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Mónica Guzmán

Stories at the intersection of tech and life from a boldly connected city.

Category: Family
August 9, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Tech issue or health issue? Pediatricians struggle to guide parents and teens

Your teen’s pediatrician can talk about a good diet, exercise and even tricky stuff like alcohol and safe sex. But what about smartphones, Snapchat and Facebook? “A lot of them are not going to open that Pandora’s Box, either, because it could subvert the clinical visit or because they don’t have the tools to deal with…

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April 5, 2014 at 8:28 PM

How Facebook found Hailey: Why this Seattle parent shared her search for her teen

One Sunday last month, Marie Montemayor cut back and forth through happy crowds at French Fest at Seattle Center. Not finding any place to charge her phone’s dead battery, she cried. Two days earlier, at 4:30 p.m., she had told her 13-year-old daughter on that phone that she was making spaghetti for dinner. She hadn’t…

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October 12, 2013 at 8:00 PM

Buried in digital photos? Organizers to the rescue

Molly Bullard teaches the basics of photo organizing to a free class hosted by the Microsoft Store in University Village Wednesday night. (MÓNICA GUZMÁN / SEATTLE TIMES)

Molly Bullard teaches the basics of photo organizing to a free class hosted by the Microsoft Store in University Village Wednesday night. (MÓNICA GUZMÁN / THE SEATTLE TIMES)

At the back of the University Village Microsoft Store last Wednesday, Molly Bullard was teaching a class to seven eager people.

Brian Daniel inherited 40 photo albums when his mother passed away. Gene and Karen Smith have 30 27-gallon tubs of print photos to transfer to a hard drive. Gretchen Sill, who came with her mother, brought her laptop PC and her husband’s MacBook Pro. Both were stuffed with digital images, many of their 2-year-old son.

Bullard, 43, is a full-time photo organizer.

“If you feel you don’t know where to start, you’re not alone,” she told the class. “Everything’s not getting easier. It’s getting harder.”
It’s getting bigger, too. Humans took an estimated 86 billion photos in 2000. In 2012, we took more than 380 billion, all but a fraction of them with digital devices.

I’d go into my external hard drive to tell you how many pictures we have stored in there, but I can’t get up the nerve. That drive is a disaster — unsure, slow to load, a mess of folders with inconsistent titles. I have no idea what’s what. I get anxious just thinking about it.

We’re drowning in photos. And we need help.

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Comments | More in Column, Family, Habits, Nostalgia, Seattle

September 11, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Seattle dad strikes gold with board game that teaches basics of code

Kids "program" turtle game pieces in Robot Turtles, a game that teaches the fundamentals of programming.

Kids “program” turtle game pieces in Robot Turtles, a game that teaches the fundamentals of programming.

Seattle entrepreneur Dan Shapiro thought parents might dig a board game that taught pre-schoolers the basics of coding, and boy was he right. He put it on Kickstarter Sept. 3, and it hit its funding goal in five hours.

Shapiro designed the game, Robot Turtles, for his 4-year-old twins, and took time off his job as CEO of Google Comparison to share it with the world.

“Teaching [my kids] to program a computer is the single greatest superpower I can give them,” Shapiro wrote. “I made Robot Turtles so that my kids could learn programming basics without needing a computer. In fact, they don’t even need to be able to read.”

Shapiro first told me about the game last month, and nothing about its success surprises me. More and more of our world is built in code, and parents, particularly those who work in tech themselves, want their kids to get an early introduction. Shapiro’s game came at just the right time.

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July 20, 2013 at 10:06 PM

Aren’t you in labor yet? Birth in the age of Facebook

(Photo: Mónica Guzmán)

(Photo: Mónica Guzmán)

The British royal family has been in full PR mode for the birth of the royal baby. For new mothers on social media, that’s a familiar experience.

(The Duchess of Cambridge is in labor, according to a royal family spokesman.)

I had my media strategy pretty well figured out when I went into labor with my son a year ago Friday. I wouldn’t tweet I was in the hospital. I’d asked family not to post details of the labor. And I’d made sure that my mom, who spends more time on Facebook than I do, understood that under no circumstances could she scoop me and my husband on that all-important post announcing the baby’s birth.

Whether you’re the Duchess of Cambridge or a mere commoner in Seattle, becoming a parent is one of the biggest stories of your life, and there will always be loyal subjects who can’t wait to hear it.

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