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How To: Mobile Photo Printing and MyPrintly.com Photo Crafts

I have always open about the dichotomy of being equally tech savvy and craft challenged. Even looking at the beautiful crafts on Pinterest makes me hyper ventilate..When I took the time to understand what caused my advanced state of craft issues, I realized that I just need simple steps to follow. Of course, when those steps involve technology that helps automate some steps, even better! When I was asked by MyPrintly.com (disclosure: my client) to create some videos with steps on how to use the HP Envy Printer to print from iOS and Android mobile devices, I jumped at the chance. Not only would I get the opportunity to do what I love (figuring out how to use technology) but also give myself the challenge of using the technology to do crafts..

 

Photo Crafts MyPrintly.com and Mobile Printing HP Printer

 

Well, not only did it help me start enjoying the art of crafting – but I can’t wait to create more photo crafts (I can’t believe I said that)..  

 

Below are video’s that show how to print from an iOS and Android device to an HP Printer  I used this amazing videographer and editor (my son Ben Blecherman). The videos include the steps we did to create our own version of the Photo Balloon Party Decoration craft I found on MyPrintly.com.

 

Step 1: Get Supplies:

MyPrintly.com Photo CraftsTo gather supplies I went to my local party supply store for balloons, a fun weight for the balloons (I picked a blue metallic party box style) and place card holder that I could put into the balloon weight. It does not really matter what the bottom looks like because it will be placed in the balloon weight.  I could only find heart place card holders in the wedding area of my supply shop, so I used them. Bigger party stores and online party sites may have basic place card holders that you can buy in packs of 6 or 12 at a time (to save money).  We made sure the balloon ribbons where long enough to also tape pictures onto the strings. The last supply was HP 4×6 Photo paper that we found at our local office supply store (but that can also be ordered online).

 

 

 

Step 2: Print Photos and Assemble Photo Craft:
 
I used the wireless features of my HP Envy Printer and my smartphone to send photos to the printer. Then we just placed the photos in the place card holder and taped photos the ribbons of the balloon.  Printing from my mobile phone saved time and enabled me to have more flexibility on the location of where I was printing. The video’s below show how to do the photo craft and mobile printing from an iOS or Android phone.  There is also a guest surprise appearance from our lovable Henry the Hamster.. Of course, he was the star of the show!

 

Mobile Printing with Harry the Hamster TechMamas.com

 

How To: Mobile Printing from iOS Device to HP Printer

 

 

 

How To: Mobile Printing from Android Device to HP Printer

 
 

 

What photo crafts do you want to try?

 

For more photo craft ideas check out MyPrintly.com   Here is the link to the for Photo Balloon Party Decoration craft found on MyPrintly.com.

 

Disclosure: MyPrintly sponsored the videos. Products were supplied for video production. This post is NOT sponsored, I am just sharing the crafting fun….

 

 

 

Trend Update: Are Digital Consumers Happy With Smart #Tech Devices?

What factors and usability issues need to be overcome for consumers to adopt technology?
 
 

User Experience Smart DevicesI have a simplistic attitude towards consumer technology that stems from my background in programming, database design, usability testing and technical project management: the device have a good interface and fit in the workflow of my daily life. This sounds easy but in reality has been my biggest challenge. I have experienced usability challenges on everything from smart watches that are not smart, which this BGR blog post documents very well, to smart devices, which  TechCrunch also identifies as a usability mess. As pointed out by Fast Company, Millennials are looking for personal technology to be meaningful and impactful. “This is the thing which is now scarce, because when we can easily acquire anything, the question becomes, ‘What do we do with this?’ The value now lies in the doing.”

 

With IoT (Internet of Things) being one of the top buzzwords connecting smart consumer electronics, are customers today able to fully utilize ” the ability to connect devices, systems, and services covering a variety of protocols, domains, and applications” with interfaces that are user friendly? If not, what factors and usability issues need to be overcome for consumers to adopt this technology?

 

Common Set Of Protocols?

 

 

One factor challenging personal technology adoption is the lack of a common set of protocols for new smart device infrastructure and platforms. Smart watches, for example, can communicate to apps and other connected devices such as smart phones – but via different operating systems such as iOS (Apple) and Android.

