7 Nice Things You Can Do for Your Mom Online

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On Mother's Day, I rue the fact that I live thousands of miles from my mom. I'm sure many of you are in the same position. So, I compiled this list of nice things you can do for your mom online. Nothing beats being there, but maybe these suggestions will help. Note that some of them will take a few days to arrive at your family's house, but better late than never, my mom always said.

1. Create an online gallery of old family photos. I took a bunch of the scans that my parents had done and curated a nice little selection for my family with Posterous, so that we could easily share them. If you're a really great child, you'd take on the digitization yourself.

mom.jpg

2. Buy Mom an old favorite song on iTunes. In my case, that long-ago song would be Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?"

3. Create a Blurb book from a family trip. Blurb is a print-on-demand service that creates beautiful books. I think photobooks work especially well. When my dad and I went to New York a few years back, I took a bunch of his photos and created a lasting record of that trip with Blurb. It was probably the best gift I've ever given.

4. Send your Mom a Postagram. For 99 cents, the Postagram app lets you send a photo from your phone as a real, life postcard to someone (say, your mom). Here's the one I made for my Mom.

postagram.jpg

5. Make a video greeting. Nothing beats seeing your face, no? So many phones and computers come with built-in cameras now, so there's really no excuse not to record a short message and then post it on your mom's Facebook page. Or, if you have cameraphobia, you can use an off-the-shelf video card from a place like Rattlebox.

6. Create a Google map of your childhood homes. I lived in five houses growing up in Mexico City, Los Angeles, and Washington State. Looking at them in Google Street View still brings back memories and nostalgia. Give your mom the gift of a virtual tour of the places you grew up. Just go to maps.google.com and start adding pins at your old addresses. If you want to get really fancy, you can add photos of or memories from each location.

7. Write a blog post about your mom and Mother's Day. Hi Mom!

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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