My Two Weeks with LyveHome


These days, it seems as though the last feature described by companies about their smartphones is the phone part.  The main feature discussed? The camera. Megapixels, zoom, editing features, burst shots, etc., etc., etc.. So now that you have a good camera that is always with you, what happens to all of the photos you take? Do they mostly live on your device with a few shared through social media?  The new issue isn’t how you are taking photos, it’s how you are using your photos.


The LyveHome seeks to resolve this issue.  The easiest way to describe the LyveHome is it is the result of a torrid love affair between an external hard drive and a digital photo frame. The device features a 5” screen with 2 TB of storage and is slightly bigger than a can of soda.  It fits well with the other technology on my desk without overpowering the space.  Setup is simple: plug in LyveHome, connect to WiFi and you are ready to go. You can plug in a a SD card or USB device directly into the LyveHome to transfer photos and videos.  It doesn’t want your Excel spreadsheets or your word documents. No, this is strictly a memory box, not a file cabinet for work items.


The real magic of LyveHome is not the physical device but the software itself.  You can install the app on your phone (iOS and Android for now, no word on Windows Phone yet), tablet (same OS as above) or computer (Mac and Windows).  Once installed, photos and videos can automatically be backed up from the devices to the LyveHome.  My initial backup of roughly 2,200 photos and 50 videos from my Galaxy S5 to the LyveHome took about 45 minutes through my home WiFi. There is an ethernet port which could speed up the process.  Now when I take a photo with my phone, it is automagically backed up on the LyveHome. (You can change the settings to do this immediately through cell data or to wait for your phone to connect to WiFi.) And it isn’t only a thumbnail of the photo, it’s the full sized file.  

Yes, it really is that easy to set up.


The genius of the LyveHome software is that you ALWAYS have all of your photos with you. Looking for pictures from Little Timmy’s birthday party? Check.  Want to share photos from your recent vacation? Check. No matter if it is on your tablet, laptop or phone, you can access your photos on the go.  All of the photos are compressed on your device so they take up a fraction of the space.  When you want to share it through any of the devices options, the full file is available. 


  • Always have all of your photos with you
  • Easy set up, simple controls
  • Compatible with most devices


  • Can only sort photos by date taken (Update could add theme and event tags)
  • Windows Phone OS not compatible
  • It would be nice to share albums or groups of photos instead of opening up full account to friends


Overall, $299 is fair price for a sturdy, easy to use device that consolidates your photos and provides easy access on the go especially when you consider what it would cost in monthly fees to host 2 TB in the cloud.  Future software updates should only add value to the LyveHome. Grade: A- (Could change with upgrades) Must buy for the mobile photographer, social media picture sharer.


Check out My Live site for more information and to purchase.








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Jaguars Jump Off A Building (And Add More Value)

Sports franchises today are constantly looking for new revenue streams while adding to the connection between three of the key stakeholders: the team, the sponsors and the fans. The Jacksonville Jaguars are on the right path with the following video:

The hybrid bungee/zipline action highlights non-player assets such as the mascot, cheerleaders and the stadium. Also thrown into the mix is some very prominent product placement for team partner, Panasonic, in the way of cameras and wireless speakers without being a complete Panasonic commercial.

Not only does this video standout due to its action and unique content, it presents a potential product for fans: stadium ziplining. How many fans do you think would pay $100-150 to zipline over their favorite team’s field? Following the skydiving pricing model, teams could charge another $50 for video and photos of the experience. Plus, this draws people to the stadium on non-gamedays which could increase traffic to the team store and locker room tours as well as a potential season ticket sales opportunity.

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Sports stink (and why that’s good)

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To promote the new season of their reality TV show, Honey Boo Boo, TLC inserted a “Watch ‘n Sniff” card into this week’s US Weekly magazine.  I suppose that during the episode, prompts will appear on screen to let viewers know which circle to smell to coincide with actions in the show.  This unique promotion’s goal is to increase awareness of the season premiere and worked very well seeing as how I had never heard of the Boo Boo show until this card caught my attention.  So my question is: why not use this same stunt for sports?

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Think about it: the “Sniff ‘n’ Score” card arrives with the latest issue of ESPN The Magazine or Sports Illustrated.  You then use the card while watching the MLB Game of the Week on FOX.  As the camera pans around the stands and down to field level, you scratch and sniff the first circle and it smells like freshly cut grass.  And of course, since this is the sports world, this portion of the card is brought to you by Scotts, the official lawn care product of MLB.  The next circle smells like rosin as the pitcher prepares to start the game.  When the camera zooms in on the dugout and we see a player drinking Gatorade, the third circle on our card smells like the refreshment.  We could even be unique with the smells and have the last one smell like P&G’s Gillette shaving cream which we sniff as the MVP of the game is getting a face full of shaving cream from their teammates. 

