Saturday, March 28, 2009

Microsoft Tag

Thanks to Kenan, I was introduced to Microsoft Tag today.  Tag is a new method of transmitting information via a colorful bar code image.  If a cellphone user downloads the free tag reader, he/she can use their phone's camera to capture the image and view or visit the intended information or website.  Now this may sound complex, but it really is fairly simple and those of you who have camera phones (don't we all these days) can try it out.  

  • Step 1:  Visit the tag site and download the free reader to your phone.
  • Step 2:  Install the reader and start the application.
  • Step 3:  Point your phone at the image above and your phone's browser will be instantly directed to my site.  

This technology has multiple benefits in print media.  Imagine going to a conference where companies want to direct you to their website for more information.  Instead of listing a long URL you have to type into the phone, companies can add the multi-colored tag image to their literature allowing attendees to quickly find further information about certain products.   Additional uses for tag include passing free text as well as vCard (contact info) data.   If more people begin to adopt this type of technology I can totally envision the advent of virtual business cards.  I know people can beam contact info from PDA to PDA but this would be even easier.  You just display the tag image on your phone screen and let the other person read the tag with their reader.  Easy seamless sharing of information.  I am actually still amazed that paper-based business cards are still the norm.  I predict in 10 years that the majority of business cards will be shared through some sort of electronic medium.

Tag seems pretty cool, but as with all technologies, an idea is only successful if people buy into it.  We'll see if this method of information sharing gains any traction over the next few years.  After all, I dismissed Twitter as a flash in the pan early on but as society (particularly celebs) took to it, it caught on in a major way.  By the way I did finally join The Twitter (I'm slowly warming up to it), so feel free to follow me @jordanlrose. I felt I had to join since my Mom sent me an invite. I mean I can't let her be more net savvy than me.

Now go try and make your own Tags and embrace technology!  Bonus points for the first person to comment on this post with the phrase I embedded in the tag below...



Aquaman

I just got back from taking Alex to his second swim class of this session and I'm not sure who's more exhausted.  As usual, he is apprehensive about getting in the water initially and cries and screams "get out of pool" as soon as we get in.  But once I distract him with one of the swim toys (especially floating letters since letters fascinate him these days) he turns into a completely different kid.  Once he gets going in the pool there's no stopping him.  He starts kicking his legs and doesn't stop until class is over.  He splashes all over the place, loves jumping in the water and especially enjoys going under the water during dunk time.  

Today during the portion of the class where the instructor gives us a cup to pour water on each other, he just hogged the cup for himself and kept dumping cup full after cup full of water on his head.  Everyone else in class had given the cups back but he just kept going strong.  I really think part of him wishes he could live underwater.  His only weakness in the pool is floating on his back.  He can't stand it and screams and wiggles.  All the rest of the kids tolerate it to some extent, but Alex wants none of it.  He would rather do jumps or dunk himself.  He's definitely his own person in the pool.  I can totally see him on a swim team in the future (not swimming the backstroke of course).

Here's a bonus shot of Alex wrapped up in his towel cocoon after class.  



Friday, March 27, 2009

Bunk Bed Madness

My father-in-law (aka Bob the Builder) put together the kids' new bunk beds while I was at work yesterday.  He did a great job and everything was ready to go by the time I came home.  Lori put on all the bedding items and the kids were ready to experiment co-habitation in the same room last night.  I was out losing money at the monthly poker game, but when I got home Lori and her Dad told me that the kids kept coming out of their room more than usual before finally getting to sleep around 9-something.  Then around 6 AM this morning, Alex strolled on out of his bed (he's sleeping on the bottom for safety reasons) and started crying for Mom.  He now gets to experience the freedom he once had when he figured out how to climb out of his crib (before we thwarted that tactic with a crib tent).  We managed to get them to sleep a little longer but they were up and rowdy in their room again well before the standard wake-up time of 7 AM.  

It looks like we'll be going through a tough transition phase to get them to "behave" in the morning.  Better to get it out of the way now before Daughter arrives.  We plan on tying the lure of the Wii and television as incentives for being "good" in the morning.  I believe the next item on the agenda is painting Daughter's room (formally Josh's room).  I'm very fortunate/grateful to have such a handy father-in-law on hand to help out with these projects at home.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The SnugWow!

My level of hatred for the Snuggie dwarfs my hatred of the ShamWow, but this video parody that puts both annoying "inventions" together is priceless and almost makes it easier to live in a world where millions buy backwards wizard robes:


Motowning It on Idol Tonight

Well it looks like we're in for Motown night on Idol this evening. Haven't they already done Motown many times before in previous seasons? I guess you have to repeat certain themes when you get to Season 8 of a singing competition (whenever I type those two words, Simon's pronunciation jumps in my head). After Alexis was undeservedly voted off last week (Megan Joy needs to GOoooo), we have a final 10 performing tonight. Once again I'll give you my three picks to bring down the house and some potential disasters.

Most Likely to Get Their Groove On:

Danny - Mark my word, he will have the best performance tonight.  He has that inner soul that is perfect for these types of songs.

Anoop - He has a little bit of R&B funk in him (My Prerogative anyone?) and should be able to build upon his solid performance last week.

Lil - You know she's gonna out-soul the other women still left in the competition.  She will probably give Danny a run for his money tonight.

Due for a Lackluster Effort:

Megan - I am so sick of this annoying creature.  It takes absolutely no talent to be able to stand behind a microphone and sway from side to side.  Her voice is so-so but her stage presence completely blows.  She may be able to bellow out a little bit of soul but I'm fairly sure I will not enjoy her performance at all.

Michael - He barely survived country week and I just don't see him channeling Smokey Robinson tonight.

Scott - He may do OK with jamming on the ivory during a bluesy song choice, but he's on thin ice and I just don't see a good fit for him in this genre.

Watch for Allison to be the dark horse tonight.  She's got that little funky side that could work well with a Motown song.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Double-Fisting Nose Flute Action

The highlight of last night's episode of the Amazing Race came at the Pit Stop where the Indian mat greeter was whimsically playing not one but TWO nose flutes!  I still chuckle every time I see him and his joyous musical talents.  The reaction on host Phil Keoghan's face is priceless as well.  He seems perfectly at peace while admiring the sheer talent of this chap.

Skip to the 25-second mark of this here clip to see a glimpse of him and his nasal skills.  The full segment is avialable on the Amazing Race website.  Seriously, this guy needs his own reality show.



Gambling Soothes the Competitive Beast

Most of you who know me realize that I enjoy gambling. I don't consider myself addicted (I haven't been to Vegas in 4 years and I don't bet over my head) but I do believe in a simple premise. Gambling makes life more interesting and exciting. My gambling vice of choice is fantasy sports. While I do enjoy going to casinos, playing poker online, betting with Doe on the golf course and making random side-bets with my brother and friends, my primary source of action occurs from drafting and managing a team of sports figures over the length of a season.

I'm slightly addicted to drafts in general. Just the action of scouting players/teams and participating in a multi-round draft is particularly engrossing. It doesn't matter who or what is being drafted either. When Nate and I used to tailgate at Redskins games (before he became a traitor Jaguars fan) we would draft makes of cars and keep counts as to which ones passed in front of us pulling into Fed Ex Field. We would call this the "car game" (a brilliant name we put a lot of thought into) and would normally bet $10 or $20 on the game. This is a prime example of how random gambling can make life more exciting. During the dull parts of tailgating, we would gain enjoyment from tallying the cars we drafted as they passed out tailgate spot.

I probably average about 10 individual drafts a year across a variety of sports and events. Right now, for example, I am currently involved in the following fantasy/reality gambling activities:

  • Fantasy Basketball (in the championship round with a chance to win serious cash)
  • Fantasy Baseball (we just drafted)
  • Fantasy NASCAR
  • Three NCAA Tournament Bracket Pools
  • An NCAA Tournament Player Pool
  • Survivor Pool
  • Amazing Race Pool
  • American Idol Pool (for fun, not money)

Not on this list if Fantasy Football which starts up in the fall. I also enjoy betting on the Oscars, the MLB Home Run Derby, NBA All-Star Weekend, and numerous other events during the year. Now I don't put a lot of money on any of these activities (the reality TV pools are only $30 each) and the money isn't really that important to me. I do it mostly for the competition. I am an uber-competitive person and the thrill of competing against someone else is a rush I enjoy immensely. It just so happens that my lovely wife does not have a competitive bone in her body. Therefore, I need a constant avenue to fuel my competitive nature and gambling/fantasy sports is the "hobby" that fills the void.

I'm sure some of you out there (*cough* *Kristin* *cough-cough*) are pretty competitive in your own right but I do consider myself the most competitive person I know. That may be a bad thing at times, but in my mind competition and gambling make for a more interesting journey through life.  I know some of this competitive drive will eventually rub-off on my son(s) and I hope I can teach him to limit his thirst for action.  I can already see the competitive fire in Josh when he plays me in Wii.  Personally though, I think a little friendly family competition can be healthy and bring people closer together.  I feel that growing up competitively was a big part of keeping a close relationship with my brother.