Meet Gigi, from KludgyMom.com

Gigi, who blogs at Kludgy Mom, is so much more than a tech mom blogger! She’s a great resource for tutorials on everything from blogging to breadmaking, and she shares her thoughts on a whole huge range of topics, covering Geek life, parenting, social media and everything in between!

Heeeeere’s Gigi!

Name: Gigi Ross
Location: San Marcos, CA
Family Members: Husband, Son (age 9), Daughter (age 7)

Mac or PC? Why? PC…because it’s what I’ve always had. I like the interoperability of the PC versus the more closed Mac system.

iPhone or Android? Why? iPhone. Because it offered me the apps I wanted at the time I purchased it and Android phones did not.

How many total “devices” are in your household? (Laptops, desktops, tablets, smartphones, other phones, networked video game systems…) 14. That’s embarrassing. I may even be forgetting a few. Even more embarrassing.

What are some of your favorite apps that make life easier for you as a mom? I had just showed up 30 minutes late to my kid’s class Valentine’s Day party right before getting my iPhone. Without its calendar app and alert system, I wouldn’t remember anything. That’s my #1 tool for making sure I am where I need to be and doing what I need to be doing. Usually, I have to set up two alerts for any appointments (again, embarrassing)! Instagram is great for on the go photos of my kids. All the other apps I use regularly aren’t really related to my role as mom, but more for work and fun.

What do you think is the most appropriate age to introduce a smartphone to kids and why? (A recent survey said 44% of moms think 10 year olds should have a smartphone) It depends on the individual child and what they are doing that would require the use of a smartphone. I lean more toward 11 for my own son. I don’t foresee him needing one in 6 months when he turns 10, but I’m not opposed to it if it makes sense.

What are your thoughts about the future of family-focused tech? I think tech is going to become part of the family – we’re already headed in that direction, but I think we’ll see tech used in ways that unite families instead of having them engage in “parallel play,” which is where I think we’re at right now. I also think security and privacy will continue to grow as important issues that parents will need to educate their kids on – as well as themselves.

What is the coolest app you’ve used lately? I’ve been spending a little time exploring some of the boutique social networking apps designed for couples. Apps like Path, Tokii and Kahnoodle all provide ways to segregate a news feed and social activities to a much smaller social circle – and in Tokii and Kahnoodle’s case, just to your partner – than blasting to your entire Facebook network. It’s an interesting direction. I’ve also been checking out Song Mix, which is kind of a Name That Tune app – a fun time-killer.

What apps do you enjoy using with your kids? We like playing digital versions of classic board games like the Game of Life or Yahtzee, Mad Libs, and they adore any app that lets them get creative with sound, photos or video. They spend a lot of time on apps like AutoRap, Fat Booth, Video Star, Garage Band, and the like.

You’ve been granted magic app-creating powers. What does your ultimate app do? My ultimate app would keep an inventory of all the food and pantry staples I have on hand at any given time. Then, when I selected recipes on Pinterest to do my weekly meal planning, it would cross-check against my inventory and auto-generate a grocery list of what I needed. It would also auto- populate any coupons I could find online to use for the products I was purchasing that week.
And? It would also sweep my hardwood floors every day and empty the dishwasher.

Sometimes we all just need to “unplug” and enjoy family time. But it’s hard! How do you manage to do this with your own family? I’ve gotten better at this over the last few months. I simply don’t take devices with me when we’re having family time. If we’re out and about with the kids, I will leave my phone at home or in the car if we go to a restaurant. If we’re playing in the family room, I stick the iPad in my room. The first few times we were out and I didn’t have my phone, I almost didn’t know what to do with myself. Now that I’ve broken myself of the habit, I find that we have much better conversation as a family. Digital ignorance is bliss.

Facebook or Twitter – which do you prefer? And why? Great question. I like them both for different reasons. I like Twitter for quick communication and for networking and meeting new people. I like Facebook for staying in touch with my IRL friends. Since making a conscious effort to unplug more, though, I’ve found I spend more time on Facebook than Twitter. I’d been on Facebook since 2006 and when I discovered Twitter, it was a nice change. I’m enjoying being back in the mix on Facebook after a bit of a break.

So you’re considered a tech expert and we have to ask…when did you become fascinated with technology? Was there a moment or period in your life when tech became really interesting to you? I’ve always had a fascination with technology. In the mid-70s, I remember being one of the few 9 year-old girls who owned an Atari 2600 console (Space Invaders rocked!).
I was a pretty early adopter (excluding techie geeks) in the internet space, too. I was online as early as 1995. Fun fact: I am considered a charter member of match.com. I used the service before they even really had a formal website – it was more of a bulletin board service back then. My screenname? Girlnextdoor. No numbers, no special characters. I’ve always joked with my husband that I should sell my screenname to the highest bidder!

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