Baby Tech – It’s never too early

For that baby-on-the-go, how about baby’s first MP3 player?

A Music Box for the 21st Century

While MP3 players trend toward smaller and more function-filled with every iteration, tiny and complicated isn’t really what you want in a toddler-friendly product. The important adjectives there are ones like “non-toxic,” “durable,” and “easy-to-find-when-misplaced-under-a-pile-of-toys.” And Baby’s First MP3 Player is music to our ears, literally. It’s a large, rugged, single-piece design, molded from rubber that meets FDA food-grade specifications. Three large buttons invite baby to play or stop the songs, and also hide a super-secret menu for the parents, which includes volume control, a must-have on any product for little ones. Instead of subjecting your iPod to curious, little fingers, give your little ones their own MP3 player to do with as they wish. Your iPod will thank you.

b15d_babys_first_mp3_player
Product Specifications

  • For ages 0-6 years
  • 1 AA battery (included) for 40 hours of use
  • 1 GB memory (16 hours at 128 kbit/s data rate)
  • Music preloaded from award-winning artist Susie Tallman & Friends and Jim Weiss, award winning storyteller
  • Three programmable playlists
  • Integrated speaker
  • LCD display (track number and battery status)
  • USB port (cable included)
  • Headphone jack (headphones not included)
  • AC adapter jack (AC adapter not included)
  • Programmable automatic shut-off timer
  • Hidden volume control
  • 6 1/2″ high

<original link>

Coding for Kids

This is a cool post I read about a new programming language released by Microsoft that is especially for kids, called Small Basic.

After a year in the making, and with very little fanfare, Microsoft last month launched Small Basic, a free programming language aimed at kids. Unlike Scratch and Alice, tools designed for kids to learn programming in a ‘codeless’ environment, Small Basic is essentially a small version of the BASIC language.

Original story on the Microsoft Development Network website

Stinkpalm – it’s the smell that keeps on smelling

Those of you who have seen Mallrats will know what I’m talking about, whe

n Brody is demonstrating the finer art of giving someone “stinkpalm”. If you’ve never seen it and don’t have any clue what I’m talking about, you can read up on it in this Urban Dictionary entry.

Moving on. It has occurred to me on more than one occassion that having a child is like having your own personal stinkpalm machine only, unfortunately, you are the one always being “palmed”. Stick with me here. Have you ever changed a really big and/or nasty diaper and accidentally gotten some of the poop on your hand or fingers? And no matter how hard or how many times you wash your hands, you cannot get rid of the smell. It stays with you for hours. I try not to change any diapers before mealtime if I can help it.

If anyone has any suggestions about how to defeat the stinkpalm, please feel free to let me know!

Scratch-proof DVDs?

Nope, no such thing. And I don’t know about you but my kid LOVES to get into her DVD collection and take every single disk out of the case. She thinks this is a great game. We’ve put all of our “non-kiddie” movies up out of reach but keep all of her movies easily accessible, which has proven to be a problem. And all of those CDs that just get stacked on top of each other instead of being put back in their cases? Scratched and unusable, save for a couple of tracks here and there. Well fear not – technology to the rescue!

You knew it was only a matter of time before someone figured out how to repair old/scratched CDs and DVDs, and that time is now. Check out this article from Wired showcasing three prominent CD/DVD repair models. I can’t wait to get my hands on one and bring a giant stack of disks back from the dead.

<click here for full article>

Number 2

Just a quick note to say that the wife and I now have baby number 2 on the way. And it’s a boy, which means that we will have the complete set (boy and girl). That also means we’re stopping at 2. Congrats to us!

Money can’t by happiness…MY ASS!

It’s been a long long time since I’ve had a post and there are many many reasons that I won’t go into now. The one reason I will touch on is my job, and my lack of job. Way back in January I was laid off and then proceeded to have a sizable professional mid-life crisis. After a couple of months and no answers I went out and got a job at Target to at least get working again and get off of unemployment. First lesson learned is that this was a terrible idea. I was actually making quite a bit more money on unemployment than what I was able to bring in working a full time job at Target. Sad but true. I have the utmost respect for anyone who works a job like that longterm and must rely on that income to support their family. As for me, my wife works a full time job and even with me working full time at Target we were struggling to pay all of our bills.

That brings me to the point of this post. What is it that is ingrained in the male brain that makes us still believe (for the most part) that it is our sole responsibility to be the provider (if not the only provider then at least the bigger provider)? After just a short time of working at Target – I think specifically it was when I looked at the number on my first paycheck – my self-esteem took a nosedive. All the hard work I was putting in was barely making a dent in our monthly expenses. On top of dealing with my professional situation (crappy job market not withstanding), I was feeling like even more of a complete failure because I couldn’t find a job that would sufficiently and comfortably help support my family. No one ever said it was my responsibility to do so, and my wife did not feel bad or inadequate that she didn’t make more money. It was all in my head. I was the big failure because I couldn’t provide us with the means to make ends meet.

Why Why Why did I feel this way? I still don’t know. Luckily for me, and for my family, I was finally able to find a good office job making the same salary as the previous job I was released from. My self esteem and my confidence are starting to return slowly, and the mental stability around my house has much improved on all fronts.  Now don’t get me wrong here, I don’t feel like I need to be the only or even primary bread winner here, but I did feel like I wasn’t pulling my weight (so-to-speak). If my wife made enough money that I didn’t have to work at all, I’d be a stay-at-home dad in a heartbeat and have no problem at all with it.

Money truly is the root of all evil. And I’ve always felt that whoever coined the phrase “money can’t buy happiness” was probably filthy rich. Now to be fair, I don’t think money can buy you happiness, but what it can do is buy you the peace of mind to be able to pursue happiness. Show me someone who isn’t constantly worried about how they’re going to pay all of their bills and make ends meet, and I’ll show you someone who is carefree and has a mind clear enough to follow their dreams and pursue whatever hobby tickles their fancy.

Anyhow, I’m back now and hopefully will be able to start making some quasi-regular contributions again to this blog.

Comments are always welcome, and as always thanks for reading.