Thursday, March 29, 2012

Heading to See Our Nephew Max!

Our new little nephew Max is about a month and a half old now and we get to see him this weekend!  Can't wait to see the little guy and of course Jen, David and Molly too!  We've been warned to bring earplugs, the little guy has some great lungs apparently and isn't afraid to let everyone know...how could that possibly be, he always looks so happy!  :o)  See ya soon Max!

Yep, I'm 1 month, not sure what that means though.

Looks like he's ready for action!

Just hangin' around...

Uh oh, Angry Bird alert...FEED ME
But I bet he'll just be dancing in his sleep he'll be so excited to see us! 
 
What?!  Who's coming to see me?!  Chris and Marla?!  YAY!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Draw Something Free Phone Game

I didn't intend to do 2 posts in a row about SmartPhone games, but when I came into work on Monday there was a buzz about a game called Draw Something Free.  Apparently it's the top free app currently with over 10 million downloads?!  Where have I been?  Not sure how I missed that one. 

It is similar to Pictionary, without most of the embarrassment of having to stand up and draw things in front of a group of other people!  You play with other people online, similar to Words With Friends. 

You sign up with either email or Facebook or possibly both and then you can start games with your friends or random opponents.  They will give you a list of 3 words to choose from and you start drawing. 

One thing I learned after doing my first drawing, is that the person on the other end sees everything you do when it is their turn.  So if you start out drawing something, decide to erase it and then start over, they'll see all of that.

All in all it's pretty cool so far.  I draw TERRIBLY and don't think I'm a real good guesser either, but I will give it a try.  I'm not sure how it is on battery life or anything like that, but with over 10 million downloads, I'd have to assume it functions well enough to give it a try.




Free for both iPhone and Android.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Angry Birds Space


Angry Birds Space was released for Android and iOS on Thursday March 22nd and it's become quite popular, as you would expect.  This one is quite different from previous versions such as Angry Birds Seasons and Rio, which just contained new levels, different backdrops and a few new characters. 

This one is all new and since it takes place in space, they introduced gravity and a lack of gravity to the mix.  When you fling a bird in space, it will travel in a straight line, however as you approach the gravitational pull of a nearby planet, gravity will pull you in on an angle.  You may also have to utilize asteroids and other items in space to help you complete a level.  

You start out in zero gravity...

...and as you get close to the planet, gravity pulls you in
 
You may also have to utilize other objects to take out the pigs...

It's good to see that they're keeping things fresh and not just spinning out some new levels and graphics this time around.  I have to say, I probably haven't played any of the Angry Birds in at least 6 months or more, but this one I will probably put in the regular rotation. 

It's definitely worth checking out and there are several versions available.  Android has a free ad-supported version, 99 cent no-ad version and an HD version for 2.99.  For iOS it is 99 cents and there are also other versions for iPad, Windows and Mac. 

Angry Birds Space Versions:   iPhone    iPad    Android    Mac   Windows

Friday, March 23, 2012

Freaky Friday

High-5, you made it to the weekend!  Enjoy!


And for all you peeps heading out to see the Hunger Games, here is a sneak preview :P

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Thoughts on Tim Tebow as a NY Jet


It is now official, for the second time today, that Tim Tebow has been traded to the NY Jets.  The Jets coughed up 1/2 of the $5 million the Broncos wanted along with a 4th and 6th round pick in April's draft, in exchange for a 7th round pick from the Broncos.  What do you think?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Welcome Mario Williams to the Buffalo Bills!

Last week was quite a media circus for Buffalo Bills fans, like myself, as soon as the free-agency period began.  Free agency is when an existing player has a contract which expires and the team is either unable or unwilling to write up a new contract to keep the player.  Usually it comes down to being unable to pay the player the $$ for a new contract.

This was the case with Mario Williams III, aka Super Mario or MK3.  He was a Defensive End for the Houston Texans.  He was one of the top players tackle/sack wise and he made it to the pro-bowl several years before he had a hernia injury in 2010 and a torn pectoral muscle in 2011.

