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15 posts from January 2010

January 31, 2010

Grammys Tech: Stephen Colbert and the Apple iPad, Imogen Heap and the "Twitdress"

First I saw many other tech journalists that had access to hands on demo's of the Apple iPad during the press event. I was happy and content to crawl the web and do my own post about the features of the Apple iPad from that information. Even though I am a tech blogger, I was happy to wait until the Apple iPad came out to test drive it for myself at the Apple Store.

Then I saw a headline on Mashable titled "Pee Wee's Big Apple iPad Adventure".

What?? I was upset wondering when Pee Wee Herman became a tech journalist and why he got to use the Apple iPad before I did.

But then I watched the video, and realized it was the Pee Wee Adventure version; just a sketch.

Tonight as I was watching the Grammy's I saw one real comedian (and one of my favorites) that had access to a real Apple iPad: Stephen Colbert from the Colbert Report used the Apple iPad while presenting. I agree with the post on the AppleiPhoneApps.com - nice product placement! I guess paper ballots will be passe in the future.

If I can't have a hands on demo of the Apple iPad, maybe I could get my hands on that Twitter Dress (#Twitdress) that Imogen Heap wore to the Grammys. In a brillant use of engaging her community, she tweeted an email address that fans could email pictures - that then appeared on her Twitter stream.

Here is the picture Imogen Heap put on her YFrog account with the techie part of the dress:

 Twitdress

January 30, 2010

More on the Apple iPad Debate, Why Moms Should Demand Open Web Standards

It is finally a beautiful sunny day so why I am online right now? It is that geeky side of me that has been glued to the online tech sites since the release of the Apple iPad. But not because of the iPad. I posted about the Apple iPad features which I think are a great fit for those using Apple gadgets and software already. My son has a Apple MACBook and iPod so the iPad would make a great addition, allowing him to enjoy the media he has on his iTunes, start finally reading eBooks, web browsing on the go and subscribing to online newspapers to read the news.

But what I have not seen discussed much by family bloggers is the Apple iPad's lack of flash support. I posted with my thoughts on the Apple iPad features including the lack of Adobe Flash support. To get some feedback I also tweeted ( TechMama ) about it - hearing that others were also confused. JessWeiss replied back to me with "I find the omission odd, anti-web-ish myself ". From a mom's perspective, the lack of Adobe Flash support on the Apple iPad means that there will be online content my son would not be able to access - including some of his favorite YouTube videos, CNN videos that he is now watching for news, online gaming sites and more.

I am Not so upset about him not being able to access some of the sites that the Wired Gadget Lab post pointed out. But kids can access inappropriate sites in many ways, Flash or no Flash. Internet Safety education and controls will still be an important step before any child uses any device with Internet access.

This all leads to the answer of why I am sneaking some time online while my kids are busy playing on this sunny weekend afternoon. The lack of Adobe Flash support on the Apple iPad has brought on a very interesting discussion about open web standards by the top tech minds, summarized nicely on TechMeme. For me, this is better then celebrity gossip and may even top my obsession with celebrity red carpet dresses..

Ok, I am a real geek..

Talk about geeks - Robert Scoble wrote a post today titled "Can Flash Be Saved?" on his blog Scobleizer that summed up the debate: "Adobe’s best hope is to get Android to support Flash and Adobe’s best hope is that developers ignore the iPad and ignore the iPhone, or, at least, build better experiences on the Android and Google Chrome platforms that include Flash". Click HERE to ready the whole post on Scobleizer, it provides a developer perspective to the current debate. He is a dad that seems to be spending his sunny weekend day the same way I am.

As a mom who is a PC user that also supports a household with numerous Apple products, I just wish everyone would stop going off in their corners and using applications with different web standards. I am tired of broken links.

I am giving tech companies a time out; You are leaving your customers confused and backing them into cyber walls. Please just adopt some open web standards already! Let gadgets communicate with  applications across the web. I will be happy and thrilled to pay for content over the web - as long as I can just get some open standards already.

