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29 posts from September 2008

September 28, 2008

Top 10 iPhone Apps - What's Yours?

I blogged about the every so cool Light Saber iPhone app, but that made me curious to find more.  Laptop magazine published a list of their Top Ten iPhone applications. I am wondering what else there is out there.....

I will Defeat You With My iPhone, I mean Light Saber App

3725_lightsaber_unleashed I was hanging out with my son's boy scout troop and one of the dads showed me an iPhone app that made me finally want to buy an iPhone: a free application called Phone Saber.  Yes, the app even has that famous light saber sound effect. My son could not stop talking about it, Star Wars is big in my house of three boys. After we saw it,  we tried to imagine some design that would use WiFi to allow the application to keep track of the light sabers making contact.

I am now on the hunt for more iPhone applications, even if they are useless while being extremely cool.

How To Use FriendFeed, And The FriendFeed Techie List

I not only have mutual friends connecting me to and seem to bump into Robert Scoble often, but I have been fascinated with the way he uses social media. One conversation I have with my mom blogger friends on a regular basis is "How to best use this social media app or that?". Well techie moms rejoice, Robert Scoble has come through again with the "The Scoble Top Tech Blogger/FriendFeed/Social Media List". 

For those looking for tech social media people to follow - this is a great list. I am happy it included some of my mominfluentials including Charlene Li and Kara Swisher. I commented on that post that I have been so busy perfecting my strategy for Twitter, Twitter MomsFacebook and LinkedIn that I just signed up but am not a FriendFeed power user (yet). I would like to see more techie moms using Friendfeed so the list can be even bigger for the next linklove (and this list inspired me to start working on my own FriendFeed "TechMama").

I do like FriendFeed's functionality - especially for busy moms. With Friendfeed, you "friend" those you want to follow - but with doing so you have access to many of their social media apps instead of one. FriendFeeds can have anything from Flickr pics, blog posts, Twitter feeds and more. Just take a look at the list of applications you can add to your own feed! And when you "subscribe" to feeds, you can categorize them in Home (page) feed, Favorites, Personal, Professional and even create a list of your own. I just started and already created a gadget, social networking news and tech news.  I also created a mom blogger list so I can keep up with all of my favorite mom bloggers as well as my fellow contributors at the Silicon Valley Moms Group's personal blogs. Now I just need to go through and add my friends.

FriendFeed also has account customizations for feed and email preferences. Those with smartphones beware, make sure to minimize the email notifications you get to your emails - or else your phone will be very busy. Reading the FriendFeed blog will help you learn more about the application, like how you can use the FriendFeed API to manage the application from a desktop or moblie client (like Twhirl). I would suggest new users read the help section titled "Getting Started".

Best of all, as with many social networking applications - you can embed a button on your blog so your readers/friends can easily find you (I added my button to the bottom of my "about" typelist on TechMamas). I am allowing mine to be public because my niche is mom blogging, technology and parenting.

My next step is to find the right place to put my family pictures and stories, which are more personal and something I will keep separate from my public persona... And to learn more FriendFeed strategies.

September 27, 2008

Secrets to Router And Computer Sucess: Update Update Update

I was just reading my RSS feed for NYT David Pogue and found a post he did called "The Fastest Route to Faster Internet Speeds". He also has a Linksys Wireless Router with boost (like myself) and also found the secret to utilizing the increase in speed (like myself): UPDATES. He explained that the Linksys software version was out of date and needed to be upgraded before he could see the increase in speed from his boost. I had a similar experience with my Linksys Wireless Router - and with Windows Vista. A good point to realize when you buy a new computer - that by the time the machine is sitting at your house - updates will need to be applied to take best advantage of the operating system (factory to consumer can take some time...). When I first purchased my new laptop with Windows Vista, one of the first things I did after I got it running was to apply the most recent service pack.

Sprint & Sierra Wireless - Providing Internet on the Go for Busy Moms

Sprintusb When I went to the Sprint store to purchase a Compass™ 597 by Sierra Wireless USB broadband card, I had spent some time researching different options. Technology moves fast, and broadband options are ever changing. I had heard that the Sprint/Sierra Wireless USB broadband was theHpim0535 fastest available - and when I tested it I was thrilled. The USB broadband card plugs right into laptops and users to have internet on the go - without the need to look for wi-fi hubs.

