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 http://www.mytechstart.com/ and through a number of our great distributors: http://www.onestepahead.com/, http://www.sensationalbeginnings.com/, 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 mytechstart.com 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: http://www.vicman.net/download/7729/. 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 Kidoz.net; but there is also kidrocket.org and kidzui.com.
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, kidrocket.org!)- most, if not all, have free educational and fun games for you and your toddler:
by Public Broadcasting Service
by Crayola LLC
by Time Warner
by Time Warner
If you have any more questions, links or resources to recommend, or general feedback please comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org!
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
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(http://www.youtube.com/user/targetedtech), 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 www.mytechstart.com and enter Promo Code 20PERCENT at check out. Enjoy!
at 4:04 PM