Why I Allow My Children to Use iPads and Other Devices (With Restrictions) IG

Why I Allow My Children to Use iPads (With Restrictions)

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link to these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Stop Blaming iPads for Your Child’s Poor Health

There is a lot being said about iPads contributing to poor health in children.  Some claim there are even studies.

Wait?  What?  How are there studies?  The iPad is not even 10 years old yet.  How can there be a study linking a child’s health to iPad usage?

Anyway, this is sort of my rebuttal to a blog post I saw from a mom who does not allow her children to use iPads or tablets of any kind.

The irony is I tried to offer my rebuttal several times as a comment on her blog post, but it kept failing.  Well, I will get the last laugh!


Why I Allow My Children to Use iPads, Smartphones, Computers, Game Consoles and even an Old-Fashioned TV

Let me start with a tip.  Do not buy your child a brand new iPad.  If you do, purchase a case made worthy of Fort Knox credentials.

I have purchased my last few iPads on Amazon.  I usually purchase a generation or 2 behind because it will cost a lot less than the current generation.  Check it out>>>>

We are living in a technology age.  In the next few years, we will see more autonomous vehicles controlled by devices become more mainstream.  We are already able to control numerous household devices from a few clicks on our phone.  We track almost everything from a device that fits in the palm of our hands.

Most of us cannot get through the day without our smartphone.  It has our schedule, communications, tracking, to do list, reminders and more.  Some of us even check on our pets on our phone.

Programmers and developer jobs are increasing at a rapid pace.  So are jobs in information security.

Technology is here to stay and evolving very quickly.

I used to do a lot of on-site tech support.  In a nutshell, I would go to someone’s house or office and help them with their technology needs (really wants).

A lot of my time was spent teaching high school and college-aged children how to perform simple tasks on a computer.

If you were born in the late 90s or later this should not happen.  You grew up with computers.

The mentality that iPad and tablet usage is bad for children is very wrong.  Not allowing them to use these devices will put them at a disadvantage.

Many schools now have iPads or Chromebooks in the classrooms.  They use them for school work.  Now I know my kids are not using the iPads for school work for the most part (when they’re home), but they are learning to use the device.

They will not be at a disadvantage.

What Do I Allow My Children to do on the iPad, Tablet or Computer?

Let me start with the rules.  They are as follows:

  • They cannot use any electronics on school days unless it’s for school work which is very rare so far
  • On non-school days they are limited to 2 hours maximum
  • There are certain tasks that need to be completed before using any electronics
    • Eat
    • Take care of your chores
    • Read
    • Practice piano or any other extracurricular activity you participate in
    • Any homework that is not completed yet
  • Usage of electronics is governed by household rules. Meaning if you are grounded for any reason then you are not allowed to use electronics.
  • No phones, iPads, tablets or other electronics at the dinner table. This applies to parents and guests as well.  This also applies when we go out to eat.

They use the iPads primarily to play games or watch videos on YouTube.  It’s not really that different than my generation. We grew up playing video games, talking to our friends on a landline phone for hours and watching a ton of TV.

They do use apps like ABCMouse and Epic.

They do occasionally (mostly Isaiah) take pictures and record videos.  Isaiah wants to start a YouTube channel, but we are still talking about it.

We have conversations with our kids about expectations and the dangers of the internet.  I am not naïve.  I know what is out there.  Education is the best defense.

We closely monitor their usage.  I do have software installed on their iPads to monitor usage and the iTunes account is in my name, so I know what is installed and uninstalled.

They are not allowed to chat with anyone other than family and a few select friends.  Yes, this is monitored.

The YouTube account is also in my name, so I know what they’re watching (and annoyingly enough subscribing to).  Izzy (my 4-year-old daughter is only allowed to use YouTube Kids, but this is still closely monitored because stuff can sneak in.

They use one of my laptops.  It is refurbished and has Fedora (Linux) running on it.  I prefer this because it teaches them there is more than Windows or Mac in the computer world.  They only use the computer for ABCMouse (Izzy) and learning to code (Isaiah).

We are planning to get Isaiah a Chromebook.  It just has not happened yet.

This is the Chromebook he has his eye on>>>

For some, the rules might seem strict.  Well, these are the household rules.

Rules teach children that there are boundaries.  They also teach respect for authority.

Yes, my kids do chores.

Yes, there are limitations to everything, just as there should be for adults.

Yes, we monitor their activity.  Not because we don’t trust them but because we don’t trust the creeps outside our 4 walls.

But iPad Use Leads to Obesity and Other Ailments

Just stop it.  Seriously, stop it.  This is a big fat lie (pun intended).  If anything, Izzy and Isaiah are underweight.  They are both skinny.  They are both very active.

Isaiah plays baseball and is pretty good at it.  Izzy takes gymnastics and we’ve been told she will excel at it.  They both take karate.

Neither one of them walks anywhere.  At best it’s a slow paced job but most of the time it’s a full-throttle sprint.

They have other extracurricular activities.  Isaiah plays piano (for 4 years now).  Not once has someone said he should stop playing piano because it may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis.

The plan is to have them play basketball this winter.

We go for hikes on a regular basis.  We go for walks around the neighborhood.  They routinely hang out in the backyard just running around.


They pretend to help with yard work or shoveling snow.  This usually just leads to more yard work or shoveling snow for me.

They use every piece of furniture in the house as a trampoline.  Isaiah uses the house as his own Parkour gym.

We play board games.  I am teaching Isaiah chess now.

If you think using an iPad leads to obesity, then it is because you are not teaching your kids that there are other things in life besides videos and games.

One of the roles of a parent is a manager.  You do have to manage your children’s time, as rigid as that might sound.

People do not like the word manage but an unmanaged child can become a problem.

What Not to Do Regarding iPads and Tablet Usage for Your Kids

Stop using the iPad or smartphone as a babysitter.  Don’t say you don’t.  We are all guilty of this. We are trying to get something done and our child is driving us crazy.  What do we do?  We hand them our phone, so they leave us alone.

We have all done it.  It might be a phone, an iPad or the TV remote but we have done it.

I see it all the time when we are out.  Parents hand their kids a phone so that they are not making noise or are left alone.  The phone is a babysitter and not a good one at that.

If you do let them use a device then limit their time and monitor their usage.  Be honest and let them know you are doing this.  Don’t try to be sneaky about it.  Trust is important.

Teach them about what is out there on the internet and why you are monitoring their usage.  They will be more likely to come to you when something does happen.

Set rules for iPad usage.  Set the expectations for them being allowed to use any media.

Make sure games and videos are age appropriate.  Our kids are pretty good about this on their own.  Izzy just wants anything with My Little Pony.  Isaiah sometimes tries to push the envelope, but we push it back.

Why is My Child Unhealthy?

Stop blaming everyone and everything else.  Start looking internally.  If you let them sit for hours and hours and hours with an iPad, then that’s why they’re unhealthy.

If you let them eat junk and candy all day long, then that’s why they’re unhealthy.

If they never go outside and just lie around on the couch all day then that’s why they’re unhealthy.

I know some kids have pre-existing health conditions like asthma.  I know some are more prone to being obese.  I get that there are allergies out there.  That should not stop you from getting your child involved in things or being active.

I have had kids on my baseball teams who had asthma.  My son has seasonal allergies from May 1 to May 31, like clockwork.  This is the heart of his baseball season.  He still gets out there looking like Will Smith in Hitch.  He still hustles like a pro.

Go for a walk every other day.  Take them on a bike ride.  Go for a hike.  Play a board game.  Talk to them.

I also recently signed my children up for Kiwico.  It’s a box subscription for age-appropriate STEM projects.  

