Category Archives: Technology

Happy Birthday She’sWrite!

Go, go, go She’sWrite! It’s yo birthday! We’re gon’ party like, it’s yo birthday! We’re gon’ sip Bacardi like… Well maybe not, but it has been one year since I started this blog.

Erica Lynn Photography

My first year of blogging has been great because I’ve learned a lot. Most of my lessons have centered around how little I know about social media, but it’s been fun to explore. I’ve met some really cool people, some really crazy ones too. Though many consider me one of the crazies and that’s OK.

Hubby has been pushing me to start a blog for years, and I finally did because I felt the need to carve out a little space for me. I remember when I started, I wondered in my first post if anyone besides him would read it. Yep, folks read it.

I’m still surprised when people tell me that they follow my blog. I try not to think about who out there could be reading/judging my ramblings because I don’t want to censor myself. If I thought about it, I wouldn’t tell you about me glaring at the other daycare mommies, my judgment of a little brown girl in the grocery store, how I sometimes get the blues or that my kid knows Eminem lyrics.

But again, this is my blog, my space and I’m so glad it’s here. It helps my mind to breathe.

I’m even more thankful to you for listening to me, calling me out when you disagree and showing me new life lessons. I look forward to my next year of blogging as I hope you do too. Big things are on the horizon including a complete fancy-pants redesign and (drumroll please) self-hosting. For the technorati that’s not a big deal, for this low-tech lady, it is.

Thanks again and keep coming back for more.

(Cue 50 Cent)

Go She’sWrite! It’s yo birthday! We’re gon’ party like, it’s yo birthday…

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Staying Connected With Your Loved One? There’s an App For That

Email. Facebook. Twitter. Text message. Voicemail. These are all the ways Hubby and I stay connected. (Outside of talking to each other that is.) It often feels like with our schedules we’re ships passing in the night, but with a little help, we try to make it work.

I was thinking about our relationship earlier this week and was amazed at how much we use technology to communicate whereas years ago couples would *gasp!* speak with each other. We text every morning: “Have a good day!” Or “Good luck with <insert important event/task here>” or “Don’t forget the dry cleaning!”

There’s emails throughout the day, usually focused on scheduling. Someone has to work late, someone has impromptu drinks with an executive, updates on dates and times of doctor appointments, vacations, out-of-town guests, work functions, etc.

When I get off work, I always call him and inevitably get his voicemail, so I give him the update on my day and my plan for the evening. It’s gotten to the point that when he answers, it throws me for a loop. That’s an observation worth revisiting, it catches me off-guard to actually catch my husband on the phone. That can’t be normal, or can it?

We then text each other for the rest of the evening about when he’ll be home, what’s for dinner, how Logan’s doing. Also if one parent is enjoying fun time with Logan and the other one’s away, we text or post pictures on Facebook so the other person can be “there.”

I wonder how do parents make it work when one spouse travels a lot for work? I suppose Skype then comes to the rescue.

Technology can be a funny thing. Did you know there’s even an app for resolving a problem with your spouse? It’s called “Fix A Fight,” and it apparently walks you and your loved one through an eight-step process where you pass the smartphone between each other, answering questions and listening to narration from a marital therapist.

What’s next? Virtual sex? Oh wait, that already exists. But I do wonder what other technologies are yet-to-be developed that families will use to stay connected.

I’m glad we have the technology to help mend the gaps, I personally just wish we didn’t have as many gaps. But as long as the emails, texts, Tweets and apps are enhancing communication and not supplanting it, I think it’s OK.

We do have to remember to aggressively steal away time not only for the big talks, but the chit-chat too because staying connected is what it’s all about.

I Confess, My Toddler Has An iTouch

Yes, you read that right. My little man has his very own iTouch. It was a birthday gift from his daddy. I am a professed gadget girl, but am sheepish about the fact that my boy has already had his first byte of Apple Inc.

My boys playing with the iTouch.

It started early this summer when Hubby proposed getting one for Logan’s birthday. I thought he was nuts at the time, but after talking to some educators, they all thought it was a smart idea and started extolling the virtues of such devices. They’re perfect for small hands! There’s tons of teaching apps! It’s important to introduce technology early!

I asked myself, has Steve Jobs been talking to my friends or is it that iAmOutOfTouch?

Logan got his iTouch for his 3rd birthday and he really likes it. He knows how to turn it on, unlock it and play whatever games he wants. The usual faves are counting monkies jumping on the bed, alphabetic flashcards, a matching game and all the puzzles. He’s also got a few episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Tigger and Friends and Backyardigans. He figured out how to access all of them fairly quickly.

Hubby wrapped the iTouch in an apparently tantrum-proof case that was put to the test this weekend during our road trip. Somewhere just east of the Mississippi River, it came hurtling from the backseat, whizzed by my shoulder and slammed into the front window. I pulled it from the dashboard, completely unscathed.

