10 posts categorized "Resources for Working Moms"

April 27, 2009

Free Online Safety Service From Norton Makes It Easier To Keep Kids Safe Online

**Guest post by Marian Merritt - Symantec's Internet Safety Advocate

I have three kids who love the Internet in all its forms. The oldest is just 15 and the youngest is 7. Like a bunch of bumper cars, their online activities occasionally dent the family rules for being safe online. Sometimes they forget what we’ve discussed or they are into things I never dreamed would capture their interest. It feels like I’m always a step behind knowing what they are going to download or visit and then protecting them from the mistakes they might make.

The youngest one doesn’t understand why I’m concerned about her using search engines when she was taught how to use Google and Yahoo at school. (How do I know the “safe search” settings haven’t been tweaked?) The middle child, 13 years old, wants to game online and has no problem downloading cheat codes or visiting sites with gaming tips. He rolls his eyes when I lecture about visiting these “who knows who runs them” sites and downloading files. And of course, my oldest is into all the normal teen stuff: social networks, chatting, Skyping with her friends,and YouTube. So I admit it, I need some help here.

Norton has just launched a great and easy to use service that should make my life a lot easier. It’s called OnlineFamily.Norton and is a simple way to give me the insight I need into my children’s online activities but without the usual associated headaches of traditional web filtering or parental control software. And, during the introductory period (through next January 1st) the service (a $60 value) is entirely free!!

Continue reading "Free Online Safety Service From Norton Makes It Easier To Keep Kids Safe Online " »

March 28, 2008

"Seeds for Success: Empowering Women Entrepreneurs" Grant Program

I have posted often about how I am a big "The Apprentice" fan. So I was interested to hear that past judge Carolyn Kepcher and Yahoo Small Business launched a grant program for Women Entrepreneurs. Here is an excerpt from the press release:

"Yahoo! Small Business and entrepreneur/television personality Carolyn Kepcher today announced a new grant program to promote women's entrepreneurship enabled by the Internet. The new program, called "Seeds for Success: Empowering Women Entrepreneurs," will award three women entrepreneurs with business grants including cash, mentorship, and technical services valued at more than $25,000 each. Kepcher, best known for her appearances as an advisor to Donald Trump on the NBC television show "The Apprentice" in her capacity as executive vice president of Trump Co., will help select grant winners and connect them with mentors from a team of business leaders. In addition to the grant award, Yahoo! and its partners will provide recipients an array of web design and marketing services."

Women can apply for the grant here, the deadline for submissions is April 6.

February 19, 2008

Does Working At Home Work?

Seems like moms are discussing the challenges of working at home lately:

Please share your work at home challenges....

February 11, 2008

Office 2.0 For Moms: From Starbucks to Cubes and Crayons

Now that my youngest are in preschool, I have more time to work - but no office space (I am typing this post from laptop using a laptop desk on my living room sofa). My office was turned into a bedroom for my twins....

Just this year two things have started to take off that offer great alternatives for moms needing work space outside of the house. Here are just a few, please add more if you know of them:

1. Cubes and Crayons: The most creative solution was founded by M.F. Chapman -  a business in Menlo Park, CA that offers office space and childcare in the same space. Revolutionary you say! I say it is about time. I went over to take a peek and saw multiple office spaces with WiFi - and then two rooms that are for childcare with ample playspace and an array of toys. There is even a kitchen to heat up food for yourself or your child.

2. WiFi at Starbucks - Just today Starbucks announced "announced plans to deliver AT&T Wi-FiSM service at more than 7,000 company-operated Starbucks locations across the United States". Cardholders will get 2 free hours of WiFi a day from AT&T. Paid services will also be available. What attracts me to this is that Starbucks locations are convenient and hopefully the WiFi quality will be good due to the partnership with AT&T. I have visited many free WiFi locations, and some are spotty if best.

3. Many cafes are now offering free WiFi... One of the Silicon Valley favorites is Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto. 

4. If you are a mom looking for a place that offers WiFi to to use their laptops on the go, WeFi which maps accessible, free Wi-Fi (in hotspots and elsewhere), is now available for phones. WeFi is also now available on Facebook.

5. My old favorite is good old FedEX Kinko's. Sometimes I work at home and send documents to be printed out using their online service called Docstore.

September 04, 2007

BlackBerry's - Not Only Yummy But Useful For Moms

483_47_2 I am happy that my tech buddy Sarah Granger guest blogged on Techmamas about the iPhone. Last year when I first went shopping for a smartphone, the iPhone was not out yet. Which is lucky for me because I would have been very tempted.

To help decide which smartphone I was going to purchase, I talked to the most important experts of all - my mom friends who had smartphones. After shopping around, I decided on the BlackBerry. And recently I just upgraded to the BlackBerry Curve. Yippeee, mama is never offline. Our family is a two BlackBerry family (happens often in Silicon Valley), so hubby and I never have to say "Put that thing away". Well, maybe the kids do say that... 