Fast forward to last week and he was one of the most highly touted players in the free agency pool.  The Buffalo Bills have been struggling on the defensive front and they needed to make a bold move not only to shore up the defense, but also to show the players and fans that they mean business when it comes to making the changes needed to help the team succeed.  They certainly came through there.


On March 15, 2012, after two days of negotiation in Buffalo, Williams signed a player contract with the Buffalo Bills. Williams' new contract is for six years and worth up to $100 million, with $50 million guaranteed. It was the most lucrative guarantee for a defensive player in NFL history at the time of signing.

That was a HUGE move and one that no one expected, especially out of Buffalo.  They had enough room in the salary cap to make it happen and they pulled out all the stops.  They flew him in on a private plane, on day two they flew in his fiance and had them meet with Jim Kelly and his wife to talk about everything Buffalo has to offer.

The fans also got in on it, here is a paragraph from the first article below: "They collectively chanted ‘We want Mario!’ at a Buffalo Sabres game Wednesday that he didn’t even attend. They tweeted a photo out into cyberspace of a pizza that spelled ‘Come Mario’ in pepperoni. Local businesses on Abbott Road, which runs past Ralph Wilson Stadium, had their electronic store signs with messages welcoming him to town. After just three days in Buffalo, Mario Williams felt like he was at home."

It was a great job by the Bills organization and the fans.  Mario was supposed to visit several other cities/teams prior to making a decision.  Luckily, he never left town and they somehow managed to get him to sign before any of that became an issue.  An approx $100 million dollar contract will tend to do that, but he could just have easily shopped around and could have probably gotten a similar deal elsewhere.

Bills fans are quite excited by the acquisition and fans of other teams, especially in the AFC East, are not too happy that he landed in Buffalo.  This should make the Bills a contender and will definitely make things more difficult for opposing offenses.  Now if we can just pick up an excellent 2nd receiver to go along with Stevie Johnson, we might be in a place to make a run this coming year!


Welcome to the Buffalo Bills Mario Williams, aka Super Mario, aka MW3!  We're glad to have you and looking forward to good things ahead!  Hopefully we will have a lot of moments like this picture above.  

And if the addition of Super Mario doesn't get you psyched up enough, how about we relive the moment last season when the Bills beat the Patriots!  Check out the video my wife took here in Jacksonville, Florida with about 100 of our fellow Bills Backers of Jacksonville fans at Wing-It!  It still sends chills up my spine, what an amazing moment and hopefully just the tip of the iceberg with MW3 and the other off season additions!  Billieve!!


Related Articles/References:

Fans leave impression on Williams

Kelly helps sell Buffalo to Williams

Bills players react to Williams addition

Team Press Conference Video Announcement

Friday, March 16, 2012

Power Wash Spring Cleaning

If you're looking for advice on power wash cleaning and specifically what to look for in a power washer, you've come to the right place.  Since the weather has been great for much of the country this year, I imagine lots of folks will be doing some early Spring cleaning. I thought it would be a good time to share some info about pressure / power washers.  The one pictured here is definitely a great power washer to consider and now that I have a years worth of usage under my belt, I wanted to share my findings. 

I did about a weeks worth of online research last year before I purchased the AR Blue Clean AR383.  When comparing one washer to another it can get very confusing with all the different terms they throw at you.  I will highlight the key things to keep in mind. 

The 3 main terms are:
  • Pounds per Square Inch (PSI). PSI refers to the measurement unit of water pressure. Generally speaking, lower PSI power washers (1400 to 1900) are electric-powered, while higher PSI (2000 and higher) are gas-powered.
  • Gallons Per Minute (GPM) . GPM is a measurement of water flow. As expected, the larger the GPM, the more area a power washer can clean.
  • Cleaning Units (CU). The CU can help you compare pressure washers. The higher the CU, the more dirt and debris the machine can clean. CUs are determined by multiplying the PSI by GPM. 

The higher the CU (PSI x GPM) is, the more powerful the unit will be and the more $ you will likely spend. 

