56 posts categorized "Family Management"

December 07, 2011

On 12/7 - Join Twitter TechMamas.com & Decide.com To Chat about Holiday Tech Shopping Tips

image from i1137.photobucket.comI have been covering holiday shopping tech tips throught the holiday season, including my tips for a no regrets holiday shopping experience. December (NOW) has some of the best tech prices of the year - so time to shop! To keep the conversation going, please join me and Decide.com this Thursday 12/7 10am pst for a Twitter chat on holiday tech shopping.

Here is info on the Decide.com/TechMamas Twitter Chat:

Are you a smart holiday electronics shopper? Do you know how to score that perfect deal on all the gadgets on your family’s holiday wish list? Join Decide.com and Techmamas founder Beth Blecherman for a Twitter chat this Thursday, December 7, 2011 at 10:00-11:00 am PT/1:00- 2:00pm ET to test your tech holiday shopping savvy, share tips and learn where and when to find the best deal on electronics for your family this holiday season. (Click HERE for more info).

At the Twitter chat - I will discuss my adventures in shopping for a new TV and other tech devices. You will have to join in to see what I ended up purchasing - but here is a picture of the 12 year old TV that it replaced. Yes, the TV still had tubes in it and was very heavy.

image from i1137.photobucket.com

As you can imagine, my tween son did not think our TV with Tubes  was cool (even thought the picture quality was still great). He is so excited to join the modern world with a new TV! Goodbye old TV...We enjoyed our time together...

Disclosure:  This post is in partnership with Decide.com.

December 05, 2011

Adventures in Budgeting With The American Express Prepaid Card

*see disclosures at bottom of post*

image from i1137.photobucket.comMy new career blogging about technology began after I left full time employment in the field of technology consulting to focus on raising three wonderful boys. Blogging introduced me to an amazing social media community, not only online but also at meetups, conferences and social media events. Even though I had traveled plenty for business before having kids, I found traveling for my own business very different than traveling for an employer. It really started to add up. First a conference ticket, then a hotel and taxi. Add in food and a “must have” new pair of shoes, as well as other assorted travel expenses, and I seemed to always exceed my target for travel expenses. Like others who followed a passion that lead to a business, I too learned a little too late that when running your own company, budgeting is a must.

OK, maybe I did not need the new pair of shoes and a new outfit, but considering I spend most work days at home dressed in sweats, I like to spruce it up a bit for business conferences.

So instead of spending less - I increased the budget. This works for the trip - but when I return home reality takes over. I need better fiscal control.

Enter American Express Prepaid Card for my trip to BlogWorld LA and my first attempt to stay on budget.


Business Trip Tips Using The American Express Prepaid Card from Beth Blecherman on Vimeo.

For my trip to BlogWorld Los Angeles in November, I used the American Express prepaid card to manage my spending and pre-loaded it with, for the first time, only the amount in my budget. Because it is prepaid I could only spend the amount I loaded on the card.

Continue reading "Adventures in Budgeting With The American Express Prepaid Card" »

September 06, 2011

MAC vs. PC vs. State Of Confusion

IStock_000016330003XSmall At one of the Labor Day barbeques I went to this weekend, a friend came up to me and said the words that I live for: "Your tech advice really helped me". So of course I said "What did I tell you to do?"

My friend, a fellow mom, has an (Apple) iPhone as her smartphone and one family PC for home use. Syncing her iPhone calender to her PC was a challenge, so she asked me for help. I showed her different ways to sync smartphone calenders with her PC desktop and websites on the cloud, but we could not find a solution that worked for her daily routines.  She was confused - even though her husband preferred a PC - should she get a (Apple) MAC for herself?  In the world of PC versus MAC, it is ok for a family to have both in the same household? So I gave her my word of advice:

Continue reading "MAC vs. PC vs. State Of Confusion" »

September 07, 2010

Lifescoop Blog: Kid Desk 2.0 Upgrade - Enter to win $250

The ever so clever Clever Girls Collective invited me (@TechMama) to participate in a back to school challenge on the My Life Scoop blog (powered by Intel). It was great timing because I was in the middle of a challenge of my own: how do I redesign my 11 year old's kid desk to get ready for middle school and to have enough room to hold his technology AND projects?

