Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day, how will you commemorate?

Most of us will be fortunate enough to have an extended weekend, three long sunny days to bask in the warm sunshine and cool breezes. Maybe at the beach, the calm lakeshore or in your own backyard. A nice long weekend to relax, hang with family, friends, have barbeques and pool parties. But why? What or who is it that we are memorializing? As a generalization most of us have an understanding of what Memorial Day is. A day set aside to commemorate US Soldiers who gave their lives in more than a dozen major wars and so many others most of us can't even name. In some parts of the country commemorations continue to take place but the reason for our Monday off goes mostly unquestioned. Even Washington, D.C. took a 60 year break from hosting a Memorial Day Parade. So to remind us what this Monday is about or hopefully even cast a little light on this holiday here's a bit of Memorial Day history.

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. Close to the end of the Civil War organized groups of women in the south began decorating the graves of Confederate Soldiers as tribute. Families would also congregate at the burial sites of their recently deceased and have a potluck on the grass. The "First Decoration Day" is said to have been in Charleston, South Carolina on the 1st of May, 1865. On this day almost ten thousand people gathered at the Charleston Race Course to commemorate the more than 250 Union Soldiers who perished on these grounds when they were held as prisoners of war. Most of the attendees were Freedmen, freed slaves, who wanted to commemorate the Union Soldiers who died and were buried in a mass grave on the grounds. Decoration Day was observed nationwide for the first time on May 30, 1868 after a proclamation issued by General John A. Logan, then Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic. The first use of Memorial Day wasn't until 1882 and it didn't gain popularity until after World War II. In 1967 Memorial Day was declared as the official name by Federal law. The day of remembrance became a 3-day weekend on June 28, 1968 when Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which served to move Memorial Day and four other Federal holidays to a specified Monday to create a three-day weekend. Some feel that this is the point in history where the observation of Memorial Day shifted from a national day of remembrance to a marker for the start of summer making it more of a national day of BBQs. Still there are wonderful events that take place each year and serve as a reminder. Since 1951 the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis have been gathering at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery and placing flags on each and every one of the 150,000 graves. For about as long every Thursday before Memorial Day 1,200 soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry place flags at every single one of the 260,000 graves at Arlington National Cemetery and patrol the site the entire weekend to make sure that all the flags remain standing.

Whether you celebrate the holiday hanging poolside, at a family barbeque or at the beach listening to some good tunes, take a moment to remember and honor the men and women that fought for our freedom and in turn our free day.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Today will go down in infamy....nah.

Today is a day that will go down in some niche of history. On this day, the 18th day of May 2012, Facebook went public. This morning's trading was opened when Mark Zuckerberg, outfitted in his finest trademark hoodie, rang the bell. The hype surrounding today had the public seeing visions of chaos and madness with the opening day price booming into the stratosphere. But that is not what happened, not at all. First of all trading began late due to technical difficulties on the NASDAQ's part. Add to that GM pulling $10 million worth of ads from Facebook this Tuesday claiming that it didn't work. This along with an overall wariness for the performance of Social Media stock made Facebook's opening day look more like a couple of kids running around the lawn with sparklers as opposed to the fireworks spectacular most were expecting.

The reason for the anticipated hype was not unwarranted. In 2004, just 8 years ago, Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook out of his Harvard dorm room. What was originally intended to be an exclusive site for Harvard students to meet, communicate and share has now become the world's largest social networking site. What was once exclusive territory of Harvard students is now home to 901 million users worldwide. About 200 million of those users are in the U.S., which translates to approximately 2/3 of the country's population.

Facebook not only made its way into the majority of the population's daily lives, it also changed the way we communicate and interact. Even a simple word like "Friend" has taken on a new meaning. For many, Facebook became a revolutionary means of communicating and sharing with loved ones and friends around the globe. The ability to post and comment along with photo-sharing seemed to make distance non-existent. For some, like the 70 million U.S. users that had left Facebook by 2011, the social networking site seems to work like a false interaction. The immediate and usually edited online communication allows for a lesser need for direct communication therefore increasing antisocial tendencies.

Now with its improved mobile application and its purchase of Instagram users will be spending even more time sharing photos, updating their status, and posting on the go from their smartphones or tablets.

But for those of us who decided not to purchase Facebook stock, at least not yet, here are a couple of items that you could have for $38.00 (or less). All of which can help keep your smartphone going for those emergency posts and status updates.

1- A ReVIVE Series Solar ReStore 15 mAh USB Charging External Battery Pack to charge your phone with free sunlight.

2- A GOgroove SolaceAIR Bluetooth Wireless Headset so you can post and talk at the same time!

