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CES 2014: Internet Of Things

Beth Blecherman CES 2014I am here at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (#CES2014) and excited to share the lastest and greatest new tech coming out. To follow my updates, check TechMama on Twitter. I just came back from the preview called “CES Unveiled” and was thrilled to see new innovations (such as a wireless crockpot with temperature controls via a smartphone), multiple devices and wearable technology that use flexible sensors that communicate via the Internet to provide all types of information.  Those advancements relate to what I have been reading for some time about the “Internet of Things”. The Huffington post shared some statistics in an April 2013 article: “By 2022, the average household with two teenage children will own roughly 50 Internet-connected devices, up from approximately 10 today, according to estimates by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. This trend has been dubbed the “Internet of Things“. So we can look forward to more household devices giving all types of new feedback, like our own team of personal assistants.


The Internet of Things was the inspiration for the panel I will be moderating at MommyTechSummit CES on Jan. 8 called “Future Moms” (at 2:55pm). But there will be many other relevant discussions and keynotes so for those at CES please stop by starting at 8:30am. There is also a MommyTech “Tech Zone” at the Venetian Level 2 with a great set of exhibitors. For those at home, there is MommyTechTV that will be streaming throught CES, or come see us live at the Venetian booth 71201. I will be co-hosting with Andrea Smith and can’t wait to discuss the latest family technology.


What new technology are you looking forward to using?




RedRover Expands To Local Event Listing Streams

Red Rover appWhen I hear of apps and websites that make parents lives easier, I always love to share the details. I just received the press release for a new feature the site RedRover. RedRover offers a fun and social way to search for local activities.  The press release explained “RedRover users follow event listing streams from their favorite places or brands  — kind of like Twitter, but for time-based activities.  The mobile app and website then give the user the ability to sort by date, distance, age groups and categories. The result is a swift and pain-free decision-helper.” I look forward to checking it out and will share more details soon as it comes to San Francisco. RedRover’s Founder and CEO, Kathryn Tucker, shared information about Founding a startup as a single mom on Huffington Post Parents. RedRover currently covers New York City and will be expanding to other cities soon.






RedRover Introduces Brand New Service So Families Can Have More Fun


NEW YORK (March 8th, 2013) – Today RedRover launches a revolutionary new platform to make parents’ lives easier and more fun. Offering parents a new and truly innovative way to discover the things going on in their town that are just right for them, RedRover has broken new ground in social software by launching a unique and clever platform into a demographic long underserved by innovative software.


RedRover users follow event listing streams from their favorite places or brands  — kind of like Twitter, but for time-based activities.  The mobile app and website then give the user the ability to sort by date, distance, age groups and categories. The result is a swift and pain-free decision-helper.


“Parents lives are hard enough,” says Kathryn Tucker, RedRover’s Founder and CEO, and mother of two. “I wanted to build a service that eases the burden around trying to figure out what to do — there is too much information out there and no easy way to reduce it to just what’s right for me. My goal is to find the easiest way to connect parents with the kind of high quality, fun events they are looking for.”


Partners like The American Museum of Natural History, 92Y, and the New York Public Library were quick to sign on. Tucker reached out to more than 200 institutions nationwide and was met with a warm reception. “These non-profits, which have wonderful programming for kids, saw the point of RedRover immediately. The inefficiency of search for parents has kept traffic from their doors. It took no time for them to see the value of a service which consolidates all the available choices and suggests events to the people most likely to enjoy them.”


From the New Victory Theater and Central Park in NYC, to the Denver Zoo, The Pennsylvania Ballet, The Bay Area Discovery Museum, The International Spy Museum and the Dallas Museum of Art, RedRover is filled with high quality kid-friendly things to do. Museums, libraries, sports teams, film festivals, farmer’s markets, and nature centers are all publishers on the platform.


RedRover partners have the opportunity to publish events in real time and color their event listings with descriptions, photos, directions, and even offers the ability to buy tickets. RedRover gives partners, venues and marketers, a brand new mobile way to reach their customers.


“The New York Public Library is proud to be a founding content provider of RedRover. RedRover will promote the diversity of programs available to parents and children, and the Library is excited to share the thousands of free family and educational programs offered by the Library throughout the Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island,” said Johannes Neuer, NYPL’s Associate Director of Marketing.


RedRover is available on iPhone and iPad as well as on the web at


The new platform is launching first in New York City with plans to launch in Atlanta, San Francisco, and across the country in the coming weeks.


Makers: Women Who Make America Documentary #MakersWomen

10-2-2014 UPDATE: The second season has started (Tuesdays) airing on PBS.


I am excited to share that on Tuesday, February 26th the documentary called “MAKERS: Women Who Make Americais debuting on PBS (check local listings) and includes a powerful list of inspiring women that are “groundbreakers who have sparked change, been firsts-in-their-fields, and paved the way for those who followed“. I had the opportunity to attend a press event months ago where they had some of the amazing Makers Women  in attendance (including Gloria Steinem and our own local Lisa Stone of BlogHer ) while they showed us some clips from the documentary.




Along with the ones I mentioned above, some others highlighted in the documentary are Katie Couric, Linda Alvarado, Brenda Berkman, Judy Blume, Carol Burnett, Ursula Burns, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres, Geraldine Ferraro, Theresa Kane, Billie Jean King, Maya Lin, Susan Love, Marissa Mayer, Robin Morgan, Sandra Day O’Connor, Maria Pepe, Michelle Rhee, Condoleezza Rice, Faith Ringgold, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Zainab Salbi, Sheryl Sandberg, Phyllis Schlafly, Barbara Smith, Martha Stewart, Kathrine Switzer, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Barbara Walters.  The program description from the PBS website explains: “Review the story of how women have helped shape America over the last 50 years through one of the most sweeping social revolutions in our country’s history, in pursuit of their rights to a full and fair share of political power, economic opportunity and personal autonomy. The documentary builds on the unprecedented multi-platform video experience from PBS and AOL:”


The Makers press release also described “cast of partners behind the documentary that brought it to life – took a team effort, just like the movement overall!”:


  • PBS, for giving a national televised platform and broad community and grassroots network;
  •  AOL, for creating an engaging online experience at;
  • and Simple ® facial skincare brand, for providing resources for production and promotion and sharing a like-minded vision of celebrating women whose authenticity, ideals and pioneering spirit inspire others every day.




The red-carpet premiere event in NYC was star studded and included interviews with many of the amazing women in the documentary:



MAKERS: Women Who Make America. Credit: Courtesy of Rahoul Ghose/PBS





The press release also had a quote from one of my inspirations “The future depends entirely on what each of us does every day; a movement is only people moving.” ~ MAKER, Gloria Steinem.



Beth Blecherman (TechMama) with Gloria Steinem at the Makers Women Silicon Valley press event.


Having the opportunity to meet Gloria Steinem at the press event even inspired me even more to do my part to contribute to the movement. To start, I will be watching MAKERS: Women Who Make America on Feb. 26 on PBS !


10-2-2014 UPDATE: The second season has started (Tuesdays) airing on PBS.


Disclosure: This is a press update.




Safe Haven Movie Tech Press Tour: Romance meets Social Media

The movie, Safe Haven, will share the romance by opening on Valentines Day, February 14th. In my last post, I shared my thoughts about the movie, a must see romantic thriller! I was fortunate a month ago to join the Author/Producer, Nicholas Sparks, and one of the movie’s stars Josh Duhamel, as well as the Relativity Media team for part of their tech press tour. How unique and exciting to see a movie include tech partnerships as part of their launch, giving fans new ways to expand their movie experience. With an engaging cast (including Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough), a beautiful set, and a great story written by Nicholas Sparks, the movie delivers on all fronts.
The San Francisco Safe Haven tech tour included the following stops:
1. PopSugar: The Safe Haven team stopped by PopSugar where they had a fun “cupcake” ambush of their editors and posed for pictures at a photobooth. Both Josh Duhamel and Nicholas Sparks were great sports posing for pictures with each and every one who waited in line for a picture, all with equal enthusiasm! They even let one specific tech mom sneak in for a picture she will never forget.

Safe Haven Movie Tech Tour (Josh Duhamel, Beth Blecherman – TechMama, Nicholas Sparks)



1. One Kings Lane:
Safe Haven provided One Kings Lane with approximately 20 décor items from the set.  One Kings Lane will execute a Safe Haven sale on or around 2/14 for 72 hours where they will sell the set décor, signed books from Sparks, and a signed script.  Proceeds will benefit the Nicholas Sparks Foundation.  I can’t wait to see what set items will be available for sale considering that the movie set location was scenic Wilmington and Southport, North Carolina.



