94 posts categorized "Shopping for Techies"

August 05, 2009

Fun Times with Technology Retailers

I am going to be posting over the next few days with interactions I have had with some technology retailers. The truth is, I go to FIVE different technology retailers in Silicon Valley to buy my technology - and it all depends on what I am buying, what new items the retailer has, sales and where I happen to be. Yes, it is that shopping triangle all moms know about - when a business has a location that maximizes the short amount of time each day a mom has - then that is a big plus. If the store is on the way to the grocery store (where I need to go almost daily with three boys) - then an even bigger plus. Some stores are all-in-ones, where you can get new summer bathing suits, iPod speakers and that new Nintendo Wii game at the same time. If I am looking for a specialized technology item like a microphone for my video cam - then I need to go to a more specialized technology store.

But friendly/knowledgable sales people are also a big plus. Best of all for me are friendly geeks that work at technology retailers.

When possible, shopping online is the most convenient because you can compare pricing and have it shipped to your door. Many retailers also have online web only sales, so visiting a retailer's online website is a good idea to do some research in advance of a visit to the store. There are also shopping applications for mobile phones and websites that help you find items (even set up alerts for items you want to buy).  There is also the option of using basic web search engines such as Google or Bing to assist in a technology product search.

I hope to cover these different technology  shopping options over the next few weeks.

Question for my readers: Where do you shop for technology? Online or at a retail store? Do you have a favorite or shop do you around?

May 07, 2009

Guest Post by AT&T Mom Brandy Perez: Best Smartphones For Moms

I have been on the search to find out more information about the smartphone selections useful to moms. AT&T contacted me and I am happy to have received ideas from Brandy Perez, who is not only a 10-year AT&T employee but most importantly a MOM!!


GUEST POST BY AT&T mom Brandy Perez

Best Smartphones for Mom

There are so many smartphones out there to choose from. How do I know which one is right for me (or for my mom)?

Some of my friends and family have asked me this question before, especially lately since Mother’s Day is almost here. The answer really depends on what features are most important to you. For example, I’ve chosen the iPhone 3G as my personal device and the BlackBerry Bold is my work-provided device because email-on-the-go is my number one reason for why I depend on a smartphone. These devices allow me to stay connected with work as well as with my personal email. I rely on email to stay connected to my children’s school and sports activities. I rarely need to log on to a computer for my personal email because I can send email and open attachments right from my smartphone. I have access to the information I need and respond appropriately right from my device without using a computer. For example, my son plays sports, and if a practice time or location changes, or gets completely canceled, I’m alerted right away via email. There’s nothing worse than rushing from work to get your son to practice only to find out practice time was changed or canceled completely. Before I had a smartphone, that situation happened to me one too many times.

Continue reading "Guest Post by AT&T Mom Brandy Perez: Best Smartphones For Moms" »

April 23, 2009

AT&T Matrix Pro by PanTech: The "Tween" Test and GIVEAWAY!

Pantech **Winner is AuntieThesis!!

CONTEST is CLOSED. Due to the large number of those that entered, the winner will be announced on Thursday April 30 by 11pm. 

I had the opportunity to take the The Matrix Pro smartphone by Pantech for a test run as part of a promotion that culminates with a giveaway. The Matrix Pro website is: Pantechmatrixpro.com, the key features are listed on that site.  A review of the Pantech Matrix Pro can be found at ChipChick, as well as some of the other websites doing this promotion (see below). I decided to find out more about the AT&T Pantech Matrix Pro in a different way - by giving it to my 10 year old tween for test drive. I have a smartphone already, so I thought it was a great opportunity for my son to test one out. Details of my tween test drive are listed below the contest info.

This contest is open from April 23 until April 28 at 5pm pst. On April 28 at 5pm, I will close the contest. All those that commented to this post will be entered to Random.org to find a winner (ONE person will be chosen randomly). The Winner will be announced on April 28 after 9pm pst. ENTER THIS CONTEST BY COMMENTING on the post below.

AN EXTRA ENTRY IN RANDOM.ORG WILL BE ENTERED FOR THOSE THAT TWITTER @matrixpro AND @Techmama in one tweet sharing why you want this phone. Please add your Twitter ID to your comment so I know that you also tweeted for the second entry into Random.org. Only ONE EXTRA entry for twitter will be counted so that each person can have a two entry limit into Random.org.