You can check out this hilarious list by the clever minds at to see more things you could buy instead of FB shares.

Whichever side of the line you fall on the reality is that Facebook shifted the way we interact and words such as like, and friend will never be the same. Oh and even though shares closed at $38.23 Mark Zuckerberg is still a billionaire so I'll take that kind of fizzle anyday.

Friday, May 11, 2012

In the spotlight!

We are so excited about the recent media coverage we just had to share. Two of our most popular items were featured on NBC L.A.'s Today in L.A. by their Emmy Award-winning technology reporter Mekahlo Medina. The two items featured on "The Trend" segment were the GOgroove Mama Panda and the GOgroove Panda Pal. These are two of our most popular speakers not just because of the look and quality but because of the cause that they support. Accessory Power has teamed up with Pandas International, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the Giant Panda, in an effort to raise public awareness of this endangered and captivating creature. To further their efforts during the months of June through October 2012 Accessory Power will be donating 5% of the net profit of sales of the GOgroove Panda Pal to Pandas International.

Pandas International was started in 1999 By Suzanne Braden and Diane Rees after a fortunate trip to the Wolong Panda Center in China. The plight of the endangered Giant Panda made such an impression, that upon their return to the U.S. they co-founded Pandas International. As of 2000 Pandas International is a registered 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. This organization is exclusively devoted to the preservation and propagation of the Giant Panda. Donations to Pandas International, like the one being provided by Accessory Power, are used to provide medical equipment and supplies to Panda Reserves in China as well as funding public awareness and education of these magnificent creatures.

In 2008 a massive 7.9 earthquake devastated the Sichuan Province of China leaving sheer destruction and loss. Among the areas affected was the land that holds the Wolong Giant Panda Reserve Center and the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center. Pandas International stepped in by providing medicine, food and electrical equipment to the reserves and neighboring communities. They also started the Bamboo Project, an ongoing drive to replant the bamboo and tree cover that was destroyed by the earthquake.

Currently there are about 1,600 Giant Pandas in the wild and about 300 in captivity-- dangerously low numbers, especially for a creature that has been referred to as a living fossil. Let's do our part to ensure that the unmistakably adorable Giant Panda will be around for generations to come. For more information on how you can help ensure the preservation of the Giant Panda please visit

Friday, May 4, 2012

A brief history of recorded sound

The earliest known recording of a human voice is a 10 second bit of a French man singing "Au Clair De La Lune" recorded in 1860. The clip was recorded using a then revolutionary recording device called a phonautograph, which was invented by a Parisian printer and inventor named Edouard-Leon Scot de Martinville. This predates Thomas Edison's phonograph recording, once thought to be the oldest, by 28 years. The phonautograph was designed as a mechanical device that would mimic human auditory anatomy. A horn shaped chamber would collect sound which would vibrate within an attached diaphragm. This same vibration would force a bristle to etch the transferred sound as an image on a soot covered sheet that was attached to a hand-cranked cylinder. While this astounding device did in fact record sound it was unable to play any recordings, called phonautograms.

Thomas Edison changed that in 1877 with the invention of the phonograph cylinder, which was a wax cylinder with an audio recording etched on the outside. This cylinder would then be placed on the mandrel of the mechanical phonograph with the audio being amplified through the horn or diaphragm. The phonograph enjoyed a long history taking on different shapes as cylinders turned into discs and phonographs became gramophones. Shortly after World War II vinyl became the recording material of choice--an option still available today. Twenty years later portable record players changed the way people listened to music by allowing them to take their players and records just about anywhere. As practical as these players had become they were far too cumbersome for automobiles, which were soon outfitted with 8-tracks and subsequently cassette tapes.

Speaking of cassettes, remember waiting for your favorite song to play on the radio then hitting the record button on the stereo as soon as you heard the first note? Portable stereos shrank into walkmen which then spun into discmen with CD's. This turned into digital MP3's, which became the intangible notes being played through MP3 players, iPods, and now smartphones. The common threads between all of these incarnations of sound are that you either listened to music out loud or were wired into your device with headphones or earbuds. Remember when it seemed like just about everyone was self-exiled behind those white wired earbuds? Now you don't even need to be connected to your device or alone in a room to enjoy your recordings, or shall I say playlist. Bluetooth connectivity makes it possible to listen to anything on your Bluetooth enabled device wirelessly through Bluetooth capable headphones. Some like the GOgroove SolaceAIR or GOgroove AirBAND allow you to be up to 30ft. from your device so you can take your own private world of sound with you. Music has been a part mankind for thousands of years and we've made leaps and bounds in recordings in just 150 years. Imagine what's next!