Apple TV vs. Roku: Get Started With Internet TV | Review of Internet Television Boxes & Options | Man of the House

It's not exactly a bold prediction to state that in a few years much of the stuff you watch on TV will arrive to your TV via the Internet. With services like Netflix, Hulu and iTunes you can already watch most of your favorite shows and movies courtesy of your Internet connection, so what's the best way to start to adopt some of this new technology without spending an arm and a leg?

via manofthehouse.com

My latest post on Man of the House is my breakdown of AppleTV vs. Roku. If you're interested in bringing the Internet to your TV, it's my opinion that they are the only two devices worth looking at.

Oh, and they split it up between three different pages, so if you're interested make sure to click through to each page...

Back Up Your Digital Life - New Post on Man of the House

Try to think about everything on your computer right now. Think about the pictures of the kids when they were babies, think about all of the music you've amassed over the years, think about the home videos you've taken. Think about all of the documents you've created - like your tax information, important presentations for work and household finance information.

Now think about this. ALL HARD DRIVES FAIL.

via manofthehouse.com

My most recent post on Man of the House is also my diatribe on backing up your data. If I've cornered you at a party and given you this speech while drunk on wine, I apologize in advance.

Father and Son Send A Camera Into Outer Space

This might be the coolest father/son project I've ever seen in my life. A Dad and his son in Brooklyn decided that they were going to take a video camera, attach it to a helium balloon and send it into outer space. As you can see from the video, they put a lot of thought and planning into it and achieved some amazing success. So if you're looking for something to demonstrate to your kids that hard work can pay off, check this out.

(Oh. And they're not done. You can support their next project at Brooklyn Space Program.)

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/15091562 w=560&h=315]

via vimeo.com

New Blog Posts Up at ManOfTheHouse.com

I've  recently started writing for a website for fathers called Man of the House. Unlike the product stuff I was writing about at Babble, at the new site I'll be writing more about my experiences, tips and other stuff I can share with fathers. It's a really great site with a lot of really thoughtful men writing thoughtful posts, so you should definitely check it out.

I'll still be writing here periodically too, but it will likely be more for more short-form blog stuff as well as more personal junk I used to put over at my Posterous account.

The first two Man of the House posts are:

5 Cool New Baby Products for Dads
This one is a recap of the five best things I saw at the ABC Expo (the baby and children's product convention)  in Las Vegas.

Being a Stay-At-Home Dad is Good For the Brain
A conversation I had with a friend of mine got me thinking about whether staying at home was "intellectually stimulating" or not.

So leave a comment if you want and let me know what you think.

A Tip for Flipboard for the iPad That Makes It More Awesome


If you've got an iPad then chances are you've downloaded Flipboard. (Over)-simply put, it takes content off of the Internet and presents it all in an interface not unlike Time Magazine. But the best part is it also takes the content from your social media feeds (Facebook and Twitter specifically) and puts it into Flipboard - resulting in something that makes you feel like you're reading your own personalized magazine.  Plus, it's free so there really isn't any reason to not try it. 

I'm a fan of the app, but I've recently discovered a great tip for getting an even better and more personalized experience out of it. 

In addition to your basic Twitter feed, Flipboard will also let you subscribe to all of the links and content generated by one of your Twitter groups. This doesn't seem that special, until you stop thinking of your Twitter groups as something helpful for grouping the people you follow on Twitter and start thinking of them as a way to group cool content for Flipboard.

(I should stop here and say that I completely ripped off this idea from Chicago Sun Times columnist Andy Ihatko who gave up the idea on this week's Macbreak Weekly podcast.)

The first thing you need to do is find Twitter feeds that send lots of links to content you want to read or otherwise enjoy. If you don't use Twitter, then just sign up and start following. Twitter feeds of websites seem to work best (as opposed to specific columnists for instance) because those accounts are often used specifically for sharing links to new content, though any Twitter feeds you are partial to will work. Then, just make sure that the feed is set to "Public" as opposed to "Private" and go back to Flipboard and add it as a feed.

