« November 2011 | Main | January 2012 »

8 posts from December 2011

December 31, 2011

My Tech New Year's Resolutions Part 3: New Rules & Tech Faux Pas

image from i1137.photobucket.comLooking forward to 2012, I can't help but think about the new tech rules and laugh at some common tech faux pas.

The Bloggess started me off with a tweet last night about someone sitting on the plane next to her who was boldly demonstrating Tech Faux Pas #1: In public places, respect others by managing your electronic volume. Take some time to understand how to use earpphones and volume controls.

While this may sound fuddy duddy, just put yourself in the Bloggess' place:

image from i1137.photobucket.com

 I went on the USS Nimitz trip with the Bloggess - I know she is not someone to be messed with.

Tech Faux Pas #2 - Your ears want a break: Dear people, give us ears a break and manage the noise level when listenting to technology. Please remember that us "ears" need to be taken care of as well (starting as kids). You're not a starfish. Hearing does not grow back. Mess us ears up now, and you'll wind up being one of those people sitting in the movie theater turning to your friend and asking, "WHAT DID THEY SAY?"

Tech Faux Pas #3 - Note to tech companies - please stop with all the patent fighting for things that are common functionality:

Continue reading "My Tech New Year's Resolutions Part 3: New Rules & Tech Faux Pas" »

December 25, 2011

RockSmith Video Game: Finally A Game That Uses Real Guitars!

image from i1137.photobucket.comWhen Clever Girls Collective/Ubisoft asked if I was interested in trying out Rocksmith with my tween son and his rocker friends (who are in a band), I jumped at the chance. Rocksmith is the first video game where you can connect real electric guitars with a standard 1/4” input jack with a Microsoft Xbox 360 or Sony PlayStation 3 entertainment system. There is also a Rocksmith bundle that includes a guitar.

image from i1137.photobucket.com
The game has a helpful tuning process and difficulty settings that automatically adapt to your experience level. Experts can play songs from memory, experiened guitar players can play from notes on the screen and a beginner like me can follow easy color-coded strings on the screen.

image from i1137.photobucket.com

Feel like a real rockstar with different backgrounds including a concert theme.

image from i1137.photobucket.com

There are also mini-games and what the Rocksmith website explains as the ability to: "Turn your console into an amplifier and play with loads of in-game effects pedals, amplifiers, and cabinets. String pedals together with nearly infinite combinations and tweak your sound until you're satisfied."

image from i1137.photobucket.com

Some of the tracks include  David Bowie – Rebel Rebel, Eric Clapton – Run Back To Your Side, Lenny Kravitz – Are You Gonna Go My Way, Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama, Radiohead – High And Dry, The Cure – Boys Don’t Cry and The Rolling Stones – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.

 Here are some details from the press release:

SAN FRANCISCO – October 18, 2011 – Today, Ubisoft® announces that Rocksmith™ is now available at retail throughout North America.  The standard edition of the game, available for $79.99, will include the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable™, a unique 1/4” to USB cable that is the first of its kind, developed exclusively for Rocksmith.  This revolutionary cable turns the guitar’s signal from analog to digital, allowing it to be recognized and played through video game consoles for the first time.  The guitar bundle will provide a quality entry-level option for people that have always wanted to play but don’t own a guitar. The bundle, available for $199.99, includes an Epiphone Les Paul Jr guitar, along with the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable.  Rocksmith is rated “T” for Teen.  
For more information on Rocksmith, please visit www.rocksmith.com, and follow Rocksmith on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rocksmithgame

But what did my tween son's friends - who happen to play in a band - think about Rocksmith?

Continue reading "RockSmith Video Game: Finally A Game That Uses Real Guitars! " »

December 23, 2011

My Tech New Year's Resolutions Part 2: Teaching My Kid's Fiscal Responsibility

image from i1137.photobucket.comEvery parent I know is struggling to both connect their child’s allowance to homework and household chores. They are also encouraging their child to manage their allowance wisely, splitting the money between short-term purchases, long-term savings and charity. While my first tech new years resolution is to re-organize my business, my second tech new years resolution is to evaluate all the options to set up a responsible allowance system for my children.

