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9 posts from December 2009

December 26, 2009

Are Kids Search Engine Savvy? - 2009 Edition

J0431643 This morning I read an article in the New York Times titled: Helping Children Find What They Need on the Internet written by Stefanie Olsen. The article discusses that online searches are still challenging for kids even though there are many choices available such as Google, Yahoo, Bing and many others. Some of the challenges identified were the children finding the right keywords to use for the search.

User content sites like Wikipedia are also helpful but parents should get involved to make sure results are valid. Yahoo also has a website for kids called Yahoo Kids. Answers.com allows the user to input a question such as "What are the names of the US Presidents" then an answer is returned. Common Sense Media has a section with website reviews by age.

This made me think back to my post from 2008 titled "Are Kids Search Engine Savvy?" where I included links to some kid friendly sites. In that post I had found a site called "Kid Safe Search sites" that had a site made by Librarians called "Kids Click".

To solve this challenge, maybe the search engine sites should hire Librarians, parents and kids to show their needs and have that reflected in the programming for the search engines. True to the points made in the New York Times article about children searching on the Internet, my 5th grader starts with image and video searchs and even has "voice" activation working on his MACbook - so the future needs of search should include a multi-platform approach. Bing's Visual search, Google's multiple search options and Yahoo's advance video searches are good examples.

I will start to look at other new kid friendly sites as well to update my 2008 post. More to come..

December 25, 2009

After Christmas Holiday Technology Shopping Anyone?

J0442156 At the end of November I posted about my obsessive attempt at getting Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals . I included some of my technology shopping tips in my Black Friday post. Looking back, I realized that regular monitoring of manufacturer sales through their deal newsletters and social media sites was a better strategy. But I still need some new technology - so once again I will head out to the crowds tomorrow and searching online.

Here is a post from Business Week "Retailers Vying for Discount Seekers Cut Prices After Christmas" that gives me hope I will find some deals. As I explained in my earlier post, high end merchandise is not usually put on holiday sales - but there are exceptions. So it is important to keep monitoring the products you want to buy for when they do go on sale.

For those shopping for technology tomorrow, happy shopping!

December 22, 2009

Visual Search Engine for eBay: PicClick

Carters_baby_picclick Being a parent requires purchasing lots of items, and to make it more challenging kids are constantly outgrowing clothes and toys. eBay is one of the most popular sites for parents to buy and sell items.

I just found out about a new site called PicClick, a visual eBay search engine.  I am very visual so image search engines make it easier for me to find what I need. Here are come of the examples of the different ways to perform the visual search:

--By category - http://picclick.com/Baby/

--By product within a category - http://picclick.com/Baby/?query=diaper+bag&minAsk=min+price&maxAsk=max+price&zipCode=zip+code

--Search within a price range (min to max)

--Search geographically (zip code)

This post is informational only, not a sponsored post.

December 21, 2009

Geek is a Global Language - But Twitter is Not (yet)

Logo-trans During the blogger embark on the USS Nimitz this past May, I enjoyed learning how social media is being used aboard an aircraft carrier at sea. Similarly, when I was invited to join the Traveling Geeks trip to Paris, I looked forward to experiencing social media in France first hand. Especially with - as fellow Geek Matthew Buckland referred to - a "top secret, Illuminati-type organization". Except we were not secret about anything as we all share openly our thoughts online.

True to expectations, only moments into the first Traveling Geeks French start-ups meetings and LeWeb discussions, the similarities and differences of social media around the globe quickly came to light. Similarities were easy to see in the programming and features of application development, which quickly proved to a be a global language. As for differences, they fell primarily into three buckets  (with comedy insight provided by a Current TV video on the bottom of this post):

1. Where are the girl geAnneTG09eks in Paris? I know there are girl geeks in Paris; I  found a link to  my favorite Girl Geek Dinner organization in Paris. I did enjoy talking with Anne-Celine Jeanneau from Zoomorama (pictured, right) at the Paris Digital Content Companies Incubator. While fellow Traveling Geek Eliane Fiolet lives in the US now, she was born in France and is one of the most knowledgeable geeks I know! I was thrilled to see Geraldine Le Meur on the LeWeb stage, someone who ranks TOPS in my Tech Mom Twitter list.

When I visit different countries, I don't keep track of how many women versus men I am meeting with. But I do enjoy seeing women globally communicate their strong, social media voice. In Silicon Valley, I connect with girl geeks through BlogHer, She's Geeky, Anita Borg Institure, Women 2.0, Girl Geek Dinners and Girls in Tech (and more). While I don't expect every area to have so many groups, I do enjoy meeting with local girl geek organizations while I am traveling and sharing ideas. Renee Blodgett and Eliane Fiolet worked hard to have diversity in the Traveling Geeks crew. Back in the US, BlogHer is researching into how women use social media: "BlogHer Team to Bring Research and Insights About How Women Use Social Media, Blogs to the White House and Republican Leadership".

