Michael H. Babcock

Oct 02

Fish tank refresh: Bring on the African Cichlids

Over the past 10 or so years I’ve enjoyed mostly gold fish, but a few other random other types in my 20-gallon fish tank. I’ve always been curious about trying a breed of fish called the African Cichlids. 

They’re energetic, aggressive and colorful. The perfect mix, right?

We got two of them about a week and a half ago and added four more last night. Three are Electric Blue Johanni, and three are Melachromis Auratos. We’re really hoping to have the fish reproduce. For those unfamiliar, it’s a neat process. The female Cichlids keep the young in their mouth to protect them until they are too big, then they’re set free. 

I posted a video below from our tank. This was shot with my new iPhone 5S. Sadly, while using iMovie on the phone there doesn’t seem to be a way to show off the cool new slow-mo feature. 

Enjoy the video, and feel free to post any experiences you’ve had with this breed of fish.

Sep 22

Think globally, wear plaid locally

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Open up that closet and find your favorite plaid (and your Stormy Kromer), it’s nearly the best day of the year: Plaidurday. 

OK so maybe not the BEST day of the year. But awfully close. October 4, 213 is the third annual Plaidurday celebration. It’s a day where people wear plaid, and are gosh-darn-it-all-to-heck as happy as can be about it.

 Plaidurday: The Worldwide Celebration of Plaid.

Started in 2011, it’s been celebrated by thousands (possibly millions, it’s really hard to estimate) of people around the world. This year, of course, will be the biggest and best. 

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For the second year in a row, I’m working with Plaidurday founder Justin “Bugsy” Sailor to host an event at the Keweenaw Brewing Company in Houghton (photo above is from last October). If you’re around, be sure to attend. RSVP to the Facebook event so you don’t forget to attend!

I hope to see you out there, enjoying a beautiful Copper Country fall day in some gorgeous plaid.  

Sep 15

Porky Pig Out launched by Bruno’s Spices

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On Saturday morning I got to post a big announcement for Bruno’s Spices, a client of mine. The product is Porky Pig Out, the third spice made by the company, which was founded in 2009. 

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This was one of my first experiences with a product photo shoot. I could definitely get into that, and I’m looking forward to playing with it a little bit more over the coming weeks. I’ll be posting more of these photos on the Bruno’s Spices website as we move forward. 

Like Bruno’s Spices’ Facebook page to find out when you’ll be able to get your hands on some of this spice. We’ll also be posting a couple videos featuring the new spice soon!

Jun 27

Checking into my wedding 11 minutes before my beautiful bride walked down the aisle. #foursquare #socialmedia

Checking into my wedding 11 minutes before my beautiful bride walked down the aisle. #foursquare #socialmedia

May 28

Yahoo! needs to seize a big opportunity Thursday

Yahoo! has spent billions of dollars in the past couple months to attract new users ($1.1 billion last week alone), but their most effective move to show users that the company is heading in the right direction could come Thursday when Fantasy Football is launched.

Why? Because Fantasy Football brings in millions of users to Yahoo! that otherwise avoid the site like the plague. This is a huge audience of people who tap into only a corner of what Yahoo! is. This is an audience that Yahoo! could, and should, make a run at.

I have no numbers to defend the size of this audience besides my personal circle. I’m in two leagues that have 12 teams in them, and I’m one of only three, maybe four, people who use Yahoo! Mail between those two leagues. I’m sure if I asked the people I play with they’d say they haven’t been to Yahoo.com in years.

However, they’re locked into the site because they love fantasy football. More specifically, they love the experience on Yahoo! It’s a very competitive market, and Yahoo! might be the class of the show right now. They advertise like they are. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its shortcomings, and in my leagues I know the idea of switching is discussed annually.

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As you can see above, the company is teasing several new ways to enjoy the game. Below is a couple things I’d like to see in the next edition of the game, and I hope we see Yahoo! take advantage of this opportunity to impress.

A year-round club house. This is one of two features that ESPN has that I’m jealous of, and it’s a feature that will keep people coming back to Yahoo! all year. It’s kind of a no brainier. Make each league home page somewhere managers will have even in the off season. Many teams will complete trades, discuss rule changes and talk smack throughout the year. I know both of my leagues would. The game is big enough to draw a sizable amount of hits even in the off season.

Integrate Twitter. Each manager’s Twitter handle should be listed and smack talk should be easy to do on Twitter right through the fantasy football website. Possibly even a custom hash tag feed for each league. There are all kinds of things that could be ran with.

A true hall of fame. This is the other ESPN feature that I love. Give me a trophy room that shows a truly integrated history, including custom awards. This would also include a revamped personal profile and history.

Integrate Facebook. This could be much more in depth than the Twitter integration. Some of the Twitter things would be cool, but it would also be cool to open up a player profile and see which of my Facebook friends have him on their teams. Maybe have conversation threads under each player that only your friends have access to? The possibilities are endless.

Keep the mobile improvements coming. In 2012 the mobile app for iPhone and Android took major steps forward. Continue that advancement, and add support for Windows Phone and Blackberry. Be that company. Own mobile.

Customized league message boards. Right now there are threads for each fantasy match up and a general message board. Expand that message board to sections. This could be especially impressive if the league is open year round.  

Video. This one is extremely obvious, and I’d be shocked if they don’t at very least allow you to embed a YouTube video. The real game changer will be their own video source built in, making them the one and only owner of the video. This would NEED mobile integration, and would be very exciting. They could monetize the videos like they’ve done with nearly everything else on this Fantasy Sports league. Video could also be embedded into the draft. Last season I did a Google Hangout during a draft, it was a great experience. Definitely the next best thing to an in-person draft. 

As a Yahoo! Mail user since 1999, and a fantasy football/hockey/baseball manager almost exclusively on Yahoo! as well, I really hope they’re able to do at least some of these things. Hopefully the company realized that they should make their strengths stronger as well as investing in new worlds.