Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Thoughts on Gadgets and Things: Tribute to the Real Women who Make Christmas

Hello all!

GIFT IDEAS FROM ISIDRA GADGET! Here are a few things folks close to me have available and if you are in Los Angeles area, you can get them today:

The first thing on my list is not a gadget at all. It is "Heritage: a 2008 appointment book featuring 365 Days of the African American Experience." These great gift books keep on giving all year long. Check out Heritage by Deloris Holt. I designed her website here: Pick up a copy for $15 or if you pick up 5, the price drops to $12.50 each. Buy from the author (She lives in Leimert Park area). All of her contact numbers and emails are at the website.

Give the gift of knowledge! Dr. Kwaku's student's know that his DVD's and CD's are very powerful and uplifting. Audio CD's are only $10 each and DVD's are $20.

But, why not consider giving the gift of his great class Afrikan World Civilizations Class starting Feb, 22, 2008? This 11 week series is only $100 (Only $10 per class) . See the video wrap-up of last session's class now on You Tube.

Stop by, or email him at

Great T-Shirts: Like Oprah, I have a friend Gail too! She and her husband Andre have beautifully designed Buffalo Soldiers and Tuskegee Airmen T-shirts at their website Get yours today for $20 each. Email Gail at and arrange a pick up.

And right after Christmas comes Kwanzaa. My mentor and friend William Byers has designed an informative DVD called The Kwanzaa Guide. If you want to see how Kwanzaa is celebrated --especially teachers--visit hey are available by calling the number on the website.

Finally, I'd like to take a moment and salute all those who make Christmas warm and special, especially my mother and mother-in-law. Without them, Christmas would be just another day. We all eagerly await my Mother-in-law's crispy peanut brittle and pumpkin breads. She makes loads of 'em and ships them all over the world! Yum!

I'd like to give kudos to Ronnie Hamilton, Leroy Hamilton's wife, whose handiwork always puts me in the Christmas spirit. She and women like Rene Cross Washington, begin planning the day after Christmas for the next Christmas, never miss a timely sent gift, a thoughtful card, and have years of quality Christmas ornaments, recipes, etc. on hand. All I am good for is the Christmas Video or Photo yearbook. But one day, when I grow up I promise to be just like them!

Almost a month ago, I walked into the Hamilton home and was blown away that she already had wrapped gifts piled up under the mantel and her table decorated for Christmas. These women shop--something I do little of--and find the best deals and make the recipients faces light up with how on point their gift selections are.

Since we have 5 sons, my husband and I split everything down the middle, (this is when you miss daughters, but I am waiting for the daughters-in-law.) He fries the turkey and grows, cleans and cooks the greens. I make the mac n cheese, dressing, yams and get the extras. We then load up the truck and take everything to my sister-in-law Joanne's house. Our family puts it together, and we always have fun, but missing is the Santa Claus sized bag of gifts, the decorations, and the tree. For gifts, I usually give money to the kids since they have their own tastes but that loses in translation.

This Christmas, my son Ayo suggested we do the White Elephant gift giving idea which, for our growing family, is an excellent idea. (Wikipedia explains it well if you are not familiar. Now I am excited about Christmas again.)

Jaaye suggested a pot luck which will take the cooking strain off my husband and I. Now our West Coast family can do like our East Coast family which had a gathering of over 60 for the Thanksgiving alone. The one thing they always rave about is the variety of food. Can't wait to taste what the boys cook up!

Oh! Tech gifts you might consider: a laptop for the elder in your life who is missing out on all the emails and photos online; a GPS unit for those who get lost and hate asking directions. Better yet, get them a cell phone with the Navigator in it like my LG NV (Verizon--scroll below--they even have a new Voyager that is supposed to rival the iPhone!) -- it's one less thing to carry. Buy an iPod nano for anyone and they will love you forever, or at least a skoshy lil iPod Shuffle. I have both and would not trade either. Be sure and load their music!

However you do it, enjoy the holidays, all. And if you have those special holiday wonder women like I have, give them an extra hug and consider yourself blessed that someone is making Christmas for you.

Happy New Year all!

PS: Are you a student at West L.A. College? I will be teaching Business English (Business 31) and Business Communications (Business 32) in the Spring beginning February 4. Make your education your New Year's Resolution! Register at

PPS: From our family to yours - Holiday Flashes from the past:

These are rookie productions, but watch out for the 2007 version to see how much we've grown. (Coming soon)
Until then, enjoy my channel at

Monday, October 1, 2007

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Finally, the New iPod with the iPhone Features!

Didja miss it? Didja miss it? Apple announced a new iPod called the "Touch" Sept. 5. There is no phone but it has all of the other technology of the iPhone except the ability to check emails. There is a complete tutorial Click on the touch and you will find it!

