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10 posts from August 2009

August 25, 2009

Jo Koy: His Mom and The Wii

My husband and I are BIG fans of the Chelsea Lately show, especially as comic relief to the challenges of parenthood. Last night we found a comedy show by one of the Chelsea Lately comedians - Jo Koy called "Don't Make Him Angry". Jo Koy happens to be a father himself, and has very funny comedy routines about parenthood. One part of the show especially made me laugh - when he talked about his Mom and the Wii! I knew I had to post that video on Techmamas. Here is the clip, keep in mind that MY MOM totally rocks Mario Kart and Wii Tennis. Looks like we are not alone.

**Note: I was honored to have the opportunity to view a Chelsea Lately taping. But the MOST EXCITING part was interviewing ( with Kimberley Blaine and other LA Moms Bloggers ) my other favorite parent/comedian - Heather McDonald. Here is a link to the post and video about our adventures at the LA Moms Blog "Kimberley Lately - LA Mom Bloggers get VIP Treatment at the Chelsea Lately Show ".

Jo Koy Don't Make Him Angry: Mom and Wii


Update 4/11/2010:

Looks like Viacom blocked the video I posted above. Here is a link to the video on the Comedy Central Website: Jo Koy Wii.

August 24, 2009

Two New Nintendo Games for DS/DSi: Fossil Fighters and Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box

Professor_coverWhen it comes to screen time, I enjoy offering kids games that challenge them in different ways.  Two new Nintendo games for the DS/DSi do just that. Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box "features a riveting new mystery and more than 150 new brain teasers, riddles and logic puzzles". Fossil Fighters  "incorporates elements of discovery, tactics and strategy as players try to get the best vivosaurs (a type of dinosaur - in the game there are 100 types) on their teams to battle it out on the field." 

Fossilfighter_cover  

Disclosure: I received both games for review. I gave Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box to my chief tester (my 10 yr old son) who has not used it yet because he just came back from camp. My 6 year old twins received Fossil Fighters. One of my twins claimed testing ownership and demonstrated to me how he digs for fossils with the hammer, chip, drill and brush - and Vivosaur battle strategies. My 6 year old was able to understand how to play the game independently and even taught his mother some fossil digging tricks! I receive some Nintendo DS/DSi games as review items but we also buy many on our own...

Fossil Fighter is rated E (Everyone) and Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and Older).

More to come.. The press releases are below.

Continue reading " Two New Nintendo Games for DS/DSi: Fossil Fighters and Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box " »

August 19, 2009

All Things Digital Post Shows: 1. There is No Anonymity Online 2. Why Not To Call Someone "Skank"

The post on All Things Digital this morning titled "On the Internet, Everybody Knows You’re a Name-Caller: Google Unmasks the “Skank” Blogger" is a great example proving there is no anonymity online. The post hit on a very important point that anyone online should heed:


I have given advice to many that ask me about setting up anonymous blog pen names or kids that start social networking. I am not an expert, but have seen lots happen during my time blogging. Here is my advice:

1. Once you go online in any forum - whether it be a social network, blog or community forum - ONLY share NON personal information that you would feel comfortable sharing with the public. I especially tell 13 year olds when they first start social networking - while your new bikini may be cool - you probably don't want to share a picture of yourself in it online for all to see (including older men with questionable interests). While you think it was really cool that you got drunk for your 21st birthday - you don't want your future employer to see drunk pictures of you online while they do a online search on your background. Even if it is a "private" social network with just friends invited in, anyone can copy that picture and post it elsewhere..

2. There is no anonymous. Can I say that again "When you go online - there is no anonymous!". While you can use a pen name for those that want to try to remain under the radar - only share information you don't mind the public knowing.

3. Mind your manners. I feel like a mom saying this - but use the same manners you do in daily life online. That includes calling someone a "Skank"..

August 17, 2009

Parents Texting and Tweeting - The Commercial

I was sitting on the sofa, using a lapdesk and my notebook to blog, Facebook and Twitter after the kids went to sleep tonight. When what happens, I turned on the TV (so I could add another type of media to my night) and this commercial came on. It was a Verizon commercial where the KIDS are lecturing their texting and tweeting parents about their lack of online social networking etiquette. The commercial represents the new modern world: it is well known parents are as addicted to online social networking as their kids.