Check out Kiwico STEM project crates for kids>>>>>

This gives us a chance to sit down and work on a project together.  It really is a lot of fun and a great learning experience.

Doing anything excessively can be harmful to a child’s (or adult’s) health.  Ipad usage is not the reason a child becomes obese unless you let it.  It’s not the reason for other health issues unless you let it be.

They used to say the same thing about sitting to close to TVs (You’ll go blind).  My vision is not what it used to be, but I am far from blind.  They used to say the same about video games.  I do not have carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis and can type with the best of them.

Be an active parent and your child will be active.



Why I Allow My Children to Use iPads and Other Devices (With Restrictions)

The truth about apple cider vinegar for weight loss ig

The Truth About Apple Cider Vinegar [Will You Lose Weight?]

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link to these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

The Dad Tax Honest Review of Apple Cider Vinegar [Does it Help You Lose Weight?]

Let me start by saying I am not a doctor and I do not work in the medical field.  In fact, I have very little medical knowledge beyond my own experiences.

I have been using Apple Cider Vinegar for a couple of years now.  I originally started taking it because I was told it would help me to lose weight.

I see blog posts and claims all over the internet about people having lost weight using Apple Cider Vinegar.  I have heard about the numerous health benefits to using it as well.

Since I have been using it for over two years now I thought I would shed some light on what it does and does not do.

First, let me tell you how I use Apple Cider Vinegar.

Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar

This is the brand I of Apple Cider Vinegar I Use.  Get it on Amazon>>>>

I started by drinking 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar with 8 ounces of water before every meal.  Be warned, it is not at all easy to drink.

I am used to doing this now, so the taste does not really do anything to me anymore.

I still take 1 tablespoon with 8 ounces of water before lunch and dinner, but I changed up the pre-breakfast intake a little.

Before breakfast, I now take 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 tablespoons of lemon in 8 ounces of water.  If you want to understand why keep reading.

Does It Help with Weight Loss?

This claim is probably the biggest one I have seen and heard.  I have read numerous blog posts that made this claim.  I have heard it from other people.  So, let’s talk about the elephant in the room.

What a lot of people fail to note is that it helps with weight loss IF you do the other things that help with weight loss.  If you’re working out 3-4 times a week and eating right, you will lose weight.  You don’t need Apple Cider Vinegar for that.

Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar before a meal does make some people feel nauseous.  Feeling nauseous will make you less likely to eat.  If you eat less because you’re nauseous you will lose weight.

I did not lose weight simply by drinking Apple Cider Vinegar before meals.  I had to do the other things too.  It did not make me nauseous so that effect did not work for me.

I would not take Apple Cider Vinegar for weight loss if that is your sole intention, and you do not plan to take other steps towards weight loss.  It’s not going to have the effect you hoped for.  And depending on your tolerance for sour tasting foods you may not be able to stomach it.

If you make it part of your overall health and wellness plan then, by all means, go for it.

Does It Help with Overall Health?

After taking Apple Cider Vinegar for a few months I learned from a friend of mine that Apple Cider Vinegar raises your body’s pH.

Wait? What?  I am not a swimming pool.

Well, you kind of are.  Your body is 75% water.  Having the right pH balance in a pool helps prevent algae and other pool water problems.

Your body has the same effect when your pH levels are at an optimal level.  Having a good pH level helps fight off disease and some sickness.

In the 4 years that I have included Apple Cider Vinegar as part of my health regimen, I have only been sick once.  Considering that I have two young children that have been in preschool this is quite an accomplishment.

The first two years of your child going to a public school are a nightmare for colds and other health issues.  Isaiah’s first year of pre-k was especially tough.  He came home with something new almost weekly.

Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar in Bulk

Buy Apple Cider Vinegar in Bulk>>>

I recently (within the last few months) started taking 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar with 2 tablespoons of lemon before breakfast.  This is to help raise my alkaline even more.

It’s not easy to take so some people add honey and cinnamon (each with their own health benefits).  I do not.  It takes too long for my short attention span and in my opinion, is even harder to take with the honey and cinnamon.

Any Other Benefits of using Apple Cider Vinegar?

I recently read that it helps with skin tag removal.  For this, to work you have to apply it to the area of the skin tag for one week.

I have not tried this yet but plan to.  I will update this blog post when I do.

There is an alternative to Apple Cider Vinegar in liquid form if it’s too much for you to handle.

You can get Apple Cider Vinegar in capsule form.  I have tried this before.  There’s no taste to it and I don’t really have a reason for not continuing with it except that I feel like if I taste it then it is having more of an effect on me.

This is the brand I tried but there are numerous brands available on Amazon.

Apple Cider Vinegar Capsules

Get Apple Cider Vinegar Capsules on Amazon>>>>

There’s No Miracle Pill for Weight Loss

I need to lose weight.  I could afford about 30 pounds right now.  There is no magic pill for weight loss.  If there was there would be no overweight people.

Apple Cider Vinegar is not going to help you lose weight by itself.  The tried and true exercise and eating right is what will help you lose weight.

That’s not to say that Apple Cider Vinegar does not have health benefits.  As you just read it absolutely does.

I have only been sick beyond sniffles once in 4 years.  I am someone who has experienced chronic bronchitis and other respiratory issues in the past.

For that reason alone, I continue to take it and add lemon to my morning routine.

Let me know if you use Apple Cider Vinegar for anything.

The truth about apple cider vinegar for weight loss





why dads love autumn blog post on the dad tax

Why Autumn is Awesome for Dads. [No, It’s Not Because of Pumpkins]

Why Dads Love Autumn. [No, It’s Not Because of Pumpkins]

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link o these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Today my kids went back to school.  Sort of.

I have mentioned in previous blogs that I am not a parent who enjoys back to school.  I love having the kids home, planning day trips or things to do with them.  I love the impromptu nerf war, the extra baseball practice time, the quality time that is harder to have during the school year.

why dads love autumn blog post on the dad tax

Check out the Nerf Rival Guns that Isaiah and I use>>>

Having to get 2 little humans ready as part of the morning routine just compounds the morning chaos.  The rigid schedule of going to bed is a necessary evil but I don’t enjoy it almost as much as they don’t.

The first 4 days of Isaiah’s school are half days and Izzy only has 2 days of school this week.  They may as well have started after Labor Day but oh well.

Back to school and cooler mornings (until this mini heat wave that arrived today) can only mean one thing.

Autumn is approaching, and fast.

I love Autumn (Fall).  It’s a reprieve from the hot weather but no blizzards usually and no extreme cold either.

It’s inevitable that end of August, early September we begin to see Halloween stuff, Apple Cider Donuts, and Pumpkin everything.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Apple Cider donuts and Pumpkin pie, but we’ve gone overboard now.

Some stores even begin pushing Christmas stuff around this time.  That’s just insane.  Yet some people love it.

Some dads may disagree with me on some of these things.  I am not a big fan of Halloween and I know some dads are.

Let’s Start with What I Do Not Like About Autumn

This list is probably going to be short.

First, I am not a fan of pushing the holidays so early.  Christmas is at the end of December.  We have to get through Thanksgiving first.  Let’s be honest.  Most dads are last-minute shoppers anyway so you’re not going to hook a dad on buying Christmas gifts in October.

I don’t get the Pumpkin craze.  I like Pumpkin pie but I wouldn’t go out of my way for it.  I am not going to go out of my way for a Pumpkin Triple Mocha Latte Super Espresso (I just made that up but you get my point).

I enjoy an Apple Cider donut but the amount of sugar in a donut is unreal, so I usually avoid them.  If someone has an alternative that is worthy of being named an Apple Cider donut, by all means, please do share.

I don’t like raking.  I just don’t. If you like it more power to you. Swing by my house anytime between October and November.

I do not.  I like cutting the grass (I did it today, on the first day of the mini heatwave).  I don’t mind shoveling snow so long as it’s not measured in feet.  I do not like raking.

I do enjoy playing with the kids in the piles of leaves, but then you have to rake again.

That’s pretty much the whole list of Autumn dislikes.

What I Love About Autumn

Let’s start with the most important one.

September is filled with hope and endless possibilities.  Football season has arrived, and the Yankees are annual playoff contenders.  The Jets are usually a disappointment by the end of October, but I still have hope every season.  This year looks promising so far.

It’s an exciting time in the sports world.  And if you’re a Fantasy Football fan/participant then it’s even more exciting.

Draft day was yesterday.  I think I have a good team.  I tend to be in the top 25% of my leagues but have yet to win it all.  I did make it to the final once.

I also play on FanDuel.  I deposited money on FanDuel years ago and I am still playing with house money.  I only do Football at this point because I did terrible with Basketball and Baseball

I am coaching Fall Ball..more fun!  Coaching baseball is something I really enjoy, and the baseball field is my sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of my life.  We have two months of decent weather to play games.  And it keeps my son warm for the next season.

My favorite holiday of the year is Thanksgiving.  There’s no pressure to find the perfect gift and it’s all about family.  It’s the 3 F’s.  Family, Food, and Football.  How can you not love Thanksgiving?

It’s hoodie season.  I love my hoodies.  So much comfort all in one article of clothing.  I prefer UA Hoodies but also have a few custom hoodies.  It might be time to create a Dad Tax Hoodie.

Check out the UA Hoodies on Amazon>>>

There are lots of fairs and carnivals in early Autumn.  The fairs are great in my area, as I imagine they are everywhere.

And finally, as I mentioned earlier it’s cooler weather.  I have lived in Connecticut all my life.  Winters a brutal.  Summers are brutal.  There can be a 125-degree difference between February and July on any given year.  They are extremes of each other.  As I write this on August 27th it was 94 degrees today.  It’s currently 7:30 pm and it’s still 86 degrees.  Uncalled for.  Tomorrow and Wednesday are supposed to be worse.

The last 5 or 6 Winters have also been brutal.  One was the coldest on record.  We had a record-breaking blizzard in 2013.  Last year was the mildest it’s been in a while.

Fall and Spring are really the best weather.  I love Fall weather.  So long as there are no freak Halloween blizzards.  We have had a few of those in recent years too.

Stop the Pumpkin Madness

I get it.  Pumpkin is tasty.  Now there’s pumpkin beer, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin cookies, and muffins.  I think I saw pumpkin spaghetti.  What?  Is there a pumpkin pizza yet?

You’re ruining pumpkin for everyone. And if there is a pumpkin pizza then you’re ruining pizza.

The truth is without four seasons you can’t really appreciate Autumn.  If we didn’t have the extremes of Winter and Summer, then Autumn wouldn’t seem like such a great season.  I imagine people who have lived in Florida all their lives probably don’t get it.

But no matter where you live most dads will agree that the other reasons I love Autumn are indeed great reasons to love the season.  The sports world is buzzing.  Thanksgiving is coming.  And my sanctuary..the baseball field with my team, who like the Jets are full of hope and promise.  Somehow I believe they will outperform the Jets.

Now let me go tweak my Fantasy line up and see who didn’t get drafted that might be a sleeper.

why dads love autumn


No! Your Kid Does Not Deserve a Trophy [Go Ahead, Get Mad]

Stop Awarding Trophies to Everyone [Let Them Lose]

No!  Your Kid Does Not Deserve a Trophy [Go Ahead, Get Mad]

This will probably piss off some parents, but it needs to be said.  You might not like me much after this.  You may not have even liked me before.

I don’t really care.  Well, I do a little.

A recent poll was taken in a dad only Facebook group. It revealed that an overwhelming 87% of dads are not in favor of awarding trophies to everyone participating in a team or individual sport.

It’s not exactly a Quinnipiac poll but I believe it might be more honest.  Some of the comments were a lot more colorful than my blog post will be.

Let’s Start with an Example

Stop Awarding Trophies to Everyone

I have been coaching my son in baseball for 4 years.  He is now 8.  We started in t-ball.  He is now ready to move up to kid pitch.  In fact, he’s more than ready.

He’s had extra training thanks to Ultimate Sports and the Hartford Yard Goats, and he almost always excels at the game.  He tends to play middle infield and is pretty good at it.  He’s an even better hitter.

When He Focuses!  Now pay attention…

I usually have 12-13 kids on a team.  At this age, they all play.  They all get to hit.  They all play in the field.

After every game, I award a game ball.  The game ball is not necessarily the best player that day.  It might be the one who played the hardest, had the best attitude, improved the most or made a key play.  These things usually tie together so it’s usually not hard to determine who will get the game ball by the end of the game.

I confer with my coaches and we decide.  We are almost always in agreement.

My son tends to lack focus.  I get it.  He’s 8 and he’s a boy.  I completely understand. That does not mean he’s going to be awarded a game ball just because he’s 8 and he’s a boy.  He must earn it like anyone else does.

Side note:  This is from experience.  Girls at this age are much more focused when playing baseball.

This past season he was skipped over for almost 2/3 of the season before he finally earned it.  Unlike a lot of other coaches who have their kids on their team I tend to be tougher on him.  He earned it because he played his best game as far as focus and effort.

What’s the Lesson?

He knows how my mind works.  Most games he will tell me ahead of time he did not earn the game ball.  He gets it.

Most of the time he knows who earned it.  He’s also very observant.

I don’t want to brag but my son is really a great kid.  He has his moments but overall, he’s a great kid.

I know a lot of parents probably say that, and I am probably a little biased but let me give you a few examples.

He does not get upset when he does not get the game ball.  Other kids do (not all of them).

He knows what he did wrong in most cases.

He is a great teammate and tries to pick up others when they need it.  He also sticks up for other kids, and he’s far from the biggest kid on the field.

He knows if he didn’t earn it he doesn’t get it.

Isaiah at Yard Goat Stadium

Here’s what I want him to learn from not getting an award for mediocrity, or even losing.

  • It’s OK to lose sometimes. Everyone loses.  Michael Jordan was cut from his High School Basketball team.  The best baseball players in the world do not get a hit 70% of the time.  Everyone loses.  If you reward loss with a trophy then you are saying it’s OK to be mediocre.
  • Losing builds character. It makes you a tougher person in life.  Adversity will come.  Giving everyone a trophy does not prepare them for adversity.
  • Losing the right way (meaning not throwing a tantrum or being a poor sport) teaches children how to be better adults. They learn how to interact with their peers even when things are not going their way.
  • By not allowing children to learn how to lose you are teaching them that they should get every job and promotion they want, even if they’re not qualified, or didn’t earn it. You’re teaching them that they don’t have to put the effort into their school work because everyone should get an A.  You’re teaching them that mediocrity is OK when they should be taught to find their strengths and excel.
  • Awarding a trophy to everyone diminishes the accomplishments of the children who earned the trophy.
  • The children know that they did not earn the trophy. By awarding a trophy to everyone you may inadvertently create a rift between children.  Children are far more observant than most believe.

I do not want my children growing up with that sense of entitlement.  I want them to EARN everything they get.

My son gets it at 8 years old.  I don’t understand why that’s a hard concept for adults to comprehend.

My son has also played basketball and soccer.  He was terrible at basketball and was average at soccer.  He’s going back to basketball this winter after not playing for 2 years.

