Saturday, September 26, 2009

Silicon Beach: Internet Addiction on the Rise - Miami News - Riptide 2.0

The idea of social media rehab is nothing new to South Florida geek Jeffrey Sass (@sass), a technology and entertainment exec self-described as a "a gadget geek and early adopter at heart." Sass has one up on the American Psychiatric Association. He started pondering social media rehab in 2007, when he invented a fake treatment facility called Invitations, complete with a Facebook page and an online application that has the option of checking the box "OMG, I'd rather tweet than eat!"

Social Networking Rehab PeaSA 4.jpg
The mock Invitations center was the original focus of his tongue-in-cheek blog, Social Networking Rehab: 28 Days. In the past two years, Sass has written about all the steps -- 12 of them and counting -- that he's taken to "recover" from his second life online. He has also shared sneaky ways to get away with "relapse."

"Hollywood celebrities have always had a place to go to when they needed help, like Promises in Malibu," said Sass during a phone interview. "When I saw how much people like myself and others were spending time online, I thought we also needed an exclusive place to get off the wagon. When you poke fun at it, though, you realize we really are enmeshed in our social networks."

Respected Miami writer and blogger Maria De Los Angeles (@vicequeenmaria) recently used her "Silicon Beach" column in the Miami New Times Riptide blog to chime in on news of the "ReSTART" Internet Addiction residential treatment center that opened over the summer near Redmond, Washington. Maria was kind enough to point out that for more than two years now, the INVITATIONS Social Networking Recovery Facility has been providing its own form of (comic) relief to those who get twitchy without their Twitter and treat Facebook like a fetish.

When she interviewed me for the article Maria asked if INVITATIONS had its own Twitter account and I realized it did not. Shame on me. How can we treat the affliction without truly understanding its allure. With that in mind I am pleased to announce that you can now follow Social Networking Rehab on Twitter: @SocNetRehab.

As a reminder of the dangers of Social Media, here is the original Public Service Announcement produced by INVITATIONS:

Posted via web from Kiss My SASS!

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Family Defined (In High Definition) : From Dad-O-Matic for #SonyDads

As part of the Sony DigiDad Project I was given (on loan) a Sony Handicam HDR-XR500V High Definition digital camcorder and asked to create a “Heritage” video about my family. I took the camera with me on a business trip to NY and stopped by my parent’s apartment to capture them on video. Rather than “interview” them, I chose to simply turn the camera on and let them talk. And talk they did… I tried to distill an hour or so of recorded video into this 7 minute capsule. I hope it accurately captures the remarkable relationship my parents have, as well as the things that clearly are at the root of of my being: Family, Food, and a good sense of Humor!

It was a great exercise and I know my kids and I will cherish the video for many years to come. If you have a video camera and haven't already done so, I encourage you to record some of your family history and learn more about what defines you...

For the full article and my thoughts on the Sony Camera, please visit

Posted via web from Kiss My SASS!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I admit it. Just like you, I have a Google Alert Vanity Search set up to dig through the Interwebs to find mentions of my name. Usually it finds the obvious mentions such as a blog post I have written or a "Tweet" that finds its way into the Google Index. Every once in a while, however, the Google Gods deliver a gem that makes me smile and brings back memories. Like this one...


A recent Google Alert brought me a link to the CHEAP VIDEO BULLETIN blog, and a (quite favorable) review of THE TROMA SYSTEM, an infomercial spoof that I co-wrote and co-directed many, many moons ago, when I was a card carrying member of the Troma Team.

Originally broadcast late, late, late night on Comedy Central, THE TROMA SYSTEM is a ridiculous spoof of infomercials, and an actual infomercial (for a package of Troma Goodies) at the same time. Despite its inherent (and appealing) silliness, we pulled out all stops and leveraged the many fine relationships of Troma founders Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz to get "cameos" from a motley mix of media celebrities including Spiderman Creator Stan Lee, "ROCKY" Director John Avildsen, and NY Talk Show legend Joe Franklin, not to mention The Toxic Avenger himself and a bevy of bikini clad beauties... (hey, it was TROMA!) Those were the days...

So to Google Alerts I say, "Thanks for the memories!"

What is the most surprising thing you have found in a Google Vanity Search???

Posted via web from Kiss My SASS!

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Matriarchs, Patriarchs, And The Grandest Parents Of All...

(NOTE: This post was written for Dad-O-Matic and will also appear there)

From everything I have seen and heard, being a grandparent is a special thrill. I am not there yet myself, but as my own kids grow into adulthood I know that eventually "Grandparent" will be another line item on my life resume. While I cannot address what it is to be a Grandparent, I can address what it is to have Grandparents and how much fun it has been to provide the necessary offspring to enable my own parents to become Grandparents. By the way, if you haven't heard, today is National Grandparents Day!

Grandma and Papa, Opa and Oma

I always enjoy hearing the interesting names people have for their Grandparents. There seems to be many more permutations of the names and nicknames for our parent's parents than there are for good old "Mom and Dad." In my case I had the more traditional "Grandma and Papa" on my mother's side, and, thanks to their very prevalent German culture, "Oma and Opa" on my Father's side. In the case of my own kids, they simply have used "Grandma and Grandpa Sass" vs. "Grandma and Grandpa Genco" to distinguish between their own Grandparents. What names do you and your kids use?