This isn’t limited to baseball; other sports could take advantage of this concept.  The NFL could have Tide sponsor the postgame locker room talk and the circle in this case smells like sweaty socks.  NASCAR’s card would smell like burning rubber and oil.  Beach volleyball could have smells of the ocean and suntan lotion. 

What other sports smells would you want to include on your “Sniff ‘n’ Score”?

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Hollywood brings the Captain to DC



Although most of the DC scenes that we will see next summer on the big screen will actually be filmed in Cleveland, there are a few scenes that will really be filmed in the District.  Today, filming was taking place on the National Mall, just a few blocks west of the U.S. Capitol Building. 


Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/The Falcon) prepares for the scene

Even though the most of the Mall was closed to pedestrians, film staffers let folks get as close as 150 to the edge of the set which means I could see but not hear the filming.


Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America) takes a deep breathe

The scene was Sam and Steve walking/jogging on the Mall and without any dialogue or context, I couldn’t figure out how this furthered the story in anyway.  Also, if this scene makes the movie, it will probably be less than 30 seconds.


Notice the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo on Steve’s sleeve

Filming continues tomorrow and I hope to capture some more photos of the day.



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Best way to start the day



“The smarter you think, the more milk you drink

The more milk you drink, the smarter you think.”

-Me, while making my daily morning banana smoothie


With all due respect to the legendary Ron Burgundy, milk is a great choice, especially to start the day.  Growing up, both mom and a great marketing tagline told me that “milk does a body good” and as an adult, I am aware of the obvious benefits.  But there are several other choices when it comes to beverage decision time.


If milk can do this for Batman, could it help me out too?

It is easy to go with something simple to drink with each meal since beverages are the accessory of the meal; never the main attraction and rarely given a second thought.  I think that milk has the versatility that other beverages can’t offer.  I’ll have regular milk-flavored milk at dinner with pizza or pasta and not think twice about it, just like with soda, beer or water.  But unlike those other drinks, milk can adapt for other meals and to meet various tastes.  99% of folks won’t intake soda or beer with breakfast but milk will answer the call. 


It is probably pretty obvious to you by now that I enjoy milk.  But not just milk milk.  Every morning, I start my day off with a banana smoothie.  It is very simple to make by adding milk, two bananas and some ice to my Magic Bullet cup and blending for a few seconds.  Voila! I now have a tasty and healthy start to my day that can hit the road with me.  Natural, healthy and inexpensive…what more can you ask for, right?

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Chocolate milk obviously comes from a chocolate cow

Sometimes, a smoothie can only get you so far.  Maybe I’m in the mood for a hearty beverage for brunch or want to satisfy the cravings of my sweet tooth…what will do in such a circumstance?  Chocolate milk, of course.  Well, unless strawberry milk fits the mood. 

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How to survive a conference



With BlogHer ‘12 rapidly approaching, I’d like to share some quick tips I’ve picked up over the years from attending conferences such as CES and E3:

1. Plan ahead


Even if you put on your track shoes and sprint, you will not see everything and get an opportunity to talk to everyone.  Make a list of the top ten people or companies you want to interact with and try to set something up ahead of time.  Do the same with any sessions or demonstrations that you want to see as well.  I can guarantee you that at least two sessions on your list will be at either the same time or will be on completely opposite sides of the hall.  Several conferences, such as BlogHer, now offer apps that allow you to put your agenda on your phone and actually maps out all of your favorites.  Install, load and learn how these apps work ahead of time. Prior planning will help you get the most out of your time. 

My first trip to E3 was overwhelming; I spent way too long just amazing at the sheer scope of the show and wandering the floor aimlessly.  If I had planned properly, I would have been more focused.

2. Pack just enough stuff


Everyone has dreams of live-blogging, streaming, tweeting and other –ings the entire conference.  They bring the latest gadgets in addition to their super laptop, HD video camera, DSLR and the rest of their production studio.  Good for them! But unless you have a team of interns lugging your gear around the floor, things can get heavy and cumbersome by the end of day three.  Plus you need to account for the added weight from all of the swag you know you are going to pick up.  Leave the desktop PC at home and use a tablet instead.  Unless you are going to use the gadget several times throughout the day, leave it at home.

3. Wear comfortable shoes


If there is only one piece of advice you take from this posting, it is wear comfortable shoes.  You will walk a lot more than you realize, some days even the distance of a marathon.  I know that fashion is key and you want to look your best, but your feet will thank me at the end of the conference.

