Unique Cultures Around the World

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.

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!]

WORKOUT ANYTIME on Entrepreneur.com

Bill Aicklen, owner of four WORKOUT ANYTIME locations in Georgia, was recently featured in Franchise Players, Entrepreneur.com’s Q&A interview column! Bill discusses his background as a franchisee, challenges he’s faced and why he chose WORKOUT ANYTIME as the business model to get behind. Read the full interview here!

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

Trip to Hyderabad Cont

The day of leisurely travel to Hyderabad turned in to an interesting experience for me. Here’s how it went.

There were of course no issues in getting to the Airport or getting checked in. At the checking counter I asked the Jet Airways staff if there were any restrictions of taking a bottle of liquor to India. At which point I was told “NO SIR”. When I checked in however they were unable to check my baggage through to Hyderabad since I was changing from International to Domestic (Still Jet Airways) I was told that I need to put my bag through customs at Chennai.

Things went smoothly from there; got through Immigration, went and bought 500ML bottle of Black Label, went through security, boarded and arrived in Chennai on time. Jet airways must be congratulated for on time flights between Colombo and Chennai. Their service too was quite good.

Things turned in to a big process when I got to Chennai. First I had to go through Immigration, it was smooth, then through Customs, also no issue, then physically had to come out of the International Terminal and go in to the Domestic Terminal. I was told that Jet Airways staff would be there to guide the transfer passengers, however there were no staff and there were no sings to direct. I asked for instructions and got to the Jet Airways counter without any trouble. Yes I did change some money as well. At which point I was told that I need to put my luggage through the security scanner again so had to Drag my bag to the end of the terminal and re-put the bag through the security scanner (X-Ray) then had to come back and join the line to check the bag in for a second time. Luckily there weren’t many passengers in line. While I was doing this I was also carrying the Duty Free Bag with the bottle of liquor inside it and in plain sight of the Jet Airways staff.

So I checked in the bag and went to the Taj Restaurant to quench my thirst; well things really went wrong there, apparently for some Gandhi commemoration the bar was closed. I thought I was back in Sri Lanka where for any frivolous thing they close all the bars. Never mind survived on a cool fresh lime soda.

When it was time for me to go through the security to board the domestic flight I had to put all my hand luggage again through the security… nothing new I guess. Then came the surprise they said “Sir you cant take wine in the plane, you have to put it into the main luggage” I promptly pointed out to the security guy that I am connecting from a International flight and that I did bring the bottle on board as hand luggage and I was told that it was allowed by the airline staff the time of boarding. “No sir it is not allowed in domestic flights” came the answer right back at me. Knowing not to argue with them went back to the counter. Then the fun started….. apparently the process was that they had to get my checked in luggage out of the cargo container put the bottle back in to the check in luggage then re scan the luggage through the X-Ray machine and so on. No drink can be worth all that trouble. They also agreed with me that the bottle might break in the luggage and I will have to wear a whiskey perfume during my stay in India.

So I was on the verge of throwing the bottle down the drain when one of the assistants who help with the luggage suggested to the girl at the counter to check the bottle in as a separate piece of luggage. That was funny; I had a grin in my face because it sounded ridiculous. But guess what, he got a small box put the bottle in, taped it up, put fragile stickers on it, and got the girl to weigh it. Guess what, the scale returned a value of zero kilograms. I thought now they are going to make a fuss again, but to my surprise no they checked in a weight of 2 KG the minimum weight of a check in luggage (Good to know I thought) and gave me a baggage tag. So I thought this is all going to be a waste as the bottle is surly going to break. So deciding to ignore a package with a streak of whiskey behind it at the Hyderabad Airport baggage belt went through the security and got in to the boarding area.

Then came the next surprise, the flight was delayed for two and a half hours. Man now I know why they don’t allow liquor in the domestic flights as they are apparently always delayed and they don’t want disgruntled customers having a few to get over their frustrations of having to wait for an eternity. Well that is the consensus of the few guys I got chatting to.

Finally the plan did arrive and I made it to Hyderabad. Went to collect the luggage and to my surprise the small box did make it intact. When I saw that it brought a grin to my face so get to the hotel and yes had a drink and went to sleep. So now from tomorrow morning I will be busy with the assignment. Looking forward to it.

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

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

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!]

reACT Trainer Total Body Circuit Workout

One of the best tools we have at our disposal at Workout Anytime is the reACT Trainer.  Staff who know how to use the product properly and teach others to use it can make a great impression on any member or guest and help to differentiate their club from competitors.

Although the reACT Trainer is a lower body and core trainer it is easy to create full body circuits using the reACT Trainer along with the key upper body movements including:

Horizontal Press (chest press of some type)

Horizontal Pull (Row of some type)

Overhead Press

Vertical Pull – (some type of vertical pulling movement)

Here is a sample reACT Trainer Total Body Circuit:

Why Teachers Love Technology

An infographic about “Why Teachers Love Technology” was recently shared with me, and on the heels of yesterday’s post, I felt like now is a good time to share the infographic with you.

What do we Know Infographic
Graphic from OnlineUniversities.com

Do you love technology? I’d love to hear why in the comments section!

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.

Ten Risk Factors That Cause Food Reactions (1-5)

The primary cause of most food reactions is incomplete digestion. At almost every meal, we eat foods that we don’t completely digest. The results are disastrous. When we eat foods we can’t digest, we almost always have some type of reaction.

Food that isn’t completely digested can enter our systems in large food macromolecules that cause a great deal of trouble. The body perceives these macromolecules of partly digested food as foreign invaders, similar to bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Then the body attacks them with the full force of the immune system.

This immune inflammatory attack creates the symptoms that you hate: fatigue, weakness, heartburn, aching joints and muscles, nasal stuffiness — and false fat.

There are several factors that most often cause incomplete digestion. To get started on the False Fat Diet, you’ve got to understand these factors and avoid them. In order of importance, here they are.

Risk Factor 1. We eat too narrow a range of foods.

It’s estimated that the average person gets about 75 per cent of his or her calories from just ten different foods. Most of us have our favourite foods, such as wheat and dairy products, and we rely on them far too much. When we overeat any one food, we exhaust our body’s ability to fully digest it.

Diet Start

Risk Factor 2. We eat too many fake foods.

We eat synthetic foods, such as fake fat and artificial sugar, that are manufactured in factories. No wonder we can’t digest this stuff! Furthermore, most of our packaged foods have been crammed with chemicals that human bodies cannot adequately metabolize. Often, a synthetic food has a long shelf life precisely because it can’t be broken down by nature.

Risk Factor 3. We have digestive enzyme deficiencies.

Many people are dangerously low in the enzymes that digest food. Even when these people eat healthy foods, they don’t have enough pancreatic enzymes to break the foods down properly.

Millions of people haven’t been genetically endowed with the right digestive enzymes to thrive on a modern, industrialized diet. For example, African Americans are ten times more likely than Caucasians to lack the enzyme that breaks down milk. Because a lack of enzymes is a common problem, the False Fat Diet generally includes supplementation with specific enzymes.

Another cause of enzyme insufficiency is our failure to ingest the natural enzymes that exist in foods. Many whole, unprocessed foods automatically come with the enzymes that are needed to help digest them, but before we eat these foods, we often kill the enzymes by cooking, processing, irradiation, and storage.

Because it’s important to eat foods with live enzymes still in them, patients on the False Fat Diet tend to eat a lot of fresh, whole, raw foods.

Another critically important digestive substance that millions of people lack is stomach acid, or hydrochloric acid. Unfortunately, production of this acid decreases as we age, which is why indigestion is more common among older people. Many people mistakenly think they have too much stomach acid, because they often get heartburn — but the opposite can be true. Heartburn can also be a sign of low acid. When you don’t have enough existing stomach acid from day to day, your stomach secretes too much when you eat to make up for the deficiency. Later on, I’ll tell you how to fix this deficiency.

Risk Factor 4. We eat food that is too refined.

Too much of our food is stripped of fibre and then shredded, pulverized, powdered — and finally stuck back together again with gluey fillers. By the time we eat it, it’s not much more than a predigested mush of starch and sugar. Unfortunately, this excessive processing often allows the food to rush into the bloodstream before it undergoes the complete digestive process. If this ‘predigested’ food still had its fibre, it would stay in the gut long enough to be fully digested, or it would be carried all the way through the system by the fibre and eliminated. Because of this factor, I urge people to avoid overly refined foods.

Risk Factor 5. We create our own intestinal problems.

One of the most common and harmful of these problems is a condition that allows undigested food macromolecules to slip through the intestinal wall. This condition is called ‘leaky gut syndrome,’ and doctors have only recently realized how hazardous it is. A leaky gut‘s wall is more permeable than it should be.

This permeability can be caused by eating chemical additives and also by drinking coffee or alcohol with meals. If you’ve noticed that you most frequently have food reactions when you have a cocktail with dinner or coffee with breakfast, you may have leaky gut syndrome.

Another primary cause of leaky gut syndrome is overgrowth of the natural yeast Candida albicans. Candida is usually present in the body and is mostly found in the mucous membranes — especially those in the intestines. It normally stays in balance with other healthy bacteria, but it can get out of control and increase gut wall permeability. It proliferates if you:

  • Take antibiotics, which kill all bacteria.
  • Take birth control pills.
  • Take steroid drugs.
  • Eat foods, such as sugar, that cause yeast to multiply.
  • Eat things that contain lots of yeast, such as bread and beer.
  • Have impaired immunity.

Candida is a major cause of bloating and often causes a ‘beer belly’ look. In fact, I think that many heavy beer drinkers with beer bellies aren’t nearly as far as they look, but are just swollen with candida, reactive gas, and fluids. I had one patient who lost his beer belly in a matter of days on the False Fat Diet. He was thrilled with his quick response, and it motivated him to stay with the diet.

WORKOUT ANYTIME on FOX 56 Lexington

WORKOUT ANYTIME on FOX 56 Lexington

Head Trainer Carl Flotka of WORKOUT ANYTIME Lexington was recently featured on FOX 56 Lexington. In the segment Carl talks about how to portion control during the holiday season and highlights a few exercises that viewers can do to stay active.
View the full segment here.

Workout Anytime in Louisville Business First Inbox

Workout Anytime in Louisville Business First

Workout Anytime of Louisville, KY was recently in Louisville Business First. The article features Louisville resident, Bobby Paisley. Paisley brought Workout Anytime to the Louisville market, and has been with the brand for four years now. Bobby has been able to successful build the brand and will be opening his third Louisville location this March. Along with fellow fraternity brother from WKU and Regional Developer Greg Parker, they have built the brand in Louisville and surrounding areas in Kentucky.
You can read the full article here. 

Preparing for a Paperless Year!

I am in full-blown pre-planning mode. We officially reported back to school on Thursday, and I’ll have 27 fourth grade students in my classroom on August 1. It’s crazy to think about how fast this summer has gone and how much work is still ahead.

This will be the first year that I will attempt to go paperless from day 1. Last year, we only had 1:1 iPads for the last 6 weeks of school, so it was after we had established many of our routines and procedures for the year. As I prepare for this shift, I’m linking up with the Tune into Technology linky to share my plans for management and organization.

Managing the Students

1. Number the technology
I assign students numbers 1-27 on the first day of school. We use these numbers for everything — mailboxes, book bins, lining up, etc. We’ll also use them for the iPads. Each student will be assigned the iPad corresponding with their number, so they’ll always know which one to use and which slot to put it back in when we clean up.

2. Build Classroom Norms and Routines
We’ll develop some essential agreements about the iPads before we even get them out. I’ll let the students decide on the rules, with a little extra guidance as necessary. The items that we’ll need to touch on will include:

  • how to get the iPad out of the cart
  • moving around the classroom with the iPad
  • using the iPad appropriately (following directions, etc.)
  • putting the iPad away
You can read my previous posts on this here and here.

3. Develop a common vocabulary for the buttons and gestures, and teach some basic actions.

We’ll talk about the different buttons on the iPad and their functions. We’ll also talk about how they can be used together to take screenshots and quickly navigate from one app to the next. For more information about how I do this, check out my TpT freebie (the very first thing I ever made for TpT!).

4. Give time to explore
The first writing assignment my students will have this year will be to write an informational piece (either descriptive or how-to) about an app of their choosing. By giving them this assignment, I’m giving them time to play around with the iPad and explore the available apps while also getting a baseline writing sample. This has the added benefit of cultivating “experts” about the different apps among the students.

We actually start school on a Thursday this year, and I intend to get all of this started during those first two days.

Organizing Myself

As I prepare for my paperless year, there are a few items I’m working on before the students even arrive. This will help me be ready to go on day #1.

1. Create a stack of Evernote notebooks for all of my students.

I’m planning to keep all of my conferring notes, work samples, and other relevant data in Evernote this year. To prepare for that, I’ve created an Evernote notebook for each student, and I have them clustered together in a “stack” so that all of my homeroom students are together.
Since I anticipate using this system for many years, I’m formatting the notebook names as “2013 – Last name, First name.” That way, I won’t get confused when I’m quickly looking for the notebooks for this year’s students as opposed to last year’s. I’ve also created one additional notebook called “2013-2014 Overview.” Listing both years ensures that the notebook will be on top of my stack when they’re sorted alphabetically, and I’ll use this notebook to keep track of notes and documents that pertain to the whole class. 
You can read more about setting up Evernote notebooks in my paperless series.
2. Create a checklist template for my class.

This will also be done in Evernote.

I like to have a checklist of my class roster available whenever I’m collecting forms or tracking important information. I’ll make a blank checklist now, and then I can copy and paste it into future notes as needed. This is a huge time-saver down the road for me.

3. Make sure that my Dropbox folders are set up for distributing student work.


Although there are plenty of learning management systems available, I strongly prefer Dropbox for distributing assignments to students just because it’s so easy on my end. All I had to do was create a folder titled “Student Assignments.”

Once the daily folders are set up within the Student Assignments folder, I can share all of the folders through a link on my class website, and students can easily access everything they’ll need for daily assignments. To read a complete step-by-step tutorial for how to do this, check out my previous post.

Since I set this up at the end of last year, all I needed to do was empty out the assignments I gave to last year’s class so that I can start fresh this year.

4. Create a class on Class Dojo.


Class Dojo is an excellent online classroom management app that I’ll be utilizing more this year. I’ll tell you more about how I’m integrating it with my classroom economy in a future post, but for now, all I need to do is input my student roster and print out home access codes for my students and their parents. Then it will be all set to go.

5. Create a new group on Edmodo and prepare a welcome message.

(Edmodo has totally changed its app icon, btw. Check it out!)

I’ll be using Edmodo to collect student assignments, give quizzes, conduct class discussions, and take polls. I’ll need to have a group code ready to give students for the first day so they can sign up, and I’ll want them to have something to see and do immediately when they log in for the first time.

****
Once I finish these 5 steps, I think I’ll be ready to start the year. I have to admit, I find prepping for a paperless classroom far easier than what I experienced in the past. I’m looking forward to going on this journey with my students this year, and I can’t wait to share all of the learning we’ll have in store for us. It’s going to be a fantastic school year!

Can’t wait to read about how others are organizing and managing technology in their classrooms. Be sure to check out the other posts in the Tune into Technology linky, and have a great week!

Marathon Training Tips

As the saying goes “those who fail to plan – plan to fail.”   This is true in business and it is also true in preparing for rigorous athletic events like running a marathon.     Successful completion of a marathon is all about creating a plan based upon the goal of completing a marathon on a specific date in a specific location.
Determining Starting Point

The length of your plan will depend on your current fitness level relative to running.  So the first step is determining your current fitness level which can be done in several different ways:
If you are currently running you can get an idea of your current fitness level based on how often you run, how far you run, and your average pace when running.
If you are not currently running, then do a 12 minute run test – see here for a how to guide to perform this simple test:  https://www.brianmac.co.uk/gentest.htm
Once you know your starting point you can determine how long it will take you to prepare adequately to complete a marathon. The key is slow and steady progression of average distance per run and total weekly training miles – go too fast and you WILL get hurt!    The body needs time to adapt to the stresses of running.    A good rule of thumb is to increase your weekly mileage (and mileage per run) by no more than 10% per week.
So if you are currently running 15 miles per week you would only increase total mileage to 16.5 miles per week and if your long run was 5 miles you would increase it by half a mile.
In order to successfully complete a marathon, you need to be running somewhere between 30 and 50 miles per week with individual runs of 16 – 23 miles.  The advantage of gradually building up to a 20 – 23-mile run is that you have mental experience with running over 20 which can be very challenging the first time you do it.   That being said, placing too much emphasis on distance can result in over-training if not done carefully.
Training Mix

Assuming you have a base of running 15 or more miles per week on a consistent basis you should begin to mix up your training by including shorter, harder runs with longer slow runs and at least one interval training session per week.      
It is critical that you have a training base of steady mileage prior to increasing training intensity and beginning interval training where you will perform higher intensity intervals of quarter mile to half mile mixed with recovery periods.   
There is an entire science behind interval training and the best athletes train with a heart rate monitor all the time to precisely determine the intensity of their work intervals and how long they recover during rest intervals of slow running/jogging or walking.     This is one of the many reasons that, in an ideal world, you work with a running coach/trainer who has experience designing and working with runners to prepare for marathons and other runs.   A good coach will help plan and adjust your training based on how you progress from week to week which is essential for the best results!

Strength and Mobility Training

Running requires a lot more than just cardiovascular and muscular endurance – it requires specific strength and mobility to avoid injury and allow for optimum running technique.  Integrating a run specific strength and mobility program into your training can be a game changer and the program should include:
            A specific dynamic warm-up and foam rolling for areas of tightness and pain
Dynamic Warm-up:  http://www.active.com/running/articles/before-you-run-the-dynamic-warm-up
Foam Rolling:  http://www.runnersworld.com/foam-roller/how-to-use-a-foam-roller
Cool-down with run specific stretches – http://www.runnersworld.com/injury-prevention-recovery/5-post-race-standing-stretches-every-runner-should-do/slide/1
Strength Training Exercises for Running
It is essential to have great core and glute strength to properly stabilize the body during the impact of running to prevent injury.
It is also critical to strengthen all the muscles of the lower body including the hamstrings, calves, and intrinsic muscles of the feet.
Sample Strength Training Program for Runners:  http://www.runnersworld.com/strength-training/10-essential-strength-exercises-for-runners/slide/2
Putting it all together

If preparing for a marathon seems like a lot of work and complicated that is because IT IS!    Like running successful business assessing your starting point and setting a realistic goal with a specific plan of action is key.     Also having a coach is HIGHLY recommended to not only help you create a realistic plan and schedule but to monitor your progress and adjust your workouts and plan accordingly.  

Trip to Hyderabad cont…..

The assignments are over and I am on my way home. The drive from Chilakaluripet to Vijayawada was uneventful; so was the flight back to Hyderabad. I had arranged to be picked up and was met at the airport; the drive back from the Hyderabad airport to my guest house was not usual as the vehicle I traveled did not have air conditioning. So my senses were overloaded by the melting pot that is India; the sights, the sounds and the smells greeted me along the way to my guest house. The only disconcerting factor was the pollution levels. The smoke from the vehicles combined with the dust that they kicked up hung as an orangish grey cloud over the city. There were times that I found it difficult to breathe so had to cover my mouth and nose.

On reaching my guest house I packed all my bags and turned in for the night as I had to get up at 3.30 AM to start my last leg of the journey. Before turning in I had spoken to the driver who was supposed to drive me to the air port in the morning. As a matter of caution I obtained his mobile number for contingencies. He faithfully promised to be there at 4.20 AM to drive me to the airport. The plan was that I had to be at the airport one hour before (Domestic flight from Hyderabad to Chennai) and it took one hour to drive to the airport.)the scheduled time of 6.20 AM

The next morning I was ready by 4.20 and SMSed the driver; then came 4.30 still no driver. I got a bit concerned since we had not planned for any delays. So I went to the security post of the compound and hailed the security. As usual the security guard was huddled up in a corner of the security hut fast asleep. I woke him up and found that he did not speak a word of English. So using sign language and my broken Hindi/Urdu managed to convey the situation to him; finally he got on his bike (Literally) and went and woke the driver who slept in the other corner of this large compound.

I left for the airport around 4.50 AM and made it on time for the flight. The rest of the journey went as scheduled and without incident. I am back at home; and finishing all my reporting before the next assignment.

MODERN LIVING ROOM LAYOUTZ FROM HÜLSTA

Hülsta German Furniture Maker showed some really incredible ideas of life that may be adopted by the style-conscious people who want to give their house a futuristic look and ergonomic. The perfect blend of stylish design with bright pink and black give the whole to create a very refreshing, but a look of the space age. The leather was added to an authentic touch and royal with a minimalist effect adding to the “cool factor”. You can either go all black look metallic or deliberately throwing red and white, while maintaining the class and elegance.

LIVING ROOM LAYOUTZ FROM HÜLSTA

LIVING ROOM LAYOUTZ FROM HÜLSTA

MODERN LIVING ROOM LAYOUTZ FROM HÜLSTA

MODERN LIVING ROOM LAYOUTZ FROM HÜLSTA

LIVING ROOM STYLE LAYOUTZ FROM HÜLSTA

LIVING ROOM STYLE LAYOUTZ FROM HÜLSTA

LIVING ROOM LAYOUTs DESIGN FROM HÜLSTA

LIVING ROOM LAYOUTs DESIGN FROM HÜLSTA

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 Best Text for Teaching How to Write and Revise Leads

My fourth graders hate revision. They’re often offended by the mere suggestion that they hadn’t nailed the perfect lead to their stories in their first draft.

I’m used to this. I see it every year in writer’s workshop, especially at the beginning of the year when we’re writing in a genre for the first time.

And every time I see this, I become more determined to break them of this thinking.

Today, we were working on the Common Core State Standard W.4.3a – Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.

My favorite story to use for this is standard — especially with fourth graders — is The Teacher’s Funeral by Richard Peck.

This book, set in a small Indiana town with a one-room schoolhouse, has the best opening line of a children’s book ever.

If your teacher has to die, August isn’t a bad time of year for it. 

Richard Peck keeps it going from there, building an incredible introduction. You can read the entire first chapter here.

Today, I started our writing lesson by reading this chapter to them. I have the Kindle edition of the book, so when I read it, I can project it on our ActivBoard so the students can follow along as I read. They laughed throughout the intro and were immediately hooked, begging me to choose this as our next chapter book read-aloud. Score one for the objective of “hooking your readers!”

I then asked them how many of them thought that introduction was the one that was in the first draft of his book.

One or two hands went up.

Richard Peck shared in an article called “In the Beginning” (Horn Book Magazine, September 2006, pp. 505-508) that it normally takes him 24 drafts of his lead before he’s happy with it. TWENTY-FOUR!

And here I’m asking my students to take a second pass at their writing.

I shared that little nugget with my students before we reread the first chapter. As we read if for a second time, we focused on the characteristics of his writing that made it such a great lead.

Here’s what my students noticed, compiled into an anchor chart:

Once we finished the chart, I had them go back to a piece of writing they’ve been working on and try to write a different introduction. Some students tried changing the point of view, others jumped into the action or started with dialogue. Whatever the strategy, all of them managed to produce a new version of their introduction, and all were at least a little better than what they’d started with.

We’ll get this revising thing down eventually…

What are some of your favorite books to use to teach students how to hook their readers? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Fads Pose Dangers, Don’t Listen to Dietary Fads

However, we need to be careful on this question of diet. Many different ideas are prevalent today. Don’t believe all you hear. There may be some elements of truth in a few of these dietary fads, but usually there is some foolish notion hidden underneath that is neither in harmony with science nor with common sense. Don’t be misled.

Regardless of the many fantastic claims that you may hear, there is no one perfect food. There is none that will meet all the needs of the body any more than there is one perfect material that will serve every purpose in building a house. The best diets are those in which there is plenty of variety. Then if any particular element is lacking in one food, it may be amply provided in another. This is one excellent way of avoiding deficiencies in your diet.

Variety is most important. But it is not the complete answer. We must also use discretion in the choice of foods. Some things that may look tasty are not always healthful and nutritious. Foods that are highly refined are less likely to contain the vital elements to meet the needs of the body. Modern food processing may have its good points. But sometimes the vitamins and minerals are lost in the refining process. It is better to use fresh foods whenever they are available. But be sure that they are really fresh.

Diet Start

Some people tend to think that malnutrition is a problem among the less-favored classes of the world. While this is true, it is surprising how often those with higher incomes also suffer from a different type of malnutrition. They eat plenty of food, but mostly of the wrong type. This so-called “hidden hunger” is very common in large cities, where more artificial living conditions prevail. Modern methods of marketing are providing a wider range of foods. But far too many people still prefer to live on devitalized foods that are woefully inadequate. It is these devitalized foods that lead to hidden hunger.

Such diets fail to provide the body with the right building materials that will keep it functioning properly. Foods that contain a high concentration of sugar and other carbohydrates may provide energy, but other important elements are usually lacking. Soon the organs begin to lose their normal powers of operation. The vital processes of the body are slowed down, and a toxic condition develops. The delicate balance of nature is upset, and the whole body suffers.

It is amazing the amount of food that one person may consume in his lifetime. Someone has estimated that we eat up to 1,400 times our own weight in a lifetime of seventy years! Think of how much money we spend in buying all this food! Surely such an expenditure as this is worthy of our closest study. Are we buying health, or weakness and disease? A balanced diet is the very best type of insurance against those degenerative diseases so common today.

It is true that diet alone is not the answer to all of our health problems. Other things must also be considered. But a well-balanced diet will always help to restore those body tissues that have been laid waste by serious disease. And what fun we can have while we are getting well again! So much depends on the attitude of the mind.

Mental Attitudes Important

Centuries ago the wise man gave us a great scientific truth when he said, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” This is absolutely true. It is the optimistic person who usually makes a good recovery. Because he is happy in himself and confident in the future, his health naturally begins to improve. His whole body responds to the sheer joy of living.

But the wise man did not stop there. He also added these significant words: “A broken spirit drieth the bones.” This observation is just as true as the other. A pessimistic attitude soon affects the whole body. It slows down the circulation of the blood. It interferes with good digestion. It takes all the joy out of living. In the end, it may so completely change the individual that he becomes old and worn out long before his time.

Our mental attitudes are very important, particularly as they affect this question of diet. Many of us are shortening our lives without fully realizing what we are doing. Some of us eat too much, often for no other reason than to soothe our injured feelings. Or perhaps we do not take time to eat sensible meals. We grab something and run. We are in too much of a hurry. Then we wonder why we are weak and sick. We do not seem to realize that our diet has much to do with our endurance and also with our ability to resist disease. All the vitamin pills in the world will not make up for the lack of a sensible way of living.

Millions of people are spending fortunes trying to win back their lost figures and restore their flagging energies. All they needed was to apply a little common sense in the first place. No one can hope to have an attractive appearance, a healthy skin, and a clear mind unless he is willing to use discretion in choosing his meals. Even good foods, if taken to excess, may destroy the vitality of the body. Anything that is overdone may cause trouble, even too many vitamins.

A balanced diet is the very foundation of good living. To keep the body functioning smoothly and efficiently, it must be supplied with a constant stream of essential nutrients. This must be clear to all. Yet, it is a shocking fact that many farmers and dairymen are more interested in how they feed their cattle than in how they feed their children! Of course, it pays to see that cattle are well fed. But isn’t it time we begin to think about ourselves and our children as well?

Today, thanks to modern medical discoveries, we have less to fear from serious infections. But degenerative diseases are becoming more frequent on every hand. How can these be avoided in your own particular case? This is something you should feel free to discuss with your own family doctor. He is the best one to advise you on such matters. But there is no question that a good, sensible diet will always help. And when we follow such a program, we will feel stronger and more energetic, our mealtimes will be happier, and we can look forward to enjoying better health for years.

ROOM DESIGNS FOR TEENAGE GIRL

ROOM DESIGNS FOR TEENAGE GIRL

For today, we have compiled a series of five images that represent the rooms of girls. We try to choose different: we went with serious internal and sober, but also gave him a shot at the famous and very popular pink, orange and red scheme. All rooms are practical, with work spaces, small libraries and shelving systems for books and CDs and fine cabinets specially designed for teenagers. Last but not least, we believe that the mirror is a required element in the bedroom of a girl, 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!

ROOM DESIGNS FOR TEENAGE GIRL
ROOM DESIGNS FOR TEENAGE GIRL
ROOM DESIGNS FOR TEENAGE GIRL
ROOM DESIGNS FOR TEENAGE GIRL

Kaatsu aka Blood Flow Restriction Training

Kaatsu training was developed in Japan five decades ago.  Ka means “additional” and atsu means “pressure.” An English layman’s term for the practice is “blood flow restriction training,” and involves performing strength training exercises while restricting blood flow to the extremity being worked.

A significant benefit of the method is that you can use just 30 to 50 percent of the weight you’d normally use while still reaping maximum benefits of resistance training. You use less weight but do more — up to 20 or 30 repetitions versus 8 or 12 in most traditional strength training programs.
Cuffs or bands are used that are just tight enough to allow arterial blood flow but not venous flow. This causes lactic acid and other waste products to build up, giving you the same benefit as heavy lifting without the dangers associated with heavy weights. For this reason, it’s a great strategy for the elderly and those who are recuperating from an injury.

Scientists believe that restricting venous blood return can dramatically boost growth hormone secretion, reducing myostatin and inducing cell swelling.    Even better there is less overall tissue damage compared to traditional high intensity resistance training.

History of Blood Flow Restriction Training

The history of this type of training was detailed in an Outdoors Online Article (https://www.outsideonline.com/2023016/you-should-probably-try-japanese-blood-flow-routine):

“Kaatsu came about in 1966 when 18-year-old [Dr.] Yoshiaki Sato, now a doctor, noticed the intense ache in his calves after having assumed the traditional Japanese sitting position during a typically long Buddhist ceremony. It was an ache much like the one he experienced after lifting weights — an ache he realized had to do [with] the occultation of blood circulation.
Eureka! Using himself as a test subject, Sato spent the next several years perfecting a system of blood-flow moderation using bicycle tubes, ropes and straps. He later replaced the tubes with thin computer-controlled pneumatic bands. The idea was to apply pressure around the arms and legs while lifting a light load, safely impeding the flow of blood to exercising muscles.
Slowing this flow engorges the limbs with blood, expanding capillaries, engaging muscle fibers and raising lactic acid concentration. But — and here’s part of what makes Kaatsu unique — it fools the brain into thinking it’s being put through a vigorous workout.”

Kaatsu training can stimulate muscle growth and strength in about half the time, using about one-third of the weight, compared to regular resistance training.

How does Kaatsu Work?

The concept idea behind blood flow restriction training is to restrict blood flow in an exercising muscle/s using a band around the upper portion of the arm or leg being worked. This creates a metabolic disturbance that has local and systemic effects:

1. A reduction in the partial pressure of oxygen and increase in the acidity of the muscle tissue stimulates protein synthesis through an adaptive response to the stressor.

2. The central nervous system also senses the challenge and compensates by increasing sympathetic tone, heart rate, ventilation and sweating.   There is also an accentuated hormonal response as mentioned previously.

Kaatsu also stimulates mTOR signaling and lowers myostatin (myostation stops muscle growth!)
Unexpectedly muscle growth occurs both sides of the cuff even though blood flow is only restricted on the side farthest away from the heart.    The systemic increase in Growth Hormone also drives overall muscle growth.

How much Pressure?

It is important not to restrict blood flow too much, as this could lead to injury and fainting.
The good news is that research shows that if you use common sense the risk of using too much pressure is easy to minimize.  Your limb should not be tingling, turning red, blue or purple, and you should not lose feeling and should be able to feel your pulse in the limb.
For a great quick start guide to Kaatsu click here:  https://www.kaatsu-global.com/quick-start-guide-001/
Kaatsu Training Protocol

A typical training session uses three sets 0f 20 – 30 repetitions per set. use half or less of the weight you’d normally use. Rest between sets is short with typical rest time being 30 seconds.

Could Kaatsu Cause Injury such as Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Kaatsu is NOT the same as putting a tourniquet on and if you follow proper precautions is quite safe.    The key is that Kaatsu does NOT alter arterial blood flow as described previously.    It is important to use cuff’s designed specifically for this process.
Contraindications for Kaatsu

  • Women who have had a mastectomy with or without radiation and/or an axillary node dissection should not use blood flow restriction training.
  • People in hemodialysis who have arterial venous fistulas. Avoid doing blood flow restriction on the affected limb
  • Pregnant women should not use Kaatsu training.

My recommendation: The 3-step dietary programme Do what I did, look the results

The dietary plans that follow offer simple, nutritious and delicious recipes on a staged regime that should take you from overweight to optimum weight and enhanced well-being.

The reason many people depend on junk and convenience foods is because they lead such busy lives. Most of the recipes in these plans are quick to prepare, and should be within the capabilities of even the most reluctant cook. There are exceptions: preparing the Chicken Soup will take a couple of hours, but it makes a lot and you can freeze separate portions, ensuring that you can have a nutritious low-carb meal even when the clock is ticking away.

So blitz your cupboards and discard any foodstuffs that don’t fit the bill. The journey to a healthy, lean body begins here.

The Plans

The 3-step programme includes 3 eating plans. The Fast-Track Plan will help you lose weight quickly and give you that all-important boost on a 50 per cent protein/20 per cent carbohydrate/30 per cent fat regime that will initiate benign dietary ketosis. It should last for 7-21 days, after which you are ready to move on to the next stage. Your weight loss should be around 2-5.5kg (4-121b) if you are a woman and 4-7.25kg (8-161b) if you are a man, depending on how long you remain on this plan.

Diet Start

During the Keep on Tracking Plan you increase your levels of low-tomedium GI carbohydrates and move into a 35 per cent protein/35 per cent carbohydrate/30 per cent fat regime. You still monitor ketosis and watch how introducing higher levels of carbohydrates affects your weight loss, which should now even out to 0.25-1 kg (1/2-21b) per week.

The No Backtracking Plan is your eating regime for life. You can gradually introduce fruit and vegetables, grains and pulses from the higher GI ranges, in moderation. It is important to keep an eye on how your body reacts to these and to establish your perfect weight-management level.

If you are a vegetarian, there is plenty of advice on how to adapt the plans and recipes to suit your dietary requirements. Granted, your choice isn’t as varied as that of a non-vegetarian, but don’t use this as an excuse not to give it a go. If you follow the basic guidelines and make simple changes to the recipes where necessary, you should lose weight and eradicate insulin resistance successfully.

FOOD TO THROW OUT

  • White flour and sugar
  • Honey
  • Biscuits
  • Crisps
  • Sweets
  • Sugary drinks
  • White rice, bread, pasta
  • Processed foods high in carbohydrates
  • Ready-made sauces
  • Gravy mixes

Customize the plans to suit your lifestyle and dietary preferences

The suggested menu plans are not set in stone – they are templates to encourage you to eat the right sort and amount of food.

If you wish to change a recipe – because you don’t like lamb and would rather have chicken, say – it really doesn’t matter. Just try to use foods of a similar dietary value. When swapping vegetables and fruit, go for ones in the same GI category; try to exchange meat for meat, or fish for fish, in the same amounts. If you change a recipe from meat to fish, you may need to use slightly more fish to give you the same level of protein. For example, 125g (4oz) of poultry or lean meat should be replaced with 175g (6oz) of fish.

Simplify the recipes

If you are short of time, or like your food a bit plainer, simplify the recipe. If you don’t fancy Baked Tuna with Tomato and Herbs, adapt the ingredients, ensuring that you still have sufficient protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats – have a tuna salad with tomatoes and dark green leaves.

On a budget

If money is short and you find some of the suggested ingredients a little expensive, use some budgetary ingenuity to bring down the cost. Fresh salmon can be replaced with coley or whiting, or even tinned salmon.

Use the suggested meals as inspiration. In order to manage your weight in the future, you will have to experiment and be prepared to adapt.

The weight question continue…

Take a health check .. .

Before you begin a new dietary regime or exercise programme, check with your doctor that your health status allows you to do so. A health check is vital if:

  • You are suffering from any ongoing health problems
  • You take regular medication
  • You are under 20 or over 65, because children, teenagers and the elderly have specific nutritional needs.

And a reality check …

If you do have a problem with your weight, stop beating yourself up over it. Being fat is not a sin or a criminal offence. It is simply a consequence of careless eating and lifestyle.

Diet Start

Even if you have tried every diet going, this one does not have to be the same. You are going to change your lifestyle and give up a few bad dietary habits. So, unless you have a medical condition that prevents you from losing weight, this approach will help you become slimmer and, more importantly, fitter.

Being overweight can undermine your self-esteem and the way you deal with situations. Losing weight won’t change the fact that you have money worries, an unsupportive partner or hate your job, but when the pounds start to fall away and you begin to feel better about yourself, you will deal with those issues very differently. Your confidence levels will rise and you will have lots more energy, which will help to make all of your problems seem more manageable.

Don’t be negative even before you start. This is not the problem you think it is – it’s the solution.

OBESITY AS A DISEASE – NOT A MORAL FAILING

`Obesity is a heterogeneous disease in which genetic, environmental, psychological, and other factors are involved. It occurs when energy intake exceeds the amount of energy expended over time. Only in a small minority of cases is obesity caused by such illnesses as hypothyroidism or the result of taking medications, such as steroids, that can cause weight gain.’

TAKING A HOLISTIC APPROACH

  • What you weigh is the result of several factors:
  • How much and what kinds of food you eat
  • Whether your lifestyle includes regular physical activity
  • Whether you use food to respond to stress and other situations
  • Your physiological and genetic make-up
  • Your age and health status.

Successful weight management should address all of these factors. That’s the reason for ignoring products that promise quick and easy solutions, or permanent results without permanent changes in lifestyle. Any product that promises that you can lose weight without lowering your calorie intake and/or increasing your physical activity is trading on fantasy and false hope.

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.

Men’s Body Click Diet part 3

What happened with my patient Brooks shows how this scenario plays out. It also reveals why I think that such mysterious and sometimes chronic inflammations of the prostate are usually not infections but instead have a lot to do with factors that are also related to abnormal growth or cancers of the prostate.

Brooks is a 50-year-old businessman whose previously dependable penis had become much less reliable with regard to its sexual responsibilities. At the same time he suffered from discomfort with urination, some hesitancy in starting his urinary stream and the need to get up at night to urinate more than once, which had been his previous custom. He was alarmed that whatever was going on represented some sort of permanent equipment failure. Told at first by both a general practitioner and a urologist that his prostate was ‘pretty normal’ and later that it was a ‘little enlarged’, he had undergone two courses of antibiotic treatment for nonspecific prostatitis. His symptoms improved while he was on the antibiotics but returned when he finished the medication.

I had a telephone consultation with him and after hearing him out and considering various possibilities, I suggested to him that he had ‘some kind of mischief’ with his prostate. This was a much softer diagnosis than that of nonspecific prostatitis. But it suggested a treatment that was aimed more at making his prostate happy than at trying to kill some unseen, unidentified and perhaps nonexistent germs.

Diet Start

The concept of trying to make some organ in your body happy seem, alien to a regular guy like Brooks. He shares with most people the medical notion that there is a specific treatment for every condition and that this treatment is not a strategy to make some part of your body happy. It did, however, make Brooks happy when I suggested that part of his therapy was at least daily efforts to encourage the emptying of his prostate and its tubing by provoking an ejaculation. This was contrary to the no-sex advice he had been given earlier, which seemed to me like the equivalent of telling someone with a bad cold not to blow his nose.

I offered Brooks a package of additional measures to make his prostate happy. These included daily doses of soy protein, flaxseed powder, flaxseed oil, zinc and an antifungal medicine. If you understand why I loaded my shotgun with such a diversity of remedies and how they all fit together, you will also see how I perceive that the whole range of prostate mischief from inflammation to cancer fits together.

I’ve already explained the soy protein and flaxseed powder. I also recommended an additional supplement of flaxseed oil. The prostate gland is one of the richest sources of the hormonelike substances that are made from omega-3 fatty acids, with which flaxseed oil is loaded. They are called prostaglandins, named for the very organ under discussion, because they were first isolated from fluids found in the prostate. (Soon after their discovery in prostatic fluids, they were found to be present in a wide variety of animal tissues of all kinds and not at all exclusive to the prostate, but the name stuck.) The use of fatty acids in flaxseed oil helps the prostate make prostaglandins. But the more important motive for a prescription of flaxseed oil was the strong likelihood that Brooks, like most people, was deficient in omega-3 oils. The flaxseed oil, then, was generally beneficial rather than a treatment aimed specifically at the prostate.

I recommended that Brooks take zinc because it helps the immune system fight off infections and control the body’s inflammatory response to infection. Finally, I prescribed the antifungal medicine because of my consistent experience with other patients where I’d seen that an overgrowth of fungus germs, particularly yeasts, has a proclivity to bother people’s reproductive systems. I have often found stubborn cases of prostate problems in men to be responsive to antifungal drugs.

But there’s another, more important angle to the antifungal treatment Igave Brooks and the many other men I’ve treated in a similar way. In order for the isoflavones and lignans in soy protein and flaxseed powder to be transformed into the substances that beneficially modulate hormone chemistry, they must pass through the digestive tract, where they are changed by certain germs that live there. If the normal distribution of healthy flora has been disturbed so that there are too many bad germs and not enough good germs, the capacity of the intestinal flora to help hormone chemistry will be seriously impaired. Antibiotics are by far the most significant disrupter of intestinal germ populations. A single course of an antibiotic prescription can affect this balance for months or longer. My prescription of an antifungal medicine for Brooks was aimed at two overlapping targets. One was the possibility that a fungal infection was directly related to the prostate inflammation; the other was that his two courses of antibiotics had made him worse by causing a disturbance in his bowel germ population that would correct itself once the number of yeast germs living there was reduced.

Within ten days Brooks and his prostate were both happy. His equipment returned to reliable functioning and he has remained well since. He is as pleased as he is surprised. This is true for many men whose similar responses to simple changes in diet don’t jibe with their expectation that I would have to treat them by calling out the big guns rather than coaxing their bodies back into balance. I’m confident that the remedies I suggested for Brooks worked because they were specifically connected to achieving a hormonal balance governed by a combination of factors related to his digestive flora and an intake of substances that made his prostate happy.

It’s not a big step from consideration of acute problems, such as what Brooks had, to the more chronic problems of prostate enlargement andprostate cancer.

Teachers’ voices matter, and I want to hear from you!

Hi bloggy friends! I know it’s been forever since I’ve updated this blog, and trust me — lots of ideas are percolating in the hopper about my flipped(!) fourth grade classroom and other things I’ve tried this year. I promise those posts are coming! But in the meantime, I need your help!

As some of you may know, I’m working on my PhD in addition to teaching fourth grade full-time. The work-life balance has not been an easy thing, and now, I’m really working hard to finish as much coursework as possible in the short term because baby #2 will be arriving in November! (So while you all are hanging out by the pool having tasty margaritas, I’m crunching numbers for a stats class and reading about how to write ethnographic fieldnotes. Good times, I tell you…)

This summer, I’m starting to work on my dissertation, and I’m testing out my ideas in a pilot study. I’m planning to write my dissertation about the amazing elementary blogging community and the ways that teachers use blogs for professional development and personalized learning. I know that reading other teachers’ blogs has been hugely inspiring for me as a teacher, and I can’t imagine what I would do if I didn’t have access to so many great teaching minds across the globe. Shockingly, however, very little has been written about these great online communities and their benefits, and I want to explore that further. Scholars, politicians, and administrators need to know how much teachers learn from each other! Which is why I need your help.

I’m looking for a few teachers who would be willing to be interviewed about how they use blogs to support their work in the classroom. I want to talk to both bloggers and readers, so even if you don’t have a blog of your own, I’d still like to talk to you. This first wave of interviews will take place next week (June 20-26) and they will all be done online via Skype or Google Hangouts. I anticipate that each interview will last 45-60 minutes.

If you are willing to participate, could you please fill out this form so I can contact you directly? In exchange for your time, anyone who participates in an interview will receive up to $20 worth of free products from my TpT store.

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Once you fill out the form, I will be in touch to arrange a time that will work best for the interview. I need to conduct (and transcribe!) at least 3 interviews next week to fulfill the requirements of my current coursework, but don’t let that small number deter you — I will need many more interview participants once I move beyond my pilot study and begin work on my actual dissertation, so I’d love to have a list of possible interviewees already started. And my offer for the free products from my TpT store will still stand.

I hope that you will consider participating! I look forward to talking to you and learning from you.

And More: In One Sentence™ – “The RX 470 or The RX 480”? [A Very Short Comparison with Sources, Currently Text-Only]

As done a previous “In One Sentence™” article here at The Blog, I’ve been wanting to make posts once in a while that catered to those without much time, or without much patience, or who [like me] suffer from conditions like ADD/ADHD, or perhaps those who ‘just want a quick answer’… Thus, my beginning to write posts that literally ‘sum up’ concepts, comparisons or reviews “in one sentence”, made especially for those ‘in a hurry’…
For this post, I answer the quite-specific Hardware Upgrading question [mainly as it was one that I was asking myself, so I thought I would share my recent findings with others], ‘should you get the AMD Radeon RX 470 GPU or the RX 480’..?

The Short Version

“Should I buy the 470 or the 480?”

The answer, in-one-sentence, is:

“Overall, there is anywhere from a 0-20 frame difference in performance at 1080p between the RX 470 and the RX 480, but with the average difference between the two being about 10 fps at that resolution; so, if that difference is worth the price differential to you (which is anywhere from zero dollars to fifty dollars, depending on where you purchase it from and what model, etc) – then get the 480 – but if that difference is not worth the price to you, stick with the slightly-less-powerful-but-extremely-high-value-for-the-money-right-now RX 470.”

~ The Game Tips And More Blog’s Answer, In One Sentence™

The Long Version

Again, as done a previous “In One Sentence™” article here at The Blog, I’ve been wanting to make posts once in a while that catered to those without much time, or without much patience, or who [like me] suffer from conditions like ADD/ADHD, or perhaps those who ‘just want a quick answer’… Thus, my beginning to write posts that literally ‘sum up’ concepts, comparisons or reviews “in one sentence”, made especially for those ‘in a hurry'[just like how I spent tons of time on the very creative and original titling of these types of posts..].

Where was I? Oh yes, here then is my summation for a Hardware Purchase Suggestion, a very specific answer for a very specific question in Hardware Upgrading [arrived at after many hours of reading, researching, watching benchmarking videos, all while getting distracted by games, health issues and non-computery-or-techie events in life… but you can skip all of that Life Drama of your own and skip all of the time Researching on your own and just ‘get to the jist’ right here], in one sentence – the answer to the question:

“Should I buy the 470 or the 480?”

The answer, in-one-sentence, is:

“Overall, there is anywhere from a 0-20 frame difference in performance at 1080p between the RX 470 and the RX 480, but with the average difference between the two being about 10 fps at that resolution; so, if that difference is worth the price differential to you (which is anywhere from zero dollars to fifty dollars, depending on where you purchase it from and what model, etc) – then get the 480 – but if that difference is not worth the price to you, stick with the slightly-less-powerful-but-extremely-high-value-for-the-money-right-now RX 470.”

~ The Game Tips And More Blog’s Answer, In One Sentence™

The answer above is based on an average viewpoint of all reviews read and videos watched. Of course, there is always fluctuation in the average amount (sometimes the fps was exactly the same, sometimes it was a quick change in difference [eg. in a video benchmark] by 20fps or slightly more for a short period of time). Also, for some people, money isn’t the issue and they want the higher-shelf RX 480 for the capability it offers. No problem, I’m just presenting what I have seen so far, between the 470 and the 480. If you can “easily” afford the faster product, go for that – but for those who are in the situation where $20 or $40 is a “big step” in price at the moment for them, but they really want to upgrade their aging hardware “now” at the same time – then this summation is for them.

As I always say, if you are looking to upgrade any hardware in your system – and if you have the time to do it:

Do your own research, read lots of reviews, check out prices in multiple places/sites/stores and find out which is the best path for you, at that point in time. No matter what the part is, spend as much as you “comfortably” can (to make it more ‘future proof’). What is the most important/best advice I can give, from 20+ years of technical expertise and real-world experience in the field presented without making a new paragraph so it would be easier to read..? It is this: No matter what computer part you are purchasing, if you are not in a place where “money isn’t an issue”, then watch for “The Jump” in price – that leap or huge gap in prices – and purchase a part that is just in front of that gap (before the large price increase); that is the “Price Sweet Spot”, where you are getting ‘the most bang for your buck’ and other cliche phrases. Most of all though – have fun learning and doing it all!

This Message Brought To You By Troy from The Game Tips And More Blog And Free Websites And Other Things That Made It All Happen

List of Some Sources Researched (not including video benchmark sources):

http://www.techspot.com/review/1220-amd-radeon-rx-470/page2.html
http://www.gamersnexus.net/hwreviews/2544-sapphire-rx-470-platinum-review-benchmark-vs-480-gtx-1060/page-4
http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/hardware-canucks-reviews/73155-amd-radeon-rx-470-4gb-review-4.html
http://www.pcworld.com/article/3104044/components-graphics/amd-radeon-rx-470-review-a-great-graphics-card-with-a-terrible-price.html?page=3
http://wccftech.com/amd-radeon-rx-480-rx-470-3dmark-performance/
https://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/ASUS/RX_470_STRIX_OC/10.html
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-radeon-rx-470,4703-4.html

Fallout 4: High Resolution Texture Pack (Free DLC) Is Now Available [Notification]

For those that haven’t heard yet, as mentioned last week at their site here, Bethesda has released a High Resolution Texture Pack, that is now available for free, downloadable via Steam.

The graphic ‘upgrade’ includes ‘native 1440p’ textures [which means the textures themselves are 2560×1440 pixels in size – but remember, textures usually aren’t displayed at Full Size, they are squished into say, the sides of a gun, or a sign or other things in the world – even if they cover a large wall in the game, they will usually not display ‘at full native size’ – and even if they do, they can be repeated (“tiled”) to fill in the space of objects needed, in the game world – basically, 1440p textures should make the game look great]. It also includes Enhanced Draw Distancing and God-Ray tweaks [those glow-y, streaks of light, showing up especially when a source of light is behind something, such as the sun behind trees or buildings].

Now, up until this release, I personally was playing with SweetFX a lot in FO4, having fun increasing Sharpness and Shading, dealing with the Aliasing, taking Screenshots and ‘Realistic Photos’ and ‘Close-Ups’ (with Depth-Of-Field, etc) of some of the Characters in the game. These can be found here, at a slowly-growing Flickr page I started for The Blog. A couple examples of these, taken with ‘SweetFX in ReShade’ are just below – I look forward to what the entire game could possibly look like with the new High Resolution textures!

Fallout 4 – Mrs. Nordhagen, Settler I – SweetFX in ReShade
(GTAMblog7Photo SweetFX Preset, made available Soon™)
Click to see Full Size
Fallout 4 – Mrs. Nordhagen, Settler I – SweetFX in ReShade
(GTAMblog7Photo SweetFX Preset, made available Soon™)
Click to see Full Size

ReShade by Crosire (reshade.me)
SweetFX by CeeJay.dk (ceejay.dk)
Game Material by Bethesda Game Studios (bgs.bethsoft.com)
Captured by Troy from The Game Tips And More Blog

Since I don’t actually have room for it on any of the drives I have Games on at the moment [which seems to always happen when something cool comes out, of course], I will be moving some things around and uninstalling other games I am not playing at the moment, to make room for this big fella…

It is an optional/separate “DLC” download, weighing in at a hefty 58GB installation through Steam. Once I get it going, I will be working on a QualityTest for it, comparing the graphic look between the two versions and what they really look like in-game – as well as the Performance Hit the Texture Pack creates – look for that coming post Soon™ if you are waiting to see what they look like or if it is ‘worth the download’; but if you can’t wait and want to get started seeing it yourself, go get it via Steam for free now, here.

This free download, by the way, is – in Bethesda’s own words, “…a love letter to our amazing PC fans that have supported us – not just with Fallout 4, but across multiple decades and games…”. 
Right back at ya’, Beth! 
“Thank You” ~ Sincerely, The Game Tips And More Blog

Header and Footer Images captured by Bethesda, from their example screenshots of the High Resolution Texture Pack

1st I’ve seen or heard of a GM supercharger on a 1958 Corvette

Integrating Peer Feedback

Sometimes my students surprise me.

We’re studying the Measurement and Data standards right now in math, and we were struggling a bit with 4.MD.2 – the measurement word problems standard. We’ve been using some of the free math units from Engage NY (a resource I highly recommend), and we were on day 3 of working through word problems, and I knew I had to mix it up a bit. Here’s what we did.

First, students worked through 6 word problems from module 2. The word problems were multi-step and used many different types of metric measurement. They completed these problems independently, but they could consult other students if they got stuck. Once everyone at the table finished, they checked their work with each other to make sure they agreed on the same answer.

Next, I assigned each table a different focus problem from the 6 that they solved. They had about 10-15 minutes to work together to design a poster that explained the problem and solution. They could represent their work any way they wanted, but the work had to speak for itself — they wouldn’t be there to explain the poster to anyone else.

Once the posters were completed, I gathered the students together on the carpet, and we reviewed the Standards for Mathematical Practice using these posters I’ve made:

We talked about using these standards as opportunities to give feedback. We also discussed how effective feedback needs to be specific and constructive. If you like something, say what, specifically, you liked and how it helped communicate an idea. If something needed to be improved, explain what and how that could be done.

Once I felt like the students had some ideas for ways to give good feedback, I had the students do a gallery walk around the classroom to look at the other posters. In a gallery walk, students use sticky notes to comment on other people’s work. They can leave positive and/or constructive feedback. I let the students comment anonymously if they wanted, and they were able to reference the SMP posters if they needed ideas (I gave them access to a digital copy on their iPads). I used a timer, and they spent 5 minutes studying and commenting on each poster before rotating.

Once they’d rotated through all of the posters, the returned to the poster their group had made, and they took a few minutes to read the feedback. I had them work together to sort the feedback into the categories “helpful” and “not helpful.”

We shared a few examples of helpful comments with the whole class:

  • “I like how the team drew pictures to represent the problem, but I think the team could have explained what each picture represented from the problem.”
  • “The pictures aren’t in proportion to one another. The drawing of 1,500 mL is much larger than 3 L, but really the 3 L should be larger.”
  • “Something I really like about your poster is that it has pictures to represent the problems. One thing that you could have done differently is represent the subtraction and addition with a tape diagram.”
  • “You could have represented the answer in mixed units to make your answer clearer.”

We then talked about unhelpful comments — one word comments or feedback that focused more on style than substance.

Overall, this lesson was very helpful in getting the students to think about the Standards for Mathematical Practice and how to give effective feedback. Each group had ideas for things they wanted to change on their posters based on peer comments, and some groups even asked to work on it more during recess! It was also a good reminder for me that students can give each other powerful feedback, and I need to provide them with more opportunities to do this across the subject areas.

If you’d like to get a copy of my student-friendly Standards for Mathematical Practice posters, they’re available in my TpT store by clicking the image below.

What are some ways you incorporate peer feedback in your classroom? I’d love to hear more ideas in the comments section!

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.

Workout Fuel Conclusion

Workout Fuel Conclusion

WORKOUT ANYTIME has been holding a month-long competition on our Facebook titled “Workout Fuel” where fans were asked to submit their favorite pre-workout and post-workout snacks. Each comment acted as a submission and each like on a fans comment acted as a “vote.” In our final week of “Workout Fuel” each weekly winner is going into a head-to-head competition. You the fans may vote on your favorite workout snack! You can vote here: http://bit.ly/WorkoutFuelFinal
Workout Fuel | WORKOUT ANYTIME

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…

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.

Choose Your Poisons

Food additives vary tremendously in character, from diethylstilbestrol (DES), a synthetic female hormone used to stimulate cattle growth by 15 percent and boost efficiency of feed by 12 percent, to butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), an antioxidant used to retard or prevent rancidity and flavor deterioration. Then there is glycerol monostearate, an emulsifying agent derived from partial decomposition of fats, which is used in making ice cream, and a wide variety of artificial coloring compounds (there are now thirty-three permitted in Britain, only nineteen in the EEC, ten in the U.S., and four in the U.S.S.R.). Much of our animal food is laced with antibiotics, which are given to retard meat spoilage. They are also used to suppress evidence of disease in animals that are raised in adverse circumstances and are, therefore, prone to illness. They offer no nutritional benefits.

There are three main ways that food additives can be threats to health: they can be carcinogenic (tending to produce cancer), teratogenic (tending to harm the unborn child in the womb), and mutagenic (tending to produce changes in the gene pattern which can be passed on to future generations). One can add the danger of producing genetic changes in the cell material which promote early aging in the body—of particular concern to a woman intent on preserving her youthfulness and good looks.

Diet Start

Government agencies try to regulate the safety of additives in fabricated foods, but judging from the Canadian and American records of failure and the number of permitted additives that have in recent years been suddenly whisked off the market, this is an impossible task. Only 60 percent of the additives used in Britain have been tested at all and even then only for acute toxicity—that is, to determine whether or not they bring immediate adverse reactions to an organism ingesting them—not for teratogenicity nor for possible genetic effects. In fact, there is simply no way for them to be tested. The tests that are done are carried out on animals, not humans, and as the thalidomide tragedy showed, a substance can appear quite safe from teratogenic effects in laboratory animals, yet result in tragic consequences for a human fetus.

But even our methods of testing are outdated. According to Ross Flume Hall, this is because we have all our assumptions wrong. “Both the standards of nutrition by which these foods are judged and the methods of toxicology used to determine their safety are outmoded nineteenth- century models,” he says. Nineteenth-century nutritional theory is based on the notion that all we need from food is protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals regardless of their source. It is unaware of the interrelationships in natural foods, and of the implications of possible nutrients as yet undiscovered (as with fiber until fifteen years ago) which may be vital for good health. “This limited concept of what constitutes nourishment persists,” says Hall, “even though it has been completely outmoded by the enormous advances in understanding of cell and molecular biology.”

The nineteenth-century toxicology still practiced today assumes that each chemical tested has its own level of toxicity. As long as one’s consumption of that chemical remains below that level, it says, one is safe. It gives no consideration to how different chemicals, tested separately, affect an organism when they are consumed together; nor is any thought given to the cumulative effects of taking a substance regularly over the years.

“What we are beginning to realize,” says Hall, “is that not only can chemicals poison in the short term, they can also cause long-term subtle and undetected changes in personal biology. These changes can show themselves in devastating ways such as cancer and other degenerative diseases and birth defects.”

Food additives are not the only problems with convenience foods either. Their simple nutritional worth is highly questionable. For in addition to their lack of fiber (natural fiber is largely removed in the manufacture of convenience foods), government surveys in Canada and the United States—where 80 percent of food eaten is now factory-produced —show that in spite of the great wealth of these countries and the availability to the public of a vast variety of foods, in general people are not getting enough vitamins and minerals in their diet. This is in large part because so many of the nutrients are lost in processing.

Researchers at Rutgers University experimented with frozen chicken pies to see what vitamin loss, if any, had taken place in the processing. They chose vitamin C levels. To their amazement, researchers found no vitamin C whatever in commercially prepared frozen pies. Then they added vitamin C to the pies and refroze them. When they were reheated two days later, three quarters of the vitamin had disappeared.

A random sampling of 6.5 million elderly people in Britain, in an investigation sponsored by the Ministry of Health, revealed that four out of five were suffering from vitamin deficiencies—a factor that is probably responsible for a large number of illnesses, including many mental disorders suffered by the elderly. According to Dr. Geoffrey Taylor, who has made a long study of the problem in Britain, “There is every reason to believe these deficiencies are present in other age groups of the population as well.”

These are a few of the reasons why the Lifestyle Diet does not include convenience foods. For lasting health and beauty you need the very best complement of nutrients you can get. The McCarrison Society, an organization of doctors and dentists in Britain dedicated to the study of the relationship between nutrition and health, issued a directive that expresses it very well: “Food should be left as close as possible to its natural state. It should be grown on healthy soil. Stored, canned, packaged or precooked food should, whenever possible, be replaced by fresh food. The protective value of a wide range of fresh vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy produce is particularly important. Cereal carbohydrates should not be refined and sugar consumption should be at an absolute minimum.” These are the basic principles of the Lifestyle Diet. Now let’s see how to put it all into practice.

INTERIOR DESIGN IN BANKE HOTEL

BANKE HOTEL

BANKE HOTEL ROOM DESIGNBANKE HOTEL ROOM DESIGN

BANKE HOTEL DESIGNBANKE HOTEL DESIGN

The Banke Hotel is recently installed in the Opera district in Paris-a first for the prestigious hotel chain Derby Hotels Collection. As its name hints at the Banke Hotel is the story of a metamorphosis. That of the body of a conventional bank Haussmann in a luxurious hotel of 94 rooms – which harmoniously blend the baroque style and design

The Question of Alcohol in you Diet

Alcohol, like caffeine and nicotine, is a drug. As such, it is capable of bringing about serious damage to mind and body when taken over a long period of time. Made from the fermentation of carbohydrates with yeast enzymes, alcohol is rapidly absorbed through the digestive system, affecting coordination of the muscles, nerves, and vision. It also stimulates stomach secretions, inhibits mobilization of lymphocytes so that the body’s ability to fight infection is reduced, and causes sludging in the red blood cells, thereby reducing oxygen to the heart and lungs. And it affects the brain, adversely affecting the specific centers that govern self- control, judgment, and personal inhibitions.

Alcohol is a depressant. The transient feeling of well-being that goes with a couple of glasses of whisky or a dry martini—the “lift”—is followed by a series of miseries to which your body is subjected, not the least of which, for a woman, is the effect drinking alcohol has on the liver. And the insidious thing about the detrimental effects which alcohol has on health and beauty is that they occur even to the average social drinker, not just to the serious drinker and the alcoholic.

A joint study by Dr. Charles S. Leiber of the Section of Liver Disease and Nutrition at Bronx Veterans Administration and Dr. Emanuel Rubin of the Department of Pathology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine showed that too much social drinking can cause serious damage to the liver, even though the drinker may feel fine, act normally under the influence of alcohol, and not be an alcoholic. Leiber and Rubim took a group of healthy nonalcoholic volunteers and put them on a carefully controlled eight-day drinking regimen. Then they tested the subjects’ livers to see what changes, if any, the alcohol had caused. The amount given to a particular group was considered equivalent to the average intake of a business executive-7 ounces of 86-proof whisky per day for the first four days, 11 ounces for the new two, and then 14 ounces for the last two. The results were surprising: there was an increase in the fat levels in the subjects’ liver of from five to thirteen times, all in only eight days, and in spite of the fact that the diet of the subjects had been supplemented with vitamins.

Diet Start

Similar studies have turned up similar results. Researchers have also found that liver-cell damage and the increase in fat in the liver can be reversible if the drinker abstains from alcohol for long enough. But longterm damage to the liver resulting from daily consumption of alcohol over the years can be irreversible. Persistent drinking can also be a precursor not only to specific diseases of the liver such as cirrhosis, but also to other toxic conditions in the body.

Next to the skin, your liver is your body’s largest organ. In many ways it is also the most important. One could, for instance, live without a stomach if necessary but never without a liver. It is the body’s chemical purifier, performing more than five hundred different functions, many concerned with detoxifying the system from all the drugs, pollutants, and poisons you take in every day, including alcohol. If the liver is overworked or worn out by excess alcohol consumption, eventually and unavoidably your whole body suffers. Biochemists used to believe that excess alcohol was no more damaging to the liver than too much sugar or too much fat in the diet; that the real damage to the liver came only from malnutrition. But these theories have been disproved. Both the quantity of alcohol you drink and the duration of time over which you drink it are important factors in determining liver damage.

Because the liver is responsible either directly or indirectly for controlling levels of many hormones in a woman’s body (particularly estrogen), when liver damage occurs as the result of a diet too high in fats or of drug taking or long-term alcoholic consumption, the endocrine balance can be severely upset, leading not only to disruption of the menstrual cycle but also indirectly to feelings of depression, anxiety, and chronic fatigue.

These troubles may have another cause, also related to alcohol. In order to metabolize alcohol, your body calls on its reserve of many B- complex vitamins which act as coenzymes in the process. When one eats foods containing natural concentrations of carbohydrates or sugar, such as grains and fruits, the B-complex vitamins necessary for their proper digestion and assimilation are provided by nature in the foods themselves. But the B-complex vitamins have been discarded in the processing of highly refined sugars and alcohol. So the body’s own reserves can easily get depleted when you drink alcohol and eat refined sugars. Results of this depletion are many, the most common of which can be fatigue, a craving for more alcohol or sweets, or diverse emotional complaints from severe premenstrual tension to simple feelings of chronic misery.

These are just some of the reasons why the Lifestyle Diet excludes alcohol in quantities of more than a glass of wine a day. This may seem like a tremendous sacrifice to you if you are used to taking a great deal more, but once you eliminate stimulants such as coffee, tea, and alcohol from your life and begin to experience the enormous sense of well-being that comes with the low fat, low protein, complex carbohydrate diet (and all the other important things that also go with discovering and expressing your potentials mentally and physically, such as deep relaxation and exercise), you will never miss it.

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!

Game Recording with MPEG-4: using H.264/AVC in Programs such as Dxtory, Bandicam and MSI’s Afterburner (Text-Only, Long Version)


This article is a Text-Only version, showing how to use a few programs (one of them completely free) to utilize this efficient codec in game recording, using steps and settings that I personally found optimized performance and showing which ones slowed things down when recording. 
For a video example of how to set the x264/AVC codec recordings to be editable in
Sony’s Vegas or Adobe’s Premiere video editing applications, see my post about it here:
http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.ca/2013/06/and-more-how-to-record-with.html

The MPEG-4 video codec has been around for over a decade now. I remember recording TV shows to watch later on, on a system with an ATI All-In-Wonder videocard (back when videocards had only 8MB of VRAM!) and the joy of the changes I was seeing, going from compressing the shows in MPEG-2 format to MPEG-4 using either Quicktime or DivX (or it’s open-source competitor, XviD). Smaller file sizes and still decent quality? Awesome. Those were MPEG-4 Part 2 or ASP (Advanced Simple Profile) iterations of MPEG-4. Today, we are up to MPEG-4 Part 10 or AVC (Advanced Video Coding) and great times are to be had by all who record their video game adventures, as modern hardware and capturing apps allow not only for h.264/AVC to be used for video compression and archiving – it can also be used for small filesize ‘live’ game recordings and great retainment of detail, if desired.

Dxtory, Bandicam and MSI Afterburner all provide the ability to utilize the various codecs installed on your system to record with (others do as well, I am merely choosing these more popular game recording apps as examples). To record with MPEG-4/h.264/AVC, it is simply a matter of installing that codec on your computer [if it isn’t already], then choosing it inside of whichever game recording app you prefer. The codec’s interface (GUI, Graphical User Interface) will allow you to change whatever settings you wish – but these settings will be quite different from what you may be used to, if you have done any h.264/AVC video compression in the past. Why?

Because we are going to be balancing the settings – not just for retaining quality at a small file size (as you would like to when archiving a movie to keep on your computer) – but now also for recording speed. For instance, if we try to set things for high compression and attempt to keep detail at the same time (as we would for archiving a movie), it simply takes too long to process and compress the changes between frames ‘on-the-fly’ and save them into a file, when attempting to record game output. This would result in the game ‘lagging’ and dropping frames to try and keep up, as it falls behind dealing with analyzing and compressing and then writing the data, resulting in a video with ‘choppy’ playback as well. So, when recording our gameplay ‘live’, we must now consider the various settings and their affect on how fast we can put through the processing of frames and writing it to a file at the same time.

I will be addressing most of the settings in the h.264/AVC codec, but not all of them. I will be concerned mainly with the ones that will slow down processing, so that things do not take too long and fall behind and cause ‘lag’, both in the game and the resulting video file itself. This differs from compressing for archiving our own movies, because instead of being only concerned with Quality (setting everything on ‘high’ and letting it take as long as it needs), we must now balance Speed of the compression as well, being now more concerned with each of these settings and how they can possibly slow things down when recording the ‘live’ game rendering. As is the nature of live recording, we want it to easily and quickly process the frames and save them to a file. I will explain how to do all of this.

Recording with H.264/AVC

“x.264” is a free/open-source utilization of the h.264/AVC codec (the XiWave GNU GPL MPEG-4 Codec). It is normally a command-line driven executable [when you run it, you type things in, to get it to do things], so what we want for game recording with these programs, is a version with an ‘interface’ so that we can just tell our apps what to do with the mouse and buttons/sliders and it translates it into commands for the codec. All we would have to do is choose a few settings and checkboxes (what most people are used to – a nice, easy, graphical user interface).


Doing a search for ‘x264+windows’, there are a few places you can get the installer/setup program for x264 and Windows, here are the main ones:

This is the “Official” Open-Source Video For Windows version of the x264 codec (Red Logo) at the time of this writing:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/x264vfw/

This official codec is what is covered in the “Easymode” sections of this article


This is an “Unofficial” x264 Video For Windows Codec (Black Logo), at the time of this post, that allows for far more settings to be edited via checkboxes and pulldown menubars, but is more difficult to use (these two links are both the same thing):
http://www.digital-digest.com/software/x264_VFW_Codec.html
http://komisar.gin.by/index.html

This unofficial codec is what is covered in the “Hardmode” sections of this article


Basically, you can see that what we want is a “Video For Windows” version, which (thanks to all those great people that have worked on it over time!) has a nice, easy-to-use interface for picking the settings you want to use, without typing in a long line of commands every time. After installing the codec/interface into Windows, it’s just a matter of opening whatever game recording program you prefer and selecting it to use it.

Here’s how to select it for usage in these three game recording programs:

Recording with x264 and Bandicam

  • Once the codec is installed, run Bandicam and go to the Video tab and click on the Settings button
  • In here, under the Video category, next to Codec, click on the pull-down menu bar (with a little triangle at the end) and choose External Codec, which allows you to use other codecs installed in your system
  • Then, click on the three ellipsis (““) button and it will let you “Select external video codec”
  • Select the “x264vfw” H.264/MPEG-4 AVC codec from the list and click on the Configure button
  • This is the x264vfw configuration interface and in here are all the settings we will talk about next…

Recording with x264 and Dxtory

  • Once everything is installed (Dxtory requires dotNET 4.0, a download link is on their main Download page), run Dxtory and click on the Movie settings button (which shows a little handy-cam with it’s lcd screen hanging out the side)
  • Under the Video Codec category, next to the word Codec, click the pull-down menu bar (with a little triangle at the end) and choose “x264vfw” H.264/MPEG-4 AVC Codec from the list and click on the little pen icon/button to the right, which opens the Configuration dialog box of the codec
  • This is the x264vfw configuration interface and in here are all the settings we will talk about next…

Recording with x264 and MSI Afterburner

  • Once the codec is installed, run MSI Afterburner and click on the Settings button at the bottom 
  • In here, go to the Video Capture tab and under the Video Capture Properties category, click on the pull-down menu bar (with a little triangle at the end) and choose “VFW compression”, which allows you to use the other codecs installed in your system
  • Then, click on the three ellipsis (““) button and under Compressor, click on the pull-down menu bar (with the little black triangle at the end) and choose “x264vfw” H.264/AVC codec from the list and then click on the Configure button to the right
  • This is the x264vfw configuration interface and in here are all the settings we will talk about next…
» Note:  To record with x264/h264/AVC and have it easily-importable and recognized properly in NLE’s (Non-Linear video Editing applications, such as Sony’s Vegas and Adobe’s Premiere lines of products [for example]) without having glitches or corruption or other problems, one setting for MPEG-4 codecs must be changed from the Default Setting right from the start. I created a video example of how to change this setting in Bandicam, Dxtory and MSI’s Afterburner and the post with that video can be found here at this blog:
http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.ca/2013/06/and-more-how-to-record-with.html
To understand some of the concepts and settings utilized by this codec (and helpful information to know for game recording and video compression in general), a quick word on Bitrate:

[This section is highlighted in green headings for navigation, to assist you whether you are re-reading this article or you feel you know a lot about bitrate in video editing and wish to skip it]

Bitrate (in Layman’s Terms)  /start

When talking about game recording, bitrate is an expression of the amount of data we are using to create the recorded file [literally, how many bits of information we are using]. It is usually expressed as how much information per second we are telling the codec to use, to represent the frames that are getting pushed through, and save them to our output video file.
The main thing to remember is that More Bitrate = Bigger Filesize

For example, if we record using a 1MB per second (1MB/s) setting, then after 2 minutes of recording (120s), our recorded file size will be 120MB. At that bitrate, if we recorded for one hour straight (3600 seconds), our recorded file size will be 3600MB (3.6GB).
If we record using a larger amount, let’s say 2MB per second (2MB/s), then after 2 minutes of recording (120s), our recorded file size will be 240MB. At that bitrate, if we recorded for one hour straight (3600 seconds), our recorded file size will be 7200MB (7.2GB).
It’s that simple. The more bitrate we use, the bigger the recorded file will be. 

For those used to video compression and editing, or even general users of multimedia, you may be more familiar with data rates in the realm of:

MP3 (MPEG-3 audio) song bitrates such as: 128kbps, 192kbps, 320kbps
PSP (PlayStation Portable) video bitrates such as: 768kbps, 1500kbps
DVD (MPEG-2) bitrates such as: 8000kbps, 9800kbps
Blu-Ray/HD bitrates such as: 16000kbps, 25000kbps, 50000kbps

All of these are usually expressed as Megabits/Kilobits/bits over time (in seconds), hence the “ps” at the end.
eg. 16 Mbps = 16,000 kbps = 16,000,000 bps (bits per second)

~bits (lower-case ‘b’) and Bytes (upper-case ‘B’) are different~

There are 8 bits (lower-case ‘b’) in 1 Byte (upper-case ‘B’)
8 bits in 1 Byte
8000 bits = 8 kilobits (‘kilo’, which is 1000 Bytes) = 1 KiloByte
8000 kilobits = 8 megabits (‘mega’, which is 1000 KiloBytes) = 1 MegaByte 

For example, if you were rendering out a movie to upload to YouTube and you chose an output bitrate of “8000 kbps” in your editing/compression application, that is 8 Mbps (bits, lower-case ‘b’), which means 8 Megabits per second. Converting that into Bytes (upper-case ‘B’), means that video will be running at 1 MBps, which is 1 MegaByte per second (upper-case ‘b’). 

At that bitrate (1MB/s), it is the same bitrate as our example above [just under where it says “More Bitrate = Bigger Filesize”] and it will take up roughly 60MB of space on your hard drive every minute of recording. Thus is the interaction between Bitrate and File Size and how to convert between the two. The higher the bitrate setting used, the bigger the output file size will be (the recording). 

There is one other formula to remember: More Bitrate = Better Quality. This formula applies to almost everything digital: video (DVD/BluRay), audio (MP3/MP4), pictures (PNG/JPG), any multimedia that is digital. If you allow/use more bitrate, the picture/music/video is represented better [or to be more precise, closer to the original input] because there are literally more bits used to create the picture/sound/etc.

Quick example – think of a square that is divided up into 9 sections. Now pretend it is trying to ‘represent’ a painting, any painting you can think of. With only 9 blocks of data available (each one can only be a certain color), then it would look like nothing but some colored blocks and barely look like the painting at all. Now, imagine a square divided up into 80 sections. Pretend it is trying to represent the same painting. Even though it will be ‘blocky’ still, if each section can be only one color, it will still look ‘more like the original’ than the 9-sectioned block, right? 

That’s the interaction of bitrate and quality.

Which means, for digital compression, it is essentially a ‘balancing act’ between Quality and File Size, with Bitrate being the tool to measure with. Do you want a high-quality output? Then turn up the bitrate and you’ll end up with a large file size. Do you want a small file size? Then lower the bitrate and you’ll get lower quality as well. That’s the essence of bitrate, in a nutshell.

Bitrate (in Layman’s Terms)  /end



The x264 Interface and Configuration in “Easymode”
(The Official interface with red x264 logo)

With the official version of the interface for using the x264 codec (“x264vfw”), there is only one screen, with pulldown bars to adjust most settings.
The Basic Section

To start with, under the Basic category, there is a Preset setting. This is a very handy setting, which makes many of the more obscure/hidden choices within this codec (there are dozens, behind the scenes) easy to configure. By clicking on the question mark near the bottom right corner (“?”), you can see the intimate details of the different Profiles and Presets that can be selected in these pull-down menu bars within this first “Basic” section of the interface.

For game recording, we are more concerned with speed. We don’t want the codec to break out it’s magnifying glass and scrutinize each frame coming through in strict detail, because that would cause it to slow down, which will cause it to ‘lag’ behind, not only in the game, but in the recorded file itself as well (“choppy-ness”). 
So, the first thing to do, when using this codec for ‘live’ game recording, is to change the Preset setting from it’s original default of Medium to “Ultrafast“. This is the fastest option for this setting.
The other options, such as Superfast, can also be used, but be aware that the more you go down the selections available, the more options are being ‘turned on’ behind-the-scenes with this codec, and while some of them do help apparent quality of the video, they are geared more towards a slow, steady, long-term compression session (like when you might archive a video/movie) with high-quality settings and slow, scrutinizing analysis of the frames. While not a bad thing, for game recording, we don’t want that. We want it to save what we are seeing on the screen fast, to a file. We want speed. Feel free to take a look and learn about the various options the other Presets turn on [many of them are covered in this article further down], but for optimal speed, Ultrafast is the setting to use.
The next pull-down set of options to choose from is Tuning. These are also a set of pre-selected options that, depending on which one you choose here, will enable or disable certain functions in the codec. These choices are helpful is easily fine-tuning the codec to compress a movie/video/clip of each certain type, as it enables options in the background that will help with efficient, detail-oriented compression of that certain type of material. 
For game recording, again we are more concerned with speed. These options, while helpful in a slow, ‘leave-it-overnight’ compression session of clips or movies of ours we want to save; for live game recording we want to leave it at it’s default setting of “None“, so that the codec keeps it’s magnifying glass put away and doesn’t spend any extra time analyzing the frames coming through.
There are two checkboxes below these first two pull-down menus and they are titled “Fast Decode” and “Zero Latency“:
Fast Decode turns off a few options [behind the scenes] that help by reducing the processing ‘load’ of the video stream, such as CABAC and Deblocking [these are explained in more detail further within this article]. These are options that help keep some quality (especially at lower bitrates), but as the name proclaims [“Fast”], for optimal speed of recording we want this option “Checked“, to enable it (which will turn off these extra options for now).
Zero Latency also turns off a few options behind the scenes, ones that increase compression time, such as B-frames [explained later in this post] and how far to ‘look ahead’ at frames coming in, for analysis. Since we want speed for recording our game footage and less analysis [remember, more analysis slows things down], we want this option “Checked” to turn off the extra options that are ‘behind-the-scenes’ with this setting.

The rest of the settings in this Basic section of the interface need not be adjusted for game recording, but a good Wikipedia page, talking about the various Profiles and Levels and their capabilities can be found here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.264/MPEG-4_AVC

The Rate Control Section

All of the below paragraphs between these red lines of text is the same for both the Official and the Unofficial versions of the x264vfw interface and is only duplicated for ease of reading their respective sections

The main thing in here (and really the only thing to adjust for game recording in this tab) is the longest bar right in the middle, the main datarate control and compression decision to make, is all in that one bar. I cannot even make a suggestion on what to use [ok, I can actually], since it will partially depend on what type of game you are recording, your hardware, what kind of compression you are looking for and many other factors. I will attempt to simplify it however and give a suggestion at the end. (More importantly for game recording, there is one choice that is slightly faster than all the others).

To begin, since we are going to be using x264 for game recording, we cannot use the Leeloo Dallas Multipass Options. Multiple passes (usually 2 or 3) when compressing/archiving video can greatly increase quality, but that means 2-3 times the analysis, double-checking and then further compression by the codec. Literally processing every frame twice (for 2-passes for example). That’s great when we want to keep a movie in a small, ‘as-good/high-as-we-can-get’ quality, forever. When recording games however, we want [one guess] speed. We can only accept “Single pass” as our option, because we just want the codec to see what frames are coming in, take a quick glance, and compress them into our output video file. One pass.
Starting with ABR (Average BitRate), the “bitrate-based” setting, this setting allows you to punch in the average bitrate you want to record at and it attempts to stick with it (it will go lower, but try to never go higher than what you set here). This setting basically tells the codec, “Keep within this bitrate, I don’t care if the quality goes down”, because as the bitrate ceiling is reached, it will quickly degrade in quality, as more/high movement occurs on the screen/frame. It is good for keeping within a certain file size, if that is your desire, but it also causes a bit of ‘lag’ and is not seemingly optimized for ‘live’ capturing.
CQP (Constant Quantizer Parameter) is a setting where you are basically telling the codec, “Keep this level of Quality”, and it will do it’s best to keep that level of quality for all frames/scenes. However, it will spend more time (and bitrate) on fast-motion/high-action scenes. This is good if you want to keep a movie visible clearly when a lot of things are going on, but it will also result in the higher usage of bitrate, which means larger file sizes. This may sound like a good thing for game recording (and for quality, it is), but the time spent analyzing the faster-motion scenes means that it is actually slowing down (in terms of the codec breaking out it’s magnifying glass and scrutinizing the frames that are passing by), which results in ‘lag’, both in the game and in the recorded video file itself (“choppiness” on playback).
Lossless should attempt to lose no quality, processing only very little and passing all of that nice detail directly to the recorded video output. While sounding good in theory, in practice the utilization of ‘lossless’ in x264 must be geared towards slow, analyzed video compression and not ‘as fast as we can get to avoid lag’ “live” game recording, because the result of this setting [at this time] is actually a lossy, compressed (it does not seem to go far beyond 100,000kbps), low bitrate (compared to ‘true loss-less compression’ which is much higher) capture. It does look decent, but it is also very demanding on the system and causes a large framerate drop for the level of detail that should be coming out of it [and doesn’t]. This codec does not seem to be optimized for lossless recording at this time and I do not suggest using the Lossless setting here.
CRF (Constant Rate Factor) is sort of a combination of ABR and CQP. At any given rate factor, a certain bitrate is maintained, and when the motion on the screen goes very high and the bitrate gets too high to represent what is occurring in the frame (or hits the ‘ceiling’ bitrate that it is restricted to, which can be set), then the quality begins to suffer, as the codec ramps quality down and compresses the fast-moving (“not as easy for the human eye to see”) material, until things settle down on the screen and there is slower motion (such as a person walking). Then the quality ramps back up (the bitrate staying with the specified parameters) to keep the apparent quality high to the human eye. This is how CRF is supposed to work, and it seems to do a good job of that. 
Game recording with CRF isn’t as cut-and-dry as slow, long-term video compression/archiving with CRF, where it has time to figure out how to compress the fast/blurry scenes and make the slower/clearer scenes look better and change the bitrate/quantization respectively. Quantization can be thought of as ‘apparent spoilage’ of the material, where a certain amount isn’t even noticeable to most humans, and in some fast-moving-high-action scenes, it is even preferable to some eyes. Low bitrate and/or high quantization would both result in loss of detail and ‘blurring’ or ‘smoothing’ of video most of the time and can result in compression artifacts such as Macroblocks and Gibbs Effects (“mosquito noise”), as the codec tries to decide ‘what to keep’ and ‘what to lose’ (lossy compression). With CRF, it usually will try to keep a slow-moving scene (someone walking, people talking) detailed, without much quantizing (‘spoilage’), so that it looks good. It will take high-motion (fast action, fast changing) scenes and quantize them more (smoothing, blurring, ‘spoiling’) since the human eye won’t notice it as much on fast-motion, already-slightly-blurred changes on the screen.
To summarize the differences between the types of data rate controls (the choices in this pulldown bar):
CQP is like stating, “Keep this quality, I don’t care how big the bitrate/file gets” and ABR is like stating, “Keep this bitrate/filesize, I don’t care how crappy you have to make the video look to stay within that”, CRF is more like stating, “Try to keep this bitrate, but change it a little as you need (within a certain amount) and make the video look slightly crappy if you need to as well, but don’t let either one get too out of wack”. As CRF seemed to also be the one with the least amount of effect of the system in the form of ‘lag’ [only slightly less than the other ones in testing], being so highly configurable (compared to the other choices, where you can state a bitrate to stay within and it adjusts itself), I suggest using CRF for your x264/AVC game capturing.

Some Data / Bitrates seen with CRF

Since it looks like we are going to be sticking with CRF as our main datarate control factor [it performs slightly better than the other choices in tests], here’s an example of some bitrates that can result from using it (in kilobits per second):

Recorded game: Hitman: Absolution Benchmark [grainy, panning, high and low motion areas]
Recorded codec: H.264/AVC (MPEG-4 Part 10) using the x264vfw interface
Recorded settings [some]: No Deblocking, No Max Bitrate, No CABAC, adjusting only CRF

CRF 51  ~1200 kbps (lowest possible quality setting for CRF)
CRF 42  ~1600 kbps
CRF 32  ~6000 kbps
CRF 29  ~8500 kbps
CRF 26  ~14000 kbps
CRF 23  ~22000 kbps (codec default setting for CRF)
CRF 22  ~23000 kbps
CRF 21  ~32000 kbps
CRF 18  ~45000 kbps
CRF 15  ~64000 kbps
CRF 13  ~79000 kbps
CRF 10  ~101,000 kbps
CRF 5    ~119,000 kbps
CRF 1    ~119,000 kbps (highest possible quality setting for CRF)

As you can see, the higher the CRF, the lower the bitrate, so the lower the recorded file size will be (but also the lower the apparent quality). If you desire a higher-quality recording, then a lower CRF is what you want (even with a very low CRF, the bitrate is nowhere near as high as say, a FRAPS or YV12 recording (which can both easily be over 500,000 kbps), but that is the nature of the codec as it tries to slightly compress everything that passes through it.

It can also be seen, that is it is not a strict/hard-and-fast rule of evenly-spaced steps, when it comes to the CRF setting and Bitrate. It cannot be easily calculated that “two steps up in CRF equals this much more bitrate”. That is partially the nature of the compression and partially what occurs using CRF as a datarate control. When there is more motion on the screen and as it changes, the datarate will change as well, to try to keep within certain bitrate/quality boundaries and still accurately represent what is occurring on the screen/in the frames. With almost any form of compression/codec, only if the recording was using a completely fixed bitrate, or recording a static picture/view, would it be easy to calculate the adjustments required for a certain bitrate change. It is built into the codecs to adjust themselves as needed.

What CRF setting to use

So, what CRF setting to use? The general rule is: the lower the CRF number, the more bitrate/quality you are allowing it to use, but the bigger the recorded file size will be.

The choice is somewhat objective, as CRF18 may look good to me to record a first-person-shooter game with (the default is CRF23), but you may not like how it looks and want to use CRF10 to keep more details that you want to see.
Someone may not like the compression artifacts they can see when recording Minecraft using CRF18 and want to turn it up to CRF15 so that it is crisper, with less ‘mosquito noise’ around the edges or corruption that they can see; but you may think it looks good enough at the default of CRF23 and leave it there like someone else may do. You see?
Those are two very different types of video/games mind you, one is dark and grainy and the other is smooth, with hard edges, like animation; but you get the point. It can vary, not only person to person, but also game to game. A few short tests is all it will take however, and you quickly will find a CRF setting that you are happy to record with. You’ll find your own balance between, what will essentially be, these considerations:

The higher the bitrate (lower CRF number) the higher the quality and file size will be
The lower the bitrate (higher CRF number) the lower the quality and file size will be

You will eventually decide, with just a couple tests, what is ‘good enough’ quality for your eyes/uploading, and what CRF to use on that game (remember the ‘balancing act’ of bitrate vs quality mentioned at the beginning?). You will also find that the quality recorded isn’t even kept, after compressing the final/edited video to upload at a video sharing site somewhere.

All of the above paragraphs between these red lines of text is the same for both the Official and the Unofficial versions of the x264vfw interface and is only duplicated for ease of reading their respective sections

That’s about it for the nice-and-easy one-panel official graphical interface for the x264vfw H.264/AVC codec. Just a few small changes and a decision of what quality/bitrate you would like to use and it is all ready  for you to record with whatever game recording program you prefer. Have fun with it!

What follows below, is the unofficial, more detailed, three-tabbed version of the x264vfw H.264/AVC codec interface. If this version is not installed on your system, or you do not care to use the more complicated version (you definitely don’t have to), then please skip down to the section called 
“Slash-whew-sweating-emoticon”. No version is better than the other, by the way, they both utilize the same codec, one just gives you more options to set [and I happened to install it by accident when learning about recording with the x264 codec in the beginning], that’s all.

The x264 Interface and Configuration in “Hardmode”
(The Unofficial interface with black x264 logo)

There are three main tabs in this version of the x264 Video For Windows interface: 
Main
Analysis and Encoding
Rate Control and Other
Each Tab has many different settings. We will talk about most of them – but not all of them – we are mainly concerned with the ones that will affect game capturing. I am going to be going through the Tabs in reverse order. This will help to explain the concepts in a more logical order [believe it or not].

Rate Control & Other Tab

In the ‘Rate Control and Other’ Tab, our main attention need only be on the VBV bitrate/buffer settings in the first Rate Control area. The other settings can be tweaked, but this need be the only one to change – when concerned only with game capturing – as it can dictate the final output filesize of our recording. 
Why all that math and talk about bitrate above? Because of the very first setting we are going to cover, part of the Rate Control section:

The very first setting in this third tab of the x264vfw interface is something called “VBV max bitrate” and it is expressed in “kbit/s”. Yay, we just learned about that! It means that the value typed in here will be accepted as “kilobits per second”.

What does the “VBV” mean? It stands for “Video Buffering Verifier” and this setting will let us state the overall maximum bitrate we want to restrict the video recording to be, so that it does not go over it. 
Why would we want to do that? Remember that the amount of bitrate (per second) that we are using to record with affects the output video file size. If it is a large amount, the file size will be bigger. If we wanted to restrict the recorded output file size and keep it smaller, we could put an amount in here and it will do it’s best to keep within that amount, allowing us to control how much bitrate it uses to record with (and thus control how big the game recording output will be).
So, to use our example just above, if we wanted to restrict the bitrate of the game recording output to be only 1MB/s (1 MegaBytes per second), what do we do? 
That’s right, we convert it to lower-case (small-‘b’) bits, first:
We want 1 MegaByte per second of a bitrate
1 MegaByte is 1000 KiloBytes
since 1 Byte = 8 bits
then 1000 KiloBytes = 8000 kilobits
so to restrict the maximum bitrate allowed for our capture to 1MB/s (taking up 60MB of drive space per minute of recording) we would put “8000” in the ‘VBV max bitrate’ box.
This box then, gives some control over how much diskspace you want to devote to the game recording file output. If you do not want to restrict the bitrate, do not put anything in these first two boxes on this third tab. 
If you do want to set a restriction here on the bitrate, set a “buffer size” as well (the box just below the first one). This ‘buffer size’ gives a sliding-window-view of how much the codec will keep track of what is going through and ‘watch’ to make sure that it stays below the amount in the box above (the ‘max bitrate’ box). It is used more for compressing for portable devices (which have less RAM and are not able to buffer/keep track of a large amount at a time and therefore must have a restricted amount set here).  
For our purposes – game recording – remember that we must be more concerned with speed (to reduce lag), so in this box, we cannot put a very large amount. Why? Because the larger the buffer, the more that the codec will try to ‘store up’ in RAM, in order to ‘watch it’ (process it) and keep track of how big the bitrate gets, in order to keep our restriction of the ‘max bitrate’ box on it. So, a smaller amount such as “2000” up to maybe “4000” in this ‘buffer size’ box is a good amount. The overall buffer size also allows room for the video to ‘go over slightly and come back down to within’ the amount we set, but the larger the amount is, the more data will be held behind for processing that will be done on the game recording and the slower everything will get – and we don’t want that – we want as close to ‘Lag Free’ recording as we can get. A “0” then, would be the optimal amount to put in here, when speed is a concern; but then we would not be able to set a maximum bitrate… more on this later in the article…
That’s all we will adjust on the Rate Control & Other tab.
Analysis & Encoding Tab
Here’s where we will do the most adjusting, as these settings in here are the ones with the most impact on speed and game recording.
In the Analysis section, the first few adjustments are checkboxes concerning Partitions. Partitions are exactly what they sound like: it is how much the codec will divide up the screen, into sections, so that it can analyze each section and look at what is changing, decide how to compress it, how much to compress it, and so on. For game recording, remember we are more concerned with speed, than messing with how the codec is going to scrutinize the screen, so we are going to uncheck everything in the Partitions sections. Really. We are also going to uncheck the Adaptive DCT setting (which will deselect/lock out/grey out some of the checkboxes for us).
For game recording, we are going to leave a checkmark in the “Fast P-skip” setting.

Frame Types (in Layman’s Terms)  /start

There are three main types of frames in video encoding:
I-type frames
P-type frames
B-type frames

I-frames are ‘Intra-coded Frames’, sometimes called Information Frames, because they hold the most information in a ‘group of frames’ (which is what makes up a video) and therefore I-frames take up the most space (as far as the amount of space it will take up on your hard drive). They also look the best as well, as they usually use a higher bitrate (which is why they take up the more space). They are utilized by the codec to indicate a large change in what is going on in the video/on the screen, like a sort of ‘reset’. They can usually be identified by the screen being ‘cleared up’ of blocks/glitches from video compression, as the compressed video is played back. 

For instance, if you are running down a dark hallway and turn a corner and there is an explosion, in order to more accurately represent that large change in color and motion in the game recording, the codec will most likely decide to insert at least one I-frame and use a larger amount of data to keep more detail as it tries to represent all of the huge changes going on, on the screen and in the frames.

I-frames also serve some other purposes: the ‘intra-coded’ means that they are not dependent on other frames around it in the video  [which is a collection of frames], as they hold all the information needed to represent the frame all within itself [remember ‘inter-murals’ in school involved other schools and ‘intra-murals’ was contained all within your own school, this is the same thing]. 

They also are usually used as Keyframes. Since I-frames contain all the data need to represent the entire frame, on it’s own, video applications can use it as a ‘starting point’ or ‘reference point’ (“keying off of it”) and allow for more compatible cutting/editing on them and use them to start ‘seeking’ from, when editing a video. The two main things to remember about I-frames/Keyframes [the same thing] is that (1) I-frames can stand alone all by themselves, as they have all the information needed to display an image/frame, and (2) I-frames allow video editing programs [like Sony’s VegasVideo/MovieStudio/Pro and Adobe’s Premiere/Pro] to ‘reset’ and show you where you are starting to edit from – if there are a large number of frames between these I-frames (“keyframes”), it will take longer for the program to read between all of them and then show/allow you to start editing from where you have selected in the video editing program (it will take longer overall to edit by hand as the program starts and stops and you have to wait while editing).  

MJPEG game recordings are made up entirely of I-frames, as every frame in the captured video is it’s own JPEG compressed picture and it is the most editing-friendly and compatible codec to capture with, no matter what game capturing program you use. In fact, most video editors can read MJPEG without installing any other codecs on your system 

P-frames are called ‘Predicted Frames’. They hold far less information in a group of frames (video) and take up far less space. They actually only hold the differences from the Previous I-frame, that is, they only keep track of the changes on the screen/what has changed on the screen since the last I-frame, which is why they are far smaller than I-frames. 

For instance, if you are playing a character in a game and you are just standing at the mailbox reading an in-game message, there isn’t much changing on the screen at all. Perhaps on the side of the mail window, there is only someone running by and that is all that is happening on the screen, nothing else is moving at all. P-frames will only keep track of the movement that person running by and not keep track of the mail message or anything else going on in the frame (things that aren’t moving) and it will save only those changes to the game recorded file as P-frames. Hence, they can indeed take up a much smaller amount of space in a game recording, since they are only recording the things that are changing on the screen.

B-frames are ‘Bi-directional Frames’ (called ‘Bi-Predictive Frames’). They hold even less information than P-frames, as they are only keeping track of the differences between any frame before or after itself (even using P-frames that are around it and not needing an entire I-frame to start from). This means they are only only keeping track of very small changes (only one frame ahead or behind) and can therefore be extremely small and take up very little space in a video file. B-frames are one of the reasons why we can archive/compress movies in such small file sizes – only the differences of what is going on, on the screen/in the frames, is being kept track of. Both P and B frames help to save a ton of space when it comes to video compression.

Frame Types (in Layman’s Terms)  /end

Why all that talk about the different types of frames in a group of frames (video)? Because now we can easily understand the next few settings in the configuration window. 
Fast P-skip is a setting that allows the codec to look at P-frames and decide if there are enough changes to analyze it further, or ‘skip’ over them and just process them as they are. This is decided on by the codec when it looks at some other settings on this tab (such as the “ME” settings) but for the most part, it helps speed – our main concern with game recording – more than it helps things to ‘look good’, so we will leave a checkmark in it, as we briefly stated above.
Max frame refs and Mixed refs are talking about Reference Frames and how many to use in a group of pictures/frames. When encoding, a codec can use frames in front (P-frames) or in front and behind (B-frames) of the current frame it is working with, to keep tracks of what has changed between frames. When encoding for movies, we want as many as possible (or as many as the codec decides to put in) in order have things keep a lot of detail wherever it is needed, especially for scene changes; but for game recording, we want things to run faster (so that the game capture does not lag the game or cause lag within the recorded file (“choppy-ness” in playback), so we actually want the codec to use as little number of Reference Frames as possible.
Remember, every time the codec has to ‘think’ or analyze the frames more, it will slow down to break out it’s magnifying glass and scrutinize, so what we want for this setting is the lowest (one) Reference Frame (put a “1” in the Max frame refs box) so it doesn’t have to do much more work than just looking quickly one frame ahead or behind, when when figuring out what has changed. 
Mixed reference frames allow the codec to compress frames based on changes in frames that are also being referenced by other frames [if you can follow that]. Again, the codec is going to have to slow down and take a look, and for game recording, we want things to stay lean and mean (fast), so uncheck this bad boy (if you make the Max frame refs a “1”, it will be disabled anyway, since it does not have enough frames to deal with to look around at them anyway).
The next few settings down that all say “ME” refer to Motion Estimation. This is the process of keeping track of where things are moving on the screen and how to deal with compressing the changes it is keeping track of. For game recording, we want the codec to analyze as little as possible (so it doesn’t lag behind what is going on, on the screen) so we must choose the lowest settings for all of the “ME” options. 
That means “Diamond” analysis as the ME algorithm (pulldown menu choice), an ME range of the smallest we can choose from (“4”) and the lowest amount of Subpixel ME refinement we can have (“0” or no subpixel refinement). Remember, we want the codec to just save what is happening on the screen and analyze as little as possible, so it doesn’t fall behind.
With the choices above, Chroma ME and the Psycho-visual Rate Distortion Optimization strength will be locked out/not applicable, which is good for game capturing, as it scrutinizes the frames that are coming from the game even less.
The next couple settings, in the middle column of the tab, that say GOP in them, are talking about the size of the Group Of Pictures we want in our capture. If you can recall the things we have already said about how a codec decides to compress frames, it looks to frames ahead and behind at times, looking at the differences between them, and then decides how to compress the frames based on what it finds (and the settings we set). For movie compression, we want a large number, so that the codec mainly keeps track of the differences only between frames, as much as it can, and a large GOP size allows it a lot of ‘room to move’ and look around. For game capturing, we don’t want it to be quite as big, as the more frames on it’s plate it has to deal with, the more it will slow down and take time to decide what to do with them. 

There is also a chance that some video editing applications will not like the large (or any) Groups Of Pictures and may see the video stream as corrupted or give wierd artifacts/effects when it plays it back. This is one reason why using MJPEG as a game recording codec is suggested often, as it’s built-in GOP is “1”, as evey frame is it’s own self-contained ‘group’ and no editing app has to mess with it or over-analyze it. It is the most compatible, but you can use any codec you wish, but you may have to change the codec’s Keyframes or GOP to “1” for compatibility [more on this in future articles!]


Hence, we will set a nice low number [I personally used “50” around the time of this post]. Be aware that if the number is a multiple of the framerate you are recording in, Videophiles may notice the screen ‘shifting’ or having other odd effects ‘in time with’ the framerate (eg. if recording at 60fps and the GOP size is 60, some people notice the screen ‘correcting’ or ‘shifting’ or ‘flickering’ every second, as it ends the group or frames and starts a new one every second).
You can use “1”, which will make the codec act like MJPEG in a way, but then the codec will not have any room to analyze/compare/compress anything, and the resulting file will require much more bitrate to keep detail (to accurately represent what is going on in each frame)… more on that later in this article…
Weighted P-frames and Max consecutive B-frames is yet more analysis for the codec to do (especially B-frames, which remember, is a frame that ‘looks both ways’ for changes to frames in front and behind it, therefore can slow down recording a lot). For game capturing, we gots’ta keep setting things for speed and not letting the codec analyze too much. Change the Weighted P-frames to “None” (via a pull down bar) and the B-frames to “0” if they aren’t already. This is effectively telling the codec “you ain’t got time fo’ B-framez” so the rest of the settings that say “B-frames” should be locked/greyed out after that.
[In tests, enabling B-frames would actually crash the x264vfw app]
Under the Encoding section, the last column of this tab, the first section has to do with Deblocking
Deblocking is a way to try and ‘hide’ areas where the codec has cut out detail or ‘let go of data’ (lossy) in attempts to conform to the other settings in the codec and/or compress the frames highly. I’m sure almost everyone has seen Compression Artifacts like macroblocks or Gibbs Effects (mosquito noise) in high/over-compressed video and video streams. It’s not very pretty and turning on the Deblocking filter is one way of masking these artifacts, so that the video overall looks nicer to the human eye. 
The problem with Deblocking is that the codec will smooth things out, when trying to hide artifacts (especially ones that occur with lower bitrates/quality). It can be forced to keep detail with negative values (useful for movies/games with film grain), but overall it still takes more compression time to use, as the codec stops and analyzes the frames, looking for what to Deblock. So, for game recording for the most part, for optimum speed, Deblocking should be disabled, that is, “No Checkmark” in the box for In-loop deblocking filter (which will disable the two Deblocking settings below it).

[In my own trials/experiments, I found that a low amount of deblocking (as in “1”) for these two recording settings is acceptable and helps to hide some otherwise icky-looking compression effects that occur at lower bitrates (bitrate control is covered more in the next section), but for optimum speed (it is not needed at higher bitrates anyway) and especially for older/less powerful systems, turning deblocking off will always speed things up.]
CABAC is extra analysis that can really make a difference in compressing video. Some mobile players cannot even use it though, as it requires more processing power. The optimal setting for this, as it is extra analysis/processing being done – for game recording – would be “Off” (unchecked).

 [I have successfully done many recordings with CABAC on, as it seems to have only a slight effect on recording ‘lag’ on my system; but for optimum speed/less lag when recording (and at a slight loss for keeping some quality), it should be disabled.. for speed. ]

The only other thing to adjust in this tab, when game recording, is the Trellis setting. Trellis is a way of analyzing and attempting to keep certain detail when compressing, especially at lower bitrates, but as many times already mentioned, we want speed for game recording, so set the Trellis analysis to “Off” (via a pulldown bar). 

Main Tab

All of the below paragraphs between these red lines of text is the same for both the Official and the Unofficial versions of the x264vfw interface and is only duplicated for ease of reading their respective sections

The main thing in here (and really the only thing to adjust for game recording in this tab) is the longest bar right in the middle, the main datarate control and compression decision make, is all in that one bar. I cannot even make a suggestion on what to use [ok, I can actually], since it will partially depend on what type of game you are recording, your hardware, what kind of compression you are looking for and many other factors. I will attempt to simplify it however and give a suggestion at the end. (More importantly for game recording, there is one choice that is slightly faster than all the others).

To begin, since we are going to be using x264 for game recording, we cannot use the Leeloo Dallas Multipass Options. Multiple passes (usually 2 or 3) when compressing/archiving video can greatly increase quality, but that means twice the analysis, double-checking and then further compression by the codec. Literally processing every frame twice (for 2-passes). That’s great when we want to keep a movie in a small, ‘as-good/high-as-we-can-get’ quality, forever. When recording games however, we want [one guess] speed [I just realized this whole article can be it’s own drinking game]. We can only accept “Single pass” as our option, because we just want the codec to see what frames are coming in, take a quick glance, and compress them into our output video file. One pass.
Starting with ABR (Average BitRate), the “bitrate-based” setting, this setting allows you to punch in the average bitrate you want to record at and it attempts to stick with it (it will go lower, but try to never go higher than what you set here). This setting basically tells the codec, “Keep within this bitrate, I don’t care if the quality goes down”, because as the bitrate ceiling is reached, it will quickly degrade in quality, as more/high movement occurs on the screen/frame. It is good for keeping within a certain file size, if that is your desire, but it also causes a bit of ‘lag’ and is not seemingly optimized for ‘live’ capturing.
CQP (Constant Quantizer Parameter) is a setting where you are basically telling the codec, “Keep this level of Quality”, and it will do it’s best to keep that level of quality for all frames/scenes. However, it will spend more time (and bitrate) on fast-motion/high-action scenes. This is good if you want to keep a movie visible clearly when a lot of things are going on [I hate watching a low-quality video stream online and it goes absolutely-stupid blurry at high-motion scenes just because there are many things happening on the screen], but it will also result in the higher usage of bitrate, which means larger file sizes. This may sound like a good thing for game recording (and for quality, it is), but the time spend analyzing the faster-motion scenes means that it is actually slowing down (in terms of the codec breaking out it’s magnifying glass and scrutinizing the frames that are passing by), which results in ‘lag’, both in the game and in the recorded video file itself (“choppiness” on playback).
Lossless should attempt to lose no quality, processing only very little and passing all of that nice detail directly to the recorded video output. While sounding good in theory, in practice the utilization of ‘lossless’ in x264 must be geared towards slow, analyzed video compression and not ‘as fast as we can get to avoid lag’ “live” game recording. The result is actually a lossy, compressed (it does not seem to go far beyond 100,000kbps), low bitrate (compared to ‘true loss-less compression’) capture. It does look decent, but it is also very demanding on the system and causes a large framerate drop for the level of detail that should be coming out of it (and doesn’t). This codec does not seem to be optimized for lossless recording at this time and I do not suggest using the Lossless setting here.
CRF (Constant Rate Factor) is sort of a combination of ABR and CQP. At any given rate factor, a certain bitrate is maintained, and when the motion on the screen goes very high and the bitrate gets too high to represent what is occurring in the frame (or hits the ‘ceiling’ bitrate that it is restricted to, which can be set), then the quality begins to suffer, as the codec ramps it down and compresses the fast-moving (“not as easy for the human eye to see”) material, until things settle down on the screen and there is slower motion (such as a person walking). Then the quality ramps back up (the bitrate staying with the specified parameters) to keep the apparent quality high to the human eye. This is how CRF is supposed to work, and it seems to do a good job of that. 
Game recording with CRF isn’t as cut-and-dry as slow, long-term video compression with CRF, where it has time to figure out how to compress the fast/blurry scenes and make the slower/clearer scenes look better and change the bitrate/quantization respectively. Quantization can be thought of as ‘apparent spoilage’ of the material, where a certain amount isn’t even noticeable to most humans, and in some fast-moving-high-action scenes, it is even preferable to some eyes. Low bitrate and/or high quantization would both result in loss of detail and ‘blurring’ or ‘smoothing’ of video most of the time and can result in compression artifacts such as Macroblocks and Gibbs Effects (“mosquito noise”), as the codec tries to decide ‘what to keep’ and ‘what to lose’ (lossy compression). With CRF, it usually will try to keep a slow-moving scene (someone walking, people talking) detailed, without much quantizing (‘spoilage’), so that it looks good. It will take high-motion (fast action, fast changing) scenes and quantize them more (smoothing, blurring, ‘spoiling’) since the human eye won’t notice it as much on fast-motion, already-slightly-blurred changes on the screen.
To summarize the differences between the types of data rate controls (the choices in this pulldown bar):
CQP is like stating, “Keep this quality, I don’t care how big the bitrate/file gets” and ABR is like stating, “Keep this bitrate/filesize, I don’t care how crappy you have to make the video look to stay within that”, CRF is more like stating, “Try to keep this bitrate, but change it a little as you need (within a certain amount) and make the video look slightly crappy if you need to as well, but don’t let either one get too out of wack”. As CRF seemed to also be the one with the least amount of effect of the system in the form of ‘lag’ [only slightly less than the other ones in testing], being so highly configurable (compared to the other choices, where you can state a bitrate to stay within and it adjusts itself), I suggest using CRF for your x264/AVC game capturing.

Some Data / Bitrates seen with CRF

Since it looks like we are going to be sticking with CRF as our main datarate control factor [it performs slightly better than the other choices in tests], here’s an example of some bitrates that can result from using it (in kilobits per second):

Recorded game: Hitman: Absolution Benchmark [grainy, panning, high and low motion areas]
Recorded codec: H.264/AVC (MPEG-4 Part 10) using the x264vfw interface
Recorded settings [some]: No Deblocking, No Max Bitrate, No CABAC, adjusting only CRF

CRF 51  ~1200 kbps (lowest possible quality setting for CRF)
CRF 42  ~1600 kbps
CRF 32  ~6000 kbps
CRF 29  ~8500 kbps
CRF 26  ~14000 kbps
CRF 23  ~22000 kbps (codec default setting for CRF)
CRF 22  ~23000 kbps
CRF 21  ~32000 kbps
CRF 18  ~45000 kbps
CRF 15  ~64000 kbps
CRF 13  ~79000 kbps
CRF 10  ~101,000 kbps
CRF 5    ~119,000 kbps
CRF 1    ~119,000 kbps (highest possible quality setting for CRF)

As you can see, the higher the CRF, the lower the bitrate, so the lower the recorded file size will be (but also the lower the apparent quality). If you desire a higher-quality recording, then a lower CRF is what you want (even with a very low CRF, the bitrate is nowhere near as high as say, a FRAPS or YV12 recording (which can both easily be over 500,000 kbps), but that is the nature of the codec as it tries to slightly compress everything that passes through it.

It can also be seen, that is it is not a strict/hard-and-fast rule of evenly-spaced steps, when it comes to the CRF setting and Bitrate. It cannot be easily calculated that “two steps up in CRF equals this much more bitrate”. That is partially the nature of the compression and partially what occurs using CRF as a datarate control. When there is more motion on the screen and as it changes, the datarate will change as well, to try to keep within certain bitrate/quality boundaries and still accurately represent what is occurring on the screen/in the frames. With almost any form of compression/codec, only if the recording was using a completely fixed bitrate, or recording a static picture/view, would it be easy to calculate the adjustments required for a certain bitrate change. It is built into the codecs to adjust themselves as needed.

What CRF setting to use

So, what CRF setting to use? The general rule is: the lower the CRF number, the more bitrate/quality you are allowing it to use, but the bigger the recorded file size will be.

The choice is somewhat objective, as CRF18 may look good to me to record a first-person-shooter game with (the default is CRF23), but you may not like how it looks and want to use CRF10 to keep more details that you want to see.
Someone may not like the compression artifacts they can see when recording Minecraft using CRF18 and want to turn it up to CRF15 so that it is crisper, with less ‘mosquito noise’ around the edges or corruption that they can see; but you may think it looks good enough at the default of CRF23 and leave it there like someone else may do. You see?
Those are two very different types of video/games mind you, one is dark and grainy and the other is smooth, with hard edges, like animation; but you get the point. It can vary, not only person to person, but also game to game. A few short tests is all it will take however, and you quickly will find a CRF setting that you are happy to record with. You’ll find your own balance between, what will essentially be, these considerations:

The higher the bitrate (lower CRF number) the higher the quality and file size will be
The lower the bitrate (higher CRF number) the lower the quality and file size will be

You will eventually decide, with just a couple tests, what is ‘good enough’ quality for your eyes/uploading, and what CRF to use on that game (remember the ‘balancing act’ of bitrate vs quality mentioned at the beginning?). You will also find that the quality recorded isn’t even kept, after compressing the final/edited video to upload at a video sharing site somewhere.

All of the above paragraphs between these red lines of text is the same for both the Official and the Unofficial versions of the x264vfw interface and is only duplicated for ease of reading their respective sections

Slash-whew-sweating-emoticon

That was a lot to take in at once – but you made it through – and now you are set to record using H.264/AVC, whether you prefer Dxtory, Bandicam or use the completely free-to-use Afterburner from MSI. You are also now knowledgeable in both the Official and an Unofficial version of the x264 Video For Windows graphical way of setting up the codec, to change the settings.

Other than the Rate Control setting above (CRF) which you can adjust and set how you want it, the rest of the settings I have personally tested and found which ones allow for the faster recording performance and which ones negatively affect the speed of recording, utilizing the x264vfw interface (which these programs use to record in H.264/AVC). Turning off/down the ones I have stated throughout the article should give you the fastest/closest to ‘lag-free’ recording you can get with this codec, while still taking advantage of it’s compression capability. [My own Personal Notes/Opinions/Settings are below]

Please note that if your system is older or not as capable (perhaps you have a notebook/laptop which has less capability than a full desktop system with it’s own dedicated videocard and soundcard), you may have to do things like lower the recording resolution (or the resolution you are playing at in the game), increase the CRF number (so that it uses slightly less system resources to process the recording and will then use less bitrate and less disk space).

There are many things that can be done to help with speed, make for smoother recording, less lag, etc.
Here is a link to an article I wrote earlier on this blog, with general Tips to help with game recording:
http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.ca/2012/05/tips-for-game-recording-currently-text.html
No matter what game you play or what program you are using to record, these Tips will help you overall, with trying to record your games.