All In The Family...

I was very fortunate in that I grew up in Queens, NY in an apartment that was three blocks away from both sets of my Grandparents (one in each direction). As soon as I was old enough I could easily walk or ride my bike over for an after school visit, and Oma and Opa lived literally next door to my Junior High School and the primary neighborhood playground, providing an easy escape for a snack or to clean up a scraped knee. One of my true regrets of my own adventures in parenting is that my kids have not had the experience of growing up in such close proximity and with such constant interaction with their Grandparents.

Influence of the Ages...

Perhaps because of their physical closeness, my Grandparents were a tremendous influence on me, and while I of course have been shaped in many ways by my Mom and Dad, I can also very clearly see the impact of my grandparents in myself, and I fondly and proudly acknowledge the wisdom and examples they set for me throughout my childhood. While they have been gone for a long time now, I still think of them a lot, and I find myself referring to them often in the life stories that have become a regular part of my repetoire, sharing memories of my Grandparents and their lessons as often as I can, especially with my kids, who did not know them all, and were very young when they did.

Thanks For The Memories... And Then Some...

I could write many separate stories about each of my Grandparents (and perhaps sometime I will) as each was a true individual, and very special in their own way. Papa, the former soldier whose strong physical presence always made me think of Popeye... Opa, who was never in great health, yet worked hard and smart to rise within the ranks of a single employer over more than 40 years (unimaginable in today's world) and who, despite his seemingly quiet nature, was an ingenious prankster... Grandma, who lovingly never lost her aura of being a "Southern Belle" and a truly sweet person... Oma, who lost so much to the Holocaust and yet her strength and determination clearly positioned her as the Sass Family Matriarch... I loved them all very much, still do, and salute them here on National Grandparents Day.

Life Is Grand(parents)!

I hope you too will take a moment today to honor your Grandparents, and your kid's Grandparents, and yourself if you are a Grandparent. Family heritage is a one of our greatest treasures, and like many treasures we often leave it buried. I know I want to do more to explore my own, and share it with my kids, and remembering my Grandparents is a great start. In the next few days I am planning to visit with my parents and interview them about our family history on video as part of the Sony DigiDads Project. This is something I have often thought about doing but never got around to it, so I am grateful to Dad-O-Matic and Sony for the inspiration.

What does Grandparents Day mean to you?

Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 21, Ethan, 19 and Olivia, 17). He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast. You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Dad-O-Matic and Social Networking Rehab.

Photo Credit: © vospalej -

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sea Turtles Are Hatching... Are You?

(Pictured: A newborn Sea Turtle heads from its nest for its first swim in the Atlantic. Photo by Myk Willis)

Summer is over.  The kids are back to school.  The cars are back on the road.  For many, it is a time to start anew.  A new place to live.  A new relationship.  A new semester at school.  A new job.  A new project, goal or responsibility at the old job. New things are hatching all around...

My office is on the beach, and many of us at Myxer start the day with a walk or run before heading upstairs to our desks and cubes.  One morning this week, our CEO Myk spotted a newly hatched Sea Turtle instinctively scratching its way across the sand toward the ocean, a remarkable sight which I am glad he captured with his iPhone and shared. 

Apparently, the female Sea Turtle treks onto the beach to nest, then leaves her eggs covered almost undetectably in the sand and returns to the ocean.  The eggs are left alone for several months to hatch on their own, and only a small fraction of the turtles successfully survive the hatching and making their way back to the sea.  Hopefully Myk spotted one of the lucky fellas.

As the summer ends and the fall begins, it is a good time for us all to shed our shells, and fearlessly make our way toward the great big oceans that lie ahead.

What's hatching for you?

Posted via email from Kiss My SASS!

Monday, September 07, 2009

The Geek Traveler: Staying Connected To Get Disconnected

(Pictured above: Shell Island, Panama City Beach, FL)

I haven't been on a "road trip" in a long time, and things have clearly changed A LOT since the days of my CB RADIO (if you can remember "Breaker 1-9" please raise your hand!) When we decided to drive the 600 miles from Miami to Panama City Beach for the long holiday weekend I made sure that our rental car had a good FM radio. Now, before you accuse me of being a ludicrous Luddite you need to understand why I was rabid for radio. I rely on FM radio to broadcast the signal from my awesome Motorola T505 Bluetooth Hands-free Speakerphone (Amazon affiliate link below). Clipped to the rental car's visor, the T505 pairs with my Palm Pre via Bluetooth, and then with the car's sound system via the best quality digital FM transmitter I have ever used. Instantly, I have all the whiz-bang wonders of my smartphone seamlessly integrated with my loaner Saturn Vue.

"Always On"... the road again...

