Slider by IWEBIX

SXSW Liveblog: Moms Who Tech

Ia_meet_webtile

***MOMS WHO TECH follow-up session was at Convention Center Level 3 – Room 4 (panelist area) with Shireen Mitchell.

We just finished the Moms Who Tech core conversation at SXSW, we have an amazing set of attendees who sparked a very interesting discussion. Sarah Granger was kind enough to take notes – which I will post soon. I will also be posting the names and websites of the “Moms Who Tech” in attendance.  For those wanting to follow or join in the conversation, we will be using the Twitter hash tag #Momswhotech. Unfortunately, my co-leader Shireen Mitchell’s plane was late so I will be twittering using my id (TechMama) when she arrives and timing on gathering for a follow-up discussion for those interested (sometime today – hopefully at 3pm). We were thrilled to have Tiffany Galligan, Experience Director Razorfish in attendance to discuss the Cafe Mom/Razorfish “Digital Mom” study.

Here were some overall questions framing the discussion:

  1. How do moms use tech for communication, information gathering and family management? How is tech a part of their lives as mothers? In careers, school, children’s education?
  2. Why are increasing numbers of moms engaging in social media and using technology?
  3. How are moms using technology to politicize & become activists?

When asked why I decided to put this together, I shared that moms:

  • Have digital responsibility for themselves and families
  • Are savvy communicators and community builders who are taking their communication online
  • Multitaskers that will use the available technology to make their and their families lives easier
  • Moms buy technology for their households and are savvy at gathering information (offline and online). Get their information from other moms (and are therefore primary purchasing influencers).
  • Kid’s school and social lives are now online (including HOMEWORK), so technology in family households is a MUST!

Here is the first run of “Moms Who Tech” at the session, will add more as I get the names. If I did not get your name, email me at techmamas(at)gmail(dot)com. If you were a business trying to reach out to moms please also email me your info and I will post about that separately (and thanks for coming!):

Speakers:

Beth Blecherman @techmama http://www.techmamas.com/   http://www.siliconvalleymomsgroup.com

Shireen Mitchell @digitalsista  http://www.womenwiredin.com/

Guest speaker was Tiffany Galligan from Razorfish http://www.razorfish.com/ who discussed the Digital Mom study.

Partial List of Attendees (will add more as I get them):

NEXT UP: I will load the liveblog notes of the session soon. Not to be missed…

 

Adoption, Dad, Moms and Eco on Alltop

I posted on the Silicon Valley Moms Group about a website called Alltop that aggregates subscriptions for blogs in different topics together for one stop online reading. The Graco blog has one of the best definitions of what blog subscriptions/feeds are (and fun blog posts) for those needing more info on that topic…Now there are more categories added related to parenting:

Or just check out the main Alltop page for other areas such as gadgets (for the real geeks), career, sports and fashion (great combo). Those needing an online break can go check out the books Alltop to find their next great read.

For those also needing help finding their Twitter mojo just visit Twitterati Alltops to read conversations from some of the top twitters. Mobile users can read Mobile Alltop.

Flock_01_125x125_2 Best yet, in honor of Earthday, it is important to mention that Alltop partnered with "Flock" an eco-friendly browser that comes preloaded with Alltop topics.

 

Yahoo Shine Ask’s Question: What Is The Right Age to Get Technified?

Yahoo has a new site called "Shine", which is one-stop place for women to go on the web. I went to the press event and will discuss more about the site, but for now I wanted to pass on this post from Charlene Prince Birkeland (Shine staff) called "The Digital Dish: Is there a "right" age to let your kid get technified?".

It brings up a good question I have discussed often.  I always respond t to wait until your kid asks, otherwise let them play and have live social/sports interaction instead. But if they do ask, the first stop should be a honest discussion about internet safety and education (geared towards their age). Then it is good to spend time finding software that fits their needs. I will post later with some new sites I have found that my 9 year old plays that are filled with fun math games.

 

Your Own Personal Technology Review Team

Instead of having a team of people to help me review products like some
organizations, I need to fit in writing about technology between school
drop off and pick-up. So, I put my own team of experts together and
they are called "review sites" and "tech columnists" and "tech
magazines". It is mind blowing how much information review information
is available.  Here are the details for the strategy I used to find my personal technology review team, and I suggest those seeking technology advice should also put their own team together (see the bottom of this post for my technology team).

My strategy is to pick the outlets I feel provide good
information, understand that each has their own slant and then take all
the information and try to see what pops out for me. For example, one of the most popular sites for digital camera reviews is
dpreview.com.  Yet they are very technical in nature, so some may want
to add visits to CNET reviews, Digital Camera HQ and your favorite tech columnists like David Pogue from the New York Times, Walt Mossberg from the Wall Street Journal or Yahoo Tech.

I was also delighted to find a New York Times article along the sames lines of this post (that I started writing weeks ago..). The article is titled "A Universe of Gadget Advice" and gives a great example of John Boutin’s (the reporter) strategy for finding the right technical information online. Overall, I find this time of year the best time to obtain reviews on technology because of the holiday gift guides. These guides can be useful not only for the holidays, but to choose items for the after holiday sales and any items that were on the "buy" list for the rest of the year.

When you find the sites you like, I suggest setting up online subscriptions or "RSS Feeds" to review the headlines for these sites on a regular basis. You can have the feeds loaded to an aggregator like Bloglines or to your email homepage with Google or Yahoo. RSS Feeds can be used for specific categories like technology feed for CNN or for the whole blog feed similar to the blend of all Yahoo Tech advisors feed. To set up the RSS feeds, just look for the word "subscribe" or "RSS Feed" on the website that you want to add, the instructions are usually easy to follow.

I also suggest setting up print subscriptions for your favorite newspaper or tech magazines. I still enjoy looking over the New York Times or Wall Street Journal as well as some of my favorite tech magazines in print. And there is something about reading the print edition that goes best with my cup of coffee in the morning.

Ok, that last point was in my dreams because lately it seems that my mornings are consumed with feeding and getting my three boys ready for school. So if you are a mom in my position, still keep the print subscription for quiet moments, RSS feeds to your homepage for when the kids go to sleep and email RSS subscriptions to read the information from your email or on your smartphone. Look for email subscriptions that are sent from the publisher with no header from the feed service (like offered by Feedburner) and that also offer plain text or html emails. I find these their feeds are easy to read on my BlackBerry Curve.

TechMama’s Personal Technology Team:

Holiday Gift Guides:

Blogger Holiday Guides:

Tech Columnists:

Technology Review Sites:

Knowledgebase (there are no solid guarantees that all knowledgbase info is 100% correct, some sites are user driven so find the resource that fits your needs and keep looking if the answer does not seem correct):

Did I miss any? Please comment to add your favorites….

 

NYT – David Pogue Linklove: Digital SLR’s, File Transfering and Cell Phones for Kids

Circuis
I recieve feeds from the New York Times Thursday Circuits section to my email. Today had an link to an interesting article on File transfering by David Pogue. He said (on flight during a business trip) that his "brain turns to mush when I have to wake up too early. I’d forgotten the two-gigabyte folder of photos."  I was so happy to see that because being a parent means that your brain regularly turns to mush. So any advice he can give would be helpful. His article discussed the different ways to do file transfers (using chat programs or FTP). And information on a program called "Pando".

Then I went over to his main site (Pogues Pages) and found another great article on Digital SLR’s. Being a blogger and a parent means that taking pictures is a must – and having a good camera really makes a difference in picture quality.

I also found a video he made on "Cell Phones for Kids". I did my own review so it was great to have a chance to see his perspective. Take a look! He somehow got a tiny toddler to answer the phone saying "hello" and a teenage girl that said "A cell phone where I can ONLY call my parents, yeah….". Funny, because I got the same response from my 8 year old when I asked him about a phone that could only call us ("you mean I can’t call my friends….).