 

 

Belkin WEMO Home Automation

Photo credit: Belkin

 

Many smart systems use Bluetooth, WiFi and wireless (such as 3G, 4G) but have their own apps and connected devices. For example, Belkin WeMo Home automation has multiple home device sensors and apps including connected crock pots and coffee pots, Phillips (Hue) has a smart lighting system and Nest has smart thermostats. Examples of companies that have frameworks for communicating and controlling connected devices in the home include Control 4, and Apple with HomeKit. At CES, I learned about both the Zwave alliance, which is a wireless communication technology and Zigbee which is an wireless open standards based solution controlled by the ZigBee Alliance.

 

 

Zigbee IoT Smart Home Automation

Photo Credit: Zigbee.org

 

 

Verge reported that “Today, the A4WP and PMA have signed a preliminary agreement to each adopt the other’s technologies, effectively merging into a single wireless standard. That leaves Qi as the only other competitor.“ But the Qi Standard is being used now by many smart devices including Ikea that just announced a furniture line that utilizes Qi wireless charging. Even though Ikea earns points in my eyes by incorporating wireless charging design, the usability is a different challenge. As Wired points out, “The biggest problem is that it’s (wireless charging)  been kind of kludgy…..wireless charging is arguably less convenient at this stage than faster charging, and wireless accessories can’t match the amps or speeds of some modern wired components.”

 

Data and Diagnostics?

 

The next factor: diagnostics and data.. In an NPR article Alexis Madrigal  explained “… diagnostics are only one part of what data will do for these household objects. The other thing is that tracking data at least offers the opportunity to optimize a routine“.  Smart devices will really show their power in helping our daily lives when they can take the data they gather, diagnose to improve our situation and then make suggestions or even adjustments on the data analysis.

 

Product Design?

 

Another factor is product design.  For example, while the Apple Watch is being advertised with a 2 page spread in Vogue, a fashion expert interviewed on Fast Company said it looked like a “computer on your wrist”.  Another Fast Company article pointed out that the current reports explain that the Apple Watch could have a battery problem because the charge only lasts 2.5 hours. I tested out a smartwatch that I saw at CES 2015 that had a watch battery that lasted up to six months, but the interface did not seem user friendly. I have yet to review a smartwatch that has a good interface and battery life (but I am hopeful and will keep testing).

 

After reviewing consumer devices for years I found that very few passed my personal usability standards even though many had a great technology features. This is why I started turning down opportunities to review products where I felt I would be spending more time beta testing usability than actually taking the product for a test drive. The graveyard of failed smart devices in my office is used as props by my kids when filming homemade superhero movies.

 

The Big Secret (unveiled):

 

The big secret discussed by technology journalists every time we get together is that while we use the newest technology for our work, we have not fully implemented the newest technology in our personal lives because of problems with usability. So I wondered: Are technology journalists the only ones frustrated by consumer technology usability issues?

 

The Answer:  Consumers Reporting Problems With Smart Devices

 

The answer recently became clear to me at the opening press event of the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show where Accenture was sharing their recent research on today’s digital consumer. Their report hit the nail on the head, describing what I have been thinking for years: There is a usability problem in consumer electronics, devices and apps which is affecting consumer adoption and longevity.

 

Technology User Experience Problems

 

 

EXCERPT FROM ACCENTURE REPORT “Engaging the Digital Consumer in the New Connected World.”
 
“Most Consumers Encounter Challenges Using New Types of High Tech Devices, Accenture Survey Finds.  NEW YORK; Jan. 5, 2015 – Most consumers experience challenges using several new types of smart high tech devices, according to a new report from Accenture titled Engaging the Digital Consumer in the New Connected World.
 
Overall, 83 percent report various problems when they use new device types such as wearable fitness monitors, smart watches, smart home thermostats, in-vehicle entertainment systems, home connected surveillance cameras and security systems, and wearable health products. The biggest challenges consumers face are that the smart devices are “too complicated to use” (21 percent), “set-up did not proceed properly” (19 percent), and “did not work as advertised” (19 percent).
 
