Giveaway – MetroPCS: Orlando

WINNERS ARE LISTED HERE

Being a mom of a tween has opened my eyes to the complexity of finding the
right cellphone and service plan. I found the pay as you go plans to be a
perfect fit for my family. When TechMamas.com was contacted about this
giveaway, I thought it would fun to share with my readers.

CLICK
HERE TO FIND OUT DETAILS ABOUT THE GIVEAWAY ON THE MAIN GIVEAWAY POST.

To celebrate the new $40 Wireless For All Plan!, MetroPCS has
teamed up with TechMamas to giveaway Samsung Messager™ II phones and 90
days of free service to two readers, each day between April  13 – May
5
. Winners will keep the phones and can purchase
service plans for their own use, after the 90 days of free service.

This
post is for the Orlando contest which will be open from April
13 – May 5
. For each coverage area giveaway, prize winner MUST
live within 20 miles
of the the
Orlando area. Entrants can determine they are in this
coverage area by plugging in their address at the following link:
http://www.metropcs.com/coverage/

TO
ENTER
Please comment. On the comment, please explain what you would
use the phone for.
Is it for yourself? For your tween or teen? For another family member? Share what you would do with the phone if you won. Winner will be chosen at random on May 6.

Disclosure:
This is not a paid giveaway (rather a treat for my
readers). TechMamas.com was given one Samsung
Messager™ phone and 90 days MetroPCS service for review purposes.

 

Giveaway – MetroPCS: NYC

WINNERS ARE LISTED HERE

Being a mom of a tween has opened my eyes to the complexity of finding the
right cellphone and service plan. I found the pay as you go plans to be a
perfect fit for my family. When TechMamas.com was contacted about this
giveaway, I thought it would fun to share with my readers.

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT DETAILS ABOUT THE GIVEAWAY ON THE MAIN GIVEAWAY POST.

To celebrate the new $40 Wireless For All Plan!, MetroPCS has
teamed up with TechMamas to giveaway Samsung Messager™ II phones and 90
days of free service to two readers, each day between April  13 – May
5
. Winners will keep the phones and can purchase
service plans for their own use, after the 90 days of free service.

This
post is for the NYC contest which will be open from April
13 – May 5
. For each coverage area giveaway, prize winner MUST
live within 20 miles
of the the NYC area
. Entrants can determine they are in this
coverage area by plugging in their address at the following link:
http://www.metropcs.com/coverage/

TO
ENTER
Please comment. On the comment, please explain what you would
use the phone for.
Is it for yourself? For your tween or teen? For another family member?
Share what you would do with the phone if you won. Winner will be chosen
at random on May 6.

Disclosure:
This is not a paid giveaway (rather a treat for my
readers). TechMamas.com was given one Samsung
Messager™ phone and 90 days MetroPCS service for review purposes.

 

Photos Can Now Speak – Fotobabble App Creates Talking Photos

I am currently looking into using more video to capturing family events. But the memory space requirements for storage, editing and finding the right player to load the videos is still a challenge. Yesterday I received a press release about a new site called Fotobabble that enables the user to add voice to pictures. I see this as an easy way to make photos more interactive and add personalization and emotions.

Here are some of the details from the Fotobabble press release I received:

Free to use, it only takes a few seconds to create and share a
“Fotobabble.” Simply upload a photo and then record your voice directly
through your computer’s microphone to create a talking photo. On your
iPhone, after downloading the free Fotobabble app, you can select an
existing photo or a snap a new one, hit record and you’re done. Whether
it’s from your computer or your iPhone, you can share your talking
photos by e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, or you can embed them into a blog
or website.

The Fotobabble press release mentioned that the application can be used for:

Social: Fotobabble can be used to upload photos to Facebook, sending out birthday greetings, sending out a picture to friends or family about an item you are looking to buy with audio notes and talking vacation photos.

Reporting: To report details about a car accident or news you witness

Business: Fotobabble discussed that the site can be used for online advertising and sharing an experience with customers or fans.

Techie Stuff:
There is no software to download, and the Fotobabble application is compatible with PCs and MACS. The site offers way to embed across social media platforms by creating the link/embeddable code that can be used for websites/blogs. Fotobabble also has an API that can be embedded in sites.

I checked out an example of a talking Father/Son hockey photo on the site to get an idea of how it looks.

Privacy Settings: On each picture you can select public or private. In the profile settings, each user can also set the default for pictures to be public or private (but the user can still change the default each time they load a picture). I tested the privacy by loading one picture as “public” and one as “private” into my account then logging out. When I tried to view my pictures without logging into my account I could only see the picture I checked as “public”.

Here is a link to the website: http://www.fotobabble.com/ and iPhone app: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fotobabble/id353078443?mt=8

 

It’s Holiday Season, Time To Start Shopping

Other then spending time with family and friends,  I look forward to holiday shopping. As someone who is obsessed with gadgets, the holiday shopping guides are a fun way to see what the latest and greatest gadgets are. I decided that there are so many different flavors to choose from, that instead of one holiday guide I will be posting about different products by manufacturer. I have found that many families I know get comfortable with one manufacturer when it comes to technology and want to stay within that line. But technology shopping for me is like going to an ice cream store – there are many flavors I like. Infact, my house is filled with multiple technologies from multiple manufacturers – I shop products that are relevant for my families needs.

Over the last few months I have not posted but I have been fast and furiously using, reading and obsessing over gadgets. At the same time I am getting lots of questions about what products are out there. So over the next few weeks I will be posting the new, interesting or just plain relevant technology gadgets out there for families. My view is that "practical" is the new gift, so holidays are a perfect time for technology purchases.

