Monday, May 26, 2014

"Discovr" the 6 Degrees of Separation in Music

"Music is the moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, 
flight to the imagination and charm and gaiety to life and to everything."

If you are still searching for music through the internet, you might as well be holding up a boombox blasting your favorite mix tape. 

Time for a 21st century vehicle to get you to the music you want!

Remember the last time you were introduced to someone and it went something like this?

"Hey,  this is my relative Joe. Joe is my third cousin's wife's brother's nephew, We look alike, don't we?" You probably were thinking, "No, not at all." Then you find out that Joe actually went to school with your sister's husband and Joe's best friend grew up next door to you.  It's called the "six degrees of separation."  We've all heard about the six degrees of separation which explains that we are all just six introductions away from every person on the planet. 

Which brings me to the  fascinating app Discovr. It's the six degrees of separation music app. It's helps you find more music based on the bands you enjoy.  I'm a sucker for graphic organizers, so this is right up my alley. It goes beyond Pandora and Spotify as it actually shows connections between different bands and allows you to keep searching with a quick tap. It does all the work for you because it brings the music that matters most to you in a systematic, organized interface.

Here's an example of how it works:

I recently started reading Anthony Kiedis' autobiography, Scar Tissue. Naturally, I have this newfound interest in listening to more Red Hot Chili Peppers tunes.  I began wondering what other bands have the same type of vibe. So I just clicked on "search" in the Discovr app, typed in "Red Hot Chili Peppers" and it instantly gave me a music map. The map webbed out more bands in that genre. Some bands I had heard of, others not at all.  This is where it gets exciting, you access music new to you! Some of the bands will not be familiar to you and/or you may not have heard of all their songs. Check out the bands which may not be popular.  Anthony Kiedis simply said, "music that I really love and believe in and think is extraordinary honest and beautiful doesn't always become popular."

When you hold down your finger on the band's name you get several options.

When you double tap on the band's name you get these options: 

Alert: Discovr can get addicting as it is an endless resource of how to stay affiliated with the bands you delight in and search for new music to dance to.  Sometimes, it even brings you back to music that you have forgotten you loved. I looked up Of Monsters and Men the other day and found out they are "related" to The Weeks, an indie rock band from the South started by a couple of talented teenagers. Haven't listened to The Weeks in years, so I downloaded one of my favorite songs: Buttons, all within less than a minute! This app can be what you want it to be; six degrees of (song) separation, (concert) vine, (instrumental) family tree, or the circle of (lyrical) life. 

Summer is here. Find some great music that's new to you or reconnect with the music you've taken a break from...then turn it up!

We all need more cowbell.
One video that Discvr linked me to was the Will Ferrell and Chad Smith Drum off from the Jimmy Fallon Show.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Techy Terms: Talk Nerdy To Me

Know the lingo.

Everyone's talking the language now. Geek talk. That's right, smart is in. Technology is evolving quicker than we can say "nerd alert."  Doesn't matter if you are in business, education, construction, healthcare, etc, you have to stay current if you want to stay connected with those you serve.

Don't believe me? 
Take a quick glance, do you know what these trendy words or phrases mean? 
Here are some brief descriptions in simplest terms and links for deeper meaning.

1. What's my name? Digital Natives (Generation Z): Let's start with our next generation. These little techy learners are called Digital Natives, the rest of us are Digital Immigrants. Pretty obvious why, our young people will never know life with a mobile device in hand. The last of the Millennials (or formerly known a the Y Generation) are getting ready to graduate. My X generation is trying to keep up! In case you are curious about what defines these generation labels;Digital Natives, born 2000- 2020, Millennials, born 1980s-2000. X Generation, born 1960s-1980s. Note: here is some debate about the actual years, but this is close enough.