Prize package elements

  • Pantech Matrix Pro handset 
  • Service credit (via gift card):  In the amount of US $100.  The gift card good is good for anything sold through any AT&T store (online or real-world), or can be used for the cost of a service plan. 


  • Individuals who’ve won at another site are ineligible to win at another
  • Winners are limited by geography to US residents only
  • TechMamas.com is 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.
  • The random winner will be choosen by Techmamas.com, all decisions are final.

Disclosure: I did not get compensation for this promotion, a phone was supplied to me in advance of the promotion for review purposes. The information shared about on this post is just a customer opinion.

Just as background, my son has been earning points like crazy to buy a cellphone because he said "Mom... Everyone has cellphones... Then you can reach me at any time..I need to be able to text with my friends". Yes - that is coming from a fourth grader.

Understanding that just having a cell phone was a big thrill for him, I focused on which functionality he used on the AT&T Pantech Matrix Pro. Here are some details (in his words, dictated to his mom):


1. TWO WAY SLIDER: The phone can slide in two different ways. The keyboard is easy to use for texting and the numeric pad is quick for dialing phone numbers. I use the trackwheel to scroll, move around or play games.

2. KEYPAD: The keypad is good for texting. I set my friends up in the contact section then it is easy to text them.

3. VOICE COMMANDS: To use the voice commands, you just hold the "rec" button - and a list of commands is given. I tested the voice commands by saying "play music" - and it played a song.

(We tested this by my son using a voice command to call me. I am in his contacts as "Beth" so he said "Call Beth". The first time he did not speak clearly but the second time he did - and it called my cellphone!)

4.INTERNET ACCESS: By going to the start menu - then "MediaNet" I can access a browser to access the Internet. You can type on the numeric or keypad to type the URL, but I use the keypad. The first MediaNet screen has a Yahoo Search Bar and I just enter the name of the website and it returns options to me. An example is - when I type "YouTube" and it returns the URL for YouTube - which I then select.  I just watched the Numa Numa video today by typing in "Numa Numa" into the YouTube page (and "watch video"). It loads, I use the trackwheel for volume and controls. The video loads quickly and plays. Depending on where I am, it sometimes stops playing for a quick second (I told him that was called buffering  - a challenge on many mobile gadgets when watching videos).

I used the phone to read your website Techmamas.com.

5. GAMING - There are some games preloaded on the phone, and some you have to buy. I enjoy playing Bubble breaker that comes standard with the phone. I could buy PACman, Tetris or others.

(I have not even told him about the mobile Guitar Hero application that comes with the phone, that sounds fun!).


My son set up the phone from the moment he opened the box, to accessing the internet, to texting or making calls. The phone was easy to use. The keys were a good size for him to use for typing. He was satisfied with the sound and video quality - even playing music videos for his brothers in the car to keep them busy.

Gear Diary is one of the sites that also had the promotion and did a nice job summarizing a list of sites and promotion dates as well as their details on using the AT&T Pantech Matrix Pro:

Tools for Thought (15-Apr 19-Apr)
ChipChick (16-Apr 20-Apr)
VivirLatino (17-Apr 21-Apr)
slashgear.com (18-Apr 22-Apr)
www.modaco.com (19-Apr 23-Apr)
Gadgetell (20-Apr 24-Apr)
GeeksRoom (21-Apr 25-Apr)
OSNN (22-Apr 26-Apr)
Techmamas (23-Apr 27-Apr)
Clintonfitch (24-Apr 28-Apr)
Justanothermobilemonday (25-Apr 29-Apr)
Geek.com (26-Apr 30-Apr)
MediaBlab (27-Apr 01-May)
Smartphonethoughts (28-Apr 02-May)
Mobilityminded (29-Apr 03-May)
The Gadgeteer (30-Apr 04-May)
Geekzone (01-May 05-May)
Techie Diva (02-May 06-May)
Bostonpocketpc (03-May 07-May)
GearDiary (04-May 08-May)
MobilitySite (05-May 09-May)
AbsoluteWindows (06-May 10-May)
Mobilejaw (07-May 11-May)
Experiencemobility (08-May 12-May)
HackCollege (09-May 13-May)
Gear Live (10-May 14-May)

Press Release is listed below:

Continue reading "AT&T Matrix Pro by PanTech: The "Tween" Test and GIVEAWAY!" »

March 19, 2009

Dell Studio One 19 Family Friendly Desktop

While at SXSW, I received a demo of the Dell Studio One 19 Desktop. What I like about this line is that there is a multi-touch option (comes with a keyboard as well) that would make it a good choice for a kitchen or family room PC. Because the system is an all-in-one it also is a spacesaver. The system I saw also has Cozi.com Family Calendering system loaded. The starting price of $699 is friendly on the budget. Listed below are some specifications from the Dell press release.

