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3Jun/100

Take Me With You on Your Smart Phone

My blog is now mobile friendly! You can now visit this site on any mobile device and you will (hopefully) see an enhanced version specifically made to speed up loading time.

I'm so quick and user-friendly.

For those of you who want to test your blog to see how mobile friendly it is, check out mobiReady. They not only scan your site and give you an overall "grade," but also walk you through the specific steps on fixing each error. AND they show you exactly how your site is viewed on a couple phones (interestingly enough, the iPhone isn't on the list) so you can troubleshoot for each carrier.

This blog got a "Fair" rating simply because of the size of the markup; not something I'm too concerned with. But apparently if you are viewing this from Latin America, it may be costing you $2.22, so I apologize.

Cheers,

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3Jun/101

Hey Absolut, Have I Got An Idea For You

At least four times a day, I walk through half of downtown Dallas. And until the excruciatingly hot summer hits, my 10-minute door-to-desk route is pretty enjoyable.

The outdoor advertising in the city is quite prevalent. I pass roughly 4 giant vinyl building ads and handfuls of bus stop posters every day. However one spot has always stuck out to me as a prime location for a certain brand.

Absolut Vodka, have I got an idea for you.

Absolut Vodka Outdoor Advertising

Absolut Vodka Outdoor Advertising

Absolut Vodka Outdoor Advertising

Absolut Ad Space

Prime location on one of the busiest street in downtown Dallas (Ross Avenue), on the other side of the building (see last picture) there are 3 giant vinyl building ads, the parking lot inside are the surround ones are full every day, the main entrance to the garage is right below the "bottle," and the opposite side of this building is identical so you can get two for one here.

Absolut, you can't pass this spot up. It was made for you.

Cheers,

1Jun/100

The Talent of Friends: Katie Warren and The Brighton

Katie Warren & The Brighton

I am constantly amazed at the talent of people who have entered my life at one time or another. Two past band-mates, Katie Warren and (newly-married) Ben Rosenbush of The Brighton, recently released stellar albums that happened to be reviewed side-by-side today in CCM Magazine, along with another on Christianity Today.

I have been slacking on my Friday Afternoon Song posts over on Sugar & Caffeine and One Stop Schop since the new year started (is it June already?), and have been wanting to review both of these incredible album debuts. However since these two publications beat me to the punch, I will simply leave the writing to the professionals and highlight the articles here.

First off, KATIE WARREN.

The first time I met Katie, I was throwing a giant fish-shaped pillow at her from the second story of a building at Texas A&M.

We were both part of an organization on campus that paired older students with incoming freshman, and I was lucky enough to get her as my lil' sis. We immediately launched into a battle of wit, trading words back and forth like Eminem and Papa Doc (as much as two middle class white folks from Texas can). And I can safely say that I lost. This was the beginning of a long friendship.

I quickly learned of her incredible voice and we began playing the College Station music scene, and eventually talked her into doing a demo album with lifelong buddy and music renaissance-man Jacob Moore in Abilene.

Fast-forward seven years, and Katie is now a member of the worship team at Houston's Second Baptist Church (where she serves alongside some Caedmon's Call band members) and recently released her debut album "Gentle Whispers." Like I said, I will leave it to the professionals for the reviews and here is what they are saying:

"With an angelic voice and veteran experience... Katie Warren is already a notch above the indie ranks. Her delicate piano stylings are bathed in organic production from Jeremy Good, while the vertically-framed lyrics also interject plenty of personal storytelling." (Read the full review in Christianity Today)

"Conjuring up the passionate deliveries of signature vocalists like Christy Nockels and Susan Ashton... Katie Warren  expertly weaves through twelve songs that both question and confirm her sincere faith." "... Warren's quiet prowess on softer tunes like "Lullaby" warrants this new artist and her nicely knit debut encore recognition." (Read the full review in CCM Magazine)

'Nuff said. I am blown away every time I hear her voice. And to see for yourself, here is Katie performing Martina McBride's "Anyway."

Next, THE BRIGHTON.

I first met Ben when I was asked to join a summer tour put together by now lifelong buddy (and crazy talented) Andrew Greer. During our first rehearsal, I was immediately drawn to the beautiful complimentary melodies coming from a pearl-snap-adorned man playing the cello. I was then elated to find that not only could this guy sit back and weave orchestral intricacies into every song, but could also write, play guitar and lead with the same level of passion and detailed nuance.

The BrightonUnfortunately, Ben and I lost touch over the years only to recently reconnect when I was told he was releasing an album under the name "The Brighton." I couldn't have jumped faster at the opportunity to hear his music again and immediately purchased it on iTunes.

I couldn't have been more pleased to find the sound that I remembered from that summer coming through in full force.

