I won't be a hypocrite. I got a Facebook account early on, when I lived abroad, and I loved how it let me keep in touch with friends overseas. However, years later, and a plethora of privacy issues abound, have turned this mummy into a very jaded Facebooker.
So when I read about how blogger Dan Pearce got his son a Facebook account for his first birthday, it was with definite misgivings. As someone with a large family, Mr. Pearce claims to have tagged his baby son Noah in some 2,280 photos and videos. Mr. Pearce, who likens Facebook to a virtual scrapbook in which he collates memories of outings and occasions, as a keepsake for when his son turns 18, isn't concerned about privacy issues because he (for now) has tabs on his son's settings.
Trouble is, despite what Zuckerberg & Co would have us believe, that intellectual property isn't under our control. Not really. Even once you deactivate your account, that information (Noah's very time capsule) doesn't disappear entirely. (Imagine my surprise, after 'deleting' my account, to find every status, picture, wall comment, was exactly as I'd left it six months later!)
Facebook owns whatever you upload to it, and time and again it gets its knuckles rapped for further infringement. And that thought scares me enough to keep me—and my son—from logging on.
Do you think Facebook is a good way to catalogue a child's early life, like Mr. Pearce is doing for Noah? Or are you wary of how that precious, and utterly personal, information is stored and shared without your knowledge/consent?
What do the award-winning series Heroes and couponing have in common? Well, it may seem like a stretch, but Greg Grunberg, best known for his role as police detective Matt Parkman, has a sideline. The actor has recently founded Yowza!!—the "first location-based mobile coupon app."
In layman's terms, that means next time you're at the checkout of your favourite store or restaurant, you won't need to flip through a wad of coupons. Simply scan a code on your phone, et voila (or should I say yowza?).
A family man himself, Mr. Grunberg knows first-hand how busy life gets. (He's got a wife and three boys!) The inspiration for Yowza!! apparently came to him when he was in shopping in Bed, Bath & Beyond and had forgotten "our big cardboard coupon in the car (again)."
This got Grunberg dreaming of ways to combine his love of his iPhone with his love of a bargain, especially during these tough economic times. He met genius app developer August Trometer on Twitter, and the rest is history.
How it works: when you launch your iPhone or Android, the app automatically locates offers at stores and restaurants near your location. There's no pre-pay, check-in, or game-playing to get the discounts, which sounds like a mom's godsend.
The good news? The app is, and will always be, FREE to customers. The bad news: it's not yet made its way to Canada, but Mr. Grunberg is keen for it to spread to retailers here, too, because "saving money shouldn't cost you anything."
Rest assured, Heroes fans, Greg won't be giving up his day job any time soon!
Sound like an app you would actually use?
Good news for popcorn lovers out there. While it may drive my husband bonkers to hear me chomping my way through the latest blockbuster, I now have a smug comeback.
Not only am I catering to my inner snacker, I'm eating something packed with more antioxidants known as "polyphenols" than most fruits and veggies.
So said scientists at the recent 243rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
While most polyphenols are diluted "in the 90 percent water that makes up many fruits and vegetables," according to researcher Joe Vinson, Ph.D., those in popcorn averages only about 4 percent water.
The best part for you is that which tends to get wedged in your teeth—the hulls—have the highest concentration of polyphenols and fiber.
"Those hulls deserve more respect," said Vinson, who studies the compounds in food at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. "They are nutritional gold nuggets."
But before you go ordering an extra large, slathered in butter bag at Odeon, think twice. All that goodness only applies to air-popped popcorn. As soon as you go adding butter and salt, or sugar (as in kettle corn), you might as well kiss that grain goodness goodbye and say hello to what Vinson describes as a "nutritional nightmare loaded with fat and calories."
"Air-popped popcorn has the lowest number of calories, of course," Vinson said. "Microwave popcorn has twice as many calories as air-popped, and if you pop your own with oil, this has twice as many calories as air-popped popcorn. About 43 percent of microwave popcorn is fat, compared to 28 percent if you pop the corn in oil yourself."
Still, it stands to reason that popcorn is no substitute for fruit and veggie intake, even though one serving alone provides an average of 300 mg of polyphenols per day per person, while fruits provide 255 mg per day, and vegetables 218 mg.
Don't know about you, but I can almost hear the sizzle and pop already...
Are you hungry now? Check out this yummy guilt-free popcorn recipe