Lastly, 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 will. 

As always, do some of your own testing, see what works the best for you on your system and get things looking exactly how you want them to look – and have fun with it!


Personal Short Version/Opinion
and 
Settings I use:

H.264/AVC (MPEG-4 Part 10), is not normally a recommended codec to record with, for most people. It does not have the capability of super-high-almost-what-you-see-is-what-you-get quality that other codecs like FRAPS1, YV12, Lagarith or RGB Raw would give you. 
Heck, the highest bitrate possible (using the CRF setting, the fastest of the Rate Control settings in my tests) is only about 100,000kbps. That’s still about 2-4x the bitrate of the average BluRay movie mind you, and it seems fine to me, to look at the recorded videos of it.

Even if I had Terabytes of hard drive space to record to, I would still like to record in as small a filesize as I can, attempting at the same time to keep ‘good enough’ quality. Gone for me, are the days of filling my drives with FRAPS recordings (which have very high quality though) when today, with the more powerful CPUs and GPUs, I can record in a high MJPEG setting (for compatibility with editing apps) or a high MPEG-1 setting (which saves a lot on diskspace as well and has decent compatibility with video editors) – and now I can save even more space and record with MPEG-4 AVC, if desired. 
For instance, on my older system, a dual-core cpu with an NVIDIA GTS250, recording with x264/AVC brings my framerate down by about ten frames per second and sometimes more. On my newer system, a six-core cpu with an AMD HD 6870, recording with x264/AVC, with the same settings, brings my framerate down by only a couple of frames per second with my settings. Wonderful stuff.

I did many, many tests to find out what specific settings made differences (especially with the Unofficial version of the interface) and for the most part, it turned out as intuitive as it seemed at the outset: any setting that increased analysis and processing of the frames slowed things down. 
I had to test it all of course, and I found many settings that didn’t make a ‘huge’ impact on performance, and with more powerful hardware these are able to be used and enjoyed, helping to compress the frames even further, keeping decent detail and resulting in a very small recorded file size. As you can adjust/optimize settings far more in the Unofficial interface (at least a bit easier/graphically), I tend to use that one more than the Official version; but in essence, both are the same thing. Here’s some of my findings [my settings are in these square brackets]:

For the Official (“Simple”, red x264 logo) interface:

I found that, on a more modern desktop system, the Preset can be turned ‘down’ a bit (the amount of analysis going up a bit), to Superfast or even sometimes Veryfast, since many of the hard-cpu-hitting options like Trellis and larger Motion Estimations don’t kick in at these settings. Anything lower/slower than that makes it lag behind too much as it processes frames.
[I usually use Superfast]

While Zero Latency is pretty much required for live game recording, Fast Decode is not entirely needed, especially if you have a faster rig to power the game and record at the same time on. My computer isn’t even top of the line but it can handle NOT using Fast Decode (which disables CABAC, and a couple other things). CABAC can have quite a bit of an effect on quality, and since it doesn’t seem to have a huge performance hit, I use it. Fast Decode also disables Deblocking and that leads into my next setting…
[I always use Zero Latency]
[Even though it helps with speed, most of the time I don’t use Fast Decode]

The only other thing I change in the interface is deciding on the main Rate Control type and Rate Factor. In my own tests, CRF seemed to have the least amount of effect on framerate out of them all, and I fluctuate on what CRF I use, depending on the game I’m recording and what the recording is for. If I’m recording a high-quality test, of course it will be a low CRF, but it need not be a 1 to look good. I am quite satisfied with a CRF of 15-18 for decent-quality captures. The bitrate of a 1080p capture at that CRF ran about 45,000kbps, which is a high-quality BluRay movie’s bitrate. For just average gameplay for fun, I usually run a CRF of 21 up to 23. The quality is ‘good enough’ then, especially with a low Deblocking setting helping out (the Preset of Superfast leaves Deblocking “On” at the default 0:0 setting). I don’t recommend going below CRF23, with deblocking or not, as it just becomes too ‘garble-y’, to use a more technical term… Web broswer/low-motion games or hard-edged/animated games that look like Minecraft also need a higher bitrate (lower CRF), so that the hard edges aren’t messed up and the smooth/flat areas aren’t too compressed and get ‘blocky’.
[I use a CRF in the range of 18 for higher-quality capturing, going up to 23 if disk space is low, and don’t suggest higher than 23, so that quality doesn’t suffer too much] 

Nothing else need be adjusted in the Official x264/red logo interface, but I sometimes add “–keyint 50” or “–keyint 20” into the area (no quotation marks) ‘for advanced users’ at the bottom. This is a command that will force a keyframe/I-frame after that many frames have gone by. This helps to keep the seeking time low when editing and allows for closer cuts when not recompressing the clip when editing. If you having a problem with editing MPEG-4/AVC files, try using a –keyint setting of “1”, so that every frame is an editable/seekable keyframe. A higher GOP is better for file size but can take longer to seek when editing and Vegas or Premiere might have ‘trails’ or ‘corruption’ so might need a GOP setting of 1, see here for more info). You may want to increase the bitrate to keep quality then though, as the codec can’t really compress/do much of it’s ‘magic’ then, without room to work between frames. As stated above, the optimal codec for editing is MJPEG, but many do not like the quality (try turning it up to 100%).
Leaving it blank and not using any “–keyint” command will allow the codec to use many more frames (250 is the default I believe) for compression and the resulting recorded file size will be very small.

For the Unofficial (“Complicated”, black x264 logo) interface:

The first tab is just the Rate Control setting. CRF seemed to have the least effect on framerate.
I also sometimes add the –keyint setting to the command box at the bottom, just like I talked about a couple paragraphs up.
[I use a CRF in the range of 18 or less for higher-quality capturing, going up to 21 or if disk space is low, up to 23 at the most and don’t suggest higher than 23, so that quality doesn’t suffer too much]

For the second tab, there is a lot to change, but I mainly talked about why up in the article, so I’ll just state what I like to use here, after this paragraph on Deblocking:

Deblocking can be forced to ‘leave things in’/keep details, by using a negative value, especially when dealing with effects such as film grain and minute details and noise; but for the most part deblocking will ‘smooth things out’, especially trying to hide where a lot of detail has been lost, where compression artifacts like Macroblocks and Gibbs Effects (mosquito noise) around edges would show up. I don’t recommend putting deblocking up too high though, as it can really make things downright blurry. With deblocking completely off, all of the detail is kept, but many things can look like they have a ‘wood grain’ pattern on them. With a high bitrate/low CRF, there is no need for deblocking at all anyway, as there would be a lot less compression/artifacting. When recording a high-quality test or something like that, I leave it off. When just recording random gameplay or myself doing something, I turn it on at a low setting, to help with keeping things looking slightly more ‘clean’.
[I use Deblocking at 1:0 (CUDA default) up to 3:0, when I use it, but any more and things start to look ‘too smoothed out’ to me]

For this second tab then:
[No Partitions (all unchecked, Fast P-skip checked, 1 Max reference frame, ME algorithm on Diamond, ME range of 4, Subpixel ME refinement of 0 or 1 (any higher causes more lag), GOP size of 20 or 50 (this is the –keyint setting from above, higher is better for file size but can take longer to seek when editing and Vegas or Premiere might have ‘trails’ or ‘corruption’ so might need a GOP setting of 1, see here for more info), No Weighted P-frames, Max consecutive B-frames to 0 (none), In-loop deblocking filter unchecked (off) or checked (on) with a 1:1 deblock, CABAC on (it’s slower for less-capable systems), DCT decimation checked (on), Trellis set to Off]

In the third and last tab of the Unofficial (black x264 logo) interface, I sometimes set a VBV max bitrate of about 40000 (kbps) just to keep the filesize down, especially when I’m going to edit and recompress for uploading somewhere (which usually gets rendered out for upload at that bitrate or lower anyway), it looks ‘good enough’ for me (this also requires a buffer of some sort, to allow it to check the bitrate as it goes up and down, so I put in 4000 or 10000 if I set a VBV max bitrate)
[No maxbitrate usually, unless you want to save some harddrive space (eg. 50000k)]

That’s all I change for both of those interfaces, from their defaults, as of the time of this post. 
Keep in mind that as games are updated and Re-Optimized, drivers are Updated, and new hardware is released/purchased, I may change these settings (and I advise you to try some tests too, if you wish, when things change). Also, I am not a stickler for the utmost quality and don’t mind things getting compressed a bit, so you might want tighter/higher settings. 
Mainly, I hope that this info helps some of you to either record with less lag (many people report that with more optimized MPEG-4/AVC settings they have less apparent lag) or just learned some terms and concepts that may help when editing and compressing your own videos/shows/etc and overall just help you record better/smoother. I actually enjoyed testing all of these things out and learning about it and I hope it helps anyone that is recording their gameplay adventures.


See you in the games!

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 I Decluttered my Inbox

I try out new apps constantly, but it is rare that I find one that I consider a game-changer — one that revolutionizes how I do something and boosts my productivity.

Meet Mailbox.

Mailbox works with iOS mobile devices (iPhones, iPads) and GMail, and it can handle multiple GMail accounts. The idea is that your email box should always have ZERO messages in it, and it helps you achieve that goal by giving you four options for each message in your inbox.

Big-swipe to the left: Add to list

So many of the emails that I receive are ones that I don’t need to respond to immediately, and Mailbox understands that by allowing you to file messages as low-priority action items. It has three main lists:

  • To Read — great for newsletters and other items you’re interested in reading at some point but not necessarily the second that it arrives in your inbox
  • To Watch — my husband and some friends will sometimes send me YouTube videos that I can’t watch at work — not because they’re NSFW, but because YouTube is categorically blocked at my school. These videos also tend to be low-priority items.
  • To Do — emails of things to add to my “to do” list

It also gives you the option of creating additional lists. I made the “To Buy” list, for example, for items like subscription services that are going to expire sometime soon that I need to renew or for wishlist items that I’m thinking about buying someday. 

Short swipe to the left: Defer

Sometimes I receive messages that I want to deal with, but not at the time I’ve received it. When I’m using my iPhone, for example, I rarely respond to email because I prefer typing on my laptop. Some emails are ones that I’ll look at more closely at night or over the weekend when I have more time. Other emails are ones that I want to deal with at a specific future time or date. Consider these examples:

  • a coupon for a clothing store that I might use but is only valid for a certain week in the future
  • a confirmation email for an upcoming trip or conference

The beauty of the Mailbox app is that you can set the exact date and time when you want that message to reappear in your inbox by letting you “Pick Date.”

The message will reappear in your inbox at the date/time you specify so it can get your attention rather than just getting pushed to the depths of your inbox to be forgotten.

Short swipe to the right: Archive the message
I might want to look for it someday, but it’s not something I need to act on.

Long swipe to the right: Trash the message

Mailbox is a free app in the iTunes store, and in the three weeks that I’ve had it, it has replaced the default Mail app on my iPhone and completely changed the way that I manage email. I’ve gone from having literally 1,000s of emails in my inbox to having ZERO. It’s the first time I’ve ever felt like I’ve been on top of my email situation.

The iPad version just came out this week, and I’m using that a lot, too. It has a larger interface, but all of the same features. Here’s a screenshot of it on my iPad:

You can see that I have one message in my inbox — a coupon that I have to use this weekend if I’m going to use it at all. I’ve deferred 14 messages — some that I’ll reply to on Tuesday, others that I want to deal with once I’m completely done with school on Thursday. I’ve got some lists, but I can also check the archive or the trash in case I accidentally swipe something into the wrong place and want to move it back out.

If you click on a message in your inbox, an image of it will appear on the right so you can decide what to do with it. It’s a very easy-to-use and intuitive app, and now that I have it, I can’t imagine giving it up. It’s a huge asset to my productivity, and my only wish is that I could use this with other email platforms — like my school/work emails — that aren’t GMail accounts.

Have you tried Mailbox yet? I’d love to hear about how you manage email productivity in the comments below.

Hope you’re having a great Memorial Day weekend!

And More: Deal and Sales – Battlefield 4 Expansion, Second Assault is Free from EA – Two Days Left [Notification]

Just a quick mention, for those who didn’t catch it yet or for those who play [or never stopped playing!] Battlefield 4Second Assault, the Expansion pack that adds Four Maps, Five Weapons, Ten Assignments and more, is currently being given away Free from EA/Origin until the 28th – that’s only two days left to go get it!

Battlefield 4: Second Assault Expansion Pack Information Panel
in the “On The House” Section [ Free Games > On The House] in EA’s Origin Game Client (Click to see Full Size)

Note that you need to already own Battlefield 4, as this is an Expansion Pack, but you can still get it now – even if you don’t own BF4 – and play it later. Go and Download it now! GOGOGO

Battlefield 4: Second Assault Expansion Promotional Wallpaper by EA, Unedited
(Click to see Full Size)

See You In The Game!

Fast DietaryTrack rules

During this first two weeks you need to:

  • Eat about 150g (5oz) of protein per day, which should come from a portion about the size of your palm at each meal, plus two all-protein snacks per day.
  • Eat around 20g of carbohydrates per day. A simple way to work this out is to use a set of measuring cups (a cup holds 250m1/8 fl oz). You should aim to eat approximately 3 cups of low GI vegetables or 2 cups of low GI vegetables and 1/2cup low GI fruit — at least half of which should be eaten raw.
  • Get 30 per cent of your daily calorific intake from fats, which may include: olive oil, walnut oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, homemade mayonnaise, flaxseed oil, small amounts of butter, small amounts of sour cream
  • Drink 8-10 glasses of water daily; you can also drink herbal teas, but avoid alcohol, soft drinks, tea and coffee, because caffeine interferes with ketosis
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners, which can stimulate insulin secretion
  • Rev up your protein levels by including at least one whey-protein drink per day
  • Eat enough — otherwise you may start to burn muscle tissue
  • Avoid starchy, carbohydrate-heavy foods such as pasta, bread and potatoes
  • Beware of hidden carbohydrates in sauces and dressings
  • Check the labels of all foodstuffs and avoid all processed foods
  • Not give up!

Diet Start

Dietary Q&A

Q. I have been restricting my carbohydrate intake for days now and I have no energy. I thought this plan was supposed to make me feel better, not worse.

A. Your body is adapting to the metabolic conversion of burning fat for energy instead of glucose. This takes about three days in most people, which is why it is usually best to start the diet over a weekend when you are able to relax more. After three days you should see a rise in your energy levels, but if you continue to feel lethargic or unwell, stop the plan and check with your doctor.

Q. Will I get enough fibre on this plan?

A. Fibre is provided by the inclusion of fibrous vegetables and fruit, and is increased if you eat most of these raw. However, if you experience constipation during the initial stages, try adding psyllium husks or psyllium- husk powder to your whey smoothies, because they comprise 100 per cent soluble fibre. Psyllium husks are pure dietary fibre, composed mostly of cellulose. They swell when they come into contact with water and release

a gelatinous mass (mucilage) which passes through the colon and aids easy elimination.

Q. Why does a lowcarbohydrate diet cause bad breath?

A. When you are on the Fast-Track Plan and restricting your carbohydrates to around 20g (3/40z) per day, you will be burning ketones, which may cause your breath to smell a little unpleasant. Don’t worry, this is easily masked by chewing parsley-oil capsules or by using a natural breath-freshener spray. Make sure that you drink plenty of water because this will help to neutralize the odour.

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!

5 Tips to Make Your Paperless Classroom Work

I’m now more than 3/4 of the way through my year of 1:1 iPad work with fourth graders, and while I hoped to have a paperless classroom, the reality has been a bit different. We’re definitely using less paper than we would without iPads, but I can’t pretend that we’re paper-free. As I reflect on this school year, here are five things I would do differently next year to make the paperless transition go even better.

1. Begin the year with a typing boot camp.
The biggest obstacle to the paperless classroom at the beginning of fourth grade is simply that the kids (for the most part) don’t know how to type. Tasks that should have been quick ended up taking 3-4 times the length that I’d anticipated just because the kids were hunting for keys on the keyboard. I think if I’d spent the first term of the year working on typing skills, it would have made a big difference. And on a related note, I’d encourage students to get bluetooth keyboards to use with their iPads (assuming the school won’t invest in those, too).

2. Transition gradually.
When my students start fourth grade, they come from a school that does not have 1:1 iPads. As a result, the technology integration is a big adjustment–for both students and parents. Going fully paperless can be a huge culture shock for the students, and the transition can produce some anxiety. Even with tech-savvy students, there can be a huge learning curve with different apps, and it can quickly get frustrating for some kids–especially the ones who were very comfortable with school as they previously knew it. Start small with a few key apps (e.g., Edmodo, Evernote) and build from there.

3. Try to give options.
Some students are far more comfortable with the iPads than others, and sometimes their lack of comfort can impact their work. With writing, for example, I’ve learned to give students the option of drafting on paper, even though there are lots of mind-mapping and word processing apps they could use for drafting. Usually once they have that first draft on paper, they’re more comfortable typing it in to make revisions and edits. For some of my students, that flexibility makes a huge difference in the amount of writing they can endure. For other students, the iPads boost productivity. Either way, we know that choice is important to students, and this is another important way to differentiate in a 1:1 classroom.

4. Don’t force it.
There are still some contexts where it makes more sense to use paper. Math tests are one example for me. I don’t tend to give students multiple choice tests in math, and I want them to have plenty of space to show their work. Yes, they could do the work on GoodReader with a stylus and turn it in on Edmodo, but that’s not necessarily more efficient for me to grade–especially on a multipage test. Similarly, we’re still using paper and a notebook for our word study work. We use differentiated spelling lists with Words Their Way, and I want students to go through the practice of sorting and recording their words each week. Paper makes sense for that.

5. Stay flexible, and have a backup plan.
At the beginning of the year, we were using our iPads for almost everything (we still are). But then I got sick, and I had to write sub plans. I never know who I’m going to have as a sub, but there are two things that are certain: 1) the sub will never be as comfortable managing a class full of iPads as I am, and 2) students will be more apt to misbehave when they have a sub. As a result, I don’t usually include the iPads in my sub plans unless I know that there will be someone there to enforce my expectations (e.g., someone I co-teach with or my student teacher). If students expect to use the iPads for everything, it can really throw a wrench into the system to take those away, even for a day. Therefore, it’s important to be flexible with using them throughout the year so that students aren’t dependent on them. Sure, they might have a preference, but they need to be able to function without them. That’s also true for times when the power goes out, the internet goes down, or a software glitch makes the iPad temporarily unavailable.

Any tips to add? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

This post contains affiliate links, but 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.”

MATRYOSHKA HOUSE MODERN DESIGN & SPIRITUAL SIMPLICITY

MATRYOSHKA HOUSE MODERN DESIGN & SPIRITUAL SIMPLICITY

MATRYOSHKA HOUSE MODERN DESIGN & SPIRITUAL SIMPLICITY

Matryoshka House was designed by architect David Jameson, is located in Bethesda, Maryland, USA. Obeyng unwritten rules concept Matryoshka, the house consists of a series of volumes is one inside the other. According to ‘description’, architects, in essence, a meditation room with suspended center acts as the physical and spiritual for the project. The internal energy market of the meditation room locked in an open, bright. Alternating tread stairs rise participant commits deliberatley eve of the meditation room. The meditation room is surrounded by a wooden container that surrounds the living area of ​​the house. Traditional decorations in turn should have soothed by stucco walls act as a protective layer and ground floor of the house. In-between space of nested volumes strategic cup sun to protect lines of light inside.

MATRYOSHKA HOUSE MODERN DESIGN & SPIRITUAL SIMPLICITY

MATRYOSHKA HOUSE MODERN DESIGN & SPIRITUAL SIMPLICITY

MATRYOSHKA HOUSE MODERN DESIGN & SPIRITUAL SIMPLICITY

MATRYOSHKA HOUSE MODERN DESIGN & SPIRITUAL SIMPLICITY DINING ROOM

MATRYOSHKA HOUSE MODERN DESIGN & SPIRITUAL MEDITATION ROOM

MATRYOSHKA HOUSE MODERN DESIGN & SPIRITUAL MEDITATION ROOM

MATRYOSHKA HOUSE MODERN DESIGN & SPIRITUAL SIMPLICITY BATHROOM

MATRYOSHKA HOUSE MODERN DESIGN & SPIRITUAL SIMPLICITY BATHROOM

10 Reasons to Write with Technology

I’m super excited about the two books that I’m studying this summer as part of my summer series.

Today, I’m diving into the first one entitled When Writing with Technology Matters by Carol Bedard and Charles Fuhrken. 
Rather than giving you a laundry list of all of the ways that you could integrate technology into writing, this book goes in-depth into two specific projects. The first project uses reading and writing to launch moviemaking, and the second project is authoring a visual nonfiction essay. As someone who routinely integrates technology in the classroom, I like this book because it examines lots of angles of these types of projects in great detail. But this book is also good for beginners for that same reason. Rather than offering an overwhelming number of ideas, it breaks down projects into manageable and authentic steps. 
I’ll be examining each of those projects in future posts, but today I want to talk about the first chapter – 10 Reasons Why Writing with Technology Matters.

The opening chapter is filled with research about how technology integration contributes to student learning. They break it down into a list of the following 10 items:

Something that I would add to this list that captures many of the items is the notion of “authenticity.” When you engage students in project-based learning such as making a movie or designing a visual essay, students feel like they have a real purpose. Their work will be viewed by others, and this really motivates students to push a little bit harder. Giving students the freedom, space, and resources to work on something meaningful is a powerful recipe for empowering learners.

I also want to comment on teacher-disposition. A lot of people who visit my classroom think that I have all the answers for technology integration, but let me tell you a secret — I don’t. Almost every day, a student or teacher will ask me a question about how to do something, and I won’t immediately know the answer.

And that’s okay.

Because one of the most important things I can model for my students is the act of troubleshooting and problem solving. If I can’t figure out how to do something, I’ll hop on the internet and poke around until I can find the answer. I think a lot of teachers avoid technology because they’re not confident in their ability to work with it, but you can find a whole lot of information just-in-time as you need it online. Don’t let a lack of confidence divert you from trying some of these projects.

Next week, we’ll dive into Part 1: Reading and Writing to Launch Moviemaking. If you haven’t already picked up a copy of this book, I’d highly recommend it. And it’s not too late to join in the book study! In fact, you’re only 14 pages behind! 🙂

If you are reading this book, I’d love to know what you think. Leave me a note in the comment section!

Happy reading (and writing)!

This post contains affiliate links, but 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.”

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

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

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).

ROUTINE FOR PUTTING ON WEIGHT

Plenty of rest and exercise, a good diet of fattening foods and no worries—those are the essentials

PUTTING on weight is very much more difficult than taking it off. Even thosefew extra pounds which can make all the difference to the appearance, comfort and, no doubt, general health, can be quite a problem.

Before embarking on a diet, it is always advisable to seek the advice of your own doctor. This is particularly important if there has been a sudden or prolonged loss of weight for no good reason and without affecting normal appetite. Where loss of weight is the result of an illness or operation, it is usually quite quickly and easily regained after recovery. The routine to be described will help in such cases, subject to the approval of your own doctor.

We are concerned here chiefly with that large army of men and women who are anxious to put on weight but who are the thin type by nature. Such people are born worriers, with excitable and energetic natures and over-active bowels, whose food does not remain in the intestines long enough to be properly absorbed.

Diet Start

Essential in the fattening process are:

  • Keep calm and stop worrying. That is obviously a counsel of perfection to those who easily get worked up, but it can be achieved by cultivating outside interests that take your mind away from the source of anxiety (it may be professional, domestic, financial, or all three).
  • Take plenty of rest. A minimum of between 8 and 9 hours in bed at night, plus between 10 and 30 minutes after every meal.
  • Avoid rushing about, but take regular exercise. On no account jump up immediately after a meal; take life at a leisurely pace. Strenuous games are good if you really enjoy them, because they create appetite; so does any form of outdoor exercise, however mild.
  • Eat well and regularly, and concentrate on the fattening foods (list follows). But be careful not to stuff between meals or you will defeat the whole object and be unable to eat your main meals, which are far more important. You must also avoid over-eating, with the inevitable danger of indigestion and biliousness. Aim at three good meals a day, plus any extras (such as sweets, etc.) which you really fancy and a hot, preferably milk, drink last thing at night. The housewife should take as many meals out as she conveniently can because she will not have the worry of preparing them.
  • Cut down your smoking. It diminishes the appetitite, so, if you must smoke at all, only after meals, please.

Sugar, sweets, jam, marmalade, fruits in syrup, treacle, honey, Golden Syrup.

Cakes, scones, pastry, cereals, bread, biscuits, puddings.

Thickened soups and gravies, sauces made from flour, butter and/or milk.

Fried foods, cream, salad dressings, butter, dripping.

Pork, duck, goose. All fat meat and bacon. Tinned fish in oil.

Sweet wines, beer, stout, spirits, sweet aerated waters.

Dried fruits. Bananas, grapes, plums. Potatoes, peas, dried beans, parsnips, beetroot.

Cod-liver oil, Virol, olive oil.

Salt with food.

Foods with very little fattening value

Meat extracts. Marmite. Clear soups. Gelatine. Egg-white.

Green vegetables and salads. Vinegar. Tea. Coffee.

SPECIMEN DIET FOR PUTTING ON WEIGHT

Minimum: 1 pint of milk per day

On waking: Cup of tea, preferably with milk and sugar.

Breakfast: Cereal or porridge with milk and sugar or honey or syrup.

Bacon, egg, fish, etc.

Toast, butter and marmalade.

Coffee or tea.

11 a.m.: Coffee, cocoa or milk and a biscuit, or try this cocktail: One teaspoonful Spanish olive oil sandwiched between layers of orange juice in a wineglass. You can increase the quantity of olive oil gradually.

Lunch: Thick soup, if liked (if this makes it impossible to eat main course, substitute tomato or orange juice as an appetiser instead).

Meat, fish, game, poultry, etc.—both fat and lean. Serve with gravy, roast or fried potatoes and a green vegetable or salad with plenty of oily or cream dressing.

Pudding and / or cheese, butter and biscuits.. Coffee.

Tea: Tea with cake or bread and butter or banana sandwich.

Dinner: Thick soup (see Lunch).

Fish, meat or poultry, with gravy, at least one vegetable from list of Fattening Foods; one green vegetable or salad with cream or oil dressing.

Steamed or boiled pudding or milk pudding or ice cream.

Cheese with bread or biscuits and butter.

Coffee.

NOTE: Cocktails, wines. etc., may be taken as desired and obtainable. Stout or beer is good.

Bedtime: A hot drink, preferably containing milk.

fantastic paintjob on this speedboat

http://darkdraggon.tumblr.com/page/3

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!

How Much Protein Do You Need Each Day?

One of the most controversial and confusing aspects of nutrition is how much protein people should consume each day.    There are several factors to take into account to get a good answer to this question, and there are potential problems with eating too much protein.   There are also definitely problems with not eating enough protein.  It is also important to consider what type of protein is being consumed.
Height, weight, age, sex and activity level all factor into your protein needs.   Obviously the larger you are the more protein you need to take in to support structural proteins throughout the tissues of the body including the muscles, bone, skin and organs.  In the same way the more active you are the more protein you need to consume.  In addition, protein is used to create enzymes, and enzymes are critically important for all cellular function.
Protein is made up of amino acids and there are essential and non-essential amino acids.    Essential amino acids MUST be consumed because they cannot be made by the body.    Complete proteins contain all the amino acids and come from meats, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy.   While vegetarian proteins are not complete it is not hard to combine different plant protein sources to obtain all the protein the body needs to function.
Other factors which influence how much protein is required is overall caloric/energy status.     If you are eating enough calories to maintain bodyweight or gain bodyweight you require less protein as a percentage of overall calorie intake while those people in caloric deficit require a higher percentage of their overall calorie intake to maintain lean tissue mass (losing lean mass like muscle is usually NOT a good idea so this is important).
How much is too much?

