NBA Playoffs Bracket Challenge | Contest Rules

Enter the Bracket Challenge Now

NBA Playoff Bracket ChallengeNBA fans, the NBA Playoffs Bracket Challenge is underway! Fill out your NBA playoffs bracket, share it with your friends and follow your bracket to see how it ranks against other entries. Simply pick which team will win each matchup and in how many games, then submit your entry with Facebook or Twitter. The scoring/contest rules are outlined below. Good luck to all!

Scoring System

Conference Semifinals: 5 pts per correct pick
Conference Finals: 10 pts per correct pick
Finals: 15 pts per correct pick
Champion: 20 pts for correct pick

Bonus Scoring for # of Games

If you correctly pick the winner of a matchup AND select the correct number of games in the series you will receive a 1.5 multiplier for the correct pick in that round. In order to be eligible for this multiplier you have to have both of the teams in the matchup picked correctly, the winner picked correctly, and the number of games in the series picked correctly.


In the event of a tie, the earliest bracket that was submitted wins. So get your picks in soon!


This is really just for fun and bragging rights, but I will buy the winner a vintage t-shirt of their favorite NBA team from fansedge.com (Max value $40).


Brackets must be submitted before opening tip of the first NBA Playoff game.

I will post the link for the 2014 NBA Playoffs Bracket Challenge as soon as the playoffs bracket is finalized on Thursday night. Stay tuned and good luck with your picks!

Disclaimer: This bracket challenge is not affiliated with or funded by the NBA and any team logos or images used are property of the NBA and their respective owners.


Artem’s Photography Fundraiser a Huge Success

Artem Petrossian

I am proud to announce that through Artem’s Photography Fundraiser, over 100 people participated to help raise $10,000 to contribute to sarcoma research! My family and I would like to extend sincere thanks to everyone who supported this donation in memory of Artem Petrossian.

We mailed out the donation check to the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative yesterday after speaking with the founder of the organization. The money will go towards funding research that is targeted at curing synovial sarcoma. We are grateful for the contributions of this organization to sarcoma research and hope to continue supporting their efforts towards finding a cure.

It gives my family great pride and honor knowing that Artem’s photography will now be displayed in hundreds of homes and offices. We know that his story and his photography will continue to inspire others as he has inspired us.


Contribute to Cancer Research in Memory of Artem

Artem Petrossian (Jan 13, 1985 - Jan 8, 2012)

My brother, Artem Petrossian, was diagnosed with a rare cancer called Synovial Sarcoma when he was 23 years old. He battled the disease for over 3 years before passing away on January 8th, 2012. During this period of time, he underwent 4 major surgeries, 2 less invasive surgeries, 3 chemotherapy regimens, and 2 radiation regimens.  He also tried a variety of alternative treatments including IV vitamin therapy and detoxification.  You would think that everything he went through would leave him with little time, energy, and strength to do the things he loved but he refused to allow cancer to define him.  I’m so proud of what he was able to take part in and accomplish in the face of such a dreaded disease.  Photography was just one of the things that he continued to pursue in between surgeries and treatments and he left his family with a wealth of photographs that will let us see the world through his eyes forever.  I picked out a few of my favorite photos that he took over the past three years and I hope these photos can help raise money to donate towards cancer research or simply inspire someone to continue to pursue their passions no matter what obstacles they face.

Purchase the photo(s) you like and you will be sent a poster-sized print of the photo that you can frame and display.  Poster sizes will vary depending on which photos are selected, either 11 x 14, 12 x 18, 16 x 20, or 10 x 26. All proceeds will be donated to the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative in memory of Artem.  I will keep this page updated with the total amount raised. We will make the donation in one lump sum after the 40th day of his passing is commemorated on February 19th (this ceremony is known as “karasoonk” in Armenian culture).

All photos are $100.00, you can pay online by credit card or email me at Artin.Petrossian@gmail.com if you would prefer to send a check. Please allow 2-4 weeks for delivery. Thanks for your generosity.

