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6 posts from July 2010

July 26, 2010

Project Mom Casting

Project-mom-casting Similar to MommaSaid.net, I was also once again amazed at my fabulous blogging friend Ciaran Blumenfeld of Momfluential by coming up with an idea about a TV show based on mom bloggers (Project Mom Casting).

I am a big fan of reality TV, I have it on while I am blogging to put me in the blogging mood. Life as a mom of three boys can be crazy, so viewing reality TV helps me realize that I am not alone - that there are many people in much "crazier" situations. I am also a fan of moms blogs, they give me that "I relate to" feeling and regularly inspire me. That is why I will be excited to see what Project Mom Casting comes up with.

But if I take a step back, I sometimes feel as though I am living a reality TV worthy life right now. Here is my true, but crazy storyline:

1. Techie girl discovers her inner geek: Techie Girl discovers that while math was not her strong point in school, she excelled at anything related to technology and programming. Techie girl then decides to become a programmer when she grows up.

2. Techie Woman: After college Techie Girl realizes her dream and becomes a programmer, then a systems project manager. Techie Girl becomes techie woman, then gets a job at a big ole consulting firm (Deloitte).

3. TechMama: Techie woman enjoyed working at family friendly Deloitte and became Senior Manager. She had her first son then had fertility problems (including 5 miscarriages). After she used technology (IVF), she delivered twin boys and decided to jump off Partner track.

4. TechMama "The Domain": Techmama decided that having three boys and a wonderful husband was gratifying in a family sense, but missed having a work life. Techmama also did not like how she was treated by tech sales people when she was with her kids, she kept reminding them "Hey, I run all the technology for our family - so I will be installing that wireless router myself". TechMama started blogging as Career 2.0.

5. TechMama "Social Media Addict": Along with blogging, Techmama started Twittering, Facebooking, Flickr'ing and joining communities online to meet other tech moms.

6. TechMama "The Adventure": TechMama takes blogging to the next level, searching out interesting and adventurous stories of others to share on her blog. She became inspired by the brave men and women on the USS Nimitz, the tech community in Paris, how Vivienne Tam designed her HP Netbook, the technology behind the fabulous animated 3D movie Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, hang out at CES , see a live taping of the Chelsea Lately show, met Katie Couric and fabulous bloggers along the way. Best of all she had the chance to realize a dream, at a red carpet event she not only got a spray tan to help combat her pale geeky skin color, but also met some reality stars live (Real Housewives of Orange County).

July 24, 2010

Sunset Dream House: Fireplace 2.0, Internet TV, HP Media Server and ePrinters

Show_photo_single.php I am a big fan of Sunset Magazine, They always present recipes, trips and decorating tips that I aspire to. I have also toured Sunset Dream Houses (houses where Sunset works with the developers to design and decorate the house) and always leave with great ideas. But, while I have a healthy dose of the "geek" gene, I don't have the "decorator" gene - even if I do have an eye for knowing what looks good. So I like to leave decorating to the professionals.

That is why I was thrilled when HP offered me a chance to tour a local Sunset Dream house before it opened to the public. The Sunset Dream House I toured is in Los Gatos, CA and it is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting today (July 23) through August 15, 2010. I suggest everyone stop by because it is not only a beautiful remodel, but also a house that has something pushing TechMama into a techy frenzy: Family Media 2.0.

When I arrived at the house I was greeted by Kathi McCalligan (Sunset Home programs Director), Gordon Van Zuiden of cyberManor and Josh Schoonmaker  from HP. Josh is involved with the HP Smart Home program. I originally became fascinated with HP's vision of the home after seeing the HP technology at the Disneyland Innoventions Dream Home. I appreciate that Ann Finnie from HP supports my smarthome obsession and was kind enough to invite me to the tour. 

We all sat down to discuss the house design and technology. Of course, I asked for all the details and here are some highlights from our discussion:
  • The Sunset Dream Home was designed as a seamless integration of technology and design. 
  • Technology, now part of the tools needed for school, social, entertainment and more, should be a seamless experience in the home. 
  • There are sophisticated technology systems in more expensive homes, but there are also more budget friendly options providing enormous value in smaller spaces.
  • Sunset brought together traditional and new technology, connecting TV to the network and antique photos with digital photo frames. 
  • Technology is presented with a "real family lives here" vision rather than as science fiction.

Here are the schematics  (below, implemented by cyberManor) of the technology behind the Sunset Dream House in Los Gatos and a description of the technology from the cyberManor website.

"cyberManor integrated and deployed the HP (www.hp.com) and Control4 (www.control4.com) family of hardware and software products to provide a seamless, reliable, and easy to use method for the control of the electronic home entertainment, lighting and comfort equipment from several in wall keypads, touchscreens and universal remote controls."

    Sunset House Schematic 20100719

Continue reading "Sunset Dream House: Fireplace 2.0, Internet TV, HP Media Server and ePrinters" »

July 23, 2010

39 Clues: 10 Stop Blog Tour and Giveaway - STOP 1 IS LIVE!

39Clues_logo **WINNER OF GIVEAWAY: alanamorales**

I always enjoy when I get to blog about something that is already popular in my house. A few weeks ago, I took my son to the bookstore to see if Book 10 of the 39 Clues series was out yet. He had already read all the other books in the series. The good news is he goes through books quickly. The bad news I am constantly looking for new series for my son to read. I was excited when my son started reading 39 Clues because it was published by Scholastic.  I did not see Book 10 at the bookstore so I checked online for the release date (August 31, 2010).

39 Clues is an adventure series published by Scholastic for children ages 8-12 that spans 10 books. The book series also has a website http://www.the39clues.com/  that allows kids to use cards (they get with each book) to find clues through online missions

The day after  a trip to our local bookstore with my son, I received an email about the 39 Clues Blog Tour, asking if I wanted to join in the fun.  Of course I said YES! The Blog Tour is a 39 Day Countdown to book  #10 and I am the first stop (see a full listing of Blog Tour stops below).

