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Top 20 Tips From Disney Social Media Moms Conference

I have attended many conferences over the years but I must say the Disney Social Media Moms conference I attended in April was tops when it came to mixing inspirational business tips with incredible experiences. Best of all, I went with my three boys (husband had to work) and everyone had a fantastic time. Looking back, there are so many things to share, so I’ll start with the top inspirational tips I learned during the Disney Social Media Conference.

 

 

My first social media share of the conference indicated how happy we were to be at Disneyland!  First as a kid with my family and now as a parent, Disneyland is one of my favorite vacation spots because it allows my whole family to put daily pressures aside and experience sheer happiness, excitement and fun. It also brings my silly side which my kids love to see.

 

 

 

While at Disneyland we also just can’t stop smiling…

dsmm6w

 (Note: my first tip should be to get a PhotoPass because the pictures they take are priceless…More on that later in the post..)


1. The Mickey Check Makes It Easier To Identify Nutritious Choices.

 

Throughout the conference, we had the opportunity to learn about the Disney Healthy Living food options. Disney Healthy Living food options have a Mickey check to help identify them. The Mickey Check website explained: “ The Mickey Check is a tool that makes it easier to identify nutritious choices in stores, online, and while on vacation at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. The Mickey Check can be found on select kids’ meals and fruit carts throughout Walt Disney World® and Disneyland® Resorts, on various Disney-licensed food products sold at grocery stores across the country, and on qualifying recipes at Disney.com/tryit and Spoonful.com. To receive the Mickey Check, foods must meet Disney Nutrition Guidelines developed by health experts and align to federal dietary guideline recommendations.”

 

 

We also had a chance to see what the new Disney-licensed snacks sold at grocery stores around the country will look like:

 

  
 
During the Disney Social Media Moms conference I had the opportunity to try the options with the Mickey Check and they were yummy! Of course, I also had to taste the other fun foods as well – but it was great to have healthier options available. I also appreciate the food carts throughout the park that have all types of fruit, hummus and other healthy snacks for my family on the go such as the Tropical Import Snacks at Adventureland, FairfaxFruit Market in California Adventure and more! Restaurants at Disneyland also have healthy options, but that is the topic of a whole other post I will be writing (too much yummy food to talk about in this post!).

 

Disneyland Healthy Food options

 

Of course, two of my other favorite snacks are theDole Whip from the Tiki Juice Bar in Disneyland and the dark chocolate covered pineapple (with fresh pineapple inside) in the Trolley Treats candy store, Buena Vista Street California Adventure.

 

 

Next we had the opportunity to hear creative tips from Disney Enthusiasts and business experts. Here are a few that I did capture on social media:

 

 

 

 2. Jay Ward from Pixar shared three important parts of the creative process: Quality, Innovation and Storytelling.


 

 

 

 


3. New Disney Adventures include a “Frozen Cruise” and A Disney Resort in Shanghai!

 

 

Tom Staggs shared exciting news about the Disney Shanghai Resort and the new Adventures by Disney itinerary (Norway: Fjords, Bergen & Oslo) inspired by the film “Frozen ” – which is a partnership between Disney and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

 

 

 

 

 

4.  Collaboration, research and extensive attention to creative details a top rate customer experience.


 

Cars Land in California Adventure is a great example of how Walt Disney Imagineering and Pixar Animation collaborated to convert real life emotional experiences (Cars and Route 66) into an attraction that evokes that emotion mixed with the best in entertainment!  At the conference, Kathy Magnum from Walt Disney Imagineering talked about the extensive research they did to bring Cars Land to life inspired by the real Route 66.  Just taking a walk through Cars Land and seeing how every detail is brought to life (such as the beautiful Cadillac Range Mountain inspired design) helped me realize what an amazing experience they created!

 

 

 

 

5. Partnerships can help offer new conveniences to customers.


 
Megan McGuire from Alamo shared that they have onsite locations at Disneyland.  This makes it even easier to rent a car while at Disneyland.
 

 

 

6. “Dream the biggest dream – then make a business plan for that dream”!

 

Maxine Clark was inspirational as she shared her experiences starting the successful Build-a-Bear Workshop as a later in life career change. Two tips that stood out to me where  “Listen to your heart and you can find your true calling” ”Dream the biggest dream.. then make a business plan”.

 

Disney Social Media Moms Build-a-Bear
 

7. A good use of social media for brands is to share experiences, storytelling and humanizing.

 

 

 

8.  To engage an online audience, share your passions.

 

 

 

 

 

9.  Creative use of photos to offer solutions to everyday issues (i.e. What to wear to Disneyland!) also inspires online audiences.


 
Fashionista Leslie Kay created this Disney Bound Tumblr  as a Disney fan site for to share the outfits she was going to wear at Disneyland. As it turned out, so many people enjoyed the photo inspirations that Disney Bound built up a big fan community of it’s own.

