16 posts categorized "Holiday Gift Guides"

December 13, 2011

Holiday Gifts=Time to Upgrade Tech: TV's

image from i1137.photobucket.comSpending all year writing about technology leaves me little time to focus on my own household tech. My preference is to have home technology that is not only low maintenance but also high quality. Looking around the house, I realized that the fully functional 12 year-old family TV no longer remotely qualified as “top of the line”. Not to mention the glares my tween son's friends gave me when they came over and realized we have a (shriek and face plant) TV with "tubes" in it.

So this holiday season I joined the world of high definition and purchased a new HDTV. Because our 12 year old TV Sony TV lasted so long and offered us a great viewing experience - I wanted to purchase another Sony television. At the local Sony Style store I reviewed the different models and received great information from the sales team. I also talked to friends of the family who are Home Electronic Concierges (Intuitive Environments). They sent me an article from PC Mag on how to buy an HDTV. If I were not a technology writer, I would have hired them because to help save money and time. But being a tech geek - I wanted to have the full experience of uprgading the TV on my own. I also checked CNET for reviews and Decide.com to get an idea of what price I should looking for.

Continue reading "Holiday Gifts=Time to Upgrade Tech: TV's" »

May 06, 2011

Top Questions To Ask Mom Before Buying Tech

Mother's Day is just around the corner and tech is top of mind for many moms. In the past I spent countless hours putting together  gift guides. But this year I decided to keep the momentum going with my well known use of Twitter microblogging at @TechMama. Starting today and this weekend I will be tweeting out articles about Mothers Day tech. So please follow me @TechMama to find out what gadgets are being recommended for moms. One of my favorite sites for this type of "cool tech for moms" is CoolMomTech.  Of course, I could not post without giving my own tips - but they may just be different then most. In fact, my tips will be the top questions to ask mom before buying her tech.

Anyone buying tech for their moms has to step back and think about what tech "infrastructure and requirements" their mom (or wife) has. How does that special mom use technology in her life? Just because an iPad2 is the hottest gadget being discussed for mother's day - does not mean that it is the right gift for mom.

WHAT? Did I actually just say that the iPad2 may not be the right gift for mom? YES... I did...

Continue reading "Top Questions To Ask Mom Before Buying Tech" »

December 06, 2010

Media Event: Windows 7 Holiday 2010 PC's

MC900434865 About 6 months ago I purchased a new Windows 7 laptop with an Intel Core i7 processor, big hard drive and powerful graphics. My computer was 3 years old - which is 100 years old in PC age.

This new computer has really helped me turbo charge my computing experience and sneak work in between my crazy mom schedule managing 3 boys.

Last week I attended a Windows7 Holiday event that showcased some of the newly available Window 7 PC's. My slogan this holiday season is upgrading family technology is the best holiday gift, so I was interested to see some of recent advancements and fun features.

Listed below are some interesting PC's I saw and some of the specs. When choosing a PC it is important to first decide what that PC will be used for, then decide what features are important to support that use. Laptops, with their increasing more powerful specs, are crossing the line between being good for mobile as well as home.

Mobile Computing Power that can also used for work/homework:

Acer TimelineX 1830- starting at $600: Ultraportable, light, 8 hours + of battery life. Specs: Intel Core i3 Processor 4GB RAM, 320GB HD, Intel HD Graphics

Dell Studio 15 - starting at $599: 15.4", 1080p display, Intel Core i7, 6GB RAM and 256GB solid state drive.

Dell Inspiron Duo - starting at $499: 10 inch multi-touch tablet that transitions to a laptop (Dell's first convertablie tablet).

HP Envy 14 - starting at $999.99: Laser-etched aluminum design with Beats Audio. Up to Intel Core i7, 4GB RAM, 320GB

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge - starting at $700: Curved keyboard, Core i3, 3GB RAM, 320GB.

Lenovo U160 - starting at $749: A thin and light computer with a beautiful red design on the outer lid. Core i5 (or Core i7), 4GB RAM, 320GB.'

Samsung SF510 "Shark" - starting at $979: Curved modern design. Core i3, 4GB RAM, 640 GB HD.

