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10 posts from September 2009

September 29, 2009

Just Live: Control Your TIVO From Your BlackBerry

You can already schedule TIVO from the web or from the iPhone using the m.tivo.com site.

Curve8520_Front Now mobile scheduling has come to the BlackBerry. Parents at work, school or watching a soccer game can now be assured that they have their favorite shows scheduled.

Press Release:

"Beginning tomorrow consumers will be able to download a free application on their Blackberry Smartphone that gives them control of their TiVo wherever they are.

The TiVo for Blackberry smart phones application allows users to easily view the program details, as well as remotely schedule recordings on their TiVo box from the BlackBerry handheld. This application is available free of charge, to BlackBerry Smartphone users.  Users will be able to browse by category, view most popular shows or daily picks and see the programming details (Title, Description, Runtime, Air date & time and Photo). Advanced search makes finding favorite shows and show details easy and fast. They can search by title, actor/director or keyword."

Continue reading "Just Live: Control Your TIVO From Your BlackBerry" »

Disney Extends Their Digital Offerings: Disney Digital Books Launched This Morning

Today I received this press release that announced Disney is going Digital in yet another away with Disney Digital Books. I will be finding out more details and will add them to this post:


"Disney Digital Books (www.disneydigitalbooks.com) officially launched this morning. This vast library is Disney’s first-ever collection of digital children’s books – and the browser-based service is PC- and Mac-compatible, and does not require a download.

The new portal is the brainchild of a team of young, tech-savvy, creative folks at Disney Publishing Worldwide (the world's largest publisher of children's books and magazines), which has been around since 1930.

If you’re interested in learning more, there’s a webcast today at 1:00PM EST (open to the public).  Join here: http://www.videonewswire.com/event.asp?id=62362

Over 500 Disney picture and storybooks will come to life with animated illustrations and authentic character voices.  Classics include more than 60 Winnie the Pooh books and such popular titles as Mickey Mouse, Toy Story, Disney Princess, Cars, and Hannah Montana.

Key features include:

    * An age-appropriate dictionary that lets children click on any word to hear it read aloud;
    * Reading certificates to encourage readers;
    * A “Story-Builder” feature so kids can create their own stories;
    * Books are separated into three reading levels:  (1) for beginner readers and a companion, (2) for independent readers, and (3) for readers ready for chapter books;

Monthly subscriptions are only $8.95 – and annual and gift subscriptions are available as well.  A free trial of the service is available today."

September 25, 2009

TechBoy's Adventures with the Sony Cybershot - Part 1

I was invited with a fabulous group of mom bloggers to the SonyMom event in LA a few weeks ago. During that time we had the opportunity to attend/photograph the red carpet premiere of the movie "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs".  I was inspired by many positive messages in the movie and by the interviews with the Directors and Stars of the film.

One of the messages in the film was for children to embrace their true self/interests and for their parents to support them in that journey. So I decided to present the Sony Cybershot DSC-TX1 that I was given at that event to my 10 year old son (TechBoy) who has a strong interest in photography and video.  When I handed over the camera to him, I told him that he could ask me any question he wanted - but that I would let him discover how to use the camera on his own. He learned how to use the camera quickly and started using functions that I would not have thought to use (like taking video and special effects). The only questions he asked me about were related to video editing.

Here is the example of some of the pictures he took with the Sony Cybershot. He has also taken some great videos with the camera (yes, you can take video with the Sony Cybershot). But those videos are in the process of being edited on his MACbook using iMovie.

Update: See the GoToMom.TV's post to view a great example of taking videos with the Sony Cybershot.

The pictures below are taken by my own TechBoy (who is now 10) with no instructions from his TechMama, who is VERY proud. TechBoy likes to give me flowers. Now that he is taking his own digital pictures he can also give me flower "pictures" as well. All rights reserved of course!


"The Red Flower"


"The Yellow Flower"


"The White Flower"


TechBoy using his Sony Cybershot DSC-TX1 to take a picture of his own hand and then use the camera's special effects to add some images to the picture.


