Mr. Rogers’ Advice On Talking To Kids About Tragic Events

Mr. Rogers "Helpers" Quote

Mr. Rogers "Helpers" Quote

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster’, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”
– Mr. Rogers

Posted in Mish-Mosh Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Not cool, Bing.

Bing Translate: Chag Sameach = Merry Christmas?

Bing Translator: Chag Sameach = Merry Christmas?
I know it’s illegible at this size, so click the image to see a larger, clearer version. For those of you that don’t know or can’t read Hebrew, that says “Chag Sameach”, which is the traditional Jewish greeting for “Happy holiday”. Obviously Bing didn’t get the memo that we don’t celebrate Christmas.

Posted in Funny, Judaism Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Hanukkah Is The Most American Holiday

Hanukkah Is The Most American Holiday

Hanukkah Is The Most American Holiday

Hanukkah is the most American holiday. It’s a celebration of burning oil we don’t have.

Posted in Funny, Judaism Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

View Your iPhone’s Numeric Signal Strength

iPhone Field Test

Starting way back with iOS 4.1 and continuing through the latest version (6.0.1 at the time of this writing), Apple has enable a hidden “Field Test” mode which allows users to, among other things, see the exact signal strength of their cellular connection instead of the arbitrary bars which, as we all know, don’t always perfectly indicate how poor of a signal we’ve actually got. Simply by entering the Field Test mode, you can see this numeric value and get a feel for how good or bad your signal might be. Getting that number to stay there in place of the bars is a bit trickier, but still quite easy to accomplish. Here’s how.

  1. First thing’s first, you’ll have to open up your Phone to make a call, tap on the Keypad, and enter in the following: *3001#12345#*. As soon as you tap Call, it will open up the Field Test mode.
    iPhone Field Test Code
  2. As soon as the Field Test screen opens up, you’ll notice that instead of the standard reception bars in the upper left-hand corner of your screen, you’ve got a negative number indicating the decibels referenced to one milliwatt (dBm). Keeping in mind that these are negative numbers, anything “greater” than about -100dBm is decent reception, with -50dBm being perfect. Anything “below” about -110dBm and you can safely assume there’s a good chance you’ll drop the call and you might have trouble with data.
    iPhone Field Test
  3. Now that you know how to read the new number in the corner of your screen, the tricky part is getting them to stay there once you leave the Field Test. Tap on the screen where the numbers are so that it switches back over to the bars. Once you’ve done that, hold down the Sleep Button on your phone until the “slide to power off” screen comes on. Instead of turning the phone off or hitting cancel, just hold down your home button for several seconds. It’ll cancel out of everything and return you to your home screen, but now it will show the numeric reception value instead of the bars.

That’s it! Unless you go back in to the Field Test and tinker with it again, it should permanently give you access to the numerical signal strength of your iPhone. You can even tap on the numbers whenever you’d like to go back and forth between the numeric value and the bars.

Posted in Apple Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

5 iPhone Apps Better Than The Defaults


Anyone who says that Apple doesn’t pay attention to detail when they’re releasing a built-in application for the iPhone or Mac OS X clearly doesn’t know the company that well (the maps debacle is an obvious exception, not the rule). Sometimes, however, a third party developer just shines so much brighter than the default app that it needs recognition. The following apps do exactly that and deserve a place on any iPhone homescreen in place of Apple’s built-in alternatives.

    Google Chrome iPhone AppChrome – Free
    When it comes to browsers, I’ve never been a huge fan of Safari — both on the desktop and on the iOS. For a long time, if you wanted to browse the web on your iPhone, Safari was your only choice. In comes Google’s Chrome and I’m longing for a way to (without jailbreaking) set a “default browser” that isn’t Safari. It handles tabs better, offers incognito mode, and seems to run a little quicker than Safari. It even offers bookmark, history, and password syncing if you use Chrome on your desktop as well. The only major complaint I have is that more applications don’t offer a way to “view in Chrome” when opening a webpage inside of them.