 

 

 

 

10. Cats still rule the Internet.


 

 

 

 

11.  ”If you lose a game, don’t let that effect how you live your life” ~ Donald Driver


 

Green Bay’s All-Time Leading Receiver Donald Driver gave us some inspirations from his book “Driven” and stories about the importance of giving back to your community (his endeavor is the Donald Driver Foundation).
 
 

 

 

 

12.  ”Don’t blog for attention, blog to change someone’s life” ~Donald Driver

 

 

 


13. “Dreams come true if you have courage to pursue it”! ~ Donald Driver

 

 

 

 

14. Social media like Twitter gives people around the world a voice!

 

@stop (Doug Bowman then from Twitter) gave an inspirational talk about how Twitter gives people around the world a voice and connects you with people you want to know.

 

 

 

This tip is one close to my heart: I have connected with an amazing community around the world through Twitter. As a perfect example of that, during the DisneySMMoms conference I decided to share tips with my Twitter community. When I shared the insight from Jay Ward of Pixar about the creative process, a UX Engineer (see below) from LONDON favorited that tweet!

 

 

 

15.  “If you don’t have creative gas, find creative gas station” ~@Gary_Jerry


 
Gary Buchanan (PR & Social Media for Walt Disney World & Disney Parks) is one of the amazing members of the Disney Social Media team along with Leanne Jakubowski  (Director, Social Media, Disney), Michele Himmelberg (PR Director Disneyland Resort) and so much more! The Disney social media team reflects the creativity of Disney as a whole by sharing Disney through authentic and engaging storytelling that communicates the fun and delight that Disney Parks offers.   The Disney team along with and Maria Bailey (CEO of @BSMMedia) did a great job creating such engaging events for the conference!
 
 
And they have fun doing their job!

 
Disney PR and Social Media

Gary Buchanan and Leanne Jakubowski
 

 

 

 

16. Use different ways to practice your own creativity.


 
During the conference they challenged us with a quick exercise of creativity. We were asked to draw a picture of the person sitting next to us. I was happy to be sitting next to one of my favorite social media buddies Rebecca Levey. Even though I only had a few minutes, I tried my best to show her gleaming personality… Ok, well I may not be a master in drawing but it was fun to draw after spending most of my time typing on some sort of device!
 

 

 

 

 17. Maleficient opens at theaters May 30, 2014!


 
As I realized this post would be published on May 30, which is the day Maleficent is finally in theatres, I thought of the fun I had hearing about the movie at the conference and having the opportunity to take my most evil selfie of all…
 

 

 
Maleficent tells the “untold story of Disney’s most iconic villian from the classic Sleeping Beauty“. I know where I am going this weekend (to see Maleficent)!

 

 

 

 

 

18.  “…Building literacy and storytelling (skills) in the digital age is important.”


 

In the digital age it is even more important for kids to make sure they develop literacy skills including reading books and the art of storytelling. At the conference we had the opportunity to hear about two initiatives that are supporting literacy in creative ways. The first one is Disney Junior’s Give a Book, Get a Book Program. The second is a collaboration with Reading Rainbow.
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Here is information from the conference about Disney Junior’s Give a Book, Get a Book Program and the following press release:

 

“Disney and First Book will provide for the donation of up to one million books to U.S. communities in need and will present families with free digital books from Disney Publishing Worldwide, through a new program announced today, Disney Junior’s Give a Book, Get a Book. The program includes a redemption code offering a free Disney Digital book and a way for families to experience giving back by donating books to the community of their choice. Disney Junior’s Give a Book, Get a Book, also includes public service announcements, free storytime events at Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Disney Store locations, and interactive Radio Disney events.”

 

Ms. Kanter said, “With each and every one of our Disney Junior series, we let a child experience the magic and learning that comes with a story well told, and deepen the emotional connection and sense of wonder and adventure that have defined storytelling at the Disney company for generations.” She continued, “The Give a Book, Get a Book program is a way for families to share stories and enter the world of giving in a simple yet effective way.”

 

 

Details from the press release on Reading Rainbow:

 

“LeVar Burton, Cofounder and Curator-in-Chief of the award-winning Reading Rainbow app, spoke about the importance of building literacy and of storytelling in the digital age. Disney Junior stars Ariel Winter and Tim Gunn (of “Sofia the First”) and David Arquette (of “Jake and the Never Land Pirates”) also participated in a storybook reading for event attendees and their families. Genevieve Goings (of Disney Junior’s “Choo Choo Soul”), who hosts the Give a Book, Get a Book public service announcements on Disney Channel, emceed the event. ” Reading Rainbow co-founder LeVar Burton read Young Henry and the Dragon as part of the Disney Social Media Moms conference. LeVar was excited to support Disney, First Book and all the Disney Social Media Moms in your collective commitment in put books in the hands of children.

 

 

Today, Reading Rainbow is more than just the much-loved TV series — it’s the #1 education app in the Apple App Store. To date, children ages 3 to 9 are reading, on average, 140,000 books a week in the Reading Rainbow app — that’s more than 12 million books read and video field trips watched since launch.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19. Disney Theme Parks even have running adventures!


