Sunday, April 25, 2021

National Football League (NFL) 2021 draft in Cleveland

The National Football League (NFL) is hosting the 2021 draft live in Cleveland. A stage is being created between First Energy Browns Stadium and the Great Lakes Science Center and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

On Mall C there are large helmets of all the NFL football teams.

NFL Helmets for the draft

Dan Hanson took a walk down the 2 aisles of helmets and identified each one including the helmet of the next Super Bowl Champion - the Cleveland Browns. (sorry about the wind noise in the video)

Dan Hanson with Cleveland Browns helmet

Dan Hanson with Cleveland Browns helmet

Washington Football Team helmet - a few years ago there would be a Redskins logo on the helmet

Washington Football Team helmet - a few years ago there would be a Redskins logo on the helmet

Monday, February 22, 2021

Fun with Maps - North Africa

 Casablanca, Marrakesh, Algiers, the Barbary Coast, Morocco, the Sahara Desert, Darfur, Benghazi, Tunisia, Tripoli.

You've seen these exotic locales in movies, TV shows and the news but do you know where they are or much about them? In this episode of Fun with Maps, host Dan Hanson looks at North Africa.

Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent and contains 54 fully recognized sovereign states (countries). This first episode in a series covering Africa includes Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco (including Western Sahara), Tunisia and Sudan.

After watching you will never listen to Bob Dylan, Crosby Stills and Nash or even the US Marines Hymn the same.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Lithuanian Independence celebrated in Cleveland

Members of the Cleveland Lithuanian community gathered at the Lithuanian Cultural Garden to celebrate The Act of Reinstating Independence of Lithuania or Act of 16 February which was signed by the Council of Lithuania on 16 February 1918, proclaiming the restoration of an independent State of Lithuania.

Gathering by the bust of Jonas Basanavicius
in the Lithuanian Cultural Garden

Because of the pandemic only a few officers were allowed to attend this brief outdoor ceremony led by President Algis Gudenas and including Honorary Consul General Ingrida Bublys and Cleveland Councilman Mike Polensek.

Photos and video of the Lithuanian event in the Garden

Here's a video from the ceremony

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Friday, February 05, 2021

Global Cleveland receives Rotary Club of Cleveland International Service Award

Each year the Rotary Club of Cleveland celebrates International Fellowship Day by honoring a person and/or organization with the International Service Award. The 2021 honoree is Global Cleveland and the award was accepted by its president Joe Cimperman.

Club President Ronald J. Felgenhauer welcomed the virtual attendees and spoke about the history and good woks of Rotary. After the Pledge of Allegiance and an invocation by Father Ralph Wiatrowski, Pastor of St. Barnabas Church, past president Julie Brouhard presented the award.

Before the acceptance, Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Lithuania Ingrida Bublys read some of the proclamations from US Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish and Governor Mike Dewine before showing a video message from Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.

Then Joe Cimperman accepted the award and gave an inspiring speech about Rotary, Cleveland and Global Cleveland.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

The Great Lakes Geek remembers ASCII Art

In my alter ego persona as the the Great Lakes Geek, I posted this short video.

I was cleaning the basement and found two printouts of ASCII Art – Mona Lisa and Alfred E. Newman. 

I talk about ASCII and the ‘good old days’ when you could create art for any existing device using a text editor, ASCII characters, a dot matrix printer and a box of green bar paper.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Led Zeppelin Pinball Machine from Stern Pinball

 Whether you are old enough to remember when Led Zeppelin was touring and cutting their classic LPs or you have "discovered" them more recently, the band is undoubtedly one of the greatest of all time.

Thanks to Stern Pinball, Inc., you can rock out while playing a terrific pinball game.

Stern Pinball, Inc. is a global lifestyle brand based on the iconic and outrageously fun modern American game of pinball.

Headquartered in Chicago, the company creates, designs, engineers, manufactures, markets, and distributes a full line of technologically advanced terrestrial and digital pinball games, parts, accessories, and merchandise. Stern Pinball serves digital, consumer, commercial, and corporate markets around the globe.

Recent Stern Pinball titles include Avengers: Infinity Quest, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Stranger Things, Elvira’s House of Horrors, Jurassic Park, Black Knight: Sword of Rage, The Munsters, The Beatles, Deadpool, Iron Maiden, Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars, Aerosmith, Ghostbusters, KISS, Metallica, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Star Trek, AC/DC, Batman, and Spider-Man. A broad range of players enjoy Stern Pinball’s games from professional pinball players who compete in high-stakes competitions around the globe to novice players who are discovering the allure of the silver ball for the first time.

