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9 posts from November 2009

November 29, 2009

BlackFriday A Bust, Will Try CyberMonday

While my cyber-buddy Erin (Queen of Spain blog) was a Black Friday sales virgin who needed protection - but ended up saving $110, I ended up feeling like a Black Friday sales sucker - but a confirmed sucker after I read the post on Slate titled " BlackFriday Is For Suckers".  I posted on TechMamas.com with every Black Friday sale online site and Twitter ID to keep posted on the Black Friday sales . But I decided to sleep in and the discounts for the tech items that I tried to use online had "limited" use - so they had all expired by late morning. I then jumped in my minivan to hit a few technology stores in the afternoon, none of which had deals on the high performance technology I was looking for (but lots of sales on TV's - which we need but can't afford to upgrade right now!). Of course, I was looking for some high end technology with specific models in mind. If I was flexible, I could of found some deals.There were also "bundles" available on Black Friday which offered accessories if technology was purchased. But I have also seen this bundles advertised online.

Looking back, the sales I saw via the major technology manufacturer email and Twitter sales updates were even better then Black Friday sales. Yet - on Black Friday there were deals to be found on other consumer items. Another mom friend found lots of Black Friday deals in stores for kids clothes.

Overall - To enjoy the real deals on BlackFriday you need to have a list and identify the stores that carry those items and stick to that list. Ask yourself if shopping late at night or first thing in the morning will really save you that much compared to the regular sales?

Just for fun, now that I do have the specific technology identified (down to the model number) that I need to shop for - I will give Cyber Monday a try. Otherwise, I decided to jump on the regular sales that show up in my email inbox and deal Twitter ID's that I follow, instead of waiting for special "sale" days.

Cyber Monday Sales here I come!!

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November 27, 2009

TechMama is Traveling - With None Other Then The "Traveling Geeks"

J0436607 Million Mile Frequent Flyer Status is not all it is cracked up to be...

Before I joined Deloitte, I was an international computer auditor.  This gave me the opportunity to travel to Mexico, Spain, Sweden, England, Puerto Rico, France and all over the United States. The business trips were back to back for weeks at a time and luckily they were all BK (before kids). I thoroughly enjoyed the travel but I had no - um - personal life.

Now I have the personal life, but fitting in travel is not easy...

With three amazing but extremely active boys, a wonderful husband (Neil Blecherman) and multiple blogs to manage - I try to limit my traveling to only key events. My involvement in social media has given me the opportunity to connect with an amazing network of bloggers from both BlogHer and the Silicon Valley Moms Group. My programming/systems project management background led me to also show my geeky side by connecting with technology and social media bloggers. I created a personal blog to discuss my perspective as a tech mom (TechMamas.com) and am starting a vlog called GadgetSpin with Eliane from Ubergizmo, TechieDiva, and Ponziarelli. But no matter how much I develop my online network, attending conferences/events to have old fashioned "live interaction" is still the best form of networking.

Bloggers gone traveling...

There are some amazing social media connectors and community builders and when they call about an event - I jump on board.  They look for stories that need to be told or discussions that need to be sparked - then match bloggers to the stories to bring information online. One connecter is Guy Kawasaki who organized an amazing blogger embark on the USS Nimitz and introduced me to Alltop (now I have MyAlltop!). Robert and Maryam Scoble and Steve Brobeck organized a blogger bus to CES last year that gave me the opportunity to spend time with an engaging group of bloggers. One of the bloggers on board was Christine Lu. When she informed me about the ReThink Hawaii conference, I decided that was a great work-cation opportunity. I also view my partners at Gadgetspin as connectors. Eliane and her Ubergizmo team just recently organized Ubergizmo10 - well worth the drive to San Francisco. There are also multiple circles of moms who have used their community building, shopping and writing skills to form online networks.

I have been following Renee Blodgett for some time and enjoy her insights on social media. I also view  Renee Blodgett as a social media connector and community builder. She is one of the co-founders of a group called Traveling Geeks . The Traveling Geeks website describes it best: "Traveling Geeks is a consortium of entrepreneurs, thought leaders, authors, journalists, bloggers, technology innovators and influencers who travel to countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote new, innovative technologies. The initiative was founded by Jeff Saperstein and Renee Blodgett in 2008."

Traveling Geeks 2009 - Paris

When I was invited to join their Traveling Geeks/Paris trip, I knew that was one adventure not to miss (no matter how many mom-planning-loops I had to jump through). I can't wait to see what is in store for the Traveling Geeks Trip to Paris, which includes attendance at LeWeb. I plan to be online sharing the trip with my readers as much as the international connections allow. The Twitter hashtags for the trip are #TG09, #travelingeeks. Their is also a Facebook fan page and a Twitter ID: @travelinggeeks.