 
One of experiences at the conference that was new to me was participating in an runDisney event. The runDisney website explained:

runDisney is a series of events that provides runners the unique opportunity to run through Disney Theme Parks at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida and the Disneyland® Resort in California, earn Disney-themed finisher medals, experience legendary Disney entertainment & Guest Service, and ultimately celebrate their accomplishments with a Disney vacation. runDisney offers something for the whole family! While marathon and half marathon races headline each runDisney weekend, other offerings include Disney-themed kids races and family fun run 5ks, plus health and fitness expos with guest speakers, product demonstrations and official race merchandise! From the diaper dash to the 48.6-mile Dopey Challenge, there truly is something for everyone at runDisney.”

 

Before I became a parent I used to work out 5 days a week, but between working and parenting, finding time for workouts is a challenge. The runDisney event at the Disney Social Media Moms conference allowed me to train for the event and connect with fellow moms who did the same. That team support as well as the joy of running through Disneyland inspired me to start training 3 times a week for a few months and finish the 2 mile run at the required pace.   Little did I know that after getting up at 4:30 am and joining a great warmup session by New Balance (that also supplied sneakers for us to wear) – I would be so energized and excited to run! After taking off close to 6:30 am and seeing the beauty of Disneyland in the morning (before the park officially opened) - I had to force myself not to stop to just take it all in! Well, I did stop for a few pictures and attempted a selfie but realized I really needed to keep pace with the group.  The runDisney event was so inspiring that I ran my fastest time ever (selfie time included)…
 

runDisney Disney Social Media Moms 2014 TechMama

 

 

Crossing the finish line with my fellow runners  was inspiring (I even had to the chance to see the fabulous Michele Himmelberg who is also with Disney PR). Seeing my smiling boys as I crossed was priceless. I hope that this is setting a good example to my sons that fitness and fun can exist every so happily together.
 

 

 

 

runDisney at Disney SocialMMoms 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

20. Don’t forget to capture family memories!


 

 

Make sure to live in the moment and enjoy family time, but also capture the memories at key times. After many trips to Disneyland (especially this one where I did not have my husband to help with taking pictures) I realized that capturing the priceless memories are important but a challenge. The Disney PhotoPass allowed me to relax because I knew that I would have professional pictures without worrying about taking them myself. I even had the opportunity to be IN the picture.
 
DSMM14p1

 

 

The Disney PhotoPass Photographer came up to us while we were at California Adventure a few hours after the runDisney race was over and asked us if we wanted a picture. Of course I said YES!  I was so thrilled to have done the race and then getting the opportunity to spend time with my family at Disneyland that I wanted to capture that moment. I look back at this picture whenever I need to smile, which extends that Disney magic with me whenever I need it!

 

 

 

Disclosure: TechMamas.com was invited to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration at Disneyland. My family and I attended the conference and were given complimentary items, special discounts and other benefits such as food and entertainment. I paid my own conference fees. The press release information was supplied to conference attendees for informational purposes. All opinions and words are my own.

 

 

Tech Tour of Microsoft: Windows 8.1, One Note, 3D, Xbox One and More

 I previously shared the top 5 ways I use Microsoft Office 365 to #GetItDone and explained that I am excited to be an Office Champion. Last month fellow Champions and I had the opportunity to learn lots of new information at the Champions Summit up at the Microsoft Campus in Seattle. Here are some of the fun highlights and I will be sharing more during the coming months.

 

 

Here are a few of us getting ready to start the tour!!!

 

 

The features of Office 365 Home Premium, Windows 8 (8.1) and Windows devices enable me to be so productive. At the Champions Summit I  took notes using Microsoft OneNote,  which synced across my smartphone and Windows laptop via SkyDrive. I used a Windows Phone for pictures, SkyDrive to store them and OneNote, Word and PowerPoint to create my blog post. Best of all, I was able to embed my PowerPoint presentation showing the highlights of the event into this blog post via SkyDrive and the PowerPoint Web App:

Listed below is a summary of information covered at the Champions Summit. But there were so many great tidbits, that I will also be sharing more in future blog posts!

 

WINDOWS 8.1

 

We started with a demo of Windows 8.1, the news update to Windows. I have already updated the family desktop, but laptop was still running Winows 8. What I like about Windows 8 (now 8.1) is that no matter what Windows device I am logged into with my Microsoft account – I see my same “desktop” with my live tiles configured consistently. While Windows “tiles” are similar to what people know as “app” icons, they differ in that they are constantly updated with the most current information.

