Tuesday, November 18, 2008

TED my new favorite addiction

About three months ago I was introduced to TED by my manager at Livescribe.  She had posted a video on classical music from this site and it was interesting, even though I don't consider myself classical music's biggest fan.

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design.  For over 20 years they have been holding a conference in California bringing in some of the brightest and creative minds in these fields.  Their mission is simple, spread ideas.

There is literally something for everyone, from creative story telling using emoticons, to the latest in technology design in linking everyone's photography.

Here are a couple links to one's I found interesting to get you started.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Just how different are McCain and Obama's Health Care Plans

Today I was looking at each of the candidate's own sites to get a better picture of their stand on the issues. It was interesting to see some of the similarities and differences, but the Health issue is a big one for me as a two time cancer survivor.

So to begin, here are where the two agree.

Problem: Both candidates agree that health costs have risen significantly and that we have too many Americans who are underinsured or not insured at all.

Objectives of Health Plan: Both candidates want to have health care available to all, with no conditions set. Both plans want health insurance to be portable, soften the load on pre existing conditions, and lower drug prices. They also would show support for small businesses, and implement technology more efficiently. They both allow the state flexibility and want medical liability reform.

There are a few differences in each of their plans.

In general, Obama goes into more detail about the benefits and support of his plan.

Obama would make it so no American would be turned away from ANY INSURANCE PLAN due to illness or preexisting conditions. This is important to me since Callie and I both have gone through alot of medical care in our lives and would be lost if we couldn't get coverage due to any pre-existing conditions they deem pertinent.

John McCain says he would, "work with governors to develop a best practice model that states can follow - a Guaranteed Access Plan or GAP - that would reflect the best experience of the states to ensure these patients have access to health coverage. One approach would establish a nonprofit corporation that would contract with insurers to cover patients who have been denied insurance and could join with other state plans to enlarge pools and lower overhead costs." So under his plan it would ultimately come down the the state whether we would get accepted or not.

Obama would implement his plan in a similar way Congress already gets their health coverage. Alot of people think this means everyone would get free coverage, but several will still pay premiums, deductibles, and copays. Under his plan they would be more affordable.

John McCain's plan is not specific. He lists similar objectives as Obama for health care but doesn't explain how he'll do that. As far as action he just says, "An important part of his plan is to use competition to improve the quality of health insurance with greater variety to match people's needs, lower prices, and portability." One of the problems with this is the current lack of competition in health care. Two companies dominate one third of the national market (“Statement of the American Medical Association to the Senate Committee on the Judicary, United States Senate”(September 6, 2006). Testimony.) In addition there have been over 400 mergers in the last 10 years.

McCain plans on paying for his plan by taxing the individuals instead of the buinesses on the value of the health insurance.

Obama will pay for his plan by rolling back the Bush tax cuts for Americans earning more than $250,000 per year and retaining the estate tax at its 2009 level

Another difference is how Obama plans to move the health care standard up from keeping medical records on paper to putting them in electronically. He also will allow Americans to buy Perscription Drugs from outside the country if they are safe and cheaper.

In general, Obama is allowing Americans a cheaper and guaranteed form of Health Insurance for all Americans that will not tax us unless we make over $250,000 a year. John McCain wants us to be able to find our own insurance and will make it so even those who currently have trouble will get help.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Chronicles of Donut: Here We Go Again!!!

September 12th I was home cleaning the house when I noticed a snot like drip coming out of Donut's rear.  I was kind of surprised and new Donut was pregnant so I immediately called Callie to find out if she knew what that meant.  She said it might mean she was going into labor soon.  I continued to call the vet and look online and sure enough they both said when a cat discharges a mucus plug they are going to go into birth in a day or two.  

Here is the continuing saga of the Chronicles of Donut. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Livescribe Savings and Freebies

Livescribe is kicking off a couple different promotions this week where they will begiving away their Pulse Pen. The first event is Target's After Hours Party. The Target at Tempe Marketplace is closing and reopening Thursday night from 10:30pm to 12:30am just for ASU students. Pulse is making its presence there through the "Tap to Win" promotion. We are passing out flyers that could win you a free Pulse Pen. Just take it to me or one of the Target Brand Ambassadors with the Pulse Pens.

