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8 posts from March 2010

March 31, 2010

It's April Fools, Don't be a Internet Fool

While April Fools jokes like this one from Google in 2007 (Google TiSP - here is "how it works") will be abundant tomorrow, it is also important to remind those using the Internet - to proceed with caution as usual. The New York Times just posted an article titled "Separating Pranks from Fraud on the Internet". This article discusses watching out for scams and fraud, so the laugh is not on you.

March 23, 2010

Soon To Be Released Nintendo Dsi XL and Just Announced 3DS

Two exciting new announcements for mobile gamers are Nintendo's soon to be released Nintendo Dsi XL and the just announced Nintendo 3DS. I have not tried either of them, but the new features are sure to get little and big gamers very excited, especially for those that want bigger screens and input devices or  a 3D mobile gaming experience.

Nintendo DSi XL™ 

UTL_A-2_Bronze_RGBNintendo DSi XL™ features listed from the press release:

  • 4.2-inch screens - 93 percent larger then the Nintendo DS™ Lite system screens (improved wider viewing angle)
  • Colors are Burgundy and Bronze, including a matt finish
  • 2 cameras
  • Photo-and sound-manipulation tools
  • Larger pen-like stylus 
  • Parental controls that let adults manage the digital content their children can access
  • The press release states: "With a broadband Internet connection, you can also upload photos directly to Facebook to share with friends or access downloadable Nintendo DSiWare™ games via the Nintendo DSi Shop." Two free applications: the Nintendo DSi Browser and Flipnote Studio™ are also included.

The release date is set as March 28 and the suggested retail price is $189.99.

In honor of the celebration, Nintendo has a "What would you like 93% bigger?” application on Facebook® Platform at http://apps.facebook.com/ninetythree-percent and their Twitter profile: @NintendoAmericaI have a feeling gals may answer that question differently then guys...

Website: Nintendo DSi XL

Nintendo 3DS:

On Engadget today I saw an announcement that they caught in press release from Japan: "Nintendo has just slipped out a press release in Japan informing the world that all-new 3D-capable portable hardware is coming, with a full unveiling set for E3 2010 this June. Tentatively titled the 3DS, this glasses-free 3D wonder is pitched as the successor to both the DS and DSi, and will use a "compatible cart" that should ensure backwards compatibility with your vast library of favorites from the older consoles. Nintendo expects to launch the 3DS into retail "during the fiscal year ending March 2011." CLICK OVER to Engadget to see pictures and more details.

3D gaming without the glasses sounds like a good fit for on the go gaming.

Disclosure: This is not a paid post, it is information from press releases and other tech sites.

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March 22, 2010

Moms Gone Wired Article in Dallas Observer News

This morning I saw a tweet with the name "Moms Gone Wired". At first I did not see the link to the article, but then a Twitter buddy of mine (Bonggamom) pointed that out that the article mentioned TechMamas.com along with other blogs written by moms.

The article titled "Moms Gone Wired: One Woman's Journey Through the Mommy Blogosphere to Gain Parental Prowess and Free Stuff" is written by Alice Laussade. While the term "free stuff" in the title misses the point (of my journey at least) - it is great to see coverage of the journey many moms have made through blogging. My journey to create TechMamas.com was to have a place that I could start a discussion on parenting, technology and gadgets. My technical background before becoming a parent helped me see that the "tech - mom " voice was missing from online discussions. But that was 2005 and blogging was just starting to catch on. Now I am proud to say that in 2010 that there are many moms that are now utilizing blogs to re-create their careers and get their voices heard online. Just looking at my about page and to the network of amazing moms I have met through Silicon Valley Moms Group, BlogHer and other social media (reflected on my many Twitter lists created to keep track of them) has made my journey completely worthwhile.

Even if I had to give up the small amount of free time a busy mom of three boys has - including exercising regularly - and became dependent on the second shift after the kids go to sleep to keep up with everything.

My participation in blogging and social media has opened up career opportunities for me in a way that is flexible with my schedule as a mom. The key for me is that I am passionate about the topics I cover (parenting, technology, gadgets, social media). I am passionate enough that it has been fun and interesting keeping up with my blog reading through my RSS feeds and Alltop, Twitter, Facebook and organizing my info on Pearltrees. "Free stuff" is worthless to me;  relationships, networking and information are important to me.

