Jul 16

Here’s the Info in Your Zip Code

zipcodeThis morning on FOX 35, I’m talking about your ZIP Code.   Ahhh, yes…  The ZIP Code.  The 5 digit number needed to get the mail to your home every day.  There are some zip codes more popular than others, there have been TV shows named after a zip code.  When I worked national weather on TV, my outcue was “here’s the weather in your ZIP Code…”  and the local affiliates would do their local weather.  But what gives on this geographical representation that makes it so important to everyone? Well, it actually says a lot about you.

If you’re ever at a retailer and they ask “Can I have your ZIP Code?” DO NOT give it to them.  Why? Mainly, its because your ZIP Code is the last piece of the puzzle for companies to sell you stuff.  What seems harmless actually gives big business an opportunity to sell who you are.  “Dynamic, personalized marketing.”  They know what you buy and they know what to send to you.

So, who cares.  I’ll get some more junk mail.  Right? Yes, you’re right.  But you’re info now becomes a commodity for those businesses to sell to others. Other companies that might not be so scrupulous.    Its become ‘Big Data’ and companies don’t need your whole address to find you.  Once you’ve swiped your credit or debit card, they have your address and possibly your phone number.  What they don’t have is your ZIP Code.  They verbally ask you for it.  Once you’ve given it to them, its cart blanche on them building a profile on you.  A profile of what you’ve bought, when you’ve bought it and so on.  What’s even more troubling is that some of these companies have accuracy rates close to 100%.

Generally, you don’t have to give them your info.  It’s illegal to require personal information to run your credit card in CA, DE, GA, KS, MA, MD, MN, NV, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, TX, WI, and DC.  If you live in one of these states and you don’t want to give them your info.  Don’t! According to Mastercard, a merchant cannot refuse to complete a transaction if the card holder doesn’t want to give out that information.

Most stores know what to do if a customer refuses.  They more than likely have already dealt with it.  You might want to ask them if its going to be used for marketing purposes.

If you’re ready to purge any and all junk mail, check out The Federal Trade Commission’s website. If you want to get rid of unsolicited mail, email and phone calls.  Go to the FTC’s opt-out page (for some reason, they give you a choice of opting out for 5 years or permanently.  I think most would prefer the latter!)

Don’t worry about typing in your ZIP Code at the gas pump.  You’re ok there.  They need that information to make sure it matches with the credit card you used.  Its a way to deter fraudulent charges.

Here’s my segment in FOX 35:

FOX 35 News Orlando

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Mitch
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Jul 08

Ripley Radio All Month Long!

ripleyradio

I am excited to let you all know that I’ve been invited to be a guest on Ripley Radio, the official broadcast station of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! all month long in July.  (Well, I am hoping they let me be on every week, they seem to like me!)  I had such a fun time talking about something I know a little about – weirdness.  A new show is available every Monday morning.  It was so fun to get behind the microphone again, I can’t wait for the next episode.

On today’s edition (July 8, 2013,) Jodi Pliszka, Ripley’s own guru of weird medical maladies reports on some of the most unbelievable body-part re-attachments in medical history;  Kirk Demarais, author of Mail Order Mysteries, explains the items that he highlights in his book -the small items once available for order from the back of cereal boxes and comic books and sideshow and carnival fan extraordinaire Wayne Keyser joins us to talk about his radio show, Ballycast.

Ripley Radio is a journey through the weird, wacky, whimsical, wild, and totally unbelievable world of the odd, strange and unusual. Each show provides listeners with amazing and absolutely true tales of today, as well as unbelievable facts culled from the extensive archives of the company that has been freaking out families for more than 90 years!

Ripley’s Radio Co-hosts Ralf “with an F” Ingwersen and Tim O’Brien, and their unbelievable multi-talented ensemble report on the latest oddball happenings and outrageous current events each week, but with that added Ripley Twist (of course).

The weekly broadcast is an unpredictable and fun-filled show that proves Ripley’s is indeed, the global authority on the weird, strange, bizarre and the UNBELIEVABLE!

You can hear the  www.ripleyoddcast.com; www.webtalkradio.net; and www.cyberstationusa.com. Find Ripley Radio on iTunes and for detailed information on each show, the hosts and a look at the extensive archives, please visit the Ripley Radio website.

To listen on a mobile device, download the free app at www.stitcher.com

 

About Ripley Radio

Ripley Radio is owned by Ripley Entertainment Inc., keepers of the venerable Ripley’s Believe It or Not! brand and is a global leader in location-based entertainment. More than 12 million guests visit its 90-plus world-wide attractions annually. The Orlando-based company also has divisions that oversee publishing, licensing and broadcast operations.  Ripley Entertainment is a Jim Pattison Company, the third-largest privately held company in Canada.