2. European Geeks OuTG0901t Style Silicon Valley Geeks: While Silicon Valley geeks put on a clean tee shirt for tech conferences, European geeks take it up a notch. Here is a random  geek waiting in line for LeWeb. I told him I was chronicling European Geek Chic. He looked confused but smiled for the camera. To top it off, he and many other Euro-geeks paired the geek uniform of jeans with a nice pair of (non-sneaker) shoes.

Just to keep up with the style, I put on every black and stylish piece of clothing I had. If I had time, I would of shopped from the assortment of beautiful french scarves to take my outfit up a notch. Luckily I am back home in my gym clothes, which is my preferred blogging uniform.

3. Where are the conversations? Person to Person or Twitter to Twitter?: In Silicon Valley, online social networking ID names rival business cards as a means for introduction and maintaining contact; I introduce myself as "TechMama on Twitter". My perspective is that Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are required applications for global business interaction, especially for those wanting to do business in the US. These applications are becoming the center of the conversation, with complimentary applications being built around them.

Continue reading "Geek is a Global Language - But Twitter is Not (yet)" »

Traveling Geeks 09 Paris: Microblog via Twitter

BlackBerry_Bold My platform of choice during theTwitter Traveling Geeks 09 trip to Paris was first Twitter to microblog, then loading the microblog items to a blog post (my blogging platform is Typepad). Twitter is an application that allows people to share what they are doing at the moment in 140 characters or less. My niche on Twitter is to share parenting and technology updates, so this information would fit within my framework.  At LeWeb I learned about Seesmic so I hope to try that out as an interface for my next microblogging adventure. I will also be experimenting with using the BlackBerry app for Whrrl to capture "stories" on the run.

I purchased an AT&T 200 MB International data plan for my BlackBerry Bold in preparation for microblogging in Paris, using my own daily calculations to make sure I would not go over (which is very expensive). All of this preparation would allow me to enjoy the tour, capturing the key moments while not taking too much time away to prepare blog posts until I returned home. Although microblogging does now allow in-depth analysis, it does capture the key points.

The International Data plan also helped me keep my smartphone email and social media app. addiction satisfied during my trip to Paris. The thought of a smartphone without a data plan was too much to handle.

Here is my Twitter Stream from the  #TG09 Traveling Geeks 09 trip to Paris. Each tweet is from my Twitter stream unless it has a "RT" or retweet in front of it. I took out my Twitter ID (TechMama) and hashtags after the first few to make it easier to read. 

Continue reading "Traveling Geeks 09 Paris: Microblog via Twitter" »

December 10, 2009

LeWeb: Queen Rania Discusses Digital Darwinism and 1Goal Initiative For Global Education

DSC_0199 In the age of digital media, it is inspiring to see women with a global presence utilizing different social media channels for communication and public good. On Day 2 of LeWeb conference, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashermite Kingdom of Jordan spoke not only about "The human race living in a digital space" but of her global education initiatives.

Queen Rania is a role model for living in the digital space; she is active in the following social media outlets:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/queenrania

Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/QueenRania

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/QueenRania

Website: http://www.queenrania.jo/

On her website, Queen Rania lists her initiative areas including global education. The initiative she discussed during her talk is called 1Goal (http://www.join1goal.org/). Here are the goals from Queen Rania's website:

"1GOAL is a new campaign to raise support for Education for All, and hold world leaders accountable to their promises. 1GOAL brings together the experience and expertise of the Global Campaign for Education with the passion and power of football through FIFA."

Queen Rania asked everyone to take a second and spread the word on 1Goal, so I decided to share over Twitter. She then explained her reasons for getting involved in social media  Here are some notes I took from her explanation:

"The human race living in a digital space. Doing more then just documenting - you are part of new field of digital anthropology that let us represent ourselves online.  A "digital Darwin". My virtual self can get closer to more people then my real self. It is hard to connect to people when you are a Queen. But online people are not afraid to speak their minds. It has created a space where everyone is free to say what they please and help spread ideas and causes. I get dubbed "Monarch on mission". I can't help but get excited by what I see. Can the real time web bring real time change? Can it tackle real time challenges? What we need now is to amplify our actions, offline people will have to listen. Education for all. Around the world there are 75 million kids out of school. more then 55% of those are girls, denied the chance to read a book less read a computer.  With every year of education, income increases by 10%. If children were educated it could save 7 million cases of HIV in the next decade. "

So Queen Rania took her cause to Twitter. She asked her followers if online activism can change real world problems? Queen Rania's followers wondered if it would be "difficult to get everyone out of computer chairs, they think that virtual movements lead to virtually nothing."

