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Monday, October 31, 2011

Is Everybody Ready for a Hike...A Redbox Price Hike?

Put another coin in the jute box. Gas goes up, food goes up, electricity goes up, movie theaters go up, Netflix goes up and so do Redbox prices. Thank goodness they're going to go a little easy on us....a 20% increase on $1.00 lends itself to $0.20. So, DVD rental will increase to $1.20, but Blu-ray and games stay the same.

Time is up.....prices are effective today.

I will admit, I loved this idea from the beginning. What an outrageous convenience all for a great price. Who was gonna pay for the screen replacements? Somebody better put in for a signage change. Add $0.20 to DVD's Rentals $1(.20).

Thursday, October 27, 2011

How Much Would You Risk....Integrity? Profit? Safety?

Article first published as Risking Safety For Ratings....Do We Go Too Far? on Technorati.
Those involved with sweeps ratings periods in television know that they may be asked to do really crazy or silly stunts so they can grasp that coveted rating by Nielsen Media Research.

This month, at the IRL closing season race, it might appear they took a risk on drivers to bet the brand on ratings. 34 drivers raced on a track of 1.5 miles....the highest driver roster for the entire 2011 IRL series this year, on one of the smallest tracks. All while trying to revive IRL from a decrease in fan base and ratings. Did they go too far?

In 1911, the AAA, American Automobile Association, sanctioned that the size of the track needed to correlate with a 400 foot average space between cars. On a 2.5 mile track, such as Indianapolis, that would allow for 33 cars, which is what they race year after year. On a 1.5 mile track, such as Las Vegas Motor Speedway, that would allow for 20 cars.

If you look at the recent history of average cars for a season on a 1.5 mile track, you will notice a gradual increase, with a test of sorts in 2008, setting the pace for the continual increase up to this 2011 season.

In 2006, 1.5 mile tracks raced an average of 19 cars.
In 2007, 1.5 mile tracks raced an average of 20 cars.
A big jump in 2008, for 1.5 mile tracks bumped the average cars to 26.
In 2009, 1.5 mile tracks slightly decreased the average cars to 23.
Back to a bigger increase in 2010, 1.5 mile tracks raced an average 27 cars.
This past year, in 2011, IRL raced an average 31 cars on a 1.5 mile track.

How would you, as a driver, feel when you are asked to change it up from a race that is recommended to be 20 cars to 34 cars? Danica Patrick, along with other drivers, admitted in interviews on ESPN, that they were scared going into this race.

Based on the sanction recommendations of 1911 when the cars drove much slower, it appears the drivers at The Las Vegas Motor Speedway this past month, might have been put into a risky situation cutting the distance from the safety sanctions of 400 feet to 233 feet., a decrease of over 40%.

Over the last 2 years the average number of drivers in a 1.5 mile race increased by 35% in total. What do you think was expected to happen with a race stacked against the sanction odds of safety? I can guarantee no one wanted death, but if we know that sex and violence sells on t.v., do you think that someone expected revved up crashes to earn that .8 rating?

Where do we draw the line? We exploit woman to gain ratings. We advertise and display rated M, for mature, games of violence and practically virtual sex for our young, out in the open for them to see and desire, all for profit. Now, we put those that work for us, at risk, in hopes to revive a brand to gain only a result of the loss of a human life that is unable to be revived.

Do we know where to draw the line when we are tying to win the game of ratings or to win a challenge when trying to load the money bags? Check out Miss Representation, a new documentary from the Sundance Film Festival that delves into taking things too far.

What happens when you take too big of a risk and someone dies? Visit for links to updates on Randy Bernard, CEO of Indy Racing League, on his thoughts regarding that horrific day.

Rest in Peace Dan Wheldon. I pray that your family finds strength to heal. I pray that through your death, lessons will be learned and our world may become a little less careless when taking risks

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Digital Evolution Continues with a Serindipidous Makeover for Facebook

Article first published as Digital Evolution Continues with a Serindipidous Makeover for Facebook on Technorati.

Wikipedia defines: ser·en·dip·i·ty
noun /ˌserənˈdipitē/ 
serendipities, plural

  1. The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way
    • - a fortunate stroke of serendipity
    • - a series of small serendipities
In order to evolve, we must change.  We all know this to be true through the study of history.  Facebook held it's annual F8 conference on September 22nd of this year.  Mark Zuckerberg's philosophical lesson of the day was, "The world could be a lot better and were gonna make it that way....It is an honor to be on this journey with you....Everyday I wake up and live my dream....Let's take the next step and build things together and rethink some of our industries."  This my friends is how we evolve.  Thinkers like Mark Zuckerberg and those of developers will now help our vast world evolve onto a one page serendipitous experience that will catapult friendships and businesses to the next level. Mark talked about connecting the dots in real-time with Ticker and creating real time serendipity between friends with the use of Timeline. Take a look at what they rolled out.

Introducing TIMELINE:

The new Timeline will let you tell the story of your life, include all your apps and give you a new way to express yourself all on one page.  Timeline takes scrap-booking to a digital level in real time and historical time.  Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflicks was a guest speaker.  He spoke about a show he had been wanting to watch "Breaking Bad".  When he saw that his friend was watching it simultaneously on Facebook; he was reminded about a looming dinner date the next night with that same friend.  He finally decided to watch it and was able to create great conversation the next evening at dinner. Timeline had it's first launch during its beta period and will soon roll out for everyone to use. This was open to developers and a test group (including myself).

Timeline gives Facebook a visual makeover.  It's very appealing to look at and is miles away from the original Facebook Wall.  They have built this experience using the Open Graph along with many new apps which will enable frictionless experiences with real time serendipity.  The use of the entire Open Graph will not be available until later this year.

 Reed Hastings announced that they will partner and integrate Facebook and Netflicks.  The roll out will happen some time next year.  (still waiting on that to happen) Daniel Ek, founder of Spotify, also announced a partnership with Facebook and FREE music from Spotify on Facebook.  You can see what your friends are listening to and have a great conversation about your favorite tune or artist in real time. Music, T.V., news and book apps will be available first on the Open Graph. "Let's light up the world with music," says Ek.

Introducing VERBS:

Last Year at F8, Facebook rolled out the use of nouns with the like button.  I like "Books" or  I like Restaurants is so LY.  Now you will be able to use verbs.  Nouns and Verbs....what's next Adjectives? Do you feel like you're stuck in a Madlibs story?  Instead of saying I LIKE something,  you can now collect all your likings and have them posted on your Timeline visually.  I just READ......  I just WATCHED...... and the Facebook experience continues in a new way.

Introducing TICKER:

Ticker has had mixed reactions as it begins to roll out.  Mark called this a light weight activity stream of what your friends are doing.  You can choose to view it or not.  It is a frictionless way to experience what your friends are doing without all the news-feed interruptions of their every move. One might say it is "Twitter lite".

Evolution doesn't happen staying status quo.  While it is also a fact that people don't like change, as so many of Facebook users have stated with the recent changes rolled out last month, I believe that the changes to come will be, what I think, the much needed eye candy to keep users on Facebook for longer with the reward of a serendipitous experience as well as a new frontier for businesses.  So let's get building and rethink some industries....because that is what evolution is all about.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Occupy Sesame Street

Written by: Laurie Borland
Article first published as

Sesame Street is in it's 42nd season and is again stepping up to the plate by bringing the heavy topic of bullying into their storyline.  Not only are they incorporating it on the show, but they have put together an outstanding 5 part series of short video's called Happy to Be Me on to help parents and children.  These videos cover topics on what bullying is and what to do if your child is bullied or is bullying.  Sesame Street continues to market their efforts on this topic in media like CNN and PBS.

Defining terms and expectations for children, and for that matter adults, is the way we come to a mutual understanding of how "to be" in our social society.  Sesame Street's website does a wonderful job of defining bullying and helping parents recognize the signs of both parties involved. 

Rosemarie Trugilia, PhD is the Vice President for Education Research for Sesame Street Workshop.  She is the host for the series on bullying.  They have pulled together an amazing panel of experts to discuss the topic. They answer questions and provide solutions to help put a stop to bullying on both sides of the bullying fence.  One question posed in the panel was, "isn't bullying a right of passage?" Changing this societal belief is where we need to begin. 

