Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Time teaches all teaching

It's beginning to look a lot like teaching!

(picture of my co-workers)
Today was my first somewhat successful day. I may not know what is happening but I am starting to get a hang of this. I had to teach three classes. One of the classes was my class of thirteen year olds that I have not enjoyed teaching.

I tried something different. I started the class off with an interactive review of the grammar. The grammar was "-est". For example, "biggest" versus "big" and "tallest" versus "tall." I got two of my students to stand up and said, "Steven is the tall or tallest?" then "I am the short or shortest?" I think it got the message across! Then after that interactive activity, they seemed to pay more attention in class.

I am starting to realize the difficulty of being a teacher. I think that in school they should make every student teach a few classes. It might help students realize what teachers have to go through and the difficulty they face. Especially the ones that care and are under appreciated by students. I wish I had made more effort in certain classes where the teacher really wanted to help the students.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Teaching Rollercoaster Ride!

What do you do when you wake up at 5am in the morning in S. Korea?

You call your lovers in the US to watch the sunset while they watch the sunrise behind you. (DUH!) In other words I woke up at 5am! Had a nice video chat using the wonderful Google video chat option in Gmail. Then I went to the gym by myself around 10 am. Sadly, I did not have my running shoes because they were in a locker with my co-workers shoes and I did not have a key to that locker. I did some casual exercises and once again was offered to take the cycling class. (I couldn't because I had the wrong shoes!)

When I was leaving the gym, another random women named Yongsan started to speak to me. She is a house wife that just moved back to Korea from living in Rochester, Mass. for a year. She had just joined the gym last week like me. We had a short conversation, decided we would see each other at the gym again and get coffee sometime. This is exciting because that means I have another Korean friend who will be able to help me learn Korean! (I'm starting to think that maybe it is better that I make a lot of Korean friends instead of Americans. Not that I have seen many in my area.)

I get to school with no idea of what I will be doing...AGAIN! (I'm starting to learn that I will just have to adapt to the Korean style of doing things last minute.) Dana (my co-worker) tells me that the director wants me to give a presentation to the staff at 7:30pm. (I start freaking out because I have no idea what they are talking about). After we went back and forth trying to understand each other, I came to the understanding that I would be exemplifying my lesson plan in front of my colleagues. (Since I will be teaching two new books to four classes on my own they wanted me to show them how I would be teaching the classes.) I started watching the Korean training video for the book (which didn't help since I don't know Korean yet).

I was told I would be given all day to prepare for the meeting. Next thing I know, I was put in a class to wing a lesson again. Apparently, my director had to speak to some parents and needed someone to stand in for her. Then I had to teach a class that I thought wasn't permanently being given to me. I have come to the conclusion that I will be teaching this class because they keep putting me in the class to teach it. The class is difficult to teach because all the students are at different levels and some are faster than others at learning. (This will be a new challenge for me as a teacher.)

The rest of my day was spent creating an activity for the my presentation. (Which didn't get finished in time but i will get back to that).

Around 7pm I had my favorite girls come by to say "Hello" and talk to me. First, it was Bebe (I think that's her name...) and her group of friends which I really enjoy speaking with. Then my two little ones, Elle and Jennifer (picture to the left), came by to ask me some questions and practice their English. They took pictures of me with their cell phones and told me I was pretty. Then Elle gave me a Christmas present! A Spider man key chain mirror! (It really touched my heart)
The kiddies said goodbye and it was presentation time! I said a frantic prayer for survival and did my thing. Pretending that my boss and co-workers were little obedient and interactive children. I gave the presentation and they said I did a great job. ::SIGH::

Now to finish creating my lesson plan activity... then all of a sudden my co-workers and boss really wanted to help me color my drawings! We all worked together and then had a Korean take out dinner in the office. It was so nice to spend time with them and fell like a part of the group.

I'm starting to think I might be able to get a hang of this! Guess we will see what tomorrow brings!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

From Downtown to Church

Weekend Recap: I went to downtown Daegu with Violet (my other director). We went downtown in search of a cell phone only to find out that I needed to have a foreign ID card. Looks like I will have to wait on the cellphone until next week.

I did do some shopping and bought a Korean learning book and some Korean socks. Then had a nice Korean meal with Violet and we talked about how we would start teaching other on Fridays before classes. She will be teaching me Korean using my book and I will be teaching her English using one of our teaching books.

After dinner and having a few drinks with Violet, we went back by her school campus and picked up my stuff that I left there (I had to have someone fix my lock on my door so I had to take out anything valuable out of my room and with me). Then her father picked us up and drove me home. Violet was getting sick so I ran upstairs and gave her some of my Lipton chicken noodle soup that I had brought here with me. (I thought it would help because it always makes me feel better). Then I had a web cam conversation with my friends to end my night.

Sunday: I went to church!I went to Daegu Pyunggang Presbyterian Church and got to listen to the sermon in English through a headphones. The whole service was in Korean which made it weird for me. I did enjoy the service and meet a couple of nice people. The church serves lunch after the service and it was quite strange. The rice was purple....

I think that's a good recap....sorry it's not detailed...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Some pictures...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Teach to Party

I thought today would only be about partying and not learning but once again I was in for a rude awakening.

I started my morning at the gym where a random korean woman started speaking to me. She thought I worked at the gym. (Do I look like an American trainer? Maybe it was because I wanted to do my own stretch and exercises) She tried to talk to me by asking me general questions (Most Koreans do this because it's the only thing they remember). I found out she was studying at University and is an English tutor. (That was very surprising). I ended up excusing myself to go shower so I could get food and go to school. I took a shower in a room that reminded me of high school or prison shower rooms where everyone showers together. (I know I had no worries about dropping the soap but for some reason I made sure I didn't, haha) In the elevator, another random women tried to speak English to me and all she was able to say to me was "Where are you from?" and "Have a nice day." I told her I was from Washington, D.C. and she emphasized the Statue of liberty. (I just agreed because it would be to difficult to correct her).

My co-worker and I picked up my favorite food (triangle sized kimbap) and coffee and walked to school. I tried to speak English to her so that I could be of assistance in strengthening her English but it didn't work out very well. (I am continually being told that I am very nice. I think it is because I don't mind if they have trouble speaking English.) The point of me being here is to help them learn and practive speaking English.