2. Shutterfly :   Nicholas Sparks and Josh Duhamel engaged with a big group of fans at Shutterfly, taking photos together and answering questions.

Save Haven Movie Tech Tour at Shutterfly Offices (Nicholas Sparks, Shutterfly employee and Josh Duhamel.



They inspired enough romance from talking that CEO of Shutterfly Jeff Housenbold gave a kiss to his wife at the end of the event (everyone cheered).

Safe Haven Movie Tech Tour at Shutterfly Office ( Jeff Housenbold, Nicholas Sparks, Josh Duhamel)



The fun Shutterfly offer available now for anyone is: Send 5 free Shutterfly cards to the people you love! Use promo code: safehaven at  to redeem this offer by 2/25/13.



3. Twitter:  The Safe Haven team also stopped by Twitter’s headquarters and participated in a screening organized by Twitter Movies (with Twitter staff)



Safe Haven movie tech tour – Twitter Movies interviews Nicholas Sparks and Josh Duhamel



After seeing Josh Duhamel and Nicholas Sparks in action, I realized they understood not only the art of making movies and books, but also how to engage with their fans in a genuine way. Nicholas Sparks shared that interactions in social media can foster quality listening… and listening produces measurable data. He listens to social media conversations on books and movies regarding what the fans like and don’t like, and that helps him analyze what people really want. In addition, the Safe Haven team realizes that social media is not only important, but is also growing.  You can follow the Safe Haven movie on multiple social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and more! Safe Haven is now out in the theatres, so click here to find out movie times.



Disclosure: This was a press event.



Facebook Announces Graph Search Beta – My Initial Thoughts

Today at Facebook HQ in Menlo Park CA, Facebook announced Graph Search Beta. I was following the Mashable Live blog for Facebook Graph Search Beta announcement. On that feed, I saw the blog post from Facebook announcing the Graph Search Beta. Facebook explained:



“Today we’re announcing a new way to navigate these connections and make them more useful. We’re calling it Graph Search, and it starts today with a limited preview, or beta…..


Graph Search will appear as a bigger search bar at the top of each page. When you search for something, that search not only determines the set of results you get, but also serves as a title for the page. You can edit the title – and in doing so create your own custom view of the content you and your friends have shared on Facebook….


With Graph Search you combine phrases (for example: “my friends in New York who like Jay-Z”) to get that set of people, places, photos or other content that’s been shared on Facebook…..


Another big difference from web search is that every piece of content on Facebook has its own audience, and most content isn’t public. We’ve built Graph Search from the start with privacy in mind, and it respects the privacy and audience of each piece of content on Facebook….”



Emily Price from Mashable also shared on the live blog: “Bing is integrated into Facebook, so you can do web searches within Facebook — so “Weather in Menlo Park” will pull up weather results from Bing“.


The key thing to understand is that privacy settings are now even more important. Here is a link to a post about the privacy settings:


Here is a link to sign up for the Facebook Graph Search Beta waiting list:


My initial thoughts are:

1. This is an effective way to search for people, places and photos your friends are sharing (and the Bing integration is a great feature).  If you are looking for restaurant, vacations, TV shows, movies, music etc. I would find this very useful.




2. Assuming you can only search for information your friends are sharing (via the Privacy statement), this still means that you need to feel comfortable that anything you share on Facebook (Page likes, photos, conversations) etc will now be more easily found by your friends. So if you have an obsessions with anything Hello Kitty, it is important to understand that all of your friends on Facebook can easily figure that out. I suggest that anyone using Facebook read the section on How privacy works with Graph Search.


I will spend more time reading over the new information on Facebook Graph Search and add more of my thoughts. PLEASE share your initial thoughts.