To quote Neil Armstrong, "That's one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind."  Sesame Street is bringing this crucial topic to the forefront of the preschool years.  Dr. Jamie Ostrov, Associate Professor of Psychology, says that bullying behaviors can occur as early as age 3.  We need to take a lesson from Sesame Street and continue to bring this topic of bullying to parents and preschoolers.  Just as The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends vaccine schedules, bike helmets, and car seat laws, we need to bring bullying into the picture.

 A world with young children and parents educated on bullying forebodes a healthier, more peaceful world to come.  Tell your neighbors, your pre-school, your church, family and friends with small children to visit and find the Happy to Be Me series. Our world will be a better place because of it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Race to the Top Given New Meaning in Education

Article first published by Laurie Borland as A Race to the Top Given New Meaning in Education on

Sunday October 9th, kicked off Anderson Cooper's Anti Bullying special, Bullying Stops Here. The discussion spanned multiple topics of bullying: the bully, the bullied, parents of both, teachers, school staff, on campus, off campus, who is responsible and how to stop it.

I applaud AC360 (CNN) for stepping out and building a multi platform media initiative with Facebook, Cartoon Network and Time Inc., not to mention the others brought in for the panel such as the students, Doctor Phil, Kelly Ripa, and many others. This is a beginning, but this is how we will move forward.....using multiple platforms with the same beliefs to make a united stand and form a banner across many media that creates a stronger voice for a new direction. That is how we make change....."We are really looking for solutions as opposed to what the problem is," says Anderson Cooper.

In a previous interview Anderson Cooper did with a panel of high school students, he asked them if high school feels like social combat. They all agreed absolutely it feels like social combat. "It's pretty much a race to the top of the social ladder and that is pretty much why bullying occurs." How ironic our new approach to education was addressed with a program called Race to the Top. Not only did the students uncover the discussion about a race to the top, but they talked about how everyone is both a bully and a victim at one time or another. This topic is not black and white by any means.

Sunday night, one of the children on the panel and also a victim of bullying wanted to sing during the show. He was a fan of Lady Gaga. I was slightly afraid of what might happen to him, but he belted out Born This Way…a cappella. It sent chills down my spine and probably Lady Gaga's too.

Lady Gaga has become a light for those who feel different. She has become a supporter of anti bullying and has become active in helping shed light on the issues at hand, including a discussion with President Obama. So.... can the power of one make a difference? Lady Gaga took that bull by the horns and has become the poster child for anti bullying. Ghandi said, "Be the change in the world that you wish to see." This brave souled child on the panel took his chance and let his voice be heard in more ways than one. We should all take a lesson from that. Take a stand for what you believe. Music and Media are great ways to be heard. Now, we need to take that voice and "begin with the end in mind" (Stephen Covey) so that we can build solutions.

We know there is a need to help those being bullied and those bullying. As Doctor Phil pointed out, we must realize that a problem lies between both parties involved. One may be fearful of using his/her own voice to stand up for themselves and the other won't stop or refuse to feel empathy for another in order to feel a false sense of "power" or "control" within themselves. The big problem becomes that teenagers are learning who they are and if they each are telling one another who they are is nothing, lifelong problems arise. Lives are being taken because children are killing children with their words, texts and posts. We all know we need something bigger than a band aid. You can see that beginning with partnerships between social network, Facebook and cable TV. station Cartoon Network. Together they are marketing an app that is a pledge for students to take a stand against bullying.

Another discussion was in regards to educating students, parents and all school staff that interact with the students on ways to handle situations they are put in or put themselves into. A school staff member was coldly criticized for working with a child in a documentary...... She told the boy being bullied that he was just like the bully because he wouldn't accept the apology from him, but was she right? The AC360 panel was applauded; BUT 2 wrongs don't make a right. When teaching children to do what is right, we sometimes have to do what is hard and lay a foundation of how to move around in this world the moral way. An eye for an eye makes us both blind. Accepting an apology from an enemy (who may or may not be sincere) may be one of the hardest things we do in life. Leaving the ego behind is another.