In large amounts and for certain populations (such as those with compromised Kidney Function) excess protein can cause problems.    That being said, for the normal healthy individual, the body can easily and safely process and use a lot of protein.    A portion of the protein you eat is frequently converted to glucose (blood sugar) and if your overall calorie intake is too high you will convert excess protein into fat like ALL unused excess calories.
Another potential problem with too much protein is that high protein intake stimulates the release of mTOR which stands for Mammalian Target of Rapamycin.    mTOR is a key regulatory protein that signals for cell growth through the creation of new proteins. Consider protein building similar to a race car. The larger the engine, the greater potential for speed. Similarly, the more mTOR present in any given cell, the greater potential for more protein construction. And just like the gas pedal fuels the engine, mTOR is a signaling protein, and can be various levels of active (like a pedal’s ability to regulate speed). If a number of different processes all signal for ‘Go’, then the cell builds as much protein as it can, as quickly as it can. So just as a souped-up car takes off rapidly, a muscle cell can signal for tremendous muscle growth very quickly, given the right conditions.   n
For this reason, mTOR is a good thing when you are looking for muscle-building!  However, there is a potential dark-side to mTOR.   Cancerous tumors are designed to grow as fast as possible, and they rely on mTOR signaling to build proteins just like healthy cells.   So too much mTOR could theoretically put people at a higher risk of developing rapid and serious cancers.  In fact, a lot of cancer research is based around slowing down and minimizing mTOR activity in tumor cells (the exact opposite goal of muscle research).
 
This doesn’t necessarily mean that eating more protein for muscle building is going to cause cancer. Numerous other proteins and factors come into play, and some may respond differently in muscle cells than in cancerous cells.
Safe and Adequate Protein Intake

The Institute of Medicine’s protein RDAs are calculated using 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This means an adult who weighs 68 kilograms needs at least 54 grams of protein each day. The RDA for pregnant and nursing women is 71 grams of protein per day.  Keep in mind the RDA is a MINIMUM and does not mean this is ideal!   This also assumes you are sedentary!   So, if you are exercising and trying to build muscle or older and trying to prevent muscle loss higher protein intake is better.  To determine your minimum daily intake, divide your body weight by 2.2 to determine your weight in Kilograms and then multiply by .8 to get your minimum daily protein intake.  
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that although athletes only need about 1 gram of protein per kilogram of bodyweight to maintain muscle mass, they require 1.4 to 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram to build muscle mass; this is equivalent to about 0.64 to 0.82 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day.

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.

BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS STYLE FROM SHH

SHH is a London-based company, founded in 1992. Interior design is not their only strong point that the company also makes architectural projects. But now we want to show you how a room can be transformed into an elegant and modern in their vision.

BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS FROM SHH

BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS FROM SHH

We collected up to 15 different interiors that stand out and can become a real source of inspiration. We deal in the living room, bedroom or the hallway of boredom and failed surprising elements are added to create comfortable spaces. White is airy and gives a sense of calm, while the funky food the best and rebels. Color and light is present in some unusual arrangements with excellent results.

BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS FROM SHH

BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS FROM SHH

BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS FROM SHH

BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS FROM SHH

BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS STYLE FROM SHH

BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS STYLE FROM SHH

BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS DESIGN FROM SHH

BEAUTIFUL INTERIORS DESIGN FROM SHH

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. 

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.

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!

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.

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

MODERN ROOM DESIGN APARTMENT IN THE HEART OF STOCKHOLM

Here is a mesmerizing seeks two-bedroom apartment with contemporary charm of events celebrating the beautiful Scandinavian style. The trough has two bedrooms and a kitchen year covers an area of ​​74 square meters. According Alvhem open plan living, social nucleus in apartments with high ceilings, walls painted in immaculate white, the beautiful oak floors and large windows. Splashes of color brighten the interior and seats with the elements that seem inviting visitors screaming. The kitchen island of brass with a thick sandstone table creates a social atmosphere that is sure to make any cook happy. The table has a sink sub-pasted from Blanco, who is both stylish and practical. From the terrace one has a spectacular view of the beautiful area and a perfect place for relaxation. What an inspiring use of space for a modern two-bedroom apartment!

MODERN TWO-ROOM DESIGN APARTMENT IN THE HEART OF STOCKHOLM

MODERN TWO-ROOM DESIGN APARTMENT IN THE HEART OF STOCKHOLM

MODERN TWO-ROOM DESIGN APARTMENT IN THE HEART OF STOCKHOLM

MODERN TWO-ROOM DESIGN APARTMENT IN THE HEART OF STOCKHOLM

MODERN TWO-ROOM DESIGN APARTMENT IN THE HEART OF STOCKHOLM

MODERN TWO-ROOM DESIGN APARTMENT IN THE HEART OF STOCKHOLM

MODERN TWO-ROOM DESIGN APARTMENT IN THE HEART OF STOCKHOLM

MODERN TWO-ROOM DESIGN APARTMENT IN THE HEART OF STOCKHOLM

MODERN TWO-ROOM DESIGN APARTMENT IN THE HEART OF STOCKHOLM

MODERN TWO-ROOM DESIGN APARTMENT IN THE HEART OF STOCKHOLM

MODERN TWO-ROOM DESIGN APARTMENT IN THE HEART OF STOCKHOLM

MODERN TWO-ROOM DESIGN APARTMENT IN THE HEART OF STOCKHOLM

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.

INTERIOR DESIGNERS NEW YORK CITY

INTERIOR DESIGNERS NEW YORK CITY

INTERIOR DESIGNERS NEW YORK CITY

Are you planning an interior designers in New York City? Looking for the lights of New York City? A field of interior design flourishes at New York Medical Interior Design. This is a niche area of ​​design. The focus is that of furnishing medical care institutions must be given to patients not only the service friendly, but friendly design as well. The reason is that hospitals will not only try to repair the physical ailments of patients, but the psychological and spiritual well-being of the patient as well. The population is aging and the need for sensitivity to the design, construction and installation is becoming an important part of the management of age. responsive design provides some relief therapy and improved quality of life for retirees.

Interior design students and professionals are increasingly aware of the medical concept of interiors in New York and other large cities. “Health professionals and designers believe that the concept of environment helps patients physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. What exactly does New York medical interior design involves what are the therapeutic and economic benefits? If medical services who wish to provide a therapeutic context, then what should be the development architecture? INTERIOR DESIGNERS NEW YORK CITY are important points interior designer must consider when creating a design for a medical center. If the installation activity promotion and creativity, so that should be incorporated into the design.

The space must be organized so that patients have the privacy of your health care environment. Planting, lighting and colors have been used effectively to create a pleasant environment must not disrupt or interfere with the routine of the patient. Factors such as codes, regulations, and the money available for the design of medical affairs in New York interior designer, is responsible for knowing and following. There are several quality books on the interior of the doctor. If a medical institution on patients’ and Senior Care then they should definitely consult an interior designer experience in this field. If the search for textbooks in the field not to look over the books written by Jain Malkin. His research on the subject has led to a series of excellent books. Interior designers new york city research has resulted in more and better places for patients and those who work to change the appearance of buildings and health facilities.

BEDROOM DESIGNERS NEW YORK CITY

BEDROOM DESIGNERS NEW YORK CITY

KITCHEN INTERIOR DESIGNERS NEW YORK CITY

KITCHEN INTERIOR DESIGNERS NEW YORK CITY

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…

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!]

    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/  

    EXOTIC CONCEPT HOME FULL COLOR VERY JUOOOOZZZZZZ

    Have you ever seen life, both in the apartment before? Usually, when it comes to so many colors, we have to overcome the enormous risk of visual confusion room. However, in this situation, it seems that everything is in place and atmosphere that inspired this apartment is the energy and extreme informality. Especially designed for young working couples, this house is a fusion of passions and interests. As their styles are very different and they wanted some of their own furniture to integrate into their new home, things were very difficult for designers.

    EXOTIC LIVING ROOM CONCEPT HOME FULL COLOR

    EXOTIC LIVING ROOM CONCEPT HOME FULL COLOR

    EXOTIC DINING ROOM CONCEPT HOME FULL COLOR

    EXOTIC DINING ROOM CONCEPT HOME FULL COLOR

    EXOTIC KITCHEN CONCEPT HOME FULL COLOR

    EXOTIC KITCHEN CONCEPT HOME FULL COLOR

    EXOTIC BATHROOM CONCEPT HOME FULL COLOR

    EXOTIC BATHROOM CONCEPT HOME FULL COLOR

    EXOTIC BEDROOM CONCEPT HOME FULL COLOR

    EXOTIC BEDROOM CONCEPT HOME FULL COLOR

    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! 

    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.

    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.

    3 Favorite & Underappreciated Apps

    I recently stumbled on an adorable blog called “Thirsty Firsties,” and Kelly, the author, is hosting a linky party about iPad apps.

    The rules are to share three apps – one free for classroom use, one paid for classroom use and one favorite app for personal use. She’s also giving away an iTunes gift card as part of the linky, so be sure to check out her blog and join in the fun!

    I’ve already shared many of the apps that I love and use in the classroom. See, for example, my list of favorite paid apps and my list of favorite free apps. So today, I’m branching out to share some of the apps that I’ve used and enjoyed this year that I haven’t really talked about before.

    Favorite Free App – Spelling City

    Vocabulary Spelling City is a great app for teaching students vocabulary or spelling words. It has a variety of engaging games, and it can be used by students at all levels. The app itself is free and has a lot of functionality on its own. If you are a premium subscriber to Spelling City, however, it’s a great complement to the activities you assign your students each week. I had my students doing activities on this app almost daily, and our differentiated weekly spelling tests were done entirely through this app (with the teacher premium subscription).

    Favorite Paid App – Marble Math

    Marble Math is a fun and challenging math game that addresses a broad range of math computation skills. I’ll confess that I’ve even found myself playing it far longer than a typical “teacher test-drive” would require. The object is to navigate a marble through a maze by solving a variety of problems. It includes fractions, decimals, equations, and negative numbers, so this is probably best for grades 4 and higher. Of all of the apps on our iPads this year, this was the one that students seemed to gravitate toward most in their free time.

    Favorite Personal App – Feedly

    In the debate between Feedly and BlogLovin, I’m coming down on the side of Feedly for one major reason — I LOVE the iPad app. It’s really easy to flip through and navigate, it rotates, and it doesn’t seem to crash as much as BlogLovin did. In fact, I’ve never had a single problem with it. I don’t tend to comment on blogs as much from my iPad, so I can’t speak to that aspect of comparing the two. Usually if I’m browsing blogs on my iPad, I’ll mark the blogs that I want to comment on and comment through my computer later on. So for the sheer visual appeal of the app for reading blogs, I’m a big fan. This has become one of my favorite go-to apps on my iPad.

    Now it’s your turn. What are your three favorite apps? I’d love to hear about them, and be sure to link up with Kelly over at Thirsty Firsties if you get a chance. She’s running the contest for the iTunes gift card through Monday.

    And don’t forget to link up with my Teacher Toolbox Trio celebration as well! I can’t wait to discover more awesome classroom resources from TpT!

    How to Create a Lower Body Band Training System

    Resistance training bands provide a great strength curve that matches the lower body strength curves nicely.   Specifically, the more you stretch a band the higher the level of resistance you have to overcome.   In the case of the key lower body movements such as squats, deadlifts and lunges this matches the strength curve of these key movements meaning that the muscles are capable of producing the highest levels of force at the top of the movement when joints are extended and muscles in their shortest position.
    The trick is how to apply band resistance to these movements and other functional movements such as jumps.  While there are many different techniques for accomplishing it – one of the best is to create your own lower body band loading system using a large band as a belt and smaller band/s looped through it and onto your feet to create load from the hips down.

    This system puts no load on the spine,  and it is easy to increase or decrease load based on band sizes used and number of times you wrap the band around your feet.
    It travels with you as you move for extra load for all lower body movements including squats, lunges, and deadlifts.    It is also a portable jump training system that is easy to create, and for facilities with the reACT Trainer it is a fantastic way to create additional overload on the reACT Trainer while keep the hands free!

    Click here to see step by step instructions for how to use bands for this set-up:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkAMGtjkVm4

    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!

    Choosing a Sensible Diet, Healthy Appetite

    So you like to eat! That’s normal. A healthy appetite is one of the greatest assets in life. The whole body seems to respond to the sight, smell, and taste of a well-prepared meal. Every organ responds to the occasion. The glands work more vigorously, the digestive organs operate more efficiently, and the nervous tensions relax. That is why eating is such a pleasure, especially when you are healthy.

    Many people, however, are neither sick nor well. They are somewhere in between. They drag themselves around, feeling half dead much of the time. Yet, they are not sick enough to go to bed. What is the cause of their trouble? Many times it is due to a faulty diet. Some victims of nervous conditions could be completely cured if they would only learn to eat properly. The same is true of many others who suffer from digestive complaints. They could all find relief from their miseries by choosing better meals.

    So much depends on the right choice of food. This human body in which we live is a superb machine. It is capable of operating smoothly for seventy or eighty years, provided that we treat it well. But if we fail to supply it with the materials it needs, the results may be well-nigh disastrous.

    Every time we open our mouths to eat we make an important decision concerning our future.

    Good health always begins in the garden. A well-balanced diet naturally includes plenty of wholesome fruits and vegetables.

    Diet Start

    What we choose to eat will either help to keep us strong and healthy or it will leave us weakened and less prepared to meet the stress and strain of living. The kind of health and the length of life we enjoy probably depend more on the type and quality of foods we choose than on any other factor. The choice is up to us.

    It was the Creator’s plan that the foods we eat should keep us young and healthy. Many bring on premature old age by wrong eating habits.

    Unfortunately, a great many people never give much thought to their diet. They will eat anything they can get their hands on or that may appeal to their perverted appetites. In their minds one thing is as good as another—or as bad. They will eat at any odd time whether they are hungry or not. No wonder they are sick! The human digestive system was never intended to sustain this kind of abuse.

    Don’t Be a Faddist

    On the other hand, there are some who react quite differently. They take great pains regarding what they eat. They are so careful to avoid anything that they suspect might cause them trouble. They are so particular in everything they do. Every now and then they go on some newfangled diet in the hope of winning back their lost energies. This means that they often deprive themselves of the very things they so much need. Such people are slowly starving themselves in the midst of plenty.

    In most cases there was nothing radically wrong with such people. They simply didn’t know how to feed themselves in a proper manner. They were not intelligent on some of these most vital issues of life.

    It should seem perfectly obvious to everyone that our bodies are built up entirely from the things we eat. We have no other way of getting these important substances into the system. Yet how few of us really think very much about this. To keep well we must develop different tastes. Our appetites need to be educated. For instance, we must realize that we cannot continue to eat devitalized foods without paying for our folly.

    Foods that are highly flavored with sugar and condiments are usually devoid of some of the most important elements needed by the body. The seasonings often cover up the natural flavor to satisfy an abnormal appetite. But such foods may be completely lacking in the vital elements necessary to maintain a person in good health.

    Rules for Choosing a Sensible Diet

    Choosing a sensible diet is not so difficult. There are a few simple rules that anyone can follow. First of all, it is important to have plenty of variety in your diet. Don’t be satisfied with the same old humdrum meals. Look around for something new and different—avoid monotony. Find new ways of preparing food. It is a fact that the more variety you have, the less you are likely to suffer from some dietary deficiency.

    The second rule is to learn something about the different materials your body needs. For instance, if you are going to build a house, you will have to buy certain supplies, such as timber, glass, bricks, plaster, nails, paint, and many more. In the same way the human body needs different building materials for the important job it has to do. These things are essential at every age of life, but more particularly during those rapidly growing years of childhood and youth. They are also necessary when one is recovering from some serious illness or injury, or during pregnancy and lactation.

    What are these different materials? Doctors refer to them as proteins, fats, carbohydrates, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and water. These are the materials of which the body is composed. They are present in our foods. When these various substances are absorbed into the blood stream, they are usually stored in the liver and other organs until they are needed. With the exception of water, each must undergo certain changes before being used in the human system. Myriads of chemical reactions are taking place within your own body at this very minute. This is what keeps you healthy and strong, so that all your organs will be working at full capacity.

    From our foods we get the materials out of which the bones, muscles, nerves, skin, and all the internal organs are formed. From our food we also derive the energy we need in carrying on all the activities of life. In addition, we must have other important chemicals that are needed to regulate the activities of every organ in the body. Unless these materials are present in our daily diet, we are likely to suffer from some deficiency. Sooner or later we will find ourselves in real trouble.

    The average diet of many families today is lacking in certain of these nutrients. Sometimes the trouble is due to insufficient protein. At other times it may be a loss of vitamins or minerals, which may have occurred during the preparation of the food. Some people try to make up for a deficient diet by taking extra vitamins in the form of pills. These may help, but they will never take the place of good food in supplying the needs of the body. There is always danger in trying to follow some haphazard, unbalanced diet. Only a sensible way of living will enable us to enjoy a full and satisfying life, free from diseases that could have been avoided.

    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.

    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. “

    What is the Best Way to Warm-Up?

    There is a lot of controversy and conflicting opinions on what you should do for a warm-up for exercise.   One of the reasons is that warm-ups should vary based on the activity you are preparing for and your level of fitness.
    As the name implies one of the key goals in warm-up is to literally raise the body temperature and gradually ramp up the cardiovascular system to be prepared for harder efforts.     The length of warm-up should be based on the intensity of the activity.     Low intensity activities like moderate pace walking really require no specific warm-up as you can simply ease into the activity itself as a warm-up.     For activities like competitive athletic events that involve high intensity effort the warm-up should be longer.
    In the same way, you have to consider your fitness level because a warm-up for a highly fit individual may be relatively high intensity exercise for a deconditioned person.
    For all warm-ups, a 1 – 5-minute period of escalating cardiovascular exercise that raises heart rate and body temperature is advisable.    For high intensity athletic events this should be extended until the athlete breaks a sweat without being fatigued.   
    This literal warm-up can be done on a cardiovascular exercise machine or via dynamic bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, planks, push-ups, etc.    
    Once you raise body temperature you can include some dynamic stretching with an emphasis on movements that address key joints and muscles involved in the actual activity you are warming up for.   For example, for tennis warming up the shoulder joint and surrounding muscles is important while for cycling this is less relevant.
     A Proven Warm-up Protocol
    Warm-ups for sports participation have been researched and there is one in particular protocol that is proven to reduce injuries by improving muscle strength, balance, and coordination.    This protocol is called the FIFA 11+ Program and involves doing 15 exercises.    For a complete how to guide click here:  https://www.slideshare.net/PedMenCoach/fifa-11-warmup-to-prevent-injuries 

    Although this protocol was developed for soccer it can easily be modified to fit just about any competitive sport!

    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.

    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

    Atlanta Blogger Meet Up

    Yesterday, I had the privilege of meeting some fantastic teacher-bloggers as part of the Atlanta Blogger Meet-Up.

    If you ever get a chance to meet up with other teacher-bloggers, I’d highly recommend doing it! It was wonderful to meet so many sweet and enthusiastic teachers who share similar interests, and now I can finally match names and faces with the blogs that I read all the time.

    We met at the Swan Coach House in Atlanta for brunch, and it was wonderful. Amanda from Collaboration Cuties made us each a placemat with everyone’s name on it.

    And Stacia (the other half of Collaboration Cuties) made us name tags.

    Jivey from Ideas by Jivey made us a little goodie jar filled with treats of both the sugary and teachery kinds.
    And Elizabeth (Fun in Room 4B) and Brandee (Creating Lifelong Learners) made us this adorable to do list that is dry erase. 
    There were 9 of us in all, and I’m so glad that I went. I’m typically a really shy person, but it felt like I was getting together with old friends! I’m so grateful to be a part of the teacher blogger community, and I love learning from other teachers. This group in particular has so much to offer, and if you don’t already follow each of these bloggers, you’re definitely missing out.
    From left to right:
    Amanda – Teacher at the Wheel
    Jivey – Ideas by Jivey
    Brandee – Creating Lifelong Learners
    Denay – The Gemini Teacher
    Liz – Polka Dot Firsties
    Stacia & Amanda – Collaboration Cuties
    Me!
    Elizabeth – Fun in Room 4B
    If you missed out on the meet up, no worries — I have confidence that this will become an annual tradition. And for those of you who are interested in classroom technology, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is holding its annual conference in Atlanta next summer on June 28 – July 1. Wouldn’t it be great to have a teacher blogger meet up around that? 
    After lunch, most of us ventured to Ikea where I once again spent too much money on my classroom despite not needing anything in particular. I’d show you all of my finds, but I’m going to wait until my complete classroom reveal. Given that I start preplanning THIS THURSDAY and have students on August 1, that really won’t be too long to wait!

    Have a great week!

    The 1 Minute Workout

    The number one challenge people to give to not working out is time.   So the question fitness professionals should be focused on is what is the LEAST amount of time for working out and still producing the benefits and results that people want and need.
    The great news is that there is a lot of well done research on this subject, and there is a proven workout protocol that produces results with as little as one minute of total work time in a workout and a total workout duration of under 10 minutes including warm-up and cool-down.
    The definitive work on this subject was written by Martin Gibala and is appropriately called “The One Minute Workout”.     In this excellent book he reviews all the related research and results on High Intensity Interval Training including an excellent review on the psychology of exercise as it relates to how people feel before, during and after different types of exercise protocols.     Long story short people really like certain HIIT protocols – even high deconditioned people and high-risk heart disease patients.
    He and his team of researchers proved the effectiveness of the 1-minute workout to produce results and also found the specific physiological mechanisms responsible for the benefits of this protocol.
    1 Minute Workout Protocol

    Warm-up for 3 minutes at an easy pace on any piece of cardiovascular exercise equipment, walking, 
    running, jogging or cycling depending on your preference and fitness level.
    Do a 20 second sprint at your best possible pace (this is all relative to your fitness level)
    Do active recovery at a light pace for 2 minutes
    Perform another 20 second sprint at your best possible pace.
    Do active recovery at a light pace for 2 minutes
    Perform a third and final 20 second sprint at your best possible pace.
    Cool-down for 2 minutes.
    Total workout time – 10 minutes!
    Frequency

    Best results are obtained by repeating this workout 3 times per week BUT even once a week will provide benefits and help maintain a decent level of physical conditioning – the key is intensity NOT duration or frequency.

    Recommended Reading:    The One Minute Workout by Martin Gibala:  https://www.amazon.com/One-Minute-Workout-Science-Smarter-Shorter-ebook/dp/B01IOHQ7RA/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1517152066&sr=1-1&keywords=the+one+minute+workout+by+gibalaAvailable in hardcover, paperback or kindle.

    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.

    PIONEER STUDIOS OFFICE MICROSOFT BY SKB ARCHITECTS

    The New Pioneer Studios Office which was designed by SkB Architects starting from the idea that need a space to socialize at night as well as it functioned during the day.

    Pioneer Studios Office - MicrosoftPioneer Studios Office – Microsoft

    Pioneer Studios Office - MicrosoftPioneer Studios Office – Microsoft

    Pioneer Studios Office - MicrosoftPioneer Studios Office – Microsoft

    Pioneer Studios Office - MicrosoftPioneer Studios Office – Microsoft

    Pioneer Studios Office - MicrosoftPioneer Studios Office – Microsoft

    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!

    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!

    Kaempferia Galanga Plant Benefits For Health

    KAEMPFERIA GALANGA PLANT BENEFITS FOR HEALTH

    Kaempferia GalangaPlant Benefits For Health – Coughing often makes your activities disrupted, but it also would make other people around us will also feel comfortable around us. There are several types of cough, which most often is a dry cough and cough with phlegm. Coughing up phlegm is sometimes more torturous than dry cough, throat full of mucus because who wants removed.
    Now this many drug manufacturers are already providing various types of cough medicines, ranging from syrup to tablet. Besides the chemical drugs, you can also wear traditional homemade cough medicine with natural ingredients that are easily found on the kitchen, which is Kaempferia Galanga and salt.
    Kaempferia Galanga Plant Benefits For Health - 1
    Prescription cough simple and traditional ingredients that have long proven to thin the mucus, making breathing until you feel more relieved and able to relieve cough with phlegm. At the moment we are taking this medicine traditional productive cough, a sense of warmth will make the body as well as the respiratory tract would be more relieved.
    ·      Powder, How to make it quite easy. Take Kaempferia Galanga, wash clean, and peeled and grated Kaempferia Galanga and squeeze and take the water, add a little water, put a little salt and stir well, Drink the potion after breakfast and before bedtime.
    Kaempferia Galanga Plant Benefits For Health - 2
    ·      Ginger can also warm the body and treat cough with phlegm. You are experiencing a productive cough is highly recommended to drink warm ginger juice in at least once a day. How to make even very easily by slicing ginger and Kaempferia Galanga, then boiled and taken water juice. Water juice that will be taken.
    ·      Orange juice, have been many people who have felt that Lime is already mixed with soy sauce efficacious to treat cough with phlegm. If you do not like soy sauce, can mix with Honey Lime. Drink Lemon juice with soy sauce and honey as much as 2 to 3 times a day
    Easy is not it? good luck and hopefully this traditional herb cough you get well soon. Hopefully article about Kaempferia Galanga Plant Benefits For Health we share this day can be beneficial to readers. Thank You.

    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!

    Quick Tip: Planetside 2 – Medic Revive Not Working [Note]

    Just a quick tip for those who have recently jumped back into playing some frantic Planetside 2 and thought there was something wrong with the medic tool, being unable to revive, thinking they can’t revive, etc – there was a patch a bit back that changed the Medic Tool so that Left-Click will Heal and Right-Click will Revive. Although changing such a long running/’staple’ operation is a little lip-pursing, it should have the overall positive effect of assisting with attempting to revive within a tight group of teammates (instead of your tool randomly healing someone close, it should more effectively target the face down teammate on the ground). Just a note.

    See You In The Games!

    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!

    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

    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)

    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.’

    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

    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.

    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!

    How to Organize your Summer Reading

    Summer is the perfect time for me to make some progress on the massive stack of books that I accumulate throughout the year. You know that stack — and if you’re like me, that stack may have spawned offspring and multiplied into several stacks around the house. And given the number of summer book studies I keep reading about, I know the stack will continue to grow. Like last week, when I saw that Misty was going to read Number Talks, and I had to get the book.

    Or this morning, when I read that Beth at Thinking of Teaching and Brenda at Primary Inspired are hosting a summer book study of Building Mathematical Comprehension: Using Literacy Strategies to Make Meaning by Laney Simmons. I want to read that, too!

    With all that I’m currently reading, want to read, and have finished reading, I needed a way to keep track of all these awesome books. Then I remembered GoodReads (this is very distinct from the GoodReader app that I’ve blogged about before).

    GoodReads is a social media site focused on reading. I first started using it in 2010 after I finished reading The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller (if you haven’t read this book, it is a must-read).

    She referenced the site in the book, and I used it through my computer for quite a while. Eventually, as I got busier, I started using it less. I recently got an email update about a friend who was using it, however, and it reminded me that I should revisit the site. My how GoodReads has improved since I used it last! First, GoodReads has mobile apps now to help you keep your reading interests up-to-date.

    Now, I’m not such a bibliophile that I need to give status updates of what I’m reading non-stop. But these mobile apps have a fabulous feature that I love: a scanner. (Here’s the view of the app from my iPad. The iPhone version is very similar.)

    The scanner allows you to scan the barcode on books and then add it to a virtual shelf. Your GoodReads account has 3 default shelves: read, currently reading, and to-read. Shelves are like tags, and you can create your own shelves based on topics or any other organization you’d like. Books can also be housed on multiple shelves at once.

    I love using the scan feature to quickly organize the books that I’m reading or plan to read. Given the iPhone app, it’s also a dangerous helpful feature when I go to bookstores and see books that I’d like to read someday. I just scan them in, and it pulls all sorts of data for me about reviews of the book, average rating of the book, page count, etc. For eBooks I’ve purchased that don’t have a scannable barcode, I can also search by title or author.

    In addition to using this to manage my summer reading, I expect to use this app more in my classroom library to inventory my collection, identify books that I’ve read or want to read, write recommendations for my students, and so on.

    If you decide to give GoodReads a try, feel free to connect with me there. I’d love to connect with other teachers to see what others are reading.

    What are some books that you’re planning to read this summer? Any other ideas for ways to use this app? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section, and I hope to connect with you on GoodReads!

    Happy summer reading!

    MODERN RESIDENCE LAKE HOUSE DESIGN BY DAVID GUERRA

    EFFICIENT RESIDENCE LAKE HOUSE BY DAVID GUERRA LAKE VIEW

    EFFICIENT RESIDENCE LAKE HOUSE BY DAVID GUERRA LAKE VIEW

    See all of its 340 square meters, the lake house designed by David Guerra Architecture located in Minas Gerais, Brazil. The very steep terrain, as the permit was built by architect has the opportunity to build a box-shaped structure with overhanging balconies. Residents are a mother and her adult son, so the house must meet their need for privacy and comfort, and entertainment. The landscape box provided by an excellent situation increases the value, while the collection is very personal spaces. Benefits son of a bedroom with a separate entrance, located on the ground floor, next to the playroom. Gourmet kitchen is also located on the lower floor where there are also two additional bedrooms and a service area. Balcony and terrace make the connection to fresh air and beautiful scenery. The first floor features a garage, laundry room, living room and dining room, balcony, a guest room and master bedroom.