Update 1/28 – Thanks to everyone for supporting this cause.  I’m proud to announce that we have reached our initial goal of $5,000 and there is still plenty of time left to raise more.

Side Note: I have placed most of the photo orders through Snapfish - they were kind enough to offer a 50% discount on all of my orders and they will ship the photos directly to most of you in a week or so.  I contacted a few other photo printing services about offering a discount for this cause to reduce printing costs and I was particularly upset by Shutterfly’s response which was a one line response that read “Shutterfly does not offer donations”.  It made no sense because I never asked them for a donation I just asked for a discount code since I would be placing such a large order.  Just thought I would share that information to give people an idea of how different customer service can be between similar companies.

Update 2/12 – Thanks everyone for the continued support. I ordered and shipped the first set of prints so hopefully many of you should have your photos by now. If you ordered before January 26th and still have not received your photos please let me know because they should have been delivered already. I am going to place another order tomorrow for the remaining orders that are from January 27th and later.

As of right now we have raised about $7,500 with one week still remaining! We have already far surpassed our goal of $5,000 and hopefully we can make one last push to get closer to $10,000. So please, continue to spread the word!. And a special thanks to those of you who have posted such positive feedback about the photos you have received. Our family has been touched by all of the support.

Update 2/29 – We reached our final goal of $10,000 and mailed the donation check to the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative yesterday! Thanks everyone for making Artem’s Photography Fundraiser a huge success! For those who still want to participate, the pictures will remain available for purchasing and all proceeds will continue to be donated to the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative in memory of Artem.


“Bateau sur la Seine”, Paris, France (2008)


“Big Ben”, London, UK (2008)


“Hripsime Church”, Echmiadzin, Armenia (2008)


“Lake Sevan”, Armenia (2008)


“Noravank”, Armenia (2008)


“Armenian Genocide Memorial”, Yerevan, Armenia (2008)


“Peaceful Lake”, Gaithersburg, Maryland (2010)


“Geese Flyover”, Gaithersburg, Maryland (2010)


“Forlorn Door” (2009)


“Rusted Pipe” (2009)


“Schoolyard Bench” (2010)


“Artem’s Pond”, Gaithersburg, Maryland (2010)


“Little Seneca Lake”, Boyds, Maryland (2010)


“Autumn Bridge”, Central Park, New York (2009)


“Ducks and a Bridge”, Central Park, New York (2009)


“Reflecting Bridge”, Central Park, New York (2009)


“City’s Edge”, East River, New York (2009)


“East River at Dawn”, New York (2009)


“City over the Park”, Central Park, New York (2009)


“Row of Boats”, Black Hill Park, Maryland (2010)


Find and Replace with nano

I use the nano text editor to do simple text editing on linux systems. Today I needed to do a search and replace but I wasn’t sure if this function was available in nano. I looked it up and its very easy to use and remember.

To find and replace text within the current document:

Ctrl \
Enter your search term [press return]
Enter your replacement term [press return]
A [to replace all instances]

credit chrisnewland.com


Zen Tara Tea Tech Event

“Is tea the new rocket fuel for the tech crowd?” asks Guy Munsch, the tech-minded owner of Zen Tara Tea in Bethesda, Maryland.  It certainly will be when Zen Tara Tea hosts a social media event on Thursday, September 29 at 6:30pm.  I have purchased my $9 ticket which covers tea sampling and dessert flights, not to mention the opportunity to learn more about social media from Robert Fine, editor/publisher of the recently launched Social Media Monthly.  I’ve been to Zen Tara Tea tastings and events before and its always a great atmosphere to meet people and discover new teas.  If you are interested in attending, purchase a ticket online and join me on September 29th!

Zen Tara Tea Tech Event


Cost2Drive iPhone App Review

The Cost2Drive iPhone App was launched just in time for Labor Day Weekend and is now available for download in the App Store for $1.99. I work closely with the lead developer of the project, Mike Siegel, and have met and worked with the Cost2Drive founder and CEO Jim Kovarik (former Director of AOL Travel), so I was excited to download the app, take it for a spin, and share my feedback with them.

