Windows Champions Articles

I’m Completely Unable to Keep My Commitments


I just don’t have enough hours in the day.

Jane is now a seasoned CIT with exactly one day of work under her belt. When I picked her up from camp yesterday at three she plopped into the passenger seat and started talking. At 4.30 she stopped talking. It was abrupt, she was finished. She had observed that five year olds don’t have filters and they tell you the truth. They also tell the truth when playing things like Fireball. They admit to being out when the ball grazes them. She thinks that kindergarten will cure them of their honesty in both good and bad ways. Five year olds are cute, really cute (according to Jane) and she is convinced that her group is the cutest group because their moms are all models. This may or may not be true I’ll need to call the owners of the camp.

This morning Jane wasn’t feeling well and didn’t want to go to camp. She wasn’t sick, just worn out. Completely worn out. Alexander is trotting off to tennis camp joyfully and still somehow has energy to spare.

The kids don’t have homework in the summer, which is obviously fantastic, but I hadn’t realized just how much I relied on that quiet homework hour to get my own stuff done. I’m behind on posts, I barely use twitter anymore and don’t even ask me about exercise. I’m just behind on my life.

I spent the morning filming for a show I can’t tell y’all about but here’s a hint, it’s part of Glass Elevator Media and it’s going to force you outside your comfort zone (I know, shocking). After filming the talent and I (I’m so Hollywood that I can’t tell you her name but I can call her The Talent) went to lunch to talk about what had just happened and sat down next to two women I’d gone to middle school with. These ladies are perfectly maintained (not surgeried but they look pampered) which made me think that I need to get my ass in gear. This whole “natural” look isn’t doing me any favors.

Tangentially, I’ve been to Australia twice this year and recently wrote a post for iVillage AU about the onset of my Rheumatoid Arthritis. I’m really not sure how to talk about it today because I am in a completely fucked up place with my hands but I just read the world’s whiniest post ever about living with RA and it leaves me with little sympathy for the people I have the most in common with. Does that even make sense? Also Kelsie is having a hard time and it makes a little joint stiffness seem like a cake walk. Part of me just aches with empathy for her and the other part of me is aggravated that I can’t visit, not at her, just really annoyed by the situation. I get the fuck cancer sentiment, I really do.

I’m going to miss the Window’s Champion Webinar today because I’m the worst Champion that Windows ever hired but I can tell you one thing you need for summer travel. XE has an app for Windows 8 and it’s fantastic. I’ve always used for currency conversion. The app features live rates but it also stores your latest update so if you’re out of range (as travelers tend to be) it will still work. Also if you’re headed off to school and have a .edu email address Microsoft will chip in 10% of the cost of a new computer when you set up a chip in campaign.

microsoft chipin

I’ve got to grab Jane from the movie theater, she and her friend Rob are seeing The Purge (you can judge me now) and then pick up Alexander from camp. I’ll throw some food his way and then take the kids to a screening of Monsters U. I’m going to not sleep in the movie. I’ve learned to try and set attainable goals for myself.


A New Windows 8 Phone


I’m trying out this phone for a few weeks and snapped a little video when the Windows Phone team was demo’ing it for me. Jane wants the phone because Gwen Stefani has one… well played Microsoft.

There’s a Kids Corner feature that y’all might be interested in. Watch the video.

Also, randomly there’s this thing called Erli Bird. It’s for early adopters. Sign up for it here.

About the Surface Tablet and Windows Champions


This is the second year that I’ll be part of the Windows Champions program. I realized yesterday that there’s a very real need for me to disclose to y’all what exactly the Windows Champions program is since I don’t have a fancy sidebar widget.

At the beginning of the year long commitment the folks at Microsoft lend each of the bloggers a device to use and learn about through the year. Last year it was a laptop and this year it’s the Surface Tablet. With Windows 8 having launched and the Surface being introduced the expectation is that during the course of the year I will participate in monthly webinars to learn about the products and at least six times a year I will relay some of that information to y’all through this blog.

I’m not a great Windows Champion. I’m good with talking about the products on facebook and any blogger who has ever met me knows that there’s only one way to create a blog post and that’s with Live Writer. Well, there are other ways, but you’d be working too hard.

My friends talk about the Surface Tablet and try to compare it to an iPad. I have both devices (actually I have multiples of them) and I’d urge everyone to think about the Surface as less of a tablet and more of a Laptop replacement. iPads are wonderful for media consumption. I watched three or four seasons of Breaking Bad on mine. iPads are great if you’re looking to play games and answer emails too. They aren’t great if you have to work on a spreadsheet, browse the full web (not the mobile web) or work on an offline document.

I use my Surface daily to create content and I use it for a new web series I’m hosting (more on that later) because Windows 8 seamlessly integrates from phone to surface and I’m able to shoot a video on the phone and use Skydrive to share it with all my Windows devices. Again, you’ll see this on the web soon.

