All Articles Tagged "technology"

Little Tech Heads: Do Your Kids Need A Technology Diet?

August 18th, 2015 - By Allyson Leak
Share to Twitter Email This

I have 2-year-old twin boys and there was a time about a year ago when TV was my savior so that I could get five minutes of mommy time. I was still in the room with them, but I had a break from constantly entertaining my sons. Then I went through a period for a few months where I cut out all TV and that wasn’t easy, however, we all survived and I think it was really good for them to have a break.

It’s no secret that technology has become an addiction to many people. Whether it’s at a restaurant, at home at the dinner table, at school, or hanging with friends, kids are constantly tip tapping away on their phones and tablets and updating their social media pictures and status messages or playing games.

According to a recent study on teens and social media use, the Pew Research Center found that “Aided by the convenience and constant access provided by mobile devices, especially smart phones, 92% of teens report going online daily — including 24% who say they go online “almost constantly,” according to a new study from Pew Research Center. More than half (56%) of teens — defined in this report as those ages 13 to 17 — go online several times a day, and 12% report once-a-day use.”  

If you find that your child is watching too much TV, playing video games for hours at a time, and just generally disconnected from the family and more concerned with what’s on their favorite blog then you might want to consider a technology diet. Try committing for one year and see if you notice a difference. A tech detox and maintenance is not easy, but it could be beneficial. Here are some things to consider:

Lead By Example

It just doesn’t make sense to tell your child they can’t update facebook 50 times a day when they see you doing the same thing. Take an assessment of your social media/technology consumption. If you find that you are on as much as them, then make a commitment as a family to scale back so your kids see everyone is serous about it.

Library Time

The library may not be a kids idea of fun but there can be some cool ways to make it a little more appealing. Dedicate a day once a month where you go as a family and everyone picks three books about things they like. If your son likes video games let him read a book about it versus playing all the time.

Increase Family Time

When there is a technology cutback you need to figure out other fun things to do. You can make a family pizza night and play games that the kids pick. You can go bike riding and pack a picnic or even find out when your local museum has child or teen night etc. The whole point is to get their minds on other things besides Facebook or their favorite show.

Screen Free Areas
If you are downsizing on tech time then take TV’s out of the kids rooms and out of the kitchen if it’s there. Have one to two TV’s around for less temptation. Put tablets and laptops away until the weekends or whenever they are allowed.

14 Fitness Gadgets & Accessories To Get New Moms Back In Shape

July 10th, 2015 - By Rich
Share to Twitter Email This

New moms find themselves trying to keep up with the demands of their newborn and other day-to-day operations…on little to no sleep. It’s challenging but not impossible. One way to keep up your energy — and receive much needed endorphins to relax you  — is with a good workout. Here are some fitness-related gadgets you might want to consider.

14 Fitness-Related gadgets for New Moms to Try

Update: #ProjectDiane Kickstarter Campaign, #RewriteTheCode Hits $25,000 Goal In Less Than Two Days

June 12th, 2015 - By Janel Martinez
Share to Twitter Email This

RewriteTheCode_image

 

Original Report By Janel Martinez- 6/2/2015:
Women (and several men) gathered at Etsy headquarters in Brooklyn, New York last Thursday for the kickoff of Digital Undivided’s Innovation Thursday series with Etsy’s Director of Seller Development Kimm Alfonso. The intimate conversation touched on various points, from Etsy’s education programs and creating an engaged network to going from seller to Etsy staffer and the company’s IPO.

In addition to the evening’s conversation, Digital Undivided’s Managing Director Kathryn Finney had an announcement: The social enterprise would launch its Kickstarter campaign for Project Diane on June 1.

Named after Civil Rights leader Diane Nash (she was co-founder of SNCC), Project Diane is an initiative designed to disrupt the long-standing issue of pattern matching within the technology industry by identifying diverse founders of startups and tech companies. Initially, Project Diane’s goal was to identify and capture data surrounding women founders of color and, ultimately, promote and connect this growing demographic within the space. Now, however, Project Diane has entered a new phase, #ReWriteTheCode. This includes a Kickstarter campaign to help create a documentary film on intersectionality in tech.