 

Windows 8.1 has many new and exciting features resulting in a fast and more fluid experience:

  • Swipe from the right to pull up the date and Windows charms.
  • Swipe from the left to see the other current apps/information open on your desktop, then drag the screen (app) next to another open screen (app) to create a  split screen. Then drag it down to close.
  • When you are in an app, swipe from the bottom to see additional functionality.
  • Pinch in and you can move around whole sections at same time.
  • Additional new  capabilities include the ability to customize groups of apps to sort by different categories and to purchase Microsoft app gift cards.
  • One more feature I enjoy using is the Bing Smart Search. My standard technical benchmark for search is to type “Ryan Gosling” and check if all the information I need is in one, easy to view location. Seriously, it’s a great topic to test the quality of Internet search.

 

The Microsoft website has lots of information about upgrading to Windows 8.1, including tutorials such as this post on upgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 8..1 My tip is before you do any upgrades make sure your Windows updates are current,  which is usually automatic.

 

ONE NOTE

 

 

Picture credit: Microsoft

Next, we discussed One Note, which is a note taking app used for jotting down ideas, information, adding pictures, audio, video, web – a true digital scrapbook. You can place things anywhere in a page. The concept is similar to a three ring binder with sections on top and pages underneath (you can create as many pages as you want). I use One Note for so many things, and for this conference I used One Note to organize my travel information and keep track of the day’s discussions. All notes were automatically synced via Skydrive to all of my devices.

 

One Note came in really handy when I decided to finally upgrade my laptop to Windows 8.1 during the conference. I was able to have the software upgrade running on my laptop and take notes on the smartphone One Note app – picking up exactly where I left off in my notes. Before, (comma inserted) I used to jot down some handwritten notes on paper notebooks and then type other notes. Unfortunately, it always seemed like I lost the notes or forgot the file name. Now, (comma inserted) with One Note, I have “notebooks” for different events with all of my notes, research and important information (such as travel information) filed and labeled appropriately. The search feature in One Note is also powerful enough to sort through all the text in my notes just in case I forget the location of specific information.

 

Here are some of the key features we discussed:

 

  • So Many Uses: Use OneNote for work, home, school projects or class notes, to-do’s, recipes, flight, hotel, schedule, documents, people, map and more. You can TAG info to be searchable. Or search by keyword in the search box. If you have recipe book with lots of recipes  – you can search for what is in your fridge and it will bring up recipes with those ingredients (i.e. spinach, chicken). Important documents such as a passport with the associated travel information can be kept in One Note and accessed anywhere in the world with an internet connection (via SkyDrive). One Note can be the place to store household paperwork to live a paperless life.
  • Digital Clipping: You can add screen clippings (insert tab), pictures from SkyDrive or locally, images found using Bing, scanned images and recorded audio and video. Choose “screen clipping”, go to internet page and then click and drag to drop clipping into a section. Put all your information in one place. If you just want to include reminder it will include a URL for reference so you can go back.
  • Storage: OneNote/ SkyDrive offers 7GB of content for free. Evernote limits to 60 MB per month for free. If you have Office 365 you have 20 GB plus the 7GB.
  • Co-Authoring and Sharing: With One Note you can have simultaneous co-authoring for free. Evernote Premimium does not support simultaneous edit. One Note Notebooks can be shared so that everyone can edit and view, seeing not only the changes but also who made them and even share with people who don’t have OneNote.
  • Online and Offline: No internet, no problem: Office access  offline is included for free. This is premium feature for Evernote.
  • Across devices and platforms: ” OneNote comes with Office 2010 and 2013, and Office 365 for PCs. OneNote is also available for free on the Web, Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad, Android phones, and as a Windows 8 application for tablets.” One Note also works with the rest of office, so I can even insert PowerPoint presentations or other Office documents and then annotate it!
  • Value Proposition: Office 365 Home Premium is $99 per year, and is a full suite of products, delivering a better value than Evernote Premium at the price of $45..

 

*NEW* ONE NOTE FEATURES

 

I really enjoyed the demo of the now announced update to the touch enabled One Note app in the Windows Store.  Here are some of the key details covered in the  One Note update announcement: “Capture it all: Capture your screen with the share charm and capture documents, magazines and whiteboards with camera scan, Browse and find your notes easier than ever: Search for text in scanned documents using Optical Character Recognition and find your notes faster than ever before with recent notes and page previews, Annotate and take your own notes on the things you’ve captured: Write better with ink and see your notes in full screen! “

 

With Windows 8.1 you can capture and send it to One Note using the “Share Charm” . It’s  exciting that I can use the camera in my touch enabled device to take a picture of the screen, documents, whiteboard or other important information and then “scan” it to One Note using the camera scan function. Here is a video:

 

 

Even better, after I use that camera scan feature (with a receipt for example) I can then use the text recognition capability to search text in One Note (and then find it later when I need it!).

 

Here is another video of the recognize and search text:

 

 

For more information, check out OneNote.com.

 

OFFICE 365 HOME PREMIUM

 

We also discussed what is included with Office 365 Home Premium and the top ten features.