Test Prep Sanity: New Book Out To Help Parents Prepare Kids For Tests

When I wrote my book – My Parent Plan, the goal was to help parents learn how to use professional project planning skills to plan for their family. One important thing to plan for is helping kids understand how to take standardized tests so it is less stressful. I have been looking for resources that can help parents prepare their kids for tests – and the new book out “Test Prep Sanity” by Elie Venezky is just that. Test Prep Sanity provides all the information to help parents create their own “test” plan including: When to start preparing, How to find the best tutor for your child, When to register for the exam and which books to buy, How to make sure your child studies without constant supervision, How to talk about the test with your child, How to handle complaining, What to do if your child won’t study, What to do, eat and wear on test day, When to expect results and How to improve test scores on subsequent tests.


Here is the press release and link to the Prestige Prep website for more information:

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Top Things To Know About Windows 8 Launch

Windows 8 LaunchToday is the official launch date of Windows 8. I will be heading to my local Microsoft Store to check out the new devices, but all the information can also be found on the Microsoft Store online. I have seen Windows 8 demos but not had a chance to review the new devices (which I look forward to in the future). But yesterday I did have the chance to watch the NYC Windows 8 launch webinar. These are my notes from the launch presentation covering what I thought were the key items discussed:


The (Windows 8) concept is gives you “access to what you use more frequently, websites you like and people you want to connect with. Glance and you will know what is going on in world – Windows 8 keeps you connected to all stuff in the cloud. It is natural experience (a new look)– log in just once (lights up with your life). See all of your friends on social networks, co-works on outlook, photos , docs from Skydrive, Music, Video – will all be there”.


“Everything and everybody that you care about – in 231 markets and 109 languages around the world…. 1,000 systems approved for Windows 8 that are thinner, boot ½ time, 1/3 weight, 3x faster.  The new Windows 8 tablets and computers have improved features such as longer battery life, are power efficient, touch optimized and have security... All Windows 8 users can access new apps and there are developer friendly terms of Windows 8 store. Difference is that it runs apps from window store, which are easy to acquire, remove and to upgrade applications….”.



Many new Windows 8 devices are touch enabled – but also work with keyboard, mouse and stylus.  Along with touch controls, you can use the trackpad to move tiles to zoom in and out (options to get around Windows).  And when mouse is pointed to corner, you get to the start screen – right click to system tools. Pricing options include affordable (Touch PC’s that starts at $499) to high end ... Brought together PC and  tablet – for work and play. One device carries best of PC and tablet experiences.  Are these new designed PC’s? Yes. Are these newly designed tablets? Yes.. Some flip, convert etc.. The best of PC’s and tablets in one form factor.



There are three Windows versions: Windows 8 , Windows RT and Windows PRO.  It is important to understand that ” Windows RT contains many of the same features as Windows 8, but is a new operating system for thin and light PCs” . The best way to learn about the different features of each version of Windows is to visit the “Which Windows is right for you” page:




The webinar also included mention of the many hardware partners including Dell, Acer, Samsung, Asus, Toshiba, Lenovo, Sony, Microsoft and the new chip ( processor) options.



The other concept discussed is that “Microsoft is all in one – bringing together Microsoft Office, Bing, Internet Explorer, Outlook, Skydrive, Skype and XBox.  Win 8 comes with mail, calenders, photos and browser.  With Excel 2013 – you can side by side run excel and apps at same time.   IE10 is here – fast, fluid and perfect for touch.  Put apps with your favorite websites on the start screen. Redesigned MSN – first website full set up for touch in win8 world. Launched – works seamlessly on web and PC. Skydrive for storage and new Skype app (always on and immersive, easy to use).  Windows 8 has a built in Bing search and re-designed Bing search app“.



“The new apps are designed to keep you up to date on everything going on the web (Bing Travel, Bing weather, Bing sports ,etc – from top media partners).”



Xbox Music (create own playlist from global catalog), new features with Xbox video and new XBox games  also launched. For example “ with XBox Video you can select movie from win 8 tablet and can play on Xbox – when you watch movie it serves up relevant info on what you are watching – like info about actors etc.”



There will also be brand new Windows 8 phones coming out this month. The concept is that when “people choose Windows 8 there is phone that works in similar way: access same data,  share same info, uses live tiles and same Microsoft account from access playlist in Xbox music and documents in Skydrive”.


Head out to retail store and connect online. Here is the link to download the Windows 8 upgrade for those interested ($39.99 online). For those that have seen or used Windows 8 – what devices have you used it with and what do you think?









Disclosure: This is a press update. The information provided are my notes of what I thought were the key points from the webinar and not directly a transcript.


