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Sell Your Cell Phone Online With eBay (Sponsored)

Disclosure: My blog post was written as part of my collaboration with eBay.
 

 

sell an old cell phoneAfter years of buying things for myself and my family on eBay I finally decided it was time to experience the other side of eBay, selling . Cleaning up my old electronics drawer provided the needed inspiration to find new homes for some great technology in perfect working order that was just sitting around collecting dust. When I was contacted to learn about eBay Sell My Phone it was the perfect opportunity to figure out my own plan to sell an old cell phone and other electronics online.
 

 

I have been buying new and used items on eBay for years but did not realize the size of the online secondary phone market.  I learned from eBay that “on average, a cell phone is sold every 4 seconds on eBay.” All different types of phones are selling such resulting in  ”a Samsung cell phone is sold every 22 seconds, an iPhone is sold every 16 Seconds, Nokia cell phone is sold every 3 minutes, HTC phone is sold every minute and a Microsoft windows cell phone is sold every 7 minutes on eBay.”

 

 

Sell your phone

Photo Credit: eBay

 

 

I viewed the Sell My Phone eBay page and saw that the steps to sell an old cell phone were pretty straightforward: select a device, check the current value, and then list it for sale. I also saw the page of instructions detailing how to wipe my phone which I feel is important to make sure all personal information is removed prior to sale. So it is time for me to take on something I have been putting off: move my gadgets not being used from the drawer to selling them online. My first step will be to sell an old cell phone, then graduate to other gadgets, saving money along the way to use on my next purchase.
 

 

Do you have a draw,  closet or just a pile of unused tech gadgets? If so, what is in your draw?

 

 

old electronics

 

 
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of eBay.
 

 
Tracking Pixel

 

Lenovo CES 2014: Tablets Still Rock

*sponsored series

 
With all the new announcements at CES 2014, it may have seemed like tablets were not top priority. But I was excited to see the quality of new tablets that are truly becoming that one unified device for both entertainment and work.   A great example is the new Lenovo ThinkPad 8 tablet that joins in with the already released Yoga Tablet 10 and 8.

 

Lenovo ThinkPad 8 Tablet

Lenovo ThinkPad 8 Tablet – Photo credit: Lenovo

 

The Lenovo ThinkPad 8 Tablet is high definition enough for entertainment while also having the features needed for a successful work device. It has an a 10 point multi-touch 8.3 inch display (1920×1200) with Windows 8.1 Pro, 2MP and 8MP cameras, latest Intel Bay Trail Quad Core processor, up to 128GB of storage and Global 3G/4G LTE support.  Accessories include a USB 3.0 dock that converts the ThinkPad 8 into a full PC experience and a keyboard base. The Quickshot Cover enables converting to Tent mode and peels back to use the 8 MP camera. There is also a microHDMI port that allows connection to a PC to view pictures or photos or use Miracast technology to transfer them wirelessly.

Lenovo Yoga Tablet

Lenovo Yoga Tablet. Photo Credit: Lenovo

 

The Yoga Tablet 10 (10 inch) and Yoga Tablet 8 (8 inch) Android tablets offer a unique multi-mode design: it has a battery cylinder on the side that makes it easy to hold, Quad core 1.2 Ghz processor, Android 4.2 Jellybean, native storage of 16GB  or 32 GB and can add up to 64GB micro-SD card storage, micro USB for charging, a pop out stand for standing up (good for watching or listening to media and video chat) and the ability to “tilt” the stand (good for typing or gaming).  To really enable mobile use, the battery has a maximum life of 18 hours, lasting throughout the day and more.

 

Both the 8 inch and 10 inch Yoga Tablet have an HD 1280 x 800 display with a 178 degree viewing angle that is wide enough to share with the whole family.  The screen is  crisp, clear and easy to ready and the chrome design is stylish to look at.  Connectivity includes integrated Bluetooth, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and GPS. The sound is enhanced with the tablet’s Dolby Digital Plus speakers that face front. The 5.0M rear and 1.6M front cameras offer the ability to take high definition pictures.  For those that prefer using a keyboard, there is a touch keyboard with nice haptic response or an option to use Accutype keyboard Bluetooth accessory.

 

 

Lenovo Tablets

 

 

Our family had the opportunity to review the Lenovo Yoga Tablet 10 and 8. We found that the 10 inch is the perfect size for teens and adults to comfortably read content. The Yoga Tablet 8 inch is the perfect size for my 11 year old to watch ESPN and consume all types of content instead of squinting to see content on his small MP3 player. But the 8 inch would also be great for mobile adults looking for a smaller form factor. My husband has been looking for a tablet for a while now, evaluating different operating systems, form factors and performance. His latest experiment has been with the 10 inch Lenovo yoga tablet and it is proving to be very capable for both business and personal use.

