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19 posts from October 2008

October 31, 2008

Mashups for Blogs?

I already blogged about Mashup Camp, Nov. 17-19 in Mountain View. Well, I am excited to say that my discussion item is now posted. Please add your thoughts, imagination is welcome.... What are some good ideas for blog mashups?

Here is my discussion item for Mashup Camp:
What mashups are there that bloggers can use to help manage their community or the business behind their blogs? Or what mashups can be created for this purpose. For example, one mashup that I would like to see is something that can search my blog email account for PR and companies wanting to do business with me and load to some sort of CRM system. Many bloggers I know use their blogs to represent their business or online image, so organizing the blog emails would be a great tool.

October 30, 2008

Kids that Are Kept Away From Technolgy, Parents That Are Widly Overprotective

Sarah Lacy, author of the book "Once Your Good, Twice You're Lucky - The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.0",  could not have said it better when she posted "Quick Hide Your Women and Children! TWITTER IS COMING!. One line in that post really stood out to me:

"Keeping your children from using some of the most socially transformative tools modern technology has ever seen was at best wildly overprotective and at worst setting them up for a lifetime of disadvantages."

I hear many moms discussing that they want to keep their kids away from "evil technology", when really what is needed are limits, internet safety controls and regular education to help kids understand safe use of technology (including privacy settings when needed). Otherwise, you may as well just keep your kids in a hut out in the middle of the woods. Because technology has opened the world up with information and opportunities to network. The dangers are there, but so are the dangers for walking to school now adays..

The key is to educate your child to prepare them for a life in the digital world. Do you want them to the be the only kid going to college that did not start online social networking months in advance? Or that does not know how to type when homework can be handed in online starting at 3rd grade or earlier? Or understands that entertainment technology is fun, but needs to be used within time limits?

The "One" Gadget For Families?

Sara Silver from the Wall Street Journal blogged about some shedding their gadgets and turning to iPhones. The article quoted Mark Donovan, senior analyst at comScore:

"We see that lower-income consumers are increasingly turning to mobile devices to access the Internet, to listen to music and for email," said Mark Donovan, senior analyst at comScore. "

The interesting thing about this is that the article also mentioned that wireless ventures are losing DSL subscribers.

What does all of this mean?

I think it means families are looking to use "one gadget" as their dashboard to save money and help keep streamline family processes.

In reality, I see that one gadget being two, a wireless phone and a computer. The wireless phone will provide internet and phone access on the go, while the "dashboard" of every home will be the family PC. I see the family of the future having less paper on the fridge, family schedules, notes and reference information will be on a nice big screen computer. I see that screen being the only thing that the family sees, the computer itself will either be built into the screen or put under a counter. Maybe the screen will be a touch screen so even the little ones can use it to enter in their playdate schedule, or answer some of their questions by looking on safe online websites. School age kids will do their homework online and send it to their teacher before the night end. All family music will be loaded on some iTunes-like application that can transferred easily to MP3's or smartphones.  Better yet, that one screen will also be used for family entertainment. The only other gadgets needed will be a gaming console, MP3 player, wireless printer, a wireless router (along some sort of modem) and a DVR. Or maybe families will be using VoIP?

That may be more then two - but the "main" gadgets are still the smartphone and the PC.

In my house, a touch screen would need to be able to withstand varying degrees of sticky hands and wrestling boys knocking against it.

This techmama would always need her own laptop no matter what the rest of the family is using! My two devices would be a (MP3, GPS and all other three letter acronoym filled) smartphone and a small/slim laptop that I can carry in my purse. And my laptop can use my smartphone wireless access. I would take this computer to business and school meetings, sending notes out to others at the meeting instead of re-typing when I go home. All of this would make my life more efficient so I would have more time to spend with my family... That is in the home of the future.

Oh, and in the future some gadget will be created that sends laundry from the washer, to the dryer then folds it.

OK, that last one may just be a dream....

October 28, 2008

Camp For Mashups - Not Talking About Potatoes

The first time I heard about the word "mashup" other then telling my son how to make his own mashed potatoes was when my husband (Neil Blecherman) said he was going to Mashup Camp last year. Being a social media obsessed ex-programming geek, I had to say "What is a mashup"?

He sat down to explain to his ever-so geeky wife the techie details of what mashups are. Little did I know that I already had used mashups. Mashups are web application hybrids that bring multiple functionality together.  Some examples of mashups are Google Maps, Flickrvision and youMashTube.  Even better, is the explanation at the Mashup Camp Silicon Valley site:


Ask 10 self-proclaimed mashup developers what a mashup is and you might get 10 different answers. That said, most mashups (be they software or content-oriented) draw upon functionality and/or content from two or more sources, at least one of which is third-party to the developer, to produce a new creative work. For example, if a birdwatcher "mashed up" her own database of bird sightings by GPS coordinates with the functionality and content of Google Maps, the resulting visual presentation where the locations of bird sightings are interactively overlaid on top of a map within the context of a Web browser could be considered a mashup."

A website called "Programmable Web" has a dashboard with a listing of mashups. The most exciting thing about mashups is that they can be created by anyone - and your imagination is the limit. In Silicon Valley, if you like to create or learn about Mashups the place to be is at Mashup Camp. Here are the details about the Mashup Camp Silicon Valley (held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View on November 17-19). The schedule looked very interesting. I enjoy going to these type of collaborative "un"conferences to share ideas:


Mashup Camp is a collaborative unconference and multi-track Best Mashup Contest for mashup developers, API and technology providers, and VCs looking to develop and/or discover the next big thing. Mashup Camp revolves around a multi-track Best Mashup Contest which offers the opportunity to win on several levels – for both attendees and sponsors alike! The format of Mashup Camp follows a Learn - Hack - Compete progression over a 3-day time period."

I decided to register this year. I proposed a discussion item about which mashups can be used for bloggers. For example, one mashup that I would like to see is something that can search my blog email account for PR and companies wanting to do business with me and load to some sort of CRM system. Many bloggers I know use their blogs to represent their business or online image, so organizing the blog emails would be a great tool  Let's see if that gets added to the list, of if that type of mashup is already developed somewhere!

Checking the list of "who's coming" I saw my husband had already registered. Great to know that parents can also go to camp!

October 26, 2008

WowWee Rovio: A Robot That Allows Voice-Over-Internet Scolding

I was reading a Forbes.com article about a robot called WowWee. I had heard about it before, but this is the first time I read about the voice-over-Internet scolding capabilities:

"Earlier this month, Hong Kong-based robotics company WowWee began selling Rovio, a $300 black, three-wheeled surveillance robot equipped with a webcam, speakers and a microphone. Connect the bot to your home wi-fi network and you can control it through a Web browser from anywhere in the world".

You can use the Rovio's electronic eye to monitor your house via streamed video. The article mentions being able to remotely monitor a cat that is scratching a couch while at work. I see bigger applications, like telling a teen that is having a pool party instead of finishing his/her term paper for school - that his/her parents may be a work BUT THEY CAN STILL SEE WHAT IS GOING ON....

October 24, 2008


Gizmodo just posted HDTV How To Buy Like A Pro details, which helped me understand more about it. CNET also has a comprehensive section of their site called "HDTV World". I have reading about HDTV's but have not made the leap yet, good to have all of this information avaliable. Any other hints or information I should know about HDTV?

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...

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

CNET: A threshold for wireless home gadgets

Wired: Wireless Gadgets

Gadget Blogs

When looking for gadget ideas, I like reading my favorite magazines like PC World, Laptop Magazine and other gadget guides - but I also look at Gadget blogs. I am a gadget blogger myself - but that is just one of the topics my blog covers. I did find a nifty list of Gadget blogs on a site called Gadget Venue. I saw some on that list that I had not seen before.. But my alltime favorite listing of gadget blogs is the "gadget" section of the aggregator "Alltops":

Alltop - Top Gadget News

October 16, 2008

iPhone Versus BlackBerry Versus G1?

When talking about smartphones, the conversations usually focus on the iPhone versus BlackBerry. But the current conversation is the iPhone versus the G1 ( T-Mobile and Google's first hand-held computer in the same class as the iPhone). Walter Mossberg (one of my favorite gadget reviewers) did a very thorough review of the G1 on the WSJ website. From that review it seems the upside for the G1 seems to center around those that use Google Calender and services already - so syncing will be easy. The G1 also has a physical keyboard, touchscreen and a trackball.  But there seems to be some challenges, such as lack of memory storage for third party apps, user interface and the fact that T-Moblie only has 3G in only 20 U.S. metro areas.

October 15, 2008

The Blogger Jet Needs A TechMama

J0400845 I decided to attend CES 2009 to have a first hand look at the gadgets relevant to families (since I obsess about that already daily). Being a mom of three boys, I am tight on money so I put off buying my plane ticket to CES..

Then I heard about this most excellent party organized by the one and only Robert Scoble and the Parnassus Group (do I sound cool or a geeky gal trying to be cool?). So I signed up for that and got on the official guest list!  I may be a mom but I partied hard at computer conferences BK (before kids) and AK (after kids) at BlogHer conferences and with my fellow Silicon Valley Moms Group bloggers- so I was looking forward to the geekfest.

Then I heard about a blogger jet (yes a jet full of gadget bloggers) that will be starting in Seattle, stopping in Silicon Valley and then heading to Vegas for CES. Because every blogger jet needs a mom gadget blogger on board. Even better that whole flight is eco-friendly thanks to ClearSky Climate Solutions.

Then I got notice that posting about this adventure is part of the "contest" to get on the jet. So here is my post to get one “ticket” in the virtual punch bowl.

Do I sound excited? I am hoping for some good blogger jet karma coming my way.... Otherwise, I will need to find another way to CES..



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