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Mitch
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May 14

Ahhh Snap!

Icon_100pxJust when you thought it was safe to send that picture…  Snapchat, the 9th most popular app on Apple’s App store, has just admitted there’s a problem.  Well, a problem if you’re worried about your picture really not being deleted as promised by the app.  A Utah forensics company has found a flaw in the picture/video app.

Richard Hickman of Decipher Forensics found that it’s possible to pull Snapchat photos from Android phones just by downloading data from the phone.  The picture is found when you remove a  “.NoMedia” file extension.  The website Buzzfeed found at least one flaw that made that possible to find those pictures on your iPhone.

Snapchat now admits you can find those pictures and explain how they keep the pictures.

Plain and simple: don’t think those pictures are gone forever.  If you don’t ever want to worry about them being seen by anyone other than you sent it to, just don’t send the picture!  If you’re a parent,  check out this website to find information about software that can be downloaded onto children’s phones to track their computer and cell phone activity.

FOX 35 News Orlando

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Mitch
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Jan 31

The Problems with Vine

There has been a lot of hub-bub about Twitter’s new video sharing app “Vine.”  If you’re not familiar with it, its basically an app that allows you to post a 6-second video that you’re able to edit with pauses in the video process.  I stopped by FOX 35 in Orlando to talk about Vine on-air and the problems with it. However, I’m really thinking its a problem with Apple more than a problem with Twitter.

vine_logo-580-75

The Twitter-owned app is currently an iOS-only app.  It also means since it is owned by Twitter, you cannot use it to post on Facebook.  The biggest problem right now is the power of porn.  Vine is now the bachelor pad of the week for XXX 6 second videos.  That’s right, folks are taping six-second videos of naked (or nekkid depending on the region of the country you live.)  Now, here’s where the troubles begin.  Recently Apple pulled a popular photo sharing application from its App Store called “500px.”  Apple’s very own ToS are very vague and sometimes confusing rules of Apple’s App Store guidelines.  Here’s from their actual guidelines:

Apple’s App Store Guidelines 18.2:

“Apps that contain user generated content that is frequently pornographic (ex “Chat Roulette” apps) will be rejected.”

 

Last week, it wasn’t too hard to find the dirty videos.  All you had to do was search “#porn” on Vine and boom, you got a small smorgasbord of six-second bites.  Matter of fact, a porn video even made it to the top of Vine’s “Editors Picks” before it was hastily removed.  The good news out of all of this is the power of the people.   Users can report videos as inappropriate within the product if they believe the content to be sensitive or inappropriate.  Vine has made some changes making it harder for users to find such videos, but as we all know, there are always work-arounds.  Apple decided to “hide the app as much as possible” on its App Store, however its already very popular: The fourth most popular free-app as of this writing.

When downloading Vine, it does say that the content is for 12+.  However, think of it.  Porn has no place for an app that my teenagers can quickly view.  So, the 100% way I can make sure that they don’t see it is for not to download the app.  But should I have to even worry about that? Then the actual question arises,  “Will Vine even be relevant a year from now?”  I don’t think its going to be.  I can upload video to Twitter right now.  It can be longer than six seconds.

This all goes back to something that I’ve said for years.  If you want any product, service or technology to skyrocket to the forefront of American culture, just get the world of porn to get involved.  Its an industry that takes advantage of tech.  If somehow we could get the Porn industry and Cancer research together, I guarantee you we’d have a cure by now.

Here’s my appearance on FOX 35
FOX 35 News Orlando

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Mitch
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Jan 29

Meet Felix

felix1

We’re always looking for an extra set of hands, right? When it comes to our iPad, that extra set of hands really comes in nice when we’re on a plane, at a desk or just when we, well, need an extra set of hands.  This year at CES I was introduced to Felix.  Though “Felix” sounds like a great name for a guy, its actually a great name for a company that has a “hands on” approach to monkey business.  (I’ll explain).

Screen Shot 2013-01-29 at 3.08.32 PMFelix has TwoHands and its the perfect travel stand. This lightweight, travel clip goes right onto your tablet, iPad or eReader. Its easy to slide to the TwoHands to make the absolute perfect angle. Since its small and lightweight, it fits in your pocket, purse, bag or in my case, a backpack.  It will also work in portrait and landscape mode.   The first thing my wife asked when she saw it was if it came in different colors.  Yes, it does, Red, Green, Pink, Blue, Black & White.  THEN she asked when she gets it.  So, needless to say, its now hers.