 

 

He found that the set up of the Yoga Tablet was very straight-forward and similar to other Android devices. Charge it up, turn it on, establish the WiFi connection and start downloading the apps you need to be productive. The kids were very impressed with the games both familiar and unfamiliar in the Google Play store. LinkedIn loaded quickly and was easy to use, with the front and back camera on the Yoga tablet coming in handy to capture valuable information for various folders that help in home/family and business management.
One very handy feature is the built-in kickstand which enables the tablet to be used multiple ways in addition to holding it in your hands. With the kickstand down, the tablet props up like a computer screen in a landscape position. This is very handy when used in conjunction with a Bluetooth keyboard. Roasted 90 degrees, the kickstand also secures the tablet upright in portrait position, which is convenient when looking at an email inbox, photos, long documents or games. For those who like to use a tablet almost flat to the table, placing the Yoga down with the kickstand in place provides a tablet at a small angle to the table which is great for touch screen use. Our family really enjoyed these different positions, each with their own benefits allowing for customization of use according to what we were trying to do and whether we were sitting or standing.

 

The speakers provide high quality Dolby sound and are located on the front in the bottom corners, a much better design than speakers in back which can be muffled by a tablet cover. The volume controls and headset jack are conveniently located on the side and feel high quality to the touch. No loose headset connection where if you don’t press it in just right the stereo sound turns mono and the audio gets scratchy. And while it’s not usual to like the on/off button on a computer or tablet, the large button on the end of the built-in battery with a very clean motion when pushed is a welcome role model for what buttons on computers should feel like. Also impressive is the screen, with 1280X800 max resolution and a built-in graphics processor which delivers the quality needed for everything from writing documents  to watching YouTube videos and playing games.

 

Pricing as of Jan. 2014:

The ThinkPad 8 convertible tablet configure to order models start at $399 and Topseller
models start at $429.  The Yoga Tablet 8 starts at $199 and the Yoga Tablet 10 starts at $275.00.

 

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored series for Techlicious Lenovo blogger program  I received products for review as part of the program. My words are my own.

 

 

 

 

Must Have Mobile Tech: AT&T Unite Pro

 *sponsored series

 

Must Have Mobile TechAs I checked into Treasure Island for CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2014, I was excited to have found a reasonably priced hotel in a central location. I was sharing my room with an east-coast blogger friend and looking forward to seeing her and other tech press friends. One benefit of Treasure Island is the optional “resort fee”, an extra added to the hotel bill which covers internet, health club use, morning newspaper and other amenities. This is great for those like me taking a business trip on a budget.

 

 

However, I was interested in paying for daily in-room Internet access. When they told me it was “20 dollars PER DAY” I was so excited to say “no thank-you” because I remembered I had my new AT&T Unite Pro mobile WiFi device with me. Considering that I would be staying at the hotel for 5 days, I saved $100 on the spot.

 

 

Working with NETGEAR (disclosure) to share information about the new AT&T Unite Pro was great because mobile WiFi is an important tool for my busy lifestyle.  The more time I spend with my own mobile WiFi, the more I realize how it frees me to work on the go no matter where I am. As a busy working parent who also travels, working on the go is essential to being productive each day.

 

My CES roommate was excited to share my mobile WiFi and not pay the daily $20 internet fee! In addition to the security benefit of using our own WiFi, it was great to know we had a reliable WiFi connection to complete our work at the hotel.  I was able to take the device with me to use on the go during the conference; this is a great benefit because I store most of my documents and media in the cloud.  With the AT&T Unite Pro BatteryBoost feature, I was also able to keep my smartphone charged, enabling me to keep my social media updates flowing to my fans without the dreaded “phone dead” syndrome some of my other tech press friends experienced.

 

 

The AT&T Unite Pro is an update from the AT&T Unite which I covered in my first blog post. Here are some of the key features of the AT&T Unite Pro:

 

AT&T Unite Pro

AT&T Unite Pro

 

 

  • Up to 16 hours of battery (all day!)
  • Internet access for up to 15 devices.
  • 2.4  inch Intuitive Touchscreen with keyboard.
  • Password protection and guest WiFi.
  • Advanced  LTE support. First mobile hotspot to offer Dual-Band WiFi which lets you maximize speed and reliability of your data connection.
  • Internationally compatible.
  • BatteryBoost: BatteryBoost lets you share the AT&T Unite Pro’s powerful battery to keep your smartphone going. Just plug-in the special boosting cable provided and connect your smartphone charging cord.

 

Having mobile WiFi also enables me to share connectivity with my kids so they can do homework on the go and reach their productivity goals each day.  In fact, when my teen brought the AT&T Unite Mobile WiFi to his study group, he realized that having a mobile WiFi that offered access to his friend’s devices saved the day by enabling everyone in the group to get their online research done. This also allows me to help one of my twin sons finish a class project while the other twin is at baseball practice. This reduces the logistical difficulty when my twins participate in different sports. Who knew that a mobile WiFi device would help support my twin’s transition into independent paths in life!

 

Pricing and availability:

The AT&T Unite Pro is $49.99 with a 2 year contract and AT&T offers other Unite models from $1 to $99.  There are several flexible and affordable monthly data plans as well.  Any of the Unite products can be added to an AT&T Mobile Share plan for only $20 a month.  Or if you want a stand alone plan, there is a $50 for 5GB monthly option available.  Visit www.att.com/data  for more information.

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored series. I received products for review as part of the program. My words are my own.

 

Check out the full line of AT&T Unite mobile hotspots from NETGEAR, including Unite Pro, Unite and Unite prepaid, at www.att.com/unitepro or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube at WiFiFamily.

 

 

Lenovo CES 2014 : Horizon 2, 4K Monitors and Beacon

*Sponsored series

 

For my first CES 2014 covering Lenovo products I discussed the Lenovo Yoga 2 and other new laptops. But Lenovo also showcased new technology at CES 2014 that enables new types of mobility and flexibility with home devices - and ups the ante for professional desktop monitors (that can also be used at home). The Horizon 2 showcases one of the most exciting new developments in home technology, the PC that extends into A TABLE form factor (also called a table PC)! The Horizon 2 is slimmer (19.5mm) then original Horizon, with new features such as NFC that allows devices to share digital content directly.

 

Lenovo Horizon 2 Standing Position

Horizon 2 – Photo credit: Lenovo

 

The Lenovo Horizon 2 Table PC has a 10 finger touchscreen, motion control features for navigation, Windows 8.1, four hours of battery, up to 4th generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor and Dolby Home Theater.  When used in Stand mode, it can be used as an All in One Desktop. “Table” mode enables collaborative computing such as playing games for up to four people. Accessories include a joystick, striker and e-dice to enhance the digital gaming.

 

Lenovo Horizon 2 Joy stick

Horizon 2 – Photo credit: Lenovo

 

Enhancing “table” mode is the Lenovo “Aura” custom interface for media aggregation and entertainment. The press release explained enables users to “upload photos from their camera or smartphone and the Aura interface will try to recognize the faces in the photos, access media from their PC or smartphone on their home network directly on Horizon 2’s display when it lays flat in Table Mode with the Aura interface activated. They can either use the new Horizon mobile app to shake their mobile Android device, allowing the content to “fall” onto Horizon 2’s screen. Or they can place the mobile device on the screen, which signals to the Aura dial to open around it and “pull” out content onto Horizon 2’s display. Also, users can edit photos and share directly from Aura to Facebook.“ In addition, the Horizon 2 also has multi-user games including Ubisoft’s Chubby Kings, Legacy Games’ Crayola’s Songbook and education apps such as I Spy from Scholastic.

 

 

 

Lenovo Horizon 2 Aura Interface

Horizon 2 – Photo credit: Lenovo

 

Lenovo announced the Beacon personal cloud storage device which allow to store and play media from anywhere using a tablet, smartphone, PC or TV.  The Beacon stores files within the device.   Because families these days have so much media to store, it is helpful to have a specific media storage for the home. Features include storage expandable to 6 TB and an Intel Atom dual core processor. The service has no monthly fees, can load files wirelessly or via USB connection, is able to auto upload photos from a smartphone camera via WiFi or 3G, uses Lenovo custom app on an Android smartphone to remotely control or play media stored on Beacon to an internet connected TV or by HDMI, and includes security features and ability to share with multiple users.

 

Lenovo Beacon

Lenovo Beacon Photo credit: Lenovo

 

 

 

 

Here are some of the other Lenovo product announcements from CES 2014:

  • Lenovo N308 is the company’s first Android all in one desktop that is geared for those who want access to apps, entertainment and browsing.  The N308 runs the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system, comes with an NVIDIA Tegra quad core processor, up to 500 GB hard drive storage, a 720p webcam and WiFi.
  • Lenovo A740: The Lenovo A740 is an aluminum styled 27 inch All in One that is only 4mm thin. It has up to 1 TB of hard drive storage, voice and motion control, a 10 finger touchscreen display, NFC for exchanging digital content, HD Display with wide 178° viewing angle (WQHD 2560×1440), NVIDIA GeForce graphics, JBL speakers and Dolby Home Theater.
  • Traditional notebooks Zline 14 and 15 inch for general computing are great for users on a budget. Starting at $399, they have quality features such as Intel Core processors, Dolby speakers, optical drives, different memory options 4GB, USB 3 port to work with USB 3 dock to hook into a keyboard. The 15 inch has a numeric keypad on the keyboard.
  • The Y40  (14 inch) and Y50 (15 inch) are laptops geared for media creation and gaming with Nvidia GTX graphics,  up to Core i7 and 16 GB RAM, backlit keyboard (modern design, red backlight), SSD option, touchscreen and has a 4K option. Both have JBL speakers with subwolfer. Price points starting from $699.
  • Two other new devices are the Thinkvision Pro2840m, a 4K (28 inch) monitor that is geared toward the engineering (CAD) or professional market with full speakers for only $799!!  Another is the Thinkvision 28 that is focused on consumer home market with a 4K monitor, adjustable stand that lays flat for gaming and has 32 GB storage. Touch and Android are additional features for $1199. The computer supports 4K is streaming on YouTube and Netflix.
  • The Lenovo Flex 20 (already out on the market) is a more portable alternative to the Horizon. It is an dual mode all-in-one PC that adjusts from standing in a “desktop” mode to laying flat in “entertainment” mode but hinge is adjustable at any angle. The 19.5’HD screen (1600 x 900) has 10 point multi-touch, built in camera and microphone for video conferencing, wide viewing angle, TV tuner and the stereo speakers have Dolby Home Theater.  Accessories such as joystick, striker and e-dice can be used with fun and educational games from a custom Lenovo Aura interface. The Aura was created to make the PC a “social device bringing users together to enjoy fun apps and multimedia.  Games can be loaded from the Windows Store and the Lenovo app shop. The up to 2 hour battery allows the PC to be moved to different parts of the house.  The USB 3.0 enables faster file transfer and copying of large media files (also backwards compatible with USB 2.0 devices).
  • In the multi-mode category there is also the Lenovo Flex in 14D (14 inch) or 15D (15 inch) notebooks.  These value convertible laptops have AMD A6 quad core processors, all day battery life, two modes (Laptop and Stand) and  Dolby Advanced Audio v2 .

 

Lenovo Flex 15D

Lenovo Flex 15 D Photo Credit: Lenovo

 

Pricing from the press release:

The Lenovo Beacon personal cloud storage device will be available beginning in April with models starting at $199. The Lenovo N308 AIO Desktop will be available beginning in February with models starting at $450. The Horizon 2 Table PC will be available beginning in June with models starting at $1,499. The Lenovo A740 AIO Desktop will be available beginning June with models starting at $1,499 via major retailers and www.lenovo.com.

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored series for Techlicious Lenovo blogger program  I received products for review as part of the program. My words are my own.

 

 

 

Sponsored: CES 2014 Whirlpool Innovations

While at CES 2014, I had the opportunity to learn more about the new Whirlpool innovations. The concepts are exciting because they will not only add more functionality and control over my kitchen but also enable me to be more productive. Listed below is a summary.

 

Whirlpool Induction CooktopInteractive Cooktop:  One of the most exciting demos was of the Whirlpool interactive cooktop concept which turns a simple surface such as a cooktop into a multi-functional information, cooking and entertainment space.  For example, while I can cook anywhere on the surface I can also browse the internet to pull up a recipe to view on the same surface! While entertaining, I can cook while checking the guest list online.  Combing the functionality of a cooktop with digital connectivity will enable a busy mom like myself to be much more productive in the kitchen.  With three “always hungry” boys I spend lots of time in the kitchen so I need all the help I can get! The Interactive Cooktop concept would also allow me to have less devices in the kitchen but still have access to digital connectivity on capacitive touch surface or hands free when needed.

 

Here is a Whirlpool video about the Interactive Cooktop:

 

 

Whirlpool Wash AppConnected Appliances: Whirlpool also introduced a digitally integrated suite of appliances and smartphone app that would not only give me more control in the kitchen, but also on the go. Because my appliances would be connected via a WiFi network, they can be controlled via a smartphone. This would allow me to do things such as saving energy by using my smartphone to run my washer during the right time of day, even if I am not at home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a video that explains more about Whirlpool Connected Appliances:

 

 

 

Whirlpool Duet Series PaisleyDesigner Duet Series:  The Whirlpool Designer Duet series goes behind the simple solid colors to allow for personalization such as paisley or chrome bubbles. This type of customization is exciting because it would enable me to bring some stylish touches into my laundry area.  The Duet series also has technology to help whoever is doing the laundry (hint, hint to my older sons who need to start doing their own laundry!).  The Adaptive Wash Technology in the Duet® washer automatically selects the cycle settings for every load and Advanced Moisture Sensing technology in the dryer prevents over-drying clothes by sensing how long the dryer should run (and also saves energy!). I could even use the Whirlpool WashSquad app to assign laundry tasks to my sons!

 

 

 

Here is a Whirlpool video on the Designer Duet series:

 

 

 

 

Whirlpool CoolVoxThe CoolVox™ sound system refrigerator concept (available Q2 2014) extends the functionality with wireless Harman Kardon Speakers built in that are not distrupted when the doors are closed! This would allow me to listen to music or podcasts from my mp3 player, tablet, smartphone or computer (Note: “Only one device can be paired to CoolVox™ at a time“). I can also use apps such as Pandora, Spotify or my playlists.

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the Whirlpool video on CoolVox:

 

 

  • Since Whirlpool 20/20 is all about a future focused on you, we, want to hear your ideas for it. Leave a comment below telling us your idea for the future for your home and be entered to win a $1,000 grand prize.

 

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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

BlogHer will pool entries from participating blogs and select a sweepstakes winner at random and will contact the winner with details about fulfilling the prize.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 1/2/14 – 1/18/14.

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All of my words are my own.

 

 

 

The Importance of A “Tech” Travel Checklist

Heading out the door to catch a plane, like many busy working moms, I stopped on the front steps and went through my mental packing checklist. Airplane tickets were in my briefcase, as was my trusty little technology bag. Arriving at the airport 45 minutes later, I discovered one of my most important travel tools was missing. I had left my AT&T Unite  plugged into its charger, forgetting to pack it in my tech bag. Public and hotel Wi-Fi can be unreliable and lack proper security. Time for Plan B.

I decided to jot down some notes and write the blog post later at the hotel. Arriving at my destination several hours later, the slow and spotty hotel Wi-Fi forced another change of plans. I quickly acknowledged that my writing, like many day-to-day tasks, depends on access to online research and I was starting to hyperventilate, thinking of missed work deadlines due to poor quality connectivity. I longed for my mobile Wi-Fi device on my desk back home, realizing just how dependent I am on that small piece of electronics and how confident I felt with it in my briefcase.

 

Now whether I am heading out to work, meetings or business trips I review my technology travel list before heading out the door. Here’s my technology travel list – what on your list?

 

TechMama Tech Travel Check List

 

1. Tech Devices: I usually bring my laptop with me on business trips but powerful tablets may change that habit. I also bring other devices such as a video or digital camera depending on the event.

 

2. Smartphone: It’s like one of the family.

 

3. Backup charger: My favorite is a universal charger that works for both my laptop and my smartphone.

 

4. Mobile WiFi: Uninterrupted work on the go requires connectivity. The AT&T Unite (powered by Netgear) not only gives me a secure network but it also has a battery life up to 10 hours, which is enough to get me through my day.

 

5.  Travel Cases:  Keeping technology like chargers, cords and memory organized is essential. I have a stash of different zip cases and travel bags with zippers to store technology within my laptop bag and stay organized on the go. One case contains power cords, another has my smartphone, mobile Wi-Fi, backup battery and digital camera.  A final small case holds my extra business cards. In my purse I also have items separated in zip cases. One case contains my lipsticks and face powder. Another case holds odds and ends like mints, pens, bandages, pain relievers and basic travel items. For trips require a large amount of technology (such as the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas), I put my devices in separate cases with their chargers and accessories. Or sometimes I put all of my technology accessories in a few cases of their own.

 

 

6.  Travel Documents: As a backup, I have paper printouts of key travel and work information I need on the business including hotel reservations, driving directions and meeting agendas.

 

7. Memory:  Even though I store my documents in the cloud, I like to bring an extra flash memory cards (if I bring a camera) and USB Flash drive. Having a second copy of my presentation on a flash drive gives the comfort that if something goes wrong I always have a backup copy. But there is something ironic about having “memory” as a step in my checklist to remember what to bring to business trips.

 

8. Power Plug: I find that many hotels do not have enough plugs to charge up my tech each night. So I travel with a plug that has three outlets and two USB slots and that plugs into one wall outlet. Of course, if I am traveling in a different country, I bring the international plug.

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received an AT&T Unite as part of my sponsorship. My words are my own.

For more information, visit att.com/Unite or connect with WiFi Family on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top Five Ways I Use Microsoft Office 365 to #GetItDone

 This is a sponsored post.

I use Microsoft Office 365 to help manage my busy life as a working mom, so I am excited to now be one of their Office Champions, sharing my favorite tips and learning new ones. My day requires flexibility and Microsoft Office helps me get work done regardless of where I am. I’m clearly not alone in my need for flexibility, A recent study conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Microsoft found that “more than half of office workers (53%) would be willing to work more hours—and one in five would be willing to take a pay cut—to have more flexibility in where and when they get work done”. This Infographic shows some stats on mobile work habits.

 

 

Here are the top five ways I use Microsoft Office 365 to #GetItDone:

 

5. Get Work Done While Waiting: With Microsoft Office 365 productivity tools and Skydrive cloud storage, I can use my mobile devices and Office Mobile to work while waiting for my kids to finish baseball practice or while on the road between business meetings. I have the flexibility with Office 365 to use touch, type or a stylus while either offline (sync later) or online, later syncing online via SkyDrive.

 

4. Get Cooking Done: I use One Note to keep track of recipes, entering them in my recipe notebooks or embedding recipes I find on the web (keeping the web links so I can refer back to them). I also have One Note Notebooks for shopping lists. Because my One Note is synced to my mobile devices using SkyDrive, I always have access to that information while mobile, making grocery shopping much more efficient. The One Note search also helps me find recipes to fit what I have in the fridge for those “oh, no, what I am going to make for dinner” days!

