Friday, November 28, 2008

Dear TiVo: Help Me Find New Music

An open letter to TiVo:

Dear TiVo:

You know I love you (and I am not alone). Without you, I would rarely – if ever – get to see my favorite shows. There’s nothing better than knowing Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are waiting for me whenever I need them. And now I find out I can even program you from my phone! Ahhhhhh…..

But here’s the thing, there’s more you can do for me.

As you can imagine, I don’t get out much and while I enjoy listening to music, it’s mostly the old stuff I know and love. But when I watch Gossip Girl or 90210 or Privilege (did I mention I have a tween in the house), they play new music that I kind of like. But here’s the thing, I can’t find it very well after the show – even though the CW does a good job of featuring artists.

Wouldn’t it be cool if at any point during a program, I could hit a button on my TiVo remote and find out the name and artist of the music playing - at that moment!? Not only that, but with one more click, it could send that information to my email or iTunes account so I could make the purchase when I get to my computer?

I realize IPTV is just around the corner, but I probably won’t be an early adopter. And I already own two TiVo boxes. AND my daughter is starting to buy music. It seems like you should get some sort of referral fee from iTunes or from the labels if you pass along a lead. I am sure there’s a business model waiting to bust out of this idea.

So get to work on that would you? I am ready to order my new music today!

Love, Jen

Thursday, November 6, 2008

When Kids Rock the Vote: Tech Educates, Unifies

Now that the elections in the U.S. are over, I am inspired by the culmination of what was a tedious, arduous, sometimes aggravating process. I am inspired because in the end, my daughter, who is nine, became engaged, excited and encouraged about the process and the result.

In California, we had a number of important propositions on the ballot, and my daughter was actively consuming information - on TV, the web and with friends and relatives - to do her best to understand the issues and decide what she thought was right for our state and our nation.

Wonderfully, our local County Board of Elections sponsored a "Kids Vote" at the polling places. They provided kids with ballots and then announced the results of the Kids Vote on their web site. Katie spent all day yesterday waiting for the results.

When we went to the polling place, we brought one of her friends with her. As they poured over the ballot, I was amazed to hear my daughter explain each proposition to her friend. I had no idea how much my kid had picked up. She had spent time on the Internet learning and even the Weekly Reader had helped her think through the issues.

We have a rule in our house - you are entitled to your opinion and it can be different from others - but you have to do your own critical thinking to justify your position. My daughter took that advice to heart and used the tools we have - most of them technology-based - to make up her mind in the election.

And thanks to a shared medium - the television - we sat together on Tuesday night as history was made. As we watched people all over the world share in an event that we can only hope will lead us all positively into the future.

I write a lot about kids, technology and relationships and this election was proof that these things can come together to help us think, connect and share.