2. Byte this. Gigabyte (GB):  
I often get asked, "what is a gigabyte?"  Gigabyte measures storage capacity. For example, most DVDs can hold 4.7 GB. You probably have heard more about GB from your mobile device carrier. According to Nielsen ratings, U.S. consumers use about 733 megabyte (MB) a month on their cellphones. FYI, 1,024 MB = 1 GB. Typically, you use more MB by streaming videos and music. But, unless you constantly using an aggressive music app or streaming videos from internet, it's pretty challenging to use 1 GB a month. For example, If you have one gigabyte of data on your plan, you can perform the following tasks without going over your allotted amount of data. Most smartphone users
  • Visit 1,000 webpages
  • Send or receive 11,100 emails with attachments
  • Stream 33 hours of music
  • Stream six hours of video
  • Download 197 apps/games/song
3. That is code for... Coding vs Programming: Still scratching your head about what a coder does and what a programmer does? "Programming is creating the logic, coding is translating that logic into code", said Tom Fordham. They both need each other, match made in heaven. For example, the programmer may want to build a game which requires having codes to create a system that allows the user to actual play the game.  

4. Cirrus or Cumulus? The Cloud.Do you know what cloud you are storing your work in? Some people seem to be perplexed about there their documents go when they are placed in the 'cloud'. They see visions of files just disappearing into thin air. What is the cloud? Simply defined as "the set of hardware, networks, storage, services, and interfaces that combine to deliver aspects of computing as a service stored through a web-based stystem. Think iCloud on your smartphone, or Google Docs, Dropbox, anywhere you store data, docs, information through the internet and not on a flashdrive or hard drive.

Stylish and tech savvy.

5. Wearbles that workFitbit- this chip is not just about keeping healthy but more about tracking and measuring growth. It's small in size and comes in wristbands and other tracking wearables. It connects to your phone (through an app) then tracks how many steps you take, calories you burn, etc. What's interesting is that businesses are taking notice. There is buzz around companies requiring employees to wear Fitbit so they can keep data on how healthy they are, and possibly maximize productivity in the workplace. Check out this list of other places this chip can be inserted. From bracelets and clothes to tattoos and wigs, these wearable computing ideas are giving Google Glass a run for their money

Hopefully this gives a better understanding of what everyone is talking about. 
You don't want to be left out of the new cool group, do you? 

Can your brain handle all this info? Male brains are larger, but can they hold more information? 
Watch this quick video from the Huffington Post Science: "Talk Nerdy to Me" about which sex has the better brain.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Moms Are Somebody's Hero, Here's More Power To Them

On most days, right?

Did you know?
  • there are 2 billion moms in the world
  • 4 babies are born every second
  • 72% of moms work (vs 39% back in 1976)
  • preschoolers require mom's attention 210 times a day
  • least favorite chore of moms: vacuuming steps
  • most common multi-tasking bathroom activity: reading
  • stay at home moms would make about $114,000 a year (based on salaries of being a cab driver, doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, psychologist, day care teacher)

Since mommies are busy people, I will make this brief! Check out my four favorite free apps to help your life be more organized and manageable. They may even give you super powers. 

Just stick it in your  "Pocket".

  • Pocket: Have a list of articles you are dying to read or videos you want to watch but can't remember where the links are? Look no further! This amazing app lets you organize all those interesting articles and videos into categories then stores them for you to read and view when you have time. Genius, easy and free!
Discover YOUR America.

  • Roadtrippers: Planning a trip in the US, use Roadtrippers. It's currently the fastest growing planning site. Find a wide variety of places with contact info and pics, plan and sync itineraries, make bucket lists and use it as a GPS system. Who knew searching for a new destination could be fun, free and so easy? Maybe they will come up with a feature to turn off the sound, "Mom, are we there yet?"
On the Go? They know.

  • eMeals: I'm pretty sure my family is sick of my cooking. I'm sick of my cooking. But we need to eat, so why not spice up the family meal time with new recipes? You can choose by family serving sizes, food style (kid-friendly, gluten free, classic eating, low carb, simple gourmet....the list goes on). Then it plans your whole week for you. It shows if there is prep time, includes ingredients and  instructions, calories per serving. You can email any of the recipes out. It also gives you a detailed grocery list with weekly savings at select nearby grocery stores! Very simple and solves searching for new recipes over and over.
Everyone loves a great movie.