    This is a nice place to live, providing a platform for entertainment and relaxation for its residents and their guests, do not you think?

    EFFICIENT RESIDENCE LAKE HOUSE BY DAVID GUERRA CENTER ROOM

    EFFICIENT RESIDENCE LAKE HOUSE BY DAVID GUERRA CENTER ROOM

    EFFICIENT RESIDENCE LAKE HOUSE BY DAVID GUERRA SROP

    EFFICIENT RESIDENCE LAKE HOUSE BY DAVID GUERRA SROP

    EFFICIENT RESIDENCE LAKE HOUSE BY DAVID GUERRA

    EFFICIENT RESIDENCE LAKE HOUSE BY DAVID GUERRA

    EFFICIENT RESIDENCE LAKE HOUSE BY DAVID GUERRA BEDROOM

    EFFICIENT RESIDENCE LAKE HOUSE BY DAVID GUERRA BEDROOM

    ‘Setting Of The Month’: Bandicam’s Xvid Implementation (with Screenshots and Quality Analysis)

    As the First Post of a new type of article here at The Game Tips And More Blog
    [started due to popular demand!], I would like to explain a bit about my ‘Setting Of The Month’:
    What is meant by “Of The Month” (at least at this blog), is less ‘lunar syzygy’ and more ‘what is currently being served’, in concept. Every once in a while I will post what Recording Settings or Rendering Settings I am currently using. I want to begin doing these posts in response to two things:

    • It was requested by you readers! Over the first half of the year, I run a Poll here at the Blog (it is located on the top right panel area) and currently, the single most popular Requested Topic For Future Posts is “Tips and Tricks of Video Capturing and Editing”. Therefore, as part of answering that call ‘by popular demand’, by my respected readers, I want to share as a ‘Tip’ what settings I have been using of late to capture – not to tell you ‘what to use’, but to simply give everyone a suggestion – perhaps even a place to start from, when recording or editing their gameplay adventures.
    • I see ‘settings’ asked about a lot, everywhere. Whether it is in game forums, technical forums, video editing and recording application forums, or even in my Inbox once in a while, people are constantly asking what settings to use, or “what settings do you use” – and that’s great! I’m glad to see helpful replies of others (and sometimes short explanations on how someone is using a specific setting and why). As anyone who has asked me directly knows, I enjoy helping others with suggestions on settings and usually try to explain why I am using one setting over another.
    And so, here is the first edition of a new addition to this blog, without further adieu:

     

    This Month’s Featured Setting

    Bandicam’s Xvid Codec

    For the past little while, I have been messing with the Xvid codec – not the ‘official’ one from XviD.org that you have to download – the one that is built-in to Bandicam, easily available via pull-down menu in the Format area, where you choose which codec you want to record with. As of the most recent version of Bandicam [at the time of this post], Xvid is now the Default Codec that is pre-selected, when you install/startup Bandicam. Where in previous versions, a ‘Bandisoft-optimized’ MPEG-1 codec was the Default, now a ‘Bandisoft-optimized’ version of Xvid is thrust into the limelight – and I wanted to test this puppy out and see what tricks it can do!

    If you’ve were computing through the 1990’s, you may have heard about the Xvid codec. A competitor to the DivX codec around the turn of the millennium, I am actually going to skip over the history of the Xvid codec [other than this one paragraph]. Parts of such history may actually be a ‘dark affair’ (depending on who you talk to), worthy of it’s own short documentary, as the DivX vs XviD history has some aspects in common to the history of other products and companies that were popular over time [with Saturday Night Television Specials such as “Apple vs Microsoft”, “Xerox vs Apple” and more..]. As with many companies and products in popular use today, they all have “Origin Stories” that you won’t find on The Internet and never will… And Now, Back To Your Regularly Scheduled Program

    The Xvid codec is a version of MPEG-4 (it is MPEG-4 Part 2 or “H.263/ASP”), so it is directly related to it’s younger-but-bigger brother, AVC (which is MPEG-4 Part 10 or “H.264/AVC”). As such, Xvid [ASP] does not have many of the functions that are found in H.264 [AVC], such as Deblocking, where the codec will try to ‘hide’ some compression artifacts that occur due to over-compression; but Xvid is still a great codec to record with, it’s main strength being speed. Because it doesn’t have many of the processing functions of it’s more recent and bulkier MPEG-4 versions, it can ‘figure out a frame and save it to a file’ very quickly – which is essentially what is happening, technically, when game recording.

    Recording with Bandicam’s Default settings for their implementation of Xvid [designated herein as “Xvid(b)”**, to show that it is the “Bandicam-Optimized Version of Xvid”] will give you a Quality Setting of 80%. The capturing framerate, by Default, is set at 30 fps (Frames-Per-Second). The audio format, in this Default setting, is compressed “MPEG-1 Layer 2” format (MP2) for the Audio. Here is a screenshot showing what all of Bandicam’s Default settings, for their implementation of Xvid, looks like in one image:

    The ‘Setting Of The Month’: Bandicam’s Version of Xvid, included with Bandicam (Default Settings)
    Click to see Full Size

    Below, are a sampling of a handful of games and the framerate performance hits that were seen while recording with these Default Xvid(b) settings (i.e. the differences between ‘playing the game and not recording’ versus ‘playing the game and recording at the same time’):
    table.tableizer-table { border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif font-size: 12px; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; }

    Recorded Game Title                     Resolution      Performance Hit (Δ)
    Hitman: Absolution Benchmark 1366×768 ~ 2 fps
    Hitman: Absolution Benchmark 2560×1440 ~ 4 fps
    FurMark (Full Run) 1366×768 ~ 2 fps
    FurMark (Full Run) 2560×1440 ~ 0 fps
    Unigine Valley Benchmark 1366×768 ~ 6 fps
    Unigine Valley Benchmark 2560×1440
    Batman: Arkham City Benchmark 1366×768 ~ 4 fps
    Batman: Arkham City Benchmark 2560×1440 ~ 9 fps
    Skyrim (Introduction) 1366×768 ~ 0-8 fps
    Skyrim (Introduction) 2560×1440
    Minecraft 1366×768 ~ 0 fps
    Minecraft 2560×1440 ~ 0 fps

    table code created by Danny Sanchez (journalistopia.com)

    As you can see in the table above, the difference in framerate between ‘Playing’ and ‘Playing While Recording’ is very minimal [the performance ‘drain’ being accentuated in higher resolutions for most games]. Although only a handful of games were tested, I did try testing both spectra of resolutions possibly in use by the average gamer today, by recording with an ‘enthusiast’ resolution (2K/1440p) as well as a commonly-run laptop/notebook resolution (1366×768) which could also be run by older or less-capable systems. Bandicam’s optimized Xvid performs very well in the tests, with almost as low of a performance change as the ‘super-light-performance-hitting’ MJPEG codec.

    Like MJPEG however, Xvid’s weakness is the lack of tools to compensate for compression. Again, I mention here the MPEG-4/AVC ability to somewhat ‘hide’ compression artifacts, with code for utilities such as “Deblocking” built into the codec, where the edges of areas that the codec is making its calculations in are ‘softened’, so that the ‘blocky’ effect of high compression (called Macroblocking) is less visible. In Xvid, there is no such utility, so if too high a compression level is attempted [too low a bitrate is stipulated], then these ‘block’ artifacts can easily be seen, especially in ‘flatter’ areas of a frame (portions of the screen with less color and/or changes happening), as seen in the below frames, extractions from the actual recorded video frames themselves:

    [In the examples below, when the compression artifacts aren’t as obvious, I will show the entire screenshot in compressed JPG format, then underneath I ‘zoom in’ to show the compression artifacts from the codec as magnified extractions from the original video frames, in BMP (BitMaP) format. I use sampled areas for that, as full 1440p Screenshots in an uncompressed format would be over 10MB each]

    Xvid(b)** at 90% Quality [altered from Default 80% Quality Setting], Battlefield 3.
    Click to see Full Size
    The result when recording at 90% Quality (up from the Default of 80%) was very satisfactory, with only ‘nit-pickable’ parts to show the codec’s weaknesses, like the Upper Left area of this scene above (with the dark interior areas). Some artifacting can also be seen in the Middle Top area (slightly obvious even in this compressed JPG), where the plain sky areas take the brunt of the compression of this frame taken from the original game recording video produced by Bandicam.

    Xvid(b)** at Bandicam’s Default of 80% Quality, Battlefield 3.
    Click to see Full Size
    The above image is taken from a game recording of Battlefield 3 that had some pistol action going on, with an explosion caught in the background. The quality of Bandicam’s Default setting isn’t too bad and high action scenes can actually look quite acceptable. For example, in this frame above, with the explosion occurring on an upper walkway, only the Right Edge of the explosion (with the debris) has obvious Macroblocking – and the sidewalk [and foliage] macroblocks had to be ‘looked for’ here – and are less noticeable in the moving video. The ‘flatter area’ (with less colour variations) in this scene, is the poster advertisement, which the codec punishes with compression, leaving colour banding and macroblocks evident. The rest of scene is more complicated material and demands the codec to utilize more bitrate, ending up looking not too bad at all, when VBR is used (Variable BitRate, “changing data rate”) mode).

    [I personally found that in dark (as in nighttime) scenes, at 80% Quality there was distracting colour quantization (colour quality loss) and macroblocks (little square compression artifacts); but for most material, the 80% Quality setting seems ok to use for Xvid(b)**, most of the time]

    Xvid(b)** at Bandicam’s Default setting for Xvid of 80% Quality, the Batman: Arkham City Benchmark.
    Click to see Full Size
    The above image is an extracted frame from a recording of the Batman: Arkham City Benchmark. A very difficult scene for any codec (unless you tell it to ‘keep all quality, use 100%’ and then don’t mind the larger file size that will be created) it is hard for a codec to decide what to compress and what not to, as particles fly all over the place and light and dark areas shift around as the Benchmark runs through this area with changing levels/regions of Luma [lightness, brightness]. Bandicam’s Xvid did a good job trying to keep the text sharp at 1440p – but at 80% Quality, macroblocks are everywhere (those present in the screenshot above are not from the JPG compression, they were present in the game recording itself). At 80% Quality, anything with subtle gradient colour changes are absolutely tortured by the codec, seen especially in the change from light to dark in the Center Top light fixture area and the Left Lower curtain region. Bright areas however, such as the light fixtures themselves and almost all of the particles flying around, are judged by the codec to be ‘important to human eyes’ and detail is kept high for those objects.

    Xvid(b)** at Bandicam’s Default setting of 80% Quality, Minecraft.
    Click to see Full Size
    The above frame is taken from a recording of the Minecraft Demo starting shoreline, originally captured at 1440p (the image is resized down to 1280×720). I was interested in how Xvid would handle Minecraft, a difficult game to capture and compress, as hard edges and lines are everywhere. Bandicam’s version of Xvid did surprisingly well, as the video recording itself is a joy to watch, with compression artifacts barely noticeable (recording at higher resolutions helps with that, but uses more disk space for the game recordings). Magnification of the original video frame is just below (next image):

    These two sampled regions are magnified to 200% (doubled in size). They were extracted from the game recording frame above, which itself came from the original game recording produced by Bandicam and the built-in Xvid codec.
    Click to see Full Size
    While not as obvious in the moving video, the above frame extractions (both Left and Right sides) show Gibbs Effects [‘ringing’ or ‘mosquito noise’] around the hard edges of Minecraft’s graphics. The colour gradient changes, blending slowly into the background/sky colour in the Right Half of the above image also cause Ringing and Macroblocks to occur. Distant water gets treated with extreme prejudice by the codec, as the jumble of lines and animation from the textures are ‘sluffed together’ [my technical term] and Macroblocks are obvious. Again, these artifacts are more obvious in the stills from the game recording – the video itself, when watched, was more appealing to the eye and these compression artifacts aren’t as noticed as the frames fly by and the cow looks at you in a wondering manner.

    Regardless of some of Xvid’s compression shortcomings illustrated above, with the speed that it performs at, along with the ability to turn up the Quality setting in Bandicam, these artifacts shown will not occur as often in higher quality settings – and then Xvid can be a nice codec to run with, especially if a system cannot handle a codec that does higher processing on the frames [taking more time to do calculations on them and saving them to a file, creating ‘lag’]. Older systems or laptops that do not have the hardware to utilize GPU-accelerated game recording (with codecs such as NVIDIA’s CUDA and NVENC, AMD’s App Acceleration and Intel’s Quick Sync) can utilize Xvid as a less-taxing codec to record with [as another option on the Utility Belt of Game Recording Codecs to choose from]. Indeed, it is almost as speed efficient as the ever-compatible MJPEG codec, for capturing, editing and compression.

    The default setting, when installing Bandicam, creates a GOP of 150 [GOP stands for Group Of Pictures or the number of frames between Information/Key Frames in a video]. This is fine for normal viewing (and it leaves a lot of headroom for compressing ‘only the differences’ between the frames, resulting in smaller filesizes), but a large GOP can create problems with editing, as many NLE’s (Non-Linear Editors, such as Sony’s Vegas/MovieStudio line, Adobe’s Premiere products, Lightworks and more) do not work well with so many frames in-between the Keyframes – however, editors such as Corel’s VideoStudio, CyberLink’s PowerDirector and Microsoft’s own Movie Maker do not exhibit this issue [I tested these three applications by hand, myself, just to make sure and they imported fine and were handled without the “glitchy-ness” or “trails” that were exhibited in (for example) Vegas].

    Although originally captured for an article on the Xvid codec here (which can potentially also experience the issue mentioned in the above paragraph) this image shows an example of what the “trails” or “glitchy-ness” will look like, as it was captured from a video with a Large GOP (large keyframe interval) output produced by Vegas. (Click to see Full Size)

    When editing a video with a large GOP, the video editing application must ‘seek’ to the next Keyframe whenever it has to process a request and calculate/build all of the frames from there (which slows things down and delays processing and editing). Also, depending on the application, with some programs video can only be ‘cut’ on keyframes (unless an application is coded to create keyframes where needed). All of these steps and problems created by ‘Long-GOP’ video can be avoided [when using the above-mentioned video editing programs] by simply adjusting the Keyframe Interval in the Xvid settings to “1”.

    One caveat to keep in mind, with setting a Keyframe Interval of “1”: although it will now make for speedy/easier/morecompatible editing with many video editing applications, the codec will not have as much ‘headroom’ to work with, when compressing your game recording material. 
    What this means is, that instead of only keeping track of the changes between frames (say, a person running by down the side of the screen), where the codec will literally only save those ‘differences’ in the file; it now has to save every single portion of the viewable screen in every single frame, complete and independent in ‘stand-alone’ frames (the KeyFrames), and while the video will be much faster in seeking and have increased editing compatibility, the codec requires much more bitrate now, to save ‘everything’ in every single frame.
    The result: your video file size will end up larger than before. However, you can now edit the video in Vegas, Premiere, Lightworks and more… the choice of how to go about this aspect then, is up to you [whether to use a GOP of 1 for easier editing, or not]. If you do not use these specific video editing programs (perhaps instead, you are using PowerDirector or VideoStudio Pro or Movie Maker, which to not have as much trouble with ‘Long-GOP’ material, not needing the GOP to be one frame) or you are not having problems with whatever editor you are currently using, there is no need to make this change to the Xvid recording settings in Bandicam [this is why there is no green indicator arrow in my ‘Suggested Settings’ illustration coming up in a little while, for this option]
    Staying on the topic of Bitrate [from the above paragraph] for a moment, “..what kind of file sizes are we looking at..?”, you might ask. Well, here is a sampling of some of the Bitrates that were seen when recording with Xvid(b)** at Bandicam’s Default Settings for the codec:
    table.tableizer-table { border: 1px solid #CCC; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif font-size: 12px; } .tableizer-table td { padding: 4px; margin: 3px; border: 1px solid #ccc; } .tableizer-table th { background-color: #104E8B; color: #FFF; font-weight: bold; }
    Recorded Game Title                    Resolution     BitRate (Mbps, GBph) 
    Hitman: Absolution Benchmark 1366×768 ~ 34 Mbps, 0.97GB/hour
    Hitman: Absolution Benchmark 2560×1440 ~ 83 Mbps, 2.4GB/hour
    FurMark (Full Run) 1366×768 ~ 44 Mbps, 1.2GB/hour
    FurMark (Full Run) 2560×1440 ~ 45 Mbps, 1.2GB/hour
    Unigine Valley Benchmark 1366×768 ~ 37 Mbps, 1.06GB/hour
    Unigine Valley Benchmark 2560×1440
    Batman: Arkham City Benchmark 1366×768 ~ 20 Mbps, 0.57GB/hour
    Batman: Arkham City Benchmark 2560×1440 ~ 54 Mbps, 1.5GB/hour
    table code created by Danny Sanchez (journalistopia.com)
    Just to compare some file sizes of other codecs: the Low Quality setting for the Dxtory codec (with Compression) recorded a run of the Unigine Valley Benchmark (at 1080p) at about 326Mbps (9.3GB/hour), while FRAPS produced a recording of about 291Mbps (8.3GB/hour), with Lagarith (in Default/RGB Mode) creating a recording of the same material that ran at about 235Mbps (6.7GB/hour). Of course, bitrates fluctuate, depending on the complexity of the material (more movement/action/etc, which requires more bitrate to properly represent the material.. but a longer explanation of that is outside the scope of this post [believe it or not…I’m trying to keep them ‘short’! hah]).
    The other setting that can be changed in the Bandicam interface for their version of the Xvid codec, is the Quality. Here is an example of the differences in quality output at the various Quality settings for Bandicam’s Xvid:
    Comparison between varying Quality settings, for Bandicam’s version of Xvid (from Left to Right; Quality at 40%, 60%, 80% and 100% Quality). The JPG compression used for this composite [the four videos side-by-side] did not overly affect the Macroblocking occurring – the ‘blockyness’ seen in these frames is almost untouched, even though the videos from the original Unigine Valley Benchmark recordings were converted into this JPEG image – this is very close to how it looked in the video (although slightly more noticeable as still images). Click to see Full Size
    As you can see, the perceived quality for Xvid goes down quickly, with Macroblocks becoming more obvious as the quality setting goes down. However, acceptable Quality can be maintained if the quality setting is kept high [in my opinion, stay at 90% or higher if you can]. Remember though, that with the higher quality settings, more space will be required by the codec, to save all of that data. Also, if using a Keyframe Interval of “1” (creating a GOP size of one frame, each frame in the video then being a Keyframe), the codec will also not have as much room to compress the images/video and your output size will increase. As stated above though, the benefit of using a Keyframe Interval of “1” is, then your game recordings will be easily importable/editable in NLEs like Premiere, Vegas, Lightworks, etc – if you are are having troubles with those specific applications [if you are not, there is no need to limit the GOP to one frame, which is why there is no green arrow indicator in the below illustration]. Below, are my Suggested Settings then, for this codec in Bandicam, in one image:
    The ‘Setting Of The Month’: Bandicam’s Version of Xvid, included with Bandicam (Suggested Settings):
    Quality is at 90%, PCM (“Uncompressed”) Audio is selected [mainly for editing compatibility], a higher compression (“Smaller file Size” option) is chosen (and a Keyframe interval of “1” is suggested for compatibility with editing applications such as Vegas, Premiere, Lightworks, etc. if required [only change if needed as it increases file size, no green arrow indicator is shown on the Keyframe Interval])
    Click to see Full Size

    Overall, I think ‘Bandisoft’s version of Xvid’ in Bandicam does a decent job with Quality – and is downright excellent where Performance is concerned. On my system (and hopefully yours), Bandicam’s Xvid had very little drain on the performance of the game while recording with it, creating very little ‘lag’ while recording (it had a low ‘performance hit’). As long as the quality setting is kept high (90-100%), the recorded output Quality can be quite acceptable, with only a little Macroblocking (block shapes being visible) and Posterization [colour quantization, which is a reduction in the amount of colours, resulting in ‘colour banding’ or ‘bands’ seen] in the darker and ‘flatter’ areas of a frame in a game recording (Macroblocking may occur in areas such as skies, less-colourful regions, etc). Try out some recordings with Bandicam’s version of Xvid for yourself and see if you prefer using it for recording 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 – use what you prefer. 



    See you in the games!


    Personal Short Version/Opinion:


    While the Bandisoft-optimized version of Xvid included in Bandicam works pretty well and is fast, I find myself not using it very often, other than this past month or so, for testing. After recording for a while with Xvid’s ‘successor’, h.264/AVC, the extra features of Deblocking and other tools in AVC have ‘spoiled’ me. Going back to the slightly more ‘blocky’ output of Xvid – even though it creates very little lag when recording – is slightly distracting to my eyes. When I see an Xvid game capture of mine now, my eyes are instantly drawn to the darker/flatter areas of the scene and those little tiny block shapes…and I sigh at the slowly-aging Xvid codec, remembering its’ heyday’ of compressing my TV shows recorded on my ATi TV Wonder PCI card. The late 1990’s and the 2000’s were ‘Xvid’s Time’ to me, when I used it for almost everything – and while it performs well in game recording today (even Xvid.org’s ‘Official’ version, with the right settings), I am now just too used to the benefits of more modern codecs, like h.264/AVC, which can even use the videocard/hardware, for GPU-accelerated recording.

    I realize there are a lot of people gaming on laptops out there, and not everyone has a dedicated/separate videocard inside their system to record with, but the more I use my GPU to record with, the more I am impressed with the performance when recording most games [note that some games ‘don’t like’ GPU-accelerated recording (are not fully coded for compatibility with it) and these games have large hits to performance with it]. At the moment of this writing, I have two NVIDIA videocards running in my system (performing together in SLI mode) and I am enjoying using the GPU-accelerated CUDA offering in Bandicam to record with. Like AMD’s AppAcceleration and INTEL’s QuickSync, CUDA utilizes H.264/AVC through the hardware to record, having high performance [for most games] and producing nice output, utilizing some of the newer aspects of MPEG-4 (such as Deblocking) when recording, to hide compression artifacts [the little ‘glitches’ from compressing the video]. The speed, and presence of light ‘compression correction’ from this hardware implementation of MPEG4 has spoiled me now, and I am finding it hard to go back to the slightly more obvious artifacting in ‘older’ codecs, such as MPEG-1 or Xvid (which is ‘older’ MPEG-4), especially when those codecs are used at lower quality settings, to try and save hard drive space. (Turning up the Quality settings for these codecs helps a lot, if your system can handle it)

    As CPU architecture evolves and modern CPUs have ‘mini-GPUs’ built into them, the differentiation of capability between ‘gaming rigs’ and ‘gaming laptops’ blurs [as far as game recording goes], as GPU-accelerated game recording is possible now by less and less expensive hardware (AMD APUs) and processors (INTEL’s QuickSync), even within laptops [as opposed to full desktop systems]. This means that “gaming laptops” now have much more capability when it comes to game recording, today. If your laptop is capable of using GPU-accelerated recording, give it a try. If it is not, systems that do not use the GPU to compress their video can still perform well recording games, as is shown with the above article, by using Xvid. “If you can’t choose the H.264 encoder in Bandicam, choose ‘Xvid'” ~ Quote from the Bandicam.com website.

    Do some testing of your own dear reader – and have fun experimenting, finding a codec that you will eventually prefer to record with – and See You In The Games…
    Last Remarks (in addition/continuation to the Prologue of this article): 
    Another thing to keep in mind is, that my settings (both for Recording and Editing/Rendering) change slightly over time… I may have been able to purchase a new disk drive recently for instance, so then I will allow my recordings to take up more space [for a while anyway]. I may be trying out a Demo/Trial of a new version of a Video Editing Application, so I have been experimenting with some different Rendering settings. Perhaps a videocard driver or codec was updated, so now I will experiment a bit with the recording application settings, seeing if I can squeeze a little more Quality out of my recordings, while keeping the Performance high. All of these reasons and a few more, are why my settings constantly change over time. Don’t worry, I’ll try to remember to come here and share them with you, anytime I find a “Good Combination” that works well for either High Quality or Fast Performance, the ‘Holy Grail’ of course being a Perfect balance of both. 
    As I have begun more dedicated testing over the past few years, I have found that specific games themselves ‘prefer’ certain recording and rendering settings over others. What I mean by “prefer” is: as new game rendering engines are written, hardware architectures change, and programmers utilize ‘something over another’ in general during a game’s development, this affects what settings a game ‘works better with’, whether it is a specific game recording program, hardware/GPU, or specific recording and rendering settings; hence my usage of the word “prefer”. 
    This is why, for example, some games will perform better on an AMD/ATi-based videocard in Benchmarks and Reviews than an NVIDIA-based GPU – and then other games will have better results on an NVIDIA-based videocard over an AMD/ATi-based GPU – those games were simply being developed [the programmers wrote the code] on a system with that certain GPU installed in it at the time. This also means there is a chance of specific optimizations in programming that slightly favour one brand of GPU over another [and they may even have been ‘compensated for their efforts’ by that respective company, but *shhh* these things aren’t spoken of outside Mordor]. 
    In regards to the above and game recording, I have found that some games will have better performance with different game recording applications as well. For example, one game may have less of a performance hit while recording with Dxtory and then another game will have better performance recording with Bandicam [as an example] – it all depends on the code and how it is written and being rendered. That’s why I ‘change it up’ so often, altering my recording settings (and rendering settings) as each game I play exposes its nuances. That’s what I mean if I ever say a game ‘seems to prefer’ recording with one game recording program over another. 
    Keep this all of the above in mind then and also remember dear reader, that I am never telling you “you should use this”, I am always suggesting only a possibility in my posts, and it is always up to you to try it out and decide if you want to use a recommendation of mine or not.
     [I encourage everyone to always take the good ideas from others and leave the bad, making up a composite of their own liking and preferences and what they want to utilize – whether it is with game recording and editing, or Life In General – but, that last part is for another blog…] 

     **[designated as “Xvid(b)”, to show that it is the “Bandicam-Optimized Version of Xvid”]

    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!

    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.]

    What Kind of Protein is Best?

    There is a lot of confusion about “superior” and “inferior” proteins—so called “complete” and “incomplete” foods. At the beginning of the century, researchers doing animal experiments discovered that rats could live and grow on a single food such as eggs. Eggs, like meat, fish, and cheese, were therefore dubbed “complete” proteins. Vegetable foods such as rice, legumes, seeds, nuts, corn, and wheat were called “incomplete” since on their own they were unable to maintain life and growth. What all this meant is that the so-called “complete” proteins contain all the eight acids which humans cannot make for themselves in adequate amounts. But what they didn’t take into account is that vegetable food—say, corn— together with another—say, red beans—also contains the eight essential amino acids and, provided you eat one vegetable together with another, you are getting the full complement of the eight essential amino acids in good balance. Better still, you are getting them without the fat that accompanies protein from animal foods. The idea that we need animal foods in order to be healthy is simply untrue. Populations numbering in the millions in different parts of the world have lived and developed enviable health and strength for thousands of years on a purely vegetable diet.

    Diet Start

    The best—and often the cheapest—sources of protein are the unrefined, unprocessed vegetable foods—complex carbohydrates complete with their natural fiber content, vitamins, and minerals—whole grains such as rice, wheat, oats, barley, legumes including lentils and beans; mixed seeds or mixed nuts; fruits, and vegetables from salad greens to carrots and potatoes. Eaten together in salads and casseroles, bread and soups, they provide low calorie menus without the danger of high fat from the intake of animal foods. The Lifestyle Diet provides 15 percent of your daily calories in the form of protein. It allows you to eat four ounces of meat, fish, or poultry (preferably fish) three times a week. On the days when you choose not to eat these foods you can have instead four ounces of mixed nuts or two eggs. It completely eliminates all cheese except those such as cottage cheese and curd cheeses made from low-fat milk.

    If you prefer, you can take all your protein from vegetarian foods. The question of a vitamin B12 deficiency on a vegetarian diet is always brought up as evidence of the need to eat meat, although long ago biochemist Schweigert of the American Meat Institute researched the question and discovered that the need for B12 rises and falls with the amount of protein eaten. B12 is available in dairy products and eggs included in the Lifestyle Diet. In this kind of protein-economical diet it is correspondingly low. Schweigert also discovered that the whole wheat grain is a usable source of B12 provided it is not processed into white flour. If it had not been, then the millions of people in different countries who have lived almost exclusively on a vegan diet (vegetarian with no milk, dairy products, or eggs) would have suffered B12 deficiencies.