I am sitting at a beautiful cafe while my son is busy at a event I signed him up for. I would usually waiting for him to finish,  trying to find something to do - but today I am writing this post BECAUSE I HAVE A USB BROADBAND CARD! The cafe I am at does not have Wi-Fi, and my son goes to events there often so I was stuck..

So here is a toast to broadband on the go, and my little USB card that is allowing me to make good use of time.

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In The Motherhood: The Webisode

I am a big Chelsea Lately (Chelsea Handler) fan, her show is my comic relief after a day of chasing three boys around... I happened to find this site that has mom related webisodes, and guess who made an appearance? Well none other then Jenny McCarthy, Leah Remini and Chelsea Handler..... Click here to take a look, it is funny for anyone that has fuzz growing on their sponges....

Do you think Chelsea Handler has a vanity Google alert set up and will see this post? Do ya, do ya? Maybe she will even comment when she realizes she has a crazed techie mama fan that has found a new place to watch her online (which is where I hang out most of the time).

September 26, 2008

What Are The Right High Tech Systems For Parents to Keep Track of Their Kids?

My blogger buddy Michelle Lamar from White Trash Mom posted a disturbing story about a parent's struggle to get the GPS coordinates of their missing daughter:  "Verizon Wireless, Kelsey Smith: Help Me Send a Message".  Donna from SoCalMom commented on that post bringing up that their daughter was 18 (an adult) so privacy laws are an issue. Add to that the discussions around Homeland Security's access to data and the Washington Post article about the government asking cell phone companies to offer tracking information for criminals and the issues get even more complicated.

In the end, my question is what about parents access to that information? Standard cellphone plans do not have "monitoring" for children included. Child monitoring services are "add-ons"including Verizon Chaperone and Sprint Family Locator.

Maybe the solution is for cell phone companies to incorporate family locators into all family plans so emergency procedures would not be needed?  It seems that in 2006 the discussion was going on that government demands to cell phone networks to provide location information was the inspiration for creation of family locator services in the first place.

Engadget published a post titled: "Family Locator now accessible from all web-enabled Sprint phones". That is a great first step but not all families can afford web plans, so how can this be offered in a budget family way?

I have been looking into this myself because soon it will be time to purchase a cell phone for my older son. It is IMPORTANT for parents to realize that just purchasing a cell phone does not provide access to tracking systems. Obviously, there should be an immediate response from cell phone companies if a child is missing, but it may be worthwhile for parents to also look at having a tracking system for their own use. And one that only allows "parents" to track their children - and not open it up to strangers (security settings are an issue).

Here are some links to reviews of GPS tracking systems for Parents (other then the family locator plans):

I was interviewed for a video Tech reporter Kym McNicholas did for Forbes.com called "High Tech Babysitter". This is relevant because beyond the moral issues of a child's right to privacy, these days you can never be too safe. As part of the preparation for the conversation with Kym McNicholas (and what I learned from talking with her), a few products seemed the most interesting (but I have not tried yet):

Overall, I feel locator services should be standard in all family plans - but is that possible for reasonable prices? In any case, cell phone networks should be able to provide timely location information to any family that has called in an emergency. If upgrades to our networks need to be made to enable this, then that should be a priority. Or if privacy is an issue, let's resolve parent's access to their kids ahead of time - no matter what age their kids are.

And as parents we need to find the right balance for how we keep track of our kids, utilizing some high tech gadgets if needed with the good old low tech communication. That - or just injecting our kids with a GPS Tracking chip (when that is invented).

September 25, 2008

Solar Powered Cell Phone Charger

Cat from Green Daily told me about a solar powered cell phone charger, so I just had to go to the site to find out more about it.. Here is the link to the post, seems like a better alternative for charging up phones then constantly chasing after electricity plugs for standard chargers.  In California, there is definitely enough sun to do the trick!

September 23, 2008

HTC, Google and T-Mobile Announce Android-Powered Device

Yesterday I posted with details about the ability to obtain MP3 for the Google Android from the Amazon store and today I received an email with the product announcement of the upcoming launch of the T-Mobile G1. I first became interested in the Google Android while looking at options available for my next smartphone upgrade (there are so many options out there now!).  Kudos to their PR team, so I decided to include their press release info if you click "below". Here is a picture for those wanted to see what the phone will look like:
Image004

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BlogWorld Posts Have Juicy Info on Blogging..

Not a surprise that those bloggers hanging out at BlogWorld 08 did lots of - well - blog posts. Here are some I have been reading:

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