“We started off just collecting the names, and we still are, of Black women who are founders or co-founders of startups,” Finney, who credits 2014 FOCUS Fellow Brit Fitzpatrick for putting the initial stages of #ProjectDiane in motion, told MadameNoire. “Then we started to do some research ourselves trying to find people.”

The results have been very interesting, says Finney, who started DID in 2012. Of the 300 companies that’ve submitted themselves into the database, the majority are not technically considered startups, which is an interesting challenge for the Black and Latino community. (The term startup, while often debated, refers to a company designed to scale very quickly. For example, consultancies aren’t seen as startups due to their lack of ability to scale fast.)

The initial data also shows that less than .1 percent of all venture funding in the past five years has gone to a Black woman. More so, only one Black woman, Pathbrite founder and CEO Heather Hiles, has raised over $10 million.

“That’s problematic for us because we need that revenue to go to the next level,” said Finney.

In order to “limit bias in our data collection and to find founders who may be ‘hidden,’ we needed to look at the gender and racial makeup of startups in popular databases like CrunchBase and AngelList,” wrote Finney in an email. “Once we started to do this, we realized that no one had ever looked at the race and gender makeup of the startup community. We were creating the primary database. So what started as a simple solution to a discrete problem became a big solution to a very big problem.”

Project Diane is raising $50,000 to complete primary research on the gender and racial makeup of the 60,000 strong startup ecosystem and will use that data to create a comprehensive gender and racial mapping of the global startup community.

For more information on the Kickstarter campaign, click here.

Update By Lauren R.D. Fox- 6/12/2015:
Project Diane’s #ReWriteTheCode Kickstarter campaign hit its goal of $25,000 without any media promotion in less than two days. “People do care. People do want to hear our story. It’s given people something to believe, particularly women of color, who were starting to feel almost abused by the tech world. They were really feeling like there was no hope, and nothing we could do,” creator Kathryn Finney told The Huffington Post

Project Diane has a financial goal of $50,000. Currently its #ReWriteTheCode campaign has raised $41,012. Click here to donate.

Behind The Click: Digital Media Pro Shauna Graham On Launching Her Beauty Tech Solution

April 14th, 2015 - By Janel Martinez
Share to Twitter Email This

shaunagraham_AboutMeName: Shauna Graham

Favorite read: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman | The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

Recent read: The Path with Heart by Jack Kornfield

Favorite websites: Huffington Post, Upworthy and Vox.

Favorite apps: Uber, Snapchat and Wake.

Goals for 2015:

  1. Expand my team.
  2. Launch a new app called Reco Me.
  3. Re-launch Hair Decoded.
  4. Gain larger private and government contracts for technology.

Most inspired by: Creativity and the passion to create.

One quote that inspires you: “Expand Your Fear Horizon.” – Me

Twitter handle: @theshaunagraham | @hairdecoded

Shauna Graham has turned her love for tech and multimedia into cool innovations and a profitable venture. The former model taught herself to code in between casting calls, which led the New York-based digital media technologist to found The Alfam. The full service digital media development and consulting group has expanded since its 2010 launch, working with a bevy of clients such as Armani Exchange, NBC and VH1, to name a few. While powering her own business, Graham created Hair Decoded, an interactive social community for hair enthusiasts, in 2014. App Crawler, Bloom and Glamour, Curls Understood and StyleBlazer have recognized the app, and Graham and team are gearing up to re-launch the beauty and lifestyle app.

MadameNoire caught up with Graham to chat about how she got her start in the digital world, teaching herself to code and what’s next for The Alfam and Hair Decoded, as well as her latest project.

MadameNoire: How did you get your start in the technology space?
Shauna Graham: I built my first website on Frontpage when I was in high school. My then-boyfriend was making a lot of money creating commerce stores. He challenged me to create my own, so I started created a few commerce sites from scratch using Dreamweaver teaching myself. I then started making money doing websites for other people, which prompted me to start my own business.

MN: What inspired you to create Hair Decoded, a mobile social app that allows users to track and share hairstyles?
SG: I have/had a blog called Vissa Studios. Most of the visitors were interested in viewing hairstyles as inspiration. I was away on a retreat and it kind of just came to me. Granted there are other similar apps, but Hair Decoded has its own take on a social community for hair enthusiasts.