Take a look at my post on My Life Scoop blog titled "Contest: Kid Desk 2.0 Upgrade - Be In It To Win It": the winning comment/solution will be awarded $250.00 gift card.

I am in need of a kid desk upgrade 2.0 - please share your ideas and enter the contest!

Disclosure: I am being compensated to write the post on My Life Scoop - but am in desperate need of a desk for my tween so I can't wait to read the comments!

July 24, 2010

Sunset Dream House: Fireplace 2.0, Internet TV, HP Media Server and ePrinters

Show_photo_single.php I am a big fan of Sunset Magazine, They always present recipes, trips and decorating tips that I aspire to. I have also toured Sunset Dream Houses (houses where Sunset works with the developers to design and decorate the house) and always leave with great ideas. But, while I have a healthy dose of the "geek" gene, I don't have the "decorator" gene - even if I do have an eye for knowing what looks good. So I like to leave decorating to the professionals.

That is why I was thrilled when HP offered me a chance to tour a local Sunset Dream house before it opened to the public. The Sunset Dream House I toured is in Los Gatos, CA and it is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting today (July 23) through August 15, 2010. I suggest everyone stop by because it is not only a beautiful remodel, but also a house that has something pushing TechMama into a techy frenzy: Family Media 2.0.

When I arrived at the house I was greeted by Kathi McCalligan (Sunset Home programs Director), Gordon Van Zuiden of cyberManor and Josh Schoonmaker  from HP. Josh is involved with the HP Smart Home program. I originally became fascinated with HP's vision of the home after seeing the HP technology at the Disneyland Innoventions Dream Home. I appreciate that Ann Finnie from HP supports my smarthome obsession and was kind enough to invite me to the tour. 

We all sat down to discuss the house design and technology. Of course, I asked for all the details and here are some highlights from our discussion:
  • The Sunset Dream Home was designed as a seamless integration of technology and design. 
  • Technology, now part of the tools needed for school, social, entertainment and more, should be a seamless experience in the home. 
  • There are sophisticated technology systems in more expensive homes, but there are also more budget friendly options providing enormous value in smaller spaces.
  • Sunset brought together traditional and new technology, connecting TV to the network and antique photos with digital photo frames. 
  • Technology is presented with a "real family lives here" vision rather than as science fiction.

Here are the schematics  (below, implemented by cyberManor) of the technology behind the Sunset Dream House in Los Gatos and a description of the technology from the cyberManor website.

"cyberManor integrated and deployed the HP (www.hp.com) and Control4 (www.control4.com) family of hardware and software products to provide a seamless, reliable, and easy to use method for the control of the electronic home entertainment, lighting and comfort equipment from several in wall keypads, touchscreens and universal remote controls."

    Sunset House Schematic 20100719

Continue reading "Sunset Dream House: Fireplace 2.0, Internet TV, HP Media Server and ePrinters" »

July 06, 2010

Giveaway - Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z All-in-one PC!

**Winner is LisaC. My3Sons33 Congrats! .

While gadgets are getting more mobile, I suggest every family have a Desktop PC. Desktop PC's are budget friendly, have bigger screens then laptops and can do double duty as a "work at home" PC for work at home parents. Desktop PC's also make it easier for mom and dad to keep an eye on what the kids are doing online - because if they are set up in the family room - they stay in the family room.

   Tc_brand_a_aio_650x250 copy2

I recently had the chance to review the Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z All-in-one Desktop PC, which has become not only a valued family PC, but also a work PC for a "work at home mom" (i.e. ME!). I am happy to say that I also have the fun of announcing a giveaway of one Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z All-in-one PC to one lucky reader. Here are the details:

  1. TIMING: Contest starts July 6th and ends July 10, 10pm pst.
  2. PRIZE: One Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z All-in-one PC
  3. HOW TO ENTER: Each contestant can only comment 2 times - one (1) with how they would use the PC and another (2) only if they share the contest details over Twitter - and provide a link to the Tweet in the comment text. For use of a new PC, would you be looking for a family, work at home or small business PC? The tweet should have the Twitter IDs @TechMama and @lenovosocial, the bitly of this post "http://bit.ly/bTiQZe" and the hashtag "#A70z". **Only 2 comments/entries per person will be used to determine winner.
  4. HOW WINNER IS CHOOSEN:We will be entering the number of comments into Random.org to randomly choose a winner.