 

Give Dad the Gift of Links Linklove

It’s Father’s Day and like many moms you either:

A.
Have a gift purchased and wrapped in nice wrapping paper with a design
of your husband’s hobby. The gift was purchased weeks ago.
B. Have hand made crafts from the kids with cute little hand written notes.
–OR–
C.
(Like me) Are too busy surviving each day to even attempt to think
about a gift. Already worked out a "priceless" gift of having your
husband sleep in with breakfast in bed. That is, with what is available
in your refrigerator since you have not had to a chance to go shopping.
Why? Well, with all the end of school parties and now the
kids are out of school you don’t even have a chance to sit down so how
dare anyone even ask you to think about gifts for your husband…..
<end of rant>

For those other "C" moms,
here is a list of gift suggestions. When your kids ask what daddy’s
gifts are, you can say "I picked out a couple of things but I want
daddy to choose". Then you can email the links to your husband’s
smart-phone so he can review them over the family dinner (which you
will allow on father’s day). There is still time to make early dinner reservations out if needed.

FATHER’S DAY GIFT GUIDE FOR BUSY MOMS WHO HAVE NO TIME TO SHOP SO WILL USE LINKS TO SUGGESTED GIFTS INSTEAD:

PC Magazine has a gift guide for the Family SysAdmin Dad, The Young and Hip DadThe Sporty and Outdoorsy Dad, The Tech Newbie Dad and the Executive Traveler Dad.

Amazon has gift guides including sections for the Well-Read Dad, Do-It Himself Dad, Well-Groomed Dad and Playful Dad.

MSNBC said forget the tie and give your husband a weekend. MSN Shopping showed a digital photo keychain and a motorized grill brush.

Action_sports_hands_free_camera
Gifts.com has creative Father’s Day gadget suggestions such as action sports handsIpod_doc_for_bathroom free camera, wireless grilling thermometers, remote control key locators, voice
activated remote control, usb
beverage warmer, multi gadget charging
station and a ipod dock for the bathroom (the first of many bathroom gifts I found…).

Strollerderby listed their last minute gift ideas that included a urinal thingie. I may ask for that as a present for my sons’ bathroom.

Dory Devlin from Yahoo Tech posted on the most popular dad item: a TV remote. This one is an advanced Harmony universal remote control. Yahoo Tech writers’ Christopher Null listed his own Fathers Day wish list and Gina Hughes listed the Soccer Dads gift guide

For reviews on tech products, CNET has Dads and Grads gift guide and New Egg has lots-o-juicy review tidbits.

Peter Hartlaub from the San Francisco Chronicle listed the "Worlds Greatest Dad" tee shirt in his article titled "World’s worst gifts for world’s best dads".  He brought up a very important question: "…And what happens when two fathers wearing the World’s Greatest Dad
T-shirt run into each other? Do they have to fight to the death? "Irock_3

Super_papa
But don’t give up hope, there are some cool tee shirts out there. The BlackBeary for
BlackBerry addicted Dads, Cafe Press has a super papa shirt (I may need to get one for the chief of my 3Superheroes) or for ex-rockers turned dads the "I Rock" tee shirt (ha, ha). Even better, make your own tee shirt using a tee shirt transfer with a family picture, printer and an iron. Or he can design his own tee-shirts to sell at Goodstorm.com.

The Find suggests items to prepare the family for the beach and shoes for dads.

Jobmom suggested 5 blogs for dads and Father’s Day Gift Ideas with Tips From a Dad. Talking about blogs for dads, MetroDad has a previous post on the The Eight Types of Playground Parents that can be used for some Father’s Day humor.

Over at Maya’s Mom I found a Father’s Day Gift Guide from Mamanista, book recommendations from Mir and Father’s Day dream gifts from crazedparent.

If nothing looks interesting, there is always virtual gift cards.