The next event is ASU's Back to School Passport Event. Again, Livescribe is going to be present. We are raffling off 10 2GB Pulse Pens, so come by our table at the SRC Maroon Gym, watch a demo, play with the pen yourself, and fill out a raffle ticket to win for yourself.

If you can't come to these events or don't win a pen but still want one, you can enter my scribe id code at www.livescribe.com/store SCRIBE5A03. The pen has been a great tool. If you have any questions I'd love to answer them.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Chronicles of Donut: We Call Her Mulet

Welcome back to the next segment from the Chronicles of Donut. As many of you who have visited in the last month or so may have noticed, Donut has experienced some changes. This is the story behind the transformation from Donut to Mulet.

Once upon a time Donut was a pretty, cuddly, little, kitten. She showed all the potential of being a wonderful pet, even for a cat. She would run, jump, play, and eat bugs like a good cat, and we were very pleased. She had it all, the looks, the personality, the spirit, no wonder it came as no surprise what happened next.

One night, as Callie and I were leaving to see Nim's Island or some chick flick like that, I saw in the corner of my eye our precious Donut getting fondled by the neighborhood big cat. I immediately exploded out of the car and chased the cat off her. Even though I knew it would have no effect on the results of the matter, I felt like a father trying to protect his youngest daughter and felt it was my duty to intervene.

Around the same time Dog numero two-o and pet numero three-o entered our lives in the name of Fergie. She may play a role in the cause for Mulet to be discussed later.

Well, as our story continues, Donut gradually got bigger and bigger and could pop any time. She had a pretty decent size pouch and was happy as ever laying on the tops of people's cars.

Then one friday in May I came home from work and started heating up some left over pizza when Donut comes out from no where completely drenched. I didn't think anything of it since she is constantly hovering in the toilet for her favorite drink. I just figured she must have fallen in. As I ate my pizza she sat and mewed at me and I would pet her and continue eating.

A few minutes later, Callie texts me wanting to know what we should do this weekend. I didn't have any plans so I just BS'd and told her we could look for Donut's babies. She text me back right away, "Are you kidding?" Now I had second thoughts. Donut did look pretty grungy, even for falling in a clean toilet. So I just text back Callie that I wasn't sure but Donut's tail and body were really wet and she did seem to want alot of attention.

When Callie got home we looked everywhere to see if Donut had indeed given birth. She was kinda freakin, she called the vet to ask if a cat could ever eat its kittens. After looking inside and outside for fifteen minutes, we returned inside and were surprised to find Donut nowhere. Obviously wherever Donut was there her kittens would be also. I remembered around the same time that I hadn't checked our laundry room. Sure enough Donut decided to give birth in the dryer all over our nice clean sheets and whites.

This is a nice story and all but the real story begins now. Around this same time we started to see the transformation begin. Notice in the above pictures how nice and fluffy Donut's head is. She had a mane, a collar, a lovely band of fur around her neck, now it is gone, vanished, capoot.

So now her hair is short on the top and long in the back, hence the name Mulet. Our theories for how she got that way range from shedding because of the heat, Fergie pulling it out, to a hair loss causing STD. Let's just hope her fur-due goes out of style as fast as its name sake.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bryce and Callie's California Commentary

Last week we were in Chula Vista California enjoying a great vacation on the beach as well as a trip to Six Flags. This video showcases the great body boarding Callie's family likes to do as well as some rather pointless commentary by myself on whatever appeared interesting while on the vacation.


Friday, August 8, 2008

Livescribe, All Signed Up!

Sunday, I described Callie's idea she came up with concerning her smart pen. That night I applied for the position I had read about.

The next day I got an email from one of Livescribe's interns saying her boss had forwarded her my resume and wanted to have her interview me asap.