Here’s some information from the press release fact sheet highlighting key features:

:

“Top 10 Features of Office 365 Home Premium:

  1. If you are reading, not writing or editing, click or tap View, then Read Mode in Word to hide the writing tools and menus.
  2. On your Windows device, re-open a document or presentation and keep reading right where you left off with Resume reading in Word and PowerPoint.
  3. Like a data assistant that finishes your work for you, Flash Fill in Excel detects what you want to do and enters the rest of your data in one fell swoop, following patterns in your data.
  4. Dress up your data with conditional formatting such as bars and color scales through the Quick Analysis Lens in Excel.
  5. Tired of trying to precisely match the colors of shapes and pictures in PowerPoint? Let Eyedropper in PowerPoint do the work for you.
  6. With an improved Presenter view in PowerPoint, the audience views your slides on a main screen, while you control the show on another screen that only you can see.
  7. Inline replies in Outlook allow you to reply with one click by typing your response right in the Reading Pane.
  8. Grab a quick glance at your schedule, an appointment or your to-do list with peeks in Outlook, without having to switch from email to calendar or other modes.
  9. If the sound of typing is distracting, you can handwrite notes in OneNote instead of typing them. This is also useful if you’re faster at writing than at typing.
  10. Instead of re-typing information or relying on links to documents, feel free to embed files in OneNote to keep them handy online or offline.”

 

 

MICROSOFT ENVISIONING CENTER

 

Next was a fascinating tour of the Microsoft Envisioning Center. We were not allowed to bring our cameras, but luckily there is information on the Microsoft Website about the Envisioning Center..

 

We were not allowed to bring our cameras, but luckily there is some information about this research center on the Microsoft Website.

All I can say – is that I want the kitchen of the future NOW… But really, everything covered in the Envisioning Center tour was the perfect match of technology, home and community working together in a much more efficient way than we do it now. Luckily, the future is not too far away.

..

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The new Envisioning Center explores how technology will transform the way we live, work and play in the future.
Envisioning Center - March 01, 2013. The new Envisioning Center explores how technology will transform the way we live, work and play in the future.

 

 

 

MICROSOFT’S 3D BUILDER APP

 

 

Then if I was not already excited enough about the technology in the Envisioning Center, we had a demo on 3D Printing and learned about the newly released Microsoft 3D Printing app. The Windows blog post explains more about the 3D Builder coming to Windows 8.1: “A few months ago, you may have heard that Windows 8.1 makes 3D printing possible because it is native to the operating system, meaning the OS offers plug-and-play support for printers, understands 3D file formats, and connects lots of apps with lots of hardware to deliver offering a seamless printing experience for customers. Now, with the 3D Builder app, we’ve made it even easier for people to create and print objects in 3D” .

 

What I find interesting is that while 3D printing used to seem like some sci-fi fantasy, now it is not only becoming more accessible with all types of 3D printers hitting the consumer market but is also includes 3D apps (such as Microsoft 3D Builder) that help design objects. With Microsoft partners such as 3D Systems, Autodesk, Dassault Systemes, MakerBot, netfabb, Materialise, Stratasys, Tiertime (PP3DP) and  even MakerBot at the Microsoft retail store – I am getting closer to soon seeing a 3D printer in our family workspace soon.  Of course I started thinking about all the cool things I could create with my kids. Especially after seeing this 3D printed version of a DNA. Now that would be a science project my boys could be extra proud to bring to school!

 

 

Our last stop was techie heaven for me, located in a conference area that had selection of Microsoft Devices to demo.  The tour included a product and technical deep dive into the Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro, which packs many features making them very productive tablets.

 

 

We also had *drumroll* a demo of the Xbox One that just became available to the public. While I have not given one a test drive just yet, it is tops on our list, especially for our Xbox gamer sons! I can’t wait to play with the new capabilities of the  Xbox One, especially the advanced voice and gesture commands, entertainment options and innovative features that will really make it an all-in-one device.

 

 

What new technology are you looking forward to trying (or just started using)?

 

 

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

 

Video: Microsoft Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 Midnight Launch

*Sponsored. See Disclosures below.

Technology product launches, when done right, can be a real celebration of software and silicon. I always enjoy fun technology events, especially when the products are more exciting than the entertainment.  On October 21, I was thrilled to cover the Midnight Launch of the Microsoft Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro in San Francisco. Throwing on my leather jacket, I headed off to San Francisco for the 10pm to Midnight launch and capturing all the fun on video.

 

 

I have been using Windows devices for many years, and the new Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro computers are making me itch to switch away from my laptop to these new devices. The Surface 2 Pro is not only the perfect size (and weight) for my handbag, but is also has powerful, pre-installed productivity features including productivity, with touch optimized versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote. Also included is 1 year of unlimited4 free voice calling to landlines in over 60 countries as well as free Wi-Fi at Skype hotspots. The Surface 2 also includes multiple storage options, long battery life, cover options and entertainment features

 

Below is my video of the Surface 2 Midnight Launch in San Francisco. The celebration started with a line outside the store and continued with a DJ to set the upbeat tone with music, food, beverages and giveaways (hats, tees, gift cards, etc.). Three-time Super Bowl Champion Roger Craig, provided autographs, and the Microsoft team was giving away games and offering test drives of the Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro. I was in the market for a new laptop, so after taking a test drive of the new Surface 2, I decided to start saving up for the Surface 2 Pro with a Type Cover 2 and a docking station.  That will enable me to have a “fit in my bag” powerful and productive device for mobile use as well as a laptop experience for home use.

