11 posts categorized "Gadgets"

November 17, 2011

Tips for No Regrets Holiday Electronics Shopping

image from i1137.photobucket.comThe winter holidays are around the corner, with time split between two of my favorite things: family and shopping. The pressure to find “just the right gift” can change shopping for the worse, causing people to shop impulsively and not look for the right deal. When it comes to consumer electronics, prices may look great on “Black Friday” but waiting for the price drops of early December may be an even better deal.

So what is a bargain hunting consumer to do? I am excited to be partnering with Decide.com, a company that empowers consumers to make smart electronic decisions with a 60 terabyte historical pricing database, 8 billion price observations and growing. Decide.com's shopping service predicts when to buy consumer electronics with no regrets by providing information such as price comparison, average release cycle, last release, device’s age, average rating and product details. Their just announced Decide.com mobile app for iPhone and iPod touch will enable consumers to have the power of prediction in the palm of their hands while shopping. Here are my no regrets shopping tips to make sure consumers are armed with the right information to make the best decisions.

  1. Don't be a sale chaser – while it's true that a few select products go on sale in the wee hours of the morning, you’ll likely regret rushing out to fight the crowds at 5am only to discover there were only 5 TVs available at that price. Spending hours chasing down a special holiday deal can be a big cause of buyer’s remorse. Do your homework and find the real holiday sales.
  2. Stock up and save on electronics for the family – wait for the holiday season to upgrade on the latest gadgets and electronics for her family. For practical and smart gift giving, holiday is a great time to stock up on those items that your family needs – a family computer, TV, other devices for family – and save big.
  3. Don't be fooled – buying an older product model at a fire sale price is not necessarily cheaper. For example, by doing a search on cameras I realized that some of the newer models have better pricing then the models they replaced.
  4. Arm yourself at the moment of purchase: With Decide's new prediction app for iPhone, when you're shopping in the store this holiday, you can know if that product is a deal or not by simply scanning the barcode for an instant prediction.  You don’t need to give up on finding a deal even if you are making a spontaneous purchase (like we all do).

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

Win a $5K Shopping Spree Contest: Download and install the Decide.com App for iPhone and iPod touch for your chance to win an American Express gift card for $5,000. Contest ends December 25th, 2011. More information on the contest can be found on the Decide.com blog.

January 30, 2010

More on the Apple iPad Debate, Why Moms Should Demand Open Web Standards

It is finally a beautiful sunny day so why I am online right now? It is that geeky side of me that has been glued to the online tech sites since the release of the Apple iPad. But not because of the iPad. I posted about the Apple iPad features which I think are a great fit for those using Apple gadgets and software already. My son has a Apple MACBook and iPod so the iPad would make a great addition, allowing him to enjoy the media he has on his iTunes, start finally reading eBooks, web browsing on the go and subscribing to online newspapers to read the news.

But what I have not seen discussed much by family bloggers is the Apple iPad's lack of flash support. I posted with my thoughts on the Apple iPad features including the lack of Adobe Flash support. To get some feedback I also tweeted ( TechMama ) about it - hearing that others were also confused. JessWeiss replied back to me with "I find the omission odd, anti-web-ish myself ". From a mom's perspective, the lack of Adobe Flash support on the Apple iPad means that there will be online content my son would not be able to access - including some of his favorite YouTube videos, CNN videos that he is now watching for news, online gaming sites and more.

I am Not so upset about him not being able to access some of the sites that the Wired Gadget Lab post pointed out. But kids can access inappropriate sites in many ways, Flash or no Flash. Internet Safety education and controls will still be an important step before any child uses any device with Internet access.

This all leads to the answer of why I am sneaking some time online while my kids are busy playing on this sunny weekend afternoon. The lack of Adobe Flash support on the Apple iPad has brought on a very interesting discussion about open web standards by the top tech minds, summarized nicely on TechMeme. For me, this is better then celebrity gossip and may even top my obsession with celebrity red carpet dresses..

