**New version of My Parent Plan coming out May 30 2013 while I will be at the Book Expo of America in New York City. Please check back May 30 for info on the UPDATED VERSION!
While I’m known today as “TechMam ...
On Nov. 7, I was thrilled to speak at a KidTech Meetup organized and moderated by Chandini Ammineni , Co-Founder of Activity Hero, to discuss how Kid Tech startups can get in front of their target audience. Speakers included @iRewardChart, ...
On Nov 27, I was excited to participate in the Palo Alto Tech Using Educators (PATUE) weekly edtech conference series. The organizer of this discussion was Sam Patterson (@LearningsLiving). His website, “Paperless Classroom”, is ...
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 ...
I was one of the lucky ones. As a Senior Manager at a top consulting firm with a 4 year-old son and twins on the way, I was offered options. The firm was very serious about providing a family friendly workplace, so I could have taken mater ...
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 d ...
I was lucky to be invited many years ago on a magic bus ride to CES, which was the first time I had a fun adventure with the team from Parnassus Group (Steve Broback, Jason Preston and more). Over the years they always had the pulse of soci ...
**I have doing research on educational environments for my own kids and found out about Six Seconds.org. Their about page explained “Through 15 years of global experience and extensive research, we’ve found that the scientifically-bas ...
With my busy life as a working mom, I am always on the move. This requires my technology to be flexible, fit my lifestyle and be available for the kids especially when it’s homework time. Finding the right technology tools c ...
Our busy family of five keeps organized as long as our schedule is managed and under control. A messy schedule results in a messy family life. I use technology to create a workflow and make sure everyone understands their res ...
In the video below I discussed some of the Windows 8 apps I was able to use because of the HP Envy 23 TouchSmart’s high resolution screen, 10 point touch, Beats Audio speakers and processing power that makes those Angry Birds fly. Or at least I would like to think that it is my Angry Birds skill that makes them fly!
My next fun projects to test out will be the camera app to make videos, photo apps to edit photos and using the Skype app with the HP TrueVision HD Webcam to video chat with the grandparents. I was having so much fun I forgot about loading my social networking apps to take advantage of the people hub and calender apps.
Have you tried Windows 8 apps on a touchscreen yet? If so – which ones do you like? I am looking for new apps to play with on my HP Envy 23 Touchsmart All in One!
***Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a program on behalf of HP and received an ENVY 23 TouchSmart AiO as a thank you for participation. All my words are my own.
As the last few days of holiday shopping is upon us, then the post holiday “finding a deal” shopping in the near future, I wanted to offer a simple piece of advice for everyone to keep in mind. In my book “My Parent Plan” I discuss how parents can use the concepts of professional project planning to plan their family schedule. Those planning concepts can also be used for tech shopping. But they key concept is “defining needs”. In these tough economic times, we should take a step back when buying a gift to define what the needs to the gift recipient are. Holidays are a great time to get a gift that can make an impact in their life by solving a need.
With technology, gift givers should take a step back from all the hype and decide what technology will make a real impact in recipients lives. Then decide which products have the features to fit that need. We are at a time where multiple devices have advanced features to fit technology needs. Don’t just buy the smartphone, computer or tablet that everyone has, take a step back and find one that has the right features for the right price. Then realize that many devices may fit your needs – so the next step is to find one that is well made and that fits easily in the gift recipients life/workflow. Another key thing to remember when shopping for technology is that “cheap” may also mean that the device may not have all the features needed or may not last. At the same time, there are many deals on technology across the web and at stores that everyone should try to take advantage of.
Myself and many of my friends use Microsoft Office products (and have kids that use XBox Live) so a Windows 8 device would enable us to easily adapt the device to what we are already using. On the other hand, I know other friends that already use Google or Apple centric products that would be a good fit for Android or iOS devices. There are even many of us that use devices with different operating systems because some of the features of the device fit with our daily workflow.
Another need to evaluate when buy a tech gift is if the device can be used for multiple purposes. The gift of a Bluetooth speaker has the benefit of connecting to multiple devicees to stream music either at home or on the go. Or how about high quality earphones with noise canceling that are not only great for listening to music or watching movies -but they can also be used to talk on a cellphone. Some eReaders are also tablets that can be used for apps, while some tablets also make good eReaders. But with eReaders it is important to understand the needs of the gift recipient. Do they read outside most of the time and need a device that is light and has a long battery life? If so, an eReader will be a better fit for them then a tablet. But if they don’t have a tablet and read mostly at home – then a tablet with a comfortable screen to read is a better fit. Better yet, if you have a child, family member or friend that can benefit from assistive technology, holidays is a great time to gift them the gift that can help them in their daily lives. For example, the Livescribe Sky Pen has cloud and WiFi integration as well as syncing with Evernote.
How about friends or family that share not so great quality pictures from their phone and have digital cameras but never upload the pictures? If so, consider one of the new cameras that has WiFi so pictures can be uploaded directly from the camera (or use a WiFi flash storage card). Or how the gift of a real video camera to allow that special someone not only to take quality video of their family/friends – but also produce some of their own videos.
What tech are you shopping for this holiday season (or already purchased)? What tech will you be shopping for during the after holiday sales?
In November I went to a conference called Camp Mighty which was a wonderful weekend event offering inspiration on creating life lists. Part of Camp Mighty’s mission is charity, and more involvement in charity happens to be one of the top items on my life list. Lucky as it was, I had the opportunity to work on my charity life list item by participating in a program Camp Mighty partnered with AT&T on called Wish-A-Day. AT&T worked with the Make-A-Wish foundation to grant one wish a day for a month to underprivileged children suffering from life-threatening medical conditions. To learn more about how you can make a wish come true, visit this link: Wish-A-Day Sweepstakes from AT&T. But I had the chance to make one local organization’s wish come true.
My task was choosing a charity to donate a generous amount of AT&T devices to. I was more then thrilled to pick an organization that is near and dear to my heart: Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and the pediatric programs at the Stanford University School of Medicine. I had my three boys at the hospital and received great care. Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Child Life team of specialists work with the children throughout the hospital. They do everything from preparing kids for procedures, helping them understand their disease, to creating play opportunities in the Forever Young Zone playroom. Pictured left to right is Debbie Burkholder, Assistant Director – Children’s Fund, Colette Case, Director – Child and Family Life Services who met me at the AT&T store to pick up their devices and Beth Blecherman, TechMamas.com.
Theirwish was for tablets (such as the iPad) to help children staying in the hospital and (pay as you go) AT&T Go Phones to help parents of children. Here is information on how their tech “wish” devices will be used and the video of the fun event:
The Department within Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital that will be using iPads for the Child and Family Life Services Department. Certified Child Life Specialists use the IPads to prepare children, at their developmental level for procedures and surgeries, using photo albums, sounds (like MRI), miniature medical equipment, dolls, etc.
They explained” An example would be preparing a child for an MRI scan. We would show them the photo album that explains about their MRI, let them listen to the sound of the MRI, have them practice staying still and then deciding on a coping mechanism such as watching a movie, or thinking of a favorite place while they have the scan. If the child understands the procedure and can stay still, we do not have to give them anesthesia which then reduces the risk to the patient and costs less money to do the test. The child also feels a sense of accomplishment which can carry over to other tests, etc. they may have. We also use the IPads for distraction, so if a patient was getting stiches in their foot, we might have them play a game on the Ipad with them while the stitches are being put in.”
The AT&T Go Phones will be used by the Social Services Department within Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. They will let parents who need to stay in touch with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and their doctors but do not have a phones.
UPDATE : CONTEST CLOSED 1/4/2013 Winner is shopgurl Thanks to everyone who entered!
When I was contacted to participate in the #HPFamilyTime campaign I was excited for the opportunity to use the HP Envy 23 TouchSmart All in One for many reasons. First of all, now that my kids use touch screen tablets, they demand a higher level of interaction that “non touch” computers don’t offer. Second, after covering the Windows 8 launch, I could not wait to try it out at home (other then the many times I played with Windows 8 at the Microsoft store). Third, I had a desk in our family room that I set up with the plan of putting a PC with a big screen that could be used for entertainment and for schoolwork. I already decided that an all in one would be the best form factor because it would be compact enough to move into the living room if one of my kids needed a quiet place to work. So does the HP Envy Touchsmart All in One fit my needs?
Yes, not only did it fit in as the perfect family room computer, but the new Windows 8 operating system combined with the beautiful and intuitive touch screen made it also a family favorite. After I set up the security and Microsoft accounts for each user, I installed Microsoft Office. The only challenge we had is that I had to activate the security software I installed on each account on the computer separately (but it was quick). Our kids that are not easily impressed by tech were not only impressed – but quickly learned how to use the new Windows 8 interface (using a Touchscreen as well as a keyboard/mouse).
Here is a video I made of the HP ENVY 23 TouchSmart All In One unboxing. The set up was so easy (unwrap and a “one plug” in!).
3rd Generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-3330S quad-core processor and 6 GB RAM (upgradable to 16GB) means fast processing and multitasking.
1TB hard drive so it has lots of space for programs, photos and video.
6-in-1 card reader, 2 USB3.0 (fast transfer speed), 4 USB 2.0 (to plug in more accessories) and audio (micrphone and earphones)inputs. HDMI input to connect to TV or external screen.
Optional TV to broadcast live TV from your computer. The full HD display enables viewing of HD content.
DVD burner that can write data to blank DVD – so Grandparents can get a DVD copy of their grandkids on video.
HP wireless keyboard and mouse with Win 8 keyboard (with raised keys for easy typing).
All in one form factor with edge to edge sleek and modern design that can be mounted on the wall with just one wire.
HP Quick Launch that has a fast boot up.and access to shortcuts.
Optional Solid State Drive.
HP Connected Photo allows you to sync photos across your PC, smartphone, and tablet.
HP TrueVision HD Webcam that works even in low light because of the “adaptive lighting to automatically adjust to changing light”.
Beats Audio offers premium sound. Just add some bluetooth speakers to extend the sound even further.
HP Connected Music to manage music downloads, streaming services and Internet Radio.
Windows 8 operating system (built for touch) perfectly matched with a intuitive touch with 10-point multitouch technology that enables swipe and tap using all 10 fingers.
More information and configuration options for the HP ENVY 23 TouchSmart AiO is available at the HP Store.
Here is a picture of what the Windows 8 start screen with “tiles” looks like after I installed Microsoft Office. The Microsoft Windows 8 site explained “Each tile on the Start screen is connected to a person, app, website, playlist, or whatever else is important to you. Tiles light up with the latest info, so you’re instantly up to date. In one glance, you’ll see that photo you were just tagged in, tomorrow’s weather, and messages from your friends“. Next – I can’t wait to configure what Windows 8 apps/live tiles appear on the start screen. There are ones that are pre-configured so I had a great start.
Searching for apps is easy, I just swipe from right to left and the bar below comes up. What was once “programs” are now apps that I can add as live tiles on my Windows 8 start screen:
I will be looking for family management apps while my kids can’t wait to try the paint apps and the Xbox apps.
One of the tiles on the start screen is called “Desktop” which allows me to easily switch to the standard (Windows 7) start screen view.
I can search for files the same way I did on Windows 7 if I want, but also switch back to the Windows 8 start screen by swiping on bottom left or right of the screen.
My kids enjoy using the bright, crisp and intuitive screen for the HP ENVY 23 TouchSmart AiO:
They immediately found the Fresh Paint program and with a “touch” started creating a digital art project.
Of course – a smile face was the first work of art that was created!
I will be posting next week with my test drive of the other features of the HP ENVY 23 TouchSmart AiO and Windows 8. For now – how about a GIVEAWAY that will enable ONE winner to have one for their own family. To Enter – use the widget below with all the details!
***Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a program on behalf of HP and received an ENVY 23 TouchSmart AiO as a thank you for participation.
$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.
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.”
There are some great Sony products on sale during Black Friday. The Sony blog published Editor’s picks that help point out some great holiday gifts or the opportunity to give a gift to yourself. Some items may be limited quantities. I bought my Sony Vaio laptop over 2 years ago and it is still going strong! The Sony Handycam I bought a few years ago is also going strong – and is the camera my son used to launch his YouTube channel with skating videos.
o The 3G Vita offers an unparalleled combination of rich gaming and social connectivity delivering something for gamers of all ages and interests. It is the highest definition handheld gaming experience possible, featuring a stunning 5-inch OLED touchscreen, front touchscreen, a rear touch pad, dual analog sticks, motion sensors, and front and rear cameras, result in game experiences not possible on any other handheld gaming device.
o PS3 offers a complete entertainment home entertainment hub comprising a Blu-ray player, HDMI output and 1080p resolution, 3D gaming capabilities, and an integrated Wi-Fi connection. The 320GB built-in hard drive offers plenty of storage for games, videos, and other content downloaded from PlayStation Network, as well as personal digital content such as music and photos.
o PS3 owners also have free and unlimited access to PSN, the online entertainment hub for all PlayStation platforms, which delivers on-demand content like games, movies and TV shows, sports and music straight into your living room—unmatched entertainment value for the entire family.
Brings exclusive content in immersive new ways by putting you at the heart of the action, using augmented reality technology to transform the world around you by tilting, rotating, or simply turning the pages to bring stories to life like never before
Reveals original content from J.K. Rowling – you’ll will be able to read and practice 20 spells, just like the students at Hogwarts
Play as your favorite PlayStation characters with all their signature moves, including Kratos, Fat Princess, PaRappa, Colonel Radec, Sweet Tooth, Sly Cooper, Nathan Drake, Sackboy, Big Daddy, Heihachi Mishima, and Toro Inoue.
With Cross-Save and Cross-Play between PS3 and PS Vita you never have to stop playing
With Windows 8 out, the holiday sales are an exciting time to invest in a new Windows 8 device. My shopping strategy recommendation is to first decide what you need and then look into the sales – which go on throughout the holiday season. For those that want to get started, Microsoft has a blog post that summarizes the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. It is important to note that many sales have limited quantities. But I also find that new sales happen so other opportunities will present themselves.
The press release just came out for HP Holiday offerings. The first step as I mention in my shopping strategy post is to decide what your families needs are, what devices have the features to fit those needs and then investigate what sales are available. It is also important to understand that many sales are only “while supplies last”. Here are some of the sale and holiday recommendations from the HP press release:
Receive a free gift valued at $99 with an PC purchase at HPShopping.com (while supplies last). Plus, great deals on PCs including: –HP ENVY Ultrabook 4t @ $599.99 (Everyday Price is $729.99)
$130 Savings on PC –HP Pavilion 23-b030z All-in-One Desktop PC @ $499 (Everyday PC price is $599)
$100 Savings on PC
Here are some of their recommendations for those that need the flexibility of a laptop:
“The HP ENVY x2 is an ultraportable and ultrathin hybrid PC weighing a sleek 3.1 pounds,(8) and offering the advantages of two devices in one. The HP ENVY x2 has a detachable screen that becomes a full tablet when separated from the keyboard via a seamless magnetic latch, transitioning from a productive workspace to entertainment powerhouse. Starting at $849.99. A video tour of the inventive HP ENVY x2 is available at HP’s TheNextBench.com.
The HP ENVY SpectreXT Touchsmart Ultrabook™ features an all-metal design and 15.6-inch diagonal multitouch Radiance Full HD(9) display with IPS technology, making it the ideal mobile companion for those who seek sophistication and substance. The HP SpectreXT TouchSmart Ultrabook is HP’s first notebook with Intel® Thunderbolt technology(10) for blazing-fast transfer of music, movies and data to external devices. Starting at $1,399.99.
The HP ENVY Touchsmart Ultrabook 4 delivers powerful performance in an eye-catching metal design that measures 23 mm thin and weighs 4.77 pounds.(8) The HP ENVY Touchsmart Ultrabook 4 features a 14-inch multitouch HD(9) display, a booming subwoofer with Beats Audio and optional AMD graphics with 2 GB of graphics memory. Starting at $799.99.”
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. This is a update from a press release I received.
Here is the holiday (press) information I received from Dell on the Black Friday Deals. As I said in my first post, there will be deals all throughout the holidays so the most important step for technology shopping is choosing what fits with your technology need then finding a deal on those items. It is also important to understand that many holiday deals are “while supplies last”.
Black Friday details from Dell (per their email with press info):
Dell has a new line of Windows 8 devices and Dell’s premium XPS-branded devices: systems in an array of sizes: XPS 12, XPS 13, XPS 14, XPS 15, including our newest, fabulous XPS One 27 All-in-One.
More budget friendly options for students and families can be found with Dell’s Inspiron products. Latest includes the Inspiron 14z and 15z Ultrabooks.
The line for gamers is the Alienware M14x for powerful gaming performance in a portable, 14-inch form factor, while the Alienware M17x, M18x or X51 mini gaming desktops are customizable entertainment centers.
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Beth Blecherman left her position as a Senior Manager at Deloitte for Family Management then decided to blog as a career 2.0. Her personal blog is TechMamas.com (@TechMama ), a platform to discuss technology, social media and her obsession with consumer electronics.
She is the Chief Technologist of Cool Mom Tech, the intersection between tech, parenting and style.
Beth Blecherman (a.k.a TechMama) has been choosen as one of the Nielson Power Mom 50 influencers, TIME.com 140 Best Twitter Feeds, Working Mother.com List of Most Powerful Moms in Social Media , PCMag twitter top 100 and Forbes Top 100 Website for Women.