Yes, sharing information for the good of the people - that is what Dooce, I and the other not so secret sect of power moms do with our blogging...I type that with a bwa-ha-ha-ha" Dr. Evil laugh similar to what Dooce responded when asked in the article "if she plans to use her powerful power mom powers for good or for evil".

I also type this while realizing if I don't head out the door in the next 5 minutes I will miss yet another opportunity to exercise because I just "had to" write a blog post. If I am going to be a super hero power mom I need to keep in shape. But I need to do that while making sure I pick up my kids at carpool time. Can I meet that challenge?

March 21, 2010

Spring Cleaning Tech Style - LaptopMag Article on Spring Cleaning Your Laptop

The weather in Silicon Valley just turned warm so our family is spending more time outside. But as I looked around I saw lots of weeds growing in our front yard and some plants that did not make it through the winter. I had a strong urge to clean-up our front yard landscaping.

At the same time, I saw this article from Laptop Magazine: Spring Clean Your Laptop Inside and Out. My laptop has been running slower and there is lots of dust around my keyboard. So I decided my front yard can wait, time to clean-up my laptop instead! The Laptop Magazine article covered the key items necessary for cleaning laptops: cleaning the outside and cleaning the inside by deleted unused files and unnecessary startup items.

March 18, 2010

Organizing Online Content With Pearltrees

Traveling-geeks-beth-blecherman While on the Traveling Geeks trip to Paris, we had the opportunity to meetup with a French company called Pearltrees. This was our first stop on what was a busy day meeting an exciting group of French companies. Beyond hearing about the companies, I was just happy that I made it on and off the Paris Metro without losing my ticket.

Pearltrees is a collaborative way to share interests online. I was intrigued by the concept of a new way to organize (in real time) my content and find additional content online. I also appreciated the visual nature of Pearltrees, each unique content link is considered a "pearl" while groupings of pearls are "pearltrees". I even imagined using Pearltrees to organize the links I share on Twitter and my other social network platforms, to bring life to archived posts on my blogs that have related topics, find new content and organize interesting conversations that take place online. To better understand the functionality, I started using Pearltrees.

Here's the process I followed to explore Pearltrees:

While on the Traveling Geeks trip I decided to use Pearltrees to organize some of the posts about our trip to Paris (I plan to add more):

 TravelingGeeks 

After returning to California, I went back to my Pearltree to find a picture to use on my post of the Traveling Geeks group meeting. I revisted that Pearltree to find more pictures for this post.

 Traveling Geeks Paris 09 - a set on Flickr 

Not finding the pictures I wanted in my own Flickr set, I then searched Pearltrees for more Traveling Geeks content and found Pearltree stories in English. From that, I found fellow Traveling Geek Olivier Ezratty's Picasso albums. 

 Some photos... 

I could of also found that Pearltree via a Google search for Traveling Geeks. Here are the results when I performed a Google Search on "Traveling Geeks Pearltrees":

"Traveling geeks !!!! by PED - Pearltrees
PED created the pearltree Traveling geeks !!!!. Check out: Pearltrees Beta Launches on Wednesday: Will Let You Archive the // down the avenue: Pearltrees: A ...
www.pearltrees.com/PED/1501612/ - Cached"

I checked those albums and found these pictures of the Traveling Geeks meetup with Pearltrees.

Pearltrees_travelinggeeks

The Traveling Geeks getting ready for the briefing.

 Pearltree_2

The briefing started with an explanation of how Pearltrees works from Patrice Lamothe.

 Pearltree_3

The Pearltree team and one their workspaces. 

Pearltrees meeting pictures photo credits: Olivier Ezratty . Picture of Paris Metro photo credit Beth Blecherman.       

My next step will be to create some posts with tips on what I have learned about Pearltrees. More to come..

Disclosure: I met the Pearltees team while on the Traveling Geeks trip to Paris/LeWeb where I first started using Pearltrees. Disclosures about the Traveling Geeks can found here. After using Pearltrees, I wanted to learn more so I spent some time using it. Recently I started advising Pearltrees.  What I blog about are my own opinions.

