Law Office

Battlefield 1 – DirectX Error “GetDeviceRemovedReason” [Workaround]

At first, because of the phrasing of the error, I thought it might be Hardware, namely my GPU (Graphics Processing Unit, the Videocard); but since that was working fine with literally, all other games – playing in longer gaming sessions even [and I know for sure that I wasn’t actually physically pulling out my videocard while playing …I think] – I omitted that possibility (for now) and focused on a potential Software approach, which meant checking configuration…

Looking at the Settings for the game then, I tried reducing everything down to the Lowest Possible Settings; to reduce the load on the GPU and the load in the processing of the game itself. (With lowered settings, there would be less data being streamed from the game, less being extracted from the compressed/encrypted files of the game, less being calculated and drawn, less everything). If there was a problem with how game data was being handled, this might being it to light [note: an issue with integrity of the files would not be detected this way, this is more of a data handling troubleshooting step; integrity of the game files can usually be checked/verified with a Repair/Verify through the game client or if that doesn’t help, a Reinstall of the game usually assures accurate game files (barring Drive/RAM file handling (Hardware) issues – which is another tangent/issue altogether, heh) – screenshot of where to run a Repair/Verify of the game files for BF1, below].

Example of the Location of where to Repair the game files in the Origin Game Client, showing Battlefield 1 in 2017
(Click to see Full Size)

Nope. Crash. Error [which I lost the clean Screenshot of, of course – but a version of it is in the Header for this posting – I will add a clear Screenshot of the error window to this post when I can capture it again, if it occurs]. Hmmm…. Since it was a DirectX error (and I am 93.33-repeating-percent-sure that I did not “remove the video card” while playing..), I tried one last thing. Instead of swapping out the GPU to try with something else (a GPU from a friend’s PC, for example), which is approaching a Hardware type issue; I tried something else: I changed the DirectX level in the game from DirectX 12 to DirectX11 [this may not have been solely ‘my idea’ – although I am sure I would have eventually arrived at it as a troubleshooting step, I looked up this error and found many, many locations and sources of others stating they have this issue and encountered this error and I may have read it somewhere, for it to have come up – merely mentioning because I just don’t want to take sole credit for something I may not have come up with entirely by myself…].

Example of where to ‘Disable DirectX 12’ and ‘Enable DirectX 11’ in the Video Settings, in Battlefield 1
[Hmm, this is more of a Workaround than a ‘Fix’ for this issue…]
(Click to see Full Size)

Success! I played a good couple of hours this way, with no crashing, closing, freezing, or errors at all – great! After trying it after re-opening the game, rebooting and playing some more, testing it the next day or two after as well, it seemed ‘solidified’; changing the DirectX level/version from 12 to 11 seemed to ‘solve’ the issue [for me, for now].

I think this is more of a ‘Workaround’ than a ‘Fix’, since it doesn’t solve the issue permanently… there is still something in the game engine or how it communicates with DirectX/Windows/theGPU, which is causing something that is not ‘fixed’ by this step; but, since it does work to get past the issue, I thought I would share, to help others that may be running into this seemingly-popular problem (‘popular’ judging from the queries I found about this issue on both the Battlelog forum and EA Support Forums, spanning a few years now..). I hope this works for you, dear reader, as it seems to have done, for me.

[Since this is not a true ‘fix’ (I do not know if this is permanent nor do I know the actual source/nature of the issue, therefore I cannot say this is a ‘fix’, imo); I will post this with the title “workaround”…]

Addendum:

Other helpful tips/steps that can possibly help, if the above step does not work (and some additional information), can be found in multiple places on the Battlefield and EA forums, such as this list by a helpful poster named STEEiL:
https://forums.battlefield.com/en-us/discussion/54605/directx-function-error-amd-getdeviceremovedreason-error-in-battlefield-1

Good Luck – I hope it gets working for you soon – and See You In The Game!

Quick Tip: Fallout 4 – “Get Rid Of Someone You Don’t Like” in Your Settlement (Without Killing Them or Using Cheats) [Suggestion, Text-Only Mode]

Just wanted to share something that came up, in answering a Question someone asked in the Official Steam Forum for Fallout 4 – in case anyone has a Settler in one of their bases that they really, really don’t like…

A person asked in the Forum, how to ‘get rid of’ Jezebel‘, whom for those who do not know, is a Robo-Brain type automatron, from the Automatron Official DLC. Without getting into any Spoilers, I’ll just say “she has an attitude”…

However, because she is a Resident of your Settlement, you cannot easily get rid of her, as attempting to just kill her will set all of the other Settlers gunning for your head in retaliation/defense.

Also, although she can be Assigned to the Task of, say running a Shop at the far end of Town and ‘stay there’, she is not of much use in that respect – because Robots cannot run Shops/Stores [sadly].

I thought of using her to start a Supply Line (so her Task/Job will take her out of town almost all of the time and you’ll rarely ever have to see her) – and saw that another helpful Fallout 4 player thought of the same thing – and already posted it as a Reply in the Discussion…

Still, I could add (as a Tip perhaps); that you can ‘send her away’ even more so by first Moving her to a Settlement that you rarely go to (using the MOVE menu bar command, at the bottom of the Workshop Mode interface).

You could Move her to Oberon Station perhaps, or The Slog [those are where I normally send ‘people I don’t like’ lol] – anywhere that you normally don’t ‘check up on’ as much as you do your other Settlements…

Then, after that, Assign her to become a Provisioner and start up a Supply Line (using the SUPPLY LINE menu bar command, in Workshop Mode) between the starting place of where you sent her (“far away”) and another place you rarely go to – that way, you will REALLY never have to see her again!

[Actually, you may still run into her, as you run into your Provisioners if you journey into the paths between the Settlements you have Supply Lines set up for – but still, if you pick two remote places that you don’t really visit often as her Supply Line nodes (start and end points), then you’ll really rarely ever bump into her]

Either way, I hope these ideas help any of you ‘get rid of someone’ you don’t like, from a Settlement (and you don’t want to kill them or use cheats/commands to do it). Have fun in Fallout 4!

And More: Corel’s VideoStudio – Crashing When Using ‘Open With’ To Import Clips Into VideoStudio [Fix/Workaround]

Just last Month, I picked up version 20 of Corel’s recently-updated video editing suite “VideoStudio” (nomenclature “X10”) and am having a lot of fun learning what it can do and how to do it all (coming from mainly editing videos with Sony’s Vegas ‘Movie Studio’ line of products [now taken over by MAGIX]). However, I quickly ran into a little issue with importing clips using the “Open With” option in Windows and wanted to share what I found…

Normally, in Windows you can ‘right-click’ a video file and mouse-over the menu option “Open With..”, which brings up a sub-menu of known applications, to ‘send’ the file to (‘opening the file with the chosen application’). Doing this, whichever application you select will startup and the file will be sent to it to work with.

However, doing this with a video clip and VideoStudio x10 I found, every time the program would open up, it would immediately ‘crash’ (close/stop/etc). Hmm… time for some Troubleshooting! I double-checked that the file in question was not corrupted excessively by playing it, testing it in a couple of video/media players, and even tried a few other clips that were ‘known good’ (that VS worked with before). Each time, using “Open With…”, the Splash Screen for VSx10 would show up and then just as the program itself looked like it was opening, the entire thing would crash and show this message:

Example of the “Corel VideoStudio has stopped working” Error Window Pop-Up
when trying to import a clip into VideoStudio X10 utilizing the “Open With” shortcut in Windows

I then went to the Corel ‘Official’ Fora [Forii?] and did some searching to see if anyone ran into this same issue. Unfortunately, all I could find were people experiencing ‘general crashes’, that is, crashing and non-starts without it being specifically associated with utilizing “Open With..”.

I then decided to try these same ‘testing files’ on some other video editing programs I have installed, such as Sony’s Vegas Movie Studio (now owned by MAGIX, the same company that makes the Movie Edit Pro product line, which I have no experience with yet, at this time). Using the “Open With..” command, Movie Studio was able to open and import all of the video clips without issue – so then, what’s up Corel? /tilthead

I thought of trying VideoStudio ‘on it’s own’, not importing or ‘sending’ anything to it – just opening the program and seeing if it works… Everything opened fine! I was just playing with the program the other day in fact, learning some of the features it offers [I’ll have to write a short ‘Review’ or at least a ‘First Impressions’ sometime of it]. So why was it being ‘fussy’ (to use the highly technical term)? I tried opening and closing the program a few times thinking about it, when I noticed that when I opened VideoStudio X10, I was being greeted by a nice-and-helpful “Welcome” StartUp Page…

The “Welcome” Section of VideoStudio
(Click to see Full Size)

Indeed, ‘The “Welcome” Startup Page’ offers a lot of helpful information on opening VideoStudio. There are Tutorial videos on some of the New Features for that version and even Basic Tutorials and Help File links. But wait – no editing interface! No Timeline, no Media Library to add clips – that’s it! That’s the problem! I went into the Settings to see if there was a Preferences option where I could set the Section to open VideoStudio to be – not the “Welcome” section, but the “Edit” section – the tab/area where all of the editing/mixing and importing takes place. There it was: Default Startup Page – and it was set to “Welcome Book”…

The Corel VideoStudio X10 Preferences Window
showing the Default Startup Area/Section which is shown when the program starts
(Click to see Full Size)

A simple pull-down menu change to “Edit” and that was it! Now, VideoStudio is opening to the “Edit” section/area every time. So, I tested it out: right-clicking on my video clip and mousing-over “Open With..” and then clicking on “Corel VideoStudio” – it worked! VS opened up and in a few seconds more, my little video clip was right there on the Timeline, waiting patiently to be edited. Woohoo!

Example of Corel VideoStudio x10 Starting Up In The EDIT Section
(Click to see Full Size)

Here is a video version of the steps above, made showing the error when trying to use “Open With..”, what happens and how to change it, as well as the final ‘working’ result of changing the option (after I finally figured out what it was):


[VIDEO NOT YET COMPLETE, IT WILL APPEAR HERE ONCE FINALIZED AND UPLOADED TO YOUTUBE]

Hopefully this will help any of you dear readers, who use VideoStudio and were running into this error/crash/issue when opening clips with VS (trying to use “Open With..”).. Enjoy and Have Fun editing your gameplay clips once again!

~Troy from The Game Tips And More Blog


[I’m calling this a Workaround, since this is more of that than a true ‘Fix’… It does not solve the base issue of VS not being able to import a clip using “Open With” without taking taking these steps (whether this is more Microsoft’s fault or Corel’s fault is beyond the scope of this post …and being more experienced in computer hardware than computer software (programming, etc), I would not have completely isolated the very base cause of the issue anyway – or at least, could not offer a 100% explanation of what is occurring)]


Note: I am not affiliated in any way with Corel and I have not, and I will not, be compensated for mentioning VideoStudio or any other of the products herein, in any way.  I have used other video editing products than these in the past, and will do so in the future, including free editing applications, such as VirtualDub, AviDemux, DVDVideoSoft products and more… I am merely an enthusiastic gamer-and-sometime-editor and wanted to share information that I discover about these products to help other gamers record-and-edit and have fun doing it, if I can do so.

Battlefield Play4Free – PlayTesting The AEK-971 Assault Rifle (One Full Round – Myanmar – Raw Gameplay [Unedited] Video)

Battlefield Play4Free and The Daily Draw

Just a quick primer for those that don’t know; Battlefield Play4Free is a Free-To-Play title, which means it doesn’t cost anything to join in, but you can purchase weapons, armor, clothing and other items for Real Money. In this game, you do so by purchasing “Play4Free Funds” that you can then use in the in-game Store. There is also a nice feature offered where you can win ‘prizes’ (weapons, armor, clothing, etc) from a game called The Daily Draw at the main Battlefield Play4Free website. You can play once every day, choosing a card from a random draw of eight and the card you choose will be an item ‘underneath’.

The items possible to win range from temporary one-day-use-only weapons and clothing, to seven-day-use ones, to permanent items your character (Soldier) can use in the game forever (for example, a scope that can be attached to a gun for that soldier for all time). This is great for those who can’t afford to purchase many in-game items, as it not only offers the possibility of getting some great gear ‘forever’, it also gives a nice preview of a weapon, mod or clothing, so that you can see what it will look like/feel like, if you decide to splurge and purchase it for yourself (supporting the game and developers as well) sometime in the future. The Daily Draw also gives a chance to win ‘Boosts’, where you can earn extra Credits [for instance], as seen in the screenshot below:

The AEK-971 Assault Rifle

I recently won the AEK-971 in The Daily Draw on my Assault class soldier and thought I’d try it out and see how it felt and quickly write a post about it [I call these ‘PlayTests’]. Now, I am not a gun expert or know a lot about the statistics of the guns, so I will mainly be discussing briefly here how the gun ‘feels’ and ‘plays’, especially compared to the default G3A4 Assault Rifle.

The AEK-971 unlocks nice and early at Soldier Level 3, but the main reason for this seems to be that it isn’t supposed to be very different from the Default Assault Class Rifle. As you can see from the comparison above, which is the main Store/Inventory screen information for the weapons, the only real difference is the amount of damage it can do. It has the same accuracy rating as the G3A4, the same range, and the same amount of ammo in the mags. After winning it in The Daily Draw, I played a few rounds with AEK-971 and originally recorded a couple of full matches. Here is one full match, shared unedited for you [a ‘Raw Gameplay’ video], testing out the AEK-971:

I was also testing out the Trial of CyberLink’s PowerDirector 12 for editing.
A Review article about that application – with Tips – Coming Soon™!

Despite not being listed as any more accurate than the G3, I felt more ‘capable’ with the AEK (as though I could ‘put up a fight’ a lot better), probably due to the increased damage. It feels a little more accurate too, even though it isn’t really supposed to be, according to the Store/Inventory info for the gun. So, I figured this is a great time to do some testing! [Yay, tests! lol]

AEK-971 Accuracy Analysis

I did some basic analysis on the recoil pattern of this rifle and it is indeed similar to the default assault rifle, but the AEK is ever-so-slightly more accurate, in my opinion. Here is an example of a test I did, a screenshot of the spread patterns, collecting the bullet markings, below:

Coloured spray paint marking the AEK-971’s Bullet Spread, on average
(Click to see Full Size)
  • The left side is the spread while ‘shooting from the hip’, not using the sights, just standing there holding down the trigger  [the spray painted arrow is red-coloured as in, ‘try not to do this at all if you can, unless in very close quarters combat’]
  • The right side is the spread while ‘zoomed in’, that is, using the sights on the gun (it would use a scope if there was one), still just standing there holding down the trigger  [the spray painted arrow is yellow-coloured as in, ‘try to avoid this’]
  • In the middle is the spread while zoomed in/using the sights, crouching down, still holding down the trigger though – but also now compensating for the recoil of the gun (attempting to contain the spread into a small area) – in this case, slowly pulling DOWN the mouse while firing since the recoil of this gun pulls the barrel UP  [the spray painted box is green-coloured as in, it is recommended to do this (even better if you can tap the trigger instead of holding it down)]

As you can see, even though the rated accuracy for this gun is “Low”, you can get a pretty decent containment of the spread, by kneeling down, using the sights, and compensating for the recoil by moving the mouse accordingly [this little tip helps with all guns].

In most games, you can try to compensate for the recoil of a gun by slowly moving the mouse in the opposing direction to where the barrel travels. For instance, if the recoil pulls the barrel of the gun left, when shooting, moving the mouse to the right then, will cancel out some of the recoil and make for a smaller spread of bullets and easier/faster repositioning for the next shot. Try to remember that each gun will be  different in it’s recoil and which direction you should compensate, when using each weapon though. 
[Note that due to game programmers making bullets ‘miss’ (no matter what), in an attempt to imitate reality (which has imperfections in the gun and bullets, air changes, etc), it will never be possible to fully compensate/correct for the ‘spread’ of bullets in a gun (this goes for most games)]. 



In my tests, the Assault Default G3A4 seemed to pull up and away to the left slightly, when shooting it. Holding down the trigger longer, the gun climbs way up into the sky easily (hence the “Low” Accuracy rating, I assume). For the AEK-971, it does still pull up, but it does not pull to the left in the same way as the G3A4, especially when using the sights. It sort of does a light ‘stepping’ to the left and then to the right, somewhat randomly [whatever the algorithm is in the programming]. This, to me, makes it ever-so-slightly more accurate in the ‘feel’ of the gun, because while it still ‘goes all over the place’ when shooting, it sort of compensates for itself just a bit, and the end result is more of a direct climb up in the recoil, something that felt, to me, easier to compensate for than with the Assault default G3. (I assume this very slight change in the spread/recoil is not enough to win this gun a “Medium” rating in Accuracy, but it is enough to make you have to Level to 3 in order to be able to purchase it..).

Close-To-Medium Range Kill with the AEK-971 in Myanmar. Even with the ‘side-stepping’ that the gun does (and the enemy strafed around as he ran out towards me from behind the rock in the center of the screen) I still got the kill, mostly due to the Very High Damage Rating of the weapon
(Click to see Full Size)

In Conclusion

Overall, the AEK-971 was similar to the default Assault class rifle, the G3A4, when playing. To me, it did feel slightly more accurate, but not by much. If you are having a really hard time hitting people with the G3A4, your accuracy won’t increase very much at all if you purchased this rifle. However, if you are getting used to the default Assault gun, this one packs a lot more punch, and you’ll be getting more kills overall if you upgrade to it. Because I recently won this gun Permanently [during the course of compiling this article, yes it does happen in The Daily Draw! woot] I can’t see the current price for this rifle anymore, to purchase it from the in-game Store; but last time checking, it was only 300 Credits to try it out for one full day. It was also listed as [what I call] ‘Earnable’ because, if you can rack up 45,000 Credits, you won’t have to pay for upgrading to this rifle with any Real Money at all (you can just use the Credits). If you did buy some Play4Free Funds and have 1,250 to spare, you can purchase it at anytime (not having to wait until Soldier Level 3), permanently. So in closing, PlayTesting the AEK-971, I found it slightly better than the Default Assault Class Rifle, even if it only ‘felt’ that way due to the higher damage it does.

Long Range Kill with the AEK-971 in Myanmar. The thin iron sights of the gun (default sights) help a lot with targeting farther away. With the Very High Damage Rating – even though the gun has a Low Accuracy Rating – single-shot/tap shooting can still make it lethal at range, when needed
(Click to see Full Size)

Have fun trying it out for yourself sometime and See You In The Games!

Gameplay Disclaimer: Any gameplay videos or animations uploaded are only one example of one possible path of game play and is not representative of the gameplay experience of the entirety of the game material as it is non-repeatable in exactness (movements, actions, viewpoints, etc) to a high degree of accuracy (especially in regards to online multiplayer play and interactions) and therefore is not a representation of a large portion of the game content (this includes complete Walkthroughs/Playthroughs, Raw Gameplay Footage and Tutorials). All material and content uploaded attempts to respect copyright and is presented for Educational and Entertainment purposes only, utilized under Fair Use and can be construed as Free Advertising. No copyright infringement is intended and cannot be inferred. Any possible representation approaching any infringement, to those seeking infringement action, requires double notification and will be honoured by permanent removal of the infringing material. This information exists for entertainment and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical attention.

INTERIOR DESIGN STYLE FOR A SMALL APARTMENT

This small apartment is an example of how to make the most of a limited space.This live well in apartments provided with large windows giving good natural light, open spaces and good storage options, including a large sub basement. The lounge is spacious and decorated in bright materials.

INTERIOR DESIGN STYLE FOR A SMALL APARTMENT

INTERIOR DESIGN STYLE FOR A SMALL APARTMENT

Upstairs is a beautiful model Dutch prosecutors. Create the mural are welcomed into a room like this.The the kitchen is located between the lobby and hall, and it offers plenty of cooking space. It is an ingenious closet in the hallway. As you can see, the secret of this event to find creative storage.

INTERIOR DESIGN FOR A SMALL APARTMENT

INTERIOR DESIGN FOR A SMALL APARTMENT

INTERIOR ROOM DESIGN FOR A SMALL APARTMENT

INTERIOR ROOM DESIGN FOR A SMALL APARTMENT

INTERIOR DESIGN BATHROOM FOR A SMALL APARTMENT

INTERIOR DESIGN BATHROOM FOR A SMALL APARTMENT

INTERIOR DESIGN SKETCH FOR A SMALL APARTMENT

INTERIOR DESIGN SKETCH FOR A SMALL APARTMENT

1960 Lincoln Continental mk 5 Formal Limousine

in the above photo, lower left side, you can see the air conditioning vent under the grab bar

and this cool control panel / radio for the passengers in the back seat to control the partition, radio, and air conditioning level

and the AC takes up about a 1/3rd of the trunk space

TestRun, Quick ‘End Of The World’ Edition Answers: Does SLI Really Make A Difference? and Where Should I Put PhysX for NVIDIA Videocards? (Text-Only Version)


Update: Added more Tests and Results – Hitman: Absolution Benchmark, Unigine: Valley Benchmark, Left 4 Dead 2 Unscripted Gameplay Test, Tribes: Ascend Gameplay Test and Rollercoaster Tycoon 3: Platinum Gameplay Test


Recently becoming the proud owner of another NVIDIA card, I swapped out my trusty AMD/ATi Radeon HD 6870 from ASUS that has served me so well and lovingly joined together two GTX 560 Ti videocards in electric matrimony to try out some SLI. I share now my experiences, the results of many tests and answers to questions I have seen in many places online, including one I had myself.

This is also a ‘Quick’ Edition, a version of the testing and results that are text-only for now, where I may do a full version as time permits in the future, with screen recordings, graphs and other materials that I would like to share and would help people out.

The Experiment

For this TestRun, with two NVIDIA videocards, I try answer the question: “Does SLI really make a difference?” and also “Where to put PhysX?”. Sure, the answer of ‘if it makes a difference’ is answered other places online, with pretty graphs and numbers; but I am one of those people that, although accepting, don’t ‘truly believe’ things unless I can test it out myself. This is a human stubbornness I know, but it also helps me explore many things I would not have otherwise experienced and allows me to share those results and experiences with others. “Does it really double performance?” is probably a more specific question of what I’m feeling, as of course it should make a difference, after all I am putting another 384 processing cores towards throwing around colorful shapes on my screen. I want to know if it even ‘doubles’ the awesomeness of games that I play. There are two cards in there now, so what’s the difference in performance?

Another aspect I plan to explore is regarding PhysX, NVIDIA’s lovechild of bouncing balls and splattering sparks. Does it affect game performance? Which card should run it if I have it on? Is it better to run it on a dedicated card [that only uses it for that] or off of the CPU? These are my own questions as well since finding a second NVIDIA gpu on sale… PhysX is only in a hamfisted-handful of games – and is only going to be found on NVIDIA GPUs, but it is supposed to improve visual/perceived quality in the games that do use it, due to the fancy waving flags, shattering glass and splattering blood [and the like]. I am going to test the options of having it on the first or second SLI card and how PHysX runs off of the CPU, too.

The Test

For this TestRun, I used utilities such as FurMark and FluidMark, Unigine’s Heaven Benchmark and a handful of games to benchmark and test with, such as Just Cause 2, Alien Vs. Predator, Lost Planet 2, Battlefield 3, Unreal Tournament 3 and Batman: Arkham City (all but the first two utilize PhysX). I am currently running an AMD 6-Core CPU and two GTX560Ti’s in SLI mode on a GIGABYTE 990FXA chipset mainboard.
I assume this is still an average-to-above-average system at the time of this writing (perhaps upper midrange but definitely not top-of-the-line) and it would help out anyone with a similar rig in the future as well with examples of some of the performance difference they will see [if they add a second videocard].

The Data

Here are my benchmarking test results and average framerates, comparing SLI mode with a single GPU:

FurMark: Score (2127), Average Framerate (40fps)
FurMark: Score (3959), Average Framerate (65fps) SLI
Lost Planet 2 – Benchmark B: Average Framerate (44fps)
Lost Planet 2 – Benchmark B: Average Framerate (103fps) SLI
Just Cause 2: Concrete Jungle Benchmark, High Settings, Average Framerate (28fps)
Just Cause 2: Concrete Jungle Benchmark, High Settings, Average Framerate (51fps) SLI
Alien Vs. Predator: Benchmark Run, 1920×1200, x16 Filtering, Average Framerate (44fps)
Alien Vs. Predator: Benchmark Run, 1920×1200, x16 Filtering, Average Framerate (90fps) SLI
Unigine Heaven Benchmark: 1080p, x4x4 Filtering, Score (960), Average Framerate (38fps)
Unigine Heaven Benchmark: 1080p, x4x4 Filtering, Score (1717), Average Framerate (68fps) SLI

Unigine Valley Benchmark: 1080p, Ultra Settings, 8xMSAA – Score (1077), Average Framerate (26fps)
Unigine Valley Benchmark: 1080p, Ultra Settings, 8xMSAA – Score (1741), Average Framerate (42fps) SLI
Hitman: Absolution Benchmark: 1080p, Ultra Settings, Average Framerate (32fps)
Hitman: Absolution Benchmark: 1080p, Ultra Settings, Average Framerate (33fps) SLI
(Hitman: Absolution does not appear to take advantage of SLI and/or is not Optimized for it, despite double-checking that SLI mode is enabled and trying to utilize NVIDIA’s ‘Custom Game Profile’ for it, as well – the following two games also do not appear to take advantage of SLI mode)

Tribes: Ascend – 1920×1080, Very High Settings, Average Framerate (51fps)
Tribes: Ascend – 1920×1080, Very High Settings, Average Framerate (53fps) SLI
Rollercoaster Tycoon 3: Platinum – 1600×900, 8xAA, Reflections and other (17fps)
Rollercoaster Tycoon 3: Platinum – 1600×900, 8xAA, Reflections and other (19fps) SLI




Here are some unscripted, raw gameplay framerates, averaged:
(multiple samples taken of each with FRAPS’ built-in benchmarking utility)

Alien Vs. Predator: Marine Storyline, Average Framerate (47fps)
Alien Vs. Predator: Marine Storyline, Average Framerate (89fps) SLI
Battlefield 3 : Multiplayer with 64 Players, Average Framerate (33fps)
Battlefield 3 : Multiplayer with 64 Players, Average Framerate (61fps) SLI

Left 4 Dead 2 – 1920×1080, Very High Settings, 4xMSAA, 4xAF, Extra Film Grain (128fps)
Left 4 Dead 2 – 1920×1080, Very High Settings, 4xMSAA, 4xAF, Extra Film Grain (185fps) SLI

*Planetside 2 : Multiplayer with many players, BioLab, Average Framerate (36fps)
*Planetside 2 : Multiplayer with many players, BioLab, Average Framerate (37fps) SLI
[*Game does not appear to be fully optimized currently, article with more detail here:
http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.ca/2012/11/planetside-2-and-ultra-settings-quality.html)


Here are the PhysX tests, done with FluidMark:

FluidMark: Score (5338) single-card mode, PhysX on the card, Average Framerate (87fps)
FluidMark: Score (5449) SLI, PhysX set to (GPU1), Average Framerate (89fps)
FluidMark: Score (7512) SLI, PhysX auto-selected (GPU2), Average Framerate (123fps)
FluidMark: Score (7379) SLI, PhysX set on (GPU2) Dedicated, Average Framerate (121fps)
FluidMark: Score (1291) SLI, PhysX set on (CPU), Average Framerate (21fps)

The Conclusion

So, does putting in a second videocard practically ‘double’ your gaming performance? Dang right it does. Now, I have read that it ‘should’ in many other articles online, but again, I had to test it out for myself. Almost across the board, in every game I threw at it, the performance was almost doubled. Wonderful stuff.

For those about to spend money on a second GPU for SLI because now they know it ‘will definitely make a difference’, I should mention as a Tip here that the more cards you add in (for 3-way or 4x SLI or Crossfire, for instance) the lower the rate-of-return you actually get on the investment.
In other words, adding a third card won’t ‘double the performance again‘ and adding a fourth card won’t ‘double that performance yet again’ –  it won’t even give you 300% and 400% performance [for the third and fourth videocards added]. You will actually see diminishing returns as you add more cards.
Still, if you have enough money for only a second GPU that matches your ‘old’ one, but not enough money to splurge on a new, faster one, clearly SLI/Crossfire is the way to go, it really does make a huge difference.

The PhysX tests are interesting, as they answer a question that I myself was wondering: does it matter whether you set PhysX on GPU1, GPU2 or the CPU, and should a GPU be dedicated to it?

It seems to make sense, that although a powerful, complex 6-core processor, my CPU is nowhere near the raw number-crunching [if ‘simpler’] streamlined data-geyser that the 384-core video card is. The difference can be clearly seen in the results. On the CPU, PhysX calculations [alone/isolated] gave a 23fps output of gushing blood on the screen, while even just one videocard running PhysX by itself put out 87fps of crimson data. Adding another card and telling that GPU instead [of utilizing the first card] to ‘calculate the physics if you please’ took the framerate up to over 120fps. Clearly, NVIDIA is showing that the videocards were made to handle the floating leaves, sparks and bouncing balls of PhysX …and ball handle they did.

What is interesting is the difference that was made, depending on which card you chose to handle PhysX. When the PhysX was set to GPU2 (the card not plugged directly into the monitor in my case), the highest score was achieved. When the PhysX was set to GPU1 (the card plugged directly into the monitor), it scored almost exactly the same as if there was no second card in the system at all. Now, the utility (FluidMark) does test ‘only‘ PhysX and there isn’t much to see on the screen other than some bouncing baubles, but it seems to show that if you put PhysX on the same card that you are using as your display card (that your monitor plugs into), then it might in fact affect performance of that card to display the pretty images on your screen slightly – or at least, to ‘deal with PhysX and show pretty colors on your screen’ at the same time.

Either way, they are both better than utilizing the CPU, as the pitiful performance when on the CPU (at least for ‘mainly PhysX only’ calculations) is over 500% slower than the performance seen when PhysX calculations are put on the second video card, and still calculated at over 400% slower compared to when PhysX is put on the first video card in an SLI setup. Clearly it is better to have PhysX calculations done on a GPU – and perhaps not put it on the main display card if you can.

Testing the ramification of this in actual gameplay, I played some Unreal Tournament 3 and Batman: Arkham City, while juggling the PhysX of both games to be calculated on the CPU, GPU2 and GPU1 (the main display card where the monitor is plugged in). Using FRAPS for collecting benchmark data in Average Frames Per Second, I saw no more than a few frames difference between all modes.
That is, playing with PhysX set to GPU2, PhysX set on GPU1 or putting the PhysX onto the CPU, I saw only a few frames of difference in actual gameplay performance. Mind you, it can be argued that I didn’t see as many sparks, blood, snow or leaves float across my screen at times; but overall, if you are concerned with only “the game performance ramifications” of where to put PhysX, The Answer Is: playing a game, it doesn’t really matter (but the CPU calculates PhysX slower than putting it on any card, as seen in the data).

Overall, if you can’t afford that fast, newly-released videocard you want, but you can afford to get another GPU of the same type as the one you have now – and your motherboard and powersupply can support it – it’s totally worth it to get a second videocard for SLI/Crossfire performance (and if you’re going the NVIDIA route, it doesn’t really matter where you put PhysX).

Have fun upgrading and See You In The Games If The World Doesn’t End Soon!

July Currently

How did it get to be July already?!?!

I’m still recovering from 3 days of EdTech awesomeness at the ISTE conference and linking up with Farley at Oh’ Boy 4th Grade for this month’s currently.

Listening – My two-year-old has recently become obsessed with Sofia the First on Disney Jr. It’s a cute show, but not my favorite of the toddler choices…not that I’ve become a connoisseur of toddler TV or anything…

Loving – I started a garden last summer, but it became somewhat overgrown when Georgia had its monsoon season last summer, and it didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped. This year, we’re in a new house, and while I don’t have the yard space (or HOA permission) for a full garden, I have space on my deck for a container garden. I’m growing bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, herbs, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and carrots, and they’re really coming along! My daughter and I check on them every afternoon, so it has become a fun summer project.

Thinking – This was my first year to attend ISTE, and I learned SO much. It was overwhelming, exhausting, and inspiring, and I just need a little time to process it all. I’ll start blogging tomorrow about some of the coolest stuff I learned.

Wanting – I’m moving into a new classroom this year, so I had to box up all of my stuff at the end of the school year. I’m hoping (*fingers crossed*) that it all got moved to the new room (in a different building on our campus) so I can begin unpacking soon.

Needing – I’m a little panicked that it’s July already. I have a lot of projects that are in various stages of completion, and while I know better than to think I’ll get them all done, I’d like to check a few more items off my list before I go back to school in a few weeks.

4th Plans – I’m looking forward to a three day weekend with my husband and daughter. We don’t have any big plans, but we may take Sydney to see her first fireworks extravaganza.

On a final note, as I prepare to move into my new classroom, I’m starting to think about decorating. The wall colors are very different in my new room, so my old stuff might not work. Here’s a quick pic of the new room from my Instagram account:

I’d love to hear your color schemes/decorating ideas if you have any! The move-in and shopping spree will start next week!

Have a great weekend!

Quick Tip: Guild Wars 2 – How To Split Stacks Of Items

Just a quick tip for GW2 and those of us who were tying to split stacks of things, only to link them into Chat and ‘shout’ the item’s link to people around us, the entire Map, etc. The way to actually sort things in a more private manner, is to hold down the ALT key and then drag the stack of items to an open slot. A dialog box should come up asking you how you want to split the stack of items (as seen in the example below):

Pressing the Shift key, as most know, will link the item in the chat box, and pressing Control, will link it and shout it out in Chat automagically – which is nice and embarrassing. I’ve seen some random linkages in the Chat Box [of things that aren’t of any interest] so I know it isn’t just me! I hope that this helps someone out and saves them from this atrocious “Faux Pas”…

See You In The Games!

Easy or Hard to Digest

The faster your body can digest a carbohydrate, the higher its dieting index value. There are two major types of digestible polysaccharides or complex carbohydrates: amylose and amylopectin. Both contain many glucose units, but the foods with more amylopectin raise the blood glucose levels much more readily than foods containing more amylose. The branches in amylopectin starch have many surface areas, which make it easier for digestive enzymes to break it down faster.

Diet Start

These easy-to-break-down starches include foods such as most breads, white potatoes, white flour, and snack foods such as pretzels, donuts, and cookies. Most of these foods are also processed or refined carbohydrates, but some natural unprocessed carbohydrates have higher amylopectin levels, including parsnips, russet potatoes, and rutabagas.

Starches that contain more amylose include some whole grains and legumes (lentils, dried peas, and beans) and some of the starchy vegetables such as yams and sweet potatoes. These foods are best for your dieting index weight-loss program.

Dietary Fiber

Most dietary fiber is not digestible. In other words, you might consume the fiber, but there’s a good chance most of it will not be digested such that the nutrients enter your bloodstream. Instead, the fiber is excreted in your stool. There are two major types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Mostly it is the insoluble fiber that does not get digested, but both types of fiber slow the rate of carbohydrate breakdown into blood glucose. Because of this, it’s great for you to eat lots of dietary fiber. Ideally, you should consume 25 grams or more every day.

Don’t overdo the fiber. But you’d need to consume a virtually unpalatable amount of fiber supplements, such as psyllium husks, to eat too much fiber—such as 4 or 5 tablespoons a day. With too much fiber, you could actually block the absorption of important vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and more. Overeating fiber can, in essence, make you undernourished. (And undernourished doesn’t equate to being thinner.) More than 45 grams of fiber a day is generally too much for most of us.

The Elder Scrolls Online – “PatchManifestError” In TESO Launcher [Workaround]


[Text-Only – This post is initially Text-Only, to allow posting this as fast as possible, to help others.
I may return and add additional graphics/screenshots pertaining to the article… Soon™]


Just now, I ran into an issue starting up TESO, where the Launcher gave an error message – oddly, it was slightly different than the message my Gamer Wife beside me got – one of us got “Error 210” while the other got “Error 206”. Here is an example of what the Error Message within the TESO Client Launcher looks like:



Popping into the Steam forum and the Official Bethesda/Zenimax Forum for the game, I saw a number of people mentioning they are getting this too, just today, like me. So, I wanted to come here and post a ‘quick fix’ that can get past the error message and allow fellow gamers, like me, to be able to play the game as quickly as right now, tonight [actually it’s more of a ‘workaround’ than a true ‘fix’, as it doesn’t solve whatever issue is happening with the Launcher/Client/Servers… I will post this as a “Workaround”].

Similar to an earlier issue with the TESO Launcher I talked about here at The Blog, the ‘workaround’ involves bypassing the Launcher itself and starting up the game manually via the Executable files… The instructions to do this are below.

For the Steam Version of TESO:

  • Open Steam
  • Right-Click on TESO in the Library and choose Properties
  • Click on the “Local Files” tab
  • Click on the “Browse Local Files” button to show the directory/folder of the game
  • Navigate into THE ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE > GAME > CLIENT folder
  • Double-Click on “eso64.exe” to launch the game (or “eso.exe” if running 32-bit Windows/Game

    For the Standalone Version of TESO:

    • Right-Click on the Shortcut (the icon that runs the game) on the Desktop (or in the Start Menu) for TESO and choose Properties
    • Click on the “Open File Location” button in the Properties of the game shortcut
    • You should find yourself in a Windows Explorer windows, looking at the “Launcher” folder of Zenimax Online
    • Go up one folder level to “Zenimax Online” (click on the Zenimax Online folder in Explorer)
    • Navigate into THE ELDER SCROLLS ONLINE > GAME > CLIENT folder
    • Double-Click on “eso64.exe” to launch the game (or “eso.exe” if running 32-bit Windows/Game)
      That’s it! Now the game should start up and you will just have to Login within the game itself.

      Unfortunately, I do not know what has caused this error, and I have not seen any Official Postings by Bethesda/Zenimax to explain it, as of the time of this writing. Although it appears to be some sort of Server/Launcher error, I cannot say specifically at this time. However, having testing this Workaround on different machines and with both the Steam Version of TESO and the Standalone/Web version of TESO, I can safely say that this should work for you, fellow gamer.

      Hopefully that helps – and See You In The Game!

      My Trip to Bangladesh June 2011

      The assignment in Bangladesh is to evaluate the performance of a department within an organization. The interesting aspect is that the objective / mission of the department is, Organization Development of its other departments as well as partners of the organization. It’s going to be an interesting assignment. This will be a long assignment where I will be staying for 4 weeks in Bangladesh and travel to the north of the country.
      The journey here was uneventful and arrived at my hotel tired but happy to be here. I am staying at the Asia Pacific Blossom Hotel; http://www.blossomhotel.net/ this will be my second stay at this hotel. I stayed at this hotel in 2006 during my first assignment in Bangladesh.
      The assignment itself got off to a tuff start as the day of the launch of the assignment was a “Strike Day” in Bangladesh and apparently there are more strike days planned in the coming weeks. I am no stranger to Strikes / Harthal in Bangladesh and was in the thick of them when I was here on assignments in 2006 and 2008. At least this time it’s in support of oil and gas committee on the ConocoPhillips deal. The once planed during the week is for political issues; these tend to get violent and can be dangerous.

      CONCEPT KIDS ROOM PAINT COLORS DESIGN

      KIDS BATHROOM PAINT COLORS

      Looking for ideas for decorating Kids Room Paint Colors? Enter a space about the longevity of choosing background elements that are long lasting. Then use the equipment, bedding, area rugs and cheap to create themes easily hangeable. Unlike other rooms of the house, which mainly reflects your personality, decor rooms children requires slightly different approach. If you are a first time parent or a veteran, decorating baby rooms are not childs play.

      This is a very complex process in which an adult is to incorporate all the safety features and mix with a childhood fantasy. The room is a device identification of the child, not yours. But the change of the children, then you need to think ahead: the design is easy to change a child of five years or two? There is room for storage, research, animal or doll collections, or a wrestling match?

      First, consult with the child. Be sure to consider the child likes or dislikes when decorating their space. Decorating the kids room paint colors is a work in progress – planning begins before birth and continues throughout childhood. You can be as creative and on top of your child you are dynamic and playful colors work well in a child’s room. Always paint childrens rooms with a semi-gloss, if the walls are easy to dry without being too bright.

      Regarding storage, check your local do-it-your-own for a wide range of affordable solutions. As children grow, learn, play and explore their environment should respond. Children will love the exciting makeover, because they focus on their preferred interests in all age groups. As your child grows, ask for their input for kids room paint colors.

      KIDS ROOM PAINT COLORS
      KIDS BEDROOM PAINT COLORS

      Battlefield Hardline: Beginning July 15th, A Double XP Boost is Active ! [Notification]

      Just a quick notification to notify those interested in Hardline to note that a Double XP Boost is Currently On! Note that the notification was noted on Battlelog, as of July 15th – unfortunately, I cannot tell at this time if it is a Premium-Only Boost or a Double XP Boost for ‘Everyone’, as I recently subscribed to Origin Access (to test it for one month, to see whether you ‘lose’ patches/etc that you have earned while it is ‘on’, which I will share as soon as I find out). Still, check out Battlelog and see if it is ‘on’ for you! http://battlelog.battlefield.com/bfh/ GOGOGO

      See You In The Game!


      [Update: As of July 20th, the Double XP Boost is now over… See you next time!]

      Blog Hunting

      Today I was hoping to link up with Laura Candler’s Corkboard Connections Blog Hunt, but it seems that linky closed already [sadface].  Still, I want to share a little about what I’m using as my Google Reader alternative and why.


      In my mind, this is a battle between BlogLovin’ and Feedly.

      BlogLovin’

      I’ll confess that I didn’t move over to this platform initially. As soon as I caught wind a few months ago that Google Reader was dying, I quickly packed up and moved over to Feedly. With all of the recent push in the teacher-blogger community toward BlogLovin’, however, I decided to give it another try.
      What I like
      As a blogger, there are a few features that I really like about BlogLovin’. 
      1. Notifications and Blog Finding
      I like that I can get notifications when new people start following me. I also like that when I click on those notifications, I can see what other blogs people are reading. I’ve stumbled upon some great new-to-me blogs that way over the past few days. 
      2. Viewing actual blogs
      Rather than seeing a stripped down version of someone’s blog, I can see the actual website in a BlogLovin frame. This allows for easy commenting when I want to leave comments. It also lets me see how cute everyone’s blog is these days.
      What I dislike
      1. Too many clicks
      It seems like it takes forever to navigate sometimes, and I’m constantly clicking to mark things read, jump between blogs, and if I actually leave a comment on a blog, I lose my place in BlogLovin and have to start over with the remaining unread blogs. I subscribe to hundreds of blogs, so I have to be efficient when I’m looking at content. 
      2. It’s still buggy
      I tried to go back and organize the blogs that I read into categories the other night, and I found that BlogLovin wasn’t saving my organizational changes for blogs unless I categorized them as soon as I started following them. That was annoying. I also noticed that some blogs that I’m certain I was already following were showing up as unfollowed. Others were showing up multiple times in my reading list. I suspect that a lot of these bugs will improve — I saw iPad updates for the app yesterday, so I know they’re working on it, but I wish a lot of these features were already working better.

      Feedly

      Since I’ve been using this for a few months already, I’ll openly confess that I’m a bit biased. It may also be the case that I’ve got this platform more figured out than BlogLovin, and some of the “advantages” of Feedly may exist in BlogLovin, too. But here’s what I’ve found…
      What I like
      1. Better app integration
      There are several different apps that I like to use when I’m reading blogs (and in this case, I’m talking about web-based apps, not iPad apps).
      Pinterest – Feedly has Pinterest integration built in, so I can hover over an image and pin it straight from Feedly. The pin will link back to the original blog.
      Buffer – Buffer is an app that I use to schedule Tweets so that they’re spaced out throughout the day rather than sent all at once as I read blogs. If I read a blog post that I really like, I’ll send it to Buffer to share with others.
      IFTTT – If This Then That is an app that sets up certain actions based on commands that I give. For example, if I star an article that I like in Feedly, it will automatically send it to my Evernote notebook with tags that I set. There’s a whole list of IFTTT recipes for Feedly here. 
      Evernote – I can send items straight to my Evernote notebook from Feedly as one of the sharing options.

      2. Easy navigation
      There are lots of easy keyboard shortcuts to use to go through articles when I’m reading on my computer, and it’s very easy to organize articles in categories. Even when I’m behind in my blog reading, I can get through it pretty quickly without feeling like I’m missing important content.

      3. Marking articles
      I know I can “heart” articles on BlogLovin, but I can mark articles on Feedly for later with specific tags that make them easier for me to find. For me, that’s a better equivalent to starring articles on Google Reader, and I did that a lot.

      What I dislike
      1. Somethings get lost in translation
      Sometimes the pictures don’t get pulled into Feedly correctly (which might not be Feedly’s fault), and I probably miss out on some cool content because of it.

      2. Commenting is more complicated
      I still have to click to go to the external link of the original blog post to comment or read comments. This is especially complicated when I’m using the iPhone or iPad apps. When I’m on a mobile device, I usually mark the article I want to comment on for later and check it out when I’m back to my computer.

      And the winner is…Feedly, mostly

      At least for now, I’m sticking with Feedly. I still like visiting BlogLovin’ to find new blogs to follow, but my new strategy is to follow on BlogLovin’, and then I add it to a list called “On My Feedly.” Then I add the blog to one of my reading lists on Feedly. Then when I go into BlogLovin’, I can immediately mark the “On My Feedly” list as read because I’ll know I’ve seen it all on Feedly. There are a bunch of new blogs that I started following as I was trying out BlogLovin’ that aren’t on my Feedly list yet, so that will be a process to move those over. It’s not a perfect system, but I expected some growing pains in the transition. 
      I’m going to continue to use BlogLovin to discover new blogs because that’s a huge benefit in my mind.
      Where did you land in the Google Reader alternative battle? I’d love to hear what you chose and why in the comments section! 

      The 2017 Extra Life 24-Hour Gaming Marathon, In Support of The Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals [Post Updated All Weekend]

      Wow, it’s that time again – time to try to play some games for a cause – in my case, I play as much as I can through the weekend for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation (as I was born and raised in the province of Alberta, Canada).

      This year actually ‘sprung up’ on me, as I haven’t been feeling well these past few weeks… I have had a bit of a fever [38C/100F+]  the entire time and have been extra sore and slow (I say ‘extra’ as I myself have a condition, called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis – which is basically an infection of the brain and spine that causes Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue symptoms (pain and tiredness, respectively) – a condition I have had for 12 years now [wow it’s been that long]). So, playing for this charity every year is special to me and something I have tried to do every since I heard of Extra Life back in 2015.

      Image Link to The Extra Life main website, where you can see all of the other wonderful people participating in this event, many of them streaming their marathon Live on Twitch and other streaming sites! (Link opens in a new window)

      Due to my own illness then, I cannot play 24 hours straight through, but I count my gaming hours Playing For The Kids™ over the entire weekend of the event (in this years’ case, Saturday November 4th and Sunday November 5th), hopefully tallying 24 hours in total.. (in the case that I am not ‘up to it’ for that long, I allow myself to count my wife’s gaming time, as she generously tries to play beside me and add hours, for a “Total Household Hours” amount). [I always hope that in the spirit of the event and the intention, that my dear readers and those at Extra Life find this acceptable]

      As has occurred in past years, I do not have the ability/energy to set up and maintain a constant Stream of some sort yet (through Twitch, YouTube and other streaming services); but what I do is I share some details and Screenshots (and Videos if I can) of what I am able to play, here at The Blog, in an ongoing and updated post – one that I will be adding to as the weekend progresses (including Sunday Night), right here!

      So, follow along with me as I Play For The Kids™ all weekend, updating this very post as I go – and if you wish to take part, you can Pledge/Donate directly to the Extra Life charity via the Logo/Image just below or through this link for 2017: https://www.extra-life.org/participant/247989 – and whether you pledge anything or not, feel free to just return to this posting for gameplay time Updates, Screenshots, some Video Clips from the weekend – and more!

      See You In The Game!

      Update, Saturday 12:30PM MST: Beginning The Marathon, with the initial post above and gathering snacks and drinks to start Playing For The Kids™!

      Update, Saturday 7:30 PM MST: As usual with this event, I always try to play some good’ol Minecraft Hardcore Mode (you only get one life!), to see how far I can get during the marathon.

      Usually, I don’t get too far and starting out this year was no exception. I spawned in a new Hardcore world – in a wintery biome which I found out later was “Cold Taiga” – which meant, although there were plenty of Trees for Wood to use, there were no seeds to find and plant right away for food, there were no large hills in sight (for easy access to Stone and Coal to cook any foods I might come across) except in the far distance – and as night fell, I died right away to a band of two skeletons and a zombie that came out from behind one of the many, many trees…. Wow what a harsh start!

      I began another Hardcore world, hoping to spawn in a relatively easier biome – and I did… I quickly collected Seeds from the Grass around me and began a Garden to grow Wheat RIGHT AWAY, heh. I had to cull some of the many Pigs I found around me in order to eat, planning on replenishing their numbers later on. I then carved out a little Mud Hut in the hillside nearby and settled in for the night…

      Updates on that World as I play more – but for now I have to stop and take another break. More to come!

      Total Gameplay Time: ~2.0 hrs

      Update, Sunday 10:30 AM MST: I played last night right up until I fell asleep, starting a “Just One Life™” character in Fallout 4 (where I stop playing and delete that character upon dying just once), and was popping into various games for short periods of time, like Marvel Heroes (which has Daily Login Rewards, with small ‘gifts’ every few days you enter the game – and a Free Hero available at the no doubt-difficult-to-get-to, Day 300) [Even if I do not have the energy to play for a while, I try to pop in to register a login, heh – to see how far I can go].

      I also popped into The Elder Scrolls: Legends, a Virtual Collectible Card Game based on The Elder Scrolls series [a good game for slow-paced-yet-still-kinda-flashy-and-enjoyable gameplay that you can play against the CPU/AI only, if you desire to]. I also ran a few Benchmarks and did a few quick driving tests in Grand Theft Auto V, trying out some settings I saw in YouTube videos online (to see if I get the same framerate with the same hardware) – but I felt a bit weird at the concept of playing GTA games for this Event [shouldn’t I be playing games kids would play, or at least Family-Friendly games? lol], so I didn’t stay in Los Santos very long.
      Today, I plan on playing as much as I can, continuing my Minecraft: Hardcore Mode world, and my Fallout 4 “Just One Life™” character, along with some Elder Scrolls Online gameplay, hoping to get up to 24 hours in Total. I’ll also post more Screenshots next Update. Here I go!
      Total Gameplay Time: ~ 5.0 hrs


      Update, Monday 9:30 AM MST: Well I played as much as I could… 
      In Minecraft, I continued my Hardcore Mode world (actually Marathon 2017 World 2.0, as I died without even leaving the first Biome in the first one (above)), making a nice Garden along the shore of a River nearby…
      When night fell upon the world, since I was out on a ‘walkabout’, looking around the Biome, I quickly dug into the nearest hill, making myself a small mudhut house to Craft and Cook in… I should have maybe stayed in it all night, but I thought I would get started on collecting more Food, by killing a few Spiders and using their silk to make String, crafting a Fishing Pole.. And what happened? Two Skeletons came out from behind a tree and as I ran back toward my little ‘second mud hut’, they cornered me and filled me full of arrows, as I weakly flailed my Rock Sword back and forth… I hope my ‘Deeds Will Be Remembered’ [hehe Diablo2]
      To make myself feel better, I popped in an out of a few games for the next few hours… I tried out Need for Speed: Most Wanted, which seemed like an open-world racing game, with good graphics.
      Playing that game reminded me of a ‘test’ I wanted to do (I love running Benchmarks and Tests, heh) with Grand Theft Auto Five (GTAV), where I saw a video of someone running it on High Settings, to test out the differences between how it performed on two different CPUs (Processors, referring to the ‘main engines’ of a computer). So I started up GTAV and ran the Benchmark (to see if I got similar results) and drove around the city a bit.
      While the game looked good, I felt a little weird playing such a ‘mature’ game during a Marathon for children’s charities [lol shouldn’t I be playing ‘family friendly games’? or does it matter?], so I just took a few Screenshots (of course), and then left it for now, for something else.

      The Beta for Paladins, a MOBA-slash-FPS game by the makers of Tribes:Ascend and Smite, was going on, so I popped into that game, going through the Training and playing for a while afterward.


      Total Gameplay Time: ~ 10.0 hrs

      Alas, just like before, I couldn’t quite make the 24 Hours on my own… My own illness [where I am sore a lot and get tired easily] keeps me from playing for very long at one time. However, as I stated earlier, what I like to do, is include the game playing time that My Better Half does alongside me, as part of a “Household Total”… If I include her generous contribution, the new total becomes:

      Total Household Time: ~23.0 hrs


      Haha – even with her inclusion, I did not ‘quite’ make the 24 Hours in total… But, as stated above, I hope that in the spirit of the Marathon and its’ intention – and mine – I hope that what did accrue would be acceptable… In fact; I do not think that ‘total game time’ is the main goal of this Marathon… This time is perhaps to literally ‘take time’, to think about those that are much more unfortunate than us, and in the case of this Charity, much younger than most of us… During this Day or Weekend, whichever it is, I think, we remember those out there, those that are in need. In this spirit/state-of-mind; I thank you Dear Reader, for following along in this small adventure. Whether you donated at all or not, I hope that you played a little bit of some game, took a little bit of time, to think about those that are in much more pain and need than most of us are. And I thank you for following me on this small journey. Take care, my unmet friend – and perhaps See You In The Game.

      Health Concern: FAT?

      The term “fat” includes fats from meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products as well as vegetable oils and the nuts, seeds, and grains from which they have been extracted. There are two basic kinds of fats—saturated, occurring mostly in animal foods (although some vegetable fats such as the kind that coconut contains fall into this category too), and unsaturated, in the form of vegetable oils such as safflower, corn, and sunflower, and in seeds and nuts. Fish tends to contain more unsaturated than saturated fats, meat more saturated than unsaturated.

      Whether saturated or unsaturated, all the fats you eat rapidly form a film around blood cells and platelets, creating a kind of sludge which causes them to stick together. This clumping significantly interferes with circulation by clogging blood vessels and even temporarily closing down small capillaries. As a result, your cells do not receive all the oxygen and nutrients they need to function efficiently. They only run at about 80 percent capacity. This interferes with cell metabolism as well as with the efficient elimination of cellular and tissue wastes.

      Diet Start

      The chemical structure of an unsaturated fatty acid differs from its saturated brother in that at least two of the carbon atoms in its formula are free. This means that they have no hydrogen atoms attached to them, as the molecule of a saturated fatty acid does. It was long thought that while saturated fats were bad for you, unsaturated fats were good. For unsaturated fats have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood, and therefore were believed to be helpful in preventing arteriosclerosis and coronary heart disease. That is the reason we have been encouraged in the last thirty years or so to include plenty of polyunsaturates in our diet by switching from butter to margarine and vegetable oils. The catch is that although unsaturates do this, like all fats they still raise triglyceride levels (another factor linked with coronary heart disease) and they also create the same clumping as the saturated fats do, which leads to tissue anoxia.

      Women have also lately been encouraged by poorly informed writers to include lots of polyunsaturates in their diet for their beauty’s sake. Unsaturated fatty acids are an important constituent of skin and muscle tissue and so it was thought, quite wrongly, that we need more of them. For what we have not been told is that the chemical structure of unsaturated fats with their free carbon atoms makes them extremely unstable compounds, and that when an unsaturated fat is exposed even to the smallest trace of a catalytic agent it begins a process of autooxidation which results in the fat molecule’s breaking down to produce what are known as free radicals.

      Free radicals are highly reactive particles which, if left unchecked in the presence of oxygen molecules, will form toxic peroxides. These peroxides can damage and destroy cells. They have also been implicated as a primary cause of the aging process itself. When a cell, or the genetic material of a cell, is destroyed by free radicals, the result is something known as a lipofuscin pigment granule—often referred to by biochemists as a “clinker.” With age, ever more cells are damaged or destroyed as tissue degenerates, leading to increase in the number of these pigment granules. This is something you want to avoid in every way you can if you don’t want to look and be old before your time.

      To some extent, the presence of sufficient amounts of an antioxidant such as vitamin E in the system may prevent this from happening, because it minimizes the damage done by free radical chain reactions by breaking the chain. Vitamin E, like other antioxidants, helps block the oxidation that turns fatty acids into harmful peroxides. The more unsaturated fatty acids in your diet, the greater will be your need for the vitamin.

      An interesting dietary survey that was done at the University of California at Irvine looked at over 1,000 patients and examined the degree of wrinkling and crow’s-feet, frown lines, and other indications of skin degeneration such as damage to the collagen and elastin fibers and the irregular pigmentation characteristic of old skin. The subjects ranged in age from seventeen to eighty-one and 76 percent of them were women. Cadvan Griffiths, M.D., the professor of surgery who carried out the study, discovered that there is an undeniable link between marked clinical signs of aging and the intake of unsaturated fats in one’s diet. Those who regularly and frequently included polyunsaturated fats and oils in their diet had marked signs of premature aging. Some looked as much as twenty years older than they were. Very few of those who had made no special effort to eat more polyunsaturates showed any clinical signs of premature aging. Evidence is also accumulating that links free radical reactions to the etiology of cancer, senility, atherosclerosis and hypertension—all of them disorders generally associated with aging. This is all the more reason to limit the amount of every kind of fat you eat to no more than you actually need.

      Fallout 4 – “Starting Out: On Settlements, Building, Crafting, Materials And More” – A Beginner’s Guide of Tips and Concepts to Settlement Building and Development [UNDER CONSTRUCTION]

      Update: Added images for Main Concepts sections (Food, Defense, etc)
      Update: Added steps for How To Assign a Settler to a Work Station/Shop/etc
      Update: Added how to Give Yourself Any Building Components, or Food, with Commands (Cheats Section)
      Update: Added how to Build past the Size Limit in Settlements (Not a Cheat, Doable on Console as well as PC)

      [Note.: This post is ‘LIVE’ and ‘UNDER CONSTRUCTION’, as I continue to add more data and Tips and Example Screenshots to it… I decided to make it available now however, to assist those playing Fallout 4; especially those just starting out – seeing as there is a Steam Sale on now (go get it! heh). I will be adding more Text and Tips and Screenshots and More and this post cannot be considered ‘finalized’ until after I add a ‘Final Footer Image’ to the posting (see some of my other posts for examples of this type of ‘end image’ I put in my posts). Please excuse changes as they occur and temporary mistakes and spelling errors, which may show up should you return to this article while it is under development. Enjoy, however – I hope you find something helpful to you – and have fun in Fallout 4!]




      I have been having a ton of fun playing Fallout 4 lately… and while I am taking forever to finish up a ‘First Impressions’ of the game [I keep playing and building up my Settlements instead of writing!], I wanted to share some Tips on handling Settlements; some concepts and ideas that might help new users to the game, players that may not have developed their Settlements very much yet, or players that are looking for ways to possibly improve or increase their Settlements and their Production and associated benefits (Bottlecaps income from Stores, Settlers roaming around and finding/providing you with Supplies, Clinics for healing and removing Radiation, and more).

      Screenshot showing the Workshop Area of The Sunshine Tidings Cooperative, Decorated (Work In Progress).
      (High Resolution Texture Pack enabled [not 100% sure, sorry, but I think it was at this time]
      The Automatron DLC Robot Workbench can be seen, center background. Minuteman Flag seen, left wall, foreground)
      Click to see Full Size

      [Settlements and their development and growth is one of my favourite aspects of the game, not only because it supplies you with Junk/Scrap/Materials to build with and Money as well, but also because of the ‘life it breathes into the game’… every Settlement becomes ‘alive’ with people coming and going, working and resting, asking for help or talking amongst themselves around you. After getting a few Settlements set up and running smoothly, they become a place to restock, sell and collect, modify and improve gear, rest and maybe enjoy some scenery, taking a break from the action by building and re-working, improving and creating a place of solitude and pride, in each little ‘town’ in The Commonwealth…]

      Example of the Workshop Mode interface bar, normally seen at the top of the screen in Workshop Mode (Building mode)
      Click to see Full Size 

      Here then, are some main ideas to start off with or to keep in mind  – hopefully helpful to fellow gamers who are either starting out in Fallout 4 [from the latest Steam Sale], or are looking for ways to improve their currently-undeveloped Settlements (colour-coded somewhat-by-importance to help separate them for easier reference):

      1.  In the very beginning, build Food and Water and Beds, as much as you can.  

      These three things (Beds, Water, Food) are the main limiting factors to how many people will come to live in a Settlement. 

       [The maximum amount of people that can ‘live in your town’ is supposed to be your Charisma+10 (so if you have 5 Charisma, that would be 15 people); Provisioners who run Supply Lines (more on them later on down further) don’t seem to count towards this calcuated total (by my experience so far). Also, this limitation is stated in many places online – however, I have Settlements that are much higher than this number (over 30!) so I have not finalized the concept of Settlement Limitation Amount, at this time] 

      Don’t worry about Guard Posts and Turrets, at least, as much as you might think at the start – because although they do help with the overall safety of your Settlement; reducing the amount of Raids that occur, reducing the amount of Damage that will be sustained in the Raids, and setting a higher Security rating (which seems to affect Happiness, but not Immigration rate – more on Happiness later on…) – you can actually put the responsibility on yourself to take care of Raids at first [and get the bonus experience and loot that comes with it!] by Fast Travelling to the Settlements as soon as you see the ‘Help Defend’ tasks come up – or making ’rounds’ between your Settlements as they are starting up, as Raiders sometimes attack while you are there and you can then help clear them out – and get all the Loot they drop, too! 

      [The game leads you towards building Turrets at your Settlements near the beginning, too – in the form of a ‘tutorial’ of sorts, somewhat-early on]


      2.  Plant any Food (Corn, Tatos, Mutfruit, Gourds, Watermelon and Razorgrain) you find, at first.

      Starting out, you want to maximize your growth, so re-planting food you pick up not only increases how much food a Settlement can produce/feed for the Settlers, it also multiplies how much you can harvest!

      You can harvest any plants by ‘picking them’ (hitting the Action key while close to them). You can then immediately re-plant the food you just picked, by entering Workshop Mode and going to the Resources>Food section.

      A while later, you can start to Cook with your Food – not only do the meals you prepare have special bonuses (they are all different!) but boiling up some VEGETABLE STARCH, made from all materials that you can gather at any Settlement, is a great way to create your own Adhesive building material. Used for almost everything, Adhesive is a very important material to have!



      Vegetable Starch, a source of Adhesive, you can create yourself by cooking together Corn (3), Mutfruit (3), Tatos (3) and using Purified Water (1). Purified Water, you can either find as you travel, cook yourself [3 Dirty Water can be boiled up to make 1 Purified Water], or use Water leftover from your Water Sources in your Settlement – as any extra Water that is not used by your Settlers will be ‘kept by the Settlers in the Workshop inventory’ [in the Workshop Bench]. You need Adhesive for Modifications to Weapons and Armor and even for Building – it is used for almost everything and is therefore very important to keep stocked!