Tuesday I had an interview with the intern, which went very well. She let me know that I would be a good match for the job and asked if her boss, Livescribe's marketing manager, could interview me that afternoon.

I was down, so a few hours later I was on my second interview in just a day's time. Karen, the marketing manager, told me about the job and asked me about my experience with the Dell Rep Program. It was a really enjoyable interview.

So, after applying, a day later I was hired as a LCR, Livescribe Campus Rep.

I love marketing. I get to play with fun gadgets and get lots of neat give aways. I even get to pick out a couple friends to give some of the products to to help me out with promoting. I also get to throw parties with lots of pizza and drinks. Plus, I get to work with a great start up in Silicon Valley, strong brands like Dell, and a top notch marketing agency.

I guess I just have an urge to keep three jobs and do full time school afterall. Although working for Bank of America had great benefits, being a Dell Campus Rep, Microsoft REACH Evangelist, and now a Livescribe Campus Rep are all going to be a blast and will make for a tough decision come graduation.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Beachin With the Nephews and Nieces

While on our recent vacation, I took the opportunity to take advantage of my very cool and new video camera. What better test objects than some of my little neices and nephews. As with many children they can be quite entertaining. I hope family and friends can enjoy some of the pleasure I've had making this.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Gadget Callie Thought Up and Then Lost!

Sitting in class one day Callie began to think up a clever invention that would make her day as well as many other students, notetakers, and doodlers a much needed tool. It was called in her mind the Smart Pen. It would record the audio of what you were hearing as you wrote, it would translate the words you wrote into whatever language you wished, and it could do math.

So it came as a surprise today, as I checked my emails and saw a job opportunity sent to me from a company based out in Oakland California called Livescribe. Seems they made Callie's pen and a little more. I was curious what this company was about and decided to look into it a little and was impressed immediately.

They created a pen with a computer in it. The pen comes equipped with two mics and a camera that records at 72fps. So why would you want a pen with two mics and a camera? Sounds excessive huh? Well with two mics, the pen can record the audio while you write and eliminate background noise. The pen is used on a special printed paper with tiny dots, the paper can be printed from a printer. The camera is used to track what you are writing exactly where you are writing it so you can upload it to a computer document, easily. With video and audio you can sync precisely what you were hearing with whatever you were writing. You want to know what you were hearing when you were quickly trying to copy a graph off the board? Now you can.

That's just the main function. You write Beer on your paper and tell the pen to translate in Spanish. It says cervesa. Fun, could be beneficial when working with people who haven't grasped the best words for what they are trying to say in a foreign language. Would be fun to have with you when you travel to a foriegn country. Need to know where a nice restaurant is? Simply right it down, the pen translates, hand the pen and pad to them, they write, it translates back.

It keeps going, draw a keyboard on your paper. You can start playing keyboard, you can even change the insturment to steel drums, cymbals, etc. Want to go another step? Why not add some rythym beats to it.

The pens' software is community friendly so new programs such as games, music, and even magic tricks are being created for free. You can easily upload your doodles, notes, whatever you've written and recorded to whoever you want.

As a marketing student I'll be sure to keep an ear open to Callie's novel invention ideas more often ;). As for the job opportunity, I applied. We'll see how that goes. I just hope they let you keep one if you work for them. Although the price, $150 for a 1GB and $199 for a 2GB pen, is higher than one would pay for any ordinary pen, it may be enticing for a student/doodler. However, working for the team is probably the cheaper way to go.

You should check out some of the examples at www.livescribe.com

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Chronicles of Donut: Origins

This little bugger, though not little any more, is one of our infamous pets. We named her Donut. Why, I don't really know. At the time I just wanted any name but Miss, which is all Callie was calling her. I justified it by saying, "look she has a ring around her neck like a collar," but the true source of the name comes from a character off a series called Red vs Blue. In Red vs Blue, Donut is the comic relief brought on by a male soldier in pink armor. I never would have thought our Donut, would live up to that name the way she has.

