I Finally Have A Voice

The one thing I love to do, but absolutely the worst at, is singing. I’m completely out-of-tune and sound like a frog. I was so bad in junior high school, Mr. Santos, the teacher in charge of the Glee Club, didn’t even trust me to lip sync. I was completely thrown out and asked not to return.

I held my head down in shame. My father was a terrific singer. He could have easily been in the music business. He would sing in our car during long drives and belt out a few songs while listening to the radio at home. I thought everyone sang like that until it was my turn. Family and friends used to fold in their ears. People don’t do that anymore. They just tell me to shut up.

I think my life just took a happier turn tonight when I watched Singtrix, the next generation in karaoke machines, being presented on the TV show Shark Tank. Even though the two owners of Singtrix, failed to raise any money, the product still has tremendous appeal to all hams like me.

Singtrix features hundreds of professional vocal effects, live backup harmonies, and natural pitch-correction. If I hit the on-mic effect button, my voice automatically is transformed into a 4-part vocal harmony super group. That is super awesome.

At $349.99, The Singtrix Studio allows me to sing along with YouTube or my existing music library. The Singtrix karaoke app is also a source for karaoke music. I can’t wait to get Singtrix, stand in front of a mirror, and become the star I always thought I was.

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Interesting Tweets

I have worked on the links below for 45 minutes. Some of them work. Some of them you will have to Google.

CNET (@CNET)
Guess who might play Steve Wozniak in upcoming Jobs film?

International CES (@intlCES)
The worlds thinnest smartphone is about the size of a pencil.

AARP (@AARP)
Looking for AARP member discounts on the go? Download the AARP Member Advantages Offer Finder mobile app.

WebMD (@WebMD)
Scientists Set Sights on 1st Whole-Eye Transplant!
#glaucoma #MacularDegeneration

TMZ (@TMZ)
Queen Latifah CANCELS Bill Cosby interview after rape allegations resurface

Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump)
I’m admitting to a total girl crush on @Alyssa_Milano. She’s hilarious! And incidentally, one of the first people I followed on Twitter.

New York Magazine (@NYMag)
Carnegie Hall will start livestreaming concerts next week:

Business Insider (@businessinsider)
Mega-yachts are great — but how about an even bigger giga-yacht?

launchticker (@launchticker)
.@Skype updates its iPhone app w/ chat avatars

HuffPost Media (@HuffPostMedia)
Jon Stewart confirms that NBC approached him to host ‘Meet The Press,

Variety (@Variety)
In another major shake-up, ABC News takes over #TheView as ratings dwindle.

Unfashionable Runway

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IMAGE: FLICKR, KARTOGRAFIA

The last thing airline pilots want when they land their aircrafts in Paro Airport, Bhutan, is technology. They insist on doing it by eyesight. No one wants to rely on anything mechanical/technical that can breakdown just when they need it most.

News reporters who visited the area said the airport is about a mile and a half above sea level and is very difficult and dangerous because of the 18,000-foot peaks surrounding it.

Carmen Roberts, a BBC reporter, actually interviewed a pilot during one of the landings just to see what it’s like. Watch the video here. You can be sure, I will never take this flight. Will this flight be on your bucket list?

Facebook Founder Speaks Chinese


This may have been all over the mainstream press the other day, but I just wanted to point out that I find it pretty amazing that a successful person like Mark Zuckerberg just keeps accomplishing new challenges all the time. If I were him, I would probably be sitting on a lounge chair on some beach somewhere, watching the world go by.

The Facebook founder surprised a audience of students at Tsinghua University in Beijing earlier this week by speaking to them in Mandarin Chinese. The video above captures that moment.

His first words were, “I’m very glad to be in Beijing. I love this city. My Chinese is really a mess, but I study using Chinese every day.”

Nevertheless, he still managed to speak for a half hour on what Facebook is doing in China. I wonder what Zuckerberg’s true motivation was to learn a very difficult language. He’s married to a Chinese woman, Priscilla Chan, who was there to guide him all the way. Or, will there be some major growth spurts for Facebook in the Chinese market. We are just seeing the first signs now. Maybe, we all should be learning the language.

Mini Drones Will Play A Big Role In The Military

I wanted to show you one of the smallest drones you will ever see. It’s still in the development stage. I’m fascinated that we live in an era where we have UAV’s, unmanned aerial vehicles, for both recreation and government purposes.

CyPhy Works, a technology company from Danvers, MA, is making these tiny drones for the military. They have been designed so U.S. soldiers can carry them around in their uniform’s pockets. Called the Extreme Access Pocket Flyer, the drone weighs 80 grams and can fly for two hours. It transmits HD-quality video. The Pocket Flyer has been designed to be used for search and rescue. It will help find people in collapsed buildings or areas of devastation.

The video will show you exactly how it works. It’s so interesting. Just think about it, one day, we all might own a mini UAV for all kinds of purposes. I want to be among the first.

Apple Pay, A New Secure Way To Use Your Credit Card


If you are interested in keeping your credit card secure during transactions, you definitely should consider the new Apple Pay. I really had very little interest in the entire concept until I learned that your bank is the only one who sees the transaction if you use Apple Pay.