Everyone knows Led Zeppelin. Formed in London in 1968, Led Zeppelin consisted of vocalist Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and the late, great drummer John Bonham. Together they became one of the best-selling bands with estimated record sales of 300 million units worldwide. In 1995 Led Zeppelin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for their innovative and influential impact on the entire music industry.

In this high energy rock and roll pinball concert experience, pinball and music are fused together. Players are transported back to Led Zeppelin’s early days and tour the world from 1968-1980. As if players were members of the band playing its music, their play updates game features at the start of each verse and chorus of ten iconic Led Zeppelin songs:

  • Good Times Bad Times
  • Whole Lotta Love
  • The Song Remains the Same
  • Rock and Roll
  • Trampled Under Foot
  • Ramble On
  • Kashmir
  • Immigrant Song
  • Black Dog
  • Communication Breakdown
These are high-energy, classic hard rock tunes and some of the Great Lakes Geek's favorites. Yours too I bet.

“There is nothing more energizing and fun than bringing pinball and music together,” said Gary Stern, Chairman and CEO of Stern Pinball, Inc. “Partnering with Led Zeppelin, we created a one-of-a-kind pinball experience. It’s our dream goal to create a pinball machine with this iconic rock band.”

Stern Led Zeppelin Pro Pinball machine

The Pro, Premium, and Limited Edition models all feature a custom-molded Hindenburg Zeppelin toy, based on the iconic imagery from the Led Zeppelin I album. When lit, the Zeppelin toy scores speed locks on the player’s musical journey to Zeppelin multiball. A custom Swan Song Records trademark Icarus sculpted leaper toy takes flight when smashed by the chaotic pinball. A 3-bank of drop targets, 3 custom steel ramps, and 3 flippers keep the pinball action rolling.

Stern Led Zeppelin Premium Pinball machine

The Premium and Limited Edition models feature an innovative interactive Electric Magic™ toy. This device is a unique motorized toy which rises from below the playfield to create different magical pinball experiences. An optical spinner charges the Electric Magic magnet, capturing and making balls disappear. The Electric Magic device also converts into a physical pinball bash toy capable of locking a ball or launching a ball around the playfield.

In true rock concert fashion, the Expression Lighting System™ with 96 intelligent RGB LED’s enables full color spectrum control. Positioned in pockets cut into the cabinet sides to provide color themed full playfield illumination, this integrated playfield lighting system is synchronized to custom light shows specifically designed for every song and dynamically responsive to game events.

As an encore, these models have an additional reversing scoop and metal combo ramp, allowing players to keep the hits coming with constant adrenalized pinball action. A back panel mounted illuminated song status board indicates which Led Zeppelin song is in play. Only 500 Limited Edition games will be made for sale throughout the world. This limited version includes an exclusive Icarus themed full color mirrored backglass, exclusive custom themed cabinet artwork, custom high gloss Paradise Shimmer Blue powder-coated armor, a custom autographed bottom arch, exclusive custom art blades, upgraded audio system, anti-reflection pinball glass, a shaker motor, and a sequentially numbered plaque.

Stern Led Zeppelin Limited Edition Pinball machine

Led Zeppelin pinball machines and accessories are available through authorized Stern Pinball distributors and dealers around the world. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price to USA end-users, before any VAT, GST, Sales Tax, Duties, or other taxes are:
  • Pro Model: $US 6,199
  • Premium Model: $US 7,799
  • Limited Edition Model: $US 9,199
Check out this Led Zeppelin Pinball - Game Trailer (57 seconds)

If you can swing it, what a great centerpiece in a man cave, game room, bar, club, wherever. The saying is "If it's too loud, you're too old." I'd update that to "If you don't have a blast cranking the Zeppelin while playing this wild pinball game, you need to have your pulse checked."

Rock on!

Cutii companion robot for isolated seniors

 Though Covid-19 made CES 2021 a virtual affair, thanks to ShowStoppers we were able to see some of the latest and greatest technology via Zoom press conferences. That includes the very cool Cutii.

Even before the pandemic, seniors often suffered from isolation and loneliness. Throw in stay-at-home orders and the inability to visit or be visited and the problem is magnified. Millions of seniors are isolated and alone. Experts say that Loneliness is toxic, at enormous moral and economic cost. For example
  • 12 million women 75+ live alone (USA)
  • 27% have only one conversation a week
  • Social isolation increases Medicare costs by an estimated $6.7 billion every year.
The goal of the team at Cutii is to add "Many additional engaged & connected years of living for our seniors at risk of isolation."