Once again, I will leave it to the reviews to do the talking:

"The Minneapolis orchestral folk/rock collective is just beginning, but the sounds are already oh so sweet. The orchestral canvas of The Brighton is a natural given Rosenbush's background as a cellist. However, it's also the type of music he finds himself heading toward when wanting to engage the values most important to him. "To me, it's authentic and portrays the honesty of what I'm hoping to do in writing songs." For The Brighton, it's the strings and sounds of the orchestral elements that speak mor substantively than just notes. "Music to me is about communication and I think you have to be honest when you're communicating something," says Rosenbush. "It doesn't have to be your story, but it needs to be a real story." (Read the full review in CCM Magazine)

This is an album you put on and listen to from beginning to end without stopping, and I can't wait to see what the future has in store for The Brighton.

Cheers,

13May/104

You Rent We Split – DFW’s Premier Apartment Locator Service

You Rent We Split - DFW's Premier Apartment Locator

If you haven't heard yet, there's a new business picking up steam in Dallas/Fort Worth, and it has the potential to be a huge game-changer in the apartment locator service industry.

You Rent We Split, the brain child of Michael Ivey, recently launched its online apartment locator service with the two goals of  1) being a user-friendly apartment database and 2) getting you as much cash back as possible for signing a lease.

We all know that apartment complexes have referral programs where if you get your friend to sign a lease, you get some sort of money back for getting them to live there. Sometimes it is $100, sometimes it is a percentage off your next month's rent, or sometimes it is a cookie. Well apparently there is a whole other ballgame being played behind the scenes with apartment locators that makes that delicious chocolate chip Toll House you got for free look like... well, a stupid cookie.

You Rent We Split - DFW's Premier Apartment LocatorWhat is shocking is what the apartment complexes in DFW are paying for referrals - sometimes up to 200% of one month's rent. Not a bad chunk of change for something you were going to do already (sign a lease). So why not get $2,250 cash back on that luxury uptown apartment you were going to get anyways while your at it?

You get money in your pocket, YRWS gets money their pocket, and the apartment complex gets a new tenant. It is a win-win-win scenario.

Though some competition exist in the market, most notably the free move sites that offer a free move or $100 - $200 cash back, their proposal pales in comparison to what is being offered by YRWS.  (Not to mention their horribly constructed websites.) You Rent We Split has pulled back the curtain to reveal that the man behind the curtain has been pocketing a ridiculous amount of cash and been cutting you out of the loop. Well, that doesn't have to happen anymore.

There are no hidden fees, no loopholes, no smoke and mirrors - in fact, YWRS has set out a goal of being as transparent as possible, listing right there on their website exactly how much the referral fee is for each apartment. So you know when going in to sign your lease exactly what your cut will be. And believe me, it will be much more than you will get anywhere else.

The steps are easy:

  1. You find the apartment you would like to rent.
  2. When signing the lease, you put "You Rent We Split" as the person who referred you to them.
  3. Click "Claim reward" next to your apartment to notify them that you have signed a lease.
  4. And BAM. When they get paid, you get paid. It is that easy.

I cannot say how highly I recommend this service to anyone looking to rent an apartment in the Dallas - Fort Worth metroplex. And there may be hope coming soon for those of you living outside of the area. Mike has already stated that he would like to move into other markets such as Austin and Houston once the model has been proven in DFW, something that I am sure will not take long.

If only he was able to get this up and running in Nashville by the time we move in August...

Cheers,

5May/101

New Website! AND A Bonus Gift – A Blog!

The day has finally arrived - a portfolio website NOT in Flash! No, I am not taking a move from the Steve Jobs play book and going all anti-Adobe (however I do believe in the power of HTML 5). It is simply that my tool bag of coding knowledge has expanded to be able to develop a proper site utilizing PHP, Javascript, HTML, CSS and XML. And through these powers, I have become even dorkier. I even have the black rimmed glasses to match.

But that's not all! This new website comes with a gift that keeps on giving - a blog!

Now I'm am going to throw out this caveat on the very first post.

This will not be a blog that I will write new posts every day. Or every week even. It will simply be a forum for when new ideas strike me ("I had this exact idea last April!"), or when I want to wax-poetic about a new technology ("Check out this killer commercial for Google Chrome!"), or when my crazy talented friends do something cool ("Check out You Rent We Split!") or when I want to brag about something ("I got accepted into the Vanderbilt MBA program!"). And with said MBA program starting in August, I foresee this blog as A) a great way to keep up with family and friends after moving to Nashville, and 3) a good (or bad?) distraction from school work.

So that's that.

Please take a look around my portfolio and check back every now and then, I will be updating this as new project arise. And if you want to be notified anytime a new blog post goes up, either subscribe to the RSS feed or follow me on Twitter, as I will send out updates through there as well.

Cheers,