“For these new connected device categories, high tech companies need to go back to the drawing board and rethink their product development approaches to focus on the entire customer experience,” said Sami Luukkonen, managing director for Accenture’s Electronics and High Tech group. “They should make fundamental strategic changes that no longer focus on product feature differentiation but rather holistic, digital experience differentiation.”
 
Accenture’s annual consumer survey, extensively researched with responses from approximately 24,000 consumers in 24 countries covers both emerging and developing global markets. Their methodology took into account the fact that the online population starts at age 14 (sometimes younger) and demographics were  split male/female across all age groups.”
 
I had the opportunity to discuss the report with John Curran, managing director for Accenture’s Communications, Media, and Technology group. He viewed the consumer devices and the consumer Internet of Things (IOT) as a significant and central theme of CES that raises important technology adoption questions:
 

  • What are people expecting and what are companies delivering?
  • What does it takes for these new devices to be adopted and used loyally?
  • How important are in vehicle entertainment, fitness monitors, home surveillance systems, smart thermostats and smart watches to the electronics consumer?
  • What factors are most important to consumers when they are making purchase  decisions?

 

In their survey, Accenture asked users of connected consumer devices to describe their experience. The findings indicated overall ownership in the low single digits for some leading technology. Overall, these owners are early adopters, the most tech savvy of all consumers. They are also the ambassadors for mainstream product adoption, sharing their opinion with others, stating, “You need to try this”, “It is amazing” or “I have to hold off…”

 

Results from the Accenture survey demonstrate that the most important product benefit to consumers is ease of use (more than features and functionality). Consumers readily see the product’s value and potential but need help developing confidence that the product can be easily used. While the tech industry focuses on features, customers desire a seamless, easy to use set of capabilities.

 

In the survey, only 17% said they did not experience challenges in using devices. As mentioned above, this means that 83% of consumers are experiencing challenges. The encouraging news from this  Accenture survey is that even with these challenges many early adopters have future plans to buy smart devices:
 
In the next 12 months:
 

  • 12% of consumers plan to buy a wearable fitness monitor, rising to 40 percent within 5 years.
  • 12% of consumers intend to buy a smartwatch, rising to 41 percent within 5 years.
  • Other the next 5 years:
  • 41% have strong purchase interest for connected home devices including home connected surveillance cameras and security systems
  • 39% plan to purchase smart thermostats
  • 37% have interest in connected car entertainment systems
  • 35% have interest in buying home 3D printers and wearable heads-up display glasses

 
Here are some of the other findings discussed with John Curran, managing director for Accenture’s Communications, Media, and Technology group:
 

    • Even more troubling is that most of their complaints reflected on the ‘out of box” experience:  21% said the product was too complicated to use, 19% said setup did not proceed properly, 19% responded that the product did not work as advertised and 19% could not connect to internet. Right out of the box, consumers faced disappointment that jeopardized product adoption. That created a high barrier for them to promote or recommend the product to others.

 

    • With IOT (Internet of Things), the consumer’s expectation is that product, hardware, software and services will work together seamlessly across a broad intersection of devices. Companies who have been successful with one element of the solution now need to focus across multiple technology competencies. For example, it used to be good enough to produce a great TV. Now that most new TVs are connected, product manufacturers need to connect to the clouds managed by several different content providers as well as support Bluetooth connections to wireless speakers, and streaming content from various companies. Product design has become more complex in order to deliver that seamless experience desired by consumers. Companies need to go back to drawing board and create products that work in this seamless world. They need to rethink engineering, hardware, software and user interface to deliver a consumer-driven out of box experience and ongoing product usability throughout the product life cycle that encourages interaction and connection.

 

  • To do this, there are three sales factors to consider. First is “relevance”, accomplished through branding and marketing campaigns in order to create product awareness. Second is “inspiration”, resulting in the “I gotta have it” attitude. The third factor is “confidence” convincing the customer that the product is easy to use and will deliver on promises made during the sales process.

 

If 83% of early adopters are experiencing product problems then do you need to fix it? And what do you fix?  Products must work within a company’s internal parameters (product and services) as well as broader industry infrastructure (protocols, API’s, platform requirements). Companies should determine their most important qualities and out of the box experiences to “delight consumers” and what can they enhance over time.  Products should also not only work within current trends, such as wearables, but look ahead to solve complex problems (such as wearables that can save lives) and incorporate user friendly interfaces.
 