Our journey was guided by turn by turn navigation from Sprint, clearly spoken through the car stereo. Our audio entertainment was provided by music and podcasts on my Pre, and even better, during long stretches of our drive, we were listening to my customized (and eclectic) favorite music courtesy of Pandora. Yes, I took geek pleasure in the knowledge that as I drove through the beautiful wooded barrens of North Central Florida I was using Sprint's network to stream music from the Internet to my phone, and then have that music go from my phone to the Motorola T505 via Bluetooth, and then from the T505 to the car's nice sounding stereo system via a short range FM transmission. Wireless wonders at their best! Of course if at any time someone called me on my mobile phone the music was automatically paused and the call came in loud and clear through the car stereo and the T505's built-in microphone. Ahhh, technology!

Good for the Geek, good for the Gander...

Lest you think I was the only connected traveler in the car, my "geekette in training" girlfriend was glued to her iPhone for most of the trip, researching things to do in Panama City, reading local restaurant reviews, finding us a hotel for a mid-trip layover, and using an iPhone app to track our location and alert us of nearby speed traps.

How connected are you when you hit the road?

Posted via email from Kiss My SASS!

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Saturday, September 05, 2009

Giraffe Spotted Sticking Its Neck Out!

There is a good chance you have heard about The Long Tail. This is a short tale about the Long Neck!

We were driving to dinner in Panama City, Florida, futzing with directions to a recommended restaurant when Sue called out, "Look, a giraffe!" Sure enough, as we approached a red light, there, across the street, was a giraffe, sticking its head up above a tall wooden fence. A giraffe, across the street from the beach in Florida! We pulled over to take a closer look and a few pictures. It turns out we were approaching the back of Zoo World, a non-profit Zoological and Botanical Conservatory. The sign and entrance to Zoo World was around the corner and down the block from the giraffe, but we probably would not have noticed if we hadn't seen him sticking his neck out.

Like the giraffe in Panama City, sometimes we, too, have to stick our necks out to get noticed. We have to step outside our comfort zones and share bits of ourselves that we might otherwise feel better hiding behind the fence.

When was the last time you acted like a giraffe, stuck your neck out, and got noticed?

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from Kiss My SASS!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Natasha Tsakos' multimedia theatrical adventure (must see if you like live theatre & tech)!

As someone who is a geek and who was also immersed in Theater Arts in college I was blown away by this TED presentation by the very talented and passionate Natasha Tsakos. I have spent a fair amount of time on the stage, behind the stage and in the audience in front of the stage and I am always filled with a special sense of awe and excitement from any perspective at a live theatrical performance. This video (especially when viewed in HD on a big screen) captures the essence of everything that is wonderful about live theater, and how technology can enhance the experience and truly add magic to the magical. With brilliant choreography, stunning visuals and immersive sound design, Tsakos' one woman show, "UP WAKE" leverages state of the art projection technology to turn her solo performance on a bare stage into a true theatrical extravaganza.

Even more impressive is how she manages to literally bring portions of her show onto the TED stage with her for this presentation.

I happened upon this video while playing with the Internet Video features of a Sony Bravia TV on loan to me as part of the Sony DigiDads project. It was an unexpected treat to view this via the Internet on a 40" 1080p HDTV, without the need for a computer or set top box. Cool stuff!

I hope to have the opportunity to see "UP WAKE" in its entirety in person. What do you think?

Posted via web from Kiss My SASS!

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Scott Sigler Is No ROOKIE Author!

If you have been reading my blog or following my online exploits you may have gleaned that I am an huge fan of the uber talented writer and new media marketing whiz Scott Sigler.  I have been a fan and a friend of Scott's since 2005 when I was among the early listeners of EARTHCORE, the first "podcast only" novel at the time.  Today I received my "signed" copy of THE ROOKIE in the mail and I couldn't be more excited for him or more proud of Scott.  Scott has singlehandedly created his own destiny by grabbing the publishing world by the bal- er, horns and turning their perceptions of how to create a publishing powerhouse inside out and upside down.

When I met Scott he was an unpublished "Podcaster" pursuing his passion part time.  Today Scott is a full-time writer, a "New York Times Best-Selling Novelist" and now, with the release of the gorgeous hard-cover edition of THE ROOKIE, Scott is himself a publisher, with his aptly named "DARK OVERLORD MEDIA" imprint.  Sure, he has a multi-book deal with Crown Publishing, but why should Scott stop there when he has more content and even more rabid fans scrambling like junkies to listen to, watch and read everything he creates.  With a simple goal of total world domination by becoming our Future Dark Overlord (FDO), Sigler is clearly bigger and bolder than what any single publishing house can handle.  His work is truly CONTAGIOUS!

If you are ready to get INFECTED by his writing, here is the Scott Sigler page on (affiliate link).

As much as he is a brilliant writer and on his way to becoming the next Stephen King, Scott's meteoric and methodical rise to the top is a case study in Social Media and Interactive Branding and Marketing worthy of the Harvard Business Review.  Follow Scott and you will not only be thoroughly entertained in mind blowing proportions, but you will also LEARN enormous lessons in how to build a loyal and thriving community.

Scott is no rookie!

Posted via email from Kiss My SASS!