Google+

8 Jul

The beauty of Google+ is also causing me great frustration – it is truly collaborative and you can see changes being made on an hourly basis because of user comments and feedback. But while I like being an early adopter and knowing more than the average person, I feel dumb with Google+. It takes time to get to know how to use this, it’s cumbersome at points, things disappear and then reappear… I need a personal guide to lead me through the ins and outs – but everyday because everyday things change. I know this is in beta. I accept that fact, I just think it should be easier to use right away. As a marketer I know how hard it was to get people to embrace Facebook, never mind Twitter where a lot of people still haven’t fully ventured. If Google+ doesn’t get a whole lot more intuitive, it will be for a bunch of marketing/tech geeks who like to know more about this space because we can. The unfortunate thing is that their friends won’t be with them here because they’ll still all be on Facebook. So a new circle could be called “Non-Facebook Friends who aren’t really friends, but rather virtual acquaintances”

Top three things that annoy me:
1.) The invitation process/system, it’s social – if I can’t have my friends with me what’s the point?
2.) Mobile lag time. Social is so mobile and in the moment. I felt like I went back a year thinking about the next time to go to the desktop.
3.) Trying to explain Google+ to people

I will stick with this because it’s Google. I will try to learn it because it’s my job. I will have fun because some of the stuff is cool like Hangouts where you can have a video chat with IM with YouTube videos all at the same time. I will continue to be frustrated with the assumption that people will just figure this out. I will be annoyed that things aren’t readily available like a mobile app for the iPhone (but one came out today – kind of…), and that you can’t use Hangouts on the iPad2 and that if you do follow ‘celebrities’ in your stream the comments cascade and are quite plentiful and simply annoying.

I’ll tell you one thing – it is causing a lot of conversation for sure. Real live debates and virtual ones. It’s wonderful to be part of such an opinionated and boisterous crowd. I’m not into defending any social platform/network. Like any product or service, if the story is better than the store it will be exposed. People find a purpose for whichever service they prefer, but most of use many, so adding one more doesn’t feel like the end of the world – but wouldn’t it be great if there was one killer app that did it all – including mobile payment and changed your address with all of your creditors at one time so you didn’t have to do change of address. Can’t everyone be on a Facebook Connect like system?

Have fun exploring this (if you are lucky enough to get in before the official public launch).

 

Here is a link to an article asking why Google launched before they were ready….
http://allthingsd.com/20110628/google-execs-explain-why-they-launched-google-now-before-its-ready/

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Going to bed

1 Jun

Written in the last 13 minutes of May 2011

Sometimes going to bed is too much trouble.  Wouldn’t it be great if on days when you needed to just keep going you could skip the whole night part – just swoop right into the next day feeling refreshed and energized without missing a beat?  I have been trying to catch up this evening and got carried away on all things digital.  It’s now 11:47 and I am trying to shut my brain off, except I can’t.  I also have a 4 1/2 year old in my bed because she fell out of hers.  It is only the second or third time she has done that in two years, so we are thankful.  But she was really startled this evening so we shuffled her into our bed about 30 minutes ago. I’m not anxious to compete for a piece of the king size bed…she is tiny but takes up so much space.  I am milking this quiet time in between the night and morning.

It always rains on me in Puerto Rico

14 May

It always rains on me in Puerto Rico and that’s ok. I am on a girls’ weekend in Ocean Park. We stay at the Número Uno Guest House. My two friends have been coming to this same place for eight years. My first trip here was their second year. It poured. And poured. We spent a lot of our time huddled on the wrought iron couches listening to the rain on the tin roof while deeply immersed in our books. My second trip here was their fourth year. It poured and was windy, but we did have a couple nice beach days. And now on my third trip here, I find all five (every year there is a different cast of characters who join the original two) of us huddled together in the courtyard talking about going to lunch; however there isn’t any power so we will just have to make due with the hunk of Manchego.

