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10 posts from June 2009

June 24, 2009

Day in the Cloud Challenge - With Virgin America and Google

I made the sacrifice this morning to get up at 3:30am (after blogging until 12:30am) to attend a 6am Virgin America/Google event called " Day in the Cloud" challenge. There are very few things that will get me out of bed at 3:30am. Before this it was only for night breastfeedings when my boys were infants. This time I had to chance to be on a Virgin America flight from SFO to LAX with other media - that were playing an online challenge game against the Virgin America flight from LAX to SFO. The Virgin America flights have GoGo Inflight Wi-Fi so we could all go online after the flight was above 10,000 feet. 

The challenge is an online game that is a combination of brain teasers and questions. The term "cloud" relates to cloud computing: "Cloud computing is a new way of using your computer that lets you store, access and share your information through the web, instead of on your hard drive."

Gaming on the airplane - my 10 year old son would be so proud.

**All of today those on other Virgin America flights and even those on ground can play the challenge (on June 24 until midnight) by logging onto the Day in the Cloud website**

Luckily, I answered questions on cloud computing and Google Apps right - but could not handle the brain teasers on 2 hours of sleep.. I tried... One of the questions was about Google Talk emoticons. I was sitting with a group of fellow gamers and we just "Googled" Google Talk emoticons to find the answer. One brain teaser was "What is second largest cave chamber in the United states", which we also found in Wikipedia using Google search.  Part of the challenge is demonstrating the ability to find the answers online. One of the gamers is an official "puzzle" expert, so I decided to site next to him to learn some puzzle strategy. He was helping me with strategies to find answers, and I was excited to at least help him on one question (it required language translation so I said he should just enter the phrase into Google Translate).

As always, meeting the other participants is part of the fun. I sat next to my GadgetSpin buddy Eliane from Ubergizmo. Behind us on the plane was one of the Virgin America social media guys that we had met originally on the Orange County Virgin America launch party (Bowen).  Two bloggers from sites that I read every day on my RSS feeds were sitting in front of me ( Ben Parr from Mashable and Anthony Ha from Venture Beat). There were also Google and Virgin America representatives to talk with.

The most fun Google representative for me to talk with was Google Digital Mom Jenn Mazzon. We not only shared thoughts about our busy lives as moms of multiples, but also strategies for working mom family management. Jenn shared her use of Google Calender and Google Apps as family management tools in a video interview that I will load this weekend.

I will have another chance on my flight back to SFO to play the challenge. I need to have more caffeine before I can attempt playing again. Or just sit next to the Puzzle expert...

Later tonight I will load some pictures.

Disclosure: I was NOT paid to attend this event, but the Virgin America flights for media covering the event were complimentary.

June 23, 2009

Disney And ASUS Launch Netbook With Disney User Interface (Netpal)

The last few days has been full of press briefings. Today I had the chance to meet with the Disney Consumer Products representatives to discuss their new collaboration with ASUS (makers of the Eee PC). The result is a 8.9 inch netbook with a 92% keyboard and Wi-Fi capabilities. ASUS manufactured the PC, but Disney created the user interface/experience. Everything from the designs ( Princess Pink, Magic Blue) to the kid friendly user interface, 40 parental controls and a spill proof keyboard. What I found unique (other then the designs) was the user interface made it easy for  parents to set up controlled accounts for their kids.

The Parental controls allows parents to set up email, website monitoring and website access controls. The website access is set up by just selecting the "approved" websites (and the system then maps that approval to the website domains and subdomain - a step that can be confusing to do on your own). But right out of the box there are already Disney approved websites that can be launched from the browser. The email works with a "white list" so only emails from approved email addresses will be allowed through. Standard email services such as Gmail or Yahoo can be used as the email service.

The computer was designed for kids 6-12 and the suggested retail price is $349.99. The Disney Netpal by ASUS will be available in 32 countries and in 19 languages. I will post in the next week with video and pictures from my press briefing, but for now here are some pictures from the website:

Disney Netpal by ASUS Princess Pink-
Netpal pink
Disney Netpal by ASUS Magic Blue-

Listed below is a picture I took at the briefing of the image my 10 year old would probably use as his wallpaper (also in the picture are the desktop widgets). There are 10 customizable themes, general colors and the ability to import your own themes:


Here is a view of the (one of the) matching bags that will be for sale along with the netbook made by Belkin:


Click HERE to read the PRESS RELEASE:

Here are the product specifications from the press release:

Continue reading "Disney And ASUS Launch Netbook With Disney User Interface (Netpal)" »

Toshiba Satellite L Series Laptops

I am getting lots of press releases regarding laptops because it is getting close to back to school. The press release on the new L Series from Toshiba looked interesting. I had a Toshiba when I was at one of my prior companies and found it to be very rugged.  I took at look at their current offerings and found the a nice selection of low cost laptops listed on their website including a $349 10-inch netbook (Mini Notebook NB200) and a 15.6-inch Satellite L500 (pictured below) for $504.