Smartwatch TechMamasI recently bought a Samsung S5 Active smartphone because it was water resistant, tough (I already dropped it multiple times and it survived) and has an accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer and heart rate monitor for fitness apps. Then I bought the connected Gear Fit to experience a smartwatch in my own busy daily schedule. While the Gear Fit was helpful to show the time and when I am getting calls and texts on my watch (except when I am driving, then it is annoying), the step and calorie tracking pedometer did not match with my other fitness apps on my phone. The fitness tracker’s step tracking features also did not work if I am riding a bike because the motion tracking is based on my wrist. I did see some exciting new smartwatches at CES 2015 that have solutions around my smartwatch issues, but then I also read that Samsung did not announce a new watch at Mobile World Congress 2015 because they are going back to the drawing board to develop the perfect “smartwatch”.
 
Maybe companies are getting the hint that product design and “re-design” with user feedback is important? What do you think?

 

 

The articles linked to in my post are curated on my Tech: User Experience Magazine on Flipboard
View my Flipboard Magazine.

 

New Lenovo Laptops in Multiple Form Factors: Yoga 2 Miix 2 & Carbon X1

*sponsored series

 

When it comes to finding technology for my work and my family, versatility is key. At CES 2014, Lenovo announced new versatile devices for the mobile professional and family.  I had the fun opportunity to meet with Lenovo to find out details about the new devices. The new Miix 2 (10 and 11 inch) premiered with a 3-in-1 detachable laptop design (laptop, stand and tablet). The popular Lenovo Yoga (my current Ultrabook) that first was updated with with the Yoga 2 Pro, now has new versions called the YOGA 2 (in 11 and 13 inch models). The Yoga 2 has my favorite selection form factors: Laptop, tablet, tent and stand modes. For those looking for a super powerful thin laptop for work and for entertainment, the Thinkpad Carbon X1 is only 2.83 pounds and 17.7MM thin with adaptive keyboard and rapid charge technology. So many choices!

 

Lenovo Miix 2

Lenovo Miix 2. Photo credit: Lenovo

 

 

The Miix 2 10 inch weighs only 1.3lbs, runs the new 64-bit enabled quad-core Intel Atom processor, up to Windows 8.1,  battery life of up to 8 hours, 720p high resolution 2 MP front and 5 MP rear cameras , full HD (1920×1200) 10-finger touchscreen display, WiFi and optional 3G, JBL surround speakers, up to 128 GB of eMMC storage along with a micro SD slot for adding up to 32 GB. The Miix 2 (11 inch) is 1.76 pounds has upgraded performance with its up to 4th generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor, greater storage up to 256GB of fast solid state drive storage and a Full HD 1920×1200 IPS wide-view display. The press release also shared that “Both models of the Silver Grey MIIX 2 make connecting, storing and moving content easy with their mini HDMI port to display content on larger screens, an SD card reader, micro USB port and micro SD cards along with USB 2.0 support on the keyboard”.

 

 

 Lenovo Yoga 2 13 inch 4 modes

Lenovo Yoga 2. Photo credit: Lenovo

 

 

At CES 2014 the Lenovo Yoga 2 (11″ and 13″ inch) was announced with the popular 4 multi-mode form factors (laptop, tablet, tent and stand modes). The Lenovo Yoga 2  (11.6 inch) is a light 2.9lbs and has HD (1366 x 768) 10 point touch display, up to 4 GB RAM, up to Windows 8.1, Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi connectivity,  battery of up to 6 hours and features up to the brand new quad- core Intel Pentium processors for snappy performance.  The larger Lenovo Yoga 2 (13.3  inch), called “workhorse”, has many of the same features with added battery life of up to 8 hours,  weighs 3.5lbs, up to 8 GB RAM, backlit AccuType keyboard, Full HD (1920×1080) display, rubber bumpers around the screen that gives more stability in tent mode and and features more processing power with up to 4th generation Intel Core i5 processor.