  • Animoto: Want to make a memorable video of pics or footage without having to write a Hollywood script or produce like Jerry Bruckheimer? Look no further. Easy, intuitive and it has all the essentials for creating any type of video. You can share it through an email link or store it and watch it at your own leisure.The app and website include a library of great tunes, or you can use your own. There are many different background templates to choose from  which add that extra flair. It's has everything you need to be creative, so the pressure is off you!

Thank you to all the moms out there who give their amazing talents and supernatural love.

A little country tune: "a hero to her baby with the skinned knee...a keeper of cheerios..."


Monday, May 5, 2014

KISS: Is An Ordinary Life Important?

William Martin was a ordinary man with an extraordinary message. 
Ancient Advice for Modern Parents

Why does life get so complicated? 
Is it possible to have a simple, ordinary life? 
Is that what we should strive for? 

My high school days came and went before the internet, email, Facebook (thank goodness!), tweeting and texting. I grew up on a ranch which encompassed feeding and taking care of a variety of animals, cleaning out barns and watering devices, picking up sticks and rocks. Yes, I spent many hours picking up sticks and rocks after my dad bush hogged the land. Getting bored yet? Yep, I felt bored sometimes too, pretty ordinary.  Although, I still have flashbacks about baby deer kicking me when I was trying to bottle feed them, fishing with my dad on our lake, raising my own emu chicks, and wild boar and  buffalo charging our ranch truck anytime we got near, scaring the $%#! out of me. 

Nothing too extraordinary, or so I thought.

Fast forward to today where technology takes us everywhere but ordinary. It exposes us to infinite opportunities: positive and negative images,  progressive networking, making connections with those we know and do not know, and endless possibilities for maintaining a busy life. This is both a blessing and curse, because at any one moment we can see what we are, what we are not, and what we think we want to be. We see these images, which become pressures and it becomes increasingly difficult not to compare. We want the best for ourselves, our families and friends. We want to push ourselves and our kids to be successful... extraordinary.

A few weeks ago I was visiting with some girlfriends and we started talking about the "simple days".When we were kids, and even in high school, there was this sense of ordinary life, a slower paced feeling. Now that I think about it, I wish I had a day to feed a newborn deer or have sometime to go pick up sticks and enjoy nature.  Now it's rush, rush, rush! Constantly trying to beat the clock to fit in everything we need to do. It's just what we do, the "new ordinary", as I like to call it.
For many, the ordinary life seems to be shifting: a more busy, fast paced life. The extraordinary times seem to be those times when we can relax and enjoy the simpleness of the moment. Savor those special moments with those we love.  I mean, if everything is extraordinary all the time--doesn't that just make it ordinary?

Everybody is different though; some may view extraordinary times as jet-setting somewhere exotic, grooving to your beloved band in a live concert, attending a sports event cheering on your favorite team, or experiencing something new and exciting wherever that may be. Acknowledging what feels extraordinary is important, and finding the time to actually experience is key.

Try one.

Think about yourself. You are completely unique, there are things about you, things you have done, things that make you...well, you. That's extraordinary. Don't believe me? Make a list of the talents you have, times when you made someone's day, obstacles you have matter how big,  how small, how "ordinary".

How will you engage in an ordinary life with extraordinary experiences? How can we offer our kids and friends an ordinary life and let them see the extraordinary events they will experience, extraordinary gifts and talents they possess? I guess we have to encourage others to figure out what makes them extraordinary, so it can shine from them in their ordinary lives. I will have to come back and remind myself of this time and time and again. I don't believe there is some magical way to parent or be a supportive friend. I think it's a journey and we all have our own way.  

Here's to keeping it simple, slowing down and leading a somewhat ordinary life. Cherishing the extraordinary times as they come.

Maybe Skynyrd coined the acronym: KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)