Time goes by so fast, and as a Mom and the family historian I want to make sure I am keeping track and sharing family memories. The first step in this effort was learning to copy all digital pictures from numerous cameras to my PC in a timely manner. Next was the challenge of sharing photos and movies with family and friends. A big time-saver in this content management exercise, with multiple devices taking pictures and offering quick connection with cell or WiFi access, is to send pictures directly to the cloud. I store my digital photos and documents all in one place in the cloud using SkyDrive, which allows me to send a link to these great memories if I want to share. I not only have SkyDrive on my PC, but also have the SkyDrive app on my phone to enable photo loading to the cloud no matter where I am!
Check out my video where I shared my trip to Montana with Grandmom using Skype and SkyDrive.
Skype compliments SkyDrive in family archiving. Video calls with family and friends are just a click away, and if I want to give them a peek at the kids’ homework, art work or class projects, Skype easily allows screen sharing.
Both sets of Grandparents know that the only way they will be able to keep up on what is going on in our busy lives is with regular Skype chats while viewing our family SkyDrive digital photo albums at the same time. Our Office 365 Home Premium subscription also makes it more economical for our family to chat with friends and family all over the world because it comes with 60 Skype minutes each month.
How do you share your pictures with friends and family?
With a background in project management I can say with experience that managing a family is the most challenging project I have ever taken on. Like me, other working parents I know don’t have the time to sit at a home office desk and calmly get things done. Kids are constantly on the move and have obligations both near and far. To be fully productive as a mom, I need to sneak in work time while my kids are at school, attending after school events or with a sitter. Every small pocket of time during the day is valuable. Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium and Outlook are the key tools I use to manage my family project plan, giving me the flexibility to be productive no matter where I am. I use Outlook.com but since Outlook is included in Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium, it is a seamless and unified solution!
Check out the video that shows how I use the back seat of my minivan as one of my key productive spaces:
Where is your favorite place outside of the house to work on family tasks?
Other tips to have the perfect mobile office:
- SkyDrive and WiFi: Because I store my documents on SkyDrive, I know that I can access them wherever I am working, minivan included. To make sure I have WiFi on the go, I have a mobile broadband device with a month to month mobile WiFi plan. SkyDrive always maintains the latest version of my documents in the cloud, so I don’t need to worry about version control.
- SkyDrive Organization: I organize my documents with folders on SkyDrive. One of my folders is for homework including my kids’ math Excel spreadsheets, book report Word documents and history project PowerPoint presentations. Other folders have our family photos. The household management folder includes OneNote shopping lists, Word chore charts and household Excel spreadsheets to keep track of everything from home inventory to birthday party lists. In my writing folder I manage the Word files for my tech articles. Storing tech articles in Word using Microsoft Office 365 Home Premium and SkyDrive allows me to edit at home or on the go, and easily share a link to the document with my editors for document review. My public SkyDrive folder has pictures for my travel blogs that I share with my editor and in my blog posts.
- Set up a digital family calendar system: Our family uses Outlook to help keep track of our events. I individually color code activities on our Outlook calendar for each of our children (and for us – their parents. My color is purple!). I not only include appointments and events on the calendar, I also include reminders. One great example is summer camp signups. Some popular camps fill up within 2 hours of when online sign ups begin. To stay on top of this crazy schedule, I add “sign up for summer camp” as a calendar item, timed for 30 minutes before online signups start (so I can get ready). Using Windows 8 and Office 365 Home Premium means that I will have all the current documents needed for the signup with me wherever I might be. I even put a reminder in to schedule time with friends, vacations and sneak in a date night with my husband. When I want to make sure family members have the dates on their calendar, I set up the event and invite them to it. Outlook also allows me to keep up with my friends by displaying their social updates next to their email. Emails can be organized by categories or in folders with specific rules.
- Set up a mobile device cabinet or space: To make sure all the chargers and accessories stay organized and untangled, ready for their next adventure, each one has its own storage bag. For laptops and tablets, I buy a case that has enough room to put the chargers and accessories. I also put each charger and tech accessory in its own labeled storage bags. A Ziploc bag or pencil case will do but there is also a wide selection of storage bags available at office supply or storage stores. Yes, it may sound excessive, but it is a huge time saver and helps me keep things organized. Even when charging the device, the case is always close by. This simple process has greatly reduced time spent looking for lost accessories both at home and on the road.
How do you keep your digital files organized?
The AT&T gift guide includes handsets, emerging devices, U-verse, Smart Controls and Accessories. The holidays are a great time to make gifts not only fun but practical (like upgrading to a smartphone for you or a loved one). Some of the handsets listed on their holiday guide are Nokia Lumia Smartphones, Sony Xperia TL, HTC smartphones and the LG Optimus G. Some of the accessories listed on their gift guide are iFrogz Boost Plus Near Field Audio Speaker, iGrill Thermometer, Zip Wireless Activity Tracker, and the Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth Speaker (red is a nice holiday color!). I will update this post with more of their accessory and stocking stuffer recommendations.
CURRENT DEALS (from the press update):
- $100 Off any Tablet (including iPad!): Customers will receive $100 off any tablet purchased at an AT&T company owned store or online at www.att.com or at selected agents or retailers with a two-year data plan agreement. Details.
