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11 posts from April 2009

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 " »

April 25, 2009

BlogHer 09 Room of Our Own Proposal: Gadgets For Bloggers - PLEASE VOTE

A group of fun gal gadget bloggers and I proposed a room of our own session for BlogHer 09 called "Gadgets For Bloggers". The room of our own sessions are open for anyone to propose, but only a short list will be chosen. We are all passionate about gadgets - and hope to share info at the session. So - for those BlogHers out there, I am asking for your voting help..

To vote, you login to the BlogHer website - then vote by selecting "I would attend this session". Click HERE to comment that you would attend. Only those logged in can vote.

For a view of the other proposals, Click here. We are on page 5 of the list of proposals. 

Here is a link to the high level details and a list of who will be doing the session with me:


Get the scoop on the latest technologies to vlog, blog, liveblog, photos, wireless, mobile technologies and more.

Session will be led by:

Gina Hughes Techiediva.com

Eliane Fiolet Ubergizmo.com

Amisha Gandhi Notebooks.com

Beth Blecherman TechMamas.com

Ponzi Pirillo  Gnomedex

April 23, 2009

AT&T Matrix Pro by PanTech: The "Tween" Test and GIVEAWAY!

Pantech **Winner is AuntieThesis!!

CONTEST is CLOSED. Due to the large number of those that entered, the winner will be announced on Thursday April 30 by 11pm. 

I had the opportunity to take the The Matrix Pro smartphone by Pantech for a test run as part of a promotion that culminates with a giveaway. The Matrix Pro website is: Pantechmatrixpro.com, the key features are listed on that site.  A review of the Pantech Matrix Pro can be found at ChipChick, as well as some of the other websites doing this promotion (see below). I decided to find out more about the AT&T Pantech Matrix Pro in a different way - by giving it to my 10 year old tween for test drive. I have a smartphone already, so I thought it was a great opportunity for my son to test one out. Details of my tween test drive are listed below the contest info.

This contest is open from April 23 until April 28 at 5pm pst. On April 28 at 5pm, I will close the contest. All those that commented to this post will be entered to Random.org to find a winner (ONE person will be chosen randomly). The Winner will be announced on April 28 after 9pm pst. ENTER THIS CONTEST BY COMMENTING on the post below.

AN EXTRA ENTRY IN RANDOM.ORG WILL BE ENTERED FOR THOSE THAT TWITTER @matrixpro AND @Techmama in one tweet sharing why you want this phone. Please add your Twitter ID to your comment so I know that you also tweeted for the second entry into Random.org. Only ONE EXTRA entry for twitter will be counted so that each person can have a two entry limit into Random.org.

Prize package elements

  • Pantech Matrix Pro handset 
  • Service credit (via gift card):  In the amount of US $100.  The gift card good is good for anything sold through any AT&T store (online or real-world), or can be used for the cost of a service plan. 


  • Individuals who’ve won at another site are ineligible to win at another
  • Winners are limited by geography to US residents only
  • TechMamas.com is not responsible for any lost packages or incorrect shipping addresses. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. Approximate value of prizes may vary.
  • The random winner will be choosen by Techmamas.com, all decisions are final.

Disclosure: I did not get compensation for this promotion, a phone was supplied to me in advance of the promotion for review purposes. The information shared about on this post is just a customer opinion.

Just as background, my son has been earning points like crazy to buy a cellphone because he said "Mom... Everyone has cellphones... Then you can reach me at any time..I need to be able to text with my friends". Yes - that is coming from a fourth grader.

Understanding that just having a cell phone was a big thrill for him, I focused on which functionality he used on the AT&T Pantech Matrix Pro. Here are some details (in his words, dictated to his mom):


1. TWO WAY SLIDER: The phone can slide in two different ways. The keyboard is easy to use for texting and the numeric pad is quick for dialing phone numbers. I use the trackwheel to scroll, move around or play games.

2. KEYPAD: The keypad is good for texting. I set my friends up in the contact section then it is easy to text them.

3. VOICE COMMANDS: To use the voice commands, you just hold the "rec" button - and a list of commands is given. I tested the voice commands by saying "play music" - and it played a song.

(We tested this by my son using a voice command to call me. I am in his contacts as "Beth" so he said "Call Beth". The first time he did not speak clearly but the second time he did - and it called my cellphone!)

4.INTERNET ACCESS: By going to the start menu - then "MediaNet" I can access a browser to access the Internet. You can type on the numeric or keypad to type the URL, but I use the keypad. The first MediaNet screen has a Yahoo Search Bar and I just enter the name of the website and it returns options to me. An example is - when I type "YouTube" and it returns the URL for YouTube - which I then select.  I just watched the Numa Numa video today by typing in "Numa Numa" into the YouTube page (and "watch video"). It loads, I use the trackwheel for volume and controls. The video loads quickly and plays. Depending on where I am, it sometimes stops playing for a quick second (I told him that was called buffering  - a challenge on many mobile gadgets when watching videos).

