Mother's Day wish lists 1.0 were made up of flowers, a cute picture from the kids, brunch and some lovely jewelry. These days, tech savvy-moms are springing up around the country and choosing to have tech gifts for Mother's Day 2.0 (that is, in addition to jewelry). Moms are natural power users for technology because of their daily multi-tasking demands. There are also many potential tech moms who just need suggestions to jump on board. In fact, all moms are really WAHM (work at home moms) whether they work outside the home, telecommute, have a home business, volunteer or manage their own families.
To help families find the right gift or their tech-savvy mom, I listed some of the items I found most interesting (hint, hint to my wonderful family....). In hopes of making the gifts easy to find, I also did my own version of investigative citizen journalism by going to a short list of stores last weekend and asking the question "What Mother's Day gifts would you recommend for tech-savvy moms". For this post, I went to the Apple Store, Best Buy and Office Depot.
I also searched the on-line world. CNET Reviews had the best selection of information available in their Mother's Day Tech Gift section. This section was organized in sections for cameras, cell phones, lap tops and MP3 players. Each section has comparison charts with information such as review summary, where to buy and lots of tech details. Amazon, Yahoo, and PC Magazine also have tech mom related gift guides. But the most important search was to see the gifts suggestions from other tech-savvy moms. The countdown to Mother's Day linklove has the results.
For those Dads considering giving tech gifts to their wives for Mother's Day, it is important that you ask what they want first. A universal remote or wide screen TV does not count as a Mother's Day gift unless they ask for one (save it for Father's Day). The Google Product Search and thefind are helpful for Moms to develop their wish lists (along with the CNET reviews). Amazon has a wish list section that can be used for storing wish lists on-line. And don't forget to make reservations if mom is being taken out to brunch or dinner. OpenTable.com is an on-line service for making reservations that also includes a very handy email confirmation.
Free but priceless: The timeless "promise coupon" will always be appreciated. The coupons can be purchased in books or printed on-line (here, here, here and here). Some ideas of what to put on the coupons are one day of free time, extra chores performed by the kids, dinner cooked or even one week of listening to everything mom asks (fuss free). Older techie kids can offer to help mom with family computer projects.
Go Fashionable -
As a WAHM who walks around with a BlackBerry
case clipped to my jeans, I am always searching for more fashionable
alternatives to carry my BlackBerry, keys, business cards and wallet. After months of looking, I found the perfect solution at the Coach
store. I needed something that would fit in my
laptop case when I go to business meetings or conferences. And it had to be small enough to throw into a tote when going to the beach or park instead of carrying a separate purse. Coach makes a
bag called the Hamptons Top Handle Pouch that was the perfect fit. The stores carry different colors, but I choose black to match my laptop case. Coach also has an iPod case that makes me want an iPod even more. There are also a wide selection of colorful cases for technology listed in my pink section below. Fashionable laptop bags will be covered in the Mother's Day gift guide link-love. For a functionable computer bag with wheels (to help prevent back strain), the Swiss Gear rolling notebook line of bags work well. To save time, they can also be found at Target.
Go Pink - In a house of boys, I love anything pink, and so do my friends. I found pink
iPods and other mp3 players
(including Creative Zen) , iPod covers and arm bands, BlackBerry and Treo accessories, laptop skins, and laptop cases. Pink is also the Color for A Cause (Susan G. Komen for the Cure - Breast Cancer). For those who do not know mama's favorite color, black is always the safest choice.gdkfl;gkdfl;gk
Go Red! If red is the favored color, Pininfarina (design firm for Ferrari) has a red external hard drive and Sweden's Possio has a stylish red moblie printer (from CNET's Crave blog). Many of the pink items above also come in red and other colors. The red special edition iPod Nano (4GB & 8GB) is part of the joinred movement. David Pogue from the New York Times posted on the TurboChef Speedcook Oven, that can cook a 12 pound turkey in 42 minutes instead of 4 hours, and has colors like red thermal. Now, that oven would inspire even me to cook more. And I could write off the price by buying less take-out. Or for those electronically inclined, build your own art toaster for mom.
Family Manager Mom: Another idea is a promise coupon to help mom set up an automated family calender or on-line
family newsletter. Cozi.com has a free downloadable family calendering system that even syncs with Microsoft Outlook (reviewed in the Mossberg Solution) . Vox and Kinzin can be used to create on-line family newsletters (that only family and friends can access).dBusyBodyBook Family Organizers have attractive patterns and can offer moms a
central place to keep written schedules, documentation and notes. The gift of Quicken software connected to on-line bill paying can help mom save time and stay organized.
Moblie Mom: For moms on the move at home or work, laptop computers, Ergo lapdesk, laptop table and
a home wireless network will allow multi-tasking in every room. The BlackBerry Pearl (drool, drool), Treo or other smartphones can help moms keep up on email while waiting in line at the grocery store. iPod car integration can take music on the road. Bluetooth headsets allow hands free talking. The iHome clock can be used in the kitchen or office to play mom's favorite tunes. External hard drives and USB flash drives are great tools to use for backing up digital media and allows data to be taken on the road. Portable hard drives, iPods, MacBook or MacBook Pro line (for design professionals) were some of the Mother's Day gift suggestion provided at the Apple Store for blogging moms. For moms that have piles of business cards laying around, a card scanner is a good gift suggestion. The CardScan Personal v8 includes software to synchronize with Outlook, Outlook Express, Palm, Windows Mobile devices, iPods and smart phones.
Digital Mama: Digital cameras, video cams, and all in one printers are important tools for techie moms. The HP Photosmart R837 (7.2 mega pixels) has anti-shake, touch-up, red eye removal and access to HP design gallery to add artistic effects. The HP Photosmart C6180 All-in-One
can be used to print, scan, or fax. The printer also has built in
wireless networking, memory card & USB slots, and ink cartridges that can be replaced individually
by color. When purchased online at the HP site, the cartridges are delivered free for next day shipping. The HP on-line activity center has a listing of Mother's Day gift ideas. There is also a wide selection of Canon Digital Cameras and the Pixma line has a color all in one
that can be used to print pictures. CNET has a section reviewing combination camera and camcorders.
Once mom has all the digital equipment, One True Media can be used to create on-line slide shows, DVD family photo montages or photobooks.
Social and Family Networking Mom: Use a "promise coupon" to allow mom to have a regular night out
her friends or set up online social networking for busier moms. Blogging, Twitter and other sites like Maya's Mom are good tools for moms to stay in touch or make new friends. Setting up a working mom on LinkedIn or Facebook can help her build her working network. A Google Talk account can be another tool to chat with friends or relatives. With a handy webcam and software like Skype or WebEx moms can have video chats and even share documents on-line. Or treat mom to her own personal URL (godaddy or register.com), website (Homestead.com) or blog (Typepad).
Paperless Mom: Armed with a good
scanner and external hard drive to store back-ups, mom can become paperless by scanning
recipes, kid's art work,
non-digital pictures, select family documentation and more to the family computer. Families that have digital pictures can help mom organize pictures and create on-line family albums using applications like Google Picasa.
Low Tech: Don't forget the Mother's Day card. A simple paper card or one with drawings from the kids is
the most meaningful. If it is the night before Mother's Day and you forgot to send long distance Grandmom a card, going virtual is the next best thing.
I was not paid to mention any of these products. But it would be nice to be paid someday. Then I can hire some help so that my family would not have to search for clean socks every morning. Unless they invent some high tech gadget to get clean clothes from the dryer, folded and put into dressers. Now that would be a great gift idea.......