      3. Tied for the third most important thing/things to start thinking about, are these two concepts:

        • As you can, increase your Turrets and Guard Posts, to increase the Security of the Settlements, and as stated above, reducing the amount of Raids that occur, reducing the amount of Damage that will be sustained in Raids, and keeping your Settlers ‘feeling secure and more relaxed’ (Happier), too. 

        Although the Security Rating of a Settlement (“Defense”) does not effect the speed at which Settlers will immigrate to your little town, the Defense Rating of a Settlement affects the Happiness Rating – which affects how ‘Productive’ the Settlers are in that Settlement (speed of gathering resources, amount of Caps earned, etc) – more on Happiness later on…

        If you have more Guard Posts than you have assigned Guards, they will ‘patrol’ around the Settlement, going between them, back and forth. If you have the same amount of Guard Posts to Guards, they will each stay at one, standing ‘on guard’, most of the time.

        [I personally like to have a couple extra Guard Posts created in my Settlements just to have the Guards move around more… It creates more movement in the Settlements overall and makes them ‘feel more alive’ – something I really like in my Settlements!]

        • Build extra Scavenging Stations as your Settlement grows, as your Junk/Materials allow you to, so as the Settlers keep flowing in, you can assign them to the empty Stations – concentrating more on Scavenging over time will get your Settlers working and searching around, bringing you any Junk Items they find, “automatically” for you to then use!

        Scavenging Stations are assigned to Settlers, who then start wandering the Settlement randomly, picking up Scrap and Junk items they find and placing them in the Workshop over time – they will even ‘break down’ the items at the Scavenging Station – and you can watch them do it! 

        [If you have the Automatron DLC/Expansion, you will find that robots Assigned to Scavenging Stations will simply stand next to the Station with no animations occurring (sadly)]

        ‘How do you Assign Settlers to Scavenging Stations?’
        Further down, there are Steps with Screenshots for each,
        in the Section “How To Assign Settlers To Work Stations”


        After a while, with more Settlers coming in (sometimes they will migrate to your Settlements quite fast, seeing a solid place to find food, water, beds and have some security/safety), you’ll start to see Junk/Scrap/Materials pile up slowly, even Bottlecaps flowing in, sitting there waiting for you in the Workshops of your Settlements. 

         [If you have extra Food/Plants/farming and Guarding that needs to be done, Settlers seem to assign themselves to those first, if you haven’t been by to visit in a while to ‘tell people what to do’ – I have returned to Settlements to find New Immigrants that have started Farming or standing at Guard Posts on their own – but I have yet to see Settlers that Assign themselves to Scavenging Stations]

        Don’t forget to ‘make your rounds’ and periodically travel around to check all of the Workshops, grabbing these extra ‘Caps and ‘Mats, snatching-up the extra Purified Water you’ll see in them, to sell for even more Bottlecaps (especially if you are more desperate for money sometime). Purified Water is created by extra Water production of the Settlement; water that the Settlers aren’t using from the Sources you have set up. This extra Water gets placed in the Workshop for general use and Supply Line provisioning to other Settlements – but since it sells for a decent price and ‘piles up for free’, grab it and Sell it, if you really need ‘Caps!



        4.  As you find more Settlements, start up Supply Lines between them all…

        Supply Lines are ways to ‘share’ the resources of the Workshops between Settlements. You assign a Settler to create a Supply Line between two Settlements, and they then become a “Provisioner”, leading a Caravan between the two Settlements, taking supplies between them so that you can effectively ‘use the Junk/Scrap/Materials/Components of both of them’, no matter which one you are in!

        Supply Lines are started by entering Workshop Mode, then going up to a Settler (one that is Unassigned with no ‘job to do’, or one that you want to make run a Supply Line instead of the job they are currently assigned to) and choosing Supply Line from the bottom menu bar.

        That townsperson will then become a Provisioner, leading a caravan and a wacky Brahmin through the wilds of The Commonwealth… between the Settlement that they originated in and the one that you assigned them to make a Supply Line to.
        Between these two Settlements then, you can utilize any* Junk/Scrap/Components between them, in their Workshops.

        *Note that it appears you cannot share any Weapons or Apparel that you put in [I have not tested Miscellaneous items yet]; you can only share Junk [as of the time of this posting, this may change in a future Update/Patch in the game, of course].

        Requirement: Supply Lines require the Local Leader Perk to be able to ‘organize the people’, which requires a Charisma of 6 – but it has no Level requirement, so you can get it at the start of the game if your Character has a Charisma of 6. If your Character does not have a Charisma of 6, you can also put Perk Points into Charisma as you Level – you get one Perk Point every time you gain a Level – thereby slowly increasing your Charisma to 6, eventually. You can also put on Gear and Clothes that ‘accentuate your Charisma rating’ [eg. Apparel that says “CHR 1”], to get your Charisma up to 6 ‘instantly’!

        [With places like Tenpines Bluff, a Settlement you find somewhat-early on, that has barely any resources at all and barely anything to Scrap for Building Materials – the game seems to even be encouraging you to think about Supply Lines… at least, this is my interpretation..]

        Pick Up Everything! Loot Every Body And Clear Out Every Location You Find!


        Workshops will create Scrap building materials (Components) for you ‘automatically’ from any Junk Items you store in them – just ‘keep building’ and if you have the Junk that can be broken down into the Components you need, it will do it for you!



        What I mean by the above Tip is, if you put in a bunch of Forks and Knives you have found (for example), and you want to build something in your Settlement that requires Steel to build with, just go ahead and start Building – your Workshop will ‘smelt/breakdown the Junk items (in this example, the Forks and Knives) into Steel’ automatically, so you can essentially ‘use the Fork and Knife to build with’ – you do not need to “drop the items on the ground and then go into Workshop Mode and Scrap the items one by one” to get the Materials from your Junk items to Build; just select your part to Build and it will let you build it – if there is enough “components from junk parts” to do so!

        [I’m not sure if this changed from an early Patch or something, but I see a bunch of people asking in forums, even recently, if there is an easier way to get Scrap (building materials) from Junk items besides manually ‘Scrapping them one-by-one on the ground in Workshop Mode’ – there should have been a better Tutorial for this, in a way, in the game itself; but I hope this information above clears it up and helps people out]

        Remember: 
        Junk Items = Scrap Components = 
        Building Materials!


        Pick Up Everything! Loot Every Body And Clear Out Every Location You Find!
        • Repeated, Scavenging Station concept from above, as a Reminder:

          Build extra Scavenging Stations as your Settlement grows, as your Junk/Materials allow you to, so as the Settlers keep flowing in, you can assign them to the empty Stations – concentrating more on Scavenging over time will get your Settlers working and searching around, bringing you any Junk Items they find, ‘automatically’ for you!

        Scavenging Stations are assigned to Settlers, who then start wandering the Settlement randomly, picking up Scrap and Junk items they find and placing them in the Workshop over time.

         [If you have extra Food/Plants/farming and Guarding that needs to be done, Settlers seem to assign themselves to those first, if you haven’t been by to visit in a while to ‘tell people what to do’ – I have returned to Settlements to find New Immigrants that have started Farming or standing at Guard Posts on their own – but I have yet to see Settlers that Assign themselves to Scavenging Stations]

        [If you have the Automatron DLC/Expansion, you will find that robots assigned to Scavenging Stations will simply stand next to the Station with no animations occurring (sadly)]

        How To Assign Settlers To Work Stations (To Get Them To Perform Jobs In Your Settlement, Such As Running Shops/Stores Or Gathering Items For You To Use)

        Below, are the five simple steps to Assigning a Settler to any Work Station, getting them to utilize it and start contributing to the income of Supplies/Income of the Settlement. In this example, we are going to Assign a Settler to a Scavenging Station:

        1. When you first build/place a Station or Store/Shop or other useable buildings in your Settlement, it will show up as “Unassigned”, in the Workshop Mode interface. All buildings that are Assignable in a Settlement will show a ‘person icon’, in Red, to show that the building has a Requirement that needs to be fulfilled, for it to begin functioning.

        2. Find a Settler that you want to Assign to the Station. This can be a Settler that is already “Assigned” to something (so you can change their Job they are Performing in your Settlement), or a Settler who is “Unassigned” (doing nothing specific). Highlight the Settler by looking directly at them, then press the ACTION button to begin to ‘COMMAND them to do something’…

        Settlers who are Unassigned still gather Junk Items they find while walking around and put them in the Workshop Inventory for use by everyone. However, this happens slower than if they were Assigned to a Scavenging Station (which gives them ‘access to tools’). “Unassigned Settlers” contribute to ‘making people feel uneasy’ in the Settlement – which negatively affects the overall Happiness of that Settlement (resulting in lowered Production for that Settlement). Assign all Settlers to Tasks, or Relocate them to another Settlement (“Move” them), if there are no Jobs/Tasks for them to do.

        3. Go back to the Station/Shop/Building that you want to Assign the Settler to, and highlight it by looking directly at it. Then click the ACTION button to ASSIGN the Settler you just started COMMANDing, to ‘utilize this Station’ (in this example, the Scavenging Station, shown below).

        4. After clicking ASSIGN on a Station/Shop/Building, the ‘person icon’ should change from Red to Green, to show that a person is now assigned to the Station/Shop/Building (for example, the ‘Requirement for the Station to function’ is fulfilled). You should also see a message in the upper-left saying, “This resource is now assigned.” – that’s it! In this example, you have now Assigned a Settler to the Scavenging Station.

        5. If you go back to the Settler, you can check to make sure they are properly Assigned, by looking at them directly in Workshop Mode. They should now show the Task they are Assigned to (in this example, the Settler now shows a “Scavenging Station Icon” (a Buzzard, ‘the scavenger bird’)).

        Perform the above steps whenever you want to Assign a Settler to any Work Station, Guard Post, Shop or Store – the steps are the same, no matter what you need to have Assigned.

        Pick Up Everything! Loot Every Body And Clear Out Every Location You Find!

        Example of a Crafting Station, which allows you to create or modify items in the game. This is a Weapons Workbench (from Sanctuary), used to Modify found Weapons, adding higher capacity, faster firing rates, more powerful scopes, and more.
        (Click to see Full Size)


        Starting out with Weapons (Similar Concept to Armor, Below)

        In the beginning, other than the best Weapons you can save for yourself to use (or share with your Companion), SCRAP the rest for Materials…

        Don’t worry about building up a ‘Collection to Sell’ [at the start], you will run into so many enemies that you will have lots of spare Weapons to Sell for Caps later on. Scrapping for Materials not only lets you have Mats to Modify other Weapons you find and improve them as you Unlock Perks with your Points (using the Blacksmith skill) – it will also let you find other parts/materials as you ‘break down’ the Weapons you find into typical weapon-type-materials like Steel, Wood, Plastic and Screws – sadly, you cannot break down Weapons to gain the ever-important Adhesive, it seems [it is ‘already used’, I guess!].

        Example of a Crafting Station, that allows you to create or modify items in the game. This is an Armor Workbench (from Sanctuary, seen in the rain), used to Modify found Armor, adding bonuses like more defense (adding more material to armor), or putting pockets in it (to allow you carry more weight), and more.
        (Click to see Full Size)




        Starting out with Armor (Similar Concept to Weapons, Above)

        In the beginning, other than the best Armor you can save for yourself to use, (or share with your Companion), SCRAP the rest for Materials…

        Don’t worry about building up a ‘Collection to Sell’ [at the start], you will run into so many enemies that you will have lots of spare Armor to Sell for Caps later on. Scrapping for Materials not only lets you have Mats to Modify other Armor you find and improve them as you Unlock Perks with your Points (using the Armorer skill) – it will also let you find other parts/materials, as you ‘break down’ the Armor you find into typical armor-type-materials like Rubber, Cloth, Leather and Steel – sadly, you cannot break down Weapons to gain the ever-important Adhesive, it seems [it is ‘already used’, I guess!].

        Short Story/Example About Armor: Because I could Modify and Customize Raider Arm armor near the beginning, I gave up the higher-protection “DC Guard Left/Right Arm” armor pieces that I picked off of a poor dead DC Guard, [because it does not seem to Modify-able in the game and] because I ‘knew how to Modify’ the Raider Armor to be POCKETED for higher Inventory/Carry space [you need to ‘learn how’, by putting Perk Points (‘skill points earned every Level’) into Armorer, a Strength 3 skill]. I put the DC Guard Armor in a Dresser at the beginning for the time being, using the ‘Pocketed Raider Arms’ I could Modify, then – a higher Carry Weight Limit is a valuable commodity – especially at the beginning!


        Pick Up Everything! Loot Every Body And Clear Out Every Location You Find!

        Did someone say CHEATS?

        Sick of trudging around The Commonwealth like a Brahmin with two heads cut off, looking for junk to break down into materials to ‘just build’ with? Tired of picking up every piece of Junk you find, trekking in and out of town constantly and thinking “I just want to build up my base…” or “can’t there be an easy way of getting junk” or “there’s gotta be a faster way to get junk”..?


        Then wonder/wander no more – there is a way to instantly get all the materials you want!

        In Fallout 4 [and most Bethesda games], you can type the item you want and how many you want, of any item in the game, into the Command Console. However, you need to know the item’s Unique Identification Number, first (known as the “Base ID” of the item, in Bethesda games). 

        One way to find the Base ID of any item or object in Fallout 4, is to open the Console (by hitting the Tilde key, “~”, usually found next to the Number 1, in the line of numbers across the top of QWERTY keyboards), and clicking on the item or object in the game. It will then show the BaseID of the object at the top/center of the Command Console area.
        For an example; if you wanted to find out the Base ID of that Deathclaw running at you (and since we are in the ‘Cheat Section’ of this article, say… you want to kill it instantly), then you would find out the ID for it by opening the Console (“~”) and clicking once on the Deathclaw (it should be ‘frozen’ by opening the Console), which would show the BaseID of it just below, at the top of the Console area. Now, for this example of ‘killing it instantly’; you just have to type in “kill”, then a space, then type in the BaseID you see on the screen, and hit Enter. BOOM. That Deathclaw that was running at you (and you were unprepared for, full of inventory and unable to run, no doubt)? It’s dead. “First Crack At The Gear!” 

        [Note1: If you try ‘clicking on the enemy, then typing KILL, then just hitting ENTER’ right away; it may not work as desired. You may end up killing yourself… Although those steps do work, they do not seem to work 100% of the time [in my testing], therefore, the Suggestion of doing the steps from just a bit above (“clicking to get the ID, but typing in KILL and the ID number”), is recommended – to save from accidentally killing yourself and having to LOAD…]

        [Note2: The BaseID seems to change [in my testing], as in, when a Deathclaw (from our example above) ‘spawns’ (comes out of the ground), it will have one ID (and it seems to be ‘unkillable’ for a short time), and then when it starts to come at you and attack, it will change to another ID – which can then be used in the Command Console to ‘kill’ it. Also, Base Identifiers may be ‘Procedurally Generated’, which is, automatically and repeatedly created and changed, as a game goes on. Although this does not seem to happen for items like Food and Materials, it does seem to happen with Enemies and Gear (Weapons/Armor) – so be sure to take the steps above when trying to manipulate objects around you (eg. ‘kill’-ing an enemy), finding the BaseID each time, to be sure that there will not be a mistake or missed opportunity, to utilize the BaseID in the Console.]

        Want nearly-infinite food?
        Want nearly-infinite materials to build with?
        Want to ‘just build and not worry about going around collecting Junk (to build with)’? 

        Then wonder/wander no more – here is a way to instantly get all the building materials you want!


        [WARNING/Suggestion: Although getting all of the items you could ever want, whenever you want, to ‘Just Build’ – effectively turning the game into “Fallout 4: The Sims Apocalypse” where you just Build and Decorate and work on keeping your Settlers at bases Happy (not that that’s a bad thing) – it can potentially contribute to making the game ‘less exciting’, as it takes away much of the need to go anywhere or do anything (other than keep your Settlers’ Happiness maintained). This isn’t a bad thing necessarily (I have one Character I created just to play around and learn the Build Mechanics with and have fun just building and decorating..). I only mention this because I would like to Suggest to create a separate Character to do this with, or remember that when the game ‘gets kind of boring’, to create a Character where you ‘don’t cheat at all’, to create suspense/tension within the game. No matter how you prefer to play though, I hope you enjoy Fallout 4 as much as I have – and still do… Have fun!]

        I have some Batch Files for Fallout 4 below, which will allow you to ‘type in to the Console what you want’ [Materials to build with, or Food (so you won’t have to worry about Farming or feeding your Settlers)] and you will instantly have a ton of those items on your character.
        With the Items in them listed in Alphabetical Order, I have one file that is for getting Materials (Scrap/Junk to Build with), one file that is for getting Food (to Eat/Cook with) and one that is for getting huge amounts of both in one shot…

        To use these Batch Files in Fallout 4, simply download the Text file(s) and place them into the Fallout 4 game directory/folder, where the game data/files are.
        [Don’t worry, they are just Text Files, but I give directions on how to make your own further down, if you ‘don’t like to download things unknown very much’.]


        To quickly find the Fallout 4 game files location [in Steam, on PC]:

        Go to the Library section in Steam and Right-Click on the “Fallout 4” listing, choosing ‘Properties’.

        In the Properties window that comes up, click on the ‘Local Files’ tab.

        It shows you what Drive the game is on; but to quickly get to the game files themselves, click on the ‘Browse Local Files’ button, which will open a new File Explorer window (Windows).

        This location is where you want to Save the Text Files to (the ‘Batch Files for Fallout 4’), usually it will have a Path like “SteamLibrarysteamappscommonFallout 4” on whatever Drive/Partition you installed the game to.

        In that folder, Download/Save (or ‘Paste’, if you ‘Copied’ the files from another location) the .TXT files, to be able to call them up from the Command Console in-game. 

        Example of how the ‘Batch Files’ (Text Files) look, after being placed in the Fallout 4 Game Folder
        (Click to see Full Size)
        Here are the steps to use the .TXT-format ‘Batch Files’ once they are in the game directory (shown for the file for getting Food, the file for getting Building Materials, and then the file for getting Huge Amounts Of Everything To ‘Just Build’ if you want...):

        1A. To use the file that gives you 1000 of all types of Food (so you don’t have to worry about Farming or Feeding your Settlers for a long time); type in

         bat allbasefood

         in the Command Console and hit Enter. That’s it!  

        1B. You can now close the Console and you’ll find you have 1000 of every type of Food in the game, on your person.

        1C. Go to a Workshop to Store the Food there (otherwise you will be ‘overburdened’ with all of that Food in your pockets) – you will find the Food items under the AID section in your Pip-Boy, as shown below:

        2A. To use the file that gives you 1000 of all types of Materials to build with (all of the Crafting Components, so you don’t have to worry about going out and looking for and collecting Junk items to Scrap for a long time and can ‘Just Build’, if you want to play that way for a while); type in

        bat allbasematerials

         in the Command Console and hit Enter. That’s it! 

        2B. You can now close the Console and you’ll find you have 1000 of every type of Building and Crafting Material in the game, on your person.

        2C. Go to a Workshop to Store the Materials in the Workshop Inventory (otherwise you will be ‘overburdened’ with all of those Crafting Components in your pockets) – you can just hit the STORE ALL JUNK button, to do it in one step.

        For the last one, which gives 9001 of every single type of Food AND Crafting Component in the game [maybe I should have named it “IJUSTWANTTOBUILD.txt”], use the steps below:

        3A. To use the file that gives you 9001 Of All Types Of Everything To ‘Just Build’ With (all of the Crafting Components in the game, so you don’t have to worry about going out and looking for and collecting Food OR Junk items to Scrap, for a long time and can ‘Just Build’); type in

         bat allyourbase9k

        in the Command Console and hit Enter. That’s it! 

        3B. You can now close the Console and you’ll find you have 9001 of every type of Building and Crafting Material in the game, on your person.

        3C. Go to a Workshop to Store the Junk Items (Materials) and the Food (from the AID section in the Pip-Boy), in the Workshop Inventory (otherwise you will be ‘overburdened’ with all of those Every Frelling Thing In The Game For Settlement Building in your pockets).  

        Here is where to Download the Text Files to place into the Fallout 4 directory/folder (the ‘Batch Files’ to use), from the GoogleDrive for The Blog:

        allbasefood.txt file
        allbasematerials.txt file
        allyourbase9k.txt file

        If you don’t like to normally Download things ‘from unknown places/people’ [aren’t we just ‘Friends That Haven’t Met Yet, though, my dear reader?], here is what the Google Drive link looks like when you click on it:

        Still, feel free to Scan the files with your installed Anti-Virus Program(s), or online through something like Virustotal.com (this is actually a good idea to do with anything Downloaded..).

        If you you rather create your own Text Files, to place into your Fallout 4 directory/folder, to run as ‘Batch Files’, to give yourself an amount of these items, instead of fully Downloading the Text Files offered above – then here are the steps to create your own files:

        Is There A Way To Build More, Past The Limit?

        Sadly, there is a limit to how much you can Build in a Settlement – indicated by the SIZE bar in the Upper-Right corner of the screen in Workshop Mode. While this limitation is there to stop us from building so much that it makes the game go down to 1fps in that area, the SIZE limit is pretty conservative [in my opinion] and I found out that there is an easy way to ‘Build More’ – getting past that Build Size Limitation….

        When you see the message, “Nothing More Can Be Built.”, you can just press your lips together and blow, making that weird trumpet sound, after reading the steps below. No Limitations for you! Just follow these steps and you can continue to Build in that Settlement:

        (Note that this is not a Cheat, it does not affect Achievements and it is doable on Console as well as PC)

        • Get some Weapons together on your Character (specifically Guns, as this specific technique does not appear to work with Melee or Thrown in my testing). Apparel and Junk does not work for this either.
        • Bring up the Pip-Boy and Drop the Guns on the ground
        • Close the Pip-Boy and enter Workshop Mode (by Activating the Workshop Bench or holding ‘V’ (on PC) to open Workshop Mode)
        • Look down at the Guns on the ground and STORE them in the Workshop Inventory (careful not to SCRAP them, that is not what we are doing here at the moment!)
        • You should now see your SIZE bar going in reverse and it will even change from Red to Yellow to Green. BOOM. More Room To Bloom. 

        That’s it! You can now build more in that Settlement. Enjoy! If you want to retrieve your Weapons, you can just go into the Workshop Inventory (“Transfer”) and get them back – which means you can repeat these steps over and over, as needed! (Don’t forget to Share your Screenshots on Steam or elsewhere – other people want to see what you can do – and it gives them new ideas, too)

        Although it is possible to get past the Build Limit by simply dropping ‘any item’ and Scrapping it [I recently learned this on the Steam Forum for Fallout 4], this is still not what I was trying to do, with the Steps above. My intention was to STORE the Guns, so that they can still be utilized later – selling them for Bottlecaps, or ‘Breaking Them Down’ and taking their Modifications off to use on other Weapons, or just using them as Weapons in the game on the Character (or given to Settlers to help them fight off Raids/Attackers) –  that is why the Steps above utilize my method. Storing the Guns allows you to continue to use them (as opposed to Scrapping them into Components to Build/Craft with).



        [……I am going to add to this post, as I remember things that I already have forgotten and can’t seem to bring back up at the moment to throw in here; but I still hope someone finds these concepts and Tips helpful, for either starting out in the game or improving your Settlements (there are more advanced concepts to come….. Have fun with Fallout 4!]

        Carbohydrates, good or bad for dieting

        Another distinction that some nutritional counselors make is between refined and unrefined carbohydrates. In dieting index weight loss, we prefer to classify carbohydrates as low-, medium-, or high-dieting. However, because you’re bound to hear carbohydrates defined as refined and unrefined, this section discusses how the terminology relates to the dieting index.

        Refined carbohydrates are more highly processed than unrefined carbohydrates. Processing includes such activities as cooking, milling, and separating the whole food into parts. Examples of refined carbohydrates are white bread, white rice, most packaged breakfast cereals, donuts, cakes, cookies, bagels, fruit and vegetable juices, fruit drinks, soda, and candy. The list goes on. Refined carbs are usually high-dieting, but some can be low, as in vegetable juice and some fruit juices.

        Diet Start

        Unrefined carbohydrates are those kept in their natural state. In general, the unrefined carbohydrates tend to contain more fiber. Examples of unrefined carbohydrates are whole vegetables and fruit, whole grains, dried peas and beans, and nuts and seeds. Some foods are processed more than others. For example, fruit juice is not processed as much as fruit drinks. Usually unrefined carbs are low-dieting, but not always, so be sure to check the dieting index listings before you eat them.

        Pastas

        Even though regular pasta is a highly refined, processed carbohydrate, its dieting value can be low, medium, or high, depending on how you cook it. If you cook spaghetti for only 5 to 6 minutes, its low-dieting. Other types of pasta may need slightly more or less cooking time. If you open a can of prepared spaghetti in sauce, those noodles will have a higher dieting index because they’re mushy.

        Cook pasta just until it softens and you’ll be eating a healthier meal. The longer pasta is cooked the more available the starch in the pasta is for quick digestion—exactly what you don’t want.

        The Good and the Bad

        Carbohydrates aren’t good or bad; the difference is in how you eat them and how much of them you eat. This is one of the reasons why dieting index weight loss works so well. You don’t need to give up your favorite treat food, whether it’s white bread, bagels, or candy bars. But you do need to eat them in such a way that you don’t cause a quick rise in your blood sugar levels, and you do need to watch portion sizes.

        The dieting index gives you a way of managing your blood sugar and insulin levels, thus assuring that you aren’t storing fat and also that you continue to lose weight.

        One way to do this is to manage your dieting load by meal and by day. You’ll be balancing the low-dieting foods with some high and some medium, and overall, you can keep your insulin levels low.

        Now’s the time to give up the notion of bad and good carbs and of fattening and nonfattening carbs. Instead, accept all carbs as okay, based on how you eat them.

        Franchisee Profile: Bill and Bob Aicklen

        Franchisee Profile: Bill and Bob Aicklen

        Bill Aicklen and his brother Bob, who is currently based in Texas, will be opening their fifth Workout Anytime gym in May. The brothers opened their first gym in Decatur in November 2009; bought the company’s flagship store in Dunwoody in 2012; purchased the brand’s first franchise location in Douglasville in 2013, and built their fourth store in Rome in June 2013. 

        Bill, 63, received a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Old Dominion University in Virginia, and landed his first job in the banking industry working in the operations and financial systems department. From there, Bill moved on to spend the next 30 years of his career in the computer software business, performing various roles including post-sales, training and support. 

        In 2006, Bill decided that he wanted to get out of corporate America and Bob, who was interested in investing in businesses, invited Bill to manage the operations. 

        The first business that the brothers partnered in was an express oil change franchise. They built and operated two stores in Woodstock before selling in 2012 to focus their time and effort on Workout Anytime. 
        How did you learn about Workout Anytime? 
        We were looking for other business opportunities, and Bob came across Workout Anytime on the Internet. A business broker also presented the concept to us. 
        Why did you choose an opportunity with Workout Anytime? 
        From a franchise standpoint, it’s an easy business to get into; it’s simple. There’s not a lot of moving parts and you can staff the gym with just one or two people. Also, we both have strong customer service backgrounds and understand the importance of hiring the right people and providing excellent service. 
        How has business been since joining the brand? 
        We have between 1000-1700 active members at each location. Since we took over the Douglasville store and invested money into upgrading the equipment, we have turned it around. Our club in Rome is based in a small city with very little competition in terms of big name brands, and we have been very successful there. I expect Suwannee to also do well because it’s in a highly concentrated residential area. 
        Are you involved in any charities or community outreach?
        We localize our charity work depending on the club, and we usually donate free memberships for silent 
        auctions. We also partner with Red Cross by allowing them to park their blood drive buses in our parking lots every quarter – the next drive will be in Douglasville at 3pm on May 12. We have also previously put buckets in our gyms for people to donate pet supplies for the Humane Society.

        Workout Anytime Featured in Franchise Times

        Workout Anytime was recently featured in the Franchise Timesin an article titled, “Nest Eggs: Done right, a rollover of retirement funds can be smart option”.

        The article is a trend piece on franchisees using their 401(k) to purchase their business. John Heifner, Workout Anytime franchisee, gives great insight into how he went about purchasing his Workout Anytime with the use of his 401(k). He went on to say “Starting our third year, I can start thinking about funding a retirement again instead of keeping my money more fluid for cash flow.”

        Click HERE for the full article or begin reading below:

        Nest Eggs

        Done right, a rollover of retirement funds can be smart option

        By: Jeffrey McKinney
        More franchisees are using their 401(k) retirement funds to finance the purchase of a franchise. Who should consider the move? Experts explain the do’s and don’ts, including warnings about strict IRS rules.

        Jeremy Turner’s decision to pretty much tap out his retirement funds to buy a Lawn Doctor franchise was very clear: He calls it the best option he had after banks would not lend him the money.
        Turner withdrew $70,000 from his 401(k) plan and another $30,000 he and his wife had in savings to start the lawn care business in St. Louis in 2010. Turner says he discovered companies charge around $5,000 to help complete the financing process. “I would not suggest that someone try to do this on their own because of tax and other risks involved,” he says.

        Teenager’s Room Artist Theme

        Teenager’s Room Artist Theme

        Teenager’s Room Artist Theme

        Cellulite Breakdown and Essential Detoxification part 2

        Beware the Heavy Metals

        Whether or not you go for music of the same name, heavy metals in your body are something you want to get rid of. These elements, the concentration of which has increased dramatically in our air, foods and water since the Industrial Revolution, can seriously interfere with your body’s metabolic functioning and thus challenge its wellbeing. Mercury tends to suppress the levels of white blood cells involved in the immune response. Cadmium displaces the essential element zinc needed for a great many of your body’s enzyme systems and renders them inefficient and even inactive (including those that build new collagen and elastin for skin and connective tissues). In the West we now have a concentration of lead in our bodies some 500 to 1,000 times that of our pre-technological ancestors. High levels of this heavy metal age us prematurely, interfere with our mental processes, suppress immunity and contribute to depression. Aluminium, another heavy metal, detrimentally affects the central nervous system. It has recently been associated with the development of pre-senile dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

        Diet Start

        The presence of all of these elements in excessive quantities (and their concentrations in the human body appear to be increasing with each passing decade) generally interferes with the metabolic processes on which good body ecology and therefore the absence of cellulite depends. It is important to do everything you can to eliminate them from your body. (The alginates, forms of fibre found in seaweeds, also chelate heavy metals and adding sea plants to your diet on an ongoing basis is a good idea, after your applefast is finished.) You also need to be aware of ways you can protect yourself from allowing heavy metals to build up in the first place. Here are a few suggestions:

        • Steer clear of tobacco smoke and exhaust fumes
        • Don’t buy fruit or vegetables from shops in the street where they have been exposed to leaded exhaust fumes
        • Don’t cook in aluminium pans
        • Eat plenty of fibre and nutrient-rich vegetables and fruits.

        More Than An Apple A Day

        Now let’s get down to the programme. An applefast can be done by any healthy person provided of course your doctor agrees. It was taught to me twenty years ago by Dr Gordon Latto, a British medical doctor who uses nothing but food and breathing and a few herbs to heal even the most complex and chronic conditions. He is almost 80 and one of the most remarkably healthy and vital men I have ever met. The applefast lasts for two or three days (never more, except under doctor’s supervision). You eat only raw apples — as many varieties as you want — for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as in between. Eat all you want, but chew well and always crunch up the seeds too. They contain valuable nutrients that help the process.

        During the applefast you need to give up all tea and coffee although you may have as much mineral water or herb tea made with mineral water as you please, sweetened with a little honey if you prefer. The best herb tea of all for The Breakdown is solidago or golden rod which you can get from a good herbalist. Like nettle, it has natural diuretic properties to help shift some of the stored water in your tissues but, unlike nettle, it actually tastes pleasant.

        Don’t be surprised if you suffer the odd headache during this dynamic two or three days clear out. (Especially if you have been a dyed-in-the-wool coffee or tea drinker.) This is a sign that the whole process is happening rapidly. If you do, then take a 20-minute epsom salts bath and lie down in a darkened room to rest for 15 minutes afterwards. (More about this in a moment.)

        External work on your body is important too to trigger the detoxification process. Start now to incorporate skin brushing into your daily routine. After the applefast is over continue doing it but begin to use other techniques as well to enhance lymphatic drainage, to help break up hardened connective tissue, and to keep the detoxification process going while you are rebuilding new, strong connective tissue and ground substance.

        10 Must-Have Tools for the Busy Teacher

        This year was uniquely challenging for me. I had my biggest class ever (28 students) , and I was co-teaching all day with teachers and paras from the special ed department–also a first. Meanwhile, I started working on my PhD, and my toddler constantly kept me busy. My plate has never been so full!

        If you’re a teacher who often feels pulled in every direction, then this list is for you. These are my top 10 tools for juggling it all. Hopefully you’ll find some to use as well!

        1. Nozbe

        Nozbe is the ultimate task list manager. You can organize by projects — school, work, home, etc., create recurring tasks, and so much more. I can access it from any device, add attachments, and email stuff to my to-do list. I started out with the free version, and I quickly upgraded to the paid version. At $96/year, the paid version has a hefty price tag, but this app was SO much better than any other task manager I’d tried, and it’s been worth every penny. If you’re someone who has lots of projects going at once, this app is worth exploring.

        2. Evernote

        This is my brain online. All of my coursework and notes are in Evernote, and all of my anecdotal records and student work samples are in here as well. I was able to use the free version for many years, and then once my husband and I decided to go digital with all of our financial documents, etc., I upgraded to the premium version. At $35/year, it’s pretty affordable.

        3. Dropbox

         I don’t think I could function without Dropbox. I switch between so many devices between work, home, and school each day, but Dropbox allows me to keep track of everything. All of my lesson plans, TpT purchases, readings for class, and more are in my Dropbox account. I’m still living off of the free space, but I’m getting the daily reminders that my Dropbox is nearly full. Might need to upgrade that soon, too. Premium accounts offer 100 GB of storage for $99/year.

        4. GoodReader


         I’ve used this app a lot with my students, but I’m finding it to be totally clutch for my grad school stuff, too. I’m doing tons of research for my courses and scoping out dissertation ideas, and GoodReader allows me to annotate all of the PDF’s I’m amassing. I’ve created a folder on Dropbox for all of the articles I’ve gathered, and I can sync that folder to GoodReader so I can read it all on my iPad. I can also send it back to Evernote when I finish. One of my dear friends told me that I’d have laundry baskets full of research cluttering my house while I worked on my PhD, but not so…It’s all electronic!

        5. GoogleCalendar

        I have a variety of calendars on Google — class schedules, deadlines, school events, etc. Some of these I share with my husband so we can both be aware of each other’s events. Other calendars I share with my students and their parents so they can be aware of upcoming events and tests. I like that all of my calendars are color-coded so I know which calendar I’m looking at, and I can select/de-select different calendars to narrow my focus if I’m looking for something in particular.

        6. YouCanBook.Me

        This free site allows me to share portions of my calendar with parents so they can schedule parent-teacher conferences. I choose the days they can see, set the times they can schedule, and manage the maximum time blocks they can reserve. They don’t get to see any of the events on my calendar, just whether I’m available or not. If they reserve a time slot, it will automatically add it to my calendar and send me an email. It’s eliminated the back-and-forth process of conference scheduling and allowed me to manage my time better.

        7. Planbook.com

        Since I was co-teaching this year, I needed to find a way to share my plans easily from week to week. I tested out Planbook in August, and I loved it. I like that you can extend or bump lessons, attach files, and customize the fields that appear. It’s a great resource that’s keeping me much more organized. You can get a free trial of it before paying the $12 for an annual subscription.

        8. Typinator

        This is a tool that’s new to me, but Typinator is a text expander tool. There are several pieces of text that I find myself typing or copying/pasting over and over. Typinator allows me to create typing shortcuts for all of those. For example, if I want to type my blog address as a hyperlink when I comment on someone’s blog, I can simply type “~bl” and it will place the text there for me. I also use it for standard replies to emails such as when parents email me to say their child will be absent. I can type “~abs” and it will write: “Thanks for letting me know about the absence. I hope your child is feeling better soon! Today’s assignments will be posted on our class website, and let me know if there’s anything else you need.” Four key strokes = all of that. I find typing way faster than using the mouse, so this is a time saver that quickly adds up. It’s only available for Macs, and it’s priced in Euros (converts to around $36 US), but I use it all the time.

        9. GoodReads


        Distinct from GoodReader, GoodReads is an online community surrounding books. It allows me to keep track of the books I’m reading and which books I want to read next. As I’m starting my dissertation research, I’m constantly finding book titles that I want to check out. Similarly, there are lots of teaching books and children’s books that I want to investigate someday, and GoodReads helps me organize all of that. Best of all, I can use its scanning feature to scan barcodes when I’m browsing in the bookstore.

        10. Edmodo

        I used Edmodo a lot for collecting student work and grading tests/quizzes this year. It managed all of the submissions and kept the work organized for me so I could be more efficient with tracking these things. It also allowed me to create assignments, give and grade quizzes, communicate with students and parents, and so much more. This is a great free learning management system that was a centerpiece of my classroom this year.

        With the exception of Typinator, which is only on my computers, all of these apps are cloud-based or mobile-friendly so I can get to them from any device. When I’m shifting between my iPhone, iPad, laptop, and desktop, that’s critical. I may be busy, but I can get to my projects anytime, anywhere, and I’m not hauling around tons of materials everywhere I go. These tools boost efficiency and minimize life clutter.

        What are some tools you’re using this year to help with productivity? I’d love to hear more recommendations in the comments.

        This post contained some affiliate links meaning that if you click on the link and purchase the app, a small part of your subscription cost will go to me instead of entirely to the company. I’m only recommending products that I highly use and pay for myself, however, and I hope you’ll find value in these resources as well. 

        WORKOUT ANYTIME on Cincinnati.com

        WORKOUT ANYTIME on Cincinnati.com

        The article was written by Cincinnati Enquirer Business Reporter Bowdeya Tweh and was based on interviews coordinated with Tony Petrocelli and WORKOUT ANYTIME Vice President of Development Randy Trotter. The article begins with details about the opening of the WORKOUT ANYTIME in Montford Heights. The article gives information about the gym and about the company, as well as information on development plans in Ohio.        
        Workout Anytime

        You can view the full article here, and view contact information about WORKOUT ANYTIME’S new gym in Montford Heights here.

        INCREDIBLE HOME DESIGN WITH NATURAL LIGHT

        This 94 square meter apartment has a privileged location on the corner of the building. Looking for an apartment in well appointed with three bedrooms, one next to the park, with open views to the outside and green space overlooking the street, while the kitchen opens onto the courtyard and peaceful atmosphere. In the middle is a spacious hall and in relation to this, a new bathroom. The general plan with large windows on three sides and bright colors fill the room with light. It is difficult to decide which of these rooms, we love the most.

        INCREDIBLE LIVING ROOM DESIGN WITH NATURAL LIGHT

        INCREDIBLE LIVING ROOM DESIGN WITH NATURAL LIGHT

        INCREDIBLE DESIGN DINING ROOM WITH NATURAL LIGHT

        INCREDIBLE DESIGN DINING ROOM WITH NATURAL LIGHT

        INCREDIBLE DESIGN KITCHEN WITH NATURAL LIGHT

        INCREDIBLE DESIGN KITCHEN WITH NATURAL LIGHT

        INCREDIBLE DESIGN BEDROOM WITH NATURAL LIGHT

        INCREDIBLE DESIGN BEDROOM WITH NATURAL LIGHT

        INCREDIBLE DESIGN SKETCH WITH NATURAL LIGHT

        INCREDIBLE DESIGN SKETCH WITH NATURAL LIGHT

        My trip to Wadduwa

        I just returned home after a 3 day South Asian Regional Workshop on Resource Mobilization. It was a good workshop as it took RM strategies to the next level and looked at operationalizing them. As Strategic Planning / Organization Development consultants we often highlight the strategy for resource mobilization; be it venture capital, angel fund or gearing in the private sector to institutional fund raising and linking with CSR in the development sector.

        What was most interesting was the cases we went through, and going through a logical process which led to ones resource mobilization strategy. The workshop was facilitated by a retired general from the Indian army and he was a good facilitator who kept the attention of a group of 50 people for 3 days. It is important that we as consultants keep up with new trends as well as take time out to reflect on our ability to continually add value to our clients by increasing our body of knowledge.

        We also learned of new ideas and trends in the field of resource mobilization and were very useful given the current global economic situation. Looking forward to taking the learning’s to my clients in the near future.

        I also got a very small project in the financial services industry while I was at the workshop. It is from an old client who has the habit of not giving me too much lead time for projects: there goes my week end. So I am going straight to facilitating a strategy workshop in the financial industry over the weekend.

        In Defense of Classroom Technology

        Usually when I talk to people about the fact that I teach in a 1:1 iPad classroom, they think that’s awesome. But now and again, I’ll run into someone who thinks handing a kid an iPad in school is an atrocity, and I feel like I have to defend the work that I’m passionate about. This happened to me recently at a social event when my attempts at small talk quickly turned into a debate about what we’re “doing to kids today.” The naysayers certainly exist, and this particular encounter made me pause to think about why I feel so strongly about this topic.

        Here are some of the reasons I feel it’s in the best interests of both students and teachers to maximize the use of classroom technology.

        My students explore constellations on their iPads.

        1. It teaches real-world problem solving skills.
        Being good at technology is largely a result of being willing to experiment and fail. I wasn’t born knowing everything there is to know about iPads or Evernote or Edmodo — I’ve learned by trying different things and seeing what worked and what didn’t. When I can’t figure it out on my own, I talk to others or look for the information I need online. Now I get to see these skills in my students. Whenever they need to troubleshoot something, they work together to find a solution. They don’t give up or think it’s impossible. In this high-tech world, these skills are going to be incredibly valuable.

        2. It facilitates better communication between home and school.
        If parents want to know what we’re doing in class each day, they can find all of our homework and activities on our class website. If they want to monitor grades or see what assignments are missing, they can look on Edmodo. If they want to know what their child’s behavior was like at school today, they can look on ClassDojo and get a report. If they want to know what their child sounded like reading a 4th grade leveled text at the beginning of the year compared to now at the end of the year, I can pull up the child’s audio recordings on Evernote. Technology makes it easier for parents to know what’s happening in school, and I’m happy about that.

        3. It makes students better writers.
        Without question, writing skills are incredibly important. When I think back on all of the essays I had to write in high school and college or the cover letters I wrote to get opportunities I have today, I know that my ability to write mattered. Technology makes students better writers for a variety of reasons:

        • It makes them more open to revising and publishing their work when they don’t have to handwrite the whole paper over again.
        • It teaches them typing skills that will make them more efficient at writing and therefore able to write more. 
        • It gives me more opportunities to give them feedback about their writing because I can easily collect samples at various points. I can have them turn in a copy of a draft wherever they’re at without interrupting their work because I don’t have to collect a notebook. 
        4. It keeps kids engaged.
        I used to have students write book reports. Now I have them write book blogs on KidBlog and make book trailers using iMovie. It’s basically the same assignment, but now students are motivated and engaged to complete it. They have an audience of their peers that makes their work more authentic, and it’s something that can’t be easily replicated without technology. The effort and outcomes my students experience because of technology is something that should be encouraged.

        5. It benefits all types of learners.
        I think a lot of the criticisms of technology assume that students are being passive consumers of it — watching videos or playing video games all of the time. Without question, technology could be used as a high-tech babysitter, but that’s not how it’s being used in my classroom at all. When my students use their iPads, they are active and interactive, and they’re expressing their creativity in so many ways now. They’re making movies, writing stories and articles, becoming budding photographers, and interacting with the world and each other in new and exciting ways.  They’re still collaborating and developing the interactive social skills necessary to be productive citizens of society.

        6. It keeps everyone more organized.
        I can’t begin to describe how many minutes I’ve lost over the last 6 years because students couldn’t find a paper or a notebook. Then once it was turned in, I’d have to shuffle through piles of nearly 30 to find what I was looking for. Add to that the fact that students work at different rates and finish tasks at different times, and you have the potential for an organizational nightmare.

        I’m a pretty organized person, but without any hesitation I can say that technology has made my students and me substantially more organized. Everything we need can be found on an iPad or a computer. There isn’t instructional time lost finding materials or planning time lost figuring out where I filed that lesson idea or who is missing work. It’s all in one spot.

        7. It allows me to give better feedback.
        My students recently took a multiple choice test on Edmodo. I’d entered the correct answers before giving the test, so when I went to look at the results, it was already graded for me. Rather than spending time rifling through a pile of papers to mark answers right or wrong, I was able to type specific feedback to the students. For example, when several students missed question #6, I typed 2 sentences explaining the problem with the answer choice they selected and why the other choice was better. With the help of copy and paste, I was able to give that feedback to all applicable students in less than 5 minutes. How often do you think I could accomplish that in a world where I had to handwrite the comment 15+ times? It wouldn’t happen. I wish it could, but it’s not feasible.

        8. It gives me more information so I can help students.
        I routinely ask my students to solve math problems and explain their thinking. Sometimes they have to explain it in words and sentences, but other times I let them use their iPads to make short (30-60 second) videos narrating their solutions and the steps they took. Similarly, when I do reading assessments with students, I can use my iPad to record the student’s voice as the student reads. This creates an artifact that I can listen to, share with parents or RTI committees, and analyze in a way that wouldn’t be possible absent technology. It’s some of the best evidence of a student’s ability, and it helps me identify strengths and weaknesses so I can give students the support they need.

        9. It makes me more efficient.
        Anyone who’s a teacher can attest that this job sometimes borders on impossible. Teachers take on so many roles and have so many responsibilities that the stress can be overwhelming. I think that’s a major factor in why so many great teachers leave this profession within the first few years and why many capable individuals are deterred from entering the field. In my experience, technology has made this all more bearable. I don’t have to waste time shuffling through paper or hunting for files anymore. I don’t have to haul carts — literally carts — of student work and planning materials home anymore. I can find exactly what I need wherever I’m at because everything is electronic. It’s made me much more productive and efficient, and everyone benefits as a result.

        10. It’s appropriate for the world we live in.
        I know a lot of people lament the fact that we’ve moved into an age of technology. I’m not one of them, but even if I were, I recognize that there’s no going back now. I’d rather introduce students to technology in safe, structured ways where I can guide them through the perils and pitfalls than leave them to struggle on their own. I also like that I can show them how to make technology work effectively for them. I’m facilitating students to be productive, creative, and responsible users of technology, and I’m not confident they’d all get there on their own.

        It’s not technology that’s an issue — it’s how the technology is being used. I’m certain that the ways my fourth graders use their iPads will make them better informed, more capable citizens down the road. Is it the only way to teach them? Absolutely not, but the advantages of using technology in the classroom far outweigh any disadvantages the devices bring.

        What are the arguments for or against using technology in the classroom that you’ve heard? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

        Proven Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

        As we head into the holidays most Americans will gain between 8 and 12lbs between Halloween and New Year’s Day.  However, there are ways to avoid this weight gain!
        Here are some key tips:
        Eat before you drink and celebrate and before holiday parties.     Going into a holiday party on empty and hungry is a sure-fire way to overeat.    Alcohol intake boosts appetite to begin with and if you start out without anything in the tank it just gets worse!    This does not mean overeating – eat a sensible meal about 2 hours before you go to the party.
        Try to choose higher protein foods first because protein helps with satiety (feeling satisfied and not hungry).
        Fill up on Fiber Rich Foods – which also help with satiety and help create a feeling of fullness when consumed with water.  Focus on the raw veggies and yes you can dip them in some dip that has some fat because together fiber and fat can really assist in managing hunger along with protein.
        Eat some fat – that’s right eat some fat!   Fats also are key for satiety.   That being said a little goes a long way!
        Bring your own food to a party.   Rather than having only high calorie, high sugar and high fat foods bring something you enjoy that is also healthy along with you!
        Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly – seems simple and it is.    It is also VERY effective for limiting food intake!
        Use smaller plates, bowls and glasses – all of which help to slow down food and beverage intake and make you more conscious of how much you are consuming!
        Try to Minimize Sugar and Starch Intake – both sugar and starch wind up as glucose (blood sugar) and high intake drives insulin which results in rebound hunger.      High sugar and starch intake increases hunger – particularly when drinking alcohol because alcohol acts like a super sugar and also drives insulin response.
        Pause before getting seconds – as with slower eating and deliberately chewing food this can give your body time to realize it is no longer really hungry.
        If you are doing the entertaining have extra containers you are ready to give away so guests can leave with some of the extra food!

        Try not to eat in front of the T.V. which distracts you from how you feel and results in mindless eating!
        Consider planning a cheat meal but have a plan for how much you are going to eat!   One meal can knock you off course but most of the holiday weight gain comes from completely giving up on healthy eating for many meals.   Planning one cheat meal every week and planning on eating a set amount of the foods you may be craving can work for many people rather than mindlessly eating.      If you plan your meal including your portions of alcohol, sweets, fat and sugar you can limit the damage and still have a great time!
        Drink Water.   Often quoted and still true – water is the best beverage and avoiding sugar laden drinks in favor of still or sparkling water can make a big difference in minimizing holiday weight gain.
        Workout!   Working out improves mental outlook and burns some calories while reducing stress levels!    When we are stressed we overeat!   Just 10 minutes a day can make a big difference!

        Get Your Sleep.   Lack of sleep is terrible for your health and particularly bad for driving appetite and overeating.   Lack of sleep causes hunger and excessive eating because the normal feedback mechanisms that tell you that you are full do not work properly when you are tired.   Basically, a tired brain tells you to eat to feel better and it is VERY hard to resist these urges when tired!

        Quick Tip: Fallout 4 – TAB Key Stopped Working And Not Bringing Up The Pip-Boy? Here’s A Possible Fix [Text-Only]

        I have been having a ton of fun playing Fallout 4 lately [again, building up my Settlements too much and ignoring the Main Storyline!] and ran into a ‘small-but-game-stopping‘ issue where the TAB key appeared to stop working. “Hitting TAB wasn’t bringing up the Pip-Boy anymore..??”

        After doing some Troubleshooting and paying attention to what I was doing and pressing… it turned out to be a very simple issue – the TAB key was ‘locked’ out because of how I had used it in the Console.. Let me explain briefly:

        I was playing around with SweetFX in ReShade off and on again, mainly to take Screenshots as I had lost a ton during a recent Hard Drive failure [as in thousands.. I know… but I don’t usually back up screenshots or recordings].
        To open the Settings/Configuration for ReShade, the hotkey combination is SHIFT+F2.

        Unfortunately, something in this combination of Fallout/ReShade/Windows ‘locks out’ the Shift Key after doing this with the Console open in FO4, and when hitting Tilde again to close the Console, this leaves TAB ‘disabled’ and it no longer brings up the Pip-Boy.

        [This can also happen with the ENB series of utilities, which use SHIFT+ENTER to open and close the interface]

        The Fix for this was simple, once I figured it out: hit Tilde again to open up the Command Console, then hit SHIFT once, then hit Tilde again to close the Command Console. That’s all there is to it!

        Now the TAB key worked and I could bring up the all-important-and-totally-cool Pip-Boy once again! This is just a Quick Tip in Text-Mode only then; but I wanted to get it typed up and posted so that it could start to help out others that have run into this little problem [that seems to occur especially if running ReShade or ENB, in Fallout 4]. HTH

        And More: Share and Tell – Imitating The GTAV Title Logo Style [Commentary]

        I recently created a logo for The Blog, done in the style of the GTAV game logo (Grand Theft Auto Five Title Logo, seen Left). I had a lot of fun figuring out how to imitate the look of it and wanted to share a bit of how I did it, in case others want to give it a try too, or just to enjoy the ‘Behind The Scenes’ story of things… Originally I was creating this to be used on Headers for posts here at The Blog (since I was playing GTAV lately), but I also put it on a Wallpaper posted at The Blog’s Flickr page – but then decided that from now on, I will not put ‘my logo’ on Wallpapers that I want to share with everyone, I will just use whatever game logo the game is at the time, reserving ‘my logos’ mainly for use here [I was feeling bad for ‘forcing them onto others’ if I were to put them on Wallpaper for sharing with everyone…]

        Just below this paragraph then, is The Blog logo, re-done in the style of the game logo from the game GTAV (Grand Theft Auto Five)… Created entirely in Corel’s Paint Shop Pro, I first had to find a font for the lettering. I found a few of them (Pricedown is one, GTArussian is another, the name of the last one escapes me at the moment). I typed out each word separately, so that I could place them really close together (like the GTAV logo has for its’ words), overlapping some of the ‘tails’ of the text (which was fine, for me). The “B” behind the ribbon was something else… Baskerville, that’s it.

        My version of The Blog logo, done in the style of the GTAV game title logo
        (Click to see Full Size)

        The ribbon was its’ own element, blanked out (white with no text), placed on top of the “B”, which itself was made in layers of outlines and a Gradient, using the original game title logo (“GTAV”) as the source for the green shades (clicking with ‘the dropper’ on the far sides of the green area in the “V” in the GTAV logo). The spiral design was found online by an anonymous maker [let me know if it is you, I’ll give you Credit!], which I had to colourize and then placed in a way that was similar to the GTAV logo, on a layer below the text “B” vectors, so that it ‘shows through’ within the “B” area.

        The text on the ribbon was made with a font that escapes me at the moment, but the colouring for it was hard to figure out, as it looks like it is directional (as though a light were casting highlights from one direction). I figured out to use the Bevel effect in the Layer Styles of Paint Shop Pro, to emulate a light source coming from the bottom-left, for the text ‘The Blog’. It turned out great for imitating the lighting on the text ‘Five’ in the GTAV game title logo ribbon! The hardest part was getting it to ‘curve’. I don’t know how to create a line and make the Text follow the line yet, so I simply used the Mesh Warp function, to ‘move it around’ manually and get it to seem at least a bit like it is curved.

        A few layers of black and grey for ‘outlining’ the text and entire composition (made by ‘expanding’ the selected text and then Filling with Black or Grey, moving the white text in front of it each time) and it was complete…

        I’ll mainly be using it in Headers and Screenshots in posts almost exclusively here, at The Blog. I just thought that some might like to hear a bit of ‘Behind The Scenes’ or ‘Commentary’ about it – hey, there are a lot of people that (like me) watch Commentaries! Haha

        I hope you enjoyed my little Share and Tell – and if you play GTA Online – See You In The Game!

        Original GTAV game logo design by Rockstar, Take-Two Interactive

        [Personal Note/Declaration: I am not associated with, nor do I receive anything in any manner or form, for mentioning Corel or Paint Shop Pro. I am merely an enthusiastic user of the program (I have played with it off and on since it was owned by JASC). For fairness and completivity, I shall mention another great graphic editing program, The Gimp (now just called GIMP?) – which is Open Source and entirely Free – all of the steps above can also be performed with this free program]

        EUROPEAN STYLED DESIGN IDEAS BATHROOM

        EUROPEAN STYLED DESIGN IDEAS BATHROOM

        If you are looking for the best images of the sample of European-style bathroom designs, and applications of a modern sauna and gym. Here are sample images of European inspired bathroom design ideas for the home. European influence in a bathroom attached to the right furniture, cabinets bath faucets, vanities, and tile e. As well as their luxurious and spacious sauna Finish Head (European company based in Germany) in a corner, the rest of the spacious bathroom, as the essay should be dedicated to wellness and keep beautiful. Room with a bright red Finnish sauna focuses on physical fitness, also welcomed the formation of large area white cushions and fitness equipment attached to the wall. It makes sense that this is quite large, walk-in glass shower. If you have more time, is set beside a white bath has a sauna, in front of two large floor to ceiling windows.

        The second room is here in a Finnish sauna takes gentler approach – offering a job to escape from their mental well-being of the outside world. solarium luxury, you can pull out in front of a soothing fire. Wide bubble bath, shower and steam bath in a wooden soaking dip to give you a variety of bathing options. You can easily live in the house of a modern European hits with a private bathroom attached.

        EUROPEAN STYLED DESIGN IDEAS BATHROOM
        EUROPEAN STYLED DESIGN IDEAS BATHROOM
        EUROPEAN STYLED DESIGN IDEAS BATHROOM
        EUROPEAN STYLED DESIGN IDEAS BATHROOM

        Fabulous Fiber!

        Everyone has heard that they need to eat fiber, but few people really know what it is and why it is so important.     Fiber is a form of carbohydrate along with sugars and starches.      Unlike sugars and starch fiber cannot be used for energy because it cannot be broken down into sugar.     Starch and sugars both end us as blood sugar aka glucose.
        Starches are simply multiple units of sugar hooked together, and we have enzymes that break them apart so we can use the sugar for fuel.   Fiber is also multiple units of sugar hooked together, but humans lack the enzymes necessary to break it down into sugars so it is not absorbed.    This is very important when thinking about carbohydrate containing foods because they are NOT all the same.
        For example, a glass of fruit juice is essentially a glass of sugar water with some beneficial plant chemicals and in many cases a nice dose of vitamin C.    It can dramatically boost blood sugar, and if you consume too much it can definitely drive weight gain.     While a large serving of brocolli is mostly fiber with little sugar and starch and is also chock full of beneficial plant chemicals, but with almost no effect on blood sugar!
        There are two main types of fiber – soluble and insoluble.    Ideally you want to eat both.   There is also a third type of fiber called “Digestive Resistant Starch” (see https://workoutanytime.blogspot.com/2017/10/digestion-resistant-starch-all-starch.html)
        Soluble fiber, found in foods such as cucumbers, blueberries, and beans, has a gel-like consistency and slows down your digestion.     This helps with satiety (feeling satisfied).    It also slows the break down and absorption of cholesterol and other nutrients like starches and sugar which can help lower cholesterol and control blood sugar.    Some foods with soluble fiber also help feed the good bacteria in your digestive tract.
        Insoluble fiberis found in foods like green, leafy veggies, green beans, and celery.    It does not dissolve to a gel and stays intact as it moves through your colon.   By adding bulk, it helps food move more quickly through your digestive tract reducing transit time.  Insoluble Fiber is sometimes referred to as “roughage”, and it along with soluble fiber can help with constipation.
        Benefits of High Fiber Intake
        Fiber intake is very important for keeping blood sugar levels under control, and studies have shown that people who take in at least 26 grams of fiber per day had a much lower risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
        There is also an inverse relationship between fiber intake and heart attack, with research showing that people eating a high fiber diet have a 40 percent lower risk of heart disease.    High fiber diets may also help lower blood pressure.
        Another interesting research finding about fiber is that for every 7 grams of fiber you consume each day your stroke risk is decreased 7 percent.      To put this into perspective this equates to about 2 servings of fruits and vegetables.
        Fiber, and psyllium in particular, can help move yeasts and fungus out of your digestive system which may help prevent them from triggering acne and rashes.
        Fiber can also provide relief from irritable bowel syndrome in many people.
        Fiber intake may also help reduce the risk of gallstones and kidney stones probably through its action in controlling blood sugar.
        Sources of Fiber
        Contrary to popular opinion grains are probably not your best source of fiber.    Unfortunately, non-organic grains are chock full of glyphosate which is pesticide banned in most other countries outside the US because they have no allegiance to Monsanto who produces it.    
        A high grain diet promotes insulin and leptin resistance thereby increasing your risk for Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease and Cancer. 
        Better choices of fiber includes Organic Whole Husk Psyllium.     If you use this supplement it is critical to get organic psyllium as non-organic psyllium is heavily sprayed with chemicals.     Other great sources include chia seeds, berries, root vegetables such as sweet potato, peas and beans, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and celery.
        How much fiber?
        Experts recommend that woman eat a minimum of 25 grams of fiber per day and men consume 38 grams per day.     However higher intakes may be more beneficial.     
        It is important to SLOWLY increase your fiber intake and keep your water intake high to prevent potential issues caused by eating fiber without sufficient fluid.
        Low-Fiber Diet
        There are circumstances where high fiber intake is contraindicated and timing for fiber intake relative to drugs and supplements is important.   People with chronic digestive issues may need to remove fiber for some period of time because fiber feeds the bacteria in your gut.    Although as a general rule this is highly beneficial there are circumstances where high fiber intake can feed the wrong microorganisms such as pathogenic bacteria.

        Fiber can also bind certain medications and minerals dramatically reducing their absorption so many drugs and mineral supplements should not be taken at the same time as fiber.

        My Free Font, Just For You™: LED SCREEN GTAMBLOG CAPS+ 2.0 (with Download Links)

        An awkward name perhaps, for an odd little, simple version of an “LED Screen / Scoreboard Style Capitals Only” font (including Punctuation and Accents!) – but years ago, I contacted the author of a similar-styled font, to ask specifically for Commercial Use of his font, that looked somewhat like this one [I have been using it “Officially” here at The Blog since then – you can see Examples of it all over this site, on the images].

        Today, I found Fontstruct, an easy-to-use, free, online Font creation utility – and thought “why don’t I make my own version this font, not only for ‘The Blog’ to use, but for others to possibly use as well?”.
        And so, here is an ‘LED Screen’ or ‘Dot Matrix’ style font (also usable as a ‘Pixel font’) – with punctuation and a couple of ‘accents’ – but capitals only, as traditional LED Screens or Scoreboards (“Score Screens”) would have used; made by my hand, Just For You™…

        I am distributing it as “LED SCREEN GTAMBLOG CAPS+ 2.0” by ‘Troy from The Game Tips And More Blog’, at various Font sites, such as those below (for Downloading, Updates as I add more and/or am approved by them). [If you prefer, contact me via email and I can also send you the TTF or Zip of the Font, from me, directly]:

        • Fontstruct (where I created the font by hand): 
        • https://fontstruct.com/fontstructions/show/1459839/led-screen-gtamblog-caps-2-0

        • Fontspace: 
        • http://www.fontspace.com/thegametipsandmoreblog/led-screen-gtamblog-caps-20

        Feel free to Comment on those sites, or here (Suggestions, Questions, And More) or contact me via e-mail if you have any questions about the font, at:
        [email protected]

        Usage License: (Creative Commons, Attribution License, 4.0)
        You are free to utilize this font for ANY purpose whatsoever, including Commercial Use and Monetization of any kind, Royalty-Free; the only condition being that you mention my name somewhere, anywhere, during use of this font.
        If you would like to make a Donation, on behalf of using this font, you may do so via PayPal, using my email ([email protected]), but this is not required at all, to use this font for any purpose you desire.

        As some of you may know, I have been playing around with Fonts off and on, creating them for various images/headers/etc here at The Blog over the years, compiling at least 4-5 fonts or so from scratch, with varying levels of completion… I ‘m not sure when I’ll get around to finishing all of them – but for now, I hope this font can perhaps be useful for some quick images, videos, or whatever you may want it for – Enjoy!

        Edit:
         I may return and add some images and examples of the font… Soon™
        Also, although I have made this font by hand at the Fontstruct website, I always suggest that you Scan any files you download (just in case), with an Anti-Virus utility of some sort – whether it is Windows Defender (built-in to Windows 10, after downloading) or via an online scanner/website, such as VirusTotal.com or similar.