 

Lenovo YOGA 2 13inch

Lenovo YOGA 2. Photo credit: Lenovo

 

 

Both sizes offer 1 MP 720p camera, integrated speakers that suppport Dolby Home Theatre v4 and  lots of storage for important data, photos, music, movies and games with its up to 500 GB hard drive (the Lenovo Yoga 2 13′ also offers up to 500GB SSHD storage). The features also allow input/output flexibility with 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, Micro HDMI-out, 3-in-1 card reader. For personalization, the current colors available are orange, silver and black.

 

Lenovo YOGA 2 13inch Yoga Chef

Lenovo YOGA 2. Photo credit: Lenovo

 

YOGA 2 also has more apps that utilize YOGA Picks, Lenovo’s unique service that recommends apps based on the mode (i.e. Standing, tablet, etc). Yoga Pix software will recommend different apps depending on the mode.  App developers, such as Yoga Chef,  partnered with Lenovo to incorporate use of gestures for motions control. One example in Yoga Chef is the ability to advance pages of a recipe without getting “egg” all over the screen!  The camera software has been updated to recognize motion control which can be used to advance applications such as photo slideshows, e-books and Powerpoint slides.  Pop ups within the app can notify users that the app is motion controlled enabled.  Out of the box, the Lenovo Yoga 2 also has Yoga Photo Touch for photo editing that enables use of touch to remove objects, use skin tools and change frames. The Lenovo voice control enables users to execute simple commands such as opening an app utilitzing Nuance’s Dragon Assistant. Lenovo uses Nuance Dragon Assistant Software in Lenovo 2-in-1, tablet, Ultrabook, notebook, and AIO devices

 

The press release also shared quotes that summarized:  “With our detachable MIIX 2 and convertible YOGA 2 and Flex devices, people no longer have to choose between a laptop or tablet. Our multimode products give them the best of both laptop and tablet worlds plus even new modes that make it better and easier to interact and watch their personal digital content,” said David Roman, chief marketing officer, Lenovo. “Now the only decision they have to make is choosing which Lenovo multimode product they prefer – one that flips and folds or one that detaches.”

 

Lenovo’s elegant next generation of 2 in 1 devices open up entirely new ways for people to connect, share, work and play,” said Navin Shenoy, vice president and general manager of the Mobile Client Platform Division at Intel Corporation. “With powerful Intel processors, products like the MIIX 2 deliver the right balance of long battery life and amazing performance so people can stay productive whether they’re using it as a tablet or laptop.”

 

 

While  these next two Lenovo models may be geared towards professionals, they are also great choice for multi-tasking families that balance work and home.

 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. Photo Credit: Lenovo

 

 

The Thinkpad X1 carbon Ultrabook is currently the thinnest and lightest  14 inch around at 2.83 pounds and 17.7MM thin. The press release explained “Born from the same stock as aircrafts and racing cars, the X1 Carbon is forged from Carbon Fiber, which weighs less than magnesium and aluminum but is stronger than both“. The up to 9 hour battery life is powered up by Rapid Charge technology which provides an 80% charge in under an hour.

 

Additional features are optional built-in 4G, up to Windows 8.1 PRO, 8GB Ram, up to 512SSD, either i5 or i7 4th generation are 2 panel options (HD + 1600 x 900 and WQHD – 2560 x 1440). The adaptive keyboard is unique because it dynamically adjusts based on the software or application being used to highlight the most relevant keys as well as the advanced voice and gesture controls. To assist in taming the “cable clutter monster”, the new X1 Carbon utilizes the OneLink connector that the press release explained allows users “to get power, Gigabit Ethernet, and dual display support through a single cable via ThinkPad OneLink docking solutions. The ThinkPad OneLink Pro Dock includes multiple USB ports, audio and Ethernet connections and driver-free dual video support through DisplayPort and DVI on selected models. The integrated 90W AC adapter also provides power for the notebook, supports rapid charge and can also charge other devices such as a smartphone.”

 

The 13.3 inch Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro, a multimode Ultrabook out on the market already, is light at 3.1 lbs, has up to 9 hour battery life, Windows 8.1 PRO, QHD+ (3200 x 1800) 10 point multi-touch display, up to 512 fast SSD hard drive and up to a 4th generation Intel Core i7 processors. Starting at $999, this makes the Yoga 2 Pro another great option for professionals or for families that need professional features.