I am still spending time getting to know the features of the BlackBerry Curve, but here are some of the my favorites. The start-up guide is helpful, and installation is quick and easy. I find the most important functions intuitive. Which is great for a busy mom who does not have time to read the full instruction manual. Not that I would read any instruction manual even if I did have time, I would rather read trashy magazines...  After my kids are all back at school and I have one moment to sit down, I will post with a more detailed review.

My current favorite features: 

Continue reading "BlackBerry's - Not Only Yummy But Useful For Moms" »

June 11, 2007

Keeping Track of Online IDs with OnXiam

Oniaxm_3 The wired world has made keeping track on ID's across multiple applications complicated. Even if you use the same ID, you have to remember what applications you signed up for and even worse - your passwords. Being from an application security background, it is important to have secure alphnumeric passwords, which end up being hard to remember at times.

I was visiting Techcrunch, that posted about a blog called Daily Tech Talk (dTt). When I went to take a look at this blog (very interesting, I added it to my tech sites typelist) I saw the most interesting section on his about page. The section listed all of his ID's across multiple online apps such as Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Facebook. The site he used to organize this information is called onXiam.

I decided to add myself. I chose one site that I am just starting to add information to (LinkedIn). All identities added are public by default, but you can choose to have some of your identities remain private. The onXiam FAQ page explains the details.

This is a great service for moms, because just keeping track of your child's schedule is hard enough without remembering ID's.

June 05, 2007

A Visit to JobMom

I was honored to be interviewed by Charlene Prince Birkeland for JobMom, a blog about the journey to find family-work-life balance. I enjoy reading her posts that bring up topics like managing work life balance when a spouse travels, from Mom to Mompreneur and paying the price to follow your dreams.

Being a working mom is such a unique experience, it is great to hear other voices like Charlene's to see different perspectives on common issues. I completely related to the summer scheduling challenges from her post "Schools Out, What Now". Especially when she said "My flexible, freelance schedule is a dream come true -- until summer vacation hits". I am trying to schedule my three boys in camps they will enjoy so I can also have time to work, yet have still have time for summer roadtrips.  It does give new meaning to the word "vacation". I think I may just use Charlene's strategy of spending the afternoons together.

May 06, 2007

Countdown to Mother's Day - Tech Gift Linklove

Techmomgift Mother's Day (May 13) is officially one week away and what better way to celebrate then to share what tech gift items moms are talking about:

  • Want Not ponders the electronics dilemma of finding the right digital photo frame. A commenter suggested a service to remotely upload pictures.
  • Silent"I" was very creative with a request for "a 2 gig iPod that has a mini TV so I can download Grey's Anatomy and have Dr. McDreamy in my pocket (I'm more of a McSteamy fan actually), a service that turns her phone into a wifi modem for blogging on the road and the Snowball microphone for better podcasting quality."
  • Techmamas has a list of recommendations including a Coach bag that can be used to carry a BlackBerry, keys and a wallet yet is small enough to fit into a laptop case or beach tote. And a rolling laptop bag that is easy to push. Suggestions were also made to help set up a home office for WAHMs (Work at Home Moms)  which applies to all moms whether they work outside the home, telecommute, have a home business, volunteer or manage their own families.
  • Yahoo Tech Mom posted about her MP3, smartphone and stylish gear bag preferences.
  • State of Grace suggested a wonderfully low-tech hand made necklace. That just may be my favorite suggestion of all because it can double as dinner if moms don't have anything else to cook.

If there are other tech mamas who would like to share their tech wish lists, please comment with a link to the post on your blog or email techmamas(at)gmail.com.

May 05, 2007

Techmamas Mother's Day Gift Guide for Tech-Savvy Moms

Workingmom_3 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 -Blackberrycase 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 CoachCoachblack2_4 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.

Ipod_nano_back_p4_3 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 Lcalendar 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 andBlackberrypearl_3 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 toolsHprinter2 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  with Webcam_5 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.Mdaycard

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.......

March 27, 2007

Mama needs a Job?, go Online

There are many ways for moms to get back in the working world. I did that through setting up a blog and joining BlogHer. Finding the right network is very important for finding a job. Many of my friends use LinkedIn to start setting up an online network. Jobs are posted on the main sites like Monster.com and also on company sites, but some moms need part time work because they are the main caregivers of their children. And working part time provides the flexility to help with work life balance issues. Here are two of the sites that I know of that are relevant for part-time work. Please comment if there are others out there....

1. Charlene Li passed on this site to me: MyPartTimePro.com. This site was set up by Philadelphia area "mom-preneur" Ilyse Shapiro.

2. If you are a techie and want to get work, join organizations like ProNet, that are professional networks for a specific software platform. ProNet is a network of professionals that consult on Movable Type, TypePad, and TypeKey platforms. I am sure there are other professional networks out there for those interested.

3. WAHM.com is a site listing jobs for working at home moms.

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