Geek Sugar also found the commercial amusing..

Mobivity posted 2/09 on a related note "Text Messaging is not just for kids anymore". That post included the following excerpt from Ars Technica:

AT&T conducted 1,048 online interviews with parents  to get a feel for their usage patterns. They found that 76 percent of parents feel that their children are more likely to keep them abreast of their activities through text messaging than other methods. 73 percent said that their kids were more likely to respond to a text message than other methods of communication, and a full half of parents feel that text messaging with their kids makes them “cool.”

So now I can add feeling "cool" to my activities tonight.


August 16, 2009

How To Load Video to Blogs - And 11 Video Hosting Sites

Many bloggers are starting to incorporate video into their blogs (called "vlogging"). We are excited at Silicon Valley Moms Group to have started a video series called A Byte Out of Life sponsored by Yahoo. Here is a video that I enjoyed participating in - about Moms, Celebrities and Twitter. Here is a link to my post on Silicon Valley Moms Blog that provides a background. The Video is included in the post, hosted on our the Yahoo Video website. Because my post has a video - it is considered a "vlog". There are also great vlogging sites to follow, such as GoToMom.TV.

I am also participating in a fabulous group of fem tech bloggers in a site called "Gadgetspin". While our site has videos (our first was at the exciting Virgin American - Orange County inaugural flight), our focus will be on livestreaming. Livestreaming is when you post video live from an event. Gadgetspin is in beta and will be launching soon.

Because I am starting to vlog, I spent time researching different video hosting platforms to load video to. After the video file is loaded to the hosting site, "embed" code can be generated and loaded to  blog posts. Listed below is a summary of the steps and the video hosting sites I know of. If you know of others, please comment on this post with a link to the website.

STEP 1: CREATE VIDEO FILE: There are many gadgets bloggers can use to record video. Some use the internal webcams of their computer, some an external webcam and some a video camera. The Flip Camera has a pop-out USB drive for one button upload and software for editing. I will post soon with other alternatives for video cameras (a whole other topic!).

STEP 2: LOAD YOUR VIDEO FILE TO A PLAYER: Once you have a video file - you need to load that file to a video hosting site that provides a player (the square and buttons around the video) and the embed code that enables loading to a blog. Here is a list of 11 video hosting sites I know of:

1. Yahoo Video: http://video.yahoo.com/

2. YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/

3. Vimeohttp://www.vimeo.com/

4. BlipTV http://blip.tv/

5. One True Media: http://www.onetruemedia.com/ This service allows you to do all types of editing using photo montages or video - then upload online, send as a DVD or email.

6. Vlog It: There is supposed to be a option for a 15 day free trial but I could not find it. The product is made by Adobe. I purchased the $29.00 version and will give it a test run.

http://www.adobe.com/products/vlogit/

7. PhotoBucket: You can use Photobucket to load and then generate embed code to share with a website:
http://register.photobucket.com/?ref=aboutTitle

8. Windows Movie Maker: For Windows Users - you can use Windows Movie Maker for free to upload video to (and edit) - then generate embed code using one of the video hosting partners they recommend:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/moviemaker/create/saveforweb.mspx

9. iMovie: For MAC users iMovie does have a function to upload to blogs/websites. If anyone has tried this - it would be great to share:
http://www.apple.com/ilife/imovie/

10. Flickr: With a Flickr Pro acct you can upload a limited number of videos and generate embed code:
http://www.flickr.com/help/video/

11. Brightcove: Used by web marketers and media companies.
http://www.brightcove.com/en/

12. Update 8/16 - TheGoToMom added a open source video platform to the list - Kaltura: http://corp.kaltura.com/

Update 8/20: Lifehacker published a post asking for the best video sharing site. There are other sites listed on that post including Viddler, Veoh, Megavideo, BitTorrent, Daily Motion, and Exposure Room .

Update 10/6. The GoToMom once again helped me identify another platform: Delve Networks
http://www.delvenetworks.com/

Each has their own process for loading and then displaying embed code. Some are free and some charge for hosting. Please be aware that video privacy settings need to be "public" to display on a blog. Please make sure your video has all "public" info. For families wanting a private place to load videos to, they should look at sites with multiple levels of privacy such as Vox or Plumkeeper.