They awarded participation medals to everyone that participated in both leagues.  I understand the concept and was proud that he went out there and tried his best.  I get that the medal was for participation only.  I don’t want the wrong message sent.

When he was playing basketball we always went a little early (we do this for baseball too) because he knew there were things he needed to work on.  Arriving early meant extra practice time.

That’s what awarding a trophy to everyone goes against.  Most pro athletes will tell you incredible stories of how they worked to get where they are.  Some have stories of being told they were not good enough or would not succeed.

Most pro athletes will tell you that they have lost or failed and that the loss or failure motivated them even more.

When Isaiah loses or fails at most things he is extra motivated to get better at it.  He took it upon himself to learn how to swing from the left side because he recognized there is more value to a switch hitter.

He wants to show up earlier to get extra practice.

He now has a goal of being one of the two best players on the field during any given game.  That’s his goal after I told him the statistics of someone making it to Major League Baseball.

No! Your Kid Does Not Deserve a Trophy [Go Ahead, Get Mad]

Stop Giving Trophies to Everyone

I know not everyone will agree with my sentiment.  I am by no means a high-level coach.  Ultimately my goal is to develop the kids into better players and teach them to have fun while doing it.

My 4 years of experience have taught me that kids know when they earn something and when they don’t.  My many more years of experience as a dad have taught me that kids will take what they can get and develop from that.

When I was in school I knew what I had to do to get by.  In most cases that’s exactly what I did.  I was a decent football and baseball player.  I did enough to get decent grades and make honors most of the time.  I did not try to excel.

As I look back at my formidable years I wish someone had taught me to not be average.  I wish someone would have said be one of the two best players on the field every game.  I wish someone would have said be one of the top 5 students in my class.

It would have made a difference in my early 20s, and it would have probably made a difference for the rest of my life.

The give everyone a trophy philosophy was not even prevalent during my High School and College years.  It’s just that no one told me to strive for excellence.

We’ve created a generation of now adults who think everyone deserves a trophy for everything.  We’re working on a second generation now.

At the end of the day, we cannot be good at everything.  Find what you’re good at and/or enjoy and excel.

Today, I strive for excellence in a few areas including preparing my children to be productive and successful members of society.

I don’t think I am a great coach, but I do think I am making a difference in some children’s lives.  When a child gets excited because I am their coach again, it means the world to me.  It means that the child understands they need to earn their trophy (among other things).

Do you want your children to put the effort into being successful?  Or do you want them to wait for everything to be handed to them?



stop awarding trophies to everyone on the dad tax



A Dad Tax Review - Grammarly

Want to be Humbled? Use Grammarly! [Fix Grammar Before Publishing]

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link o these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Grammarly makes me look like a grammatical genius.  It also humbles me when I go through and correct mistakes I have no idea I am making.

I have been using Grammarly for at least a couple of years now.  I have spoken about it multiple times most recently on my SEO Hackerz Podcast.  I mentioned in one of my episodes that if you want to be humbled use Grammarly.  It made perfect sense that I would become an affiliate of Grammarly.  I have probably already lost a number of sales by not doing this sooner.

Rather than sing the praises of Grammarly, which I am sure most people reading this have already read or heard, I am going to give you a few real-life scenarios of Grammarly in practice.  When I am done you will understand why you too should use Grammarly.

First, let me start by saying there are a lot of blogs and ebooks out there that could benefit from using Grammarly.  Some blogs are REALLY difficult to read.  Let me first tell you what Grammarly does.

I have read enough, I want Grammarly now>>>>

Grammarly checks and alerts to:

  • Spelling Mistakes
  • Grammatical Errors
  • Word Choice (like overusing words or using words unnecessarily)
  • Punctation
  • Plagiarism (premium account required)

Grammarly Scenario One:

When writing blog posts or any content I will usually start with Microsoft Word.  I like to save the blog posts and content locally (technically in the cloud).  Microsoft Word’s grammar correction works well but it has nothing on Grammarly.

I have been living under a rock because before I wrote this blog post I was not aware there was a Grammarly plug-in for Microsoft Word and Outlook.  Before that, I would write the post and upload it to my website.

grammarly apps

I use Google Chrome almost exclusively so it makes sense that I would have the Grammarly Chrome add-on.  Even after I have made corrections using Word’s grammar checker Grammarly always finds more.  A few of the suggestions are the result of me trying to write the blog post as a conversation.  Most of the suggestions in my case are related to the usage of punctuation and incorrect usage of hyphens.

Not to toot my own horn but I am a pretty decent speller.  I won a spelling bee in second grade!  Do they even have spelling bees anymore?

Once I copy and paste the word document into WordPress Grammarly goes to work and adds a red underline to the issues it finds.  There’s also the Grammarly icon at the lower right-hand corner of your screen.  If it is green and not spinning then there are no errors identified.  If it is red then there are errors.  It will indicate the number of errors that it finds.

Grammarly offers the correction simply by hovering over the error.  Within a few minutes, all of my poor grammar is corrected.

Now my wife won’t yell at me.  She’s the grammar police in the house.

Grammarly Scenario Two:

Sometimes I get brave, as I am with this blog post, and write the whole blog in WordPress.

You would think that by now I would have learned my lesson.

One late night writing (there seems to be a lot of those lately) my internet went out and my browser window refreshed.  A nearly 2000 word blog that I had not saved yet was gone.  My Surface almost went on an unplanned flight that day.

I digress.  As I am writing this blog post I am almost instantly alerted to errors.  This saves me time from having to go back and edit the content.  As I type the Grammarly chrome addon spins away doing its thing.

When it discovers an error I am almost instantly alerted to it.  Grammarly identifies errors before I get to the next sentence usually.  And I am a fast typer.

Now let me go save my work so far.

Get Grammarly for Your Blog>>>

Grammarly Scenario Three:

This is where Grammarly humbled me.  I was recording a podcast about repurposing content.  I went to a blog post from 4 years ago to review how updating and content for timeliness could increase your traffic.

Of course, I have the Grammarly addon in Chrome.  It immediately went to work on the blog post that I was using as an example.  The number of red underlines was scary.

On the one note, it showed how much I have grown as a writer/blogger in 4 years.  On another note, I was scared to look at other older blog posts.  What will I uncover?

grammarly while editing in WordPress

If you have content that you have not used Grammarly on I would strongly encourage you to do so, especially if there is a large gap between when you started blogging and now.

Make sure you’re sitting down before you do this.  You might pass out if your blogging early on is anything like mine.ser

Grammarly Scenario Four

We all write emails  Some of us pour over email to make sure it looks professional, has the right tone, and is grammatically correct.

I am not sure if Grammarly can help with the tone but it can help with looking professional and ensuring grammar is correct.

If you use a web-based email as I do, just use the Google Chrome plugin.  Grammarly will do the work for you and alert you to mistakes the same way it does when editing a blog post.

If you use Outlook you just need to install the Microsoft Word app.  It also works in Outlook.

We tend to be a little more careless when sending an email.  A lot of the emails I send are professional email to clients or professional clients.  Imagine sending an email to a potential client about handling their content and SEO with poor grammar and misspelling common words.

If that potential client is anything like me then I will most likely not win them over as a client.

Grammarly plays a huge part in my email correspondence.

Grammarly For Life

I love Grammarly.  It saves me from looking like a dummy all the time.  I can do that enough without grammatical errors.  Grammarly has a free plan as well as subscription plans.

The subscription plans start at just under $12/month if paid annually.  With a subscription, you get the plagiarism checker, twice as many corrections and customization based on document type.

Grammarly is a very powerful tool for business communications, blogging and content creation, and scholastic submissions.