Software from Dell:

Continue reading "Dell Studio One 19 Family Friendly Desktop" »

March 10, 2009

DEMO09 - Ubergizmo: Always Innovating Netbook Tablet

While at DEMO09, I had the opportunity to film an interview (using my Flip Mino) with Gregoire Gentil of Always Innovating about their new netbook tablet. Being on my momof3boys schedule, I have not posted yet about it. I will upload the interview soon, but for now I have permission to share some pictures that Eliane Fiolet from Ubergizmo took of my interview.  CLICK HERE TO SEE THE UBERGIZMO WRITE-UP ON THE TOUCHBOOK, and read about the 10-15 hour BATTERY LIFE!
Photo credit: Eliane Fiolet from Ubergizmo

Techie Diva's Electronics Stimulus Plan - And One From TechMama


List Randomizer

There were 4 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

  1. Chefdruck
  2. Glennia
  3. shellie
  4. Leticia

Chefdruck and Glennia - you win a mouse! I will contact you for more details.

My gadget buddy Techie Diva has an Electronics Stimulus plan that President Obama would be proud of. Take a look at here post to see what she is giving away by CLICKING HERE!!

To join in the fun, I thought it was a good time to give away TWO HP/Vivienne Tam Wireless Optical Mouses. TO ENTER, please comment on this post about my adventures with the HP Mini Vivienne Tam edition and share how you would use the netbook. On Tuesday March 3, I will choose two commenters using random.org.


I do have to ship the mouses myself so I ask that you live or I can ship to a CALIFORNIA ADDRESS (Or I am happy to hand deliver if the winner will be at BlogHer in Chicago this summer - I will be there). COMMENT ON MY ADVENTURES WITH HP MINI VIVIENNE TAM EDITION POST by Tuesday March 3rd with what adventures you would take the HP Mini Vivienne Tam Edition on.  Two winners will each win ONE HP/Vivienne Tam Optical Wireless Mouse.


I went to the HP/Vivienne Tam NYC Fashion Week event - which I will post about with juicy pictures in a few days - including an interview with Vivienne Tam explaining how she designed the HP Mini Vivienne Tam edition for people to feel as if they were working in the garden while using, and it has that effect on me.... More to come..
Vivienne tam mouse

QVC is selling them, and had this handy description for more details:

"High tech gets a high-fashion makeover in this unique wireless mouse. Runway-ready with a chic peony pattern created by designer Vivienne Tam, the sleek and stylish device features precision tracking over virtually any surface.

Simply plug the tiny USB receiver into your notebook's USB port, and your wireless mouse is ready to go--without the hassle of cord or cable clutter. It's fashion and function at its finest! From HP.
    • Includes wireless optical mouse, micro USB receiver, and 2 AA batteries
    • High-performance 800 dpi resolution
    • Advanced 2.4GHz cordless technology
    • Measures approximately 3-3/4" x 1-1/8" x 2"

March 05, 2009

Nintendo DSi Launches April 5

The Nintendo DS Lite that my son and his friends use for moblie gaming will be getting some new functionality. On April 5th, Nintendo is launching the DSi with new features such as DSi Camera (two cameras presents new ways to interact with games) and DSi Sound application (which serves as both an interactive voice recorder and music player that allows users to play with their music while they listen to it).

The colors available at the launch of the Nintendo DSi are blue and black.
Relevant Links: PRESS RELEASE - Nintendo DSi launches April 5 in the United States

March 02, 2009

DEMO09 - Vue™ Personal Video Network For Families

Vue_Front_Hero_clip Internal computer webcams are great for some communications, but when it comes to family communication - trying to fit everyone in front of the webcam can be difficult and limit participants to a confined area.