 

3. Get Homework Done: Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium can be installed on up to 5 PCs or Macs, and 5 mobile devices. This means my whole family can take advantage of using Office. We have Office installed on our family desktop and laptops. All three of my boys has access when they need it to use Powerpoint for class presentations and Word/Excel for class projects. Our kids can organize research, take notes and even use an equation editor for math homework using One Note.

 

2. Get Household Organization Done: We use Outlook to create a shared family calendar with different colors for each person. We use Excel to track our family budget, expenses and household projects. The spreadsheets can be then be embeded, plus any online links, pictures, video or audio, into One Note notebooks. Family vacations are planned with One Note notebooks and pictures uploaded to SkyDrive albums.

 

And the Number One way I use Office 365 is to Get My Personal Dreams Done: For years I had a dream to write a book. Luckily, I had my handy Office 365 to help me reach that dream, creating research notebooks in One Note to create the outline of my book. I then used Microsoft Word to write the book, track changes with my editor and verify the book’s format using “read” mode.  Now that my book “My Parent Plan” is out, I can check off that dream and then see how I can use Office 365 to get my next dream “done“.

 

There are so many additional ways I use Office 365 that I can’t fit all of them in this post. I’ll provide more product tips in future posts.

Are you ready to get it done? Then visit www.Office.com/getitdone and share via #GetItDone how you get things done with Office and Office 365. For more information, check out the Microsoft Office 365 “Get It Done” press release.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All of my words are my own.
 

 

 

New Family Hardware and Games: From SteriShoe to Skylanders SWAP Force

I get emails every day with new technology I would love to share with my readers. But my time is limited. So I decided to ask some of the PR resources that have shared interesting press updates with me for years (and happen to be parents themselves), to share some of their clients’ interesting new products by writing a guest post.

 

This guest post is from Rob Wheat (see bio at end of this post):There’s nothing more frustrating or costs more money than cars and computers. Yet the games or devices we lament purchasing sometimes end up being thrown out the window. Then there are the ones that actually work.  Out of the many consumer electronics companies I’ve been fortunate enough to work with, some have even touched my nine-year-old daughter Violet’s life, like the Nintendo…

 

 

This post will hopefully illuminate some of the “good” hardware and games that are featured for families in 2013, and they collectively are ones I especially feel strongly towards… and not just because they are clients of an 18-year media relations career (full disclosure).

 

 

  • unu (www.facebook.com/unutablet) – this new device, coming out in November, transforms one’s television into a “smart TV” and game console… it also features the evolution of the tablet, which is used to control your online options, a docking station and a game controller for the more than 500,000 entertainment choices presented by Google Play Store.

 

 

  • OUYA (www.ouya.tv) – a brand new video game console, OUYA has more than 450 games with more being added every day. All are free to try, and the OUYA is a fraction of the cost of the next generation systems coming out for Microsoft and Sony this holiday season.

 

 

  • SteriShoe (www.sterishoe.com) – I count this as hardware since you insert the pair of “electric shoe horns” into your shoes for the UV rays to burn out the germs that have collected. Believe it not, there are more germs on our shoes than our hands and feet. I tried it and my worn out sandals felt so much better inside, they also work well for moms who feel like their cars and homes are being held “hostage” by their children’s gym shoes. They fit easily into suitcases, so they’re also good for business travelers.

 

 

  • Skylanders: SWAP Force (www.skylanders.com) – starting off the games list with one of the most anticipated titles of the year – Skylanders SWAP Force, which enables players to “swap” the tops and bottoms of action figures to “bring these characters to life” in the accompanying video game. Skylanders is currently the No. 1 action figure line and video game, and is the original toy that first combined video games with action figures.

 

 

  • JoyTunes (iPad) (www.joytunes.com) – With their two products Piano Mania and the new Piano Dustbuster 2, beginners can learn to play everything from Beethoven to One Direction without ever having touched a piano or keyboard before. Based upon the Guitar Hero-style of having notes cascade across the screen, you learn to play as you follow along with your iPad.

 

 

  • WiShi (www.wishi.me) – A safe social style network where you take photos of your clothes to create “virtual closets” that you can share with friends and family. They can mix and match your style, and create new combinations that make old clothes seem new.

 

 

  • ESRB (www.esrb.org) – The non-profit group that determines the video game ratings has a great free app to help parents find the “right game for the right child”. The app also covers mobile games, as well as the consoles, and features unbiased information on each one.

 

 

  • Fingerprint (www.fingerprintplay.com) games for the iPad – these educational games address the Common Core Elements that students will be tested on starting in 2014-15. Cosmic Reactor, for example, is a fun math game while Lost in the Universe is a digital story book. Fingerprint has almost 40 educational games for children 3-12, with new multiplayer games from TigerFace that enable parents and children to play together. PBS’ Sid the Science Kid is another popular title.