I got to school and thought we were having an activity day but what that meant is we are still teaching but also having a dollar party. I didn't know what I was supposed to be teaching but this time I could definetly wing it. I did review for about two classes and taught a lesson in two other classes. I felt like this time I was really making progress with the kids! Then they would get money for how good of a student they were from the prior months and could buy candy and such. If I asked them "How much is this?" and they answered correctly then they would get a $10 card. (Sorry I did not take any pictures...) All the kids got a korean dish named: 떡볶이= dduck bok ki > (it is a Korean dish that is spicy but delicious).

There was a group of girl where one girl named BeBe spoke VERY GOOD English. I like her a lot. Then there were the two girls (Elle & Jennifer) that try to speak to me everyday. They are around eight years old. They keep telling me I am pretty or cute. The other girl BeBe explained to me that American's have small faces (supposedly). I really enjoyed today because this time I felt like I really was utilized by some of the kids. Some of the kids don't answer me but giggle and shy away. I will try and get this on tape.

Now, time to help the teachers clean....

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Last Minute Testing and Teaching

I don't know if you would consider today my fourth day teaching. Let me start from the beginning:

I woke up this morning to a Skype call that partially made my day but also made me miss home. I then met up with two of my Korean co-workers to go to the gym. The gym is called Pop's Italia Gym and it is going to cost me W198,000 for three months or I could pay W90,000 for one month. I agreed to pay W198,000 tomorrow in cash for the three months but now I am thinking I will pay W90,000 for a month and see if I want to continue going there. The gym was VERY different then my gym at home (LifeTime Fitness). It was much smaller and no one runs on the treadmill! All they do is walk! (I would not pay that much for a gym and just walk. I can walk outside for free!) I did a Body Sculpting class which made me realize how out of shape I was. I had tons of endorphins and had to run back to my apartment to change clothes. It's a good thing I ran back because I got a call from my director. She told me she would call back in half an hour for my help for an interview. I had no idea what she was talking about so I waited and got ready in case that meant she was picking me up. My phone rings and it's a gentleman on the phone whom I am to interview to work at GnB. I am to converse with him to distinguish whether or not he can speak English well. He speaks moderatly well but not to the level of a normal American conversation. I would hire him because at least he could understand me where as my co-workers are not exactly able to. Then I get to school late which doesn't matter because my director isn't even here. I am hungry and so I try to ask my co-workers where I could grab some food. They agree to take me to Home Plus Express (Yes, they agreed meaning they didn't understand what I was saying exactly).

We walked to the little food market and I bought some instant noodles (ramen) and some korean Oreo cookies (they were cheaper than Oreos). I came back and relaxed because I was unsure as to what I would be doing today. I was then asked to give my co-workers class their final test. The final test was supposed to take up the whole class time. They didn't do a bad job on the test but it didn't take the whole class time. I didn't know what else to do so I tried to converse with them but there is one kid in that class that will not listen to me. (Same kid, Daniel). About three of the kids told me they do not like English. One was Daniel and I asked him why. He had no response. Thus explains the importance of speaking English. You want to make fun of me or mess with me then learn English!

I retreat to the teachers lounge only to be told that in five minutes I have to teach another class. The class is loud and full of rowdy kids who seem pretty smart. They respond which is what I like. That class made my day. The kids even helped me teach the class. I think they like me.

Next, another last minute teaching assingment to reveiw and test my co-workers class. I am to review the test material for 10 mins and then give them their final test. I reviewed for longer than 10 minutes.... Meaning they only took part of their test which they did very poorly on. I really wanted to help these kids! It was painful to see them fail on something they could do so well if they had extra help or studied.

Maybe I should just put today's behavior by students at looking forward to having a day off for Christmas. I know I am definetly looking forward to sleeping in. It's not like I get to celebrate Christmas here. I'm hoping to find something to do for Chrsitmas and New Years. I don't have that many days off to enjoy. Hoping I can go to Taiwan for New Years, but I have a feeling I may not be able to...

More to come tomorrow!

I then was told that I will be teaching two storytelling books in the beginning of Januaray. I will be teaching four classses that will need to have the stories memorized by the end their last class because they will be presenting the stories to their parents. I guess this will prove whether or not I can teach... Praying I can do a good job and that my kids can learn these story books.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Third Times the Charm...

I'll give you a recap of my weekend. Nothing really exciting. I missed my chance to go to church because I overslept! Must try this coming weekend.

I had my two foreigner friends (Will and Tim) come over to my place on Saturday evening. On Sunday, I went to Seomun Market where Will and I got lost. The benefit of being lost is I found a cheap iron for 15,000 won. Then I got home early to watch another movie and go to bed.

My third day teaching and I got asked to teach a class and review. I didn't really know what to do. I had to give a test which the kids did not do great on. I don't know how the Korean teachers do things which make it difficult for me to know what to do. Luckily, one of the kids tried to help me out. Yet, there was one child named Daniel who kept being a nuissance in the class. I don't know what I am allowed to do to kids when they don't behave. I kept telling him to settle down. Then since we had a min left in class, I figured I could do one game of hangman with their vocabulary words. They lost and so I went over homework and collected their books like I thought I was supposed to. I checked their expression of the day and let them go.

When I handed all the books to my co-teacher, she seemed displeased. She told me they were going to have a test and therfore i was not supposed to keep their books. I asked earlier and they told me I am supposed to collect their books when they finish them! Then my director came in and told me in broken english not to play Hangman but go over parts in the book. For example, read over the material, check kids pronounciation and reading.

My last class, I was told would be at 5:50 but once again it was miscommunication and was at 5:15pm. I felt a little more prepared and decided that if the kids think it's boring then they will just have to deal. I am there to try and help them learn. If they don't want to learn then tough. I made a word search to take up some time. They thought it was difficult. I think I am going to make my own version of worksheets to test their knowledge and see if they are really paying attention to me in class. Next class, those kids are going to have to prove to me that they understand this stuff. I will have to think of a way to make some killer worksheets. For now, I am exhausted and want to go to bed. I will find out tomorrow what I will be doing.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Day Two: New Campus, New Teaching

It was my second day teaching and it was a totally new experience! The first thing I did was run to Home Plus (a store that is like a Walmart here) and buy slippers because all the Korean teachers teach in slippers. I bought some slippers for 5,000 won and then ran to my main campus. (SIDE NOTE: There are 1,700 GnB schools in South Korea. Each school is considered a campus. My main school is Yongsan Campus). When I got there I had 30 minutes to try and figure out what I was supposed to be teaching that day. I was told that on Fridays I would be teaching at another GnB campus. The director of the Bolli Campus, Violet, came and picked me up. She was very friendly and spoke English very well. In her opinion, she is not a good speaker or driver. (I won't say anything about her driving but in my opinion everyone in Korea drives crazy). She took me by Dunkin Donuts where she usually picks up donuts for her co-workers and we chatted for a bit.