Continue reading "Toshiba Satellite L Series Laptops " »

June 22, 2009

HP Photosmart Premium with TouchSmart Web: World's First Web-Connected Printer

I dropped the kids off at camp this morning and headed to the HP Reveal press conference to hear a briefing on a *mystery* product. As someone that loves mysteries, I could not wait to get there and find out what it was. I missed the press conference because of camp drop off timing, but I did demo the product and talked with the HP Marketing/Engineering staff - who were all very eager to hear what moms would look for in the product. Luckily I had another mom blogger with me to also discuss ideas ( @Vdog).

And the mystery product is....."The world’s first web-connected printer:  HP Photosmart Premium with TouchSmart Web".

Here are details from their press release:

"HP introduced a category-changing product and an entirely new web-based printing platform with HP apps. Powered by touch, the HP Photosmart Premium with TouchSmart Web – the world’s first Web connected home printer – allows people simple access to popular and personal online content PC.

Additionally, HP apps allow people to connect instantly with fun, informative and personal content. People can easily access these Print Apps via the printer’s 4.33-inch touchscreen – the largest LCD touchscreen of any all-in-one inkjet printer on the market – to print maps, coupons, movie tickets and more from their favorite web sites including USA TODAY, Google, Fandango and Coupons.com."

What does this mean for moms/parents/kids? Basically the new printer allows the user to access the web for select applications on a touchscreen and then print via wireless - without using a computer. The applications need to be developed for the Photosmart with TouchSmart Web, similar to the applications that are developed to use on the iPhone. The target is for the printer to launch this fall. The HP App Studio (SDK -developer kit) will be available in the beginning of the new year after the launch. This will allow the people to create their own applications. The target retail price for the United States is $399.

The printer does not have internal storage so it is not a replacement for a computer. What it does offer is the time saving functionality to print directly from the web from one gadget (the printer) via the house wireless system. The Photosmart Premium with TouchSmart Web also includes PictBridge, Ethernet, USB, Bluetooth, as wells as CF, SD, and MS-Duo slots. The extra slots allow users, for example, that use SD flash cards in their digital cameras to insert them directly into the printer for printing pictures.

More technical details will be released soon. 


Here are some of the pictures I took at the HPreveal:

 HP Photosmart Premium with TouchSmart Web:


Vdog is displaying a picture printed on the HP Photosmart with TouchSmart Web.


Here is a close-up of the front of the printer with the touchscreen for web access.


The HP Photosmart with TouchSmart Web can also scan, copy and fax (for faxing, the printer must be hooked up to a phone line).


This is a picture of the touch keypad input screen.


This picture shows the coupons application.


And here is the coupon that was printed at our demo.


The ink cartridges are in separate colors.


Photo tray that can handle many different types of paper (including photo and laser).


Here is an example of the screen to choose crafts to print.


You can also view movie clips (video streaming) from the Touchscreen. This picture is of the Monsters vs Aliens video that played screen during our demo.


Continue reading " HP Photosmart Premium with TouchSmart Web: World's First Web-Connected Printer" »

June 21, 2009

Fathers Day Ode to Dr. Seuss

I asked my husband if he would do a blog post for me that I can put up for Father's Day. So my wonderful husband, Neil Blecherman (and super Dad to our 3 very active boys), wrote a poem for Father's Day. Happy Father's Day!!


Dr. Suess Father's Day - By Neil Blecherman

Hop on Pop

Hop on Pop and do not stop

He is the best, yes Pop is top,

When not arresting like a cop.


Couch is old but bounces well.

Boys go up and shout and yell.

Screams are heard all over town.

Kids right side up and upside down

Always a smile, never a frown

They enjoy the Dad Day jumping

But muscles in pops back are lumping

Lumping muscles everywhere

Can I please sit in a chair?

In a chair wayyyy over there?


What happened to breakfast in bed?

“Please feed in bed” the dad had said.