Continue reading "More on the Apple iPad Debate, Why Moms Should Demand Open Web Standards" »

January 28, 2010

Apple iPad: Discussion of Features and The Name

My first step in coverage of the Apple iPad was to understand the features not only as a techie but as a mom that appreciates mobile gadgets. Yesterday I posted a write-up with all the information I could find about the Apple iPad features. Looking at the Apple iPad features I listed yesterday, there were many that make the iPad a valuable tool, including it's user friendly design and interface, attractive build and access to a large number of applications from the iPhone (140,000 as of today), entertainment media and eBook libraries. These are all features that moms and families look for on a mobile gadget.  Today I wanted to look more into the Apple iPad features and reflect on the much discussed name "iPad".

The features:

While writing the post about the features I did wonder if the Apple iPad had a webcam as some had speculated before the official announcement. Mashable wrote a post that summarized what features are missing, including a camera and no USB port. The Mashable article also summarized that the Apple iPad seemed to be centered on "media consumption, not creation". Another missing feature in my opinion is the video webcam, which would of allowed use of Skype via the WiFi functionality, live video and video recording. Video recording is a popular feature many use on mobile gadgets, especially after seeing the video's being made on the iPhone 3GS.

Walt Mossberg in his first impressions also mentioned the applications and build as a plus, but had questions about the comfort of using the virtual keyboard. Because I have not had any hands on exposure to the Apple iPad yet, I can't add any personal experience about the keyboard.  David Pogue posted in the New York Times with his first impressions of the iPad and I agree that the iPad is like a giant iPod Touch. I also agree that reading eBooks or newspapers and watching TV shows or Movies (from iTunes) are a "natural" for the iPad. The iPad as an eReader for books and newspaper is a strong feature.

The next question I had was if the Apple iPad supports Flash. From what I have found, it currently does not support Adobe Flash. One of the posts on TechMeme that discussed this was from Anthony Ha of VentureBeat titled "No Flash on Apple’s iPad".

The Adobe Flash Platform blog posted with the following details: "without Flash support, iPad users will not be able to access the full range of web content, including over 70% of games and 75% of video on the web".  The Adobe Flash platform blog also posted that Flash Developers are working on iPad applications, which will be an advantage for the iPad moving forward. Here is that post: Adobe Flash Platform Blog -   Building iPad Applications with Flash:

"We announced the Packager for iPhone at MAX 2009 which will allow Flash developers to create native iPhone applications and will be available in the upcoming version of Flash Pro CS5. This technology enables developers to create applications for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad (though applications will not initially take direct advantage of iPad’s new screen resolution). It is our intent to make it possible for Flash developers to build applications that can take advantage of the increased screen size and resolution of the iPad."

**UPDATE Apple iPad - Adobe Flash info 1/29: The 9To5MAC Blog posted "The iPad has Adobe's Flash on Apple's video" and Mashable posted "Adobe Calls Out Apple for Lack of Flash on iPad".

I have also been actively asking for input on Twitter to see what other's think about Adobe Flash not being supported on the Apple iPad. Others also view that as "anti-webish".  I do think that it is important to pay for content. I will be HAPPY to pay for magazines and eBooks - that is important to support authors and journalists. But I also feel that new gadgets should also allow users to view free content as well through sites such as YouTube (that requires Adobe Flash to view).  That balance is something that will be of much debate moving forward**

I also found a few other posts on TechMeme that added information about the iPad features:

Continue reading "Apple iPad: Discussion of Features and The Name" »

January 27, 2010

Apple iPad - Only $499 and Runs iPhone Apps!

Just as my son ran into my room this afternoon complaining that he tried to download a music video onto his iPod but it was hard to watch on such a small screen AND that he has ran out of Hardy boys books to read so he needs to go to the bookstore to find some new mysteries, I had my eyes on one gadget that I could not even tell him about. Or maybe I should, it would be incentive for him to do homework and chores without complaing for years to come..The big announcement was made today - the Apple Tablet is called the "Apple iPad", which will be available in March. The Apple press release describes the uses as "web, reading and sending email, enjoying photos, watching videos, listening to music, playing games, reading e-books and much more".

Important features of the iPad from the Apple iPad Press Release are listed below:Apple_ipad

PRICE: $499

DESIGN: "High-resolution Multi-Touch™ display, 0.5 inches thick and weighs just 1.5 pounds".

WIFI:"iPad comes in two versions—one with Wi-Fi and the other with both Wi-Fi and 3G. iPad includes the latest 802.11n Wi-Fi, and the 3G versions support speeds up to 7.2 Mbps on HSDPA networks."

The Gizmodo post added: "3G data plans through AT&T, one of which is just $30 per month with no contract. You can cancel at any time with no penalty, and use AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots for free. The other plan offered is $15 for 250MB of data, also through AT&T."

The Wall Street Journal posted with additional information about the iPad WIFI: "The iPads with a chip allowing cellular connections will cost $130 more than standard versions, which start at $499 and up. Units with the wireless chip will go on sale 30 days after the other version ships in March. The iPad won't be exclusive to AT&T, so it could potentially work abroad on networks that share the carrier's GSM wireless technology. Verizon Wireless uses a competing technology called CDMA. Apple said it is pulling together international carriers in time for when the device ships."

APPLICATIONS: "12 new innovative apps designed especially for the iPad iPad runs almost all of the over 140,000 apps on the App Store, including apps already purchased for your iPhone® or iPod touch®. Apple also introduced a new version of iWork® for iPad, the first desktop-class productivity suite designed specifically for Multi-Touch. With Pages®, Keynote® and Numbers® you can create beautifully formatted documents, stunning presentations with animations and transitions, and spreadsheets with charts, functions and formulas. The three apps will be available separately through the App Store for $9.99 each."

 Ipad_2up_fbgame
MUSIC, MOVIES AND TV: "The iTunes® Store will provides access to the iPad to online music, TV and movie store  that has a catalog of over 11 million songs, over 50,000 TV episodes and over 8,000 films including over 2,000 in stunning high definition video."

EBOOKS: "Apple also announced the new iBooks app for iPad, which includes Apple’s new iBookstore, the best way to browse, buy and read books on a mobile device. The iBookstore will feature books from major and independent publishers."

GREEN TECH: "Continuing Apple’s dedication to designing and creating environmentally responsible products, each iPad enclosure is made of highly recyclable aluminum and comes standard with energy-efficient LED-backlit displays that are mercury-free and made with arsenic-free glass. iPad contains no brominated flame retardants and is completely PVC-free."

STORAGE, BATTERY LIFE, CHIP and CONNECTORS:

Continue reading "Apple iPad - Only $499 and Runs iPhone Apps!" »

January 26, 2010

Apple Tablet Mania: Where To Find Live Coverage of Apple Media Event Jan. 27

While I am in the middle of posting about the Tablets (small hand held computing devices) I saw at CES, it seems a little meeting tomorrow (Jan. 27) is producing a huge amount of buzz: Apple is having a meeting for media Jan. 27 10am pst. The rumors are rampad - but it seems that many believe Apple will be announcing specifics on the Apple Tablet. Rumors are also being spread on the Internet about the specific name of the Apple Tablet; two of them are iPad, iSlate or just Apple Tablet. PC World posted that the Apple Gadget will have a 10 inch touch screen. MacRumors discussed that the Apple Tablet will have a front facing webcam and optional 3G connectivity.

I am also keeping my eye on the Apple PR web page. Currently their most recent announcement is the First Quarter results; The Apple press release states "revenue of $15.68 billion and a net quarterly profit of $3.38 billion, or $3.67 per diluted share....Apple sold 3.36 million Macintosh® computers during the quarter, representing a 33 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 8.7 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 100 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 21 million iPods during the quarter, representing an eight percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter."

