HTC Zoe

This past December, I finally dropped my iPhone 3Gs and it shattered the screen. Of course, I wasn’t using a case for it anymore and didn’t really care, as I wanted a new phone. I had already bought a Lenovo laptop early in the year, so my Apple Fan Boy status was depleting further. The loyalist days of Apple-only products was now long gone, and I decided upon an HTC One after researching the pros and cons over the Samsung Galaxy.

One of the HTC One features that stood out was a camera mode called Zoe. Instead of taking still shots, Zoe mode captures three second mini videos. You can then turn all of those mini videos into a medley that is filled with so much excitement that it will please anyone with attention span issues.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Say you’re at a party or event. Simply capture a bunch of photos in Zoe mode. All images will be saved into a folder.
  2. Next, pick out the Zoe videos that you like from the Gallery, or edit them, and then choose filters for them.
  3. Then, choose a theme that randomly displays the videos. Themes have a unique filtered quality to them and come equipped with perfect :30 soundtracks. (You can add your own :30 musical pieces if you want as well.) You can continually randomize them until you like the presentation.
  4. If you want, you can upload the video straight to YouTube or share them on Facebook.

Below are a couple examples of Zoe videos that I created, starring my son Wesley. I really didn’t put much time into making these, but the results, particularly how the edits are timed with the music, really make these stand out. The end result is a thirty second video that can withstand the patience of practically anyone these days, a short punchy snapshot of an event easily made.

Apple Store Prank

If you have ever visited the Apple Store without doing your homework, you know that the wave of technology jargon can seem like gibberish and you have nothing to validate against whatever is thrown at you. This prank video at an Apple Store brings that awkward moment to an extreme.

Maron On Netflix

If you’re looking for a new comedy on Netflix streaming, I highly recommend Maron. Even if you aren’t familiar with his podcast, you’ll easily get some laughs with Mark Maron’s autobiographical character that is trying to grow up at age 48 in Los Angeles. It’s just one season deep, so you’ll be caught up in no time.

First Berries After Hibernation

This collection of recordings was released by Philly’s own earSnake label in 2008, featuring twelve instrumentals. These were my last recordings with Apple’s Garage Band, and my first utilization of Korg’s Kaoss Pad and Roland’s SP-555.

Lately, I rarely get a chance to record music…or even play keys at all. My son, Wesley, has been keeping me super busy and I have been focusing on shifting my career fully toward online marketing. I actually sold most of my gear and the thought of tinkering with Pro Tools and software synths for hours is an antisocial project that I’m not interested in pursuing right now, if not ever again. But I really enjoyed creating this collection and am rehashing it on my new site.

First Berries After Hibernation

Listen To It

Buy It!

Learn more about the album, sample some songs, and buy the album here!

Credits

Album cover photo taken by Melissa Hassey in New Hope, PA

Boggie’s Nouveau Parfume Video

This music video features Hungarian star Boggie  singing “Nouveau Parfume” and using some kind of Photoshop for video application to alter her face. Watch as she transform from “as is” to a glamourous model, after some serious neck, hair, face, and bone structure adjustments. In the end? She still wears the same expression a few degrees below content.

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Epic Acre Farm

I recently went to visit my buddy, Wayne Miller, and his increasingly fantastic Epic Acre Farm in Berks County, PA, which specializes in chemical free vegetables. Since the last time that I visited, Wayne has installed a greenhouse to grow tomatoes and greens almost year round. He is also smoking peppers with applewood and is now producing hot sauce in a variety of flavors. I’m really proud and psyched for Wayne. An amazing achievement!

Wayne Miller at Epic Acre Farm

Wayne stands in the greenhouse on a cold November day.

Check out what Epic Acre Farm has to offer below at the Saucon Valley Farmers’ Market.

Child’s Play

Aside from a couple snippets on YouTube, Melissa and I have never seen Child’s Play. But after picking up a colored striped sweater and overalls, he was destined to become the Good Guy doll Chucky for Halloween this year. Since he was a cute monkey last year, this was a nice progression up towards traditional scary costumes.

