Movie Review: The Hobbit

Having read the Hobbit about a million years ago, I didn’t remember much about the book – my kid however had just read it and were very impressed. I was impressed as well. I think I can safely say that off all of the books which have been made into movies, this one may be the only one that not only stayed more true to the book than any others, but also added new material which melding in perfectly. A great film – highly recommended…


Why Exercise May Do A Teenage Mind Good

Two of our three kids are doing daily physical activity. They are both doing mixed martial arts are doing quite well. The third unfortunately is a bit more of an academic and not really interested in physical activity. No matter how hard I tried to explain to him that physical activity helps mental acuity it hasn’t sunk into him yet. I think he’s starting to see the light. Sometimes I see him on our exercise bike and he does get burst of energy afterwards. Hopefully he will be able to stick with it.

It’s well known that routine physical activity benefits both body and mind. And there are no age limits. Both children and adults can reap big benefits.

Now a study published in Clinical Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, explores whether certain factors may help to explain the value of daily physical activity for adolescents’ mental health.

Researchers from the Trimbos Institute in the Netherlands looked at two possible explanations for the link between exercise and good mental health. One was positive self image and the other was winning friends. They surveyed 7,000 Dutch students, ages 11 to 16.

via Why Exercise May Do A Teenage Mind Good : Shots – Health News : NPR.

The Ultimate Guide To The 50+ Hottest Health And Fitness Apps, Gadgets And Startups Of 2012

We are both currently FitBit users, but are looking to upgrade to the Jawbone UP (which unfortunately does not yet have an Android version – which is a deal killer for us) or the next iteration of the FitBit. However, since we want to get deeper in the Quantified Self movement, the Basis looks really interesting. We’ll let you know what we’ve decided to go with and give you all a review…

The holidays wreak havoc on our bodies, with their mandatory over-indulgence in food as well as family and reminiscences. As we reflect on the year past — its victories and losses — we also begin looking ahead to the next, and in big ways or small, making plans to keep our momentum going.For many, this involves taking health more seriously, whether it’s losing a few pounds, training for that first marathon, or just being more active. In turn, there’s been a lot of activity in the health space over the last year, as we’ve seen a number of apps and startups launch — or continue iterating — in the quest to help us make healthier choices, get in shape and conquer the world.

via The Ultimate Guide To The 50+ Hottest Health And Fitness Apps, Gadgets And Startups Of 2012 | TechCrunch.

Should You Upgrade To Windows 8?



The short answer is, it depends. Microsoft has made some enormous changes to the interface of Windows with Windows 8. It appears to me that they basically decided to change its operating system around for the future. I mean this is what they seem to do all the time: they basically look at what the hardware is going to be a little ways out and redesign their software for that time frame.

And in their infinite wisdom, they have decided that touchscreens are in. Not just for tablets, but for laptops as well. So they really designed Windows 8 to be more of an operating system for touchscreen laptops and tablets.

Gone is the start menu. Now in order to get back to the start menu,you will find yourself using the Windows key a lot more. Especially if you don’t have a touchscreen laptop, which most likely you don’t.

Couple days after Windows 8 came out I decided to take one of my laptops and upgraded it to Windows a because it was only 49 bucks. I said, let me try this out and see what it’s like and I got a tell you it’s taking me a while to get used the interface. I don’t really like it.

Get ready for a bit of a steep learning curve. They’ve designed this operating system for touchscreens. If you are planning on purchasing a new laptop, more than likely it will come with Windows 8 pre-installed, because that is what Microsoft has decided to do. If that is the case then you may wish to look at one of the new touchscreen laptops that are coming out there are number of models not too expensive there’s some Acer some Asus a number of different models that are sub thousand dollars that a not only laptops they are also touchscreen.

Let me give you an example in order to get to the settings section you can either move the mouse into the upper right-hand corner and a menu will pop out, or swipe in from the right side of the screen assuming you have a touchscreen monitor. It is much much easier to swipe in than it is to move the mouse up the corner. Microsoft, sensing that they had a problem here with people getting ready access to this to apps, put in a quick start menu in the bottom left-hand corner if you move the mouse to bottom left-hand corner and click right mouse then you get a quick access menu to bunch different things.

I guess this is basically there decision to replace the start menu with this little device here but I find it’s very difficult to use and it’s very painful so those of you who are not extremely technical may have an issue using that.

The bottom line is, if you have Windows 7, stick with it. If you have anything prior to Windows 7 then it’s probably good idea to upgrade, if you can handle the new interface. And like I said if you don’t have a laptop right now are you looking to upgrade your current laptop, it would be a good idea to look at the touchscreen laptops that are out there today. They simply work better with Windows 8.

Great Dictation Software – Dragon Dictate Home 12

dragonDictation software has certainly come a long way in the last couple of years.

Here is a little gem that will make your life easier if you do a lot of writing and or blog posting. I’ve been thinking about buying this for a while but I’ve been hesitating because I didn’t know what the quality of the dictation would be like but I finally bit the bullet and picked it up. Our local Fry’s Electronics actually had it on sale for $65 with a $20 rebate that ended up being about 40 bucks which is a great deal for something that should save me a heck of a lot of time in fact this blog post itself is being dictated by DragonDictate right now and I am going to take a look at the post and see how many actual corrections I need to make and let you know the bottom of post how accurate it actually ended up being. This should save you a lot of time if you do a lot of writing and reporting it doesn’t work that well for note taking. I was reading a giant report and trying to take notes and it didn’t work that well but if you’re more of a stream of consciousness person then it should work fine for you.

Ok – so I dictated the paragraph above and this is what I got:

1 – extra word, 7-errors, so 8 errors in a post of 218 words equals about 4%.

Hipe 3 LED Automatic Motion Sensing Directional Night Light

Welcome to 2013! One of the new features that we’d like to start at Helpful Hints is an automated home feature – ways in which to automate little bits of your life and home to make things easier. We’ll start off this series by looking at lighting. Over the last few years I thought – look LED lights are powerful, low power so can be run for a long time even with batteries. Wouldn’t it be cool if someone could come up with a way to make stick on automated LED lights which only come on when you need them and go off shortly after you leave? Lo and behold, we are starting to see these kind of lights come into the market. At first the designs were pretty ugly, but since then they look a lot better. Check out this light from Amazon, company called Hipe. Watch this space, since LED lighting is so versatile you’ll be seeing a lot more of these, and a lot more interesting designs as well…

The Hip-NL3LED identifies day and night automatically and will only illuminate at night, when movement is detected and Turns off automatically after 30 seconds if no motion is detected.Has an adjustable Direction LED that allows You to Aim the Light at the perfect Angle.The night light instantly turns on when it detects motion, and can detect motion from as far as 15 feet away with 180 degrees of vision.The bright LED never needs replacing its so efficient that you will get more than 2,400 activations on one set of batteries.Includes 3 AAA Batteries. Mounts anywhere with the included magnets Wall magnet can be mounted with the included adhesive tape or with the included screw

via Hipe 3 LED Automatic Motion-sensing Directional Night Light – Battery Powered Hallway Light with a Built in Motion and Light Sensor

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies


These are really great tasting – you’ll never know that they are paleo at all – although they aren’t strictly paleo they are pretty damn good. Just don’t eat too much of them! We use Sharfenberger 70% chocolate chunks – we really are supposed to use 72% and up chocolate chips but if you can’t find those this is still pretty good. If you can’t find those, we use Ghiradelli 60% chips, which are pretty readily available around here. If you want to be more strictly Paleo, reduce the maple syrup and amount of chips. Unfortunately, other than fruit, paleolithic man didn’t really have a lot of options…


  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 cup Sharfenberger 70% chocolate chunks
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil, Organic, unrefined
  • 1/2 cup Maple Syrup, Grade B
  • 2 whole Eggs, Pastured
  • 3 cup Blanched Almond Flour


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine dry ingredients.
  3. In a small mixing bowl beat eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract with a hand mixer.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry and beat with hand mixer until combined.
  5. Melt coconut oil, pour into batter, and continue to blend until combined.
  6. Stir in chocolate chips.
  7. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, drop balls of cookie dough, about a tablespoon in size.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes.
  9. Try not to eat too many at once – these are damn good!

Announcing: The TidySac

Announcing The TidySac!

We’ve been hard at work inventing new stuff here at hellofuture, and we are finally ready to launch one of our cool new products! Need a gift for ANYONE in your life who has a computer? Well the TidySac is exactly what you need: a zipper bag which not only holds all of your tiny little accessories for your laptop, tablets or smartphones, it can also clean the screen at the same time!

