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Facebook Family Tech Chalkboard: Tips and New Features

Facebook Family Tech ChalkboardWhen Facebook reached out to me and other parenting journalists to attend a “Facebook Family Tech Chalkboard” meeting at their campus, I was excited attend a press briefing on their new features.  As parents we have the dual role of using Facebook to communicate with our own friends (and family) as well as advising our teens on topics such as privacy and social media etiquette. Those of us with businesses or websites also use Facebook Pages to engage with our customers or readers.   Listed below is a summary of the topics discussed.

 

 

  • Facebook Groups Updates:
    • Facebook groups is a great way to have separate discussions with different “groups” of friends. I wrote a post (Tips For Moms on Using Facebook Groups) that discussed the different types of groups and details for setting up Facebook Groups. At the meeting we shared stories on how we use Facebook groups.
    • Facebook Groups for Schools: We learned about Facebook feature called “Groups for Schools” which allows people with an active school email address to join groups at their college or university. I am happy that Facebook still has this feature to allow only people in the college (that have the college “email” address) to join the college Facebook group.

     

    Facebook groups for schools

    Facebook groups for schools Photo credit: Facebook

     

  • New Facebook Feature “Save for later” The new Facebook “Save” feature enables you to save items (links, places, movies, TV and music) you find on Facebook for later. From a privacy standpoint we learned that only you can see the items you save unless you choose to share them with friends. This is a feature that is especially important to me  lately because while I find the most interesting articles on my timeline, I rarely have time to read the full article. Now I can “save” it and come back to it! Sometimes I flip back and forth in my Facebook timeline between top stories and most recent to see what articles people are sharing. But I always seem to go back to “top stories” because that is where some of the most talked about articles seem to show up.  My next step will be to create my own Facebook “friends lists” of my tech friends, parenting friends and more to help curate updates on my timeline (which I can now share!).

 

Facebook Save

New Facebook Save Feature. Photo credit: Facebook

 

 

 

  • Facebook Privacy Checkup:  The new Facebook feature called “Privacy Checkup”  offers a guided approach to setting up privacy controls. It will take users through steps to “review things like who they’re posting to, which apps they use, and the privacy of key pieces of information on their profile“. While I already went through the Facebook privacy settings with my teen when he first set up Facebook (and for myself), the privacy checkup is also a good way to have a guided review of settings.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Facebook Login & Anonymous Login: New Facebook login features, announced at the last Facebook Developer’s conference, offers “a brand new way to log into apps without sharing any personal information from Facebook, along with a new version of Facebook Login with even better privacy controls.” The  announcement explained the three new features as:

1. Anonymous Login:An easy way for people to try an app without sharing any of their personal information from Facebook.”

2. Facebook Login:A new version that gives people the option to pick and choose what information apps get.
3. Redesigned App Control Panel:A central place for people to see and manage the apps they use.

 

Facebook Anonymous Login

Facebook Anonymous Login. Photo credit: Facebook

 

 

The ability to signup for new apps without having to share all of my personal information is an option I have been looking for some time. App developers have a year to utilize this new feature so we will see this rolling out soon.

 

 

The last topic we discussed was Facebook Pages. I not only have a Facebook page for TechMamas but also manage some Facebook pages (and ad campaigns)  for clients so this is an area of great interest to me. At the same time, there is so much information to cover on this topic that I decided to split it up to be covered in my next post on Facebook Pages (so keep an eye out for that post coming out soon!).

 

At the end of the event we had a tour of the Facebook Campus and could not help but have some fun in the Facebook store with fellow parenting journalists – including Jessica Rosenberg who helped me model some fun tee shirts!

 

Facebook Family Tech Chalkboard Tour

 

 

Disclosure: The Facebook Family Tech Chalkboard was a press event. This post is a press update.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 20 Tips From Disney Social Media Moms Conference

I have attended many conferences over the years but I must say the Disney Social Media Moms conference I attended in April was tops when it came to mixing inspirational business tips with incredible experiences. Best of all, I went with my three boys (husband had to work) and everyone had a fantastic time. Looking back, there are so many things to share, so I’ll start with the top inspirational tips I learned during the Disney Social Media Conference.