I used the phone to read your website Techmamas.com.

5. GAMING - There are some games preloaded on the phone, and some you have to buy. I enjoy playing Bubble breaker that comes standard with the phone. I could buy PACman, Tetris or others.

(I have not even told him about the mobile Guitar Hero application that comes with the phone, that sounds fun!).


My son set up the phone from the moment he opened the box, to accessing the internet, to texting or making calls. The phone was easy to use. The keys were a good size for him to use for typing. He was satisfied with the sound and video quality - even playing music videos for his brothers in the car to keep them busy.

Gear Diary is one of the sites that also had the promotion and did a nice job summarizing a list of sites and promotion dates as well as their details on using the AT&T Pantech Matrix Pro:

Tools for Thought (15-Apr 19-Apr)
ChipChick (16-Apr 20-Apr)
VivirLatino (17-Apr 21-Apr)
slashgear.com (18-Apr 22-Apr)
www.modaco.com (19-Apr 23-Apr)
Gadgetell (20-Apr 24-Apr)
GeeksRoom (21-Apr 25-Apr)
OSNN (22-Apr 26-Apr)
Techmamas (23-Apr 27-Apr)
Clintonfitch (24-Apr 28-Apr)
Justanothermobilemonday (25-Apr 29-Apr)
Geek.com (26-Apr 30-Apr)
MediaBlab (27-Apr 01-May)
Smartphonethoughts (28-Apr 02-May)
Mobilityminded (29-Apr 03-May)
The Gadgeteer (30-Apr 04-May)
Geekzone (01-May 05-May)
Techie Diva (02-May 06-May)
Bostonpocketpc (03-May 07-May)
GearDiary (04-May 08-May)
MobilitySite (05-May 09-May)
AbsoluteWindows (06-May 10-May)
Mobilejaw (07-May 11-May)
Experiencemobility (08-May 12-May)
HackCollege (09-May 13-May)
Gear Live (10-May 14-May)

Press Release is listed below:

Continue reading "AT&T Matrix Pro by PanTech: The "Tween" Test and GIVEAWAY!" »

Mother's Day 09: Jawbone PRIME™ Bluetooth® Headset with EARCANDY™ Colors

Because I don't have time for an official Mother's Day Gift Guide, over the next week I will be posting about products I feel are relevant for Moms. Here is a press release about the new Jawbone PRIME™ Bluetooth® Headset with EARCANDY™ Colors that I received in my email box this morning.

Sure is pwetty. I may be a forty something mom, but I still like purple. I was sent a black Jawbone for review last year, but my sons walked off with it so I never really got a chance to try it out.

I did notice the few times I wore it out that people did not see the black headset next to my brown hair - so they thought I was TALKING TO MYSELF. I may be tired, but I don't talk to myself (yet). These colors really stand out as a fashion statement, functional Bluetooth earpiece that can be used with cellphones or smartphones and the colors are bright enough that hopefully people won't think you are talking to yourself. But if they do, at least you will look good.


Press release is below:

Continue reading "Mother's Day 09: Jawbone PRIME™ Bluetooth® Headset with EARCANDY™ Colors" »

April 22, 2009

AdBusters Digital Detox Week - Can Anyone Really Unplug?

Digital detox week I sometimes wonder if I could completely unplug for a week. Just last week we were without power for one night and that was overwhelming enough. Although I did enjoy a quiet night with my family and the smell of candles lit throughout the house. I work hard to unplug when my kids are around, but I have to admit that they have all said at one time or another "Mom - when are you getting off the computer".

So instead of unplugging this week, I have made a promise to unplug for exercise each day - and at night when my kids are home from activities. I enjoy "pre" bedtime - it is a nightly ritual where we get to read or just spend time together.

But the question is, can anyone really unplug for a WHOLE WEEK? AdBusters had a listing of articles that showed the downside of the online life. One of the links was to a New York Times article titled "8 Hours a Day Spent on Screens, Study Finds ".

April 20, 2009

A Search To Understand SEO

I know many moms and parents that have blogs, each has their own ideas on what gold worthy secret is:

How do you SEO optimize your blog?

I am just starting to understand... STARTING! But I have lots of learn..

So I was thrilled that the crowd sourcing Robert Scoble posted the question on Friendfeed "Who has the best SEO/SEM info? Post URLs here": (CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FANTASTIC LISTING OF LINKS TO SEO INFO).

Any others to share - to help a TechMama on her hunt to understand SEO? I have also heard that 99% of what you read about SEO is not accurate...

April 16, 2009

Oprah, Ashton Kutcher, Twitter and Social Media Savvy Moms

What do Oprah Winfrey, Ashton Kutcher, Social Media Savvy Moms have in common? They are all on Twitter! Tomorrow Oprah will tweet for the first time from The Oprah Winfrey Show. Ashton Kutcher is on a Tweetrace to get 1 million followers on Twitter. And to celebrate, TechCrunch posts about it - but the title inspired me to write a RANT over at the Silicon Valley Moms Blog.