Now you are probably thinking, "Boring, who wants to read about your cat. What are you, one of those crazy cat people?" No, I'm not a crazy cat person. In fact I could care less for cats and if you ask Callie I was opposed for weeks about getting one for our family. It's the fact that Donut is so uncat like that makes her so interesting.

I remember the day Callie wanted a kitten. She was feeling down about her circumstances, recent car accident, Mom way out in Germany, poor busy husband working three jobs and going to school full time ;), and countless other things that add up in the daily grind. Callie needed something to love her unconditionally while I was gone during the day. She already had dog love from Monty, but she needed a different kind as well. And so the pleas began.

"Bryce I want a kitten."

"Why, we already have a dog? Our apartment is small, I won't be able to take good care of another pet."

"They're easy. I'll clean the litter box," she says with a manipulative smile.

"I don't know. I really don't want one."

That wasn't good enough to hold her off. Every couple of hours in class I'd get a text, "I want a kitten". Again, I'd try to postpone, "I don't." For weeks this continued, I wasn't getting anywhere. I finally gave in to the next step, visiting a craigslist option.

Our first option was in a ghetto part of Mesa, you know, somewhere off Stapley and Broadway. Some passionate family had found an abandoned kitten and Callie had to see it. I reluctantly went hoping I could postpone further through compromise. In the first five seconds of seeing kitten numero uno, I knew it was no good. The whole time we were there she wouldn't quit meowing. We could barely talk in the room she was so loud. I didn't say anything about whether we wanted her while in the room with the mother and child trying to get rid of her, I would too if I were them.

Stepping outside I told Callie if we are getting a kitten we are going to look at more than just the first one we see and besides this one already had problems, without any of my special help. She was pretty mad but didn't go home that night with kitten number one.

As more time was passing I could tell I was losing points with my wife and quick. I decided to give up my own desires and just let her have what she wanted. The next day she was busy at work on craigslist looking for our next option. As I came home that day I was welcomed with our very own kitten. She was typical playful, cuddly, soft kitten, but most of all she wasn't whining. I was okay with having our second pet in just over 6 months of marriage, after the fact, and Callie was much happier with me. A win win situation.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bringing Home the Bacon

One of the things I am always curious about when catching up with my friends is finding out what they are doing for work. Being in school and finishing in May makes me even more curious since I soon will be joining the full time workforce myself. So here is a little about what I do for work. You can see what Callie does at callieandbryce.blogspot.com.

Dell Campus Representative

This is now my main part time job. I am in charge of promoting Dell at Arizona State University. It is very exciting, I get to attend the orientations throughout the summer and display Dell laptops in all their glory, whether its playing fun music, featuring the newest in movies, or demoing an awesome game. When orientations are not going on we set up events, table, and find creative ways to build Dell on ASU's campus. The benefits are great, I get the nicest and newest in Dell's lineup of laptops to use personally as well as for work.

Microsoft REACH Evangelist

This is the other job I have the pleasure of doing. I work with a marketing agency called The Eleven Agency out in Orange County. They have big name clients such as Microsoft, Kellogs, T-Mobile, Nestle, just to name a few. Currently, I have been working as a Microsoft REACH Evangelist which is a fancy, and really really cool way of saying Microsoft Trainer. I train stores like Fry's Electronics, Compusa, and PC Club on Micosoft's impressive array of software. Working for the Eleven Agency is great since it gives a variety of different projects and opportunities with big name companies. Work never gets old which I also like.