Disclosure: I attended the SonyMom in LA. At the event, we were told that whether we blogged (and what we choose to write about) was our own choice. We received the Sony Cybershot DSC-TX1 to take home with us. I decided to have my pictures do the talking and give the Sony Cybershot to my son.

CLICK HERE to see the pictures the SonyMom's took with the Sony A330 DSLR that we had use of that weekend. 

September 24, 2009

3 Big Nintendo Announcements: Wii Price Reduced to $199.99, World of Nintendo Sampling Tour and new Mario Bros. Game


I had to opportunity to speak with Denise Kaigler, the VP of Corp. Affairs for Nintendo of America on a press call to find out about 3 announcements Nintendo has just made. Here are some key items from the conversation:

  1. Nintendo Wii price decrease: Just in time for holiday shopping, the price of the Nintendo Wii will drop $50 from $250 to $199.99 - effective Sep 27.
  2.  NEW Wii Game out Nov. 15: New Super Mario Bros. Wii is a simultaneous multiplayer game that "offers a combination of cooperation and competition ".
  3. World of Nintendo - Consumer Sampling Tour starting in Oct. and ending in January: Click HERE to see full schedule. The World of Nintendo Consumer Tours are firsthand sampling events that will showcase the diversity and breath of unique product experience. The tour will include Nintendo titles already launched (including the Wii Sports Resort that utilizes the Wii Motion Plus) and new Nintendo products (including the Wii Fit Plus )and is expected to reach 1 million consumers in 35 to 40 markets. The tour will be at different larger venues like Long Beach Comic Con, VGXPO in Philly and Big Apple Comic Con in NYC on Oct 2-Oct 18.

When I asked why Nintendo decided to do the sampling tours Denise Kaigler said "50 million consumers are sitting on sidelines, want to play, but have not been convinced. They are waiting for that reason. Reducing price of the Wii, continuing to come out with fun games and then showcasing these titles will help the consumers experience."

Click HERE to see Press Release included at the bottom of this post:

Continue reading "3 Big Nintendo Announcements: Wii Price Reduced to $199.99, World of Nintendo Sampling Tour and new Mario Bros. Game" »

September 22, 2009

Register for CES before Deadline And Come to MommyTech


CES is the Consumer Electronics Show and one of my favorite conferences to see the latest and greatest in electronics and gadgets.

DEADLINE: Registration is free before October 1st, but is $100 after that. So REGISTER NOW!

Very exciting this year is that MOMMYTECH is added to the lineup at CES.  

Here is some information from their website:

"Mommy Tech is both a one-day conference and a four-day exhibition to be held January 7-10, 2010 at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the world’s largest consumer technology tradeshow. This conference plus expo will explore all the key trends impacting this $90+ billion dollar marketplace.

  • Mommy Tech Summit - Friday, January 8 - co-produced by industry veteran Robin Raskin, will spotlight top thinkers and product creators for the mommy market. Empowering moms with technology that helps them juggle priorities, stay connected with their own families and other moms, and savor their multiple roles in life, is the central theme of this conference.
  • Mommy Tech Expo - January 7-10, 2010 - will be located in the front of the North Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center.  The Mommy Tech Expo will showcase the latest in portable devices, wireless phones, notebooks, photo sharing services, and accessories that appeal to expectant moms and young families. Get a firsthand look at the latest in baby monitors, warmable baby wipes, room monitors, GPS devices for finding straying children, and much more."
I will be speaking on a panel for the MommyTech summit and spending time at the Expo. Join me at CES this year by attending MommyTech Summit and Expo.

September 20, 2009

TechMama hits the Red carpet for MUST SEE movie: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Cloudy_with_a_chance_of_meatballs When I found out that Sony invited a group of moms to LA to get photo/video tips while using Sony Digital Imaging products, I was very excited to use the Sony cameras and camcorders. I was also told that we were going to the premiere of the new Sony Pictures 3D movie came out THIS WEEKEND: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs"

I enjoyed reading the "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs book to my children when they were younger, and spent the week before the trip asking my sons and their friends what they liked most about the book. They all remembered numerous vivid details in the book, "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. The images of falling food was obviously so rich for these kids’ imaginations. Lucky for them, and for parents who like to sneak in some hidden learning with the nighttime “read me a story” request, there are also weather-related Language Arts and Science lessons tied into the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs book and movie. Scholastic published an interview with the book authors Ron and Judith Barnett.