While the Apple Media meeting is in Cupertino, I will be doing some work with my Silicon Valley Moms Group buddies in Silicon Valley. So I will be amoungst the ranks glued to their computers tomorrow to find out details. Luckily I am in touch with some of my amazing tech bloggers buddies and saw details on other tech sites of  who will not only be there, but will be covering the Apple Jan. 27 press conference live. I also saw many posts and interesting discussions about the Apple Tablet on Techmeme.

1.  PaidContent.org has a post titled "Three Things Apple Needs To Do To Make Its Tablet A Breakthrough Device" (TechMeme post). I agree that a new media device with a user friendly graphical user interface would be very successful.

2. New York Times post "With Apple Tablet, Print Media Hope for a Payday" (Techmeme post) that the Apple Tablet may be a good way for publishers to charge for content. I have said on numerous posts that I am happy to pay for electronic book content, I want to support book authors and publishers getting paid so we keep the flow of books coming. 

3. In the "it's all about the apps baby" category I saw an interesting post by Robert Scoble titled "Developers: the Apple tablet press announcements start"  that discusses application development for the Apple Tablet, including the news that developer tool/platform Appcelerator will be announcing support for the Apple Tablet.

Here are good sites to follow Jan. 27 for live updates on the Apple media event and a mock-up PICTURE of the Apple Tablet that I have seen multiple sites post via Gizmodo.

SITES TO WATCH WITH COVERAGE OF APPLE TABLET MEDIA EVENT:

Continue reading "Apple Tablet Mania: Where To Find Live Coverage of Apple Media Event Jan. 27" »

January 25, 2010

When Writing About Tech Trends, I Listen to Star Trek Theme For Inspiration

As usual, when I cover tech conferences I like to take some time to step back and relate the trends to the products, then explain it all in a way that makes sense. Which is why I am STILL working on my CES 2010 (Consumer Electronics Show) trend post. It is not as if I saw mind blowing new technology at CES specifically. But taking into account all I learned from 2009 trends, interesting discussions at MommyTechCES and everything I saw at CES - there are major tech trends in play.

I am getting close and will post soon, for now I post with a YouTube video to show how I felt when I first walked into CES 2010.

Now here is how my 10 year old son would describe the same feeling, a.k.a the Star Trek Remix, times are a changin! I almost think my son would do a better job of explaining the new tech then I would!

January 20, 2010

My Kids Are Awake With Access to Tech, But Pretend Play Is Still King

Kids-technologyThis morning I opened up the New York Times and read the article by Tamar Lewin called "If Your Kids Are Awake, They're Probably Online". Later I saw the New York Times article had made it to Techmeme.

While reading the article I took a moment to look at what my kids were doing. Were my kids using any technology this morning?

So I decided to review the morning's activities: After my 10 year old and twin 6 year old boyBoys-pillow-fights ate breakfast, they went into our living room (affectionately called the "bouncy room" because sofa pillows are used for forts and jumping) for some pretend play before school. They had rolled up paper for swords and were pretending to fend off the "bad guys". A few nerf guns sneaked their way in, but had no bullets so they ended up being a prop as well. When it is was time to leave, my boys put on their little yellow rain boots and rain jackets and went to school.

All of this "pretend play" happened in our house that is full of technology. We have multiple laptops including my 10 year old that has his own laptop, iPod and Nintendo DSi. My twin 6 year olds have Leapfrog moblie gaming units and their older brother's hand me down Nintendo DS's. The TV in our family room may be 10 years old, but it still works great. We have Direct TV DVR's and a Nintendo Wii. We have multiple Nintendo racing, sports and Mario Bros Wii games with lots of accessories and just recently purchased the Tony Hawk Thride game and accessory board. My 10 year old has a simple cell phone that is "Pay as you Go" with no data plan but ample calling and texting. His friends have the Sony Playstation and they enjoy playing Lego Star Wars. We only have one TV in our family room, but multiple computer screens in our house.