Here’s the original trailer for Child’s Play:

Wesley as Chucky at Morris Arboretum

Wesley scares the workers at Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill.

Group Shot Before Heading Out For Halloween

Group shot of everyone before tearing it up in Glenside.

Wes Takes a Break From Chucky Hysteria

Taking a break from the Chucky Hysteria

Lewis Gang

The Lewis Gang and Lucas.

Wes Gets Helping Hands From Mommy and Grammy

Mommy and Grammy help Chucky stay violent.

A Cool Tree At Morris Arboretum

Random tree shot at Morris Arboretum. This is a cool tree, right?

Wesley Says Goodbye To Chucky Makeup

Removing the Chucky makeup!

In Store Pick Up – Sears Rules!

Many retail companies offer an “in store pick up” option on their e-commerce sites as an alternative to shipping products. This is enticing for those that want to quickly secure a purchase of a hot item from a limited inventory, or for those that find it cheaper and simpler to drive to the nearest store. I recently found myself going with this option four times this past summer. Here are the (often hellish) results of my experiences.

Online Order Pick Up

On each of the e-commerce web sites (Walmart, Sears, Best Buy, and Lowes), the experience is quite similar for each. I selected an area store based on my zip code and was then prompted, based on a quick inventory verification, whether I could pick it up at the designated store. After that, I eventually received an email confirmation that the purchase was ready for pick up and that I should mosey on over to the store.

Walmart

Finding the In Store Pick Up location is the tricky part. For Walmart, it was all the way in the back of the store in a little section next to the public rest rooms and stock room entrance. A sign indicated that I was at the correct spot, but nobody was at the desk. I sat on a plastic chair and waited as managers blurted out commands via headsets and zombie employees shuffled in and out of the stock room. I waited for at least 10 minutes. One employee ran into the lady’s room and vomited. I finally asked if someone actually works in the In Store Pick Up section. It took a while, but somebody eventually appeared. At this point, four other customers were in line behind me. My 10 lawn chairs eventually came out on a flatbed cart and I was on my way.

Best Buy

As soon as I walked into Best Buy, there was a massive sign indicating where the In Store Pick Up was. It was located next to the Customer Service Area. Two giggling girls took my info and spent a couple minutes looking for my speakers in some chamber. They came back and explained that my order was not ready to be picked up since in was not located in the store yet. I showed them my email alert, but they just smirked and got on the headsets to get my item tracked down. I leaned against a pillar and waited a while. Some dude showed up with my package and commenced flirting with the girls a bit before the speakers could be decoded and handed over to me.

Lowes

The Lowes In Store Pickup is located next to the Customer Service Area. There was a guy in front of me going through some hell and I had to wait 15 minutes as multiple phone calls were made to track down his order. I stared at the seasonal section, sizing up outdoor grill sales until I could finally speak with someone. The employee took my name and number and claimed that I had already picked up the order, which was four fence panels. I laughed. He then realized that he was referring to another customer. Once I was finally and truly the customer at hand, he explained that the product was definitely “in the building”, but not on a skid yet and had to be found. I stared at the grills for another 15 minutes until they were ready.

Sears

Sears has an entrance devoted to In Store Pick Up. When I entered, there was a large touch screen computer that talked to you and asked you to swipe the credit card used for the online order. No employees were around at all. The voice explained that my order would be arriving momentarily from someone who was getting my order. I sat at one of the chairs and stared at the vending machine and wondered if I really did need that Twix bar. Suddenly, a guy appeared from behind the inventory area with my package. It was a lawn mower and he offered to carry it out to my car. I took him up on the offer and gave him $2 for his trouble. A week later, the lawn mower starter string snapped apart. When I arrived to return the lawn mower, I entered the same In Store Pick Up area. They took the mower and brought out a new one without any hassle or questions asked.

So, to sum up, the In Store Pick Up process can be a hellish procedure that is not worthwhile to endure. The online experiences and prompt email notifications are excellent, but that’s where the similarities quickly end.