 

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

Check out the Microsoft Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro at http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-ca/.


 

 

 

NYC Adventures With Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium : The Video!

 

At the recent launch of Office 365 Home Premium in New York City’s Bryant Park, I had the opportunity to experience the new features of Office while talking to some very exciting people (keep reading to find out who!). The Microsoft Office 365 experience center showcased the services and applications (for example Word, Excel, PowerPoint and check out OneNote) that together comprise the new Office and demonstrated how they work together for a great experience that helps you amaze, share, connect, explore, create and imagine.

 

These days, I’m constantly amazed at when and where I can actually get things done. The new Office provides me with instant access to my documents and information offline or online, enabling me to be more productive by utilizing brief segments of my day to get things done for my family and myself. The option to use Office 365 on five devices (including PCs, Macs and Windows tablets), stream full Office apps to any Windows 7 or 8 PC, and use Office Web Apps on mobile devices also gives me the flexibility work how I want. After all, being more efficient during the day simplifies my life, and makes my nights less hectic.
 photo c2feab5e-537b-4131-9200-9df0b8adf6ce_zps8a69a1e2.jpg

 

 

Check out my new video on BlogHerTV that not only shares a VIP tour of the launch but also showcases interviews with interesting people. See what busy mom and Hollywood actress Felicity Huffman says came to her rescue managing her life as a mom. Hear what my blogger buddy Jen Singer from MommaSaid.net can do from a waiting room at the Vet and learn tips from Office Insiders regarding how they are using the new Office to make their life easier. Of course, considering where I was (Bryant Park on a beautiful winter day), I had to put on some ice skates for a New York City winter adventure. Luckily, Jen Singer decided to join in the fun!

 

 

What is Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium? A Game Changer For Families.


 

The new Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium is out and quite simply, it is a game changer. I just came back from the new Office 365 Experience (launch) at CitiPond at Bryant Park, NYC where I had the opportunity to work with BlogHer to gather tips and ideas on how to use new Office to be more productive. The Office Experts were at different activity hubs within the Office 365 Experience to discuss connecting, sharing, personalizing and exploring.

 

 

Office 365 Home Premium

 

 

As a busy mom pressed for time, having my documents, spreadsheets, presentations, photos and videos in different silos was not working out very well. I spent too much time trying to remember the location of the latest version a document, or location of a photo…. did I have access to it from my online device or offline on my desktop? And my “office” location rotates on a daily basis from my desk, to a client’s meeting room, to a coffee house and even inside my minivan while waiting for my kids to get out of school. Enough was enough, managing my information was stressing me out! Especially with the new reality that the 9 to 5 workday is history, I need access to all of my information across all my devices no matter where I am.

 

Office 365 Home Premium

 

 

For quite some time, I have used Microsoft Office 2010 for my social media work and my whole family has used Word, Excel and PowerPoint for homework, creative projects, communication and all things productivity. So when I received an advanced copy of the new Office a week ago, I looked forward to seeing how using Office 365 Home Premium could change my daily workflow. I also looked forward to learning new tips from the Office 365 Experience launch.

 

Many cloud-based productivity suites already exist, but what impressed me about the new Office 365 Home Premium is the seamless workflow between devices, online and offline. For me, that seamless integration not only simplified my day, but gave me the confidence to know how to access the most current version of my information no matter where I was working. Adding in my new Windows 8 PCs meant that I could also use the new Office with touch or a stylus as easily as a mouse and keyboard. My day seemed to flow so much better, it was simply a game changer for my work and home productivity.

 

Here are some of the exciting features of the new Office.

  • A single subscription to Office 365 Home Premium allows the use of Office on up to 5 PCs or Macs shared among all users in the home and includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access, and Publisher.  Upgrades are now automatic.
  • Subscribers also have flexibility to change their 5 devices at any time. This means that instead of Office belonging to one device, it belongs to the subscriber across devices.
  • This subscription also includes 60 minutes of Skype world calling per month and 20 GB SkyDrive storage in addition to the 7GB every Microsoft Account holder gets for free. Additional Skydrive storage is available.
  • Office 365 Home Premium is available in both physical and online stores for $99.99 billed annually ( a great deal at  $8.34 per month).   A free 30 day trial is also available online.
  • Subscribers can stream full Office apps to any Internet-connected Windows 7 or 8 PC with Office on Demand.  With Office Web apps you can view, create and edit Office files on virtually any device, enabling sharing and collaboration.
  • Office 365 Home Premium applications allow the flexibility of writing, typing or using touch.