The New York Times article "If Your Kids Are Awake, They're Probably Online" brought up some very interesting discussion points about how much time kids are spending on technology each day:

Continue reading "My Kids Are Awake With Access to Tech, But Pretend Play Is Still King" »

January 18, 2010

Silicon Valley Doctor and Support Team looking for transport to Haiti to provide relief services

I received this email from a fellow Silicon Valley Moms Group blogger (a dad blogger). He is a doctor and has assembled a group that wants to provide relief services to Haiti but needs transport. Please pass word on and notify me at techmamas(at)gmail(dot)com if you or you know someone that can provide this amazing group transport to Haiti to provide relief support. Here is the information from the email:

"Enoch Choi  (http://twitter.com/enochchoi) will lead a group of local physicians, nurses and support personnel to bring critically needed medical supplies to provide emergency medical care in a mobile outpatient clinic in Haiti.  If direct transport into Haiti is possible, the team will distribute basic life support supplies (water purification, hygiene) and other locally collected health related items (tylenol, ibuprofen, nasal saline).  The difficulty currently is the lack of transport for anything other than emergency medical personnel into Haiti through the Dominican Republic.   This relief effort is significantly different from the large organizations in that:
- 100% of funds collected will be used to provide direct medical care without regard to patients' background, along with Christian prayer offered on an opt-in basis
- medical personnel will deploy for as short as 1 week assignments- as an outpatient clinic, it is more mobile than the hospital based inpatient services
- operations will benefit from local technology donors to demonstrate appropriate use of mobile, green, cleantech approaches to disaster medical relief"

January 17, 2010

Haitan Assistance Relief Telethon - Join In To Help!

LogoHART There has been lots of different ways the blogosphere has been contributing to Haiti Disaster Relief. I mentioned some of my last post about using tech to support the Haiti Earthquake relief effort.

Tonight I am happy to join in on the effort organized by Jim Turner of   One by One Media.  It is callled the Haitian Assistance Relief Telethon (the hash tag #Hart). Here is the description from the website: "24 Hour Internet RadioAthon, 6:00 PM PST Sunday, Jan. 17th to 6:00 PM Monday, Jan 18th - Anchored by wsRadio Host Jim Turner."

The company that will be helping host is WhatGives.com . The show will be on WSRadio.com and livestreaming  on Ustream.com. The Twitter hashtag is  #HART.

I will be joining as a guest on the show tonight (Sunday Jan. 17)  from 8pm - 9pm pst. Join us this Sunday January 17 and help use the power of social media to aid the people of Haiti. We need your help! Click HERE for more information on the Haitan Assistance Relief Telethon.

January 14, 2010

Using Tech For Haiti Disaster Relief

The people of Haiti have been in my thoughts and prayers as I find out more and more about the devastating earthquake. Here is information from a mom blogger friend who shared what she heard from a dear friend of hers with family in Haiti:

Port-au-Prince has been flattened.  The major landmark buildings that we all thought would survive anything and that have survived everything previously (including the 4 hurricanes last year) are all largely destroyed.  The National Palace is down.  The national cathedral is down.  The national penitentiary is down, and the 3,000+ most hardened criminals in Haiti who were being housed there have taken to the streets.

I am happy to see once again social media being used for good. The Wall Street Journal article summed it up in their article "Tech Lends a Hand in Haiti". That article lists some of the main sites collecting funds for disaster relief. Tonight the Clever Girls Collective did a Twitter party for Haiti relief. PC World posted that Google Earth revealed the devastation in Haiti, Google Earth has a web page that also summarizes Disaster Relief. Here is information from that page on ways to text donations:

The following organizations are accepting SMS donations in the US only-

  • SMS text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 to Red Cross relief efforts
  • SMS text “YELE” to 501501 to Donate $5 to Yele Haiti’s Earthquake Relief efforts

Here is the image from Google Earth. Thinking good thoughts of safety and quick relief for the people of Haiti:

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