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18 posts from November 2008

November 29, 2008

How To Troubleshoot Wireless Routers and Depression

I did not realize I had Wireless Router Depression Syndrome until I talked to TechBrother. My wireless access has been down for ONE MONTH and I was starting to lose hope, feel depressed. I have been using my USB Broadband card to access the internet during this time - but the rest of my family and my wireless printer were offline. Luckily I did have a cord to use at least for the printer as a stopgap measure.

Tech brother and my husband are my troubleshooting buddies, we can usually figure things out by sharing information.  But this time, my and husband and I were stumped at why our wireless router was not working.  TechHusband and I had the physical wire issues fixed and some other configuration - while TechBrother gave us extra configuration step. Aha........

Wireless Router fixed.. Suddenly my wireless router depression was gone.

Here are some shortcut steps for troubleshooting, each operating system and wireless router type will have different settings so my steps will be general. I also have a perspective from my from set-up, others will have different setups which will lead to different steps (i.e. using an Airport router).

For this discussion, the assumption is that internet access to the house comes through a physical wire. There are three main items, a PC, DSL modem or modem that connects to a phone line and a wireless router (like Linksys or Airport):

1. When installing wireless routers, make sure you save all the passwords, WEP passkey, MAC addresses and configuration details in a place that can be accessed for troubleshooting. If the information is only in an email, that may not work if your router is down! Best thing to do would be to print it out on a piece of paper with the router documents and put it in a safe place - that you will remember even if in a troubleshooting frenzy.

Continue reading "How To Troubleshoot Wireless Routers and Depression" »

November 28, 2008

Offbeat Humor Meets iPhone Robot

As a mother of three boys, bathroom humor is something I just can't get away from. But I have to admit, although this video has some (just a warning before you watch), it was so funny  - that I actually showed my 10 year old son. Make extra special notice of who the "callers" are:

I do want to know how to find one of those robot sets...

Video via Wired Gadget Lab

Black Friday, It has Begun

Black Friday has officially started. I am blogging from the quiet of my home while shoppers may be lining up at stores ready to cash in on the bargains. I wonder if the economic crisis will send more people out to get the discounts, or keep more at home? Here are links to find out more information about the sales if you are brave enough to join in the shopping fun online or at the stores:
I told my husband that I want to upgrade my BlackBerry Curve to a  BlackBerry Bold, get an iPod Touch, new digital camera and some other (what I feel are "needed") gadgets as my holiday presents. 

Or at least I call them needed.


Talk about needed, Donating is also a great thing for kids to learn about. We always donate around holiday time (as well as other times).

I may just have to search around online to see what deals come up. Or just save up to buy later.  Please report back if you know of other deals for Black Friday. If you miss Black Friday, there is always Cyber Monday.

November 27, 2008

Thankful for Being A Mom Blogger Who Techs

I had one of those defining moments yesterday at a pre-Thanksgiving celebration. I was talking to a man who is a muckity-muck (Executive) at a top technology company. Armed with a long list of tech and gadget blogs I read every day, I asked "what blogs do you read?".

His answer, made me stop and think. Here is a summary of our discussion:

Tech Muckity-Muck Executive Guy: I read the Silicon Valley Moms Blog and another mom blog along with tech blogs.

TechMama: What, you read Silicon Valley Moms Blog and another moms blog?

Tech Muckity-Muck Executive Guy: Yes, I really enjoy reading mom blogs. The moms are "real" and (as a father myself) I relate to their experiences.

TechMama (who is also Chief Technology Mom and one of the Co-Founders of the Silicon Valley Moms Group blogs): Blush, Blush... Well - that is great.

...quiet moment, Techmama trying to hide her surprise that Tech Muckity-Muck Guys read mom blogs...decided to change the subject...

TechMama: So tell me what at your favorite technology gadgets, I am in the middle of writing my technology guide...

So today, on Thanksgiving I am sharing being thankful to be a mom blogger and a tech blogger, and have access to the amazing communities related to both areas. I decided to share more of my personal opinions on TechMamas instead of only going all tech newsy and gadgety. In my effort to build my creds as a tech blogger I somehow stopped sharing my personal opinions. Today I decided I can do both.

So is born the category "my two cents".

