Coding Camps for Kids

Last week, I got an email from a dad who was looking for ways to introduce his 1st grade daughter to coding. I had a few suggestions (not all of which were specific to coding), which I thought others might be interested in as well.

The Works:
More about engineering in general than coding specifically, but some cool options.
[Disclosure: The Works was the non-profit that my colleagues in Team Pegacorn were assigned to for the Overnight Web Challenge. Though I was a fan of the organization before that!)

Coder Dojo TC:
Some co-workers of mine are just getting this up and running. Keep an eye on it (or become a mentor!).

Science Museum:

Code Academy:
Some of the lessons might be advanced for a first grader, but could be a good activity for parents and kids to do side-by-side.

A site for kids to complete Maker challenges, and earn badges. Just signed my daughter up for it.

She’s Geeky:
An annual unconference for women and girls. Not coding-specific, but all about STEM. Encourages both professional women and school-age girls to attend.

This is a toy, not a camp (and it’s a little spendy) but my kids love these. We have the starter kit — they’ve added more kits and projects since we bought ours.

Another toy. I don’t have it, but a friend got it for her daughter (I think she might have backed it on Kickstarter). At first I HATED the idea of “toys for girls” but when I learned more about the engineer behind it, and her research, I started digging the concept.

What did I miss? Do you have any suggestions? Most of my class or camp ideas are based in or around Minneapolis-St. Paul, but feel free to share other suggestions from other cities and states in the comments!

Having It All

This month’s issue of The Atlantic includes an article by Anne-Marie Slaughter titled, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.”

I came across the article when it was shared in a LinkedIn group that I’m a part of, and it immediately sparked a lot of comments and conversation. I’ve been stewing over the article ever since I read it, and I wanted to take time to really think — and write — about what gave me such a visceral reaction.

I’ve narrowed it down to the following:

All For One Is Not All For All

In the context of “having it all” the word “all”should be a self-defined metric. Here, the author has interpreted her son’s difficulties and her decision to leave her position in Washington, D.C. as a failure to achieve it all. She then takes her evaluation of herself, and extends it out to all women to say that because she has, in her own estimation, not achieved it “all” it is therefore impossible for women, in general, to have it “all” and that feminism has misled us in thinking that we can.

For me, “having it all” is about having choices. By my definition, Slaughter did “have it all” — she had the opportunity to choose, and to decline, jobs. She left one high-powered position to return to her previous one. Not all working women have that abundance of choices. Not all women who work do so because they choose to, but because they have to. Not all women have an engaged co-parent to lean on for family obligations when work gets demanding. Not all women have the flexiblity in their jobs to care for a child, or an aging parent, or a sick spouse. Being able to choose to dial one’s career up or down, being able to take a break to give birth, and have a paid maternity leave…these are luxuries that not all parents have.

To be fair, though, if I take issue with Slaughter extending her definition of all to me, I should not do the same to her. My “all” is not her “all,” and she is entitled whatever feelings she has about her own experience and achievements. But, I would like to publicly say: Ms. Slaughter, I think you have a remarkable career and are quite clearly a caring and engaged parent. I admire your accomplishments, both professional and personal.

“All” Doesn’t Mean “Perfect”

“Having it all” doesn’t translate to “a flawless life.” Slaughter seems to have interpreted her son’s rough period as an indictment of her choice to work, despite the fact that her husband was able to scale back at his job to spend more time parenting. Let’s reverse the situation and say that she had instead scaled back to spend more time as a parent, while her husband pursued his career more aggressively. If her son was still having issues, would his father take on that psychological burden and say, “This must be because I’m working too much.”? Why do we do this to ourselves, mothers? Why do we assume that an issue in our family life is somehow caused by our pursuit of a career? And why do we assume that scaling back would fix it? I’m not saying that the presence of a mother (or father) isn’t valuable to a child — it certainly is. But, it’s also not a guarantee that one’s child will progress through life without rough patches.

Women is not synonymous with mothers. The title of Slaughter’s piece is "Why Women Still Can’t Have It All" which, as written, presumes that until a woman has children, she hasn’t achieved it "all." The subtext being, "Working women, you haven’t achieved it all unless you also have a child. Mothers, you haven’t achieved it all if you don’t also have a career.

Women, Humans, or Parents?

I dislike that this argument is presented as a “woman” thing. “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” would be better titled, “Why Any Human Being Could Never Have It All, And Still Can’t.” That this is directed specifically at women is telling; it’s because this concept of working AND being a good parent is still seen as primarily a “woman’s issue.” It assumes that a woman’s default role must be as primary caregiver, and that in order to pursue a demanding and/or time-consuming career is an “extra.” And that’s because this is still a prevailing cultural norm that women and men have internalized despite decades spent fighting against it. If a kid gets sick, everyone assumes that it’s mom that will go home from work to care for him. We don’t need to think that way anymore.

More importantly, this article is not about women not being able to have it all — it is about mothers not being able to have it all. That’s a subtle, but important, difference. The title, as written, presumes that until a woman has children, she hasn’t achieved it “all.” The subtext being, “Women, you haven’t achieved it all until you’ve had a child. Mothers, you haven’t achieved it all if you don’t have a career.” That sentiment chills me. And it’s why I return to my first point: “having it all” is about choosing what “all” means to YOU. Everyone else, and their opinions about it, can sod off.


I do agree that society needs to change. We need to redefine what it means to “have it all.” We need to start expecting more out of fathers. We need, as women, to stop taking on such a disproportionate amount of the physical and psychological burdens of parenting. And employers need to think in radical new ways about how to create environments that support people — not just parents, but people. We have the technology! There’s no reason why we can’t think more creatively about how and when we work. We don’t all have to be in a cubicle from 8am-6pm. We can work remotely, we can video conference, we can do a million things that help people pursue their careers on a more irregular, personalized schedule that doesn’t sacrifice the quantity or quality of their work, and integrates with whatever other life goals they have, whether it’s traveling around the world, having kids, or training for a marathon.

That being said, as James Joyner pointed out in his blog post, “Why Men Can’t Have It All, Either”:

“All things being equal, those willing to put 90 hours a week into their careers are going to get ahead of those willing to put in 60, much less 40. While there is any number of studies showing that working too many hours is actually counterproductive from an efficiency standpoint, there nonetheless is a rare breed of cat who can keep up a frenetic work schedule for years on end. And those workaholics are simply more valuable to the company, agency, or organization than those who clock out at 5. That means that those of us who choose to prioritize our children are going to get out-hustled by those without children, or those willing to let their children spend longer hours with a partner or childcare provider.”

That’s never going to change. Sorry. So, yeah — if you want to excel a job that requires (or encourages) 90-hour workweeks, and you also want to have kids, you’re going to have problems — probably personal, familial, and professional. That’s not a flaw in feminism or in you — it’s just a basic limitation of the 24-hour day.

Digitwirl: How to clean your gadgets

It’s been a while since we’ve Digitwirled (Sorry! We’ve been busy!) but this one was a must-share. Just last week I was looking at my laptop wondering if there was a computer detailing service that could help me de-crumb the keyboard and wipe the smears from my screen. Not to mention pondering how many germs lurked on my iPhone which quite literally goes everywhere with me. Yes, everywhere.

Carley to the rescue, with some simple and helpful advice on how to keep your tech toys shiny and clean. Enjoy! (Oh, and she’s been nominated for a Webby! Help a sister out and give her a vote.)

Digitwirl: How to clean your gadgets

Over time, dust, grime and gunk can wreck your tech, not to mention boost the “ewww” factor (let’s not even discuss that most phones tested in a recent study show trace levels of E. coli— gross).  Needless to say, cleaning your tech well and often is just as important for your health as it is for the tech itself.  Before you give your smartphone a flea dip, though, it’s important to know how to clean it the right way. Whether it’s your TV or your laptop, there’s plenty of things you can do to keep them free of dust and running smoothly.

Watch this Twirl, and learn all my favorite tips and tricks, including how to make a gadget-cleaning potion with stuff you probably already have in your house (Hint: no expensive store-bought “electronics cleaners” required).

Digitwirl is the weekly web show that offers simple solutions to modern day problems.  In 3-minutes, Digitwirl brings busy women the very best time, money, and sanity-saving technology, and then teaches them how to use it, step-by-step.  Digitwirl was created by technology lifestyle expert Carley Knobloch, who uses lots of technology to manage her busy life as mom of two and entrepreneur.  Subscribe to get weekly show alerts and exclusive deals at, or follow Digitwirl on Twitter at @digitwirl

#RIPDanWheldon: A Tribute to the #Indycar Twitter Community, by Angie King

The following post was written by Angie King, a longtime friend and supporter of ours. She reached out to us after witnessing Dan Wheldon’s crash in Las Vegas and was interested in writing a post about how Twitter introduced her to Indycar and how it affected her life in the days afterward. It’s a powerful story about how social media connects us as human beings — both in our mundane, everyday lives and during the course of extraordinary events.