What I enjoy about TwoHands is the fact that it also clips on to my iPhone.  Yes, it looks a little awkward with the dimensions, but it works great.  Sometimes I don’t have my iPad around and I’M JUST THAT LAZY to hold my iPhone up while I’m watching a video.  TwoHands is available on Felix’s website and they will run you just under $25.

felix2

Now on to some monkey business.  This can be really fun too.  Meet Felix’s MonkeyDo ( I prefer to think of it as “Monkey See Monkey Do” instead of, well, “Monkey Doo”  Flashbacks of online videos of bored monkeys at a zoo come to mind.  However, it apparently is a smart thing to “do.”)  MonkeyDo is a great tool for those of us that want a more permanent set up with our iPad.  Especially if you’re the type that uses your iPad with a keyboard.  This cute little guy is great  for when you need  different angles and a firm grip.  It’ll work great with your iPad2 and other smaller tablets.   It will also work in portrait and landscape mode.

MonkeyDo is available on Felix’s website and costs just under $20.  Both products are shipped to you with lots of love.  Speaking of their site, I always prefer and like sites that are more personable and easy to navigate.  www.meetfelix.com made me feel like I was dealing with people that know they have a great product and that simplicity with great design equals a happy customer.  Check them out!

Felix products are also available at your local Staples.

 

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Mitch
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Jan 22

GigWalkin’

Getting some extra cash is always nice when you don’t have to sweat too much to get it. Gigwalk is an app that will let you make a few extra coin just by snapping some pictures. Check out my appearance on FOX 35 in Orlando to get all the details about this money-making app.

FOX 35 News Orlando

Notice

Gigwalk is NOT available on Android yet.  

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Mitch
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Jan 10

HZO

Something pretty popular this year at CES is keeping your phone waterproof, or waterproof phones altogether. While the products out are pretty impressive, a trend we’ll see this year is electronics that are waterproof altogether. I came across a company that will be making those electronics waterproof. The process is pretty intriguing and I think its a winner. Tag Hauer’s new cell phone will be one of the first with the seal built in it.  Check out this video and you’ll see how it works.

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Jan 10

Sphero Gaming System

There are plenty of cool games out there and I found one that I think I would actually get in to.  I think you would too.  Check out this video featuring the Sphero Gaming System. www.gosphero.com

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Mitch
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Jan 07

CES 2013

I’m headed out to Las Vegas and I’ll be posting video links and links to other great products I find out at the annual Consumer Electronics Show.  Every year I go and I am amazed at what the future will bring.  Be on the look out for some really cool gadgets and fun new technology.

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Mitch
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Nov 22

Let’s Get Our Gift On!

Hey everyone! Its that time of year again and I’m hitting the road with some really fun gift ideas. All of which are great stocking stuffers! I’ll start off with something that everyone needs or wants and that’s cell phones.

Kyocera Hydro
Did you know that 82 million cellphones are damaged because of water and moisture? Yes! Its true! But that’s not the case for the new Kyocera Hydro from Boost Mobile.  It’s the first waterproof Android smartphone available without a contract. Hydro offers all of the latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich features of a touchscreen smartphone with the added peace of mind that waterproofing can offer. Whether you get caught in a rainstorm or drop it in a puddle, sink or toilet, Hydro has you covered. It’s “oops proof” because let’s face it: life is full of accidents. And for only $99.99 on Boost Mobile’s Android Monthly Unlimited Plan with Shrinking Payments, you can get it for as little as $40 a month without a contract!  Get all the deets for yourself at Boost Mobile.

 

Sodastream
You more than likely have family and friends coming over for the holidays, so you want to make sure that you’ll keep their thirsts adequately handled.  That’s where the new  SodaStream Revolution comes in.  It’s a new, innovative soda maker with breakthroughs in both function and design. The Revolution is the first electrically powered soda maker for SodaStream, and offers many new features, like:

“Touch-button” activation providing a choice of carbonation levels (low, medium, high, turbo)

“Snap-n-lock” mechanism for easy bottle insertion and removal

LED display indicating carbonation progress and CO2 usage status

“The Revolution takes home soda making to the next level, and consumers will love the new features and the improved user experience,” stated Daniel Birnbaum, CEO of SodaStream. “With these patent-pending, technological advances our users will be empowered to make their own soda faster and more efficiently than ever before. The bottle simply clicks into place and carbonates at the single push of a button, offering a consistent level of fizz each time.”

