Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ten Minutes from Annapolis . . . @jlalo Rocks!

I work with some amazing folks and Julie Lalo happens to be one of them.  It's a blessing and a stroke of luck that in two very unique professional roles for me I surround myself with individuals who have so much to contribute, share and impact so many in such a positive way.
I am committing my space to Jule who shares a piece she calls "Ten Minues from Annapolis"  - she is so passionate in promoting nature and the outdoors in and around the Chesapeake region.  Here is a taste of what Jule shares with staff at NWF - You ROCK Jule.  Happy Holidays to you as well!

Happy holidays, everyone!


I think it should be mandatory that you make at least one snow angel in your lifetime. It's a perspective-changing experience that you can do anywhere, I can attest! And now, my anecdotal research is verified. National Wildlife Federation has launched our national "Be Out There" initiative for the express purpose of reminding all of us of the gifts we can give ourselves and our families every day. Take an extra ten minutes sometime soon to check out the new Be Out There website. I'll warn you that you'll need more than ten if you spend any time looking through the photo-sharing site, or plugging options into the NatureFind tool. I gave that link as a free gift to my nephew. He's just come back from a posting in South Korea, and is now ready to explore Maryland with his six-year-old. (Spoiler: I am not getting her the puppy she asked me for. The craft kits, books and princess tiara will have to suffice.)


And in the new year, consider sending the links below to a teacher you know, with the following introductory note:

Be Out There™  is National Wildlife Federation's initiative to inspire families across America to open the door and get outside! A daily dose of the outdoors improves children’s physical, mental and emotional well-being. Join the Be Out There movement to get children outside, connecting to nature.

The benefits of outdoor play are real: healthier kids with a life-long appreciation of wildlife and nature.

It's been my pleasure to get to know each of you this year. You have all been a great gift to me. May your travels be safe, your days be joyful, and your burdens be light.


Julie Lalo

Regional Representative (DE, DC, MD, NC, PA, VA, WV)

National Wildlife Federation

Chesapeake Mid-Atlantic Office

Annapolis, MD  21401

Posted via email from Michael's Ramblings . . .

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The games are afoot - so is your cell phone bill

Happened to catch this piece in Time a few weeks back and part of me was elated to see such a successful use of the social networking environment, not to mention the boom of gaming that I always knew had the potential to explode in so many new ways - while at the same time all these flares went up both good and bad.

I'm excited to see this explosion as more and more people start getting the urge to explore the social networking use of games as Zynga has offered. From Farmville to Mafia Wars those who out there know what I'm talking about, the addictive rates appear to be staggering.

I'm not going to get into the revenue aspects of this world, in fact I applaud how they are using various resources the Time article touches upon. Caution on the part of us who dabble is always rule number one, or like this unsuspecting parent found out an extra $170 was tacked on to the cell phone bill. But still consider how easy it was for these guys to harness that integration of technology and revenue? As a technologist looking for that simple means to help raise money and awareness for good is always on the top of my task list.

On a pod cast I recently heard from The Chronicle of Philanthropy Social Good they spoke about the amazing growth of the business and how widely accepted it was becoming. Games for Change is creating interactive game systems that raise awareness and revenue for causes which for me is a really exciting opportunity. No longer is online gaming just geared towards teenage boys, in fact over 68% of all American homes are engaged with some sort of digital gaming and half of them according to the pod cast are women.

With the demographics quickly changing and people spending between 30 min to hours per day "playing" the opportunity to be harnessing this fast growing market is tempting. Which is great news as I see my oldest who has such a creative streak, tremendous programming skills and an uncanny ability to understand games will one day make his mark on the industry.

Mobility like the iPhone apps and easier access to game development are just the start. Interactions with others "playing" via Twitter and Facebook as Zynga demonstrated is only a natural expansion of this genre. Just keep an eye on your phone bill.

Posted via web from Michael's Ramblings . . .

Friday, December 11, 2009

To LED or NOT to LED - who else is on the fence?

Couldn't help but notice how few homes I see this year that are not switching to LED and in fact haven't put up ANY decorations on the outside this year? I'm wondering if it's the R reason or just people not feeling festive. Not sure.

I was on the fence about even replacing my decades worth of antiquated lights, in fact there was a recent poll from Frugal Living that seemed to indicate I wasn't alone. Almost 50% of those participating hadn't done so either but were considering.

Either way I'm still putting up my Festivus Pole, if I can only find my tinsel.

Before you choose below are some really good points made by the Home ImprovementDepot you may find of value.

enjoy and Happy Holidays!

The Home Depot’s Christmas Light Trade-In offer is being advertised as a “green” and environmentally friendly gesture, but truth behind that claim may be arguable. Last year we did an to see if they really could save you money and energy. Some of the things we found:

LED Christmas lights are still much more expensive than regular incandescent Christmas lights. Saving $3 per strand of lights is good, but the LED lights will almost definitely still be more expensive than regular Christmas lights if you compare cord length or even number of bulbs to light sources per strand.

LED Christmas lights do use much less energy and they are much less expensive to run through a holiday season. But you probably need to use those LED lights for lots of seasons to even begin to get back the money you initially spent in purchasing them. Unless energy prices skyrocket in the next few years your LED Christmas lights will still have a “higher cost of ownership” when you consider energy cost as well as purchase price.

LED Christmas lights are made of plastic and all those old Christmas lights you turn in are just going to end up in a landfill. Even those new LED lights will one day end up in a landfill, so the more Christmas lights you buy, the more trash you’re generating (that can be said about most things, though).

Posted via web from Michael's Ramblings . . .

Sunday, December 06, 2009

"it’s only on the brink that people find the will to change" - Basil Fawlty has the answers . . .

If you haven't seen the "The Day The Earth Stood Still" remake don't worry, you're not missing much - well except for what was an anti war movie now has an environmental twist.  In a nut shell the Earth is visited by an alien who has decided the planet needs to be saved and the one species who have fraked it up needs to go - that would be us.  But reasoning with the alien ( Keanu Reeves ) on a scientific level is none other then . . . Basil Fawlty or rather in a very serious role, Monty Pythons very own John Cleese.
In what was one of the few if not only standout moments in this rather odd remake caused for me what can only be called an "ah ha" moment when it came to Cleese and Keanu.
Cleese plays a Nobel Prize-winning scientist ( I'm not joking ) – the dialogue which I painstakingly had to use the pause, rewind, play and pause button several times went something like this:
Cleese: Well, there must be alternatives. You must have some technology that could solve the problem.
Keanu: The problem is not technology. The problem is you. You lack the will to change.
Cleese: Then help us change.
Keanu: I cannot change your nature. You treat the world as you treat each other.
Cleese: But every civilisation reaches a crisis point eventually.
Keanu: Most of them don’t make it.
Cleese: Yours did. How?
Keanu: Our sun was dying. We had to evolve in order to survive.
Cleese: So it was only when your world was threatened with destruction that you became what you are now.
Keanu: Yes.
Cleese: Well, that’s where we are. You say we’re on the brink of destruction, and you’re right.  But it’s only on the brink that people find the will to change; only on the precipice that we evolve. This is our moment – don’t take it from us. We are close to an answer.
This past week I've heard the term "political will" along with "being on the brink" then comes this flick and it all makes sense.  Seemed poetic to see this nicely summed up in a random viewing of a movie I never had pegged as a call to action to protect the planet.
When we are at the brink of Copenhagen and global climate change this coming week I hope they play this movie on the airplanes of all those who are going because we are close to that answer and we are on the brink.  This is our moment otherwise the ending of this movie may become a reality where we pay the ultimate price: no electricity, no cars, no trains, no oil, no man made pollution - wait a minute I'm waiting for the bad part.

Posted via email from Michael's Ramblings . . .