I have been using it for several years now.  It has helped me fix poor grammar, typos, and misspellings.  It has improved my word choice and my tendency to sometimes over exaggerate a point.

Did I mention they have an app for iOS and Android?

Try Grammarly yourself and I am sure you will agree too!  If you use Grammarly already share your experience in the comments!!

Correct all grammar errors with Grammarly!

Want to be Humbled_ Use Grammarly! [Fix Grammar Before Publishing]



Dads and Granddads at a Yankee Game August 2018

My Trip to Yankee Stadium (Why It’s So Important)

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link o these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Yankee Stadium Yankees vs Toronto August 18 2018Let me start by saying I love spending time with my kids.  I am sure a lot of fathers do.  Ask anyone that knows me, and they will tell you I am a huge proponent of fathers bonding with their children over their entire lifetime.

Let me also say I spend A LOT of time with my kids.  I work from home most days.  When they’re home they spend a lot of time hanging out in my office.

My office is pretty cool.  I have one of my Rokus set up in the office.  It has an old school Atari.  It has computers.  And they bring their toys in my office.  My somewhat well kept and organized office implodes almost daily when they are home.

They can watch TV, pretty much whatever they want on demand.  They can get on the computer.  My son is learning to code.  My daughter goes to ABCMouse to learn.

I am also one of Isaiah’s baseball coach and attend probably 80-90% of their extracurricular activities.  The truth is I don’t want to miss any of it.

So, they spend a lot of time with me.  And I love it.

Sometimes I need to adult.  Meaning I need to be around other adults without children.

You’re probably wondering why I am telling you this. Like it’s some long-lost secret that parents need time away from their children, and vice versa.

Here’s why.  Typically, if I am going to a baseball game my son is going with me.  He loves baseball almost as much as me.  When he gets older he will probably love it even more than I do.  He loves to play, watch and talk baseball with me.

He has known for a couple of weeks that I was going to a Yankee game today and was disappointed that I was going without him.  I get it.  In a way, I was disappointed too.  I do really enjoy bonding with him over baseball.

Here’s the thing.  It’s healthy to have time away from your kids.  It’s OK to have adult conversations without a child clinging to every word or interrupting you to tell you about some random toy they want.

I would go so far as to say it’s important to have that time away from your children.  For everyone’s mental health it’s a good idea to have “you” time with other adults.

Signs You Need a Break

Here are some of the warning signs that you might need a break from your children.

  • You seem to get annoyed at the smallest things.
  • You snap at them for seemingly no reason.
  • You agree to things and have no idea what you agreed to. (My youngest daughter is awesome at getting people to do this).
  • You spend time in the bathroom just to escape. (I am always amazed that with 3 bathrooms in the house they always need to use the bathroom I am in).
  • You randomly sing the theme song to My Little Pony or Paw Patrol.

There are probably more but we will leave it with these few for now.

I responded to Isaiah by telling him that sometimes parents need time with their friends the same way sometimes he just wants to play with his friends.  I know he was still disappointed, but I think he understood.

Parents need to understand that it is OK to take a break and be an adult.  Work does not count by the way.  You don’t really have a choice at work.  That’s not a break.

Take a break and go spend time with your friends when you can.  This is especially important for parents of infant children.  Infants can wear you down.  It can be very exhausting taking care of your infant child.  We are beyond that stage of life now so that does not apply to us.

Dads and Granddads at a Yankee Game August 2018

If you feel the need for a break take it.

It helps to have a support system.  Today my kids stayed with their grandparents.  They just hung out all day, sort of a lazy kids’ day.  And they were super excited to see me when I got home.

Yankees 11 Blue Jays 6

I am not superstitious by any stretch of the imagination, but the Yankees always win when I go to the stadium.  Even the time I went with my oldest daughter in 2009.

The Yankees were losing big to Cleveland that day in 2009.  We left early to beat the rush to the train.  I took the train back to Grand Central Station.  By the time we got to Grand Central Station people who saw us with our Yankee gear were asking if we saw what happened.  I did not have any idea what they were talking about.  Then I found out the Yankees rallied and ARod hit a walk-off home run.  They won the World Series that year, so I take credit for that.

I probably go to the mecca of baseball 2-3 times a year.  We (Father and Son) visit the local minor league teams a lot too.  Plus, Isaiah plays and participates in several clinics and camps.  So, we spend a lot of time around baseball.  I love watching him grow into it.  He truly has a lot of potential and even more importantly he enjoys it.

Today they beat the Blue Jays.  They have the second-best record in baseball but as of late they have not been playing that great.  It doesn’t help that two of their biggest bats are on the DL.  Judge and Sanchez (my son’s two favorite players) are BIG BATS. Today, they played like the Yankees and won like the Bronx Bombers.

More importantly, I spent time with friends, some of whom also need a break from their children.  We laughed, we joked, we talked, we ate really bad (but really good) food.  We bought souvenirs…..for our children.   We walked….a lot.

They also had a tribute for the 1998 World Series Yankees.  You might remember that team if you follow baseball.  It was one of the greatest single season teams ever, winning a total of 125 games that year.  That was also the second of 4 World Series titles in 5 years.

1998 Yankees World Series Team

That meant we also did some reminiscing.  I also got sunburned.  It was hot and steamy.  We compared it to weather in Cuba and Haiti (Countries I have been to in recent years).  It was more uncomfortable in the Bronx.

In total, I spent about 11 hours with this group of parents and grandparents, without children.  It was the break that I needed.  A break that I would probably deny needing or wanting.  And it was great getting back to my kids.

Now It’s Time to Say Goodnight

I write this as they sleep.  In a week Summer will be over for them.  It’s kind of sad to me but kids need structure.  They need to interact with other children their age.  They need to learn from other adults from different perspectives.

Soon it will be hoodie time and pumpkin everything time.  I don’t really participate in the pumpkin everything craze but I do love my hoodies.

This was a conversation we had on the way home too.  It’s not that they don’t have structure in the Summer.  My children do, but it’s a little less rigid.

Tomorrow we begin getting them back on the school schedule.  Tomorrow it will set in that Summer vacation is almost over.  It will set in for them, and for my wife and me.

I set aside a couple of days this coming week to just spend time with them.  That means by Monday I might be ready for another parent break.  They will be in school, so the house will be eerily quiet for a few hours while I work.  By the time Isaiah’s bus comes back to his stop I will be ready to hear all about his first day of school because I will have missed him and his sister tremendously.

It’s really a vicious cycle.

I am obviously terrible at taking selfies

My Trip to yankee stadium & why it's important (1)



the dad tax guide to installing plex on centos 7

The Dad Tax Guide to Setting up a Plex Server [On CentOS]

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link o these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Cut the Cord

I worked in the cable industry for almost 10 years.  I left it in 2015.  The last few years I advocated for change.  Packaged television was not working anymore.  No one wanted to pay $120/month to have 200 channels of which they watched maybe 10.

While I was still working in the cable industry I cut the cord.  I still have cable internet because the alternative in my area is terrible.

I use Netflix (I actually get this free because of the plan I have with TMobile).  I have Hulu, and I have a Plex Server.

I have considered, and am still considering using one of the now many streaming services for live TV.  Right now it’s looking like YouTube Live.

I am also considering using an antenna.  What year is it again?

I love my Plex Server.

First, let me start out by introducing you to Plex.

Plex is software that allows you to stream your movie/video collection to multiple devices.  For a low yearly rate of $40 you can purchase the Plex Pass.  With this, you get a bunch of add-ons including the ability to watch and record TV shows (not live).

I should point out that purchasing a Plex Pass is not required but it is nice to have!

You can also add on some other features like Podcasts.  You can configure it to stream videos from any of your devices as well.

