesting to do.

Here are some of the details I liveblogged during the event:

Continue reading "Nintendo Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia and A Real Ranger At Randall Museum" »

November 04, 2008

Election 2008 Sites For Kids & Moms

UPDATE: 8:00 PST  YEAH TO PRESIDENT ELECT OBAMA!!

Rpresidenthuge_2

Here are some election websites to show your kids:

This is a great time to teach kids about the election process. Even better - TAKE THEM WITH YOU TO VOTE! 

Moms will be getting their news from multiple news sources. But here are some interesting sites:

Obama won the Scholastic Kid's Election Poll by the way, kids know best...

November 03, 2008

Tech Is The New Green

In our family we talk regularly about ways we can go green (yes, I am even going to buy a compost bin). My husband is obsessed with eco tech - and I am just getting up to speed. Please share with me links to posts about eco tech that families can use.. Here are just two posts from today:

  1. Dell's Green Machines on Forbes.com
  2. Amazon has a new green idea that is brown (as in packaging will be brown)
  3. NASA Electric Moon Rover  (for kids interested in eco-tech and space)
  4. Alltop's Green section has tons of juicy eco-tidbits

Continue reading "Tech Is The New Green" »

Disney Imagination Movers - My Juice Box Heroes

When I received the Imagination Mover's press kit (including the fact sheet and bios for Scott Durbin, Rich Collins, Dave Poche and Scott ‘Smitty’ Smith) in the mail from Disney, I decided to wait until all my kids (6 year old twins boys and a 9 year old boy) were home at the same time to play the music.

Well, they all liked it - and that is not easy!

Prmovers31_3

What's In The Fridge pretty much sums up what it is like having three Hungary boys  - they are always heading to the fridge.  Clean My Room (pick it up, pick it up NOW) is the song I decided to play to remind my boys that their rooms need a'cleanin. I think that will be a more effective way then screaming "clean your room" like I usually do. The medicine song can be used when the kids are sick.

"Mover Music" may be one of my favorites and inspired me to exercise also (I secretly played that over and over again while the kids were at school)!

Best yet, three of the Imagination Movers are Dads themselves from New Orleans with 7 kids between them. The Imagination Mover's released a special single that raised funds for the nonprofit group KIDsmART, which brings visual and performing arts education to public schools throughout New Orleans. 

Imagination Movers has a TV series, MP3/video downloads and a CD titled "Juice Box Heroes".

 

November 02, 2008

Liveblogging - LeapFrog Blogger Party "See the Learning, See the Difference!" Party

I am here at the Four Seasons in East Palo Alto at a Silicon Valley Moms Blog Event sponsored by Leapfrog. I always have my own personal debates about technology as toys, but when it comes to instructional toys - I do find them relevant and very useful. My 5 year old twins love their Leapsters, fridge phonics, Tag and my 9 year son his Didj. My 5 year old twins learned addition alittle earlier then they would have otherwise because they were intent on playing the Leapster Star Wars Jedi Math game.

I am interested to learn more about Leapfrog's new community at "community.leapfrog.com" and Learning Path. The Leapfrog website also has useful sections for product support (including downloads) and parent guides.

I will hearing a discussion on the challenging topic of children learning to read (and loving to read), led by Dr. Anne Cunningham, University of California , Berkeley Graduate School of Education.

More to come....

Dr. Anne Cunningham is talking now. The points below are from her discussion and some audience comments:

  • Her area of expertise is reading development. She looks at why people read or don't read. She also studies avid readers, she has seen that it is important to get people to read early.
  • She looks at spelling. Those that are early readers are usually good spellers.
  • She got involved with LeapFrog around the time that the LeapFrog came out. She thought it was great to have something that is a portable a device - where the book could talk to the children. That young children had books that talked to them - that they could touch words and here what it is.
  • She looked at the reciprical effects of what abilities kids need before they enter school so they are ready to take advantage of Kindergarten.  Kids should be exposed to lots of language. There is a big difference between infants that were "bathed" in language versus kids that were not. Kids with a high amount of language exposure had a huge effect on their own language. Language requires rich and varied input - even though there is "hardwiring".  The projectory "explodes" for those kids that receive a high amount of language exposure.
  • Why is language exposure important? Nursery rhymes and poetry are great to expose kids to the rhytm of language. When we do games like nursery rhymes and finger games, they move away from the meaning of language to the structure of language.  The structure of language is small pieces of language (like "go to" are two different words).
  • We should read outloud to our children every day multiple times.  Rhyming and illertation books help children grow their language.

Continue reading "Liveblogging - LeapFrog Blogger Party "See the Learning, See the Difference!" Party" »

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