4. Power it up


Speaking of gadgets and gizmos, unless it is so wonderful that it runs on unicorn wishes, you are going to need a way to stay charged throughout the day.  Assuming you don’t want to be tethered to an outlet all day, I’d recommend two devices: the Mophie Juice Pack and the Powerbag.

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The Mophie is a battery pack that doubles as a phone case and can double the life of your phone as it charges on the go.  The Powerbag has pockets for your laptop, tablet, camera, phone and other gadgets and can charge those while you are walking around.  The bag features micro, mini and regular USB connections as well as an Apple connector. 


If you do decide to hunt for a power outlet, you will find that an open one is a premium.  Easy solution: carry your own three prong extension cord.  It will allow the other person to stay plugged in and gives you two outlets of your own.  Plus it is a great icebreaker to meet new people.

5. Meet new people



Yes, it seems obvious but some people get so wrapped up in seeing the latest tech or immersing themselves in sessions that they often put off meeting people.  There are literally thousands of other people in the same room as you that share your interests and/or work in the same industry as you.  Make a friend, make a future collaborator, meet a future employer…the sky is the limit.  Despite how technologically advanced we are these days, there is still something special and real about a business card.  It is a tangible item that can extend your first impression for more than a moment. Plus you don’t have to worry about compatibility with someone else’s phone. 

I add a photo of myself to the card to help trigger who I am in the person’s mind.  After meeting hundreds of people over a few days, it is very easy for names and faces to blend together.  Also, since one of my main hobbies is photography, I like to add one of my photos to the back of the card for a personal touch. lets you personalize your cards and you can make each card unique if you’d like.

6. Eat


You’ve charged your tablet and phone, pressed your shirt and have your comfy shoes shined to a T.  Don’t forget your personal fuel: food.  It is easy to put off eating with all of the excitement on the show floor but just like Mom said, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Most hotels will have some sort of breakfast package included so make sure to take advantage of that whenever you can.  Don’t be afraid to pack a snack in your bag.  Pro Tip: Food quality at most convention centers is average at best while being severely overpriced.  Plus seating can be limited (i.e. whatever scrap of floor off the path you can find).  It is okay to go outside to grab a bite to eat and get some fresh air.  Don’t worry, the conference won’t meet you too much.

7. Parties

Pet birthday party

Several companies and associations will host parties and special events that will feature celebs, access and champagne flowing from the heavens. You will not be invited to all of these.  That’s okay.  There will be several events that you will be able to attend.  Pay attention as some require you to RSVP ahead of time while others may be open to the public but with certain criteria to attend.  Let loose, have fun and enjoy.


Any other tips or suggestions? Please add them in the comments.

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This past Thursday, I was lucky enough to be invited by Kristina Libby, host of the Microsoft Twitter Chat #winchat, to a gathering of local mommy bloggers at the Microsoft Store.  The event featured many great ways to use Microsoft software such as Paint and services like SkyDrive to make great homemade gifts for Mother’s Day. 

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Michele (@scrappinmichele) led a fantastic demonstration on how easy it is to make personal cards for mom with MS Paint and how to share photos with relatives and friends in distant lands using SkyDrive, a cloud based service.

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Events like this are great for people with similar interests to come together to network, learn and have fun.  Microsoft does a great job of creating a sense of community as they put great folks like Kristina behind their products to not only inform but to connect.  Not only did the group stay in the store talking and sharing stories well past the end of the event, but a high percentage went to lunch together afterwards to continue the good times.  After some networking events, you leave with a pocketful of business cards and that’s about it.  Following this event, after prolonged goodbyes and several hugs, I left with not only business cards but a collection of new friends.

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Microsoft had several prizes to give away including a very stylish ASUS Zenbook which is super thin and can slip into a lady’s handbag and three Windows phones which feature the wonderful live tiles and the people function which makes life easier to reach those in your life, whether it be on the phone or through your favorite social media outlet.  All attendees were given a Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500, which is a major upgrade to the old-school tethered mouse that we are all used to using since the beginning of computing times.  This mouse has several great features including:

  • VERY easy setup – plug USB transceiver into PC, turn on mouse and BOOM, you are ready to go
  • When not in use, the Nano transceiver snaps into the mouse so that you don’t lose it
  • Stylish – instead of the boring beige or white that we are used to, these mice come in a variety of colors and some feature designer inspired patterns
  • BlueTrack Technology allows the mouse to be used on pretty much any surface.  So far I’ve tested it on a pillow, my napping puppy’s back and the couch cushions without any hiccups of use
  • Scrollwheel – I forgot how much I missed using this on my laptop’s touch “mouse” pad.  Now I’m able to fly through documents.

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