This simple thing has easily doubled my enjoyment of Flipboard. I can still go back through my Facebook feed and see what kind of links and pictures my friends have posted, but then when I'm done I can also check out the coolest Wine/Photography/Technology/Politics/Arts iPad magazine available.

If you're interested, you can check out the list I generated (I call it "MojoList" in honor of Andy's "the-mojo-wire" where I got the idea from originally), but I would suggest you use it (or another) as a jumping off point to create your own personalized piece of awesomeness on the web.

That is, if you've got an iPad. (Trust me, Flipboard might be reason enough to get an iPad.)

New Stay-At-Home Dad "Web Series" on Atom.com

MTV's let's-make-some-viral-funny-online-videos site Atom.com has a new "Web series" about a Stay-At-Home Dad called (wait for it) "Stay-At-Home Dad." Even though - or maybe because - I automatically have my guard up anytime anything in the mainstream media deals with at-home Dads, I checked it out immediately.

(As an aside, I'm not going to pretend that this "Web series" isn't in the mainstream media. It's owned by MTV and a freaking publicist emailed me about it today. Also, will I ever not feel odd using the term "Web series"?)

Expecting to hate it, I watched all three episodes and although it isn't exactly comedy genius - there were some pretty funny moments. But best of all, it portrays an At-Home Dad that's neither some sort of lame, emasculated super-Dad, nor a bumbling all-thumbs idiot. The Dad in the show is just kind of a surly a-hole. And although he's certainly not the typical At-Home Dad, he might be that Dad we secretly feel like in the back of our minds (at least from time-to-time).

So, like Brian was writing over at Rebel Dad, I think the jury might still be out on this one. But for me at least, until they do an episode where it's supposed to be funny because he can't change a diaper, I'm going to give it the thumbs up.

Stay-At-Home-Dad at Atom.com

LeapFrog Text and Learn - Did Toy Rotary Phones Seem Strange In 1930?

via www.engadget.com

(This post from Engadget is about a year old, but I hadn't seen it before. I found it by following a link from Dave Caolo's Twitter Feed. Apparently it looks a lot like the new Microsoft "Kin".)

My kids take their toy phones and pretend to text and take pictures, so it shouldn't be any surprise LeapFrog figured this out and made something they can really type text into. And the fact that it kind of looks like a Blackberry is kind of funny.

But it looks like just another toy with a horrible monochrome screen and lame "educational" games. Why haven't kids' electronic toys progressed much past Speak 'n Spell? It would be way cooler if they came in pairs and you could send messages back and forth.

Besides, my 3 year old uses my wife's iPhone so much, I'm not sure she'd recognize this as something she was supposed to have fun with in the first place.

Modern Day Dad At CES 2010. Oh. And Lady Gaga Too.


Well, I did the quick calculation this morning, and this is officially the 7th CES I've been to, and while some were fun (the first few) and some were really underwhelming (last year), this year's is proving to be a little better, if only for the fact that I pretty much kicked it off by going to a Lady Gaga press conference at the Polaroid Booth.

You see, she's now a Creative Director at Polaroid for a special line of New Imaging Products or something. In the conference she made it very clear (while she tried her best to hide her face with her bizarre hair-hat), that this wasn't a typical endorsement deal, and that she and "The Haus of Gaga" (I couldn't make that up if I tried) were going to be very involved with new products.

Hey, that's great I suppose, and I know that Polaroid who haven't had anything exciting going on with them in about, oh, twenty years or so, are probably thrilled with the association. But all that stuck out to me during the whole thing was, there's a guy who works for Polaroid, one of the last great brands in photography, up on a platform saying "Lady Gaga" as if it were the most normal thing anyone ever uttered. Maybe I'm old or something, but it was kind of funny to me.

So anyway, if you're interested in my posts about stuff I'm seeing at CES this year, check out my posts over at Babble.com's product blog, Droolicious.

FakeTV Burglar Deterrant Keeps The Fake TV Glowing


I've bought a lot of hair-brained electronic crap in my life, and so when I told my wife about FakeTV, she just assumed this was another one of those things. And while I can't say for sure that this thing fulfilled it's purpose (and I'm happy about that, believe me), even my wife had to agree that it's a pretty cool little device.