 

 

The Jan. 2014*press release shared the following pricing and availability:

Pricing and Availability2 Models of the Lenovo MIIX 2 convertible laptop start at $499 for the 10-in model and $699 for the 11- in model. The 10-in model will be available beginning in March. The 11-in model will be available starting in April. They will be sold via major retailers and www.lenovo.com.  Models of the YOGA 2 13-in start at $999 and are available beginning in February at Best Buy, Best Buy Canada, Future Shop and www.lenovo.com. Models of the YOGA 2 11-in start at $529 and are available beginning in late January at Best Buy, Best Buy Canada, Future Shop, and www.lenovo.com. Models of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon start at $1299 and availability will begin late January. The OneLink Dock Pro is available now at $179.

 

 

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

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Sponsored: Three Wireless Products to Capture Ideas on the Go – V.me by Visa Innovator Series

I have always been uncomfortable entering my credit card information into multiple sites when I shop online. I prefer using an online payment service that securely stores my information in one place. This is why I am excited to partner with Visa to try out their new online payment service, V.me by Visa. Together with other bloggers I am highlighting innovation by sharing my curated product bundles available on http://vi.sa/14HRfxo that inspire innovation. For my bundle in the V.me by Visa Innovator Series, I chose to highlight wireless products that allow families and individuals to access information no matter where they are. As a working mom, having information at my fingertips allows me to be productive while on the move. Check out my feature: http://vi.sa/14HRfxo

 

New ideas for family management, new work projects and even birthday gifts come to me at different times of the day and different places, and mobile devices help turn these ideas into plans. I suggest three wireless products to keep innovation flowing no matter where you are:

 

 

To wirelessly print from any location:  The HP Envy 120 Color / All-In-One Color Printer has a sleek design, is quiet, can print, copy, scan, and access the web, has a USB port optimized to power smartphones and can scan and send straight to your email account. With the HP ePrint – I can print from anywhere by sending documents to my printer’s unique email address. This means I can develop my ideas on the road, send them to my printer, and have them waiting for me when I come home.

 

To wirelessly stream your music: I believe that every big or small innovator can benefit from listening to music. When I am working on projects or our kids are doing their homework we stream music to put us in the mood to create new ideas. To enable mobile music streaming, I am going to use the i.Sound GoSync Portable Stereo Bluetooth V2.0 Bluetooth Receiver. The iSound GoSync can wirelessly broadcast music from smartphones, tablets, MP3 players, computers and more to your home or car stereo, control playlists, includes a built-in rechargeable li-ion battery, remembers up to 6 devices and has a 33 foot wireless range.

 

 

Wireless accessories:  When I am working on my laptop I like to carry a wireless mouse with me for comfort and ergonomics. I am also inspired by artistic design. The Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 Artist Cheuk 4 is not only comfortable but has original artwork on it created by  Deanne Cheuk, a New York-based art director, illustrator and artist.

 

What wireless products do you need when creativity strikes?

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received $500 from Visa to buy my products on Newegg.com and used its V.me online payment service (available on the Newegg checkout). All of my words are my own.

 

How is some information on how the V.me by Visa online payment system:

 

1. Sign up for V.me by Visa at https://www.v.me/ to store one or more of payment cards (including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards ) and shipping addresses in your V.me account. A default card can be set or changed as needed.

2. At participating websites there will be a checkout with V.me by Visa button. This button enables paying at the online checkout by signing in with the V.me by Visa account (email address and password), confirming payment details and then clicking pay.

3. Payment information is stored behind multiple layers of security. Customized email or text message alerts can provide notification about purchase activity.

 

 

 

 

Looking For “People Friendly Media” Technology

I was honored to connect with Deaf Mom and read about her life on her blog Deaf Mom Shares Her World. I learned from her that video interviews are not accessible for people who are deaf, that text transcripts along with videos are accessible. She inspired me to become interested in the people friendly media technology available. Just this morning we were emailing about this need:

NEED: We are looking for a technology that can "transcribe" audio files to text.