        HOUSE OF INCLUSION Koichi Kimura Architects

        House of Inclusion” as-is called the firm FORM / Koichi Kimura Architects, is a home to extraordinary volumes built a new residence in Shiga, Japan …
        “Every piece of this house has been designed so as to bathe in natural light to enhance the simple beauty from within” confides the Japanese architecture firm.We observe different windows and niches of light placed at strategic locations and atypical of this house of 151.71 m2.
        A small patio is flirting with the wall on the outside and the living / dining room of the house.

        HOUSE OF INCLUSION Koichi Kimura Architects
        MODEL HOUSE OF INCLUSION Koichi Kimura Architects
        EXTERIOR HOUSE OF INCLUSION Koichi Kimura Architects
        DESIGN HOUSE OF INCLUSION Koichi Kimura Architects
        INTERIOR HOUSE OF INCLUSION Koichi Kimura Architects

        Superb materials were used for interior decoration, we welcome in particular the sublime and the bedroom floors polished concrete … WE LOVE IT!
        The architects of the firm FORM / Koichi Kimura tell us more about this house. This house, Located in a new residential area, is for a 30-something couple. Surrounded By Other House, The Design Goal Was Set Up to block out the Outside world while Avoiding too much closure, as well as “to Provide Rich and sensuous spaces.
        First, a small patio and a path connected to it Were Laid Out Between The living / dining room and exterior. They Are Surrounded by a wall That blocks off the line of sight from outside. Planting and lays out are ugly At The patio, so thats the picturesque images of green and water are Viewed From The rooms.
        Enclosed by walls create indirect light That softly filling The Entire room, tea house presents scenes sentimental Here and There. The Living Space And The Life Lived There are enveloped by green and light, Creating an affectionate environment.

        WORKOUT ANYTIME on WYFF Greenville

        WORKOUT ANYTIME on WYFF Greenville

        Jennifer Young and Laura Stokes of WORKOUT ANYTIME Easley were recently featured on two segments on WYFF Greenville. The segments focus on easy holiday workout tips, and Jennifer and Laura do a fantastic job talking about the different services and facilities offered at WORKOUT ANYTIME
        View the segments here and here. 

        Speedrun – Hitman: Blood Money – A Vintage Year (Silent Assassin, Pro Difficulty, Suit Only, Targets Only, “No Coins”)

        Messing around trying another Speedrun, this time booting up some good’ol Hitman: Blood Money, “A Vintage Year” level.

        Hitman is a wonderfully crafted, enjoyable game. In my opinion, every single installment in this series has been. People have enjoyed the ‘puzzle-play’ aspects of it, people have enjoyed the gunplay, the stealth. Players have also enjoyed trying to run as-fast-as-they-can through levels that were probably not designed with this intention. Now, Hitman: Blood Money may not win any awards for “realism” in some areas of gameplay, but I personally have something against the concept that an Assassin, wearing a nice suit, most likely a millionaire, is carrying around twenty dollars in pocket change. Heck, I am sometimes annoyed at the jingle in my own pocket of a couple of quarters when I come across them. Thus, my personal aim with this level: to do a Suit-Only, Targets-Only, Silent Assassin, ‘No Coins’ Speedrun (on Professional Difficulty). I am probably not the fastest at this sort of thing, I have only done a couple of intentional Speedruns in the past; but it was still fun to make and I figured it was ‘decently fast’, so I wanted to share. Enjoy!

        Recorded game:  Hitman-Blood Money, First/Third Person Shooter/Stealth/Action
        Recorded with:  Bandicam (Registered Version) @ 1080p
        Recording codec:  MPEG-1 @ 80% Quality (Default Setting), 30fps

        This was actually not as hard as I thought it would be – after finding out that Delgado.Sr is snipe-able up out on his balcony. It was his Son that gave me trouble (as it seems to do with everyone, after a few forum finds on the subject). I started just pushing him down the stairs and also setting up the Barrels to fall on him; but eventually I settled on just a good-old-fashioned-assassin-stand-by: the single bullet to the head. This felt ‘right’, after sniping dear-ol’Dad, anyway. Instead of pushing the Guards at the bottom into the water, I just walked non-chalantly by them, as they didn’t seem to care anyway.
        [On the actual Playthrough, I seem to get some guards’ attention, but I assumed this was for going into the areas I wasn’t supposed to, not for being witnessed killing anyone]

        I also wanted to do things like ‘leave nothing behind’, such as ‘just dropping weapons’ (like the Sniper Rifle) to save time. This sort of stems from the multitude-of-coins thing… Don’t get me wrong by the way, I appreciate the time so many have taken to figure out their own ways to complete Hitman levels by using distractions. I just for some reason [OCD?lol] find it hard to extend my fantasy thinking within the game ‘that far’ – to where a so-called Silent-Assassin-slash-Hitman is always carrying around and actually utilizes enough laundry money to make the homeless cry on every mission. [I didn’t actually mean to rant here, hah] I just think if an assassin wanted to throw anything around to distract guards, it could more realistically at least be a found weapon of some sort, as opposed to a ton of coinage everywhere (pebbles could even make more sense).

        At any rate, whether you use coins (a mechanic that is indeed offered directly within the game) or you don’t, there you have it; not the fastest run [or the most ‘Silent’ lol], but hopefully an enjoyable little watch, nonetheless.

        See you in the games!

        12 Days of Fitness with WORKOUT ANYTIME

        12 Days of Fitness with WORKOUT ANYTIME

        Are you in need of a little inspiration to hit the gym this holiday season? Here’s a great workout routine to give a try this holiday season provided by the experts at WORKOUT ANYTIME. Enjoy! 

        Week 1

        4 days of exercise

        2 days of INTERVAL Walking/Jogging – 20 min of cardio exercise at moderate pace, first 10 min walk or do cardio at a moderate pace. The second 10 min will have five 30 second bursts of high intensity mixed with moderate intensity (on min 10,12,14,16, and 18). This boosts metabolic rate. 
        2 days of body weight or weight training for 12 min per day
        Complete two rounds of the following each consisting of 40 seconds of work followed by 20 seconds of rest:

        Squats
        Push-ups 
        Walking Lunges
        Jumping Jacks
        Burpees
        Ab half roll backs (seated position, roll half way back, come up and exhale)

        Week 2 

        4 days of exercise

        2 days of INTERVAL Walking/Jogging – 20 min of cardio exercise at moderate pace, first 10 min walk or do cardio at a moderate pace. The second 10 min will have five 30 second bursts of high intensity mixed with their moderate intensity (on min 10,12,14,16, and 18). This boosts metabolic rate. 

        2 days of body weight or weight training for 12 min per day
        Complete two rounds of the following each consisting of 40 seconds of work followed by 20 seconds of rest:

        Pop Squats
        Push-ups w/alt knee
        Forward Lunges with bicep curl
        Plank Jacks
        Mountain Climbers
        Ab full roll up (lying position, roll all the way up, and exhale)

        Week 3

        4 days of exercise

        2 days of INTERVAL Walking/Jogging – 20 min of cardio exercise at moderate pace, first 10 min walk or do cardio at a moderate pace. The second 10 min will have five 30 second bursts of high intensity mixed with moderate intensity (on min 10,12,14,16, and 18). This boosts metabolic rate. 

        2 days of body weight or weight training for 12 min per day
        Complete two rounds of the following each consisting of 40 seconds of work followed by 20 seconds of rest:

        Squat swing with overhead tricep press
        Spider-Man Push-ups 
        Reverse Lunge with bicep curl
        High Knees
        Shoulder push-ups
        Navy Seals (Ab exercise)

        Modern Side Table Lamps Design

        If you are an artistic creation lover then you must observation for modern side table lamps. It has a funky look which might make you feel as if you are in around future time or in space. Its abstract and artistic design complements the other paintings and art fashionable your home along with elegance and beauty.

        If you’ve a woody environment at your home base decorated in Indian style, then western table lamp design is the best choice for you. The western table lamp comes in a cowboy sort of look. Either there is a cowboy along with a horse of just a horse attached on it. This gives a very classy look to the woodsy type of a house.
        Country style reminds you of Country music only but you can also find a country style table lamp also. It’s farm animals alike cows, cocks and others designed on it. It is considered to be the most colorful sort of lamp with natural color and scene.

        Oriental lamp shows much about Asian culture in its design. The unique Asian roots can be seen in this type of lamp and would best fit if you have a room filled with Asian souvenirs.
        Choosing the perfect table lamp for every room should be your concern as their being complementing the living furniture makes out the atmosphere. There are various styled table lamps for your side tables like western table lamp, modern, urban, Asian and nation but to pick the better for every room needs examination and time. Here is a little guideline for you:
        Now you have a selection of lamps from which you can choose the best for your place. Take care of the existing decoration of your home when you choose the side table lamps.

        Nutritional Strategies for Allergy and Asthma

        SeasSeason allergies to pollen and mold seem to getting more and more prevalent each year with progressively more severe symptoms in sufferers.    Treating allergies with nutrition and nutrition supplements can have big advantages over using medications.   
        Allergy medication most commonly comes in the form of Antihistamines, and there are some big problems with long-term use of these medications.     It is now known that prolonged use of antihistamines decreases levels of acetylcholine which is a key neurotransmitter involved in memory and other important functions.   In fact, antihistamine use increases the risk of senility, dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
        What are Allergies Anyway?
        Allergies are abnormal immune reactions to specific agents (proteins) known as antigens/allergens, which include many substances such as foods, drugs, pollens, dust mites, animal danders, feathers, along with many others. 
        Allergies may also develop when an otherwise innocent substance has significant contact with an already inflamed surface (known as sensitization).  For example, when sick with a respiratory illness, respiratory surfaces are already inflamed and substances present at this time may be “remembered” as being foreign.  This can also occur with chemical substances known as “haptons” which are combinations of self and non-self which can lead the immune system to attack the self. 
        Since there are multiple pro-inflammatory substances involved with allergies it is rare to obtain adequate control with single products/medications.  The most potent chemical mediators in allergies and asthma are leukotrienes.  Some leukotrines are one thousand times more potent than histamine as stimulators of bronchial constriction and allergy. 
        Interestingly, many medications that reduce one inflammatory pathway actually boost leukotrienes.    For example, Aspirin and other NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs like Ibuprofen) result in the production of excessive levels of leukotrines in sensitive individuals although they decrease prostaglandins associated with inflammation and thereby relive pain.  So long term they can create a much more severe problem.
        Asthma is linked to allergies and can be a severe and life threatening condition.   Do NOT try to self-treat Asthma – see a physician!
        Strategies for Allergies
        Try to avoid allergens by using air filters, regularly cleaning all surfaces and vacuuming and keeping your air-conditioning system on while regularly changing filters to filter out as many allergens as possible.   Remember your car cabin filter as well, and take showers and wash clothes after being outside for long periods of time.
        Change your diet to reduce inflammation.    Dramatically reduce your intake of refined carbohydrate – sugar and starch which drive insulin which drives inflammation.  At the same time increase your intake of low glycemic, organic fruits and vegetables such as berries, broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, etc.   These plant foods contain polyphenols which are potent anti-oxidants and help to reduce inflammation and allergies without side effects.
        Boos
        Increase your intake of Omega 3 Fatty Acidsfrom cold water fish such as Alaskan Wild Salmon and/or take an Omega 3 Supplement such as Krill Oil.    Omega 3 fatty acids will always reduce inflammation if taken in sufficient dosages so this should be a primary strategy for allergy sufferers because they produce many side benefits.   The only exception is people taking any type of medication to thin blood and reduce clotting like Coumadin.   In this case the combination can be dangerous!
        Nutritional Supplements for Allergies
        There are several highly effective nutrition supplements for allergies including some key herbs.
        Local Raw Honey – it MUST be local and must be raw because it will contain small amounts of local pollen and works by getting the body used to pollen much like an allergy shot.     A Tablespoon a day is as much as you need.   Many people swear by this simple and safe remedy!
        Stinging Nettle Extract – this herb has a long history of effective use for allergies and freeze dried preparations seem to work the best and are best taken BEFORE allergy season even begins to put a damper on symptoms before they start – this is true of all nutritional approaches to allergy by the way!
        Euphrasia Officianalis – aka “Eyebright” is an herb which name says it all – it is highly effective for eye allergy symptoms.
        Quercetin – is a flavonoid contained in high amounts in apples, peppers, red wine, dark cherries and berries, tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and sprouts, and raw red onions.   To treat allergies taking supplemental quercetin is the way to go, and the best form of quercetin is contained in a product called “AllQlear” by Integrative Therapeutics and can be purchased on Amazon.     It also contains “ovomucoids” from quail eggs that act as tryptase inhibitor and prevent release of histamine.
        Boswellia Extract – Boswellia aka Frankincense (yes the herb mentioned in the bible!) can be highly effective for allergies and other forms of inflammation including arthritis because it blocks the formation of leukotrienes!    To get the benefits you must take 5-loxin which is a specific extract.   Note that in some individuals 5-loxin can cause or excacerbate heart burn so it is not for everyone, but when it works it can be highly effective!
        Butterbur Extract – this plant extract can be highly effective for inhibiting leukotrienes and allergy symptoms or side effects.   You need to take a standardized extract with standardized levels of Petasin and Isopetasin) and free of Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids aka PA.  High quality brands include Life Extension, Swanson, and Enzymatic Therapy to name a few.   This product can also help many migraine sufferers and is a well-researched, proven treatment.
        NAC – N-Acetyl Cysteine – helps thin mucus naturally and boost levels of the body’s most important antioxidant Glutathione – every allergy sufferer should be taking 600 – 1,200mg per day!
        You will also find combination of these ingredients in particular products, and it is worth experimenting a bit because if you find the right product or combination of natural products you can find relief without sedation and without the side effects associated with antihistamines and more potent drugs like steroid nasal sprays or oral steroids.

        Back to School – Math Edition

        It might be time to think about renaming my blog, because I’m really excited about teaching math this year! It all started when I read the book Number Talks over the summer.

        I’ve always understood the importance of mental math and computation strategies, but I’d never really understood how to teach it. It felt like something kids either had or they didn’t. This year, however, I decided that we’d start doing number talks from day #1, and I’m already blown away by how my students are developing as mathematical thinkers. They’re able to solve complicated addition problems in their heads — no paper allowed — and they’re articulating their strategies well. I’ve been introducing a new strategy every 2-3 days, and it’s been awesome. We’ll be moving on to subtraction strategies in a few days, and I have high expectations for that to.

        To help students with the mental math strategies, I made a set of posters that describe each strategy with an example of how it works. There are 20 posters in all — one for each strategy described in the book.

        The complete set is available in my TpT store, and they’ll be on sale for 28% off this weekend as part of the Teachers Pay Teachers back to school sale if you use the code BTS13.

        As I’ve been working on order of operations and number sense with my fourth graders, I also introduced the four fours problem. The premise of the problem is this:
        Using some arithmetic combination of four 4’s, can you write an equation for each of the numbers from 1-100? Here are the rules:
        • You may use any combination of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and/or division
        • You may combine numbers, e.g., use 2 of the fours to make the number 44
        • You may insert decimal points
        • You may use a four as an exponent
        • You may use square roots
        • You may use factorials, e.g., 4! is equivalent to 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 = 24
        • You may use overbars to make a decimal repeat
        • You may NOT use any digit other than a four
        • You MUST use all four 4’s in each solution

        Before I go on, let me give two caveats. 1) I didn’t expect all of my students to be able to handle all of these rules. Square roots, exponents, and factorials are WAY above my fourth graders heads generally, but I did have a handful that could handle it. And there are plenty of solutions to be found that don’t require those operations. 2) This problem freaked out the parents more than it scared the kids, I think. I had a few panicked parents that I had to talk down while we were working on this, but in the end, it was well worth it. My students were so excited about math and problem solving as we worked through this problem. It was homework each night to try to find a few more solutions, and then we’d add to a chart during math class. Look at all that my students accomplished after just two days!

        We’ve filled in a bunch more solutions since then, but of course I left my camera at school this weekend…
        Finally, in honor of the big back to school sale on TpT, I’ve bundled four of my favorite math resources into a back to school math pack for this weekend only. 
        Sold separately, this is $17 worth of products that I’m selling this weekend for $10, but after Monday, the bundle will no longer be available in my store. So if you’ve had any of these on your wish list…

        Hope everyone had a great week! I’m still learning how to juggle grad school with teaching, but I’m hopeful that I’ll still be posting at least once a week.

        Off to start catching up on blog reading and filling my cart for the TpT sale! Have a great weekend!

        My trip to Dhaka, Bangladesh, November & December 2010 & January 2011

        January 2011

        Back again at the Hotel De castle; it looks like I have spent more time here in the past 3 months than at home.

        The original brief was to develop a Sustainability Plan for the organization. However, most managers confuse it with Resource Mobilization / Fund Raising Plans. Typically a Sustainability Plan involves a risk analysis of the organization comprising of Board, Executive Leadership, Resource Audits (Man, Money, Material & Technology / knowledge), HR, ICT, Finance and other support services systems audits plus a host of other environmental issues.

        I cleared up this confusion and came to develop a Resource Mobilization Plan (Only Money); however, the team has not completed the budgets. So have to delay the process by a few days. Meanwhile I witnessed riots in Dhaka due to stock market crash yesterday. Stock price manipulation rings were very active in DSE over the past year and sent the stock prices way up beyond the wildest PE ratios possible for some companies. Just like what’s happening at the CSE in Sri Lanka. Most stocks trade much higher than PE ratio. Is this a prelude to what we can expect in the streets of Colombo I wonder?

        Finally managed to develop the RM Plan for the organization; this is the end of the assignment for me and look forward to going back to Colombo.

        December 2010

        It’s good to be back in Dhaka and at the Hotel De Castle. Guess what its Harthal season again! I was in Bangladesh in 2006 and in 2008 for the then famous Harthal “Save Democracy” which was a success in overthrowing the elected government and appointing a caretaker government. However, during Harthal the general public and the visitors to Bangladesh suffers by having severe restrictions in free movement. I will spend 2 weeks in Dhaka for this assignment with the intention of developing the Vision, Mission, Values and Strategies of the organization.

        It was hard work but managed to develop the Vision, Mission, Values and Strategies for the organization. During this process there was a one day Harthal, but it seems to have been a flop! What’s going on here, have the people finally realized not to go on Hartal for silly things? Well, we will just have to wait and see.

        As part of the assignment I had to help the management team present the Vision, Mission, Values and Strategies to the board and get their comments and final approval. However there is an issue. The issue is that; the roles and responsibilities of governance and the executive branches of the organization are not clearly delineated to ensure efficient operations. In short there is a power struggle between the two. I have to manage this delicate process; otherwise all hell may break loose during the meeting and true to form, the consultant will be the fall guy.

        You can read my article titled “Governance – Do we need to build capacity?” published in http://capacitydevelopment.ning.com/

        The meeting with the board went off without any major hiccups and got the necessary approvals and consent for the next stage of the assignment.

        November 2010

        The assignment I undertook was to develop a new Vision, Mission, Values, Strategies and a corresponding Resource Mobilization plan and support services (Finance HR & IT) plans for Acid Survivors Foundation ASF http://www.acidsurvivors.org/ of Bangladesh. I will be staying at the Hotel De castle in Banani, Dhaka.

        I must say that I was quite shocked at the number of people being attacked in Bangladesh and the physical and psychological damage it does to people. The major cause of attacks was economic (Dowry & Land). Given the poverty levels in Bangladesh I must say that I am not surprised. Having enough resources to go around for 160 + Million people is not a joke.

        The irony is that at the United Nations (Put UN Web Site) review of the Millennium Development Goals (Put MDG review results Web Site) it was concluded that mot poor countries (including Bangladesh) were failing miserably in trying to reach the MGD’s. In my Humble opinion this is because most poor countries are not dealing with the white elephant in the room i.e. population growth. This is obviously considered a sensitive subject given the reluctance of politicians to take on the religious establishments head on be it Islam or the many denominations of Christianity. On the contrary this should be the main subject of discussion by far thinking politicians the world over.

        For instance if Bangladesh were to implement strict policies to have ZERO growth in population for the next 10 years it would develop at a faster rate As even the slightest growth in the nations wealth will be held by a content population. This is common sense.

        Most people misunderstand when we talk about zero population growth. They think that you are suggesting that people stop having children. In fact it does not mean that at all. It just means that your birth rate has to be equated to your death rate.

        In the case of developing countries; the way that externally funded development sector project are implemented creates further frustrations within a given population and at times directly create political and social unrest. Most development sector professional (from the north countries as well as the south countries) don’t even understand this themselves. Consider the following. Most western donors advocate rights based projects. This means that all citizens will demand equal levels of services from the state irrespective of economic, social, political, ethnic or religious status. This in a developing country means that “now” 10,000 people line up for services as opposed to 1,000 people. The issue is that the rights based development project itself does not have any or enough funding to cater for the newly generated demand. The funds are only available to create and sustain the demand by the citizenry. So now the poor government has to serve a larger number of people with the same or slightly increased budget. This only means that in order to cater for the quantity the quality of services will be compromised. This is OK with the rich citizens as they can afford to pay for services by the private sector or bribe the state employees or use influence to get a better service from the state service provider.

        One can argue and say that this is a deliberate attempt by some of the donors to create instability within developing countries. I am not a conspiracy theorist but I wouldn’t put it past some of them. The point is that we who hail from the developing countries must act a lot smarter than we currently do if we want to develop.

        As for me the assignment will run in to the New Year and I will have to go to Bangladesh a few more times to finish the assignment.

        My trip to Vietnam Cont….

        I finished the organization capacity assessment of the 5 local civil society organizations (NGOs) in Vietnam. They are all working or trying to work in a “rights” based approach. The main services of these local NGOs are focused towards marginalized groups, ethnic groups etc. However this is not what the Government wants; they prefer them to work on a needs based approach.

        They have therefore come up with a way to allow such organizations to work on a slightly different rights based approach. However this is a structured method which can be monitored by the Government. This is how it is set up:

        All international non governmental organizations (INGOs) have to be registered with the ministry of foreign affairs under “VUFO” – Vietnam Union of Friendship Organization. VUFO is the organization which deals with the administration of INGO policy and compliance as it were. Under VUFO they have what is known as the NGO Resource Center which deals with some operational issues as well as help set up working groups under thematic areas. (E.G: HIV AIDS, Gender, LGBT etc.)

        All/most (there can be exceptions) rights based local non governmental organizations are registered under “VUSTA” – Vietnam Union of Science & Technology. VUSTA is the organization which deals with the administration of local NGO policy, compliance and deals with the operational issues as well as help set up working groups for thematic areas.

        Both types of working groups in theory are independent; however they can have representatives from ministries, other government agencies, communist party advocacy committee etc. in addition to like minded NGOs and INGOs.

        Through these working groups research based policy alternatives (advocacy and lobby for rights based services & opportunities) are submitted to each relevant ministries. This is then passed on to the cabinet of ministers. Based on the agenda of the National Assembly cabinet may submit these policy alternatives to the assembly who may or may not approve, amend or adopt these policies. It sound quite easy but in practice this is a long process.

        Many organizations do not have long term resources to sustain this type of process. However based on authority levels at different levels/branches of the government some organizations are able to get the corporation of the government to deliver right based services themselves or through quasi government agencies.

        The “local NGO” in general is a relatively new phenomenon in Vietnam. They tend to be small and with low capacity. They have the potential to play a key role in delivering services to special interest groups and ethnic minorities in Vietnam. There are some clear examples where the government has allowed the use of this method effectively in isolated cases.

        There is a significant difference to how international & local NGOs operate in Vietnam, Lao, Cambodia, China, Mongolia & Myanmar. They have learned to operate within the service gaps of these socialistic countries and they are beginning to get noticed for the excellent work done, by their governments and civil society in general. However, they too face some of the most common issues such as resource mobilization, retention of staff, planning, budgeting, monitoring etc. faced by NGOs the world over.

        Now about Hanoi; it is indeed a busy city and one that is growing rapidly I really like visiting Hanoi and the friendliness of the people of Vietnam. I visited most of my favorite cafes and bars which I patronized on my previous travels to Hanoi. Everywhere you look you see construction sites (Except central Hanoi) these buildings are mixed developments like what you saw in Dubai several years ago. They are still to go in for developments such as Dubai Marina, Dubai International Financial District; I counted over 40 cranes on the drive from the airport to my hotel. They do not seem to be affected as much as the others in terms of the global financial crisis.

        Walking through the streets of Hanoi I noticed something unique to Vietnam (I think). Most of the Hanoi streets are dotted with Café’s and restaurants. With the vast majority of the Vietnamese using motorbikes for travel, each one of the establishments have something resembling a valet parking for those patrons arriving at the establishment in their motorbikes. The parking attendants use a white chalk to mark on the seat of the motorbike the number of bikes parked in the day / rider / owner / and parking sequence. When patrons leave the parking attendants starts moving the motorbikes closer to the entrance (perhaps for tips) and it is done on a continues basis. I was fascinated by this as my experience in other parts of the world is that they put up a huge sign saying that parking is at your own risk; and they are only interested in what you spend at the establishment and keen to get you out as soon as they can so that another patron can be served. Hope this continues in the future as well.

        I will be flying home tomorrow and will prepare for 3 more assignments which have simultaneous time lines. Organization Capacity Assessment of research & policy advice organization in South Asia, Organization Capacity Assessment of 5 local NGOs in Indonesia. Organization Capacity Assessment of 4 branch offices in the east of Sri Lanka.

        My Trip to Male, Maldives, September 2010

        The trip to Maldives was a business development trip. Most people just come to Maldives and stay in a resort and go back. I was lucky to see the Maldives by land, sea and air; as well as spending time in Male. I recommend all to see Maldives in all its glory

        View of Water Villas.

        View of Maldives by Air (Sea Plane)

        Not only did I snorkel but I also went on the “Whale Submarine”

        As a sprawling archipelago Maldives (I traveled from Male to the northern most inhabited Island and back to Male) is a breathtaking destination. However, I was shocked to see poverty in the Maldives with a population of just over 300,000. I guess corruption and discrimination is rampant in this tiny nation as well. I must say that Maldives presents a unique problem to any government in having to deliver services to small populations spread across 200 islands (Out of 1192 Islands spread across 90,000 square kilometers)

        I believe the only solution is to embrace ICT and use it to reach every person. However, having said that; the ICT literacy among the Maldivian population is also very low. A real chicken or egg situation for the politicians of Maldives to solve. If ever there was a country which can be considered easy to develop it must be the Maldives.

        Chronic Illnesses and Diet part 3

        Visualization and Chronic Disease

        To the ten steps of the Body Clock Prescription, I’d suggest adding visualization, another powerful tool for controlling chronic disease. Life consists of moving forward into images. You get to the dry cleaners to pick up your laundry by making a mental picture of the journey and moving forward into that picture. No picture, no laundry. With visualization, you are going to create an inner picture in order to realize your intention, not just in the outside world of the dry cleaner but in the inside world of your immune system.

        The first step is to get the knack of meditation so that your mind and body are in a receptive posture for visualization. Let’s assume that you’ve learned to enter a meditative state; riding on the letter M, your mind can enter a new space within your consciousness. From here, you can take one step forward into your imagination and make a picture of what you want to accomplish in your body.

        The effectiveness of this approach was initially proven in an experiment conducted with doctors suffering from terminal or advanced cancer. They were shown accurate images of their own cancer cells and of their immune system cells and were asked to create a realistic visualization of the immune system cells attacking the cancer cells. Most of the doctors successfully curbed their cancer — not to the extent of actually curing it, but in most cases there was measurable improvement. Since then, numerous experiments have shown that a less accurate image of the enemy is just as effective.2

        Diet Start

        About twenty years ago I used to meet one evening every month with a group of other doctors, including Dr. Bernie Siegel, one of the pioneers of visualization. Bernie shared fascinating examples of the kinds of imagery cancer patients chose to promote healing of their illnesses. It seemed important that the image be accurate in its intent; it was disconcerting when patients chose wimpy defensive images that were the imaginary equivalent of trying to beat their cancer with a wet noodle. People who chose aggressive images did better; lions, tigers, sharks, polar bears and knights in shining armor do better work than a little girl gathering up cancer cells into snowballs and throwing them over the fence.

        But what’s a good image if you have chronic inflammatory disease? In this case, redness, heat, swelling and pain afflict some part of your body as it reacts to an enemy that the doctor hasn’t been able to discover or that has disappeared from the scene of the crime, leaving your immune system in a perpetual dither. You need a picture that is soothing but not self-defeating by way of quieting your immune reactions to the point of defenselessness. This is where a chemical or an abstract image may be more appropriate. By chemical image, I mean something along the lines of `Let’s put out the fire’. Remember that inflammation is an expression of your body’s fire burning out of control. Whether it is in the skin, the digestive tract, the lungs, the heart, the nose or the eyes or, for that matter, whether or not it is producing palpable heat, some kind of uncontrolled fire is at the bottom of a lot of chronic illness. Parkinson’s disease, for example, has been characterized as a fire in the brain. And the oxidative damage in the chemistry of autistic children constitutes a kind of fiery injury to their RNA and DNA.

        If you are going to employ visual imagery to quench the fire, then why not use pictures that are more effective than merely aiming a fire hose or throwing ice water at it? Instead, try mobilizing your body’s powerful natural resources for quenching the inflammation, calling on your body’s clouds to release rainwater on the brush fires of the prairie where the inflammation resides. This could be your intestine if you have colitis, your joints if you have arthritis, your skin if you have dermatitis, your lungs if you have bronchitis and so on. You can even get technical and make your raindrops into vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene and other potent antioxidants. Communication between your meditating-visualizing brain and the resources of your body is more dynamic and more specific then you know.

        When Bernie Siegel began talking about people’s responsibility for their own health and healing in the face of serious illnesses such as cancer, people accused him of ‘blaming the victim’ by placing an unreasonable burden of guilt on the sick person. But you can’t really take control of your health without believing that your health is to some extent under your control. Even a person who has been a victim of some catastrophic accident must believe that he or she can exercise control over healing, to at least a small but critical degree, through the expression of intention in prayer or visualization or by the exercise of sheer willpower.

        For people with chronic illness, the lines of causation are more ambiguous than they are in an accident. However irrational it may be, all of us feel guilt for things that happen, like the ill-timed flareup of cold sores just before an important public appearance. Feeling guilty won’t get you anywhere, but feeling responsible is the key to taking charge. If you feel like you’re the passive victim of the event, you may miss a chance to engage your body’s resources for healing. Only by feeling that you can take responsibility for your own health will you be able to make the changes that are necessary for regaining that health in the face of chronic illness.

        Health Benefits of Guava for Health and Beauty

        Health Benefits of Guava for Health and Beauty

        Health Benefits of Guava for Health and BeautyGuava has a Latin name Psidium guajava is also often described as guava and guava. The origin of the fruit is reportedly from a country where the sport of football was born, namely Brazil, and managed to get in Indonesia through trade channels in Thailand.
        Guava and Guava has a sweet taste, and not infrequently there is still sour. Round shape leaves with green skin and flesh have two color variants of white and red are where there is little seed seeds can also be consumed.
        Health Benefits of Guava for Health and Beauty - 1
        The Nutritional Content of Guava
        There are dozens of nutrients stored in guavas and in each of these nutrients plays an important role in terms of health shore up the human body and diligent person to consume.
        Here are some nutrients that are embedded in Guava :
        • The Water Content Is Not Small
        • Contains Fiber
        • Calories
        • Containing Protein
        • Fats
        • Contain Carbohydrates
        • Contain Iron
        • Abu
        • Containing Calcium
        • Containing Phosphorus
        • Contains Vitamin A (Carotene)
        • Contains Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acis)
        • Contains Thiamin (Vitamin B1)
        • Contains Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
        • Contains Niacin (Vitamin B3)
        With the presence of a number of nutrients above the guava fruit can be said as the fruit is also rich in nutrients. Because of them that many people who want to cultivate the fruit is sweet, while it was for her own use is not only edible but also processed into drugs.
        Benefits of Guava
        Many diseases are able to be deflected slowly by this fruit, some of which are as follows.
        1. Can Fight Cancer
        Get used to a healthy lifestyle on a daily basis in order to avoid serious diseases such as cancer that have reported more patients to death. You can prevent cancer in a way that is diligent guava consumption. There is an antioxidant that is able to do this. Lycopene in guava is known it is easier to be absorbed in the body than the tomatoes because the difference in cell structure.
        2. as Diarrhea Drug
        Diarrhea should be quick to take medication. The medicine is not to be made in the factory, you can use a method that is more secure and healthy as a drink with guava juice three times a day. Guava plant also has antibacterial properties, these properties that you can use to stop diarrhea and dysentery. The antibacterial properties either be created because of the content of karetinoid, vitamin C and potassium in it.
        3. Can Lower Blood Pressure
        For People with hypertension are often recommended by doctors to familiarize the consumption of foods and beverages derived from guava and mangosteen peel. Why? because the fruit contains potassium, which is said by the results of the study were able to treat hypertension and lowers LDL cholesterol excess.
        4. Cough and Flu
        Highly vulnerable to extreme weather conditions to make your baby have a cold with a cough. The mother must take action, by giving red guava juice that also contained vitamin C and iron which can inhibit the influenza virus infection.
        Health Benefits of Guava for Health and Beauty - 2
        5. Can Overcome Constipation
        Constipation or constipation is the most frequently encountered problems. If you suffer from the same thing you do not immediately take medicine, try to eat a medium-sized guava fruit which also included a 36 percent fiber needs that doctors recommend.
        6. Make More Stomach Satiety
        Guava is the food you choose as a booster stomach, because the content of fiber, protein and some vitamins in it is suitable to withstand hunger. If you are running the program for the diet, the fruit seems appropriate to provide chances of success of your endeavors.
        7. as Drug Thrush
        Thrush occurs because a deficiency of vitamin C as well as drinking water. You can meet the daily requirement of vitamin C by eating guava, besides that because the vitamin content can be overcome thrush was moved at this fruit.
        8. Diabetes Mellitus
        Drink a concoction of guava which has been boiled and filtered water is believed to be able to treat the disease diabetes mellitus.
        9. Younger
        Antioxidants are cooperating also with vitamin A, C and potassium in guava able to treat your skin to keep it tight so avoid premature aging.

        It is remarkable not properties of guava fruit that previously may not know fully. From now make guava as a table fruit that is ready to wash the mouth after every meal. Hopefully article Health Benefits of Guava for Health and Beauty we share today can be beneficial for you. Thank You.

        “Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From?”, The Game Tips And More Blog’s Game Screenshot Identification Contest, Re-Happens Again Today! [Updated 2018-03-02 with Answer Image]

        It’s the 15th of the month – and it is time for something that I re-re-started up, just last Month – The Next Installment of The Game Tips And More Blog’s ‘New-ish-sorta-but-not-really’ Contest:

        “Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From?”

        (A Game Screenshot Identification Contest)

        Having its’ Fifth Edition now, today – February 15th, 2018!

        All you have to do to win this contest, is contact me in any way you can (eg. Comment on this article
        below, Twitter profile tweet, email me or Comment/PrivateMessage TheBlog’s Steam Account by the end of the month, with these two items within your message:

        1. Your guess for the game the image is from.
        2. Information on how to contact you back (to receive Steam game gifts, etc) if you win.
        That’s it!
        **[Just a quick note to be careful not to include any information you do not wish to share ‘publicly’ when posting in the Comments area below or at Steam or sending a Twitter profile Tweet, as these messages are seen by ‘everyone’]


        The first correct answer submitted by a Skillful Identifier/Gamer will receive this month’s contest prize – which is: a gifted game from the Steam online store!

        [Note: Although I have been collecting Games on Steam over the past few Years, during Steam Sales,
        due to how Steam has changed Gifting games through Steam recently, you will have to temporarily become a Friend
        of TheBlog’s Steam Account (to receive the game – after receiving your Gifted Game, you may Unfriend of course)]
        Winners will also be announced in bold, large lettered-text, here on this posting and will thereby be immortalized on The Intertubes in perpetuity, proving to all other comers that you were “The Ultimate Game Screenshot Guesser Thingy Person” [aka. Gamer]!

        Previous Editions of this Contest [to ‘see how it works’] can be found at TheBlog, here:

        Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From – Contest #1
        Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From – Contest #2
        Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From – Contest #3
        Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From – Contest #4

        Are you ready? Here then, is the Screenshot image for this month, below:

        [As you can see, the image is a portion of a full screen capture; but don’t worry – the image used for the contest will never be ‘too’ obscure or small (for example, it will never be ‘just the end of a wooden log’ or anything like that)]

        After a week has gone by, if there is no correct guess as to what game the Screenshot is from, I will return here and put up a ‘Hint’ image – a larger portion of the Screenshot – to assist in Game Recognition-ing-ism…

        Update!

        A week has gone by and there have been no correct guesses received yet… So, here is a HINT image; (an enlarged area portion of the already-slightly-larger-than-normal CONTEST Screenshot for this month’s Contest)! Ready?

        Here is the HINT image (with enlarged portion revealed), below:

        [Click the Image to see it at a slightly-larger Full Size – and as you can see, the image is still a portion of the full screen capture; but don’t worry – the image used for the contest will never be ‘too’ obscure or small (for example, it will never be ‘just the end of a wooden log’ or anything like that)]

        At the end of the Month, if noone has guessed correctly by then, I will return here and reveal the full Mystery Screenshot and the Game it was from – Good Luck, Gamers!

        Update!
        It has been two weeks since the Contest began and there have been no correct submissions! Aww….

        To end The Mystery, here is the answer for February’s edition of
        ‘Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From’ (2018-02):


        The Answer for this month’s Contest was: Just Cause 2!
        [Captured in 2014, this Screenshot I took was back when I was playing games at 1600×900 – which is a ‘sweet spot’ I personally recommend [by my own testing] for Mid-Range GPUs (VideoCards). This was JC2 being played with a GTS 250, the ‘Black Knight Edition’ from ASUS which I paired at the time with an AMD X2 245, iirc**. Wow, I have been planning this identification game a long time – never getting around to it for a while of course – haha]
        Click to see Full Size
        Come back next 15th-of-the-month friends, when you can have another chance to be a Digital Screenshot Sleuth in the Sixth Edition of ‘Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From’ – and a chance to win the Prize that will be carried over to next time: a gifted game from the Steam online store!

        See You In The Games!

        [**Note: I am not affiliated in any way or degree with NVIDIA or AMD, and I have not and will not receive any compensation of any kind, for mentioning them here. I am merely an enthusiastic user of both companies’ products. I have utilized both and will continue to use both in the future ((on a personal note, I find I usually am ‘stairstepping’ with their GPUs, purchasing from one manufacturer, then the next ‘upgrade’ purchasing from the other, heh. I always Suggest to people who ask; to get whichever has Features you like – and only what you can afford at the time – it will be outdated in 3 years or so anyway; Enjoy what you have and be thankful because there are always people who have less!))]

        (The Game Tips And More Blog Contest Game #2018-02)

        Hello, 2015!

        Another year is in the books, and as always, I’m excited to be seeing the start of a new year. Last year will be remembered for its big highs and deep lows, but I know that everything happens for a reason, and I feel like I’m in a good place to start 2015.

        And one place I plan to start is being a better blogger! So here’s my Currently post for January 2015.

        Listening – It’s my daughter’s bedtime here, and my husband has bedtime duty tonight. It’s a rare moment when the TV is off, the dogs are asleep, and all is quiet in the house. I’m savoring it.

        Loving – I think that New Year’s Day may be my favorite day of the year because it is a fresh start where it feels like anything is possible. I often feel this way at the beginning of the school year, too, but I think I prefer this time of year because there’s more predictability with everything. I already know my students very well; we’ve built our routines and expectations, and the only things that need to be changed are the things I *want* to change. It’s an empowering holiday.

        Thinking – A major reason why I haven’t been blogging much lately is because of my Ph.D. program. It feels weird to be writing something that doesn’t have a lengthy bibliography attached to it! I continue to be excited about my dissertation topic, though, and I’ve been thinking about it more and more. I plan to write about the role of social media in teacher professional learning. The short version is that I’m going to study how reading and writing about classroom practices through blogging affects teachers’ feelings of effectiveness in the classroom (self-efficacy beliefs). I think connecting with other teachers through blogging and other social media has been one of the best moves I’ve ever made as a teacher, and I’m curious to find out if others feel the same way and what consequences it might have. One of my classes this semester is actually requiring me to blog about my research, so I’ll be setting that up in the next week. It will be a separate blog as I doubt my classmates in other programs will really want to read about Eberopolis, but I’ll share a link here if you’re interested in following or learning more.

        Wanting – I had 18 blog posts in 2014. Pathetic. I have a notebook full of ideas, so now I need to get them out here. My goal is to blog at least once a week, and as I’ve been getting other things in my life better organized, I think that’s realistic.

        Needing – I set some big goals for this vacation as far as getting myself organized for the new year, and so far, I’ve done a great job. For example, I already have 2 months of healthy meals planned for my family (written on sticky notes so I can shuffle them around when stuff inevitably comes up).

        And I’ve been cleaning closets and creating a new workspace to boost my productivity in the new year. I even made my annual pilgrimage to The Container Store today! I just need to wrap up my remaining projects tomorrow so I can enjoy my weekend before returning to school on Monday. (I’m @eberopolis on Instagram if you want to see more about those projects…). 
        Finally, my three areas:
        YES to my health. I lost nearly 20 pounds between Labor Day and Christmas, and while my trip to see my family for the holidays reversed that trend a little, I’d like to continue to focus on my health in 2015. I’ve been doing Weight Watchers, and losing weight has been easy when I’ve taken the time to plan what I’m going to eat and track what I eat throughout the day. I’m ready to get back on track.
        Maybe to becoming a morning person. I already get to work by 7:15 each morning, but I would hardly call myself a morning person. I read The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod over break, and it has me thinking about whether I should try to get up earlier to add things like meditation and exercise to my morning routines. I’m thinking I’ll try it for a month and see how it goes. (The book was good, btw. An easy read to be sure). 
        I wish…I love my job–I really do–but I’m starting to feel like it’s time for me to tackle a new challenge. I want to be able to work with other teachers to help them troubleshoot issues in their classrooms, improve their teaching, and use technology more effectively. I purposefully chose to go into an Educational Leadership PhD program for that reason; ultimately I want to teach in higher ed and/or become an administrator. I’m not ready to do all of that yet, but I wish that I could find an instructional coaching position or something similar that would let me work more directly with teachers while I keep working on my program. It might be time to start that hunt this year. 
        Okay, I promise I will be back soon…I have a couple of other posts in draft mode almost ready to share about some of the new things I’ve been doing in my classroom this year. Hopefully you’ll FLIP when you read them! 😉
        Happy new year!

        Quality Test – MSI Afterburner’s MJPEG Implementation (Part I) with Hitman: Absolution (Ultra Settings, 1080p)

        Update: Added screenshot example of the RTV1 codec ‘color banding’ issue, with circled areas¹**
        Update: Added Quality Test Comparison (Four 1080p samples of Hitman:Absolution) at different Quality Settings²**

        Recording with the MJPEG (Motion JPEG) codec, every frame is an independent ‘Keyframe ‘or ‘I-Frame’ (short for “Information Frame”), which means it is a type of frame that can be ‘cut’ or started from in video editing programs (technically, every frame is a JPG picture!). This also allows for faster seeking and rendering in editing applications. MJPEG also requires less overhead (better performance/less ‘lag’ while recording) than many codecs. As well, the audio captured is PCM (“Uncompressed”) with MSI’s Afterburner, which means that any video editor should be able to recognize the sound data. Errors in programs like Virtualdub saying “Error initializing audio stream decompression” or Sony’s Vegas showing “Stream attributes could not be determined” will not occur and these will open the audio without associated problems.

        Testing out MSI’s Afterburner as a game recorder and using the built-in MJPEG codec that comes with the program, I fired up some Hitman: Absolution, turned up everything to Ultra, captured some clips and put them together, uploaded it to YouTube, and collected some results with everyone:

        This video compilation is a test of a few things:
        1) Hitman: Absolution’s performance while maxed out (Ultra Settings in game Options)
        2) Capture quality of MSI Afterburner and performance/lag of using it
        3) H.264/AVC compression quality maintainability
        4) Youtube’s quality maintainability

        Recorded with:
        MSI Afterburner
        – v.2.3.0
        – MJPEG codec, “Full Frame”, 80% quality, 30fps
        – Audio automatically records into PCM (“Uncompressed”) format

        Recorded Game: 
        Hitman: Absolution @ 1920×1080 (1080p)
        – “Ultra” settings (Preset)
        – Anisotropic Filtering set to 4xAA
        – “Texture Filtering Quality” set to High Quality (i.e.Off/NoFiltering) in Control Center

        – “Morphological” Anti-Aliasing (MLAA) setting (AMD/ATi) set to ON
        – “Surface Format Optimization” set to OFF in Control Center (AMD/ATi)

        Framerate while not recording: ~31-79fps
        Framerate while recording: ~28-64fps

        I chose some Hitman: Absolution clips for a Quality Test because it was a good example of a recent game (at the time of this writing) that includes both fast movement/action areas on the screen, as well as slow/non-moving parts, including text. It has lots of dark and light areas, high contrast edges, particles (rain/filmgrain/sparks,etc) and tests area panning as well.
        I was impressed with MSI Afterburner and it’s utilization of the MJPEG codec overall. It seems to be slightly optimized or tweaked somewhat. At 80% Quality (to be in the realm of comparison with Bandicam’s MJPEG Preset Default of ‘Quality80’), flatter/darker parts were not overly compressed – which would create excessive macroblocking and/or be too smoothed out, normally. This could be partially due to the ‘Film Grain’ effect within the game, however (seen mainly when the sky or a flat-coloured background is in view).
        In other words, there was very little Gibbs Effects aka ‘Ringing’ (“mosquito noise”) around elements such as text when onscreen, and what effects were there, were ‘hidden’ somewhat by the grain effect. You had to look closely to see it, which is still pretty good for not recording in a 100% Quality setting – but again, the ‘Film Grain’ effect in this game is contributing to this ‘negative effect of the MJPEG codec’ not being as visible.

        A small amount of Gibbs Effects/Mosquito Noise/Ringing can be seen around and within the UPC symbol  from this frame taken out of the original MJPEG recording. It is about as visible and even seems to be less so in the video itself, due to the “Film Grain” effect present in the game helping to hide it. Click to see Full Size

        The very small amount of color banding present in the original recording was somewhat generated by the Game Engine and there is very little of it (what does occur is hidden somewhat with the film grain effect the game has).
        In the recorded output, thankfully there is very little, partially because of a higher-quality setting when used and how MJPEG codec handles color dithering; color banding usually won’t be seen very much at higher bitrate/quality settings (which means low compression), but will be easily seen at lower bitrate/quality settings (which uses higher compression).
        Keeping above 80% quality when recording with the MJPEG codec [I recommend recording at 90% if your system can handle it, as most games do not have the Film Grain effect present in Absolution to help hide compression artifacts, such as color banding, flat color/area macroblocks and Gibbs Effects] if you have the space, it should leave you satisfied with easily-editable captures.

        ²**Quality Test Comparison – Four examples of various Quality Settings (90%, 70%, 50% and 30%) when using MSI Afterburner’s MJPEG Codec in Hitman: Absolution. The differences are most apparent in the middle section, the bricks that the police officer is standing on, and the people milling around to the left of the gazebo, both areas showing colour loss (Posterization) and detail loss (Quantization), more obvious in the 30% sample (bottom). All sources were original output frame extractions from 1080p recordings.
        Click to see Full size

        [A quick note here that MSI Afterburner’s output/recording seems to be somewhat darker than other game recording programs. It even states this in it’s own Options, “captured video may appear darker than you see it while gaming” and offers a checkbox that will apply Gamma Correction. Since this article is more about MSI’s MJPEG optimization and utilization (performance and ability to maintain visible quality), this ‘darker recording’ will be explored further in a future Game Recorder Comparison article]

        For people trying out any game recording software and finding your recordings are choppy/laggy on playback (that is, when you are looking at the generated/recorded file), you should find that if you use a player/viewer that has Acceleration (GPU, videocard, DirectX processing), it should play back much more smoothly. If your system does not have this option, you can also try converting what is captured to another file temporarily, one with a smaller bitrate/size, and you should then find it will play back that converted file just fine (especially when recording with lossless/high-bitrate codecs).



        It was interesting to do some side recording with Afterburner’s included RTV1 codec as well*
        The Riva Tuner Video codec is an iteration related to older codecs such as Indeo Video and S3TC compression techniques. It is similar to MJPEG and it seems to have very little effect on performance while recording – even performing slightly better than MJPEG at times, which was a nice surprise. Unfortunately, it suffers from ‘color banding’ (Color Quantization/Posterization) and the result is apparent lower quality, even at high bitrate/quality settings. Although it may not be as obvious in the below comparisons (depending on the settings of your monitor/colors/brightness), and while it certainly does not ‘destroy the quality overall’ in the game recording, in the captured video the color banding can be very distracting, especially when it includes motion through the color and light changes in an area as you move through it [it may not be to everyone, of course]. The size of the file produced is quite a bit larger than when recording with the MJPEG codec as well, but more on that in a future article..

        *As this article is mainly a Test of Afterburner’s usage of the MJPEG codec, a future Game Recorder Comparison article will include the RTV1 codec found in MSI’s Afterburner and cover it in more detail than here

        ¹**An example of the RTV1 codec’s problem with Color Quantization (‘color banding’). This frame is extracted directly from a 100% Quality RTV1 codec recording (Batman: Arkham City Benchmark @ 1080p). The areas that contain the most obvious color banding problem have been highlighted with green circles.

        If you are having problems with Color Banding that is not in the game itself, try to use a higher-bitrate setting (higher quality) for the codec you are recording with, resulting in lower compression and lowered loss of details, if you can do so.
        [With the RTV1 codec, it appears that it will still remain a little, no matter what…]


        Getting back to MJPEG testing with Afterburner, framerate was maintained close to non-recording performance (at ~30-60+fps for this game) when recording. I usually used MSI’s Afterburner only as a monitor/controller for the videocards installed and captured with another program such as FRAPS or Bandicam. Using MSI Afterburner alone and having to run one less application in the background to capture no doubt had at least some sort of streamlining affect on performance. It felt that way, slightly.

        Clear, crisp textures can be seen in this frame taken from the original MJPEG capture.
        MSI’s Afterburner and it’s utilization of the MJPEG codec seems to be even slightly superior to Bandicam’s implementation of it. [Hmm..something that must soon be tested!]
        Click to see Full Size

        The Average bitrate of the original MJPEG captures was about 30Mbps up to 70Mbps, which meant a writing stream to the disk of up to 8MB/s, which almost any hard drive can handle (recorded onto a drive capable of 150MB/s at the time).
        The original generated recording files were about twice the bitrate and size of the final MPEG-4 compressed file uploaded to YouTube, the final file weighing in at about 600MB with a bitstream of 25Mbps on average (it is assumed that almost everyone will compress recorded material into a final output video compilation file of 8-20Mbps or so, for uploading to YouTube/Vimeo/etc (Blu-Ray’s standard bitrate is 36Mbps and most video editing application presets go up to 20Mbps by default).
        This final utilized bitrate, with the efficiency of H.264/AVC, manages to keep most of the detail that was in the original MJPEG recordings, although sadly, most of the finer detail is lost after uploading, as can be seen in the screenshot comparison below:

        Originally used in an earlier article testing out MJPEG on Diablo3 with Bandicam, this screenshot shows examples of the detail loss after uploading to YouTube, when the video is played back at 1080p and 720p. Click to see Full Size 

        What was more disappointing was that YouTube feels the need to overly re-compress uploads. Much of the quality is lost, especially things like the film grain, one of the ‘first things to go’ in temporal video recompression. For instance, at 1:03-1:08 there is visible grain effect maintained in the settings I chose for the final compressed output file, keeping most of the grain from the original MJPEG recording from Afterburner. In the YouTube Video Player after uploading, it can be seen that much of that grain is lost. Another example of this is the dense cornfield against the much flatter sky textures at 1:30-1:36. I kept the complexity of the cornstalks and hard contrasts of the plant details versus the sky on purpose, yet after YouTube’s recompressing of the video, the result is blurred and smoothed details that were not like that in the recorded MJPEG video or the final H.264/AVC high-quality video output/final compress. I will attempt other uploads of the data at various settings for experimentation and put it just below this paragraph when an upload does not lose much of the finer details I wish to share**. I understand they must do it to save space (no doubt people upload huge, ‘FRAPS-original’ size files and recordings sometimes), it is merely unfortunate. At least it then becomes an example of what happens to some of the quality and detail once uploaded to YouTube (the extracted frame above, for example, is from the original MJPEG recording produced by Afterburner). There seems to be no use, at this time, to attempt to upload extremely high quality/fine detail. 

         The file originally uploaded to YouTube, the results of the MSI/MJPEG Quality Test, was previously compressed with a bitrate of 25Mbps. While this bitrate, using high-quality H.264/AVC codec settings, was enough to maintain details such as Film Grain and high contrast edges, much of this detail was lost after YouTube recompressed the uploaded file. 

        **Another, higher-bitrate excerpt [in an attempt to compensate for YouTube’s recompression] of the original MSI/MJPEG video capture:

        This video then, is an attempt to compensate for YouTube’s recompression and data loss, by uploading a video stream with a very high bitrate (an average of 60Mbps, up to 80Mbps, higher even than the original recorded data). As such, the duration is much smaller, a mere excerpt of the original intended upload.

        Result: Even when a video stream is uploaded with the much higher bitrate, even when the original captured file is uploaded, even when I rendered the capture to a 2160p (4K UltraHD) file and uploaded that to YouTube, YouTube’s recompression of the uploaded material (while still watchable) loses far too much detail from the actual upload – at least for high-detail evaluation of a game recorder’s produced video streams. This is unfortunate. For now then, I will try to always show frames (screenshots) extracted from the original captured files created by game recording applications in Quality Tests…

        Turning up the Recording Quality setting to 100%, the bitrate for MJPEG jumps up to over 275Mbps (over 30MB a second of file size being written to the drive). Quite a jump – and at that bitrate, the size becomes comparable to a YUV codec (or a FRAPS 1080p half-size recording) easily – but the quality ramps up as well. Color dithering and loss of detail is surprisingly near-negligible at 100% Quality with this game, yet the resource demand for using the MJPEG codec [especially MSI’s optimization of it] seems to remain small, as MJPEG was already a lightweight codec with somewhat smaller processing being done, to begin with. Today’s powerful videocards and CPU’s should be capable of pumping out a sequence of lightly compressed JPEG’s in a single file [no pun intended] without breaking a sweat. As long as your system isn’t chugging along already, adding some MJPEG capturing shouldn’t affect it very much. For those of you with slightly older systems with trouble recording in other codecs, give MJPEG a try, it should record smoother for you.

        Overall, well done MSI.  /clap

        If anyone is looking for a completely free Game Recording program (it might have even come on a disc with your videocard, as mine did) look no further than MSI’s Afterburner. Keeping the settings relatively high [especially with the MJPEG codec, to keep compression artifacts low] and/or doing your own tests to see what looks ‘good enough’ for you, I suspect many people will be happy (if you aren’t already) with using Afterburner and the low-resource-demanding and editing-friendly MJPEG codec to record your gaming adventures.

        Please note dear reader, that I am not saying “This codec is the best one to record with” or “use this one only”. I am merely showing that it is possible, or how to tweak it for quality or file size, as to your own personal tastes. There are many codecs out there to choose from when game recording and although some are more apt for certain types of games than others, overall it is your own choice to do with as you wish – do a few short tests and use what you prefer.

        Have fun recording with MSI Afterburner and the MJPEG codec – and See you in the games!




        [Note: As noted throughout this article, this testing of MJPEG with Hitman:Absolution alone is not a full test of MJPEG quality maintenance potential, as this game utilizes a “Film Grain” effect, which hides some of MJPEG’s weaknesses in maintaining Quality. In a future post (Part II), a more in-depth examination of MJPEG as a video game recording codec, using other games and utilities, will be actualized. See you then!]

        Paperless Mission #12: Collecting Student Work

        This is the twelfth installment in my Go Paperless! Challenge Series. You can check out the other entries in the series here. Also be sure to link up with my Paperless Challenge Linky!

        Mission #12: Collecting Student Work

        Recently, I shared how I distribute student assignments through Dropbox. Today I’m going to share how students turn in those assignments. To do that, I primarily use Edmodo.

        Once you’ve created an assignment in Edmodo, students will be able to see it as they log-in.

        If it’s just a text-based assignment, they can type the text in the comment section and submit it.

        Often, however, my assignments tend to require them to include an attachment of some sort. These can fall into a couple different categories.

        Photos & Movies

        The Edmodo app allows you to load photos directly from your camera roll as an attachment. Just select “Attach: File.”

        Documents produced in other apps (e.g., Pages, Keynote, etc.)

        This process has a couple extra steps, but it’s still easy to accomplish. First, students will need to load the item into their backpack. This is normally accomplished through the “Share and Print” option in the original app. For example, in Pages, you have the option to “Open in Another App.”

        This will result in the file being added to the student’s Edmodo “backpack.” Once it’s there, students can attach it to an assignment by choosing “Attach: Backpack.”

        Once the items are selected, students get to rate the assignment using the emoticons and click “Turn In Assignment.”

        From my perspective, it’s a dream. I don’t have to worry about receiving “No Name” papers, and I can quickly grade and comment on student work that’s turned in.

        Apprentice Guides

        One of my back to school projects is to make step-by-step tutorials to help students (and teachers) with some of these iPad tasks. The first one is on Turning In Assignments from Pages to Edmodo and you can download a copy of it here.

        I apologize that the image quality isn’t perfect — it lost something when I uploaded it to Google Drive for sharing, but it’s still very functional. (I’ll share higher-quality imaged versions later when I get more completed.)

        What programs do you use to collect student work electronically in your classroom? I’d love to hear in the comments section.

        ROOM SEVEN LEVITATION HOTEL PARIS DESIGN

        SEVEN LEVITATION HOTEL PARIS

        The Last weekend we were invited to spend a night in the bedroom of SEVEN LEVITATION Hotel Paris … A change of scenery, enchanting, and very pleasant … We’ve tested since the beginning of dozens of hotels – from very luxurious to the simple – but SEVEN Hotel remains one of our fondest memories in terms of wellbeing! We literally left “floating”in this room LEVITATION, amid clouds … Here, the amenities of modern life are available starting with a Nespresso coffee machine with tea and coffee and an iPod docking station to listen to your favorite music in this extraordinary place. You will also find a flat screen TV with 4 channels olfactory delight your senses!

        The room of the hotel LEVITATION SEVEN is also a premium bedding, large shower – where you can shower couple – air conditioning, a desk … So comfortable!

        Above a photo of the room SUSPENDED BATH offering a superb tub suspended, and below a small photo of the ABSOLUTE LEVITATION!

        SEVEN LEVITATION HOTEL PARIS

        SEVEN LEVITATION HOTEL PARIS

        SEVEN LEVITATION HOTEL PARIS

        The Incredible Pistol Squat

        The pistol squat requires mobility and strength from the entire lower body and core, and once you work up to being able to complete them you can get a great lower body workout anywhere with no equipment. 
        Most people will not be able to perform the pistol squat properly without working through several progressions that help develop the specific mobility, strength and stability required to get through the exercise for repetitions.
        Pistol Squat Progressions
        There are two basic ways to progress to a full pistol squat. Either use a progressively lower bench or step, or use something to hold onto while doing a full pistol to help pull yourself up and progressively use it less and less until it is no longer required.
        For the step progression, you can use actually stairs or use a chair to start.    Stand facing away from the chair or staircase and put all your weight on one leg keeping the other leg straight with the hip flexed slightly so the non-standing foot is held off the ground in front of you.     Flex the hips and reach back with your butt towards the staircase or chair and lower yourself down under control keep your arms straight and in front of you parallel to the floor to counterbalance your hips moving backwards.    Let the standing knee and ankle flex along with your hip as you reach your butt backwards and go down.    However, you MUST keep the heel of the standing leg down and this requires a lot of flexibility of the soleus tendon (soleus is the single joint calf muscle).    
        Try to lightly touch your butt down to a stair or the chair then drive the standing foot down, squeeze the glute extending your hip, knee and ankle to the starting position.  Perform sets of 5 – 10 reps each leg.    Overtime find progressively lower steps, benches or individual stairs so that you are progressively squatting lower and lower until you can perform a full squat on one leg all the way down to the ground and back up again keeping your non-standing leg straight and parallel to the floor while the hip is flexed.
        The second option to progress to full pistol squats is to hold onto something that you can pull on while doing a full pistol squat thereby assisting the stance leg.    You can hold onto a suspension trainer, a cable machine handle, door frame, chair or table, or resistance training band or rope anchored above you.    A great way to do this is to anchor a suspension trainer or resistance band above you to a secure point then grasp the two handles and pull on them as required to do a full pistol squat.    Over time progressively use less and less assistance from the upper body, switch to just one hand, then lessen grip and assistance until you can perform full pistol squats.

        Videos:  https://youtu.be/It3yvU0fomI or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPksQCbeVZw

        My Trip to New Delhi & Hyderabad Cont………

        My 4th OCA was done for an organization in Hyderabad and I experienced something I came across the last time I did an OCA in Hyderabad. Readers of my Blog may recall my last visit to Hyderabad and the post of 10/12/09. Talk about déjà vu it was very similar on this occasion as well, but the difference was that it was led by the senior members of the board, who were eminent individuals in their own right. (I am talking about an attempt by the organization to cover up facts that directly deals with their capacity during the OCA). What made it very unpalatable was that they gave a presentation on the history and activities of the organization and conveniently omitted these facts from the presentation. This to me is a bad sign and a major put off. The irony is that even with these capacity issues the organization is a relatively capable organization and can be developed to do better; and the purpose for the assessment is exactly to identify these gaps so that they may be able to qualify for a grant to develop their organizational capacity.

        Other than this the rest of the assignment went as usual and finished the OCA by 4 PM on the 3rd of March. I went directly to the airport to take a flight to New Delhi for the 5th and last OCA. While waiting to board my flight I noticed a very weird thing. The displays at the Hyderabad airport that give flight departure details were giving a lot more information than it is logically required for passengers waiting to board flights. Let me explain; it starts with the information tag against the flights numbers as “Gate Open” and then as time goes by it proceeds to change the tags to “Final Call”, “Gate Closed”, “Boarding” and finally to “Departed”. In my experience this is the extent of the information which can be relevant to any passenger in the terminal and it stays for at least 10 to 15 minutes on the information board and then it is deleted from the board. However in Hyderabad Airport this is followed by another information tag saying “Airborne”; now who needs to know this? Does it mean that if you are late for the flight and that if the flight is not airborne they will put you on it? Don’t think so; as they say “gate closes 15 minutes before departure time”. Further given today’s security climate well-wishers are not allowed in the terminal. So go figure this one out.

        And More: Deals and Sales – Free from EA, Battlefield Hardline’s Betrayal Expansion/DLC, Until July 12th [Notification]

        Just a quick Notification, for those interested in Battlefield Hardline, that an Expansion for it is currently being offered Totally Free from EA via their “On The House” promotion:

        Screenshot of the Information Panel in the Origin Client for the Battlefield DLC/Expansion, Betrayal
        (Click to see Full Size)

        Free right now, EA is offering the Expansion for Battlefield: Hardline called Betrayal, which features 4 new maps (Thin Ice, Chinatown, Cemetery and Alcatraz), 2 New Vehicles, New Weapons (Personalize up to 5 Weapons with the Gun Bench and Test Weapons in the Gun Range!), New Assignments, New Camos, New Paints, and more [Inquisition Swooooord!lol]. While it does require the Base Game Battlefield: Hardline, even if you don’t own Hardline itself, you can Add it to your Origin Games Library and then Download it when you get Hardline in the future. If you are a Subscriber to Origin Access, you already have this available, for ‘free’ (it is part of the Vault Games available to you).

        The Expansion/DLC itself was originally released in March of 2016 and although it may not help with there only being a handful of servers in North America on PC with a high number of players on them (there are a lot more if you are part of the EU), it is still worth going and grabbing [in my opinion, especially if people end up coming back or playing more in the future. I have already seen an influx of new players, thanks in part to EA’s recent Up-to-75% Off Sale and DLC Giveaways].

        I have also been working on a “One Sentence Review” of all the Weapons in Battlefield: Hardline that I want to post here at The Blog in the future; but for now, if you are interested at all in Hardline, grab this while you can – and See You In the Game!

        [Personal Note: I am not affiliated with, nor receive any benefits of any kind from EA/Origin (check the Links, there are no ‘Affiliate Tags’ or anything on them); I am merely an enthusiastic gamer who tries to pass on information to other gamers, when I can. Enjoy, dear reader.]

        Georgia Bloggers Blog Hop

        It’s time to teach the country about yes ma’am and ya’ll.
        Down here in Georgia, we talk with a drawl.
        We’re bringing you some freebies as sweet as our tea.
        Enter our contest, you might get some things free!


        I moved to the Atlanta area eight years ago when my husband decided to go to law school at Emory. It didn’t take long for us to decide that we’d say goodbye to the cold Michigan winters and make Georgia our permanent home. 


        We eventually settled in Decatur, a quaint suburb of Atlanta, and we love our little town. Decatur has more festivals than any town I know, and we have a thriving downtown with local shops, concerts, and amazing restaurants. We’re minutes from downtown Atlanta, but we’ve somehow captured a small town feel, and I love it. 

        Image of Concerts on the Square in Decatur via visitdecaturga.wordpress.com

        This weekend, we’ve paused from our peach picking to give you a taste of Georgia. Twenty-five teachers invite you to take a road trip through our southern state. Hop through our blogs to get freebies.
                                                  
        This weekend only, I’m giving away my Standards for Mathematical Practice posters from TpT for FREE! You can pick up mine just by clicking here. 



        My entire TpT store will also be 20% off this weekend only — June 20-22, so check it out! 

        We’d also like to give you a chance to win a bushel basket full of our products. To enter from my page, you just need to follow my blog on Bloglovin’. Already do that? I’d also love for you to follow by email in the link at the top! You can enter once from each person’s blog.

        a Rafflecopter giveaway

        a Rafflecopter giveaway

        So what are you waiting for?! Time’s a wastin’. Go get more free stuff and sign up to win!

        An InLinkz Link-up

        My Trip to Manila, Philippines

        The assignment in the Philippines is to review a Strategic Plan which has been developed with the assistance of another consultant. On first glance of the plan it was not constructed in a logical way. The SWOT analysis was not used to look at strategic options. The whole plan is just a list of SWOT elements and clubbing of current activities in to 12 areas of work and finally selecting 6 areas which they call strategies and allocating opportunities and threats that are relevant to these selected 6 areas. They have not used the strengths and weaknesses.

        The previous consultant does not seem to have a grasp of the logic in strategic planning; the need to start with the external factors that influence the organization and then move inside the organization.

        The staff of the organization also seems to be very new to planning let alone strategic planning and have an aversion towards prioritizing and selection. As usual they seem to want to do everything. So all in all the previous plan does not have a logical flow as well as the choices the organization has made in order to mobilize resources and achieve the mission.

        My task of reviewing the strategic plan was made a lot more difficult as there were representatives from a funding organization who along with the staff thought they knew everything and in reality they “did not know what they did not know”. I some times wonder why they hired an expert if they think they know everything.

        They are more interested in retrofitting “logic” in to the current plan! Go figure! In effect they want to create a strategic plan breaking all the rules. I had a tough time to pull them into the right path. It seems that the organization/staff are not willing to change their current operating mode of adhocracy to a more strategic, structured logical way. So I explained that until the willingness to change is there the strategic plan will continue to be just a piece of paper.

        Now I have to do the documentation. Hope to finish it as soon as possible. Looking forward to returning to Colombo; Manila is too noisy for me and for some strange reason I do not seem to like Manila. Well I have finally found a city that I do not like.

        First Impressions – Google Play App: “Screen Recorder” by Kimcy929 [App Mini-Review]

        This article has been initially posted as Text-Only at this time, to speed up publishing, focusing on a certain issue. I will return to this posting and add more data on Quality and Performance, Screenshots and then eventually Share it on Twitter/Google+/etc… Soon™

        [This past Christmas, my father gave me a neat little tablet to play on – Thanks, Dad! I have been enjoying the heck out of it, learning what it does (cough how to use a tablet cough), what applications it can run (I can write a Blog Post laying down!) and of course, what games I can play on it, heh. I hope to give some Tutorials/Walkthroughs and Reviews on Games and Apps from it sometime… Oh wait, here’s one now! haha]

        The Google Store page for the app, with the ‘Play’ button removed [I felt it was a bit distracting, making people think there might be a ‘video to play’ here at The Blog], replaced with The Blog’s ‘G’ brevity logo version.
        The Google Play logo in the upper-left will be used to denote images that come ‘directly’ from the Google Play website/page for the app for these types of App Reviews/Posts (Unedited other than logos or helpful arrows/etc added).

        Google Play App – Screen Recorder by Kimcy929

        Straight to it: while this app did in fact ‘record the screen’, it could not record the game sounds themselves (‘internal’ gameplay audio), it only recorded microphone sounds (‘external’ audio outside the device). While this is useful for some, especially Vloggers, I was personally looking for a screen recorder for my tablet that recorded gameplay and the audio from the game, for Tutorials, Walkthroughs, etc.**

        Also, an issue arose where ANY video I viewed after installing this app (even videos I had on my device BEFORE installing it) only came up as a black screen, with the message:

        “…Video Is Playing On External Display…”





        Now, I had not enabled any such option, nor did I connect any External Displays…

        I did some research online and found many people running into this issue with various apps and devices (tablets, phones, etc). Looking at the App configuration in the Settings of my tablet for Screen Recorder, I found this app giving itself the ability to ‘draw over other apps’ (which it can do to create on-screen writing, or arrows, which it advertises that it can do on the Google Play Store page for the app).

        This is fine and these features are no doubt useful; however, I could no longer view any videos with the built-in Video Player (“complete action using > Video”) – I literally could no longer view any videos I had on my device, at all. [Even with third-party Media Players, such as VLC Media Player, simply viewing any videos was now ‘broken’…]

        Video playing of the Video portion of Videos on the Video Player that
        plays Videos was like, really broken now

        Even after disabling this option that it gave itself without prior warning (found in Settings > Apps > ScreenRecorder > DrawOverOtherApps), all videos still came up with just a black screen and that message – that is, just Disabling the Setting did not ‘undo’ the inability to no longer watch videos in the Video Player. Disabling this setting, then Uninstalling this app, then Restarting the Tablet, fixed the issue [in my case, the only way it was fixed].

        While this app does record the screen, allows for microphone use, doesn’t seem to affect gameplay performance very much, and seems to have a decent selection of Resolutions and Bitrates (eg. 1280×720, 8000kbps), also having some additional helpful things like drawing arrows on the screen, etc; it does not record ‘built-in’ gameplay audio – which I personally was looking for** – and it gave itself a power which interfered with normal tablet video viewing afterward… Not only that, but it only recorded a few videos before no longer working, with a message just repeatedly showing up stating, “Unfortunately, Screen Recorder has stopped”.

        No changing of Settings (of my tablet or the app itself) was able to remedy this or get past it [the message coming up and no video being recorded]. Reinstalling the app made it work again, but after a few recordings, only that message repeating on the screen was the result, once again. Therefore, considering all of the above [but including the fact that the app must have worked for other people, that is, those not running into this ‘Screen Recorder has stopped’ message problem], this app earned Three Stars at Google Play from me, as of the time of this writing.

        Being ‘completely free’ (No Fee and No Ads), and having a nice selection of ‘standards’ like Resolution and Bitrate choices, and having ‘extras’ like being able to draw on the screen; perhaps with some improvements to bugfixing, enhancements to how it handles itself (asking/warning what would happen before utilizing the “Draw Over Other Apps” ability would be helpful to users that might run into a problem with it) and adding the ability to record internal gameplay audio**, Screen Recorder could potentially be a very capable and ‘feature-rich’ screen recording application.

        3/5 Stars
        ★★★☆☆


        This app (and a shortened version of the above Review by The Blog (to fit on Google Play’s Review area)) can be found on Google Play, at:

        Screen Recorder by Kimcy929
        https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kimcy929.screenrecorder

        [Note: I am not affiliated with Screen Recorder or Kimcy929 in any way, and I have not and will not be compensated by them for writing about them here. I am merely a user of their application and like to help others with helpful information, when I can. The information in this post was obtained on an LG G Pad IV, and therefore might vary slightly from your own experience (Settings, Menus, Performance, Problems, etc) – but I hope that it was still found useful in some way.]

        ** More on this later… I have recently found out that Google has taken away the ability [temporarily?] to record game output AND game audio at the same time (“internal audio”) in the latest Android versions – save for a small number of possibilities on LG and Samsung devices. But, I’ll cover this at a later time, when I find out more solid details…

        The Sims 2 “Ultimate Collection” (Absolutely Everything) – Completely Free from EA

        When I first read about this from EA, that is, the possibility of getting absolutely every single expansion and “Stuff” add-ons completely free, I thought there must be some mistake… A little bit of reading at the EA website and I inferred from the phrasing that it was initially going to be offered as a free upgrade to current owners of The Sims 2 (Digital/Download or Disc-based versions); but I did a little more reading about it today and it seems that EA may be ‘planning on putting it “in everyone’s game list” eventually’… [in my opinion] most likely to arouse just-a-little-more interest in The Sims franchise for the upcoming “The Sims 4” release (now available for pre-order, slated to be released in September 2014).

        Therefore, now feeling fully-okay-mostly safe from the dark shadows of ‘releasing something that wasn’t meant to be distributed’, I share with you the Product Code that will allow you to be the proud owner of “The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection”, which includes all of the below:

        • The Sims 2
        • The Sims 2: University Expansion
        • The Sims 2: Nightlife Expansion
        • The Sims 2: Open for Business Expansion
        • The Sims 2: Pets Expansion
        • The Sims 2: Seasons Expansion
        • The Sims 2: Bon Voyage Expansion
        • The Sims 2: FreeTime Expansion
        • The Sims 2: Apartment Life Expansion
        • The Sims 2: Family Fun Stuff
        • The Sims 2: Glamour Life Stuff
        • The Sims 2: Happy Holiday Stuff
        • The Sims 2: Celebration! Stuff
        • The Sims 2: H&M Fashion Stuff
        • The Sims 2: Teen Style Stuff
        • The Sims 2: Kitchen & Bath Interior Design Stuff
        • The Sims 2: IKEA Home Stuff
        • The Sims 2: Mansion & Garden Stuff

        Wow, thanks EA!

        Note: this package release may be time-limited and EA has stated that they will no longer be updating The Sims 2 or it’s expansions, although they can still be contacted if you are having technical problems running the game

        Here are the steps to redeem the free Activation/Product Code:

        1. If you don’t already have it installed on your system, download and install the Origin game client from EA [it is similar to Steam and other game management interfaces] from http://origin.com/download
        2. Create an Origin account if you don’t already have one at https://connect.origin.com/create and log into the Origin client
        3. In the pull-down menus at the top of the Origin interface, click on “Origin” and then “Redeem Product Code…”
        4. In the white box [field] under Product Code, enter this:
          I-LOVE-THE-SIMS
          [hyphens may not be needed]
        5. You should then see a message that the activation was successful and you are the newest owner of  [oops, I forgot what year I’m in, I mean a temporally licensed user of]  The Sims 2, along with all possible Expansion Packs and Add-Ons
        6. Select the game in your My Games list in the Origin Client and install it by clicking the Download button that pops up [and if you’re like me, click OK to the Insufficient Disk Space message]
        7. That’s it! 

        Enjoy playing The Sims 2 once again, experiencing all that this version could possibly offer.

        Have fun with it and See You In The Games!

        ALL-IN-ONE-ROOM APARTMENT DESIGN STYLE ALL-IN-ONE-ROOM APARTMENT DESIGN STYLE

        After a look at the pictures in this charming crib Scandinavia, we can only guess at the last, this apartment has no space. You’ll probably be surprised to know that in reality, the total area of ​​the house has a room of 44 square meters. Located Vasastan, Stockholm, this bright and comfortable studio seems to have everything: a beautiful modern design, function and a general atmosphere of welcome.

        ALL-IN-ONE-ROOM APARTMENT DESIGN STYLE

        ALL-IN-ONE-ROOM APARTMENT DESIGN STYLE

        According Alvhem Makleri & Interior, it is an opportunity that exudes peace and tranquility. The living room is a bright and social, with the opening of both kitchen and bedroom. Windows dissolves the border between the inside and provides natural light to govern. We are sure that you have already noticed alcove large enough for a king-size bed. This can be a bit flat, but the design approach used to improve inspires only the “oversized” ideas.

        ALL-IN-ONE-ROOM APARTMENT DESIGN

        ALL-IN-ONE-ROOM APARTMENT DESIGN

        ALL-IN-ONE-ROOM APARTMENT DESIGN

        ALL-IN-ONE-ROOM APARTMENT DESIGN

        ALL-IN-ONE-ROOM APARTMENT DESIGN CONCEPT

        ALL-IN-ONE-ROOM APARTMENT DESIGN CONCEPT

        ALL-IN-ONE-BATHROOM APARTMENT DESIGN

        ALL-IN-ONE-BATHROOM APARTMENT DESIGN

        ALL-IN-ONE-ROOM APARTMENT SCHEME

        Paperless Mission #8: Conduct and Archive Running Records (iPad)

        This is the eighth installment in my Go Paperless! Challenge series. You can see the other entries in the series here. Also be sure to link up with my Paperless Challenge Linky!

        Mission #8: Conduct and Archive Running Records 

        At least once each six-week term, teachers at my school are supposed to conduct a running record as a guided reading level assessment. We use the Fiction Level Reading Assessments provided by the Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project, and before my move to paperless, this system was a mess for me. I’d have one binder that was all the student copies of texts, and then I’d have a huge paper pile of blank assessments that I could fill in as I worked with students. Invariably, I’d have a ton of kids reading on level S, for example, and I’d run out of my copies of that assessment, so it was back to the copier to make more. Then I’d have to deal with recording the data and filing them all, and it was a bit of a nightmare.

        Paperless rocks. The nightmare is over.

        In this tutorial, I’ll share how I’m using Dropbox, GoodReader, and Evernote to conduct running records anytime and anywhere on my iPad. You might want to get a good iPad stylus, too, if you like that “pen in hand” feel.

        Step 1. Download all of the running records to a folder on Dropbox.

        You will also want to print one student copy of each assessment. I still keep all of those in page protectors in a binder so I can hand one over for the student to read off of, but I never make copies of these. It’s a one-time paper expense that I’m happy to live with.

        Step 2. Import the guided reading assessments into your GoodReader app.

        Once you’re done saving them to Dropbox, open up GoodReader and connect to DropBox. There’s more information about this in the previous GoodReader tutorial, Mission #6.

        Step 3. Choose the appropriate level, and open up the teacher copy in GoodReader.

        The first time that you want to annotate the document, you’ll be prompted to “Create an Annotated Copy” or “Save to This File.” You will want to choose “Create an Annotated Copy” so you don’t lose your blank copy. Otherwise, you’ll have to download these files every time you want to use them, and that’s only marginally better than running to the copy room — trust me.

        Step 4. Use the annotation tools to mark up student reading as you normally would. 

        I won’t lie — the first couple times I did this, it felt a little awkward. You have to remember to save the document if you’re switching between tools or trying to scroll/resize. But it does get better quickly, I promise! The more you use the tools, the more fluid your movements will be. It didn’t take me long to get back to the level of proficiency I had with paper copies, and while my writing is a little messier on the iPad, it definitely gets the job done.

        Step 5. Rename the file using the manage files option on the home screen of GoodReader. 

        To get back to the home screen, tap the center of your screen — away from any annotations — and it should show you the main menu or “My Documents” up at the top left.

        Step 6. Move the renamed running record over to the student’s notebook in Evernote.

        To get there, go into Manage Files again, and then select Open in. . . 

        You’ll be prompted to flatten annotations. Make sure you choose this or your annotations may be lost. 

        Select Evernote, and it will launch your Evernote app. From there, you can move it into the appropriate notebook and type in any notes that you want to remember about the student’s reading.

        Extra Credit: Create a simultaneous audio file in Evernote.

        This is something that I’ve been playing around with lately, and I think the possibilities for this are amazing. Once I have everything set up so that my student has the student copy of the text and I have the right running record file open in GoodReader, I go into Evernote, open a new note, and start an audio recording using the microphone icon. I tell the student to start, and then I use 4 fingers to swipe quickly from right to left across my iPad. This takes me back to GoodReader (or whatever my last open app was) without having to go through my home screen. When the student finishes, I use the 4-finger swipe in the opposite direction to pause the recording.

        In the end, I have an .mp4 audio file of the student reading in addition to my annotations on the running record. This is great because it’s evidence I can use in RTI and parent-teacher conferences, and it also enables me to play back the audio so the student can hear him or herself read — something that rarely happens. We can then talk about patterns I’m noticing and ways to improve reading fluency. It’s a great teaching tool.

        Your assignment: Try doing a few running records on your iPad and leave me a comment about how it’s going. I’d love to hear other ideas or suggestions to fine-tune this process, too. I’ve only been doing it for about 6 weeks, so I know there are things that could be improved. Hopefully this is enough information to get you started, though!

        Thanks for reading!

        LIVING ROOM DESIGN IDEAS GET COMFORT

        LIVING ROOM DESIGN IDEAS

        Living room is the most popular rentals for guests and where families come together to end their days of rest after a long week at work or enjoying a TV program together. In most cases, this room is on the floor of a house and is very active. It is therefore essential that this area is decorated in a pleasant environment to ensure the comfort of visitors. When planning a room design, the main and most important factor to decide is the purpose of the room. One thing to remember when designing your living space is that you should feel comfortable in the room and the style, since they will likely spend most of their time in the room. Finally, here are some design ideas that show really got in touch with the style you want.

        LIVING ROOM DESIGN IDEAS

        LIVING ROOM DESIGN IDEAS

        LIVING ROOM DESIGN IDEAS

        LIVING ROOM DESIGN IDEAS

        WORKOUT ANYTIME in the Jacksonville Daily Record

        WORKOUT ANYTIME in the Jacksonville Daily Record

        WORKOUT ANYTIME was recently featured in the Jacksonville Daily Record. The article talks about the new WORKOUT ANYTIME that opened up Monday, October 6. The article talks about how the Levitt family looks to open 15 WORKOUT ANYTIME locations in the next 5 years in the Jacksonville area. 
        View the full article here. 

        Deals And Sales – ‘Things Goin’ On This Weekend’ (Weekend of August 11th, 2017) [Notification]

        Just a quick Notification of some things going on… Once in a while, I try to post about Sales going on somewhere – especially the ‘big’ ones, like Summer’s End or Christmas Sales. This weekend, there are a few ‘Free Weekends’ and Sales going on (that I saw so far) and thought I wanted to share them, just in case there were others interested in these games, heh. Here’s what I saw is Goin’ On This Weekend:


        Guild Wars 2 Expansion (Path Of Fire) is Free To Try all weekend:

        https://www.guildwars2.com/en/news/get-ready-for-the-guild-wars-2-path-of-fire-preview-weekend/

        GOG.com (formerly Good Old Games) is having a couple of Sales on games which include series like Master Of Orion, Warhammer 40K, Painkiller, Delta Force, Red Faction and at the same time having a sale on Strategy Games like Codename Panzers, Men of War, Hybrid Wars, Total Annihilation, Empire Earth, and more:

        https://www.gog.com/promo/20170807_weekly_sale
        and
        https://www.gog.com/promo/20170811_special_promo_strategy_sale

        Some other games, which are Free To Try all weekend via Steam, are:

        For Honor, the medieval swordplay/battle game is Free To Try all weekend and selling for half-price
        (for those that remember Die By The Sword, it looks like it may be similar to that, but in an ‘arena’ setting [sorry, but I haven’t been able to try it yet]):

        http://store.steampowered.com/app/304390/FOR_HONOR/

        Saints Row IV, from the crazy “each game is increasingly like GTA-on-drugs” open-world/action
        series, is Free To Try all weekend and selling at a reduced price
        [I haven’t tried it yet, but I am still playing the wacky Saints Row III once in a while and still getting a kick out of it]:

        http://store.steampowered.com/app/206420/Saints_Row_IV/

        Sorry I didn’t get to finishing this sooner, but the weekend isn’t over yet! Get out there and try these games out or grab something you want on sale – and maybe See You In The Game!

        Edit:

        I completely forgot one more I was going to post in here! 

        GamersGate also has some games on Sale right now, including Borderlands (for five bucks!), the Mafia series, Bioshock series, Xcom series, and more:

        https://www.gamersgate.com/offers

        [Note: I am not affiliated with these game sites, nor do I receive any compensation for mentioning them here (the Links do not have any ‘affiliate tags’ or similar additions to them) – I am merely an enthusiastic gamer and like to share deals and other goings-on with other gamers like me. Enjoy!]

        Beautiful Bed Room Design Sample

        Beautiful Bed Room DesignBeautiful Bed Room Design

        Beautiful Bed Room Design MinimalistBeautiful Bed Room Design Minimalist


        Beautiful Bed Room Design ElegantBeautiful Bed Room Design Elegant


        The hottest color of 2010 is Beautiful Bed Room Design which is a strong color that must be used as a complement with lighter tones so as to not overwhelm the space and to make it look classy and fun.In the pictures above you can see a beautiful turquoise interior starting with the chandelier and ending with pillows.It’s a good combination between turquoise and floral tapet from walls.

        Authors Are People, Too!

        Oh, bloggy friends, I have missed you! This year is kicking my behind! I had high hopes that I’d still be blogging with great regularity this year, but alas…between my 28 awesome fourth graders, the start of my PhD, and my incredible two-year-old daughter, time is an oh-so-precious commodity. By the time my little one makes it to bed at night, I. am. wiped. out. And then I usually have textbooks to read and papers to write. But not today.

        Today, I wanted to share with you the very awesome author visit we had at my school.

        Granted, it’s old news by now. It happened during the Decatur Book Festival on Labor Day weekend, which, by the way, is one of the coolest things you can do in the Atlanta area if you’re ever here for Labor Day. But my experience was cool enough that I still wanted to share…four weeks later…

        Every year as part of the book festival, 1 or 2 children’s authors come and talk at our school. This year, the fourth graders got to listen to Chris Grabenstein. If you’re not familiar with him, you should seriously run, not walk, but run to get his new book, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library.

        This book is the story of Kyle Keeley, an avid game-player who wins a contest to spend the night in the new library built by master game-maker Luigi Lemoncello. As Kyle explores the library, however, he realizes that winning the contest was just the beginning, and a whole new game with high stakes, twists, and turns is starting. It reminds me a little of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and Roald Dahl is just one of many authors referenced in the book. It’s very clever, fast-paced, and entertaining. I started it as a read-aloud when we found out that Mr. Grabenstein was coming, and we seriously couldn’t put it down. It was one of those books where I’ve had multiple students go out and buy it on their own because they couldn’t handle waiting for us to read it in class. It’s way up there on my recommendation list.

        Mr. Grabenstein definitely inspired the students as writers. He shared a lot about his writing process, but his overall message was to just let it flow without editing yourself. To illustrate that, he modeled writing a story for the students. Prior to starting, he gathered 5-6 random words that students had written on sticky notes. He stuck those in his back pocket. Then, he projected a crazy picture.

        He explained the difference between a protagonist and an antagonist, and he encouraged students to “Ask yourself, ‘what if…?'” He said that there are always a few questions you need to think about when planning a story.
        • Who is this guy?
        • What does he want?
        • Where is he?
        • Who wants to stop him?
        • Why?
        He then took student suggestions to answer those questions and plan his story.
        Next, he had students come up with a starting sentence: “My face hurts,” and an ending sentence: “He ate radioactive iridium isotopes” so we would know when his story was starting and ending. And then he just started telling the story. It was hilarious! At various points throughout the story, he would pretend to be stuck and pull a word out of his back pocket, and no matter what it was, he just rolled with it. He has a background in improv comedy, so I suspect that helps. Still, it really hit home the message that you shouldn’t censor yourself while you’re drafting — you can always go back and change things later if you need to. When you’re drafting, you should just let it flow to wherever creative place you’re led. 
         We were pretty inspired by his presentation, and we went back to the classroom to a) write, and b) read more of his book. The kids were so excited! We were totally unprepared, however, when he came into our classroom about an hour later. (So unprepared, in fact, that some of my students were still working on their vocabulary tests on Spelling City!) 

        Usually when authors have come to our school, they’ve given their presentations, signed a few books, and then split. Mr. Grabenstein went above and beyond, happy to spend his day engaging with the kids and taking an interest in what they were doing. They barraged him with questions, and he answered openly and honestly, encouraging the kids the whole time. Needless to say, Mr. Grabenstein has secured quite a fan base in Eberopolis.

        In the weeks since his visit, we’ve had countless conversations in writing about some of the little tidbits Mr. Grabenstein shared with us, but more than anything, I loved that my students got a chance to see that authors are real people, too. They have good ideas and bad, writer’s block and inner editors just like the rest of us. But they power through those hurdles, and we get some fantastic books as a result.

        Thank you for visiting us, Mr. Grabenstein. It was definitely a highlight in our year.

        The Role of B-Vitamins in Preventing Brain Loss

        One in five people older than 70 suffers from cognitive impairment which will progress to dementia and death in half of these people within five years.  So it is very important to address all the modifiable risk factors for cognitive impairment.   One of these risk factors is elevated homocysteine which is a strong, independent risk factor for Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Heart Disease.  
        One of the longest and most comprehensive studies ever done showed that one in six cases of Alzheimer’s Disease can be caused by increased homocysteine levels.
        In order to process homocysteine properly the body needs adequate levels of Folic Acid (Vitamin B-9), vitamin B12, and Vitamin B6.   A double-blind randomized controlled trial showed that the reduction of homocysteine by B Vitamins can slow the rate of accelerated brain atrophy in people with mild cognitive impairment which is often the first step towards Alzheimer’s Disease.
        Another study showed that B-Vitamins can reduce brain loss in areas prone to the Alzheimer’s Disease process. 
        Other Benefits of B-Vitamins
        B-Vitamins as a group are incredible important to a wide range of cellular and metabolic functions from energy production to production of hormones. Benefits of optimal levels include increased energy, improved mood, reduction of allergy symptoms, help preserve vision, help to maintain bone strength, and help prevent heart disease and stroke.
        How do I get B-Vitamins?
        Although it is possible to get the RDA of B-Vitamins through diet alone it requires a carefully planned diet and for vegetarians it is very challenging because there is no vitamin B-12 in vegetables. Milk, yogurt and cheese, along with eggs, are the only vegetarian food items that naturally contain significant levels of vitamin B12.
        In addition many people have conditions which prevent optimal absorption and cellular uptake of certain B-Vitamins such as Folic Acid.   Each of the key B-Vitamins come in several forms with some being much more active and effective than others.   When everything works right the body can convert other forms to the active forms, but there are many things that interfere with this process.
        For example Intrinsic factor produced in the stomach is what allows the intestines to absorb this vitamin.  Not everyone produces intrinsic factor so common sources of B-12 are not effective.
        Also since B-Vitamins are water-soluble excess amounts are easily and safely excreted so taking a high quality B-Vitamin Supplement or Multiple Vitamin with activated forms of B-Vitamins in adequate amounts is the safest way to cover yourself.    In addition, although each B-Vitamin performs critical functions in isolation they also work together to optimize many functions so taking a complete B-Vitamin Supplement is highly recommended.
        What are all the B-Vitamins?

        B- Vitamin          Active Form                                                    Inactive Form
        B-1                        Benfotiamine                                                Thiamine
        B-2                        Riboflavin-5-phophate                                 Flavin Monocleotide
        B-3                        Niacinamide                                                 NAD                                        
        B-5                        Panthothenic Acid                                         None                   
        B-6                        Pyridoxal-5-phospate                                    Pyridoxine Hydrochloride
        B-7                        Biotin                                                             None
        B-9                        Methyltetrahydrofolate  aka Metafolin         Folic Acid                                         
        B-12                      MethylCobalamin                                         Cobalamin
        Can you take too much of the B-Vitamins?
        For certain ones the answer is yes!  You should not take in more than 800mcg of folic acid supplement.  Too much can mask a condition called pernicious anemia.  Multiple Vitamins and B-Complex Supplements will contain 400 – 800mcg and more from diet is not a problem.
        For vitamin B-6 intake above 200mg per day is not recommended.  Again multiple vitamins and B-Complex will generally contain less than this amount and more from food is not an issue.
        Regular “Niacin” can cause significant skin flushing and itching, but this is harmless although it can be very uncomfortable.    Extremely high dose niacin can be used to treat high cholesterol levels but the regular form that causes flushing can also cause liver issues at high levels.   This is also true of “time-released” forms.     The best form for use for cholesterol is “Flush Free Niacin” aka Inositol Hexiniacinate as it will not cause these issues.   NAD (Nicotinomide Adenine Nucleotide) is very safe but there is no reason to take more than 10mg per day.
        As always do not take any supplement when pregnant without consulting your registered health care professional.

        My Next Assignments…………

        Never have I experienced a hectic period leading up to an assignment like the past few days. I returned from my assignment in Vietnam on the 3rd of February. I was supposed to leave for Indonesia on the 8th for another assignment. However the client was not able to process my visa on time and the assignment was cancelled / postponed. During this period I had to finish 6 Organizational Capacity Assessment Reports. So I was running around trying to process my visa as well as trying to complete the reports before I left for Indonesia.

        Once it was clear that I was unable to go to Indonesia I was requested by 3 more clients to submit proposals. One assignment was in Bangladesh and it went very fast; I have already set the travel dates, booked the tickets, got my visa and everything is a go. The other in India went very quick even though I had to finish contracting, setting the travel dates, booking the ticket, and getting my visa to be able to start the assignment in India on the 21st.

        The other is indeed a nightmare! I have been discussing with this client since October of 2009. Well believe it; some times a contract can take even longer. I have already done 5 versions of the proposal; and the last. This kind of procrastination by a client signifies all or some of the following:

        • The client is not clear about what they want
        • They are haggling about rates and costs
        • The client is unsure about you and the organization you represent
        • Does not know / have the resources / decision making power to use the results of the assignment

        I must say that this client does not know me and the organization. That is why I went through the process of doing 5 versions of the proposal. However now I know it is to do with the rates and costs. This has a critical issue that most consultants do not see; which is the client is likely to not be satisfied with your work no matter how well you do your assignment. This also has the possibility to creating a problem when collecting final payment for the assignment.

        My advice (which is what I am doing right now) is to stop doing anymore changes to the proposal and wait for the client to come back to you with a contract with any changes that they feel are important. This way you push the client towards closing (sales cycle) and stop you from spending time (which is money) on an order which may not be profitable.

        Free Weekend – Overwatch and Fallout 4 [Notification]

        Just a quick notification for those that didn’t know, that this weekend is a Free Weekend for two great games: Overwatch by Blizzard Entertainment and Fallout 4 by Bethesda Softworks.
        To commemorate this amazing alignment of the planets that these two behemoths occupy, I created this ‘Mash-Up’ Image Header as a Reminder, which I will release as a Full-Sized Wallpaper, for fans of these two franchises, once it is complete… Soon™

        A big fan of both companies’ products, I was so excited about it – but I haven’t had a chance to play yet! So, I’m trying to help out all of you fellow gamers and notify you that these games are Free and Playable all weekend – including being sold at lowered prices – but it’s almost over! Get out there and jump in – and have fun! GOGOGO

        See You In The Game!

        BEAUTIFUL HOME FAMILY DESIGN “VILLA DE CHARME”

        Katrine Martensen-Larsen comes this stunning house designed for a family of seven children. We hope that this message will come in handy for those of you looking for new ideas for the nursery too. “Villa de Charme” is located in, Frederiksber Denmark and has been specially designed for a family of seven children. The designer said that this house is “evidence that many children and a hectic lifestyle does not mean you have to compromise on style.” The interior features original decorating ideas and news. The wallpapers are particularly interesting. White is used mainly to define the house and gives it an intimate feeling clean and fresh. bits of color are added here and there, crying the whole design. We really appreciate how serious, sober rooms alternate with play.

        BEAUTIFUL HOME FAMILY DESIGN

        BEAUTIFUL HOME FAMILY DESIGN

        BEAUTIFUL LIVING ROOM HOME FAMILY DESIGN

        BEAUTIFUL LIVING ROOM HOME FAMILY DESIGN

        BEAUTIFUL KITCHEN HOME FAMILY DESIGN

        BEAUTIFUL KITCHEN HOME FAMILY DESIGN

        BEAUTIFUL BATHROOM HOME FAMILY DESIGN

        BEAUTIFUL BATHROOM HOME FAMILY DESIGN

        BEAUTIFUL BEDROOM HOME FAMILY DESIGN

        BEAUTIFUL BEDROOM HOME FAMILY DESIGN

        TestRun, Video Edition: Recording Gameplay – Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 (Video Samples with Brief Tutorial Video)

        This is a more informal TestRun, where I was merely testing out the perceived quality of some recording codecs while attempting to get gameplay recording of Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 going. As most of you know, recording this game is not just a point-and-shoot affair. Heck, most game recording applications won’t even detect the way it is buffering and utilizing video memory, resulting in a black screen, flashing or very laggy output. After trying years ago and abandoning it temporarily, I was recently searching websites with information on trying it again. With no luck finding a starting point of information, I decided to figure it out on my own – and of course share my findings should anything turn out fruitful…

        First, simply trying to record RCT2 with FRAPS and then Bandicam, turned up nothing as a result. Either it would not detect the screen (it is not using 2D/3D rendering/buffering on the videocard in a standard manner) or it would capture blackness (when trying Bandicam’s ‘Record The Screen’, for instance). Since these are two well-made recording products, I assumed other products would result in the same …result. I also seem to remember trying applications like Camtasia, back in the day..

        So next, I tried good’ol ‘Virtualbox’. A staple Virtual Machine emulator (think of a little computer-running-inside-a-computer), I installed an old version of WindowsXP that I had into the GuestVM. Installing my DRM-free purchase of RCT2 from Good Old Games, I tried recording the screen. No luck, since it wasn’t using Direct3D in a way that I could record (after I finally got Direct3D working in it). I tried playing it in a Windowed VM and recording that. It wouldn’t even run for some reason. It kept trying to ‘take over’ the VM and resizing it. I tried setting my Host Computer desktop resolution to 1280×720 and getting the game to detect that and run it at that resolution, ‘Full Screen’ and ‘Seamless’. Nope. For one thing, the game kept detecting and making available only the most basic of 4:3 aspect resolutions (CRT monitor type sizes), no matter what driver/settings I used for the virtual machine (I of course wanted the more modern widescreen 16:9 ratio, as YouTube uses).

        Third, I tried VMware’s ‘VMware Player’. A free virtual machine app, where the business version (VMware Workstation) is the go-to prog for business virtualization. Installing my XP and then RCT2 into the VM, I got it going in 720p rez and prepared Bandicam to record a “Rectangle On A Screen”. It worked wonderfully. So, with the odd stutter (very few and far between), I can now record RCT2 gameplay and wanted to share my findings of the ability with everyone.

        I was also messing around with different recording codecs, to see what they looked like at different settings with this game at 720p. I quickly threw together this little video showing some settings and results (Sample Video). A summary of what I have set up to record Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 gameplay is just below a short analysis of the video/recordings. Again. this isn’t a ‘full/technical’ TestRun, it is just me sharing some tests I did and showing that one can indeed record RCT2. Further down, there is a video that goes over the steps in summary, then in slightly more detail, showing the steps taken on the screen, a short ‘tutorial’ I suppose. For those who haven’t figured it out or got it working yet, perhaps this information will help you out, too. Enjoy!

        RCT2 testing (codecs/settings) with Bandicam (Samples)

        Recorded with: Bandicam, various quality settings, various codecs @ 1280×720 (720p HD)

        Recorded game: Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 (RCT2)

        Some recording data (per codec) for this test:

        MJPEG @ q80 = 45,000kbps data rate (~330MB per minute of gameplay recording)

        MPEG-1 @ q80 = 11,000kbps data rate (~80MB per minute of gameplay recording)

        MJPEG @ q60 = 34,000kbps data rate (~250MB per minute of gameplay recording)

        MPEG-1 @ q60 = 3,000kbps data rate (~22MB per minute of gameplay recording)

        *XviD and x264 are omitted as results for this test as editing/recompression resulted in corrupted video output (they will be included in a future TestRun with many codecs)

        Brief analysis of sample video:

        • All of the MPEG-1 settings are quite watchable, unless of course the temporal gibbs effects bothers you (the little ‘ghosty/glimmer’ effects that follow around the peeps). Perhaps if I didn’t mention it, you might not have noticed? As with all recording/editing, if it ‘looks fine to you’, then you can run with it if you want. Some people “need” the best quality possible, some can watch any quality and enjoy it. If the MPEG-1 setting at 80% Quality seemed fine to you, go ahead and use that (it is about 1/4 the size of the MJPEG recordings and I have found that editing MPEG-1 is bit slower but quite possible to do in editing applications such as Sony’s Vegas line of products).
        • The MJPEG at a Quality of 50 percent is watchable but messy looking, as expected since a JPG (MJPEG is a series of JPG frames) at only 50% quality would have tons of compression artifacts. 60% is just as bad, with ‘rough blocks’ everywhere (macroblock artifacting). MJPEG at Quality80 isn’t bad and very watchable, but it is much larger in bitrate usage/file size than say, MPEG-1 at the same quality setting (it is about four times larger in file size). It is the easiest codec to edit, however.
        • XviD, an MPEG-4 codec, can potientially looks a lot ‘cleaner’ as it can handle smaller macroblocks/divisions of the screen (inherent in the improvements in MPEG-4 over MPEG-1) – but the output seems to have strong corruption (it leaves ‘trails’ on the screen) when attempting to edit/recompress it into a final product (as seen in the video).
        • x264, a more recent ‘Advanced Video Codec’ version of MPEG-4, it records in wonderful quality and low file sizes – but all of that is hidden behind, again, corruption (‘trails’ left behind on the screen*) and slow editing.
          (The editing can be helped somewhat by specifying a smaller GroupOfPictures (frames inbetween keyframes/information frames, to help seeking through the video.)
          Keep in mind that for the MPEG-4 codecs, the corruption surfaces only when editing/recompressing the source video. The ‘original’ gameplay recording in MPEG-4 is quite clean and watchable, completely fine if you are just going to ‘record-and-upload’ to a video sharing site or personal website.
          *More on this issue and x264 recording in a future article
        • A full Codec Comparison TestRun is coming, where I test out a bunch of different codecs and see how they fare for general game recording, MPEG-1, MPEG-4, AVC/h264 (MPEG-4 Part-10), MJPEG, XviD, RGB24 and more…

          Some related articles:
          Game recording comparison with various codecs and settings (Minecraft)
          http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.ca/2012/10/testrun-video-edition-fraps-vs-dxtory.html
          The ghosting/blurring effect when rendering in Sony Vegas products
          http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.ca/2012/10/and-more-how-to-stop-ghosting-or.html

        There are a couple other ways to do it I think, but here is how I recorded Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 gameplay with Bandicam:

        • Install Windows into a VM Guest (for example, a VMware virtual machine within the VMware Player application)
        • Install RCT2 into that Virtual Machine, running the VM in a window (for example, 1280×720)
        • Set up Bandicam to record a ‘Rectangle On A Screen’ and set the Rectangle to be the same size as the Virtual Machine running in a window (in this case, 1280×720) and line them up. 

        That’s it!

        Tutorial Video on how to record Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 with Bandicam

        I had seen many people on many forums asking for years how to record RCT2 gamplay. I have seen a few videos online now and so some have it working, but if you haven’t been able to get it going or would like to try to make your own Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 videos, here’s how. Good luck with it and have fun!
        See you in the games!

        How to Get Rid of Cellulite

        Although the vast majority of woman have some cellulite somewhere on their body – nobody likes it!   So what the heck is cellulite anyway?  Cellulite is pockets of fat that have squeezed between bands of tissue, called septae, that are located below your skin.

        Women of all races get it, while virtually no men do. That’s because the septae of men are different from women. Men have stronger bands that are cross-hatched allowing them to keep fat in place more effectively. Women have weaker, vertically oriented septae that allows fat to squeeze through easier.

        Both thin and heavy women have cellulite. However the higher your level of body fat the more noticeable the dimpling will tend to be.  Unfortunately dieting does necessarily help eliminate cellulite. Losing weight helps sometime, but in some cases weight loss makes cellulite worse.   This occurs when skin becomes saggy after significant weight loss.

        There is a definite genetic component to cellulite which does run in families.
        Hormones also are part of the equation with cellulite, but science has not figured out exactly how hormones contribute to cellulite.  What is known is that cellulite starts at puberty which is a time that many hormone levels change significantly in females.

        Getting Rid of Cellulite

        Getting rid of cellulite is easier said than done.  Even treatments like Liposuction are not necessarily effective.    In fact Liposuction often makes cellulite worse by leaving your skin even more puckered looking than it was before.

        Dermatologists are quick to point out that there is no magic cure for cellulite, but there are ways to make it look better!   Two of the keys are working out and dropping excess weight sensibly (1lbs per week! – faster weight loss can exacerbate the problem!)

        Resistance training is key.   As you increase your muscle size and decrease body fat your skin looks smoother.     If you lose fat while you simultaneously build muscle your cellulite will improve.
        It is also important to work on the health of your skin as you age to make it more elastic so that as you lose fat the skin pulls tight rather than sagging.    

        Certain topical treatments that increase collagen in the skin, like Retin-A or creams with retinol or vitamin C, cannot hurt and may help.   

        Maintaining adequate water intake is also key for skin health and elasticity – 6 – 8 glasses of water per day is key.

        If you have faithfully tried everything and your cellulite is driving you crazy and you are prepared to spend some serious dollars – Cellulaze – is an FDA approved therapy.  Cellulaze involves inserting a lazer under the skin and projects heats in three directions and literally liquefies fat as it cuts the septae around fat cells which can reduce the puckering while also encouraging collagen regrowth.

        Cellulaze claims a 70 – 80% improvement in cellulite that lasts a full year.  It is most effective for active women with mild to moderate cellulite who are not significantly overweight and who also have good muscle tone.

        Unfortunately, Cellulaze is not cheap – costing $5,000 – $7,000 depending on the size of the area being treated.

        And More: A Simple Explanation Why ‘Loot Boxes’ May Be Considered “Gambling”, In Games Like Star Wars Battlefront II, Et Al… [Editorial]

        ((Portions of this article
        may or may not have
        information obtained
        from this unidentified
        Imperial Officer))

        Recently, in the game Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (EA, Dice), there was the introduction of “Loot Boxes”. These are purchasable ‘crates’ that can contain multiple items. These items are generated randomly (RNG, Random Number Generation) and are obtainable by using “RealLife™” Money [my superscript as pun] – and therein lies the problem being discussed.

        In an attempt to explain it simply on a Steam Forum Thread a few days ago, I posted the comment below. I replicate it here, to share with others, so that this whole ‘issue’ may be understood more fully:

        “If I may pop in, to explain the reason why “loot boxes could be considered gambling”; it is due to a few factors:

        – There is an RNG factor in the potential items from the Loot Boxes (the items are random, and some items are worth more than others)

        – The inclusion of the possibility of utilizing RealLife™ Currency to obtain them.
        [Because of this element, more than anything, it could possibly be construed as “gambling”…]

        – Because the items (1) can be exchanged in the game for other items that ‘cost RealLife™ Money (2), they are ‘gambling on the possibility’ that they will ‘save money’ if there are better/higher items in the Box purchased (i.e. they will ‘save money’ if the RNG produces higher/better items in the Box; they will not have to buy much more)

        Together, all three points mean the game essentially has “gambling” within it…
        I assume the reason why some parents are getting upset about it, is that there is a possibility of a Minor using their RealLife™ Money to obtain the Loot Boxes (in any game).

        The solution is simple however; remove the possibility of utilizing RealLife™ money to obtain the Chests/Boxes/etc OR the possibility of getting ‘better items’ that will ‘deconstruct into elements that can accrue to get better items’ (“saving money” if the better items appear via RNG) and there is no longer the possibility of it being “gambling”, as it were.”


        The above points, along with the fact that the ‘items’ can actually affect a players’ performance (i.e. a person with more items or better items can actually live longer or do more damage than someone without the items), is the sum of the whole problem that is upsetting many gamers, the entire issue becoming aflame in the recent release (Nov.17th) of “Star Wars: Battlefront II”.

        Other games (eg. “Team Fortress 2”), handle this concern for the most part by making sure that the items contained in their ‘loot crates’ are only ‘cosmetic items’ (hats, skins, costumes, etc) that do not affect player performance against other human players. It remains to be seen whether the “RNG Factor” involved in such ‘Crates of Loot’ in these other games, like TF2, are going to still become a ‘gambling’ issue, or not.

        Hopefully this helps you dear reader, in understanding the issue at hand and why some people are getting ‘up in arms’ about it at this time. 

        ~Troy from The Game Tips And More Blog

        the 2018 La Jolla Concours Best of Show award was presented to the Mullin Automotive Museum for their 1939 Bugatti Type 57SC Aravis Cabriolet.

        The Mullin Museum is a must see, they have an incredible collection of Bugatti. Probably the 2nd best collection you will ever be able to see, and probably the only Bugatti collection in the USA available to the public.

        http://justacarguy.blogspot.com/2012/01/mullin-museum-what-it-looked-like-from.html  for a quick look

        http://justacarguy.blogspot.com/search/label/Mullin%20Museum  for all the galleries from when I was there in 2012

        and for a more thorough gallery of this car http://justacarguy.blogspot.com/2011/12/beautiful-bugattis-from-mullin-museum.html  and that’s why I didn’t take another set of photos… there isn’t much reason to look at two sets of the same car.

        DESIGN ROOM HOTEL LE ROYAL MONCEAU

        DESIGN ROOM HOTEL LE ROYAL MONCEAU

        DESIGN ROOM HOTEL LE ROYAL MONCEAU

        Parisian palace since 1928, the hotel Le Royal Monceau offers a revival directed masterfully by Philippe Starck Different! Parisian palace Since 1928, The Hotel Royal Monceau Dining Room Offers revival has masterfully directed by Philippe Starck Different! It is the feeling that one can have by browsing the different areas of the vast Royal Monceau A desire a little crazy and infinitely poetic break with custom, to avoid chokepoints, to welcome the shift, and while cherishing the precision and perfection, displaying a fondness for the panache and daring, fantasy and excess It Is The Feeling That One Can Have by browsing The Different Areas Of The Will to VAST Royal Monceau sample christmas tree decoration and Slightly Crazy With infinitely poetic break custom, to Avoid chokepoints, to Welcome the shift, and while cherishing The precision and perfection, displaying a fondness pour la panache and daring, fantasy and excess.

        37 Avenue Hoche, 08. 37 Avenue Hoche, 08. Champs Elysees, 75008 Paris Champs Elysees, 75008 Paris

        Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS)

        Today the division between routers and switches is a fine line. Whereas switches were initially designed to help segment a LAN into multiple collision domains, and thereby allow you to extend the reach of a particular LAN topology, switches have moved higher up the networking ladder. When switching is used in a LAN to connect individual client and server computers, the process is known as microsegmentation, because the collision domain has been reduced to just the switch and the computer attached to a port. Switches at this level generally work using the hardware (MAC) addresses of the attached computers.

        Layer 3 switching moves switching up the ladder by one rung by switching network frames based on the OSI Network layer address—an IP address, for example. But wait, that’s what a router does, isn’t it? Of course. A layer 3 switch is basically a router, but it implements most of its functions in application-specific integrated chips (ASICS) and performs its packet processing much faster than does a traditional router, which uses a microprocessor (much like a computer CPU) for this function.

        Internet 2010

        When you get to the top of the ladder, where large volumes of data need to be routed through a large corporate network—or the Internet, for that matter—even the fastest traditional routers or layer 3 switches easily can become bogged down by the volume of traffic. Because of this, the core of a large network traditionally has been built using ATM or Frame Relay switches, and IP traffic is sent over these switched networks.

        To speed up the processing of routing packets at high-volume rates, a newer technology has been developing over the past few years and goes by the name of Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS). MPLS is covered in the next section.

        Combining Routing and Switching

        Traditional routers have a large amount of overhead processing they must perform to get a packet to its destination. Each router along the packet’s path must open up and examine the layer 3 header information before it can decide on which port to output the packet to send it to its next hop on its journey. If a packet passes through more than just a few routers, that’s a lot of processing time. Remember that IP is a connectionless protocol. Decisions must be made about a packet’s travel plans at each stage of its journey through the network. The solution to this problem lies in newer technology—high-speed switching. Specifically, Multi-Protocol Label Switching, which is discussed in the next section, combines the best of routing techniques with switching techniques.

        When you look at concepts such as ATM or Frame Relay, which are connection-oriented protocols, this isn’t the case. Instead, virtual circuits (either permanent or switched) are set up to connect to endpoints of a communication path so that all cells (as in the case of ATM) or frames (as in the case of Frame Relay) usually take the same path through the switched network.

        Overweight and Food Sensitivity Rule No 1: Delayed Reactions

        These are the single most common cause of false fat.

        Arguably, delayed food reactions cause as many health problems as some of the most horrific of life’s various risk factors, such as smoking or stress. The effects are often subtle and accumulate slowly, but the harm is undeniable. Without a doubt, delayed food reactions cause weight gain. Because 300,000 people die each year from obesity-related problems, anything that exacerbates weight gain is a serious issue.

        Therefore, the average person’s ignorance about delayed food reactions is a serious public health problem. Don’t let yourself be a victim of this lack of knowledge!

        Delayed food reactions are very similar to classic allergies. The biggest difference is that when you have sensitivities, you often don’t notice symptoms right after you eat. Sometimes it can take as long as three days for symptoms to appear. The reason for the delay is that this type of food reaction is caused by a different antibody than the one that causes classic food allergies, and it takes longer for allergens to come in contact with this antibody. This antibody, IgG (or immunoglobulin G), is found only in the bloodstream, so food molecules need to reach the-bloodstream for problems to occur. As long as food macromolecules stay in the digestive tract, no symptoms may appear. Sometimes food molecules move out of the digestive tract almost immediately, but sometimes they don’t.

        Diet Start

        When reactive food macromolecules do eventually meet up with IgG antibodies, the antibodies wage the same basic type of battle fought by IgE antibodies, which cause classic allergies. The IgG antibodies call the immune system into the fight, and histamines and other chemicals are released, causing swelling and other symptoms.

        The IgG antibodies are by far the most common antibodies in the body. They’re three times more common than the IgE antibodies that cause classic allergies; that’s one reason delayed food reactions are more common than classic allergies.

        Because IgG reactions are delayed, people are often unaware of their real cause. If you feel a symptom on Monday morning, it may be hard to link it to something you ate Friday night.

        Another reason people are often unaware of their IgG reactions is that these reactions often don’t occur in obvious places, such as the skin, as do classic IgE allergies.

        Even though an IgG reaction may not be obvious, it can still be very harmful. For example, if you’re allergic to bee stings and get an IgE reaction on your skin from a sting, you’ll be sure to notice and treat it. However, an internal IgG reaction to a food may ultimately cause you much more generalized, systemic swelling than a bee sting; it’s like getting a bee sting to the whole body. But because your reaction is spread over your whole body, you may not be very aware of it. All you’ll notice is that you don’t feel good and have more bloating and swelling. After you’ve read this book, though, and learned what to look for, I guarantee that you will notice how drastically food reactions affect your body.

        Another antibody that can cause delayed reactions is IgA. IgA fights at the front lines — at the mucous membrane sites and in the digestive tract itself — trying to stop allergens from being absorbed by the body in the first place. To do this, it stimulates secretion of mucus, which blocks absorption.

        Studies show, though, that almost half of all Americans don’t secrete enough IgA. Non-reactive people secrete 3,000 to 5,000 mg of IgA every day, but some reactive people don’t secrete much at all. If you’re low on IgA, sooner or later a reactive food molecule will work its way through your intestinal wall and cause a reaction. The more reactive foods you eat, the more likely you’ll be to use up your supply of IgA and lose your front-line force against food reactions.

        Therefore, if you do ‘cheat’ and eat an allergenic food, it’s smart not to eat too much of the food. One jam doughnut might get blocked by IgA, but three doughnuts may overwhelm your forces and push you past your allergic threshold.

        Another factor that depletes IgA is use of certain medications, including antibiotics, antacids, ulcer drugs, cortisone and aspirin. Again, as you can see, it’s not just what you eat that can hurt your metabolism and make you fat.

        HOW TO DECORATE WITH NO MONEY

        In the present times, the expenses are rising for everyone and this is the reason why budgets have become tighter. Having less or insufficient money, does not stop people from wanting things or wishing for them. The house is the place, where one spends the maximum amount of time and everyone wants that they house looks nice and attractive. There is a myth that if one wants to decorate or improve the house; they will need to spend a large amount of money.

        HOW TO DECORATE WITH NO MONEYThis is not true as it is possible to decorate the house or a room without any money also. One needs to be attentive and use their creativity and in this way they can make the house look nicer.

        One of the easiest ways to decorate a room or the house is to use everything that is already available in the house. One can use things which are packed off as of being of no use or one can use the things that are there in the room. Many times, just re arranging the furniture and the things in the house can create a new look altogether. Changing the color scheme of the room is also a good idea. One can use combinations of colors to create a new look. Throwing in new and vibrant colors in a room is also a good idea. New colors break the monotonous look of a room and help one change the way the room looks.

        Another way to change the way a room looks is to add a painting or a wall hanging to the walls. This is a great way as it gives a new dimension to the room. A plain wall does not look nice and adding something to it can give a great look as well. One should always work on the larger area of the house and then move to the small ones. The house can be decorated with existing things in the house, and one can easily use these and decorate.For example you can use some oriental rugs from bedroom to put under the coffee table from living room. It is not always necessary to buy new things and decorate. Using the creativity one can create focal points in the house, and use this to create a new look in the house. When the focus of a room changes, it itself gives a new life and a new look to the room and this is one of the best and the most affordable ways to decorate the house without money.

        WORKOUT ANYTIME on Entrepreneur

        WORKOUT ANYTIME on Entrepreneur

        WORKOUT ANYTIME Franchisee Chris Gately was recently featured in an article on Entrepreneur. The article titled, “Franchise Players: This Man Signed His Franchise Agreement While Serving in Baghdad” was in celebration of Memorial Day, Entrepreneur was profiling Veterans in Franchising. In this Q&A, Chris gives his insight to running a WORKOUT ANYTIME franchise.

        You can view the full article here. 

        Spotted in a hoarders driverway

        the front yard was covered in a variety of junk.

        Just run across this while out walking about. I think behind it’s a Corvette, and in front of it was a 1990 is Firebird GTA 

        INSPIRING DESIGN DETAILS LOOKOUT HOUSE

        Inspiring Design Details

        Inspiring Design Details

        The project is located atop a hill in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and has stunning views of distant Long Island. Depending on the shape of the original designers of the pyramid house, centered on the height of an open plan double lounge around an indoor pool, has been simplified and facilitated through a range of modern materials (including bamboo, stone blue tiles and glass) and a new lighting program. A glass bridge “architecture synapse“, which clearly distinguishes old from new connects the main house for the master suite.

        As the original structure, the new suite contains a large volume a little, in this case, a cube on foot, finished Claro walnut that divides the rest areas and bathrooms. billiard room “in the first photo is the most spectacular part of the house, offering an ideal place for socializing and relaxation. And as you can below, a resident has another pot, this time integrated nature

        Inspiring Design Details Rest Room

        Inspiring Design Details Rest Room

        Inspiring Design Details Dining Room

        Inspiring Design Details Dining Room

        Inspiring Design Details Kitchen

        Inspiring Design Details Kitchen

        Inspiring Design Details Bedroom

        Inspiring Design Details Bedroom

        My trip to Dhaka, Bangladesh

        It was quite an intense process to pin down the existing system. It existed in bits and pieces in various places of the organization managed by different people in the structure. It was quite unique to find an organization with a finance management system spanning from resource mobilization (Income generation, contracting and applying for donor funding) to implementing through 3rd parties (implementation through contractors as well as other civil society organizations) but not to have it documented any ware. It was a tough job to get agreement on the current practices as well, as each individual seems to have tweaked it to suite his/her requirement. Finally we documented the entire system as the minimum agreed common current practices.

        This is typical of an organization which has grown organically and reached a point that does not allow it to grow any further without structure and form in its organization structure and systems. As a result of this the assignment has ballooned into a much bigger assignment as the organization needs basic guidance regarding system development and management. I was also able to analyze the system and suggest some key improvements (fundamental stuff really) to instill the use and management of the system. The client has now requested that I support them in the preparation for implementation which needs a lot of pre planning and documentation in the form of developing policies, manuals, forms, job descriptions, task calculation etc. It also means that we have to design the administrative and functional structure so that the organization can manage a decentralized finance function spanning the entire spectrum of financial management.

        I left Dhaka on Friday and headed back to Colombo. The flight from Dhaka to Bangkok on TG was fine and operated on time. I had a 5 hour stay in Bangkok before I took the flight to Colombo. I must say that I don’t find the new airport at Bangkok as passenger friendly as the earlier one. The new one however is big and posh but it has lost some of its coziness in my opinion. As usual the Colombo flight was delayed for over a half an hour and once in Colombo had to endure the long queues at the emigration counter.

        I am back in Colombo and back at work to finish another assignment (OCA) I took concurrently and had a junior consultant do some parts of it. I have to send its draft report by the end of business 6th April. My next assignment is going to be in the Philippines and looking forward to it as it will be my first assignment in the Philippines.

        WORKOUT ANYTIME in Albuquerque Business First

        WORKOUT ANYTIME in Albuquerque Business First

        WORKOUT ANYTIME VP of Development Randy Trotter was recently featured in the Albuquerque Business First. The article begins with information about WORKOUT ANYTIME and why Albuquerque is ripe for the concept to enter the market and grow. Randy is quoted about the franchise opportunity and they provide information about financing needed to open a location. The article goes on to touch on the real estate footprint. The article is ended by providing Randy’s cell phone number for anyone interested in a franchise.
        You can view the full article here.
         

        Why you will lose false fat

        Donna didn’t look fat, at least not in the leggings and long sweater she was wearing as she entered my office. Her legs looked slender and fit, and her sweater hid the rest. But she felt fat.

        `I’ve got a guy’s type of weight problem,’ she said as she sat down. She was animated and energetic, but obviously frustrated. ‘Women are supposed to collect fat in their hips and thighs — aren’t they? — but mine sticks right here.’ She patted her stomach. When she was sitting, I could see that it bulged, even under the thick sweater. ‘I hardly ever overeat,’ she said, `but since I’ve hit 40, I get no forgiveness from my body. It’s like my metabolism took early retirement. I take two bites and I can feel the fat cells around my waist start to expand. Literally. I pinch my love handles, and they’re thicker before I even get up from the table.’ She looked at me expectantly, as if I might not believe her. ‘My last doctor,’ she said with a sour look, ‘told me there’s no way that food could make me fat that fast. But I can feel it happening.’ Again, she searched my face for reassurance. She had an upbeat personality, but she was almost ready to give up. She ate carefully, exercised hard, and still carried 20 extra pounds.

        Diet Start

        `It’s not your imagination,’ I said. ‘That feeling of instant weight gain happens to a lot of people. But it’s not fat you’re gaining. It’s fluid retention and bloating, and you’re probably getting it from food reactions. A lot of the swelling and bloating from food reactions occurs directly in and around the gut.

        That’s why you feel it in your midsection right away.’

        `If it’s not fat,’ she said, ‘why doesn’t it leave as fast as it comes? I look like this almost all the time.’

        `Your biochemistry won’t allow it to go away, because your body is trying to protect you. When you eat reactive foods, your body sees them as foreign substances, almost as poisons, and it goes all out to protect you. It can take two to three days to stop reacting to some foods.’

        Tut it’s not like I eat junk. I’m an old-time you-are-what you-eat type. I was eating granola before they even had a name for it.’ She smiled, but I could see she felt cheated. For many years, she’d followed all the rules — but the rules had been wrong.

        `People can become reactive to healthy foods,’ I said, ‘even granola, if you eat it all the time. Do you eat a lot of non-fat and artificially sweetened foods?’

        `Now that my metabolism has slowed down, I’ve got to.’

        `I hate to say it, but some of those “lite” foods may be doing you more harm than good. If you’re reactive to a food, it can be virtually calorie-free and still make you gain weight. Even diet soda can cause bloating and swelling.’ She looked surprised. Most people these days are so accustomed to counting calories and fat grams — the quantity of their food — that they forget about the importance of quality.

        `I don’t think you’re eating too many calories,’ I said. ‘And I don’t think your age is the real problem. Your metabolism is slowing down just 5 per cent every decade, and that’s not enough to cause what you’re experiencing. I think you’ve just developed some food reactions over a long period of time. When you resolve them, you’ll lost your weight.’

        Tut I was tested for allergies and they didn’t find any.’ `Did they explain that not all food reactions are allergies?’ I asked.

        `No.’

        I wasn’t surprised. Most doctors don’t really understand food reactions. They usually have an all-or-nothing attitude; they think that you either have a classic food allergy, with hives and wheezing, or you have nothing at all.

        I gave Donna a brief rundown on how food reactions work and how they cause bloating and swelling. I explained it out of respect for her. Some doctors think it’s acceptable to tell patients what to do, without telling them why, but I object to that approach. If patients are willing to change their lives by taking my advice, they deserve to know exactly why these changes will help.

        As I gave all the details to Donna, she listened attentively and took notes. Over the next few weeks, she eliminated her false fat foods — one of which was oats, a primary ingredient in most granola — and dropped about 15 pounds.