Ok, I am a real geek..

Talk about geeks - Robert Scoble wrote a post today titled "Can Flash Be Saved?" on his blog Scobleizer that summed up the debate: "Adobe’s best hope is to get Android to support Flash and Adobe’s best hope is that developers ignore the iPad and ignore the iPhone, or, at least, build better experiences on the Android and Google Chrome platforms that include Flash". Click HERE to ready the whole post on Scobleizer, it provides a developer perspective to the current debate. He is a dad that seems to be spending his sunny weekend day the same way I am.

As a mom who is a PC user that also supports a household with numerous Apple products, I just wish everyone would stop going off in their corners and using applications with different web standards. I am tired of broken links.

I am giving tech companies a time out; You are leaving your customers confused and backing them into cyber walls. Please just adopt some open web standards already! Let gadgets communicate with  applications across the web. I will be happy and thrilled to pay for content over the web - as long as I can just get some open standards already.

Continue reading "More on the Apple iPad Debate, Why Moms Should Demand Open Web Standards" »

November 26, 2009

Shopping Tech? Here Are Some Black Friday & Cyber Monday Tips

J0439783 I shared many times over Twitter that although I am a "TechMama" my laptop needs replacing. I am a heavy computer user and my computer is over 2 years old. So this weekend I will be looking online for Black Friday Sales 2009 and Black Friday ads like many others. One of mom friend's computer died but she is waiting for this weekend to buy a new one. Other moms I know are looking for technology as holiday gifts for their families. Holiday time is the best time to buy technology as the new "gift" (my slogan). So for those getting their sneakers on to shop for Black Friday Sales ads, here is where to go for online Black Friday Sales 2009 and some things to think about before you go. Some sites even offer printable coupons to bring along to the store. I will be posting throughout the weekend with hot technology and toy gift ideas.

NOTE: Gizmodo posted with a good point - there are some items that can be found online at the same or better prices then BlackFriday prices, so best to do some comparison shopping online. At the same time, many manufacturers are having big sales this time of year, so finding deals will not be a problem. PC World posted that Black Friday doorbusters are for suckers.

Where to go: This Wall Street Journal article confirmed my list of what sites list Black Friday Sales 2009: "Where to Find Black Friday Deals". I have already been following Black Friday Ads, BlackFriday.info and the BlackFriday Twitter account. Mashable posted about how social media is used to find Black Friday deals (including Facebook). The New York Times byte blog posted with more online Black Friday 2009 sites to follow such as CheapTweets on Twitter. I did go into an Apple store to ask about around Thanksgiving and they said there will be a sale. By going on the Apple website I saw that the Apple sale day is November 26.  I also follow many computer manufacturers on Twitter and have seen lots of deals through Twitter: SonyElectronics, HP News, HP_IPG , Dell, Dell Outlet, Toshiba Laptops. The big retailers like Staples, Radio Shack, Best Buy and online retailers like Amazon Twitter Deals and NewEgg also share deals.  I also go to their websites and signup for newsletter updates which sends deals to my email inbox.

What to consider: My recommendation is to sleep in and shop online. The New York Times reported that retailers will extend Black Friday. Other articles said that the high end items are not the main items on sale. So my suggestion is to decide on your needs and what alternatives fit with those needs.

How to choose the right technology gifts: I have been looking at all sorts of technology and I can honestly say that in many situations there are more then one "perfect" fit. The first step is to identify what your needs are then start to look for overall technology solutions. Then review online buying guides to understand what features you should be looking for. My favorite online buying guides are on CNET, Laptop Magazine buying guides, DPreview and reviews on gadget blogs like Ubergizmo, Engadget, Gizmodo, TechieDiva, Gear Diary, Boy Genius Report, Gear Live and of course TechMamas. My favorite shopping site is Cool Mom Picks. Bing.com also has links to guides such as "Laptop buying guides".