CNET, Laptop Magazine, Consumer Reports and other technology magazines/websites have good buying guides. David Pogue  (on video and in their columns) and other technology journalists like Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher of the Wall Street Journal (AllThingsDigital blog) talk are good resources for information about technology/gadgets.  Stores like Staples, Radio Shack and Best Buy also have sections on their websites and store flyers with holiday recommendations. Online sites like NewEgg , Amazon and others also have holiday information. I read lots of different sites and voices about technology gadgets – my TechMama GoodTechReads Twitter list is full of different information on social media, technology and gadgets. My next move may just be to split my Twitter group and have one specifically for gadgets!

But I receive the most information from my fellow bloggers and mom communities, which I will be viewing and talking with to find even more of the latest and greatest gadget gift recommendations.

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AdBusters Digital Detox Week – Can Anyone Really Unplug?

Digital detox week I sometimes wonder if I could completely unplug for a week. Just last week we were without power for one night and that was overwhelming enough. Although I did enjoy a quiet night with my family and the smell of candles lit throughout the house. I work hard to unplug when my kids are around, but I have to admit that they have all said at one time or another "Mom – when are you getting off the computer".

So instead of unplugging this week, I have made a promise to unplug for exercise each day – and at night when my kids are home from activities. I enjoy "pre" bedtime – it is a nightly ritual where we get to read or just spend time together.

But the question is, can anyone really unplug for a WHOLE WEEK? AdBusters had a listing of articles that showed the downside of the online life. One of the links was to a New York Times article titled "8 Hours a Day Spent on Screens, Study Finds ".

 

Dell Studio One 19 Family Friendly Desktop

While at SXSW, I received a demo of the Dell Studio One 19 Desktop. What I like about this line is that there is a multi-touch option (comes with a keyboard as well) that would make it a good choice for a kitchen or family room PC. Because the system is an all-in-one it also is a spacesaver. The system I saw also has Cozi.com Family Calendering system loaded. The starting price of $699 is friendly on the budget. Listed below are some specifications from the Dell press release.
Dellstudio19white
  

Software from Dell:

Continue reading

 

DEMO09 – Vue™ Personal Video Network For Families

Vue_Front_Hero_clip
Internal computer webcams are great for some communications, but when it comes to family communication – trying to fit everyone in front of the webcam can be difficult and limit participants to a confined area.

At DEMO09 I saw a product called Vue™ Personal Video Network by Avaak, a wire-free video system that allows families to communicate from virtually anywhere in the house. There are "no cords to connect, no software to download or home networks to configure" – the system utilizes the existing home wireless system. The Vue™ enables simple recording with one click. The video's can be shared or families can communicate with family and friends who also have the video system. Moms or dads on business trips can view videos and families can hold live video events. One of the demonstrators showed a video of her son doing karate, which made me think of my boys (who I have not see since Sunday morning). Funny enough, karate and wrestling seems to be the first thing my boys do when they wake up in the morning.

UPDATE 3/309 Here is the video presentation by Avaak, Inc at DEMO09:

There are two parts of the product: personal video network hardware and a online software web interface.

Product-shot1. Personal Video Network hardware: A Gateway (attaches to the home wireless router), two cameras and 4 wall mounts in the kit. Additional camera's can be purchased. The cameras have a range of 300 feet and can be moved easily.  An estimated one million frames can be transmitted from a single battery (which is about one year under normal use). The wall mounts are "peel and stick" but the camera's can be moved anywhere. Repeaters can be purchased for those locations too far away from the Gateway.

2. Software Web interface (my.vuezone.com) for online viewing, sharing and recording. To register, a username and password must be created.  After logging on, videos can be shared with family and friends.Two gigabytes of storage online is included in the service plan.

InfoWorld published a post that with an interesting discussion about the security. Instead of modifying current home firewalls, the Gateway makes a secure "outbound" connection to my.vuezone.com. The home firewall "sees it just like another computer on your home network". The key control is to only give access profiles to trusted family and friends.

The Vue™ Personal Video Network price is $299 per system, $99 for additional cameras and repeaters are available separately. 2gb of secure private storage with service plans for expanding. The gateway can support up to 50 cameras. The product will begin shipping in early summer 2009. Pre-orders can be placed now on Avaak's Web site at http://www.VueZone.com.

Relevant Links: PRESS RELEASE – Avaak Launches Vue Personal Video Network; Camera System to Enhance Consumers' Lives

 

I am Printerless – Any Ideas??

As someone who is technically inclined, I have not idea why I have such bad printer karma. I buy a printer that works just fine, then it seems to run out of ink quickly… To save money, I try to buy the generic printer catridges that "say" work with all printers but don’t. That leads to some massive ink spill, which leads to me being without a printer…

So here I sit, on a Friday night that I should be with my family – at Kinkos instead just so I can PRINT some documents. I have made my life as paperless as possible, using my BlackBerry for most of mobile needs. But this time I needed to print out some forms that I can sign and scan back, and my todo spreadsheet just to have a paper copy.

Any ideas on what type of printer I should buy this weekend? Here are my requirements:

1. Ink catridges are easy to get and reasonably priced. Print catridges should last more then two days with regular printing(oh wait – that was my old printer…) How about at least a month!

2. I want wireless capabilities so I can print from my laptop anywhere in my house without using that darn USB cable. Some wireless routers have print routers included but mine does not. I tried installing a separate print router but could not get that to work…

3.All-in-one capabilities: I want to be able to send/recieve faxes as well as scan documents.

4. It would be nice to have a USB or flashdrive area so I can attach my digital picture storage directly to the printer to make pictures when needed.

5. Nice quality – does not have to be amazing, but it does have to print out documents as well as pictures.

6. Not too big…

Am I asking too much? Does this printer exist? Or any general printer recommendations would be great just to see which models others have been happy with.