Saturday, December 26, 2009

What a Year...

I have been writing blogs in my head for several weeks now, but havent had a chance to put pen to paper- or fingers to keys:). I was doing some work online and happened across a blog post by the Frugal Millionairess ( that referenced the article about me in October's issue of Forbes- Inspirational Entrepreneurs. Apparently I am one; and as such, bear and embrace the responsibility to insire, support and give to others. Hence my post.

Last weekend, I was honored to donate keyboards to an organization called Variety, a children's charity ( They do wonderful things for children in need. It was a wonderful moment.

This blog has been so many things- a vehicle of sharing about my journey, a source of information and more. Sometimes, I want to review children's technology products and reinforce how myPC is superior to them in so many ways. Other times, I want to rant and vent about the frustrations of being an entrepreneur or cheer about the joys. Most times, I just yearn for the time to sit down and communicate with you. I mean, we released a 2nd generation enhanced Stage I myPC keyboard and I HAVEN'T HAD A CHANCE TO EVEN TELL YOU ABOUT IT!! Case in point;)- this is what happens when you dont have a PR budget, lol.

In the words of the Frugal Millionairess: "...And so I remind myself Elizabeth Tarpley didn't start out seeing her company's goods at the stores she shopped in, nor did Martha Stewart or anyone else. I'm going to guess there were some business plans along the way that needed some serious refining, but the thing is they hunkered down and kept at it."

Yes, Eileen- I hunkered...and hunkered...and hunkered. I am still hunkering. But I guess that's the moral of the story after all, isn't it?

I look forward to the new year that is upon us and despite the highs and the lows, am grateful for the year which has passed.

Today, I just want to say thank you to all of those who have supported TTS and myPC- from our staff to the bloggers, our awesome UIC grad students, our customers, and the believers. Sometimes life works in an odd way- because it is really all of you that inspire me- that keeps this wheel churning and that leave me NO choice but to fight for my dreams.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year, my friends. There is so much more to come from me, myPC, and Targeted Technology Solutions...
Look out world!

Friday, October 2, 2009

KIDO'Z and myPC make Computing as easy as 1, 2, 3

Tel Aviv, Israel Oct 1, 2009 – Targeted Technology Solutions, LLC’s myPC™ and KIDO'Z are proud to announce the birth of their brand-new Toddler Computing Solution.

The two companies are bringing their complementary technologies and expertise together to make the computing experience even safer, more educational and more interactive for toddlers.
Based on the agreement, myPC Stage One Keyboards will be marketed and packaged with the KIDO'Z software. Parents will simply need to install/download KIDO'Z, complete the easy registration, and start using the application.

The value-add is that end-users can now enjoy the benefit of a total 'toddler-friendly' solution from both a hardware and software perspective without needing to search for additional tools.
"KIDO'Z and myPC individually are all about making the computer and the Internet more kid-friendly, fun and educational for kids in the safest possible way, so we are very excited for what this partnership will bring to kids and their parents. We are thrilled to be partnering with myPC in this venture." - Gai Havkin, CEO, KIDO'Z

The KIDO'Z Kids Web Environment brings the Internet to kids in a safe, fun and kid-friendly way. The graphical user interface is designed for kids as young as 2 years old, and content can be personalized according to age group, among other variables. What this means is that even toddlers can surf websites, watch videos, and play games independently and safely. Kids are kept safe in the KIDO'Z environment and cannot exit the application without parental permission.

The myPC Stage One Keyboard is a personalized computer keyboard and ergonomic mouse system designed especially for toddlers' learning styles and lifestyles. Practically indestructible and with colorful 'key' features designed especially for ages 2 and up, kids and parents alike will love this toddler-friendly computing experience.

As toddlers are naturally exuberant and inquisitive (and seem to have a knack for technology), the fact that the computer will be protected both inside and out will make this solution even more desirable to parents. Sticky fingers, files deleted, accidental spills, and settings changed are all a worry of the past.

Kids will love being able to do 'just what mommy and daddy do' on the computer but with their very own hardware and software tools and content.

“We are so excited to bring together the myPC Stage I Keyboard with KIDO’Z! It is a perfect marriage of hardware and software that will enhance children’s entire technology introduction and experience. We are confident that children and parents alike will appreciate all of the new features and benefits that this partnership affords them.” - Elizabeth Tarpley, CEO, Targeted Technology Solutions, LLC.

About KIDO'Z

The KIDO’Z Kid's Web Environment is developed by KIDO'Z Ltd, a Tel-Aviv based company managed by parents and top industry professionals.
KIDO'Z is the first international Web Operating System for young kids between the ages of 2-8 years old, which allows young children to safely and independently browse the web, play games, watch Youtube videos, and interact with friends in a safe, protected environment. The user interface is kid-friendly and graphical in nature, and as such, is optimized for fun and independent navigation. Parents remain in control through the password-protected Parental Control Account, where they can add content, block content, adjust security settings and more.
KIDO’Z is available in 17 languages with content added in over 30 languages, making it a truly global solution. KIDO'Z is PC, Mac and Linux compatible and is available as a free download from

About Targeted Technology Solutions, LLC

The award-winning myPC Stage One Keyboard and mouse is a product of Targeted Technology Solutions, LLC, which was started and is managed by a mother and industry expert.The keyboard is sealed, spill-proof, and even washable, with jumbo keys designed for toddlers as young as 2 years old. It is also color-coded for ease of learning and comes with a kid-friendly ergonomic mouse. myPC is Plug-and-Play and is Windows and Mac compatible.myPC is currently available for purchase through multiple distribution channels as well as direct from

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The COO Speaks... Words of Wisdom

I am Barry Miller, Liz’s business partner at TTS. I have done many things during my 30+ year professional life. I have practiced law, started businesses, financed businesses, enjoyed much success and suffered my fair share of failures. It seems that in every venture one reaches a critical point – a “tipping point” where the future of your venture hangs in the balance.

At TTS we reached that point over a year ago. Things were really tough, our existence in serious doubt.

I felt it was essential to express some thoughts to my dear friend and partner, Elizabeth Tarpley. Here's what I wrote:

“I am not prepared to fail. I just cannot accept failure as an option. We are winners; each any every one of us knows how to win, and has won. And sometimes you don't appreciate the opportunity to win, unless you have lost. And each of us has lost, too. So let's just get to it and allow us to win. Among folks who have had the collective experiences of our team, it is often not the fear of failure that holds us back; it's the fear of winning. Why? Winning requires so much more than losing. It requires us to come square up with ourselves and say, "I am worthy of success. I have earned this." And then you have to do it every day, in every way. With diligence, honesty, integrity, faith and love- we can win and not feel guilty about it.

We can do this, E. I know we can.”

We got through our crisis, and have never looked back. Perhaps these thoughts will strike a chord with you. If they help you in any small way I will be gratified.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

myPC and Children with Special Needs

I was honored when Tammy from Autism Learning Felt ( asked me to write a guest post on her blog. Creating products for children and children with specials needs in particular, is much more than a business or job for me- it is my passion. I invented the myPC Stage I Keyboard because, as a mom, I know that our children- even as infants want to participate with technology. Every morning, their very first best friend- Elmo, gets on the computer and checks his email. They see mommy and daddy with their tech gadgets and on the computer and they want to experience it. Software vendors have known this for years- lapware: educational computer software for infants sitting on their parents laps is not a new concept. Neither is early learning software/games/websites for toddlers. Assistive technologies for individuals with special needs have also been around for years.

My goal with the myPC Stage I, II, and III Keyboards were to bridge the gap between children’s (including toddlers) desire to interact with computer-based learning via a healthy-stage based keyboard tool. Although we have met and exceeded that goal with our first release, the myPC Stage I Keyboard for toddlers ages two through four, we found that there are other inherent benefits of the keyboard that reach beyond technology.