NEED A NEW HOME COMPUTER? Do you need another computer for your kids to do their homework? Then consider desktops if the computer does not need to be mobile or laptops for mobile use. I was just quoted recently in an article by Laptop Magazine on Netbooks for Kids. Netbooks are a great alternative for mobile use - but I suggest having a docking station with a bigger screen for home use. Older kids may be responsible enough to have their own laptop, especially if their homework requires computer use. Tablet PC's may also be the right fit because of their flexible screens. Desktops are the most budget friendly and will have bigger screens that not only are easy on the eyes for homework, but if the Deskop has the right features can be used to watch videos, movies or even TV shows. There are also lots of accessories that compliment home computer users such as backup drives, media smart servers, home wireless servers, wireless keyboards & mouses, webcams and more. There are many printer options these days including the HP Photosmart Premium with TouchSmart Web.

Continue reading "Shopping Tech? Here Are Some Black Friday & Cyber Monday Tips" »

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!

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"The Red Flower"

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"The Yellow Flower"

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"The White Flower"

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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.

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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. 

April 23, 2009

AT&T Matrix Pro by PanTech: The "Tween" Test and GIVEAWAY!

Pantech **Winner is AuntieThesis!!

CONTEST is CLOSED. Due to the large number of those that entered, the winner will be announced on Thursday April 30 by 11pm. 

I had the opportunity to take the The Matrix Pro smartphone by Pantech for a test run as part of a promotion that culminates with a giveaway. The Matrix Pro website is: Pantechmatrixpro.com, the key features are listed on that site.  A review of the Pantech Matrix Pro can be found at ChipChick, as well as some of the other websites doing this promotion (see below). I decided to find out more about the AT&T Pantech Matrix Pro in a different way - by giving it to my 10 year old tween for test drive. I have a smartphone already, so I thought it was a great opportunity for my son to test one out. Details of my tween test drive are listed below the contest info.

This contest is open from April 23 until April 28 at 5pm pst. On April 28 at 5pm, I will close the contest. All those that commented to this post will be entered to Random.org to find a winner (ONE person will be chosen randomly). The Winner will be announced on April 28 after 9pm pst. ENTER THIS CONTEST BY COMMENTING on the post below.

AN EXTRA ENTRY IN RANDOM.ORG WILL BE ENTERED FOR THOSE THAT TWITTER @matrixpro AND @Techmama in one tweet sharing why you want this phone. Please add your Twitter ID to your comment so I know that you also tweeted for the second entry into Random.org. Only ONE EXTRA entry for twitter will be counted so that each person can have a two entry limit into Random.org.

Prize package elements

  • Pantech Matrix Pro handset 
  • Service credit (via gift card):  In the amount of US $100.  The gift card good is good for anything sold through any AT&T store (online or real-world), or can be used for the cost of a service plan. 

Rules:

  • Individuals who’ve won at another site are ineligible to win at another
  • Winners are limited by geography to US residents only
  • TechMamas.com is 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.
  • The random winner will be choosen by Techmamas.com, all decisions are final.

MY TEST DRIVE:
Disclosure: I did not get compensation for this promotion, a phone was supplied to me in advance of the promotion for review purposes. The information shared about on this post is just a customer opinion.

Just as background, my son has been earning points like crazy to buy a cellphone because he said "Mom... Everyone has cellphones... Then you can reach me at any time..I need to be able to text with my friends". Yes - that is coming from a fourth grader.

Understanding that just having a cell phone was a big thrill for him, I focused on which functionality he used on the AT&T Pantech Matrix Pro. Here are some details (in his words, dictated to his mom):

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1. TWO WAY SLIDER: The phone can slide in two different ways. The keyboard is easy to use for texting and the numeric pad is quick for dialing phone numbers. I use the trackwheel to scroll, move around or play games.