STEP 3: COPY EMBED CODE FROM PLAYER INTO YOUR POST: Copy" then paste the embed code into the html section of your post - in the spot that you want to the video to display.

***Check the width of the column you are display the video and change the width in the embed code if the width is too big.

For Example, here is some code that has a video the width of 500 pixels:
embed style="width:500px; height:326px;"

You can just change the width to "480":
embed style="width:480px; height:326px;"


August 15, 2009

If Google Was Your Roomate: The Video

Gina Trapani's blog "Smarterware" posted this funny video from a web series called "If Google Was Your Roomate". I always enjoy creative YouTube videos as comic relief from my busy day as a geek mom. I have been busy over the last few weeks and look forward to sharing some exciting tech news on the blog now that I am home. Great to start with some fun entertainment - Here it is!

August 13, 2009

WINNER - Back To School Giveaway: Dell Inspiron 1545 Laptop & Accessories

WINNER of Dell Inspiron & Accessories: Random.org helped us randomly pick commenter: Amanda Hellen

We contacted Amanda and here is what she said:

"I cannot wait to use this!!  This Dell is going to help with school and work!  I am enrolled in school and can work from home and work with a database for my job so this is perfect!! I want to pinch myself.  My current laptop is so slow.  Yay!"

***********************************************************************************************************

When PR for Walmart contacted me with some information about their back to school technology offerings - I asked if they had anything to giveaway to Techmamas.com readers. They said yes, so here is all the info. Note - this is not a paid post, but it is something TechMama likes doing: giving away products to her readers! Here is the information from the press release and details about a giveaway:

PRESS RELEASE INFO:"Student needs are rapidly changing and Mom has a greater focus on affordability than ever before.  That is why Walmart is making a commitment to provide students and parents with a wide variety of laptops at unprecedented savings. Walmart worked closely with brands like HP, Dell, Acer and Toshiba to find the best laptops for students and offer them the best prices.   Starting at 8am on Sunday, July 26th Walmart started offering first-ever $298 Compaq Presario Notebook with 3 GB Memory and an Acer Notebook with an 8-hour battery- perfect for back to school.  In August, Walmart will offer an HP Netbook and Toshiba Notebook with a 17-inch screen, among others.”

Last month Walmart introduced a new colorful assortment of  the Dell Inspiron 1545 Laptop at $498 in black, blue, pink, red, purple and aqua to match Walmart’s Back to College color pallets of furnishings and accessories for dorm room décor. "

Pink_dell_inspiron_1545

GIVEAWAY: One TechMamas reader will be randomly choosen to win ONE Pink Dell Inspiron 1545 PLUS the accessories listed below in pink (except for the Western Digital Hardrive which is red).

Also available in a variety of colors, the computer accessories for this giveaway include:

Continue reading "WINNER - Back To School Giveaway: Dell Inspiron 1545 Laptop & Accessories " »

August 08, 2009

Radio Shack "Netogether" Event - Day 1 and Day 2

My female tech blogger buddies from GadgetSpin (Eliane and I in SF, Gina and Ponzi in NYC) have been busy giving tech makeovers for the Radio Shack Netogether.  We have had some great tech makeover emergencies - a guy with a cellphone with wooden keys as well as many with old cellphones that don't work, another that goes to the library to use a computer because he does not have one at home, many that either lost or have old camera's that don't work or do not know how to be "hands free" compliant in their cars. For many we had the fun opportunity to give them netbooks, notebooks, digital cameras, video cams, Bluetooth headsets and gift certificates to buy a new cellphone. All of the items we gave out are carried at Radio Shack. The over-riding feeling was that those with old technology need to upgrade their technology to stay connected and mobile with friends and family, homework and to be able to work at home. It was hard when we finished giving out the items we had for that day - because there were so many more in need of tech makeovers.

I am typing this post on a computer that I bought just 2 years ago but that has missing keys and (SHRIEK) only 2GB ram. Because I am constantly multi-tasking - a faster computer would be so helpful (from ramm)! So as I prepared for this segment by learning bout the products, I realized it is time for my own tech makeover! For now, I had fun doing the tech makeovers.

