46 posts categorized "How To"

January 18, 2009

YouTube & Video: Search of the Future

I just read a NYT article about kids using YouTube as "their" search engine of choice. My 10 year old always searches YouTube and prefers video sites. Out of the mouth of babes, I see the future of search. And it's all about video!

NYT Article: At First, Funny Videos. Now, a Reference Tool.

Here is a listing of video search sites:

January 10, 2009

CES09 Windows 7 Is Available for Download

Intro_676x380 I went over to the CES Microsoft Booth specifically to learn more about Windows 7. I had originally gone to get pointers on fine tuning Vista - but then I realized why do that when I can just load Windows 7 and focus on understanding that. There has been strong interest that has lead to server overloads, but Microsoft is adding infrastructure to support that.

(photo credit: Microsoft)

CLICK HERE to learn what is new about Windows 7.

CLICK HERE to download the Windows 7 Beta. As I suggest before every upgrade or operating systems changes, it is a good idea to make sure your back-ups are up to date.

CLICK HERE to see Windows 7 Beta Videos.

ClICK HERE to get an update from Microsoft on Windows 7 Availability.

I am heading back to the CES floor, but I will be loading a video I took at the booth with more information about Windows 7.

Click here to see the in-depth post on Windows 7 beta via Ars Technia

January 04, 2009

Looking For "People Friendly Media" Technology

I was honored to connect with Deaf Mom and read about her life on her blog Deaf Mom Shares Her World. I learned from her that video interviews are not accessible for people who are deaf, that text transcripts along with videos are accessible. She inspired me to become interested in the people friendly media technology available. Just this morning we were emailing about this need:

NEED: We are looking for a technology that can "transcribe" audio files to text.

Then today I read about another inspiring person (T.V. Raman, a Computer Scientist and an Engineer at Google) in the New York Times article "Going Where No Guide Do Can". The article describes him as a leading thinker for accessibility issues and notes that some of Mr. Raman's innovations may help make electronic gadgets and web services more user-friendly for everyone. For example, the article also mentioned that Mr. Raman said that with the right tweaks, touch-screen phones - many of which already come equipped with GPS Technology and a compass - could help blind people navigate the world.

I will be heading to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week. I decided to add accessibility technology that can assist people with disabilities to the my list of things to look for.

Please comment on this post with any technologies (and links) you know of to assisting people who are Blind or Deaf. I would also like to hear from people with other disabilities to add the technology they use also and will post about that also.

After reading the New York Times article, I realize that my comments do have a captcha which may be hard to use for screen readers. If you want to comment, and find the captcha an issue - then please email me and I will add your comments to this post. My email is techmamas(at)gmail(dot)com.

Relevant Links:

Start with a visit to Words Matter - Writing about people with disabilities

Official Google Blog: T.V. Raman on Even More Books to Read

Google Accessible Web Search For the visually impaired (Google Accessible Search) and Google Accessible Search FAQ

Google Book Search Becomes Accessible

Links From Deaf Mom:


December 28, 2008

Resolving Audio Problems With PC's, Or "Help - I Can't Hear Anything!"

Just as we were about to put the boys to bed tonight, I decided to show a video to my older son on my notebook. Well, what do you know but the sound did not work. When I informed my husband that I needed to troubleshoot, he knew that he would be putting the boys to bed tonight. I am lucky to have a husband who supports his wife's troubleshooting obsession. We share a love of geekiness between us, except he (Neil Blecherman) is a green geek.

Just in case other moms or dads have a "sudden" audio problem that stops them from hearing any sounds from their computer (for those with built-in speakers) - here are some troubleshooting hints:

1. CHECK YOUR AUDIO DRIVER: It is important for the first step to be determining the actual sound problem. Most computers have a "speaker" icon on the toolbar. Right click to see if the speakers are working. You can also check the audio by looking at control panel>device manager>sound video & games controllers. You should be able to "click" on the sound controller. If you don't see it, that may be an important hint.

With my problem it actually said "device not installed" when I knew I had an audio driver installed (I had been hearing sound beforehand).

2. INSTALL A NEW AUDIO DRIVER: After you have decided that the problem is related to the audio driver, then it either is corrupt or "uninstalled" for some reason. To solve this, go to the support website for your computer and follow these steps:
a. Go to "computer" on your sidebar and then right click and choose "properties". This will show you the correct model number for your desktop or PC which is important.
b. At the computer manufacturer's support website (my notebook is made by HP, so I went to the HP Customer Care website). Type the model number and search for "audio driver". Find the right driver for your computer and re-install.

I reinstalled my audio driver - and suddenly I can hear sound again from my PC!! Yeah!!

Vista Users (I am one of them..) - I found the following information (CLICK HERE) on the HP Website about resolving audio problems. I am sure each computer manufacturer website has similar information on resolving audio problems.

Please share any other audio problem stories with me. I would be really interested to hear from any APPLE users - this post only covers Windows PC's.

December 25, 2008

NeedTech HELP? Go Online

Two days ago I was having a mommy meltdown moment - not because of the usual things but because I had done a Windows update and my RESOLUTION was reset. In normal circumstances I would have just checked the control panel display settings to reset my resolution. But I had run the updates while entertaining my twin 5 year old boys (bad idea) so I did not have a quiet moment.. I checked the DPI settings in the Windows Vista personalization first and tried to reset it. I had some screaming in the background so I reset it to "large". This turned my normally organized icon and folder desktop into a giant wonderland with big letters and huge monster icons.