There are 3 general ranges power wise:
  • Up to 3,000 CUs - Light duty (Examples: lawn furniture, grills, small decks, cars, patios/driveways)
  • 3,000 to 5,000 CUs - Medium duty (Examples: large decks, boats, large pool decks/patios/driveways)
  • 5,000 to 8,000+ CU - Heavy duty to Industrial Strength (Examples: trucks, pools, exterior siding, store fronts, kennels, graffiti)

The AR383 is a 1,900 PSI unit with 1.5GPM for a total of  2,850 CU, which is at the higher end of the light duty range.  I utilize mine primary to remove the dirt/grime/slime from my concrete patio and driveway 2-3 times per year and it has done a great job.  The gas powered units are very heavy/pricey/bulky/difficult to drag around.  This one is very easy to maneuver and the power cord and cord for the water gun are very long and when you are done you can roll them up nice and neat for storage.  

Check out the reviews on Amazon to see for yourself what some of the others are saying to get a range of opinions.  There are some reviews that mention a leak when you hook the plastic hose adapter to your water hose.  I had read that the company fixed that issue and I can confirm that as of early 2011 when I ordered mine from Amazon, the issue has been fully resolved.  I have not had a leak the 4 times I've utilized mine for a total of probably around 6 hours.  The reviews also mention great customer service.  I've found that it does everything I need it for very well.  

Here is an example of before and after on the driveway:



Even though it is considered in the light duty category, it is still very powerful.  I used it at close range to clean off some outdoor patio furniture and I would recommend being careful doing that.  It was enough pressure to cause the fabric on the seat cushions to break apart slightly.  Moving back about a foot put a stop to that.  And be sure not to swipe the gun on top of bare feet while it is in use, that doesn't feel so good.  :o) 

The AR Blue Clean AR383 is a really great middle of the road pressure washer in my opinion, both power and price wise.  I wouldn't recommend going with the $99 and under units as they probably won't have enough power unless you're using it strictly to wash your car or something very light duty.  You probably also do not need a super high end gas unit, unless you are trying to reach a very high distance, want to complete the job super fast or are doing something like removing graffiti from the side of a building.  So if you are looking for a middle of the road type of unit, I'd definitely recommend including the AR383 in your research.  Hope that helps!



Thursday, March 15, 2012

Adding Amazon Product Preview to Blogger

I have been trying different templates and designs on my Blogger site here and realized that I lost the Amazon Product Preview for any links that I have which point to Amazon products. I was having a hard time finding out how to add that feature back, so now that I figured it out I wanted to share that here for anyone that might be having that same problem.

First off, here is an example of what I'm talking about. Hover over this link to the Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR top of the line camera with your mouse.  You should see a picture of the product along with a buy now button.  All without having to leave this site.  I think that is a great feature and definitely worth adding to your site as a benefit to your readers if you utilize Amazon product links.

To Add Amazon Product Previews to Blogger:
  1. Login to your Amazon Affiliate account and go to this link and copy the HTML code provided.  
  2. Go into your Blogger dashboard and go to Layout.  
  3. Click on 'Add a Gadget' in your side bar and if you allow pop-ups for the blogger site, the 'Add a Gadget' window will pop up on your screen.  Scroll down to HTML/JavaScript and click the + button to add the gadget.  Then leave the title blank and paste in the appropriate HTML code that you copied from step 1 into the content box and hit save.
  4. Then click the 'Save Arrangement' button towards the top and you are done.
Then, when you include any text or image links to Amazon products, the Product Preview will pop up when anyone hovers over the link, similar to what I showed you above.  Keep in mind, that is only for individual products, as you would expect.  This link to the Hunger Games Store on Amazon does not have a preview, since it is a link to multiple products.

That wasn't so hard, but realizing where on Amazon that I had to go to get the code took a bit of time.  Hope that helps!

Are you having any problems getting particular items working on your Blogger or WordPress blogs?  Drop me a comment and I'd be glad to try and help out.  It might even make a great topic for a future post to help out others with similar issues.  Thanks.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Animal Edition

Giraffes at Animal Kingdom Lodge Disney World

Wild Horses at Cumberland Island Georgia Park

Butterfly at the University of Florida Butterfly Observatory

Monday, March 12, 2012

Catty Shack Ranch

We finally made it out to the Catty Shack Ranch this weekend.  They give life long homes to rescued cats, not house cats, BIG kitties.  For a $10 donation you get a walking tour of their outdoor facility, which takes about an hour to 90 minutes.  When the tour is done, you're free to wander around on your own on the way back.  All the $ they raise goes directly to care for the big cats. 

