Press Release: Sony Cyber-shot® digital camera goes rugged with the new TX5

It was good timing that I received this press release in my inbox
while watching the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Sony announced updates to their
Cyber-shot® line with the new DSC-TX5 – a camera that is waterproof, freeze proof,
shockproof and dust proof.  Because being a mom is like living a non-stop Olympics, rugged features will help this gadget hold up to my family of little athletes.

Kelly Davis, Director of the Digital Imaging business at Sony Electronics, was quoted in the press release on the TX5:  “It is so versatile because it’s a great camera for both indoor and outdoor usage. You can easily take it from a day at the beach with the kids to a cocktail party with friends. This camera is also great for activities such as snorkeling, snowboarding or boating.

Here are the key points of the Sony press release about the TX5:

  • Waterproof “in up to 10 feet of water for an hour, the TX5 lets you take high-quality photos, including panoramic pictures, and 720p high definition videos of your friends, family or pets underwater.”
  • Freezeproof: “Camera is also freeze proof down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can take pictures of the kids sledding or snowboarding. Not only is it ready for cold weather, but the TX5 is durable enough to withstand an accidental drop from up to approximately 5 feet.”
  • Dustproof: “Additionally, it is dust proof, so you can take it with you on a camping trip or a mountain bike ride.”
  • Continuous burst shooting for capturing action: “The camera features an “Exmor R” sensor and offers 10fps continuous
    burst shooting for capturing action shots, so you can get great photos
    of the perfect moment such as when your kids are in mid air while
    jumping into the pool.”
  • Video: HD movie recording (1280 x 720 at 30p).
  • Panoramic Photos: “In one easy press-and-sweep motion, take panoramic photos of the underwater landscape or breathtaking views from the top of the mountain
    using the Intelligent Sweep Panorama™ feature. Another benefit of the
    “Exmor R” sensor, this innovative feature combines separate captures,
    detects faces and subject motion and intelligently adjusts the width
    while stitching the images together, resulting in natural looking
    panoramic photos.”
  • Lowlight: “In addition to making it easy to capture entire landscapes or tall
    buildings, the TX5 camera also helps to manage difficult lighting
    situations. The “Exmor R” CMOS sensor lets you take high-quality photos
    in low light without a flash.”
  • Backlight: “With in-camera multi-shot Backlight Correction High Dynamic Range (HDR), the camera combines highlight and shadow detail of two separate captures into one remarkably natural looking image—even without a tripod. HDR offers a solution for strong backlight situations which typically result in either dark shadows in
    the foreground or a washed out background. Sony’s “Exmor R” sensor and
    BIONZ® processor help to correct these issues.”
  • Memory card compatibility: “A memory card slot compatible with both Memory Stick® (PRO Duo™) and class-four and above SD/SDHC formats.”
  • Other Features: “An inch thin. Equipped with a foldable, 25 mm equivalent wide-angle 4x optical zoom Carl Zeiss® Vario Tessor® lens…. The
    camera also has a three-inch (measured diagonally) Clear Photo LCD
    Plus™ (230,400 pixel) wide touch screen display that functions—even
    underwater. You can focus on your subject, operate the menu and share
    photos and videos with a touch of the screen—wet or dry…Self portrait timer that automatically takes the shot two seconds after one or two faces are detected.”
  • Pricing and Availability: “The TX5 camera will be available in
    silver, black, pink, green, and red this April for about $350. Pre-sales begin in February. The cameras and a range of accessories will be available online at Sonystyle.com.”

 

 

Shopping Tech? Here Are Some Black Friday & Cyber Monday Tips

I shared many times over Twitter that although I am a “TechMama” my laptop needs replacing. I am a heavy computer user and my computer is over 2 years old. So this weekend I will be looking online for Black Friday Sales 2009 and Black Friday ads like many others. One of mom friend’s computer died but she is waiting for this weekend to buy a new one. Other moms I know are looking for technology as holiday gifts for their families. Holiday time is the best time to buy technology as the new “gift” (my slogan). So for those getting their sneakers on to shop for Black Friday Sales ads, here is where to go for online Black Friday Sales 2009 and some things to think about before you go. Some sites even offer printable coupons to bring along to the store. I will be posting throughout the weekend with hot technology and toy gift ideas.

