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22 posts from February 2009

February 27, 2009

Active Video Games For The Nintendo Wii

I am just about to finish my Nintendo Wii Guide - when I happened to see this game at Target today:
Outdoor Challenge.
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The boy jumping got me at first look. The game has different adventures players interact with using the mat (included) and a Wii Controller. The instructions show very clearly the movements necessary for each game. I had my 10 year old, a male sitter that just got out of college, and my 6 year old twins try it. All had fun, and even broke a sweat. The game had "clean" excitement and gave everyone good challenges. The sitter said that he gets more of a workout from using the Wii Fit because it is set up for workouts - but that this game was "active fun". As it said on the cover, it did get my kids off the sofa during the time after school/sports that they usually like to relax in front of the TV.

Another benefit of this game is that each session is very short - so reminders that the gametime is almost over was not a big deal. Some games do engage players in a longer session, which makes shutting them off harder.

Next I may try the Wii Fit with Wii Ski or Shaun White Snowboarding because my son just learned how a few weeks ago in real snow. While anything Mario (especially MarioKart), Lego, or Super Smash bros seems to be popular with my tweener and his friends, the active games did engage my 10 year old who told me "that he felt like he exercised" with Outdoor Challenge, especially while playing the mountain track and log jumping games.

Relevant Links:

February 24, 2009

Watching the State of The Union Address - From My Computer

I was sneaking in some blogging while my babysitter is here - and found out through the Twitter hashtag #SOTU that the State of the Union address was not only tonight - but starting in a few minutes.  So I opened up a new Firefox tab and went to the CBS News Live Video.  As I am typing this, I am also listening to the State of the Union address - getting teary eyed thinking about how happy I am that Barack Obama is President.

So turn on your TV's or watch Live Video's on your PC to make sure you don't miss out on the State of the Union address. To make sure my kids don't miss out on the historic speech, I am going into the other room and turning the speech on our TV.

Ford's "Sync" Voice-Activated Calling and MyKey™ Auto Parental Controls

To provide some background for my interest in auto technologies : My husband and I need to replace our 10 year old wagon with a new car. We are looking at the Ford Hybrids, other Hybrids and dreaming of buying an electric car. So this makes me even more interested to learn about the new auto technologies available to help us in our decision process.

SYNC:

While at CES, I had the chance to have a demo of the Ford and Microsoft partnership created "Sync" that provides voice-activated, hands-free calling. Here is a link over to the Ford website with more details :

"Sync is a voice-activated, hands-free, in-car communications and entertainment system that fully integrates your Bluetooth®-enabled mobile phone and digital music player".

It will be offered on Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars , but can not be purchased after market:

"Sync will debut in fall 2007* on twelve 2008-model Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models: Edge, Explorer, Five Hundred, Focus, Freestyle, Fusion, Milan, MKX, MKZ, Montego, Mountaineer and Sport-Trac. Additional Sync-equipped vehicles will be rolled out as quickly as possible.".

The demo at CES was seamless, you get in the car with your cellphone - turn on the car - and Sync takes over all the functionality from your cellphone to provide a voice activated hand free experience. Functionality includes voice dialing from the phone's address book, navigation, weather and finding local businesses like restaurants all from a small screen located on the dashboard. To use Sync, the drive needs to have a cellphone in the car, that acts as the host to the technology. The IEEE Spectrum tech talk blog shared their opinion on some of the challenges, but I think this is a step in the right direction for integration of this type of functionality in cars instead of having to install separate gadgets or attach something like a hand sized GPS (that can be stolen) to a dashboard.

Here is the video demonstration of Ford Sync:

MyKey™ :

Watching the video is best way to understand how MyKey™ works.

Here are the details from the Ford Website on MyKey™ :

"a new technology that allows parents to limit the vehicle’s top speed and audio volume – next year as standard equipment on the 2010 Ford Focus and many other Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models.

MyKey, another affordable innovation from the company that introduced SYNC™, also encourages safety-belt usage, provides earlier low-fuel warnings and can be programmed to sound chimes at 45, 55 and 65 miles per hour".

I joined a conference call for the DigiKnows Episode #1 An Insider’s Look at Ford MyKey™ to learn more about that technology. Here is the video from the live UStream discussion:


The UStream live discussion covered questions like "Would kids want big brother watching"? The answer was that if the kids are given the privilege of driving - that they would be ok with having auto limits set. Other good questions were on monitoring/reports - and the response is that the designers thought it was to big brother-ish so that is not currently available. Knowing that my 10 year old has already figured out how to de-install programs and tried to "de-install" the internet filtering controls on our computer - I would like to see some type of monitoring available.  I know that teens will not be happy about the volume controls, but there is plenty of information about how listening to loud music for a period of time can lead to hearing loss. That may be an "uncool" message but it is a valid issue.

Here are some of the links for more information:

Continue reading "Ford's "Sync" Voice-Activated Calling and MyKey™ Auto Parental Controls" »

February 20, 2009

Mom Fashion Adventures at the Launch of the HP Mini Vivienne Tam Netbook

Of all the mom adventures I have taken the HP Mini Vivienne Tam on, last nights was the biggest adventure of all. We are in New York City and had the opportunity to go to the Vivienne Tam fashion show.  Vivienne Tam welcomed the big group of bloggers with open arms and a sincere interest in our feedback.