There is one thing that almost no one else will tell you about the Surface Tablet. It’s kind to your manicure. Stuff like this isn’t supposed to matter, but we all know it does. The padded keyboard means that your polish is under less attack and as shallow as that is I’m willing to admit that I love it.

I’m not compensated in any meaningful way for being a Windows Champion. I get to try out new devices and I have access to amazing tech support (okay… I’m totally compensated… tech support is like the holy grail of what a blogger can get).


Also I found some free tech support for y’all too. Sign up now and you’ll get a free Answer Desk Service at your local Microsoft Store. You’re welcome!

microsoft free answer desk service

Ten Years Ago


kids '02

Over at the Windows Blog they’re celebrating Windows XP turning ten. Ten years ago I was pushing a double stroller and praying that two children would pick one naptime. I had an enormous Gateway computer that I absolutely loved and I spent all our discretionary income on getting the fastest internet connection we could afford.

I was buying and selling women’s couture and my only business partners were eBay and the USPS. My cell phone carrier was US Cellular (I just shredded the papers) and I’m pretty sure I had the top of the line cell phone… because I always do.

Ten years ago, like today, all I needed to launch a business was a few quiet minutes, a robust computer and a stable internet connection.

Nothing has changed. Everything has changed.

Windows Live Writer and Lemon Loaf Cake



Windows Live Writer

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m part of the Windows Champions Program. Basically I get to learn about windows all year long and I get the kickiest tech support a woman could ever ask for and in return I write a few blog posts a year telling y’all about how Windows can be part of your online life. Oh, they’re going to let me play with tons of tech too.

Our first webinar was about how to use hotmail and it was impressive. I’m using the interface a little bit and getting more comfortable with it. It’s possible that I’ll share it with everyone one day soon. I’ve got a video that I took… and a touch of ADD so we might not actually get there.

I missed the second webinar because they’re on Thursdays and everyone who knows me knows that I play tennis every Thursday for the rest of my life. I don’t work Thursdays, I never have, never will, and this will keep me out of therapy (that and the fact that I’m not particularly introspective).

The second webinar was about Windows Live Writer, which my friend Kristen had told me about. Actually Kristen had sort of raved about it with love in her eyes, so I was sad to miss that one.

A few days before the webinar I went and downloaded Live Writer (it’s a free download) and decided to check it out on my own. I don’t need a webinar to tell you that Windows Live Writer cut my blogging time by at least 30%. I no longer worry about a buggy connection, clicking through on a cumbersome dashboard or worrying that with WordPress what you see is not actually what you get (WYSIWYG).

I’m here typing my post into Windows Live Writer and when I’m done I’ll either hit publish or schedule it for later.

You may or may not have noticed that I’m using images much more often. You know why? Because you can just copy and paste images into this thing and they’ll resize for you. You can also watermark images, but I’m not all that concerned with anyone stealing my craptastic photos.

You can also use Live Writer for more than one account, so in theory I could be publishing here or at any number of other places. In reality I’m lucky I can get a post out here.

You won’t find Live Writer tutorials because there’s no need for one. It’s really that simple.

I would have completely forgotten about Windows Live Writer but for my neighbor not liking me. You see, my neighbor and I were at Kim Tracy Prince’s birthday party and she did not say hello to me. Since there were only a dozen of us there I was a little put out that she didn’t say hello. Naturally I didn’t say hello to her because I knew that she was irritated with me or she would have greeted me. Right? Right, work with me here.

So after the party I went home and explained to my husband that Romy doesn’t like me. He asked me if I said hello to her and I explained to him that I couldn’t possibly because she didn’t say hello to me and obviously… then he lost interest and muttered something about Mars and Venus.

I explained the scenario to my daughter who immediately understood. I told her that it was totally unacceptable for our neighbor to not like me and she nodded knowingly. When I was grating a thousand lemon rinds to make Julia’s Lemon Loaf Cake Jane looked at me and said, “Bring one of those to the neighbor and she’ll have to like you.”

So I grated a few extra lemons, actually if I’m going to be honest, Alexander grated a few extras. I brought the cake over to Romy who was surprised that I thought she was mad at me. Which clearly shows that she is a wonderful actress because I am never ever wrong. I gave her the cake and we chatted about blogging.

She spends a lot of time blogging. A lot. I explained to her that I’m a three hour a day girl and that if it can’t get done in that amount of time it doesn’t need to get done. Romy went on to tell me that she adds a lot of links and it’s time consuming… Oooh I can fix that! I practically jumped up and down clapping my hands. Try Windows Live Writer. Just do it, you’ll thank me.

And I’ll tell ya what, sometimes baking a cake doesn’t do a damn thing, but letting a blogger know how to manage their time, that’ll make them love you every time. Windows trumps Julia Childs in suburbia. Who knew?