NOTE: Gizmodo posted with a good point – there are some items that can be found online at the same or better prices then BlackFriday prices, so best to do some comparison shopping online. At the same time, many manufacturers are having big sales this time of year, so finding deals will not be a problem. PC World posted that Black Friday doorbusters are for suckers.

Where to go: This Wall Street Journal article confirmed my list of what sites list Black Friday Sales 2009: “Where to Find Black Friday Deals“. I have already been following Black Friday Ads, BlackFriday.info and the BlackFriday Twitter account. Mashable posted about how social media is used to find Black Friday deals (including Facebook). The New York Times byte blog posted with more online Black Friday 2009 sites to follow such as CheapTweets on Twitter. I did go into an Apple store to ask about around Thanksgiving and they said there will be a sale. By going on the Apple website I saw that the Apple sale day is November 26.  I also follow many computer manufacturers on Twitter and have seen lots of deals through Twitter: SonyElectronics, HP News, HP_IPG , Dell, Dell Outlet, Toshiba Laptops. The big retailers like Staples, Radio Shack, Best Buy and online retailers like Amazon Twitter Deals and NewEgg also share deals.  I also go to their websites and signup for newsletter updates which sends deals to my email inbox.

What to consider: My recommendation is to sleep in and shop online. The New York Times reported that retailers will extend Black Friday. Other articles said that the high end items are not the main items on sale. So my suggestion is to decide on your needs and what alternatives fit with those needs.

How to choose the right technology gifts: I have been looking at all sorts of technology and I can honestly say that in many situations there are more then one “perfect” fit. The first step is to identify what your needs are then start to look for overall technology solutions. Then review online buying guides to understand what features you should be looking for. My favorite online buying guides are on CNET, Laptop Magazine buying guides, DPreview and reviews on gadget blogs like Ubergizmo, Engadget, Gizmodo, TechieDiva, Gear Diary, Boy Genius Report, Gear Live and of course TechMamas. My favorite shopping site is Cool Mom Picks. Bing.com also has links to guides such as “Laptop buying guides“.

NEED A NEW HOME COMPUTER? Do you need another computer for your kids to do their homework? Then consider desktops if the computer does not need to be mobile or laptops for mobile use. I was just quoted recently in an article by Laptop Magazine on Netbooks for Kids. Netbooks are a great alternative for mobile use – but I suggest having a docking station with a bigger screen for home use. Older kids may be responsible enough to have their own laptop, especially if their homework requires computer use. Tablet PC’s may also be the right fit because of their flexible screens. Desktops are the most budget friendly and will have bigger screens that not only are easy on the eyes for homework, but if the Deskop has the right features can be used to watch videos, movies or even TV shows. There are also lots of accessories that compliment home computer users such as backup drives, media smart servers, home wireless servers, wireless keyboards & mouses, webcams and more. There are many printer options these days including the HP Photosmart Premium with TouchSmart Web.

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TechMama hits the Red carpet for MUST SEE movie: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Cloudy_with_a_chance_of_meatballs When I found out that Sony invited a group of moms to LA to get photo/video tips while using Sony Digital Imaging products, I was very excited to use the Sony cameras and camcorders. I was also told that we were going to the premiere of the new Sony Pictures 3D movie came out THIS WEEKEND: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

I enjoyed reading the “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs book to my children when they were younger, and spent the week before the trip asking my sons and their friends what they liked most about the book. They all remembered numerous vivid details in the book, “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. The images of falling food was obviously so rich for these kids’ imaginations. Lucky for them, and for parents who like to sneak in some hidden learning with the nighttime “read me a story” request, there are also weather-related Language Arts and Science lessons tied into the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs book and movie. Scholastic published an interview with the book authors Ron and Judith Barnett.

