February 24, 2019

Do-it-yourself security

Per the National Council for Home Safety and Security, a burglary occurs once every 13 seconds, yet 87 percent of homes don’t have a security system—making them 300 percent more likely to be burglarized. Many residences lack security systems for a big reason: Traditionally, this hardware has been costly and difficult to self-install; plus, systems that offer professional monitoring often charge $30 or more per month.

But recently, several brands have rolled out do-it-yourself WiFi security products designed to protect you and your family, without the exorbitant expense and installation headaches. Examples include the Arlo Pro 2 WiFi HD Wire-Free Camera Security System Bundle, Ring Alarm Security Kit, and Nest Secure Alarm System.

I explore this topic in greater detail in my latest story for The Costco Connection, available here.

February 17, 2019

If you can't stand the heat, don't listen to this podcast

For episode #8 of his Cineversary podcast, host Erik Martin wishes a happy 60th birthday to "Some Like It Hot" and is joined by New York University arts professor Laurence Maslon, author of the book "Some Like It Hot: The Official 50th Anniversary Companion." They explore why the film is worth celebrating all these years later, its cultural impact and legacy, what we can learn from the picture today, how it has stood the test of time, and more.

To hear this episode, click the "play button" on the embedded streaming player below. Or, you can stream, download or subscribe to the Cineversary podcast using Apple PodcastsiTunesAnchorBreakerCastboxGoogle PodcastsGoogle Play MusicOvercastPocket CastsPodBeanRadioPublicSpotifyStitcher, and TuneIn.

Learn more about the Cineversary podcast at tinyurl.com/cineversarypodcast, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/cineversarypodcast, and email show comments or suggestions to cineversegroup@gmail.com.

February 10, 2019

The struggle to swim in a crowded stream

Want to keep up with the latest plays in the streaming game? You practically need a scorecard and the guidance of a fast-talking play-by-play announcer. For proof, consider just some of the latest streaming service bombshells to hit the news in the past few weeks:
All of these moves speak, of course, to a larger and evolving trend: Anybody and everybody in the media business seems to be getting in on the OTT act and taking their product direct to the consumer via an AVOD or SVOD (subscription-supported video on demand) model. And that’s creating an increasingly crowded field of competitors.

Learn more by reading my newest article published at Digital Content Next, available here.

February 2, 2019

Weathering the storm

Mother Nature delivered a devastating trio of catastrophes in 2017 in the form of three record-breaking hurricanes that have made people rethink their approach to disaster readiness. First, Harvey punished Texans with 51 inches of rain and $75 billion in damages. Then, Irma became the strongest Atlantic basin hurricane ever logged outside the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Finally, Maria wrecked hundreds of homes in Puerto Rico and left much of the island without power, food and water for months.

In the months since, people all over the world have been asking themselves: What would I do if disaster struck? How prepared am I to protect my family and possessions?

Brian Williams, a homeowner in Houston, believes proper planning well in advance of an emergency event can make all the difference.

“I had plenty of supplies, including bottled water and non-perishable foods for my family, extra candles and batteries, and a full tank of gas in my car. But I should have prepared myself sooner than I did,” says Williams, who suffered water damage from a leaky roof in his townhome and had to junk his flooded automobile.

“This storm taught me a lot,” Williams adds. “Stores will sell out, so you have to get your supplies early. You need to clear roof drains prior to a storm to ensure good drainage. You have to move cars to higher ground. You need to remember supplies for your pets. And a backup power source for your cell phone is a must.”

Costco store general manager Kristina Hill was relieved that—despite widespread area flooding—her store near Houston was able to quickly restock household staples that nervous area shoppers bought in droves prior to Harvey. In hindsight, she wishes she had personally followed their lead.

“During Harvey, I realized I was not really ready with enough food to be stuck in my home for three days,” Hill says. “I think everyone believes something like this won’t happen to them. But with so many disasters occurring in the world, we can never be too prepared.”

Jeffrey Rodriguez Prunet feels fortunate that his family is safe and his home near Arecibo in Puerto Rico only incurred minor damage from Maria. Many of his neighbor’s houses were destroyed.

“We had bought water and canned foods and had a first aid kit, flashlights and other basic items,” says Prunet, who still lacks electricity. “And we prepared our home as best we could by boarding up the windows and removing outdoor items that could have become projectiles.”

Maria, however, “was honestly much more destructive than we expected.” Next time, Prunet adds, “were going to make sure we have more food and water and stock up on tools that can help cut up downed trees and clear up the streets.”

To read my new article on this topic, published in the February 2019 issue of Costco Connection magazine, and learn how you can prepare your home and family for a myriad of disasters, click here.