Green eggs (no ham) in bed today

Food makes dad glad on dad’s big day !!

Toast is the most, with New York Times

Peace and quiet writing rhymes.

Cereal is also good dad food

Helping calm his “daditude”

No food? Then Bad Dad Poet is rude.


Bad Dad Poet goes for a run

Running, phasers set on “stun”.

Stun the dogs, stun the cats

Stun the mailman who wears blue hats.


Stun the Sneeches on their beaches

Stun Horton, whose voice Whoville reaches.


Stun Thing 1 and stun Thing 2

Stun another Thing, please do!

Keep on running, running slow

Legs say “stop” but brain says “go”.

Brain tells legs, “After run, BenGay

So pain in ancient legs goes away”

iPod playing in old Dad ears

Running with Boston clears ears for years.

Exercise helps grow Dad’s brain

With legs, back, knees and feet in pain. 


Big brain helps Dad stay in shape

As hair moves from head down the back (like ape).

Pop’s not Superman with a big red cape.

Hop on pop causes insurance claim

Boys are big, their weight can maim.


Dad starts to wonder, “next year please”

Dad’s day in park, (I’m in my forties).

Poem Copyright Neil Blecherman 2009. Names of Dr. Seuss characters belong to the wonderful Dr. Seuss, whose books we read to our kids all the time!!!

June 16, 2009

CBS News Website Re-launch

CBS contacted me this morning with information about their new site re-launch. I enjoy getting their news over Twitter and online CBSNews.com (which means I can get access to news whenever I want - online).

The video below has a tour of the new website by Katie Couric, who has reached out to the Silicon Valley Moms Group community to share information about important issues like Children and the Recession and blogging at our New York City Moms Blog.

CBS News Twitter Hashtag is #cbsnews for those that want to follow the conversation on Twitter.

Watch CBS Videos Online

(click on the white arrow on the bottom left to view video)

Along with the CBS News Twitter ID, there are also other CBS News related Twitter ID's to follow. I asked them to send me a summary and here it is:

Our primary and most followed account. Breaking news plus the best of our news organization. We've grown from 4K to 450K followers in just a few months.
Mark Knoller, who has been covering the White House since the Ford administration, has become our most prolific Twitter user - offering his followers real time updates on President Obama as well as relevant facts that only Knoller would know. Others are catching on. Check out this recommendation from Marc Ambinder (Atlantic Monthly): http://politics.theatlantic.com/2009/04/mark_knoller_on_twitter.php.
What's great about Katie Couric's tweets is that she's letting her followers in on some great scenes. She's tweeted everywhere from the sets of the Tonight Show and American Idol to lunch at the White House.
Sean McManus is the President of CBS News and CBS Sports - he's also the ONLY television news executive on Twitter. I feel like his presence on the service shows CBS News commitment to trying new things.
Peter King is our CBS Radio News correspondent at NASA in Florida. He's really good about interacting with his followers and updates FREQUENTLY when there's a mission in progress. I think he's a good example of how we're able to provide folks not just general breaking news but also very specific genres of news accounts to follow.
Dr. Jennifer Ashton is the CBS medical correspondent who appears almost everyday on the Early Show. Again, she's very good about interacting with her audience - focusing on medical issues, especially must have info for moms.
Other individual accounts to watch: @cbskellywallace (ga), @cbsandrewcohen (legal), @bobschieffer, @jacksonjk (capitol hill), @szirinsky (exec producer, 48 hours), @earlyshowmaggie (early show anchor), and @drlapook. We also have brand accounts for @cbseveningnews (new!), @60minutes, @48hours, and @theearlyshow.
Finally, we've got local accounts in nearly every major market. You should check your local CBS news affiliate web site to find out the address (often more than one per station).

When Beth Blecherman is not watching news online, she is a Co-Founder of the Silicon Valley Moms Group (that has the Twitter id @svmomsgroup )and Founder of TechMamas.com (her  personal Twitter ID is @techmama ).

June 15, 2009

Blogger Adventure On the USS Nimitz: Social Media At Sea

06 Last year Guy Kawasaki visited the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier and hatched a plan with Dennis Hall and Bill Reichert to bring a group of bloggers on a embark the following year. As a result, a group of bloggers was chosen for that mission. I was thrilled to receive the official invite from Lieutenant Commander Charlie Brown, Public Affairs Director for the Commander - Naval Air Forces - Pacific (COMNAVAIRPAC) to be part of the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) Embark May 29-30.