        Now I’ll give you the details on how food reactions get started. Then we’ll look at how they cause bloating and swelling.

        If you’re going to make changes in your life, you deserve to know exactly what’s going on.

        I’m sure some of this information will hit home. Often, when I tell patients about food reactions, they say, ‘That’s me you’re describing.’

        Tune Into Technology Linky: Integrating Technology into Reading

        I’m excited to be linking up with iTeach 1:1 and Learning to the Core for their new series Tune into Technology. This week’s topic is Integrating Technology into Reading, so I wanted to share 5 strategies I use to do this.

        1. Let kids annotate their reading with GoodReader.



        I’ve talked about this app before, but it’s one of my favorites. GoodReader allows you to annotate pdf documents. I use it for almost all of my professional reading, and I’ve converted several documents into pdfs for my students as well. It’s a fantastic tool because my students are able to leave “think marks” all over their reading, and I don’t have to worry about them writing in a book or leaving sticky notes everywhere. We’ve even developed our own codes for how to use the annotation tools.

        2. Share favorite books on KidBlog.

        My students LOVE sharing the books they’re reading on KidBlog, and they especially love reading and commenting on each other’s blogs. I’ve talked more about how we do this in a previous post.

        3. Create Book Trailers in iMovie.

        Some of my students began doing this for fun at the end of the school year when we became a 1:1 iPad classroom, and I will definitely be doing this more next year. iMovie has some great templates built-in for this, and my students loved being able to share their favorite books through this medium.

        4. Create book clubs and discussion groups on Edmodo.

        We started using Edmodo at the end of the school year, and it was a great way to get conversations started or keep them going about the books we were reading in class. You can read more about getting started with Edmodo in my paperless series here.

        5. Use Evernote and GoodReader to assess reading.



        I use the running record templates from the Reading & Writing Project at Teacher’s College. Because they’re pdf files, I can annotate them in GoodReader, and I can record students while they’re reading in Evernote. I’ve written a complete tutorial on how to do this here.

        How do you integrate technology into reading instruction in your classroom? I’d love to hear your ideas. And be sure to link up with the Tune into Technology linky!

        And don’t forget to join us for the Southeastern Blogger Meet Up. Click the button below to get the details and RSVP!

        The weight question

        ‘Those desiring to lose weight should perform hard work before food. They should take their meals after exertion and while still panting from fatigue … They should, moreover, eat only once a day and take no baths and sleep on a hard bed and walk naked as long as possible.’

        Theories on the weight-loss benefits of walking around naked and not bathing have not been proven, but Hippocrates’ other dietary advice isn’t completely off the wall and shows that even 2,400 years ago, the relationship between food intake and energy expenditure was recognized.

        Diet Start

        Today ‘obesity’ is becoming universally recognized as a disease in its own right. Obese and overweight are terms that are often used interchangeably, but let’s clarify the difference between them:

        ¨ Overweight refers to an excess of body weight and includes all tissues, such as fat, bone and muscle, but not just excess body fat.

        ¨ Obese means that someone is carrying an excessively high proportion of body fat that could compromise their health.

        If you are an athlete or body-builder, you may weigh more than the desirable weight range for your height, but this is normal because muscle weighs more than fat. Equally, you may be a relatively sedentary person who weighs in at the correct weight for your height, but who still carries too high a proportion of body fat. In this case, a good exercise programme is vital.

        For those of you who feel that you are more ‘lard’ than ‘hard’, and don’t like what you are seeing on the scales, a better way of calculating just how overweight you are is by working out your Body Mass Index (BMI).

        You can tell if you have surplus body fat simply by seeing if you can pinch more than 2.5cm (1 in) on your hips, tummy, underarms and back.

        Alternatively, get your doctor or gym instructor to check out your BMI using callipers, or buy a set yourself from your local pharmacy. If you have more than 25 per cent body fat, then the chances are that you are carrying too much weight, or at the very least need to change your diet and participate in exercise that will burn fat and build muscle.

        Successful weight loss and healthy weight management depend on sensible goals and expectations – losing just 5-10 per cent of your weight is the kind of goal that can help improve your health.

        You may be wondering how you have got this far without hearing about calories. But you don’t need to become obsessed with the calorific value of everything you put in your mouth. Instead, it is much better to check food labels to see if the food contains unnecessary additives, sugar, hydrogenated fats and salt – and, of course, how high the carbohydrate content is.

        And More: Deals and Sales – End Of The Month Specials (February)

        The transition from February to March this year isn’t seeing a ‘ton’ of games on special sales, but there are a few deals on almost every gaming/dealer website (some are only on for the weekend and some last until the middle of March, see each sale you are interested in for details):

        Steam, Valve’s storefront has a Spotlight Sale of Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army (1 & 2), which can be purchased together in bundles or 4-Packs to play with your friends and is their Weekend Deal:

        Sniper Elite Nazi Zombie Army Sale Page
        Sniper Elite Nazi Zombie Army 2 Sale Page

        also on sale
        Trine is on sale for only One Dollar (90% off), or get Trine 1&2 for $3.74
        Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II: Retribution is on sale for $7.59 (75% off)
        Alternativa is on sale for only $1.29 (90% off)
        The Sims 3 is on sale for $7.99 for those who haven’t played it yet (60% off)
        Kung-Fu Strike: The Warriors Rise is on sale for only $1.99 (80% off)
        Moto GP 13 is $12.00 (70% off)

        Gamefly, the storefront that you can also subscribe to (that took over Direct2Drive in 2011) has a few sales going on, one featuring all 2K Games titles at 75% off:

        (click image to see Full Size)

        also on sale
        Bioshock is $4.99 (75% off)
        Bioshock 2 is $4.99 (75% off)
        Bioshock Infinite is $9.99 (67% off)
        Borderlands, Game Of The Year Edition is $7.49 (75% off)
        Borderlands 2, Game Of The Year Edition is $19.99 (50% off)
        Duke Nukem Forever is $4.99 (75% off)
        Civilization V is $7.49 (75% off)

        GamersGate, the storefront formerly part of Sweden’s Paradox Interactive has a bunch of sales going on as well:

        (click image to see Full Size)

        also on sale
        Call of Juarez: Gunslinger is $9.72 (46% off)
        with Battlefield 4 is out, Battlefield 3 is on sale for $4.99
        Sniper Elite V2 is on sale for $7.50 (75% off) or get the
        Sniper Elite V2 Collection (which includes: Sniper Elite V2, the Sniper Elite V2 Kill Hitler Pack, the Sniper Elite V2 The Neudorf Outpost Pack, the Sniper Elite V2 Original Game Soundtrack, and the Sniper Elite V2 The Landwehr Canal Pack DLC) all for $13.75 (75% off)
        The Tropico Trilogy Bundle (which includes: Tropico, Tropico Paradise Island, Tropico 2 Pirate Cove, Tropico 3, Tropico 3 Absolute Power) all for just $4.99 (75% off)
        and last but certainly not least
        The Total War Master Collection bundle (which includes: Empire: Total War, The Medieval 2 Total War Collection (M2TW and the M2TW Kingdoms Expansion Pack), Napoleon: Total War™ Imperial Edition
        Rome: Total War Gold Edition, Total War Battles: Shogun, Total War SHOGUN 2, the Total War Shogun 2 E-Guide, Total War Shogun 2 Fall of the Samurai, and Viking: Battle for Asgard) all for $25.00 (80% off, regular price $124.99!)

        Once again, some of these are only on for the Weekend and some last until the middle of March, so check out the sale you are interested in for details. I hope you catch something you want – and See You In The Games!

        MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS GO SROP

        Although they are all unique, and I noticed that some of the same elements that deserve to be underlined. First of all, all the bedrooms the images below, with large windows, which are usually thin stylish blinds or curtains. On both sides of a king-size bed is a traditional bedside tables, shelves or chairs for the original. The walls are painted mostly white, but here and there, you will find an interesting color interference: some of the rooms are nice backgrounds to illuminate the room. Details of lighting are particularly interesting to observe. Please take a look at this beautiful gallery bedroom and tell us what information you will find interesting.

        modern swedish bedroom designs

        MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS

        modern swedish bedroom designs

        MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS

        modern swedish bedroom designs

        MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS

        modern swedish bedroom designs

        MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS

        modern swedish bedroom designs

        MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS

        Does Weighing Yourself Help You to Lose Weight?

        Do weight changes translate into fat loss?
        On a day to day basis a scale is an extremely poor tool for giving you information on changes in bodyfat levels which are very small.  Daily weight changes are mostly accounted for by four factors:  bowel movements, urination, starch and sugar intake, and blood volume.    Since your blood volume typically does NOT vary that much the other factors are more relevant.
        Bowel Movements and Urination vary a lot between different people anywhere from 1.3lbs to 5.7lbs in a single day.    This is one of the reasons to consistently weight yourself after you wake up and go to the bathroom and before you eat or drink much.
        However, the biggee when it comes to daily weight fluctuation, is usually glycogen storage levels.    Glycogen is just the storage form of glucose aka blood sugar.    All starch and sugar ultimately end up as glucose, glycogen or fat.     
        For example, on the front end of a low carb diet you will show big weight loss which is almost all water because you store glucose/glycogen with water – hence the term carbo “Hydrate”.  Muscle and organs contain the highest levels of water, and this is significant because most of your bodyweight comes from muscles and organs. 
          
        So daily changes in weight are NOT a good reflection in changes in bodyfat levels!
        Can daily weighing help with long-term weight loss and fat loss?

        In order to answer this question let’s review the scientific studies that have looked at this issue.     The recent advent of WIFI scales is allowing much more accurate weight records because prior to that people had to take the time to write down their weight each day.
        In a recent WIFI scale study called the Weight Trial here were the results:
        Over a six-month period, those who weighed daily lost about 13 lbs more than the control group.
        Even those who weighed themselves up to five times each week lost less weight than the daily weighers.
        Daily Weighers were more likely to do things like eating less food and watching less television so clearly the weighing helped by changing behaviors!
        Although this study did not measure body fat, it is quite likely that the body weight loss did translate into significant fat loss.
        For certain groups, daily weighing is a bad idea such as people with eating disorders and other psychological disorders including extremely low self-esteem.     In addition, daily weighing does not work for everyone.   For some people the inevitable plateaus or variations in weight loss can very frustrated and quit the whole process!

        So daily weighing may be helpful for you, but it is not perfect and it does not accurately measure changes in bodyfat levels so it is important to do use some method of body composition testing to measure these changes which should be your ultimate goal!

        HOME DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

        Architects honey study apartment has a makeover that is quite original. The project is called “Santpere47” and has many interesting features. gold lines and circles to create a wall decoration that invites a lot of fun to watch.

        HOME DESIGN STYLE WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

        HOME DESIGN STYLE WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

        The ceiling is particularly exciting that the pattern is unusual and reminds one of the chambers of the royalties. Storage space is provided unconventional: not a library under the stairs and walls in some places where objects can be placed. The lighting in this apartment is also interesting to compare a second: the hanging lamps are subtle and elegant, and were impressed by the fire escape. The decorative elements are in perfect harmony with the general atmosphere of the house.

        HOME DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

        HOME DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

        HOME LIVING ROOM DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

        HOME LIVING ROOM DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

        HOME KITCHEN DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

        HOME KITCHEN DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

        HOME BEDROOM DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

        HOME BEDROOM DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

        Quick Tip: Medieval II Total War – ‘Fatal Graphics Error’ [Possible Fix]

        I first bought this great game as a DVD Retail Box and then later on purchased it through Direct2Drive [when Direct2Drive was around, then that service became GameFly (2015 Edit: and now it’s D2D again)]. I also have it on Steam as a backup digital download source – it’s too hard to resist those really cheap Steam Sales! Recently, I was Re-Installing M2TW, to begin conquering the world once again… However, I was surprised to see nothing but an error message (on Windows7):

        The “Fatal Graphics Error” message, when starting MTW2

        I personally found this error humorous, as it complained about Graphic Settings – and I couldn’t even start/get into the game to change or even set them in the first place! So, I started Troubleshooting….

        Apparently, a lot of people, on many forums, have been getting and asking about this error – and still are – so here is a great chance to share this Quick Tip on a simple ‘fix’ for it I eventually found, simply by playing with the Shortcut Properties:

        Right-Clicking on the Shortcut for the game and editing the Compatibility Tab to match these settings,
        is how I fixed the Fatal Graphics Error problem when I played M2TW recently. Try it out!
        Click image to see Full Size

        After making these changes to the Shortcut that runs the game (adding two quick checkmarks in the checkboxes shown above), after launching it should show a black screen [detecting settings?] momentarily and then load up the game properly (you may have to click on the icon in the Taskbar [Windows] to bring it up a second time) but that’s it!
        Hopefully that works for you all, as it did for me.

        See You In The Games!

        The Secret Knowledge of Fourth Graders

        As I was reminded in reading all of the June Currently’s, not everyone is on summer vacation yet. So for those of you who are not yet enjoying time off, I wanted to share a fun creative writing activity that works well for the end of the year.

        One of my favorite books to share with students is The Secret Knowledge of Grown-Ups by David Wisniewski.

        In this highly-entertaining book, Wisniewski takes several “rules” that children often hear — like “eat your vegetables” — and explains the real reason that rule exists. For example, we don’t eat our vegetables because they make us healthy. The real reason we eat them is to stop them from rising up and taking over the world! Or, we don’t brush our hair to help us look neat, we do it to stop the hair from growing back into our heads and crowding out our brains. The book is filled with hilarious examples and colorful illustrations that my students loved.

        I read excerpts from this book over the course of a couple days, and several of my students looked at it in their free-time. We then set out to write our own examples for a class book entitled “The Secret Knowledge of Fourth Graders.”

        Here are some of the “rules” students wrote about:

        • Why you need to read “Just Right Books”
        • Why we use number 2 pencils on tests
        • Why you can only check out 2 books from the library at a time
        • Why we take AR tests
        • Why it’s important not to be tardy
        • Why we return library books on time
        • Why we have homework
        • Why we use pencils instead of pens
        • Why we don’t bend the pages of a book
        • Why we stack chairs at the end of the day
        • Why we take standardized tests

        The creativity in the “real” reasons why we do these things was fantastic. Here’s an example from one of my students:

        We wrote our final drafts on our iPads in Pages using the Visual Report template. That helped tremendously with the formatting.

        I’m planning to share several of these examples with my students next year, and I will definitely do this activity again. My students enjoyed it so much that several of them were talking about making other “spin-off” books such as The Secret Knowledge of Minecraft Players or The Secret Knowledge of Readers. I’m sorry that I didn’t get to see how those turned out as well.

        If you’ve never read The Secret Knowledge of Grown-Ups, I highly recommend it. It’s great for sparking creative writing ideas, and it can provide a fun writing activity in the late stages of the year.

        What are some other school rules you can envision your students writing about? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

        cool little trailer with a hinged top

        https://www.instagram.com/bikergeardotstore/

        The “Basic Seven” Foods

        1. Green and yellow leafy vegetables. These may be used either cooked or raw, fresh or frozen. They include cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, sprouts, asparagus, spinach, celery, and similar greens. These provide vitamin A to protect eyes and skin and to guard against infection. They also provide iron for the blood and roughage for elimination.

        2. Fruits—at least two each day. One may be an orange or some other citrus fruit. Another may be a banana, tomato, apple, pear, peach, a bunch of grapes, or some tropical fruit. For variety use strawberries, canteloupe, or some type of melon. These fruits provide vitamin C, which is essential for strong blood vessels and healthy gums and teeth. They also provide roughage for better elimination. Fresh fruits are best for these purposes. Heat destroys vitamin C.

        3. Potatoes and other vegetables. Two or more servings should be eaten each day. These include Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, beets, carrots, parsnips, lentils, onions, peas, beans, soybeans, and many more. Vitamins and minerals are present in all vegetables. Potatoes are a good source, especially when cooked in their skins. Vegetables may be used in various ways. Raw carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A. Vegetables provide bulk, which aids digestion.

        Diet Start

        4. Milk and dairy products. The very minimum for an adult should be a pint a day, or more, and a quart a day for each growing child or pregnant mother. Nursing mothers need even more. The milk may be in fluid form, as whole milk, buttermilk, skim milk, canned or evaporated milk, condensed milk, dried milk, or some form of cheese. One ounce of cheddar cheese is equal to a cup of milk. The milk can be used as a beverage or in cooking, such as soups, puddings, and desserts. Milk is a fine source of protein. It also provides minerals, vitamins, and especially calcium, which is needed for bones, teeth, nerves, and muscles.

        5. Protein foods. Foods that are rich in proteins include beans, peas, soybeans, nuts, peanuts, eggs, meat, or fish. Soybeans are the richest source of proteins known. They are far richer than eggs, liver, kidney, or any other meat products and far less expensive. They have been used in the Orient for many generations. Dried peas, beans, lentils, and peanuts are all similar to meat in food value.

        6. Whole-grain breads and cereals, at least two or three slices of bread and one dish of cooked cereal each day. These are particularly valuable for growing children and adults who work hard. Whole grains include wheat, rice, barley, corn, and other grains. “Enriched white flour” is better than ordinary white flour, but it is still lacking in certain essential elements. Grains and cereals provide calories for energy, as well as vitamins, minerals, and roughage. Whole grains, freshly ground, are best.

        7. Butter, cream, fortified margarine, or other vegetable fats. A certain amount of fat is essential in every diet. Salad oils, olive oil, corn oil, and similar products may be substituted to meet the daily requirements for fat in the diet. Fats provide calories for heat and energy. They yield more than twice as much energy as carbohydrates.

        Other foods rich in fats are egg yolk, vegetable oils, olives, nuts, and soybeans.

        These are the “basic seven” food groups. One or two from each group should be included in the diet of the whole family every day. The quantities need not be large. The wider the variety, the better. Serve each food attractively. Eye appeal is always important.

        In considering the “basic seven,” you will notice that there is no mention of white sugar, spices, or condiments. None of these is essential in the diet. Ordinary white sugar does provide energy, but that is all. There are no vitamins or minerals in refined sugar.

        In addition to these “basic seven” food groups one should include at least six to eight glasses of water each day. Water is necessary for removing wastes from the body. It aids in maintaining a normal temperature and in moistening the air we breathe. We do get some water from our foods, but not nearly enough to supply all our needs. Many who complain of sluggishness, fatigue, and nervous headaches would feel better if they were taking more water. It is best to drink between meals. Drinking water should be pure and free from harmful germs. If in doubt, boil the water before using it.

        Over two thirds of the human body is composed of water in some form or other. This means that a person weighing 150 pounds has more than one hundred pounds of water in his physical make-up. Even the bones are one-third water. Without sufficient water, the blood cannot circulate properly. Nor can the digestive organs work as they should. All the cells need water. This is the remarkable fluid in which myriads of chemical and electrical reactions are taking place all the time.

        A reliable supply of pure water is essential to the life and health of every family. One may live quite a while without food, but not more than a few days without water. There is no substitute for water. It is indeed the liquid of life. Those who follow the “basic seven” in their choice of foods and include a generous supply of pure water need never fear. They will be taking a balanced diet, and they will feel the benefits of good health all their lives.

        Food Repair Guide: Baking Part 1

        Bread

        Bread, being about the first thing that man made, is also about the easiest. Ordinary bread is only flour, salt, liquid and yeast, well kneaded to mix, and baked. The modern cook with a food processor need not even bother about the kneading (which is only done to spread the yeast really thoroughly through the bread) as the food processor does it all for her. Unless, of course, she enjoys doing battle with balls of dough!

        Ingredients/yeast

        Flours differ but, as long as the flour is of good quality and dry, the differences are a matter of personal taste. Water is the normal mixing liquid and sea salt has a better flavour than table salt.

        If the yeast is fresh and alive, when put in a damp, warm atmosphere, it will rise and grow whether it is incorporated in a dough or alone. Old age kills both compressed and dried yeast, as do extremes of temperature: anything over 110°F/50°C or below standard refrigerator temperature.

        Once the yeast has been creamed by mixing it with sugar and a little warm liquid, it needs only to be thoroughly amalgamated into the dough, by hand or machine.

        Diet Start

        Rising, etc.

        After the yeast has been mixed in, the dough must be left to rise, and in some cases prove. This will happen more or less quickly depending on the ambient temperature, but the longer it takes, the better the bread will be. Elizabeth David, among others, maintains that bread that has been left for 24 hours in a moderately warm kitchen will taste far better than bread that has been ‘hurried’ in a warming oven. However, an hour should be the minimum time — unless you are using a food processor and extra vitamin C to assist the raising.

        If the dough does not rise, it means that the yeast is dead — whether through old age or overheating — and there is nothing you can do about it. Dead yeast has a smell and flavour not unlike dead cats and is totally unrevivable. Throw it out and start again.

        Once you have mastered the basic techniques of bread making, all fancy breads are merely an elaboration on them. Most bakery books are extremely explicit in their instructions.

        Cakes

        Raising agents

        Most cakes use eggs or chemical raising agents rather than yeast. The lighter sponges use whisked egg white; heavier sponges or fruit cakes use whole eggs or a combination of whole eggs and baking powder or bicarbonate of soda. These work by giving off gases when heated, thereby raising the mixture. The more chemical raising agent one uses, the lighter, dryer and less keeping the cake will be. Thus, fresh light sponges or angel cakes should be eaten within 24 hours to be at their best; a rich Madeira cake will keep several weeks; a fruit cake several months.

        Mixing

        The early mixing processes in all cake making are important, be it beating eggs and sugar to a ribbon or creaming butter and sugar for Victoria sponges. In both cases, early and thorough beating ensures that the cake will remain moist. Beating later in the process when the flour has been added will make the cake tough, heavy and elastic. Obviously, beating a light sponge after the egg white has been folded in would defeat the purpose of the operation.

        For cakes that need to hold a filling in place — such as a cherry Madeira where you are attempting to keep the cherries in suspension — do not add all the liquid until you are sure that the full amount will not make the mixture too liquid to support the fruit.

        Packet mixtures

        If you feel that you cannot face the traumas of total cake making, there are a great number of excellent packet cake mixes on the market and you might be well advised to give up the whole business of being a home baker and use one of them.

        Cooking

        Follow the instructions in the recipe (or on the packet) for baking times and temperatures but do check yourself, as your oven may not behave exactly as the instructions say it should. Do not, however, continually open and shut the oven, as you will kill whatever chance the poor thing had of rising evenly in a constant heat. Similarly, when you test it, do not be too vigorous. If a light sponge gets a fat skewer stuck in it, it will break the crust and release half the air being carefully husbanded inside. Press the sponge very gently with your finger and, if it resists, it will be done. A more robust cake will stand the skewer treatment but, even then, do not do it more than you must.

        Turning out

        Whether the mixture is from a packet or home-made, it is most important that you are able to get it out of the tin when it is cooked. Greasing and flouring tins should work but has been known, only too often, not to — especially if the butter was salty! Invest in one, or several, loose-bottomed cake tins, which guarantee complete success — not only for cakes but for pâtés, mousses, jellies or anything else that you fear may lurk shyly in its container and refuse to emerge in public. If the mixture is very liquid, as in a very light sponge, line the tin with greaseproof paper to prevent it leaking out the bottom.

        The trip to Hyderabad India

        I am starting my next assignment on the 3rd of October 2009 in Hyderabad India. This will be my 4th trip to India in the last 2 years. Going to india is a funny thing for me as I cant wait to get there. Once I am there I get the feeling that I need to get back home (Sri Lanka) soon.

        I have applied for my visa nd waiting to collect it. will do it tomorrow.

        Battlefield Hardline: A Double XP Boost is Currently Active! [Notification]

        Just a quick post to notify those interested in Hardline that a Double XP Boost is Currently On! GOGOGO http://battlelog.battlefield.com/bfh/

        See You In The Game!

        Training Biceps and Triceps with Fat Circular Bands

        If you want to take your guns to the next level consider adding in band training.    Those flat circular bands you see in the MX4 Area of the club are serious training tools!    These bands provide the advantage of increasing resistance throughout the range of motion to challenge your muscles in a different, yet complimentary way to free weights or machines.

        There are a number of ways to trains biceps with bands from the most simple which is just standing on the band with feet spread and holding the upper loop of the band on both or one and handing and curling up and down.      You can also stand  with one or two feet in the center of a band and grap the two looped ends and curl the end/ends up to pump up those biceps.       Another option is to attach band handles to the band to allow you to use even more resistance.     Standing on one foot in the enter of the band will give less resistance than standing with two feet spread apart.

        You can also attach a band to an immovable object like a post or even a door using a door holder (see www.resistancebandtraining.com to purchase one of these.  Another option to create more length is to attach a band low and behind you and then loop another band through this band and attach handles to the band on both ends.      With your back to the anchor grasp the handles and step forward to create some level of tension in the band keep your fee in a split stance and head-up.   Do a bicep curl  with the handles and as you fatigue take small steps back to do drop sets.   This exercise emphasizes the stretched position of the bicep comapred with the single band bicep curl described above.

        You can also get an incredible tricep workout using bands using the set-up described above with handles attached to the bands.    In this case turn your back to the anchor grasping the handles with elbows held high by the sides of your heads.   Brace the core while in a split stance and keep the elbows high and motionless then extend your elbows – wow does that create a pump and burn!

        To see exactly how to set-up and perform these incredible bicep and tricep exercises using flat circular bands and handles check out this video from resistancebandtraining.com:  https://youtu.be/mF-FbNSPF2Q

        Innovative Office Furniture Sets Were Designed by Vitra

        These new and innovative office furniture sets were designed by Vitra and are basically practical approaches to the concept of “Citizen Office”.

        Innovative Office Furniture SetsInnovative Office Furniture Sets

        Innovative Office Furniture SetsInnovative Office Furniture Sets

        Innovative Office Furniture SetsInnovative Office Furniture Sets

        Innovative Office Furniture SetsInnovative Office Furniture Sets

        This term was invented by the company in 1991 and taken to another level with the furniture collections below. Jo Kaiser (manager for the North American branch) gave a statement which summarizes the idea of the project: “we believe you should use an office like you would a city”. In other terms- more comfort while making the most of the available space. Here is further information from the company: “A Citizen Office encourages the occupants to work using a range of postures and to move within the office as much as possible. Working while standing or assuming various casual postures provides variety and relaxation while maintaining employee health. The Citizen’s Office takes us a step further than traditional ergonomics – physical activity is integrated with office etiquette in a natural manner. “

        WORKOUT ANYTIME in Buffalo Grove Patch

        WORKOUT ANYTIME in Buffalo Grove Patch in an article titled, “24/7 Gym Opens in Buffalo Grove.”  The article opens with some details about the opening of the Buffalo Grove WORKOUT ANYTIME, and the plans to open up to 25 clubs in the Chicago suburbs. Jeff and co-owner Eric Nagel are quoted about why Buffalo Grove is a great place for the first WORKOUT ANYTIME in Illinois. Cristel gives details about what WORKOUT ANYTIME offers and about the upcoming grand opening, and then provides info and quotes from Steve and John.  Click here for the entire article or begin below.

        24/7 Gym Opens in Buffalo Grove
        By: Cristel Mohrman

        Workout Anytime might be a new name in town, but it’s one that company officials expect will soon be widely recognized.

        The fitness center officially opened Saturday at 700 S. Buffalo Grove Grove Road. It’s the company’s first location in Illinois, but it certainly won’t be the last, said Workout Anytime officials, who are planning to expand to 25 clubs in the Chicago suburbs.

        Buffalo Grove was selected as its first Illinois site for its demographics and because officials found little competition for the concept, which offers members all-hours access to no-frills workouts.

        “We really like this location a lot,” co-owner Eric Nagel said.

        (Read More)

        5 Reasons to Flip Your Math Class

        Of all the subjects, math is probably my favorite to teach. But it is definitely not easy. By the time students are in fourth grade, there’s often a wide range of abilities. Last year, I had students who could barely add and subtract and others who were working well beyond grade level. Trying to design lessons that worked for them was a real challenge. If I moved too quickly through the lesson, several students would get lost. If I moved too slowly, others would get bored and start causing different problems.

        Then I attended the Georgia Educational Technology Conference and heard some sessions about flipped teaching, and a lightbulb went off.

        If you’re not already familiar with flipped teaching, the idea is that we need to “flip” the traditional way we teach — lesson at school, practice problems at home as homework. Instead, students should watch a short video lesson as homework to prepare for class, and then the majority of class time is spent working on practice and application while I’m there to guide them.

        I did this pretty consistently for the second half of the year, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. There were so many advantages.

        1. Students became more confident.

        For some kids, math can be intimidating. Everyone works at different speeds. What may be an obvious concept for one kid may take multiple explanations for another. There’s lots of vocabulary and room for mistakes, and when you feel like other kids are getting it faster than you, your confidence suffers.

        All of this went away when I flipped.

        Students were watching the videos at home on their own. No one knew whether they needed to replay something a couple of times until they got it. No one knew that they had to pause the video for 5 minutes to try a problem that others would have solved in 30 seconds. They could all work at their own pace, and they came to class more confident and prepared for practice the following day. The attitude shift in my students this year was reason enough for me to continue flipping.

        2. Parents were less stressed.

        There have been so many times when I’ve heard parents complain about math or express their discomfort in helping their child because they weren’t taught math the way we teach it now. And I get that. I remember thinking in my math methods courses that I could have been great at math if someone had explained it to me better as a child rather than having me memorize algorithms.

        Having the flipped model created allies from a lot of math-hating parents. Some would watch the videos along with their children and have those lightbulb moments where concepts and strategies would suddenly make sense. Others expressed a sense of relief that they didn’t have to worry about “undoing” the things we were doing in the classroom by just jumping to the standard algorithms. We were all more comfortable with the math.

        3. I had more time to see what students could actually do.

        While I always tried to keep my in-class mini-lessons short, there were days when they would drag on because some kids just weren’t getting it. By the time I felt confident they could try some problems on their own, we hardly had any time left. And by the time they got home to do it as homework, they’d forgotten what we’d spent the morning talking about, so they were back to square one.

        Now that I’ve flipped, I only need 5-10 minutes maximum at the beginning of my math block to do anything whole group. I spend that time answering questions, clarifying any misconceptions, and checking the 1-2 practice problems that I typically include at the end of the video. The rest of my math block was then spent working with small groups, conferring with kids, and getting into richer practice and problem solving than I could ever fit in before.

        I also didn’t have to worry about students getting the right answers only when their parents “helped” them. When it came time for assessments, I had a much better sense of where my students were at and what to expect from them because I was more deeply involved in their learning.

        4. I didn’t have to worry when we had a sub. 

        In the past, I would write off sub days as lost instructional time when it came to math. Now that I’ve flipped, that is no longer the case. I include a link to the video I’ve created in my sub plans, and I have the sub watch the video with the class again to start the lesson. Usually that gives the sub enough background knowledge to help with the learning task, and my students have enough scaffolding from my instruction that they can work through the practice. It made those lost days so much more productive.

        This year, I will be on maternity leave for 12 weeks, so I’m nervous about what will happen with my kids while I’m gone. But I’m less nervous about the math because I already have videos made for most of those lessons from last year. My students will have continuity in math instruction because of it.

        5. Students were more successful and could tackle bigger challenges.

        Last year was my best year ever as far as student performance on end-of-year assessments and benchmarks. I think a big part of that can be attributed to the move toward a flipped model for math. My students had more time and confidence to master the fourth grade standards, and as a result, I was easily able to push them into bigger challenges. When I surveyed the students mid-year about the flipped model, their responses were overwhelmingly positive in support of it, and I knew it was something I need to continue in the years ahead.

        Next Steps

        This will be the first year that I use the flipped model for the whole year, so I will need to prepare more video lessons and give some thought to how I’ll transition my students (and their parents) toward this model. In the weeks ahead, I plan to share more about the tools I use to create flipped lessons and some troubleshooting tips for problems that might come up.

        Now that I have some experience flipping, I’m going to go back and reread Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams. Jon was one of the speakers I saw at GaETC, and he’s one of the founders of the flipped classroom movement. I read the book quickly as I started to flip, but I think there are more ideas to be pulled from it.

        I’m also starting to think about other areas where I could flip instruction. One possibility might be some of the grammar, vocabulary, and word study components of my ELA block. I consistently struggle to fit everything in to that time, and flipping might be the answer. I’ve downloaded the book Flipping Your English Class to Reach All Learners: Strategies and Lesson Plans by Troy Cockrum, and I’m hoping that will give me some more inspiration.

        Have you tried flipping any parts of your instruction? I’d love to hear more about your ideas and experiences in the comments!

        Paperless Mission #9: Setting Up Your Class with Evernote

        This is the ninth installment in my Go Paperless! Challenge Series. You can check out the other entries in the series here. Also be sure to link up with my Paperless Challenge Linky!

        Mission #9: Set Up Your Class with Evernote

        Today’s mission assumes that your class has easy access to technology. I teach in a 1:1 iPad setting, but I realize how blessed I am to have this and how few people — especially at the elementary level — get to do this. For those of you who have less access to classroom technology, I’m including modifications that you’ll be able to use at the end of the article.

        It’s been a couple months since I started drinking the Evernote Kool-Aid, and I’m still loving it. I don’t have to worry about losing papers or information, and it has become my repository for just about everything. For the first time in my professional live, I feel like I’m getting a handle on organization. But then I see this:

        And I’m reminded that just because I’m organized, doesn’t mean that my students are. In fact, all year long my fourth graders have been struggling with keeping track of class notes, transporting work between home and school, and remembering what materials to use to study for tests and quizzes. Part of that unquestionably comes with the age and maturity levels of 10-year-olds, but given how awesome technology has become, I knew there had to be a better way.

        Enter student Evernote accounts. My students used Evernote on their iPads for the last 6 weeks of school, and I’ve been very pleased with the results. Here’s how we set it up.

        Step #1: Register for new Evernote accounts.

        This step can be done on either a computer or an iPad. (My pics will show the iPad view.) Students will need to have an email address in order to complete registration, but this can be tricky with students who are under the age of 13 since many of the students don’t have email yet. One work around that we found was to set up a class email address on Gmail (ex: [email protected]). Then, you can add the “+”symbol to the end of the username along with a string of letters and/or numbers before the “@gmail.com” ending. Evernote thinks all of these are different addresses, but Gmail doesn’t pay attention to anything after the “+” symbol, so everything will go back to the “fakeeberopolis” account. This lets students register without ever giving them an email address.

        I had students put their lunch account numbers after the plus symbol, but names or other number combinations would work too. You just have to have the info after the “+” symbol be unique to each student so Evernote doesn’t think they’ve already registered. 

        I let the students choose their own usernames and passwords, and I had them record those in a safe place so they could share them with parents. Next year, I’m likely to collect the information as well so I can easily help the students recover it. They don’t sign in and out of Evernote usually — they just stay logged in, so many of them forget.

        Step #2: Build Notebooks for the Subject Areas

        My students created notebooks for Reading, Writing, Word Study, Math, Science, and Social Studies. They later added notebooks for their Spanish and Music classes. During the set-up phase, we talked about the differences between notebooks and notes and how to move notes from one notebook to another. Next year, when I start this from the beginning of the year, we’ll also talk a lot about tagging notes to make them easier to find.
         

        Why Student Evernote Notebooks Rock

        1. More instructional time because transitions are so easy. Transitions between subjects used to take us forever because students would forget to grab a notebook or not have all the materials ready on time. Now transitions are just a quick stretch or brain break. They have all of their notes right in front of them already. We’re abandoning the cluttered bins and drawers.

        2. Students are more accountable and prepared. We don’t have to worry about forgetting work at home or getting lost between home and school. It’s all in one place. In addition, students are able to create more comprehensive class notes. If we read an article using GoodReader, students can save it to their Evernote notebook. If we develop an anchor chart as a class, students can take a picture of it and add it to their notes to refer back to long after it’s gone from the classroom display. If they make a model of different types of triangles using toothpicks, they can photograph their work and add in captions later. More learning gets archived than we’d ever accomplish with a paper model.

        3. Everything is portable between home and school. Students don’t get to take their iPads home, but as long as they save their work in Evernote, they can access it from any computer or mobile device. It also means that students aren’t leaving important readings or materials at school when they need to study for a test. I’ve had many frustrated parents complain that their child wasn’t bringing home the right materials to review for tests this year — especially because we don’t use traditional textbooks at my school — and this remedies all of that.

        Another portability example is that I’ve also had students use Evernote as a word processor when they’re working on longer writing assignments because they can pick up their work between home and school. (In the future, I’d like to use Google Drive as their word processor, but until we get there as a school, this is an acceptable alternative.) Once students are ready to turn in a finished piece of writing, they copy and paste it into Pages, clean up the formatting, and turn it in through Edmodo. It has worked brilliantly this term, and I’m seeing much longer, more developed pieces of writing at all stages of the writing process now. I really think the ease of this process has played a role.

        Now that we’re using Evernote regularly in the classroom, I can’t imagine ever going back. While I will miss the massive influx of office supplies (composition books, notebooks, etc) at the start of the next school year, I’m falling in love with the fact that the only things I take home with me each night are my laptop and iPad. Going paperless has been a glorious thing.

        What are some ways you could use Evernote with your students? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section!

        a friendly stopped by to say hello, at 5000 feet

        The video shows a man flying calmly, when suddenly a military fighter appears out of nowhere. After quickly moving the wings up and down in greeting, the plane disappears from the sky at a speed worthy of a video game or a movie

        Tempura Mazel

        Tempura is a Japanese dish. Tidbits are dipped in a batter of flour, water, and egg yolk, sizzled to golden in hot fat (by all means, use your wok for this if you have one), drained, and artistically arranged and served, usually on a doily-lined flat basket. The consistency of the batter (which must be neither too thick nor too thin) and the temperature of the oil (350° is just right) are of the utmost importance. Tempura cannot wait; it must go directly from wok to table.

        Diet Start

        • 5 asparagus, cut into 2 or 3
          long diagonal pieces
        • 1-2 large carrots, sliced 1/4″ thick on diagonal
        • 10 green beans, ends trimmed
        • 2 small zucchini, cut into thick sticks
        • 1 bell pepper, cut into strips, pith and seeds removed
        • 6 shitake mushrooms, soaked in warm water
        • 6 large parsley sprigs, stems removed, dried
        • 4 Nori seaweed, cut into quarters (available in Japanese markets)

        Clean and cut vegetables; make certain they are dry.

        Batter:

        • Ice water
        • 21/4 cups flour
        • 3 egg yolks
        • 11/2 quarts safflower oil (more if using sauté pan)

        Gradually add ice water to flour with a whisk till mixture is the consistency of heavy cream. Beat yolks and whisk into mixture.

        Heat oil to 350° in wok or large sauté pan. Dip vegetables into batter and fry till golden (1-2 minutes). Do not crowd pan. Drain.

        Chilis Mazel

        • 6 fresh green chilis
        • 1 recipe Mazel Cheese Mexican, warmed
        • Ice water
        • 3/4 cup flour
        • 1 egg yolk
        • Safflower oil to deep fry (about 11/2 qts.)
        • 1 recipe of cooked Salsa Mazel

        Slit chilis lengthwise, just long enough to stuff with Mazel Cheese Mexican. Clean out seeds, etc. Stuff with Mazel Cheese mixture and set aside.

        Gently whisk enough ice water into flour to make it about the consistency of heavy cream. Beat yolk with a fork, then whisk into batter.

        Heat oil to 350°. Dip each chili into batter. Cook in oil till golden (1-2 minutes)

        Drain on paper towels.

        Served cooked salsa over chilis.

        YIELD: 2 servings.

        The timing on deep frying is difficult to pinpoint. Variables include size of pan, the amount of oil used, temperature of oil, desired color of finished product, etc. Do not crowd pan.

        WORKOUT ANYTIME in Journal & Topics Newspapers

        WORKOUT ANYTIME in Journal & Topics Newspapers in an article titled, “New 24-Hour Fitness Facility Opens In Buffalo Grove.” The article begins with information about the new club and then gives some details about the grand opening. The article ends with information on WORKOUTANYTIME’s plans for expansion in Illinois and some background on Jeff.  Click here to read more or begin below.

        New 24-Hour Fitness Facility Opens In Buffalo Grove

        A new 24-hour fitness facility recently opened in Buffalo Grove.

        Workout Anytime opened at 700 Buffalo Grove Rd. The facility is open 24 hours a day to members with staff on site from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays. Members receive a special key card to unlock doors when staff is not present.

        (Read More)

        Peanut Benefits for Health

        PEANUT BENEFITS FOR HEALTH

        Peanut Benefits for Health – Peanuts are legumes that take the benefits to the area of the roots are forming pods, do you know if the bean plants it has the advantage of a very remarkable in the area of agricultural land, the reason is because the beans are plants that collaborate with types of mycorrhizal fungi to synthesize N in the air become available to the plant, N that includes nutrients that are needed by plants in large enough quantities, land former planted beans have levels of N were pretty much up intake N for the next crop is still there. Not only useful for agriculture, but peanuts also have benefits for our health.
        Peanut Benefits For Health - 1
        Now let us try to discuss specifically about the benefits of the bean plants to our body and how much is the benefit that we can take from this pod peanut plants. Consider the benefits of peanuts below:
        Peanut Benefits for Health
        1. Helps To Increase Fertility
        For you are the woman I’m sure you’ve got the point. Peanuts contain folic acid, according to research women who ate peanuts 400 micrograms of folic acid have a lower risk of having a baby born with a serious neural tube defects up to 70% at the time before pregnancy and early pregnancy
        2. It Can Prevent Painful Gallstones
        During 20 years of research have shown if by consuming 1 ounce of peanut butter a week can reduce the risk of developing gallstones by 25%.
        Peanut Benefits For Health
        3. Can Help Reduce Depression And Stress
        Peanuts are a good source of tryptophan, the role of these substances can increase serotonin antidepressant effects (which can affect the atmosphere in the heart) if there is an increase in the amount of serotonin in the blood.
        4. Can Improve Memory
        The beans have a content of vitamin B3 or also often called by naisin content is also beneficial to maintain the health of the brain and improve memory.
        5. Lowers Bad Cholesterol
        Peanuts contain cholesterol substances that are good for our bodies, as well as the good cholesterol can reduce cholesterol levels and can control the evil by means of dominating it.

        Hopefully article Peanut Benefits for Health can we share today can be beneficial for you. Do not forget to always visit the website abouthealthbenefits.xyz to seek other health articles. Thank You.

        WORKOUT ANYTIME on CNN Money

        WORKOUT ANYTIME on CNN Money in an article titled, “What’s next for Blockbuster’s empty stores.”  The article gives information about the recent announcement that Blockbuster will be closing their remaining locations, and how this benefits franchises looking for real estate in growth markets. WORKOUT ANYTIME is featured at the beginning of the article with info about WORKOUT ANYTIMEopening 20 locations in former Blockbusters and looking to open more. Randy is quoted about why the locations are ideal and how easy it is for them to convert the real estate. Jeff is quoted about the great location and how easy it is to tell members of the community where to find the gym. The article also states that WORKOUT ANYTIME is looking for more Blockbuster stores to convert to WORKOUTANYTIME locations.  Click here for the entire article or begin below.

        What’s next for Blockbuster’s empty stores
        By: Patrick deHahn

        Blockbuster’s closing signals the end of an era, but it also means there’s a lot of retail space to fill.

        Last week, Blockbuster announced plans to shutter its remaining 300 U.S. locations. It was the final nail in the coffin of a steadily declining brand, which was bought by Dish Network (DISH, Fortune 500) in 2010 after the retailer went bankrupt.

        (Read More)

        The Easiest Way to Implement a Classroom Economy

        As my life continues to get crazier, I am constantly looking for ways to simplify and improve the things that I do. This year, for example, I decided to merge Class Dojo with my classroom economy, and so far, it’s going very well! Here are some of the tweaks I made to make this merger work.

        My Classroom Economy

        I’ve been using a classroom economy since I started teaching, and every year, I make a few tweaks. The basic idea is that every student applies for a class job at the beginning of each term (our terms are 6 weeks long). I’ve previously posted about my classroom jobs here. I display the jobs in my classroom so that we’re constantly reminded who is responsible for what. This year, I’ve used a pocket chart for my classroom jobs (sorry for the blurry photo).

        I used to give students $100/week as their salary, or about $20 per day. They’d have weekly and monthly expenses, and then they could use any remaining money to purchase items in our class store. The complete program is detailed in my Classroom Economy Megapack on TpT.

        I love the system, but I felt like I wasn’t as consistent as I wanted to be in tracking student behaviors to give fines or bonuses, and there were many Friday afternoons when I was so involved in whatever we were working on that day, that I just didn’t leave enough time for them to shop. 
        Meanwhile, I was dabbling with Class Dojo, and I wanted to figure out a way to tie that in as well. If you’re not already familiar, Class Dojo is an online behavior management system that allows you to give and take away points from students. You can create your own categories for points, and you can access the class info from any device — laptop, computer, iPad, iPhone, etc. I liked that portability because I always have one of those devices in my hands, and I could give or take away points without really interrupting what I was doing. 
        The solution came for me this year when Class Dojo allowed for the creation of weighted point values! Before, you could only give or take away a single point at a time. Now you can create points on a scale of 1-5 and weight particular behaviors accordingly. This is done in the set-up for behaviors. 
        1. Go to Edit Class on your class screen and select “Edit students and behaviors.”


        2. Select “Behaviors” and either click on one of the exiting behaviors, or the plus symbol to customize the behaviors.


        3. Change the icon (optional), name or rename the behavior, and then click the box to access a pull down menu of point values to weight that item.

        And that’s it! You can weight both the positive and negative behaviors according to your needs. Here are the settings I have now for my classroom economy.

        I basically divided the $100 weekly salary by 10, and scaled everything else back the same way. Students now get 2 points daily for their salary (10 points per week) and bonuses for different behaviors. The only other positive behavior that I’ve weighted more currently is helping others because I’m really trying to encourage that in my classroom. I’m also going to add a +4 for a class compliment because I like when they do a good job with other adults in the building.

        For negative behaviors, I deduct more points for breaking rules outside of my classroom and for disrespecting people or materials. I also now deduct their taxes and rent through Class Dojo, and when they shop, I deduct their points in here. I price everything in multiples of 2, but then I found that I wanted a -5 shopping once they had enough points for some of the larger ticket items in our class store. I dislike that it shows up in the “Needs Work” tab, but I don’t think it’s a problem overall. The parents know what is happening from the descriptors, and we just talk about it in class from the stance of making or spending money. It’s the easiest way to deduct some points without resetting the points entirely.

        Since transitioning to this modified system 7 weeks ago, my classroom economy has become more accurate and effective in a fraction of the instructional time. Class Dojo has replaced the clip chart that I used to use, and it helps with some of the accounting. I’m still using the bulk of the resources from my Classroom Economy Megapack, however.

        If you’re interested in trying out Class Dojo with the rest of my Classroom Economy Megapack, I’ll be offering the product on sale at half price through Tuesday. It is one of my best sellers, and if you’re looking to change up your classroom management routines or enhance your existing classroom economy, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I’ve also discounted the rest of my TpT store 20% to celebrate my return to blogging after a busy start to the school year. Those sale prices will go now through Tuesday, so check them out!

        Join the Mailing List! 

        Did you know that I have a mailing list so that you’ll never have to miss a post? Use the link at the top right of this page (under Never Miss a Post) to subscribe to my mailing list. You’ll get my posts delivered to your inbox, and you’ll also get access to some extra resources that I’ll be offering to my mailing list only. Given that my PhD work has really cut in to my blogging time this past year, the mailing list is the best way to make sure you see my new content. I promise not to spam you or share your contact information ever. 
        Have a great week!

        Quick Tip: The Sims 3 – Game Recording Is Slightly Darker Than The ‘Normal’ Colours Of Regular Gameplay [FIX]

        Just a Quick Tip for those of you recording The Sims 3 and finding that your videos are looking ‘darker’ than the original gameplay itself – a problem that has been around for some people for over a year now… It’s not that the game isn’t recordable (although for some people they got nothing but ‘blank/black screens’ a few years ago) it’s that the recordings are coming out, what looks like, a few shades darker than what the game really is.
        I was recently seeing a spike in the number of people talking about this problem again and decided to see if I could find a fix, or at least a workaround, for it; and what I found was something that everyone can do for now (at least until AMD/NVIDIA or Maxis/EA makes an update that fully fixes the issue) and that is simply: to run The Sims 3 in Windowed Mode.

        Whether you are using Dxtory, Bandicam, Afterburner or most other game recording programs (even NVIDIA’s Shadowplay has the same issue for some people), the fix [more of a workaround] that I found for now at least allows you to record your Sims 3 gameplay with proper colours, as you can see in these frames extracted from a couple of game recordings, below:

        Comparison between the display modes and the colours when recording (Darker vs. ‘Normal’) for the recording issue with The Sims 3, showing that the workaround works [at least for now] in two extracted frames from two game recordings (one in Windowed Mode and one in Fullscreen Mode). [In the right half, the camera has been ‘zoomed in’]

        Have fun recording your Sims 3 gameplay once again, if this problem has made you stop – and
        See You In The Games!

        Happy New Year from The Game Tips And More Blog! [NewYears’ Greetings 2017]

        “Happy New Year 2017 Greetings”
        by The Game Tips And More Blog
        (Just Cause 3 capture, Highest Settings and FXAA, with Text and Effects added)

        I personally wish you all much better things in 2017!

        [To help celebrate the end of a crazy 2016 (for almost everybody, it seems) and the beginning of a hopefully-better 2017, this was simply a fireworks celebration captured in Just Cause 3 (Highest Settings, FXAA). I then added a ‘crowd’ overlay that had a bit of ‘glitter’ effects in it (used with License from CyberLink’s PowerDirector 12) and put some Just Cause 3 – styled text  on top of it all (using a free font called “Dirty Old Town” which looked somewhat like the JC3 font and another one whose name escapes me at the moment). Lastly, I put a “Text FX” Overlay effect to show the year, an effect that was also in PowerDirector 12. As always, it was seemingly simple to think of, but took longer than expected to complete the composition (almost a day late for NewYear’s, heh). 
        HAPPY NEW YEAR ! ]

        Game Material by Avalanche Game Studios (avalanchestudios.com) and Square Enix (square-enix.com)
        Captured and Edited by Troy from The Game Tips And More Blog

        The Vital Acid—Alkaline Balance continue…

        Excess salt intake can also severely upset the body’s water balance. Along with potassium, which also occurs naturally in fresh foods, the sodium in foods and in salt itself (which is sodium chloride) plays an important part in the movement of electrons through the body’s water- based protoplasm. This is why sodium and potassium are known as electrolytes. Potassium tends to concentrate in the cells, sodium in the fluids outside the cells. The balance between sodium and potassium, when it is right, sets up a dynamic tension that makes it possible for the living cells to react quickly and efficiently to nerve stimuli, to exchange nutrients and wastes easily through the cell wall, and to maintain the proper interior and extracellular water balance. Too much sodium, which most of us get from eating salt, upsets this balance altogether and can cause troubles. It forces the body to hold on to extra amounts of water to make up for the extra salt one has eaten. Tissues become bloated, and this salt-caused edema can interfere with the blood’s oxygen transfer to cells as well as creating extra pressure against the blood vessel walls themselves. These are some of the reasons the Lifestyle Diet eliminates salt both in cooking and at the table. It relies instead on fresh and dried herbs, garlic, and spices for seasoning.

        Diet Start

        Throw out the Coffee

        Caffeine, a trimethylated xanthine, is found in coffee beans, tea leaves, cola nuts, and cacao, from which chocolate is made. Together with nicotine and alcohol, it makes up a trio of the most widely used psychoactive drugs in the world. The xanthines are stimulants to the central nervous system. They increase heartbeat rate, increase the volume and concentration of acid in the stomach, relax the smooth muscles in the body, raise blood lipids, stimulate the cerebral cortex (which means they heighten the intensity of mental processes), banishing drowsiness and feelings of fatigue. Caffeine and alcohol also have a diuretic effect on the system, causing frequent urination.

        The average cup of coffee contains between 100 and 150 milligrams of caffeine per cup, instant coffee somewhat less, tea between 60 and 75 milligrams, cola drinks between 50 and 60 milligrams. This means that if you are drinking four or five cups of coffee each day you are getting a dose of 700 to 750 milligrams of caffeine. To any pharmacologist a dose over 250 milligrams is considered large, although about a third of people in the West get twice as much each day and one person in ten actually imbibes more than 1,000 milligrams of the drug caffeine every twenty- four hours. The full long-term implications of drinking coffee (and, to a lesser degree, tea and cola drinks) are still not clear. However, enough is known already to inspire any woman concerned about the preservation of her health and beauty to give them up completely. For caffeine is a stimulus you do not need on a healthful low protein, low-fat diet high in unrefined carbohydrates.

        The link between caffeine intake and anxiety symptoms has been well established. Dr. John Greded, associate professor of psychiatry at theUniversity of Michigan, and his colleagues and others have reported that high caffeine consumers have statistically significant elevations in anxiety scores. The risk of developing peptic ulcers is also 1.4 times greater among coffee drinkers than among non-coffee drinkers. There is now evidence that coffee consumption by pregnant women can be dangerous to the unborn child Caffeine has been shown to cross the placental barrier where its mutagenic and perhaps even teratogenic potential may cause genetic changes and, therefore, birth defects.

        Finally, a daily intake of caffeine from coffee drinking is the same as continuing to supply your system with any other drug to which it has to adjust and which ultimately it has to detoxify and eliminate. One of the main principles of any long-term diet for health and beauty is, never add to the body anything which is not necessary and with which it has to deal. The fewer toxic substances there are, the less contribution they will make to tissue sludge, premature aging of skin, and the subclinical vitamin and mineral deficiencies which result in falling hair, breaking fingernails, chronic fatigue, and mental disorders. In the Lifestyle Diet, coffee, tea, cola drinks (even those without sugar), and cocoa are out. Instead, you can drink mineral waters, herb teas (but always in moderation since some of them in excess may not be good for you either), fresh fruit and vegetable juices, and coffee substitutes made from roots and grains.

        Workout Anytime Daily 10 Prehab Routine

        Everyone knows that prevention is better than dealing with an injury, and part of injury prevention is spending time working on what are commonly referred to as “corrective exercises” or “Prehab”.   10 minutes a day spent doing 10 basic exercises can prevent many injuries, improve results from exercise, and dramatically improve movement.
        Ideally do these exercises barefoot or in socks – your feet will be working very hard during these exercises and shoes reduce ground feel.  If possible do them in front of a mirror to see your form!
        Hip Hinge – Hip Hinging is one of basic primal movement patterns, and it is also the movement pattern most frequently done incorrectly.   The best way to groove this movement pattern is practice it using a wooden handle or PVC Pipe held vertically against your back touching the back of your head, the top of your shoulders, and your tail bone.  By keeping contact with all three points as you hinge it teaches you to maintain a flat back which is essential for preventing low back injuries and developing proper movement mechanics that allow you to effectively load and unload the glutes and hamstrings.
        It is also a phenomenal dynamic warm-up for the hamstrings!   Here is a video showing how to do it:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PG67O49Hsso    Do 50 reps per day and you will see and feel positive changes in your posture, movement, strength and mobility!
        Downhill Skier Exercise– This exercise contains elements of the squat and hip hinge.  Start by placing the hands palm down on the top of the thighs.  Keep the back straight slide the hands down until the palms are resting on the knees with the hips back like you are a second basemen.   You should begin to feel a stretch in the hamstrings.     Continue to hinge from the hip forward and slide down until your elbow are resting on the inside of the knees with back straight and hips back like you are a downhill skier.  This will require your knees to track forward over and maybe even slightly beyond your toes (this will generate a stretch in the calf muscles and specifically the single joint soleus muscle).    Keep your heels down the whole time – do not let them lift up off the floor!
        Keeping the back totally straight extend the knees as far as possible – you should feel a strong stretch in the hamstrings.  Your hips will rise but keep your elbows on the knees and do not move the upper body!  Then drop the hips, flex the knees and let them move forward over toes as you drop back down to the downhill skier posture.
        Start slow but as you get the hang of it you can move faster – as long as you maintain proper form.     Do 30 – 50 reps every day.   You will start to notice that your squat and your hip hinge movements all get easier along with improved mobility in the ankle knee and hip!   Click here for a great video of how to do this exercise properly:  https://youtu.be/nXKWtlr3rBQ
        Goblet Squat – Squats are another primal movement pattern and goblet squats help emphasize the best form.   They should be done daily with a relatively light weight for a good 20 – 50 repetitions.    Keep the dumbbell, kettlebell or Sandbag held against the chest the entire time. If you have difficulty getting thighs parallel to the floor spread your feet farther apart, and also rotate out at the hips so that your feet are pointing outwards.   This can make a huge difference.   By doing this and holding a light weight against your chest you may find you can squat to a decent depth while maintaining an upright torso.  It should look like this:  http://cfitness.me.formecdn.com/2016/12/goblet-squat.jpg  
        Alternatively you can hold a kettlebell/Dumbbell with both hands letting it go straight down between the legs as you squat down like this:  http://workoutlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/watermarked/Pile_Sumo_Dumbbell_Squat1.png
        Single Leg RDL – Romanian Deadlift – is one of the most important corrective exercises you can do to help self-identify and correct muscle imbalances that are the most common cause of movement dysfunction and injury.
        The best way to do this exercise is barefoot in front of a mirror where you can see your whole body throughout the entire sequence of the exercise.  Ideally you should be on a firm and level surface as well.
        Start by facing the mirror standing on one foot with the other leg flexed so your thigh is parallel with the floor and knee flexed to 90 degrees with hands on your hips.  Look in the mirror and make sure your hips are perfectly level and if not fix that!   
        Next, without moving the upper body extend the flexed leg down and hinge forward at the hip of the standing leg.   As your swing leg passes the other leg you should try to straighten it, and ideally you hinge forward at the upper body while keeping your swing leg and upper body in a straight line the whole time.
        As you hinge try NOT to let your swing leg hip drop and keep your stance foot pointing directly forward with no angle.  The stance leg should flex slightly but the knee should NOT move forward – rather you should “sit” back into the hinge at the hip. Pause when you reach at or near parallel with the floor with your upper body and swing leg then smoothly return to standing and flex the swing leg.    Slower is harder AND better and do NOT use any load/weight.
        10 repetitions on each side each day!   Do all 10 on each side one time per day and you will see some amazing changes in your strength, balance and athleticism! 
        Here is a great single leg RDL tutorial:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vc21IwnIcwk
        Hip Thrusts – The hip thrust simultaneously develops the glutes while enhancing mobility in the hip flexors (both key because this counteracts the negative effects of sitting all the time!).  These can be done on the floor or with shoulders on a bench, bed or sofa to make it a bit harder.   You can do hip thrusts with two legs or one leg at a time to create additional load.   Here is a good shot of the exercise:  http://cdn-www.womenshealthsa.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/hip-thrust-hold.jpg
        Important NOT to arch lower back at all and concentrate on squeezing glutes at top and NOT using low back.    Even without any load this exercise can produce great benefits – 20 – 50 reps each day!
        Plank – The plank is a simple functional core exercise that produces great benefits.  It can be done on toes and hands (upper push-up position), Toes and Elbows, Hands and Knees, etc to adjust the difficulty.    Do a version of the plank that challenges for one minute per day while maintaining good form.   Here is a great article on some of the many variations:  http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20813896,00.html/view-all
        Side Plank – The Side Plank is also key to building core strength, but in the front plane (side to side stability and strength).   30 seconds to a minute on each side each day.   Like the plank there are many variations and one of the best when you are ready is a side plank with leg lift: https://rutheburke.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/side_bridge_abd.jpg
        Static Lunge – Lunges are another primal movement pattern, and there are many different variety of lunges.  A static lunge is done with feet in a split stance like this:    https://www.google.com/imgres?imgrefurl=http://thefitnesslink.uk/exercises/static-lunge/&tbnid=J1sOV9EYH0PmVM:&docid=lgeVWz3ThLe7OM&h=1417&w=1890   
        The exercise is fantastic for simultaneously developing strength and mobility in the foot, ankle, knee and hip.  Best done barefoot on a firm surface.  Keep your front heel down the entire time and rear foot is up on ball of the foot with rear knee, hip, back and head kept in alignment the entire time.    Do 10 reps at a time on each side per day – no weight is necessary. 
         
        Side to Side Skater– This exercise develops hip mobility including providing an excellent dynamic stretch/warm-up for the adductor (inner thigh muscles).  Feet should be wide apart with feet facing forward – not angled out. Keep feet flat on the floor and flex forward at the hip keeping back straight (only flex forward as far as you can while maintaining a flat back and keeping both feet on the floor with entire foot kept down in contact with the ground).   Push the hips directly to the side and pause as you feel a stretch in the trailing leg’s adductors.  
        Ideally your head and torso stay perpendicular to lower body and centered during the entire exercise just like a speed skater.  Then push your hips back in the other direction to the other to the other side.    NOTE:   Do NOT go up and down – your hips should go back and forth in a straight-line parallel with the floor.   Do 20 – 30 reps each day.
        Ankle Circles – This exercise improves ankle mobility and is great before just about any activity.    Stand on one foot.    These can be done seated, standing or lying down – best done standing to simultaneously work on balance and stability.  The action is simple:  holding foot and leg in the air draw a circle with your toes for 10 circles in one direction and 10 circles in the other direction like this:  http://web.eccrsd.us/christy/public/athletic_training/ankle_sprain_rehab_beginner_files/Picture%201.jpg   
        You will notice that one direction is much harder than the other and you will feel much less coordinated and same thing with one leg vs the other leg.  Do more repetitions in the direction that is challenging and more on the leg that is more challenging.  Ideally do the exercise while you stand on one foot while you pull your other leg up with knee bent so that your thigh is parallel with the floor.    This is more challenging than it looks but will provide big benefits in terms of balance and stability.

        Done daily and before workouts these 10 exercises will provide big benefits including improved posture, stability, strength and mobility.   You will also notice that you improve at many other exercises and movements.

        Number Talks Chapter 1 – Thumbs Up for the Silent Thumb

        I’m linking up with my friend Misty over at Think, Wonder, & Teach for her summer book study of Number Talks: Helping Children Build Mental Math and Computation Strategies, Grades K-5

        Given that I’m wrapping up a K-5 Math Endorsement this month, this is a timely book for me. I love to teach math far more than I ever anticipated that I would when I entered this profession, and I really enjoy getting students to share and discuss their mathematical thinking. I’ve noticed, however, that many students lack strong mental math and computation strategies, relying instead on memorization to get them by. By the time they get to 4th grade, that’s not really a viable strategy anymore. They’re starting to work with much larger numbers, and they subsequently have more parts and steps to keep straight in their heads. If they don’t have great mental math strategies going, then it’s likely to become a mess pretty quickly. They can always solve problems on paper, but unless they have the good number sense that goes with doing mental math, they’ll never be able to gauge the reasonableness of their answers. In those regards, this book seems like a great idea.

