Monday, October 31, 2011

Three Geeky Android Apps

I am still enjoying the Motorola Xoom that I have through my participation in the Midwest Moms program from Verizon Wireless. In fact, I'm hemming and hawing because I need to send it in for a free 4G service upgrade. This should be a painless process, but I hate to be without my Xoom, even for a few days.  My teen son helped me find a few geek chic apps for the Xoom. Here are three of my favorites.

LH See Hadron Collider: From the marketplace description: Ever wondered how the Large Hadron Collider experiments work, and what the collisions look like? Scientists at the world's biggest scientific experiment - the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Geneva - are trying to answer fundamental questions about the nature of the universe, the origin of mass, and structure of space and time. LHSee makes the Hadron Collider accessible to anybody with an Android smartphone or tablet PC.

Make it 3D:  From the marketplace description: You can make your own 3D pictures! You can make your own anaglyph stereoscopic 3D pictures without 3D camera. Make It 3D can make stereo pictures with only one camera.

Google Goggles: Take a picture of an object and let Google tell you more about it. Google doesn't always get it right, but it can be fun to play around with even (especially) when Google is wrong.

With my Xoom boxed up and almost ready to ship, I suppose it's time to dust off the Droid Bionic smart phone the Verizon team sent to me as part of the Midwest Moms program. I brought it along on an outing shortly after I received it, but haven't touched it since.

Using the Bionic feels like cheating on my Xoom. But something's got to fill the empty hole in my heart while I'm Xoomless, right?

Stay tuned! When the Midwest Moms program wraps up at the end of the year, I'm going to be giving away one of my devices through one of my blogs. (No worries, the Motorola folks are going to swipe it clean first.)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mary Poppins in Chicago: Practically Perfect in Every Way

I was recently invited to attend a performance of Broadway in Chicago's Mary Poppins. Rachel Wallace *was* Mary Poppins; she was just a fabulous fit and did a fine job of making the role her own, while still allowing older members of the audience like me to delight in our memories of Mary on the silver screen.

As a seasoned adult, I must confess that I'm quite curious about the backstory with Mary and Bert, her chimney-sweeping friend, played by Nicolas Dromard. But the fine singing, dancing, imaginative sets and colorful costumes kept my mind from wandering too far.

I got to speak with a few members of the cast after the performance as a blogger perk. As tired as I was by that time of night (I had flown home from a business trip in Denver at 7 that morning), the cast members were that extreme of perky. They were enthused and full of energy (also many years younger than I am) and regaled our small group of bloggers with tales of traveling around the country with this musical.

It's always a pleasure to speak with people who love their jobs, and frankly, I think that love shows through on the stage.

If you and your kids enjoy musicals, put this one on your list.

Monday, October 24, 2011

How Do You Manage Family Dinner?

A few weeks ago I mentioned that my client, ConAgra Foods, launched a new online resource center for bloggers. I'm pleased to be the site's first contributing guest blogger and have already posted my second piece over there. In celebration of National Eat Together, East Better Month, I'm sharing tips to help busy families sit down for a family meal.

I have to admit this is a challenge for us many nights. The school activities and sports have ramped up now that my boys are in junior high, and some weeks I fear they are turning into renovation orphans. Our construction schedule is running a few weeks ahead (I know!), which means we've got to make certain decisions ASAP, which means we're running out to Lowes or Home Depot, or the lighting store or the tile store shortly after DH gets home so that we don't slow down the amazing progress our builder is making.

I hope you'll read the family dinner tips--they are not just mine, a few blog friends chimed in, too- and share a few of your own in the comments.

Also, about that very mediocre photo that accompanies the article. Yeah, that's my family and I took the shot. That very meh photo was the best of dozens of shots taken over three photo sessions. The best. I'm not sure if that says more about me, my camera or my subjects. Ugh.

While you're at The Dish, sign up for First Look, First Taste to be the first to preview new products, request samples, ask questions of the ConAgra Foods team and get exclusive coupons.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Social Media Masters Summit is taking place in Chicago on October 25 and 26.

Bloggers can attend for only $99.

There will be great opportunities to meet brand folks and learn best practices in the ever- changing social space.

Key happenings on 10/25 include two free events (even if you are not registered for the conference!):
* A Blogger/Brand Breakfast sponsored by Jockey and Calumet Photo
* An evening book signing with Danielle Smith and Aliza Sherman, Co-Authors of Mom, Inc. The chance to hang out with Danielle and Aliza and soak up their wisdom is not to be missed. I'm certain we'll leave feeling ready to tackle new challenges.

Back to the summit, over the course of two days attendees will learn about SEO, community building and management, creating quality video content, mobile social trends, how small businesses can harness the power of social media and other hot topics.

I'm looking forward to speaking along with a rock star group of bloggers on brand blogger relationships on the 26th. I hope to see you there!


Monday, October 10, 2011

Big Renovation Update

Our builder made amazing progress on our first week of renovation. Check it out--there's even a video of our new, but still raw, space.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

About Your "About" Page and More on Bloggers and Brands

Your About page is the topic of the upcoming MomImpact #OfficeHour chat. We'll be discussing what to do and what not to do to make your About page send the right message that matches your personality, your blog, and the type of engagement you're seeking.

Here's my About page, if you're curious. But you know what? It could stand to be freshened up a bit. Which is one of my points- when's the last time your revised yours? Yep.

It's going to be a lively and informative chat.
Join in on Skype Thursday 10/6/11 at 1:00 Central and is open to members of MomImpact. (If you are not a member, sign up.). If you're not a member of the MomImpact chat room, find me on Skype at least 15 minutes before our chat (which is text-based) and I'll add you to our chat room.

If you ask to join too close to 1:00, I'll be busy with the #OfficeHour and won't have time to add you.

And, by the way, drop me a note if you're interested in writing up a summary of one of the archived chats from September. I will pay a small stipend per chat, which I call my disorganization tax because I never got around to doing it.

There's a bonus chat this week, too!

On October 26, I'm going to be speaking about brands and bloggers at the 3rd Annual Social Media Masters Summit in Chicago on October 26. We're kicking things off ahead of time with a Twitter chat this Thursday evening from 8-10 ET. I'm one of the panelists for #SMMS. Click for details and prize info (there are some good ones).

Also, my friends at KidzVuz are hosting a Twitter party tonight. Click for deets. (Also good prizes!)