Then today I read about another inspiring person (T.V. Raman, a Computer Scientist and an Engineer at Google) in the New York Times article "Going Where No Guide Do Can". The article describes him as a leading thinker for accessibility issues and notes that some of Mr. Raman's innovations may help make electronic gadgets and web services more user-friendly for everyone. For example, the article also mentioned that Mr. Raman said that with the right tweaks, touch-screen phones – many of which already come equipped with GPS Technology and a compass – could help blind people navigate the world.

I will be heading to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week. I decided to add accessibility technology that can assist people with disabilities to the my list of things to look for.

Please comment on this post with any technologies (and links) you know of to assisting people who are Blind or Deaf. I would also like to hear from people with other disabilities to add the technology they use also and will post about that also.

After reading the New York Times article, I realize that my comments do have a captcha which may be hard to use for screen readers. If you want to comment, and find the captcha an issue – then please email me and I will add your comments to this post. My email is techmamas(at)gmail(dot)com.

Relevant Links:

Start with a visit to Words Matter – Writing about people with disabilities

Official Google Blog: T.V. Raman on Even More Books to Read

Google Accessible Web Search For the visually impaired (Google Accessible Search) and Google Accessible Search FAQ

Google Book Search Becomes Accessible

Links From Deaf Mom:

http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/08/28/youtube-adds-closed-captioning/

 

Wi-Fi: To Secure Or Not To Secure? That Is The Question.

Techmeme posted with an interesting discussion around securing Wi-Fi networks. The discussion was started by an article in the Wired website titled: "Steal This Wi-Fi". In that article, Bruce Schneier admits that his home wireless network is "open" (no passwords or encryption). He discusses the security issues around having an open wireless system, but what really made sense to me was his point on where the security really should be – ON THE HOME PC’S OR LAPTOPS! Here is a snippet from his article:

"I’m also unmoved by those who say I’m putting my own data at risk,
because hackers might park in front of my house, log on to my open
network and eavesdrop on my internet traffic or break into my
computers. This is true, but my computers are much more at risk when I
use them on wireless networks in airports, coffee shops and other
public places. If I configure my computer to be secure regardless of
the network it’s on, then it simply doesn’t matter. And if my computer
isn’t secure on a public network, securing my own network isn’t going
to reduce my risk very much."

Here are my two cents on securing home wireless networks:

Continue reading

 

California Storm Rages, But I Still Have Wireless….

While major news outlets like the San Jose Mercury News are covering the California storm that is ragingWrt300n_med_2 on, will the California Bay Area bloggers be able to blog if phone coverage is spotty? Some of my friends are without power, but I am somehow lucky to have power – and even better – WIRELESS!!.  So here I am, liveblogging that the storm. The wind is powerful, rain is hard, puddles are plentiful (my boys can’t wait to go out to jump in them) and the little ones and zeros are still traveling in the air to enable mama
to blog…

Wirelessg
Oh, and a big shout out to Linksys, my Wireless-G Broadband Router is holding up just fine. But I am still eyeing the Wireless-N Broadband Router that I included in the TechMama’s Holiday Gift Guide. I guess I should also thank my AT&T Yahoo DSL

 

BlackBerry’s – Not Only Yummy But Useful For Moms

483_47_2
I am happy that my tech buddy Sarah Granger guest blogged on Techmamas about the iPhone. Last year when I first went shopping for a smartphone, the iPhone was not out yet. Which is lucky for me because I would have been very tempted.

To help decide which smartphone I was going to purchase, I talked to the most important experts of all – my mom friends who had smartphones. After shopping around, I decided on the BlackBerry. And recently I just upgraded to the BlackBerry Curve. Yippeee, mama is never offline. Our family is a two BlackBerry family (happens often in Silicon Valley), so hubby and I never have to say "Put that thing away". Well, maybe the kids do say that… 

I am still spending time getting to know the features of the BlackBerry Curve, but here are some of the my favorites. The start-up guide is helpful, and installation is quick and easy. I find the most important functions intuitive. Which is great for a busy mom who does not have time to read the full instruction manual. Not that I would read any instruction manual even if I did have time, I would rather read trashy magazines…  After my kids are all back at school and I have one moment to sit down, I will post with a more detailed review.

My current favorite features: 

Continue reading