It’s ok that it rains because we are still relaxing. We still don’t have to check email. We don’t have to figure out how to entrain children in the downpour. We don’t have to do anything except be thankful that we can take this time out to recharge. We are milking our time in the rain, together but alone in our books and our thoughts (and drinks.)

I spent a lot of time worrying about leaving my family for four days. But my wonderful husband reminded me in his way that if I didn’t enjoy myself this time would be wasted. So therefore it goes to support the great advice – if you are going to do something do it well.

Milk the Happy and Healthy moments

8 May

Mother’s Day is more special to me every year – especially as my family has grown against the odds.  I now have three beautiful thriving children.  I also have family and friends and a great nanny who support us.  We are fortunate enough to afford a nice life with clothing, shelter, food and fun.  I count my blessings everyday day, sometimes more often.

Digitas, my second home, has been working on promoting Cradles to Crayons these last few months.  The team produced a wonderful video to get out the word about the organization who takes care of the more than 305,000 children in MA who need assistance.  Here is the link to a 3 minute video, it’s well worth the time. You can also friend them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.  We are currently working on a collection of goods drive, so if you want me to bring anything in get it to my house by Monday night.  You can also drive the stuff to their collection facility in Brighton.

I am also thinking about military families.  I grew up an Air Force brat, my mom had me when she was 21 and moved to Texas two months after I was born.  She didn’t have a support system or very much money – but my parents had a lot of love.  I am thankful she was too young to know the difference and living in a time where that was enough.

However today’s military families are working hard to make ends meet and to raise their children when the moms and dads are gone for long assignments in the Middle East.   My thoughts are with them.

My Mother’s Day thoughts are also consumed with four strong women who are elderly, ill and grappling with the last stages of life.  The struggle is that we know we all die, but it’s how that happens and when that is hard to watch and hard to do gracefully.

So Happy Mother’s Day to everyone who is happy or struggling or healthy or ill.  We need to milk the Happy and Healthy moments for those who can’t do it themselves.

Milking Time to attend the Royal Wedding

27 Apr

Predictions that TWO BILLION people will watch the Royal Wedding are swirling about.  I will be one of them.  I don’t have time to do a lot of things that I’d like to do in the day, but lucky for me the Royal Couple didn’t plan their wedding for a US audience and so I’m able to watch it AND be able to go to work.

I am also hoping my sister watching with me @kteb.  And of course my 4 1/2 will be watching with me.

I have a good friend who did some digging and aggregated the best schedule of the festivities that I’ve seen – again saving me time.  Love him!  Thanks Emile.

Now, the big question is how will this play in the social media space?  I want to be watching instead of reading others’ comments of the same things that we’re both seeing on TV.  I’m sure I’m not alone.  But are there any feeds or people to follow that will have an inside scoop? If I have time to research before Friday, I will let you know.

Am I that into Royalty?  Not so much, but this is one of those events that we’ll talk about for a very long time…I feel bad for Henry, because there is NO way I’m getting up at 4am to watch his wedding.

If anyone has good scone recipes, we’re on the look out….

Emile’s version of the Royal Wedding Schedule:

8:30 a.m. London time (3:30 a.m. Eastern U.S.): General guests will start arrive at Westminster Abbey

10:00 a.m. (5:00 a.m. Eastern U.S.): The royal family begin to take their places at the Abbey, with Queen Elizabeth II and her husband the last to arrive

10:10 a.m. (5:10 a.m. Eastern U.S.):Groom Prince William and his best man, Prince Harry, will depart Clarence House. Their drive to the Abbey will only take five minutes.