Here's a something I learned about Korean culture from "Culture Smart! Korea" by James Hoare: Koreans will ask you many questions to try and establish common links with you. The culture is all about group identity. Therefore, I learned she liked Britney Spears and we both want to learn each others language. She was very kind and helpful. She answered one of my prayers, to find a church. She told me she would make a call and get me in touch with a church she knew about that has English service. She said she would help me in anyway she could and would like us to be best friends. (I have no problem with this).

We arrived at her campus and she introduced me to her Korean staff (Anne, Grace and ____). One of the staff has an education degree and if I need any help or have any questions, she said she would be more than happy to help. They gave me an outline of what they needed me to to do for each class and what I needed to cover. I had six back to back 25 minute classes and two 50 minute classes back to back. All my classes were mainly very young children from Kindergarten to Elementary school age kids. I had to focus on their comprehension, vocab and pronunciation. For vocabulary or memorized speech, I discovered I could play hangman. Otherwise, I mainly repeated words or phrases and then had the children repeat them back to me. In the beginning, the children didn't really respond much. I started to feel like I did my first day of teaching. When I got to my last two classes, things changed. I was mainly guiding the lesson and not reviewing. The kids were more active and seemed to really comprehend what I was saying. It was the best end to my day of teaching.

Afterwards, Violet took me out to have a real Korean meal. She notified me that next Friday I would not be teaching because it is a holiday. Instead, she wanted me to meet her family (her husband and 2yr old son) and show me around Daegu. She wants to help me get a mobile phone and cook me food. I have no problem with this and am looking forward to spending time with her family and staff.

This was exactly what I needed. I want to learn Korean language, martial arts and get involved with a church. Thanks to Violet, I have a feeling I may be able to achieve these goals. (She already helped me understand my washing machine!). I hope the other new school that I will be teaching at is as welcoming as Violet has been. We will see what happens this coming week but for now I am going out looking for more foreigners to meet in Daegu and try out a church. I will let you know how my weekend adventures come along.

Adventures soon to come and hopefully a link to all my pictures....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My first day of teaching

My first day of teaching I taught two classes. I don't think I did a very good job. I try to plan things out but I soon discovered my first class was very bright. They seemed to really understand the material.

For my second class, I was told they had not received their new books so I had review the whole book. The second class was a class of teenagers. They said they were all 13 years old but that's in Korean years. (For example, by this coming year, I will be 24 in Korean years. In American years, I am still 22.) Meaning that the kids should be around 11 or 12. They seemed very disinterested and I had no idea what to really do. I tried my best but it seemed like my beginning as an English instructor was due to failure.

I believe the problem is that I don't know Korean. Even though I'm not supposed to speak Korean, I think it would help. If they don't understand me then I don't know what I am to do. I am teaching the class by myself. When the children don't understand, they just give me a blank stare.

I put up a status on my facebook about my first day failure (i.e. feeling down because her first day of teaching didn't go as planned) and received a lot of great feedback from people I did not expect to hear from. I was told:

  • "If everything went as planned life would be simple. Don't let it get you down, but don't take it for granted."
  • "In teaching you will have your good days and your bad days. Learn from the bad days and you will have more and more good days. Its all a learning experience. It will get better. Just don't give up."
  • "Plans are only guidelines. Remember you're dealing with a bunch of (if as of yet greatly undeveloped) minds and personalities that will change the best of plans. You have the ability to roll with it and adapt to suit."
It was great advice and really made me feel a lot better. I am hoping that my next day at my main campus will go more smoothy. I believe the problem may be in the communication between my main campus director and I. She tells me what to teach and it's not always the correct books or materials. This can cause a problem. I hope that somehow I will find a way to resolve this issue.

I will write more soon...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Weekend Adventure to Busan

After being in Daegu for about 2 days, I decided to take an adventure and go to Busan (Pusan).

I met someone on which is similar to but it for travelers to meet other people that like to travel. Another niche social network but it worked well for me. (I know it sounds crazy and you must think I'm living a little bit dangerously but I'm in Korea. I don't exactly know anyone and it was dangerous coming here alone in the first place!)

I went to my school Friday and had to watch training videos to prepare me to teach. After watching many videos, I had to go by the hospital and get a physical to show I'm not a drug addict. I went with this new Korean teacher who speaks good English. She lived in NJ for about six years for college and won't start working until after January. It was nice talking to someone who could understand me. My director does not speak very good English or at least she doesn't understand me all the time. (I discovered later that she can read English better than speaking or verbally understanding it). I was tired and got home to catch up on people and finish moving in all my stuff. I still had a little jet lag to get over.

I decided to take a shower which from my video you can tell is very strange. I have discovered that if I stand close enough to my sink then it will be like an American shower (meaning I don't have to take down the hose thing.) I went to bed and decided early in the morning I would meet with my friend from TravBuddy (Will) and his friend (Tim, whom he met at a bookstore) to Busan. I live near the Jukjeon metro station. I met with Will and then we went to the Daegu Train Station:
(I will have to create a page where you can see all my pictures. All my videos are on my youtube page). It took about 45 minutes to get to Busan. We passed a lot of beautiful scenery that showed the country life on South Korea. When we came into Busan, we decided to check out the fish market. The Jagalchi Market (my video) is known for having lots of fish and a very fishy smell (I wonder why...haha). We ventured through the Russian district where it welcomed foreigners. We eventually had to ask for directions but we got to the fish market!:
We found another level to the fish market that was a restaurant. We ordered Sashimi, some Hite (beer), and other food. I ate snails or it may have been sea urchins... Then after a very big meal, we ventured toward the Haeundae Beach (Here's my video). After venturing around we found a fair. All South Korean fair have for games are the stands where you throw something to pop a balloon. (I don't have a picture, sorry). We tried to go to Snow Mountain that is an indoor skiing place but it was closed. We went to all the hot spots that were listed in my lonely planet "Korea" guide book. We went to Ol'55 and the Vinyl Underground. They weren't as exciting as they said but we had fun anyway. Our last event of the night was experiencing a No-Rae-Bong (Korean Karaoke Room). You pay a small amount and get your own karaoke room. Will and Tim drank enough to be able to do it but by the end of the night we had all lost our voice. We went to our hostel: The Actor & Tourist Guesthouse that is run by Mr.Lee. After sleeping in heated beds, we awoke to a new morning of adventures and friends. I got up first and searched for breakfast. I found McDonald's and then almost got lost trying to get back to the hostel. We met a new friend there who was from Holland (I believe) and had just traveled from Russia. HE had been in Busan by himself for a week. The next day he would be leaving for Japan. He came with us to visit the Beomeosa Temple which has Buddha's bones and a lot of history. (This is when my camera died...)After the temple, we went to the cliffs and my friends have a lot of pictures that I will have to add at a later date. It was beautiful watching the sunset from the mountain. There were tons of ships on the water and it made me realize how beautiful God created this earth.

We grabbed a bite to eat and then headed back to the train station. On our way, the guys were talking about this thing that people eat in the Philippines called Balot. (It is basically a chicken egg but the chicken is in it's trimester and you're eating a baby chicken fetus.) Funny thing is, we found a place on the way that served Balot! I couldn't bring myself to eat it but my friends did. We caught the train and eventually parted ways.

That should be a summary of my weekend in Busan. My next entry will most likely be about my first day teaching English to Korean kids at GnB Yongsan Campus.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Hello All! This is another personal post about my adventure to teach in South Korea. I arrived after a 13 hours flight then was put on a 5 hour bus. I arrived in Daegu around 1 am and waited for my director to pick me up. They picked me up and told me my apartment was not ready so they had me stay with them at their home for the night. The next day I was able to sleep and get online. I had to wait until around 7:30pm for them to pick me up and bring me to my new home. They picked me up and we went to my new home. Here is a clip of my apartment:

After we put my stuff down, we went to the super market. They bought me some household needs and groceries. Then we went to WABAR (The Western Ice Bar). It's located next to the campus in which I will be teaching at. I had a weird quesadilla that had onions and cheese in it. Then I went home and tried to get ready for my new adventures.

My first problem here as that I couldn't get any money out of an ATM. After speaking to another foreigner on TravBuddy, I discovered that when you use the ATM, you want to find an ATM that takes foreign cards. After learning this, I was able to get money out. I guess My next post will be more descriptive....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Social Media Hits DC with Insight

As I mentioned in my previous post, I went to the Social Media Club - DC event at the National Press Building on social searches versus Google searches (not how they phrased it but it addresses the point). The speakers were Chris Seline (@dumbfounder), Laurence Hooper (@lhooper), Jared Goralnick (@technotheory), Greg Gershman (@greggersh) and Aaron Brazell (@technosailor). The reason I have names in parenthesis are because these are all their twitter names. I'll explain that more in a bit.

They started off discussing the difference between social searches and Google searches. There were many conflicting views amongst the board but here is what I got. Google searches will get what you want but it cost time. Social searches are more customized and personalized to the user. Aaron Brazell gives the example of Thomas Hawk whose goal in life is to publish 1,000,000 photos on flickr. He has already posted about 20,000. If Aaron wanted to find a photo that Thomas took of New York a couple years ago then it would take him awhile searching Google to find that pictures. If he searched Flickr then he would speedily find what he was looking for.

These social searches interact with people because the results are based on other opinions. It comes down to the perception of trust in social networks. We tend to put a trust value on the information we find by ratings like Yelp.

Julie Minevich, who also attended, gives a good run down of the remaining questions that were discussed:

  • Is there any value in organizing and archiving old social networking actions?
  • Are mobile communities the next step in this media revolution?
  • What are the ways social networking sites are trying to create revenue?
  • Why isn’t Google more involved in this social media space?
I'll try and highlight some of the responses from the panel on these questions from the notes that I took. (Yes, I took notes with a pen and paper! I felt very lame. Especially because it was on an HP paper notepad)
  • The reason Google has not gotten involved in social searching is because they have not found a way to make money off of it. They are waiting to see how to make money off of Facebook and Twitter.
  • Blogging, twitter and all these other mobile communities are affecting the future by creating a universe in social networks. These social networks describe who we are as a person and/or company. It is becoming a way in which we create our identity.
  • Some sites for tracking social media: Trakr, Twitterbox, Radiant 6?, Blogpolls? and Relevant Noise (Someone let me know if these are correct...)
  • Facebook is behavioral advertising and behavioral marketing. The new form of advertising.
  • The great thing about social networks are that they are free. Compared to the past where you would have to pay to go to a social networking event.
  • Social Networkers are finding ways to make money by finding ways to share ads on things like FanBox.
  • Keep an eye out for Aardvark, a new start up that is like Yahoo Answers and Twitter meshed together.
The last point of discussion was on what's next. As Aaron responded, "we are finding ways to merge real life and online life. The closer you bring both together is better." We are constantly on our phones and online. For example, the best thing about this meeting was that every person was on their iPhone, Blackberry or mobile device (sadly I have not gotten an iPhone and am very uncool). While the speakers were talking everyone was on Twitter responding and making comments. As Julie said, "It was almost like there were two interconnected conversations taking place concurrently but separately. The second, the one on twitter, was, of course, a result of the in-person discussion and the twitter comments were mentioned a few times in the live discussion, but again, for the most part, they were taking place independently and simultaneously."

By the end of the night, I walked away with more than I expected. The discussion won't end due to all the new twitter friends I have attained. ( Follow me @cbenton!) It gave me a new perspective on the future and my career in life. I am looking forward to more events like these.

What are your points of view on some of the questions.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Social Media Club Event in DC

This is going to be a quick post because I have decided to post about the Social Media Club event tonight on "How to Apply Local Search, Social Media Search, and Trusted Networks to your Web marketing and Outreach"

I magically found it from reading an article on Twitter 101 which lead me to another article, another site and magically got me to the Social Media Club website. I never really knew it existed. As soon as I found out, I decided this would be a good idea for me to learn more about the realm of social media. Maybe I can get some guidance on what I should do as a future career.