The basic premise behind FakeTV is that burglars won't bother to break into a house that they know is occupied, and the number one way they can tell a house is occupied is the faint glow of a television being watched in the dark. The problem is, if you go away on vacation, most all televisions don't work on traditional power-timers. And leaving a television on for 24 hours while you're away on vacation is not only expensive, it's bad for the TV. That's where FakeTV comes in.

FakeTV is this little box (very little box actually) that you plug in and leave behind a closed curtain or the opposite end of a room from a window. When it gets dark in the room, FakeTV pops on and starts emitting random light patterns that, when viewed through the window from outside your house, makes it look like there's a TV on. It has three settings (on, dusk plus four hours and dusk plus seven hours) and works with low-power LED lights.

I've had one in my house for a month now, and while I can't say it's actually deterred a real life criminal, it turns on and off just like it's supposed to. And from outside my front door, it really does look like someone is watching TV.

Now I just have to hope criminals aren't reading my blog.

Check it out at FakeTV.com

Blogging at ABC 2009 - The All Baby & Child Product Expo

ABC Show Floor. This image only shows about a quarter of everything at the show.

2009 is year-two for me at the ABC Expo, and even though the economy is not what it was last year, you'd hardly know it from attending the show. There seems to be just as many booths and products as last year, and once again I'm trying to blog about all of them.

Well, not all of them exactly. Just the products and companies that have something new or interesting to show. And even then there's absolutely no way I'm going to be able to get to everything. So if you're interested in what I'm writing about, go over to this page at Babble.com's gear blog Droolicious (where I blog about products for parents and children).

And fair warning to companies showing stuff at the show

- if your product has "Mom" or "Mommy" in it's name and it isn't something that ONLY someone female could use, then chances are I'm going to pass you by.

The highlights so far:

A fairly big write up of the new Orbit G2 stroller.
The Bugaboo & (RED) promotion and brand new (RED) Cameleon in black denim.
Jennifer Garner's favorite stroller, the Maclaren Grand LX Custom.
New Paul Frank designs for Clek Olli car booster seats.
An awesome infant bath tub called the Puj Tub.
A genius camera accessory designed to get infants to look up at the camera - the Shutter Buddy.

Tauntaun Sleeping Bag, Boy-rettes and a Pink Plastic Octomom Sculpture


Even though last week was my kid's spring break from school, I've managed to write about some pretty interesting stuff over at Babble in the last month or so. Some of my favorites are:

The Tauntaun Sleeping Bag. The Empire Strikes Back's favorite beast of burden made into a kid's sleeping bag. And I thought they felt cozy on the outside.

Boy-rettes. Alterna-hipster boys with long hair need something cool to keep their long hair out of their eyes. And while I know I shouldn't have a problem with this, I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a part of me that this didn't rub the wrong way.

The Kata 3N1 Camera Bag. Easily the best camera bag for parents I've ever tried. If you've got a DSLR and kids then you need one.

The Snuglette. It's the Snuggie - the blanket with arm holes - for kids. With an equally bizarre television commercial.

Octomom Scultpture (pictured). This is just nuts. And creepy. And funny. And art?

Photo Projects For Kids From Photojojo


Photojojo is one of my favorite photography resources on the Internet. Every now and then I get a great email from them with a cool idea for photographic projects, tips or general inspiration. And one of the more recent emails was all about photo projects for kids.

Face it, if your kid has a cell phone, then chances are he or she has a camera too (and if they don't, then they almost certainly have on one their cell phone). The photo ideas for kids from Photojojo include playing with perspective (as pictured) and my favorite, create a kind of photo time capsule for yourself.

Anyway, it's pretty cool. Check it out at Photojojo.com

Stay-at-home Dads are going to hell? I guess I'll see you there!

A friend of mine sent me this clip from YouTube of a crazy Christian preacher saying that, and I quote, "You call yourself Mr. Mom, God calls you a bum."

I think my friend wanted me to join in her shock and anger, and although I appreciate the sentiment, honestly my first reaction was laughter. And then I kind of got bummed out because there were so many people in the congregation agreeing with him. It's just odd to me (but not surprising) that people actually think this way. And it's funny that someone would preach it.

If choosing to stay with your kids because you can afford it and you'd rather do that then send them to daycare makes me a bum, then feel free to send me a hand-out via PayPal.

Or at least click an ad.

Modern Day Dad at CES 2009: The Consumer Electronics Showcase.


So tomorrow I'm heading out to my sixth (can it really be six?) CES - the consumer electronics gadget extravaganza here in Las Vegas. And like last year I'll be blogging about a lot of what I see over at Babble.com. In fact this year I even got a special "Blogger" pass which, as far as I can tell, gets me free lunch in the blogger lounge (while supplies last), extra attention from exhibitors, and the slightly condescending looks from those holding orange "Press" badges.

Oh, and I got a free bag which, even though it says "CES" all over it, is pretty sweet.

I'll be looking mostly for anything related to children, parents, parenting or (of course) dads. If you've heard about anything that I should check out, please leave a comment and let me know. This show is so massive, it's going to be hard to even get to the stuff I'm planning, let alone find stuff I never even thought of before.

Wish me luck.

[Check out my posts from CES 2009 over at Droolicious on Babble.com]

Modern Day Dad at the ABC Kids Expo 2008 in Las Vegas

This year I'm attending for the first time the ABC Kids Expo convention here in Las Vegas. Basically, imagine every baby/toddler/child/parent related product you've ever seen in your whole life, and then imagine all of them in two giant convention hall floors. Today was my first day, and I have to say that after the first few hours it was all a little overwhelming.

I'm there primarily on assignment from Babble.com, where I blog about products and other cool stuff for kids and parents. If you're interested in what I'm writing about, check out my Babble feed (upper right hand corner) or click this link to see all the posts.

Babble Live at the ABC Kids Expo.

Top Ten iPhone Apps to Distract Your Kids With


[UPDATE: Looking for my favorite iPhone Apps for children and parents? Check out this new feature on Modern Day Dad - iPhone App of the Week. I'll be reviewing and sharing my favorite iPhone and iPad Apps for children and parents.

iPhone App of the Week on Modern Day Dad]


Over at Babble.com I just posted something that I want to promote here too - Ten Best iPhone Apps for Distracting Young Children. Throwing my keys or random pieces of paper in my pocket to quiet a toddler in a shopping cart is nothing new to anyone, but with the new iPhone there are a lot of new and interesting diversions to throw at them. Provided of course you make sure they don't actually throw your phone back at you.

Read it over on Droolicious at Babble.com.

Five Father's Day Gift Ideas from Modern Day Dad

Looking for some very last minute gift ideas for Father's Day? Here is a quick list of the top things I think that will be perfect for the dad in your life.

  1. Flipvideo_mino Flip Video Camera - The Flip Video Camera is ultra-portable, ultra compact, takes great looking 640x480 resolution video and is under $200. Way under $200 actually. Check out what I wrote about the newest version (the Flip Video Mino) over at Babble.com, or buy the Mino (for $179.99) or the Flip Video Ultra (for $118) at Amazon.com.
  2. Xbox360The XBOX 360 is a perfect Father's Day gift. Because not only will Dad love to play video games on it, but you can also stream photos, music and videos to it as well. Check out my post about it here, and buy one at Amazon.com.

  3. Canon Digital Rebel XSi Canon Digital Rebel XSi - Let me guess. The new baby has arrived (or is arriving soon) and you've been considering a new digital camera, but you're unsure if you need a full-on Digital SLR camera. Well, trust me, you do. The images you'll get out of a great camera, even with little knowledge of what you're doing, will be way better than most point and shoots. Plus, your baby is only going to be a baby for a short time, so invest in a good camera. The Canon Rebel XSi is 12 mega-pixels of awesomeness, and should last you for a while. And trust me, after getting your first few good images from it by accident, you're going to want to learn more about your camera. It's well worth the investment.
  4. 50MM Canon Lens 50MM Lens for your Digital SLR Camera - OK. So you've taken my advice and bought a DSLR camera, or you've already bought one, then the next thing you absolutely need is a 50mm lens. Called a "prime" lens because it has no zoom, the 50mm lens is considered the closest lens to what the human eye sees. And on a DSLR camera it's perfect for portraits. All of this adds up to a lens that is great for taking pictures of kids because it's great in low light situations (because of the wide aperture) and it takes pictures very quickly (again, because of the wide aperture). You can get a great one with auto focus for a Canon camera for $325 (my recommendation, pictured) but you can get a really good one with manual focus for just $89.74. Either way, you'll be happy you did. (And if you shoot Nikon instead of Canon, check out this 50MM lens).
  5. Diaper_dude Diaper Bag just for Dad - Back when I was a new dad, there were almost no choices for good diaper bags for dads. These days, there are tons of options. You can choose from the Diaper Dude (pictured), a Dad Backpack from Dadgear and even a wearable Diaper Vest from Dadgear. All will probably work just fine and when picking, a lot of it comes down to personal taste.
  6. Giftcard A gift card for Father's Day - I know, I know. I promised five. But this sixth one is kind of a cheat anyway. If you can't think of the perfect gift for your Dad (or your kid's dad) this Father's Day, you can always get him a gift card from your favorite store. And if you get him from an online store like Amazon, you can literally get it at the last second and print it out. The card however you'll have to run down to the grocery store for.

Matt Damon's Diaper Bag Up for Auction

PhotodamonIn case you haven't heard, the Johnson & Johnson's Celebrity Hand-Me-Down auction is going on. They're selling "used" baby items from celebrities, all to raise money for charity. There are eight items in the auction, all from celebrity moms except Matt Damon, who is offering a diaper bag.

Here's where the "Celebrity Auction" starts to piss me off.

Apparently it's not good enough that Matt Damon is a dad. Unlike the celebrity moms, someone decided they needed to include his wife Lucy's name in the auction too. I'm sure she's a lovely woman, but she's not the celebrity. Where's Julianne Moore's husband, or Poppy Montgomery's? Hell, Elisabeth Hasselbeck's NFL quarterback husband is a minor celebrity in his own right. But I guess it's not OK to associate men with baby stuff.

I'm probably overreacting, but it's the subtle things like this that wear me down after a while.

Check out the Johnson's Celebrity Hand-Me-Down Auction at eBay.

Jennifer Lopez's Nursery and Other Recent Posts On Babble

Casablanca Cribs in Jennifer Lopez's Nursery
Jennifer Lopez has a (typically) ostentatious nursery and published pictures of them in People Magazine. But the crib is actually quite nice if that kind of decor is up your alley.

Audible Launches New Kids Site
Download audio books for your kids and stop putting Spongebob on their iPods.

7 Days of BPA-Free Plastics: CamelBak Water Bottles
Something to check out when you reach post-sippy cup nirvana.

Jessica Alba Gives Tastybaby
Jessica Alba gives baby food as a party favor for her shower. Seriously.

Mariah Carey Has a Hello Kitty Boo-Boo on American Idol
Mariah Carey is obsessed with Helo Kitty apparently. And she wears the same Band-Aids on American Idol that my kids wear.

Big Deal: FLOR Carpet Tiles for Kids On Sale
FLOR has a couple of child themed carpets on sale now.

CES 2008. The big yawn.

Ces_transformerSo this was my fifth year going to the Consumer Electronics Showcase here in Las Vegas, and after two days of walking the miles and miles of convention space, I have to say I'm pretty underwhelmed. In years past it seemed there were new and exciting things announced - or at least a few things that were so cool and forward-thinking you felt lucky to have seen it at CES. But this year there was nothing new and exciting, nothing really groundbreaking, nothing that really made you want to run home and blog about it.

There were some cool products for children and parents. I'll be blogging about most of them over at Babble.com (check out my posts here). And there was a "life size" statue of a Transformer from the Transformers movie that was pretty cool (pictured above). But other than that it was all kind of typical.

Maybe next year I should go to Mac World.

Check out my posts about CES at Droolicious over at Babble.com.