MN: When you first had the idea to create Hair Decoded, what steps did you take to get it off the ground?
SG: After drawing out my idea on a piece of paper, I did a design mock up. We then designed the graphics and started programming when we got seed funding. It was a team of four of us to get it going. The entire process took about six months to a year from ideation to launch. Through word of mouth, my team expanded from four to 12. I am so grateful I have such an amazing team.

MN: I’ve read that you taught yourself to program and code. For anyone looking to learn to code, what tips would you provide them?
SG: You can mostly learn how to program and code online for free if you want to learn how to code like Code Academy. There are so many more resources now than ever before. Just jump on one and get going. Once you become a little more advanced, I would suggest going to Full Stack Academy. It is a free academy that helps the growth process in the technology world. Or, you can just go to meetups to learn from peers and the programming community.

MN: You also have experience in digital media and creative production, and founded an agency called The Alfam. Your company has worked with big name companies such as Bacardi, Bose and Dove. What has been your biggest lesson in working with brands on creating innovative content?
SG: Create a timeline that is conducive to your lifestyle; that is balanced and healthy. In the beginning, you want to pull overnighters and establish yourself as a fast and hard worker.  Once I came to the realization that I was not superwoman, I was able to balance work by creating proper deadlines.

MN: What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received or given?

SG: Received:

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate. If something is good or bad. Doesn’t matter, just communicate.
  2. Give yourself extra time just in case you run into glitches.

Given:

  1. Understand and get to know your client to create an amazing working environment.
  2. Be on top of the latest and newest trends.
  3. Honesty works.

 

MN: What’s next for Hair Decoded and The Alfam?
SG: Hair Decoded re-launch this summer with some cool partnerships. Can’t wait!

The Alfam is working with some cool partnerships and launching another app. We are excited with our projects now and for new and bigger ones that are to come.

Call Me, DON’T Text Me: How Technology Has Put A Damper On Our Dating Lives

March 18th, 2015 - By Liz Lampkin
Share to Twitter Email This
Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

The 21st century has brought about many changes in the way we live everyday life. A lot of the changes have been great, others not so much. But nonetheless, life as we know it has evolved. With the many things that are new, exciting, and seek to make life easier, there is one thing that has altered our lives in major ways. Yup, you guessed it. Technology.

There are so many man-made devices that help us cook faster, eat healthier, park without parking or even drive without driving! A majority of us use some form of technology to make life easier, but there is one area in life where technology can hinder rather than help. Surprisingly, communication is the one area where technology seems to be failing humankind, particularly in the world of courtship and dating. With the many ways people can say hello, send a friendly smile or deliver an e-card, there really doesn’t seem to be a need for people to connect with each other the old-fashioned way. However, I believe that communication, connections and relationships were a lot better and more fulfilling when people actually took the time to get to know a person.

For instance, when you went on a first date back in the day, you were excited to get to know a person by asking as many questions as you could. Today you can Google a person’s information before you meet them and tell them a few things that they didn’t even know about themselves! Researching someone before a first date can hinder the conversation and make the date boring. Not to mention that it’s a little creepy.

And let’s not forget how people rarely pick up the phone to call one another.
Not too long ago, a man would call a woman he was interested in to hear her voice and wish her a good day. She would anticipate hearing his voice, and such gestures would bring them closer. Today we exchange quick and impersonal “good morning” text messages that have been saved and sent to others. And when we send a text, be it to greet someone or bid them farewell, people don’t take the time to even check their spelling! There’s nothing more impersonal and annoying than reading a text message from a person who’s supposed to be interested in you, yet they didn’t take the time to make sure their message for you was clear.

The Internet, social media, and other forms of technology have cheapened the art of courtship to the point where people rarely go out and meet others. Why take a chance in meeting and sparking up a conversation with someone when you can rely so heavily on dating websites? And even when people do go to mixers to “meet people,” if they’re not immediately approached, they flock to their phones.

Getting back to old-school loving is something people don’t want to do, but I think doing so will benefit the communication skills of generations to come, as well as the present ones. It’ll teach them how to listen to others, how to approach a woman with respect, how to respond to a man’s advances and know the proper way to court one another. But in order to do so, both men and women must establish simple standards for themselves in order to enhance communication with each other and not rely so heavily on technology.