June 14, 2009

Father's Day Giveaway: Walmart Electronics


1ST PRIZE: Magnavox Blu-ray Disc Player: Joanna On the Lake

2ND PRIZE: Black & Decker 75-piece drill accessory kit ($15) and Black & Decker cordless screwdriver ($15): Bongga Mom

3RD PRIZE: Five for $20 select DVD's – Rush Hour 2, Lethal Weapon 4, Frequency, Man on Fire, The Perfect Storm Carolyn Gonzalez

** Contest/comments are closed. Winner will be announced at 12pm today (wed 6/17).***

When I (and many other mom bloggers) received a press release about Father's Day prices from Walmart I said - happy to share if we can give something away to my readers. The PR firm was very nice and just came back from a shopping trip at Walmart with some fun items for a TechMama giveaway.

Click HERE to see the press release with Walmarts Father's Day pricing (as the press release says "for every dad’s man cave – the one place in the house where he likes to relax")  at the bottom of this post. But first here are the fun items that we will be giving away:

1ST PRIZE: Magnavox Blu-ray Disc Player ($128)


2ND PRIZE: Black & Decker 75-piece drill accessory kit ($15) and Black & Decker cordless screwdriver ($15)

Black and Decker Screwdriver Black and Decker Drill Set



3RD PRIZE: Five for $20 select DVDs – Rush Hour 2, Lethal Weapon 4, Frequency, Man on Fire, The Perfect Storm

RULES: TO ENTER, Please comment on this post with either what you as a Dad or what gadgets your husband, Dad or friend that is a Dad want for Father's Day.

  • Each entry will be entered into Random.org for the winners to be chosen. The contest will run from today to Wed June 17 at 11pm pst. Winners will be announced on Thurs. June 18 by 12pm. TWITTER this giveaway (hashtag #techmamafathersday URL is http://bit.ly/18k3My ) and the entrant will receive another entry into Random.org).
  • Walmart is the prize provider and will send the prizes to the winner.
  • One entry per person
  • Individuals are only eligible to win ONE prize.
  • Winners are limited by geography to US residents only.
  • We are not responsible for any lost packages or incorrect shipping addresses. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded.
  • The random winner will be chosen by Techmamas.com, all decisions are final.

Continue reading "Father's Day Giveaway: Walmart Electronics" »

June 06, 2009

Noise Induced Hearing Loss And Technology Use

This is a guest post by of Dr. Marcella Roper Bothwell, MD, FAAP  of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery about their recent survey. I was contacted by them to particpate in a conference call - and then I asked them to write a guess post about hearing loss and use of technology. Here it is.


If you worry about your kids listening to their iPod at full volume or watching their portable DVD player with headphones while you hear the entire dialogue, you are not alone. A recent survey by the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery found that four in five Americans are concerned about hearing loss due to ear buds and that hearing loss is a top medical concern for parents. And with good reason: Three million children under the age of 18 have some form of hearing loss, and nationwide, more than 10 million Americans suffer from noise-induced hearing loss.

Hearing is the brain’s interpretation of sound or sound pressure from the outside world. Loss of hearing can be divided into two categories: conductive and sensori-neural hearing loss. Sound is ‘conducted’ to the nerve for perception. Any abnormality in the external ear, canal, tympanic membrane, or middle ear bones, or fluid in the middle ear can cause conductive hearing loss. This type of hearing loss can sometimes be reversed.

Continue reading "Noise Induced Hearing Loss And Technology Use" »

June 05, 2009

Twitter Gone Wild: Heather Mills Twitters About Losing Leg In Fall

I am left somewhat speechless at what people Twitter these days, and happy my kids are not on just yet (my twins just learned to read - so I have time).

While watching my favorite-comedy-relief-from-craze-of-real-life show "Chelsea Lately", I heard Chelsea Handler mention that Heather Mills (the ex-wife of Paul McCartney) tweet that she fell in a supermarket, her prosthetic leg fell off - then two teenage boys gave her her leg back.

Huh.... Now that may just be crossing the line for what goes on Twitter - or maybe not? What is appropriate to Twitter about?

Here is the tweet, judge for yourself:

"slipped on spilt milk whilst being followed down supermarket aisle by two teenage boys, ended up on my ass, but they rescued my leg and me"
Heather Mills

Update: Commenter ilinap made a good point so I am adding it to the post:

"I think it's not going too far since she sent the tweet. If an onlooker had sent it I would likely think otherwise."



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