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Family Fantasy Sports – A Game for All September 6, 2008

Posted by Mike in children, family, Freebies, Fun, Learning, Online Service, Sports, Technology, Worth a Look.
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The NFL Football season begins tomorrow. Millions of men and women will devote hours of time each week playing fantasy football at the expense of family time.

Well, why not include them in the fun?

Fantasy football can easily be enjoyed by families, much like board games or card games.

Don’t overlook its educational possibilities either. Math skills are key to keeping score, so young children can play with an adult and practice their addition, subtraction and multiplication while spending time with Mom and Dad.

Well, now there’s a free fantasy sports site for family fun. Check out http://www.familyfantasysports.com and enjoy the best of both worlds on Sundays this Fall: Family time and football!

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An Ode to the New Hands-Free Driving Law in California July 1, 2008

Posted by Mike in Blogging, Fun, Hands-free, Hardware, Humor, News, Poem, Technology.
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An Ode to Hands-Free Driving in California

California drivers, July 1st is here!

Get that cell phone out of your ear!

Hands free is the way to be

Or you’ll get fined by the CHP

If you want to drive hands free

A BLUETOOTH ear piece is the key

Driving and dialing just isn’t shrewd

(Not to mention a tiny bit rude)

But take heart, Dear Drivers

Don’t feel vexed

The law still allows you to text!

(That’s it. This agonizing poem is done. Thanks for reading. Rhyming is fun.)

Get answers to the FAQs about the law from the California DMV.

Browser Wars: Newcomer Flock Looks like a Contender June 11, 2008

Posted by Mike in Freebies, Fun, News, Reviews, Software, Technology.
7 comments

Browser Wars.jpg

I just downloaded and installed Flock. I’ll provide a more complete review after I’ve familiarized myself with the software, but here is my initial reaction:

  1. WOW
  2. WOW
  3. WOW

Internet Explorer better watch out for this one. It is actually built upon the FireFox browser, so I can’t call FireFox a direct competitor.

Here’s a news article I found on BusinessWeek that led me to try Flock:

In Browsers, Flock May Lead the Flock.

Visit Flock’s web site to download this free program.


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My New Favorite Yahoo Widget June 6, 2008

Posted by Mike in Freebies, Fun, Photos, Software, Technology, Yahoo.
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Yahoo’s free widgets, over 4,000 and counting, allow users to display bits of information right on their desktop for PCs or Mac. Microsoft’s Windows Vista OS has built in widgets, but those of us still on Windows XP can “widget-ize” our desktops courtesy of Yahoo.

For more info and a widgets definition, go here: Yahoo’s Widgets click here.

My Favorite New Widget:

Inspiration by Martin Koistinen (click to view download page).

It cycles through inspirational quotes to help motivate and inspire you. However, my favorite part is that I can add my own quotes simply by editing a text file stored in ‘My Documents’ folder.

For example, I’ve added memorable quotes from my two boys so that I don’t forget the amusing things 3 year olds say. Those quotes cycle through along with ones from famous folks with wisdom to share.

Here’s a link to a list of other widgets created by Martin Koistinen for Yahoo! Widgets.

Widget of Honorable Mention:

Any widget that helps you enjoy digital photos by displaying to you a different photo on your hard drive every minute.

For example: One Photo Yahoo! Widget

What widgets do you use?

Just for Fun: Create a Google-like Graphic Instantly June 3, 2008

Posted by Mike in Creative, Freebies, Fun, Humor, Technology.
2 comments

While doing some blog surfing yesterday, I came across Yousef’s post about PimpMySearch.

PimpMySearch is a fun, simple site that let’s you create a graphic in the Google style.

How? Type in any word(s) you want and they’ll be google-ized instantly.

You can then save the graphic as a JPEG file by right-clicking on the image.

For example:

wordpress.jpg

Try it. You know you want to.

Oh, did I mention it is free?

Tech Gift Ideas under $100 for Father’s Day May 24, 2008

Posted by Mike in Fun, Photos, Reviews, Technology, Worth the Money.
2 comments

Do you need a Father’s Day gift idea for a techie Dad? Look no further!

Here are a few gift ideas that I’ve found online that are fun, useful and under $100.

Hubman USB Port.jpg
Pictured Above: Hubman……Digital Photo Key Chain……IronKey Thumb Drive……Han Solo Thumb Drive.

Hubman:

  • Listed price: $29.00
  • 4 USB 2.0 ports
  • Smiley face

Digital Photo Key Chain:

  • Listed price: $50.00
  • Holds 60 photos
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • 2 hour battery viewing time

IronKey Thumb Drive:

  • Listed price: $78 (1 GB size)
  • Military grade encryption, encased in metal.
  • “10 incorrect password attempts, and the encryption chip self-destructs, making the contents of the flash drive totally unreadable.”
  • Windows XP and Vista only

Han Solo Thumb Drive:

  • Listed price: $49.95 (1 GB size)
  • Other Star Wars Characters available, but c’mon, you know Han Solo is Dad’s favorite.

I’m sure any of these gifts will bring a smile to Dad’s face. If not, you can always consider an iPod.


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Saint Patrick’s Day Fun: Turn Yourself Into a Leprechaun March 17, 2008

Posted by Mike in Creative, Freebies, Fun, Holidays, Humor, Online Service.
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HAPPY SAINT PATRICK’ S DAY!  If you’re looking for a wee bit o’ fun, try transforming yourself into one of Ireland’s beloved Leprechaun’s.

In the spirit, of ElfYourself and ScroogeYourself, this free web site should be called LeprechaunYourself.   Like the first two, this one is also sponsored by a corporation (Irish Spring, of course) and may be slow during periods of high Internet traffic.

Upload a photo to this web site and see how you’d look as a Leprechaun:

http://www.colgate.com/app/IrishSpring/US/EN/Bodywash/GetIrishNow/Microsite/Shenanigans/Turn-Irish-Now.cvsp

 P.S.  Just for today, feel free to add an O’ to the front of your name and enjoy your favorite green beverage.

Just For Fun: ElfYourself or ScroogeYourself December 7, 2007

Posted by Mike in Creative, Freebies, Fun, Humor, Online Service, Reviews, Technology.
4 comments

Happy Friday & Happy Holidays!

If you’d like a quick laugh, try turning yourself into an elf or a Scrooge by using ElfYourself or ScroogeYourself. These sites allow you to paste photos onto the bodies of singing and dancing elves or “Scrooges” who will then do an energetic little song and dance number for your amusement.

The service is free and sponsored by OfficeMax, so you can expect a pop up ad and a little branding too.

All in all, it is quick and easy to do and definitely fun. You just upload a photo, use the tools on the web site to resize your photo onto an elf’s body and you’re done! You can then copy a link and paste it into an email or a blog.

Here’s what I’d look like as a jolly little elf:

http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=1217182128

The web site does get busy, so you may experience occasional problems accessing the site. It’s popular and it’s free so it may not load up during periods of high Internet traffic.

Just for Fun: Create an Old West “Wanted Poster” Online November 14, 2007

Posted by Mike in Freebies, Fun, Online Service, Reviews, Technology.
4 comments

wantedposter.jpg

Create a free Wanted Poster online at GlassGiant.com.

You can customize the name, reward $$ and crime that they’re wanted for. Oh, and upload your own photo of course.

Lots of fun and easy to do! You can create one in minutes and save it as a photo file.

Enjoy!

Going Green: Eco-Friendly Tips for the Holidays November 2, 2007

Posted by Mike in Fun, Learning, News.
2 comments

Americans throw away 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s!”

Quote from article,”Green Your Holiday”, by Jaclyn Hope and Amy Gotliffe

The “Green Your Holiday” article was written by Jaclyn and Amy for ROAR Magazine; a quarterly publication for members of the Oakland Zoo. I found the article interesting and informative, so I wanted to create a post to share some of their suggestions.

This post will essentially paraphrase their article published in ROAR for Winter 2007, Issue 30.