2. KEYPAD: The keypad is good for texting. I set my friends up in the contact section then it is easy to text them.

3. VOICE COMMANDS: To use the voice commands, you just hold the "rec" button - and a list of commands is given. I tested the voice commands by saying "play music" - and it played a song.

(We tested this by my son using a voice command to call me. I am in his contacts as "Beth" so he said "Call Beth". The first time he did not speak clearly but the second time he did - and it called my cellphone!)

4.INTERNET ACCESS: By going to the start menu - then "MediaNet" I can access a browser to access the Internet. You can type on the numeric or keypad to type the URL, but I use the keypad. The first MediaNet screen has a Yahoo Search Bar and I just enter the name of the website and it returns options to me. An example is - when I type "YouTube" and it returns the URL for YouTube - which I then select.  I just watched the Numa Numa video today by typing in "Numa Numa" into the YouTube page (and "watch video"). It loads, I use the trackwheel for volume and controls. The video loads quickly and plays. Depending on where I am, it sometimes stops playing for a quick second (I told him that was called buffering  - a challenge on many mobile gadgets when watching videos).

I used the phone to read your website Techmamas.com.

5. GAMING - There are some games preloaded on the phone, and some you have to buy. I enjoy playing Bubble breaker that comes standard with the phone. I could buy PACman, Tetris or others.

(I have not even told him about the mobile Guitar Hero application that comes with the phone, that sounds fun!).

*************************************************

My son set up the phone from the moment he opened the box, to accessing the internet, to texting or making calls. The phone was easy to use. The keys were a good size for him to use for typing. He was satisfied with the sound and video quality - even playing music videos for his brothers in the car to keep them busy.

Gear Diary is one of the sites that also had the promotion and did a nice job summarizing a list of sites and promotion dates as well as their details on using the AT&T Pantech Matrix Pro:

Tools for Thought (15-Apr 19-Apr)
ChipChick (16-Apr 20-Apr)
VivirLatino (17-Apr 21-Apr)
slashgear.com (18-Apr 22-Apr)
www.modaco.com (19-Apr 23-Apr)
Gadgetell (20-Apr 24-Apr)
GeeksRoom (21-Apr 25-Apr)
OSNN (22-Apr 26-Apr)
Techmamas (23-Apr 27-Apr)
Clintonfitch (24-Apr 28-Apr)
Justanothermobilemonday (25-Apr 29-Apr)
Geek.com (26-Apr 30-Apr)
MediaBlab (27-Apr 01-May)
Smartphonethoughts (28-Apr 02-May)
Mobilityminded (29-Apr 03-May)
The Gadgeteer (30-Apr 04-May)
Geekzone (01-May 05-May)
Techie Diva (02-May 06-May)
Bostonpocketpc (03-May 07-May)
GearDiary (04-May 08-May)
MobilitySite (05-May 09-May)
AbsoluteWindows (06-May 10-May)
Mobilejaw (07-May 11-May)
Experiencemobility (08-May 12-May)
HackCollege (09-May 13-May)
Gear Live (10-May 14-May)

Press Release is listed below:

Continue reading "AT&T Matrix Pro by PanTech: The "Tween" Test and GIVEAWAY!" »

March 10, 2009

DEMO09 - Ubergizmo: Always Innovating Netbook Tablet

While at DEMO09, I had the opportunity to film an interview (using my Flip Mino) with Gregoire Gentil of Always Innovating about their new netbook tablet. Being on my momof3boys schedule, I have not posted yet about it. I will upload the interview soon, but for now I have permission to share some pictures that Eliane Fiolet from Ubergizmo took of my interview.  CLICK HERE TO SEE THE UBERGIZMO WRITE-UP ON THE TOUCHBOOK, and read about the 10-15 hour BATTERY LIFE!
Bethdemo2  
Photo credit: Eliane Fiolet from Ubergizmo

February 17, 2009

Adventures With My HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition

When I talk to moms about netbooks they question why they would need one when they already have a laptop. I try to explain that netbooks are small and light enough to keep in their purse all day.  I already started my review for the HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition, but the next step was to see what would happen if I truly kept it in my purse - where would I end up using it? Did I need to have mobile computing beyond my smartphone or could I just wait until I got home?