 

 

My first social media share of the conference indicated how happy we were to be at Disneyland!  First as a kid with my family and now as a parent, Disneyland is one of my favorite vacation spots because it allows my whole family to put daily pressures aside and experience sheer happiness, excitement and fun. It also brings my silly side which my kids love to see.

 

 

 

While at Disneyland we also just can’t stop smiling…

dsmm6w

 (Note: my first tip should be to get a PhotoPass because the pictures they take are priceless…More on that later in the post..)


1. The Mickey Check Makes It Easier To Identify Nutritious Choices.

 

Throughout the conference, we had the opportunity to learn about the Disney Healthy Living food options. Disney Healthy Living food options have a Mickey check to help identify them. The Mickey Check website explained: “ The Mickey Check is a tool that makes it easier to identify nutritious choices in stores, online, and while on vacation at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. The Mickey Check can be found on select kids’ meals and fruit carts throughout Walt Disney World® and Disneyland® Resorts, on various Disney-licensed food products sold at grocery stores across the country, and on qualifying recipes at Disney.com/tryit and Spoonful.com. To receive the Mickey Check, foods must meet Disney Nutrition Guidelines developed by health experts and align to federal dietary guideline recommendations.”

 

 

We also had a chance to see what the new Disney-licensed snacks sold at grocery stores around the country will look like:

 

  
 
During the Disney Social Media Moms conference I had the opportunity to try the options with the Mickey Check and they were yummy! Of course, I also had to taste the other fun foods as well – but it was great to have healthier options available. I also appreciate the food carts throughout the park that have all types of fruit, hummus and other healthy snacks for my family on the go such as the Tropical Import Snacks at Adventureland, FairfaxFruit Market in California Adventure and more! Restaurants at Disneyland also have healthy options, but that is the topic of a whole other post I will be writing (too much yummy food to talk about in this post!).

 

Disneyland Healthy Food options

 

Of course, two of my other favorite snacks are theDole Whip from the Tiki Juice Bar in Disneyland and the dark chocolate covered pineapple (with fresh pineapple inside) in the Trolley Treats candy store, Buena Vista Street California Adventure.

 

 

Next we had the opportunity to hear creative tips from Disney Enthusiasts and business experts. Here are a few that I did capture on social media:

 

 

 

 2. Jay Ward from Pixar shared three important parts of the creative process: Quality, Innovation and Storytelling.


 

 

 

 


3. New Disney Adventures include a “Frozen Cruise” and A Disney Resort in Shanghai!

 

 

Tom Staggs shared exciting news about the Disney Shanghai Resort and the new Adventures by Disney itinerary (Norway: Fjords, Bergen & Oslo) inspired by the film “Frozen ” – which is a partnership between Disney and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

 

 

 

 

 

4.  Collaboration, research and extensive attention to creative details a top rate customer experience.


 

Cars Land in California Adventure is a great example of how Walt Disney Imagineering and Pixar Animation collaborated to convert real life emotional experiences (Cars and Route 66) into an attraction that evokes that emotion mixed with the best in entertainment!  At the conference, Kathy Magnum from Walt Disney Imagineering talked about the extensive research they did to bring Cars Land to life inspired by the real Route 66.  Just taking a walk through Cars Land and seeing how every detail is brought to life (such as the beautiful Cadillac Range Mountain inspired design) helped me realize what an amazing experience they created!

 

 

 

 

5. Partnerships can help offer new conveniences to customers.


 
Megan McGuire from Alamo shared that they have onsite locations at Disneyland.  This makes it even easier to rent a car while at Disneyland.
 

 

 

6. “Dream the biggest dream – then make a business plan for that dream”!

 

Maxine Clark was inspirational as she shared her experiences starting the successful Build-a-Bear Workshop as a later in life career change. Two tips that stood out to me where  “Listen to your heart and you can find your true calling” “Dream the biggest dream.. then make a business plan”.

 

Disney Social Media Moms Build-a-Bear
 

7. A good use of social media for brands is to share experiences, storytelling and humanizing.

 

 

 

8.  To engage an online audience, share your passions.

 

 

 

 

 

9.  Creative use of photos to offer solutions to everyday issues (i.e. What to wear to Disneyland!) also inspires online audiences.


 
Fashionista Leslie Kay created this Disney Bound Tumblr  as a Disney fan site for to share the outfits she was going to wear at Disneyland. As it turned out, so many people enjoyed the photo inspirations that Disney Bound built up a big fan community of it’s own.