I was very fortunate to get this job. I saw an ad on facebook, of all places, saying Microsoft was looking in our area for work on a new project. I applied on the link, took some tests, and got a few calls for interviews. They were interested and just happened to have my group interview on a holiday. At the time I was working at Bank of America and going to school full time so it would have otherwise been very close to impossible for me to make very many face to face interviews. It was amazing to me how things lined up so perfectly. For the interview, I was told to prepare a demonstration of technology and to make a quick website using Microsoft's Spaces. The group was very intimidating, I was the youngest one there. There were webdesigners, financial advisers and other highly paid professionals applying for the same job I was there for. I thought to myself, "I wonder if they are just entertaining me by letting me show up for the interview." Everyone had very nice introductions and pages, I was a recently married return missionary so I had a nice story to tell to introduce myself. The technology demonstration was the best part of the interview. I went in the middle of the group, as I watched the others demonstrate things like usb sticks, websites, and a crank radio, I became confident in what I was going to show. When my time came up I took out my laptop, set it on the table in front of everyone, and showed them why they should upgrade to Windows Vista. I showed them the various features, but spent alot of time on Media Center where they could watch shows they recorded, organize and play their music libraries, and make easy slide shows. Thankfully, it was good enough to get the CEO Graeme Bradley's attention and provide me with the job I currently have.

Graeme is the one dressed as Sponge Bob. The other picture is me by his car (1 of 2 Shaguars).

Sunday, July 6, 2008

4th of July

For the 4th of July weekend Callie and I went up with my brother and friends to Prescott to do some camping. For dinner we had hotdogs cooked over a fire. My first one was great, the second one became flawed when a large flying insect melted to my beefy frank mid fire.

What made the campout so enjoyable, besides having my wife there, was hearing Todd express his fears when it came to camping. "Do you think there are Mountain Lions out here? How many bugs do you think we will eat from sleeping outside? Where's the north star? Is that the north star?"

Fourth of July morning Kevin, Chuck, Todd and Trent went out bouldering, while Callie and I stayed at camp (Callie doesn't hike as we all know). As Callie and I headed into town on our way home, Prescott's streets were brimming with action from 4th of July festivities. Seeing all the action, I asked Callie if she wanted to stop and check things out. She was hesitant until she saw a booth selling fry bread.

Prescott had a county arts, food, and entertainment festival going on in their downtown. It was awesome trying lots of free samples, checking out all the dogs that were there and doing this all outside when back home we would have died. Callie looked for things to buy while I focused on the amusing sights and video recording.

We finished the afternoon by heading to the "World's Oldest Rodeo" where they had even more things to do, buy and eat. The rodeo was great, we bought cheap tickets and were originally sitting behind some 6 foot 8, 350 pound cowboy wannabe, but Callie and I just waited till things got started and then moved to the front where we had much better views. While watching the show we ate great, stuffing our faces with corndogs, kettle corn and fry bread. Check out the above video to see some of the fun for yourselves.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wii Fit Week 1 Video Blog

So I've read all these stories about people losing weight with Wii Fit so I thought it would be interesting if you could gain wait or strength with Wii Fit. This is the first of six weeks to see if I can gain 10 pounds on the Wii Fit. Unless I don't start eating more I don't know how much it can do. I do know that it can give you a work out, ask Callie, jackknifes can make you sore.

Wii Get Fit

It's a miracle. About a week ago we found one of those highly coveted Wii Fit games and balance boards and it was just a matter of luck. Apparently these things are almost impossible to find, one British reviewer said, "you'll have more luck finding hen's teeth than you will grabbing a copy from your local Woolworths" which in British means, it's tough getting your hands on this puppy.

The only reason we got ours was because we were getting a few things for our new Nintendo DS systems and came in two minutes after the UPS guy. He brought the store two copies of wii fit. As we were checking out I didn't even notice the guy next to us was buying one, I was only focused on a new game to play on the DS. Callie just out of the blue asks if they have any Wii Fits. The worker answers, "Yeah, one left. They didn't even last five minutes." Currently the bid on Ebay for one of these is $150, at the store its $89.

Why Am I Blogging?

So I never thought I would actually set aside some time to make a blog, but here I am. I guess I decided to finally set this up after seeing some other blogs and thinking to myself, "I can do that." Callie also got me a video camera recently so I've been capturing some pretty funny, interesting, and crazy stuff that I hope to post here. Also, for those we don't see regularly this can give them a chance to know just what we have been up to lately.