TechCrunch post title: "Oprah’s First Tweet Will Be Tomorrow On Her Show. Soccer Moms To Take Over The Service?".

My response Silicon Valley Moms Group title: "Yes TechCrunch, Oprah And "Social Media Savvy Moms" Will Take Over Twitter".

My Twitter rants tonight on the subject on social media savvy moms:

  1. My TechMom twitter lists (techmom http://twitter.com/#!/techmama/tech-moms and techmom2 http://twitter.com/#!/techmama/tech-moms2 )
  2. Razorfish http://tinyurl.com/cf8hrq & Horn Group http://tinyurl.com/dex5c5 understand social media savvy moms
  3. @mashable understands social media moms http://tinyurl.com/czbtmg
  4. @guykawasaki understands that moms are social media savvy http://moms.alltop.com/
  5. @oprah Social Media Savvy Moms (and @TechCrunch) are thrilled to WELCOME you to Twitter http://tinyurl.com/ctwb7z #momswhotech

April 14, 2009

Operation Purple Ballon, A Tribute to Maddie

I have not felt in a techie mood this last week or so with the sad news of losing dear Maddie Spohr and Thalon Myers.

The support of the mom blogger community was beautiful to watch, and proof of the power of the online community that moms have built for support and to share experiences! A wonderful geek (Bil Simser) that helped rebuild Heather Spohr's website (Maddie's mom) after it crashed due to number of visitors had a great way of summarizing it: "The mommy-blog world is a freakin’ powerful machine".

He posted with an amazing fundraiser, as are posts across the blogosphere. I donated to Heather's walk and put her widget on my site to help raise money for the March of Dimes. When I first put the widget up on the LA Moms Blog and TechMamas.com the night I heard the news, the amount of money raised was $3k. NOW IT IS UP PAST 26k AND GROWING

AMomTwoBoys blog chronicled the support and was a central place to post links to the blog posts about Maddie (Now at 434!).

I dress in purple today as a tribute to Maddie (and her brave family), instead of being able to attend the funeral, I will do my own personal tribute by joining in Operation Purple Ballon.

April 07, 2009

One of the Saddest Posts To Date: Madeline Alice Spohr - We lost her

UPDATE: Please check this post at AMomTwoBoys blog for more info and links to other blogs that are posting about Maddie.

Precious baby Madeline, daughter to LA Moms Blogger Heather Spohr died today. Details are on Heather's blog. The family is asking for donations to the March of Dimes so I put up the button (see right) to their page.

J0433144LA Moms Blog is one of the blogs in the Silicon Valley Moms Group, which I co-founded. It is nights like this - where our moms across all of our blogs are feeling the pain - that shows the power of a mom community. Here is a link to the post at the LA Moms Blog.

We are all missing Madeline.

I remember publishing the post about flowers for Evan. So here are virtual flowers for Madeline.

April 02, 2009

"Moms Who Tech" Birds Of Feather Session at Web 2.0 SF

I was excited to carry on the conversation we had at SXSW about "Moms Who Tech" that was so lively, we just had to keep it going.

On Thursday April 2, 7pm at Web 2.0 (Not to be missed conference in SAN FRANCISCO) I moderated the Birds of a Feather  "Moms Who Tech" session. Details were:

This session will be a conversation about how moms are using technology to manage personal, social and family management tasks. This session is relevant for moms (parents) who want to discuss how they use technology, moms with a technology/programming background and marketers/companies with technology products that want to learn about social media outreach to families.

TIME:  Thursday April 2, 7pm

Moderator is Beth Blecherman  Founder TechMamas.com (and Co-Founder Silicon Valley Moms Group) - 
Sarah Murgel, User Experience Lead - Razorfish  (Razorfish/Cafe Mom Digital Mom Report)
Martha Feingold, VP Horn Group (and mom blogger)

UPDATE: Posts on the event are listed on Susan Etlinger's blog and the RazorFish Digital Design Blog (post by Sarah Murgel).

HERE ARE SOME LIVEBLOG NOTES (please excuse errors - these are liveblog notes). We decided to focus more on blogger outreach for this discussion because most attendees were interested in that topic:


-Sarah Murgel from Razorfish is discussing the Digital Mom Report with Cafe Mom.

-Martha Feingold, VP Horn Group is discussing her view as VP Horn Horn group, mom of 4 and a mom blogger for Silicon Valley Moms Blog. Her kids use cellphones.

-Susan Etlinger is also VP Horn Group. Her personal blog is Family Room. Today is Autism awareness day. As a mom blogger she get's pitched regularly.  She is also apart of an informal mom blogger network that provides support and influences each other.

Continue reading ""Moms Who Tech" Birds Of Feather Session at Web 2.0 SF" »



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