10:20 a.m. (5:20 a.m. Eastern U.S.): Members of foreign royal families will arrive at the church

10:20 a.m. (5:20 a.m. Eastern U.S.): Mother of the Bride, Carole Middleton, and James Middleton, brother of the bride, will depart the Goring Hotel. It will take seven minutes for Carole and James to travel from the hotel to Westminster Abbey

10:40 a.m. (5:40 a.m. Eastern U.S.): The members of the royal family begin to pour in. Uncle to the Groom, Prince Andrew, and his daughters Beatrice and Eugenie; Aunt to the groom, Princess Anne, and her husband; and Aunt and Uncle to the Groom the Earl and Countess of Wessex will all enter the front of the church through the Great West door

10:42 a.m. (5:42 a.m. Eastern U.S.): Prince Charles and William’s stepmother, Camilla, arrive

10:45 a.m. (5:45 a.m. Eastern U.S.):Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are the last guests to arrive at Westminster Abbey

10: 48 a.m. (5:48 a.m. Eastern U.S.): Kate’s bridesmaids and William’s pageboys will gather at the Goring Hotel to depart at 10:48 a.m. The wedding party will arrive at the church five minutes before the ceremony is to begin.

10:51 a.m. (5:51 a.m. Eastern U.S.): Catherine Middleton, accompanied by her father, will depart the Goring Hotel in a Rolls Royce and make her way to Westminster Abbey. Once she arrives at the church, details about her wedding dress will finally be revealed. A press release, including the wedding dress designer’s name and sketches and photographs of the dress, will not be sent out until then.

11: a.m. (6:00 a.m. Eastern U.S.): The bride arrives at the Abbey; the ceremony begins. The ceremony  is to last just over an hour and will include vows and a sermon delivered by the Bishop of London, private clergyman to the queen. The bells of Westminster Abbey will ring as Prince William and his new wife depart the church.

12:15 p.m. (7:15 a.m. Eastern U.S.): The Prince and the new Princess Catherine will go from the church to Buckingham Palace. They depart in the 1902 State Landau, a carriage, carrying the bride and groom will be followed by the Queen’s carriage and members of the Household Cavalry. Two of the horses taking part in the ceremony are named after William and Catherine. The procession will pass by some of London’s most well-known landmarks, including the Queen Victoria monument, The Mall, and the Houses of Parliament.1215

12:30 p.m. (7:30 a.m. Eastern U.S.): Once the royal couple arrives at Buckingham Palace, they will pose for their official wedding photos. But those private moments between Will, Kate, their families and their bridal party will remain private. The palace staff says they “hope” to release some photographs the following morning.

1:25 p.m. (8:25 a.m. Eastern U.S.): The married couple will reappear on the balcony at Buckingham Palace with the Queen and their families for 10 minutes. We can only hope they will follow the example of William’s parents and mark the occasion with a public kiss.

1:30 p.m. (8:30 a.m. Eastern U.S.): The Royal Air Force, where Prince William serves as a search-and-rescue pilot, will perform a flyover

1:35 p.m. (8:35 a.m. Eastern U.S.): Prince William and Kate will head inside Buckingham Palace to the afternoon reception hosted by the Queen

After that, husband and wife will drive to St. James Palace for some down time

7:00 p.m. (2:00 p.m. Eastern U.S.): The evening party is expected to be much more fun, relaxed, and most important, private. No pictures from the event are expected to be released. Speeches, including the one given by the Best Man, Prince Harry, will be delivered at this reception. This is the one moment of Prince William and Kate’s day that is not planned to the second. The palace says the party will “finish when it finishes.”

Money well spent on baby products

11 Apr

As I get ready to donate all my gear, I am reflecting back on the gobs of money spent on the products.  There are so many baby items that turn out to be a waste of money, so here are six things that are totally worth it in my humble opinion:

Socks On – I really liked these, they actually kept the socks on and saved me a lot of time and frustration.

Milk Maids– This is a styrofoam type bottle holder that allows your baby to feed themselves a bottle – it rests on their belly so you don’t have to hold the bottle.

Bumbos with trays – These are really great and safe.  It’s the perfect place to put a baby when you don’t want to leave them laying down all the time.

