Friday, April 13, 2007

Riveting Expose (Inside Candyland)

It is scandalous! A place in New Zealand where there is nothing but CANDY! Everywhere you turn. Candy to the left of me. Candy to the right of me. I got gumballs all around me :-D I’ll take you inside the secret world of Candyland!!!

YouTube - Inside Candyland

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One of my Favorite Swing Dance Pieces

I’m a lover of Swing Dance. My first love was Lindy, but West Coast has really stolen my heart. However, I will never forget some of the great memories I’ve had with Lindy. My first dance teacher, Denise Gibson, has gotten hip with the times. She’s posting videos of some of the dances she’s put together over the year on youtube.

About 9 months prior to the release of The Pink Panter starring Steve Martin, the Moorpark College Swing Dance Club performed a routine to the Pink Panther Theme. Denise and I choreographed the piece together, and it is one of my favorite pieces I ever did with the MCSDC.

YouTube - Pink Panther

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Feed an eel!

Pet the eels. Feed the eels!

YouTube - Feeding eels in New Zealand

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Parabolic Listening Device for Spying

I bought one of these from Gagdet Universe last Christmas for my dad. I pointed it at my neighbor’s house, and I could hear her walking across her kitchen floor. You could easily listen in on conversations from a distance away.

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Answering your home phone from 80 miles away

This is not just impressive because you can call someone from 128km away (79.5 miles). It’s impressive because a company in Hong Kong is going to market and sell this item to you directly. Checkout their guarantee and shipping near the bottom of the page. They are claiming to guarantee the item for 10 days from the date you receive it. The most important part is the part about the shipping. They will ship this anywhere in the world. Heed their warning though. Is this thing legal in The States?

Long Range Cordless Phone - Senao

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The Future of the Web

I love open source. I love the idea. I love the practice.

The concept of open source software is pretty simple. The community freely, openly develops software, each individual collaborating and contributing to others in the community. The result… It’s the future on the Internet.

My former swing dance partner (Denise Gibson) wanted to create a website for her students. She teach swing dance, ballroom, swing dance, and other styles of dance at local colleges and studios. She wanted to provide them with a web experience where they could bond as a community, communicate with each other, meet new people, and enjoy a multimedia arrangement of dance information.

I wasn’t sure where to start. It’s been a while since I was out of the IT game. Of course, it never occurred to me to develop a website for her based on ASP.net or any Windoze platform for that matter. So, I played around with the applications available through my godaddy.com hosting service.

WOW! What a selection!

I stumbled across an application called Joomla. Mind you, by this time, I had evaluated Xoops, Geeklog, Serendipity, and a slew of others. Something about Joomla just really kept me interested. Sure, it has one ridiculous flaw in the fact that an article can only be placed into a single section+category. Hell, they should have talked to me about my infamous name/value pair class I developed back in the days of the psychic chat network. Those were the good ol‘ days, but I digress.

Joomla is as extensible as you can get. Build a community, host discussion boards, member managed blogging, private messaging, newsletters, AJAX shout boxes, eCards, contact management… The list goes on forever, literally. People in the Open Source community are developing tons of projects for Joomla every week.

In a matter of weeks, I developed a community website that had many of the same features as Myspace (minus the abundance of bugs). Granted, denisegibson.com does not have 11 million members, but that’s besides the point. I encourage anyone to test out Denise’s website. Even if you don’t know anything about dance, take a look and see what is possible in just a matter of days with open source software. Who knows… You might just find yourself picking up a pair of dance shoes after all!

Folks, this is where the web is going: community building websites with multimedia entertainment, newsletters, cool features. And it’s all going to be free!!!

www.denisegibson.com - DeniseGibson.com

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Email is an Ineffective Method of Communication

I love the conversations that people have about Internet communication. I’m in a team management leadership program right now. The entire program is based upon being in communication with others and creating a listening of others that empowers them. What I find interesting about the course is that participants have created a listening of Internet communication as ineffective. That is to say that in the realm of communication, most participants view communication via the web and email as ineffective.

I’ve had a number of conversations with people in the course and other people in my life about how they relate to Internet communication. One of my favorite quotes is, “If you really want to communicate with someone, verbal communication is the best way to go”.

There are a couple of errors in this statement. First, verbal communication essentially means communication with words. Modern definitions of verbal have twisted it into meaning oral communication as opposed to written communication. However, the true meaning of verbal is “of or pertaining to words”. Nothing in the original definition implies oral vs written.

The second problem with this statement is that it implies that one must speak with another person in order to be in communication. Now, what I find interesting about this is that written communication was invented specifically to make communication available to more people.

Written word has the ability to become timeless. Written word has the ability to make us and our communication live on forever. Where would we be is Shakespeare was only communicated through oral communication? Where would we be if the US Constitution was never written down but just communicated in oral conversation?

The moral of the story is that the web, being part of written communication, is a very powerful method of communication. You can gain interest from people in whatever you are up to through oral or written communication. The web and community websites (more about this later) are very effective methods of communication.

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Retro Cell Phone or More Useless junk for your garage?

Let me start off by saying that I love gadgets. I’ve been shopping at Sharper Image since… Well, since before they had their stores (which I’m sure they will be shutting down a few of later this year, but I digress). I’ve long been a fan of Brookstone, Hammacher, and Gadget Universe. Then there is FirstStreet aka TechnoBrands.