As surprised as you are to find a blog about Indycar on the Geek Girls Guide, it was equally as surprising to me to become an Indycar fanatic. After years of resisting any sort of sports fandom, this year I found myself obsessed with Indycar. It was a natural progression; something I didn’t question yet was a little embarrassed by around friends.  Mostly because I couldn’t explain it.

Since witnessing the fatal crash that took driver Dan Wheldon’s life on October 16 in Las Vegas and experiencing more grief than I could ever have expected, I started reflecting on why I feel so connected to Indycar. Besides the excitement of the sport, the talented and colorful drivers, and sharing a passion with my husband, I realized that Twitter has a played a big role. It’s one of the reasons my interest in Indycar grew into a passion this year, it helped me get through the 2 hours of waiting between the crash and when they finally announced Dan’s death, and has helped me grieve and cope with his loss in the time since.

To say I was surprised by the breadth and depth of the Indycar Twitter community is putting it lightly. After working in the interactive marketing world for a number of years, this is the first time I’ve experienced the true potential of social media. I’d thought the global, egalitarian, virtual community was purely idealistic. But in Indycar, they’ve made this goal a reality. Drivers, fans, media, and thought leaders all interact with each other like one big family.

I first learned about the Indycar Twitter community while watching races on Versus TV with my husband. The Indycar commentators devoted entire pre-race segments to driver tweets. The weight put on things happening off the track on Twitter intrigued me. I started following a driver’s list (@indcyar/drivers-indycar) so I could be in-the-know before the TV crew reported on it trackside.

Some memorable moments from the drivers this year on Twitter include:

  • After a terrible race in Toronto, Will Power (@12WillPower) tweeted to the driver who’d taken him out: @dariofranchitti hey princess thanks for that nice tap today–appreciate it.” Dario (@dariofranchitti) and Will were in the middle of a contentious championship points battle, and this little rant on Twitter intensified their rivalry.
  • When three-time Indianapolis 500 and season five Dancing with the Stars winner Helio Castroneves (@h3lio) went on a Twitter rampage after receiving what he felt was an unjust penalty for passing under yellow during the Japan race, he paid for it dearly. Near the end of a multi-post tweet, he called IndyCar race director Brian Barnhart a “circus clown,” a comment which cost him $30,000 in league fines.
  • Driver interaction with fans is a daily activity on Twitter. They often retweet fan requests to celebrate birthdays and respond to fan questions or comments, if not directly, then via a mass tweet. Many drivers used Twitter as a contest medium, giving away hundreds of pit passes to the Las Vegas finale to fans (including me!).

But it’s not just the drivers that I love on Twitter. I also started following the #indycar hashtag with fervor. The fans, bloggers and media personalities that use this hashtag provide article links, insight and commentary that I wouldn’t find anywhere else. And the best part? I feel welcome to interact with them, even though we’ve never met, and will likely never meet. Being a fan and having opinions is the only requirement to being accepted into this worldwide community.

My new #indcyar friends got me educated and excited for our trip to Las Vegas for the World Championships, with many posts tagged with #vegasindycar. In return, I promised those that couldn’t make the trip that I’d keep them updated on my experience. But 140 characters were not enough to express the sheer thrill of meeting Dan Wheldon on qualifying day.

A fan favorite, Dan had won the Indy 500 (for the 2nd time) earlier that year. His vibrant personality, golden boy good looks, and reformed-playboy-turned-family-man core would send any girl’s heart a-flutter. Thanks to a new friend on the inside, I got to meet Dan, shake his hand, and see that incredible smile in person. It was only a moment, but it’s a moment I will cherish. Because less than two days later, Dan was dead.

Seeing the horrific 15-car crash live was like watching a horror movie in real life. We’ve seen bad crashes on TV before, but both my husband and I got sick to our stomach after witnessing this one. The track announcers reported that every driver involved was in good condition, except one: Dan Wheldon. Soon he was transported by helicopter to a nearby hospital. But no one, not the track announcers or the IMS radio broadcast we were listening to on our scanner, had any details.

Naturally, I turned to Twitter for information. During the 2 hour wait, I saw everything from worry (#prayersforwheldon became the trending hashtag), to speculation (someone had seen driver Danica Patrick crying), to hope (Ashley Judd {@AshleyJudd}, wife of driver Dario Franchetti, tweeted that Dan had left the raceway unconscious, but with stable vitals; fans retweeted her post, clinging to this shred of hope from someone in -the-know).

However hopeful others were, I kept looking back at driver Tomas Scheckter’s (@tomasscheckter) tweet. The only driver involved in the crash who had posted anything to Twitter immediately following, his post was grim: “Leaving track don’t want to hear news seen enough / Walked past something I pray never to see again.” And sure enough, about 2 hours after the crash, CEO Randy Bernard announced Dan’s death. 

After we left the Las Vegas Motor Speedway that afternoon, my husband and I tried to console ourselves with drinks and gambling back at our casino. But in between each hand of video poker, I was refreshing Hoot Suite on my phone to see what drivers and other fans were posting. The trending hashtag had quickly changed from #prayersforwheldon to #ripdanwheldon. It was heartbreaking. We called it an early night, but the next morning before our flight home, I was back on my phone catching up with everyone’s reactions on Twitter.

Following the posts from drivers, fans and others has been heart wrenching, consoling, and frustrating in the week since Dan’s death. The frustration comes from posts reflecting comments made by people outside of the Indycar community and in the mainstream media who have been sensationalizing the crash and condemning the sport. For example, when Star Jones criticized the safety of Indycar in the wake of Dan’s death on The Today Show, the #indycar community (rightfully) threw a fit. And much was made over NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson’s (@JimmieJohnson) comment that Indycar shouldn’t race on ovals.

Many posts are both heart wrenching and consoling. Especially from the drivers, who have been reacting in their own personal ways: 

  • Tony Kanaan (@TonyKanaan), former teammate and close personal friend of Dan’s, has mostly been posting photos of the two of them together, remembering happier times.
  • Will Power, JR Hildebrand (@JRHildebrand ) and Pippa Mann (@PippaMann )—the only other drivers brought to the hospital for minor injuries in Las Vegas, were mostly silent the week following the crash, only surfacing to say they are fine, thanks for the kind words, but save your prayers for the Wheldon family. (Dan left behind a wife and two young sons, not to mention his parents and siblings in the UK.)
  • Driver Graham Rahal (@GrahamRahal), tweeted the day after the crash that he intended to auction off his race helmet to benefit the Wheldon family. Over the week, his gesture snowballed into what is now a massive cross-disciplinary sports and pop culture memorabilia auction, complete with its own Twitter handle: @DWheldonAuction.

And then there’s the 100s of news and tribute articles tweeted and retweeted in the #indycar stream. I can’t possibly describe or link them all, but many have brought me to tears (including this one). Overall, I feel an overwhelming sense of a community pulling together to get through a very difficult time. The strongest sentiment—next to one of sympathy for Dan’s family—is one of continued vitality and life in Dan’s honor.

Many tribute tweets are now tagged with #lionheart, referring to the image Dan Wheldon had painted on the back of his race helmets: a mural of King Richard the “Lionhearted,” who was known for his bravery and heart. The consensus on Twitter is that Dan’s legacy will not be how he died, but how he lived. With an energetic, friendly, caring and playful approach off the track, and a focused, determined and fearless drive on the track.

The optimistic posts in the face of trauma remind me to greet each new day with the enthusiasm Dan showed in his final tweet. Just one word, the color of the flag that starts the race: “@DanWheldon Green!!!!”

If you feel inclined to support Dan Wheldon’s family or his passion for curing Alzheimer’s (a disease his mother was diagnosed with), there are a number of ways to contribute. Visit for details.

For more information on Dan Wheldon and his tragic death, has posted comprehensive recap of articles that are worth a read. Read their Dan Wheldon Coverage Recap

Angie King manages content and social media for, a Minnesota-based floral, gift and garden center. Outside of work, she’s a pop culture addict, jewelry maker, urban farmer, Rock Band and Las Vegas enthusiast, and a novice Indycar fan. Her Twitter handle is @angiewarhol.

Big News!

So, uh, we’re writing a book.

Of course, Jon and Whitney made a video to mark the occasion:

Wait, what? How the…?

You might be asking yourself how the hell this happened. We certainly are.

After our MinneWebCon keynote in April, we were approached by Michael Nolan, an editor with Peachpit/New Riders. We talk a bit more about that whole experience in our latest podcast (#36), but let’s say this: it’s CRAZY EXCITING and it’s been hard to keep our mouths shut about this over the past few months. Peachpit/New Riders are known for publishing some of the best books by the most respected voices in our industry. Books like Don’t Make Me Think, Designing for Web Standards, Elements of User Experience, and Content Strategy for the Web.

We are unbelievably excited to have the opportunity to count ourselves among them. (And the day that we see our names as authors on Amazon will be a mighty proud moment!)

We also need to give a shout-out to Kris Layon (author of New Riders’ The Web Designer’s Guide to iOS Apps and former MinneWebCon director) who not only offered encouragement and advice, but also orchestrated our meeting with Mr. Nolan in the first place. Thanks, Kris. You’re a fine gent, and we wouldn’t be here without you.

So, what’s this book about?

We’re creating an engaging, straightforward guide to Interactive Project Management and the value it can bring to companies and project teams. It outlines both a process — and a way of thinking. The title is Interactive Project Management: A People-Driven Process.

Why project managment?

As an industry, we have a hard time explaining what we do to non-technologists, but this is a critical requirement in nearly every interactive project. A great project manager creates and fosters a connection between an often non-technical client and the project team.

Interactive projects (like websites, mobile sites, and apps) are different from both traditional media and software projects; we can’t simply adopt print or advertising processes and apply them to the web. Nothing in the industry has been standardized; terminology, processes and team structures are different between agencies, and the technology is changing all the time. And while project management is a critical factor in the success of web projects, no one is talking about how to do it well — so agencies, clients and aspiring project managers are making it up as they go.

Other project management books focus on how to create schedules, manage resources, perform risk assessment, make Gantt charts, write briefs, and test code. They tell you what to do, but are essentially just a collection of tactics. And guess what? Creating a timeline doesn’t mean anything’s actually going to get done.

Who’s it for?

Because the book focuses on how to think strategically, alongside tactical tips, it will help all stakeholders think about their approach to projects, peers and clients. So everyone from executives to students will benefit from really understanding how an interactive project should look from start to finish.

Clients are also a target audience. Knowing how their project may work, and what’s coming next, promotes clarity and collaboration from the beginning.

When can I buy one?

Okay, fine. We know you’re not asking yourself that question quite yet. But, it will be out in April 2012, and it should be available for pre-order in the fall. (ZOMG!)

But wait, there’s more!

We plan to blog, podcast and record some videos along the way — so you can follow our progress (and keep us sane) as we write this, our first book. We’re grateful for all the support we’ve gotten from readers of our blog, listeners to our podcast and people who have seen us speak. Every email, every tweet, every conference feedback form: we listen and appreciate it all.

We’re not fooling ourselves; this book isn’t going to be the next Da Vinci Code. But, it’s about something we believe in and we’re excited to have the opportunity to share what we’ve learned in over a decade of managing and launching software, apps and web sites.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. We can’t wait to see where this goes, and we’re happy to have you with us.

Lastly, a pre-emptive apology to our families: looks like we’re going to be crazier than usual until next Spring. We love you.

Digitwirl:— Show Me The Money!

We first wrote about Mint in 2008; at that time, I was inspired by another blog’s post about Quicken online. Fast foward nearly three years, and Quicken has acquired Mint. Funny how that works.

Since then, the service has gotten better in some ways and worse in others. On the “better” side: it connects with more financial institutions, and does so more reliably, and trend reports have gotten better. On the “worse” side, the interface is starting to show signs of the Intuit acquisition: with more and more options and choices. Choices can be good, but they can also create an overwhelming experience. And part of what really sets Mint apart (or has, in the past) is how simple the interface is, and what a pleasure it is to use.

It will be interesting to see if Mint can maintain their lean, simple approach to finances or if they’ll start to be bogged down by the things that led me to flee from Quicken in the first place.

Regardless, it’s still my favorite go-to place for managing my finances. Not necessarily taking action (you can’t move money or pay bills with the site — you can only view data) but for creating budgets and watching how my earning and spending is trending over time.

Digitwirl: – Show Me the Money!

Keeping track of your life is challenging enough, so who can remember when your next credit card payment is due or that your checking account is on life support? But there is a simple way of keeping track of all your finances in one secure place:

With a few simple clicks you can upload your bank account balances, bills, mortgage statements and student loans and Mint will organize them so that you always know exactly what’s going on with your finances. No more searching piles. No more late fees. And, Mint gives you an up-to-the-minute view of all your transactions, analyzes your spending habits and lets you set up a budget. It might just surprise you to see where your cash is going and how you can save money. With the Mint app (available for both iPhone and Android) a quick peek at your bottom line will help you decide whether to purchase, or pass on, that little “me gift” you’ve been eyeing.

Watch this week’s Twirl to learn how you can gather up all your finances into one safe financial manager. Oh, and let us know what you think about Carley’s hat. Yay, or Nay?

Digitwirl is the weekly web show that offers simple solutions to modern day problems.  In 3-minutes, Digitwirl brings busy women the very best time, money, and sanity-saving technology, and then teaches them how to use it, step-by-step.  Digitwirl was created by technology lifestyle expert Carley Knobloch, who uses lots of technology to manage her busy life as mom of two and entrepreneur.  Subscribe to get weekly show alerts and exclusive deals at, or follow Digitwirl on Twitter at @digitwirl

Digitwirl: Get your loyalty cards out of your wallet and into your Smartphone

I love getting discounts and free stuff, but I’m a real minimalist when it comes to what I’m willing to carry around in my purse or wallet. Of late, I’ve found myself saying no whenever a clerk asks me if I’d like to join a store’s loyalty club; mainly because I don’t want to deal with the dumb card! Carley’s found a great app that may have me answering differently — and saving some money — the next time I’m at Barnes & Noble!

From the pet store to the bookstore, everyone seems to have loyalty cards these days. They’re great. They get you discounts and exclusive deals, which may be why your wallet is jammed full of them. Or, you may be the type who hates carrying them all around with you, but inevitably the one you need is stashed in a drawer at home.

Cardstar ( is a simple but brilliant app that puts all your loyalty cards in the palm of your hand (assuming that hand is holding your smartphone). Download it for free to your iPhone, Blackberry or Android and then — using your phone’s camera — just scan the bar codes on the back of your cards. Cardstar reads the barcode and stores them where they can be scanned at the checkout counter just like your plastic card. Cardstar will also show you which of your stores is offering special deals and help you score coupons to save you even more money. Boom!

Check out this week’s Twirl and see how easy it is to ditch the plastic and hold on to more paper—you know, the kind with dead presidents on it.

Digitwirl is the weekly web show that offers simple solutions to modern day problems.  In 3-minutes, Digitwirl brings busy women the very best time, money, and sanity-saving technology, and then teaches them how to use it, step-by-step.  Digitwirl was created by technology lifestyle expert Carley Knobloch, who uses lots of technology to manage her busy life as mom of two and entrepreneur.  Subscribe to get weekly show alerts and exclusive deals at, or follow Digitwirl on Twitter at @digitwirl

Digitwirl: Want to sync and back up your files? Drop everything.

Ah, Dropbox. There couldn’t be an easier way to share files between devices — or between team members. Here at Geek Girls Guide, we use it all the time to transfer audio and video files for our podcasts and as a shared location for photos and logos.

So easy!

Do you spend tons of time emailing documents, files and pictures to yourself so you can access them elsewhere? Not only is it annoying, but it’s completely unnecessary.

If you want to be able get a hold of your digital files no matter where you are, then check out Dropbox– the easiest online storage app around. Once you download it to your computer you can just drag and drop any file into your Dropbox folder where it will live safe and sound in an encrypted cloud.

Breathe easy knowing your files are synced, backed up, easily accessible, and can even be shared with other people. Check out this week’s video to learn all about Dropbox (and what the heck “encrypted cloud” really means).

Digitwirl is the weekly web show that offers simple solutions to modern day problems.  In 3-minutes, Digitwirl brings busy women the very best time, money, and sanity-saving technology, and then teaches them how to use it, step-by-step.  Digitwirl was created by technology lifestyle expert Carley Knobloch, who uses lots of technology to manage her busy life as mom of two and entrepreneur.  Subscribe to get weekly show alerts and exclusive deals at, or follow Digitwirl on Twitter at @digitwirl

Digitwirl: The Password Manager That Hackers Hate

I swear, sometimes it’s like Carley is spying on me!

