Category Archives: Media

Can a toy help girls build our future?

GoldieBlox is a toy company that believes girls deserve more choices than dolls and princesses. They support that girls will build the future — literally.

Founder Debbie Sterling is a Stanford engineer who decided last year that girls need more choices than the pink aisle has to offer. She developed GoldieBlox, an interactive book series + construction set starring Goldie, the kid inventor who loves to build.  Find more information about Goldie Blox here – and watch this fantastic video as well.

book: Zero Waste Home

zero waste homeZero Waste Home by Bea Johnson, is a book  of  fun and practical ideas written by a frugal French mom living in America with her American husband and 2 boys. While several of her ideas I already have in practice (she details composting, de-cluttering, simplifying), I found many new ideas such as a simple multi-purpose balm, techniques for waterproofing leather, and special towel folding techniques to carry food to picnics and wrap gifts.   So far I’ve tried her cocoa powder eye shadow, where I brushed cocoa powder on my eyelids.  I then asked my 17 year old son what he thought.  He was like “Mom – it makes you look old and wrinkly!”  I put on my glasses and sure enough even though I liked the color, this is a tip for someone much younger…but it was fun and simple to try!

Bea gives a list of houseplants that clean the air, tips on travel, recipes, stories from her own family, decorating, cleaning, wardrobe, gift wrapping, simple home building/craft projects, holidays and more.   It was a fun read, a cross between homesteading and housekeeping, humor and practicality, simplicity and relaxation.  Instead of making me feel overwhelmed, she made me feel comfortable and curious to try new ideas.

Check out Zero Waste Home By Bea Johnson from your local library or bookstore.

Star Trek fans continue the adventure

This Star Trek fan fiction takes over where a previous TV episode left off, and is crafted in the Gene Roddenberry style with an emphasis on message just like the original Star Trek. And the lighting/costumes/music/flow is so similar to the TV show. Took me a little bit to get used to the characters, but I could easily fall in love with them if this turned into a series.

If you want to see this web series become a reality, feel free to contribute to the kickstarter campaign here.

*update* as of 10/27/13 the kickstarter project has been funded, so you can look forward to at least 3 new episodes:)

New Pancreatic Cancer Screening

Pancreatic cancer research has led to a cancer screening test strip that is cheap and accurate.  This invention was created by a 14 year old boy.

debt collection agency as heros?

The future of debt collection is customer care. In this video, an innovative business leader carves out a practical way to not only make more money, but make a difference.

Peel garlic in less than 10 seconds

Hate peeling garlic?  Here’s a totally better idea on how to make the job painless.

A new take on science education

How do we help kids get past the ‘I’m not good at science’ mind worm?  How do we help them see that creativity, thinking, observing are all basic parts of science? Here’s a teacher/program that’s helping science education take that leap.

Free! Dakota Blues Download

Here’s a generous offer from an author friend of mine! A free download of her new book!

Any Shiny Thing

Great Saturday morning to you! If you haven’t seen the news, I’m offering a free download of my award-winning novel, Dakota Blues, today through Monday (9/28-9/30/13). If you don’t have a Kindle you can read it on your computer – or most other readers have a Kindle app. Rock out, my friends! I’m doing this in honor of my sweet grandbaby’s birthday. Since midnight 225 895 almost 14,000 people have taken advantage of this gift. I hope you do, too. Enjoy!

Click on the image BELOW to go to the free download page.

Dakota blues cover image with award

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Sony’s HDR-MV1 camcorder caters to musicians

In the Age of YouTube, it’s becoming pretty much standard practice for up-and-coming musicians to post videos of their jam sessions or live performances online. And while the affordability of HD video cameras/phones may mean that the visuals in those videos look nice, music is first and foremost an auditory art-form. That’s why Sony is introducing a new musical-performance-specific camcorder, known appropriately enough as the HDR-MV1 Music Video Recorder. 

The MV-1 records audio in either uncompressed Linear PCM or internet-friendly AAC format, via a tunable 120-degree X-Y stereo microphone. Recording levels can be manually controlled, and a line-in port allows for direct feeds. Audio quality is monitored either via user-supplied headphones, or using the camera’s built-in speaker.

Video is captured by a wide-angle 120-degree lens – to ensure that all band members get in the shot – at a resolution of either 1080p or 750p (both at 30 fps). A back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor is claimed to capture sharp images even in dimly-lit clubs, and the option of manual exposure control will keep the iris from closing down every time a stage light comes on.

Shots are monitored or reviewed using a 2.7-inch LCD screen

Footage is recorded to a Micro SD card or a Memory Stick Micro, in MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 format. Shots are monitored or reviewed using a 2.7-inch LCD screen, which can also be used to check and adjust audio input levels. Additionally, the camera can be remotely operated using a Wi-Fi-enabled mobile device – this could come in particularly handy in cramped venues, where a videographer would be in peoples’ way if they stayed with the camera.

The user’s mobile device can also be utilized to post footage online, via Sony’s free PlayMemories Mobile app.

The Sony HDR-MV1 Music Video Recorder will be available as of December, at a price of US$299.99. Footage shot with it can be seen (and heard) below.