I can’t really say that I’m a fan of FirstStreet. Most of their products are… I’ll let the picture do the talking here :-P

Larger Image View - firstSTREETonline

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Look MA! No hands

I’ll just let the video explain itself…

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My First (and only) West Coast Swing Dance Choreography

It is Fall 2005. I’ve been teaching swing dance with Denise Gibson at Moorpark College for a couple of semester. We both love West Coast Swing. We’ve been taking lessons from the world famous Sonny Watson, and we’d both love to bring it more exposure in the college community.

We start teaching beginning West Coast Swing to a beginning ballroom class. Now, for those of you who know anything about West Coast Swing, it is not as easy or simple as some of the other forms of swing. When it is done right, West Coast Swing is the coolest looking dance on the planet. Period.

West Coast Swing, however, is not an easy dance to learn. Nor is it an easy dance to teach, let alone to beginners. Denise and I are doing our best to prepare the students at Moorpark for a 6 week master class in West Coast Swing with Sonny Watson. When Sonny arrives, the students are excited! They are doing a great job. They are struggling but making excellent progress!

Next thing you know, the six weeks are over, Sonny is finished, and the beginning dancers now have 8 weeks to prepare for the dance concert at the end of the semester! Here is the result:

Remember! These are all beginning dancers. Some of these people have never danced a day in their life before this class. Some, this is their very first partnered dance class. For all but a handful, this is the first time they ever heard of West Coast Swing Dance. One semester! Look how clean they are. I’m so proud of how well they all did :-D

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Hamster Pedometer

LOL :-D This is just about the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen plenty of hamster do the crazy wheel thing. In fact, I’ve often wondered what it would be like to get spun around like that. I’m pretty sure I’d have fun, so I’d venture to guess that they are having fun too!

This video is great. I love how the one hamster tries to get in on the action and gets thrown from the wheel. Then I lose track of which is which. Is the original hamster the one that gets to go for a ride or the other one?

Check these guys out

YouTube - My hamster in his high speed wheel ! It can not slow down !

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Finding Nemo

I’m not sure why I felt the need to film Nemo at the Chinese restaurant the other day. We went there for a coworker’s birthday. Enjoy…

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Products from the Peeping Tom Convention

Originally posted on my Wordpress blog
The folks at the annual Peeping Tom Convention in Las Vegas have announced the most extraordinary innovation in cell phone technology since the iPhone. The first ever Peeping Tom Cell Camera Telescope Adapter! Peeping just got a whole lot safer AND easier. Peep from the convenience of your own home.

No longer do you need to crawl around in the neighbor’s plant box to get a sneak preview of her goodies. Simply attach this device to your cell phone’s camera and view those hi-res 1.3 megapixel images from the comfort of your computer desktop. Of course, if your friends are peeping Toms like you, you can easily forward the images via pix messages to their cell phone in just seconds.

Folks, I don’t know where people come up with these ideas, but someone does come up with them. Where do you find a product like this? I don’t know. Try a Google Search. One of the product managers was asking whether I thought this would be a good item for one of the various print and online marketing channels we run. The image of the white truck is an actual picture I took with the device attached to my phone. I must admit that it took me about 10 minutes to align the telescope to my camera’s lens because I have a Pocket PC instead of the 1998 Nokia cell phone the attachment device was designed for.

In case you don’t have your regular digital camera with you, be sure to capture the 1.3 megapixel moment with the Peeping Tom Cell Camera Telescope.

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The Wedding is OFF!!!

Original post on the Gadget Panel

We were planning to get married this summer! She was the best thing to ever happen to me. She never complained about anything. She always made sure my floors were spotless. She never missed a spot. And if it was a really bad spot, she’d spend extra time to ensure that every bit of dirt was picked up.

So, you can imagine my disappointment when I come home and she’s passed out in the middle of my kitchen floor. I was a little worried at first. What happened? Did she just not make it back in time to feed herself? Was it too cold in the house? I mean, I’ve been turning off the heater when I leave, but I didn’t think it gets that cold in Southern California. No! It’s much worse than all of that. And I’ve come to know that I can’t fix her on my own.

iRobot RoombaMy Roomba vacuum stopped working the other day. Now, this might not seem like too big of a deal to most people, but it is a HUGE deal for me. My Roomba did a great job at keeping the floors clean, yet now my Roomba is sitting in my garage. Why? Isn’t a Roomba expensive? Yes!

Where the heck do you get a Roomba serviced? You have to send it back to iRobot, the manufacturer. It’s not like I can just take it to the vacuum guy and have him fix it. I’m past the warranty period. So, essentially, I have a very expensive (yet cool looking) ex-girlfriend sitting in my garage. Maybe I should send the flowers that 800flowers.com owes me to her to help her get better -P

This really is a big deal for me. See, I have two dogs, so keeping my floors free from hair is a major concern. Most of my house is either hardwood or tile, so a vacuum like the Roomba is PERFECT for my house. It is just unfortunate that the service needs to be done through the iRobot factory. If I had a Hoover, I’d just take it to Sears or the vacuum guy. Of course, if I just had a Hoover, I would also have to do all the vacuuming myself. Which is what is going to happen. God help my house guests who have dog allergies! I’ll post more about this as it unfolds -)

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