I mainly use it as my movie library.  I have taken years of movies off of DVD, added some newer movies, and now have over 500 movies on my server.

I no longer own a DVD player unless you count the Xbox or computers.  Incidentally, I use the Xbox for Plex.

I also use my Roku Players for Plex.  Get the Roku Streaming Stick Here>>>>>

the Dad Tax Plex Server

Why CentOS (Linux)?

I originally set up my Plex Server on a Windows 2012 Server.  Compared to my current Plex Server it was beefy.  It was running 16 GB of RAM and a relatively newer Xeon processor.

The installation and set up on the Windows Server was very simple.  It was easy to attach other drives to the server and have Plex pick them up.

Then the unthinkable happened.  The motherboard and processor on the server died.  I had a decision to make.  Do I replace the motherboard and processor?

The Windows Server also ran hard.  It was literally being used to heat my office in the winter.  No heater needed.  It was consuming a lot of electricity.  And I was really not using it for anything else.

Should I fix it?  Parts would have cost me a few hundred dollars.  Not too bad.  But was it worth it?

I had a few older Dell Desktops not really being used for anything.  I installed CentOS 7 (on older computers I typically run Linux as it just runs more efficiently).  Then I set out to find a guide on how to set up Plex.

The issue was there was not ONE guide to help with everything I was trying to accomplish.  I was installing a Plex Server on CentOS..that’s one guide.  I was installing a Windows Hard Drive on the Linux machine (another guide).  I was transferring movies from an external drive formatted with Windows.  (another guide).

The information was all over the place.  Some of it was also wrong or did not work.

Why should anyone else suffer?

My Plex “Server” Specs

I wouldn’t necessarily call the computer a server.  It definitely runs on a lot less than the Windows Server did.


  • Dude, you have a Dell
  • Older generation i3 Processor
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • I added a 2TB drive to it.
    • Basically, I took the drive from the Windows Server and put it in this machine.  Originally it came with a 500GB drive.  So the operating system is installed on the 500GB drive and the movies are on the 2TB drive.

To my dismay, there was not a single guide that had every step to set up and maintain a Plex Server on CentOS.  CentOS is easily one of the more popular versions of Linux so that seemed odd.

I pieced together a guide from what I found.  Here it is!

Warning: This is done almost exclusively using Terminal (Linux Command Line).  If you prefer a GUI or are uncomfortable with using strictly command line then this might not be the best approach for you.


The Dad Tax Guide to Setting Up & Maintaining Plex on CentOS 7

You will first need to have a machine running CentOS 7.  This guide assumes that if you are here then you already have the knowledge to install CentOS.

If I get enough requests then I will create a guide on how to install CentOS as well.  Installing most versions of Linux is not that hard to do these days, and there are lots of guides on the internet regarding installing CentOS and Linux in general.

First thing I would suggest is setting up SSH.  I set up my Plex Server to allow SSH internally only.  You can choose otherwise.  I won’t get into the risks and how to prevent them here.

My Plex Server is in my basement office.  It’s easier to manage from anywhere else in the house using SSH.  I don’t even keep a keyboard and mouse connected to it.  It’s just quicker to SSH from my phone or laptop.

Get an Account

You will also need to have a plex account.  You can set this up on their website.  You can create a free account but I would really encourage you to get a Plex Pass.  It’s $3.99 a month, or $40/year or you can get a lifetime pass or $120 for life.

I originally chose the one year plan.  I will be going to lifetime when my one year is up.  That should be soon.

First Do This

yum update -y

This will update your machine.  If you have not done this in a while it may take some time.  It may also require a reboot if the kernel is updated.

Set Up SSH on CentOS

Open Terminal and Enter

sudo su

Enter Your Username and Password.  This will give you root access so you don’t have to keep typing in your password or Sudo

systemctl start sshd.service

Now, you’re not going to want to do this every time your computer reboots so you can configure your machine to start SSH on boot.

systemctl enable sshd

Now SSH will start whenever the computer reboots.

Like I said earlier, I configured SSH immediately so that I don’t have to go all the way down to the basement to manage my Plex Server.

There are other things to consider.  For example, there are different versions of SSH, one more secure than the other.

You may also want to determine if you want to be able to access SSH from outside your network.  I decided against this for my reasons but you may want to.

Install Plex

This step is actually pretty easy.  Before you do this step you will need to go to the downloads page and get the URL for the latest version.

As of this writing, the command you would use is:

wget https://downloads.plex.tv/plex-media-server/

Now Install Plex (this assumes you still have sudo access).  If not include sudo in the beginning of the below command.

yum install plexmediaserver*.rpm

Finally, you will want to configure Plex to automatically start on reboot.  I can’t think of a reason you wouldn’t.

sudo systemctl enable plexmediaserver.service

Last but definitely not least, fire it up!!

sudo systemctl start plexmediaserver.service

Configure Plex

You will now need to open a browser.  The default browser on CentOS is fine.

You may want to install Chrome on your shiny new (old) Linux machine.  I chose not to install anything additional besides Plex and some monitoring software.

Browse to http://localhost:8888/web

Enter your username and password.  We set this up earlier..remember???

Give your new Plex server a name.

Optional: Put a check in the box Allow me to access my media outside my home.  I chose not to do this.  Keep in mind if you do this you will also need to configure your router to allow access.

And then create your media folders.  In my scenario, these folders were already created because I used a hard drive that was set up on my Windows Server originally.  That’s another set of instructions that will not be included here.

To create new media folders go back to your terminal window and enter:

cd ~/
mkdir -p plex-media/movies 

You will need to do this for each folder you want to be created. So if you want one for TV you would run this command again but change movies to tv, or you can append to the first command using:

&& mkdir plex-media/tv

Add Media

I transferred my movies from a back up drive originally set up on Windows.  This means I would have another set of instructions.  I will include those as a bonus once I am done with this guide.

For now, I am going to assume you have some knowledge of how to transfer media to your Linux hard drive (the folders you created in the previous step.

Open Plex on your local machine.  Alternatively, you can navigate to Plex from inside your network using another computer.

For example, on my network, I can go to and log in from there.   This will be different for you depending on the IP address scope of your router and what IP address you assigned to your Plex Server.  The :32400 at the end is the port number for Plex.

If you are still on your local machine then just use http://localhost:8888/web.

  • Click Add Library
  • Select the media type (Movies, TV, Music..etc)
  • Navigate to the folder that the media is in
  • Click Add
  • Repeat for additional libraries

scan library files on plexIt is important to follow Plex’s naming conventions as outlined on their website.  I did not when I first set this up and it did not go smoothly.  I had some cleaning up to do.

After you’ve done the initial set up anytime you add more media (to the same folders) just use the scan library files option to update Plex with the new media.

Update Plex

Updating Plex is pretty simple. The heavy lifting is done now.

It just so happened that an update is available as I am putting this guide together so I am going to screen capture it.

I am going to do this from my Asus Laptop (I wrote about it here) using Putty.

First you will want to make sure CentOS is up to date.  As you will see in the video you will need to make sure you have su access.

sudo su

Enter Password

yum update -y

wget https://downloads.plex.tv/plex-media-server/

service plexmediaserver stop

yum localupdate plexmediaserver*

service plexmediaserver start

Note, the url used in wget may not be the current version.  It probably will not be by the time you read this.  You will need to either use the version number shown in the Plex application or go to the Plex website to get the right version.

Transferring Media from a Windows Formatted Drive (Bonus Round)

I am adding this because a lot of people I know are more familiar with Windows.  You might be more of a Linux user but if you are then you’re probably not reading this guide.

