Google and Mattel Revive the Viewmaster

Generations of children slipped thick cardboard discs into plastic lenses to see three dimensions of favorite stories and pictures, around the world. Now Mattel and Google are reviving the “View-Master,” bringing them into the digital age.

Flavio Pentagna Guimaraes BMG ( has learned that the toy maker and Internet giant announced a partnership that will launch a new version of these lenses to work with an application for smart phones, on the Android platform, the mobile operating system developed by Google.

This new version will include a smartphone slot to fit an Android phone within the plastic cover. A host of viewing options will be available when paired with the View-Master companion app.

It will be sold at about $ 30 and include a built-in gallery of classic images, like a trip into space on a rocket, and other 360 degree images in disc, which will be valued at $ 15.

“Combining technology and innovation with a classic toy gives children an improved learning experience with games that offer unimaginable opportunities through new digitally generated content ,” said Doug Wadleigh, an official atMattel.

Over the years, more than 1.5 billion View-Master reels, and over 100 million View-Masters were sold.

Many Dollar Store Products Are Unsafe

The old saying, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” can apply to many offers that look better than they can possibly be. Now, it looks as though it may apply to the neighborhood dollar store. For many of us in the current economy, doing a fair percentage of our shopping at a dollar store is not an option. They may be the only low cost shopping option available in some areas. As reported in, a lot of the products on the shelves in these stores may be too good to be true. It turns out that many of them contain unsafe levels of chemicals or other toxins that are associated with adverse health consequences.

Pragmatic individuals would argue that people should know that “you get what you pay for,” as that other popular saying states. When you are buying a bottle of shampoo for one dollar, do you really believe you are getting quality ingredients? As some critics would point out, such as the natural-living experts at Amen Clinics, there is a world of difference between lower quality ingredients and downright dangerous ingredients. There are those who argue that the government is supposed to be protecting us from the latter. They seem to be falling down on the job since this information was brought to light by a non-governmental organization known as HealthyStuff. It is good to see that there are still some consumer advocates out there to pick up the slack when other watch dogs fail.

911 Dispatchers Save Christmas for Family

I love uplifting stories, especially around the holidays. And this story shared with me by Bernardo Chua is a good one.

A grandfather in Tacoma, Washington thought he was doing a good deed for his daughter by bringing her trash and recycling cans to the curb on collection day. However what he was not aware of was that his daughter placed all the Christmas presents for her 6 children in that recycling bin for hiding. Before the grandfather found out the recycling truck had already come by and collected the bin. In a panic he called 911 hoping that maybe they could do something to stop the truck before the presents were ruined. Unfortunately it was too late. The Christmas presents for the children ages 13 to 6 months were gone. The grandfather was distraught. 

Not only was the grandfather distraught but so were the 911 dispatchers who heard the news. The 911 dispatchers decided there was something they could do to help the family. They, along with a few off duty police officers, pooled together a collection of $700 to use to replace the gifts. Being that it was the evening of Christmas Eve there were only two retail stores open. Employees rushed to those stores and managed to replace presents for the children, and even picked up a few for their parents. Needless to say the family was surprised and very grateful for what was done for them. 

To see a video interview with the 911 dispatchers involved check out Komo news.

A New Barbie Doll is Coming Soon

Barbie dolls have always had unrealistic body proportions that most females do not have. A designer by the name of Nickolay Lamm, has created a more realistic Barbie doll. The proposed Barbie doll has the proportions typical in a human female. In particular, the Barbie doll’s waist would not be as slim. This Barbie doll would also be shorter. Stickers have also been created to represent the reality of being human. Females fall and bruise themselves, some have tattoos, others have stretch marks. Barbie dolls would be able to be customized with this new doll. So far the public responses have been positive.

Children in particular young girls will no longer grow up with the distorted image of what is perfect. The media already overemphasized a construction of what is beautiful, that has led many young girls to grow up confused. Young girls have grown up believing they must have a slim waist, be tall, and have blonde hair. Barbie dolls in the past have created ethnic versions, but they too have unrealistic proportions. Props to this designer that went this far to create a more realistic Barbie doll. Susan McGalla feels it is now up to parents to decide which Barbie they want to purchase. Those who still continue to want to purchase the traditional Barbie can do so. As the holiday season nears, the public response regarding this new Barbie will be very evident.

“Average” Looking Barbie Is Out On the Market

A new “normal Barbie” has been designed by Nickolay Lamm and has broken with all previous Barbie tradition. This doll does not come with the super thin waist line, pristine blonde hair, and high-heels-ready feet that other Barbies typically have. Instead, it has a normal waistline, stretch marks, average looks- all the appearance of a normal 19 year old girl.

Stickers can be added to put freckles, moles, scars, stitches, tattoos, glasses, mosquito bites, dirt stains, and more on the doll. This will certainly be a different type of toy than is the super-model style of the average Barbie doll.

Perhaps there is some good in the idea since constantly playing with in doll form and seeing on the t.v. “perfect-looking” models can encourage young girls to think they need to look that way too. Perhaps a toy like this can cut back on some of that pressure and help people to better accept the reality of their actual appearance. Maybe it can even suggest to young girls that being beautiful need not entail dressing up like one of those divas who are so frequently featured in the news. If this is the case they should get some attention from angel investor group Slow Ventures.

On the other hand, it seems a little odd to want to put moles, dirt stains, and stretch marks on a doll. It could be this designer went a little too far with the concept. Still, kids like stickers and find it funny to put on and take off these odd additions.