Shortly after our release in 2008, I began hearing from families of children with autism and autism spectrum disorders; special ed schools and classrooms. They called thanking me for developing what they considered to be a motor skill and sensory development tool. Several parents wrote in saying that they did not even plug the keyboard into the computer, but that their children enjoyed touching the keys and saying the letters aloud (the larger, rubberized textures keys drew them in- along with the colors). They spoke of practicing teaching the alphabet, and how excited they were when they told their child to press an “a” and the child would do it. Eventually, some discussed introducing toddler friendly websites, such as; and how their children would be able to successfully engage with activities online without the distraction of pressing a function key or a right click. My heart warmed every time I heard from a parent or educator. Finally, another joy is that although it is adaptive, it is the same board for every child- they just can use it in different ways. They don’t have to feel different.

I am not a doctor or specialist, but I am a technologist. I am passionate about how we can utilize technology and technology based tools- be them hardware or software to create new opportunities for all. It is my mission and my dream. It warms my heart that I have been able to bring the joy of learning and access to technology to children with special needs.

For more information about products that may be helpful for children with autism, visit

Autism Speaks is a great organization and resource site to learn more about autism, visit and support

Sunday, June 14, 2009

For All My myPC Owners (and future owners)- Things You Should Know

As a start up company, feedback is one of, if not THE most important/valuable information that you can get (aside from funding- but that's another post). I want to start off by thanking all of you parents, educators and friends who have purchased the myPC Stage I Keyboard for Toddlers and Children with special needs. For those of you who haven't made the leap, you can purchase one at and through a number of our great distributors:,, and more (please google myPC Stage I Keyboard to see ALL of our awesome distributors- I'm sorry I couldn't list everyone). The more we grow, the more I extend my hand (in support) and ear (to listen) to our consumers.

This past week, I spoke with a mom, Karen S. in Las Vegas, who had some great feedback for me (I think she thought she was speaking with Customer Service at first! It ended up being an awesome convo!). At any rate, in response to many of the questions that have been coming up, I thought I would provide you with a quick update on where we are with product development; provide some additional product instructions; and offer a list of recommended websites for parents of toddlers using the computer (hopefully with myPC!).

First order of business: myPC works with both "PC"s and Macs. The "PC" in the brand name was never intended to alienate our awesome Mac users- just a spin on words (and easy for your tot to say:)!)

Now for your update: The TTS team has been working feverishly on enhancing the myPC Stage I Keyboard- the changes we are working on include a cohesive and more detailed instruction manual, updated packaging, decals to personalize your keyboard and more content partners. A Stage II Keyboard is slated for release next year (you can see an image of it on the products page). This board will be for children ages 4+. We are also working on a device that will KNOCK kids AND parents socks off (while teaching your child). I cant release many details on the latter two products now (never know who's reading ;)), but I promise you are going to thank me.

OK, instructions. There are basic instructions included in the packaging with your myPC Stage I Keyboard, but many parents have asked how to reprogram the "smart keys" (the little pie of keys to the right of the letters). Please note, I have not tested, nor do I endorse the following link, but it is for a free utility I found called MapKeyboard: There are many other free keyboard mapping utilities online.

We included the Internet and the Favorites keys so that parents could customize a set of web pages that their children could visit. You can also set the homepage to one of the many free child friendly websites available. There is no period key on the board so they are unable to type in web addresses on their own (we recommend that you keep your keyboard plugged in so you can type web addresses). There are other programs for parents that are downloadable and will further restrict online or local area activities of your child on the computer, NetNanny is one that I am familiar with. There are also Kid friendly browsers that you can access and use to control your child's experience online. One that I have recently reviewed and enjoy is; but there is also and

Here's an idea for parents who use a web browser other than Internet Explorer (Mozilla, etc)- why not install/use IE for your child and customize the favorites key for only the sites they can visit? That way, you dont need to reprogram the keyboard smart keys and when/if the child launches IE, it can go directly to their homepage and the favorites list will ONLY include sites for them? (Karen- this is an idea I think you should consider).