My stop is for 39 Clues Book 1. Here is an exclusive video from Book #1 Author, Rick Riordan:

Sadly, my son will still have to wait for Book 10 to come out. But - the good news is that I am doing a giveaway to my readers to share the adventure love:

GIVEA WAY: One winner will receive the (one) complete 39 Clues book series (PLUS book #1 will be autograp hed by Rick Riordan).

HOW TO ENTER:

 

 

Continue reading "39 Clues: 10 Stop Blog Tour and Giveaway - STOP 1 IS LIVE!" »

July 20, 2010

Inside Look: Disney's new "World of Color" attraction and tour

I just returned home from a trip back East and was very busy getting my kids summer schedule finalized, when I received an email about a Disney media event in San Francisco. Attending Disney media events are always worth the schedule shifting and babysitting recruiting time, in return for some Disney magic. So - on July 8 - I attended the Disneyland World of Color road show stop in San Francisco. Here is the link to the World of Color road show press release  with details on the tour, my pictures of the event are at the bottom of this post. The tour was created to take some of the magic of the World of Color attraction on the road.

I first heard of the new World of Color attraction at Disney California Adventure park last spring and hoped to bring my kids to see it after it opened June 11, 2010.  I showed my kids a World of Color video and they were fascinated with the fountains, images and special effects.

The World of Color opening day event at Disneyland press release explained the details of a the new attraction at Disney California Adventure:

5_10_DCA_00983

"There has never been a show like “World of Color,” the mega-scale, after-dark celebration of Disney storytelling.  “World of Color” brings animation to life with powerful fountains that become stars of the show as they create one of the world’s largest projected water screens.

The Disneyland News press release also explained some of the details of the special effects used in the World of Color attraction, which runs just under 25 minutes:

Continue reading "Inside Look: Disney's new "World of Color" attraction and tour" »

July 06, 2010

Giveaway - Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z All-in-one PC!

**Winner is LisaC. My3Sons33 Congrats! .

While gadgets are getting more mobile, I suggest every family have a Desktop PC. Desktop PC's are budget friendly, have bigger screens then laptops and can do double duty as a "work at home" PC for work at home parents. Desktop PC's also make it easier for mom and dad to keep an eye on what the kids are doing online - because if they are set up in the family room - they stay in the family room.

   Tc_brand_a_aio_650x250 copy2

I recently had the chance to review the Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z All-in-one Desktop PC, which has become not only a valued family PC, but also a work PC for a "work at home mom" (i.e. ME!). I am happy to say that I also have the fun of announcing a giveaway of one Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z All-in-one PC to one lucky reader. Here are the details:

  1. TIMING: Contest starts July 6th and ends July 10, 10pm pst.
  2. PRIZE: One Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z All-in-one PC
  3. HOW TO ENTER: Each contestant can only comment 2 times - one (1) with how they would use the PC and another (2) only if they share the contest details over Twitter - and provide a link to the Tweet in the comment text. For use of a new PC, would you be looking for a family, work at home or small business PC? The tweet should have the Twitter IDs @TechMama and @lenovosocial, the bitly of this post "http://bit.ly/bTiQZe" and the hashtag "#A70z". **Only 2 comments/entries per person will be used to determine winner.
  4. HOW WINNER IS CHOOSEN:We will be entering the number of comments into Random.org to randomly choose a winner.
  5. OTHER RULES:

--A Valid email address must be entered in the private "email" section of the comment (not in the comment text). If a valid email address is not provided, another winner will be choosen.

--Winner must be located in North America (Canada/US). Shipments can only be made to Canada/US.

--Lenovo are not responsible for any lost packages or incorrect shipping addresses. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. Approximate value of prizes may vary. By claiming the prize, the winner authorizes the use, without additional compensation of his or her name and/or likeness and/or voice/photograph and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation over the internet and picture data storage).
--This giveaway is running on other sites. Individuals who've won at another site are ineligible to win a second time. Here are the other sites: 

Here is the link to find out more information about the Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z All-in-one PC.

Here is the link to my Hands On: Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z All-in-one PC

Disclosure: The Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z was provided to TechMamas.com on a long term review. There were no requirements to blog, just to experience the computer. My words are my own.


July 04, 2010

Low Tech July 4th: Snow Cones and TNT Pop-its

We are getting ready for July 4th, and part of that prep was thinking about some fun and safe activities my kids and their could do together.

SNOW CONES:

  Snow-cone-400x400

Target has a display with snow cone machines, flavors and cups. We decided to buy a set not only to use on July 4th, but also to use for the kids to set up a stand of their own sometime. Snow Cone stands are a good first business for kids to start because of the low cost of capital and yummy, easy to make product.. There are plenty of good electric ice shaving machines under $30, so no need to buy anything fancy. We purchased an electric ice shaver for $20.

TNT POP-ITS:

  Popits1

We looked all over for sparkers so the kids can have their own little light display when it gets dark tonight, but realized that in my area you can only get them online or at specialty stores. So instead, we again went over to our friendly Target and purchased TNT Pop-Its. These are little caps that make a noise when stepped on or thrown against the sidewalk. The package says "flammable" which is true, so parents need to be involved and packages should be handled with care (the package has all the safety information).

I found an About.com article that explained how Pop-Its work "The rock is rock or sand that has been soaked in silver fulminate. Silver fulminate (like mercury fuliminate, which would be toxic) is explosive. However, the quantity of fulminate in Pop Its is very small so the little exploding rocks are safe."

I wonder what other fun "low tech" activities families are doing this July 4th.

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