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Just Live: Control Your TIVO From Your BlackBerry

You can already schedule TIVO from the web or from the iPhone using the m.tivo.com site.

Now mobile scheduling has come to the BlackBerry. Parents at work, school or watching a soccer game can now be assured that they have their favorite shows scheduled.

Press Release:

“Beginning tomorrow consumers will be able to download a free application on their Blackberry Smartphone that gives them control of their TiVo wherever they are.

The TiVo for Blackberry smart phones application allows users to easily view the program details, as well as remotely schedule recordings on their TiVo box from the BlackBerry handheld. This application is available free of charge, to BlackBerry Smartphone users.  Users will be able to browse by category, view most popular shows or daily picks and see the programming details (Title, Description, Runtime, Air date & time and Photo). Advanced search makes finding favorite shows and show details easy and fast. They can search by title, actor/director or keyword.”

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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!!

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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.

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BlackBerry Curve Versus iPhone?

Earlier today, a mom friend emailed me asking my opinion on buying a BlackBerry versus iPhone. After taking on the MAC versus PC, I felt ready to discuss a somewhat similar question on the phone side. I choose the BlackBerry Curve to compare with the iPhone because I have one – and I feel it is the best model.

The first thing I always do is compare specs and see which one fits what I am looking for. The iPhone specs and the BlackBerry specs were both full of functionality. Then I suggest to demo the phone to see which one feels more comfortable. For example, I like having a qwerty keyboard because I am used to it – but maybe I could also get used to the iPhone’s touch screen. Both the iPhone and the BlackBerry has enough functionality to serve any parent (email, MP3, web browsing, phone, camera). So the final decision may come down to which one feels the best.

Sarah Granger posted on Techmamas with a review of the iPhone.  Here is an interesting review of the BlackBerry Curve from Laptop Magazine. The only hitch I have heard is that the iPhone battery is not removable – but the BlackBerry’s battery easily flips out of the back. The BlackBerry’s browser works well but I find it to be slow at times versus the iPhone that has a real web browser (Safari). One of the biggest problem is that many websites are not moblie ready so they are hard to read on my BlackBerry.  Here is a link from Infoworld that compares web browsers between smartphones titled "Smartphone Browser Shootout: Palm, BlackBerry, HTC Vs. iPhone?". There is free software from Yahoo and Google that can be downloaded to BlackBerry’s to provide better online functionality. Better yet, the BlackBerry 8310 has built in GPS.

I agree with the Techcrunch post that compared the BlackBerry to the iPhone side by side when it comes to the BlackBerry’s push technology to receive emails. My phone buzzes when I get an email – I get them right when they are sent. AppleInsider and Calacanis.com had more to say about the debate. CrunchGear posted with a rumor that the iPhone may be $100 cheaper soon.

Any thoughts on the iPhone versus BlackBerry debate?

 

BlackBerry Tips – Part 1

483_47_2A friend of mine (Self-Made Mom) just purchased her new BlackBerry (yeah, another crackberry mom friend) so I thought I would  post with links to the important sites for BlackBerry support and tips. I have a BlackBerry curve – and am still learning tricks & tips from fellow users. So please add any if you have them.

BlackBerry Support Site – This site has downloads of the BlackBerry documentation for those like myself, whose preschooler walked away with their user manual….

BlackBerry Technical Solution Center

Using the BlackBerry Internet Service when emails stop coming in… – I don’t use the enterprise server or have a help desk to call, so when my email stops coming to my phone I head off to the BlackBerry Internet Service site (log in) and re-send service packs to my phone. Sometimes the server from my email service is having problems (so waiting for it to be resolved is my only choice). Or – when I have tried everything else, I take out the battery and then put it back in to reload my phone.

Some time saving shortcuts for series 8100 and 8800.

Shorcuts for the BlackBerry curve. The dialing from home option must be turned off to use these shortcuts.

I will be searching the internet for more…

 

Blogging Dads

Techmomgift
Over at the blogs I help manage: Silicon Valley Moms Blog, Chicago Moms Blog and DC Metro Moms Blog we had some fun asking the Dads to post. They did, and had some fun things to say.

My hubby posted on the 2007 Blogging Wife. I commented that we are just another Silicon Valley couple that blogs together. Neil’s blog is 3SuperHeroes and I have a growing list of blogs. This allows us to spend time together sitting on the couch blogging on our notebooks (thanks to our wireless network).  Matt, hubby to Jordan of the Chicago Moms Blog calls it ""parallel play with laptops".