After seeing the movie "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" at the premiere (See disclosures at bottom of this post) last weekend - I had a MAJOR epiphany. The movie not only has amazing 3D graphics and animation to give viewers a "real taste" (yes, pun fully intended) of what it is like to experience falling hamburgers, a spaghetti tornado, a Jello palace, candy rainbows and other food fun - but it also has positive messages for kids and adults alike and geek surprises along the way. One geek surprise in the film that is also on the Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs website is a poster of Nikola Tesla, who was a real life inventor and electrical/ mechanical engineer. Next time I see the film, I will be looking to find more surprises. The movie is one of those feel good movies where the only violence is against gummie bears, geek (including science and math) is cool for boys and girls, the main characters all struggle then improve communication to their loved ones, selfish is NOT cool and the most important things in life are family/loved ones, as well as embracing your true self

On a personal note, I reached an epiphany with the help of the "story" behind the movie "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" and the interviews with the Directors and cast. My ten year old son is bright and like many of his peers inspired more the technology of movies and movie making than by his 5th grade homework. He can figure out the intricate features of my and my friends’ digital cameras faster than any adult. This inquisitive 10 year likes to spend time explaining to my 6 year old twins - while they are watching shows or films -  what is real versus what is computer generated and how it is done. One of the first things he did when he received his new MACbook was to play with iMovie, create green-screen movies and then attempt to explain the whole process to his family and friends. "Look mom, I figured out how to use the green screen function". To that, I said "Later, I am cooking dinner". One morning while I was asleep my son found my DSLR camera tripod and figured out how to use it for the his digital camera to take videos with the timer function. The first thing he said to me that morning was "the video quality is much better when I use a tripod".

Then, I attended the movie premier and witnessed the main characters of the film "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) and Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) struggle to embrace their true self. Flint's father also struggled to support that journey. Another message in the movie was that math and science, along with other fundamentals, are important to master if you are going to "save the world". This helped me see that I should be more active in supporting my son's interest in the production side of video/films. I decided to hand over one of my camcorders and a memory card to my son so that he could take and manage his own videos. I set aside time this past week to discuss how to edit videos and tied in the less-exciting school work part of his life by explaining that he needs to do his homework if he wants to go to a college and study filmaking. Best of all I explained to my son that if he is going to save the world, I mean master the art of filmaking, that mastering math, science and language arts now in school will help give him the fundamentals he will need for future success. 

I then used Twitter to share my epiphany with the film's directors, Phil Lord responded with:


The Writing/Directing team for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is Phil Lord and Chris Miller. We had the chance to interview both of them during press rounds the day before the premiere. The first thing I learned was not a big surprise: when they were younger, both enjoyed writing plays and creating short films. They met in college and realized they have similar interests. During the interview they were funny, completely engaging and witty as they explained that the movie production was a team effort - with over 500 team members (or "cells" in an organism as they called it). Each day on the set was like a food fight as they had to build each part of how food falls into the overall animation. When asked what hints Phil Lord and Chris Miller would give to kids, a few were "math/science is cool", "school is important", "Be comfortable with who you are", "Embrace your inner wierdo/geek", "Do something original and do it boldly". The last hint "Do something original and do it boldly" is what resonates for me as a way to describe the effort behind creating the movie "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs".



Armed with a Sony A330 DSLR camera that we each had use of for the weekend and my smartphone (for live Twittering) I and the other moms each had our own spot on the red carpet to catch the action. We loaded our pictures to the Flickr group Sony Mom Event 2009.