Anyone knows that raising a child is another difficult thing to do in life. There are those children that conform, those that lead, those that follow and those that make their own way on a new path or a path that we don't approve of. It is our job as parents to know what is going on with our children, but if we don't know how to help them, than we fail. Why again don't we get an instruction manual when our children are born? Many of us choose to educate ourselves on how to raise a child, but even that isn't enough when we are faced with all of our struggles, our busyness, and a failing system.

We have the ability to help parents and children within the institution we know as school. But what we know and what we do aren't symbiotically functioning at the moment.....times are changing. Media is reaching out to make a difference instead to make just a story. They are becoming a vehicle of change. We all need to be the bridge that unifies the many worlds of our children.

Our country was built on faith in a higher power....we did separate church and state, but we should never have separated morals and values. We decided that it was someone else’s job to discipline their kids no matter what the situation.....but what about the quote, "It takes a village to raise a child." Obviously that had its origins in truth. We are so connected through this webby wire, but yet so disconnected from the human touch and truth. We think we can rationalize our way out of why we did something. We need to stop rationalizing and believe in the truth, live the truth, exemplify the truth and rebuild the truth in our human nature. We were all built to do good, but where does that change? If we can capture that window of opportunity and help teach children morals and values together, as a village, as a community, we will begin to see a new tomorrow. I have always been a firm believer in this philosophy, but we can't do it alone. If we all stand together as one, we will be the new world. We are the world. Look what happened to Michael Jackson. His pain was too strong for him to bear, but he had a vision. Let's build a vision and break the cycle. We only have each other, so let's stand up and work together to solve our countries problems.

This week, AC360 continues it's programming on bullying. Stay tuned and help break the cycle.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Dear Mrs. Laurene Powell Jobs....

Article first published as Dear Mrs. Laurene Powell Jobs......Thank You For Sharing on Technorati.

Dear Mrs. Laurene Powell Jobs,

October 5, 2011,  is a happy day....A day to celebrate Steve's life, the family man and the public man. A day, more than anyone, you will always remember.  The clock has not yet struck 12:00, and as I weave through the web, I see that Wikipedia has already marked this glorious day, the beginning of your husbands life in the after.  My prayer for you is of healing and of celebration. 

A wise man once said, "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.  You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."  I am sure you recognize this from Steve's address to Stanford University graduates during, what has become an inspiration in my life, at his commencement speech in 2005.

Recently, I have engaged on a new journey in life.  Along that journey, I had a rather serendipitous run in with a character on the infamous Facebook.  This character helped me navigate through a time in my life where I needed someone to inspire me, someone to push me, someone to encourage me and someone to emulate.  One of the ways, "they" encouraged me, was by introducing me to your husband this past August.  Now, let me quickly follow that up with, it was an introduction boistered only by link juice or virtual reality of sorts.  I was sent constant links to articles about Steve, including the Stanford speech.

I was so inspired by your husband, that today, I shed a tear.  I shed a tear for someone I did not know through an actual physical introduction, only through a digital reality, but a reality it has become for me.  Energy can not be created nor destroyed; it can only be changed from one form to another.  Yesterday, I may not have done many things to change the world.  Today, I carry energy that was passed on to me and to the thousands of others your husband inspired.

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.  If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on." This is what is sustaining me.

 I have come to love education, writing and embracing technology.  Today, I volunteer and teach.  I chuckled when I saw you are on the board for Teach for  America. (more would be nice if  "they" could hurry up and finalize that Cleveland Program)  I know.... my life is so much bigger than this.   A body in motion stays in motion.  I know I will get there....where.... I am not sure.  I know you will keep focus on your family and help them get there too.  Stay true to yourself and hold on.  "So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever." 

It has been a privilege connecting with you and your husband through the waves of the public webby wire. However, I reach out with sincere gratitude for the serindipity in my life.  I offer you my prayers, thanks and wishes for comfort in your life with your family.

Mr. Steve Jobs....May he rest in peace while we all carry some of  his energy on to a new tomorrow.

May God Bless You!