The TidySac© Patent Pending

  • An awesome, cool multipurpose tool to carry all of your accessories
  • A way to erase those fingerprints from your touch screen device
  • A marvelous duster and screen cleaner for all of your devices

The Size: Plenty of room for all your stuff – 7″ x 4.5″ will hold what you need and more

The perfect pairing for your devices, these monochromatic shades of black, white, silver and grey look great alongside your stuff. Super soft dark mink style guaranteed to treat your screens with great care. The cleaning pad covers one entire side of the Sac so that you get the maximum cleaning surface when you use it. This surface is great for removing dust and will easily remove fingerprints and smudges if they are not too bad – lightly press the Sac into the screen for heavier smudges. Warning – this will not remove melted chocolate! But for most everything else, the smudge is history

holds items like:

  • Earbuds
  • iPhone cable
  • Smartphone earbuds
  • Micro USB cable
  • Power Jack
  • Extra tip for my laptop power charger
  • USB stick
  • SD cards

Please note that the pattern placement and coordinating zipper colors and lining color will vary100% Cotton print outer shell100% Rip Stop Nylon Waterproof liningHandwash, hang to dry or spot cleanPlease allow between 5 to 7 business days for the creation of made to order items. Shipping time is usually 4 to 10 business days within the US.Shipping with tracking is available at an additional cost – please contact us for details prior to purchase. All duty costs are the responsibility of the customer.

via The TidySac Genius Pixel Geekery Gadget Holder by GroovyGurls.

Do You Need A New Printer? Of course you do!

You Need A New Printer

I think about 6 months ago I realized that we had way more printers than people in this house – all different brands, all of which take different cartridges, all of varying ages and qualities – but most of them are old and slow and crappy. So we went searching for a new all-in-one – one printer to rule them all sort of thing – something we could place centrally, connect all of our various devices to – and get fast printing. As both Kitty and I had good experiences with HP over time we looked there first, but in the end we found an awesome Epson printer (yes I know – Epson) which worked great for all of the various computers and devices that we have here. We settled on the Epson WF-3540 – its got a tons of features and allowed us to Goodwill/Craigslist all of our old stuff. Some of the key stuff:

  • Wifi
  • Bi-directional – you can scan to any wifi connected computer
  • Print from Windows, Mac, Ubuntu, iPad, Android devices
  • Cloud print via Google and Epson built right in
  • Prints fast and double sided, saving paper

We’ve had it a few weeks now and it rocks – highly recommended: Epson WorkForce WF-3540 Wireless All-in-One Color Inkjet Printer, Copier, Scanner, 2-Sided Duplex, ADF, Fax. Prints from Tablet/Smartphone. AirPrint Compatible (C11CC31201)

Our First Paleo Book: Make it Paleo

Our First Paleo Book

OK folks many of you have been clamoring for for info on the Paleo diet ever since that post yesterday on the bacon wrapped hot dogs (oh, so, good – and BTW make sure to use nitrate and gluten free bacon and dogs) so here is the first post in a series on the books we got to help us move to this way of eating.

This is not a clinical book with lots of reasons on why to switch – this is a great book with ideas, food and recipes which will inspire you. If you want a more scientific reasoning of why you should switch you need The Paleo Solution. But Make It Paleo is much more inspirational and the source of most of our recipes. Highly recommend the print book over the Kindle edition, great big imagery of food, food and more food.

Transitioning from conventional foods to a grain-free Paleo lifestyle can be a daunting proposition to most people. Hayley Mason and Bill Staley, authors of The Food Lovers Primal Palate, show you how easy it is to take any dish and Make it Paleo! Adapted from Chinese, French, Mexican and classic American meals, the over 200 mouthwatering recipes are each accompanied by vibrant photos and thoughtful notes to ensure you recreate each dish with ease.

Beyond its wealth of recipes, Make it Paleo describes fundamental cooking techniques, includes tips for selecting the best ingredients, and chronicles a variety of menus for holidays and special occasions. Hayley and Bill demonstrate how to make cooking gourmet Paleo meals a carefree affair for everyone, from a kitchen rookie to a seasoned chef. Make it Paleo is filled with meals that all lovers of great food will enjoy, whether they follow a grain-free lifestyle or not.

via Make it Paleo: Over 200 Grain Free Recipes For Any Occasion