 

 

 

 

10. Cats still rule the Internet.


 

 

 

 

11.  “If you lose a game, don’t let that effect how you live your life” ~ Donald Driver


 

Green Bay’s All-Time Leading Receiver Donald Driver gave us some inspirations from his book “Driven” and stories about the importance of giving back to your community (his endeavor is the Donald Driver Foundation).
 
 

 

 

 

12.  “Don’t blog for attention, blog to change someone’s life” ~Donald Driver

 

 

 


13. “Dreams come true if you have courage to pursue it”! ~ Donald Driver

 

 

 

 

14. Social media like Twitter gives people around the world a voice!

 

@stop (Doug Bowman then from Twitter) gave an inspirational talk about how Twitter gives people around the world a voice and connects you with people you want to know.

 

 

 

This tip is one close to my heart: I have connected with an amazing community around the world through Twitter. As a perfect example of that, during the DisneySMMoms conference I decided to share tips with my Twitter community. When I shared the insight from Jay Ward of Pixar about the creative process, a UX Engineer (see below) from LONDON favorited that tweet!

 

 

 

15.  “If you don’t have creative gas, find creative gas station” ~@Gary_Jerry


 
Gary Buchanan (PR & Social Media for Walt Disney World & Disney Parks) is one of the amazing members of the Disney Social Media team along with Leanne Jakubowski  (Director, Social Media, Disney), Michele Himmelberg (PR Director Disneyland Resort) and so much more! The Disney social media team reflects the creativity of Disney as a whole by sharing Disney through authentic and engaging storytelling that communicates the fun and delight that Disney Parks offers.   The Disney team along with and Maria Bailey (CEO of @BSMMedia) did a great job creating such engaging events for the conference!
 
 
And they have fun doing their job!

 
Disney PR and Social Media

Gary Buchanan and Leanne Jakubowski
 

 

 

 

16. Use different ways to practice your own creativity.


 
During the conference they challenged us with a quick exercise of creativity. We were asked to draw a picture of the person sitting next to us. I was happy to be sitting next to one of my favorite social media buddies Rebecca Levey. Even though I only had a few minutes, I tried my best to show her gleaming personality… Ok, well I may not be a master in drawing but it was fun to draw after spending most of my time typing on some sort of device!
 

 

 

 

 17. Maleficient opens at theaters May 30, 2014!


 
As I realized this post would be published on May 30, which is the day Maleficent is finally in theatres, I thought of the fun I had hearing about the movie at the conference and having the opportunity to take my most evil selfie of all…
 

 

 
Maleficent tells the “untold story of Disney’s most iconic villian from the classic Sleeping Beauty“. I know where I am going this weekend (to see Maleficent)!

 

 

 

 

 

18.  “…Building literacy and storytelling (skills) in the digital age is important.”


 

In the digital age it is even more important for kids to make sure they develop literacy skills including reading books and the art of storytelling. At the conference we had the opportunity to hear about two initiatives that are supporting literacy in creative ways. The first one is Disney Junior’s Give a Book, Get a Book Program. The second is a collaboration with Reading Rainbow.
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Here is information from the conference about Disney Junior’s Give a Book, Get a Book Program and the following press release:

 

“Disney and First Book will provide for the donation of up to one million books to U.S. communities in need and will present families with free digital books from Disney Publishing Worldwide, through a new program announced today, Disney Junior’s Give a Book, Get a Book. The program includes a redemption code offering a free Disney Digital book and a way for families to experience giving back by donating books to the community of their choice. Disney Junior’s Give a Book, Get a Book, also includes public service announcements, free storytime events at Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Disney Store locations, and interactive Radio Disney events.”

 

Ms. Kanter said, “With each and every one of our Disney Junior series, we let a child experience the magic and learning that comes with a story well told, and deepen the emotional connection and sense of wonder and adventure that have defined storytelling at the Disney company for generations.” She continued, “The Give a Book, Get a Book program is a way for families to share stories and enter the world of giving in a simple yet effective way.”