Happy Thanksgiving, especially to Tech Muckity-Muck Guys who read mom blogs. Or as my mom blogger buddy Jessica from the LA Moms Blog says "I am a Mother - not a mom blogger".

UPDATE: I don't want to forget the amazing Dad Bloggers, I just got a Thanksgiving email from one (Gunfigher: A Modern Warrior's Life) today so I decided to add them to my thankful list. Of course my favorite Dad Blogger is hubby Neil Blecherman.

November 24, 2008

Getting Ready To Spread The HP Magic - GIVEAWAY coming up soon

Holiday time is always more special to me when I get to share the techie love with others. Which is why I am ever so excited to be apart of 50 bloggers that will be participating in the HP Magic Give Away.


Hp_microsoft_blogger_magic

Juicy details about my giveaway will be announced soon, but for now I will say that these premium items are part of the fun (worth $6,000 us dollars!!):
(Extra thanks to fellow HP Magic'er GEAR DIARY for listing those out for me, I do have three boys to get to bed!)

Hardware

HP TouchSmart IQ816 PC
HP HDX 18 series Premium Notebook PC
HP MediaSmart Connect
HP Pavilion dv4 series Entertainment Notebook PC (with Windows Live)
HP Mini 1000 (with XP)

Accessories

HP Photosmart C6380 Wireless AIO (printer)
• HP 564 Photo Value Pak

Software

• Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate/Home Premium or Microsoft Windows XP pre-installed on all units (Mini 1000 runs XP)
Microsoft Office Home and Student Edition 2007 (Student-Teacher Edition) – 1 DVD with 3 licenses
Microsoft Windows Live
Corel VideoStudio X2

Entertainment

Kung Fu Panda (2 widescreen DVDs; 1 widescreen Blu-ray disc)

The theme and timing of my giveaway will be announced soon. Even more fun is to be in the great company (just take a look at) the other HP Magic Give Away bloggers:

Gotta Be Mobile
Barb’s Connected World
Geek.com
Gear Live
Neowin
Small Biz Vista
JK On the Run
BostonPocketPC
Notebooks.com
Geekzone
I Started Something
Bleeping Computer
The Gadgeteer
Planet x64
Digital Home Thoughts
Digital Inspiration
Geeks!
MediaBlab
Geek News Central
The Digital Lifestyle
GearDiary
Last 100
Geeks To Go!
Liliputing
OSNN
Slashdot Review
SlashGear
Gadgetell
Windows Connected
Techie Diva
One Day, One Job
Student Bloggers
Study Hacks - Demystifying College Success
HackCollege
Noticias Tech
Eliax
La Bitácora de Erwin Ried
Carlos Alberto
InfoWester
GeeksRoom
CíberPrensa
Unión de Bloggers Hispanos
Living - In Theory
Moosh in Indy
Morningside Mom
Thoughts on poetics & tech
Stop, Drop & Blog
Down-to-Earth Mama
merlot mom

November 21, 2008

CBS News on Web Testing Kids' Desire To Cheat

The CBS Evening News With Katie Couric website posted with a disturbing trend: Kid's sharing how to cheat using social media!  Their story reported that there is more than 3,000 How-To-Cheat In School Videos On YouTube. For those parents thinking that internet controls on their own will help shield kids from these videos, just take a quick Google Search on "how to cheat on a test"  to see all the ways they get access to cheating information online.

I remember in college one time especially where there were whispers of someone getting an advanced copy of a test. The temptations were there to take a look. I decided not to - I would like to say because of my ethics but really when it came down to it I just did not want to go down that road. Cheating is cheating, and I wanted to stay clear of it. I also remember hearing of some college geeks who figured out how to program formulas into their calculators - for those tests we were allowed to use them.

Kids now have technology all around them - posing even more temptations. So in the end having a talk with kids,  about the old fashioned way and cyber-style cheating, is the best defense of all.

A related post on the CBS News website is called "Think Before You Post". I would like to add to that "Kids/Teens - Think Before You Put Any Information About Yourself Online - especially how YOU CHEAT!".

Top 17 Technology Gifts for Techie Teens - Guest Post by Vanessa Van Petten

As a TechMama, it is important that I also get the "teen perspective" when it comes to technology. My youngest is only 9, so I reached out to some "teen bloggers". A standout is teen author Vanessa Van Petten's blog. I asked if she wanted to guest post about her top technology gift for teens - and she said yes. Here it is, Top 17 Technology Gifts for Techie Teens (written by a techie teen!).