I'll be at the event and give an update after the event to clue you in on things. Hopefully I can make some new friends or acquaintances. Luckily, I have already found some of the people on Twitter.

The SMC - DC event post will be Coming to a blog near you!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bad Pick-Up Lines May Get You An Electronic Baby Bracelets

Let me start off with saying that this study done by SpinVox does not seem very reliable to me. The study says that bad-pick up lines work and are still being used. For example, here are the top worst pick-up lines in the US:

  1. If you were a new sandwich at McDonalds, you'd be called McGorgeous."
  2. "Have you got a keg in your pocket, because I'd like to tap that!"
  3. "I've lost my number can I have yours?"
  4. "If this were a meat factory you'd be prime rib."
  5. "I'm like American Express, don't go home without me."
The research was conducted across 1,000 US residents between the ages of 18 and 49, using Facebook polls. They said that one-third of the women would spend the rest of the night chatting with a guy if he had a good approach. ONLY 7% said that it could lead to an overnighter. Even after a good first night, "15% of women would be too embarrassed to answer a call from someone with whom they'd previously exchanged numbers." (Meaning that things didn't go well and the women just didn't want to admit it!).

The next thing they say is that the majority of people prefer calling someone they met then texting them. (That surprised me, because the majority of people I know always text. It's easier to text than be on the phone with awkward pauses. Although, from a women's perspective, I'd rather get a phone call asking me out then a text message.* ADVICE: If you do get a date via text message, then for the second date do not text but call!*)

Here's the shocker! They claim both sexes look up their date on Facebook but that men do it more than women. (Thank heavens I have my security very high.) They suggest some basic stuff that you can ready the article for. Basically this study was done to get SpinVox publicity. Christina Domecq, CEO and co-founder of SpinVox says, "The many different options now available to communicate personal messages really seem to be making it easier for people to connect but on their own terms. Whether it's using your mobile phone to post on Facebook while on the go or simply leaving someone a spoken message delivered as a mobile text or email, SpinVox helps capture the moment and add that 'personal' touch as the recipient knows it was a spoken message." (Does that not prove my point?).

If you are lucky and a bad pick-up line gets you action then just remember to use protection.
Next thing you know, you will need this new electronic wristlet to control your mini-me. (I'm not saying you will be able to clone yourself into a little person. I'm talking about re-production.) Created by Petr Hampl, this device allows parents to send messages, alarms or graphic symbols to the solar powered display. (Maybe we won't have to have kids on leashes.) You can let kids run free but still be at your beckon call.

In closing, you can use pick-up line but everything comes with a cost. Make sure you don't end up with a baby on the way. If you do, make sure to get Petr Hampl's electronic wristlet.

I know the top picture has nothing to do with the post. I apologize, I'll try to work on that.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My Video Resume

PLease let me know what you think:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Personal Note with a Touch of Technology

I know I should really blog about some of the insane technology that is happening these days but some people wanted to know what was happening with me.
Here's the deal. I am in a state of confusion. I signed the contract to move to South Korea and teach at a GnB school in Taegu about a month ago. My understanding was that I had to send in a packet of information to get a visa approval number. I was told it would take about 2 weeks to get my approval number. I sent all my information Oct 13th, and they received the information by Oct 16th. I was told a week ago that I would receive the approval number. When I didn't receive anything, I wrote again. I was then told I should receive it this week. It's Friday and I still do not have a visa approval number. This is starting to make me concerned. Am I going to South Korea or not? If I am not going then I am back at the beginning. Looking for a job and figuring out where my path in life lies. I guess that's a pretty good sum up of where I am in life. Confused as hell and trying to pin point where I belong in life. I have ideas, passion, initiative, enthusiasm and a drive to succeed. If only the economy didn't suck right now.

On another note, I found some interesting sites that I was not aware of.

We ALL feel like we need a personal assistant. Why can't we have one? BECAUSE they are expensive and the hiring process is a hassle (just like trying to find the perfect employee or babysitter). Sandy has so far become a great personal assistant to me. As lifehacker explains,

"an information tracker you interact with via email. Register for a free account and you'll get an email address you can send your to-do's, contacts, bookmarks, notes, and appointments to in keyworded messages. Sandy receives the email, parses, stores, and organizes the information, and emails you back reminders and agendas only when you need 'em."
I have found Sandy as a better tool than iCal, Outlook and my mother put together. It can integrate with your Google, Outlook or iCal calendar. She is connected to twitter which makes things easier and she can send reminders to your phone. I just started using her and have found it very convenient so far but we will see what happens in the long run.

Last thing, through Sandy I came to discover another service or tool, known at Jott. "With a simple phone call to 866-JOTT-123, you can capture notes, set reminders and calendar appointments, stay in touch with friends and family, and interact with your favorite web sites and services...all with your voice!" I was excited at first because this sounds great! BUT there was a catch, to get all the features, you have to pay for a higher membership. I'm hoping that it's just time before they come out with a service like Jott for cellphones. It would make driving and texting a lot easier. (Not that I do that...)

Picture was edited with picnik

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Virtual Murder Equals Real Prison Sentence

A woman in Japan is facing five years in prison for killing her digital partner's avatar in the PC game Maple Story. (Unbelievable!)

The 43-year-old Japanese piano teacher killed her online virtual husband when he unexpectedly, without warning or reason, demanded a divorce. She hacked into her make-believe hubby's profile with his login information and annihilated his online character. (In my opinion, he was an idiot for giving her his login information in the first place!) The 33-year-old office worker from Sapporo, had spent a year creating his character and did not take his Maple Story alter ego's death lightly. (I guess an online marriage can seem real to some people. I'm glad it was an online marriage murder than a real world marriage murder.) He called the police and had her arrested for "illegal access on a computer and manipulating electronic data." She was taken 620 miles from her home to Sapporo and if convicted will be jailed or fined up to $6,200.

The couple had never met in person, but she told police: "I was suddenly divorced, without a word of warning. That made me so angry." (She reacted like ever woman does after a break-up. Irrationally.) Luckily, she had no intent of causing him physical harm. Instead she caused him mental and emotional harm?