My backup of my movies is a portable hard drive that was originally formatted in Windows.  CentOS does not recognize this natively but there is a way to transfer media from a Windows formatted drive to CentOS.

You will first need to install some software

yum install ntfs-3g

Now create a directory where the Windows Drive will attach

mkdir /mnt/windows

/mnt/windows can be whatever you want it to be but make sure it makes sense.

Now mount the Windows drive

mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sdb1 /mnt/win

You may need to change sdb1 to sdc1 or higher depending on how many mounts you have on your server.  I had to use sdc1 because I have two hard drives in the computer.  You can use the df command to see what mounts you have.

using df to see what mounts you have

On Windows when you detach an external drive you have to select eject from the system tray.  (If you don’t do this you risk losing data or corrupting the drive).  This is not an option on CentOS.  To detach the drive you have to:

umount /mnt/windows

To Transfer the Movies I just transfer the entire folder.  This is easier than going movie by movie.

cp -r -n /mnt/bkup/Movies\ 2 /mnt/win

The -r sets the copy to be recursive.  The -n tells the computer not to overwrite anything if it already exists.  Less wear and tear on the hard drive and a much quicker copy drive in my case.

The folder name on my external drive is Movies 2.  Note the space.  CentOS does not recognize the space so to get around that you have to enter it as Movies\ 2.

Final Notes

That’s going to do it for this Guide to Installing Plex on CentOS 7.  I am sure I missed a thing or two so if I did let me know.

If you use this guide let me know.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The Dad Tax Guide to Installing Plex on CentOS 7


Surface Pro 4 Review from the Dad Tax

A Tech Dad’s Review of the Surface Pro 4 [Fat Fingers & All]

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link o these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

There are lots of computers in my house.  I might have a problem.

I have one computer running CentOS (Linux) as a dedicated Plex Server.  If you have a Plex server or are considering it trust me when I tell you Linux is the way to go.  I have tried both Windows and Linux and it runs so much better on Linux.  It is a little harder to set up and manage but it runs great.  I am using a 10-year-old Dell with 4 GB of RAM and I never have a problem.

I have several older laptops that all now run Linux (sensing a theme yet?).  Either CentOS or Kali.  We’ll get to Kali another time.  Don’t ask questions.

I have my main laptop which I call my beast.  It’s an Asus Gaming machine but I don’t game.  I got it more for photo and video editing.  It has 24GB of RAM, an i7 processor, and an awesome video card.  It has a 17-inch screen and Windows 10.

This is the closest I could find on Amazon.

I have had it for about 3.5 years now and it has been great.  It’s so awesome that my wife often commandeers it to do her school work or enter notes for her job.

So what’s a dad to do when his wife commandeers his main laptop?  The one he does most of what he does on?

The two Linux based laptops are not really set up for what I do professionally.  They’re hobby machines and the kids use them for some things.

I also do travel sometimes and my Asus is heavy.  So if I am in NYC walking around I don’t want to lug it with me.

Enter the Surface Pro

Here’s what I decided.  I needed something that was light but still powerful enough to do most of my tasks.  I was not going to use Photoshop or some of my other more resource hogging software on the computer.  Having something that could also act as a tablet would be great.  I do like to read sometimes and having all my books in Kindle is awesome to me.

Yes, I do have real books too.

I did some research.  I considered an iPad and Keyboard set up.  I have tried this before and didn’t really like it.  I feel the iPad is too restrictive. My kids have iPads (technically one of them is mine) and I am really not impressed.  I am team Android.

I researched a few other models of tablet type computers from Dell and Lenovo.  I was really trying to avoid going to Microsoft.  Then one day I tried one.

The Surface Pro 4 rocks.  It’s fast, it’s very light. It can easily be used as a tablet.

I made the leap to a Microsoft Surface Pro 4.

While I still use my Asus a lot I now have a laptop that I don’t mind switching to when the Asus is being used by my wife.  I have a laptop that I can easily travel with and still have room for other things in my backpack.  I do have to bring other tech toys too you know.



This is the model I purchased.  It came with the following:

  • 256 GB SSD Drive.  I still like more storage space
  • 8 GB of RAM
  • i5 Processor
  • 12.3 Inch Screen (very high resolution)
  • Battery lasts for a few days on standby and I can easily go 3-4 hours of constant usage before having to consider plugging it in
  • Very responsive touch screen

Get the Surface Pro 4 at Amazon>>>>

The detachable keyboard is great. It’s so easy to attach and detach.

I have had it for over a year now with no issues.

My only complaints are the keyboard is a little small for my big hands.  I almost always use full-size keyboards so there is a bit of an adjustment when I switch to the Surface Pro.

And there is only one USB port.  I am not sure if other models have more.

What Do I Use it For?

Of course, I write blog posts and content for myself and my clients.  I wrote this blog post on it last night.

Google Chrome is always open with at least 10 tabs.

I have Office 365 installed and use Excel all the time, and Word when I am putting longer posts together.

I read books using Kindle.

I watch shows and movies using Netflix, Hulu, and Plex.  The resolution and display are great for this.

I use it for learning.  I have a few dozen courses to go through in Udemy still and some other stuff I need to get through.

It Makes a Great College Gift!!

I know it’s back to school time for a lot of families in the US.  I thought it was a good time to share this with other dads and families who need a reliable and efficient solution for their college students computer needs.

No need to lug a desktop up to the dorm anymore.  The Surface Pro is light and fast.  The facial recognition feature is a great theft deterrent bonus as well.  It recognizes my face quickly but prevents others from being able to log in.

I still do some IT for families that I have had as clients for many years.  I have watched their kids grow up and go off to college.

When the kids go off to college the parents always ask me what would be a good computer to send them off with.   In the last year, I have recommended the Surface Pro exclusively.

It’s powerful enough to get the job done, versatile enough to take the place of a tablet and a TV, and light enough to run from class to class.  We all know college students are always late for class.


In case you’re wondering, no I will not help you salvage your old desktop into a Plex server.

If you have or decide to purchase a Surface Pro let me know what you think!  Do you fat finger everything like I do?

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 Review





A Case of the Mondays [No, I Don’t Hate Mondays]

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link o these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

It’s Monday night at 9:30 and I am just now sitting down with time for myself.  Mondays can be hectic.

On Mondays, I prep my client’s analytics and deliver the good (or bad) news to them.  I also record my SEO Hackerz Podcast.  I attempt to edit and upload it the same day.  The transcription takes me at least a few days so I don’t worry about that on Mondays.

I have to watch Power from the night before, one of my guilty pleasures.  I don’t watch a lot of television but this I watch.  I will create a blog post with my favorite TV shows soon.

Mondays are also spent trying to recover from whatever social media I missed, SEO news, blog updates and tech issues.  I do still help some people with computer issues.  Gotta keep the lights on.

Did I forget to send any invoices?  Yes, I do occasionally forget to send an invoice.  Did I complete this months work for client ABC?  This I track very carefully but if I am not happy with the results then chances are they won’t be happy either.

Then there are the kids…and it’s raining…AGAIN.

Seriously, when did we relocate to Seattle?

Izzy (my 4-year-old daughter) had a rough morning.  Any little thing was setting her off all morning until she decided to take a nap.  Naps are becoming very rare for her so I suspect she either wasn’t feeling well or just did not sleep well last night.  I know I didn’t.

After the nap, she came down to my office and apologized.  I could tell it was heartfelt and sincere.  She reacted the same way I would have if I was sincerely sorry for my behavior.  A tight hug, a few tears, and things are back to normal..for now.

Daddy’s Girl.

Daddy Daughter Date NightI have two daughters.  One is an adult and just had a child of her own.  The other is Izzy. By most accounts, she is a diva.  She is easily the toughest of my 3 children.  She does not take crap from anyone but she sure can dish it out.