 

 

There’s nothing more important than sharing time together with your children, and today’s hardware and “video games” cater to that.

 

 

Rob Wheat is a consultant for PMK*BNC, Frank PR and Zebra Partners among other companies after having worked as an employee and consultant for Nintendo and Golin-Harris for more than 15 years. Also a freelance sports and feature writer, he lives in Overland Park, KS with his daughter Violet, wife Jenny and dog Lily.

 

 

 

 

 

Disclosure: This is a press update.

 

 

 

Guest Post: How Do You Make A Mom’s Life Easier? Digitize the Post-it Note!

The following is a guest post by Kimberley Clayton Blaine of TheGoToMom.TV:

What in the world are you going to do with all those Post-it Notes? How about ripping them off of the cabinet, the family calendar and off of your car’s steering wheel and organize them like a good mom should! LOL. Seriously, I took a vote on my FB and G+ pages and found that moms are using Post-it Notes all in the same way. Moms are a team, a tribe, a culture who depend on the ever-so powerful Post-it Note to help organize our busy lives  — I hear you all cheering me on, I really do!

 

 

 

 

Moms use Post-it Notes for:

  • Grocery lists
  • Household chores
  • Reminders/To-do’s
  • To make piñatas
  • To make crumpled up cat toys
  • Notes to kids
  • Art project material
  • Must I go on? It’s never ending…

 

The Evernote app lets you easily collect and find everything that matters! And the adoring Post-it Note is now Evernote’s new best friend. To keep our lives in good shape, we moms need to remember everything and work more effectively.It’s time to let your smart phone marry the Post-it Note. Have no fear! You’ll still be able to jot your notes down and organize your family’s world with all those pretty notes, they’d never take that task from you girl! But now you can photograph all your colorful themed Post-it Notes and file them in the Evernote app. So simple! So Innovative!

 

Here is how it works… Evernote has developed the Post-it Note Camera feature exclusively for iOS 7, available on iPhone and iPad. With one tap, any Post-it Note is captured into Evernote, digitally enhanced and saved as a crisp, clear Evernote image. In the app Post-it Notes can be organized by color, have a reminder added or a due date assigned. Whether it’s a to-do list, a reminder, a sketch or a big idea, Evernote makes the Post-it Note searchable, providing users the flexibility of paper and efficiency of technology. The Evernote App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or at www.appstore.com/evernote. For more information on the Post-it Brand and Evernote, visit Post-it.com/Evernote.

 

The app, in my opinion is very well designed. It’s simple, clean and very easy to use. It’s pretty intuitive so you can figure it out yourself. I no longer have three Post-it Notes hanging off my purse when I leave the house. They are nicely organized in my phone all in one app and easily accessible.  Yes, my kitchen will always have new Post-it Notes reappearing each day – just waiting to be photographed. But hey, that’s what we signed up for right? Motherhood  — The ultimate keeper of the calendar.

 

Why get the app you say? Because Evernote feature for Post-it® Notes allows you to Express, Capture, Search, Share and Brag

 

Since technology continues to permeate every aspect of our lives, get the free app and go wild. Isn’t about time you finally remember the things you like, your favorite websites, research better, organize your business or household better and plan your next relaxing trip? And you can do it all with mom’s new little helper. Evernote.

 

Learn more about Post-it Brand and Evernote by visiting your local office supply store or by visiting Postit.com/Evernote , Post-it Brand on Twitter (@postitproducts ) or Facebook  (http://facebook.com/postit ).

 

 

 

About the Kimberley (TheGoToMom):

Kimberley Clayton Blaine, MA, MFT, is the executive producer of the online parenting shows www.TheGoToMom.TV and www.MommyToMommy.TV and author of The Go-To Mom’s Parents’ Guide to Emotion Coaching Young Children and The Internet Mommy. When she’s not chasing her kids, she filming them on her iPhone with ptch.com app.   Disclosure: The Go-To Mom Productions was compensated for the production of this episode/an or blog post by 3M/Post-it Brand. Kimberley Blaine will only promote, endorse and support companies she believes to have the highest standards in products and/or services that contribute to or enhance the well-being of families.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next Phase of Womens Movement: #Womensday #FamilyFriendlyWork

This has been a busy time for the Women’s Movement. Today happens to be International Women’s Day 2013  which has “thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements“. The documentary “Makers: Women Who Make America” debuted February 26.  The blog All Things D broke the story about Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer Now Requiring Remote Employees to Not Be (Remote)  and the commentary has been all over the map. Lastly, Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, Lean In, continues to be a hot topic.

 

Many of my friends and social media colleagues expected me to come down hard one way or the other on Mayer’s requirement calling employee’s back to the office. However, from my perspective, what should be the topic of conversation are policies including family leave, job training, childcare and other economic issues that are holding back women from reaching their full potential. Taking on these categories of public policy is the next phase of the women’s movement.