Now back to my search for an unlocked GSM smartphone international data plan and international Broadband card!

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November 26, 2009

Shopping Tech? Here Are Some Black Friday & Cyber Monday Tips

J0439783 I shared many times over Twitter that although I am a "TechMama" my laptop needs replacing. I am a heavy computer user and my computer is over 2 years old. So this weekend I will be looking online for Black Friday Sales 2009 and Black Friday ads like many others. One of mom friend's computer died but she is waiting for this weekend to buy a new one. Other moms I know are looking for technology as holiday gifts for their families. Holiday time is the best time to buy technology as the new "gift" (my slogan). So for those getting their sneakers on to shop for Black Friday Sales ads, here is where to go for online Black Friday Sales 2009 and some things to think about before you go. Some sites even offer printable coupons to bring along to the store. I will be posting throughout the weekend with hot technology and toy gift ideas.

NOTE: Gizmodo posted with a good point - there are some items that can be found online at the same or better prices then BlackFriday prices, so best to do some comparison shopping online. At the same time, many manufacturers are having big sales this time of year, so finding deals will not be a problem. PC World posted that Black Friday doorbusters are for suckers.

Where to go: This Wall Street Journal article confirmed my list of what sites list Black Friday Sales 2009: "Where to Find Black Friday Deals". I have already been following Black Friday Ads, BlackFriday.info and the BlackFriday Twitter account. Mashable posted about how social media is used to find Black Friday deals (including Facebook). The New York Times byte blog posted with more online Black Friday 2009 sites to follow such as CheapTweets on Twitter. I did go into an Apple store to ask about around Thanksgiving and they said there will be a sale. By going on the Apple website I saw that the Apple sale day is November 26.  I also follow many computer manufacturers on Twitter and have seen lots of deals through Twitter: SonyElectronics, HP News, HP_IPG , Dell, Dell Outlet, Toshiba Laptops. The big retailers like Staples, Radio Shack, Best Buy and online retailers like Amazon Twitter Deals and NewEgg also share deals.  I also go to their websites and signup for newsletter updates which sends deals to my email inbox.

What to consider: My recommendation is to sleep in and shop online. The New York Times reported that retailers will extend Black Friday. Other articles said that the high end items are not the main items on sale. So my suggestion is to decide on your needs and what alternatives fit with those needs.

How to choose the right technology gifts: I have been looking at all sorts of technology and I can honestly say that in many situations there are more then one "perfect" fit. The first step is to identify what your needs are then start to look for overall technology solutions. Then review online buying guides to understand what features you should be looking for. My favorite online buying guides are on CNET, Laptop Magazine buying guides, DPreview and reviews on gadget blogs like Ubergizmo, Engadget, Gizmodo, TechieDiva, Gear Diary, Boy Genius Report, Gear Live and of course TechMamas. My favorite shopping site is Cool Mom Picks. Bing.com also has links to guides such as "Laptop buying guides".

NEED A NEW HOME COMPUTER? Do you need another computer for your kids to do their homework? Then consider desktops if the computer does not need to be mobile or laptops for mobile use. I was just quoted recently in an article by Laptop Magazine on Netbooks for Kids. Netbooks are a great alternative for mobile use - but I suggest having a docking station with a bigger screen for home use. Older kids may be responsible enough to have their own laptop, especially if their homework requires computer use. Tablet PC's may also be the right fit because of their flexible screens. Desktops are the most budget friendly and will have bigger screens that not only are easy on the eyes for homework, but if the Deskop has the right features can be used to watch videos, movies or even TV shows. There are also lots of accessories that compliment home computer users such as backup drives, media smart servers, home wireless servers, wireless keyboards & mouses, webcams and more. There are many printer options these days including the HP Photosmart Premium with TouchSmart Web.

Continue reading "Shopping Tech? Here Are Some Black Friday & Cyber Monday Tips" »

November 25, 2009

My Work-cation at ReThink Hawaii

RethinkhawaiiWhen Christine Lu contacts me about an event, I do everything I can to show up. She is one of those connectors that brings interesting people together to spark amazing discussions. My husband Neil Blecherman and I decided to join go to the ReThink Hawaii conference after she notified us. We not only looked at it as a chance to network and  but as a vacation; we had not been away for longer then a day together in 10 years - since we started our wonderful family of 3 boys!!.