Below is a list of toddler friendly sites (thanks,!)- most, if not all, have free educational and fun games for you and your toddler:

PBS Kids
by Public Broadcasting Service

by Mattel

by Crayola LLC

Cartoon Network
by Time Warner

Sesame Street
by Time Warner

Nickelodeon Jr
by Viacom

by Mattel

by Walt

If you have any more questions, links or resources to recommend, or general feedback please comment or email!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

On Mommy Guilt...

(Mari and her eleven, yes, eleven, American Girl Dolls)

The past couple of weeks have been great in terms of business: we have added on new distributors, gotten well into fourth quarter planning, and I have been able to knock a few nagging to-dos off my list (create a youTube page for the keyboard(, etc). In the midst of working (constantly- yes, I know, I lost the off button), my five year old daughter finished her last week of preschool/kindergarten and "graduated" today. She has been in a Waldorf program since she was two, and for those of you familiar with the philosophy, you know that there is no "graduation" in the traditional sense, but my daughter participated in a special puppet play with the older students. In true "Elizabeth" fashion (as you will get to know), I do things in excess- or "Big", as my peeps would call it: so you know I had to have a graduation party. I planned a big day last weekend- my entire family (mom, sisters, brother, daughter and one of my daughter's best friends) went to go see the movie "Up" (which was WONDERFUL), then we met additional family members at my home for a catered dinner, cake and presents. It was a great day. An expensive day. And likely an uneccessary day.

Marianna (said daughter) would have been equally as delighted spending a few hours doing a puzzle, having pancakes for dinner, and watching Spongebob. So. The question I must ask myself is why, when I have SO much going on and not SO much dinero, do I add things like this to my plate. Simple answer= mommy guilt= overcompensating (usu. in the form of gifts) for our kids when we feel like we dont pay them as much attention as we'd like.

Yes, I am proud of my daughter. It is my daily goal to make her happy. But when I am constantly pulled away by and for work- especially compounded by the fact that I work from home- I admit that I do extra things to supplement for my absence. Sometimes I wonder, if I'd rather work a regular 9-5- at least I'd come home and for the most part, be present. I work so hard to be able to "be here" that the sad irony is that, though I am home, I'm not present as much as I'd like to be. So much for WAHM.

I started this company for my daughter. When we went to buy age appropriate technology tools for her all I saw was plastic and dot matrix and NOTHING that would work with our home computer and help enhance her experience with technology. So I created it- the myPC Stage I Keyboard was born (and the Stage II, III and more!). To this day, she will point at pictures of the MyPC Stage I Keyboard and say- "that's my computer!". There is no better feeling in the world than knowing that I accomplished this- for myself, for Mari, and for all the other toddlers and kids that use the product. I have been afforded the opportunity to be around to drop my daughter off at school and pick her up in the afternoon, to spend at least ONE day a week when I try not to work at all and just focus on her. My reasoning is that the harder I work now, the more time I will have for her in the very near future. Am I kidding myself?

I have seen the term "Mommy Guilt" surfacing all over the place. (BTW, Is there "Daddy Guilt" too? And if so, do we talk about it?) I work very hard, always have and am a mom. Balancing work and home is a common and daily struggle. At the end of the day, the benefits outweigh the costs... I guess.

At any rate, a fellow mom has recommended the book, "I was a really Good Mom Before I had Kids", by Trisha Ashworth. Check it out, let me know what you think. Im going to read it too-
Three moms (or dads) who comment on how you deal with mommy/daddy guilt get a FREE myPC Stage I Keyboard for your child! Winners will be announced next week.
We are ALL winners with myPC, so for 20% off of the first spill proof keyboard for toddlers, visit and enter Promo Code 20PERCENT at check out. Enjoy!