--A Valid email address must be entered in the private "email" section of the comment (not in the comment text). If a valid email address is not provided, another winner will be choosen.

--Winner must be located in North America (Canada/US). Shipments can only be made to Canada/US.

--Lenovo are not responsible for any lost packages or incorrect shipping addresses. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. Approximate value of prizes may vary. By claiming the prize, the winner authorizes the use, without additional compensation of his or her name and/or likeness and/or voice/photograph and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation over the internet and picture data storage).
--This giveaway is running on other sites. Individuals who've won at another site are ineligible to win a second time. Here are the other sites: 

Here is the link to find out more information about the Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z All-in-one PC.

Here is the link to my Hands On: Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z All-in-one PC

Disclosure: The Lenovo ThinkCentre A70z was provided to TechMamas.com on a long term review. There were no requirements to blog, just to experience the computer. My words are my own.

April 12, 2010

Understanding Pearltrees: A New Way To Organize Web Content

TG01 Many people search the web, read content every day and share that content. While advances in search technology has made finding information easier and easier, saving and organizing information in a way that captures a story or conversation can still be very challenging.

I just posted on Techmamas.com about my first experience with Pearltrees.com; I was on a Traveling Geeks trip to LeWeb and Pearltrees was one of the French companies we met. Being a visual person, the Pearltrees online application offered me the tools to capture and organize online information in a visual format that also reflected the storyline behind the issue being discussed. I decided that my next step was to use it and see what happens. What happened - is that adding content to Pearltrees became part of my daily workflow. I now find it to be an essential way to organize the content I view daily, in a way that I can organize, share and embed in my blog. Being a busy mom, Pearltrees saves me the time of going back to capture relevant links or discussions  - because I am now doing it as part of my daily workflow. Simple bookmarking works linearly. Pearltrees enables the story to be told in a more visual way.

I easily created Pearltrees for conversations, issues and topic areas I am researching. My online peeps started taking notice, saying things like "there goes TechMama, creating those pearly things again" and "wow, Pearltrees looks great but I need to learn how to use it".

Months later, when I took on a project as adviser to Pearltrees, I had the opportunity to learn even more about the site and share the information I learned.


The way many people currently organize web content is by using bookmarking sites, which are organized in a linear, menu-style format.  Pearltrees works differently because it is a visual mapping of content that can be "dragged and dropped" into different visual trees. The Pearltrees.com FAQ's describes this process in the following way. "Pearltrees is a collaborative network that lets users create, enrich and share the world of their interests. In Pearltrees, everyone creates a world and uses parts of others' worlds to extend it. By doing so, everyone contributes to the overall project: building the first human organization of the Web."  It is not only a way to "create, enrich and share the world of a user's interests but also keep at hand the great content they find everyday on the web."

A Pearltree is made up of Pearls. A Pearl is simply a link to web content that a user wants to save and organize.  The content can be a blog post, article, Tweet, picture, video or any other online media that has a permalink/URL.


Continue reading "Understanding Pearltrees: A New Way To Organize Web Content" »

April 05, 2010

Forget About the iPad, I Want the Clothes Folding Robot

I was reading Guy Kawasaki's Twitter stream today and what do I see on one of his posts?

Hark - it is something I have been waiting for ever since I became a mom....Yes, A Robot that folds clothes!

Here is the link to the post from Alltop - Holy Kaw (that saw the video on Geekologie.)

Forget about the iPad, I want one of these:

February 12, 2010

Press Release: Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 Mobile Scanner

On Feb. 10 I received an email with a press release on the new Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 -  next generation mobile multi-page scanner that can be used with PC and Mac platforms.

This came at a good time for me as I just cleaned the house of papers I am not using now but need to keep for my records. I have a big stack of file boxes in my garage that also doubles as my boys playroom. I decided that scanning would be a good way to clear the space but keep the files in my records. I wanted to look at the different scanner options available and this email happen to pop into my mailbox. I have not tried the product, but will need to purchase a scanner in the near future.... Or else my kids will be using my boxes of papers to climb on, which may lead to papers being spread across my garage.

Yes, there is so safe space in a house with three young boys!


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" »



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