In the end, I think GeekDad helped put the meaning of father’s day in perspective. Dan Olsen posted on an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal by Tony Woodlief (a dad of three boys) titled "Boys to Men". Having three boys myself, I found it refreshing to hear his thoughts on being a good father:

"The
good father, then, needs to nurture his son’s moral and spiritual core,
and equip him with the skills he’ll need to act on the moral impulse
that we call courage…..Not only do I believe that trying to take the
wildness out of boys is a doomed social experiment, but I’m certain
that genetic scientists will eventually discover that males carry the
Cowboy Gene. That’s my name for whatever is responsible for all the
wrestling in my house, and the dunking during bath time, and my
5-year-old’s insistence on wearing his silver six-shooters to Wal-Mart
in order to protect our grocery cart. I only pray that when the Cowboy
Gene is discovered, some well-meaning utopian doesn’t try to transform
it into a Tea Party Gene".

If none of the links were a good fit, just tell your husband he is a "good father".

Cross Posted on Silicon Valley Moms Blog.

 

Countdown to Mother’s Day – Tech Gift Linklove

Techmomgift
Mother’s Day (May 13) is officially one week away and what better way to celebrate then to share what tech gift items moms are talking about:

  • Want Not ponders the electronics dilemma of finding the right digital photo frame. A commenter suggested a service to remotely upload pictures.
  • Silent"I" was very creative with a request for "a 2 gig iPod that has a mini TV so I can download Grey’s Anatomy and have Dr. McDreamy in my pocket (I’m more of a McSteamy fan actually), a service that turns her phone into a wifi modem for blogging on the road and the Snowball microphone for better podcasting quality."
  • Techmamas has a list of recommendations
    including a Coach bag that can be used to carry a BlackBerry, keys and
    a wallet yet is small enough to fit into a laptop case or beach tote. And a rolling laptop bag that is easy to push.
    Suggestions were also made to help set up a home office for WAHMs (Work
    at Home Moms)  which applies to all moms whether they work outside the
    home, telecommute, have a home business, volunteer or manage their own
    families.
  • Yahoo Tech Mom posted about her MP3, smartphone and stylish gear bag preferences.
  • State of Grace suggested a wonderfully low-tech hand made necklace. That just may be my favorite suggestion of all because it can double as dinner if moms don’t have anything else to cook.

If there are other tech mamas who would like to share their tech wish lists, please comment with a link to the post on your blog or email techmamas(at)gmail.com.

 

LinkLove: Strollerderby Discusses Web Savvy Moms

One of my favorite blogs (Strollerderby) just posted with info on the number and amount of time web savvy moms spend online. Go take a look, we are so happy they mentioned Techmamas. There is also a post with Mother’s Day gift ideas for geeky mamas. Techmamas will have their own list of Mother’s Day recommendations published next week, but that post has some great ideas so I wanted to send that linklove out early.

 

3 Seconds of Fame

I have been ranting for some time about my challenges of finding the best parental controls for my 8 year old son’s laptop. I finally implemented K9 Web Protection but my son still has moments of despair trying to get to web pages not on the approved list.

At the same time that was going on, I also happened to be linked up with a Producer from CNET who wanted to come to my house to interview me on my adventures with
Internet parental controls. Which I was excited about, except for the fact that I had to take a shower, put on real clothes other then  sweats, attempt to look presentable, push all the toys from my fort living room to the family room, coax my son into coming along for the ride and make sure my twins stayed late at preschool.

When the team arrived I felt at ease.  The producer was a mother
herself and we compared notes on raising boys.  There were two camera
men, one even did some decorating for me by moving things around so the
shot would look good.  I always wondered how the houses with kids
looked clean in the interview videos.  Now I know it is all an
illusion, which made me feel better. And my son had the exciting
opportunity to hold the camera.

A fun time was had by all. The video is now on the CNET site in their section titled “Keeping Your Kids Safe Online“- Video on “The Real Net Threats“.  The direct link to the video is here. The Online Safety Guide and the Digital Kids Blog contain all the information I had been looking for, and more:

I was so excited to see the video, and not suprised to see my little darling rolling his
eyes while I was talking. One of those special “Awww, mommmm” moments, all three seconds of it.

 

LinkLove: Tech Dads Inspired by Space

Here are some fun links to tech dads inspired by space: