Digitwirl: Transfer photos in a flash with Eye-Fi

This week’s twirl features the Eye-Fi — a product that’s been on my wish list since November 2010, when Clockwork published a Cyber Monday Gift Guide. Jenny Holman, a fellow Clockworker, raved about how easy it was to use. And, while it doesn’t seem like it should be a big deal to plug a dumb cord into your computer to download photos, I have to ‘fess up: earlier today, I finally downloaded photos off my camera from Christmas. Yes, Christmas!

So, maybe if I get an Eye-Fi for Mother’s Day I can finally cut the (camera) cord and share photos with the grandparents that are just a little bit more timely. Until then, I guess I’ll be posting these photos of my kids as part of a Christmas in July celebration.

Digitwirl: Transfer your digital photos in a flash with Eye-Fi

Remember the dark ages of family photos: buying film, taking it to be developed, and cringing at all the shots of you with your eyes closed? Bet you thought when you got a digital camera things couldn’t get much easier. So did we. Until we discovered the Eye-fi wireless camera card.

This 4 gig card instantly, wirelessly transfers all your pictures from your camera to your computer, social networks, and photo sharing sites, making it easier than ever to store and share all your shots. No more finding the correct wires and that pesky little card reader, not to mention setting aside the time you need to transfer them. In fact, we love this clever device so much it’s become one of our top picks for best gift ever.

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.

Home Entertainment How-Tos

We got into so much detail about our home setups in Podcast #33, we thought it’d be helpful to provide some videos and photos!

Kyle DeLaHunt’s set-up:

Kyle explains how to get files into iTunes without copying them (SO HANDY if you’re storing movie or music files on an external drive!):

Photos of Kyle’s home set-up:

The 250-pound Television
Apple TV and Amplifier
External Hard Drives

Meghan Wilker’s set-up:

Meghan gives a walk-through of her entertainment system:

Meghan’s husband, Jeremy, explaining how to recreate their setup component-by-component (in 5 minutes):

Nancy Lyons’s set-up:

Digitwirl: e-Readers Compared (and a bonus Nook hack!)

This week’s Twirl is like a Tale of Two Ians. First, Carley talks to Ian Manheimer at Measy about how to select the right e-reader. Meanwhile, my friend Ian posted a video today showing how he hacked his Nook e-reader into a full-fledged tablet.

Double the fun!

Let’s start with Carley and the e-reader video. After watching this week’s episode, I checked out and I have to say: it’s pretty rad. I can’t tell you how many times my relatives have called for advice on which camera, computer, phone or tablet to buy. Heck, sometimes our readers ask us the same questions! The problem is, the answer varies widely, depending on what your needs are. Measy aims to solve this problem by asking you a few simple questions (including budget and any brand preferences), and then suggesting products that meet your need. Brilliant! If you’re looking for a new tech gadget, give it a test drive.

Below Carley’s latest Twirl, I posted a bonus video from my friend Ian. Earlier today, he posted an ecstatic update on Facebook about how he had hacked his Nook into an Android tablet. What the what?! He later posted a video tour of his awesomely hacked device.

If you want the functionality of an iPad-like device at a price that can’t be beat ($250) — you might want to consider this. He swears it only took about 10 minutes (and has promised to post an instructional video soon). You’d certainly earn your Geek Girls Guide badge for hacking a Nook, so let us know if you try it!


e-Readers Compared (with help from

Carley’s found the best website for when you’re looking to fall in love…with a gadget. This week’s Twirl introduces you to Ian Manheimer, the mega-brain behind

Listen in as Ian helps Carley understand the somewhat confusing world of new e-readers. Is the Nook’s color screen a better choice than the Kindle’s crisp E Ink black and white one? Is bigger better? And wait ’til you see how Measy’s online quiz makes it easy to compare tons of electronic products so that you find the one that meets all your needs. Kind of like a dating site, but without all the awkward happy hours.

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.

BONUS: From Nook to Tablet in 10 Minutes?

Bonus! Just as I was posting Carley’s latest episode, my friend Ian posted a video tour of his recently-hacked Nook. Check out the below video to see how he’s got the Nook acting like an e-Reader AND a full-fledged tablet! Move over, iPad…this baby looks pretty sweet.

He’s promised a follow-up video with a step-by-step demonstration of how he did it. I’ll post it as soon as I see it!

Digitwirl: Personal Scanner

I have a confession to make: my husband and I just finished our 2009 taxes about a month ago. Yep, you heard that right. We finished our 2009 taxes in 2011. Nice, huh?

Here’s hoping Carley’s latest Digitwirl helps us get our 2010 tax act together a little earlier. As a gadget-lover who also appreciates organization and simplicity, I love how small and light this thing is. Weighing in at less than a pound, and smaller than a three-hole punch? Yes, please!

Aside from taxes, I can see this coming in handy for the medical receipts I need to save for our HSA. And I love Carley’s idea about using it for kids’ artwork as well! I just went through a somewhat painful and time-consuming process with my five-year-old in which we had to decide which super-special artwork we wanted to put in the archives, and which pieces needed to go to, uh…that great recycling bin in the sky. It would be great to scan some of those things we’d like to look at again later, but don’t have room to store. (SERIOUSLY. My kids generate so much artwork, I feel like I’m personally responsible for more deforestation than any other human on the planet.)

So, without further ado: NeatReceipts. Enjoy the twirl!

Digitwirl: A Personal Scanner that Organizes My Receipts? Neat!

Whoops, taxes are due April 15th and you still have your receipts “filed” in a shoe box. You’re trying to put in for medical expenses and can’t find the bills. Sound familiar? If you’re looking to transform that wild pile into organized digital files you’re going to love our how-to video for NeatReceipts. We couldn’t believe what a beast this tiny gadget (it weighs less than a pound) was when it came to scanning receipts, business cards, important forms — even our kids artwork — to create searchable pdf files.

As if that wasn’t cool enough, the NeatWorks software helps create IRS-friendly reports that make it super easy for your accountant to do your taxes. And easier for them equals cheaper for you. We likey.

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.

Informational Interviews

We recorded a podcast (#32) on this topic, but I think it’s handy to have a written guide for this kind of information as well.

So here you have it: the Geek Girls Guide to a kickass informational interview.


Get Noticed

  • It’s totally appropriate to use Twitter (or a message via LinkedIn) to make yourself known to a professional that you’d like to have an informational interview — in fact, that’s sometimes the best way to stand out. But follow up with a more formal email if they bite on your offer via Twitter.
  • Email is also a good option, but it can sometimes be hard to get a response (depending on how much email the person gets).
  • Want to really stand out? Try snail mail; people don’t get much actual mail anymore.
  • Be clear about what you want. “Will you have coffee with me?” could mean a lot of things. Do you want to be friends? Are you asking me on a date? Ask for what you want — and not just an “informational interview.” Say something more specific, “I’d like to learn more about project management.” or, “I’m looking for input on my portfolio.”


  • Ask for 30 minutes. Getting an hour of someone’s time might be a challenge. But, if you can get an hour…sweet!
  • If you can get the person to meet you offsite, do it! They’ll be less likely to be interrupted by co-workers. To that end, if you shoot for a meeting at the beginning of the day the person is less likely to be distracted by the day’s work.
  • Confirm the meeting a day or two before. Don’t be discouraged or deterred if the person has to reschedule; it happens.

Do Your Homework

  • In an informational interview, YOU are interviewing the person you’re meeting with. In a job interview, THEY are interviewing you. So, prepare!
  • Google the living hell out of the person you are interviewing with, and the company the work for. Don’t be creepy, but dig deep. The more you know about what they do and how they got there, the more you can ask questions that are relevant and thoughtful. It may even reveal connections or common interests you weren’t aware of!

Interview Day

Show Up Early

  • If you are meeting someone for coffee, get there an hour early. I’m not joking. You want to be the first one there, so you can buy the person their cup of coffee. This is a critical piece of etiquette! Even if the person refuses your offer to pay — at least you’ve made the offer.
  • If you’re meeting someone at their office, try to be 10 minutes early. That’s early enough to show you’re serious, not so early that it’s awkward. It also doesn’t cut it too close; you want time to take off your coat and organize your thoughts. Whatever you do, don’t be late.
  • Play it safe. Assume that the route to your destination will take you twice as long as it usually does. If that means you end up sitting in your car a block away for 20 minutes just to kill time before the interview, so be it.

Have an Agenda

  • Have a list of questions that you want to ask the person. And not generic questions, either. Be thoughtful; you’ll make an impression.
  • Bringing a notebook and pen is an easy way to make it clear that you take the interview seriously.
  • Watch the clock: if the person agreed to give you 30 minutes and the conversation is still rolling along at 28 minutes, give a courtesy time check. “Do you need to go, or would it be okay if I asked you just one more question?” or, “I don’t want to take too much of your time, and I see our 30 minutes is nearly up.” You can set your phone to vibrate when there are 5 minutes left so that you know it’s time to start closing the conversation.

Close Strong

  • Thank the person for their time.
  • If you got something helpful out of the conversation, tell them.
  • Hand them a business card.


Follow Up

  • A tweet, an email, a paper thank you note? I’d recommend all three! Include a business card with your thank you note, too — why not?
  • It’s okay to try to connect with the person via LinkedIn afterward, but include a personal message, “Thanks for the informational interview on Monday. Your advice about project management was really helpful to me. I’d like to keep in touch, do you mind if we connect here on LinkedIn?”
  • I’d advise against trying to friend the person on Facebook; that just feels too personal. Twitter and LinkedIn are a better bet for staying connected to someone you’d like to stay connected with as a mentor and possible future boss!

That’s it! What do you think? Did I miss any critical informational interview advice?

SXSW: It’s Official!

It’s official! Geek Girls Guide will not be speaking at SXSW.

We submitted a panel on Creating a User-Centered Culture and, while it made it through the first round of judging and was well-received during PanelPicker voting (it’s still listed on the trending topics page!), we didn’t make the final cut.

So, why bother blogging about it? Two reasons:

First, because we want to thank everyone that took the time to vote for our session and help us promote it. We received such kind comments both privately and on our SXSW proposal page, and we truly appreciate everyone’s encouragement, support and help. So, thank you. The Geek Girls Guide is a labor of love: it’s something that Nancy and I have to make time for in between our day jobs, volunteer commitments and being parents of young kids. Hearing that people are inspired by what we’re doing makes the late nights, early mornings, and extra effort worth it. So, once again, thank you.

Second, we wanted to give props to SXSW for such awesome communication. From submitting our initial proposal through their final selections, they communicated clearly about what was happening, what was coming next and how decisions were being made. So, while it didn’t end up working in our favor, we certainly appreciate understanding the process and being treated with respect and openness along the way.

So, for those of you going to SXSW this year: have fun. We won’t see you there, but we hope you have a marvelous time!

And, if you are reading this, thank you for your support. We really appreciate it!


Check out a full list of the panels submitted by other Minnesotans over on the MNPR blog. (I bugged @karyd today to see if she’d do a follow-up post to see how many made it in. Go, Minnesota!)

Podcast #27: Keynote News With A Side Of Security

We’re excited to announce that we’re one of the keynote sessions for MinneWebCon 2011! Along with that good news, we’d also like to encourage other female speakers (and really anyone with solid, innovative content) to submit their proposals for this year’s event. If you’ve got something good to say, make sure you share it!

In Podcast 26, we mentioned a Firefox plugin called Firesheep. While we didn’t go into much detail, we did promise a deeper conversation about it in the next podcast. This is that podcast! Listen further to find out more about how the plugin works, and what it means for your information. While we’re on the subject of sharing information that you may or may not know you’re sharing, we also touched on the new Facebook Friendship pages. Do you know what Facebook is saying about you and your friends?

Additional Resources

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Have a topic you’d like us to talk about? Drop us a line at [email protected] or leave us a comment on our Facebook page!

Social Media for Humans (in 3 Easy Steps!)

Lately, lots of people have been asking about how to handle social media on an individual level. The questions really boil down to this: “How much should I share?” and  “How ‘strategic’ should I be about what I share?”

My answer is simple:

1. Keep an eye on the content you’re putting out about yourself and determine if it’s an accurate representation.
2. Think about what content you want to — or should — share.
3. Try stuff, and see how you like it. Keep doing the stuff that feels right and quit the stuff that doesn’t.

Business Strategy vs. Personal Strategy

There’s a difference between organizations and individuals when it comes to social media. Generally speaking, an organization’s goals are relatively static; it’s strategies and tactics that, to varying degrees, change more often. But, as a human, goals change all the time. Sometimes, there is no goal. I’ve certainly published content about myself that had no point except that I wanted to say it. (Actually, that pretty much sums up my 20s.) But the same goes for real life, too — we have all sorts of pointless conversations with each other because that’s what humans do. The seemingly pointless actually does have a point and that point is socializing. That we would create technology to facilitate this was inevitable.

Organizations are starting to get comfortable with the notion that if they can figure out how to socialize with us — or at least connect with us in social spaces without pissing us off — it might lead to business. But, ultimately, their goal is business. No matter how you cut it, how awesome an organization’s social media engagement is, the hard truth is that they’re trying to sell you something. There’s nothing wrong with that (Go, capitalism!), but organizations aren’t in the business of being our friend. They’re in the business of business.

So, like I said: sometimes, for people, there is no goal. At other times, our goals are quite concrete: Get a job. Sell a house. Find a daycare. And during those times our social interactions, online and off, are often in service of those goals. It is in those times that we are grateful for all the non-goal oriented interactions we’ve had with people, because now we feel okay about asking them for favors. We get a little (ahem) strategic about who we communicate with, and how.

When my son was a baby, my goal was to find some new friends to hang out with because I felt kind of lonely as a too-busy working mom with two young children. Did I write that goal down and create a strategic plan to find friends? Nope. I organized a happy hour with a bunch of chicks I knew via Twitter. People that seemed funny, smart and interesting based on the stuff they were sharing. I formed an opinion about who they were and whether or not I wanted to hang out with them based mainly on what they had shared online. In other, more gross jargon-y talk, I selected them based on their personal brand.

But getting overly “strategic” about your personal social media usage can be skeevy. It removes some of the humanity that makes social media…social. On the flip side, not stopping to think about what you share can be damaging to you, your employer (and therefore, your employment), and your family and friends. So, how can you be thoughtful about what you share online without going overboard and creating a spreadsheet and quarterly reports about your bad self?

My© Patented™ Process♥

1. Keep an eye on the content you’re putting out about yourself and determine if it’s an accurate representation.

To take care of the “keep an eye on the content” part of this, Google yourself, and set up Google Alerts (see our 5-Minute Guide to Google Alerts) for your own name, and any other names or terms you want to keep an eye on.

As far as whether or not it’s an accurate representation, you can decide that for yourself. Or, better yet, ask someone who doesn’t know you very well to Google you and send you a recap of who they think you are based on what they find. You might be surprised.

If what they find dismays you, start cleaning it up by creating new, more accurate content (or, if they didn’t find anything — start creating ANY content). LinkedIn is a great place to begin because it’s very low risk (in terms of sharing personal information) and ranks highly in Google search results.