We even send romantic notes to each other’s BlackBerrys during the day. This may seem like an odd way to spend time, but it may be the evolution of modern romance. This all makes me wonder how did couples spend time together before technology hit the homefront? Reading books? Listening to the radio together? Sitting outside rocking on a porch swing? I kinda like sitting next to my hubby blogging together. It inspires me….. And he is one of my great sources of technology information.

Any other blogging couples out there? Or does this type of thing only happen in Silicon Valley?

 

BlackBerry’s – Not Only Yummy But Useful For Moms

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I am happy that my tech buddy Sarah Granger guest blogged on Techmamas about the iPhone. Last year when I first went shopping for a smartphone, the iPhone was not out yet. Which is lucky for me because I would have been very tempted.

To help decide which smartphone I was going to purchase, I talked to the most important experts of all – my mom friends who had smartphones. After shopping around, I decided on the BlackBerry. And recently I just upgraded to the BlackBerry Curve. Yippeee, mama is never offline. Our family is a two BlackBerry family (happens often in Silicon Valley), so hubby and I never have to say "Put that thing away". Well, maybe the kids do say that… 

I am still spending time getting to know the features of the BlackBerry Curve, but here are some of the my favorites. The start-up guide is helpful, and installation is quick and easy. I find the most important functions intuitive. Which is great for a busy mom who does not have time to read the full instruction manual. Not that I would read any instruction manual even if I did have time, I would rather read trashy magazines…  After my kids are all back at school and I have one moment to sit down, I will post with a more detailed review.

My current favorite features: 

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Techmamas Mother’s Day Gift Guide for Tech-Savvy Moms

Workingmom_3
Mother’s Day wish lists 1.0 were made up of flowers, a cute picture from the kids, brunch and some lovely jewelry. These days, tech savvy-moms are springing up around the country and choosing to have tech gifts for Mother’s Day 2.0 (that is, in addition to jewelry). Moms are natural power users for technology because of their daily multi-tasking demands. There are also many potential tech moms who just need suggestions to jump on board. In fact, all moms are really WAHM (work at home moms) whether they work outside the home, telecommute, have a home business, volunteer or manage their own families.

To help families find the right gift or their tech-savvy mom, I listed some of the items I found most interesting (hint, hint to my wonderful family….).  In hopes of making the gifts easy to find, I also did my own version of investigative citizen journalism by going to a short list of stores last weekend and asking the question "What Mother’s Day gifts would you recommend for tech-savvy moms". For this post, I went to the Apple Store, Best Buy and Office Depot.

I also searched the on-line world. CNET Reviews had the best selection of information available in their Mother’s Day Tech Gift section. This section was organized in sections for cameras, cell phones, lap tops and MP3 players. Each section has comparison charts with information such as review summary, where to buy and lots of tech details. Amazon, Yahoo, and PC Magazine also have tech mom related gift guides. But the most important search was to see the gifts suggestions from other tech-savvy moms. The countdown to Mother’s Day linklove has the results.

For those Dads considering giving tech gifts to their wives for Mother’s Day, it is important that you ask  what they want first. A universal remote or wide screen TV does not count as a Mother’s Day gift unless they ask for one (save it for Father’s Day). The Google Product Search and thefind are helpful for Moms to develop their wish lists (along with the CNET reviews).  Amazon has a wish list section that can be used for storing wish lists on-line. And don’t forget to make reservations if mom is being taken out to brunch or dinner. OpenTable.com is an on-line service for making reservations that also includes a very handy email confirmation.

Free but priceless: The timeless "promise coupon" will always be appreciated. The coupons can be purchased in books or printed on-line (here, here, here and here). Some ideas of what to put on the coupons are one day of free time, extra chores performed by the kids, dinner cooked or even one week of listening to everything mom asks (fuss free). Older techie kids can offer to help mom with family computer projects.

Go Fashionable -Blackberrycase
As a WAHM who walks around with a BlackBerry
case clipped to my jeans, I am always searching for more fashionable
alternatives to carry my BlackBerry, keys, business cards and wallet.  After months of looking, I found the perfect solution at the CoachCoachblack2_4
store. I needed something that would fit in my
laptop case when I go to business meetings or conferences. And it had to be small enough to throw into a tote when going to the beach or park instead of carrying a separate purse. Coach makes a
bag called the Hamptons Top Handle Pouch that was the perfect fit. The stores carry different colors, but I choose black to match my laptop case. Coach also has an iPod case that makes me want an iPod even more. There are also a wide selection of colorful cases for technology listed in my pink section below. Fashionable laptop bags will be covered in the Mother’s Day gift guide link-love. For a functionable computer bag with wheels (to help prevent back strain), the Swiss Gear rolling notebook line of bags work well. To save time, they can also be found at Target.

