May 2009

I have big hands and big feet, you know what that means, right? You guessed it, big shoes and computer mice that just feel too small when you use them. That is, until I tried a Microsoft Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000. At almost twice the height of regular mice, the 6000 truly makes those of us with large hands much happier.

HPIM0276

This is another product that I’m recommending for Father’s Day. (Over the next month, I will be reviewing some product that I feel are important gadget considerations for Father’s Day gifts. You can see other recommendations by viewing articles tagged “Father’s Day” here.)

Not only is the 6000, comfortable for those of us with larger hands, it is also extremely functional from a computer mouse perspective. Here are some of the items I will discuss:

  • Wireless
  • Laser
  • Multi-button & Programmability
  • Ergonomics

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I just got the following email with the subject line: “Information from Comerica Bank customer service team [message id: 0715063392]” from “Comerica Bank” which, for me, was obviously a phishing scam. I wanted to quickly document what I found to alert others.

comerica_phishing_email

While the English of this email message is not as bad as other phishing scams that I have seen, it does raise some red flags. However, it is also without any type of formatting (typically, banks have an email template). Also, banks normally don’t send out this type of information email. The email header shows that the sender was “Hotmail” which is a sign of a phishing scam. If you ever get an alert like this, it is better NOT to click the link and instead, go directly to the site by manually typing in the URL.

This is part of the URL that shows up. Note the main domain is: “jfliil.net”!

comerica_phishing_URL

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Note: I wrote this article for AddictedToSocialMedia.com (A2SM), an online blog that talks about how to get the most out of Social Media as a whole. A2SM has a series of luminaries writing for them and sharing insight on how to best use Social Media and how they use it. I was honored to be asked to contribute to their success. The original post appears here.

computer_pile_social_media I recently crafted my company’s Social Media Guidelines (and had some fun in the process) and was thinking back to one line of advice in that article: “Don’t Forget Your Day Job.” For some reason, that line kept coming up in my mind so I thought that I would explore it a bit more.

The problem with Social Media is that it is extremely pervasive AND persuasive. But perhaps this is a good thing as well. Let’s follow these ideas a bit more. Pervasiveness is defined as “spreading widely throughout an area or a group of people”. The entire concept of Social Media is to engage in conversations with friends, family, coworkers and strangers via a variety of different mediums: blogs, forums, wikis, social networking sites (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Nowadays, building a site that either is purely social or has social components to it is very common. If one does not build in any kind of social aspect to one’s online presence, you are no better than writing in a journal by hand and putting it in a drawer. There is nothing social about that, but of course the choice is up to the author. They might not want their thoughts, feelings, ideas, pains and laughs shared with other.

Personally, I think communication is key but this is where other arguments come into play. Social Media takes away true human interaction. People can hide behind a screen and keyboard, assume (dangerously) other roles and personalities, and talk about just about anything. Dying are the arts of letter writing, now replaced with quick emails, tweets, instant messages and the like. People send calendar invitations instead of picking up a phone to ask about a person’s availability. But, it is this instant nature of our technologically-bolstered communication has contributed to the pervasiveness of Social Media.

Let’s explore the persuasiveness of Social Media. We all know that it is readily available. But why are people hooking into it so quickly now? For one, it’s really easy to do. Companies like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Flickr and the like have created communication and sharing environments that can be set up in minutes. Facebook is a perfect example of how a service can be so enticing. It can be used to reconnect with old classmates and friends that you have drifted away from for one reason or another. As a person grows older, more distractions come into play and people choose different paths. In junior high and high school, people had many commonalities. But once graduation happens, people head off in different directions.

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How often do you come across a product that actually has 3 completely distinct and unique features built into it? And does all three quite well? When I started playing around with the Belkin Laptop Cooling Hub, I was actually pretty surprised by the features that it had. For starters, it is designed to help drop the temperatures of laptops. Secondly, it has a built in 4 port USB hub. Lastly, it has legs that extend to make it your laptop environment much more ergonomically correct.

The Belkin Laptop Cooling Hub is another one of those great devices for Dad for Father’s Day. (As I mentioned previously, I’m looking at a variety of reasonably priced gifts that you can give to technology-enabled dads.) With an MSRP of $49 (note: you can currently pick this up on Amazon for about $37.95), this gadget won’t break your budget either.

belkin_cooling_hub_view2

So let’s take a look at each of these features a little bit closer.

Cooling Device

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Throw Away Your Remotes and Get Just One: The Universal Remote Control R50

May 13, 2009

I have got an exercise for you. Go around your house and gather up all of the remote controls. I came up with about 15-20. I think that my family would fall apart without their remotes, so it is pretty bad for us to lose one. Also, we seem to have remotes for things that […]

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HighTechDad – “I Am A Geek!” & Proud Of It!

May 11, 2009

My friend, Brian Solis, pointed me to the “Society for Geek Advancement” today, something which rings true to many of my thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Being a “geek” now is much different than when I was younger. Years ago, having a “geek” badge was something that was almost shameful, and people were ostracized because of […]

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Crafting Your Company’s Social Media Policy

May 11, 2009

A few weeks ago, I offered to help our Human Resources department create a “Social Media Policy” for my company. While my company didn’t want to impose draconian restrictions on Social Media, HR felt that some rules did have to be created for the good of both the employer and employee. Our head of HR […]

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Mother’s Day Gifts Made Easy with Adobe Elements 7 Suite

May 5, 2009

If you are reading this blog post now, it means you are a procrastinator or are reading this after Mother’s Day. Since I’m writing this just a few days before Mother’s Day, I’m the procrastinator. But no worries, what I’m going to write about here is an easy way to make a memorable gift for […]

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