        Chapter 1 really just introduces the concept of a number talk, and Misty does a great job summarizing it, so I won’t go into that here. One of my favorite teaching ideas from the book so far, however, was the idea of the “Silent Thumb.” When students are given a mental math problem, they need some “think time.” But every class has 2-3 students who are super math-letes who have the answer before the rest of the class has even processed what problem they’re being asked to solve, and those kids with their proud “I know! I’ve got it!” hand-waving typically end up dominating the conversation. The “silent thumb” solves that problem. All students hold their hand in a fist over their chest as they solve the problem. When they’ve got an answer, they move their hand from a fist to a “thumbs up.” They then think of another strategy to solve it while the other students are thinking, and for each additional strategy they come up with, they extend a finger. Awesome, right? I love how this gives all students some think time without creating pressure for some kids to hurry up because the fist is held close to the body — not waved in the air for everyone else to see. It also validates those super math-letes for their mathematical thinking by allowing them to communicate to the teacher that they have multiple strategies for solving the problem. And if they don’t have multiple strategies, then they have something to think about while the others are working.

        I’m definitely interested in learning more about Number Talks, and I’m excited to delve into this book a bit more. I’ll be posting more about this book in the weeks to come as I link up with Misty’s book study.

        If you don’t currently have a copy of Number Talks, you can still read the first chapter online. The book is a little bit pricier than most professional development books, but it comes with a DVD full of examples and it has a lot of resources packed in the text. If you’re looking to increase students’ mental math abilities, then this could be a great resource to use.

        Be sure to check out Misty’s Number Talks chapter 1 linky party where you can add some ideas of your own or read what other teacher bloggers are saying about the book. I promise you’ll find some great ideas there!

        And click here to see my review of Chapter 2!

        Have you ever done Number Talks in your classroom? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments section!

        Thanks for reading,

        DESIGN ROOM FOR SCIENTIST/GENIUS TEENAGER’S

        For today, we have compiled a series of five images that represent the Teenager’s Room Scientist/Genius. We try to choose different: we went with serious internal and sober, but also gave him a shot at the famous and very popular brown, and white. All rooms are practical, with work spaces, small libraries and shelving systems for books and CDs and fine cabinets specially designed for Scientist/Genius teenagers.

        Teenager’s Room Scientist/Genius Themed

        Teenager’s Room Scientist/Genius Themed

        Last but not least, we believe that the Albert Einstein Pictures is a required element in the bedroom of a Scientist/Genius teenager’s, although some of the pictures below, you will realize that they have a special status. Even if all design ideas have a particular theme rooms, the furniture is very close to each other to create interiors that are functional and aesthetic. Take a look!

        Teenager’s Room Scientist/Genius Themed

        Teenager’s Room Scientist/Genius Themed

        Hitman: Absolution – First Impressions and Screenshots

        I finally picked up the latest iteration of the Hitman Series, Hitman: Absolution, starring Agent 47 as the main anti-hero, id est killing the bad guys but never quite [arguably] becoming one of them. Differing from the last couple of Hitman publications, Absolution has an overarching story, connections being made in a chronological manner throughout the various stages and settings. Characters are introduced and developed via cutscenes, as the plot is pushed further by your completing the next mission for a feeling of engagement in the storyline.

        I personally liked this approach, as opposed to the last couple of Hitman games, which seemed like mostly ‘replays’ of old missions from previous games (which in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing). While there were similar settings, such as a Chinese Market Square, they were sufficiently changed enough – especially with the graphical improvements and new gameplay interface – to seem varied enough to be enjoyable. There were even updated versions of [personal] ‘old favorites’ that I waited excitedly for (such as a ‘Hotel’ stage). Slightly more varied than the old versions, if you include the new “Instinct” game mechanic, these levels felt ‘fresh’, even if they weren’t new.

        The “Instinct” game mechanic seems like an effort to simplify the game, making it easier for newcomers and those who had trouble with the complexity and scope of the previous Hitman games. Indeed, I remember reading a lot over the years of people saying the Hitman games were “too big” or “too complex” and that it didn’t help the player much at all, as far as where to go and what to do. It “plopped you down in a large area with just a map”, they felt. Of course, that was the draw for all of the other people, the complexity and seeming openness of the game was enjoyed, where you had to figure out everything yourself. You could decide what to skip and what to do and could decide for yourself how to do it. The new “Instinct” mechanic of Absolution doesn’t take too much away from this (you can turn it ‘off’ if desired) and it actually adds to the cinematic feel of the game by taking the ‘player out of playing’, so to speak, which results in more of a feeling that you are ‘playing Agent 47’, guiding him (and using his innate abilities) through the game, as opposed to ‘actually being Agent 47’ and figuring everything out yourself heavy-handedly. I suspect this more objective approach has already been a point of contention since the game was released.

        An example of Hitman: Absolution’s new ‘Hitman Instinct’ game mechanic, showing how Agent47 can ‘sense’ enemies in and around the nearby area and estimates where they may be heading.

        When utilizing Agent 47’s ‘Instinct’, the game shows where 47 ‘senses’ there are enemies and where they are and shows you on the screen with outlined shapes. It even shows where 47 ‘calculates’ enemies will be moving to, showing you their intended path with a line of flame and where they will stand still with a larger lick of fire. This is where the adrenalin-dipped decision making and primal ‘danger’ awareness kicks in during the game, as a player can choose to set up an engagement with an enemy, or stealthily avoid these paths and points.

        For those who do not like or want the new game mechanic at all, it can be turned off, mainly by choosing a higher difficulty level. There are five to choose from and higher difficulties result in more ‘sensitive’ or ‘aware’ enemies, tougher enemies (wearing more body armor one assumes) and more of them. For those who are new to the game or having trouble with it, the difficulty can be lowered as well, with less enemies, enemies with less skill (not as good at aiming) and less awareness (having a bit more ‘tunnel-vision’) allowing you to sneak around them easier. The option to have this game mechanic off or on, at the players choice, is nice and was no doubt included to appease those who would not like it’s hints and guidance. New players (those talking about the games’ difficulty in the past) can have it on and still enjoy the action and storyline as well. It feels like an ‘attempt to please everybody’ – and I assume it will work well in that regard. (I haven’t read any Reviews of the game (to avoid exposure to the material within) before I purchased it, but I assume that once I indulge in others’ opinions, I will see much disagreement on that last sentence).

        View of a hotel cleaning supply room from an air ventilation shaft. Click to see Full Size

        The game itself felt atmospheric and cinematic. The music changed as action waxed and waned. Enemies ignored or chased you around winding levels that you had to discover and remember. The graphics were spectacular, with detailed textures, dark and gritty lighting and shading. The core Hitman gameplay was there – even if it wasn’t there for very long. This game felt very short to me. Perhaps it was the somewhat simple Television Movie Special plot, perhaps it was the number of missions (although they were split up into sections). Perhaps it was merely enjoying it so much that I wanted more, but just during the course of writing this article off and on, I have completed the game in it’s storyline entirety (not counting Challenges and Item Collection) in just over 20 hours. That doesn’t seem very long, but I suppose it is to be expected in a game that is more like “Max Payne” and less like “Skyrim” (more Action and less RPG). You could keep playing after finishing the main story, select past levels and retry them, doing them ‘cleaner’ for a better score or achievement, or look around and discover new weapons and pathways, or just redo any level you wanted to for fun.

        An example of how the levels are split up into sections and how you can select past levels to replay them.
        An example of the updated game engine, with higher-detailed character models, textures and environments.
        Click to see Full Size

        Other than the copy-pasted ‘general population’ mannequin-people utilized in larger crowds (used understandably to keep memory/resource usage of the game down of course – all of the ‘main’ NPCs have good detail to them), I personally liked the attention  paid to smaller details, such as the amount of debris scattered around the levels – things like cups, papers and garbage, all part of the gritty ‘lived-in-ness’ of the environment, adding to the realism. It’s nice to see games that pay more attention to the surroundings/settings these days, as opposed to the stark, clean-floor environments in games of yesteryear.

        Overall, Hitman: Absolution was very enjoyable. It was great fun to figure out steps and schemes for the various areas and carry them out with cold calculation. I laughed out loud a few times and grit my teeth in anger at the more difficult parts, playing them over and over again, trying to figure out new ways to accomplish the objectives and complete the contracts. Despite feeling shorter (perhaps just because it was so enjoyable) and despite some changes that others might not entirely like, I still suggest trying it (especially if you are a fan of the previous games in the Hitman series). I personally had a lot of fun with the game – and isn’t that the most important thing?

        Have fun with Absolution and See You In The Games!

        Guided Math Resources

        I recently went to a workshop about guided math groups, and I have tons of new ideas that I’ll be sharing in the coming weeks. I couldn’t wait, however, to share a couple of the resources that I’m really excited about.

        First, is this book:

        Good Questions: Great Ways to Differentiate Mathematics Instruction, Second Edition  is a resource that I was able to start using with my students as soon as I got it. It is full of open-ended questions and parallel tasks that students at any level could access. It’s organized both by grade levels (K-2, 3-5, 6-8) and domain strands (Number and Operations, Geometry, Measurement, Algebra, and Data Analysis and Probability). It also lists which Common Core State Standards each question aligns to.

        We were working on line plots (4.MD.4) when the book first arrived. Consider these problems:

        You create a line plot that is based on measuring items to the nearest quarter of an inch. You notice that your plot looks a lot like a steep mountain. What might the measurements be and what might you be measuring? Why does it make sense that your plot would look like a steep mountain? (p. 174)

        We had a great class discussion about inferences we can make about data based on the shape of a line plot, and students were really creative about what the line plot could be measuring.

        There was also a parallel task where students could choose how to represent the data.

        The set of data below describes the ages of a group of people at a family party.

        32, 30, 5, 2, 1, 62, 58, 28, 26, 25, 24, 2, 4, 39, 16. 

        Choice 1: Create a line plot to display the data. 

        Choice 2: Create a bar graph to display the data. (p. 186)

        Some students felt more comfortable with bar graphs, but they realized that it was harder to figure out intervals and scales for the bar graph vs. a line plot. That yielded a great discussion about how to choose which type of graph to use.

        This is a great resource to use for student math journals, and it’s one that I will be going to daily. I can’t recommend this resource enough.

        Another math resource that I’m falling in love with for my math workshop and guided math groups comes from the Bridges in Mathematics program. Until attending the workshop, I’d never even heard of this program, but it seems like it’s well-suited for developing math centers and guided math groups. There are some sample tasks available as a free supplement to the the program (to align it with Common Core) at http://catalog.mathlearningcenter.org/free. I’m also planning to purchase their Building Computational Fluency program for $45. I need something more structured and organized for checking students’ multiplication and division fluency in the fall.

        Do any of you use the Bridges in Mathematics program in your school? If so, I’d love to hear more about it — I’m really intrigued!

        Have a great weekend!

        My trip to Hanoi, Vietnam

        I returned to Vietnam to facilitate a 2 day planning workshop for the 6 organizations that I did the capacity assessments in January. It felt good to meet everyone and catch up. The workshop went smoothly and I had very positive feedback from the participants.

        I was happy to see people genuinely interested and participating / contributing towards the workshop. This ensured a high quality of the results and the buy in by the participating organizations. I put the success of the workshop down to the following:

        1. The CEO / Executive director (ultimate boss) of the organization participated
        2. They had read the organization capacity assessment report and were familiar with the contents.
        3. They were guaranteed of a tangible workable plan at the end of 2 days.
        4. Being open and willing to learn

        There is a chance that I may be requested to do some more work for them in the near future; however it seems that this is the end of this phase and the client is happy with the results.


        The view from the roof top restaurant near Hoan Kiem Lake.

        I stayed at the Trang An hotel; It’s in the center of Hanoi, near Hoan Kiem Lake, so quite convinient for walking around, shopping, finding nice restaurant, etc… Had a good time too.

        Men’s Body Click Diet part 4

        Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy and Prostate Cancer

        Benign prostatic hypertrophy is an enlargement of the prostate that’s called benign because it is not due to cancer cells. Still, the enlargement can be far from benign if it results in a lack of control over functions that we all take for granted, including urinating when you want to urinate and only then. A single urinary accident in front of your classmates in the first grade can constitute a major, unforgettable scar in one’s childhood; a repeat performance, like that of my sixty-year-old patient while standing in line at the check-in counter at O’Hare Airport, is no joke either. Nor is `benign’ the right word to describe the condition that underlies such loss of control. BPH may also involve getting up frequently at night to urinate, with the intense urgency to do so unfortunately combined with a disconcerting hesitancy of performance and a lack of reward in the volume of urine produced.

        Although the symptoms of BPH can be severe, it is ironic that men with prostate cancer often have no symptoms. As they age, most men, on biopsy, show signs of prostate cancer. In fact, by the time they are in their eighties, nearly all men have prostate cancer, as defined by the typical cancerous appearance of cells under the microscope. Yet, because this particular cancer grows slowly and spreads infrequently, only a small percentage of men actually become sick or die from the disease. (A man’s lifetime risk of dying from prostate cancer is a little less than three per cent.)`’

        Diet Start

        Given the low odds of illness or death from prostate cancer, it’s confusing from a medical standpoint when a 60-, 70- or 80-year-old man has a prostate biopsy and is found to have cancer cells. Because the question of the actual malignancy of the condition — how likely it is that the cancer will grow quickly enough to cause problems — is difficult to resolve, it encourages a more aggressive approach to therapy than might otherwise be warranted. Since aggressive therapy frequently involves either removing testicles or taking female hormones, which can produce dramatic changes in a man’s body, this is not a trivial question.

        Natural therapies for treating or, more important, preventing illness are not usually studied in the same way as pharmaceuticals, because no one can patent a naturally occurring substance like flaxseed powder and make enough money to justify the enormous expense of carefully conducted, controlled and double-blinded studies. Still, the studies show that consuming soy protein and other isoflavone and lignan-containing foods reduces the risk of prostate cancer. And the cancer data suggest strongly — and there is abundant anecdotal evidence to support it — that the same hormonal environment that leads to the high incidence of cancer in older men inour culture, but not in Chinese and Finnish men, is also associated with the risk for prostatic enlargement.5

        The simple strategy for preventing the range and frequency of prostate problems is to consume more soy protein, flaxseed powder and rye fiber. If you happen to be a regular bacon, ham or sausage and eggs kind of guy, I urge you to substitute the shake, with its soy protein and flaxseed powder, at least four days a week. It’s good that you’re eating protein at your morning meal and getting the lift you need at the beginning of the day, but what you’re eating will not protect your health like soy protein and flaxseed. (If you don’t have time for breakfast, see the section for travelers in the appendix, where you’ll find a quick shortcut that will help you get your soy protein and flaxseed every day.

        The Body Clock Diet and Heart Disease: It’s not Just the Cholesterol

        Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. Each year, more than five hundred thousand Americans die of heart attacks caused by CHD. Soy intake has been shown to lower cholesterol and decrease cardiovascular disease associated with high cholesterol. There is growing scientific evidence to support this; for example, one recent study showed that a diet high in soy protein reduced cholesterol by as much as 20 per cent. 6 Other research has demonstrated that soy protein lowers triglycerides and reduces the oxidation of LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol, which contributes to blood vessel problems linked to cardiovascular disease? And flaxseed has also been shown to lower both total and LDL cholestero1. The Body Clock Diet, which includes daily intake of soy protein and flaxseed powder, ensures that you get this important protection.

        But cholesterol is not the exclusive evil agent in heart disease. Some people, especially those with complicating conditions of diabetes, tobacco smoking and a strong family history of heart disease and obesity, carry cholesterol-related risks. But most people who have heart attacks and other complications of ‘hardening of the arteries’ have fairly normal cholesterol levels.

        The tide of medical thinking is changing when it comes to heart disease. It looks as if issues related to carbohydrate excess, insulin resistance and homocysteine and its control by folic acid will take center stage away from cholesterol. 9 The benefits of substances like flaxseed and soy are not due solely to lowering cholesterol. Soy and flaxseed do indeed lower serum cholesterol, but they also modify carbohydrate and fat metabolism, further decreasing your cardiovascular risk. You don’t have to be takingaim at your cholesterol to get benefits from soy, flaxseed and the Body Clock Diet.

        Like many men, you may have a tendency not to think about your health, shrugging off warnings from your mother, spouse, doctor and children as well as newspapers and television programs that try to scare or educate you about activities that are dangerous to your well-being. Nor do you want to listen to me when I say that failure to adhere to basic circadian principles may eventually show up as something noticeably wrong with your health. But my advice is simple: there are some painless things you can do to reap what are potentially major rewards for your long-term health.

        RELAXING BATHROOM MODERN DECORATION

        Relaxation can be achieved in a variety of ways. If the shape of the tub that makes the difference, decorative items or inspire the idea that you can see, these bathrooms all have something in common with relaxation. Some interiors are rich in green arrangements, which add freshness and energy of the place. He also tried to find some bathroom designs that have a special color.

        LUXURY RELAXING BATHROOM DESIGN

        LUXURY RELAXING BATHROOM DESIGN

        We realized that the wood has a great influence on modern decoration, the first picture, for example, because it adds authenticity and personality. The windows are also of great importance because they have a great influence on the aesthetics and atmosphere of a room. Diagonal windows give a dramatic touch and are welcome if there is a nearby slope. Most of the bathrooms in the following images are modern, but also you will find some classic elements that blend well with contemporary arrangements.

        LUXURY RELAXING BATHROOM LUXURY DESIGN

        RELAXING BATHROOM LUXURY DESIGN

        LUXURY RELAXING BATHROOM DESIGN

        LUXURY RELAXING BATHROOM DESIGN

        LUXURY RELAXING BATHROOM GREEN DESIGN

        LUXURY RELAXING BATHROOM GREEN DESIGN

        LUXURY RELAXING BATHROOM STYLE

        LUXURY RELAXING BATHROOM STYLE

        Chronic Illnesses and Diet part 2

        Chronic Inflammatory Illness and Insulin Resistance

        Allowing for the fact that genetics affects an individual’s susceptibility to disease, the roots of chronic illness often lie in deficiencies of various nutrients, other dietary issues and hypersensitivity to foods and environmental factors, such as toxins. Whichever of these factors apply to you or your family, insulin resistance may be the easiest to recognize and correct. When you have this condition high levels of insulin, created by frequent intake of carbohydrates, spill over into biochemical injury that makes whatever you have worse. This can include asthma, eczema, colitis, depression, headaches, psoriasis and much more.

        What is common to all of these problems is inflammation. Whether you’re looking under the microscope or studying its basic chemical reactions, inflammation is the same, wherever it’s found. Chronic cough and mucus; sore, swollen, stiff joints; cramps and diarrhea; a chronically red, itchy rash; or periodontal disease — all are inflammation. Even cardiovascular disease, which used to be called hardening of the arteries and is now called atherosclerosis, is recognized as a fundamentally inflammatory process.

        Diet Start

        The first step in the biochemistry of inflammation is the release of informational substances from injured cells that attract the attention of healing mechanisms, the way a phone call to the automobile club brings you roadside assistance. The aid mobilized by these cellular calls for repair work is usually limited to the immediate task at hand; it’s designed for mending a cut or recovering from a burn or fighting infection. But if the agent causing the inflammation persists or if something goes wrong with the signaling mechanisms involved in the call for help, the repair work and its accompanying signals (pain, swelling, redness and heat) may become stuck, leaving you with a chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammatory diseases are often described by medical terms that end in Itis’ and ‘,psis’.

        Because the signaling mechanisms involved in chronic inflammation may be distorted by inappropriately high insulin levels in your body, this is something over which you have control. Controlling insulin levels through appropriate dietary changes, including reducing carbohydrate consumption or shifting most consumption of carbohydrates to the later part of the day, will result in a positive effect on the biochemistry of inflammation. Although this dietary change is not directed at a specific disease, it should be part of any comprehensive treatment since it is aimed at easing the predictably disordered chemistry of anyone with a chronic inflammatory illness.

        Medications that simply squelch the inflammation may not always be the best course of treatment. Granted, there are instances in which the cause is long gone but the body has gotten stuck in some kind of inappropriate reaction. In these cases, subduing the symptoms temporarily may work. But it’s different when it comes to the daily, long-term application of steroid creams or the consumption of systemic steroids or anti-inflammatory drugs. These treatments have some fairly dreadful gastrointestinal side effects, including the tendency to create leaks in the intestinal walls that allow the entry of unwanted toxins, chemicals and allergens into the bloodstream.

        The Body Clock Prescription for Treating Chronic Illness

        Chronic illness makes you listen to your body. The message is not so precise that you know exactly what to change, unless of course it’s something like chronic cough in a smoker. Most of the time, chronic pain or other signs of inflammation don’t announce their cause. They demand that you do some detective work, presumably with the help of a professional who has good instincts and expertise at reading your body’s communications by carefully listening to your story, interpreting laboratory tests and then making educated efforts at trial and error.

        Anyone with a chronic illness has to be especially aware of the second Tacks Law: if you are sitting on two tacks, removing only one does not necessarily make you feel 50 per cent better. This means that insulin resistance is just one of many manageable factors that may also include improving other aspects of nutritional status and looking for the trigger, irritant, allergen, toxin or germ to which your body may be responding.

        Doing the detective work required to find underlying triggers of a chronic illness may take a long time; nor is it always successful. As a more generalized strategy, the ten steps of the Body Clock Prescription will not only prevent or tame insulin resistance, a major contributor to chronic illness, but will reinforce healthy body rhythms and foster rhythmic integration. Remember that flexibility is your body’s treasure; it enables you to be more like an orchestra, with its constant active effort to stay in tune and on beat, than a mechanical system. The same flexibility that allows you to fall victim to the negative effects of poorly timed eating, breathing, exercise or exposure to light also permits you to use such influences for your benefit.

        Wauconda WORKOUT ANYTIME Opening Doors Soon

        Wauconda WORKOUT ANYTIME Opening Doors Soon

        The new Wauconda WORKOUT ANYTIME, owned by Jeff Cercy will be opening their doors by the end of the week. The club, located on Liberty Street in the Jewell Osco shopping center, will be celebrating their grand opening on March 22nd. The equipment is all in place and the final touches on flooring and painting has all been completed.

        The public is welcome to come out and see the new club. Those interested in joining can call 847-526-4088 or register on the club’s website: http://workoutanytime.com/locations/wauconda.

        Trip to Hyderabad Cont……

        Today I am leaving to Hyderabad for the assignment. Funny, there seems to be a lot of things that we do when doing an overseas consulting assignment but don’t really talk about it. The stuff we do for preparation has two parts

        Things considered as part of consulting process
        Marketing, prospecting and selling
        Proposal, budget & contract
        Invoicing and receiving advance payment
        Preparation / Intake

        Things that are part of the consulting process but gets taken for granted
        Requesting Invitation Letter to process visa
        Applying for visa
        Travel & Medical Insurance
        Foreign Exchange
        Transport to and from Airport – in your country and the country you are visiting
        Travel advice regarding security, weather etc

        I addition it is up to the consultant to find out about interesting things in the city s/he visits. In my experience some assignments will give you a bit of time in the evenings and it can be boring to be stuck in a hotel all the time. Suggest the web or lonely planet for this.

        Also rule of thumb is exchange a bit of money at the airport itself. Trust me you will spend more time and money in trying to look for better exchange rates.

        Paperless Mission #7: Annotating Rubrics with GoodReader (iPad)

        This is the seventh post in my Go Paperless! Challenge Series. If you haven’t completed the previous missions, be sure to complete those first.

        • Mission #1: Gather Your Tools
        • Mission #2: Build Evernote Notebooks
        • Mission #3: Email Notes to Evernote
        • Mission #4: Create Checklists in Evernote
        • Mission #5: Organize Your Files in Dropbox
        • Mission #6: Setting Up GoodReader (iPad)
        Also be sure to link up at the Go Paperless! Linky.

        Mission #7: Annotating Rubrics with GoodReader (iPad)

        I try to give my students high-quality feedback whenever possible, especially on their writing assignments. In the past, it would take me days to grade all of their papers and write hand-write comments on their rubrics. So when I passed those papers and rubrics back to students, it would kill me to see students stuff them into the abyss of their backpacks, or worse — toss them into the recycling bin. I wanted them to take it home and share it with their parents, and I wanted them to be able to refer back to that feedback. Eventually I learned to photocopy the rubrics before I passed them back, but that still wasn’t ideal. It created more paper clutter and one more thing for me to work on organizing.
        When I say that GoodReader has become one of my all-time favorite apps, I mean it. I now use GoodReader to fill out rubrics and other student feedback. To start, make sure that you have the rubric saved as .pdf in Dropbox. While GoodReader can read any type of document, it will only annotate a .pdf. Then open up the .pdf of the rubric in GoodReader (see previous tutorial).

        Choose the highlighter tool to highlight the appropriate categories on the rubric. The first time that you go to annotate a document, it will ask you if you want to save to this file or create an annotated copy. If it’s a document that I’m only planning to use once or student work, I typically select “Save to this file.” When I’m planning to use the document over and over again, though, I’ll create an annotated copy. That’s what I’d choose when using a rubric to grade student work.

        Once I’ve made my selection, I’ll be able to annotate all over the document. Once you’re in the highlighter tool, you can drag your finger over the text that you want to highlight. You can change the color of your highlighter, and you can also delete highlights by tapping on the highlighted area.

        At the end of the rubric, I like to type specific comments for my students. To do that, choose the typewriter tool. A little window will pop up for you to type your comments, and then it will save them to the document. If it saves it in the wrong spot, simply tap on the text and a new menu of options will appear.

        You can drag and drop the text into the correct space and re-size the text area to get it formatted the way you’d like.

         When you’re done annotating the rubric, tap the center of your screen to see the “My Documents” option.

        From there, you’ll want to rename your file. To do this, select “Manage Files,” then tap on the annotated copy of your rubric and select “rename.”

        Once you’ve renamed your document, you’ll have some options for moving it. First, I send a copy to the student’s notebook in Evernote. To do this, tap “Manage Files” again, select your newly renamed document, and select “Open In.” A new window will pop up asking how you’ll want to save the file. Select “Flatten annotations” because that will preserve your edits and merge it into the document so that you don’t lose your work.

        Once you’ve chosen that, another window will open showing which of your installed programs you can open it in. As you can see, I’ve get several options available. You could also upload it directly to Dropbox if you would like to back up your work there rather than in your student notebook. This might be a good option if you have a folder shared with the student for passing back work.

        When I’m ready to hand back the rubric to students, I open it in Edmodo and attach it as a direct message to the individual student. This allows the student and his or her parents to see it. They could also download a copy if they’re using a computer. (I’ve had mixed results with document downloads through Edmodo on the iPad.)

        This system has been incredibly helpful for me. It’s easy to manage because I don’t have to keep track of paper or make sure that I’ve made enough copies of the grading rubric before I start grading. Just one more step in the quest to curb paper clutter.

        What are some other ways you can imagine using GoodReader in the classroom? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section!

        The Amazing Power of Focus

        I frequently like to put on music while I work, and I sometimes do that in my classroom, too. I’ve rotated through many Pandora playlists, and I use Spotify a fair amount. I like the music on those sites, but they’re more for entertainment than work.

        I’ve finally found a resource that really seems to help me and my students get into the zone and focus.

        Let me introduce you to my favorite new website, [email protected]

        This website allows you to listen to instrumental music from a variety of genres that has been specially selected to get you into a state of “flow.” The music is sequenced in an order that draws on neuroscience and research about the impacts of music on productivity. They have a huge section documenting the science behind the playlists. 
        I tried this site while reading some really dense texts for a PhD class, and I really felt like it helped me stay focused and productive. I cruised through the articles in record time! I also had it playing while I worked on writing this morning, and I do feel like it’s impacting my personal productivity. It seems to be helping my students as well. 
        They have two membership levels — a free version and a paid version. The free version gives you 60 minutes of each playlist before stopping. You can listen to the playlists multiple times, but it will always be the same playlists. The paid version allows you to set a timer, customize playlists, listen to unlimited music, and track productivity for $4.99 billed monthly or $45 billed annually. I’m currently using the free version, but I suspect it won’t be long before I upgrade. It’s having a big impact on my productivity. 
        If you like to have music on in the background while you or your students work, I’d definitely recommend giving [email protected] a try. I’d love to hear about your experiences with it in the comments!

        I like www.focusatwill.com so much that I’ve become an affiliate with the site. This means that if you click the links above and subscribe, I’ll receive a very small commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CRF, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

        My Travel Tips

        I started traveling as a consultant form April of 2002. I have now completed ten years of travel. For my assignments I travel both economy and business class and use a variety of airlines. To commemorate my ten years of traveling I have compiled some travel tips. They are aimed at reducing the stress of modern travel to enable you to have a pleasant journey with the minimal amount of discomfort and hassle.



        These are my top travel tips based on my travel experience since 2002 and the post 9/11 world. (E6K9HKXKPPNE)


        Clothes and shoes


        1. Do not wear a belt – this will help you to pass through security without having to go through the hassle of taking it off and putting it on. It also helps in blood circulation.


        2. Do not wear any items of clothing which contain metal buttons, clips, labels etc.


        3. Do not wear clothing with a lot of pockets – you can forget a coin or a key and will set off the metal detectors


        4. Do not wear tight clothes this will cut your blood circulation and make the journey uncomfortable.


        5. Don’t wear baggy clothes; wear comfortable cloths that are close to your body – lets face it you will be profiled no matter what they say; so wearing baggy clothes sets off alarm bells with the security personnel. They are more likely to pad down a person wearing baggy clothes as opposed to someone wearing well fitting clothes.


        6. Try to wear slippers or sandals, if you feel clod wear a pair of socks with the slippers or sandals. If you need to wear shoes wear thin sole shoes (without any metal fittings) with no shoelaces. This will either negate the need to take off your shoes or make it easy to take off and put on shoes


        7. Try to dress in the thinnest possible layers of clothes instead of wearing / carrying bulky heave jackets / coats so that you can remove or add depending on your level of comfort. Thin clothes weigh less take less space in your hand luggage / carry on luggage.


        Money and Travel Documents


        1. Do not carry any coins. If you must carry coins in a small transparent plastic bag and put the coins in a pocket of your carry on luggage.


        2. Always carry more than one currency: example if you travel via to London to USA carry British Sterling Pounds as well as Dollars.


        3. Try to pre pay for as many expenses as possible before departure. This helps to minimize the amount of money you need to carry, as well as be able to bargain to the maximum and not be made to decide on the spot about your travel options. Use the internet and always cross check and read reviews of restaurants, taxi service and other services you are likely to pay for in cash so that you don’t get taken for a ride.


        4. Carry globally accepted credit cards as a payment option and for emergencies.


        5. Always take travel insurance; you never know when you might fall sick or get injured.


        6. Always carry your passport, visa, travel insurance, hotel reservations, travel vouchers, invitation letters, letters of sponsorship etc in one safety pouch / folder. This way you don’t have to look for them in multiple places. Keep them safe and close to you.


        7. Never ever give the bag containing these documents to anyone (except your family or personal assistant / colleague).


        8. If you are using a VIP service to breeze through emigration and customs make sure that you have line of sight of the person at all times. Confidence tricksters pretending to be service providers will walk off with your belongings.


        Baggage


        1. First check the weather of your destination (12 hours before departure – weather forecasting gets better when nearer to the dates concerned.)


        2. Finalize your clothes 12 hours before you travel, based on above.


        3. Choose clothes that can be mixed and worn: Take white shirts / blouses which can be worn with any pants / skirts and jackets. Take a few different ties / scarf and accessories so that you look different but use the least number of clothes. I am a firm believer in the use of hotel laundry services. I prefer to get the items laundered at the hotel and avoid carrying your entire wardrobe with you when you travel. Make sure that you as well as the hotel has a clear understanding of the difference between dry cleaning and washing of clothing items.


        4. Try to use the minimum number of bags as possible.


        5. Golden rule is that: if you do not need an item during the journey / flight, then it goes in with the check in luggage. One of the benefits of the post 9/11 world is that the airline industries ability to track and link you baggage to you has improved tremendously. So you do not have to carry any back up clothes in your hand luggage just in case your luggage gets lost.


        6. If you do not have any check in luggage then you need to ask the question do I really need to carry the item or can I buy it at my destination and use it. Remember most consumables (Soap, Shampoo, Mouth wash etc) are similarly priced everywhere and most hotel now provide them in the room). It’s worth trying a new brand of an item to reduce the weight and hassle of taking them in 50 ML clear bottles etc.


        7. Have a good idea of your baggage allowance. Especially if you fly economy class; it may change from airline to airline. The rule of thumb is that if it is difficult for you to carry your check in baggage (Standard international size) it is probably over weight. An average person can easily handle 20Kg. Use this principle when standing in check in queues. Avoid standing in queues with people who have difficulty in handling their luggage. They will take longer to check in as they will have to pay for excess luggage or repack them.


        Loyalty Cards


        1. Try to get as many loyalty cards as you can. Before you embark on your journey have the relevant loyalty cards sorted out and keep them with your travel documents and put the rest in you carry on luggage. You never know when they may become handy.


        2. In my opinion the top benefits of loyalty cards are:


        a. Priority check in – the shorter the queue you need to stand in the less stressful it is to you.


        b. Excess baggage allowance – you never know when you might need it, especially if you travel with your wife / partner who will shop while you are attending to business.


        c. VIP services for priority emigration and customs clearance.


        d. Access to a lounge with free broadband internet connection


        I recommend you go for loyalty cards that provide at least one of these benefits and not bother with ones that just offer air miles for ticket discounts and free food.


        Hotels


        1. Where ever possible I recommend you insist on staying in an establishment with at least a 3 star classification. This should provide good enough comfort & facilities for a business traveler. However I have come across many hotels which are classified as 3 stars but are more like cattle sheds. If clients and budgets permit always stay at the highest class hotel in your destination.


        2. The main facilities you should be looking for when selecting a hotel are:


        a. Airport pick up and drop


        b. Free broadband internet access


        c. Complementary pressing of one set of clothes per day (shirt / blouse, trouser / skirt & Jacket) + shoe shine.


        d. Free copy of the local English newspaper – This is a helpful tool to get a feel of the local environment, best places to dine and entertainment information and of course to get an insight in to what’s happening around you.


        3. Always stay as close as possible to your customers / clients. This will reduce local travel time and getting stuck in local traffic, which you may not know about or will not be able to find out before arriving at your destination. Best is to stay within walking distance. By this you can avoid the need to haggle with taxi drivers every morning and evening if meter taxis are not available.


        4. I recommend you stay on B & B basis; this gives you a lot of flexibility to move around the city and meet the locals during meal times. This will also help you get a feel of the general business environment, mood of the people as well as get exposed to the local culture.


        Flights


        1. Always use major airlines where possible. The trend now is to go for budget airlines. I too subscribe to this philosophy but with a few considerations. They are:


        a. Safety – As with all one needs to be comfortable with the safety systems of the airline. Some budget airlines operate state of the art new aircraft, while others operate others which do not have a good safety record. So each of us need to make this choice for ourselves.


        b. Reliability – Other than Europe and North America budget airlines are not regulated in a way they are liable for delays and cancellations. Unless you have a very good insurance policy you may run the risk of having to incur the cost of delayed and cancelled flights, additional hotel and transfer costs. Budget airlines will cancel / delay / amalgamate passenger manifests for flights if they do not have the desired number of passengers for a flight to minimize losses.


        Major airlines will operate scheduled flights, and if for any reason they do cancel a flight they will look after the passengers better and try to route you to your destination with the minimum hassle.


        2. Try not to use domestic airlines. As much as possible try to get to and from your destination via an international flight. Changing to domestic airlines may be cheaper but you need to consider the following:


        a. How much time do you loose and is it worth. Most domestic flights operate at much lower altitudes and will fly at a lower speed. International flights will fly higher and faster and can provide you with considerable time savings.


        b. You may have to go through immigration in one airport and through customs in another airport. This may actually take a longer time.


        c. You will increase you total transit time (Time spent not flying) and for a business person time is money.


        d. You may need to move your luggage over long distances between domestic and international terminals.


        e. You may need to pay again for excess baggage


        f. Domestic airlines too will cancel / delay / amalgamate passenger manifests for flights if they do not have the desired number of passengers for a flight to minimize losses.


        g. Most domestic airlines operate very old aircraft which may have a bad safety record.


        Jet Lag


        1. Living in the destination time zone – From the time you start your journey try to do things such as taking meals and sleeping according to the destination time zone. This will give your body extra time to adjust to life in the new time zone. Most airlines try to do this using the cabin lights to mimic the time of day. Unfortunately only the modern aircraft have this feature.


        2. Drinking fluids. – You must be well hydrated 24 hour before the flight, So refrain from:


        a. Heavy exercises that make you loose water through excessive sweating


        b. Drinking too much alcohol the day before you travel.


        3. Reduce the build up of static electricity on your body and clothes. Once at your choice of accommodation at your destination find a wooden or cement / tile floor. Take off your shoes and socks and walk on the surface for a few minutes. The best solution is walking on grass however this may not be possible at your destination. However this may be an option for you on your return to your home.

        The Nordic Hamstring Curl: Best Hamstring Exercise You are Not Doing!

        There are many different hamstring exercises including variations of leg curls (seated, prone, and standing) along with several different hip hinge exercises that target the hamstrings (RDL, Single Leg RDL, etc).     These are all great exercises, but none of them can touch the Nordic Hamstring Curl for building eccentric strength and preventing hamstring injury in sprints and sport!
        This is a tough exercise so warming up the hamstrings is essential.  Using other hamstring exercises first such as bodyweight hip hinges and light leg curls on a machine prior to this exercise do the trick nicely.   It is also a good idea to do some static stretches for anterior hips and hip flexors to shut them off which helps to allow for maximum hamstring activation.
        To perform the Nordic Hamstring Curl you need to find a place to hook your heels under when you are in a double leg tall kneeling position so you will also need padding under your knees.     If you have a workout partner you can have them kneel behind you and hold onto both your legs right above the ankles keeping their arm straight so they can use their bodyweight to apply load as you let your body fall forward like this:   http://willlevy.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Nordic-Curl.jpg.     You can also find something to hook your ankles under like the horizontal bar from a weight machine or barbell like this:   https://i.ytimg.com/vi/f_GdZKdwovA/maxresdefault.jpg or  this:   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/29/04/34/290434956cdd220cc8d6e0b18948cf3c.jpgor this:  https://www.t-nation.com/img/photos/2013/13-775-04/Nordic-Start.jpg
        Keeping your hips flat (straight line from knees through hips and shoulders) – you lower your body down slowly until you can no longer hold your weight then catch yourself in push-up position and push back up:  https://simplifaster.com/articles/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2017/03/GHR.jpg.       You can also use a band during the exercise which provides progressively more assistance as you go lower towards floor to allow you to potentially perform the full range of the motion and come back up with the assistance of the band.    Then over time you gradually decrease the assistance of the band by user smaller and lighter bands.      This provides a good video of how you can do this by attaching a band overhead and behind you:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQm9rdzZlRk
        There are also numerous machines designed for this exercise including:
        http://www.roguefitness.com/floor-glute?prod_id=15905&gclid=Cj0KEQjwnazLBRDxrdGMx-Km4oQBEiQAQJ1q68P3rah0ZwofpsxOA-xSYl5_v9mtTSxSmuG5zIW1KUYaAvPW8P8HAQ
        http://www.speedbottraining.com/glute-ham-machine/
        http://www.gluteforce.com/
        Here is a 6 week progression:
        Week                   Sessions/Week                  Sets                       Reps                     Rest
        1                                           1                            2                            5                            2 min.
        2                                           2                            3                            5                            2 min.
        3                                           2                            3                            6                            2 min.
        4                                           2                            3                            7                            2 min.
        5                                           3                            3                            8                            2 min.
        6                                           2                            3                            9                            2 min.

        Fallout 4 – V.A.N.S… What Does It Do? Why Would Anyone Want To Take/Use It? [Explanation with Example]

        I saw someone ask this in the Official Steam Forum, wondering why someone would even pick the VANS Perk (the Skill to use it) while levelling. I wanted to come back here and post, as a Quick Tip perhaps, a short explanation on what V.A.N.S. actually does (and how it can be helpful to players).

        Briefly summarized, V.A.N.S. is a Perk of Intelligence (requiring only 1 INT to Unlock) that lets the V.A.T.S. interface ‘show you the way’ to your marked objective/quest/mission location. An example I recorded of how it looks, is below:

        Recorded aboard The Prydwen, this is a short example of how VANS looks in Fallout 4.
        (Reduced size, framerate and quality, to fit Upload requirements at Steam)
        Click to see slightly larger Full Size
        On Steam, at http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=966498722

        To use V.A.N.S., simply hold the Hotkey for opening VATS for a short time (eg. on PC, instead of hitting ‘Q’ quickly once, to enter V.A.T.S., hold it down) – let go of the ‘Q’ key, after about two full seconds or so – even if the Pip-Boy has not fully opened yet. Then hit ‘TAB’ to close the Pip-Boy right away, once the ‘green trail’ is seen.
        You do not need to move or turn at all, until after closing the Pip-Boy fully (for example, I do not use the mouse at all to use V.A.N.S., on PC, I just open the Pip-Boy with ‘Q’ and close the Pip-Boy with ‘TAB’).
        [Perhaps this will help those having issues with opening/closing/viewing the ‘trail’…]

        If you’ve played Skyrim, it is similar to the Clairvoyance Spell in that game, as it will then illuminate a ‘trail’ that looks like a tube of smoke along the ground, that you can follow (but in Fallout 4 it is ‘Pip-Boy Green’, as opposed to ‘SKYrim Blue’).

        While this doesn’t seem needed as Fallout 4 has both Map Marks (on the Map in the Pip-Boy and at the bottom of the Screen in a Compass) and Floating Markers (that can be seen on Doors, above NPCs, etc). V.A.N.S. is helpful in a slightly different way. It shows you the ‘Main Path to take’ to get to your Marked Objective/Quest/Mission (as in, “go to this Street and use this Road”).

        For example, if you are jumping around in the back hills or lost in the skyscrapers of Downtown, it will guide you out of where you are with the ‘green steam trail’ and show you how to get back to the main roads, then it will illuminate which way to go from there, too.

        The Map Markers that are normally available only show the ‘overall’ or ‘general’ Heading, like a Compass (N, E, W, S) and not ‘how to go around this thing in front of you’ or ‘how to get back to the main road first’. Those last concepts are where the usefulness in V.A.N.S. shines; in how it can guide you from exactly where you are, first around whatever is in front of you (to the nearest main path), then how to go on from there to your next objective.

        Try it out on your next Character perhaps – and have fun in Fallout 4!

        Raw Gameplay (Unedited) – Battlefield Play4Free (32 Players, Saiga-12 Won from The Daily Draw)

        Battlefield Play4Free is a Free-To-Play title, where it doesn’t cost anything to join in, but you can purchase weapons, armor, clothing and other items for Real Money by purchasing Tokens that you can then use in the in-game Store. There is also a nice feature where you can win prizes (weapons, armor, clothing, etc) from a game called The Daily Draw, where you choose a card from a draw of eight and it will generate an item for you.

        The items range from temporary one-day use weapons and clothing, to seven day usage, to permanent items your character (Soldier) can use in the game forever (for example, a scope that can be attached to a gun for that soldier for all time). This is great for those who can’t afford to purchase many in-game items, as it not only offers the possibility of getting some great gear ‘forever’, it also gives a nice preview of a weapon, mod or clothing, so that you can see what it will look like/feel like, if you decide to splurge and purchase it for yourself (supporting the game and developers as well) sometime in the future.

        In this video, I present ‘Raw Gameplay’ (unedited gameplay) of BFP4F after winning a Saiga-12 Shotgun for one day’s usage on my Medic via The Daily Draw. I had joined a 32-player server (running a Rush map) that was nice and full (16 soldiers per side). After getting the kinks out and getting used to the controls again after not playing for a while, I think things picked up as the game went on.. I was soon having fun arming MCOMs and healing and reviving. Near the end, I realized that my Aircraft controls weren’t set/got reset, as my mouse wasn’t ‘inverted’ and I couldn’t fly the helicopter at all, haha.

        Recorded game: Battlefield Play4Free, Online FPS
        Recorded with: Bandicam (Registered Version) @ 864p
        Recording codec: MPEG-1, 70% Quality, 30fps

        This video was also a test of a few things (though not an ‘Official Testing Video’): I was messing around with different settings (resolutions, quality settings) to see how low I could set things before the quality suffered too much. This is of course, something VERY relative and what looks ‘good enough’ to one person, looks ‘like crap on a cracker’ to another person. What I was testing here was, what seemed good enough to upload to YouTube (since it recompresses anyway) and still be enjoyable, while making the recorded file as small as I could via Quality settings (which limits the bitrate somewhat) and resolution size (the larger the resolution, the more bitrate/filesize that would be required).

        As I have stated in earlier articles talking about Quality, Bitrate and Filesize, I still find that going below 60% produces too many compression artifacts (macroblocks and ‘trails’, Gibbs effects and more) for many games, especially if there are large dark areas (which would get compressed more highly and have these compression effects occur in them). This doesn’t happen with all games however; some games are fast-moving and/or do not have many darker/flatter areas and using 50% quality doesn’t look too bad, even with the MJPEG codec. It’s a balancing and testing game, as some games (especially with text) look fine and others look very bad (the compressor will try to allocate more bits around edges like text and compress even more highly then, the flatter/darker areas in a scene). I have done recordings of news streams and other things however, that allow for a very low quality recording setting (down to 20%), but that is mainly because the source itself is of a low quality (many streams are highly compressed and there is not much ‘extra’ compression artifacts produced by recording it in a lower quality/bitrate, especially if you are going to downsize for the final output video).

        For most games, I found I could go down to 70% Quality comfortably – as long as the resolution stayed ‘higher’ [720p or higher]. With lower resolutions, the bitrate/quality reduction means too many ‘casualties’, as 30% of a 1080p recording isn’t that many pixels when you consider the screen size; but one-third of a 480p recording is a huge amount of the already small screen being ‘lost’ to compression. Thus, with some testing (again to what looks “ok to me“) I arrived at a middle ground of 864p, which maintains decent clarity of text and is large enough to discourage overcompression of darker/flatter areas. For keeping recorded files small and downsizing to 720p HD, it looked fine to me in tests – and on some games, doesn’t look that bad even if you wanted to upsize to 1080p HD (clear text was maintained, etc).

        So, enjoy this first installment in an ‘unofficial’ Video Series here at The Game Tips And More Blog: “Raw Gameplay” of Battlefield Play4Free. If you like the game, play it, tell others about it and buy some stuff from the Online Store and support it!

        See You In The Game!

        Any gameplay videos or animations uploaded are only one example of one possible path of game play and is not representative of the gameplay experience of the entirety of the game material as it is non-repeatable in exactness (movements, actions, viewpoints, etc) to a high degree of accuracy (especially in regards to online multiplayer play and interactions) and therefore is not a representation of a large portion of the game content (this includes complete Walkthroughs/Playthroughs, Raw Gameplay Footage and Tutorials). All material and content uploaded attempts to respect copyright and is presented for Educational and Entertainment purposes only, utilized under Fair Use and can be construed as Free Advertising. No copyright infringement is intended and cannot be inferred. Any possible representation approaching any infringement, to those seeking infringement action, requires double notification and will be honoured by permanent removal of the infringing material.

        1948 Packard woody station wagon and matching teardrop trailer

        https://silodrome.com/packard-eight-station-sedan-teardrop-camper/

        TRADITIONAL DECORATIONS CHARMING HOME IN GOTHENBURG

        TRADITIONAL DECORATIONS CHARMING HOME IN GOTHENBURG

        TRADITIONAL DECORATIONS CHARMING HOME IN GOTHENBURG

        Raise your hand if you’re a fan of traditional interior design schemes. Because today we are proud to present a wonderful house of fascinating details are located in Gothenburg, Sweden. Seen on Skeppsholmen, the project has a nice open living room, which covers the dining room, as well as the terrace and garden. On the second floor above the living room is furnished with a bedroom in the attic, and storage facilities well. Basement can accommodate storage / boiler room and laundry area with washing machine. The entire house is a charming and traditional, because of the presence of many moving parts in wood and other interesting colored decorations. We invite you to explore all and be inspired!

        TRADITIONAL DECORATIONS CHARMING HOME IN GOTHENBURG

        TRADITIONAL DECORATIONS CHARMING HOME IN GOTHENBURG

        TRADITIONAL DECORATIONS BEDROOM CHARMING HOME IN GOTHENBURG

        TRADITIONAL DECORATIONS BEDROOM CHARMING HOME IN GOTHENBURG

        TRADITIONAL DECORATIONS KITCHEN CHARMING HOME IN GOTHENBURG

        TRADITIONAL DECORATIONS KITCHEN CHARMING HOME IN GOTHENBURG

        TRADITIONAL DECORATIONS BATHROOM CHARMING HOME IN GOTHENBURG

        TRADITIONAL DECORATIONS BATHROOM CHARMING HOME IN GOTHENBURG

        July Currently & Goals & a Meet Up!

        Oh, July! You seemed so far away a month ago. How could you possibly be almost here already?! Can’t we add another month in between June and July? I really, REALLY want to hold on to June as long as possible. I’m really not ready to return to work in a few weeks…

        Currently July

        I’m linking up with Farley at Oh Boy! 4th Grade for the July Currently.

        Listening: My little girl is almost 2, and she LOVES books. She also loves Pete the Cat. I took her to my favorite children’s book store, Little Shop of Stories, to get the new Pete the Cat book the day it came out. Given that she knows and loves the song “Wheels on the Bus,” it’s a great book for her to “read” on her own.

        Loving: Planbook.com. I signed up for the one-month trial to tinker around with it, and it’s fantastic. I’ll definitely be using it next year.

        Thinking: that I’m much more prepared to teach the Common Core this year — especially with math. I’m excited about implementing all of the things that I worked on this summer to get ready for math, and I’m optimistic about my year ahead.

        Wanting: a longer summer break. There are so many things that I still want to do before going back to school, and I don’t think I’m going to be able to get them all done.

        Needing: a maid. I can’t keep up with my husband, toddler, and two dogs. Once I go back to work, it may be time to hire someone to come in each week.

        Tips, Tricks & Hints: One thing that helps me with time management is to try to group all of my like-projects together and work on them at once. For example, I have one day a week at school that I do all of my copying (or at least I did before going paperless!). I also spend one day working on plans for each subject (e.g., a day for math planning, a day for science, etc.) and a day for working on blog posts, etc for the week. This helps me use my time more efficiently and stay relatively organized.

        July Goals

        I’m also linking up with Jess at I {Heart} Recess for the first time for the monthly goals post.

        Personal: I want to start exercising at least 3 times a week (baby steps). I return to work in a couple weeks (!), and I know with all that I’ll be juggling this year between work and my doctorate that I will need to do better with exercise for balance and stress management.

        Family: I want to squeeze in a couple more “date days” before going back to school. My daughter is in school year round, so on “date days,” my husband leaves his office before lunch, and then we go out to lunch and catch a movie before picking her up. It saves us babysitting costs, and it’s a fun way to spend our afternoon.

        Health: A few years ago when I lost a lot of weight, the biggest change I made was that I consistently drank 64 oz of water every day. Now that I’ve gained back the weight (and then some), I need to start drinking at least that much water every day.

        School: I report to our staff retreat on July 17th, and then pre-planning officially starts on July 25th. I need to figure out how I’m going to decorate my room before then and map out some plans for the first few weeks before then.

        Blog/TpT: I’m hoping to wrap up my Paperless Challenge series in the next few weeks, and I have several new TpT products in the works. This summer has just gone by too quickly for me to finish it all!

        Outside the Box: I want to find some easy and tasty breakfast and lunch recipes that I can use throughout the year. I do a fairly good job cooking healthy dinners, but I am not consistent the rest of the day. I often forget to eat breakfast, and then I don’t make the best choices for lunch either. The more I plan ahead, the better prepared I’ll be. And this justifies spending more time on Pinterest. Win-win!

        Southeastern Bloggers Meet Up!

        Have you heard about the Southeastern-area blogger meet up? It’s about time that those of us in Georgia and the surrounding areas get together, and I’m super thankful that Stacia, Amanda, and Jivey from Collaboration Cuties and Ideas by Jivey have  organized something for us. If you are close to Atlanta, I hope you’ll join us for the meet up on July 20th. It promises to be lots of fun.

        Click on any of the images below to connect with Jivey’s blog where you can RSVP.

        I hope to meet lots of other fabulous teacher bloggers there! Click the button below to RSVP.

        It’s Not Just You ™ – Heroes Of The Storm ‘Screen Shake’ = ‘Motion Sickness’ (Dizzy, Nausea, Headache) [Notification]

        Just a quick post to let others know that – if you are experiencing this phenomenon – getting dizzy or even nauseous while playing Heroes Of The Storm lately: It’s Not Just You™… I even whipped up an Example of the effect, for those that aren’t quite noticing it:

        Example of ‘the screen shake effect’ I made, in GIF format
        (Click to see slightly larger Full Size)

        I first came across this in the Official Heroes Of The Storm Forums at Battle.Net. It was originally posted by “Phoenix” a couple of weeks ago, here. Although I have seen it personally in-game (noticed it), I have not suffered the nauseating effects that many may/do suffer with this Special Effect the game offers – even though I have experienced ‘game motion sickness’ from other games. [I did notice when testing and creating the above Example, that it made me slightly queasy however..]. Mainly, I have ‘been lucky’ with not experiencing it because I do not normally play the Heroes that have/produce this effect (the ‘screen shake’ effect). Here is a list of all the Heroes and Spells that can produce this effect, thanks to a helpful post by “Hatsoz” on the Official Forums:


        Spells with Screen Shake
        Zagara – Nydus Network (R)
        Genji – Swift Strike (E)
        Sgt. Hammer – Concussive Blast (W), Blunt Force Gun (R), Napalm Strike (R)
        Gazlowe – Deth Lazor (W)
        Lucio – Soundwave (Q), Sound Barrier (R)
        Valeera – Blade Flurry (W)
        Zul’jin – Twin Cleave (W), Guillotine (R)
        Ragnaros – Sulfuras Smash (R)
        Alarak – Lightning Surge (E)
        Cho – Upheaval (R)
        Karazhim – Radiant Dash (Q) (Only with Volley of Blows Talent Lv. 16), Seven-Sided Strike (R)
        Anub’arak – Burrow Charge (E) (Upon resurface)
        Li Li – Water Dragon (R)
        Diablo – Shadow Charge (Q), Fire Stomp (W), Overpower (E)
        E.T.C. – Face Melt (W), Stage Dive (R) (Landing only)
        Falstad – Hinterland Blast (R)
        Kerrigan – Impaling Blades (W)
        Muradin – Thunder Clap (W), Dwarf Toss (E), Haymaker (R)
        Sonya – Ancient Spear (Q) (On Hit), Leap (R)
        Stitches – Slam (W)
        Tyrael – El’druin’s Might (Q) (On sword landing), Angelic Flash (Q) (Teleport to sword), Judgment (R)
        Uther – Hammer of Justic (E), Divine Storm (R)





        Heroes with No Screen Shake
        Valla
        Tyrande
        Lunara
        Kael’thas
        Zeratul
        Cassia
        Probius
        Varian
        Samuro
        Zarya
        Auriel
        Gul’dan
        Medivh
        Chromie
        Tracer
        Dehaka
        Xul
        Li-Ming
        Greymane
        Gall
        Artanis
        Lt. Morales
        Rexxar
        Leoric
        The Butcher
        Johanna
        Sylvanas
        The Lost Vikings
        Thrall
        Jaina
        Azmodan
        Chen
        Rehgar
        Murky
        Brightwing
        Tychus
        Abathur
        Arthas
        Illidan
        Malfurion
        Nazeebo
        Nova
        Raynor
        Tassadar

        I experimented with every single Graphic Setting available in the game (eventually running it on the Lowest Possible Settings) and could not find a Setting that disabled this effect…. I first tried Physics, then other effects-affecting settings, such as Shader level, and more, until everything was at the lowest possible Settings and still the effect appears in-game.

        I even looked through the game directories (folders) for some sort of editable configuration file, but the only ones present were ‘protected’ by Blizzard, by being compressed or encrypted in their own proprietary encapsulation of some sort (which renders the files not easily readable or editable by normal means – this is understandable, as they do not want their game easily ‘hacked’ or negatively affected by end users).

        So, for now – unfortunately – there is no solution for this, for sufferers of this effect. The only recourse, until Blizzard puts in an option to Disable Screen Shake, is to avoid the Heroes that produce this visual effect.



        Just letting Sufferers know: It’s Not Just You™!
        [I will try to remember to return to this Post and Update it once Blizzard adds this option – or a workaround is found]

        The carb connection

        Carbohydrates are a vital part of the human diet – they are our primary source of energy, and in their natural state they are turned into glucose to provide fuel for all the organs of the body.

        THERE ARE THREE MAIN TYPES OF CARBOHYDRATES:

        1. Simple sugars, or monosaccharides: glucose (blood sugar), and fructose (fruit sugar)

        2. Double sugars, or disaccharides: lactose (milk sugar)

        Diet Start

        3. Complex carbohydrates, or polysaccharides: starches and cellulose (potatoes, rice, grains and dietary fibre).

        The simplest carbohydrate of them all is glucose, which is assimilated immediately by the body. The more complex the carbohydrate’s structure, the longer it takes the body to convert it into energy – so ‘complex’ carbohydrates are the slow burners, because they are higher in more complicated sugars and fibre and thus take longer to break down into energy-giving glucose.

        So why are carbs the bad guys?

        Even though carbohydrates are a vital component of our overall health, there are certain carbs that serve no nutritional purpose whatsoever, and can even cause us harm if consumed too regularly and in large proportions. They are also the main contributors to the escalating obesity problem. So who are these enemies of our health and weight? They are known as refined carbohydrates.

        The problems started the minute we began to process our food and strip out the fibre and nutrients from flour and sugar, to make them look appealingly white. In so doing, we made them nutritionally redundant. Food processing removes magnesium, zinc and chromium from flour and sugar – the three minerals that the body needs to metabolize carbohydrates properly. It also drastically reduces vitamins B1, B2, B3, calcium and iron.

        Junk foods made up of refined flour and sugar, plus nutritionally empty processed fats, colourings, flavourings and preservatives, make up 75 per cent of many people’s diets. These so-called ‘convenience foods’ are ’empty’ calories, which hurtle into the bloodstream, play havoc with insulin and blood- sugar levels and actually deplete the body of essential vitamins and minerals that are needed to perform other important bodily functions. Processed foods have also been stripped of their fibre content, which is essential for controlling insulin production and protecting the body against diseases such as diverticulitis and colon cancer.

        It’s Not Just You™ – HumbleBundle ‘Vegas Pro, Discover Creative Freedom’ Installer/Registration Not Working [Notification]

        For the next two weeks (13 Days, according to the Countdown at the HumbleBundle Website, starting today) there is a fantastic offer for Video Editors, Music Composers, Web Developers and more – over $900 worth of Software, including Sony’s Vegas Pro [the Vegas Editing Product Line was bought out by MAGIX, a German software company that has produced it’s own editing software for years, popular for their “Music Maker” and “Movie Edit Pro” lines]. So what’s the issue? Well, this Bundle is so darn popular, many parts of it aren’t working/responding, at this time. For example, if you run into the Installer ‘starting but just closing/crashing’ or the store or program ‘not registering’ or the ‘website is down’… just letting you know… It’s Not Just You™

        Part of the reason why this Bundle is so popular (although many HumbleBundles are quite popular at different times), is because one of the main pieces of Software offered is Vegas Pro Edit, originally by Sony. This video editing software is a Premium Version (“high end”) of this program, normally being sold at around $400. Along with other great products, such as Magix Music Maker, Xara’s Photo and Graphic Designer, Xara’s Web Designer, Photo Story Deluxe and more – it’s easy to see why this Bundle is so popular, for all kinds of content creators and producers. Indeed, if you are into (or trying to get into) making music, editing video, or web design, at all; I highly recommend picking up this fantastic bundle of software, if you can. The link/URL to the HumbleBundle directly, is here:

        https://www.humblebundle.com/software/vegas-pro-creative-freedom




        For those unfamiliar with HumbleBundle, it is a retail site that offers a mix of software, books and games, connected to and donating a portion to, a customer’s chosen Charity. For example, my account is connected to Extra Life, the ‘Gaming Marathon’ Fund Raising charity that I try to play for every November, on behalf of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Because I attached this Charity to my Account, any purchases I make will contribute a portion to my charity. One of the greatest things about HumbleBundle however, is that the products – although one is not able to choose which products to buy specifically – are usually offered in ‘portions’ or ‘packs’ for any amount that you can afford to pay (as low as $1 up to whatever you can pay for the software company/charity/etc); and the more you can pay/donate, the more software/books/games/etc you will get. Since 2010, these ‘Pay What You Want’ Bundles (for Windows, Mac and Linux) have become quite popular over time.

        The issue that has arisen this time then, is that the Bundle is so popular, that the server for the Installer has become Unresponsive (“not working”). Even the Website for the Retail/Vendor/Developer itself has become Unresponsive, giving this Error Message [to me] seen below (from Chrome):

        As also sometimes happens with the most popular HumbleBundles, some people are experiencing very slow Downloading of their purchased products (as in 256kBps or less). Others are experiencing the Installer for the products stops functioning. This is what I personally am experiencing too (the Installer seems to startup, but then ‘crashes’ (or at least disappears) and is unable to continue. After one random attempt, I got a message stating that the Installer actually tried to Download the Installation Files but could not properly communicate with their servers. The message that came up [for me] can be seen below:

        Trying another time later on, I did see the Installer for the ‘MAGIX Music Maker 80’s Version’ pop up and start Downloading, which was nice to see; however the overall download speed was pretty slow [understandably] at about 300kBps.

        If I may make a Suggestion then – if you are running into any of the issues above, at this time: my suggestion would be, to definitely pick up the Bundle if you can [Note: You have to purchase the Bundle for at least $20 to get Vegas Pro] – then wait a while before you attempt to install anything. According to the MAGIX website, you can access your purchase (to install it) anytime after buying it, from now until September 2018 [Note: A free Magix account must be created if you do not already have one]. So, there is no rush, once you purchase it, to get the Installation Files from MAGIX. I also recommend backing up your Installation Files, once Downloaded, onto a USB drive, External Drive or even Optical Disc – anything that can back up your purchase for future re-installation, if needed (at least, until you buy a newer version of any applications you like..).