1. Find an online system to manage my kids allowance that also teaches fiscal responsibility: I will be looking for a system that exists in the cloud (online) so I can set it up - then have my kids join to manage their budgeting using their laptops and desktops. Of course - then I can set it up and maintain it using my laptop. I want the system to not only keep track of chores and corresponding allowance payments due,  but also allow my kids to save up for higher price items and contribute to charity.

Continue reading "My Tech New Year's Resolutions Part 2: Teaching My Kid's Fiscal Responsibility" »

December 22, 2011

My Tech New Year's Resolutions Part 1: Re-Organize My Business

image from i1137.photobucket.com

The New Year is almost here- a perfect time to set goals to improve my business. For parents like me working at home and confined to a small work space, being organized is vital. While I have gone through my desk and decluttered over the last few months, the next step is to figure out how I can improve my business workflow and in turn improve my productivity.

1. Tame the receipts: Folders on my desktop are great for day to day review of expenses, but scanning and storing receipts either on my computer or in the cloud is a more efficient long-term solution.

2. Automate the tax Process: Using an tax accountant is helpful for quarterly and annual filings. As my business grows, so does the volume of data for tax time. Automating my business accounting saves time at the desk, improves day to day workflow, and frees up more time for clients. Next up: figure out what accounting software or apps I should use.

3. Create and stick to a business budget: I posted last month about my adventures in budgeting using the American Express Prepaid Card. Next year, my goal is to set and stick to budgets for my projects and conferences by loading up the budget in advance to my American Express Prepaid Card. When I use my regular business charge card for projects or conferences, I don't always manage to budget. It’s time to curb ad-hoc shopping while on business trips and stick to business. One resolution for 2012 is to create a more thorough suitcase packing list that adapts to different climates. How many of us arrive at a conference without a sweater to keep warm in overly cold air conditioned conference rooms?

4. Update my website: I hired a fabulous team of developers to redesign my website - and now it’s time to update the information. Techmamas.com serves 2 important roles: 1) A platform for my voice, and 2) An effecitve visual resume. I have an “about” page, but need to add information on recent press appearances, consulting services and speaking engagements. Word of mouth is effective, but a personal website that clearly communicates press information and services provided is MORE effective.

5. Use more business Apps: The first apps loaded onto my new smartphone were the standard apps including Twitter, Facebook and other social apps. Next year, I want to identify and install mobile time saving and productivity enhancing applications that can do things like  increase document travel expenses, hail taxis, figure out tips and easily share videos apps on the road.

Disclosure: This post is in partnership with American Express Prepaid Card.

December 21, 2011

Scholastic 39 Clues - Rapid Fire : Giveaway!

See Giveaway info below the jump (now closed). Winner was choosen: Congrats to Mary Sprecher! 

image from i1137.photobucket.com39 Clues is a adventure series with books my boys enjoy reading as well as visiting the online game and collecting the cards - that are all part of the story. Something exciting has come out for the holidays- and it includes eBooks that can be read on mobile devices. Beginning on December 25, a different top secret eBook short story will be released daily, leading up to an explosive finale on December 31. The 39 Clues Rapid Fire ebooks can be read on tablets, smartphone, eReaders or computers. Codes hidden in each of the seven stories combine to unlock an exclusive card and medal on http://www.the39clues.com. Following the 39 Clues stories can be a fun addition to holiday adventures and offer a great way to get in daily reading time - without any complaints. 

Where to buy: The 39 Clues: Rapid Fire" stand-alone adventure stories will be available December 25-31 for sale at online retailers for $0.99 each. Seven days, seven stories—one explosive secret.

39 Clues Series GIVEAWAY

Continue reading "Scholastic 39 Clues - Rapid Fire : Giveaway!" »

December 13, 2011

Holiday Gifts=Time to Upgrade Tech: TV's

image from i1137.photobucket.comSpending all year writing about technology leaves me little time to focus on my own household tech. My preference is to have home technology that is not only low maintenance but also high quality. Looking around the house, I realized that the fully functional 12 year-old family TV no longer remotely qualified as “top of the line”. Not to mention the glares my tween son's friends gave me when they came over and realized we have a (shriek and face plant) TV with "tubes" in it.