Soooo Scary..

Now - it seems like it would be easy to just reset it back to normal.. But NO!  The fonts were so large that I could not click on the "OK" button to reset. I was stuck.

So I went to my trusty Google Search and typed "can't click on dpi font size button". Well, one of the search engine links was to this amazing website that simply stated to "use the tab button to tab over to the "OK" and hit enter if you can't see the button".


I tried that and it worked. Then the kids stopped screaming and I finally realized that I needed to go to control panel>personalization>display settings and change the monitor resolution back to 1280x800 pixels (that I had to start with). That worked, problem fixed..

I hope this post helps anyone that had the same problem and is searching the internet..

And in a cosmic episode of timing, the New York Times published an article today called "There’s Lots of Tech Help, Yes, on the Internet ". READ IT, really. It has links to some great tech help sites on the internet (other then mine of course) such as CNET TV How To Videos, CNET's MacFixIt.comFixya.com, TechIMO and more..

CLICK HERE (or above) to read the New York Times article: "There’s Lots of Tech Help, Yes, on the Internet "

December 15, 2008

CNET TV: 10 Firefox Keyboard Shortcuts

I am a big fan of Firefox (a free web browser) and of CNET. CNET TV has useful quick tips, how to and insider secrets. I visit the site daily, and today found this video for 10 Firefox Keyboard Shortcuts. Anything that can save time for busy moms - is a good thing:

December 09, 2008

Nine-year-old's "How to Talk To Girls" To Be Made Into Movie

I just read on the Huffington Post something that should inspire kids to keep on writing: "Twentieth Century Fox has purchased the options to nine-year-old Alec Greven's book, "How to Talk To Girls.".

Here is the YouTube video of his interview on the Ellen Show:

For aspiring young writers, here are some websites that allow you to publish your own books:

Continue reading "Nine-year-old's "How to Talk To Girls" To Be Made Into Movie" »

November 29, 2008

How To Troubleshoot Wireless Routers and Depression

I did not realize I had Wireless Router Depression Syndrome until I talked to TechBrother. My wireless access has been down for ONE MONTH and I was starting to lose hope, feel depressed. I have been using my USB Broadband card to access the internet during this time - but the rest of my family and my wireless printer were offline. Luckily I did have a cord to use at least for the printer as a stopgap measure.

Tech brother and my husband are my troubleshooting buddies, we can usually figure things out by sharing information.  But this time, my and husband and I were stumped at why our wireless router was not working.  TechHusband and I had the physical wire issues fixed and some other configuration - while TechBrother gave us extra configuration step. Aha........

Wireless Router fixed.. Suddenly my wireless router depression was gone.

Here are some shortcut steps for troubleshooting, each operating system and wireless router type will have different settings so my steps will be general. I also have a perspective from my from set-up, others will have different setups which will lead to different steps (i.e. using an Airport router).

For this discussion, the assumption is that internet access to the house comes through a physical wire. There are three main items, a PC, DSL modem or modem that connects to a phone line and a wireless router (like Linksys or Airport):

1. When installing wireless routers, make sure you save all the passwords, WEP passkey, MAC addresses and configuration details in a place that can be accessed for troubleshooting. If the information is only in an email, that may not work if your router is down! Best thing to do would be to print it out on a piece of paper with the router documents and put it in a safe place - that you will remember even if in a troubleshooting frenzy.

Continue reading "How To Troubleshoot Wireless Routers and Depression" »

November 10, 2008

Twitter: The Scoop

For those that start using Twitter - there is no stopping. Twitter is an online application that allows users to type 140 letters (including hyperlinks - using TinyURL) describing what they are doing "right now". This has become a way to keep track of what others are doing (called "follow") and for others to follow you.

So, why would anyone want to do this?

It is a viral social networking that can be a way to connect and have a group of "followers". Before anyone ventures onto Twitter, they should determine what their online brand is and somewhat stick to that. I actively Twitter - about technology and parenting related subjects. I don't Twitter about anything too personal - because that is not associated with my brand. Twitter can help people social network with others in their same areas or across areas.  Most companies have a Twitter presence. It is also important not only "Twitter" about yourself - but link to relevant posts/articles that match your brand and respond (@) to people to converse. If you have a blog, you can have your Twitters listed on the sidebar. Twitters can also be loaded into other social networking applications, including FriendFeed. So in short, Twitter can also be used to microblog.

So then how do I get followers?

Great question - read this post by Guy Kawaski to find the answer: Looking for Mr. Goodtweet: How to Pick Up Followers on Twitter.

Once you define your brand/image and make sure you are not Twittering about anything related to you or your kids location, then "unprotect" your updates. You will get more followers that way. That is, unless you are Twittering updates from a tech conference - then it is ok to give your location away (especially if you are in a conference hall filled with people).

Can my kids use it?

No - Here is Twitter's Policy Towards Children:

"Our Policy Towards Children

The Site is not directed to persons under 18. If a parent or guardian becomes aware that his or her child has provided us with personally identifiable information without their consent, he or she should contact us at privacy at twitter dot com. We do not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from children under 13. If we become aware that a child under 13 has provided us with personal identifiable Information, we will delete such information from our files."

October 24, 2008


Gizmodo just posted HDTV How To Buy Like A Pro details, which helped me understand more about it. CNET also has a comprehensive section of their site called "HDTV World". I have reading about HDTV's but have not made the leap yet, good to have all of this information avaliable. Any other hints or information I should know about HDTV?



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