Although I’m still not comfortable with him having one, I have to admit I like the educational apps Hubby’s downloaded. Speaking of Hubby, many people asked me if the iTouch was really for him. I assured them that nope, Hubby wanted it for Logan.

Then I began to wonder myself after he accidentally pocket dialed me from a boys weekend and I could hear him showing off the new iTouch to his buddies. (It was funny to listen to drunken grown men talking about kiddie apps!) And recently there’s been some downloads of Hubby’s favorite bands, a-ha and Depeche Mode. Nevertheless it seems like it’s 80 percent Logan’s and 20 percent Hubby’s, which is fine, as both boys seem very happy with the gadget.

Again, it’s been good for Logan, but the practical Kansas girl in me has a hard time wrapping my mind around him having such an item. After all, the “big gift” I got for him was a $24 toy guitar that he loves so much, he sleeps with it.

So I don’t know if he’ll be more apt to turn out like Steve Jobs or Slash, but at least the boy’s got choices.

She’sWrite Part Deux

The blog revamp that’s been highly anticipated (though only by me) is here. And I’m stoked. She’sWrite was born at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport I was waiting for a delayed plane. I chose the design and supporting framework on a whim because I was so eager to just get my blog started.

The next two months I focused on finding my writing voice, a sort of bloggers’ pitch if you will. That’s still being tuned, but at least I’m growing more comfortable with it. Now it’s time the blog look a little more like me. Simple, classic, clean, but with a few fun surprises.

I’ve also written an About Me page, which required a surprising amount of self-questioning. I mean, who am I and why am I doing this blogging thing after all?

So check it out, let me know what you think of the changes and I’ll talk to you soon.

WordCamp Chicago 2010: Game on beotches

Well I survived my first day at WordCamp. And it was great, even better than I expected. (and I had very high hopes.) So I’d always wanted to start a blog and finally while waiting at O’Hare airport for our trip to New York to begin I decided, let’s do it. Five minutes later I had my theme and thusly, my blog.

Fast-forward a month to now, where I’m increasingly frustrated with the lack of brillance on my blog. I Googled and out sprang WordCamp Chicago 2010. It must have been divine intervention. A $30 conference? New people? Face-to-face help with WordPress? Game on beeotches.

Before the conference I wondered what the people would be like, their bios were all impressive, these professional blogger developer types. My hubby’s in IT so I assumed the boys would be like him witty and clad in clever T-shirts with cargo shorts. And the girls, well, of course they would be various shades of Lisa Loeb. There were some truths to my ass-ooom-aations, but largely we were a varied and fun group, drawn together by this curiously complex but easy to comprehend force called WordPress.

I worried people would be speaking in alphabet soup (RSS, CSS, PHP, xyz, pdq) and I’d need to Google the terms to know which end is up, but nope. They spoke English. And they were friendly and so ready to help me with what is surely to be mundane questions.

I learned tons and I’m excited, very excited to put it into practice. Did you know that one thing about WordPress.com and WordPress.org is that you must have your .org site hosted, among other things allowing for plug-ins and once you get that host you can still manage multiple blogs but you get to be a Super Admin. I hear it comes with a cape.

See? I wouldn’t have known what the heck I was saying 8 hours ago. Now I can’t actually *do* any of that stuff, I’m just grasping at the concepts. But hey, tomorrow’s Day 2, all in good time.

Sippy Cups & Social-Networking: Togetherville a Facebook for Kids

 Have you guys heard about the new website Togetherville? It’s essentially Facebook 4 Kids.

The social networking site is for children ages 6 to 10 and their parents. Togetherville makes a lot of strides to provide a safe place for kids to interact online. Though they can do art projects, play games and swap videos, everything is vetted first. Like Facebook, kids can have friends, interact with children of their parents friends and they can comment on posts and make status updates or “quips.” The comments however are canned and innocent: I (heart) my family!

All of this sounds good, but what’s the point and will it catch on? I’m sure the same questions were asked of Twitter and look how that turned out. But still sippy cups and social networking?

Togetherville says that as kids in what I call the iGeneration are more plugged into their gadgets there’s a need for a safe place for them to practice healthy social-networking habits. It says it helps them to become “good digital citizens.”

One of my girlfriends told me recently how her 6-year-old threw a fit because she wasn’t allowed to get her own Facebook account. My friend’s compromise is that they share mom’s. But you can easily see where that could get sticky. All of a sudden you’ve got 7-year-olds posting random stuff on your wall or some high school cockroach making inappropriate comments that you can’t delete quite fast enough.

Togetherville would work well for them, but it’s like all social networking, if no one participates what fun would it be. Would you be on Facebook as much if there were only 30 people in the Facebook world, as opposed to the 410 million that are there today?

So we’ll see. I have to admit I’m skeptical, but intrigued.