She challenged us by saying "with all the digital talent in this room, we can help. Dedicate one moment for 1Goal ". MySpace has stepped up to work with 1Goal. At LeWeb Queen Rania had a chance to meet with Facebook and Twiiter.

Queen Rania then left us with a few more digital words of wisdom: " The challenge is to deepen the link with the web and the world, for people to make their own leap from digital interaction to activism. To bring real change to humanity. To make livestreaming - life changing!"

December 09, 2009

Traveling Geeks Like Their Gadgets

1147076@N22 We are three days into the Traveling Geeks 09 trip to Paris. Today we are at Le Web watching panels and networking. I am excited to start sharing the interesting information from the last three days, but first I wanted to share some behind the scenes.

The mission (from the about page) of Traveling Geeks is to collaborate with innovators and influencers, and then share that knowledge and insight to a collective global audience through blogging, video, social media tools, traditional media and meet-ups.There are many social media channels to follow the Traveling Geeks including a website, Twitter, Facebook fan page and Flickr pictures.

The geeks on the trip have been using every social media technology possible to cover the events including Twitter, blogging, video and podcasting. Best of all has been the range of gadgets used on Traveling Geeks France 09 including different video cams and a video receiver, WiFi accessories, laptops, netbooks, smartphones, point & shoot cameras and DSLR's with multiple lenses. Because electrical outlets are a must- have for geeks, we all shared the plugs and converters. Of course, the most important feature was Wi-Fi. All the events we had on the trip had Wi-Fi, even if at times we did have challenges logging on. Paris is not only a wired city but also has great 3G coverage. Being a known Twitter-a-holic, I enjoyed using Twitter all over Paris. At least those times when I was not running to and from the Metro.

The hot topics of discussion within the Traveling Geeks were on the different social media platforms, how we each use social media and gadget comparisons including smartphone and DSLR camera lenses.

But what we most enjoyed most was meeting the people and hearing about social media and technology use in Paris. I will share that information on my next post, now back to the conference.

items in Traveling Geeks More in Traveling Geeks pool

December 08, 2009

PicScout ImageExchange Simplifies Online Image Access

This week, I'm working with a unique company called PicScout on outreach for some really cool announcements related to their company and products. Techies, graphic designers and other creative professionals who use, promote and access stock images online should know about PicScout's ImageExchange as it's cutting edge stuff. So I thought I'd put up a brief explanation of it here for anyone interested.

PicScout uses the tagline "every image gets its credit" because the idea is that all stock images online can be fingerprinted and globally identifiable with the Picscout tool suite. Their new downloadable Firefox browser add-on, ImageExchange, allows for easily identifying image ownership while browsing the web so creative professionals, bloggers, designers, etc. can license and purchase images accordingly. (Anyone who downloads the app before Monday the 14th is automatically entered to win a $250 certificate for agency images.)

ImageExchange now works with "every type of image, including rights managed, such as those from Masterfile, Life, Alfo, Mauritius; royalty free, including those from Blend and Glow, and UGC." It's pretty revolutionary when you think about it - the ability to determine who owns the rights to an image online and easily pay to use that image. Simple, legal, and smart.

PicScout also partners with the Creative Commons for image sharing purposes, and PicScout just announced that Creative Commons CEO Joi Ito has joined PicScout's advisory board.

For anyone who wants to learn more about the ImageExchange, you can participate in an online guided demo from PicScout Thursday at 1pm PST/4pm EST.

December 05, 2009

On My Way To Paris With the Traveling Geeks!

TG-banner-square-english While waiting at the Chicago airport for my flight to Paris, France, I decided to slip in my first official post of my adventure. I am honored and excited to be joining an amazing group of bloggers participating in Traveling Geeks Paris.

Eliane Fiolet and Renee Blodgett have been working hard with Co-Organizer Phil Jeudy to make this trip come together. Sky Schuyler, CTO, and two web developers built the infrastructure of the Traveling Geeks website and social media channels.  

The Traveling Geeks include:  Beth Blecherman, Renee Blodgett, Matthew Buckland, Amanda Coolong, Kim-Mai Cutler, Cyrille de Lasteyrie, Olivier Ezratty, Eliane Fiolet, Tom Foremski, Phil Jeudy, Frederic Lardinois, Sky Schuyler, Robert Scoble, Rodrigo Sepulveda Schulz, David Spark, Ewan Spence, Jerome TranieĢ, and Robin Wauters.

I purchased the 200MB International data plan for my BlackBerry  - so I hope to use Twitter while I am in Paris and not bust my limit! We have WiFi at the hotel in Paris to use, but knowing the geek level of the group I feel confident that we will search out every Wi-Fi location in Paris while we are there. More excitement to come..

Here is more information about Traveling Geeks I found by reading Eliane Fiolet's post on Traveling Geeks:

Continue reading "On My Way To Paris With the Traveling Geeks!" »



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