Continue reading "TechMama hits the Red carpet for MUST SEE movie: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs " »

September 09, 2009

BizTechDay's 25 Influential Business Women in SF/Bay Area to Follow on Twitter

I had a "hey, uhh, ohh that's me moment" when I saw the BizTechDay's 25 Influential Business Women in SF/Bay Area to Follow on Twitter list - and saw they included TechMama! I am honored to be in the company of such an awesome group of women. Thanks BizTechDay.

Yet - participating in the online social media world allows me to meet/tweet with awesome women on daily basis...

Click Here to see the post.

September 07, 2009

Web Management Tools For Students, Teachers and Parents

It is that time of year when I ponder what is the best system to manage my family's schedule and as a room parent - how to manage the class information. So I took my quest online. Here is what I found so far....

Mashable had some great posts on web tools for students and teachers, so I started by reading those posts.


Mashable - Back to School: 15 Essential Web Tools for Students 

(Evernote, Notely, Grademate, Backpack, StudRails, Diigo, Delicious, Mindmeister, Google Docs, Etherpad, SlideRocket, Wikidot, Citeme, EasyBib and Zotero) CLICK here to read the student post.


Mashable - Back to School: 10 Terrific Web Apps for Teachers

(SchoolRack, SchoolTool, Curriki, Edmodo, Shmoop, Footnote, ClassMarker, Bookgoo, DOC cop and TeacherTube) CLICK HERE to read the Teacher post.

I know teachers who create their class sites using Dreamweaver, blogs or TeacherWeb.


Here are some web tools for parents who have kids in elementary school/highschool. I hope to add more to the list:

1. Google Calender/Docs: Many parents are using Google Calender to manage their calenders and Google Docs to keep shared documents in the "cloud" online.

2. Smartphones - Many parents manage their calenders using their smartphones and corresponding calendering systems. Smartphone calenders can also sync with outlook, iCal and Google Calender - which makes it easy to share info with other family members, use desktop management or online tools.

3. Cozi.com has an online family organizer system that includes online calender, shopping list, todo lists and family journal.

Continue reading "Web Management Tools For Students, Teachers and Parents " »

September 04, 2009

Daily Onion Mom Comedy Video: Facebook, Twitter Revolutionizing How Parents Stalk Their College-Aged Kids

While I get lots of comic relief from the Chelsea Lately show and comedians from the show Jo Koy and Heather McDonald, I also enjoy some comic relief on the "take-off on reality" site Daily Onion. Displayed below is my current favorite-twist-of-comedy video from the Daily Onion titled: "Facebook, Twitter Revolutionizing How Parents Stalk Their College-Aged Kids". Now while I use Facebook and Twitter to socialize with my friends, business associates and online network - I don't use it as much for personal reasons. But when they do get to the age when they can join Facebook - I would like to "friend" my boys. I even promise not to put any hearts on their wall and try not to spy. But if they put the wrong personal info online, techmama will need to jump in to say "no you don't".

Facebook, Twitter Revolutionizing How Parents Stalk Their College-Aged Kids

September 03, 2009

I'm Baaaccckk

At the end of the summer, before school starts, I get really busy with the kids out of camp, visiting family, BlogHer and summer family adventures. I also try to keep attending tech press briefings when I can. Then in late August I need to get ready for school, and with three boys - that is a time consuming process! Going through their school clothes and realizing my boys don't fit into anything. Clearing out work and school paperwork storage areas. Signing all the forms that come my way. Figuring out their afterschool schedules. Some of the activities are online - but most of it is good old fashioned offline interaction.

Because of my time limitations, I can't post as often at the end of the summer - even if there are lots of interesting techie tidbits to share. So I Twitter as TechMama to try to stay in the conversation.  And some Whrrl and Facebooking. But I do lots of reading of my fellow bloggers to stay up to date.

Now the kids are back at school, and I am back blogging (yes, it feels great). Over the next few weeks I will be sharing for my exciting tech adventures this summer and what adventures I have already had in Sept.

Technology never sleeps - it keeps changing every 18 seconds. But I don't sleep either - so we are even.



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