Toshiba Kid's PC Satellite L635 - starting at $499: Water-resistant keyboard, pre-loaded web browser KidZui and NetNanny. Celeron, 2GB RAM and 250GB HD.

Toshiba R705 - starting at $800: Thin and light 13" Magnesium honeycomb chassis. Core i3, 4GB RAM, 500GB HD.

Family Touch PC's:

HP TouchSmart 600 -  starting at $999: HD Multi-touch screen and Blu-Ray. Core i7, 4GB RAM, 500GB HD.

Sony Vaio J - starting at $1049.99: 21.5" full HD touchscreen. Core i7, 4GB RAM, 500GB HD.

I also had a brief opportunity to view some of the new Windows 7 phones. I will be doing more detailed posts in the near future, but for now I thought the Samsung Focus and the Dell Venue Pro were defintely peaking my interest.

This week I will also be posting on Windows Live Essentials 2011, which I just starting using, then a discussion about some of the available free software and services. If only I could find some way to turbo charge my workouts similar to how my new PC turbocharged my work day!

Disclosure: This post is documenting a media event I was invited to. These specifications are from a press release distributed at the event.

This is not a sponsored post.

January 14, 2010

Took A Study Break, But Now I am Back....

Whenever I stop posting for awhile it is usually either because I am away at a conference (and busy covering it live via Twitter) or taking a study break. The holidays came about at the same time a fabulous opportunity to join the Traveling Geeks trip to Paris. So I went to Paris. I mean come on, Paris and hanging with a top notch group of Geeks all in one trip?

I still gathered information for a holiday tech guide but decided to hold off posting for some very good reasons. While reviewing the vast amount of technology options open to families I realized there was lots of terminology and features that I needed to better understand before I shared my favorites with anyone. I wondered what is the difference between an ultra-portable and thin & light PC. What are the advantages of a SSD (solid state drive) versus a regular hard drive? How do I choose a processor when choosing a computer? What do I need to know about video graphics cards? What other features are most relevant when choosing a computer? What other technology is not only new but relevant/useful for families versus a luxury item?

I realize many don't spend time pondering those questions, but I did. To my families dismay I spent every free moment when I was not playing with my kids during winter break scouring the web for buying guides, information, buying relevant tech magazines, reading about the new technology coming out and understanding better the technology that is already here.

With over 40 pages of data gathered, I decided to put it all together in one big cheat sheet. I realized after CES that my research only covered the best of 2009 - so some of it is already out of date. But I also realized that while many of the technology discussed at CES is available now - there is also an equal amount that has not launched yet.

To make things even more complicated, some of the technologies coming out will take some time to be adopted in the mainstream by families. An example of that is 3D Televisions. While I think anyone buying a new TV should think about buying one that has the "option" to run programs/movies that are 3D compatible (many new 3D TV's have controls that turn the 3D on or off) - I don't think consumers that were not shopping for a new TV will do so because of 3D. Not yet of course...

I decided to not look for any sponsors for this CES so I could just set my own schedule to take it all in (my trip was paid for all by TechMama herself). Starting next week I will post with what I learned about technology features from my obsessive study break and the exciting, bizarre, cool, relevant and downright "so thankful they finally invented that" technology from CES.

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" »

April 27, 2009

Free Online Safety Service From Norton Makes It Easier To Keep Kids Safe Online

**Guest post by Marian Merritt - Symantec's Internet Safety Advocate

I have three kids who love the Internet in all its forms. The oldest is just 15 and the youngest is 7. Like a bunch of bumper cars, their online activities occasionally dent the family rules for being safe online. Sometimes they forget what we’ve discussed or they are into things I never dreamed would capture their interest. It feels like I’m always a step behind knowing what they are going to download or visit and then protecting them from the mistakes they might make.

The youngest one doesn’t understand why I’m concerned about her using search engines when she was taught how to use Google and Yahoo at school. (How do I know the “safe search” settings haven’t been tweaked?) The middle child, 13 years old, wants to game online and has no problem downloading cheat codes or visiting sites with gaming tips. He rolls his eyes when I lecture about visiting these “who knows who runs them” sites and downloading files. And of course, my oldest is into all the normal teen stuff: social networks, chatting, Skyping with her friends,and YouTube. So I admit it, I need some help here.