She is my twin in almost every way.  Whenever people see us together the first thing that is said is she is my twin.  Her attitude is the same, her appetite is the same.  Almost everything about her is the same.  The only difference is her hair is on her head and mine is on my chin.

Hey, I used to have hair.

I don’t want to raise a stereotypical girl.  I know this school of thought is fading but there are still many people who believe women should not do certain things and that men should take care of them.

I want to raise a woman who can take care of herself and does not need people to do things for her.  I want her to play sports..not just sports that were traditionally for women.  I want her to love science and math. I want her to be a fortune 500 CEO or something that shows how powerful a woman can be. No, I don’t want her to be a politician.

I want her to know she has options.  I want her to be happy and successful at whatever she wants to do.  I want her to know she can do it.

It’s such a delicate balance because I also believe in showing your kids as much love as possible.  I believe that children should know that they’re loved, even when they’re doing things you do not like.

So I tell her often that I love her.  I give her hugs and kisses often.  And when she wants to dance I dance.  And I cannot dance.

If she does get in trouble I do punish her and scold her but I also let her know I love her.

Why Do I Tell You This?

I can be tough on her.  What I mean is she often asks me, her brother or her grandfather to do things for her.  Look for something, get something, help her with something.  Things that she is capable of doing.  I almost always tell her no because I want her to do things herself.  I know she is capable.  She knows she is capable.  She just does not want to do them.

I told you she is tough.

I believe this is an important lesson.  It’s important for two reasons.

Izzy on the bumper carsKids need to hear “No”.  I see a lot of parents say “Yes” simply to avoid a conflict, especially in public.  This does not fly in my house.  No means no.  It does not always go smoothly but eventually, it will sink in.  There are consequences to the public (or private) displays of conflict.  Tantrums are corrected.

The life lesson is you will not always get your way.  In fact, most of the time you will not get your way.  You have to accept that and move on.  The only thing worse than a child throwing a tantrum in public is a 20 something-year-old who thinks they’re entitled to anything and everything just because.

Back to Izzy.  She does not really throw tantrums in public but at home, she will put up a fight.  I will hold my ground because I want her to learn that she is more than capable of doing anything for herself.  I want her to be able to accept no for an answer.

She needs to know she can succeed at whatever task she is challenged with, no matter how minor or major.  She also needs to know that we have her back so I will tell her it is OK to ask for help.  I still will not do it for her but I will help.

Today, she had a case of the Mondays.

Back to School is Almost Here

My kids go back to school two weeks from today.  Why do parents get excited for back to school?

I don’t like it.  I feel as though Summer vacation was longer when I was a kid.  My son had exactly two months this year.  It was over almost as soon as it started.

I like having the kids around to play with, to watch Voltron or Power Rangers or Paw Patrol with, to practice baseball or just talk.  I like saying let’s go hiking in the middle of the day on Wednesday.

I don’t like making sure we get to the bus stop on time.  I don’t like dragging my kids out of bed.  Isaiah is an early bird anyway but Izzy..I told you Izzy is my twin.  I was a night owl most of my life.  If it was not double digits on the clock chances are I was still sleeping.

Back to School Special on Amazon

These days I am lucky if I get to sleep until 7:30 am.

The house is too quiet when they’re not here.  It’s eerie.  I like the noise (not the fighting).  The highlight of my day during the school year is when they get home from school.

I secretly like snow days, especially the fake snow days.  We seem to have a lot of those fake snow days lately.  They predict a lot of snow, the school systems panic and close, and nothing happens.  No school for the kids and no shoveling for me.

But then the following Summer shrinks.

I just don’t understand why parents cannot wait for back to school.  I count the days til the next vacation or even the long weekends.  Thankfully the first one is Labor Day weekend.

Well, I guess I better make the best of the next two weeks.

And the Yankees just lost to the Mets.  I guess they have a case of the Mondays too.


I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Do you like or dislike back to school?


A Case of the Mondays on the Dad Tax



review rxbar chocolate sea salt

RXBAR Whole Food Protein Bar, Chocolate Sea Salt [An Honest Review]

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link o these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

As someone who is borderline diabetic, and somewhat struggles with controlling it, I am constantly searching for snacks that both taste good and satisfy me.

review rxbar chocolate sea salt

Let me first start by explaining that statement.  I don’t talk about being diabetic often.  I am type 2.  The doctor says it’s diet controlled.  A few years he prescribed Metformin for me and I had to track my blood sugar.  Not a fan.  I stopped taking Metformin after a few months and stopped tracking my blood sugar.

I don’t recommend doing this for everyone.  My situation is unique.  I know the signs when my blood sugar is too high and for the most part, I avoid the things that I should avoid.  I cut things with added sugar out almost completely.  I drink at least a gallon of water per day.  I drastically cut the carbs.  I am controlling it.

For those that don’t know sugar tends to have the opposite effect on diabetics.  What I mean is if my kids eat something with sugar they are bouncing off the walls.  If I eat something with sugar I need a nap.

I plan on adding my diabetic journey to this blog in the future.  For now, that’s all you get.

I saw RXBars being advertised on Instagram and thought I would try it.

With protein bars, it’s always hit or miss.  Some of them are nasty and barely edible while others I can eat.

Many times protein bars are not much better than a candy bar.  Those are usually the ones that taste good.

I do have a thing for chocolate & peanut butter together.  Let’s be honest, most of us do.  I love peanut butter.

Any protein bar that can pull this off is OK in my book.

RXBar was not able to pull this off for me.  But I did not completely give up on them.

I tried the Chocolate Sea Salt flavor and was surprised that this one did taste better to me.

I should caution you.  The texture of the RXBars is not for everyone.  If you have eaten the power bars that have been around forever then you’re probably familiar with what I mean.  Think Airheads meets Snickers with a lot less taste.  They’re not the easiest thing in the world to eat but you can get used to them.  RXBars are similar in texture and will probably leave you picking some off your teeth.

When you look at the ingredients though you feel better after eating them.

3 Egg Whites

6 Almonds

4 Cashews

2 Dates


RXBAR Whole Food Protein Bar, Chocolate Sea Salt

Order your RXBars on Amazon>>>

Those ingredients are healthy food lovers’ dream come true.  If you read my review of Gatorade Recover then you know that I do usually eat healthily but also have a sweet tooth.  I also love my Italian food, Pizza, and Burgers so that makes eating healthy a challenge sometimes.

For the borderline diabetic in me, there is no added sugar.  What you see on the label is what you get.

There is also:

  • No Gluten
  • No Dairy
  • No Artificial Flavors
  • No Preservatives
  • And Non-GMO

It is important to note that this is not considered a low-calorie meal replacement.  Almonds and Cashews tend to be very high in calories but also great for your heart health.

There are other flavors.  I have tried Chocolate Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip and was not really impressed.  Apple Cinnamon intrigues me but I have not had the courage to try it yet.

Now I order these by the case from Amazon.  They are great especially if I am on the run or going somewhere that I know there will be food that I should not eat.  I pack a few for long road trips so that I am not forced to eat whatever is available at the rest stops (though some of them have started carrying these it’s still less expensive to purchase them by the case on Amazon).

As I still work through my diet (I hate that word) these have become a regular part of the diet over the last few months.  They don’t taste like cookies so don’t get your hopes up if that is what you’re looking for but they are good enough to eat routinely as a snack (and I have replaced a meal with them a few times).

Individually I am a fan of all the ingredients in RXBars.  That makes it a little easier for me to like them.  If you do not like nuts or are allergic to nuts then these are not the right choice for you.