For instance, women should make it mandatory for men to call them at a reasonable time of the day in order to have a meaningful conversation. If you’ve made this request and they can’t do something as simple as this, then they’re not worth your time. Another thing people can do is not become friends or followers of people on social media sites until they’ve actually taken some time to get to know that person. We all know that often, people aren’t who they say they are on social media, and you shouldn’t let any ol’ body have access to all of your personal information. While technology has advanced our world in a number of ways, it’s best not to depend on it so much, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. Don’t be so dependent upon technology to communicate for you, because at some point you’re going to have to step away from it and show the world who you really are.

Liz Lampkin is the Author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For and an advocate for single women. Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin.

White House Puts $100 Million Into Tech Worker Training And Hiring

March 10th, 2015 - By Ann Brown
Share to Twitter Email This
Image Source: WENN

Image Source: WENN

President Obama has announced a $100 million federal government grant program to improve training and hiring of high-tech workers, which is great news for individuals interested in the field. Tech employees can earn much more than the average American worker; according to the White House,  high-tech jobs pay 50 percent more than average private-sector American jobs.

According to Obama, the U.S. sorely needs tech workers in order to keep up with the rest of the world. “If we’re not producing enough tech workers, over time that’s going to threaten our leadership in global innovation,” he said.

Confessions of a Mompreneur: 10 Apps That Make Life Easier

March 5th, 2015 - By Rich
Share to Twitter Email This

Apps really do help to make the world go round. Can you imagine going a day without clicking at least ONE app? Whether it’s your Google Maps app to find directions while in route, or if it’s your love of staying connected with your friends via social media. Apps are here to assist with our daily activities and make life a tad bit easier. One simple app can arrange your day, schedule and even meals by just the click of a button!

I look at all of my apps like a personal assistant. My favorites range from fashion apps that assist with my blog, visual apps to keep my toddler occupied and of course apps to keep my daily tasks aligned. For the mompreneur that needs a digital helper to make her life run a bit easier, here are 10 apps that you should download.

Mom Confessions: 10 Apps That Make Life Easier

Fancy Hands Helps Busy Moms Get Their Life On Track

March 4th, 2015 - By Rich
Share to Twitter Email This

Busy moms, are you struggling trying to keep all of your tasks in order?  If so, could you imagine a life where you had a virtual assistant right by your side to help you get the kids movie tickets purchased or your doctor’s appointment scheduled? For as little as $40 a month, you can actually have a new app called Fancy Hands, solve your daily to do list quickly. Intrigued by Fancy Hands, Mommynoire caught up with Joshua Boltuch, the CEO, to get the run down on the app that moms can’t wait to get their busy hands on…

Mommynoire: What was the inspiration behind Fancy Hands:

Joshua Boltuch: It was founded by my partner Ted Roden. He was working at the New York Times in the research and development department. He’s a developer…a coder. He had a very cool job of being like a futurist. He thought about the future of news and how people would consume it. At the same time, he got offered a book deal, essentially to write about coding. During that time, he and his wife were having their first child, but he was super busy. Verses someone who just complained about it, he went out over a weekend and built a very rough prototype where he could farm out tasks to people that he didn’t have time to do. And so that’s how it started.

Mommynoire: With all the developments, tell us how Fancy Hands works:

Its very simple. For customers, its a monthly subscription from $30 – $150 depending on the size of the plan that you want, and that’s per month. It’s the actually the most affordable virtual assistant service out there. $30 per month is not too expensive for a lot of people and you get a set number of tasks. That’s anywhere from 5 tasks to 50 tasks, depending on your plan. And each task is about 20 minutes worth of work. You can combine tasks if you have a larger project that you need help with. If you have something that is going to take an hour, you can use three tasks for that. You can send us tasks via email, or via an iPhone app, you can use our Android app, you can use the web via your computer, or a voice mail. We try to make it as convenient as possible for you to send us your to-dos.