Thanks to Gizmag for this article Sony’s HDR-MV1 camcorder caters to musicians.

Better idea for news!

If you’ve never heard of Upworthy, I’d like to introduce you. This site is so encouraging/inspiring that I’ve subscribed to.  It’s an example of where media is going – a POSITIVE direction that’s interactive, caring, and human.  Here’s the latest details about how Upworthy is expanding their amazing business, and how you can get involved:

We Had A Kinda Crazy Idea. You Made It Real. Thank You.

Hey all,

We launched Upworthy 18 months ago based on a pretty crazy idea: that if you can catch people’s attention, they actually care more about the most important topics in the world than they do about celebrity sideboobs or iPhone rumors or weird old tips about belly fat.

The thing was: We had no idea if it was true.

We certainly wanted to believe that we could help Continue reading

The neighborhood we all want

Here’s your feel good moment for today – a song written and sung by my husband. Video shot and produced by my daughter. This is a song about the neighborbood we want to see – local, global, and spiritual.

Start a business for basically free

Having your own website, analytics, social media, etc.  is a great resource if you’re looking to start your own business.  With wordpress.org, not only can you get a website free, but the e-commerce plug in is free, so you can make money off your site immediately as well.

If you’ve got more time than money at the moment, why not download a few free themes and play around with them?  There’s plenty of youtube videos on how to create your own customized website with these free tools.  This is a great resource not only for current business owners looking to upgrade their sites, but also a resource for hard working people who just happen to be at the moment unemployed or underemployed.  This free technology helps level the playing field by bringing more people back into the game.

25 ways to tie a scarf!

Learn easy new ways to show off your scarves!

Match cooking prep system offers independence to adults with autism

This idea was the thesis project of Syracuse University Industrial Design graduate Amanda Savitsky.  Measuring cups and bowls that are numbered, different colors, and different shapes, so those with autism spectrum disorders (and those just who like artsy cool measuring tools) can more easily follow recipe instructions.  The Match Prep Cooking System design teaches linear left to right layout and employs workstations that create structure and routine, two powerful ways to encourage learning for people with autism. There’s even an iPad app that takes cooking preparation tasks and breaks them down into small steps – basically an online cookbook to complement these measuring tools.  It doesn’t look like this idea has been manufactured yet, but this video shows the concept in use.

Thanks to gizmag for this article on the Match Prep Cooking System.

For a tiny vacation, why not stay in a tiny hotel?

For a unique vacation experience, try a tiny hotel in Portland Oregon, where you stay in a tiny house in the Alberta Arts district.  There’s lots of sights to see and things to do, plus local food shops will even give you room service!

Learn more from this article.

Tarp provides rainwater for drinking, plus hammock cover

Here’s a tarp that can be set up that provides a hassle-free way to collect pure drinking water when camping.    The surface can be used not only as a backpacking tarp to add weather protection for your hammock, but it also has a rainwater retention system made up of rain gutters and a suspension system to siphon water out towards the four corners where bottles are attached.  When the bottles are full, they pull down the tarp, providing even better protection for the people below.  The fabric includes both waterproofing and a heat reflective coating, so if it’s cold and stormy, the tarp can be set up with the reflective side on the bottom, and the dark rain retention side on the top to collect water.  If it’s warm and sunny, the tarp can be set up with the reflective side out to help shed some of the heat from the sun.  The total system is now available through Kammok.

Thanks to Continue reading

Milk crate toilet and other urban living/farming ideas

This urban farm in LA shows how one couple is growing their own fresh vegetables and fruit trees, raising chickens, and composting.  They also have a solar food dryer, show how to make your own outdoor emergency toilet using a milk crate, and how to make a stove. Since they live in earthquake territory, these items have been used in the past when the city systems have been down.   Many of these ideas can also be used when camping.

Thanks to Upworthy for this article.

Back-to-school theme song?

Here’s a back to school song to get your kids motivated: a music video created to inspire school attendance by and for the kids of the Oakland school district, filmed at the La Escuelita Elementary School.  Maybe it’ll be an earworm to get kids and parents in the mood for school…

Street lamps powered by algae eat CO2

French Bio Chemist Pierre Calleja discovered that Micro Algae eats CO2 – i.e. car exhaust – and then uses that energy power to create light.  This technology was recently tested in a parking lot to clean air – it can capture and filter one ton of CO2 per year – and used the pollution as an energy source to create light.  This technology is currently being used to light and filter the air in an underground parking garage, but this would work great in urban areas, and revolutionize cityscapes.

Thanks to the Good News Network for this story.

How introverts can change the world for the better

The Introvert AdvantageMany books are written on how to put your extroverted self out there to be better, stronger, faster! so it’s great to find a book with a different take on how to help give voice to those on the more introverted side.  The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D, is a book that focuses on pointing out the unique thinking patterns and skills that introverts bring to problem solving and life.  An introvert is someone who gets their recharge energy from being alone, whereas an extrovert is someone who gets their recharge energy from being out in the excitement with other people.  An example might be going to a dinner party:  an extrovert will be revved up after all the Continue reading