Maple Story is a 2D, side-scrolling, MMRPG (Massively Multiplayer online role-playing game), free PC game with 50 million subscribers developed by the South Korean company Wizet.

Similar to World of Warcraft and Second Life, players create avatars that fight monsters and interact with other users. Creating a cool character can cost you and that's where profit comes in. The UK Times reports, "There have been reports of cottage industries in Asia where low-paid workers are employed to spend all day inhabiting the virtual worlds to create avatars that can then be sold online. "

This isn't the first time online virtual world issues have been brought to life. In August, it was reported a woman was charged for plotting to physically abduct the "boyfriend" she met through Second Life. After the man met her in person, he broke off the virtual relationship. She drove to his home and waited with a stun gun, duct tape and handcuffs.

There are more similar cases of crazy stories but it shows that people are letting these online personas warp their view of reality. People need to be careful with who they decide to betroth themselves to in the virtual world as well as the real world. What I'm wondering is, do they have prenups in virtual marriages?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wi-MAX in USB for Wireless Freedom Everywhere

Motorola is launching a USB WiMAX Device called the USBw 100, the nation's first mobile WiMAX network. Flatley from Engadget say, the "thumb-drive-sized slice of heaven will be available in three flavors, providing high-speed mobile broadband on your 2.3GHz, 2.5GHz or 3.5 GHz network."

Not a lot of information has been released yet, but the company says to expect the product by the fourth quarter of this year.

For those of you that don't know the difference between WiMAX and Wi-Fi; WiMax can provide broadband wireless access up to up to 30 miles (50 km) for fixed stations, and 3 - 10 miles (5 - 15 km) for mobile stations. Wi-Fi is limited to about 100 - 300 feet (30 - 100m). (This is obviously a very big difference. I like to have more access than less, but that's because I am American. We like to have more.) Also, WiMAX allows higher data rates over longer distances.

I e-mailed the Media Contact Haas Kathi about the product and she says it will be suitable for use globally (my guess is that it will be released worldwide?) "It will be offered through service providers initially, some of whom may sell it online, but it will be tied to a service plan, not as a stand alone device."

I asked her if she believed this USBw 100 will revolutionize Motorola as a company and why? She said "the USBw 100 is one of several WiMAX-enabled CPE we've introduced, and is part of our full portfolio of WiMAX infrastructure and device solutions. We're pursuing 4G technologies (WiMAX and LTE) as they will provide the broadband speeds and networks to enable the delivery of the personal media experiences that today's consumers want.. whether in their home, the office, or on the go. "

Sounds excellent to me! But what do you think?!?!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I want to be an iBlogger, and you?

That's right! A company called illuminex has created iBlogger, a real mobile blogging for iPhone and iPod Touch users! iBlogger works with nearly any blog, including WordPress, TypePad, and MovableType, helping bloggers post quickly from iPhone and iPod Touch, anywhere, any time.

It's said to be compatible with Blojsom, Drupal, ExpressionEngine, MovableType, TypePad, and WordPress. (If you didn't see your blog hosting site there then DON'T FRET! . . . like I did.) iBlogger has optimized plugins for easy configuration and compatibility to: LifeType, LivingDot,, SquareSpace, TypePad (I thought we already did this one), WordPress (um...I know we already mentioned this!), Xanga (that is old school!), Blogspot/Blogger (that's what I use! To bad they haven't added picture posting yet.)

It can work with any blog engine that can connect to an iBlogger generic API type like MetaWeblog or MovableType.

The point is that iBlogger will be able to let bloggers take pictures, add their thoughts, tags, categories and geotag links on the go. (That means no more carrying around a laptop and taking up space in Starbucks. BUT it means I can blog while talking to my friends. Time to be a Pro Multi-tasker!)

If you are a mac user (like me!) and have used ecto, then you might just appreciate this new app that was based on ecto. "ecto, the popular blogging application on the Mac, is the heart of iBlogger, and it purrs like a V8 motor." said Gary W. Longsine, illumineX CEO.

So what are the features?

* easily configure a blog in seconds, with RSD (Real Simple Discovery)
* post your thoughts
* effortlessly include a picture from your library, or take a picture on
the spot
* automatically saves your post in case you get a call while posting
* categories and tags to promote your blog
* customizable standard signature
* one-touch geotag location link
* works great on WiFi, 3G and EDGE networks
* Secure HTTPS connections
More Information:

iBlogger is available for $US 9.99, from the iPhone App Store

Sadly you have to pay for the app, but isn't $10 worth the ability of mobility?

Delayed Posting due to Future

I never really get personal in my blog posts. I try to keep it to news and comments on technology but since I promised to never be delayed like this, I owe you something.

Here's the deal. I have been trying to do some soul searching or life searching. I haven't found a job or gotten an opportunity for full time employment anywhere. I have been looking into moving to South Korea to teach English for a year with ASK Now (Access South Korea Now).

I know this makes no sense to many people (it doesn't make much sense to me). So I made a mini-website with the reasons why I want to go, research, information about the job and moving there. The site is for public view at the moment but in the future I may make it private. It is still not completed because I am unsure as to whether I will be teaching at the school they offered me a position at or whether I will have the option to teach at a different school.

I am keeping my options open at the moment. If an amazing job opportunity presents itself soon then I may not go. For the moment, I have nothing keeping me here in the US of A. Unless you know something I don't know.

Someone once told me that "you don't have to start your career now. Whatever you do at this moment in your life will not define you or set you back from beginning a career." The one thing I have taken from reading, "Roadtrip Nation" is to follow your heart or passion. Take the opportunities thrown at you because you never know where they will lead you.

Please feel free to give me your opinions or comments.

Thank you for sticking with me and I will try to keep things figured out so there won't be anymore delays.

Seeing how this works

Haven't used this in awhile but thought Id try again

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Laptop Bags that Breeze through Airport Security

If you remember the post about the 12,000 lost laptops in airports statistic then you should understand why Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been working with case manufacturers to create "checkpoint-friendly" laptop bags that can be passed through security without have to remove your computer.