        By the way, a quick note about Vegas Pro ‘Edit Version’ (about a 450MB download) – for those wondering about the difference between the Vegas Movie Studio versions and the Vegas Pro versions (and what the ‘Edit’ identifier means), here is a short summary of the differences:

        • the Movie Studio versions of the editor are an easier-to-use, scaled-down version of the Vegas editor, with still many features, allowing up to 200 Tracks of Events (clips/media) – increased from 20 Tracks recently! It just lacks many of the advanced features of the Pro versions (such as the  ‘NewBlueFX Titler’ [professional version], Bézier Tool Masking (“any shape”), et.al). The Movie Studio version comparisons can be found here:

          http://www.vegascreativesoftware.com/us/vegas-movie-studio/product-comparison/#productMenu

        • the Vegas Pro ‘Edit version’ of the editor costs less than the other Pro(fessional) versions, as it is missing the DVD/Blu-Ray authoring package, as well as some advanced filters and creation utilities (such as the Boris FX media generators, et.al) – it is still a ‘full featured’ Professional-level Video Editing program however, allowing Unlimited Tracks, full 4K Support, Bézier Tool Masking (“any shape”), includes the ‘NewBlueFX Titler’ [professional version] and much, much more. The Pro version comparisons can be found here:

          http://www.vegascreativesoftware.com/us/vegas-pro/product-comparison/#productMenu


        [Note that the links above will show the most recent versions of the programs, but the comparisons themselves (the effects and capabilities of each) will remain similar, despite the edition versions changing over time]

        Here is a capture of the Vegas Pro ‘Edit version’ comparison, for the 14th edition [CAD prices, sorry]:

        Although the Vegas line of editing products have always had a bit of a learning curve due to their more advanced capabilities (Sony used to give out a DVD with some introductory courses for it; I am privileged to say I have one of these), MAGIX has created a few tutorials of their own, which can be found at the MAGIX Vegas Pro Tutorials website, here:

        http://www.vegascreativesoftware.com/us/vegas-pro/online-tutorials/

        So, try not to let it bother you ‘too much’, if you have run into any of these issues (downloading, installing, registering, etc). Just wait a little while longer and try doing it again, in the near future. For now, don’t worry – It’s Not Just You™…

        Good Luck with it – and Have Fun!
        [Note: I am not affiliated with Sony, MAGIX or HumbleBundle in any way, and I will not receive any compensation for mentioning them here – I am merely an enthusiastic user of their products and wanted to share what I felt was helpful information/notification. I have used other video editing programs in the past (such as PowerDirector, Nero Vision and Windows Movie Maker and some free video editors, such as Avidemux, DVD Soft’s FreeVideoEditor and VirtualDub) and will still use them when desired in the future]

        Addendum:

        During the time it took for me to compile this posting, I was able to try again and began Downloading then eventually Installing Vegas Pro [Edit version] – and it is going smoothly still – however, Downloading of the various applications in the Bundle are still quite slow. 
        If you do not mind that, dear reader, go ahead and try again now; otherwise, as in my Suggestion, perhaps wait a while (as in days) before attempting to have a fast/smooth installation of these popular applications. 

        Georgia Bloggers Meet-up

        I was thrilled to get the opportunity to meet up with some other Georgia bloggers yesterday thanks to the organizational efforts of Jayne at Smart Kids. You see, even though I’ve been MIA from the blogging world a lot this year, blogging is always on my mind. Really.

        This year has been a whirlwind as I’ve juggled teaching full-time, parenting, and starting my PhD program. Virtually everything I’ve written this year has included a bibliography, and that hasn’t left a lot of energy for my blog. But when I’ve been researching and writing for my academic pursuits, I’ve been learning all about theories of professional learning and how our online encounters fit into that. I must say, there hasn’t been a lot written about teacher professional learning through blogging, and that’s a gap I intend to fill. More people need to know about the amazing teachers supporting each other through social media. They need to know how that process is 10 times better than any other form of professional development and how it empowers teachers to become better at their craft by pursuing their passions and interests.

        So when I say that blogging is always on my mind, I really mean it. It’s been at the heart of every paper I’ve written as I work on my PhD. When I got the chance to go meet some fellow bloggers, I couldn’t say no.

        The meet up was at Georgia School Supply in Macon, GA–about an hour and a half away from where I live. I was excited to go and meet some fellow bloggy friends because it’s always so good to be able to match names and faces and to remember that there are some real live people with amazing ideas that are working in classrooms, too. I’d never met any of the people there, so it was a real treat.

        We talked about our secret lives as bloggers and TpT’ers, shared tips and strategies, made business plans, swapped products, and had an all around great time. I love meeting other bloggers and learning how much we have in common. Everyone I met yesterday was wonderful, and I look forward to keeping in touch with these new friends!

        I hope to be blogging more this week as my student teacher takes over EVERYTHING from now through spring break (woot! woot!). In the meantime, be sure to check out the blogs from the amazing people I met yesterday!

        Jayne, Kelly, Angie, Stacy, Tara, Valerie

        PhotobucketThe Teacher Wife

        Funky Fresh Firsties

        ...And They All Fall Down...

        Georgia Grown Kiddo's

        Jennifer, Carol, Kathy, Meghan, Kim, Irma, Megan


         
         

        Michelin, Jessica, Greg, Erin, Alison

         

        Math Resources for Teachers

        It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks! I went on a mini-vacation to a wedding in Nashville, and then I attended a 3-day workshop on The Role of Mathematics in the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme. I think this is the summer of math learning for me! I love attending workshops because I almost always leave with new ideas and new resources to explore. Even if you don’t work at an IB school, there were lots of useful resources worth exploring.

        (Apologies in advance — this will be a long post!)

        Book Resources

        A Mathematical Passage: Strategies for Promoting Inquiry in Grades 4-6

        This book was featured because of it’s Mathematician’s Bill of Rights on p. 139. The Bill of Rights lists the “rights” that all mathematicians have — things like “solve problems in ways that make sense to me” and “capitalize on mistakes as sites of learning.” I’m definitely interested in reading more from this book. I’ve read other things by David J. Whitin before, and they’ve been great.

        Math Matters: Understanding the Math You Teach Grades K-8

        I had a chance to browse this book during the workshop, and it looks like a good one for understanding how to approach math conceptually. May not be the most exciting read in the world (would you look at that front cover?!), but it looks like a very useful book if you’re going for an inquiry oriented math classroom.

        Good Questions for Math Teaching



        This book is great for creating open-ended questions that will really get students thinking about the math involved in problem solving rather than just looking for a specific answer. It uses questioning techniques to develop more sophisticated mathematical thinking, and it has a wealth of information.

        Number Talks

        I was a little surprised how many teachers at the workshop were already familiar with this book and using it given that I’m usually up on all the latest and greatest math books, but nevertheless, this book had rave reviews. Of all the books that I’m reading this summer, this is the one that I suspect will have the biggest impact on my teaching this August. I’ve really enjoyed reading it, and I have so many ideas about how I will put it into practice this year. If you haven’t gotten it already, I couldn’t recommend it more!

        Good Questions: Great Ways to Differentiate Mathematics Instruction



        I know I’ve talked about this book before, but we spent a lot of time talking about open questions and parallel tasks at the workshop, so I had to share this book again. I used this book non-stop at the end of the school year, and I loved how it was so perfectly aligned to Common Core in math. It couldn’t be more teacher-friendly.

        Online Resources

        Visible Thinking Routines

        I’ve been introduced to the Visible Thinking Routines from Harvard’s Project Zero before, but it was good to be reminded about them. These are some great activities to prompt student discussions and thinking. One example of this is “OTQ – Observe, Think, Question.” For this activity, students see a picture and spend a few minutes describing what they see/observe. Anything they observe has to be rooted in the picture and not based on inferences. Step 2 is “Think” – what does this make you think about? This is where students can share their inferences and cite evidence in the picture to support why they think that. Finally, students “question” and share what they wonder about based on the picture. I like that these routines slow down student thinking.
        Math Class Needs a Makeover

        We watched this video in the workshop, and if you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend that you take the 10 minutes to watch Dan Meyer’s TED Talk. In it, he talks about the problems with current approaches to math instruction — largely fueled by larger textbooks and math programs — and how to turn those materials into the types of problems that will challenge your students to become patient problem solvers. I was really inspired by this video, and I hope that you will be, too.

        Have a great weekend! I’ll be back to blogging more regularly next week!



        Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

        a passenger train in India had a most unusual issue, 22 carriages carrying 1000 people, got disconnected from the engine, and the emergency brakes didn’t work to stop it, it rolled backward 7 miles

        http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-india-43697965/engineless-runaway-train-in-india-gives-passengers-a-scare

        No Backtracking

        No Backtracking principles

        This is a plan for life. You will carefully reintroduce certain carbohydrates into your diet — and find the balance that maintains your weight and keeps you feeling trim. This crucial phase will allow you to:

        • Establish the carbohydrate levels that you can eat in order to remain slim and supply your energy requirements
        • Break totally with bad habits made in the past
        • Never return to yo-yo dieting
        • Find a healthy attitude to food and a viable eating plan for the rest of your life.

        No Backtracking rules

        During this phase you need to:

        • Increase your daily carb intake by no more than 10g (1/3oz) each week
        • Add new foods one at a time
        • Eliminate a new food if it provokes weight gain; a return of physical symptoms lost during the Fast-Track Plan; increased appetite, cravings or water retention

        Diet Start

        • Drop back to the next-lowest level of carbohydrate intake if you gain weight
        • Carry on eating adequate amounts of healthy fats and lean protein at every meal to ensure a balanced diet
        • Continue to take vitamin and mineral supplements regularly, drink masses of water and, of course, exercise regularly.

        Make this diet the one that works

        Once you have reached your target weight, you can start on the No Backtracking plan. Increase your intake of carbohydrates by 5-10 grams per day until you reach your optimum level for weight management This will probably be around 40 per cent of your total daily calorific intake, but remember that everybody differs, especially when you consider activity levels.

        If you have high insulin resistance, then you may have to Keep on Tracking and be careful about how many carbohydrates you consume on a daily basis. But if you’re one of the lucky ones with low insulin resistance, you may be able to eat most vegetables (including starchy vegetables), fruit, pulses andwholegrains such as oats, barley, millet, wild rice, couscous and buckwheat. You can also begin to use recipes containing carbohydrate ingredients such as breadcrumbs; you may even be able to handle an occasional potato. But don’t eat all these things in one day. You still have to monitor your carbohydrate intake to stay where you are – healthy and energized. Remember the eating habits that got you here in the first place. You should have successfully gauged your ideal carbohydrate level, and be maintaining a stable weight and energy levels, within 4-12 weeks of following the No Backtracking plan.

        Stick to the basic weight management tips and try to be good 80 per cent of the time. We are all allowed the odd slip up – if you want a slab of chocolate cake from time to time, make sure it is the best you find and enjoy it. If you ever see the scales creeping up, cut back, even go back to the Fast Track plan for a few days until your weight is back to normal, and then gradually raise your carbohydrate levels once again.

        A template for life

        Two portions of higher GI carbohydrates are included per day on the suggested eating plan. Treat this as the template you ought to follow from now on. And try some of these tricks to keep your carbohydrates at a moderate, healthy level:

        • Opt for rye bread, oatcakes and rye crackers instead of wheat-based bread. Even if you are not wheat-intolerant, it is worth considering this.
        • Eat fruit 20 minutes before eating anything else, not afterwards. Fruit takes less time to digest, but if eaten on top of a heavy meal, can cause bloating.
        • If you are going to drink alcohol, choose dry white wine or, even better, red, which contains flavonoids with antioxidant and anti-platelet properties thought to reduce deaths from coronary artery disease. If you have managed to kick the alcohol habit, opt for grape juice, which contains flavonoids similar to those in red wine.
        • Mix sweet potato with cauliflower as a mash or purée to go with roast chicken. The aim is to mix a high GI vegetable with a low one, to reduce the total carbohydrate level.
        • When making a rice dish such as risotto, reverse your ratio of vegetables to rice: add a little rice to a heap of vegetables. And try grating raw vegetables such as carrots and courgettes into the dish at the last moment – it adds texture and you get the benefit of all those raw phytonutrients.
        • Don’t give up on those whey-protein smoothies – they are still the most effective way of getting high-value biological protein.

        And More: Deals and Sales – Guild Wars 2 is $24.99 Right Now

        Woohoo! I have no idea when it started and no idea when it will end, but I just saw this with my own two eyes… if you are looking for one last reason to get GW2, it is now on sale for just under $25 American Dollars. That’s about £15 British Pounds if you are from the UK, руб890 Rubles if you are from Russia, 1500 Rupees if you are from India and what works out to be about $10,000,000 Canadian Dollars:

        I just might get my own copy finally and be able to stop begging others to play theirs (you know who you are)… Go to http://buy.guildwars2.com/ to get it while it’s On Sale and See You In the Game!

        In One Sentence™ – Heroes Of The Storm – Hero Overviews [Very Short Reviews Of Each, Currently Text-Only]

        [In light of the recent ‘Heroes Of The Storm 2.0’ release – even though this was a ‘work in progress’ since I started playing ‘Heroes’ again a bit ago and it is not fully compiled yet – I wanted to get this hopefully-slightly-helpful information up right away for everyone… So here it is – being added to as I complete it but without any Screenshots yet – I am collecting some together and plan to place them in-line within …Soon™]


        Update: Last Added – Arthas on 2017.05.04



        In One Sentence™


        A Heroes Of The Storm

        Hero Thingy Overview  


        By: The Game Tips And More Blog


        Presented in Alphabetical Order, in a Document-sorta-but-not-really format



        [Initially, was invited to the Heroes Of The Storm Beta; but was not able to play much at the time and so I didn’t write about it much back then. I did work on a few articles, such as this one, adding to it the bit that I did play. Only recently (before I knew about “Heroes Of The Storm 2.0”) I got back into this fun game, tallying up my own opinions and favourites, of each and every hero in the game. Seeing “Version 2.0” come along, I felt that, even though I have not fully compiled every singly hero yet, I wanted to share what I did have done, so that everyone – and especially newcomers to the game – could get a quick idea of each Hero and how they played in the game, helping them make a choice as to which one to try. I will be returning to this post and adding more Heroes as I play them… I hope you enjoy these little snippets of info for each one – and See You In The Game!]




        Rating Key (if applicable to Hero, when used):

        * = Heroes I ‘Liked’ (fit my personal playstyle(s), or is unique in some way)

        ** = Heroes that are A Personal Favourite (I myself would play often or ‘mainly’ would use (may not match your individual preferences dear reader, this is just a Personal Rating of mine))






        Auriel = Finding myself playing more offensively than defensively with this Hero, I enjoyed her AOE and healing capabilities.
        Alarak = With skills focusing on mainly attacking Heroes, in the right hands this high-damage-potential Assassin could be quite deadly.

        Artanis * = Another Hero with skills focused on killing other Heroes, Artanis comes with high damage output potential – and although I was left feeling oddly ‘limited’ playing him, Artanis was fun to play overall.

        Arthas = A mobile tank – big, tough, but a little slow [in my opinion] – with some light healing (and the possibility to heal yourself) and some nice offensive moves as well, Arthas can become quite competent in The Nexus.

        Azmodan ** = This large and lumbering behemoth is capable of dealing out huge damage as a “Ranged Specialist” – just be careful as you have fun creating your own armies on the way to dish it out on the enemies’ base, as you are also a ‘heavy target’, so to speak. A Personal Favourite.

        Dehaka * = With deceptively simple gameplay [or is that ‘deceptively difficult’?], high damage output potential – and with the ability to ‘tunnel to any bushes on the map’ instead of a mount [with a cooldown], this Hero has some nice unique gameplay to fiddle around with in The Nexus.

        Diablo = Huge and tough – as he should be – with some care taken and strategy used, this “Melee Warrior” will be a force to be reckoned with.

        E.T.C. * = With strong yet simpler gameplay, ETC and his unique ‘rocker’ attitude is a fun handful of Tauren to Melee with.

        Gazlowe ** = With the ability to plop down temporary turrets and shoot what eventually becomes HUGE DETH LAZORZ – not to mention being able to recover Scrap Parts for mana – Gazlowe The Goblin Engineer, though more complicated than many Heroes, was a joy to play and kill with. A Personal Favourite.

        Jaina * = With straightforward damage and easy gameplay, Jaina The Mage is fun to use and fun to take out other Heroes with …if mages only had Unlimited Mana [in any game]…

        Johanna = Johanna The Paladin is a little more difficult than most melee Heroes – she is far more offensive than defensive as I first thought she might be – with many life-saving capabilities, in the right hands she could be quite a formidable Hero to run with.

        Leoric * = With the unique ability to ‘remain undead’ and re-spawn wherever you desire after a time, along with simple melee gameplay, this Hero was neat to play – in the right hands perhaps this one could do a lot of damage in The Nexus.

        Lunara = With mainly indirect damage (DOT or Damage Over Time), this Hero was difficult to gauge; with the ability to always move faster than most Heroes (not needing a Mount) and her ranged attacks, perhaps in the right hands she could be quite effective.

        Malfurion** = A multi-faceted Support Hero with both healing and offensive capabilities, if you like to play Support in other games (such as an Engineer, or Medic/Cleric), this ambidextrous Hero should be fun for you to play in The Nexus. A Personal Favourite.

        Probius * = If I had to sum up Probius I would say words like ‘difficulter’ (because I say that’s a real word now) …and ‘cool’ …and ‘overpowered’ …and ‘work’ …and ‘cute’ …and ‘fun’ …and…other words like that with ellipsis between them.

        Raynor = With simpler gameplay and the ability to buff any allies around you – along with the possibility of some light self-healing – Rayor the “Ranged Assassin” is a helpful addition to play in The Nexus.

        Rexxar ** = If you’ve ever wanted to handle two Heroes at once, now you can with this ‘hunter-pet’ combination which promises good damage output and a lot of fun – if at a slight cost of easier gameplay. A Personal Favourite.

        Samuro ** = If you like to be stealthy, confusing opponents and striking from the shadows, this is a fun Hero to do all that and more with. A Personal Favourite.

        Sgt. Hammer ** = This spunky Ranged Hero in a Siege Tank has huge long-range capability – if she can be handled with caring hands. A Personal Favourite.

        Sylvanas * = Capable of not only high damage but also ‘converting’ mercenary units to your side, this “Ranged Specialist” also has sleek gameplay and a powerful (translation: annoying to other people) Mind Control ability.

        Thrall ** = Fast melee and a bit of spellcasting – along with being easier to play – makes this Hero a fun brute to run with. A Personal Favourite.

        Tychus = With good offensive capability, this Hero is easy to learn and practice with.

        Valla ** = With fast and smooth gameplay that is fun and easy to get used to – especially if you have played The Demon Hunter in Diablo III as many of the Demon Hunter ‘basic moves’ come into play in The Arena. A Personal Favourite.

        Zul’jin ** = Focusing on Ranged damage and even doing more damage as his health lowers, this Assassin felt like it could take out both Heroes and swaths of mercenaries with ease, thanks to his light self-healing – just don’t get caught surrounded while trying to do the highest damage possible! A Personal Favourite.





        Repeat  of top comment: [In light of the recent ‘Heroes Of The Storm 2.0’ release – even though this was a ‘work in progress’ since I started playing ‘Heroes’ again a bit ago and it is not fully compiled yet – I wanted to get this hopefully-slightly-helpful information up right away for everyone… So here it is – being added to as I complete it but without any Screenshots yet – I am collecting some together and plan to place them in-line within …Soon™]

        Monitoring weight loss

        There are two schools of thought on how to monitor weight loss:

        • Daily weighing
        • The once-weekly weigh-in.

        This is an individual issue. If you are the sort of person who needs a daily date with your weighing scales, then by all means do so. Keep a record of your progress using a chart like the one opposite. You may see weight-shifting patterns emerging and be able to isolate foods that have a negative effect on your weight. If you prefer the surprise-at-the-end-of-the-week, that is fine too. You should still keep a record and watch out for any plateaux where weight loss dries up, which may mean that you need to lower your carbohydrate levels or increase your physical activity.

        Whichever your preferred monitoring method, keep a tight-fitting pair of trousers or other item of clothing and try them on regularly to establish how your shape is changing. Your weight may stabilize for a while, and if you are exercising regularly and increasing your muscle-to-fat ratio you may even may weigh slightly more for a bit, but you will be fitter and – in the end – leaner.

        Diet Start

        TOP ANTI-SNACKING TIPS

        • Try not to snack while watching television, playing video games or using the computer. Eat meals and snacks in the kitchen or dining room, so that you are more aware of what- and how much — you are eating.
        • When you feel a snack attack coming on, run a bath, go for a walk, ring a friend… Do anything that will keep you away from the refrigerator.
        • Don’t go shopping when you are hungry — it is then that you may reach out for that chocolate bar.
        • If you are going to snack, make sure it is a protein snack.

        Dietary demons – and how to beat them

        1. Not so well-meaning friends and family members: one of the mostdifficult things to deal with is the friend or relative who tries to sway you off-course. Don’t be bullied into breaking your resolve. Decline politely andexplain that you are relying on them for support. If you are visiting them,take a whey-protein smoothie with you.
        2. Boredom: you shouldn’t get bored following the plans,because there are so many different things to eat and ways to prepare your food. Even if you aren’t a natural cook, experimenting in the kitchen willkeep you motivated.
        3. Alcohol: you are allowed a couple of glasses of wine when you start the
        4. Keep on Tracking Plan, but don’t be tempted to have more. There is nothing like a little extra alcohol to persuade you that you’ll start againtomorrow. Avoid the ‘drunken munchies’.
        5. Snack attacks: the three dietary plans allow for a couple of high-proteinsnacks each day between meals, but you could easily undermine all your efforts by hitting the biscuit jar in a moment of weakness. Clear out anything vaguely tempting from your refrigerator and cupboards, and be very carefulat times when you normally seek comfort food.

        Curb your cravings by curbing your carbs

        When you start eating more healthily and reducing the amount of potentially addictive carbohydrate-laden foods, you should find that your cravings begin to diminish as your blood-sugar and insulin levels even out. This will usually take about 48 hours when you start the Fast-Track Plan. If you do get a ‘snack attack’, try making yourself a whey- protein smoothie; or keep a plate of cold chicken in the refrigerator for weak moments. You can’t necessarily kill a craving, but you can wrestle it into submission.

        “Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From?”, The Game Tips And More Blog’s Game Screenshot Identification Contest, Re-Starts Again Today! [Updated 2018-02-01 – Answer Image]

        It’s the 15th of the month – and it is time for something that I want to start up again (and not only because I have over 50,000 Screenshots burning a hole in my pocket, but mostly that) – something that I had going for a short time, three long years ago…

        The Next Installment of The Game Tips And More Blog’s ‘New-ish-sorta-but-not-really’ Contest:

        “Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From?”

        (A Game Screenshot Identification Contest)

        Having a ‘grand re-opening’ once again today – January 15th, 2018!

        All you have to do to win this contest, is contact me in any way you can (eg. Comment on this article
        below, Twitter profile tweet, email me or Comment/PrivateMessage TheBlog’s Steam Account by the end of the month, with these two items within your message:

        1. Your guess for the game the image is from.
        2. Information on how to contact you back (to receive Steam game gifts, etc) if you win.
        That’s it!
        **[Just a quick note to be careful not to include any information you do not wish to share ‘publicly’ when posting in the Comments area below or at Steam or sending a Twitter profile Tweet, as these messages are seen by ‘everyone’]


        Correct answers submitted by the end of the month (beginning at the time of this posting) will be chosen from randomly, where one Skillful Identifier will receive this month’s contest prize – which is: a gifted game from the Steam online store!

        [Note: Although I have been collecting Games on Steam over the past few Years, during Steam Sales,
        due to how Steam has changed Gifting games through Steam recently, you will have to temporarily become a Friend
        of TheBlog’s Steam Account (to receive the game – after receiving your Gifted Game, you may Unfriend of course)]
        Winners will also be announced in bold, large lettered-text, here on this posting and will thereby be immortalized on The Intertubes in perpetuity, proving to all other comers that you were “The Ultimate Game Screenshot Guesser Thingy Person” [aka. Gamer]!

        Previous Editions of this Contest [to ‘see how it works’] can be found at TheBlog, here:

        Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From – Contest #1
        Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From – Contest #2
        Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From – Contest #3

        Are you ready? Here then, is the Screenshot image for this month, below:

        [As you can see, the image is a portion of a full screen capture; but don’t worry – the image used for the contest will never be ‘too’ obscure or small (for example, it will never be ‘just the end of a wooden log’ or anything like that)]

        Update!

        A week has gone by and there have been no correct guesses received yet… So, here is a HINT image; (an enlarged area portion of the Screenshot for this month’s Contest)! Ready?

        Here is the HINT image (with enlarged portion revealed), below:

        [Click the Image to see it at a slightly-larger Full Size – and as you can see, the image is a larger portion of the full screen capture; but don’t worry – the image used for the contest will never be ‘too’ obscure or small (for example, it will never be ‘just the end of a wooden log’ or anything like that)]

        At the end of the Month, if noone has guessed correctly by then, I will return here and reveal the full Mystery Screenshot and the Game it was from – Good Luck, Gamers!

        Update!
        It has been two weeks since the Contest began and there have been no correct submissions! Aww….

        To end The Mystery, here is the answer for this month’s edition of
        ‘Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From’ (2018-01):


        The Answer for this month’s Contest could have been: “Marvel Heroes” or “Marvel Heroes Omega” or “Marvel Heros” or “I can’t believe they cancelled this great game that I only just recently discovered existed especially with all the future Marvel movies coming out what happened this timeline sucks”. Click to see Full Size

        Come back next 15th-of-the-month friends, when you can have another chance to be a Digital Screenshot Sleuth in the Fifth Edition of ‘Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From’ – and a chance to win the Prize that will be carried over to next time: a gifted game from the Steam online store!

        See You In The Games!


        (The Game Tips And More Blog Contest Game #2018-01)

        It’s Not Just You™: AMD’s Crimson Drivers, Radeon ReLive Not Working At First [Possible Fix]

        Just a quick post before I go to bed here, that I wanted to share about the AMD Crimson Drivers that I got notified about just a bit ago, which included AMD’s “ReLive”, their new Game [and Desktop] Recording utility – ‘built-in’ to their 16.12 Drivers… For those who couldn’t get it working right away (I see posts about it already in the Official AMD Forums), I couldn’t either… And although I eventually did, I wanted to let others know, if you are having issues with it: It’s Not Just You™

        I was already starting to get tired when I saw a notification of the Driver Update – and I had no idea there was a nifty Game Recording ‘app’ incoming with it [I haven’t been reading much lately, I have another Cold for pete’s sake!]. For AMD GPU owners, waiting patiently to see if AMD was going to come out with their own Game Recording utility – it’s here! The future is now!

        Check out AMD’s Video on their ReLive edition of Radeon here: 
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRSm12lwRe4

        [I really wanted to start Testing it all out tonight, running Benchmarks and collecting Data for a TestRun or a Quality Test with it; but my sleepyness is actually building and getting the better of me, so I better go soon – I wanted to share what I did this evening though, to get it working (for me), before I go…]


        Without going over the few things I tried first that didn’t work (setting configuration, testing with different games, etc), here’s the steps to take that finally got it running, for me:

        • Download the Latest AMD Drivers via their main Website (http://support.amd.com/)
        • Uninstall the main AMD Drivers via the Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall/Change Program
        • Reboot
        • Install AMD Drivers via the Download from their Website
        • Reboot

        That’s it!

        After that, even though I have a 200 Series* AMD GPU at the time of this writing**, I was able to get ReLive up and running, even playing a little bit with the configuration and making a couple of short test recordings, before I came here to write this quick ‘tip’ of what might help get it going for others… It’s a larger ‘step’ (messing with Drivers, as opposed to just messing with Configuration/Settings); but I always like to Troubleshoot from the smallest steps first (eg. changing some settings) to larger steps (eg. re-installing software) to huge steps (eg. OS reinstallation, hardware changes). Thankfully, it started working just fine after only a bit of a ‘larger step’ taken.


        Although with the most recent versions of Windows you don’t always have to Reboot it when making changes, it helps to get everything ‘in order’ in the background, re-initializing all hardware and Drivers fully – which is why many installers/software still get you to do it through their installation programs.

        I plan on putting the Game Recorder through it’s paces, working on a TestRun and a QualityTest, to come in the future here at The Blog – for now though, hopefully ReLive can get up and working for you, too – good luck, and if you are having troubles with it, remember – It’s Not Just You™!

        * The AMD page on ReLive at their main website (http://www.amd.com/en-us/innovations/software-technologies/radeon-software/gaming/radeon-relive) shows only 400 Series GPUs as ‘Officially Compatible’. Although it does not state ‘it will not work with earlier Series’, it is unknown 100% at this time if it is possible, hence my mentioning it above

        ** Disclaimer and Personal Veracity Statement: Although I currently own an AMD GPU, I have owned NVIDIA GPUs in the past and will do so in the future. I have no personal preference between the two, purchasing one or the other as Upgrades depending on my needs at the time and my financial limitations at the time I choose to Upgrade. I have not and will not receive any compensation for mentioning or talking about either companies’ products. I am merely an enthusiastic user (of both).

        Quick Tip: NVIDIA ‘In Game Overlay’ Stopped Working? Here’s How To At Least Get It Going Again [Fix / Workaround, Updated 2018-03-26]

        Whether it wants to be called Shadowplay, Share or [as of the time of this post] In-Game Overlay; it doesn’t really matter to most people I think – we just look for something to record our gameplay once in a while, maybe take some Screenshots, ‘and just work’. Thankfully, NVIDIA’s In-Game Overlay [or whatever it may be called by the time I finish this post, heh] does just that. Most of the time.

        Although I rotate between a handful of different recording programs off and on (such as Bandicam, Action, Playclaw and others – just for fun and also slowly working on another ‘Game Recording Comparison’ for the future), In-Game Overlay [built into the NVIDIA Drivers, aka “for free”] records when I want, it records a Buffered Loop (a timed, re-recording of ‘the last xyz seconds’, to save when needed) – and it even takes Screenshots and more. However, sometimes this big fella has just ‘stopped working’ lately. No saving Screenshots, no Recording, no Error Message, Nothing; and I wasn’t sure why… After only a tiny bit of Troubleshooting, I quickly figured out how to at least ‘get it going again’ and I just wanted to share that here for you all, in a Quick Tip™.

        To be honest [I always believe in being completely honest], I am still not sure why NVIDIA’s In-Game Overlay stopped working – but I did figure out how to simply get it working again – and here’s what I did:

        • Once I noticed the Overlay wasn’t taking Screenshots, I looked to see if the Overlay itself or more of the (many) NVIDIA utilities were still running, in the Task Manager. They were. [The In Game Overlay’s Executable is still called “NVIDIA Share.exe”, btw]
        • Thinking that something might have gone wrong with the Overlay utility, I opened up NVIDIA’s GeForce Experience.
        • In GFX [my accro.], I clicked on the ‘gear’ in the upper-right corner, “Settings”.
        • In the Settings area, I clicked on the switch/toggle for In-Game Overlay.
        • Although it took longer than normal, it eventually turned Off. Clicking it again, it turned back On.

        That’s it! After those steps, the In-Game Overlay was working once again. Taking a Screenshot, for example, the notification from the Overlay came up, and the Screen was saved. It also started Recording again, without issue. Here is a ‘Tutorial Image’ of the steps to take:

        Tutorial Image of what steps to take to ‘restart’ the NVIDIA In Game Overlay;
        the recording utility built into the NVIDIA Drivers
        (Click to see Full Size)

        Although I do not have any details on why it failed, I still thought this short ‘tip’ would be helpful for people that might run into this (“shadowplay not recording” or “in-game overlay not taking screenshots”, etc) – so I wanted to share it here. HTH!

        Update, 2018-03-26: Just a quick Update, that as of March 2018, I have run into somewhat of an extension of this issue, where GFX is no longer responding to this simple ‘toggle’ of the In-Game Overlay… Doing so (which used to temporarily ‘fix’ the issue above), now merely results in an ‘error’ message box, stating “That Didn’t Work. Try Restarting Your System.”, which although polite, is not very informative as to what caused the error or what else can be attempted to isolate/troubleshoot the issue further:

        Doing some more research online, I see many others running into this issue, as well as its’ ‘extension’ here… However, there still is no absolute ‘fix’ for this problem yet [at least, none that is verifiable and repeatable, which I prefer to have as a qualification to my sharing it here as a “fix”] – therefore, I cannot say for certain what can be done to fix it, even though a wide range of things have somewhat worked for others (some early steps work, others must use further steps), such as:

        • Uninstalling/Reinstalling GeForce Experience
        • Installing an older version of GeForce Experience
        • Utilizing a third-party ‘drivers uninstaller’ to completely remove NVIDIA’s GPU Drivers and Reinstall NVIDIA’s GPU Drivers/GeForce Experience [AMD users can get a similar utility directly from AMD]
        • Reinstallation/Formatting of entire system (eg. Windows) and Reinstalling NVIDIA GPU Drivers and Reinstalling GeForce Experience

        Once I find out what actually is a solid fix for this issue, I will state so here and post it in big, bold lettering [lol], along with a Tutorial Image (text on an example image of the solution, etc). Until then…

        Long Bean Benefits For Health

        LONG BEANS BENEFITS FOR HEALTH

        Long Beans Benefits For Health Long Beans are vegetables that very often we encounter in everyday dishes. Whether it’s for home cooking and restaurant cooking. There are also cook it in a way sauteed, but some are making to raw vegetables.
        But despite the long beans so popular for the food, I’m sure not everyone knows about the nutritional value as well as the nutrients found in these vegetables. In fact, long beans have vitamins and minerals also are quite high which is also beneficial to health.
        Long Bean Benefits For Health
        So, to increase your knowledge about health, here we present an overview of the nutritional content of beans as well as health benefits.
        Nutrient Long Bean
        Long beans contain a variety of essential nutrients for your body, including:
        As a Source of Protein
        With a protein content that is at least 8.3 grams per 100 grams chickpea stew, the bean vegetable vegetables long become a source of vegetable protein in our body needs protein for every day.
        Vitamin B Complex
        In every 100 grams of beans boiled which contains 146 mcg of folate (37% requirement), 0.2 mg of thiamin (14% requirement); 0.1 mg vitamin B6 (5% requirement); and 0.1 mg of riboflavin (4% needs); 0.4 mg of pantothenic acid (4% requirement); serta0,6 mg niacin (3% requirement). Various vitamin B complex contained in the long bean is an essential nutrient for our bodies.
        In general, vitamin B complex plays an important role in energy production and nerve function in our body, so vitamin B deficiency is usually characterized by fatigue and lack of energy.
        Contain High Fiber
        Long beans are vegetables that are rich in fiber. In every 100 grams of beans boiled, no fiber content up to 4 grams and meet 15% of our daily fiber needs. Fibers on long beans are available in the form of pectin, which is a soluble fiber, to very good in helping keep blood sugar at normal levels, as well as for normal fat metabolism.
        Mineral content of Long Bean
        Long Beans are also rich in various minerals, among others :
        Containing Calcium
        In Every 100 grams of beans boiled which contains 42 mg of calcium (4% requirement). Calcium is an essential mineral for the formation of bones and teeth healthy and strong as well, also for nerve and muscle function optimally.
        Containing Iron
        In Every 100 grams of beans boiled which contains 2.6 mg of iron (15% requirement). Iron is an essential component for the formation of enzymes for a variety of chemical reactions in the body, and forming the main component of red blood cells and cells
        muscle.
        Contains Magnesium
        In Every 100 grams of beans boiled which contains 98 mg of magnesium (25% requirement), where the mineral content is very important for healthy bones and teeth, muscle and nerve function, as well as the activity of enzymes in the body.
        Long Bean Benefits For Health
        Containing Manganese
        In Every 100 grams of boiled string beans also contain 0.5 mg of manganese (24% requirement). Manganese is essential for enzyme activity, and also for the metabolism of carbohydrates and joint health.
        Containing Phosphorus
        In Every 100 grams of beans boiled which contains 181 mg of phosphorus (18% requirement), which is also important in energy production and the formation of bones and teeth.
        Containing Copper
        In Every 100 grams of beans boiled which contains 0.2 mg of copper (11%). Copper is important for skin health, it also increases the body’s resistance to stress and disease.
        Containing Potassium
        In Every 100 grams of beans boiled which contains 315 mg of potassium (9% requirement), which is important for nerve function and also our muscles.
        Containing Zinc
        In Every 100 grams of boiled string beans also contain 1.1 mg of zinc and zinc (7% requirement). Zinc is a component of enzymes involved in the formation of red blood cells and bone.
        Containing Selenium
        In Every 100 grams of boiled string beans also contain 2.8 mcg selenium (4% requirement), where selenium is an essential mineral in the synthesis of the enzyme, which also acts as an antioxidant against free radicals in our bodies.

        Well, that’s what some of the vitamins and minerals contained in the beans. For you who like to consume either in the form of beans and vegetables stir fry, continue the positive trend.

        WORKOUT ANYTIME Featured in Black Enterprise

        WORKOUT ANYTIME Featured in Black Enterprise

        Zelly Wesson of WORKOUT ANYTIME was recently featured in Black Enterprise. The article discusses Zelly’s opening of his second WORKOUT ANYTIME location. Wesson has been playing professional basketball overseas for the past 15 years, and during his off seasons Wesson has been back managing his WORKOUT ANYTIME locations. Wesson discusses his role in his locations and how he has been successful. 
        You can view the full article here. 

        How To Use The Mouse To The Best Of Your Ability (a.k.a. How To Be A Better ‘First Person Shooter’) [Text-Only]


        [Text-Only – This Post is Text-Only Mode, for now. I may return to this posting and add Screenshots or Images at a later time.]

        I was browsing around in the Steam Forums [forii?], where I like to try and answer Technical Questions and give Suggestions about Gameplay and Tips – and I recently answered a query someone had about using the Mouse in Fallout 4 (arguably a ‘Shooter’ game for the most part) and how it seemed difficult for them to aim in the game (it is possible to utilize an Automated Aiming capability called V.A.T.S., in Fallout 4 – but the game can also be played ‘in real time’ without it, playing as a First Person Shooter would be played, similar to games like Overwatch, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Battlefield, and more).

        So, I answered with a somewhat-lengthy reply, trying to be helpful and informative, letting them know where to do things like change the Settings of the Mouse and the Sensitivity; really trying to show them that there needs to be a ‘personalization’ of the Mouse Settings, if they wanted to utilize the Mouse, as a gaming tool, to the best of their ability (to “let your ability shine through the Mouse” as it were).

        I thought it might be nice to share my answer here too, then – to share with others that may be wondering things like:

        “Why am I having so much trouble aiming/killing in <game name>?”

        “Why does it seem so hard to kill people <in a Multiplayer game>?”

        “How can I improve my gameplay in Multiplayer/Player-Versus-Player?”

        …and similar questions.

        Thus, here was my reply in the Forum… Perhaps it can be of some use to you:

        —–

        If I may pop in, as a ‘First Person Shooter’ since Wolfenstein 3D (1992), and having won some Local Tournaments in the past (UT99 and Quake III Arena); you really need to find your own personal ‘mouse sensitivity’…

        (I used to do 180’s while running to ‘check my six’ or headshot the player behind me – which they didn’t like of course, heh)

        Note that this must be adjusted for every new mouse and potentially every new game. This is the only way to truly have a movement and reaction time/rate in the game that you personally feel comfortable with.


        There are a few places you must adjust it:

        – in Windows (Settings>Devices>Mouse [for Windows 10])
        – in Mouse Software (that disc that comes with the Mouse that everyone ignores, or the manufacturer’s Drivers and associated ‘Software Configurator’ of some type for the mouse from their website), where you can also Keybind different keys or combinations to your Mouse, if it can do so, and set DPI gradations/steps.
        – in the Game (Options or Settings)


        Again, I cannot helpfully stress this enough; try to do this for each and every game you play – it is amazing in how it can personalize your comfortable movement/scan/hit rate.
        It is really possible to ‘hit anything’ in a game, if you make your own personalized changes to all of the above.


        Some people like to move their mouse a lot, slowing down the movement into smaller gradations for sniping and tight movements.
        Some people like to move their mouse very little, using mostly their fingers and hardly turning their wrist (these types usually switch DPI settings as-they-move, for sniping and tighter movements).

        Both are arguable for usage and both can utilize the DPI settings/changes possible on modern mice.
        You must find your own movement type and movement rate, set by those three locations previously stated.

        Once you set the mouse how you like it – whether you switch DPI settings on-the-fly (to make your character scan slower or faster, switching between scoped and non-scoped, for example) or whether you keep one DPI setting and alter how fast you move the mouse – you will find that you can aim/scan/hit a lot better (and also not get tired as fast).

        Tip: Don’t forget to turn off any Mouse Acceleration (The kind that moves your mouse pointer farther on the screen if you move the same amount of space on your desk, only faster)… This only adds to the difficulty in scanning/aiming and makes it harder to build up muscle memory for your mouse (such as, “I move my mouse this far, and my view onscreen moves this far”).

        The only recourse, other than doing the above and taking all of the above steps, is V.A.T.S….(at least, to be totally comfortable and ‘reach your full potential’ with the Mouse (wow this is starting to sound like an Infomercial, sorry about that haha))

        But, try to have fun exploring it – find “You” in your mouse movements – and have fun learning how “You” play!

        —–
        Note, Dear Reader, that I am not trying to ‘be pompous’ or ‘brag’ here, with this posting… I merely stated my ‘qualifications’ at the beginning, to show that I learned a lot over time and that I had personally found some effective ways to improve playing, with the Mouse (especially in the past). 
        I do not wish to sound like to ‘know everything’ as well – and indeed can learn more – I just wanted to share what I did learn over time and hope that this might help others out, too. If you are an experienced FPS player (‘First Person Shooter gamer’), then you no doubt already know most of these concepts (or have figured them out on your own). 
        I should state that I am also nowhere near as good as I once was [being 40 now, alas, age occurs to all..]. Where I once could out-shoot almost anyone, regularly doing 180s-to-instant-headshots (as stated previously), I now regularly get my butt handed to me in games like Overwatch, CS:GO and the Battlefield series of games [although I can still get Top Spot on The Board at times! heh]. 
        Still, I wanted to try to help others… and I hope that this posting helps anyone improve their mousing (and killing/winning), if that is what they desire to do. 
        I always like helping others and teaching others what I can… “The wiser mind mourns less for what age takes away than what it leaves behind.” ~ William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

        SYITG

        KITCHEN FURNITURE DESIGN GENAH MAK NYOOOZZZ

        The first thing to remember is that the kitchen is a very functional piece, but do not want to look that way. You can purchase kitchen furniture that is warm, welcoming and friendly to both practical and effective. For example, you can choose from a variety of carts microwave carts or beautiful kitchen that fits well with the decor of your kitchen. They also give him the space to display items or the space room that can hold pots and other utensils. A kitchen island is another element that gives additional working space, but with the addition of a few bar stools that can transform a functional kitchen in a comfortable and welcoming.

        Kitchen Furniture Design

        Kitchen Furniture Design

        Kitchen Furniture Design

        Kitchen Furniture Design

        Limitations of Organization Capacity Assessment (OCA) tools

        Since April of 2002 I have been involved with Strategic Planning, Restructuring, Re-engineering, Organization Revival, Organization Analysis, Organization Capacity Assessment and Organization Development projects across sectors and boarders. Most of the tools that ate used for this purpose can be traced back to a few general tools which were made famous in the latter part of the twentieth century. Increasingly I have felt the need to further customize these tools in a way that they become more relevant to the current context. This customization has been happening in the past and continues at a faster rate at present.

        The single biggest reason that I attribute for this need is that; today we live in a technological age which has some peculiar characteristics. The characteristics are that we need to innovate and improve not only our products but also how we do things inside the organization at a faster rate. This is nothing new; most of the thought leaders of our time have made big bucks selling this message repackaged with additional jargon. These characteristics currently affect most of the knowledge based industries. However as time goes by their affect on every organization be it government, private or development sector will grow exponentially.

        As mentioned above since we have to improve the way we do things inside an organization we run into the human dimension of things. We are also aware of the “change management” that needs to happen inside the organization to facilitate the “keeping up” with the changes that drive our organizations toward bigger and better things. However we don not consider that some of the changes required may be limited by the knowledge / intellectual capacity of the staff (here staff include owner directors, CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, and CKOs). In some organizations we may have staff that has reached the limit of their intellectual prowess. When an organization reaches this level it is said to have arrived at the door step of “mediocracy”

        The current tools that most of our contemporary consultants use for organizational diagnosis will not help identify this issue of “mediocracy”. However there are some characteristics that are peculiar to these organizations where they have reached the glass ceiling of intellectual limitation / mediocracy. Let me take a few cases from assignment that I have done in the past and elaborate this.

        The 1st example that I would like to take is an ICT company that started over 25 years ago. The organization has been fairly successful in keeping up with the changes in the ICT technology; and has been making above industry average, earnings per share. However in the early 21st century there was a need to re-strategize to keep up with the faster pace of change in the ICT technological environment. I was invited to develop a new strategic plan for this organization. By this time I had already identified some of the key markers of an organization that has reached its pinnacle based on the intellectual capacity of its staff; and I was able to identify them in this organization during my first meeting with the senior management of the organization. I suggested to the Managing Director who invited me that the organization not only needed a new strategic plan but it also needed a corporate renewal plan and a VRS. This suggestion was not looked at favorably and I was asked only to develop a strategic plan.

        The markers that I identified were:

        1. The organization starts adding parallel value chains to the existing organization structure.

        2. Organization does not move forward or backwards in the value chain

        3. The organization does not spawn new businesses that are “stars” / neither are they known for any innovation (other than the innovation of some of the principles / 3rd party brands that they may represent)

        4. History of young star performers leaving the organization on a continuing basis

        5. Boasting of people (the young starts) who have left the organization and gone to achieve great things as been trained at this organization.

        6. Long serving staff in a particular discipline / technology / expertise

        7. Some staff that leave the organization after a few year (not the stars) join the organization again as a manager or a senior in the same field of expertise

        8. Staff talk of the same obstacles that they face every year (one years experience repeated over many years) as opposed to innovating / re-engineering / work-a-rounds to overcome obstacles

        9. Large number of managers based on technical areas as opposed to value addition

        10. Staff do not take up higher education or professional development

        11. Average age of staff moves parallel to the age of the organization

        The above 11 markers as identified by me is a clear indication that the organization has run out of ideas and the incumbent staff are not able to get the organization out of the hole that it has dug for itself. They need fresh blood and a new playing field to continue being profitable. In its current state it will just survive but never reach its former glory / heyday it enjoyed in the beginning of its existence.

        The 2nd example that I would like to take is a research organization set up to do applied economic research. This organization too has been in existence for over 30 years and had enjoyed considerable success in the early part of its existence. This organization too displayed the following common markers as identified by me earlier.

        They were:

        1. Long serving staff in a particular discipline / technology / expertise
        2. History of young star performers leave the organization on a continuing basis
        3. Boasting of people (the young starts) who have left the organization and gone to achieve great things as been trained at this organization.
        4. Some staff that leave the organization after a few year (not the stars) join the organization again as a manager or a senior in the same field of expertise
        5. Staff talk of the same obstacles that they face every year (one years experience repeated over many years) as opposed to innovating / re-engineering / work-a-rounds to overcome obstacles
        6. Large number of managers based on technical areas as opposed to value addition
        7. Average age of staff moves parallel to the age of the organization

        In addition they displayed the following:

        1. Doing (research) work in traditional / theoretical / safe areas as opposed to doing applied / non traditional / contentious issues based research (Not competing in your space as mentioned in the mission but trying to compete in the space that you perceive to be good at / running back to mama so to speak; relying on your academic training as apposed to innovation)
        2. Contempt / arrogance towards younger organizations (doing applied research) and relying on the age of the organization and past performance as a mark of value (of research) as apposed to quality, (rigor), and relevance to current context.

        The above may be considered anecdotal by some; but over the past 8 years across 19 countries I have come across these markers with increasing frequency across private, government and not for profit / development sector organizations which are not considered to be in the knowledge driven sectors.

        The question is; are we at the stage that this initial varying degree of prevalence of the markers in other sector may become the norm across organizations and sectors? Only time will tell. However, I am convinced that we are seeing the beginning of another divide that will start another wave of brain drain as organizations start to realize this phenomenon and start to poach intellectual staff from all over the world.

        Workout Anytime in Global Atlanta

        Workout Anytime in Global Atlanta

        WORKOUT ANYTIME was recently featured in Global Atlanta. The article highlights Atlanta based fitness center chain, Workout Anytime adding its first location in Canada this fall. It mentions the new location in Calgary, Alberta scheduled for an October opening. Randy Trotter was quoted about the success Workout Anytime is planning to bring Canada. It also mentions Dustin Taylor and Jeff Gellatelly are the mast franchisees for the new location and grants them rights to open Workout Anyime centers in the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

        You can view the full article here. 

        9 Benefits of Orange Jasmine for Health and Beauty

        9 BENEFITS OF ORANGE JASMINE FOR HEALTH AND BEAUTY

        9 Benefitsof Orange Jasminefor Health and BeautyOrange jasmine (Murraya paniculata L.) usually grows wild on the edge of the forest, in the undergrowth, and guardrail garden and planted as an ornamental plant in the yard. Such as ylang and jasmine flowers, yellow flowers are also often used for traditional medicine. Parts of plants that can be used is the leaves, twigs and roots. Skins and stems are also useful for medicine.
        Leaves and twigs are useful in overcoming inflammation of the testicles (orchitis), could also overcome inflammation of the airways (bronchitis), urinary tract infections, gonorrhea, vaginal discharge, and come irregular menstruation, body fat overload, and slimming the body, pain ulcer (ulcer), dental pain and soften the skin.
        9 Benefits of Orange Jasmine for Health and Beauty - 1
        Its roots are also useful for treating bruises caused by collision or hit, rheumatic pain, sprains and insect bites and poisonous snakes, boils, eczema and scabies. While the bark is also useful to overcome tooth pain, pain due to open sores in the skin or mucous membranes (ulcers).
        1. Can Smooth Skin
        Yellow leaves are still fresh as much as 30 g washed and then pounded until creamed. Add 1 cup of water was while in the mix with the average. The material is then scrub the skin before bedtime.
        2. Can Smooth Menstruation
        Yellow leaves and leaves of henna (Lawsonia inermis) each fresh ingredients as many handheld ½, 1 finger rhizome of ginger leaves, washed and cut into pieces as needed. Add 3 cups water was then boiled until the remaining 1 cup water. After the cold filtered water, then drink 2 times a day, each ½ cup.
        3. Treating Urinary Tract Infections
        Yellow leaves are still fresh as much as 35 g washed and then add 3 cups water. Boil until the water remaining half. After all cold filtered and taken 3 times a day, each is ½ cup.
        4. Inflammation of the Testicles
        Provide 9 sheets of yellow leaves are still fresh as much as 60 g and bitter herbs as much as 35 g washed and then boiled in 3 cups water until the remaining 1 cup water. Once everything is cold filtered, then taken 2 times a day, each ½ cup. Do it every day until cured.
        9 Benefits of Orange Jasmine for Health and Beauty - 2
        5. Can Slimming Body
        Yellow leaves are still fresh and the leaves of noni (Morinda citrifolia) each and a total of a handful of Intersection dribbles too much as half a little finger until finely ground. Add 1 cup cooking water, stirring until evenly distributed. Wring with a piece of cloth. Water that is collected while drunk in the morning before eating.
        6. Can Treat Toothache
        Oil that comes out of the bark of yellow flowers are already burned dripped on the hollow.
        7. Can Treat Arthritic Joints
        Orange Jasmine root and root (Lantana camara) washed, then add 3 pairs of chicken legs. And all the ingredients are cut into pieces as needed and then add enough water to be submerged. All the ingredients are then cooked. Once cooked and the water is drunk warm.
        8. Can Heal Bruises
        Orange Jasmine and glass plate, respectively, and the fresh leaves, the same lots, washed and then finely ground. Add some wine while stirring on a fire. Then Warm taped at the bruised body.
        9. Can Treat Boils
        Dried yellow root that is as much as 30 g washed and cut into pieces as needed. Boil 3 cups of water until the water boiled only the remaining l glasses. Once cool then filtered then drink. In day 2 times, each ½ cup.

        Okay, that was it some yellow flowers benefits as a traditional medicine to cure various diseases. Hopefully article 9 Benefits of Orange Jasminefor Health and Beautycan we share today can be beneficial for you. Do not forget to always visit the website abouthealthbenefits.xyz to seek other health articles. Thank You.

        Franchisee Profile: Marc Flame

        Franchisee Profile: Marc Flame

        Marc Flame is originally from the Bronx in New York, specifically Riverdale. Growing up, Marc spent every summer on Long Island at his grandmother’s beach house and loves the outdoors. After graduating from JFK Highschool, Marc’s parents moved to South America where Marc learned to speak basic Portuguese. After living in Brazil for a while, Marc moved back to New York where he attended New York University. He graduated in 1981 with a degree in Economics and International Business. Upon graduation, Marc spent much of his time on Wall Street starting his career Bankers Trust Company. Marc eventually became Chief Financial Officer at the banks Technology subsidiary. During Marcs’ tenure he established a successful record of improving operational efficiency and profitability. After fourteen years at BTCo, Marc left and joined Citigroup. Marc spent ten years within the Finance Organization of Citigroup. He then joined the CBS Corporation where he served as CFO of the CBS Technology organization.

        After doing some traveling, Marc decided to relocate from Chicago to Atlanta where he began researching franchises to invest in. After much research Marc decided that Workout Anytime was where he wanted to be. Not even three weeks after watching the Workout Anytime franchise video, Marc signed for his first franchise. He now owns the first Workout Anytime located on the South side of Atlanta.
        How did you learn about the brand? 
        I was researching different franchises and was heavily focused on the fast-food industry when I came across Workout Anytime. I watched the franchise video and was immediately hooked. I knew right then that was what I wanted to invest in. Not even three weeks after seeing the video I met with Randy the entire senior WOAT team. It felt like a family and I signed with Workout Anytime after that meeting.
        Why did you choose an opportunity with Workout Anytime? 
        I’ve always wanted to own my own business. I worked at a Baskin Robbins in high school and it was some of the best times I’ve ever had. I have always enjoyed doing my own thing which is why I started looking into franchises. I chose Workout Anytime because I am very interested in the Workout Anytime model and I really wanted to do a franchise in a market that really needed it. 
        Do you have any development/extension plans? Add units? Timeframe? 
        I would like to eventually expand. I do not have a multi-unit sign at the moment, but the goal is to have 3-4 locations within 4-5 years. I am trying to open one every year and a half. Currently, I am working to be the most successful location rather than building out more units. When you talk about franchises people have glass ceiling expectations with what you can achieve with any one location. The Workout Anytime model allows me to push the boundaries, and ensure the opportunity for many members to enjoy all the advantages provided to Workout Anytime members.
        Are you involved in any charities or involved in the community in any way? 
        I am learning more about the Riverdale area each day and would love to work with charities and get involved with the community once I get to know it better.
        Do you have any other interesting hobbies or passions?
        I love spending time outdoors. Anything outdoors such as going to the horse stables with my daughter, 
        watch my son dirt bike on the trails, and go to the beach as often as possible.

        Exercise and Fall Prevention

        As people get older one of the biggest threats to their health and independence are falls.  A brief review of the statistics on falls provides a sobering view of the threat.

         Falls are the #1 cause of death as a result of unintentional injury among people 75 and older and the #2 cause of death as a result of unintentional injury among people age 65 – 74.
        Falls are the #1 cause of non-fatal unintentional injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms in every age group except ages 15 – 24.
        Fall result in the second most expensive worker’s compensation claims with an average cost of $23,929.
        One out of every three people older than 65 will fall this year.
        50% of the people older than 65 who have fallen will fall again in the next 12 months.
        Most falls are unreported (even serious falls) because senior fear losing their independence, and many seniors would rather die than lose their independence.
        The treatment of osteoporosis with drugs is very ineffective at preventing fractures because it does nothing to prevent the primary cause of fractures which is falls.
        Modifiable Risk Factors for Falls

        Strength (in particular lower body and core strength)
        Mobility (of ankle, knee and hip in particular)
        Fear of falling from previous fall/s resulting in altered gate and restricted activity levels which further increases fall risk
        Poor Balance which has three systems (visual, inner ear, proprioception)
        Impaired Vision
        Cognitive Status/Mood
        Environmental Factors (slippery floors, rugs, poor lighting, etc.
        Medication Side Effects
        Exercise for Fall Prevention
        Exercise can help address several fall risk factors including strength, mobility, balance along with improved cognitive status.
        The most effective exercise boosts lower body and core strength while including a balance component that can be adjusted to each individual’s current capabilities.   This exercise should be weight bearing whenever possible and functional in nature.
        reACT – Rapid Eccentric Anaerobic Core Trainer

        One of the finest ways to address the exercise component of a fall prevention program is the use of the reACT Trainer.    The reACT Trainer provides a no impact training stimulus with a self-selected range of motion and allows for progressive balance challenge to fit just about any ability level.  
        The reACT Trainer is a functional eccentric trainer meaning it provides eccentric dominant exercise that is highly functional in nature with strong emphasis on integrated functional movements in multiple planes of motion with the ability to adjust movement speed to increase or decrease the challenge level.   It is also a very safe training modality.
        For more information on how the reACT Trainer can help prevent falls check out the following videos:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBjKkvuXrYE&t=213s

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXljK8BbhLg&t=309s– instructional video

        How to Deal with Yourr Seasonal Allergies

        S
        Seasonal allergies to pollen and mold seem to getting more and more prevalent each year with progressively more severe symptoms in sufferers.    Treating allergies with nutrition and nutrition supplements can have big advantages over using medications.   
        Allergy medication most commonly comes in the form of Antihistamines, and there are some big problems with long-term use of these medications.     It is now known that prolonged use of antihistamines decreases levels of acetylcholine which is a key neurotransmitter involved in memory and other important functions.   In fact, antihistamine use increases the risk of senility, dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
        What are Allergies Anyway?
        Allergies are abnormal immune reactions to specific agents (proteins) known as antigens/allergens, which include many substances such as foods, drugs, pollens, dust mites, animal danders, feathers, along with many others. 
        Allergies may also develop when an otherwise innocent substance has significant contact with an already inflamed surface (known as sensitization).  For example, when sick with a respiratory illness, respiratory surfaces are already inflamed and substances present at this time may be “remembered” as being foreign.  This can also occur with chemical substances known as “haptons” which are combinations of self and non-self which can lead the immune system to attack the self. 
        Since there are multiple pro-inflammatory substances involved with allergies it is rare to obtain adequate control with single products/medications.  The most potent chemical mediators in allergies and asthma are leukotrienes.  Some leukotrines are one thousand times more potent than histamine as stimulators of bronchial constriction and allergy. 
        Interestingly, many medications that reduce one inflammatory pathway actually boost leukotrienes.    For example, Aspirin and other NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs like Ibuprofen) result in the production of excessive levels of leukotrines in sensitive individuals although they decrease prostaglandins associated with inflammation and thereby relive pain.  So long term they can create a much more severe problem.
        Asthma is linked to allergies and can be a severe and life threatening condition.   Do NOT try to self-treat Asthma – see a physician!
        Strategies for Allergies
        Try to avoid allergens by using air filters, regularly cleaning all surfaces and vacuuming and keeping your air-conditioning system on while regularly changing filters to filter out as many allergens as possible.   Remember your car cabin filter as well, and take showers and wash clothes after being outside for long periods of time.
        Change your diet to reduce inflammation.    Dramatically reduce your intake of refined carbohydrate – sugar and starch which drive insulin which drives inflammation.  At the same time increase your intake of low glycemic, organic fruits and vegetables such as berries, broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, etc.   These plant foods contain polyphenols which are potent anti-oxidants and help to reduce inflammation and allergies without side effects.
        Increase your intake of Omega 3 Fatty Acids from cold water fish such as Alaskan Wild Salmon and/or take an Omega 3 Supplement such as Krill Oil.    Omega 3 fatty acids will always reduce inflammation if taken in sufficient dosages so this should be a primary strategy for allergy sufferers because they produce many side benefits.   The only exception is people taking any type of medication to thin blood and reduce clotting like Coumadin.   In this case the combination can be dangerous!
        Nutritional Supplements for Allergies
        There are several highly effective nutrition supplements for allergies including some key herbs.
        Local Raw Honey – it MUST be local and must be raw because it will contain small amounts of local pollen and works by getting the body used to pollen much like an allergy shot.     A Tablespoon a day is as much as you need.   Many people swear by this simple and safe remedy!
        Stinging Nettle Extract – this herb has a long history of effective use for allergies and freeze dried preparations seem to work the best and are best taken BEFORE allergy season even begins to put a damper on symptoms before they start – this is true of all nutritional approaches to allergy by the way!
        Euphrasia Officianalis – aka “Eyebright” is an herb which name says it all – it is highly effective for eye allergy symptoms.
        Quercetin – is a flavonoid contained in high amounts in apples, peppers, red wine, dark cherries and berries, tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and sprouts, and raw red onions.   To treat allergies taking supplemental quercetin is the way to go, and a good quercetin supplement is a product called “AllQlear” by Integrative Therapeutics and can be purchased on Amazon.     It also contains “ovomucoids” from quail eggs that act as tryptase inhibitor and prevent release of histamine.    Another excellent Quercetin Supplement is “Qforce” – http://www.qforce.com/ Quercetin is proven to decrease yur chance of contracting a viral illness like the cold or flu by 9 times!
        Boswellia Extract – Boswellia aka Frankincense (yes the herb mentioned in the bible!) can be highly effective for allergies and other forms of inflammation including arthritis because it blocks the formation of leukotrienes!    To get the benefits you must take 5-loxin which is a specific extract.   Note that in some individuals 5-loxin can cause or excacerbate heart burn so it is not for everyone, but when it works it can be highly effective!
        Butterbur Extract – this plant extract can be highly effective for inhibiting leukotrienes and allergy symptoms or side effects.   You need to take a standardized extract with standardized levels of Petasin and Isopetasin) and free of Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids aka PA.  High quality brands include Life Extension, Swanson, and Enzymatic Therapy to name a few.   This product can also help many migraine sufferers and is a well-researched, proven treatment.
        NAC – N-Acetyl Cysteine – helps thin mucus naturally and boost levels of the body’s most important antioxidant Glutathione – every allergy sufferer should be taking 600 – 1,200mg per day!
        You will also find combination of these ingredients in particular products, and it is worth experimenting a bit because if you find the right product or combination of natural products you can find relief without sedation and without the side effects associated with antihistamines and more potent drugs like steroid nasal sprays or oral steroids.

        The Benefits of Jump Training

        Watch a group of kids and you will likely see bobbing heads – kids love to jump and there are good reasons for them to jump.   A key aspect of human movement is learning to store energy and then reclaim it as part of a movement cycle. For example up to 40% of the energy required for movement during walking and running is created by storing energy in the leg muscles as the foot lands and then using it during the push-off phase.  The technical name for this cycle is the “Stretch-Shortening Cycle” or SSC.  The SSC takes advantage of the fact that muscles can act as springs:  they store energy as they are lengthened then rebounding in the opposite direction as they get shorter.

        Efficient movement takes advantage of the stretch-shortening cycle and muscles are designed to store and release energy in a rhythmic pattern of loading and unloading just like loading and unloading a spring.  In addition, power for all athletic movements is generated by taking advantage of the SSC.     A key aspect of getting the most from this cycle is rhythm and timing which are learned through repetition.
          