 

 

Details from the press release on Reading Rainbow:

 

“LeVar Burton, Cofounder and Curator-in-Chief of the award-winning Reading Rainbow app, spoke about the importance of building literacy and of storytelling in the digital age. Disney Junior stars Ariel Winter and Tim Gunn (of “Sofia the First”) and David Arquette (of “Jake and the Never Land Pirates”) also participated in a storybook reading for event attendees and their families. Genevieve Goings (of Disney Junior’s “Choo Choo Soul”), who hosts the Give a Book, Get a Book public service announcements on Disney Channel, emceed the event. ” Reading Rainbow co-founder LeVar Burton read Young Henry and the Dragon as part of the Disney Social Media Moms conference. LeVar was excited to support Disney, First Book and all the Disney Social Media Moms in your collective commitment in put books in the hands of children.

 

 

Today, Reading Rainbow is more than just the much-loved TV series — it’s the #1 education app in the Apple App Store. To date, children ages 3 to 9 are reading, on average, 140,000 books a week in the Reading Rainbow app — that’s more than 12 million books read and video field trips watched since launch.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19. Disney Theme Parks even have running adventures!


 
One of experiences at the conference that was new to me was participating in an runDisney event. The runDisney website explained:

runDisney is a series of events that provides runners the unique opportunity to run through Disney Theme Parks at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida and the Disneyland® Resort in California, earn Disney-themed finisher medals, experience legendary Disney entertainment & Guest Service, and ultimately celebrate their accomplishments with a Disney vacation. runDisney offers something for the whole family! While marathon and half marathon races headline each runDisney weekend, other offerings include Disney-themed kids races and family fun run 5ks, plus health and fitness expos with guest speakers, product demonstrations and official race merchandise! From the diaper dash to the 48.6-mile Dopey Challenge, there truly is something for everyone at runDisney.”

 

Before I became a parent I used to work out 5 days a week, but between working and parenting, finding time for workouts is a challenge. The runDisney event at the Disney Social Media Moms conference allowed me to train for the event and connect with fellow moms who did the same. That team support as well as the joy of running through Disneyland inspired me to start training 3 times a week for a few months and finish the 2 mile run at the required pace.   Little did I know that after getting up at 4:30 am and joining a great warmup session by New Balance (that also supplied sneakers for us to wear) – I would be so energized and excited to run! After taking off close to 6:30 am and seeing the beauty of Disneyland in the morning (before the park officially opened) – I had to force myself not to stop to just take it all in! Well, I did stop for a few pictures and attempted a selfie but realized I really needed to keep pace with the group.  The runDisney event was so inspiring that I ran my fastest time ever (selfie time included)…
 

runDisney Disney Social Media Moms 2014 TechMama

 

 

Crossing the finish line with my fellow runners  was inspiring (I even had to the chance to see the fabulous Michele Himmelberg who is also with Disney PR). Seeing my smiling boys as I crossed was priceless. I hope that this is setting a good example to my sons that fitness and fun can exist every so happily together.
 

 

 

 

runDisney at Disney SocialMMoms 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

20. Don’t forget to capture family memories!


 

 

Make sure to live in the moment and enjoy family time, but also capture the memories at key times. After many trips to Disneyland (especially this one where I did not have my husband to help with taking pictures) I realized that capturing the priceless memories are important but a challenge. The Disney PhotoPass allowed me to relax because I knew that I would have professional pictures without worrying about taking them myself. I even had the opportunity to be IN the picture.
 
DSMM14p1

 

 

The Disney PhotoPass Photographer came up to us while we were at California Adventure a few hours after the runDisney race was over and asked us if we wanted a picture. Of course I said YES!  I was so thrilled to have done the race and then getting the opportunity to spend time with my family at Disneyland that I wanted to capture that moment. I look back at this picture whenever I need to smile, which extends that Disney magic with me whenever I need it!

 

 

 

Disclosure: TechMamas.com was invited to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration at Disneyland. My family and I attended the conference and were given complimentary items, special discounts and other benefits such as food and entertainment. I paid my own conference fees. The press release information was supplied to conference attendees for informational purposes. All opinions and words are my own.

 

 

Tech Tour of Microsoft: Windows 8.1, One Note, 3D, Xbox One and More

 I previously shared the top 5 ways I use Microsoft Office 365 to #GetItDone and explained that I am excited to be an Office Champion. Last month fellow Champions and I had the opportunity to learn lots of new information at the Champions Summit up at the Microsoft Campus in Seattle. Here are some of the fun highlights and I will be sharing more during the coming months.