__________________________________________________________________________________

Vanessa Van Petten is the teen author of the parenting book “You’re Grounded!” She writes a parenting blog along with 12 other teen writers from the kid's perspective to help parents.  Her work as a young family peacemaker have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Teen Vogue, Fox 5, CBS 4 and much more! http://www.OnTeensToday.com

Top 17 Technology Gifts for Techie Teens by Vanessa Van Petten


1) Orb Watches It's not so cool to wear a watch anymore, but these are very cool designs.

2) Solar Computer Backpack Does your teen have a ton of electronics? This might help keep everything charged (I kinda want one).

3) iTrain This is a great way to encourage your kids to be active and a new way to workout.  These are workout programs for your kid's MP3 or iPod.

4) Earringbuds Your kid always wearing earbuds? At least they can look like jewelry now.
Also check out Earbud Charms.

Continue reading "Top 17 Technology Gifts for Techie Teens - Guest Post by Vanessa Van Petten" »

November 19, 2008

Goodbye Kinko's, Hello Epson Artisan 800

Click HERE to visit the GIVEAWAY CONTEST at the Silicon Valley Moms Blog  (the Giveaway is an Epson Artisan 800).

With all the home technology choices available, one of my most difficult decisions was selecting a printer to buy. So I used the "home away from home-office" (Kinko's) for printing, scanning and faxing while looking around for the right printer. I was considering going to Kinko's to print name tags and stickers for the recent LA Moms Blog launch party. But this time I decided it was time to find a printer so that my office could come back home.

My required features included built in Wi-Fi available to the multiple laptops in our house (via our wireless router), plus high-quality fax and scanner capabilities. I needed the printer to have multiple printer settings and a variety of trays so I could print everything from photos, paper documents and nametags/stickers. I also wanted the ability to print photos without the requirement to wire a computer directly into the printer (I download from my digital camera). Along with that, I wanted a printer that has separate printer cartridges for colors so I only need to replace the actual colors that are out - instead of the whole cartridge. Most of all, I am not only a techie but also a busy mom  - so the printer needed to be intuitive and easy to use.

As timing would have it (seriously), the One2One Network contacted me to to see if I wanted to review the Epson Artisan 800 Series All-in-One Printer. When I checked the fact sheet, I was happy to see that the printer had ALL my desired features and more.

34145-hi-img_head-on
It also looked so sleek....

The Artisan 800 has a touch panel/LCD for easy instructions along with Wi-Fi networking, multiple print settings and paper trays. The printer is an All-in-One with the ability to print, copy, scan, and fax.  I was starting to think that my home office would get some "real" office functionality.

But the real test for any parent using a computer is the overall ease of installation and use.

Continue reading "Goodbye Kinko's, Hello Epson Artisan 800" »

November 17, 2008

Newsflash: Mom Blogger Vacuums The Red Carpet

My Co-Founders and I am thrilled to have met the many dynamic mom bloggers across the Silicon Valley Moms Group network. Yesterday, I had the treat of meeting up with the Los Angeles moms blog for our Launch party (sponsored by GM). The party had a red carpet, mom comedy routines and celeb moms in attendance. I will be posting with more juicy details about our launch party in the next few days at the LA Moms Blog.

Here is a picture (many more will be added) of my fantasy - which was to "vacuum" the red carpet...
Redcarpet_vacuum_2

November 15, 2008

Walmart Joining the Black Friday Deal Craze

Black Friday is a great time to make technology purchases, many stores are offering in-store and online deals. It is important to plan ahead..

Yesterday I saw mention of the site Blackfriday.info on CNET News. Just this morning I read on CNN Money (via Techmeme) details about Walmart's high tech deals, so that is a great place to start. The Walmart online site has an electronics section that can help prepare for a visit to the store or save the ride by buying online. Their technology bundles and special buys can help spread the holiday gift budget. On the bottom of the site, there are links to "subscribe" to get news and updates or sign up for email updates on rollback savings, advertised Values, special buys and new releases.

More to come on Black Friday, TechMama's favorite techie shopping day (next to after holiday sales)!

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