        There are three distinct phases to jump training:

        The Loading Phase – such as landing phase of walking and running where the muscles lengthen under tension to absorb the landing.
        The Amortization Phase – where the muscle transitions between loading phase and the Unloading phase.
        The Unloading Phase – where the muscles shortens and transfers the stored energy externally like a spring recoiling such as the push-off phase of walking and running.

        Jumps can be little – like jumping rope or big – like box jumps.  Start with little jumps.  A great place to start is jumping rhythmically in place with both feet with short fast jumps.   You want to land on the ball of the foot and flex your knees when you land and let your heels just kiss the floor then jump up again and repeat.  Start with really tiny jumps and try to let the elasticity of your calf and quad muscles do the work – done properly it should feel relatively easy.   It will take several weeks to condition the muscles of the foot and calf to be able to do longer sets so take your time.  In addition there are many benefits to performing this training without shoes so the muscles of your foot get conditioned and you have a better feel of the ground.

        It is also important to insure your knees track over your toes and do not collapse inward so do short sets (30 seconds or less) of low, fast jumps on both feet and learn to feel the rhythm of the cycle of landing and push off.

        Once you master this you can add more height to your jumps after you are warmed up.   Stop each set if you start feeling tired or feel unstable, and recover completely between sets.  Do NOT do jump sets to failure. Eventually you can progress into full squat jumps.   However remember the key to capturing the benefit of the stretch-shortening cycle is a quick rebound after landing.  So if you go too low in the loading phase the pause between landing and rebounding will be too long and you lose the benefit of the stretch-shortening cycle.

        Over time you can even progress to single leg jumps or box jumps where you jump down off a height to the ground/floor then land and rebound up.  Take these progressions SLOWLY – it is important to build the elastic strength of the muscles in your foot, lower leg, and thighs over time and stopping BEFORE you are exhausted will prevent injury.  This is why kids naturally like to do short sets of jumps repeatedly – it feels good when done properly!

        There are many benefits to jump training including:

        Toning the lower body – jumping recruits all of the major muscles of the lower body while at the same time being the ideal stimulus to build bone strength.

        Jumping burns lots of calories – once you can build up to being able to do 1 – 4 minutes of continuous jumping like jumping rope you can really rack up the calories!

        Jumping pumps up the cardiovascular system – as above once you can jump safely and in good form for 1 – 3 minute sets you will not believe how high your heart rate gets!

        Jumping also demands great balance and stimulates fast-twitch muscle fibers.   Fast-twitch muscle is the type of muscle we lose quickest as we get older.   Fast-twitch fibers are not just important for athletes – they are important for preventing falls because the ability to produce force quickly is important to be able to react quickly when your balance is unexpectedly challenged like stepping off a curb you do not see!

        Jumping is the best way to build the strength of bones – bones need impact and force to stay strong. The key is starting with small jumps and gradually building the height of jumps and time spent jumping.

        There are many ways to build jumping into a workout such as doing some skipping drills which can even be done on a treadmill safely once you get the hang of it.


        It is also worth working with a trainer to help you develop proper jumping mechanics and the stability you need to land properly which are pre-requisites for safe and effective jump training.

        Who needs to curb the carbs?

        It goes without saying that everyone should consider cutting out refined sugar and flour products, plus high levels of processed foods that are full of junk fats, as they are nutritionally redundant in the human body. You should also consider giving up caffeine and moderating your alcohol intake, particularly if you suffer from any of the symptoms of unstable blood sugar and insulin resistance.

        Many people are not even aware of the symptoms of eating too many refined and dense carbohydrates. They have become used to living in what I call ‘the discomfort zone’. They have forgotten what it is like to wake up full of energy, think it’s normal to feel bloated after meals and rely too heavily on stimulants such as coffee to get themselves through the day.

        Diet Start

        This sorry state of affairs becomes their normal state of being — it is no wonder that the symptoms of degenerative disease creep up on many people un-noticed. They are so used to living below their physical potential that they don’t recognise the signs until it is sometimes too late.

        If you are more genetically disposed to gain weight readily when exposed to an unhealthy diet and lifestyle then restricting the amount and type of carbohydrate foods that you eat may be the right choice for you. Such a diet regime may also suit you if you have developed insulin resistance as the result of a diet based on high levels of refined and complex carbohydrates that outweigh your energy requirements, plus too much saturated fat, with little fibre and water. Unless, that is, you are one of those people who leads an active lifestyle or has a high metabolic rate, and already eats a diet with relatively high levels of healthy complex carbohydrates (brown rice, potatoes, wholegrains and certain vegetables, fruit and pulses) without accompanying weight and health problems. If so, why are you reading this? Sounds like you are already doing what is right for your body.

        MINIMALIST RA HOUSE DESIGN BY BAQUERATTA

        The Minimalist RA House was designed a Tokyo company called Baqueratta.They have a good past in minimalist small residences.The entire house was furnished with modern and minimalist furniture.I love this house and I hope to have someone in future, but I especially like the bathroom.

        Minimalist RA House Design by BaquerattaMinimalist RA House Design by Baqueratta

        Minimalist RA House Design by BaquerattaMinimalist RA House Design by Baqueratta

        Minimalist RA House Design by BaquerattaMinimalist RA House Design by Baqueratta

        Minimalist RA House Design by BaquerattaMinimalist RA House Design by Baqueratta

        Minimalist RA House Design by BaquerattaMinimalist RA House Design by Baqueratta

        Guild Wars 2: How To Ride “The Train” of Queensdale (Champion ‘Farming’ Runs As A Group) Tutorial with Map

        [NOTE*** As of April 15th, 2014 the changes to the game with the April 2014 Feature Pack update have altered The Train route somewhat – these changes will be updated in this map and article as they solidify into a commonly-agreed Route…
        FURTHER UPDATES AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS ARICLE]

        Ah, Guild Wars 2… I’m having so much fun with you, I can barely stop to start typing helpful Tips for others to read! Why are you so awesome? Oh, that’s right, your creators and other ArenaNet buddies heard the nighttime wails of MMORPG players from other games around the globe and listened intently to our cries, wanting to soothe us softly by satisfying requests we players have made of all of those other games, didn’t you? Oh, yes you did.  The result: a game I wish I had gotten into a lot sooner… Thank you, ArenaNet.


        For those new to the game (or those who haven’t done this before), in the beginning area of the Human lands of Kryta, there is a phenomenon called “The Train”. After asking a few questions in-game and watching it a while, and then joining in on it off and on, on my own, I feel I can now safely share a simplified Tutorial on ‘The Train’ and explain to others (mainly newcomers to Guild Wars 2) what it is and how to be a part of it, if you wish to be.

        Loading Screen for the Queensdale region, where ‘runs’ of The Train take place
        (Click to see Full Size)

        What is The Train?

        ‘The Train’ in Queensdale is, essentially, a cooperation of players moving and killing together as a group [in an MMO game?Whoknew?lol]. The Train targets a small number of Champion-type mobs [MOBile monsters], killing these same ones in a repeating cycle, again and again. The pattern [the “Route that The Train takes”] has evolved over time and differs little, no matter what server/shard you are on. Traveling and moving in collaboration with each other gives the result of faster kills, experience and loot for all those taking part (and sometimes the groups can get quite large). In Guild Wars 2, one does not need to ‘Party’ or form an ‘official’ group of any kind, in order to benefit from conquering enemies together [even when not following The Train]. Merely join alongside and help out a bit, and you too are now part of the Clique of Killing and can reap the rewards.

        Even though The Train runs in the first leveling/adventuring area of the Humans (called Kryta), you can play any Race you wish, and then run/travel to the Human lands and be a part of The Train. There are no restrictions on Race interaction (no ‘sides’; no factions, no clans, no tribes [to restrict players]) in Guild Wars 2. Any race can be created and interact with any of the other Races in Guild Wars 2. So, be whatever race you want to be, you can still head to Queensdale and get on The Train!

        When ‘on The Train’ (following the group around and helping to kill the Champion monsters), you do have to be a high enough level to ‘hit’ the enemies in order to register as a ‘contributor of the group’ and benefit from the encounter (get experience, be able to loot, etc). With the Champion mobs being ‘farmed’ [by The Train] averaging Level 10 in this region (these are the only mobs that The Train goes after, remember), you may not be able to actually hit them until your character is about Level 7 or 8; so if you are playing a brand new character, do some starting Quests, World Events or your character’s Storyline for a bit first.

        Killing the Boar champion while on the Train in Queensdale
        (Click to see Full Size)

        If you are a ‘Brand New’ Player to Guild Wars 2, I strongly suggest doing that for the most part anyway (Quests and Storylines), as doing so, you will more easily learn how to control your character, fight battles, use your skills as you learn them, and learn to navigate the territories and develop your character as a whole.
        The Train is, for the most part, a repeated cycle of killing [almost absolutely nothing but] a small number of Champion ‘boss’ style monsters (as in 5-6 of them, depending on the route The Train takes on your Server/Shard, remember it differs little) – and there have already been arguments all over forums and other websites as to whether relatively New Players should take part in it at all (and if it harms the gameplay/environment of newer players). I believe that this decision is up to each individual, as some people might eschew the practice completely until Level 80 (the current maximum level as of the time of this post), while other people will love the camaraderie and easy access to loot (you always get items comparative to your current level, whatever that may be, when the Champions die).
        As with any game, there will always be people that will say a certain activity is too repetitive and boring, and there will always be people that will say it is a good source of ‘loot’, and there will always be people that will advise doing something else (like playing PvP or more PvE). I like to suggest, if people ask, that each person try Taking A Ride On The Train for themselves at least a few times, then judge whether they wish to continue doing it or move on to other things, leaving the choice up to each player.

        [On a personal note for a moment, merely to address this matter that many people seem to argue about and state my own personal opinion, I myself enjoy roaming the lands of GW2 randomly, helping out NPCs and doing the little events found around the world. I play usually always play solo and that affords me the ability to change it up and do whatever activity I want, stop whenever I want (or if I get too tired physically and have to stop, due to my illness) and roam around taking [way too many] screenshots of the environs, gathering resources as I leisurely explore and discover the countryside. I often forget about the Storyline for my character – there is so much to do in the world; but I try to get in on it as I remember to and develop my character along with the story that is tailored for each Race. I do take a ride on The Train, but only as a ‘something else to do for a change’, not as my ‘main leveling mechanic’ or my ‘main source for items’. I like to think this off-and-on approach allows me to enjoy The Train while not getting too bored of it too quickly, all the while being able to enjoy the game at the same time, and it is just ‘another thing that I can do’ in the huge game world of Guild Wars 2.]

        Killing the Troll champion while on the Train in Queensdale
        (Click to see Full Size)

        How does one ‘get on’ The Train? 

        First, I always suggest to others, to get the Waypoints that The Train uses first. This will allow you to quickly relocate and follow The Train, travelling to the next Champion that is to be killed. If you did not create a Human, travel to The Human Lands and simply run to the Waypoints to open them up on your map and register them so that they can then allow you to return to them/use them in the future and for Riding The Train.

        Don’t worry, there are only three main waypoints used in The Train’s generally-used rotation (and it differs only slightly on some servers/shards [for instance, on Eredon Terrace, “The Bandit” is very rarely killed by The Train – which seems to be the main difference for The Route from other shards – however, since I have created my character on ET, this is the example I will use]). The waypoints used and the route generally taken are all shown in this graphic I have created of the map of Queensdale below.

        The Game Tips And More Blog’s Map of Queensdale and The Train Route as of April 2014 [Old Version]
        (Click to see Full Size)

        The Route that The Train takes usually runs like this (repeatedly):

        • Begin the Route from the upper right [the Double Orange Arrows on the map I created, above]
        • Kill the Boar champion in the hills there, NW of the Hunting Lodge
        • Fast Travel to the Vale Waypont and head into the caves just to the west
        • Kill the Troll champion inside the caves of Altar’s Windings
        • Fast Travel to the Phinney Waypoint and head NW to a glade at the edge of the trees
        • Kill the Rotting Ancient Oakheart champion at the forest’s edge
        • Fast Travel to the Krytan Waypoint and head NE, towards two large hills
        • Kill the Forest Spider champion on the larger hill, SE of the Hunting Lodge in a grove of trees
        • Run NW past the Hunting Lodge and up into the hills and wait for the Boar event again
        A couple notes about the map: I made ‘tick marks’ (they look like little orange hyphens/dashes) that remind you of the order the champions are killed in and which Waypoint to take [-, –, —, etc]. I managed to capture and keep the ‘white dotted-line of travel’, running around following The Train, so if you are a bit lost, try to re-create the white dotted path that you see on my map. To help with finding the Forest Spider champion on a hill SE of the Hunting Lodge (and NE from the Krytan Waypoint), I put a small orange “S” where it is normally encountered. Lastly, my server/shard does not kill The Bandit Lieutenant champion [and we may be the only shard that doesn’t apparently], but if you wish to find him, he is in the Bandithaunt Caverns, N of the Vale Waypont.

        The champion Boar shows up only after someone talks to Lodgemaster Carthage at the Hunting Lodge. There is a short event waiting period, then two hunters come out and slowly stalk their prey. Everyone usually waits in the hills to the NW of the Lodge and this can be a good time to go through your inventory, unpacking any goodies, salvaging, organizing, etc. There may even be some Banners nearby that can give beneficial Boons [“Buffs”], usually placed by some friendly Guild Member. Take a short break, get a drink – and get ready to jump back on The Train!

        When you sit down and start to play a new gaming session, or if you have lost track of where to go next, you can always ask in Chat (/map) where The Train is at that moment, to know where to ‘get on’ (to join in). Most people simply type, “Train?” or ask “Where is the train now?”, and usually some kind soul will answer and state what stop The Train is at (what champion they are killing), or where they are heading to, at that moment. Common answers are, “Boar” or “Spider is up” or “waiting on Troll” or “at Oak”, for the various champions (it may differ slightly on your server, but not by much). Sometimes, a helpful person will suggest, “Head to __some champion__”, which means that the one they are currently fighting is almost dead, so you ‘might as well head to the next one’.

        Killing the Oak champion while on the Train in Queensdale
        (Click to see Full Size)

        A few things to keep in mind as you ride The Train are: you have to be able to hit the mob in order to be able to loot it at all, therefore you may have trouble if you are much lower than level 7 or so (the mobs are Level 10). Loot will drop that is around your character’s level, no matter what it is, so you can usually use it right away or soon. The Boar portion of the Route takes a little bit to get started and sometimes people will say phrases like, “Boar is Walking” or “Hunters are Walking” or “Boar Starting” and so on, to let everyone know, who were most likely just standing around waiting or AFK, that the event is beginning. You can gather Resources that are around (mine veins, gather plants/food, cut down trees) or that you pass by, on your way to the champions, just don’t fall too far behind if the group is large – they can start to kill these Champions pretty darn fast – and you might miss out on the Loot Drop entirely!

        Killing the Spider champion while on the Train in Queensdale
        (Click to see Full Size)
        That’s it! Try not to bore yourself with repeating this excessively, by the way. Have fun, enjoy the loot and camaraderie of fellow GW2 players; but if it starts to become boring, go back to your character’s story, pop in for some PvP or even do some Gathering, enjoying the landscape and beauty that is Guild Wars 2.

        [UPDATE 1*** As of April 23rd, 2014 there seems to still be a lot of confusion as to the accepted/overall Route that The Train should take. There have been many arguments over what order the train will travel in and opposing groups will perform the run in awkward manner to each other. As a result, ‘finalized’ changes to this map and article will be delayed, until the community can solidify a pattern/route for The Train.
        For now, “the basics” of what the Train is and does are secure and remain the same as this article. The Train may still run on your server/shard in the same manner, in general. Enjoy these aspects of this post, for now]
        [UPDATE 2*** As of May 3rd, 2014 although there is still a bit of debating as to what should be a ‘standard route’ for The Train to take, a general consensus seems to be forming and this map and article will be redone and/or updated Soon™]
        [UPDATE 3*** As of June 2014, although there is still some debate that occurs (mainly because someone gets to Oak ‘early’ and kills it on the group), most of the consensus appears to be this route: 
        Boar-Troll-Bandit-Oak
        I am working on a new, updated version of the map and will insert it here when finished.
        For now, the rest of the information of this post (how to follow the train, etc.) is still valid and hopefully found helpful, for those who are interested in knowing what The Train Of Queensdale is and how to do it]

        See You In The Game!

        Berberine – for Cancer Prevention, Anxiety, Depression, Increased Fat Burning, and More!

        Berberine – for Cancer Prevention, Anxiety, Depression, Increased fat burning, and more!

        Berberine is a yellow alkaloid found in several plants/herbs such as goldenseal and phellodendron.   It is a powerful plant chemical with proven antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-cancer, and immune enhancing properties.    Herbs containing berberine have a long history of effective use and there is considerable science backing these uses.
        It is also extremely helpful for treatment of seasonal allergies traveler’s diarrhea, food poisoning, and as an oral hypoglycemic for Type 2 diabetes.

        As per Dr. Michael Murray Berberine has been shown to: 
        • Produce results in clinical trials in improving Type 2 diabetes on par or better than conventional drugs including metformin.
        • Improve blood lipid levels better than statins.
        • Lower blood pressure in many subjects as well as any class of antihypertensive medication.
        • Improve liver function and promote anti-obesity effects.
        • Exert significant beneficial effects on digestive health and the microbiome.
        • Produce very encouraging experimental data in a wide range of modern health issues including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and others.
        How does Berberine work?

        Berberine activates adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK).  AMPK is sometimes referred to as a “metabolic master switch” because it plays an important role in regulating metabolism.

        AMPK causes a cascade of effects within cells involved with maintaining energy homeostasis.  AMPK helps shift energy towards cellular repair and maintenance.   It has many of the same effects as increasing exercise while at the same time restricting caloric intake.

        Other benefits of Berberine include:
        • Slowing the release of free fatty acids to help prevent harmful fat deposits
        • Promoting insulin, leptin, and adiponectin function for a healthy metabolism
        • Supporting healthy blood sugar levels already in the normal range
        • Promoting healthy insulin sensitivity
        • Promoting healthy gut microflora
        • Supporting healthy lipid metabolism
        • Stimulating the release of nitric oxide for healthy blood flow
        Berberine Helps Ease Anxiety and Depression

        Another benefit of AMPK is that it protects neurons and increases key neurotransmitters which improves brain function and psychological well-being.  So, it should not be surprising that several studies have shown that Berberine is very useful for anxiety and depression.

        Berberine and Cancer Prevention

        Berberine slows cancer growth and causes cancer cell death through a variety of mechanisms: tumor cell apoptosis and cell cycle arrest, inhibits blood vessel growth to tumors, inhibition of tumor cellular invasion and metastases (spread), etc.
        One of the main anti-cancer targets that is inhibited by berberine is NF-kappa B. NF-kappa B is one of the most important proteins in our cells, acting as a key switch in the development and progression of inflammation and cancer.
        ·       Cancer (and precancerous cells) often have a permanently activated NF-kappa B, which keeps the cells proliferating and prevents them from dying (apoptosis.)
        ·       Chronic inflammation can also be a result of activated NF-kappa B, and we know that chronic inflammation can lead to cancer growth
        ·       Additionally, Berberine sensitizes cancer cells to the effects of radiation but NOT of normal cells. So Berberine may make radiation therapy more effective. 

        Berberine also inhibits the tendency of cancer cells to become drug resistant over time by inhibiting the cellular membrane proteins that pump drugs out of the cell. When Berberine is taken with numerous chemotherapy drugs, studies have shown that they work synergistically to fight cancer.
        Contraindications for Berberine

        ·       Displaces bilirubin and should not be administered to jaundiced neonates (may increase bilirubin levels due to displacement of bilirubin from albumin)
        ·       May cause a prolonged QT (a variable in cardiac electrical conduction) in patients with underlying heart disease
        Drug Interactions

        While Berberine is quite safe and well-tolerated, it may be contraindicated if you’re taking medications.  For example, Berberine may hinder absorption of tetracycline and other similar antibiotics, rendering them ineffective. Also, because Berberine significantly inhibits CYP3A enzymes — enzymes needed to metabolize most drugs — it can lower the clearance of medications, which in turn can augment their effect. This can lead to overdose, the risks of which will vary depending on the drug in question.

        Berberine increases the effects of drugs that lower blood sugar so it is critical that you not mix Berberine with these drugs unless under the supervision of a physician.  IT is important to note that Berberine produces all the benefits of Metformin with much lower risks!

        Sources of Berberine

        Berberine is available as an isolated supplement OR through certain herbs such as goldenseal or Phellodendron.    Nexrutine is a patented Phellodendron Extract with high levels of Berberine that is particularly effective at reducing joint pain, improving mood, and reducing prostate inflammation and likely prostate cancer risk.   Phellodendron also has has a long history of being used to treat prostate inflammation and prostatitis.

        LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM DESIGN DECOR STYLE GOOD

        The design of a room can be a major problem in the redesign of your home. The problem could grow if you have to do for a child – a girl in particular. But do not worry, because we had some bedroom design ideas for the creative minds of the people working with the Italian girls.

        LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM DESIGN DECOR

        LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM DESIGN DECOR

        They work in an atmosphere of classic charm in a contemporary way through a range of unique colors. Most models adopt a classic style, with good curves and cushions, and a pile of wood painted to create the perfect atmosphere for your little princess.

        LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM METAL DESIGN DECOR

        LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM METAL DESIGN DECOR

        LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM DESIGN IDEAS

        LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM DESIGN IDEAS

        LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM DESIGN CONCEPT

        LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM DESIGN CONCEPT

        HOME DECORATING WITH ASIAN STYLE

        Asian themes uses bright and vibrant colors, and thus, it might not always be a good idea to do up the whole house using this theme. It is always better to concentrate on some part of the house and use it as the focal point by decorating it using the Asian theme. There is heavy dependence on texture and color in this theme, and this needs to be kept in mind.

        Home Decorating With An Asian ThemeHome Decorating With An Asian Theme


        Home Decorating Room With An Asian ThemeHome Decorating Room With An Asian Theme


        Home Decorating With An Asian Theme Bed RoomHome Decorating With An Asian Theme Bed Room

        One of the best places to decorate using the Asian theme is the dining room of the house. When the dining room is decorated, one obviously can use the vibrant colors but besides one can also add decorative pieces on the table. One can use things made of bamboo or Chinese utensils which are very famous in the Asian area.

        My trip to Yapahuwa

        I just completed an assignment for an international networked organization. They are in the process of establishing and sustaining a national level sister organization with district level branches which will belong to the same network.

        The assignment was to critically look at the activities undertaken to sustain the district level branches. Well basically looking at the resource mobilization of each branch.

        When considering resource mobilization for the development sector one automatically recalls the telethons and other fundraising activities done by charities to raise millions of dollars; quite similar to the ones that are going on for the Haiti earthquake relief operations.

        However resource mobilization in the 3rd world is quite a different matter. It is fundamentally handicapped due to the following reasons.

        1. Most INGOs and Local NGOs operate in the 3rd world as project implementers. Therefore their articles of association / constitutions do not provide for resource mobilization (self generated / self raised funds).
        2. Due to above most states (in Asia) do not recognize them as registered charities that qualify for fund raising which is tax exempt.
        3. They are only allowed to receive funds from donors who already have funds or who have access to funds. Generally these funds when received in the implementing country are exempted from income tax.
        4. In fact, the local legislations which facilitate the registration of these entities for legal purposes themselves disallow any kind of activity which earns an income for the organization.

        So, in order for an organization (NGO) to be legally able to engage in resource mobilization they have to:

        1. Ensure that the articles of association / constitutions that they operate under provides for such activities.

        2. Get the governments to recognize them as charities (this is generally done by conforming to already existing legislation or you would need an act of parliament or for parliament to pass new legislation to facilitate this).

        3. Once you are registered as a charity that qualify for fund raising which is tax free you can look at the spectrum of resource mobilization activities which are at your disposal.

        Fund raising activities in general falls in to the following broad categories.

        1. Cause / Issue based (HIV/AIDS, TB, Child Labour, etc.).
        2. Event based (Tsunami, War, Earthquake, etc.).
        3. Faith based donations to religiously affiliated organizations
        4. Bi-lateral funds.
        5. Multi-lateral funds

        There is however another resource mobilization strategy which is “Income Generation Projects” which is: an organization (NGO) can engage in commercial activities such as training, providing a chargeable service, renting of assets, producing some products etc. to generate a profit. This profit is then used for development activities.

        If an organization (NGO) wants to use this strategy they need to ensure that the articles of association / constitutions as well as the legislation / act of parliament clearly addresses’ this activity. Otherwise an organization may become liable for income tax. This risk may jeopardize the sustainability of the organization; therefore careful consideration must be given to the legal landscape before engaging in such activities.

        However my client has started several “Income Generation Projects” without considering the above. There is a huge risk associated with this and no remedial action is being taken.

        As for the income generation projects, they seem to have been started based on good ideas and not based on the profit they can earn to sustain a development project or a part of a project. Further they are being executed by the same staff taken to deliver development services (who by the way have no business skills) to the target groups; needless to say that the “Income Generation Projects” are doing poorly. They are hardly making profits some are making huge losses. In some cases, not only are they making losses, but they have very high turnovers which go beyond the value added tax threshold (VAT). This is a huge risk for the organization.

        The assignment was well received by the client and they have already engaged me for a follow up assignment to develop realistic business plans for the “Income Generation Projects”.

        Yapahuwa is a historic / archaeological town which boasts the second rock fortress of Sri Lankan kings. It is close to many not so famous archaeological sites and now boasts a new hotel – Yapahuwa Paradise. I recommend a visit to Yapahuwa if ever you are in the north west of Sri Lanka.

        How to Optimize the Benefits of Vitamin D Supplementation

        Vitamin D is constantly in the news lately and for good reason.    Optimal levels of Vitamin D have been linked to a host of benefits including prevention and treatment of many key diseases ranging from Osteoporosis to improved heart health with reduction in heart attack risk to prevention of many different types of cancer.
        The ideal way to get optimal levels of Vitamin D is to let your body create it through Safe Sun Exposure (see previous blog on this subject here:  http://workoutanytime.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-facts-on-safe-sun-exposure-and.html  However this is easier said then done, and too much sun is clearly a strong risk factor for skin cancer!      Enter Vitamin D supplementation.
        The amount and form of Vitamin D supplementation has changed substantially based on lots of emerging research.    The form that should be taken is Vitamin D-3 NOT D-2 form and all experts agree on this!     However when it comes to dosage things get much trickier.      The confusion comes because Vitamin D is really a powerful compound and functions as a hormone in the body.    As such it has profound impact on virtually every system in the body.    In addition you can overdose on Vitamin D supplements so more is NOT always better!
        Ideally you should order a blood test and test your levels.    The test you want is called a 25(OH)D blood test and is offered by all major labs.   You can either ask your doctor to order this test for you OR you can order an in-home test.   You just prick your finger and put a drop of bloo on the enclosed paper and send back in to the labs.    You can also your own blood test online and go to a lab to have blood drawn in the same way your doctor orders the test.   For more information on testing go here:  https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/testkit/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwh_bLBRDeARIsAH4ZYEPhv0MVkO5_S7USZZ8bwVlt5A3vPWGbBFFIbJiB8Wtva0x-IDH7UmQaAlGkEALw_wcB#
        Ideal versus Acceptable Blood Levels of Vitamin D

        There is a big difference between what is considered “acceptable” or okay and ideal blood levels.   Here are the classifications of different blood levels of Vitamin D. according to the Vitamin D Council:
        0 – 30 ng/ML is very low and considered a deficiency
        30 – 39 ng/ML is better but still insufficient for optimal health and disease prevention.
        40 – 100 ng/ML is optimal
        Above 150 ng/ML is toxic!
        The key is to test and if low take a supplement then retest 2 – 3 months after regular vitamin d use because each person is different in how much supplementation they need based on many factors including sun exposure and skin type.     The RDA for Vitamin D for infants is 400iu.    For Children 1 – 13 and adults through age 70 the RDA is 600iu and for those over 70 the RDA is 800iu.
        Unfortunately, this is way too low to get many people into the sufficient much less optimal range so testing is really worthwhile.   In many cases people need 4,000 – 10,000 or more iu’s per day for at least a month to get where they need to be for optimal health!
        Preventing Vitamin D Toxicity through the Co-Administration of Vitamin K-2

        Like many vitamins Vitamin D has a co-factor or other vitamin that helps it perform its function better and in a more balanced fashion, and that other vitamin is Vitamin K-2 (not to be confused with K-1 found in many plants).    In an ideal world, you can get all the Vitamin K-1 you need from eating plenty of green, leafy vegetables, and your body can turn it into K-2.   Unfortunately, this conversion is lacking in many people.
        More importantly K-2 is not easily toxic and can be taken with Vitamin D.    K-2 is best taken as a supplement as MK-7 version which has been heavily researched and shown to improve bone health and prevent arterial calcification which can potentially occur with too much Vitamin D.     For a more complete understanding behind how K-2 works with Vitamin D and why it is a great idea to take the MK-7 form of K-2 with Vitamin D check out this article from Dr. Mercola:   http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/03/26/the-delicate-dance-between-vitamins-d-and-k.aspx

        Taking 100 – 200 mcg per day of Vitamin K-2 will help optimize the effects of Vitamin D and minimize risks associated with Vitamin D Supplementation.

        It’s Not Just You™ – Battle.Net Issues with Logging In Today [Notification]

        Just a quick post to let others know that if you are having logging in to Battle.Net today (August 1st) that lots of people have been having problems as of this morning. Blizzard has addressed this with a quick note via their twitter, seen at:

        https://twitter.com/BlizzardCS/status/760100687111938048

        Retry or Go Back To Bed? Hmmm….

        For those playing Blizzard/Battle.Net games this weekend, hopefully it will be up soon – just letting you know, It’s Not Just You™ !

        Are You Ready for NaNoWriMo?

        I plan to encourage my students to participate in NaNoWriMo again this year. For those of you who aren’t familiar, November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. It’s the month where tell your inner-editor to hush so you can just let the ideas flow on to the page. It’s about getting something done without worrying how perfect it is, because you can always go back and revise in December.

        Last year, as October drew to a close, I introduced NaNoWriMo to my class. I explained the premise, and gave them the option of taking on the challenge. We talked about word count goals and commitment to writing outside of the classroom. Then the fun started. Student after student signed up, each cheering each other on as they dedicated themselves to writing a book. In the end, I think all but two students decided to participate. We had weekly lunch meetings where students could eat and share their writing with friends, and although not all students met their goals, they definitely started to find their voices as authors.

        The Young Writers Program for NaNoWriMo has some great teaching materials to get your students psyched for NaNoWriMo and to teach them about narrative writing in general. You can check out their website at http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/. In addition, there’s still time to order a NaNoWriMo classroom kit which comes with a student goal setting poster, NaNoWriMo stickers to track progress toward a goal, and buttons for those students who participate or finish. The classroom kit is free (and awesome), but they request a $10 donation for the materials — a small price to pay to get your students excited about writing.

        In honor of NaNoWriMo, I’ll be hosting a month-long link-up that will start on November 1 and run the duration of NaNoWriMo. Whether your class officially participates in NaNoWriMo or not, I hope you’ll join me in sharing the great writing work that’s happening in your class. Grab the button, spread the word, and meet me back here on November 1st for a writing extravaganza!

        In the meantime, check out the Educators’ section of the Young Writers Project. I’m sure you’ll find plenty to get you (and your students) excited for a month full of creative writing!

        Who’s in?

        Fallout 4 – Things The Game Doesn’t Tell You Or Explain To New Players Very Well (in Point Form) [UNDER CONSTRUCTION]

        [Note.: This post is ‘LIVE’ and ‘UNDER CONSTRUCTION’, as I continue to add more data and Tips and Example Screenshots to it eventually… I decided to make it available now however, to assist those playing Fallout 4; especially those just starting out – seeing as there was a Steam Sale on (Welcome New Players, heh). I will be adding more Text and Tips and Screenshots and More and this post cannot be considered ‘finalized’ until after I add a ‘Final Footer Image’ to the posting (see some of my other posts for examples of this type of ‘end image’ I put in my posts). Please excuse changes as they occur and temporary mistakes and spelling errors, which may show up should you return to this article while it is under development. Enjoy, however – I hope you find something helpful to you – and have fun in Fallout 4!]

        I’m having a ton of fun playing Fallout 4 (as I always say, ‘spending too much time Working On Settlements and ignoring the Main Storyline’) – but I wanted to share a bunch of things that I had to ‘figure out on my own’ in the game, or that I saw others had to (in forums, etc)… There is a kind of Tutorial in the first town in the game, and when you first start out some things are explained, but not much after that (there are some Instruction Screens the first time you Lockpick or Hack A Terminal). Below then, are a handful of concepts, in point form, that I wanted to share; especially for New Players, that the game doesn’t quite cover (or ‘cover enough’):

        • If it says “You lack the requirements to create this item” … and you have the requirements and Perks listed… there can actually be more Component requirements (build materials needed), you have to SCROLL DOWN on the Requirements List (labelled “Requires”) to see them
        • How to Holster your Weapon: Hold R for a moment (on PC, by Default); the same key as you have set for Reload (The game walks you through Aiming and Reloading, but does not seem to cover Holstering)

        • Weapons do not need to be Repaired in Fallout 4, but Power Armor can be damaged and need Repairing at a Power Armor Station, which can be found in Towns and Settlements, and can be Crafted in Workshop Mode as well (they require two Perks/Skills; Armorer (Rank 1) and Local Leader (Rank 2))

        • How to use the VANS Perk so that it shows the ‘Trail to Follow’: (See my article on V.A.N.S. … hold Q for a bit, then put away Pip-Boy right away with TAB and the ‘smoke trail to follow’ should be left behind)
        • You can adjust the Difficulty at any time in the game, even if it is just temporarily (such as if you are ill and can’t fight as well for a while). To change your Difficulty, bring up the Menu while playing (Escape on the PC), then go into the Settings, then into the Gameplay category, changing the Difficulty in there, from Very Easy all the way to Survival Mode (where you have to Sleep, Eat and Drink to stay alive and everything is ultra-hard to kill!). The chance for Legendary Items (and the Legendary Enemies that carry them) increases with the Difficulty – but you can also increase the chance of Legendaries by simply going further South and East, increasing the Difficulty of the Area/Mobs/etc
        • If you TRADE with Dogmeat he can carry Items like all other Companions can (he can also wear Dog Apparel, such as Dog Armor or Dog Collars, if they are found in The Wasteland)
        • You can increase how much Robot Companions can Carry, depending on what parts you build them with (need Automatron DLC to build a Robot that can be your Companion [to ‘accompany you on your Travels’]), watch the “Carry Weight” Amount as you choose parts
        • It is “ok” to Drink ‘the regular Water that is everywhere’, it will still heal you a little; it is just Irradiated and causes some Radiation Exposure. If you have a container such as an Empty Bottle or Milk Bottle, you can also fill these containers at Streams or other bodies of water, to Cook with

        Don’t totally ignore Cooking (although you totally can, if you want to). Cooking various icky parts and gooey bits that you find in The Commonwealth not only heals you, most of the Recipes also give you ‘Buffs’ – temporary increases in various Stats – and things like Breathing Underwater or the ability to Carry More… Cook All The Things!

        • The RED Bar in your Health Bar (that is normally GREEN) is the level of Radiation you have acquired. It ‘takes up space’ in your Health Bar, because you cannot be “100% healthy” with Radiation Exposure (it must be removed with RadAway or by a Doctor at a Clinic (for a small fee))
        • The Water Pumps that are built at Settlements give ‘Pure Water’ from underground (it counts as “Purified Water” as it comes from underground where it has been protected/filtered from radiation by the land/ground, similar to how it would be IRL). The Water Pumps can be drunk from directly (like a Water Fountain) or the water can be bottled to drink later (if carrying empty bottles/etc); you don’t have to go all the way back to The Vault to get “Pure Water” [something I was doing in Survival Mode all the time]
        • To Build in a Settlement, go up to the Workshop Bench (always ‘mostly red’ colour, with ‘tools’ on it and usually located Centrally in the Settlement) and Activate it. If you are “Allied with the Settlement” (helping them out or have already helped them out by Completing a Mission for them) it will open Workshop Mode
        • To Scrap in Workshop Mode (to ‘break down an item/weapons/armor into Components you can use for Building Materials), look at it (drop it on the ground if you are carrying it) and hit SCRAP. Walk around a Settlement as soon as you can utilize Workshop Mode, looking for anything that you can Scrap in the area, for use as building materials. The items you Scrap all get ‘broken down’ into Components, which are the building materials themselves, the ‘things you construct other things with’ – everything being stored in the Workshop Bench itself as Inventory

        You do not have to Scrap everything ‘manually’/’one at a time’. Just STORE or put Junk Items in the Workshop Inventory (‘trading with the Workshop Bench’, called “Transfer”) and when you want to Build something, the Workbench calculates if you have enough Junk Items to break down into enough Components to build with. It will show what you want to build as GREEN if you have enough estimated building materials to construct the thing you are trying to build. (You may also need certain Perks to build some things, watch the Requirements list)

        • People can ‘steal’ your Power Armor… Raiders can Steal your Power Armor if they come across it in The Wasteland, for example. Settlers can even take Weapons out of nearby Crates/Containers to use, when attacked. To avoid losing your Power Armor, take out the Fusion Core from the Power Armor (“Transfer”) when leaving it, so that it cannot be used by anyone else (it is like ‘taking the keys out of your vehicle’) [NPCs don’t seem to carry/use Fusion Cores on the Armor]. However there have been stories of cases where Settlers will take a Fusion Core out of a container in a Settlement and throw it in a nearby Power Armor Suit and run off with it to Defend the Settlement! Crazy. Although most of the time, the Settler will simply ‘get out’ of your Power Armor after the Settlement is Defended – still, take out Fusion Cores from your Power Armor when you leave it, so that noone (for the most part) can take your Power Armor and you can always find it where you left it.
        • If Items and Containers around you are ‘glowing green’ or looking like they have ‘pip-boy radar on them’, this is a result of the Highlighting from the Scrapper Perk. Any items that you ‘Tag for Searching’ for (eg. when trying to Build something and you didn’t have enough materials, you can “Tag the Components for Search”) will have this GREEN highlighting when the Pip-Boy detects you are close to an Item in the world that is made up of that type of Component (eg. Steel or Plastic).
          To turn this OFF, open the Pip-Boy and go to the Junk page in the Inventory tab, and change to component view by clicking on the Component View button at the bottom (‘C’ on PC).
          Then in this view, go through the Component types and clear the Tag For Search by doing it again on the Component type.
          Then, your ‘Highlighted view’ from the Scrapper Perk is turned off and Items and Containers will not ‘glow green’ around you anymore

        • Speaking of glowing green, unless you want your vision to be green-ish and REALLY BRIGHT every time you crouch (Sneak), don’t get Night Person Rank 2 (Perk). Although the Perk does state that you’ll get “Night Vision when you Sneak”, unless you really want to be able to see really well (and slightly green-ish) in the dark or when you Sneak, hold off on Rank 2, or watch some videos on it first, to see what it looks like. [To some, the Bonuses are worth it – and they don’t mind the way it looks – but personally, I did not like how the Night Vision worked/looked; and since Rank 2 of the Perk and the Vision are tied together (you cannot have one without the other), I personally avoid Rank 2 of the Perk, for now]
        • If you Exit the game (in any way except using ALT+F4), the game will Save your progress as an “Exit Save”. Then, when you start up the game again and Load the Exit Save, it will [should] Delete that Savegame. Note that if you try to Exit the game with the Pip-Boy up, the game cannot Save your progress when you Exit to the Main Menu or the Desktop (be careful in Survival Mode!)

        • Don’t forget to periodically see what Upgrades you can perform on your Weapons (to do more Damage) and Armor (to withstand/absorb more Damage) at Weapons Workbenches and Armor Workbenches. Some Modifications require Perks to ‘know how to do them’; check the Requirements as you go through your Weapons and Armor, to see what you need to make them better
        Tip: If you are having trouble killing things, look for ways to improve your Weapons to do more Damage and your Armor to protect you from it – with Modifications at Armor and Weapon Workbenches! Also, the further South/East you go, the harder (higher level) enemies you will face. Tread slowly, go back over areas you have been, to see if anyone has ‘moved in’ and left items/money around. Stick to the ‘NW’ as long as you need to (especially in Survival Mode)…

        Speaking of Killing Things, here is how to utilize the Suppressor (the Weapon Modification attachment that actually works really well in the game; but it is more ‘realistic’ than ‘silent’…).

        Note: Knowing how to attach a Suppressor to your Gun requires the skill/knowledge, represented by needed the “Gun Nut” Perk of different Ranks (needing Rank 2 for attaching a Suppressor to Pistols and needing Rank 4 for attaching a Suppressor to Rifles)


        Here are some Tips for shooting enemies (even groups) with a Suppressor on your gun:

        – Shoot from a distance
        (the Suppressor reduces sound, but is not “Silent”, just like IRL)

        – Headshot for instant kills
        (most of the time, aim manually to help this, as the chance to miss is always present in V.A.T.S. With good aiming, that single shot can always be spot-on)

        – Stop attacking your enemies for a moment
        (they will look around at first of course, but if you don’t move and don’t shoot, they will not know what the hell is going on and if you wait longer, they will eventually even stop looking “thinking it was the wind/rats/etc”)

        – Repeat, killing the second enemy, and so on…

        Try to remember that if you shoot too frequently, they can hear the direction (suppressors aren’t silent, just like IRL) or can see the puff of smoke or something, because they eventually figure out where you are BUT ONLY if you keep shooting when they are Cautious and looking for you. If you stop shooting when they are looking for the source of the sound/attack, you will be ok. Remember, “low and slow…”.

        • Weapon And Armor Attachments (Modifications made to Weapons and Armor at Workstations for each) can be taken off of Weapons and Armor you find and put on your own favourite pieces/items… As an example, take a ‘Weapon you found on a Raider’ to a Weapons Workbench and choose a lesser attachment/modification than what is present on the item. In this example, if you want a “Hardened Receiver” that is on a Weapon you found, choose one further ‘up’ the List of Modifications, such as a “Standard Receiver” and ‘build’ it on the Weapon you found; then you will be changing the Attachment and receive the “Hardened Receiver” Modification in the form of a small box ‘kit’ in your Inventory that you can then use on your own Weapon! Simply go back to your favourite gun at the same Weapons Workbench and see if you can put the new Weapon Mod (“the Hardened Receiver” with higher damage output) on your favourite gun
        • If people around you are glowing (looking, for example, red or green) and look like they have ‘lines through them’ as well, you may have a helmet of Power Armor that has the “Targeting HUD (Heads-Up Display)” on it as an Attachment/Modification. This effect is visible even if it is only active on a Companion’s Power Armor Helmet. Simply remove or change the Targeting HUD Modification of the Helmet at any Power Armor Station, to disable the effect.

        [……I am going to add to this post, as I remember things that I already have forgotten and can’t seem to bring back up at the moment to throw in here; but I still hope someone finds these concepts and Tips helpful – especially new players to the game….. Have fun with Fallout 4!]

        SWIMMING POOL DESIGN IDEAS GERRR……

        SWIMMING POOL DESIGN

        SWIMMING POOL DESIGN

        Here are some tips on how to keep your energy bill is lower and save valuable resources of the Earth at the same time.

        * Heating your swimming pool: Depending on where you live and heat that is during the spring months and summer, you may not need to heat your pool as often as you think. The houses are in hot desert climates and do not need to heat the pool at night or when he decided to entertain. By heating the water, taking into account alternative methods of heating used to heat water. Energy from solar panels on your home is an excellent way to harness the sun’s energy to heat your pool.

        * Cleaning the Pool: Many use automated equipment, which operate in the pool when the pool is empty. While helping to keep the pool clean when you’re in, but also the use of electricity 24 hours a day. Try to reduce the frequency to an automatic cleaning to be used. Also choose to use less chlorine, and to consider alternatives such as cleaners, detergents, ozone. Keep the cover over the pool when not in use also helps keep the debris in the air cleaner, leaves and twigs.

        * Keep all plastic and vinyl toys away from the game: Even if I do not believe that the maintenance of the environment around the pool with pool toys the child is also important. Many pool toys are made of vinyl or PVC, also known as polyvinyl chloride. These types of toys, release toxins and chemicals hazardous off-gas. Try to select the pool toys that are made from natural organic materials and the safety of your children, and help keep the pool a greener place to play in.

        * Use other sources of water in your pool: In your geographic area, using other methods to collect water in your home into account. Options could include rainwater that can be used to fill your pool, and the plumbing in your home for showers, baths, basin and toilet. This measure can help you reduce your water bill and conserve water on Earth. For many municipalities, geographic, you can earn additional benefits by LEED, or the benefits of saving tax on income tax time. Greywater reuse for your home is a viable option for many homeowners.

        Owning a pool should be an enjoyable experience, after all, you deserve to relax and entertain in the warmer months of the year. Despite owning a pool should not be at the expense of its portfolio, the precious resources of the Earth or the health of your family. Follow these tips to green the pool and enjoy all the benefits of reading and resting in the sun.

        SWIMMING POOL DESIGN

        SWIMMING POOL DESIGN

        SWIMMING POOL DESIGN

        SWIMMING POOL DESIGN

        SWIMMING POOL DESIGN

        SWIMMING POOL DESIGN

        Getting Started with a Flipped Classroom

        Last week, I shared a bit about why I flipped my classroom, and I got some great questions! Today I want to share a bit more about my process and the logistics for flipping. There are lots of ways to do it, and I’m sure there are many other great ideas out there, but this is what has worked for me so far.

        1. Plan your lessons 

        a) Does it make sense to flip?
        You don’t want to flip for the sake of flipping. I always ask myself, “Would this lesson make sense as a flipped lesson?” There are times when some introductory lessons require lots of hands-on scaffolding, and my answer might be “no.” But other times, when the lesson is mostly information and practice, the flipped model absolutely makes sense.

        b) What content must be covered?
        I go through my math lesson plan, and determine the content that has to be covered in the video. I’m really selective about this because I want my video to be less than 10 minutes long. It’s still a mini-lesson, after all, and if I go any longer than that, my students will tune out. Plus, even though the video may be 10 minutes, the viewing time could be much longer than that if students are pausing the video to write things down or take notes. I try to keep in mind the idea that less is more.

        c) Am I the best person to deliver the content?
        Usually my answer is “yes,” but not always. I’ve tried to share videos from Khan Academy or LearnZillion in the flipped model, and the kids just didn’t respond as well to those. They’re more likely to tune in when the video is made by their teacher because they have a personal connection. There were a few times when I’ve used someone else’s videos because the production was significantly better in some regard (e.g., it included songs or humor that I couldn’t pull off). But usually, I make the videos myself.

        2. Choose your tools

        Once I know the content of my lesson, I decide what method I’ll use to produce the video. I choose from a few different options.

        a) Screencasts
        Sometimes I have a presentation already created in a flipchart for my ActivBoard, and I can just film my voice interacting with my computer screen on that. My favorite tool for screencasting is Screencast-o-matic. It’s very user-friendly and it uses a yellow circle to highlight your mouse so students know where to focus their attention. The free version works well, but for $15/year, you can get lots more editing and uploading options. If you’re interested in screencasting, I would recommend trying out the free version for a while to see if it’s something you’d like.

        b) Whiteboard apps
        Usually I use whiteboard apps such as Explain Everything or Educreations to make my flipped lessons. I always create the slides in advance so that I don’t waste precious recording time writing out problems or building models that could simply be explained. Then once all of the slides are in place, I’ll record the audio over them. This approach also allows me to work in pieces, too, because I never know when I’m going to get interrupted.

        c) Paper slide shows
        I’ve blogged about paper slide shows before here. Sometimes the lessons are a bit more hands-on (e.g., using a protractor), and I want to show students some examples. In those instances, I use my DEWEY Document Camera Stand ($120, www.copernicused.com) that turns my iPad into a document camera, and I work and film underneath it. I mostly use this approach with Geometry and Measurement standards, but when I need to do a lot of physical manipulations, the paper slide show works well.

        3. Choose your platform

        Once I’ve made the video, I need to upload it to a platform for students to view. YouTube is blocked for students at my school, so I use Vimeo instead. I ended up buying a Vimeo Plus subscription last year ($59.95/year or $9.95/month). That gave me much more space for uploads each week (5 GB vs. 500 MB with the free version), and it sped up my upload times, so it was worth it to me when I was crunched to get the videos uploaded after school. I created a channel for some of my videos, and now I’m going back to re-make some or better tag/organize the videos for each unit.

        4. Share your content

        Once the videos are uploaded on Vimeo, I needed a way to share the links to the videos. When I started, I was posting the links after school each day, but I eventually cut out that step. Now I make one Google Document each term with all of the dates and lesson topics, and then I just copy and paste the links into that document as they’re done. That helps my students because they find the video links in one spot, and I can post the links as they’re available. Here’s an example of what that document looked like one term.

        Bonus Tips

        1. Make your videos in batches. 
        I found it much easier to make all of my videos for the week at once. I could usually tackle this in a couple of hours each week, and it was much less stressful than trying to film every day. I was able to find my rhythm with the process when I batch-produced videos, so that’s how I try to work now. 
        2. Start small.
        Even if you only make one video each week, you’re still starting to build a library of flipped lessons for future use. I didn’t make as many videos as I’d wanted to last year, but I’m grateful for the ones I already have done because that’s less work I’ll have to do this year.
        3. Divide and conquer.
        See if someone else on your grade level team would be interested in flipping with you, and then divide up the lessons. Even if you’re not the one teaching the lesson in every video, the students will appreciate it being someone they know. 
        4. Get some cheap .mp3 players for student check-out.
        Most of my students had Internet access at home to watch the videos, but a couple didn’t. I wrote a grant to buy 10 inexpensive .mp3 players that students could check out to watch the videos. They didn’t require an Internet connection because I saved the videos straight to the hard drives, and since they were cheap .mp3 players (<$20 each), they didn’t have any bells and whistles to make them targets for theft. It was a workable solution for those students who lacked technology access at home. 
        Next week, I’ll share more about what my math block looks like under the flipped model. Until then, I’d love to hear from you. What are some tools you use for video production in your class? What challenges do you foresee with a flipped model? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

        Foam Rolling aka Self Myo-Fascial Release

        Using a tubular foam roller to literally roll over tight areas of muscles and tendons is known as “Myo-Fascial Release”.    While it seems counter-intuitive applying steady pressure to muscles and tendons with an emphasis on trigger points (areas of tightness and soreness) has been proven to be a highly effective method for improving mobility.    
        Since you are in complete control of the amount of pressure applied and how long it is applied you can customize the experience based on your level of sensitivity.   Key areas to focus on include the hamstrings, calves, gluteal muscles, latissimus dorsi muscle, and even low back and hip flexors if done with caution.
        You can use a tubular foam roller, and they are made in varying levels of firmness from soft to very firm.   In addition, there are variations that include a textured surface of varying levels from small to large finger like projections.  You can also use balls such as a lacrosse ball, baseball, or tennis ball in a similar fashion.     NOTE:  the smaller and firmer the object the more pressure it will tend to apply so proceed cautiously.
        The technique is to position the foam roller on the floor (on a firm but not hard surface is best).  Then position the muscle/s you are targeting on top of the foam roller.     For example, for the calf sit on the floor with your target leg extended so that it is on top of the foam roller with the lowest portion of the calf on top of the roller.    
        Use your hands to lift your butt slightly off the floor to allow you to apply pressure down onto the foam roller.    Then literally roll forward slowly over the foam roller paying attention to any trigger points where you notice sensitivity or tightness.   
        When you find a sensitive area slowly roll back and forth on the spot until you feel it release.   With a little experimentation you will learn how much pressure and speed work best for your physiology. 
        Self Myo-Fascial Release/Foam Rolling is a great way to start a workout and does a great job of safely improving mobility before a workout and is also great to do between workouts.
        Contraindications to Foam Rolling
        Pregnancy – during pregnancy ligaments become lax and pressure anywhere on or near the abdomen is to be avoided at all costs so best to skip foam rolling when pregnant.
        Osteoporosis – soft bones and additional pressure are not a good combination so best to avoid foam rolling without a physician’s permission if you have moderate to severe osteoporosis.
        Intervertebral Disc Issues – anyone with disc problems in their spine should be cautious with foam rolling because pressure in the wrong areas can create problems so again get guidance from a medical professional if you have an disc issues in your spine.
        Inability to support bodyweight on arms or legs – foam rolling cannot be done safely if a person lacks the strength to support their bodyweight on their arms and/or legs.
        For a pictorial guide of various foam rolling exercises to target specific body parts click here:   https://www.pinterest.com/explore/foam-rolling/  

        And More: Deals and Sales – Black Friday Weekend 2013 Deals Are On Now


        I don’t usually talk about current sales/promotions on this site [or haven’t so far], but after seeing all of the sales on out there, I had to make a quick post just to say that there are some great deals on now! 

        Even if you don’t live in the United States (for instance, I’m in Canada [eh]) you can still take advantage of them, as most electronics and entertainment companies are on the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend bandwagon, with tons of purchases available online – and it’s all “nuthin’ but good” for gamers… Steam, Origin, Gamefly and other digital gaming distribution platforms are all chock full of great sales, as is Amazon, TigerDirect, MemoryExpress and other local and online hardware stores, allowing you to finally get that Upgrade you’ve been wanting, should you decide to jump on a deal out there.

        Some examples of games on sale are below; but whether you buy a few games this weekend or save your money and just play with the new influx of players in your own favourite online game – I hope you enjoy your weekend and have some fun:

        An example of the Black Friday Weekend Sales for 2013 on Steam

        A small example of the Black Friday Weekend Sales for 2013 on Origin

        An example of the Black Friday Weekend Sales for 2013 on Gamefly

        See You In The Games!

        Workout Anytime on WBIR-Knoxville Afternoon Show

        WORKOUT ANYTIME on WBIR-Knoxville Afternoon Show. Every Thursday WBIR has a healthy living segment that is sponsored by the Governor and April Nitzsche was the guest for this week on their show. April spoke about how viewers can be healthy throughout the day when they have a few minutes to spare to stay in shape in 2014. April talked about how to live healthy, and offer tips to viewers.  You also can view the video here.

        WORKOUT ANYTIME in Club Industry

        WORKOUT ANYTIME in Club Industry

        In an article titled, “Reaching Landmark 50 Gyms Open, Workout Anytime Prepares for Rapid Acceleration in 2014” features WORKOUT ANYTIME’s 50th club opening. Along with opening their 50th location WORKOUT ANYTIME is looking at rapid growth acceleration through the 2014 year. WORKOUT ANYTIME’s CEO and co-founder Steve Strickland outlines a few important development metric’s of the year such as in 2013 WORKOUT ANYTIME doubled in locations.
        You can view the full article here. 

        High-quality protein

        Our bodies are composed mainly of protein, which (after water) is the most abundant substance in the body. It is the major constituent of our muscles, tissues, skin, hormones, enzymes, antibodies and blood. Even after childhood protein plays a vital role in maintaining and rebuilding our bodies as they cope with the wear and tear of daily life.

        Proteins are broken down by the process of digestion into units called amino acids, and the body requires 22 amino acids to form human protein. All but nine can be produced in the body. These nine are known as ‘essential amino acids‘ and have to be provided in the diet. Foods that contain all nine are termed ‘complete proteins’, and they include meat, fish, dairy and soya protein. Fruit, vegetables, grains and pulses are ‘incomplete proteins’ and have to be carefully combined to provide sufficient amino acids in the diet.

        Diet Start

        Protein is fundamental to rebalancing blood-sugar levels, because it encourages production of the hormone glucagon, which helps the body to release stored glycogen for energy and encourages the burning of fat. Glucagon also helps to balance excess insulin production.

        What is Biological Value?

        In order to be efficient, protein foods have to be of a high quality and have what is termed a high Biological Value (BV) — this indicates how much of theprotein is retained by the body. Eggs used to be classed as having the highest BY, but micro-filtered whey, whey-peptide blends and lactalbumin (whey- protein concentrate) are even higher. Micro-filtered whey protein used to be a useless by-product of cheese manufacturing. Now it is processed at very lowtemperatures and turned into a protein source with a very high BV that contains all essential and non-essential amino acids.

        The only whey to go

        To maintain a healthy immune system, blood, skin and muscles, you need to consume protein with a high By. Whey protein (which is derived from milk, see Q&A opposite) is an excellent supplement that has long been used by bodybuilders and athletes alike. It has many uses in a dietary regime:

        ¨ It encourages the formation of lean muscle mass

        ¨ It increases glutathione levels, which has great antioxidant and immune- boosting properties

        ¨ It helps to build healthy new collagen

        ¨ It provides an invaluable source of protein for vegetarians who are attempting to balance their diets

        ¨ It is a quick and easy way of having a high-protein meal or snack

        ¨ It can be incorporated into recipes as a replacement for carbohydrate ingredients.

        There are a multitude of whey products on the market — some better than others. Many come in sweet flavours, which are great when making shakes and smoothies, but you need to source natural, unflavoured products if you want to incorporate whey-protein powder into savoury dishes such as soups. These are widely available through health-food stores and on the Web. Just make sure you don’t confuse them with slimmer’s meal-replacement powders, which are usually laden with carbohydrates.

        The average serving of whey protein is a 25g (1 oz) scoop, but check on the label to see how much of that scoop comprises protein: the lower the protein content, the higher the carbohydrate content. And beware of `blends’: these are likely to be bulked up with milk and soya derivatives. To get the best out of your whey products, go for the highest protein concentration possible.

        The Game Tips And More Blog’s Ludo Ludi (Game Play) #1-3

        I wanted to start a video series that was Random Gameplay Video Clips that I have collected over time. I started out calling it FLASHBACK, creating a logo for it and everything; but I wanted a way to archive/share them out a little bit faster/easier, rather than ‘Featuring’ them every time, so I came up with the concept of “Ludo Ludi”.

        It means “game” and “play” in Esperanto. The idea was to not label the gameplay clips or state what they are, in order to have other people enjoy the “surprise reminiscence” of the games. Viewers could try to guess what they are for fun or just enjoy them as part of a playlist where they didn’t know what was coming next. For the most part it would be easy to guess them of course; if you played the game, you’ll know what game it is and what class I played, etc.etc. But, I still thought it would be entertaining to have a bunch on a playlist of some sort, with no obvious names, having a transitory video (without logos/intros) of something loopable such as static – as though changing the channel on a television – in-between videos. With Youtube’s Playlist and Randomize features, this can now be done and one can sit and reminisce on games of yesteryear with my video clips showing snippets of gaming moments recorded from a wide variety of games! Everyone with ADD/ADHD can just click the Next button on the playlist to skip to the next one if the current one isn’t holding their interest! Everyone is a winner! With this in mind then, I now present one long paragraph and the first three installments of :

        The Game Tips And More Blog’s New Gameplay Video Series, “Ludo Ludi (Game Play)”





        Enjoy and See You In The Games!

        My Trip to Dhaka Bangladesh

        I arrived in Dhaka, Bangladesh on the 24th of March for my next assignment on Financial Management Systems. The organization contracting me has some issues with its financial management system and has received recommendation from the auditors to fix these issues. Further they want to conform to the South Asian Federation of Accountants Standards. So my task is simple. Document the existing practices at the organization and get agreement on the current practices and then recommend changes and improvements to the system.

        Well even though it is simple there can be quite a few things that can pose a challenge to this type of assignment. I already encountered one on the first day of my assignment (25th); which is, in a group of around 20 finance staff it was quite difficult to plot the current financial practices using flow chart symbols as non of them knew the current system in its entirety. It is still work in progress and I hope to have it pinned down during the next working day which is Saturday (Bangladesh uses the Islamic calendar); where the staff have agreed to come to work.

        The last time I was in Bangladesh was way back in January of 2008; so it was good to come back to Bangladesh and to see how things are. I must say that the only thing that looked to have changed is in fact the increase in motor traffic. It takes for ever to commute on Dhaka roads. I am staying at the Ambrosia guest house in Dhanmondi where I stayed during my earlier visits to Dhaka. It felt good to be here where the staff recognize and remember you after a long absence; it really does feel like home when you are greeted by familiar faces.

        Looking forward to the next few days of the assignment; it is scheduled to end in early April and then I have another assignment lined up in the Philippines.

        The link between carbohydrates and insulin resistance

        The hormone insulin plays a major role in the metabolism of carbohydratesand their conversion to energy in the body. When you eat carbohydrates, they are converted into glucose in the bloodstream, which triggers the release of insulin. This virtually escorts the glucose to the body’s cells, where it can be used as energy. If there is too much glucose, the insulin turns it into glycogen, which is stored in your muscles and liver ready to be converted back toglucose when it is needed.

        However, in the high-refined ‘carob’ world in which we live, we often have too much glucose floating around in the bloodstream, and then insulin converts it to fat. And our body cells may become so flooded with insulin that they cease to be responsive to it, so the pancreas keeps producing more and more insulin in an attempt to get energy to your cells. This is known as ‘insulin resistance‘.

        Diet Start

        Over a period of time, less and less glucose gets used as energy, and more and more gets laid down as fat. Since insulin also sends messages to the brain to tell you that you are hungry, more and more insulin means increasing cravings for carb-laden food.

        The only people who are benefiting from refined foods are:

        • The dentists who have to patch up your decaying teeth
        • The pharmaceutical companies who have to sell you drugs to sort out the symptoms of your ailing immune system and your susceptibility to chronic and degenerative disease
        • The food manufacturers, who are only really interested in profit. If you add to this a high intake of caffeine, alcohol, smoking and a lack of exercise, then you will almost certainly be taking a wobbly walk down the road to ill health.

        Is it enough just to cut out refined carbohydrates?

        Totally banishing all things processed and adopting a healthier diet based on fresh produce is a definite start, but if you have a weight problem linked to insulin resistance, it may not be enough, because if you are still eating a diet that is too high in the wrong sort of carbohydrates — coupled with not eating enough protein or fat to slow down the rate at which these excessive carbs are hitting your blood-sugar levels — you will still have problems. A low-fat/high-carb diet can give you a nasty shock every time you jump on the scales.

        The thing to remember is that all carbohydrates have an effect on your blood sugar, and every gram of carbohydrate consumed is equal to one gram of glucose in your bloodstream. So if you are eating more than your body can burn for energy, or can safely store as glycogen in the liver, the rest will be turned to fat.

        The key factor in balancing blood-sugar levels and banishing thesymptoms of insulin resistance is controlling your intake of carbohydrates. In order to do this effectively you need to know which ones have the greatest impact on your blood sugar and which do not.

        Initially, this will need a little time and effort on your part as you learn about the different sorts of carbohydrates. You may find that the changes you have to make to your diet are quite drastic, but before long — as you start to feel and look better — you will be amazed at how little you miss the wrong kinds of carbohydrates such as processed and sugary foods. Youwon’t feel the need to pile your plate high with potatoes and pasta, because your newly balanced blood sugar levels won’t be crying out for acarbohydrate fix.

        Quick Tip: Team Fortress 2 – What To Do With Those Naughty and Nice Winter Crates (Winter 2013)