Vitamix 5200 – You knew I was going to put this here. It’s great for baby purees.  See this older post.  https://amkline.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/making-baby-food-is/

Dr. Brown Bottles – High end bottles with lots of parts, but they are supposed to prevent acid reflux and digestive issues.  My babies spit up constantly until they were 11 months old, but I don’t think they were in pain.

CityMini Double Stroller – I am not giving this away for years.  I love this stroller and it is worth every penny that we spent.  I wasn’t sure I would like it, so I got it on Craig’s List slightly used so I could save money for the really super duper stroller.  But I am happy to say, this one has not made me year for another (and I’m the kind of person who likes four strollers so I have the perfect one for each occasion). It is skinny so fits through a regular door.  It is lightweight so with a flick of wrists you can fold it up and pop in the back of the van.  And it is large enough for our four and a half year old who wishes she were one.

All of these items make wonderful gifts for friends having babies.

Milking The Yes

23 Mar

Saying “yes” keeps the door open for you to figure out if “no” really is the right answer.  In most cases “no” is not the answer, so when your gut lets your mouth say “no” you shut down all other options.  Say “yes” more often at work and at home and you’ll see a huge difference. I call it “milking the yes.”

http://digitasdistillery.com/journal/2011/3/22/milking-the-yes-the-best-advice-youve-ever-received.html

The days are long but the years are short (anonymous)

9 Mar

My children  Maddie and Sammy turn one on Saturday. When I step back to reflect on the year, I have a number of emotions:

amazed – that we all made it through the year unscathed (let’s not count the five ear infections they both had, croup, the flu and numerous colds)

startled – I can’t believe the year is over, wasn’t it dragging on forever just last month?

happy – I love my long-awaited for and much dreamed of  family

sad – that I wished any of the time to go by faster; there were times that I wanted to wave a wand and just get to age four

surprised – that I seem to have less mommy guilt, than I did three and half years ago when my daughter turned one.

awakened – to milk  joy from every single minute we all have together

inspired – to take more photos and videos and to chronicle milestones more aggressively

grateful – to the village that helped our family during this last year (lots neighbors who made us dinner, grandmother who lived with us for the first two months, grandparents who became permanent fixtures until they left for Florida for the winter, a benefactor who gave me all her twin gear, co-workers who dealt with my sleep deprivation, friends who showered us with love and gifts, Midnight Moms who got me through the first three months, our nanny who is now a member of our family and of course most importantly to the random people who came up to me (as I pushed a ginormous stroller with two small babies) and ask if they are twins.)

Milk the principles of exercise to help manage keeping up at work

2 Mar

If you follow this blog you know that I am challenged with finding time where I feel like working out.  So in addition to the stairs (I managed to do 30 flights today), I am also starting to do the add one sit up and one push up everyday.  I started this with my friend Donna at work.  We don’t do this at work, but we make sure we are both sticking to the plan.  We’re on day four, so we’re doing very well so far – four sit ups and four push ups – who can’t do that?!

I am applying a similar approach to keeping up with all the news in my industry.  You can’t possibly keep up with everything, but you can get yourself organized in such a way that you can add things in on a gradual basis and before you know it you are reading  new blogs (MarketingProfs), watching another TED video (Sheryl Sandberg) and following new people on Twitter (@jowyang).

Walking stairs brings up issues

25 Feb

It’s hard to walk the stairs…

..while texting, emailing, surfing or talking on the phone

…with a winter coat, mittens, scarf, starbucks, umbrella, big ole boots, a purse and a computer bag (I am still carrying the laptop and iPad, I have to figure out how to stop this)

…and what I discovered today…skinny jeans.  The good news is that I fit into my version of skinny jeans, the bad news is that it adds a new challenge to walking up the nine flights of stairs.

…Oh yeah, that was another new revelation today – no office building labels the 13th floor – so going from 8 to 18 is not ten flights, but rather nine flights.  This “ah ha” was the most disturbing of all.

I will continue to milk the brief alone time and power up the nine flights while only using my iPhone for music.