I’ve been noodling over password management software for far too long. I’m not sure what’s stopping me from actually doing something about it, aside from just the hassle of switching from my current system: creating a variety of hard-to-guess passwords and either trying to remember them, or keeping a list of them. Both of those methods make me nervous. My brain, because I don’t trust myself to remember them all and the list, because I’m worried someone could somehow get access to it.

I’ve looked at 1Password, and friend and fellow geeky girl Adria Richards suggested KeePass (which, I’m sorry — doesn’t that totally look like it says Keep Ass?!) on an earlier post I wrote titled, “What to do after you do something dumb.” But, purely for the hassle factor, I’ve had trouble making a decision. I had an “If ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” mentality. Do I really need password management (Um, yes. I think we all do.) and which one is the right one (The answer: whichever one you’ll actually USE.)

Digitwirl to the rescue! Carley breaks down LastPass: a service that I sorely need to help store and manage all those many passwords I have. Which will give my brain a much-needed rest from trying to remember them all.

(In other password news, our colleague Dez wrote a great blog post earlier this week about the importance of changing your password and disabling apps if one of your accounts that uses OAuth gets compromised. It’s a good read, check it out!)

Digitwirl: The Password Manager That Hackers Hate

If you use the same easy-to-remember password on every site, you’re not alone. Did you know millions of people actually use 123456 or PASSWORD to gain access to things like their favorite shopping sites (which has personal and credit card information stored), email accounts, and even banking sites. Well, heads up Twirlers: hacking is on the rise and becoming easier than ever.

Have we scared you smart yet? Good, because we have the perfect solution.

LastPass is a free password manager that does for passwords what Superman does for Lois Lane—provides total protection. LastPass stores all your passwords safely and securely so you’ll never have to worry about forgetting them ever again. So please get rid of that desktop folder named “Passwords,” ok? And, LastPass is also a strong password generator so it will create unique, highly secure passwords for every one of your online accounts.

In fact, the only password you’ll ever need to remember from now on is the one that opens LastPass. Check out this video to see exactly how LastPass will allow you to give the ol’ “Nyah Nyah” to would-be hackers everywhere.

Digitwirl is the weekly web show that offers simple solutions to modern day problems.  In 3-minutes, Digitwirl brings busy women the very best time, money, and sanity-saving technology, and then teaches them how to use it, step-by-step.  Digitwirl was created by technology lifestyle expert Carley Knobloch, who uses lots of technology to manage her busy life as mom of two and entrepreneur.  Subscribe to get weekly show alerts and exclusive deals at, or follow Digitwirl on Twitter at @digitwirl

Digitwirl: Get a personal assistant. Siri-ously

People are people, so it should be no surprise that even those who appear to be glamorous rock star-types get just as overwhelmed as the rest of us when it comes to the minutaie of life. You know, that long list of piddly tasks that — as my pal Nancy says — can make you feel like you’re being eaten alive by sunfish. The bites are tiny, but they add up!

I’m thrilled to see this week’s twirl in action; as usual, Carley digs into an app I’ve been meaning to check out for a long time. You know, when I have “spare time.” It’s nice to see Siri in action; I’m giving it a test run this week!

Let’s not even get into the thrill I experienced at seeing my ’90s girl-crush Lisa Loeb on screen. Geek girls in glasses? YES!

Digitwirl: Get a personal assistant. Siri-ously.

Sometimes the smallest tasks take the most time. And who doesn’t have a seemingly neverending to-do list? Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a personal assistant to take care of all that stuff for you? Guess what, there’s an app for that. And it is Siri-ously amazing.

In this week’s Twirl, Carley’s talking to her pal Lisa Loeb: a wonderfully talented singer, and typically time-challenged mom. She’s looking to simplify her life, just like we all are. You’ll be as amazed as she was when we introduced her to Siri, a virtual assistant that is at your beck and call. Siri can send you reminders for things you need to do, find businesses and restaurants wherever you are, show you what kids’ events are going on, and even tweet—all without touching a keypad. This productivity app uses simple voice command: you say it, Siri does it. Don’t you wish you could say the same about your family?

Digitwirl is the weekly web show that offers simple solutions to modern day problems.  In 3-minutes, Digitwirl brings busy women the very best time, money, and sanity-saving technology, and then teaches them how to use it, step-by-step.  Digitwirl was created by technology lifestyle expert Carley Knobloch, who uses lots of technology to manage her busy life as mom of two and entrepreneur.  Subscribe to get weekly show alerts and exclusive deals at, or follow Digitwirl on Twitter at @digitwirlr