 

At the Office 365 Experience, I also had the fun and fabulous opportunity to interview well-known actress Felicity Huffman, blogging buddy Jen Singer of Mommasaid.net and Office Insiders.

 

Felicity Huffman sharing her productivity tips with TechMama at the Office 365 Home Premium Launch.

 

 

Beth of TechMamas.com and Jen of Mommasaid.net on skates at #Timeto365? More details of their adventures in the soon to be released video..

 

 

They all highlighted how the new Office has changed the way they manage their home and work lives, online and offline. I especially enjoyed their tips on how they use Office to organize their day as busy parents and professionals. A video of the interviews along with a VIP tour of the Office 365 Experience will be posted soon on Techmamas.com and BlogHer.com.

 

Here are some of the pictures from the Office 365 Experience at CitiPond at Bryant Park (photos in PowerPoint stored in Skydrive):

I will be sharing additional details and tips about the New Office in future upcoming videos with TechMamas.com and BlogHer. The New Office 365 Experience will be at Bryant Park until Saturday – so if you live in NYC stop by to discover more about the new Office. If you are not near NYC, visit Office.com to learn more.

 

 

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

 

 

 

Media Trip: Disney Dream

I am packed up and heading to the Florida for the Inaugural Sailing of the Disney’s newest ship Dream. I will be looking into the technology and innovations to give a behind the scenes glimpse of the third ship in the magical Disney Cruise Line. I will also do my best to search out WiFi at sea so I don’t have to wait to share the fun until I return.

Disclosure: This is a media trip, my travel expenses to attend were covered. I am under no obligation to blog, just to experience this special event. But of course, I will want to share with my audience such an exciting adventure!

 

Gullivers Travels Movie Out December 25, More On Our Interview with Jack Black, Emily Blunt and Jason Segel

I had the fun of attending the Gullivers Travels (the movie) press screening on December 16 with a group of mom bloggers. First I posted with some behind the scene tidbits about the movie. But I also wanted to share more information from the press interviews with Jack Black (Lemuel Guliver), Jason Segel (Horatio) and Emily Blunt (Princess Mary). Each brought a special part of themselves to their roles. The movie Gullivers Travels opens December 25, so I will be heading to the theatres to share the movie with my family.

While the character Lemuel Guliver reinvented himself in the movie, Jack Black also had words of wisdom about his personal re-invention experiences. It was wonderful to see the philisophical side of an actor that always makes me laugh.

We asked Jack Black “since every kid can’t be transported to a fantasyland, is there a way that people can reinvent themselves in their own lives?”

Continue reading

 

Gullivers Travels The Movie, An Adventure For The Whole Family

Last Thursday I traveled to LA for a press event I had been looking forward to for quite some time: a screening of the movie Gullivers Travels with the opportunity to interview three of the movie’s fabulous stars: Jack Black, Emily Blunt and Jason Segel.

While I was waiting to board the plane I received a phone call from my tween, middle school son. He told me a few kids from school, friends since kindergarten, were acting mean toward him and he was disappointed. I tried to make him feel better about the situation, but I could not shake the thought of my son feeling “small” while other kids proclaimed themselves “the big kids on campus”.

Update: Here is a link to my second post on Gulliver’s Travels with more interview details.

Of course, the parallel between real life and art was striking that night when I attended the movie screening. The Gullivers Travels movie, based on the popular book by Jonathan Swift, showcases main character Lemuel Guliver feeling like a “small man in a big pond” before he goes on a journey that forces him to overcome his fears and have the courage to reach his goals.

GIVEAWAY: At the bottom of this post I will provide details on my giveaway: One Gullivers Travels movie poster signed by Jack Black, Jason Segel and Emily Blunt. I even saw them sign the poster so this is for real! Comment on this post to enter.

Here is the movie trailer for a glimpse of the special effects that brought the story to life. The movie is in 3D, so for the moment just imagine that added dimension of things coming out of the screen:

Movie Trailer:

Gullivers Travels The Movie will debut in theatres on December 25, 2010 and stars Jack Black, Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Amanda Peet, Chris O’Dowd, Catherine Tate and Billy Connolly. The screenplay is by Joe Stillman and Nicholas Stoller, based on the book by Jonathan Swift. The movie is directed by Rob Letterman with Jack Black as one of the Executive Producers. The MPAA Rating is PG and the genre is adventure comedy.

Plot Outline (provided to the press group):

“In a modern, 3D family comedy take on the classic tale, Jack Black (star of “Kung Fu Panda” and “ School of Rock ”) is Lemuel Gulliver, a lowly mailroom clerk at a New York newspaper. After Gulliver bluffs his way into an assignment writing about the Bermuda Triangle, he goes there only to be transported to an undiscovered land, Lilliput. In this fantastical new world, Gulliver is, at last, a bigger-than-life figure — in size and ego – especially after he starts telling tall tales, taking credit for his world’s greatest inventions, and placing himself at the center of its most historic events. Gulliver’s position is enhanced even further when he leads his new friends in a daring battle against their longtime enemies. But when Gulliver loses it all and puts the Lilliputians in peril, he must find a way to undo the damage. Ultimately, Gulliver becomes a true giant among men only when he learns that it’s how big you are on the inside that counts.”