 

In the “Makers” documentary, Karen Nussbaum highlights that “despite the gains, the failure to win childcare options was a major failing of the women’s movement…“.  For companies, developing appropriate family leave policies and flexible work arrangements (i.e. telecommuting) for “relevant” jobs will enable primary caregivers of children to care for them and still work. Other options include companies that either have their own childcare center or have agreements with local childcare centers.  What about women who work for small businesses or have their own business? What if public and private resources could be pulled together to offer more options for health insurance, job training and childcare? This would allow women more flexible job options while supporting the environment of entrepreneurship.

 

Technology has enabled the flexibility to not only work at home but also work from anywhere (mobile) – so businesses should incorporate telecommuting for relevant jobs. At the same time, some jobs require being in the office for collaboration.  A safety net would give women the options to choose jobs that fit with their flexibility needs or even work for themselves. Better yet, why not use the power of online networking to help communities find and hire their local resources? What if every community had the match-making resources to really place businesses with women who have specialized skills, as contractors or employees?

 

 

Currently there are numerous email groups, websites and online social networks that list jobs and those looking for jobs. But sifting through all of the information is overwhelming. What if a localized system of matching jobs with those looking for work not only allowed them to pick jobs to fit with their “flexibility” needs but also showed information on what type of job skills are needed and what job training is available?

 

Now that there are so many educational resources online, job seekers could even find economical ways to get training if they need to revamp their skills. If I had my wish (and a magic philanthropy wand to wave) I would use the power of local communities to support women helping each other. Local community centers could be used for job training in addition to sports and hobbies. Those with technical skills (like me) could be part of a volunteer effort to help train women in need of technical skills. In my fantasy, local communities could recycle older technology to those in need and get donations for new technology.

 

My personal story is an example of the tough decisions women need to make. I worked hard to earn my role as Senior Manager at one of the top consulting firms in the world and was on Partner track. This firm was so supportive of my work/life balance that they gave me a flexible work arrangement after I came back to my job with my first son and then moved me into a job where I worked mostly at home when I was on bedrest at the end of my pregnancy with my twins. I had a company that not only had family friendly policies – but also wanted to work with me to find the right job for me as my family situation changed.

 

 

But after I delivered my twins (yes – the picture above is the view I had from my hospital bed), I realized I needed to step down from my job because the amount of money I would need for childcare of three kids would be either equal or less then my salary. I tried to find a economical sitter that worked into my family schedule but could not. I talked to other working moms who interviewed 50 or more childcare resources, and with three kids (2 of them being twin newborns) – I did not have time.. or the energy. I also realized that my job required travel and I was not able to do that anymore.

 

It was one of the hardest decisions I had to make. But my precious little boys were worth it! I even had (luckily still have) a husband that is a 50/50 partner in raising our kids and a company willing to work with me on job flexibility.  I grew up with a single mother so I also knew first hand that childcare is an even greater challenge for single moms (parents). But I left my “company” job over 14 years ago when the online network of women was not as powerful or prolific as it is now. Over the years I have met other women who shared their childcare solutions with me to similar problems.. If only I had that information years ago!! I adapted by creating my career 2.0 online, so now I want to use that power for social good.

 

There is already an amazing revolution of social good that exists online for moms with sites such as Mom Bloggers For Social Good, The Motherhood, One Mom BloggersGo MightyThe Mission List, BlogHer coverage of social good and BlogHer’s Mission of creating creating greater exposure and economic empowerment (and their powerful network of women) . There are women’s centers and organization looking into ways to develop solutions to fix the women’s leadership gap such as the Bentley University’s Center for Women and Business. And of course businesses like Clever Girls Collective that are women owned and have a network of women. On International Women’s Day I am announcing my social good project. I will be on a mission to help connect women (and working mothers) to the resources and networks they need for their careers by sharing this information online. I have some fun ideas which I will be announcing soon…  This will support the next phase of the women’s movement by having women HELP other women to find the resources they need to work.

 

If each woman can help just one other women find work resources the “pay it forward” will be exponential. Of course,  this includes moms supporting other moms who are trying to do that elusive work/life balance that in reality does not exist. In a perfect world this model could also translate to women helping other women worldwide, such as the organization Global Good partners that was profiled on Katie Couric show.  Global Good Partners is a “a nonprofit organization that sells handmade, fair trade products in order to improve the economic status of women in marginalized communities around the world.”

 

So instead of marching, this new phase of the women’s movement would be for women to help train other women with job skills, help them find work related resources, share information about women owned businesses/marketplaces and enable women to get the technology they need not only for job skills but to help manage their families.

 

Women, it is time to power up our network to a new level! If you have any ideas, please do share! If you have favorite sites that support women’s work efforts, please also share.