March 07, 2010

LA Moms Blog/Orange County Moms Blog Party

Babyjidesign_picture As one of the managing members of the Silicon Valley Moms Group I have the honor of interacting with an amazing group of bloggers. I also value sponsors that put value in outreach to mom bloggers, they deserve a shout out. We just recently had a party and invited our Los Angeles Moms Blog, soon to launch Orange County Moms Blog and other local mom bloggers.  The event was held at the beautiful Ritz Carlton Laguna Nigel (pictured left, photo credit Carla Duharte-Razura of Babyjidesign) .

To put on the event, we had the joy of staying at the Ritz Carlton, the hotel and surrounding beach property was absolutely gorgeous. After the event was over, it was so hard to leave. I am still dreaming of the workout room facing the ocean. If I had access to a beautiful workout room like that regularly, I would finally get in shape!

Disclosure: The hotel did not pay for my stay and I was not obligated to write a post about the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, but they were a sponsor and partner of the SV Moms Group event that we held there for the LA Moms Blog and Orange Country Moms Blog bloggers. I am a partner at SV Moms Group.

March 04, 2010

BitMom Guest Post: Simple Safe Internet Surfing Tips For Families

Guest post from Nicole Balistreri , the coordinator for US based BitDefender's BitMoms.com community.

Hello Techmama readers!! Nicole here… resident BitMom aficionado and safe family surfing advocate. Let’s be honest – you’re lost without your gadgets, and your digital life is a huge part of your family. Everything from schedules to important family records is located on your PC (or Mac) and you would be in a real bind if something happened to any of that information.Also – let’s not forget about the wandering eyes of kids… hmm… indecent Google searches? Accidental virus downloads? We’ve all been there. No fear, take note of the simple tips below and your family will be surfing safer in no time.

  1. Exercise caution when you add personal data to your online social networking accounts! Keep the critical data to a safe minimum – this means no birthdays or family member names as passwords!
  2. When uploading photos – be aware that these photos could be used without your consent for advertising campaigns or, worse, for pornographic purposes. In order to discourage image theft, you might also add a watermark text on your pictures in areas where removal is impossible, or at least difficult.
  3. Use an alternative e-mail address for social networks, newsletters, ect in order to avoid spam which could be harmful to your computer.
  4. Use security software with a parental control feature! This provides comprehensive settings for web and application control as well as the ability to filter web, mail and instant messaging traffic for certain keywords.
  5. Use a good anti-malware solution. It will solve most of the problems you can encounter on Web: it can block spam, phishing attempts and prevent malware from infecting your computer, therefore keeping your private data safe. Make sure you update your antimalware, firewall and spam filters as frequently as possible, and that you don’t forget to scan your system often.
Nicole Balistreri is the coordinator for US based BitMoms.com an online community dedicated to promoting family internet safety sponsored by BitDefender and strategic partners. BitDefender is an award-winning provider of innovative anti-malware security solutions based in Bucharest, Romania. Visit www.bitdefender.com for more information.

Disclosure: This is not a paid post, I inquired for some safe surfing tips and asked that the information be shared on a guest post.

March 01, 2010

What? Twitter Is Good For Classroom Use?

I have personally benefited from taking part in "live" conversations on Twitter. I view news trends on Twitter. I connect with other social media types on Twitter. I get my comic relief on Twitter. On my recent trip to Paris with the Traveling Geeks, I extended that conversation globally while I used Twitter to liveblog my trip.

But I always imagined that if I was a student, use of Twitter in the classroom would be discouraged. At the same time, I see that students are embracing social media at a frantic pace so there is a disconnect if schools don't utilize social media for learning.

Tonight I read an article on Mashable titled "How Twitter in the Classroom is Boosting Student Engagement". The article was written by Greg Ferenstein who, among other things,designs college curricula. He wrote "Fortunately, educators (including myself) have found that Twitter is an effective way to broaden participation in lecture". The post discussed that Twitter friendly classrooms could have increased participation and extend the conversation outside of the classroom. Greg Ferenstein concluded "For schools hit hard by the recession, Twitter is an inexpensive solution to the growing problem of increasing class sizes. It is a tried-and-true platform to let conversations flourish".

I have already seen how my 11 year old uses texting to communicate with his friends and has extended their conversations outside of playdates. While there is a dangerous side to social media use by kids, which includes cyberbullying and inappropriate use of online communications, I agree that the there is great potential to increase channels of communication.

To prepare for increased use of social media by students, I hope that schools are spending time creating social media policies and making sure teachers and students get the appropriate training. Then just having some fun. I know I am..

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