Main menu:

Site search


Your Digital Kids

Mobile Apps Need to get Heard

Dust or Magic App Camp was a two day conference held to share ideas, get involved, and immerse yourself in the newest interactive programming environment — apps development.  But you know the old “if an App falls in the woods …”

To make sure that the apps garnered a public life, I, along with Reyne Rice from ToyTrends  gave the following presentation.


go 2 prom w me?

If you’re 17 or so and getting ready about to say goodbye to high school  prom night might figure high on your to do list this week.  The ultimate sign of digital times are the numbers of kids who’ll invite their dates via a text message.  The conversation might go something like this, says Margaret Sullivan, of Gogii creators of TextPlus.

Here’s how the invite might go:

BOY:  go 2 prom w me???  <3 john

GIRL: id <3 u 2 go 2 prom w me

(The  <3 means “love” .)

Textplus, an app that has a powerful client for free, unlimited and group chatting  surveyed 500 of their users asking about their prom date experience. textPlus and found that 40% of teens 13-17 said they would consider asking their date to the prom via a text message. Sixty four % said they would accept a date to the prom if asked by text.

Initially this might seem cold and impersonal to most of us who remember the agony of the prom transaction. The flip side is that texting is a lot easier than putting yourself in rejection’s way.

Texting looms large in end of year activities in other ways, too.  Driving is one of them  In addition to the sex talk and the drugs and drinking talk it’s not a bad idea to have a texting chat with your kids before they head out in their  gowns and ill-fitting tuxes.  Lay down the “no texting while driving law”.  But, yes, it’s ok to text mom and dad a few times during the evening just to give them some peace of mind.  (For more see Ford’s Tips on Driving for Life).

Intel’s Classmate PC in Action at the Central Park Zoo

“Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo” just took on new meaning. This week, students on a class trip to the Central Park Zoo were equipped with the latest Intel Classmate PCs. They used the notebook-cum-tablet features to sketch puffins and penguins. They attached USB sensors to explore temperature and humidity in the rain forest. They surfed the web, created Lego-based robots, and, despite a few knocks, bumps, and raindrops, the Classmates held up in style.

Intel Classmate PC

Intel Classmate PC

Read more »

For Mother’s Inner Geek

It’s quite the year for moms! Especially the techie moms. According to the National Retail Federation, plans call for spending on average $126 per mom (up $3 from last year).  They project $908 million will be spent on consmer electronics for Mom.

Sign of mom’s importance to the tech scene are everywhere.  This year, you’ll see Hallmark going mobile for those of you too busy to send a card from your PC. Or you can choose to have Hallmark pick one and send it for you.

But that’s just the icing on the Mother’s Day cake. Here are a few other ideas:

Read more »

Agetek : The Quiet Digital Revolution Gets Noisier

One November morning in 2009, Peter Radsliff, the President and CEO of Presto, a PC-less based system for easy delivery of email as a printed sheet of paper, was on a call with his colleagues from other companies when he mused about “why business had to be so hard”.

The sentiment turns out to have been shared by a number of companies on the call. Six months later, Radsliff is now the Board Chairman of Agetek Alliance, an alliance designed to promote an awareness of the products and services aimed at an aging population as well as to pump up the public profile of its members.  Other  Agetek members include ClearSounds,a maker of devices for assistive hearing, Jitterbug , a cell phone and service plan aimed at older users,  and  First Street an online and offline catalog of boomer products. For the full list of members of for information about joingin visit the Agetek website.

Is there a place for an organization like Agetek?  You tell me.  Every hour 330 Americans reach the age of 60.  That’s almost 8000 a day or roughly 2.9 million a year rushing headlong towards towards  Agetek’s demographic.

*Disclosure: The Agetek Alliance held its first meeting at an event that my company produces at CES called the Silvers Summit.

CES on the Hill

Every year I get to witness a different sort of CES event. Different than the usual Vegas cacaphony*. (*of which I am a willing partner and participant)

Held in Washington, DC, the Digital Patriots Dinner brings technologists and policy makers together to trumpet the successes of innovation.  CEA  President and CEO, Gary Shapiro, made it a point to highlight the recent policy decisions that would encourage free trade.  Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk, the former mayor of Dallas,  stressed the Obama Administration’s commitment to fighting international piracy, adding trade agreements with some of the more  reticent countries, and removing many of the obstacles in the way of new businesses.

The Patriots honored were Congressman Mike Doyle (D- Pennsylvania), who’s work with his Pittsburgh constituents has helped it achieve a new status as one of the high tech heartlands. On the other side of the house,Congressman Fred Upton, (R-Michigan) was applauded for his work with the DTV transition and with the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet.

Finally, Vince Cerf, often called the Father of the Internet for his vision of a connected web of computers, received the award . Today he is Google’s chief evangaleist.  His speech was touching and humble as he reiterated the Internet mantra of connecting, commuicating and sharing ideas freely. Read more »

A Sexting Primer

Anne Collier has been advocating forInternet Safety for almost as long as the Internet’s been around (that’s what keeps her so youthful). Lately she’s done some great reporting and offered her insights  on the whys and wherefores of sexting.  Why would a sane person (even a teen) run the risk of public shame and humilation (at best)and legal prosecution (at worst) by posting a photo of themselves in a compromising position? Here’s a bit of what she has to say but you can find the complete commentary on the Connect Safely website. Read more »

My Phone is so Smart It’s Become A Full Time Job

Now that buying a mobile phone is like buying a computer, moving, adapting and configuring your phone has become a full time job.  In the last few weeks I’ve heard the newest excuse for bad phone behavior –pocketbook dialing, misdials, and phones sounding off in inappropriate places.  “I just got a new phone and I’m still figuring out a few things.”
Here’s my list of do’s and don’ts to make your learning curve less offensive to your friends, family and colleagues.

Read more »

Native Union Melds Ultra-cool and Retro Into iPhone Handsets

Moshi Moshi headsets are the brainstorm of three design-conscious expats in Hong Kong who hated spending long periods of time on their cellphones. “When you’re in your office,” said John Brunner, managing director, “there’s no reason to hold the cellphone to your ear or wear earphones.”  In addition to style and comfort, Brunner says that using the headset can also eliminate the exposure to potentially harmful radiation from your phone.

The handsets come in a few varieties and they’re all designed by Michael Young, a designer with a distinctly Zen sensibility. If you like what you see at Muji or MOMA you’ll love this.Moshi Moshi
Read more »

Chatroulette: An Intergenerational Tour

A 55-year-old woman in broad daylight has no business visiting Chatroulette, where the population seems to be restricted to 18- to 30-year-old hormonally charged boys on the other side of the world.

For those who don’t know, Chatroulette is the latest form of social media—social voyeurism. You sit (or not) in front of your PC’s webcam. You appear in small box on the lower left of the screen. On top of you appears a blank black box. Press F9 and you’re put in contact with a random stranger (literally named stranger). You can romp through these one-on-ones with complete strangers and move on to the next whenever you get the urge.



Of course there are rumors about Chatroulette. While I only encountered one in the act of masturbating in front of his webcam, it was the topic of conversation for most of the others. Read more »