At DEMO09 I saw a product called Vue™ Personal Video Network by Avaak, a wire-free video system that allows families to communicate from virtually anywhere in the house. There are "no cords to connect, no software to download or home networks to configure" - the system utilizes the existing home wireless system. The Vue™ enables simple recording with one click. The video's can be shared or families can communicate with family and friends who also have the video system. Moms or dads on business trips can view videos and families can hold live video events. One of the demonstrators showed a video of her son doing karate, which made me think of my boys (who I have not see since Sunday morning). Funny enough, karate and wrestling seems to be the first thing my boys do when they wake up in the morning.

UPDATE 3/309 Here is the video presentation by Avaak, Inc at DEMO09:

There are two parts of the product: personal video network hardware and a online software web interface.

Product-shot1. Personal Video Network hardware: A Gateway (attaches to the home wireless router), two cameras and 4 wall mounts in the kit. Additional camera's can be purchased. The cameras have a range of 300 feet and can be moved easily.  An estimated one million frames can be transmitted from a single battery (which is about one year under normal use). The wall mounts are "peel and stick" but the camera's can be moved anywhere. Repeaters can be purchased for those locations too far away from the Gateway.

2. Software Web interface (my.vuezone.com) for online viewing, sharing and recording. To register, a username and password must be created.  After logging on, videos can be shared with family and friends.Two gigabytes of storage online is included in the service plan.

InfoWorld published a post that with an interesting discussion about the security. Instead of modifying current home firewalls, the Gateway makes a secure "outbound" connection to my.vuezone.com. The home firewall "sees it just like another computer on your home network". The key control is to only give access profiles to trusted family and friends.

The Vue™ Personal Video Network price is $299 per system, $99 for additional cameras and repeaters are available separately. 2gb of secure private storage with service plans for expanding. The gateway can support up to 50 cameras. The product will begin shipping in early summer 2009. Pre-orders can be placed now on Avaak's Web site at http://www.VueZone.com.

Relevant Links: PRESS RELEASE - Avaak Launches Vue Personal Video Network; Camera System to Enhance Consumers' Lives

February 17, 2009

TechMama Heads To NYC For HP/Vivenne Tam Fashion Tech-o-Rama

Blogging from New York City:

After heading to CES where I had a chance to see the new netbooks, I not only added a netbook category but decided that the netbook is going to be one of the premier mom gadgets.  They are light and small enough to carry in a purse, but offer enough functionality for computing on the go. To further my own obsession with netbooks, I decided to do reviews to try them out for myself. 


My first netbook review was the HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam edition. I was happy to have received my review unit in time to use it at CES, instead of carrying around my functional but heavy laptop. To do a true mom review, I decided to take the HP Mini review unit on the road during my mom tasks.  Here is the link to my post that lists some of the recent adventures I had with my the HP Mini Vivianne Tam Edition review unit (pictures from my camera and my BlackBerry).

There are a group of bloggers that are also reviewing the HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam edition. We were all invited to come to NYC during Fashion Week to meet with the design team and sneak in a Vivienne Tam Fashion show. This beautiful "digital clutch" is the start of an exciting trend to that brings fashion to technology. Meeting with the design team that made it happen helps me reach one of the goals I had starting Techmamas: to start a discussion with the teams that design products for families/women - which will help improve feedback mechanisms on both sides.

Here is a picture of those that arrived early enough to meet-up in the lobby. Photo credit to Judie of Gear Diary (second from right). Terri of Moblie PC World was kind enough to take the picture. I will fill in more names of those in the picture tomorrow.


Morningside Mom's (last on the right) wrote a Big Apple summary post with links to the bloggers that will be in NYC:

Continue reading "TechMama Heads To NYC For HP/Vivenne Tam Fashion Tech-o-Rama" »

Adventures With My HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition

When I talk to moms about netbooks they question why they would need one when they already have a laptop. I try to explain that netbooks are small and light enough to keep in their purse all day.  I already started my review for the HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition, but the next step was to see what would happen if I truly kept it in my purse - where would I end up using it? Did I need to have mobile computing beyond my smartphone or could I just wait until I got home?

I took it to CES and saw the Dress that inspired the design at the HP Booth. Then...

Continue reading "Adventures With My HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition" »



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