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I took it to CES and saw the Dress that inspired the design at the HP Booth. Then...

Continue reading "Adventures With My HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition" »

January 23, 2009

CES 09: Hands On with the * Soon to be Released * Dell Mini 10 Netbook

I was sitting at the CES Dell press meeting typing up a post on the Dell Mini "9" when I decided to take a look at their other netbook offerings. On display, they also had the Dell Mini 12". When I asked if there were any other size netbooks, they offered me a chance to view the soon to be released Dell 10"Inspiron Mini Netbook. I was excited to get a hands on with the Dell Mini 10. I saw that  Engadget and Laptog Mag also posted with hands on details on the Dell Inspiron Mini 10.  

Listed below are some of the details about the *soon to be released* Dell Mini 10 (Inspiron) Netbook.

Dellmini10_techmamas2

Here are some preliminary specs that were discussed at CES, but final details will be released soon. I am trying to wait patiently, because this netbook is perfect for mobile computing and more:

Continue reading "CES 09: Hands On with the * Soon to be Released * Dell Mini 10 Netbook" »

January 04, 2009

Looking For "People Friendly Media" Technology

I was honored to connect with Deaf Mom and read about her life on her blog Deaf Mom Shares Her World. I learned from her that video interviews are not accessible for people who are deaf, that text transcripts along with videos are accessible. She inspired me to become interested in the people friendly media technology available. Just this morning we were emailing about this need:

NEED: We are looking for a technology that can "transcribe" audio files to text.

Then today I read about another inspiring person (T.V. Raman, a Computer Scientist and an Engineer at Google) in the New York Times article "Going Where No Guide Do Can". The article describes him as a leading thinker for accessibility issues and notes that some of Mr. Raman's innovations may help make electronic gadgets and web services more user-friendly for everyone. For example, the article also mentioned that Mr. Raman said that with the right tweaks, touch-screen phones - many of which already come equipped with GPS Technology and a compass - could help blind people navigate the world.

I will be heading to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week. I decided to add accessibility technology that can assist people with disabilities to the my list of things to look for.

Please comment on this post with any technologies (and links) you know of to assisting people who are Blind or Deaf. I would also like to hear from people with other disabilities to add the technology they use also and will post about that also.

After reading the New York Times article, I realize that my comments do have a captcha which may be hard to use for screen readers. If you want to comment, and find the captcha an issue - then please email me and I will add your comments to this post. My email is techmamas(at)gmail(dot)com.

Relevant Links:

Start with a visit to Words Matter - Writing about people with disabilities

Official Google Blog: T.V. Raman on Even More Books to Read

Google Accessible Web Search For the visually impaired (Google Accessible Search) and Google Accessible Search FAQ

Google Book Search Becomes Accessible

Links From Deaf Mom:

http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/08/28/youtube-adds-closed-captioning/

October 18, 2008

Gadgets With Embedded Networks?

I was looking at the list of top gadget blogs, when I saw this interesting post on Gizmodo: AT&T Wants All Gadgets to Have Internet Connection (Through AT&T, Natch). This goes along with the Twitter Moms discussion I started asking if moms could create new technology, what would that be

AT&T strategy is to work with gadget companies to have their stuff embedded with access to the AT&T network. I would just love my camera to have an embedded wireless connection that prints out pictures to my wireless printer and loads it to my computer - without plugging in a cable or the camera itself... Of course, security is always a consideration (and can be configured).  Maybe the Eye-Fi concept will be made available across gadgets...

The future looks wireless, and I like it...

Related:
New York Times Blog: AT&T Wants More Web-Enabled Devices

CNET: A threshold for wireless home gadgets

Wired: Wireless Gadgets

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