Archive for the ‘ParenTech’ Category

De-facing the Book

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

No_Face_logoSo, for a full month, I was off Facebook.

Over the last decade or so, Facebook has managed to become an integral part of our society.  Facebook pages are nearly as important as, if not more important than a company’s website.  A Facebook account has become the single account used to access many other websites, rather than a site-specific account and password.  It is our address book and is trying hard to replace e-mail as our primary means of electronic communication and interaction.

So the notion of not using the site for nearly a month seems ludicrous, even for someone like me who, while not in danger of being called addicted, did use the site fairly heavily.  So how did that go?

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Powering the Modern Family

Sunday, June 1st, 2014
5-Port Family-Sized Wall Charger

My 5-port USB Charger

Amongst the five of us, we have three mobile phones, two tablets, a Kindle, five iPods, a couple of cordless Bluetooth headsets, and miscellaneous other bits of electronics that are charged via a USB connection.  Sure, most of them came with a charger and, of course, they can be plugged into a computer to charge them, but in practice, we usually end up playing musical chargers with the two we leave plugged in in the hall.  Until now, that is.

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Happy Birthday To You… Tube!

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Six years ago, if you wanted to show the video of your kid’s first day of preschool to your friends and family, chances are, you plugged your camcorder into the television set, fiddled with channels and inputs, and eventually got it working.  If you had family far away or were just technologically inclined, you might have loaded the video onto your computer and burned a DVD to pop in the mail.  Not so anymore.  Today, everyone just uploads their videos to YouTube.  This month, the service we all rely on turns six years old.

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Designing With Kids In Mind

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Many couples, when looking at new digs, do so with the needs of children in mind, even if they don’t have any as yet.  It’s also very common for parents to trade up to a larger house as more kids arrive on the scene.  That’s what my parents did, the summer before my youngest sister — their fifth kid — was born.  I remember helping to repaint the attic before moving in so that we could use it as a bedroom for the younger kids.

What about taking it a step further?  It’s pretty standard, if the magazines, television shows, and designers are to be believed, to redecorate a room as a nursery when a baby is on the way.  And a playroom or den wouldn’t raise any eyebrows.  Designing spaces for homework, TV watching, and playing games into the overall floorplan makes sense if you can do it.  After all, kids are more important than a wine cellar, sewing room or man-cave, right?  But just how far would you go to make your home child-friendly?

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The Amazing Gyro Bowl

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Most of the time, when you see something advertised on television as being amazing, incredible, or some other superlative, chances are it’s cheaply made and doesn’t work anywhere near as well as they’d have you believe, if it even works at all.  Every once in a great while, however, a product comes along that you just know is every bit as clever as they make it seem on telly.  I suspect the Gyro Bowl is one of those rare creatures.

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Building A Better Chess Set

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Chess is a great game that offers intellectual challenge to kids and adults alike.  Studies have shown that kids who play chess experience a significant increase in cognitive development as well as improved test scores.  On top of that, it’s just plain fun.  I decided, recently, that my kids — at least the older two — needed to learn to play.  But, of course, I can never do things the normal way.  I had to have a chess set that was unique and would capture their imagination.

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What’s A Book?

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Most kids today have no clue what a typewriter is.  Most have never seen a rotary telephone.  Some may have seen examples of that ancient technology known as the VCR, but probably only in their grandparent’s attic or garage.  Our kids may read more printed books than electronic ones, but that very well could change in the future.  Perhaps it is worthwhile to make sure that our children know that there is value in books that can’t be found online.

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The World’s Oldest Computer Made From LEGO

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

LEGO is big in our house.  Pretty much everyone, including the kids, likes building with it.  My oldest has made some pretty impressive models using LEGO bricks.  I’ll admit, however, that none are anywhere near as impressive as Andrew Carol’s functional model of the Antikythera mechanism.

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Gingerbread, Disney Style

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

One of the reasons people go back to Disneyland and Disney World over and over again is that they’re always changing.  There is always something new to see, especially around various holidays.  This year, in the Grand Canyon Concourse of Disney World’s Contemporary Resort in Florida there is a 17-foot tall gingerbread tree.  Not a wooden tree that just kinda looks like it’s made of gingerbread but a real, honest-to-yummy-goodness gingerbread tree.

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The Gift of a Year

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

I think I’ve finally learned not to begin doing something unless I am willing to keep doing that same thing for the rest of my life.  About 7 or 8 years ago, I started a tradition that has me staying up late at night, working all weekend, and generally running around like a chicken with its head cut off.  A very stressed out headless chicken.  And yet, I keep doing the same thing every year — because my in-laws say it’s the best gift they get.

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