Tips to Keep the Holiday Green:

  1. Keep cut trees out of the landfill! Visit Earth 911 for ideas and info.

  2. Buy LED Lights – they are 80% more efficient than regular lights.

  3. Put holiday lights on a timer.

  4. Consider gifts that won’t end up in a landfill, like tickets or a gift certificate for a massage.

  5. Re-use greeting cards as colorful gift tags.

  6. Travel Light by carpooling with friends or family.

Web Sites for Green Gift Ideas:

  1. NorthStarToys

  2. Worldwidechild

  3. Realgoods

  4. Globalexchange

  5. Greenshopping

  6. Ecomall

  7. Laptops.org

Think local, fair trade, organic, sustainable, handmade and creative!

What if Google & Yahoo Didn’t Exist? Fun Alternative Search Engines to Try October 19, 2007

Posted by Mike in Freebies, Fun, Learning, music, Technology.
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Have you ever imagined, for just a moment, that Google and Yahoo didn’t exist? Blasphemy? Hardly, but it is an interesting thought.

I decided to step outside of my comfortable search engine routine to see what existed outside the Yahooniverse and the Land of Google.

My quest quickly led me to Charles Knight’s archived article from February 2007 on the Top 100 Alternative Search Engines.

Naturally, with a title like that, Charles has done most of the work for me. I simply cherry picked from his list a few of the alternative search engines that sounded interesting and tested them out for myself.

Here’s a list of 7 alternative search engines that I enjoyed:

LivePlasma.com – niche search engine for entertainment information on bands, movies, actors and directors Displays the info on a visually appealing map.

See a sample.


The goal is to help you find info on an artist and also show you other bands, artists,
movies or actors with similar qualities that you may enjoy.
You can email your info maps to friends.

Pipl.com – a dedicated People search!

Google-esque in its simple look, Pipl asks you to type in a person’s name and location to find info about them. I searched for my friend’s name and it showed the address of each of his last two residences, his LinkedIn profile and a court case record from 1999 from the Superior Court of California for a speeding ticket! D’oh.

This engine may be a little too good.

Askvox.com – Would you like a talking avatar to read you answers?
Then this is the site for you! In addition to displaying search results, it will also try to locate an exact answer to your question. If it can find an answer, the avatar will read it to you.It’s more for fun than anything else, but it’s a fresh take on searching.

For Example:
I typed in a quote from the Tim Burton Batman movie, in which the Joker asks, “Have you ever danced with the Devil in the pale moonlight?”
Well, Askvox.com had an answer for me which I found amusing. It doesn’t always have an answer though….but it doesn’t hurt to ask the question.

MsDewey.comWould you like an attractive woman (not an avatar) with attitude to talk to you while you search?
This is quite possibly the most original search engine going right now.

Just try it.

You’ll be in for a treat.

IceRocket.com – a search engine dedicated to blogs!

Searchbot.net – create your own robot to help you search for answers!
It’s fun to build a robot, but I’m not sure if I’ll continue to use it once that novelty wears off.

With my quest complete, I’ll now return to reality and tell you about a nifty new search from Yahoo. This search engine of theirs allows you use a horizontal slider bar to re-prioritize search results based on either commercial (i.e. shopping) or research (i.e. info). I thought it was an innovative and effective enhancement to the search results page.

Try it for yourself! It’s called Mindset.

All in all, I had fun using these alternative search engines and will likely use several again in the future.

Do you have a favorite search engine?

Time for some Fun: Create a Simpson’s Character from a Photo August 10, 2007

Posted by Mike in Blogging, Creative, Freebies, Fun, Humor, Simpsons, Technology.
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Mike McGinley - Simpsonized!

It is Friday, so it’s time for a little fun!

What can be more fun that turning photos of yourself, your friends or family members into Simpson-style characters?

I simpsonized myself (see above) so now I know what I’d look like in Homer’s world.

I highly encourage you to try it yourself.  The web site is Simpsonizeme.com.  Yes, it is sponsored by Burger King. No, you don’t have to enjoy fast food to use it. 

It’s just good old-fashioned, high tech fun.  And free, of course.