They started allowing the bags in late August so people can protect their notebooks from being damaged, forgotten (really?!!?) and stolen (makes sense because of all the laptops that get stolen). If your wondering whether your bag will breeze through the checkpoints, then check whether it meets the TSA's criteria. The TSA has five official specifications for bags:
  1. A designated laptop-only section.
  2. A laptop-only section that completely unfolds to lay flat on the X-ray conveyor belt.
  3. No metal snaps, zippers or buckles inside, underneath or on top of the laptop-only section.
  4. No pockets on the inside or outside of the laptop-only section.
  5. Nothing packed in the laptop-only section other than the computer itself.
"To meet these requirements, case makers have come up with three basic bag designs: zippered clamshells that open flat with your laptop on one side and everything else on the other; double- or triple-compartment bags that unfold and lie flat like a garment bag, again with the laptop on one side; and simple notebook sleeves that either fit into a larger bag (in which case you'll need to take the sleeve out for scanning) or are carried alone. Many existing sleeves meet these criteria, as long as they don't have pockets or metal parts on the sides. "
Thanks to Beck Waring from Computer World's article, she lists eight of the best and latest TSA-approved notebook bags to cut the time spent at the security checkpoint.

  1. Aerovation Checkpoint Friendly Laptop Bag-The first checkpoint-friendly bag created for $129.95 is "designed to give the traveler access to files, pens, cell phone and media. There's also enough room for a change of underwear and toiletries."
  2. CODi Phantom CT3 - has many comparments and is 16.5 by 6.25 by 12.25 inches and 2.5 lbs. for $225
  3. Mobile Edge ScanFast Backpack - "hold laptops with displays up to 15.4 inches, cost $99.99. Most notable, however, is the ScanFast Backpack, also $99.99, the only such model we found. It holds notebooks with up to 17-in. displays and unzips to open flat for security. The padded notebook compartment is in the back, while the front half has several zippered pockets to organize your gear and reading materials. Overall dimensions are 19 by 14 by 7 inches."
  4. Pathfinder Wheeled Checkpoint Friendly CompuBrief - It has wheels for $149!! Unless you don't like wheels then you can buy it for $99. It can hold up to a 15.4-in. display and unzips to lie flat on the security belt. The Wheeled Checkpoint Friendly CompuBrief is 14 by 8 by 17 inches and weighs 7 lbs. Both have many compartments and zippers (like many bags do...)
5. Skooba Design Checkthrough - for $139.95, it has an inside clear laptop compartment that unzips to rush through the screening. Designed to hold 15-in. laptops, the vendor claims that many 16- and compact 17-in. models will also fit. Overall dimensions are 17 by 13 by 7.5 inches; it weighs 3 lbs.

6. Solo CheckFast Laptop Clamshell -Available in November for $50!! It's a very slim and efficent bag that holds a 15.4-in display and has padded safety with comparements.

7. Targus Zip-Thru 15.4" Corporate Traveler Laptop Case- Available in October for $99.99. It has "adjustable air cushioning system around the notebook compartment that helps prevent drop damage." Has many more comparemtents and holds 15.4-in or smaller displays.

8. Tom Bihn Checkpoint Flyer Briefcase- A favorite amongst travelers, this $220 case has three hinged compartments that fold up into a compact case. It can fit smaller overhead bins, expands to 18.5 by 12.5 by 7.5 inches, more than 10 compartments and "comes in three sizes for 13-, 15- and 17-in. notebooks, and doubles as a laptop sleeve, complete with handles."

I don't know about you but getting through those insane security checkpoints faster has got me booking a flight. LITERALLY!

[Via ComputerWorld]

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Paper Clips Have Feelings

These little added  marks of affection are paper clips with emotive objects emphasizing an emotion. Clip Language was designed by Mi-So Sim, and will help any person display their emotion by paper clip. (This reminds me of personalized stationary and colored glitter pens. I see little kids buying into this and some people that have trouble expressing themselves but it will only be a fad.

Let the paper clips reign! I only communicate via paper clips. How do you communicate?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Grow the Apple in a Box?

I never thought it was possible but now we can pre-box our apples! (I had to add the Apple logo because I felt it fit the logo.)

The Eco Box is "a concept to change the way we ripen, harvest, and deliver fresh fruit." The box is supposed to protect the fruit from insects and make it easier for apple pickers to pick the fruit and sell it. The reason the box has holes is to give the fruit air circulation which supposedly helps allow the fruit to ripen to it's fullest potential. The designer is Jung Hyuk, whom I had a hard time finding info about.

Why doesn't Apple get in on this. They could really help sell apples to promote themselves. It would be a lot better than the Burger King Apple Fries commercial!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Johnny X leads XPERIA

When did trailer's of TV shows become a commercials for mobile phones?!?! (I have to be honest, it is a great marketing technique and it caught my attention.) The new product being displayed in this cinema style commercial trailer is the XPERIA from Sony Ericsson.  

The trailer hit the Internet and it's only time before the phone hits. (The only thing I'm wandering is does the phone really save you, or remind you who you are? Does this remind you of product placement?) As says, "I won’t give the plot away but it’s very cool and I’d 100 percent pay to see this movie, if it were ever to come to the theater. Instead, I have to sign up to be notified when new episodes hit." 

To watch the clip, check it out at


Saturday, September 6, 2008

DJ Hello Kitty For Sale

The cost is $25 dollars and this  is the Hello Kitty Action DJ Speakers. I other words the little adorable kitty pretends to DJ to the beat of your music. (It sounds great and all but honestly I would rather have a Steve Jobs Action DJ Speaker or a GW Bush Action DJ Speaker!)

Thursday, September 4, 2008


I wanted to share with you that I have now bought an expensive MAC BOOK Pro and will show you the pictures of the thing!

This does not mean I have gone to the dark side. It just means I'm upgrading a bit. I'm still new to the Mac World but I am slowly learning so I apologize (once again) for the delay.

I have to admit that Mac's are easier to use and I have already noticed the time saving ability that has occurred. (Will I take over the world with my new toy?  I will not answer that.)

My question is, did I spend $2,167 wisely. Please let me know what you think.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

No Mess with This Desk!

Why have a mess on top of the table when you can hide the mess under the table! This table designed by Quentin Vaulot and Luiza Barroso for "creative professionals to store materials, notes, and tools underneath, the top surface upsets." Who wouldn't like being able to just stuff things under the desk?