Cutii companion robot with grandson on the display

Cutii is a Companion Robot for isolated seniors. Cutii is designed for friendship. It's a "live-in companion" that learns the design of the senior's room.

Seniors communicate directly with Cutii. It's 100% voice activated and offers 2 way calling and text messages. Cutii can entertain and occupy the mind and body with live activities like Yoga, Tai Chi, poetry reading, games, trivia and so on.

And, of course, Cutii can call for help in the event of an emergency.

A senior can
  • Call loved ones, send messages and photos
  • Play games, trivia and more
  • Seek help or care from the comfort of home
  • Say "Cutii I need help!" and get help
Here is some of the Technology and IP behind the Cutii.

  • Autonomously mobile, voice-controlled robot
  • Articulating head
  • Proprietary software and AI speech
  • Not restricted by Google, Amazon, FB, etc
  • Smart home / IoT integration
  • ZigBee, ZWave, Bluetooth, wifi
  • Proprietary PCB and injection molds
  • European CE mark, and GDPR compliance
Here is the Value Proposition:


  • Peace of mind
  • Less costly than live in caregiver
  • 24/7 Monitoring
Home Health
  • Enable new revenue streams
  • Long term recurring revenue
  • Help clients stay in homes
Assisted Living
  • New revenue streams via in-room add on
  • Entertain & engage residents

Communal space is pre-mapped & Cutii knows the "points of interest". So a Senior resident can say:"Cutii, come to the sofa." or "Raise your head."

If the senior says "Cutii, I need help" since Cutii is always listening it will kick-off an emergency response workflow. For example:

  • Calls for help, in pre-determined sequence.
  • If answered, message sent to each person in the call list confirming response.
  • If not answered, calls first responders.
Of course the live 2-way video could be used for Telehealth consults with Physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, etc. Cutii is secure and private platform developed under EU GDPR regulations.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Fun with Maps - Madagascar

 In this episode of Fun with Maps, host Dan Hanson looks at what has been called the 8th continent – Madagascar.

Map of Africa highlighting Madagascar

The map shows how isolated Madagascar is from the rest of the world and that makes it a hotbed of biodiversity - 90% of its wildlife is found nowhere else on Earth.  It has varieties of plants and animals that do not exist anywhere else.  



You’ve probably seen lemurs (endemic to Madagascar) but there are thousands of other unique animals and plants such as the fossa, chameleon, the baobab tree and more.

Dan also shows a quick look at the Spiny Desert of Madagascar exhibit in the Cleveland Botanical Garden. 

Cleveland Botanical Garden - The Spiny Desert of Madagascar sign

Cleveland Botanical Garden - The Spiny Desert of Madagascar

Madagascar is such a unique area and host Dan Hanson had a lot of fun with this map. 

Watch the video below.

More Fun with Maps

Monday, November 02, 2020

Fun with Maps - The Upper Peninsula (U.P.) of Michigan

 In this episode of Fun with Maps, host Dan Hanson looks at the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Watch this episode.

 About 71% of the earth is covered in water but it’s mostly salt water. The Great Lakes are the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total area, and second-largest by total volume, containing 21% of the world's surface fresh water by volume. 

Great Lakes from space

Great Lakes from space

Map of Michigan - Lower and Upper Peninsulas

The Yoopers sense of humor

The Yoopers sense of humor

The Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan is bounded by 3 of the Great Lakes – Superior, Michigan and Huron.  

The 5 mile Mackinac Bridge connects the lower part of Michigan with the UP.  The UP contains 29% of the land area of Michigan but just 3% of its total population.  

The Yoopers who live there have a large Finnish population. 

It’s a fascinating area and host Dan Hanson had a lot of fun with this map. He also quotes the great Plain Dealer sportswriter Terry Pluto who is a regular visitor.

See more Fun with Maps episodes

Friday, October 16, 2020

Fun with Maps – Easter Island (Rapa Nui)

In this episode of Fun with Maps, host Dan Hanson looks at the remote Polynesian island of Rapa Nui or Easter Island.

Though part of Chile, Easter Island has a fascinating culture and history. Dan focuses on the island’s remoteness, the Rapa Nui people and of course the amazing mo’ai, the Easter Island “head” statues.   

Tell me this mo'ai doesn't look like Bart Simpson!