You can even save or email your creations to friends and family. 

It’s a blast!

Who’s Your PollDaddy? Create a Poll for Free and post it online! July 22, 2007

Posted by Mike in Freebies, Fun, Online Service, Technology.
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PollDaddy.com

PollDaddy.com makes it fast, easy and free to make a poll and publish it to a page on MySpace, FaceBook or a blog.

It’s a 3 step process. You begin by creating a question and the multiple choice answers. Step 2 is to select a style for the poll or create your own. Step 3 is to get the code you need (javascript, Flash, or a simple hyperlink) and then copy/paste it to your blog, etc.

Here’s a poll that I created on their site. It took me 5 minutes. Please take a moment to answer. I’m curious to see the results.

Poll Question: How do you backup your data?

How to use RSS to Make your Life Easier July 19, 2007

Posted by Mike in Fun, Learning, Online Service, PC ABCs, RSS, Technology, Training.
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RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary.

Why do I need RSS? This is an excellent question.

Someone else has provided an excellent answer. Best of all, it’s in a fun little video clip.

I can’t explain it any better.

I’m just going to give you the link to watch this short, yet very entertaining video clip about RSS and how it makes your life easier.  Enjoy.

[blip.tv ?posts_id=209879&dest=-1]

Need How to advice? Take a look at ExpertVillage.com July 16, 2007

Posted by Mike in Freebies, Fun, Learning, Online Service, Technology, Training, Videos.
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ExpertVillage.com logo  

As I mentioned in my “About me” section on this blog,  I like to find useful sites, services and software to help make my life easier.

 I recently purchased a gas grill and needed some grilling advice.  I needed an expert since my grill skill is still developing.  I needed ExpertVillage.

ExpertVillage.com provides FREE how to videos on a variety of topics including cooking, fitness, music, beauty, automotive, parenting, sports and bartending. Their videos are also found on YouTube, so you can find them easily on either web site.

Some of the videos have brief commercials at the beginning, but it’s a small price to pay for quality advice.

Need to know How to Clean a Gas Grill ? Expertvillage has the answer.

Need advice on ceiling fans? Then, you need George A. Finn III : How To Install A Ceiling Fan.

Throwing a party? Need to learn how to mix drinks? Check this out: Hurricane: Bartending Guide for Rum Drinks.

Need to know How to Deliver a Baby in the Backseat of a Taxi Cab? Yup, Expertvillage comes through again!

The point is that the web has plenty of resources to help you with lots of projects and problems.  Many times, a quick Google search will do the trick.  However, it’s good to know where to find a village full of experts when you need to learn the right way to do it.

Moo.com – Creative Cards for Business or Fun July 3, 2007

Posted by Mike in Business, Creative, Fun, Online Service, Technology, Worth the Money.
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Moo MiniCards

Looking for a way to jazz up your business cards? Want to make a memorable “save the date” card for your wedding? Look no further than moo.com.

Their web service allows you to make cards by uploading your own photos or choosing from a large selection of stock photos like nature scenes, puppy dogs, flowers, buildings, city scenes, etc. The cards are quite unique, especially if you’re using your own photos.

The MiniCard size is distinctive too….it’s only half the size of a standard business card. I’d equate it to the size of a stick of gum. Sadly, I don’t have a stick of gum to conduct an official measurement, but it’s in the ballpark. The site lists the miniCard size as 20mm x 70mm. Living in the last non-metric measuring country on our blue marble of a planet, those numbers don’t mean much to me.

One side of the card is the photo……..the other side is your contact info or message. You can order a pack of 100 cards (cost $19.99 + shipping) and select multiple photos for your cards. That’s what I did when I bought some. Variety is more fun anyway, right?

If the MiniCard is too Mini for you, then you may want to look at their NoteCard size instead.

Some people are getting very creative with the cards. Click here for a fun example listed on Moo’s site.

If you’re starting a business and want to be remembered, planning an event or just want to get a bit creative, try Moo.com. I think they’d be great for musicians, actors and artists too. Oh, and read their blog for more Moo.