So this holiday season I joined the world of high definition and purchased a new HDTV. Because our 12 year old TV Sony TV lasted so long and offered us a great viewing experience - I wanted to purchase another Sony television. At the local Sony Style store I reviewed the different models and received great information from the sales team. I also talked to friends of the family who are Home Electronic Concierges (Intuitive Environments). They sent me an article from PC Mag on how to buy an HDTV. If I were not a technology writer, I would have hired them because to help save money and time. But being a tech geek - I wanted to have the full experience of uprgading the TV on my own. I also checked CNET for reviews and Decide.com to get an idea of what price I should looking for.

Continue reading "Holiday Gifts=Time to Upgrade Tech: TV's" »

December 07, 2011

On 12/7 - Join Twitter TechMamas.com & Decide.com To Chat about Holiday Tech Shopping Tips

image from i1137.photobucket.comI have been covering holiday shopping tech tips throught the holiday season, including my tips for a no regrets holiday shopping experience. December (NOW) has some of the best tech prices of the year - so time to shop! To keep the conversation going, please join me and Decide.com this Thursday 12/7 10am pst for a Twitter chat on holiday tech shopping.

Here is info on the Decide.com/TechMamas Twitter Chat:

Are you a smart holiday electronics shopper? Do you know how to score that perfect deal on all the gadgets on your family’s holiday wish list? Join Decide.com and Techmamas founder Beth Blecherman for a Twitter chat this Thursday, December 7, 2011 at 10:00-11:00 am PT/1:00- 2:00pm ET to test your tech holiday shopping savvy, share tips and learn where and when to find the best deal on electronics for your family this holiday season. (Click HERE for more info).

At the Twitter chat - I will discuss my adventures in shopping for a new TV and other tech devices. You will have to join in to see what I ended up purchasing - but here is a picture of the 12 year old TV that it replaced. Yes, the TV still had tubes in it and was very heavy.

image from i1137.photobucket.com

As you can imagine, my tween son did not think our TV with Tubes  was cool (even thought the picture quality was still great). He is so excited to join the modern world with a new TV! Goodbye old TV...We enjoyed our time together...

Disclosure:  This post is in partnership with Decide.com.

December 05, 2011

Adventures in Budgeting With The American Express Prepaid Card

*see disclosures at bottom of post*

image from i1137.photobucket.comMy new career blogging about technology began after I left full time employment in the field of technology consulting to focus on raising three wonderful boys. Blogging introduced me to an amazing social media community, not only online but also at meetups, conferences and social media events. Even though I had traveled plenty for business before having kids, I found traveling for my own business very different than traveling for an employer. It really started to add up. First a conference ticket, then a hotel and taxi. Add in food and a “must have” new pair of shoes, as well as other assorted travel expenses, and I seemed to always exceed my target for travel expenses. Like others who followed a passion that lead to a business, I too learned a little too late that when running your own company, budgeting is a must.

OK, maybe I did not need the new pair of shoes and a new outfit, but considering I spend most work days at home dressed in sweats, I like to spruce it up a bit for business conferences.

So instead of spending less - I increased the budget. This works for the trip - but when I return home reality takes over. I need better fiscal control.

Enter American Express Prepaid Card for my trip to BlogWorld LA and my first attempt to stay on budget.

 

Business Trip Tips Using The American Express Prepaid Card from Beth Blecherman on Vimeo.

For my trip to BlogWorld Los Angeles in November, I used the American Express prepaid card to manage my spending and pre-loaded it with, for the first time, only the amount in my budget. Because it is prepaid I could only spend the amount I loaded on the card.

Continue reading "Adventures in Budgeting With The American Express Prepaid Card" »

Categories

-->

My New Gig


Current Projects


Video Fun

Follow Me

Twitter Updates

Worthy Causes


  • I am a ONE Week Team Member banner

Subscribe

  • Add to Google Reader or Homepage

  • Subscribe in Bloglines

Speaking At:

So Honored

My Life Scoop Posts

I Blog With Integrity


  • BlogWithIntegrity.com