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Dancing Like a Little Star Dancing Like a Little Star
Photo By Greg Vazzana Our daughter likes to hang from this pole as much as she likes to dance with it.

Dancing with the Stars in your Living Room

Ever wonder what it would take to have your own dance floor?

I created this "Dance Experience" in my daughter's room for just a few hundred dollars, including materials. Luckily we already had a hardwood floor and very solid walls. The ballet bar can hold me up and I weigh five times as much as my five year old so it should be pretty safe.

If you have the room you can create a small or large home dance studio. I found this great reference online if you do not have suitable floor. How to make a dance floor.

And for those of you want to add new hardwood floors to any room see this hardwood floor preparation guide.

We bought our ballet bar and mirror set at Pottery Barn Kids but you may find it for less at a local kids furniture store.

Now I just need to take dance lessons myself to become a professional ballroom dancing champion so I can be on Dancing With the Stars, too.

Wish me luck.

Randy the Receptacle: TalkingPlug's less intelligent older brother.

Smart Outlets: Putting a Plug In for Energy Savings

What do Smart Homes running off a Smart Energy Grid need to be complete? Why, Smart Plugs, of course!

The energy conservationists at Zerofootprint are adding IQ points to each outlet in the home with their new carbon emission-reducing socket supplements, called "TalkingPlugs™." Designed to fit right on top of an existing outlet, each TalkingPlug™ comes equipped with technology that enables control of a plugged-in appliance across a network as well as real-time measuring of energy consumption. You know how the "Stand-by" mode of every plugged in appliance or electronic device consumes electricity even when said device is turned off? The TalkingPlug™ can be programmed to cut power to the device during certain hours (sleepy time) to conserve electricity.

Widespread installation of TalkingPlugs™ across neighborhoods, municipalities and even the country will result in a sort of mesh network -- information gathered from each home can be sent to Zerofootprint and individual homes can check in to see how their energy usage compares to others.

The current $50/plug price is a little prohibitive. I want to conserve, but I also want to have enough money to actually pay the electricity bill (lower though it may be). I'm not sure if I'm sold on the name, either. I envision cartoonish plastic wall pods from some animated kids' movie fighting for the attention of the human characters. "Plug ME!" "No, plug ME!" Lower the price, change the name, and I'm as game as the next guy.

Would you buy a Talking Plug™?

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