Ipod_nano_back_p4_3 Go Pink  -  In a house of boys, I love anything pink, and so do my friends.  I found pink 
iPods and other mp3 players
(including Creative Zen) , iPod covers and arm bands, BlackBerry and Treo accessories, laptop skins, and laptop cases. Pink is also the Color for A Cause (Susan G. Komen for the Cure – Breast Cancer). For those who do not know mama’s favorite color, black is always the safest choice.gdkfl;gkdfl;gk

Go Red! If red is the favored color, Pininfarina (design firm for Ferrari) has a red external hard drive and Sweden’s Possio has a stylish red moblie printer (from CNET’s Crave blog). Many of the pink items above also come in red and other colors. The red special edition iPod Nano (4GB & 8GB) is part of the joinred movement. David Pogue from the New York Times posted on the TurboChef Speedcook Oven, that can cook a 12 pound turkey in 42 minutes instead of 4 hours, and has colors like red thermal. Now, that oven would inspire even me to cook more. And I could write off the price by buying less take-out. Or for those electronically inclined, build your own art toaster for mom.

Family Manager Mom: Another idea is a promise coupon to help mom set up an automated family calender or on-line Lcalendar
family newsletter. Cozi.com has a free downloadable family calendering system that even syncs with Microsoft Outlook (reviewed in the Mossberg Solution) . Vox and Kinzin can be used to create on-line family newsletters (that only family and friends can access).dBusyBodyBook Family Organizers have attractive patterns and can offer moms a
central place to keep written schedules, documentation and notes.  The gift of Quicken software connected to on-line bill paying can help mom save time and stay organized.

Moblie Mom: For moms on the move at home or work, laptop computers, Ergo lapdesk, laptop table andBlackberrypearl_3
a home wireless network will allow multi-tasking in every room. The BlackBerry Pearl (drool, drool), Treo or other smartphones can help moms keep up on email while waiting in line at the grocery store. iPod car integration can take music on the road. Bluetooth headsets allow hands free talking. The iHome clock can be used in the kitchen or office to play mom’s favorite tunes.  External hard drives and USB flash drives are great tools to use for backing up digital media and allows data to be taken on the road. Portable hard drives, iPods, MacBook or MacBook Pro line (for design professionals) were some of the Mother’s Day gift suggestion provided at the Apple Store for blogging moms. For moms that have piles of business cards laying around, a card scanner is a good gift suggestion. The CardScan Personal v8 includes software to synchronize with Outlook, Outlook Express, Palm, Windows Mobile devices, iPods and smart phones. 

Digital Mama:  Digital cameras, video cams, and all in one printers are important toolsHprinter2 for techie moms. The HP Photosmart R837 (7.2 mega pixels) has anti-shake, touch-up, red eye removal and access to HP design gallery to add artistic effects. The HP Photosmart C6180 All-in-One
can be used to print, scan, or fax. The printer also has built in
wireless networking, memory card & USB slots, and ink cartridges that can be replaced individually
by color. When purchased online at the HP site, the cartridges are delivered free for next day shipping. The HP on-line activity center has a listing of Mother’s Day gift ideas.  There is also a wide selection of Canon Digital Cameras and the Pixma line has a color all in one
that can be used to print pictures. CNET has a section reviewing combination camera and camcorders.

Once mom has all the digital equipment, One True Media can be used to create on-line slide shows, DVD family photo montages or photobooks.

Social and Family Networking Mom: Use a "promise coupon" to allow mom to have a regular night out 
with Webcam_5
her friends or set up online social networking for busier moms. Blogging, Twitter and other sites like Maya’s Mom are good tools for moms to stay in touch or make new friends. Setting up a working mom on LinkedIn or Facebook can help her build her working network.  A Google Talk account can be another tool to chat with friends or relatives.  With a handy webcam and software like Skype or WebEx moms can have video chats and even share documents on-line. Or treat mom to her own personal URL (godaddy or register.com), website (Homestead.com) or blog (Typepad).

Paperless Mom: Armed with a good
scanner and external hard drive to store back-ups, mom can become paperless by scanning
recipes, kid’s art work,
non-digital pictures, select family documentation and more to the family computer. Families that have digital pictures can help mom organize pictures and create on-line family albums using applications like Google Picasa.Mdaycard

Low Tech: Don’t forget the Mother’s Day card. A simple paper card or one with drawings from the kids is
the most meaningful. If it is the night before Mother’s Day and you forgot to send long distance Grandmom a card, going virtual is the next best thing.