- Windows 8 smartphone + Tablet: For a limited time, AT&T customers will receive a $100 off the ASUS VivoTab, after purchasing any Windows smartphone and an additional $100 off any tablet, purchased at an AT&T company owned store or online at www.att.com with a two-year data plan agreement. Details.
- Samsung BOGO: For a limited time, customers who purchase a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, including the Galaxy Express, will receive up to $100 off a second connected Samsung device. Details.
- Exclusively at att.com, AT&T will be ringing in the value with a series of revolving online promotions kicking off on Black Friday, Nov. 23 and continuing until the last chime on Cyber Monday, Nov. 26. Here are a few:
Black Friday Weekend: Nov. 24&25
HTC Vivid is just $.01
Rugby Smart is only $.99
Cyber Monday: Nov. 26 (begins 12:01 a.m. ET)
Some of AT&T’s most popular smartphones for just $.99 — the Pantech Renue, Motorola Atrix HD, HTC One X (gray only) Samsung Galaxy S II and the Nokia Lumia 900.
As with all deals, quantities are limited.
Disclosure: This is a press update.
Sprint just updated me on their Cyber Monday promotion – but they also have a Sprint holiday cell phone deal page on their website that lists deals on phones, tablets, hot spot devices and accessories.
Listed below is the Cyber Monday press info Sprint sent my way:
“The ‘Unlimited Edition’ savings continue from Sprint. On Cyber Monday, Nov. 26, and continuing through Monday, Dec. 3, Sprint customers activating a new line of service can buy Samsung Galaxy S® II and Galaxy Nexus for FREE1 exclusively online or by calling call 1-800-Sprint1 with a two-year service agreement2.
1Device pricing excludes taxes and surcharges and customers must purchase with a new line and two-year service agreement.
2Qualifying smartphone plans include: Simply Everything, Simply Everything Share, Everything Business, Everything Data, Everything Data Share, Business Advantage Messaging & Data, Business Share Plus with Pro Pack Plus.”
Yesterday I had the opportunity to talk with the team and see a demo over at Striiv, a new Silicon Valley Start-Up that developed a portable fitness device for the “rest of us” (Please check out my post at Cool Mom Tech for more details).
What does “rest of us” mean?
There are already great devices for runners but how about the “rest of us” that count running in and out of the grocery store or up and down the steps to their office as their only exercise? Striiv is a device small enough to hang on your keychain but is filled with big features that everyone can use to fit in more exercise into their daily routine.
The device follows your movement (including steps, cadence and more) assigning points to track personal goals, unlock rewards, progess steps in a gaming environment and best yet contribute to charity in what is considered a “walk-a-thon” in your pocket. Future features inlcude big plans for social.
The age range is from kids to adults, so the whole family can use the device. I will be testing a Striiv device very soon and can’t wait to share more details. For now, here is the press release for today’s announcement.
INTRODUCING STRIIV: A SLEEK PORTABLE DEVICE THAT MAKES FITNESS FUN; LAUNCHING THIS FALL
Silicon Valley Start-Up Unveils Product that Motivates and Rewards Exercise through Games, Challenges and Donations
Breaking news this morning just popped up in my email: Google To Acquire Motorola Mobility. The Google blog posted this information in their press release:
Motorola Mobility will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. Google will run Motorola Mobility as a separate business.
Larry Page, CEO of Google, said, “Motorola Mobility’s total commitment to Android has created a natural fit for our two companies. ….. I look forward to welcoming Motorolans to our family of Googlers.”
I have not been posting as much lately on my Typepad blog because I am in the middle of creating a new WordPress blog that will be able to highlight breaking news (details coming out asap). But reading this juicy piece of techie news made it hard not to post right away… But what does this mean to consumers?
Motorola’s Droid smartphone and Xoom tablet hardware lines use the Google Android operating system. Motorola is known for high quality hardware (but other manufacturers also have high quality smartphone hardware). Google makes the operating system that basically tells the smartphone hardware what to do. Google will run the unit as a separate business, but as a “Google” company will Motorola have more direct access to Android resources? The Google “Nexus” smartphone had this direct access and reviews described the phone as having the best Android experience and automatic updates. Maybe this will mean that a new line of smartphones will be released that have better Android operating system integration?
I do imagine that the other smartphone hardware companies running Android will become concerned – and hope that the Android Operating System eco-system will remain as open to all developers.
Tech4Moms commented on Twitter that it is all about the patent, and this CNET post agreed: Google just bought itself patent protection. TechMeme is abuzzin with posts about the Google aquisition of Motorola. My favorite tech blogger Eliane Fiolet from Ubergizmo posted with a great deal name: “Moogle and the Future of Mobile“.
The fragmentation for Android devices make it harder for developers to code Android apps (i.e. different size handsets etc). Apple streamlined their iPhone hardware so developers have an easier time. Maybe this is a step to try to streamline the Android smartphone hardware as well?
Who knows? But I will be watching to see what new products come out of this acquisition. I wonder what my online community thinks of this news?
MOTOROLA PRESS RELEASE: