Saturday, November 27, 2010

Mom Is A Geek and Gadget Girl for the holidays

Over on Gadget Girl's blog, you can see a list of the latest gadgets for the 2010 holiday season.   Momisageek is teaming up with Gadget Girl to get all of these new electronic toys working, and finding the easiest and best ways to use them.

Check out all the new  technology, and come see us for help setting things up.    You're plenty busy during the holidays, and Momisageek can provide the tetchnology assistance to make sure everything works on Christmas morning.

USB Photo Widget script installation (Page 1) - Widgets - chumbysphere forum

USB Photo Widget script installation (Page 1) - Widgets - chumbysphere forum

Here is instructions on how to make your photos on a USB stick work on a chumby-style internet viewer.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Eyewitness to a drowning

Grand Haven, MI

A beautiful sunny day on the beach turns into a gut-wrenching moment of life and death.   The bystanders stay at a respectful distance as the rescuers attempt to revive  a swimmer.  

Crowds of bystanders gather at tragedy, but on this day it was not for entertainment, or curiosity - these bystanders were there to help.  In the absence of lifeguards, the beachgoers banded together to pull an elderly couple from the grip of a riptide.   While the group was trying to pull the victim from the current, more than one of us called 911, ran to the ranger station, and cleared a path for the emergency vehicles. 

Among the group was an emergency room nurse and a pair of EMTs who applied chest compressions on the beach until the rescue squad arrived. 

The victim didn't make it.  More than one unanswered prayer was said on that beach this afternoon.   But the bystanders did more than just - stand by. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Everything I needed to know about brand blogging I learned from Eden Fantasys

One of the things I went to BlogHer to learn was how use your blog to support your business, and good techniques for generating appropriate traffic to your blog. One way is to make your titles interesting. (See above, and yes, those kind of fantasies.) Now before you go wash your eyes out with soap, relax. Everything in this post will be quotable in polite company.

Blogging may be a new way to communicate, but old-fashioned marketing principles are still the way to connect to your readers. It comes down to branding, and relationships. Establish and communicate your brand consistently and treat your readers/customers with respect. With this in mind, I started observing my fellow conference attendees.

There were oodles of mommy bloggers, musing about life in suburbia and the challenges of motherhood. The kids are cute, the stories are funny, and they are nice people. But I've been there, done that, actually still doing that. As a friend of mine said, the mommy-blogger attitude can leave us veteran moms a little cold. Even though we weren't on the Internet doesn't mean we didn't have valid mom experiences. (So many negatives in that sentence, even I'm not sure what I actually said.) More importantly, from my business perspective, the mommy-blogger brand isn't defined enough for me.

Corporate bloggers also were on the scene. These are part of a large public relations department, with a defined commercial message. Their blogs have a steady stream of press releases and new product announcements. Their content lacks warmth. so the corporate bloggers try to integrate with small bloggers to give their social network some local color. Sounding like Goldilocks, I would say these blogs are branding too hard.

Then there was Eden Fantasys. They have a clearly defined market, and corporate identity. The nature of their products demands discretion, and sensitivity to socially-charged attitudes. In addition, to be able to discuss the benefits and usage, the representatives had to establish a rapport with potential customers. To reach their target audience, Eden Fantasys sponsored a session ( Bringing Sex Out of the Closet ), had a discrete invitation-only party for more details on their products, and networked with conference attendees at the parties at lunches.

Their representatives (shout-out to Jenn and Victoria) talked about their proposal submitted to their management on BlogHer benefits, and their business strategy. We commiserated on the challenges of keeping all our electrical devices charged and operational, particularly in hotel rooms with few outlets other than behind furniture or under the bed.

Aha, as Goldilocks would say, branding just right.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

You Can't Get There From Here - adventures in Ohio

As part of the Chevy Blogher roadtrip, we got to drive new Traverse from
Michigan to NYC and back. When you are in a new car, or one new to you, you don't always know all the buttons and dials and features. Especially how far your car will go when the arrow is on empty.

We weren't trying to ignore the gas tank. We had every intention of stopping at the next service plaza. In fact, I almost remembered in time. We were just ten feet past the service plaza exit when I realized the indicator was on empty. I should have taken a better look at that plaza from the front.

We took the next exit. Looking out into the night over central Ohio, we saw no lights. No worries, we could call OnStar and find the nearest station. And maybe how big the tank was so we would know how much trouble we were in.

The friendly operator came on the line and found us two gas stations about 3 miles away. Then he called the stations to make sure they were open and sent our vehicle directions. Awesome - we were all set.

Then we started following the directions. Turn right and we headed onto a narrow road flanked by cornfields. No houses, no lights, and no gas station.
Then a few more turns took us by a few houses, not many lights, and definitely no gas stations. Finally the last turn direction was given and OnStar announced we were arriving at our destination. OnStar was absolutely right.
There was a gas station there and it was open.

It was the service center we had missed on the turnpike earlier. We
were on one side of a fence, and it was on the other.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Blogher - Learning the ropes in the sponsor room

What happens when over 2500 women come together in New York City to talk about their passion for blogging? There's a whole lot of Internet posting going on for sure. The hotel wireless network feels the pain and so do the attendees.

As first time attendees to one of the biggest bloggers conventions, we don't always know what to expect. But we are learning the ropes fast. Today we learned about the exhibit hall. I was expecting a more technical venue with website hosting firms, maybe some software and even some computer hardware. Not even close! The exhibit hall is all sorts of firms that want to connect their products with women who are going to tell their friends about it online. We are getting a preview of products that will be available this fall, and even contributing to the design of new products.

So guess what Jimmy Dean is coming out with? A turkey sausage on a stick wrapped in a maple-flavored pancake like a corn dog. You can eat a breakfast of only 160 calories while walking around or driving the kids to school. (Note to my local stores - stock this! It tastes awesome, and lets me have one hand free while eating.)

How about the Chevrolet Volt? As roadtrippers sponsored by Chevrolet, we got very special treatment at this booth. I got to talk to the engineers working on the car design and share my thoughts about interacting with an electric car. For example, you can schedule the car to charge from your smartphone with an app. You check the "fuel" level, and other maintenance. The engineers, women by the way, talked to us about how the charging works. I still didn't see a place to put my purse.

In our conference bags we got new flavors of sugar-free gum (mint chocolate chip ice cream, yum), new cleaning products, and samples of toys coming out this Christmas. Even the morning shows in New York (Lifetime, Today, Martha Stewart) came over to listen to our thoughts.

Blogging - it's the new word of mouth.

For more details see my blog Follow us on our roadtrip at @momisageek #chevyblogher

Easy Twitter

Most people who "tweet" or use Twitter a lot end up with a Twitter "client" on their desktop. That means they use an alternate, or easier interface to Twitter.

My favorite is a Windows 7 desktop gadget called Twitter Explorer. It makes it easy to submit updates, and read other Twitter feeds.

Try it, and follow @momisageek to get our latest comments on technology or what we're up to. Use hashTag #chevyblogher to get updates about our trip to New York City for BlogHer 2010, the national bloggers convention for women.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Chevrolet Road Trip - Something old is something new

Special for our Chevrolet Road trip, the new edition of the Mom Is A Geek blog!

My other blog host did not allow posting from a mobile device, and that is so essential to this trip.  So I went back to old school Blogger to make fast updates.  The content migrates later today, so when the archives fill up you can go back in  time . 

We are packing the final items - Twizzlers, Diet Sunkist, Wheat Thins, and carrots.  Maybe that's not the food pyramid I learned in grade school, but these are the pillars of the roadtrip diet.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Countdown to roadtip

That's right - 2 days to go before our Chevolet roadtrip to Blogher. I'll be live-blogging and networking and hopefully collecting loads of freebies. Thanks to Chevolet sponsoring 10 carpool teams, my team will be riding in style in a Traverse crossover vehicle. Besides ONSTAR and Bluetooth, it has XM radio so I think I will skip packing the tunes and will surf the skies.

I have Audible books on my iPhone, podcasts, and of course Twitter/email/Skype. One device and I am set. Now if only I could find a make-up kit that was this multi-featured. Imagine is you could update your make-up wirelessly, with the new colors showing up automatically based on season and your preference. Have one applicator does foundation, eyes, brows, blush just by clicking to the right setting?

High tech = low maintenance

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Winning second place

I am ready to head to the BlogHer conference in New York next month.   I applied to be on their staff, and initially did not make the cut.  Fortunately for me, someone cancelled and I am now a live blogger.

Then I applied to Chevrolet for a free car for people who will carpool to the conference.  Once again I did not make the first cut, but the someone else cancelled, and now I am a blogging carpooler with a FREE car to drive to NYC.

I had a roommate, but she dropped out, and now I have a replacement from my hometown who can share the drviing and attend the conference.  Her son, coincidentally, works in the building next door to the conference hotel.

To hell with first choices - nice girls finish second.