2. Think about what content you want to — or should — share and make public.

  • Does your Facebook profile show up in Google search results? Do you want it to? How much can strangers see of your profile?
  • Are you going to use location-based networks like Foursquare? Who do you want knowing where you are?
  • Who do you want knowing what your political or religious beliefs are?
  • Do you want to connect with clients or co-workers?
  • How might revealing personal information affect your professional life and vice versa?

There are no right answers. What do YOU want to to share? There are valid reasons for making lots of your information open to the public, and many risks, too. It’s just like the stock market: some people have a high tolerance for risk and others don’t. Figure out how safe you want to play it, and start there. It makes no difference what works for someone else: figure out what feels right to you. Start with what feels comfortable. Over time, your risk tolerance may increase as you start to see some of the personal rewards that can come from healthy social interactions online. I don’t know what that “reward” may look like for you: keeping in touch with family, expanding your professional network, establishing yourself as an expert in your field…there are endless possible benefits.

3. Start trying stuff out, and see how you like it. Keep doing the stuff that feels right and quit the stuff that doesn’t.

This one should be pretty self-explanatory. Explore. Hey, it’s the internet: it’s pretty fun, and you won’t break it.

Online vs. Offline

Ok, really? This “process” is just a digital version of what we do in real life all the time. We edit ourselves every moment of every day based on our environment (am I at home or at work?), our company (am I with my boss or my swear-like-a-pirate sister?), and our motivation (am I trying to get a job with this person or trying to get them to wake up?). The thing is, in real life, we rarely need to stop to think about it. It just happens. It’s a natural human response to our surroundings.

Online, we don’t have those same social cues. Updating my Facebook status feels different than standing in front of a room filled with 500 people, and yet the two actions have a similar effect. So, here’s a pro tip: don’t post anything online that you wouldn’t stand up and say in front of a room full of strangers. It sounds simple, but I’m often amazed at the things people say online that they would never have the guts to say to someone’s face. So, while you don’t need to draft some kind of complex content diagram for yourself, it’s important to take a minute to think about what you want to share online because of its ease and relative permanance.

I’ll admit I’ve had my fair share of awkward moments where I’ve shared something that I later wish I wouldn’t have. It happens. It’s easy to forget when you’re tweeting or blogging or Facebooking that you’re writing something that could be seen by a whole lot of people — some of whom you may not know — and that it’s contributing to their idea of who you are.

So while “personal brand” is a popular term (and one I’ve been known to use myself), I don’t think anyone needs to take themselves so seriously that they need to create an official brand strategy for themselves (and, by extension, some kind of complicated personal social media plan).

If I had to sum up my thoughts on this in two sentences, it’d be this: Think, but don’t think too hard. Be the best human being you can be, and it will come through in everything you do — online and off.

Podcast #26: Social Engineering (or whatever)

In this podcast we touch on some recent reader questions around Facebook privacy and the importance of being smart with your profiles, pages, and other accounts online.

We discuss the difference between phishing and social engineering scams, and the ever-present annoyance of spammers and and weirdos.

Tune in next time when the ladies dive in for a closer look at Firesheep and some of the surrounding controversy.

Additional Links:

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Have a topic you’d like us to talk about? Drop us a line at [email protected] or leave us a comment on our Facebook page!

Quick Tip: Forwarding Google Alerts

Geeky reader Evelyn from Florida wrote in with this: “I read your post The Five-Minute Guide to Google Alerts. I’m trying to figure out how to forward only Google Alerts (not all emails) to another email address that’s not Google (in other words, to my work email address). Do you think you could help?”

Yes! This one is pretty easy, but you don’t do it from Google Alerts. This one you take care of in gmail.

From, go to: Settings > Filters > Create a New Filter

From there, you can specify that if the subject line contains “Google Alert” it should be forwarded to a different account (like your work email address).

Setting up filters is possible in most email systems and can be a great way to keep the massive tide of emails under control. As an example: when we are hiring at Clockwork, I filter resumes into a separate folder that I can review when I choose, instead of having those emails choke up my inbox.

So, that’s it — just a quick little geeky tip to make your life easier!