Your family will love this because you’re not hauling bottles and cans from the store to your home to the trash.  The environment will love it too!  Plus, most of all, its fun making your own sodas!  Get your very own Sodastream Revolution.

 

Boogie Board Original and Boogie Board Jot

Speaking of the environment loving products, this one ranks right up there.  You’ve heard of e-Readers, how about e-WRITERS!  Its real and its here! Its the Boogie Board!

The Boogie Board Original 8.5 LCD eWriter is the first Boogie Board model that started a revolution. The ultra-light, thin and durable construction is perfect for kids. Practice handwriting, solve complex math problems, play games, draw pictures, scribble down notes – then erase with the touch of a button and start over with a clean slate!
The Boogie Board Jot LCD eWriter is the latest tree-friendly electronic replacement for memo pads, notebooks and sticky notes. Like other Boogie Board eWriters, the Boogie Board Jot LCD eWriter features a revolutionary Reflex® LCD as its writing surface that provides a writing experience that feels just like pen and paper and includes some exciting new enhancements:
1. A contemporary metallic design available with red, blue and graphite accents \
2. Soft-touch back to provide grip and stability
3. Tapered stylus that doubles as a kickstand for horizontal viewing (great for leaving messages on the kitchen counter)
4. Built-in magnets for mounting to refrigerators, filing cabinets and other metallic surfaces.

From all the different colors to the features, the Boogie Board is great to have around the office and the home.  Check out all the different models by checking out the Boogie Board website.

M&Ms

Who doesn’t love M&M’s??  Who doesn’t love their iPhone?  Show your love of both with the new M&M’S® Brand iPhone 4/4S Covers – $34.99 for dotties case and $29.99 for feather case.  The dotties make your iPhone look custom because you put your M&M’S where you want.  Individuality!  The feather cases feature your favorite M&M’S Character’s face.  Mine is Yellow Peanut.

When you’re ready to hear your tunes, check out the  M&M’S® Brand Ear Buds  – $9.99 each.  All the colors of M&M’S are represented and they look like real M&M’S!

Give the gift of entertainment! Help the adventurous M&M’S® Characters save M&M’S® Brand Candies from melting in the game “M&M’S® Brand Chocolate Factory.” There’s even a “gifting button” in the app under the options settings, so you can give it to someone as a unique, virtual gift providing hours of fun. Launched in November, the app is available on iOS, and you can download it for $.99 from www.iTunes.com. Find more M&M’S® Brand gift ideas at www.holidaygifts2012.com.

Atari Arcade:

It’s time to relive the fast-action excitement of all your arcade favorites with Atari Arcade, the app-supported joystick controller for iPad®. With its joystick and buttons, Atari Arcade is exactly the way arcade games were meant to be played. The Duo line of app-supported accessories for iPad® create enhanced, shared gaming experiences with friends and family. Just download the Atari’s Greatest Hits app (available on the App Store), connect your iPad to the joystick controller and you’re ready to play all the classics – Asteroids, Centipede, Missile Command, and more!

Available at Apple Stores, Apple.com, Amazon.com, and SharperImage.com for $60.

Duo Pinball:

Experience some pinball wizardry with Duo Pinball, the app-supported pinball controller for iPad®. Relive your favorite arcade moments playing Pinball HD and Pinball HD Collection apps using Duo Pinball’s flipper buttons and spring-loaded plunger! The Duo line of app-supported accessories for iPad® create enhanced, shared gaming experiences with friends and family. Duo Pinball unlocks five free tables in the wildly popular Pinball HD Collection app (available on the App Store). Play Wild West, The Deep, Snow, DaVinci, Jungle Style and more! Available at Apple Stores, Apple.com, Amazon.com, and SharperImage.com for $60.

PEAK Back-Up Camera

And finally, PEAK Back-Up Camera Systems will provide additional safety options for Dad, Mom or whoever drives cars, trucks, RVs, towing boats and campers.   According to KidsandCars.org, 34 percent of all non-traffic car fatalities for children under five are caused by backovers. PEAK’s back-up camera systems help reduce the risk of injury as well as expensive automotive damage with affordable and easy-to-install camera systems, including the Peak Wireless Back-Up Camera System with 3.5 inch Color LCD Monitor, which features suction cup mounts for easy-to-see rear coverage, and a water-resistant color camera with a wireless transmitter.

 

 

I’ll be hitting cities all over the US of A, so be on the lookout for me on your TV.    Until then, have a great 2012, and get to gifting!

 

 

ISYWILAY-
Mitch
If you liked this post, I would love it if you left a comment and/or shared it! Thanks!

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