This is not a paid post. I am a Windows Champions blogger and I received loan of a laptop and may receive awards (in the future) from Microsoft to post my opinions about Microsoft products.




Nukotoys Monsterology And Animal Planet Wildlands – Trading Games Now at Stores

When I accepted a consulting project with Nukotoys on the Parents@Play board, I did not realize that it would make me feel like a kid again. My favorite games as a child were strategy games. Now as an parent looking for apps for my 9 year old twin boys (and their tween brother), I jump at the chance to find apps that entertain and have the strategy that engaged me as a kid.



Enter the Nukotoys Monsterology Game (for 7 years old +)  based off the of the Ology World book series that includes Dragonology, Egyptology, Wizardology, Pirateology. My 9 year old twins happen to have many of those books and are fascinated by the myth meets multi-sensory experience that is a chess meets mythical characters game.  The Nukotoys Monsterology game is an app that brings the book to life with fantastic graphics, an original musical score, pop-up elements, 3-D mythical monster characters and storylines wrapped up in a strategy game that big and little kids alike will be engaged with. The newest twist are Nukotoys Monsterology trading cards that when swiped using the app (currently for iPad/iPod but more versions to come) – the Monsters jump into the game.


We enjoyed playing the beta Monsterology game during my time on the Parents@Play Board – so I can’t wait to load the newest version of Monsterology (for 7+,  iOS5 or later) and try Animal Planet (for 3 years old + , iOS5 or later) now that  Nukotoys “ launched Animal Planet Wildlands and Monsterology NUKO™ in Apple Stores, Walmart, Target, and Toys R Us!”  .  We also received a brief demo of the Animal Planet game and was impressed with the graphics and interaction.


Here are some fun specs:


Nukotoys Monsterolgy  Features **From press release:

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App to help find Lost Kidz Launches Today

Disclosure: I am working with the LostKidz team on their launch campaign.



It happens to almost every parent, that moment where you are out with your child and suddenly they are out of your sight. I had that happen at an airport, and with the help of some other people at the airport that were also parents – we found my son being held at security because in a split second while I was helping one of my sons – my other son had wandered into a secure area. My experience ended with a big hug, tears and a lesson learned from my son. But there are sadly many not so happy endings. Today Appiness Ltd., ” launched Lost Kidz, a mobile app that provides parents and caregivers with an instant alert system for kids who are lost or missing“. The more people that download the app, the more effective it is at helping send alerts out to make communities safer.



The Lost Kidz app is free to receive alerts and is only $0.99 annually (in-app purchase) to send out unlimited alerts (and create a profile for your kids) during the subscription period. Although the app currently is only available in iOS, the Android version is under development and will be available later this year. I can’t wait to load the Android app to my phone when it comes out, not only for my kids but also to participate in a safer community for all.

Press Release:

Lost Kidz App Launches to Provide Emergency Mobile Alert System for Missing Children (via PR Newswire)

JERSEY, United Kingdom, August 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Appiness Ltd., today launched Lost Kidz, a mobile app that provides parents and caregivers with an instant alert system for kids who are lost or missing. Addressing every parent’s worst nightmare of losing a child, Lost Kidz uses location-based…

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Social Curation Tool: Pearltrees Now Has iPhone App

Like many others, I use the web for many things including research, entertainment, socializing.  A few years ago I went on a Traveling Geeks trip to LeWeb in Paris and met the team from Pearltrees. I started a TechMama profile on the Pearltrees web application to organize presentations, research, fun social conversations and many other categories. I enjoyed how after saving my web content into Pearltrees, I could go back and quickly browse though all the web pages (including videos). Saving the web page was as easy as using the Pearltrees add-on on my browser to “Pearl it”. I had fun organizing my curated content. For visual people like myself, Pearltrees is a great way to not only curate content but have a visual way to see and organize it.



Because there are many visual curation sites that offer users the ability to save information, users should review and choose the curation tool that best fits with how they want to see and store their information.  Although I use multiple curation sites, when it comes to situations where I want to see my information in a tree format (and have the ability to quickly browse through the content) –  Pearltrees is a great tool.



Today Pearltrees announced their new iPhone app that will allow Pearltree users to take their curation on the go (with an iPhone or an iPad).



Disclosure: This post is a press update.