TechMamas Take:

Those who read the book Gullivers Travels, as I did many years ago, will see that the author created an adventure reflecting on the many sides of humor nature; from miopic, petty, and irrational to brave, creative and compasionate. The book also had an anti-war undertone.

Now take that story and put a “Jack Black” spin on it for the movie. With the added bonus that he is a dad himself (he has 2 small sons aged 2 and 4).

Continue reading

 

Media Event: Windows 7 Holiday 2010 PC’s

About 6 months ago I purchased a new Windows 7 laptop with an Intel Core i7 processor, big hard drive and powerful graphics. My computer was 3 years old – which is 100 years old in PC age.

This new computer has really helped me turbo charge my computing experience and sneak work in between my crazy mom schedule managing 3 boys.

Last week I attended a Windows7 Holiday event that showcased some of the newly available Window 7 PC’s. My slogan this holiday season is upgrading family technology is the best holiday gift, so I was interested to see some of recent advancements and fun features.

Listed below are some interesting PC’s I saw and some of the specs. When choosing a PC it is important to first decide what that PC will be used for, then decide what features are important to support that use. Laptops, with their increasing more powerful specs, are crossing the line between being good for mobile as well as home.

Mobile Computing Power that can also used for work/homework:

Acer TimelineX 1830- starting at $600: Ultraportable, light, 8 hours + of battery life. Specs: Intel Core i3 Processor 4GB RAM, 320GB HD, Intel HD Graphics

Dell Studio 15 – starting at $599: 15.4″, 1080p display, Intel Core i7, 6GB RAM and 256GB solid state drive.

Dell Inspiron Duo – starting at $499: 10 inch multi-touch tablet that transitions to a laptop (Dell’s first convertablie tablet).

HP Envy 14 – starting at $999.99: Laser-etched aluminum design with Beats Audio. Up to Intel Core i7, 4GB RAM, 320GB

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge – starting at $700: Curved keyboard, Core i3, 3GB RAM, 320GB.

Lenovo U160 - starting at $749: A thin and light computer with a beautiful red design on the outer lid. Core i5 (or Core i7), 4GB RAM, 320GB.’

Samsung SF510 “Shark” – starting at $979: Curved modern design. Core i3, 4GB RAM, 640 GB HD.

Toshiba Kid’s PC Satellite L635 – starting at $499: Water-resistant keyboard, pre-loaded web browser KidZui and NetNanny. Celeron, 2GB RAM and 250GB HD.

Toshiba R705 – starting at $800: Thin and light 13″ Magnesium honeycomb chassis. Core i3, 4GB RAM, 500GB HD.

Family Touch PC’s:

HP TouchSmart 600 -  starting at $999: HD Multi-touch screen and Blu-Ray. Core i7, 4GB RAM, 500GB HD.

Sony Vaio J - starting at $1049.99: 21.5″ full HD touchscreen. Core i7, 4GB RAM, 500GB HD.

I also had a brief opportunity to view some of the new Windows 7 phones. I will be doing more detailed posts in the near future, but for now I thought the Samsung Focus and the Dell Venue Pro were defintely peaking my interest.

This week I will also be posting on Windows Live Essentials 2011, which I just starting using, then a discussion about some of the available free software and services. If only I could find some way to turbo charge my workouts similar to how my new PC turbocharged my work day!

Disclosure: This post is documenting a media event I was invited to. These specifications are from a press release distributed at the event.

This is not a sponsored post.

 

Inside Look: Disney’s new “World of Color” attraction and tour

I just returned home from a trip back East and was very busy getting my kids summer schedule finalized, when I received an email about a Disney media event in San Francisco. Attending Disney media events are always worth the schedule shifting and babysitting recruiting time, in return for some Disney magic. So – on July 8 – I attended the Disneyland World of Color road show stop in San Francisco. Here is the link to the World of Color road show press release  with details on the tour, my pictures of the event are at the bottom of this post. The tour was created to take some of the magic of the World of Color attraction on the road.

I first heard of the new World of Color attraction at Disney California Adventure park last spring and hoped to bring my kids to see it after it opened June 11, 2010.  I showed my kids a World of Color video and they were fascinated with the fountains, images and special effects.

The World of Color opening day event at Disneyland press release explained the details of a the new attraction at Disney California Adventure:

“There has never been a show like “World of Color,” the mega-scale,
after-dark celebration of Disney storytelling.  “World of Color”
brings animation
to life with powerful fountains that become stars of the show as they
create one of the world’s largest projected water screens.

The Disneyland News press release also explained some of the details of the special effects used in the World of Color attraction, which runs just under 25 minutes: Continue reading