Google Wallet also offers this feature, but for some reason this payment system never caught on. I predict that Apple Pay could bring a renewed interest in Google Wallet. I hope so. Like you, I would like to see all those retail breaches we hear about, go away. Apple Pay and Google Wallet can cure it all. At least, that’s what the experts say.

Oh, one more piece of good news. If you use Apple Pay, you don’t have to worry about stolen credit cards. No one can buy anything without your fingerprint verification. Another security reassurance is the iCloud. All you have to do now is put your phone into the lost mode.

Apple Pay is very easy to use. Watch the above video. Hold your iPhone near the card reader with your thumb resting on the home button. David Pogue, the resident tech genius at Yahoo, actually used Apple Pay a number of times.

He explained, “The phone wakes, beeps, vibrates, and shows a picture of your credit card (minus the number). That means you’re done. You’ve paid. You can leave.” He said the whole process doesn’t even take two seconds.

I hope iPhone 6 or 6 Plus users start using Apple Pay soon. I also hope Apple extends Apple Pay to other iPhone models. I’m going to try it. All I have to do is open the Passbook app and use the credit card I have on file. I can also change my credit card by typing in the new card number and expiration. Apple Pay also gives me the option of taking a picture of my new card instead of typing out the info. That may be too progressive for me. Security codes must be typed in.

Read Pogue’s explanation on Yahoo for further details. He goes into great detail on the entire Apple Pay concept.

I Now Own The iPhone 6 Plus

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I am writing my blog post on the iPhone 6 Plus. I don’t know much about it yet, but I can tell you that just after a few hours of owning it, I love it. It’s the perfect size.

I can probably give you a better review of the unit later down the road, but I did want to tell you that size-wise, it’s perfect. I had no idea that this size, 5.5-inches, was the perfect solution for eye and hand strain. I always used the standard size iPhone for both reading and writing. It was really too small for either task, but I made do. In my opinion, the iPad mini was too heavy to use in bed or on the couch. I used to own the regular size iPad and that was way too cumbersome.

I loved my iPad mini for a year before I lost it. I knew that I was going to upgrade from my iPhone 4S to the 6 Plus, so I didn’t replace the mini iPad. I wanted to see if I could get away using the new 5.5-inch for all of my activities. It didn’t take more than five minutes to realize that I now have the best of both worlds.

That Sucks

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IMG_1581-0.JPG Family and friends are always asking me for gift ideas. This is a great one for anyone who loves music. The Divoom Airbeat 10 is a suction cup, portable Bluetooth speaker and speakerphone.

You can stick this speaker on any flat surface. You can also mount the Airbeat 10 on a bike as well. It can withstand water splashes so its perfect for the pool, beach or shower.

With a built-in rechargeable battery pack, the Airbeat 10 allows up to six hours of playback time off from a single charge.

Available in Sky Blue, Passion Red, Pearl White or Smart Black, the Airbeat 10 is available for $29.90 on Amazon.

I’m Taking A Commercial Break

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I promise that I will return to what’s new in the world of technology tomorrow. I know that I have focused my attention on many of my Moroccan experiences and other recent activities.

I want to divert from the world of technology one more time so I can congratulate my good friends, Chuck Steffan and Ron Abel, on their upcoming Broadway Show, Hazel, a musical maid in America. We went to their reading today which received a roaring standing ovation from the Broadway community.

I think the reason that most people truly enjoyed the musical so much was because it took place in much simpler times. There was no internet, no cell calls, no apps, and no mobile devices to clutter our brains. It was a time when children used their imagination during playtime and mommies were just starting to understand the role of a wife who also wanted to be a working woman. It was magical to watch that period in life reappear.

There is no question in my mind that the Broadway audience is going to go wild for the star of the show, Klea Blackhurst. She has appeared in a number of Broadway shows, but the role of Hazel was made with her in mind. She will enthrall audiences year after year.

Ron wrote the music, Chuck wrote the lyrics, Lissa Levin, wrote the book, and Lucie Arnaz directed the reading. Lucie is in Pippin at the current time as well.

It takes a long time to bring a show to Broadway but count on me for house seats for when
Hazel does.

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Chuck, Lucie and Ron

Morocco’s Favorite Pastime: Shooffing

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There is one word our SmarTours’ group learned from our Moroccan guide, Khalid, that could possibly become as popular as hashtag. It’s called shooffing. Don’t confuse it with the Yiddish word for sleep, schluffing.

Shooffing is very popular among the men of Morocco. When men shooff, they are usually sitting in a sidewalk café, drinking coffee or tea for hours, staring at everyone and everything that passes by. It’s a type of gawking.

The streets of Morocco are lined with men shooffing. You wonder if these guys ever work. We were told that they shooff more hours than they do actually earn money.

Women rarely shooff. They are busy working and taking care of the household. When they do meet up with other women, it usually takes place in the privacy of someone’s home or at a special event. Men like to gather in public places and shooff together. They almost put themselves in a hypnotic state during their shooffing periods. Most of the time, the men are not even talking to each other. They would rather use the time to be in their own worlds.

Shooffing is such a great word. I want to copyright it and turn it into the next hashtag in terms of popularity. It should be pretty easy to do through social media.

I would appreciate any helpful hints how to do that. I need to get a viral spin going and then somehow commercialize the name. Sounds easy but it really needs some magic potion to get people to spread the word. That’s where Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter come in. We just need to work the system.