In terms of what we do – that’s pretty much a big question, because we basically do everything. We do personal stuff. We do professional stuff. We can call up your cable company to pay a bill. We can do data entry. We can even do online research. If you are doing a story and need back ground research, you can send it to Fancy Hands and have them synchronize the articles for you. It really just depends on who you are and what your needs are.

Mommynoire: Let’s just say as an Editor I need a photo shoot booked or to schedule a movie screening. Can Fancy Hands handle that?

Joshua Boltuch: Phone calls are probably one of the biggest things we do. They can be time consuming. Fancy Hands can do all of the scheduling and rescheduling.

Mommynoire: How does Fancy Hands boost productivity for mom entrepreneurs?

Joshua Boltuch: The female entrepreneur can use it in the same way. You can use it to delegate. That’s one of the hardest things for an entrepreneur to do. There is a lot of administrative work that Fancy Hands can do. So when it comes to researching stuff about taxes or trying to find a good print shop to print marketing materials, these are things that you don’t need to do yourself. As an entrepreneur, you need to maximize your brain power for crucial decisions. When it comes to more administrative tasks, Fancy Hands can save you a lot of time and money, because your time is valuable.

Mommynoire: Can Fancy Hands be used for small businesses?

Joshua Boltuch: Yes. Essentially we have a teamwork option. It allows you to buy bulk subscription for your team and you get a discount depending on how many you buy. That’s a very popular option. We have a lot of companies that give them to their employees. Both as a productivity tool and as perk. This app frees up your employees to focus more on work. Also, we have an API – our API allows any business to tap into our on demand army of assistants. We have companies that use our API as part of their business operations.

Mommynoire:  So what else should our readers know about Fancy Hands do?

Joshua Boltuch: Fancy Hands can book travel. If I want to target mom media outlets and mom-preneurs, then I can send Fancy Hands a task to research the top mom influencers. So our virtual assistants can do just about any professional or personal administrative task and the app can also create spreadsheets and reports.

 

Did You Know Televisions Can Listen To Your Conversation?

February 17th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
Share to Twitter Email This
Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Most of us jokingly say “Big Brother is watching” when we talk about the government and technology corporations monitoring people. However The Takeaway reports, your new smart TV may actually be doing just that. New televisions are equipped with a microphone that it is used for voice recognition (a similar function to the iPhone’s Siri). The use for voice recognition helps consumers navigate televisions without using a hand-held remote. A half century of  progress for the television has The Takeaway drawing correlations between these technological advancements to 1984 and Animal Farm, George Orwell’s predictions that people would start to give up their privacy, unsuspectingly. For example, the media outlet noted Samsung’s policies state:

“Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.”

If a person tries to alter the microphone settings on their televisions, they may face felony charges due to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This law prevents people from tampering with copyrighted pieces of technology devices.

Michael Price who serves as counsel in the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYC School of Law says in order for people to opt out of being monitored is by turning off the internet and disconnecting the television. Consumers won’t be able to have their privacy and enjoy the nifty updates to their favorite devices because corporations collect data from each consumer to “cater” to their likes and for advertisers to specify the needs of the companies who hire them.

“It’s really easy to turn the internet off. You can disconnect the TV in that way,” he says. “But it presents a really unfair trade off: You get to either use all these really nifty new pieces of technology that you bought and paid for, or you can have your privacy. But right now, it doesn’t seem like we can have it both ways. That’s what has to change.”

To understand other ways how your television may be collecting data from you, listen below.

Behind the Click: Kelechi Anyadiegwu Merges Fashion & Nigerian Culture To Create Zuvaa

January 26th, 2015 - By Janel Martinez
Share to Twitter Email This

Welcome back to “Behind the Click,” the column in which we profile Black women in STEM professions. Want to pitch this section? Email tgarcia@madamenoire.com.

Kelechi_Anyadiegwu-40

Name: Kelechi Anyadiegwu

Favorite read: Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie

Recent read: #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amouruso

Favorite apps: Goodreader and Read Later

Most inspired by: “The women in my life who don’t take no for an answer.”

One quote that inspires you: “Fashion should celebrate women, and I’m glad that I grew up in a culture that celebrated them.” – Alek Wek

Ultimate goal for 2015: “To create more opportunities for designers in the African fashion industry.”