They also DROPPED the price of the 8 gig iPhone from $599 to $399, the same price as the new Touch! the new Touch starts out at $299 for an 8 gig and $399 for a 16 gig. And it has wifi Internet! Read the review at

If your man hates asking directions, he will love GPS!

Hello all. I have been on an extended vacation, but I'm back now! While on vacation, I simply do not know what I would have done without my GPS! GPS stands for "Global Positioning Satellite" and that technology powers devices as small as your cell phone to give you turn-by-turn directions. My family lives out on the prairie in Virginia and it takes me right to their door. DC, which is one of the most confusing cities for me to navigate was a piece of cake for my sons' graduations.

I first fell in love with them when Hertz threw in a "Never Lost" when I rented a car. I hated to turn that thing in. Of course and other web based driving directions are great for getting you there...but not when you are alone. I found that in trying to find the airport in pouring down rain before the crack of dawn in Richmond, Virginia. I simply cannot drive and read at the same time. Two or more people makes more sense for written directions.

But since Christmas when my son bought me the new enV cellphone from LG, I have never feared venturing out alone to unfamiliar places. (And this incidentally is one thing my husband's new iPhone cannot do!) "The Lady" as I call her gets me there, helps me find Thai restaurants in remote places, and accompanies on all my road trips. Even when I do have (the best reason the computer was invented) , I often overshoot a turn because I am on the phone. Not with this lady. She will tell you when to turn well before the turn then bug the hell out of you until you make the turn. If you still miss the turn, she patiently says recalculating route and figures out another way for you to get there. It doesn't help too much while walking, since it will tell you in a minute when you are not on a road...

These make great gifts for elders who move to unfamiliar states in search of inexpensive home prices--if they are not afraid to use them, and young people who are just beginning to drive. Trust me on this. For more information. read this extensive article from Consumer Reports: Choosing a Navigation System.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The iPhone--Dr Kwaku Gives a Review

Here is a review of the iPhone by Dr. Kwaku Person-Lynn

Friday, March 30, 2007

Put video on your blog!

I just recently learned how to add video to my blog. My friend Kevin Ross who just launched told me how.

First create a video. Upload it to (Follow their instructions, create a free account, then upload!)

Open a new post on your blog. Click the "edit html" tab.

Go back to your You Tube page. Click on the video of your choice (yours or anyone else's)and click on it to play. Notice to the right of it the word "embed." Select and copy the entire code to the right of that box, go back to your blog, click the "Edit HTML" tab, then click "paste." Then click preview and "Voila" you should see your post and the video!

Thanks, Kevin, for the tip!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Fear Itself

Yesterday, I sat down at a table to fill out some forms. There was a 9 year-old boy sitting across from me, happy to have someone, anyone to chat with while his Mom and sister were busy doing girl things. He rummaged through what I learned later was his sister's backpack, demonically looking for her pet. ("She never lets me play with her toys.") I was wondering what animal could have survived the clutter in that satchel, until he produced it. It was an old electronic gadget that said it was hungry and my new friend only had to click to feed it.

As he chattered incessantly, my mind wandered to all of my gadgets. They eat too. They eat batteries like candy. They need attachments. They need bigger memory cards. They need to be plugged in at night. The reason my wardrobe is seriously out of date is because what I used to spend on leather and wool, I now spend on silver and black gadgets. Gadget lovers are afraid of getting left behind.

That's why I am declaring a moratorium on buying a new gadget. My husband just smirked at me and quipped: So what will be your next gadget?

But I must steel myself against the entrepreneurial minds the world over who are trying to think up the next big thing for me to buy...the thing that will top the I-phone, the smaller better laptop, the Tivo, the GPS car systems. They are on the prowl for people like me--people who love electronic pets. Unlike he furry version, time you get used to one gadget pet, a new version of it is out. Your new pet becomes old (and gets tossed) with a quickness.

And because the American public feasts on a steady diet of fear, we also need huge TV's, so we can watch the news and be scared out of our peace and quiet. Then, we buy security systems, and motion lights and tasers and things, to protect our gadgets from thieves because Lord knows you cannot survive a walk around the block. After all, did you see the news?

Every week, a new fear movie comes out, it seems. Even if you never go to see it, the 300 promos will pack enough fear into your heart that it will surely come out the next time your power goes off and you are home alone.

My young friend's chatter pierces my wandering thoughts. "...and so I am sitting here even though I am bored to death because I don't feel like getting my butt whupped today." I chuckled.

That boy's mama put the fear of the belt into his hide and pinned him to his chair with just that thought-- although he was about to go stir crazy.

Fear. It works every time.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

In Your Face

As a mother in '07, you often have to take on new forms of communication to hear from your older children. Young people use instant message (IMs) these days. They just do. Oh sure, our five almost grown sons will call when they need something, and even come home once in a while, but if you want to hear from them more often, you need instant messaging, email, and a cell phone. Trust me on this.