 

 

Here are a few of us getting ready to start the tour!!!

 

 

The features of Office 365 Home Premium, Windows 8 (8.1) and Windows devices enable me to be so productive. At the Champions Summit I  took notes using Microsoft OneNote,  which synced across my smartphone and Windows laptop via SkyDrive. I used a Windows Phone for pictures, SkyDrive to store them and OneNote, Word and PowerPoint to create my blog post. Best of all, I was able to embed my PowerPoint presentation showing the highlights of the event into this blog post via SkyDrive and the PowerPoint Web App:

Listed below is a summary of information covered at the Champions Summit. But there were so many great tidbits, that I will also be sharing more in future blog posts!

 

WINDOWS 8.1

 

We started with a demo of Windows 8.1, the news update to Windows. I have already updated the family desktop, but laptop was still running Winows 8. What I like about Windows 8 (now 8.1) is that no matter what Windows device I am logged into with my Microsoft account – I see my same “desktop” with my live tiles configured consistently. While Windows “tiles” are similar to what people know as “app” icons, they differ in that they are constantly updated with the most current information.

 

Windows 8.1 has many new and exciting features resulting in a fast and more fluid experience:

  • Swipe from the right to pull up the date and Windows charms.
  • Swipe from the left to see the other current apps/information open on your desktop, then drag the screen (app) next to another open screen (app) to create a  split screen. Then drag it down to close.
  • When you are in an app, swipe from the bottom to see additional functionality.
  • Pinch in and you can move around whole sections at same time.
  • Additional new  capabilities include the ability to customize groups of apps to sort by different categories and to purchase Microsoft app gift cards.
  • One more feature I enjoy using is the Bing Smart Search. My standard technical benchmark for search is to type “Ryan Gosling” and check if all the information I need is in one, easy to view location. Seriously, it’s a great topic to test the quality of Internet search.

 

The Microsoft website has lots of information about upgrading to Windows 8.1, including tutorials such as this post on upgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 8..1 My tip is before you do any upgrades make sure your Windows updates are current,  which is usually automatic.

 

ONE NOTE

 

 

Picture credit: Microsoft

Next, we discussed One Note, which is a note taking app used for jotting down ideas, information, adding pictures, audio, video, web – a true digital scrapbook. You can place things anywhere in a page. The concept is similar to a three ring binder with sections on top and pages underneath (you can create as many pages as you want). I use One Note for so many things, and for this conference I used One Note to organize my travel information and keep track of the day’s discussions. All notes were automatically synced via Skydrive to all of my devices.

 

One Note came in really handy when I decided to finally upgrade my laptop to Windows 8.1 during the conference. I was able to have the software upgrade running on my laptop and take notes on the smartphone One Note app – picking up exactly where I left off in my notes. Before, (comma inserted) I used to jot down some handwritten notes on paper notebooks and then type other notes. Unfortunately, it always seemed like I lost the notes or forgot the file name. Now, (comma inserted) with One Note, I have “notebooks” for different events with all of my notes, research and important information (such as travel information) filed and labeled appropriately. The search feature in One Note is also powerful enough to sort through all the text in my notes just in case I forget the location of specific information.

 

Here are some of the key features we discussed:

 

  • So Many Uses: Use OneNote for work, home, school projects or class notes, to-do’s, recipes, flight, hotel, schedule, documents, people, map and more. You can TAG info to be searchable. Or search by keyword in the search box. If you have recipe book with lots of recipes  – you can search for what is in your fridge and it will bring up recipes with those ingredients (i.e. spinach, chicken). Important documents such as a passport with the associated travel information can be kept in One Note and accessed anywhere in the world with an internet connection (via SkyDrive). One Note can be the place to store household paperwork to live a paperless life.
  • Digital Clipping: You can add screen clippings (insert tab), pictures from SkyDrive or locally, images found using Bing, scanned images and recorded audio and video. Choose “screen clipping”, go to internet page and then click and drag to drop clipping into a section. Put all your information in one place. If you just want to include reminder it will include a URL for reference so you can go back.
  • Storage: OneNote/ SkyDrive offers 7GB of content for free. Evernote limits to 60 MB per month for free. If you have Office 365 you have 20 GB plus the 7GB.
  • Co-Authoring and Sharing: With One Note you can have simultaneous co-authoring for free. Evernote Premimium does not support simultaneous edit. One Note Notebooks can be shared so that everyone can edit and view, seeing not only the changes but also who made them and even share with people who don’t have OneNote.
  • Online and Offline: No internet, no problem: Office access  offline is included for free. This is premium feature for Evernote.
  • Across devices and platforms: ” OneNote comes with Office 2010 and 2013, and Office 365 for PCs. OneNote is also available for free on the Web, Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad, Android phones, and as a Windows 8 application for tablets.” One Note also works with the rest of office, so I can even insert PowerPoint presentations or other Office documents and then annotate it!
  • Value Proposition: Office 365 Home Premium is $99 per year, and is a full suite of products, delivering a better value than Evernote Premium at the price of $45..

