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Showing posts from March, 2011

Ten Commandments for Helicopter Parents

Ten Commandments for Helicopter ParentsHelicopter parents are those parents who hover over their kids, guarding their precious snowflakes against all the bumped knees, skinned noses, and hurty feelings they may encounter throughout their life. Some helicopter parents have not only been known to call their children's colleges when there are problems, they will call their children's employers to help negotiate job offers and pay raises. I'm especially starting to see helicoptering in the 20-somethings as they become new parents.

As an experienced father of three children, I have some advice I want to offer these new parents. These are commandments I think every new parent should hear, and in the interest of full disclosure, I will admit to having violated a couple of these myself.

1. Thou shalt not let your kids run around in restaurants. This is not a chance for your kids to explore their world. That's what your house and back yard are for. Other people are trying to enjo…

What Does "Dinosaur" Smell Like?


What Does "Dinosaur" Smell Like?


Erik is out of the office this week, so we are reprinting a column from 2003, which is why some of the references are a little outdated. (Besides, Adam Sandler has turned into a fine actor.)

It was bound to happen someday. In the 1950s, we were given 3-D glasses to make movies "come to life." In the '80s and '90s, it was Surround Sound that put us "in the middle of the action." And in the 21st century, odor is the Next Big Thing that will make entertainment and education more realistic.

But we have to draw the line somewhere.

At the Dewa Roman Experience in Chester, England, museum officials thought adding certain odors ("odours" if you're English) to the exhibit would make it more interesting to visitors (not "visitours"). So they added the appropriate smell to their reconstruction of a Roman latrine.

Unfortunately, the "pong" (that's British for odor) was so realistic that severa…

Walk Out or Lockout, Grown-Ups Act Like Children

Walk Out or Lockout, Grown-Ups Act Like ChildrenIt's been a few weeks of whining and foot stamping, name calling and finger pointing. Arguments have descended to a level of two 5-year-olds crying over who's a poopy head and who's doo-doo face.

Whether it's the Wisconsin Senate, the Indiana House, or the NFL owners and players, we've got three groups of adults fighting and whining and complaining worse than my three kids ever did on their worst day.

Three weeks ago in Wisconsin, 14 of that state's Senate Democrats left the state for Illinois to prevent a quorum in the Senate, and block a vote that saw the state Republicans trying to strip collective bargaining rights from unions for state employees and teachers. The Wisconsin 14 fled to northern Illinois and the two sides lobbed insults over state lines every day, accusing each other of thwarting democracy and hating Wisconsin's families.

Bluster abounds in the dairy state, and the only thing this has really pr…

I Don't Know Nearly As Much As I Think I Do

I Don't Know Nearly As Much As I Think I Do
As someone who works with technology every single day, I pride myself on knowing a lot about it. I manage blogs for other people, I give talks about social networking, and I'm always reading up or playing with the latest gadget.

Whether it's an Android smart phone, a digital camera, or rigging up said camera to my computer and using it for a video conference, I try to stay up with most of the latest consumer technology developments, so I can answer questions for friends.

I recently won an Apple TV, the little black box that uses your home's wifi connection to stream TV shows, movies, and YouTube videos over the Internet. Although we watch NetFlix over our Nintendo Wii, I thought I would try the new device out.

Our TV uses an HDMI (high definition multimedia interface) cable, which produces an ultra-sharp picture that's almost more vivid and clear than real life. When I pulled out the Apple TV — which is as big as stack of 10 …