Here are:

       

Continue reading "Radio Shack "Netogether" Event - Day 1 and Day 2" »

August 05, 2009

Radio Shack "Netogether" Event - Tech Makeovers in SF and NYC

I am excited to be heading to San Francisco tomorrow, appointed by RadioShack along with my Gadgetspin.com partners (Gina Hughes from TechieDiva, Ponzi Pirillo from Ponzarelli.com and Eliane Fiolet from Ubergizmo) to do tech makeovers in an event celebrating the expanding line of tech products now offered at RadioShack.  Listed below is information from the press release:

"..RadioShack will host Netogether, a three-day event taking place in New York City’s Times Square and San Francisco’s Justin Herman Plaza on August 6, 7 and 8.  The event will connect the cities with two, massive, 17-foot laptop computers with webcams that allow live video and audio exchanges.  Netogether will feature live music, celebrity appearances and unique contests to demonstrate how technology can keep people connected – even 3,000 miles apart.  Consumers are invited to visit the event and chat with friends or family via the laptops, or to join in the conversation online at www.radioshack.com/theshack, where they can offer real-time comments on the live video feeds."

Lee Applbaum, RadioShack’s Chief Marketing Officer added in their press release “We have tremendous equity in consumers’ minds around cables, parts and batteries, but it’s critically important that we help them to understand the role that we play in keeping people connected in this highly mobile world,” ... “You will see a real focus on mobility and wireless products from leading brands in our new advertising.

Also:

  • RadioShack announced last month the addition of T-Mobile to its lineup of wireless carriers in 4,000 stores as part of its strategy to increase its authority and share in mobility and connectivity.
  • RadioShack also announced a partnership with seven-time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong, both to sponsor his new American Pro-Tour cycling team and to work with the Lance Armstrong Foundation and LIVESTRONG campaign in the global fight against cancer.

Before RadioShack asked me to be participate in the event, I had noticed during my regular shopping trips to buy electronics kits for my kids that I was seeing more and more technology carried at the Radio Shack stores - such as digital cameras, web cams, laptops, netbooks, smartphones (even the Palm Pre and BlackBerry brands), Bluetooth headsets, gaming gadgets and even MP3 players like iPod.

Infact, one time when I visited Radio Shack looking for parts to build a light switch from scratch for my 10 yr old's science project, the Radio Shack salesperson not only helped me find the right components - but sketched a picture of how to put it together. Then - best of all (really a true story) - the salesperson helped fix an echo problem with my Bluetooth headset that I was using with my BlackBerry smartphone.

For those near Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco or NYC's Time Square, stop by! Those in need of technology makeovers - please bring your story. Who knows - maybe you can get a technology makeover with products such as digital cameras and netbooks. Those far away or at work can watch the live events at the Radio Shack "Netogether" website or on the Netogether Facebook page.

DISCLOSURE: While I am being paid to participate in the Netogether event, this post is NOT a paid post.

Fun Times with Technology Retailers

I am going to be posting over the next few days with interactions I have had with some technology retailers. The truth is, I go to FIVE different technology retailers in Silicon Valley to buy my technology - and it all depends on what I am buying, what new items the retailer has, sales and where I happen to be. Yes, it is that shopping triangle all moms know about - when a business has a location that maximizes the short amount of time each day a mom has - then that is a big plus. If the store is on the way to the grocery store (where I need to go almost daily with three boys) - then an even bigger plus. Some stores are all-in-ones, where you can get new summer bathing suits, iPod speakers and that new Nintendo Wii game at the same time. If I am looking for a specialized technology item like a microphone for my video cam - then I need to go to a more specialized technology store.

But friendly/knowledgable sales people are also a big plus. Best of all for me are friendly geeks that work at technology retailers.

When possible, shopping online is the most convenient because you can compare pricing and have it shipped to your door. Many retailers also have online web only sales, so visiting a retailer's online website is a good idea to do some research in advance of a visit to the store. There are also shopping applications for mobile phones and websites that help you find items (even set up alerts for items you want to buy).  There is also the option of using basic web search engines such as Google or Bing to assist in a technology product search.

I hope to cover these different technology  shopping options over the next few weeks.

Question for my readers: Where do you shop for technology? Online or at a retail store? Do you have a favorite or shop do you around?

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