After seeing the movie “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” at the premiere (See disclosures at bottom of this post) last weekend – I had a MAJOR epiphany. The movie not only has amazing 3D graphics and animation to give viewers a “real taste” (yes, pun fully intended) of what it is like to experience falling hamburgers, a spaghetti tornado, a Jello palace, candy rainbows and other food fun – but it also has positive messages for kids and adults alike and geek
surprises along the way. One geek surprise in the film that is also on
the Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs website is a poster of Nikola Tesla,
who was a real life inventor and electrical/ mechanical engineer. Next
time I see the film, I will be looking to find more surprises. The movie is one of those feel good movies where the only violence is against gummie bears, geek (including science and math) is cool for boys and girls, the main characters all struggle then improve communication to their loved ones, selfish is NOT cool and the most important things in life are family/loved ones, as well as embracing your true self.

On a personal note, I reached an epiphany with the help of the “story” behind the movie “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” and the interviews with the Directors and cast. My ten year old son is bright and like many of his peers inspired more the technology of movies and movie making than by his 5th grade homework. He can figure out the intricate features of my and my friends’ digital cameras faster than any adult. This inquisitive 10 year likes to spend time explaining to my 6 year old twins – while they are watching shows or films -  what is real versus what is computer generated and how it is done. One of the first things he did when he received his new MACbook was to play with iMovie, create green-screen movies and then attempt to explain the whole process to his family and friends. “Look mom, I figured out how to use the green screen function“. To that, I said “Later, I am cooking dinner“. One morning while I was asleep my son found my DSLR camera tripod and figured out how to use it for the his digital camera to take videos with the timer function. The first thing he said to me that morning was “the video quality is much better when I use a tripod“.

Then, I attended the movie premier and witnessed the main characters of the film “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) and Sam Sparks (Anna Faris) struggle to embrace their true self. Flint’s father also struggled to support that journey. Another message in the movie was that math and science, along with other fundamentals, are important to master if you are going to “save the world“. This helped me see that I should be more active in supporting my son’s interest in the production side of video/films. I decided to hand over one of my camcorders and a memory card to my son so that he could take and manage his own videos. I set aside time this past week to discuss how to edit videos and tied in the less-exciting school work part of his life by explaining that he needs to do his homework if he wants to go to a college and study filmaking. Best of all I explained to my son that if he is going to save the world, I mean master the art of filmaking, that mastering math, science and language arts now in school will help give him the fundamentals he will need for future success.

I then used Twitter to share my epiphany with the film’s directors, Phil Lord responded with:

Cloudywithachanceofmeatballs

The Writing/Directing team for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is Phil Lord and Chris Miller. We had the chance to interview both of them during press rounds the day before the premiere. The first thing I learned was not a big surprise: when they were younger, both enjoyed writing plays and creating short films. They met in college and realized they have similar interests. During the interview they were funny, completely engaging and witty as they explained that the movie production was a team effort – with over 500 team members (or “cells” in an organism as they called it). Each day on the set was like a food fight as they had to build each part of how food falls into the overall animation. When asked what hints Phil Lord and Chris Miller would give to kids, a few were “math/science is cool”, “school is important”, “Be comfortable with who you are”, “Embrace your inner wierdo/geek”, “Do something original and do it boldly”. The last hint “Do something original and do it boldly” is what resonates for me as a way to describe the effort behind creating the movie “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”.

The RED CARPET PREMIERE

Techmamas_red_carpet

Armed with a Sony A330 DSLR
camera that we each had use of for the weekend and my smartphone (for
live Twittering) I and the other moms each had our own spot on the red
carpet
to catch the action. We loaded our pictures to the Flickr group Sony Mom Event 2009.

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