Blog Directory Martinspiration

Songbird sayonara

December 9, 2018

Parrots are precious. And budgies are beautiful. But finches and canaries hold a special place in the hearts and homes of many bird lovers. That’s because that special place conveniently takes up less physical space, and the sounds these compact pets sing are soothing—unlike the harsh squawks associated with hookbills.

Learn more about why bird lovers gravitate toward songbirds like canaries and finches by reading my final column for Pet Age magazine, available here.


Sound and vision

December 2, 2018

Smart speakers are pleasing to the ears and mouth. And tablets provide plenty of eye candy and fun at your fingertips. But what if a device could combine the best elements of both and serve as the digital heart of your home—a personal assistant capable of sound and vision that’s responsive to both voice and touch?

These gadgets have finally arrived in the form of a compact smart display with voice assistant built in. They essentially add a touchscreen to a smart speaker to offer even greater functionality and control of connected devices within the home. Learn more about these devices, including the Google Home Hub, by reading my latest article for The Costco Connection, available here.


All's well that ends Welles

November 18, 2018

I've just released episode five of his Cineversary podcast; this time around, the spotlight shines on Touch of Evil, Orson Welles' 1958 film noir classic, which marks a 60th anniversary this year.

This installment features my recent interview with Jonathan Rosenbaum, former head critic of the Chicago Reader, author of several books on cinema, and consultant on the 1998 re-editing of Touch of Evil and on the 2018 completion of Welles’ movie The Other Side of the Wind. Together, we discuss why Touch of Evil is worth celebrating all these years later, its cultural impact and legacy, what we can learn from the picture today, how it has stood the test of time, and more.

To listen to this episode, click the play button below.

You can stream, download or subscribe to the Cineversary podcast using Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Anchor, Breaker, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Google Play Music, Overcast, Pocket Casts, PodBean, RadioPublic, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

Learn more about the Cineversary podcast at, like us on Facebook at, and email show comments or suggestions to


Speak easy

November 11, 2018

Cyborg chefs, android butlers and robot maids may be figments of futuristic fantasy. But until they’re invented, today’s families can at least rely on one high-tech helper in their homes: a smart speaker like Amazon Echo, Google Home, or Apple HomePod, powered by an artificially intelligent virtual assistant (respectively, Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri).

While these gizmos can work wonders in any room, many experts believe there’s no better spot in your home for such devices than the kitchen. Learn why by checking out my latest article for CTW Features, published here.


From free to fee

October 28, 2018

In a world where consumers are accustomed to getting many digital goods for free—from apps to podcasts to instant facts online—convincing them to fork over funds for content remains no easy sell. For proof, consider the subscriber churn rate among publishers, estimated at 30 percent last year.

Yet experts believe many publishers today are tackling this problem with a variety of successful tactics designed to convert more freeloaders into subscribers. And recent data suggest that publishers are learning from past mistakes and better attuned to what attracts and retains paying patrons.

Read more about this topic and what the experts say by checking out my debut article for Digital Content Next, available here.


Cineversary podcast carves up "Halloween" for its 40th birthday

October 14, 2018

For its fourth episode, the Cineversary podcast celebrates the 40th anniversary of John Carpenter's classic horror film "Halloween." Host Erik Martin interviews two guests: the film's production designer/editor Tommy Lee Wallace, who spills his guts about how the movie was made--including his important role in creating the look of Michael Myers; and Southern Utah University film professor Kyle Bishop, who performs a film analysis autopsy on "Halloween" with Erik. Listen or download this latest episode by clicking here or on the play button below.

Learn more about the Cineversary podcast at, like us on Facebook at, and email show comments or suggestions to


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