What has the world come to?!? It looks like someone broke a table and then called it a design by putting hooks underneath the broken part!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Google Chrome Browser Download Mystery

It's just time before Google creates their very own computer or phone. There have always been rumors about Google taking over the world but this is getting them closer to that goal. They have created a new open source web browser project dubbed Chrome. The browser is supposed to be an open source that is stable, faster, secure, clean, simple, and efficient. Compared to the way browsers were created that limit the functionality that we use for them today.

The genius perk to Chrome is the ability to have "each tab in an isolated 'sandbox', we were able to prevent one tab from crashing another and provide improved protection from rogue sites. We improved speed and responsiveness across the board. We also built a more powerful JavaScript engine, V8, to power the next generation of web applications that aren't even possible in today's browsers."

They released a 35 pg comic book describing the product (if you are really bored and have the time, then you can read it.) In my opinion, they should have a press release or something short describing the product than a 35 pg comic book that you have to continue to click "next" to get to each page. I found this page that gives you a better insight into the product. (WARNING some of the videos no longer exist)

The BEST part of this release is that it was supposed to be available for downloading TODAY!! Yet, when I clicked on trying to download it from other sites the link would not work. THEN I found a link to download Chrome.
I have now started using Chrome and am not sure what I think about it. It does seem to work much faster but I do miss my Google Toolbar that had spell check and other wondrous tools. With every new service, product or tool there are pros and cons.

[Via Official Google Blog]

Monday, September 1, 2008

All Caught Up for Fire

I apologize for my absence in blogging. I wanted to give some of my readers some time to catch up in my posts and some time for me to straighten out my life.

I had a very hard addiction to the Internet (which I do not feel is a bad thing but some people disagree with me).
I just wanted to let you know that I am BACK!!

My job had gotten in the way of me devoting my time to you. Therefore, I suggested my company to get a robot to help them use Microsoft Excel. For some reason, I am an EXPERT at Excel. (It's called online training)

I'm ready to face the fire and buy a MacBook Pro!!! Time to focus on this little blog and build something beautiful so don't worry. I'm coming at you full force and with fire!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Record the Experience: Jik Experience Recorder

It looks like a retro glove from the 80's or Micheal Jackson's stylish handcuffs for little boys gloves (because you know he would have something like that.) In reality, it's Valeria Fuso's designed "Experience Recorder" that " fits on the hand and records not only photos, but sounds, movement, video, and temperature." The Italian designer says the product is, "Non si progettano prodotti, bensi comportamenti." This translates to, "Design not just products; design behavior." (How does it design behavior?!?! Maybe translates behavior!) The product has movement sensors, an audio recorder, still-image camera, video camera, thermometer, and wireless computer connection. It can record in auto mode, meaning it decides on its own, which information to collect. You can also put the device on manual mode. In manual mode, the user must activate the Experience Recorder through sensors in the fingers of the glove. To record in manual mode, the user must make their fingers into an O shape, and look through the newly formed finger-viewfinder to see what will be recorded.

It's micro-blogging!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Man's Best Friend Is MANVAN!

The idea that a man wants a pimped out sports car is so yesterday. The new thing is vans with extendable backs allowing outrageous amenities, as well as indoor and outdoor use. These vans are known as a MANVAN! A football loving man would be able to watch a big screen TV outside while having some drinks with the guys. The MANVAN will be fully customizable and easily accessible at the Manvan website.

The reality is that it has not been created yet. The Manvan was influenced by the NISSAN NV200 and designed by Ms. Aimee LoDuca. (I just want to say that this was deigned by a woman. Meaning that she came up with the idea while trying to find a way to get her significant other out of the house. If that was the case, then I would rather get out of the house and party in my sh-nazzy car!).

My suggestion is to check out the NISSAN NV200 because the similarity is unbelievable and when it comes out (which will be sooner than this car) you could use the van as an office on the go!

[Via Yanko Design]

Monday, August 25, 2008

Forget Craiglist! Use to Scalp

How many times have you scoured (I wanted to use this word) the Internet looking for tickets to a football game? After looking for countless hours, you start to think you might as well go to the game and pay a ridiculous price for a ticket from a scalper. (I've never done it, but I know people do.)

GREAT NEWS FOOTBALL FANS! The National Football League and Ticketmaster have teamed up (like a football team!) to offer NFL's first-ever ticket exchange service on NFL.COM.
The new service "enables fans to buy or resell tickets to NFL games through a convenient, league-endorsed website." the program developed by Ticketmaster will allow ticket exchanges for all 2008 preseason and regular season games, Playoffs and the Super Bowl.

The point of the service is to give fans (if they aren't going to the game then they are not a TRUE fan) who are unable to attend a game a way to sell their tickets to other fans who want to buy or upgrade their seats. (It's not like craigslist doesn't give you this option.) "The ticket exchange service provides fans the opportunity to find and buy resold tickets in a secure environment, in most cases with the ability to electronically validate the resold tickets at the time of purchase. Fans seeking to buy tickets may go to the site to view and purchase tickets offered for games that might be sold out, or obtain a ticket located in a specific seating section that might not otherwise be available."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Audi A4 Challenges IPhone Users Driving

The first major car manufacturer to tap into the iPhone phenomenon would be Audi. They created a new iPhone application called the "Audi A4 Challenge." As the news release states,

"a driving game that utilizes the iPhone's accelerometer (motion sensor) to steer
a digital version of Audi's entirely new 2009 A4 through a series of
progressively challenging courses. Players maneuver the course and race against
the clock to beat their own personal best time. The application is now available
free of charge on Apple's iPhone Application Store. The 2009 Audi A4 will be
available in Audi dealerships nationwide starting in September of 2008."

The game was created in two weeks and is featured on their specifically designed for the iPhone website: As Scott Mellin, CEO of Factory Design Labs (the ones who created this ingenious marketing campaign) says, "This is the first application by an automotive OEM, but it's also reinventing the shopping experience. In combination with the A4 iPhone web site, this is the first viable mobile marketing solution in the automotive space. Importantly, it is also a unique way to engage the consumer with the DNA of the Audi brand."

As a person that values a good marketing campaign and a company that embraces technology; I commend them on their approach to engage consumers. The other part of me is screaming at the idea that every car maker will be looking for a way to up the ante. It's only time before they find a way abuse this idea. hopefully it will not come to that and companies will continue to leave the choice to the consumer as to whether they want to learn about the product.