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The dresses were beautiful, I am saving my allowances to buy one of myself. Mother's of three boys need their dresses!

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Umm, yes that is the fabulous Vivienne Tam with TechMama /Beth Blecherman holding the fashionable digital clutch - HP Mini Vivienne Tam Edition. To make the night even more perfect, I am wearing a Black Vivienne Tam dress.

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Techie Diva with Vivienne Tam

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Mama Bird Diaries/ New York City Moms Blogger Kelcey with Vivienne Tam.

More pictures coming hot off the SD slot from my HP Mini which I will use to update my post tomorrow. For now, off to sleep...

UPDATE: Here is a Flickr Badge with the pictures the group took during our fabulous fashion tech adventure:

www.flickr.com
This is a Flickr badge showing public items from the HP / Vivienne Tam Fashion Week Event group pool. Make your own badge here.


Disclosure: I was given a Vivienne Tam HP Netbook and accessories for review and the trip was provided to me as part of a review campaign.

February 18, 2009

HP Mini Vivienne Tam Netbook Goes to A Fashion Show

Post was moved to the following permalink: http://www.techmamas.com/main/2009/02/mom-fashion-adventures-at-the-launch-of-the-hp-mini-vivienne-tam-netbook.html

February 17, 2009

TechMama Heads To NYC For HP/Vivenne Tam Fashion Tech-o-Rama

Blogging from New York City:

After heading to CES where I had a chance to see the new netbooks, I not only added a netbook category but decided that the netbook is going to be one of the premier mom gadgets.  They are light and small enough to carry in a purse, but offer enough functionality for computing on the go. To further my own obsession with netbooks, I decided to do reviews to try them out for myself. 

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My first netbook review was the HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam edition. I was happy to have received my review unit in time to use it at CES, instead of carrying around my functional but heavy laptop. To do a true mom review, I decided to take the HP Mini review unit on the road during my mom tasks.  Here is the link to my post that lists some of the recent adventures I had with my the HP Mini Vivianne Tam Edition review unit (pictures from my camera and my BlackBerry).

There are a group of bloggers that are also reviewing the HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam edition. We were all invited to come to NYC during Fashion Week to meet with the design team and sneak in a Vivienne Tam Fashion show. This beautiful "digital clutch" is the start of an exciting trend to that brings fashion to technology. Meeting with the design team that made it happen helps me reach one of the goals I had starting Techmamas: to start a discussion with the teams that design products for families/women - which will help improve feedback mechanisms on both sides.

Here is a picture of those that arrived early enough to meet-up in the lobby. Photo credit to Judie of Gear Diary (second from right). Terri of Moblie PC World was kind enough to take the picture. I will fill in more names of those in the picture tomorrow.

Hp_vivienne_tam_first_night

Morningside Mom's (last on the right) wrote a Big Apple summary post with links to the bloggers that will be in NYC:

Continue reading "TechMama Heads To NYC For HP/Vivenne Tam Fashion Tech-o-Rama" »

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" »

Trend Micro's Internet Security Software Now Integrated In Cisco Routers

I had a chance to talk to the folks at Cisco while I was at CES and I asked them to keep me posted with any news related to families and Internet security. Today I received an email with the press release information below. Basically "Cisco® and Trend Micro have teamed up to help keep families safe by integrating Trend Micro’s Internet security software into Linksys by Cisco wireless routers." I post often about all-in-one gadgets so integration is a good thing. I will be talking to the folks at Cisco to get more information soon. More to come... Those that want more information can join Cisco and Trend Micro’s Webcast at 9 am PST.


Linksys by Cisco Wireless-N Router (WRT160N)


PRESS RELEASE:

Continue reading "Trend Micro's Internet Security Software Now Integrated In Cisco Routers" »

February 15, 2009

Come To The SXSW 2009 Session "Moms Who Tech"

I am excited to be co-leading a session with Shireen Mitchell at SXSW 2009 called "Moms Who Tech". The session is on the "core conversation" track and here is the link for more details:

Moms Who Tech

Sunday, March 15th 2009

11:30 am

Moms are power users of technology and social networking. This discussion examines the gadgets and social media that they use to manage their careers, families and friendships.

Laptop Magazine published in their August 2008 issue: "manufacturers can’t discount the $90 billion women spend on gadgets, or the fact that they influence 61 percent of all consumer-electronics purchases, an increase of 4 percent since 2004."

Pass the word! I will post more details soon. For those coming to not-to-be-missed SXSW 2009, add "Moms Who Tech" to your SXSW schedule.

February 12, 2009

Lego Centric Electronics On The Way

Finally - Lego centric electronics. All Things Digital (click here) posted with a link to the Boy Genius blog (click here) about Alcatel's partnership with Lego.  I wonder if the real electronics could compare to the Lego Touring Machine that All Things Digital featured?

When it comes to phones, I choose function over design but there is something about anything Lego that makes me want to take it apart and put it back together.. I just hope that phone will be sturdy enough for constant re-engineering by little engineers.

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