    Camera+ – $0.99
    The built-in Camera app for the iPhone does exactly what it needs to do. Autofocus, optional grid, HDR, etc. Camera+ offers everything the built-in camera can do and then some. The autofocus is more easily targeted, while using autofocus you can also separately adjust where the exposure should be and zooming is significantly easier. As if that isn’t enough, there’s also an optional stabilizer, timer, burst mode, horizon marker, and a bunch of other more advanced options that anyone who wants more than the most basic point-and-shoot options will love. This is the app you have to thank for introducing taking a picture with the volume button. Just like Chrome, the only downside is that you can’t set this to be the go-to camera application when opening the camera from the lock screen.

    Clear AppClear – $1.99
    Frankly, I’ve never been a fan of Apple’s “Notes” app. It sits in a folder on my phone labeled “Unused” along with Safari, Stocks, Videos, Compass, and other apps that I never open. Clear, however, is the exact level of ease and polish that I’d expect from Apple themselves in a list-keeping or note taking app. Not only is it simple to use at every level, but it also syncs through iCloud with a desktop version. If you’re like me and most of your “notes” consist of a few words or maybe a line or two, then give Clear a look. If you’re actually taking lengthy notes, then do yourself a favor and pick up Pages. Clear probably considers themselves more of a replacement for “Reminders”, but without any kind of notifications it offers much better functionality as a list/notes app than as a to-do list.

    AccuWeather AppAccuWeather – Free
    Let’s be honest, if you gave a monkey a copy of [amazon_link id=”1118091345″ target=”_blank” ]iPhone Application Development For Dummies[/amazon_link], it could probably write a better weather app than what comes with the iPhone. There’s a ton of good options out there and I’ve tried many of them, but I’ve always been partial to AccuWeather. It’s free, it’s accurate, it has way more weather information than you can possibly need, and (my personal favorite) if offers timely severe weather alerts via push notification.

    StockWatch AppStockWatch – $1.99
    Much like the Weather app, Apple’s default “Stocks” app is a steaming pile of mediocrity. If you’re looking for the current price of a few different stocks and/or indices, then you’ll be fine with the default. If, however, you actually want to keep track of a portfolio and need more detailed information, then look no further than StockWatch.

It probably goes without saying that this list is in no way definitive, so if you’ve got another suggestion or an alternate app to any of the ones I listed above, please feel free to share it in the comments below.

Posted in Apple Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DIY Flo from Progressive Insurance Costume

Progressive Insurance Flo

⚠⚠⚠ UPDATE ⚠⚠⚠
This post is quite old, and likely contains broken links. Find an updated version, plus many more ideas at

My wife and I decided, at my suggestion, to be television commercial characters for Halloween this year. Personally, I think it turned out great. I went as The Most Interesting Man in the World, while she went as Flo, of Progressive Insurance fame. It was a pretty easy costume to put together, so give it a shot.

Progressive Insurance Flo[amazon_link id=”B002JM16BE” target=”_blank” ]White Apron[/amazon_link]
Obviously this is a great starting point for the costume. Get a nice white apron, but some [amazon_link id=”B00006B8FS” target=”_blank” ]iron-on tshirt transfers[/amazon_link], print out the Progressive logo across the chest of the apron, and you’re all set.

[amazon_link id=”B009ETOFFO” target=”_blank” ]Name Tag & I Love Insurance Button[/amazon_link]
If you’ve ever worked retail, you might have some old ones sitting around some where that you can cover with a white sticker and either draw on the name along with the orange and blue bars at the top or print it out from your computer on to the sticker. If you haven’t managed to accumulate at least one of these in your life, then you can always pick up a pre-made button/name tag set from the above link.

[amazon_link id=”B0056X75QS” target=”_blank” ]White Collared Blouse[/amazon_link] with [amazon_link id=”B008HPOFW4″ target=”_blank” ]White Pants[/amazon_link]
This part is pretty straight forward and some of you may even already one or both of these as part of your wardrobe. Regardless of the exact style, if it’s white it’ll work.