For those of you not familiar with the product, Cost2Drive is a web application (and now a mobile app) that helps you determine the cost of driving places by automatically factoring in things like your vehicle’s MPG, route distances, and gas prices in the area you are traveling.  I personally find it very useful because I travel from Maryland to different places along the East Coast fairly often and there are many different travel options to consider.  It helps to have an accurate cost basis for driving to compare to other modes of travel such as plane, bus, or train.  For my test run of the app I will enter details of my upcoming trip to Flushing, NY for the US Open tennis tournament.

When the app first loads up, the interface is very clean and its immediately obvious what you have to do to get started:

Cost 2 Drive Home Screen

Adding my 2004 Acura TL was a breeze.  Once I entered the Year and the Make, the options for Model auto-populated so I did not have to do a lot of searching.  I pressed Save and Continue which took me to Step 2 of 2 which is Select Route.  On that screen it shows the vehicle information I have selected and also lists the MPG, gas tank size, and the type of gas it takes (premium for my car unfortunately).  There are clearly labeled boxes for the Start and End addresses for the trip, with the standard address book icon which means you can auto-fill an address from your address book, sweet!  I would stay with a friend in Queens so I used Bethesda, MD as my starting address and Queens, NY as my ending address and pressed Save and Calculate.  The results screen came up almost immediately:

Cost 2 Drive Results Screen

I can now clearly see that it will cost me $32.26 to make the 244.8 mile journey by car.  The Get Trip Details button currently links to the web application to show the route on a map.  It would be nice if you didn’t have to jump to the website for this but I’m sure that will be an upcoming enhancement.  Now all I have to do is add in the cost of a roast beef sandwich from the Roy Rogers at the Maryland House rest stop and I’ll know exactly what the trip will cost me.

Very cool.  Very easy.  Very useful.  Kudos to Mike, Jim, and their team on a great product!


Vote Salon Central for “Best of Bethesda”

I recently helped launch a website for Salon Central, an awesome Bethesda salon located near Montgomery Mall.  For the past few years they have been selected as Top Pick for hair salon by voters in Bethesda Magazine’s yearly “Best of Bethesda” awards.  I’m voting for them this year, not just because they are my client, but because I always leave the salon with the perfect cut.  If you frequent the Bethesda area I encourage you to participate in the Best of Bethesda Voting (voting ends on September 15th), and pay a visit to Salon Central too!

Salon Central Website Thumbnail


Get Things Done with Beagle

I remember my days on campus at the University of Maryland in College Park. I had a very busy schedule. On top of pursuing a degree in Computer Science, I worked as a web developer at SAS part-time to help pay for school (stripping did not work out) and also spent countless hours trying to obtain world records in Mario Kart time trials (I only ended up with apartment records but this was still quite an achievement).  I remember the inconvenience of doing routine things like grocery shopping, apartment cleaning, and errand-running was magnified by the lack of free time I had.

That being said, I was very enthused when I first met Julian Capps at a happy hour in DC.  He is a college student currently at Maryland and CMO of Beagle, a project he is working on with a few of his buddies to change the way college students get things done on campus.  He told me the basic idea of the project was to create a mobile app to allow students who are short on time or resources to post tasks and let Beagle connect them to other students on campus who can do the tasks for them.  Students can name their price when posting a task and can also make money by doing tasks for others.  Simple.  Brilliant.

I loved the idea and I wanted to learn more about it and share my experiences with the Beagle team so I arranged a meetup in Bethesda and brought along my business partner and friend Mike Siegel.  We had the pleasure of meeting Philippe Azimzadeh (CEO of Beagle) along with Julian and after hours of good tech talk (and good beers) I walked away with a good understanding of their vision. I was impressed with their attitude and their desire to simply make a positive impact on a community. They also spoke very highly of their partners and developers and I feel encouraged that they have all of the right pieces in place to prosper.  The mobile app is launching soon and I will be rooting for their success, go Beagle!

Beagle App