 

*NEW* ONE NOTE FEATURES

 

I really enjoyed the demo of the now announced update to the touch enabled One Note app in the Windows Store.  Here are some of the key details covered in the  One Note update announcement: “Capture it all: Capture your screen with the share charm and capture documents, magazines and whiteboards with camera scan, Browse and find your notes easier than ever: Search for text in scanned documents using Optical Character Recognition and find your notes faster than ever before with recent notes and page previews, Annotate and take your own notes on the things you’ve captured: Write better with ink and see your notes in full screen! “

 

With Windows 8.1 you can capture and send it to One Note using the “Share Charm” . It’s  exciting that I can use the camera in my touch enabled device to take a picture of the screen, documents, whiteboard or other important information and then “scan” it to One Note using the camera scan function. Here is a video:

 

 

Even better, after I use that camera scan feature (with a receipt for example) I can then use the text recognition capability to search text in One Note (and then find it later when I need it!).

 

Here is another video of the recognize and search text:

 

 

For more information, check out OneNote.com.

 

OFFICE 365 HOME PREMIUM

 

We also discussed what is included with Office 365 Home Premium and the top ten features.

Here’s some information from the press release fact sheet highlighting key features:

:

“Top 10 Features of Office 365 Home Premium:

  1. If you are reading, not writing or editing, click or tap View, then Read Mode in Word to hide the writing tools and menus.
  2. On your Windows device, re-open a document or presentation and keep reading right where you left off with Resume reading in Word and PowerPoint.
  3. Like a data assistant that finishes your work for you, Flash Fill in Excel detects what you want to do and enters the rest of your data in one fell swoop, following patterns in your data.
  4. Dress up your data with conditional formatting such as bars and color scales through the Quick Analysis Lens in Excel.
  5. Tired of trying to precisely match the colors of shapes and pictures in PowerPoint? Let Eyedropper in PowerPoint do the work for you.
  6. With an improved Presenter view in PowerPoint, the audience views your slides on a main screen, while you control the show on another screen that only you can see.
  7. Inline replies in Outlook allow you to reply with one click by typing your response right in the Reading Pane.
  8. Grab a quick glance at your schedule, an appointment or your to-do list with peeks in Outlook, without having to switch from email to calendar or other modes.
  9. If the sound of typing is distracting, you can handwrite notes in OneNote instead of typing them. This is also useful if you’re faster at writing than at typing.
  10. Instead of re-typing information or relying on links to documents, feel free to embed files in OneNote to keep them handy online or offline.”

 

 

MICROSOFT ENVISIONING CENTER

 

Next was a fascinating tour of the Microsoft Envisioning Center. We were not allowed to bring our cameras, but luckily there is information on the Microsoft Website about the Envisioning Center..

 

We were not allowed to bring our cameras, but luckily there is some information about this research center on the Microsoft Website.

All I can say – is that I want the kitchen of the future NOW… But really, everything covered in the Envisioning Center tour was the perfect match of technology, home and community working together in a much more efficient way than we do it now. Luckily, the future is not too far away.

..

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The new Envisioning Center explores how technology will transform the way we live, work and play in the future.
Envisioning Center – March 01, 2013. The new Envisioning Center explores how technology will transform the way we live, work and play in the future.