Twitter handle: @KelechiUjuu | @shopZuvaa

The best innovations are born out of sheer frustration or to solve a problem. For Nigerian-American entrepreneur Kelechi Anyadiegwu, that problem was finding fashionable African-inspired designs. Instead of waiting on it, Anyadiegwu went out and created Zuvaa, an online marketplace for African-inspired fashion and accessories. With more than 29,000 Instagram followers, rapidly growing social media presence and a loyal community, Zuvaa is gearing up to transform the e-commerce space.

We caught up with the technology entrepreneur to discuss how she started Zuvaa, her tips for starting a successful online marketplace and why community has taken her brand to the next level.

MadameNoire: How did you get your start in the technology space?
Kelechi Anyadiegwu: I’ve always had an interest in technology, since my parents bought me a computer as a small child. I naturally found myself attracted to online communities (chatrooms, The SIMS, neopets, etc.) and building things (websites, avatars, digital Barbies, etc.). These were interests that really shaped my career aspirations going into high school and entering college. I loved digital design and I loved creating content. Everything from the yearbook club to creating layouts, or putting together short media clips. I loved it all.

MN: What inspired you to create Zuvaa, a premier marketplace for African-inspired fashion and accessories?
KA: This inspiration grew out of a personal problem that I had. My family is of Nigerian heritage and I grew up in the States. I grew up constantly going to Nigerian-themed parties, events and family functions. So African prints and textiles were always a part of my life. As I grew into young adulthood, I started to realize how difficult it was to find modern and trendy African-inspired designs. And it shocked me, because these prints were so beautiful and so much could be done with them. And anyone who knew me knew I loved fashion, especially eccentric and vibrant prints. So using my background in marketing and design, I created an online marketplace that I would personally shop at and I knew others would shop as well.

MN: When you first had the idea to create Zuvaa, what steps did you take to get it off the ground?
KA: I just dove in. The minute I told myself I was going to pursue Zuvaa, I bought a domain, signed up for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and started building the community right away. I knew right from the beginning that having a strong community that believed in our mission would be essential.

MN: Zuvaa is an online marketplace, but it’s also community focused. Why did you feel it was important to build a community within the platform?
KA: Building an online marketplace, community had to be a core part of my mission. Culture is something already so inherent in African communities, it only made sense that it would be the core of my marketplace for African fashion. I wanted the women who wore pieces from the marketplace, to feel like they were part of a bigger movement. Not only were they supporting small business owners and the African textile industry, but they were showing the love they had for African beauty and vibrancy through fashion. I wanted women to feel that personal connection to all the pieces they bought from the marketplace.

MN: What are your three tips to running a successful online marketplace?
KA: -Build a great community – Can’t emphasize this enough and the impact this has had for Zuvaa.

-Understand your customer – Don’t make assumptions. I made a lot of assumptions early on and did not do enough testing. I could have saved a lot of time and money, if I better understood my customer from the beginning.

-Patience and perseverance – E-commerce is hard, especially in fashion. There have been so many days I wanted to quit because we got no sales; then, the next day, we are featured on an awesome blog and sell out of an item that day. Running a company has taught me so much in what it means to never give up.

MN: What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received or given?
KA: Focus, focus, focus. Don’t try to do too much at once. Become really strong at one thing and then branch out to others, once your core is set. When I first started Zuvaa, I wanted to start designing my own pieces, I wanted to have a showroom, I wanted to do so many things. But my advisor, humbly told me, to focus on one aspect of the business and do it really, really well. Then I could branch out to other things. She said, “Black women, we often feel like we have to do all these things at once to prove we are 10 times better than the competition. But you don’t have to do that. Go at your own speed and things will fall into place.”

MN: What’s next for Zuvaa?
KA: Continuing to grow our community. We have such an amazing community of fashionistas who have really been pivotal in the growth of our company. These women are funny and engaged and supportive of the work we do at Zuvaa. We’re working on some amazing new projects and initiatives to further engage our community and our designers.

Based in New York City, Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist who covers technology and entrepreneurship. She is the founder of “Ain’t I Latina?” an online destination geared toward Afro-Latinas. You can follow her up-to-the-minute musings on Twitter @janelmwrites.