Normally they're open one weekend day per week, but the past few weekends they've been open Saturday and Sunday afternoon to raise $ and show off their five new baby tiger cubs.  Three were born on Dec 9th from one litter and two on Nov 25th from another litter.  The cubs were rescued from a facility that could no longer care for them.  Two of them were out the afternoon we were there and of course they were super cute. 

All of the big cats are nocturnal, so many of them were sleeping/resting.  On the way back through, several were moving around and I even caught one cougar meowing on video and of course got a video of the tiger cubs playing.  If you're in the area, it is definitely worth a visit!!

They also recommend checking out one of their every other Friday evening feedings.  They're open on that day from 6-8:30pm and they feed all the animals at 7:30pm, admission is $15 for the feeding.  They say you'll get to see their "wild side" and there will be plenty or roaring.  We've seen a tiger feeding at another big cat rescue facility in town and you definitely get an appreciation for the power and raw animal instincts still alive and well in these docile looking big cats.  Check out the pictures and videos below for some of the highlights from this past weekend.  

Entrance to the Catty Shack Ranch
How freakin cute is this?!  Not mates though. Father on the left, daughter on the right.
Wazzzzzzup Cougar?


 
King of the Jungle
Serious cat, he's freakin serious!
This one was active on the way out. 
Come play with me.
So cute.
They were super playful.



Friday, March 9, 2012

Michael Jackson IMMORTAL World Tour by Cirque Review



I mentioned yesterday, we were heading to see the Michael Jackson IMMORTAL World Tour by Cirque du Soleil last night.  I wanted to provide a follow-up review of the show.

A quick funny story, myself and 3 other guys from work were going with their wives.  We were all in different sections.  When we arrived, we found out they were upgrading anyone in the higher up 300 level seats down to lower levels.  I guess that is because it was not a sell out and they moved everyone down to lower seats so they wouldn't have to man as many concession stands and people would get a better view.

The funny thing was that we all ended up in the same section somehow.  So we hung out before the show and during intermission, so that was fun.  And we were upgraded to the club section so we got to enjoy the nicer bar/concession area in that section.  It was great for us that bought the cheap seats, but for the one guy that got tickets just this week and paid double what we did, he was cursing us out.

On to the review...Having seen 3 other Cirque shows previously, I have to say that this one was definitely more oriented to the music and dancing rather than the amazing acrobatics that normally accompany a Cirque show.  It was still quite impressive with all the video screens, visual effects and indoor fireworks at the end along with the classic Michael Jackson music, but if you were expecting a show like most other Cirque shows, this wasn't it.



That's not to say it wasn't good, the dancers were great, there was a pole dancer with some serious skillz, there was even a guy with only one leg that was dancing around quite well with his crutches. 

All in all it was a high energy show with the crowd clapping and bopping around in their seats.  At one point they encourage everyone to stand and everyone did for a song or two and danced to the music.

If you like Michael Jackson and appreciate the music, you'll like the show.  If you've never seen a Cirque show, you'll probably enjoy the show.  If you have seen past Cirque shows and you're expecting the over-the-top acrobatics you've seen previously, you may be a bit disappointed.

All in all it was a good time and we hope to see some more Cirque shows if we make it out to Vegas again or if any of the other traveling shows come to town.  Have you seen any Cirque shows?  Which ones have you seen and what did you think?  


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Michael Jackson IMMORTAL World Tour by Cirque du Soleil

We're excited to be heading out to see the Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil IMMORTAL World Tour tonight!  We've seen 3 other Cirque shows, La Nouba in Orlando, FL, Alegria in Jacksonville, FL and O in Las Vegas. All were great shows and each of them was very unique.  I'd highly recommend checking out one of their shows out if you ever get the chance. It is always a one of a kind experience!



Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Blogging Resources











I received an email newsletter from Pat Flynn yesterday and I decided to follow his advice and create a resources/tools page on my Niche Site Tool blog. I've been meaning to do that, so it was very good timing and exactly what I needed to motivate myself to get it done.

Basically, that is a place on your website where you should list essential tools that you utilize/recommend to others. In that way, if someone ever asks you for advice or recommendations on what tools/programs/services that you recommend for a particular task, you can point them directly to your resources/tools page on your site. Kind of a one-stop-shop for all things that have worked well for you and that will hopefully help out others in the process. 

Some of what I put on there is WordPress specific, but I also have links to other tools, a few books and even a movie.  So stop by, check it out and be sure to bookmark the page.  I will be constantly updating that page as I am always learning and trying out new tools to help create passive income online.

I also added the Optin Skin box from the new plugin that I installed/reviewed last week, so be sure to like/share the page and subscribe via email in the box at the bottom of that post to receive notification of new updates on the site.  Thanks so much, I greatly appreciate it!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!

Mom just got home from a trip to visit her Grandson Max and I have to say, he is pretty excited about her Birthday!  Happy Birthday Mom, or Mima or Gigi or whatever name you decide on.  How about G love and the special sauce?  That might be taken...Happy Birthday!!








Thursday, March 1, 2012

iPhone 5 Photos and Potential Launch Date

My sister Michelle pointed out last night that there are some iPhone 5 pictures out there showing a radical curved design change for the upcoming iPhone 5. They are quite different from the existing iPhone design, however, they are also just concept photos.  Pretty interesting.  I'm not a huge fan of the curved design.   

I did some more research and found some other photos that were labeled 'alegged' instead of 'concept'.  I REALLY like the looks of the alleged design!  It's not all that different than the existing one, but it does look slimmer/more streamline and appears to have a slightly larger screen. 

The photos are courtesy of ciccaresedesign.com 

iPhone 5 Concept Photos





Alleged iPhone 5 Photos

 





My wife and I will be eligible for a phone upgrade in August and we were planning to give the iPhone a 2 year trial after trying out the Droid X/Android ecosystem for 2 years.  My initial searches were saying that the iPhone 5 should hit in the June time frame, but I found this article on MacRumors.com from Feb 20, 2012 stating that it looks more likely that will be in the Sept-Oct time frame. 

"Japanese blog Macotakara today reports that it has learned from a "reliable" source that Apple is targeting another September or October release for the iPhone this year, continuing a shift away from the mid-year launches seen prior to 2011 and yielding an approximately 12-month upgrade cycle for the iPhone 4S. The report also claims that Apple intends for the later timeframe to be part of Apple's long-term plans for iPhone launches.  According to Asian reliable source, next iPhone will be released in September or October, and this cycle seems to be kept for years.  MacRumors has similarly heard from a representative of a supplier known to provide parts for the iPhone that Apple's ordering plans are pointing toward a launch of new hardware in the September.

A third source also claimed to iMore last week that Apple is targeting an October launch for an LTE-enabled iPhone 5, with that source also apparently having accurately named March 7 as the date of Apple's iPad 3 media event. Apple has yet to officially announce that iPad 3 event, but the date has been confirmed as accurate by the well-connected Jim Dalrymple at The Loop.

The claims of a September or October launch for the iPhone 5 directly contradict several previous rumors that had claimed Apple would be releasing the iPhone this summer, presumably at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. That event that may be held during the week of June 11-15 this year, meaning that a product launch in the weeks after such an introduction would result in a very short lifecycle of only eight months for the iPhone 4S. Consequently, many have believed that Apple will indeed hold off on the iPhone 5 launch until later in the year as it did in 2011."  4/8 Update: There are more recent rumors circulating that June 15th could be a potential launch date for the iPhone 5 again.

I was initially thinking that it would probably be fine for us to go with either an iPhone 4 or 4S for a cheaper price once the new model comes out, however since it will most likely be the first iPhone with 4G/LTE, I'm likely to go with the new model for that particular reason. 

What are your thoughts on the potential new design?  Anyone else looking to make a switch over or upgrade to the iPhone 5?  Would love to hear your thoughts!

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