 

 

 

MICROSOFT’S 3D BUILDER APP

 

 

Then if I was not already excited enough about the technology in the Envisioning Center, we had a demo on 3D Printing and learned about the newly released Microsoft 3D Printing app. The Windows blog post explains more about the 3D Builder coming to Windows 8.1: “A few months ago, you may have heard that Windows 8.1 makes 3D printing possible because it is native to the operating system, meaning the OS offers plug-and-play support for printers, understands 3D file formats, and connects lots of apps with lots of hardware to deliver offering a seamless printing experience for customers. Now, with the 3D Builder app, we’ve made it even easier for people to create and print objects in 3D” .

 

What I find interesting is that while 3D printing used to seem like some sci-fi fantasy, now it is not only becoming more accessible with all types of 3D printers hitting the consumer market but is also includes 3D apps (such as Microsoft 3D Builder) that help design objects. With Microsoft partners such as 3D Systems, Autodesk, Dassault Systemes, MakerBot, netfabb, Materialise, Stratasys, Tiertime (PP3DP) and  even MakerBot at the Microsoft retail store – I am getting closer to soon seeing a 3D printer in our family workspace soon.  Of course I started thinking about all the cool things I could create with my kids. Especially after seeing this 3D printed version of a DNA. Now that would be a science project my boys could be extra proud to bring to school!

 

 

Our last stop was techie heaven for me, located in a conference area that had selection of Microsoft Devices to demo.  The tour included a product and technical deep dive into the Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro, which packs many features making them very productive tablets.

 

 

We also had *drumroll* a demo of the Xbox One that just became available to the public. While I have not given one a test drive just yet, it is tops on our list, especially for our Xbox gamer sons! I can’t wait to play with the new capabilities of the  Xbox One, especially the advanced voice and gesture commands, entertainment options and innovative features that will really make it an all-in-one device.

 

 

What new technology are you looking forward to trying (or just started using)?

 

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All of my words are my own.

 

#BlogHerPro ’13 Conference For Professionally-Minded Bloggers

*GIVEAWAY IS OVER – BUT PLEASE FEEL FREE TO USE FRIENDS DISCOUNT SHARED BELOW!.

BlogHer as been a big part of the most “important” reason why I got involved in social media: Community! I joined in 2006 because I had pivoted from a career in a top consulting firm to starting my own business. Over the years I have gained the value of not only meeting a great community of social media entrepreneurs but also learning so much  from BlogHer and the BlogHer conferences. That is why I am especially excited to attend BlogHer Pro 2013 as one of the Keynote Speakers on the  Monetization: Brands & Bloggers Keynote Discussion with some fantastic fellow social media professionals including Ana Picazo of Finding BonggaMom, Jim Lin from Ketchum PR and Busy Dad Blog, and Sarah Penna from Big Frame.. BEST YET – I have a discount code and am giving away TWO BlogHerPro13 conference passes! Can you tell that I am excited to be sharing the fun with others?

 

Just check out the other BlogHer Pro 2013  panels and speakers that include content management, mobile and business intensive workshops. Here is a link for where to  register for BlogHer Pro 2013 and more details: “BlogHer PRO is a multi-track conference for professionally-minded bloggers looking to take their business, marketing, and technical skills to the next level. Improve your knowledge and hone your skills on everything from personal brand to personal finance to personal privacy.” Honestly, this conference is also for anyone in business that wants to learn more about the powerful medium of blogging and social media for business.

 

DISCOUNT CODE: First of all I have a friends discount code to share (because my readers are my friends of course!Use Friends Discount code, PRO13FF, for 30% off registrationRegister today!

 

GIVEAWAY:  Second, I am giving away ONE CONFERENCE PASS to BlogHer Pro 2013 for TWO WINNERS (one conference pass will be given to each winner – 2 winners total).

TO ENTER: Please comment on this blog post (by Oct. 11, 12pm PST) and then share on Twitter that you have entered this contest.

DETAILS:  PLEASE COMMENT ON THIS POST BY OCT 11, 12PM PST. To enter, please comment on this post then tweet out “I entered @TechMama’s #BlogHerPRO ’13  giveaway  http://bit.ly/GDRZf4”.  For the comment please share what type of questions you have about being a social media professional? Do you have legal, SEO, content, questions about interacting with brands or general questions about how this all works? Or I would love to hear your story on how you use social media professionally.