[amazon_link id=”B002AMY9HG” target=”_blank” ]Hair[/amazon_link], [amazon_link id=”B007SMA4Q8″ target=”_blank” ]Headband[/amazon_link], and [amazon_link id=”B002LFLQ8W” target=”_blank” ]Lipstick[/amazon_link]
If you’ve got long straight brown hair, you’re already set in that department. If you’ve got long brown hair, but it isn’t straight, you can straighten it. If all else fails, get a suitable wig. Once your hair is set, just add the headband and get your lips nice and bright red.

[amazon_link id=”B002VH2K26″ target=”_blank” ]Navy Converse Shoes[/amazon_link]
Honestly, you probably don’t need to worry about the shoes. Most people won’t look at your feet and certainly won’t judge your costume because of them. If, however, you want to make sure everything is exact, these are the shoes you’ll need.

I hope your Flo from Progressive Insurance costume turns out as great as my wife’s did.

Progressive Insurance Flo Costume

Posted in DIY Tagged with: , , ,

DIY The Most Interesting Man in the World Costume

The Most Interesting Man in The World

⚠⚠⚠ UPDATE ⚠⚠⚠
This post is quite old, and likely contains broken links. Find an updated version, plus many more ideas at

The Most Interesting Man in The WorldHe is fluent in all languages, including three that he only speaks. On every continent in the world, there is a sandwich named after him. When he drives a new car off the lot, it increases in value. He lives vicariously through himself. His beard alone has experienced more than a lesser man’s entire body. He is… The Most Interesting Man in the World. Now, you too can be him. Or at least look like him.

[amazon_link id=”B003U8MMYQ” target=”_blank” ]Black Tuxedo w/White Shirt[/amazon_link]
If you’ve already got a Tuxedo, perfect. If you don’t, the one I linked too is about the cheapest tux I’ve ever seen. Alternately, a black suit will also do the trick. Leave the tie off, unbutton the top button, and you’re all set.

Metal Watch
If you’ve got a nice metal watch, it’ll probably work great for this costume. Don’t worry if it’s broken, as his broken watch is right 24 times a day.

Hair & Beard
If you’ve already got gray hair, then all you need to do is neatly trim (or grow) you beard and brush your hair back. If you’ve got the right hair and beard, but the wrong coloring, you can simply [amazon_link id=”B001OELXPC” target=”_blank” ]spray it[/amazon_link]. If all else fails, look around and see if you’re able to find a suitable trim gray fake beard. I wasn’t able to find a good one, but that doesn’t meet it doesn’t exist.

Dos Equis
He doesn’t always drink beer, but when he does, he prefers Dos Equis. This is a must-have for any “Most Interesting Man in the World” costume. If you’re going to a BYOB party, then this is perfect. Pick up a 12-pack on your way. If your party is of the non-alcoholic variety, then be sure to polish one of these off before hand and bring the empty with you.

And that, my friends, is how you transform yourself in to The Most Interesting Man in the World. Here’s how it turned out when I wore it.

The Most Interesting Man in the World

Posted in DIY, Mish-Mosh Tagged with: , , , ,

Not sure if happier that Obama won…

Not sure if happier that Obama won... or that Romney lost.

Not sure if happier that Obama won... or that Romney lost.

Posted in Funny, Politics Tagged with: , , , , ,

Obama wins! This one’s for you, Republicans.

Obama Deal With It

Obama Deal With It

Posted in Funny, Politics Tagged with: , , , ,

Amazon Binder Review

Amazon Binder Review

In the wake of Mitt Romney’s infamous “binders full of women”, the Internet has gone crazy with memes, Halloween costumes, jokes, and just about any other conceivable way to make fun of it. Most get somewhere between a smile and chuckle out me, but this Amazon review for a three-ring binder quite literally made me laugh out loud. Kudos to you, ‘Kefsmom’.

Amazon Binder Review

Posted in Funny, Internet, Politics Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,