Archive for January, 2009

Gadget Friday: Instant Video Surveillance System

January 16, 2009

Scott McGrewThis gadget will help you keep an eye on things at home. Home security cameras have been around for quite awhile, but this setup from local company AVerMedia has won awards because it’s so easy: four cameras and a DVR.

Plug the DVR into the wall, turn the cameras on, put them where you want (they’re wireless), and you’re all done.

You can monitor all four cameras at once like a mall cop.. or you can zoom into just one.

Model: Avermedia EB1704HB WiFi-4 Hybrid DVR/NVRs
More info: http://www.avermedia-usa.com/surveillance/productdetail.aspx?id=21
List Price: $1599 (we’ve seen it available for $1279)

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How Have You Been?

January 12, 2009

Craig Herrera:
Craig HerreraI love catching up with friends of old! For me, one of the best parts of life is collecting friends along the journey. And even though we lose touch, they are often in my mind. Different people come into my mind at different times, it all depends on what I might be doing. A memory of an old friend might make me smile while I’m watching an old TV show, or I might be visiting a city or restaurant, or maybe a song on the radio, or it might be a movie that will spark a memory of a friend I’ve made in my adventures. I am so happy that I am now in touch with so many old friends, all thanks to the internet and a little web site called Facebook, perhaps you’ve heard of it! 🙂

Our morning show Executive Producer John Peck started a Facebook page for our morning team last summer and since we did, and I started my own page, and I have had so much fun catching up with old friends, or should I state, friends I’ve made in life.

craigyearbookI love it! I’ve found old roommates from college, old co-workers and most recently, old high school friends. The timing is just perfect too as I need to plan our 20th Class Reunion in the summer of 2010. I have 17 months to find everyone and plan this milestone and I’m so happy to say I’ve tracked down about 10 percent of my class already. And many other friends who were in different classes before and after me. It’s fun to learn where they live, what they are doing and how life has changed as they have become adults in different parts of the country and world. For example, one of classmates now lives in Belize and has her own business. A few are in Portland where one is working with children on The Mentoring Project, and one is raising a family and home schooling her children. While some have moved, one is back in Germany, another is in Dallas, and many are near home and raising beautiful families. One was even elected a U.S. Congressman in the last election. craigyearbook2I grew up in a small town called Pojoaque, New Mexico, it’s about 10 miles north of Santa Fe, between Santa Fe, Taos and Los Alamos, and it’s so great to hear from some of my classmates. When I said I found 10 percent of my class, I mean all 12 of them! My graduating class was a just over 100, so I hope I can round them all up in time for our reunion in the summer of 2010. I was honored to be Class President, so I think the duty of organizing the reunions fell in my laps back in 1990, and I gladly accepted and now I’m working to make sure we get it all together. This has just been one of my journeys back in time on Facebook, oh what fun!

Craig Herrera
NBC Bay Area Meteorologist

Early Morning Leads to Unexpected Entertainment

January 11, 2009

Brent Cannon:
Brent CannonI guess it’s official. I am a morning guy. We keep unusual hours. Laura and I used to get up work day mornings at about 3:00. That changed a week ago to 2:15 because our newscast now starts at 4:30AM instead of at 5:00AM.

We have been doing this now for several years. Nine years at this station, and before that I did the morning news for two years in Phoenix.

I have always steered clear of saying you get used to it, because I don’t think you really do. It just is not natural to wake up at two or three in the morning on a daily basis for years on end.

But I really noticed a change recently while Laura and I were on vacation. I woke up at 4:00 or 4:30‘ish – feeling refreshed and ready to go. I pushed it by trying to stay in bed until 5:00AM.

On the flip side I cannot stay up past 8:00PM. I tried. I was watching a great game on TV – and woke up in the 4th quarter. I fell asleep on the couch. Family wants to go to diner at 7:00 and I cringe. I know I will virtually be sleepwalking by then.

And here’s the real kicker. One of the final nights of vacation, Laura and I both woke up at about 2:30 and couldn’t sleep. We all got up. She, the cat, the dog and I all went downstairs and watched infomercials. It was a hoot. We saw some funny stuff. It is amazing what they come up with to sell. I saw the “Shamwow” – and these slipper things you put on your feet and “swiffer” the floor by kind of skating around! There was some sort of putty, glue stuff, and all sorts of kitchen gadgets. The thing is, you laugh, but then they “mind meld” you and you start thinking, “Hey, that’s a good idea. Maybe I’ll order that.”