On one extreme, one son (before he moved out) would be back in his room, come up front near my office to graze in the fridge, pass me by mutely, then go back to his room and send me a text message.

The oldest son, the one who made us grandparents, has a cell phone, but he actually prefers the old Ma Bell corded phone. The next four use their technology extensively. It's a good thing they do. As 20-somethings roaming the world, an email or an IM may be all they can manage. In just the past 12 months, I have received text messages and emailed photos from Turkmenistan (Near Iran), the World Cup in Germany, the Superbowl, Brazil's Carnival, Jamaica, Nigeria, South Africa, or helping clean up the aftermath of Katrina on spring break in the Big Easy.

One-on-one communication from your kids: priceless. But, then, someone invented Face Book ( Unlike My Space, it encourages interactivity and extensive photo albums. If your friend posts an album and you are in it, they tag you and the photo shows up in your album. If you are someone's "friend" you can see their profiles and photos.

While you invite new friends in, your friends also are inviting new people that you may not have considered. As far as I know, nonmembers cannot see your albums and writings, but I repeat, new people are connecting through folks you know all the time.

And, this is why I am writing. My Space gets all the media attention warning young people not to divulge too much information, but few warnings are heard about Face Book. Friends think they are sharing compromising photos with a few friends but you never know which of those friends might wind up being a future employer or a link to one.

Back in my college days, we took a lot of pics (some in compromising positions), but the average number of eyeballs that saw them was a fraction of those that see today's digital photos. On those college nights when we met the porcelain goddess, even if someone took a photo of it, they did not have access to tens of thousands that could see it. Today it is possible.

So at the risk of being the old fogey soon to be kicked off, consider this, young people: Only Your Friends Know Your Secrets. Only They will reveal them. Enjoy Face Book( but resist the temptation to embarrass someone. Better still, resist the temptation to embarrass yourself, because today, cameras are everywhere. If you don't believe me, ask the Ms. America , or American Idol contestants whose business have been dragged all through media headlines. If only they could unring those photos.


Thursday, March 8, 2007

I should be buying clothes...

Anyone who knows me, must have figured out by now that I am fashionably challenged. Unlike my mother and sisters who view shopping as a sport, I would rather spend my day in Fry's Electronics, or online. Today, I bought a portable speaker for my Ipod at Costco, when I was there to buy their delicious crisp Fuji apples. I was on my way to the dress store. Honest!

As I picked up the pricey item, I just could not put it back on the shelf. I reasoned,"I will just put this in my cart and then ditch it by check out. But, it had a hold on me. After all, I spend hours producing my podcasts, and too many people can't view them on the computer. At least this way, I have speakers --and rich sounding ones at that--that will help me show the world my creations. And, they are completely portable and rechargeable.

The speakers are called Sonic Impact i-F2, and since I don't feel like taking a pic, so click here to view. (I will have them in class to show my students.) The good news is I saved $50 by getting them at Costco! It's black and has a zipped enclosure, hand strap and completely houses the Ipod and all of its trappings--headphones, microphone, FM transmitter--not included.)

So, the next time you visit, go ahead and subscribe, so you can take me on the road with you! And don't laugh when you see me sporting clothing from the last millennium.--IPL

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Welcome to the world of blogging!

In this world of high technology--fast phone calls, fast photos, fast Internet--it feels good to ratchet things down a bit and just write. Of course, I will be typing, because I don't want to ratchet things down that much.

Folks who know me, know that I am a bit of a techie. Since they are always asking me questions, I would like to share some of the real life things I have learned about how technology can help you out. It really is quite simple.

The biggest thing you need to know about technology is that it is just another tool designed to make your work easier.

Sure there are days when you want to throw your computer out of the window, but for the other 350 days a year, the darned thing just works and saves us so much time.

The first tip I will discuss is: Blogging.

Blog is short for "Web" and "Log". My blog, Isidra Gadget, starts now.

If you are interested in blogs that others have written, simply "google" the word and you will be amazed at how many already exist.

Why blog? The first one I ever read was by the producer of the Oscars--a behind the scenes account. It was a way to focus interest as the show grew closer. Many companies blog because it is a way to put a human touch on their companies without incurring extra expenses from their webmasters. It is an easily changeable page that keeps customers informed.

You can also upload a photo, or, in some cases, video to spice things up a bit.

Since I teach classes titled Business English and Business Communications, I recommend this blog: . There are many about whatever subject. To view a wide range, visit this directory:

There are many free blog hosting site. This is one . Another is .

The thing you will find about many blogs is, because it is nearly impossible to thoroughly edit your own work, manyblogs are full of typos because bloggers rarely have a fresh pair of eyes willing to edit their stuff. My students will be editing mine, and I will return the favor. It's good practice and I am a whizz at making typos, because I am usually in a rush.

If there is a tech question you have, I would be happy to entertain it here. Email me at If I don't know the answer, I will ask my circle of geeks, time permitting. Thanks for reading!