Photo Credit: Kris Krug

Here is a picture of the ReThink Hawaii attendees, my husband and I are in the middle left - Christine Lu is at the front. Because we wanted to spend some time at the beach, we did not get to attend all the sessions. On the last day we enjoyed going to TEDx Honolulu just before we jumped on the plane. I enjoyed seeing the TEDx video to explain the passion that is spreading around the world. The TEDx Honolulu organizers (including L.P. “Neenz” Faleafine and Traci Toguchi and also did a great job of pulling together a compelling program. I look forward to when the TEDx  Honolulu videos are loaded. Of course, I am somewhat bias because of my excitement to hear my husband's TEDx speech (Neil Blecherman).

Being in semi-vacation mode, I decided to cover this trip via smartphone - using Twitter to capture my thoughts.My husband attended the Sustainablity/Eco session we both attended Social Media Business Summit Co-organized by Christine Lu, Rick Calver, Jim Turner.  I enjoyed speaking on a panel at the summit about Parent Bloggers with Jim Turner. The "Re-tweets" below with my picture are from an attendee who shared some of my key thoughts as I spoke. I also enjoyed hearing Jim Turner's perspective as one of the original parent bloggers who also runs a successful media business called One by One Media. We both shared that we don't make money from blogging - blogging is a way for us to share our voice. We have other businesses that compliment the blogging. I summarized a few of my key answers when asked why I blog.  Why TechMama blogs: "blogging a great platform for creating an online brand and image, blogging creates my voice but make money on other things (i.e. books, consulting), the three overall reasons I blog is community -relevance - voice. that's why "

Here is a summary of my Twitter stream from the conference. I will be looking at new ways to micro-blog, including trying the BlackBerry Whrrl app I just loaded.

TechMama's Twitter Stream from ReThink Hawaii:

Continue reading "My Work-cation at ReThink Hawaii" »

November 23, 2009

The Three Celebs

OMG, did you know that @herbadmother and @motherbumper met @johncmayer today. Yes, all three celebs hung out together. Here is picture of them hanging out together.. OK, well, Catherine and Katie's picture are from the Canada Moms Blog bio section and John Mayer's picture is from Wikipedia.. But close...

Catherine 220px-JohnMayerCrossroads2007 Katie

November 20, 2009

Twitter & Social Media for Support & Healing: Cyber Hugs to Anissa Mayhew

I just recently took one of the Twitter psych tests and it turns out I am very connected but not very emotional on Twitter.

I wondered, is that a good or bad thing? Was that darn test insulting me or setting me straight?

I do admit that I try to keep my emotions offline and my words of wisdom online. My strategy is to share news and information about technology relevant to moms, families or anyone involved in social media. But it is times like these where I feel emotion index will be rising......

For some time I have been dealing with some of my own treasured family members that have cancer. It is such a personal struggle I have found it hard to share online. But I gain strength by reading the posts from a strong network of cancer bloggers (some of which are Silicon Valley Moms Group bloggers including Susan from Why Mommy, Linsey from MeTooYou , BlogHer bloggers, and more). 

Another special person who has showed their strength online by sharing their family experiences with cancer  is Anissa Mayhew. I met her when she wrote for Deep South Moms Blog but then starting following her personal blog Free Anissa and another blog called "Hope4Peyton" about her experiences with childhood cancer.

But on Wednesday I saw information on Twitter about something that happened to Anissa and I got really worried. Then I happened to be talking to Barbara Jones first thing that morning and she informed me that Anissa had a stroke. It has been inspiring to see the support online for Anissa through a blog posts with information on how to support the family  (and Mister Linky lists where people can share their posts on Anissa) to a page set up on CaringBridge.orgLotus Carroll created a page to enable those wanting to put  twibbons on their Twitter profiles. Even the Bloggess did a great job of posting her emotional and (as she does so well) funny thoughts and practical links to help Anissa. A PayPal link was set up for those that would like to help the family using PayPal.

But the most powerful posts are those from Anissa's husband who is posting on Hope4Peyton.

A big cyber-hug and get well prayers for Anissa!

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November 19, 2009

Guest Post: A New Believer in Surround Sound

I invite moms who work at companies to share their information about technology from the "moms" perspective. On my search to learn more about the digital living room, I thought it would be interesting to hear from a mom who works at Dolby Laboratories, Inc.

**Guest post by Robin L. Selden – Senior Vice President, Marketing, Dolby Laboratories, Inc.

Before I joined Dolby I have to admit I was completely sound ignorant. I never really understood what a quality surround sound experience could be like in my home.

I’m not a complete novice when it comes to technology – I came to Dolby with more than 20 years of experience in the PC technology and digital media industries – so why did I have PC speakers (though they were nice) attached to my beautiful 50” plasma HDTV? 

