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Ted talk on Education

I found this video last week and was blown away.  The Kahn Academy is promoting a brand new way to teach.  Watch the Ted Video first, then check out the organizations website: http://www.khanacademy.org/ Enjoy!!

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Alice – everyone needs an alice

alice-logoEvery now and then, I find a useful site on the internet that I feel is worth sharing. Alice.com is one of those sites. I read about Alice from a blog post.

Alice.com is a shopping site. It’s in beta, so that means there may still be some bugs (although I have seen sites in beta for several years). They sell household goods that you use everyday. If you are like the Souza’s, you buy the same brand of trash bags, razor blades, napkins, etc. every time you go to the store. Alice lets you take those items, put them on a virtual shelf then when it’s time to get some more, you drag and drop it to the shopping cart. They ship it out and POOF you have your stuff delivered to the front door via UPS.  Like that little smile you get when the box has an amazon logo on it, your Alice box is black and blue. “Gather around kids, the dish soap just arrived!!”

Coupons
If you like our family, you know coupons are great. Also, if you are like us, you never use them because of the pain-in-the-ass they are to organize and remember to take to the store. Alice solves that by applying your coupons for you. They tell you what items have coupons and if you buy that item, they take the coupon off. Hello, I love idiot proof!

IMG_1889.JPGShipping
All orders from Alice.com include free shipping. How cool is that? I put my first order in yesterday to give this service a try. I got an email a few hours later that my stuff had shipped. Last night I clicked the UPS tracking link and smiled when I saw the origination scan: Indianapolis, IN. The warehouse for Alice is in Indy (I’m sure they have others). That means that any order I put in will be delivered the next day as we are only 90 miles away from Indianapolis. God bless Danville, IL!!! Sure as shooting, the UPS lady was here this morning with my razor blades and trash bags.

Prices
I will be honest, I was a little skeptical when it came to prices. If you are buying online and receive free shipping, it’s got to cost more, right? Much to my surprise, the prices are the same as our local stores. Now, does that mean some items are more? I’m sure they are. But from what I saw, their prices are right in line.

Refer-A-Friend Program
So, you like Alice and you sign up. You have a good experience, like me, and you tell a pal or two. Give them a link from you and you get $10 when they place their first order and 3% of what they spend for the next year. So, with my $60 order yesterday, someone could have made $11.80 off me. So, if you are going to sign up, click the link below and let me get some kickback off you buying toilet paper.

Cool little extras
Budget – There are also some nifty budget screens that allow you to see where your money is going. You can see by month, 3 month, this year what you have spent in what areas.
Shop by room – click on bathroom and pick out the items you need for that room.
Product planner – this allows you to set the frequency to be reminded to order something. You don’t automatically get shipped it and charged, they just give you a “heads-up” that you usually order this every x weeks. (Auto ship is coming soon according to the website.)
Profile/Friends – in true social networking form, they have a community. So, you can share with your friends that Dawn is a better detergent than Palmolive. Comes complete with chat room and all.
Twitter – Alice is on Twitter at: @alice

Bottom Line
You are gonna need toilet paper, you are gonna need razors, all things being equal, I would rather answer the door than go to Wal-Mart to pick these items up. Give them a look-see, if you like it sign up and help pay for my dishwasher soap.

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Wolfram|Alpha & I'm halfway there.

wolframalphaWolframAlpha was launched this week. It’s been touted as the possible Google killer. While that is yet to be seen, it is pretty cool. I see it as Google for math geeks, but then again I have only tried it out for about 1/2 hour.

If you type in your birthday, you get all kinds of info about the date. I am officially 38 years 9 months and 29 days old. Or for the more math-happy 2026 weeks, 14182 days or 38.83 years ago. I was born on the 199th day of the 29th week.

Half my life is over

According to WolframAlpha, the life expectancy for a 38 year-old male is 77.54 years. Divided by 2, you get 38.77. Wait a minute. Didn’t I say that I was 38.83 years old? That means that this week marks the halfway point of my life. (In fact, if I do the math, it was yesterday) Wow, that’s depressing. Or is it?

I don’t want to dwell on this for too long. However, we all know that I will.I guess the real question is: What will I do with the remaining 14182 days? Enough for now, this post is about WolframAlpha.

Other Cool Wolfram Stuff

Did you know that my son is 6″ taller than the average 7 year old?
I finally know how much wood could a woodchuck chuck?
If you are vain (and who has not “Googled” themselves?) you get your name rank. (Before you ask, Smith is number 1)
You can compare stocks.
Want all the information about weather you can handle?
And of course, how far is it from Danville to Cleveland?

Wolfram is still in alpha, meaning that it was just launched and there are plenty of bugs. Gotta run, my life is 1/2 over and I got a bunch of crap to do!!!

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Pause button….for 20 years.

pause.jpgAhhhh, the Facebook. A place to connect with friends of old and new. A place to see what is going on in your friends life. A place to upload drunk pictures from your phone.

I believe that the greatest aspect to FB is the ability to reconnect with long-lost friends. Over the past year, I have reconnected with the two people (outside of mom and dad) that I have known since I was 4 years old. While not all my relationships go back that far, I have shot over the 400 friend mark thanks in large part to my high school/college friends.

Of course, the first things that you ask each other, “What have you been up to?” Wow, take a second to think about that. If you had not seen someone for 20+ years, how do you summarize you life. Do you simply focus on your personal life? (Got married, have x kids, run marathons) Maybe professional life? (Worked for XYZ Corp, started my own business, etc.) Maybe you just take the highlights of both.

I think what I’m going to do is to write up my bio in short form to be able to let people know what I’m up to. Maybe take a page from Twitter and summarize it in 140 characters. Here’s my first attempt:

SIU grad, worked at bank, went into investments, married Jennifer, one son: Truce(has autism), started Souza Financial, try to write more

That’s 137 characters, enough to fit in a Twitter window. But I didn’t say anything about living in Hoopeston, getting engaged and married on the same day in Las Vegas, my Indians tattoo, anything about my parents or brothers.

I just found an old friend the other day on FB and his question was, “Do you still listen to Anthrax?” Understand that my license plate used to read ANTHRX 2. Boy, hit the pause button for 20 years and that’s what he remembered? It’s who I was, but I almost felt like a sell-out to say that I still like them, but don’t listen on the regular. It’s funny to look back 20 years and think of all that you have been through and to summarize that in 2 or 3 sentences. When I get the 140 character bio perfected, I will post it here.

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Dan Ariely on TED

I found another TED talk that is worth sharing. This one is by Dan Ariely. He’s a faculty member at MIT. His talk is about “Why we think it OK to cheat and steal (sometimes). He shares his insight to the recent round of wall street woes. It’s 18 minutes, so grab a cup of coffee and watch away.