 

WINNER CHOSEN AT RANDOM: The winner will be chosen randomly using Random.org and will be notified by Oct. 11 at 2pm pst. Winner must respond with confirmation by October 14 2pm pst.

 

Rules: 1. One Blog Post comment per person. One Blog Post comment is equal to one entry (so only one entry per person)  2. Winners are limited by geography to US residents only 21 years of age or older. 3. If a valid email address is not provided in the entry, another winner will be chosen. 4. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. 5. Approximate value of prizes may vary. 6. All decisions are final. 7. All Federal, State and Local taxes and travel expenses associated with receipt of prize is the sole responsibility of the winner. 8. By entering any giveaway on this website you release Techmamas.com from any liability whatsoever, and waive any and all causes of action.

 

 

Disclosure: As a speaker on the Keynote Panel discussion for BlogHer Pro 13, I was assigned conference passes that I decided to share with my readers. All of my words are my own. The idea for this giveaway was also my own.

 

Moto X – New Phone That Listens To You Even If Your Kids Won’t

Over the next few weeks I will be covering new phones that I think offer great features for busy parents. The first is the new Moto X by Motorola.  I was invited by Guy Kawasaki to a media event at Google a few weeks ago to learn about the Moto X.  Guy is one of my favorite social media role models, so when he gets excited about a product – I want to learn more!  He started with a few opening remarks followed a presentation by Rick Osterloh, the SVP of Product at Motorola Mobility. I must admit, I had arrived on the Google campus curious how Motorola could differentiate a new smart phone from the really good Android phones already available. Well, the presentation helped me appreciate some new features that are perfect for busy parents (and everyone else!).

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

The unique features of the Moto X  were discussed during the media event. Listed below are some of the key points.  I will update my blog when I have a chance to spend more time using the phone.


Touchless Control: The Moto X responds to your voice (there is a 3 step training process) and is always on listening mode. To engage the controls, you just need to say “OK, Google Now” (for example “Google Now, navigate to 1234 Smith Drive, Mountain View CA”). Even when the screen is off, the phone is still in listening mode. The architecture of the phone allows it to be in listening mode without draining the battery.

 

 

Quick Capture: With the Moto X, it only takes a few seconds to take a picture.  With two twists of your wrist when holding the phone, the phone goes right into one-hand operation camera mode. Then press anywhere on the screen to take photo or video. The quick shutter speed is perfect for catching kids on the move. During the demo, the pictures appeared very clear on the phone’s screen.

 

 

Active Display: A feature called “Active Notifications” allows you to turn the phone over and see texts, calls and other content on the screen without going into the specific app. Another convenience is that you can listen to recent calls on your desktop using the Chrome Extension.

 

 

Hands Free Authentication:  Devices that are authenticated can be connected to your phone without typing in a password.

 

 

Fits in your hand: Motorola did studies to find a form factor that fits nicely in your hand.

 

 

Assembled in the US: Always great to bring more jobs to the USA.

 

 

Custom Colors: Here are details from the Motorola press releaseThrough our online studio, Moto Maker, you choose the colors, and decide on the details: front, back, accents, memory, wallpapers, even add a name or a short message. When you’re done, we assemble your Moto X right here in the USA and ship it to you for free in 4 days or less (*Subject to parts availability).” I am happy that the colors include my favorite TechMama Turquoise (well that is the name I call it at least)..

 

Lots of Accessories: I was trying to take quick notes during the media event, but there is an extensive list of accessories available from brands including: Belkin, Sol Republic, Speck, Incipio, Lifeproof, Otterbox, Casemate, Griffin, Powersupport, M4DE, So-earphones & deck bluetooth,  JAX headhpones and speakers….

 

Price/Timing: Check carriers for specific pricing, but the Motorola press release stated price of $199 for the Moto X with a 2 year contract. Moto X will be available in the US, Canada and Latin America starting in late August/early September.

 

For detailed specifications, check out the Moto X website.

 

I did have a chance to play around with the phone for a while (and so did my social media buddy Kimberley Clayton Blaine).

 

 

 

 

I’ll be posting additional information on the Moto X after a trial run with the phone. I’m excited by the opportunity to have a smartphone that actually listens to me. Maybe my kids will take notice and follow the phone’s example, responding obediently to the verbal command, “OK Kids Now”. What do you think?

 

Disclosure: This was a media event.