I knew what good surround sound was like in the movie theater. My family is a huge fan of the movies and my husband and I often go with our 17 year old daughter and 15 year old son to watch the epic films on the big screen.  But we also rent a lot of movies at home and I knew that it never sounded quite like the theater.  So after I heard a fantastic demo at Dolby of a crystal clear 5.1 home theater setup, it finally hit me… I could have a similar surround sound experience in my home.  And not just with movies, but with video games and sports too!

The entire family was involved in developing our surround sound plan. We started by deciding which room would be dedicated to the home theater setup. We rearranged a big space in the house that previously doubled as an office and exercise room, and moved the HDTV to the middle of the room as the centerpiece. With the help of some Dolby experts, who were thankfully at my disposal, we selected a high-end audio video receiver (AVR) (with Dolby Volume to curb the “turn that down” family feuds) and a high-end 5.1 speaker system that looked gorgeous and fit the space well.

But what about aesthetics?  To figure out where the speakers should go, I used Dolby’s Home Theater Speaker Guide to aid in my husband and my rounds of discussions about the back left and right (surround) speakers in particular. He wanted to mount them on the wall.  I did not.  So we ended up putting them on stands, but positioned them far enough away so they would neither be an eye sore nor compromise the experience. 

Recommended 5.1 speaker placements for your home theater:

Continue reading "Guest Post: A New Believer in Surround Sound" »

November 17, 2009

Who Says You Can't Be a Geek, Mom, Blogger & Athlete?

Send Me to the Vancouver Winter Games!As TechMama's compatriot blogger and co-mom-geek, Beth invited me to blog here all about how I'm a semi-finalist in this awesome contest sponsored by Microsoft Office to win a trip to the Olympics. Needless to say, I'm really psyched.

It actually doesn't end there - the grand prize includes a trip to the Consumer Electronics Show and a brand new laptop! You know I'll be blogging about that too. But to win, I need votes. As many votes as possible. Every day. It's easy to register and vote. Just go to OfficeWinterGames.com and I'm the last one on the list of women bloggers.

I first laced up ice skates at age five, and my parents tell me that the look on my face told them I was hooked. I never had Olympic aspirations - I knew I didn’t have that kind of talent - but I also never lost my love for skating. I kept at it, even after college, and I’m proud to say I’m a national adult figure skating medalist. Meanwhile, I started using PCs in grade school, became a programmer, sysadmin and tech project manager and began writing about tech in the 90’s, usually using MS Word. I began blogging in 2003. I've been called an expert live blogger and tweeter on many occasions covering a wide range of events and topics. I started blogging about figure skating for BlogHer last year, and it's been a lot of fun.

While I have never been able to attend an Olympics, I have watched every moment of Olympic figure skating since I can remember, and I’ve sat on the edge of my seat for hockey, speed skating and skiing as well. I will blog my tail off up hill both ways in the Canadian snow for Microsoft Office if I win this contest. Please help me get there!

November 10, 2009

It's Holiday Season, Time To Start Shopping

Other then spending time with family and friends,  I look forward to holiday shopping. As someone who is obsessed with gadgets, the holiday shopping guides are a fun way to see what the latest and greatest gadgets are. I decided that there are so many different flavors to choose from, that instead of one holiday guide I will be posting about different products by manufacturer. I have found that many families I know get comfortable with one manufacturer when it comes to technology and want to stay within that line. But technology shopping for me is like going to an ice cream store - there are many flavors I like. Infact, my house is filled with multiple technologies from multiple manufacturers - I shop products that are relevant for my families needs.

Over the last few months I have not posted but I have been fast and furiously using, reading and obsessing over gadgets. At the same time I am getting lots of questions about what products are out there. So over the next few weeks I will be posting the new, interesting or just plain relevant technology gadgets out there for families. My view is that "practical" is the new gift, so holidays are a perfect time for technology purchases.

CNET, Laptop Magazine, Consumer Reports and other technology magazines/websites have good buying guides. David Pogue  (on video and in their columns) and other technology journalists like Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher of the Wall Street Journal (AllThingsDigital blog) talk are good resources for information about technology/gadgets.  Stores like Staples, Radio Shack and Best Buy also have sections on their websites and store flyers with holiday recommendations. Online sites like NewEgg , Amazon and others also have holiday information. I read lots of different sites and voices about technology gadgets - my TechMama GoodTechReads Twitter list is full of different information on social media, technology and gadgets. My next move may just be to split my Twitter group and have one specifically for gadgets!

But I receive the most information from my fellow bloggers and mom communities, which I will be viewing and talking with to find even more of the latest and greatest gadget gift recommendations.

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