I was not paid to mention any of these products. But it would be nice to be paid someday. Then I can hire some help so that my family would not have to search for clean socks every morning. Unless they invent some high tech gadget to get clean clothes from the dryer, folded and put into dressers. Now that would be a great gift idea…….

 

Spring Forward and Install Patches, not the fabric kind

We already discussed our thoughts on Daylight Savings Time.
I knew that I needed to move our clocks ahead one hour (that is TODAY
just in case anyone forgot).  But I was not ready for all the emails I
have been getting to apply patches to various electronic devices in my
house. I feel like I am back at the IT department when I was doing
computer support many, many years ago.sfk
sfkljdsflkjslkfjls

So here is some information to help:

Anyone that has a PDA/cellphone should go to their company website to see what fixes apply to their phones. I use Verizon, and their site has details and links to the appropriate updates.  For example, Verizon BlackBerry users need to either manually change the time in the Options-Date/Time or apply a patch. For those non-techies, a patch is not the piece of fabric applied to cover holes on kids pants, it is a a small piece of software designed to update or fix problems with a computer program.

With my kids begging to go on a bike ride, I am going to manually make the change on my BlackBerry for now…..

 

A Strand of Pearls, Or BlackBerry Pearl

Originally published at the Silicon Valley Moms Blog

When I think of a gift ideas for a mom, my preference would be a
BlackBerry Pearl instead of a pearl necklace. I mean, a string of pearls
may look really nice with holiday sweaters, but it does not allow me to
check my email while I am waiting in the carpool line at my son’s
elementary school. Have I gone too far gone in my BlackBerry addiction
or is jewelry out and “practical” in for holiday gift giving? Do moms
want gifts that are luxurious and frivolous or do they want gifts that
help their daily lives?

To help decide, I made a (very biased) comparison of the two gift items: llllllllllll

Pearl Necklace:

  • Wear it on your neck. Goes with any outfit.
  • Have your little kids try to grab it off your neck.
  • Have little hands put finger paint on your long strand of pearls to add some color.
  • Take your pearls off to give your kids a bath and then forget where you put them.
  • See the pearls all over the floor after one of your kids decided to play dress-up with mommie’s pearls.

BlackBerry Pearl:

  • Check your email or your favorite websites while you are
    stopped in the carpool line at your child’s school, in line at the
    grocery store and while in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. Be
    up to date on your emails before the kids got to sleep.
  • Email yourself shopping lists, no paper required.
  • Take pictures and email them to friends and family.
  • Listen to music while taking a power walk after school drop-off.
  • Take notes during school or volunteer meetings and send them out to the group before everyone leaves the meeting.
  • Instead of carrying around a PDA, cell phone, digital camera, media player and a laptop, moms only need one
    small piece of equipment which will be easier to keep track of. Because
    keeping track of the kids is hard enough.
  • For those moms who never have a chance to read the newspaper, they
    can read an email sent by their favorite newspaper that has links to
    the top headlines of the day.
  • Go handsfree in the car with Bluetooth. Some fancy cars (not any minivans that I know of) even have Bluetooth controls on the steering wheel.
  • In Silicon Valley, moms can bargain to shut off their Blackberry only if their husbands shut off their PDAs.Blackberry5

To make the BlackBerry Pearl even more fashionable, moms can wear it around their necks. Or in a leather tote around their wrists.

UPDATE:  At the same time I was finishing off this post, Tekla pointed out a Wall Street Journal article on BlackBerry Orphans written by Kathrine Rosman. It seems that there may be a backlash already in progress from children who resent their parents use of BlackBerrys. A companion article recommends a 12-Step Program for people addicted to BlackBerrys, who are pointed out with the term “Crackberry” addicts.

To complete the Blackberry gift to moms, it looks as though an
etiquette guide should be included with the manual. Since that type of
information is not currently available from Emily Post, here are some suggestions on where to get that information:

1. Print out the Wall Street Journal 12-Step Program for Addicts.
Use that as a warning if the device is not used appropriately. Kind of
like the note I saw on an electric guitar I was looking at for my 8
year old son “This device is electric, if not used properly
electrocution can result”. Maybe the BlackBerry can include a warning
“If users become addicted, resentment can result”.

2 . Or to sum it up for those who don’t read manuals, remind them
that BlackBerrys should not be used in anything moving, while engaged
in any family or social activities, while anyone is talking to them and
most importantly not brought into the bedroom. And of course all other
family members with PDA’s will need to also comply by those rules!

The BlackBerry Pearl with the etiquette guide will make the perfect holiday gift for moms.