Norton has just launched a great and easy to use service that should make my life a lot easier. It’s called OnlineFamily.Norton and is a simple way to give me the insight I need into my children’s online activities but without the usual associated headaches of traditional web filtering or parental control software. And, during the introductory period (through next January 1st) the service (a $60 value) is entirely free!!

Continue reading "Free Online Safety Service From Norton Makes It Easier To Keep Kids Safe Online " »

April 23, 2009

Mother's Day 09: Jawbone PRIME™ Bluetooth® Headset with EARCANDY™ Colors

Because I don't have time for an official Mother's Day Gift Guide, over the next week I will be posting about products I feel are relevant for Moms. Here is a press release about the new Jawbone PRIME™ Bluetooth® Headset with EARCANDY™ Colors that I received in my email box this morning.

Sure is pwetty. I may be a forty something mom, but I still like purple. I was sent a black Jawbone for review last year, but my sons walked off with it so I never really got a chance to try it out.

I did notice the few times I wore it out that people did not see the black headset next to my brown hair - so they thought I was TALKING TO MYSELF. I may be tired, but I don't talk to myself (yet). These colors really stand out as a fashion statement, functional Bluetooth earpiece that can be used with cellphones or smartphones and the colors are bright enough that hopefully people won't think you are talking to yourself. But if they do, at least you will look good.


Press release is below:

Continue reading "Mother's Day 09: Jawbone PRIME™ Bluetooth® Headset with EARCANDY™ Colors" »

December 24, 2008

Dell Computer Goes Artsy and does a giveaway (WINNER)!

I just used Random.org and put each comment in as one entry. For those that twittered or posted got another entry.. AND THE WINNER OF THE $100 GIFT CERTIFICATE IS:

Leticia- Tech Savvy Mama

True Random Number Service

List Randomizer

Here they are in random order:

  1. Leticia- Tech Savvy Mama
  2. Janel
  3. zmama
  4. Bill
  5. Thien-Kim

(I just showed the top five listed..)

Happy Holidays to ALL...


Continue reading "Dell Computer Goes Artsy and does a giveaway (WINNER)!" »

December 15, 2008

Real Simple Blogathon: Top Five Multi-Functional Technologies For Busy Moms

Iphone3g_map I was thrilled to be included in the Real Simple Holiday Blogathon. In honor of the holidays I thought I would cover multi-functional technologies for moms. These items make great gifts (gift of time) and help simply your day by enabling one gadget  to be used for multiple tasks. I will be posting more about the items I discussed, but for now take a look and add your own tips. Click on the link below to read my Real Simple - Simply Stated blog post:

Top Five Multi-Functional Technologies For Busy Moms.

November 21, 2008

Top 17 Technology Gifts for Techie Teens - Guest Post by Vanessa Van Petten

As a TechMama, it is important that I also get the "teen perspective" when it comes to technology. My youngest is only 9, so I reached out to some "teen bloggers". A standout is teen author Vanessa Van Petten's blog. I asked if she wanted to guest post about her top technology gift for teens - and she said yes. Here it is, Top 17 Technology Gifts for Techie Teens (written by a techie teen!).


Vanessa Van Petten is the teen author of the parenting book “You’re Grounded!” She writes a parenting blog along with 12 other teen writers from the kid's perspective to help parents.  Her work as a young family peacemaker have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Teen Vogue, Fox 5, CBS 4 and much more! http://www.OnTeensToday.com

Top 17 Technology Gifts for Techie Teens by Vanessa Van Petten

1) Orb Watches It's not so cool to wear a watch anymore, but these are very cool designs.

2) Solar Computer Backpack Does your teen have a ton of electronics? This might help keep everything charged (I kinda want one).

3) iTrain This is a great way to encourage your kids to be active and a new way to workout.  These are workout programs for your kid's MP3 or iPod.

4) Earringbuds Your kid always wearing earbuds? At least they can look like jewelry now.
Also check out Earbud Charms.

Continue reading "Top 17 Technology Gifts for Techie Teens - Guest Post by Vanessa Van Petten" »



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