Anyway, we didn’t buy anything thing, but we watched for an hour or so and decided to go back to bed and try to sleep. I think I napped for another hour and then got up.

So I guess it’s official. I’m a morning guy now. A really early morning guy.

Brent Cannon
NBC Bay Area Anchor

Gadget Friday: Ssshhh! The Super Secret Camera Spy Lens

January 9, 2009

Scott McGrewThe Super Secret Camera Spy Lens, or SSCSL from here on out, is a lens that screws onto your exisiting threaded camera lens. Inside is a mirror. The mirror allows the SSCSL to act as a periscope – while it would APPEAR you’re pointing the camera in one direction, the picture you’re taking is actually at 90 degrees.

So if you have a familiy member who absolutely freezes up into a stupid posed grin every time you point a camera at them, you can pretend to be taking a picture of something else and catch them in a nice unposed shot.

Now, if you look closely -or even casually- at the lens, you see the trick. But the truth is, most people won’t pay any attention to what you’re doing.

Works with any SLR, and any other camera with a threaded front. 37mm, 49mm, 52mm, 55mm, 58mm, 62mm, 67mm, 72mm, and 77mm

Cost: $55
More info: http://photojojo.com/store/awesomeness/candid-photography-spy-lens

Scott McGrew
NBC Bay Area Business & Technology Reporter

The Inouye Old School House Party

January 7, 2009

Mike Inouye:
Mike InouyeI think I’m old fashioned.

Cool.

My son’s birthday was at the end of December and we had, amongst other family festivities, a small party with a few of his more frequent playmates… Strike that, he’s just turned three and at that age they don’t play WITH each other so much as NEAR each other. I guess they’re more like “other kids he plays AROUND.”

No matter.

My wife and I threw him a little party where the kids made their own pizzas, even choosing the toppings they wanted (or didn’t want, as you see from these pictures).

pizzascookingjustplainpizza

After the pizzas were cooked and NOT eaten, and the juice/punch fueled kiddies had filled their tummies with Goldfish crackers, cake and ice cream instead, they escaped to the play area for another hour of playing near each other.

No fights, no crying… it was a GREAT party.

Later, we got a message from one of our friends sharing some pictures and letting us know how much she enjoyed coming to an “old fashioned” birthday party that someone actually had at their house. (After thinking about it, we realized in his scant three years of party-going he’d celebrated birthdays at Gymboree, KidsPark, Pump It Up and a number of other pretty big shindigs at parks around the Bay Area.)

Our pizza party was not intended to be any sort of counter-culture statement. In fact, we thought it was actually kind of lazy of us. It does, however, seem to be a bit different than the type of suggestion you find as a result of a simple web search for “kids birthday party”. (Click here to see some results.)

Imagine that: we managed to have a cool birthday party, one that was not the same old thing, by having the same old “home” party I used to have when I was a kid.

So, the party was old fashioned… which made it new fashioned…

I hope that doesn’t cause some sort of infinite loop or weird rift in the time-space continuum.

I think I’m old fashioned.

Cool.

Mike Inouye
Pizza Party Animal
NBC Bay Area Traffic Anchor

New Year’s Cravings

January 6, 2009

Laura Garcia Cannon:
Laura Garcia CannonYou know that New Year’s is here, not just because all the sales on half price 2009 calendars at the mall kiosk, but all the ads on how to lose weight. Beat the diet monster, have you called Jenny yet? I heard there’s a new Atkins diet that now lets you eat carbs! Wasn’t the lack of eating carbs that made this diet famous and successful for some? Meat, bacon, lamb shanks oh my! Add a piece of bread? It’s just not Atkins anymore! So the “no carb” is now “some carb,” and when I looked up the “low fat” – I also found the “full fat” diet! No kidding, whole milk, cheese.. Mmm can I dish up a nice bowl of ice cream on that one? Is there a hot fudge diet? Maybe I should patent that one now. I do remember seeing a book at the checkout line on the peanut butter diet, I bet Homer Simpson has the “Du-ohnut diet.” Just follow it up with the detox diet and we’ll call it good. Three day diet, Zone diet, Mediterranean diet, South Beach diet, Grapefruit diet, cabbage soup diet, Hollywood diet oh my. I don’t even want to go on a diet but it’s amazing how many there are out there, makes me hungry for some reason.

Laura Garcia Cannon
NBC Bay Area Anchor