    And More: How To Pronounce “ASUS” (Text-Only Version)

    This is a subject that is only lightly debated on the odd game or tech forum, and like the ‘how to pronounce GIF’ argument/discussions, I almost don’t want to clear things up… but as with my earlier article on ‘How To Pronounce “GIF”‘ [found here: http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.ca/2013/05/and-more-gif-is-pronounced-jiff-like.html ], I suppose with only this little post on this lowly blog that is mostly about games (with the odd article on editing), I won’t really change things.. so here’goes:

    The reason this came up at all, was that I am increasingly hearing people say their differing versions of how to pronounce the word in videos. Although most people seem to utilize either (i)“ay-zeus” (which sounds like saying, “Hey, Zeus [the Greek ruler-god of the sky], how are ya?”), or they say (ii)“ay-suss” (which sounds like a way of saying, “hey, sis, how are yah?”), some even say (iii)“ass-uhs” (which sounds like “Ask us a question” (with a silent k) or almost like “Asses” but with an ‘ugh’ at the end) [although I think that last version is just an excuse for some to say “ass” while at work, haha]. While I myself was mainly using the second version since I started working as a Computer Service Technician, there have been a couple of “Official” sources published on the intertubes since then.

    Wikipedia, [arguably] a source of good information [I say arguable because ‘anyone’ can edit it to say almost anything, many people with their own agendas; but mainly it remains a source of ‘good’ info], lists phonetics for the word’s pronunciation in their article as: (/ˈss/), which is closer to the first form (i) from above, than the others (but with a softer ‘s’ sound than a ‘z’ sound)..

    Engadget, a technology and-related-science information site, posted a video in 2010 [found here: http://www.engadget.com/2010/12/17/how-to-pronounce-asus-video/ ] which gives a “from now on”/Official way of pronouncing the company’s name, from the company itself: “ay-suss”, which is closer to the second form (ii) from above, than the others.

    Prior to this, around the turn of the millennium, I myself was searching for some ‘official’ form of how to say the word, and the only source at that time was the ASUS website, which stated that the name came from the concept of the Greek mythological creature, Pegasus. This suggested to me (there was no ‘official statement’ on the website itself of pronunciation) to say, “ah-sus” (the second half of the name Pegasus), which is actually closer to the third form (iii) from above, which sort of sounds like “asses” but with more of an ‘uh’ sound near the end instead of an ‘eh’. This is how I would type it: “ah-sus”.

    So where does that leave things today and how is ASUS actually pronounced, then?

    Since there has been an ‘Official” statement, with example, we have no choice but to go with Endgadget’s exposé on the issue, which gives the pronunciation of “ay-suss” (ii).
    What is important to note here though, is that it is not just said the way it is typed here. In the video at Engadget’s site, the woman demonstrating the Official way to say the word purses her lips when she says, “suss”. Therefore, it is not just a plain “suss”, it is more akin to “soos”, which sounds almost like the Dr.Seuss name that is on all those kids’ reading books.
    If you ask me, this makes things a little more confused than it should be, because the sound [I don’t know the phonetic symbol for it offhand but it is present in how French-speakers say the letter “Y” in their alphabet, with pursed or puckered lips] is almost exactly between “suss” and “soos”, and yet it is neither of those.
    At least the video does clear up one thing: the beginning of the word ASUS. It is not “ah” (short form of the letter A) it is more like “ay” (long form of the letter A). So then, the officially-demonstrated way of saying the company name is:

    “ay” (almost, but not quite, the long form of the letter A) and then a sound that is exactly between “suss” and “soos” (with pursed/puckered lips)


    That ended more complicated than I thought…

    Personal Note/Opinion:

    While that issue is now solved and ‘written in stone’, as it comes from ASUS itself (thanks mainly to Engadget), I have to end this post saying that I am left wondering why they changed the pronunciation from [what appeared to be] their etymological starting point. What I mean is: their website states the name came from the name “Pegasus”, but [in English anyway] we do not say “peg-ay-suss”, we say “peg-ah-suss”.
    Nevermind, I think I just figured out my own query, just by typing that in and saying it out loud: I believe that they changed the pronunciation from [how we say the mythological creature’s name in English] “ah-suss” to something more akin to “ay-suss” to distance themselves from the sound of, well, “asses”. I guess I can’t say I blame them. 

    I hope this article has helped, even if it only made things more complicated. That’s helping, isn’t it?

    This has been a Public Service Announcement by The Game Tips And More Blog

    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.
     

    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.

    Currently June (?!)

    Oh, how I love to start the month with Farley’s Currently over at Oh’ Boy Fourth Gradeespecially when I actually remember that it’s the start of the month and don’t have that revelation about a week in. 🙂

    Here we go…

    Listening:  I got to see Sara Bareilles perform at a small Atlanta venue on my birthday a couple of weeks ago, and wow – can she ever sing! She’s been in heavy rotation on my playlist ever since.

    Loving: The first couple of weeks of summer vacation are always the best because it feels like there’s so much free time ahead. A quick glance at my calendar would remind me that this summer is going to fly by very quickly, but for now, I’m thrilled to have a little breathing room before the hustle and bustle of another school year kicks in.

    Thinking: Math is on my mind a lot right now. I’m finishing up my final project for my math endorsement (an algebra unit), and I’m joining multiple book studies about math-related books this summer. My students did very well overall on the year-end standardized tests, but I feel like I’m still scrambling to make sense of the best way to teach the Common Core. I need to figure out something that will allow me to differentiate more without creating oodles of additional work on my end. If anyone has the magic solution, please let me know.

    Wanting: We bought a new desktop computer last year, and it was intended to be mostly for my school/blogging/TpT use. That worked for a little while, but my husband has slowly taken it over and claimed it as his. He’s been working crazy hours (he’s an attorney), and his work is often more deadline-oriented than mine, so I’ve given in. But now that I’m getting ready to start my doctorate, it might be time for us to give up on the idea of sharing a computer. I have a work laptop that I use sometimes, but it’s got some crazy restrictions/configurations that limit the programs I can install, etc. For most people, it’s not a big deal, but when you’re a tech-geek like me, it’s frustrating. So last week, I made a big pitch for me to get a new iMac desktop, and he agreed! There were some intense negotiations that went into the process, but in the end, we made a deal that we can both live with. I’m going to be responsible for generating the extra income to make the payments on it (we got it financed over 18 months), but between some tutoring jobs I’m taking and TeachersPayTeachers, I think I’ll be able to swing it.

    Now I just need to hold on for Monday when my precious new toy will arrive!

    Needing: I need to get organized and prioritize what I need to accomplish this summer because there’s no world in which I’ll have time to tackle my ever-growing to-do list. I need to create some realistic goals with deadlines to keep myself reasonably on-task. I also need to cut out distractions like randomly checking Facebook or email or Twitter every 10 minutes.

    3 Vacay Essentials – 1) Shade – I have the misfortune of being allergic to almost every type of sunscreen that exists — including the ones that say they’re hypoallergenic and made for sensitive skin. Put some of that sauce on me and stick me in the sun, and my body breaks out in a terrible, lobster-like swollen rash that is WAY worse than any sunburn I’ve ever had. So I stick to the shade as much as I can, and I visit my dermatologist every year to make sure that I’m not getting skin cancer. Not fun, I tell you.

    2) Books – This used to be a huge ordeal before the advent of the Kindle. I like having lots of summer reading options, ya know?

    3) Beverages – Hydration is important! And there’s a whole slew of summer drinks that I could put on the list… But seriously, I’ve been drinking at least 64 oz of water each day of this vacation before I even touch anything else, so I think I’m doing well.

    Big thanks to Farley for continuing to host this linky. Every month I find so many amazing blogs and learn lots about my fellow bloggers. If you aren’t participating already, you should definitely link up!

    ,
    Have a great June, everyone!

    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

    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.

    Men’s Body Click Diet part 2

    What I’m giving you here is a chance to climb the ship’s mast with me so that from its top we can see far over the horizon of medicine. The view from the masthead is based not so much on my daily activities as a practicing physician but on my mission to search the seascape of scientific research for courses that can help prevent my patients from developing prostate trouble. What I see from the top of the mast is a body of evidence that is solid enough to support these simple changes in behavior, especially considering that there’s zero risk in consuming flaxseed and soy protein.

    The best evidence is based on studies done in a couple of places in the world, where prostate troubles are rare. Solid epidemiological studies that show a lower incidence of prostate cancer in men consuming foods popular among Finns and Chinese — rye bread for Finns and soy for Chinese.2 And he has carried out elaborate chemical analyses and experiments to show which substances in these foods provide the protection.

    For years before his research was done, it was assumed that the Finns’ genetic history accounted for their lower incidence of prostate cancer. Most modern Finns come from a small number of people who migrated to that part of the world many years ago, so they are a rather distinct linguistic, racial and genetic group. It turns out, however, that it’s not their genes but their diet that protects them against certain cancers. And the dietary factor that is most significant is a sourdough rye bread that is eaten by people consuming a traditional Finnish diet. This whole-grain, heavy- duty bread is made out of ground whole rye seeds without anything removed. The leavening is provided by lactobacillus (acidophilus) instead of yeast, which is used to leaven almost all bread consumed in other parts of the world. What’s key is that the rye fiber contains lignans that modulate hormone chemistry and reduce the risk of reproductive cancers.

    Diet Start

    Eastern Europeans have traditionally used flaxseeds as a source of food and medicine. Flaxseed oil, which makes up about one-third of the weight of the seeds, has extremely healthy properties that also provide particular benefits for the prostate gland. But here we’re talking about the fiber in the flaxseed. The best way to use the seeds is to grind them in a coffee mill. You can then consume the fine, fluffy powder as part of a shake or add it to a variety of other foods. Your aim is to eat a heaping tablespoon per day.

    Besides rye and flaxseed, there are other foods that contain lignans. Some of the best sources include legumes (especially lentils, kidney, fava and navy beans), seeds (like sunflower seeds), seaweed, cereal brans and whole grains.

    There is also a solid body of evidence supporting the role of soy protein in reducing the risk of prostate cancer. For example, research has shown that isoflavones, substances contained in soybeans, modify testosterone metabolism, decreasing the risk for both benign prostatic hypertrophy and prostate cancer.3 Incorporating soy protein in your diet doesn’t require you to change what you eat, although it’s fine to eat more tofu, miso and other soy products if you enjoy them. The simplest, quickest way to consume soy protein is by stirring soy protein isolate, a relatively tasteless substance, into some of the food you are already eating.

    Foods like soybeans, flaxseed and rye contain information derived from phytonutrients, which keep animals in synchrony with the rhythm of the seasons and which have profound effects on our own reproductive systems.

    Prostate Inflammation or Nonspecific Prostatitis

    Your prostate gland usually doesn’t speak to you until it’s in some advanced state of trouble. When it does, it has only two voices. One is expressed through pain or difficulty with urination and the other is just plain pain, which is almost invariably felt in the midline of your body. The spectrum of difficulties includes inflammation, enlargement and cancer. While there are more or less pure representations of each one, the lines between them are often blurred. All three, but particularly enlargement and cancer, are addressed by the preventive measures included in the Body Clock Diet.

    Let’s start with inflammation, which is the medical term for some combination of redness, pain, swelling and heat that almost always accompanies infection but may also represent your body’s reaction to noninfectious irritants or allergens. The flame of prostate inflammation is experienced as burning with urination. This is as much a result of inflammation of the tube through which the urine passes out of the penis (the urethra) as it is due to inflammation of the prostate, per se, which lies astride this tube, just beneath the bladder. Germs that infect the urethra, such as the gonorrhea germ, may ascend it and get into the prostate gland. There, the alkaline environment and blood supply, which are conducive to bacterial growth, make it much harder to treat the infection with antibiotics than, say, a sore throat, a boil or an uncomplicated pneumonia. Because the germs that infect the prostate are difficult to extract from apatient for a culture it has become a common practice for doctors to treat symptoms of prostate inflammation with antibiotics without knowing what germ, if any, might be there.

    The diagnosis in this situation is ‘nonspecific’ prostatitis, which is a well- accepted medical term. But when you stop to think about it, it’s peculiar. According to medical principles, when there is an infection, the perpetrator is almost always a particular germ. The prostate, like all internal tissues, is not likely to be infected by more than one germ at a time. The implication is that if there’s an infection, it’s quite specific. How then do we come up with the diagnosis ‘nonspecific’ prostatitis? It’s a result of several factors; efforts to recover a germ are to no avail, the prostate acts as if there’s an inflammation — with swelling, pain, difficulty urinating and sometimes cloudy or pussy urine — and antibiotics are at least temporarily soothing. But after antibiotic treatment, this problem recurs more often than other infections.

    good representation of the concepts

    Health Concern: FAT? continue…

    How much Fat do you Need?

    Very little. Just about any food you can think of contains some fat, and when your diet is made up of at least 75 percent vegetables, fruits, and grains with a few nuts and seeds but without added oils, fats, cheese, or butter, as in the Lifestyle Diet, about 15 percent of your calories will be in the form of fat anyway. This is all you need. The body is capable of making its own fatty acids from the foods you eat with the exception of linoleic acid, and the mere three grams you need per day is more than supplied by eating a couple of tablespoons of sunflower seeds or one small dish of oatmeal. Even leafy green vegetables such as kale or spinach contain about 10 percent of their calories in fat. It is hard to be fat-deficient. Studies of people put on very low-fat diets, even when as little as .7 percent of their calories are taken in the form of fat as linoleic acid, have shown no adverse physical or psychological effects.

    Diet Start

    Even official bodies have recently begun to recognize the need to reduce dietary fats for the sake of preserving health. The U.S. Senate’s Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs recommended in its report “Dietary Goals for the United States” a reduction of fat intake from the present 45 to 30 percent as well as a decrease in sugar consumption to 15 percent of total calories and a corresponding increase in the consumption of complex carbohydrates—the fruits, vegetables, and grains that are the foundation of the Lifestyle Diet. For long-term health and beauty, you should make an even greater reduction so that only about 15 percent of your daily calories are taken in fat.

    This is in line with the Pritikin and other low-fat, low-protein diets which have recently caused great interest in both the medical profession and the general public. Pritikin recommends a diet of 80 percent complex carbohydrates, 10 percent protein and 10 percent fat. Although a radical departure from the traditional British, European, and American dietary habits, regimens like the Pritikin diet can not only substantially reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar, but can also lead to an automatic weight loss and leave people feeling and looking years younger. Such a low protein, low fat diet can also literally beautify a woman both physically and psychically.

    At first such a change takes a bit of getting used to, but soon it becomes second nature and the increased vitality, slimness, and good looks it brings you in a few weeks help make it an easy way to eat permanently.

    When these are broken down slowly throughout the day, they provide the pancreas with a steady flow of glucose at a rate of about two calories a minute. When you eat something sweetened with refined sugar, the glucose poured into the system (say 100 calories or more all at once) suddenly soars. So does the production of pancreatic insulin in reaction to the insult. When this insult occurs repeatedly, as it does in the usual Western diet, with its average of two pounds of sugar per person per week, the blood sugar levels become depressed, then soar, then become depressed over and over again by a pancreas made trigger happy. In many people this leads to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, with its corresponding fatigue and mental and emotional symptoms. It can also result in diabetes and in the development of allergic reactions to foods and to petrochemicals, which have recently been linked with diverse mental disorders as well as many acute and chronic forms of illness.

    Repeated eating of sugar and products containing it can also result in deficiencies in the B-complex vitamins and an imbalance in certain important minerals. And just in case you are reassuring yourself that you, after all, only eat raw sugar, you should know that one sugar is just about as bad as another. Raw sugar does contain some of the natural vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are found in the sugar beets or sugarcane from which the sugar has been taken but raw, brown, and turbinado sugars are all still highly concentrated simple sugars which create the same metabolic problems as white sugar. As such, they are potential disease-makers. The Lifestyle Diet excludes every form of refined sugar—from chocolate to jams to packaged breakfast cereals with their hidden sweetness. It does allow a little honey for sweetening muesli (two tablespoonfuls a day) plus one tablespoonful of blackstrap molasses if you want it for its nutritional value.

    Paperless Mission #10: Distributing Student Assignments

    This is the tenth 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 #10: Distribute Student Assignments through Shared Folders

    Once my students had their iPads, I needed to figure out a way to get their work out to them. At first I tried using Edmodo, but that proved to be a bit glitchy for assignments where I wanted students to work with the materials in a different app like GoodReader. I needed to figure out an easy to manage workaround. Welcome back, Dropbox!
    To do this, I created a new folder on Dropbox called “Student Assignments.” I then right-clicked on the folder to pull up the option to “share link.”
    This pulls up a new window that shows the internal content of the folder in the background. Here, you could enter in a bunch of email addresses, but I prefer to click on “Get link.” This copies a link to your clipboard for you to paste somewhere else.
    Once I had the link to the folder, I put it in a highly visible spot on my class website. My students use my class website constantly, so getting to the link was easy for them once they knew where to find it. 
    Once the folder was shared, I started to create the internal contents of the folder. I created 6 folders inside — one for each day of the week and an archive folder. 
    I numbered the days of the week to control the order of the files. Dropbox will alphabetize the folders otherwise.
    As I gather resources or assignments that I want students to access, I save them as pdf files and I just put them in the folder to match the day that I expect them to do the assignment. At the end of the week, I move everything into the Archive folder, and I start over creating the assignments for next week. 
    This system has worked incredibly well for me! Here’s why:
    • Items in Dropbox sync immediately, so if we’re in the middle of working on something and I realize that I’ve forgotten to give students something that would be helpful, I can just drag it into the folder. I don’t have to sprint down to the copier. 
    • It’s the ultimate organizer for absent students. If a kid misses class on Tuesday, they (and their parents) know to go to the Tuesday folder to see what assignments are there. There’s no more worrying about lost papers or assignments.
    • The archive folder provides a great back-up for lost work. If a parent can’t find a reading or a study guide to help before a test, there’s an easy place to go to see all of the work.
    • It only requires a one-time set-up. Since I’m sharing the external folder and not the individual folders or assignments, I can change out what’s inside the folder without having to get a new link to share. 
    • It doesn’t require any log-ins or sign-ups from my students. They don’t have email yet, and they don’t have Dropbox accounts of their own, but that doesn’t matter. Accessing shared files on Dropbox doesn’t require a log-in of any sort. 

    I’ve been incredibly happy with this system. Everything that I would have copied in the past has been easily distributed through my shared folder in Dropbox. 

    What are some other ways you could use shared folders in Dropbox? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments.

    Number Talks Book Study – Chapter 2

    The farther I get into the book Number Talks, the more excited I am about implementing them next year. This is such a great resource, and I’m only on Chapter 2!

    I’m linking up with Misty at Think, Wonder, & Teach for her fabulous book study. If you haven’t checked it out yet, be sure to visit her because she’s already offering some great resources to support the book (whereas mine are still works in progress!).

    This chapter walks through some of the nuts and bolts of setting up number talks, and it describes how to manage some of the procedures and expectations. One of the sections that really resonated with me in this chapter was about building accountability with the students. So often, there are a few students who are eager to share their mathematical thinking, and there are many others who are willing to sit back and let those students shine. I don’t like pulling sticks with students’ names for something like this, but I also don’t want students to feel like they don’t need to participate. This book offered some great strategies for dealing with that:

    1. Once all of the strategies have been shared, number them and have students show with fingers which one they found to be the most efficient strategy. This will get them thinking about the math involved.

    2. Keep records of the problems posed and strategies used, and label them with the students’ names. I plan to use my iPad to track this. I’ve talked before about setting up student data notebooks on Evernote, and I think that would be the perfect platform to track student participation. I can photograph students’ work and add anecdotal records about what I observe. It would also be easy to share with parents at parent-teacher conferences.

    3. Hold small group number talks throughout the week. As I prepare to transition into more of a math workshop/guided math approach, this seems like a very viable option.

    4. Create and post anchor charts of the different strategies that students are using. The book names a variety of strategies, or you could develop names with your students. Having the charts available to reference could scaffold the less confident students.

    5. Use exit cards. The authors recommend giving each student a notecard. On one side, students should record their solution, and on the other side, they should record a strategy that another student shared that they liked.

    6. Give a weekly computation assessment of 5-10 problems. The selected problems should reinforce the concepts and strategies introduced throughout the week. I can also imagine using an app like Show Me or Explain Everything to assess. These are whiteboard apps that allow students to record audio on top of their drawing. Students could record their solutions and narrate them as if they’re presenting them to the class. This would be another important artifact that could be saved in the student’s Evernote portfolio to share with parents or an RTI committee. If it’s only one problem, most students would be able to complete the task on the app in 5-10 minutes as the video they’d be creating should be less than a minute long.

    I think these accountability measures could be effective in getting students to participate more. Of course, the classroom environment will matter, too, and I look forward to setting those factors in place for my Number Talks this fall.

    In other news, I’m excited to share that I’ll be participating in Sabra’s book study of Word Nerds at Teaching with a Touch of Twang. Word Nerds explores strategies for teaching vocabulary to students, and it’s another fantastic resource. It’s published by Stenhouse, and you can preview the entire book online or you can purchase the book in Paperbook or Kindle edition.

    The book study starts on Thursday and runs throughout the summer. You can see the full schedule by clicking on the image above. I’ll be hosting Chapter 7, and I can’t wait!

    Also, have you joined in the Teacher Toolbox Trio Linky Celebration yet?

    You still have time to link up and be eligible to win a $25 Teachers Pay Teachers gift certificate! The linky celebration will close on Friday night, so be sure to join the fun. My wish list has definitely grown as I’ve seen all of the fabulous resources other teachers are sharing and recommending.

    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]

    Giveaway Winner!

    I had so much fun seeing what everyone posted in the Teacher Toolbox Trio linky. Thanks to everyone who linked up.

    I went to the Random Number Generator this morning, and drumroll…

    I’m excited to announce that Stephanie Ann from Sparkling in Kindergarten was the winner of the $25 Teachers Pay Teachers gift certificate. Congratulations, Stephanie Ann!

    And welcome to all of my new followers! I have lots that I look forward to sharing this summer.

    Have a great weekend!

    Food Repair Guide: Baking Part 2

    Swiss roll

    If you are making a Swiss roll, then line the tin with greaseproof paper, but do ensure that you grease the paper well before pouring in the mixture. Try also to ensure that the oven shelf is level or all the mixture will run to one side. If it does, all is not lost, although it will be rather difficult to roll. When you turn the Swiss roll out, do so onto a tea cloth or piece of greaseproof paper that has been coated well with icing sugar. If not well sugared, the Swiss roll will stick to the cloth or paper and you will have a terrible time rolling it. If you have not greased the paper properly, you will also have a terrible time peeling it off, but patience will usually win the day. Do not worry if the roll is not entirely perfect. As long as you can keep about one third of it intact, that will do for theoutside and no one will see the inside. Dredge it thoroughly with sugar or icing sugar. Or, if it has really fallen apart, pre-slice it before serving so that no one can see.

    Failed sponge cake

    If, despite your best endeavours, your sponge cake, be it light or rich, is dry, crumbly, flat, lumpy or generally unappealing, do not throw it out. If you are desperate for a complete cake or dessert, cut the sponge into very thin layers, sprinkle each with a little liqueur if for a dessert, and layer very generously with filling so that the cake gets smothered. Then top or ice equally generously and no one will ever know. If you do not need the cake too urgently, keep it to make trifles, tipsy cakes or anything that needs a sponge base. Buried deep enough and soaked comprehensively enough, even the most revolting cake will become quite palatable. Alternatively, crumble it and use it as a topping. When toasted, the crumbs can be used as decoration for almost anything in need of disguise.

    Diet Start

    This does not apply only to plain sponges. Orange or lemon sponges would be a delicious base for any cream dessert, chocolate, coffee or even gingerbread can be used as a base for ‘a trifle with a difference’. Indeed, coffee and chocolate cake could be sliced into fingers, thoroughly dried out in the oven and sandwiched together with some butter icing as biscuits. Any of the above could be used as the base for a baked pudding, but remember that the cake will be sweeter than bread or rice so reduce the amount of sugar.

    Failed fruit cakes

    Failed fruit cakes are just as adaptable.

    Rich fruit cakes often get old and dry out. Do not abandon them to the birds. Cut deep slits in the top of the cake and feed with a mixture of brandy and sherry, or, if you do not want to be too alcoholic, a fruit wine or good fruit cordial. The amount you give the cake will depend on how dry it is, but you can always cut it in half and test the middle.

    The same principle can be applied to lighter fruit cakes although one needs to be more temperate. A large quantity of fruit will soak up the liquid and make the whole mixture moist but sponge will merely become soggy, so the greater the proportion of sponge to fruit the less liquid it should be given. It is usually better to ice the cake after it has been — to conceal the tell tale signs.

    If a rich fruit cake really is dry beyond redemption, break it up in a bowl, add some suet and a goodly measure of liquor, leave it to soak for 24 hours, then squash it well into a bowl and steam it as a Christmas pudding. It will be a little crumbly and somewhat lighter than the standard, but many people prefer it that way!

    Icings

    The disaster-prone cook should steer clear of all but glace, butter and royalicing — fondants and their kind are for those with time and expertise to spare.

    Glace icing

    Glace icing is quick and simple but messy. It is not easy to get the proportion of icing sugar to liquid right to achieve `spreadability’ without `runability’.

    Always put whatever you are going to ice on a rack so that the extra can run off without getting stuck in a thick frill round the bottom of the cake. Arm yourself with a pot of boiling water and several metal spatulas or flat knives to smooth out the lumps. Inevitably, the wretched stuff will never quite cover the top of the cake in the first run, and when you add the next bit, the first will have dried and the whole thing will go lumpy. Only practice is going to perfect your technique, but smoothing with a spatula dipped in boiling water does help.

    Always be ready to decorate or disguise the top with something other than icing — even if only gold and silver balls. Grated chocolate is a good alternative.

    Marbling

    Marbling the top, if it is reasonable, will distract the eye from any minor blemishes and is easy and impressive in itself. Run a little melted chocolate, or different coloured icing, in parallel lines across the top of the cake. Then, before it is dried, take a knife point and pull it across the cake top in straight lines at right angles to the first lines, thus pulling the lines into a feathered shape. Try it a couple of times on greaseproof paper before you launch into the cake.

    If all fails and you make a complete mess of the icing, wait till it is dry, then scrape the whole lot off and start again.

    Butter icing

    Butter icing is the world’s easiest, but it is very rich. Many people prefer to use shortening as the fat base, which keeps it much lighter. The only hazard with butter icing is to get enough flavour into it. Like brandy butter (which is, of course, only a butter icing) nothing is nastier than a butter icing that tastes like sweetened butter. Therefore, taste after you have followed the recipe. If you have used a particularly strongly flavoured butter, you will need more chocolate, lemon or whatever you are using. Never try to spread it straight out of the fridge.

    Royal icing

    Royal icing is also simple, using egg white rather than water or syrup to moisten the icing sugar. Add a little lemon juice to counteract the sweetness and do not forget a drop or two of glycerine to prevent it hardening totally. If you do have a cake with unglycerined icing, you would be better advised to saw your way through it with a bread knife rather than to try and cut it, when it will shatter and ricochet all over the drawing room and Great Aunt Ethel. Royal icing can always be broken off and replaced with a new batch. Use a small amount of icing to experiment with the colour.

    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™]

    Do you have Food Cravings? Food Cravings Test

    • Do you frequently eat until your stomach is uncomfortably full?
    • When you get hungry, does it make you feel tense, weak, or irritable?
    • When you get hungry, do you sometimes focus on one or two specific foods?
    • Do you snack often, usually eating the same snacks?
    • Have you ever had other addictive habits, such as smoking or drinking too much alcohol or overconsuming caffeine?
    • Diet Start
    • Are you often hungry after a meal and stay that way until you’ve eaten one of your favourite foods?
    • Do you usually need dessert after dinner to feel satisfied?
    • Do you tend to eat a relatively narrow range of foods?
    • When you eat your favourite foods, do you often intend to eat only a moderate amount, but end up eating a larger amount?
    • Do you sometimes feel as if you lack control over what you eat?
    • If you snack on foods other than your favourite foods, do you tend to feel unsatisfied?
    • Do you binge on food more than once per week?
    • Even if you know a food doesn’t agree with you, do you eat it anyway?
    • When you eat your favourite foods, do you frequently drift into an almost trancelike state of relaxation?
    • When you eat one of your favourite foods, does it generally improve your mood?

    If you answered yes to six or more questions, you are probably overweight. If you’re not, you must have a tremendous degree of willpower or an exceptional metabolism.

    When this happens, you will stop eating as much as you now eat, and your metabolism will heal. You will then begin to lose adipose tissue gradually, painlessly — and permanently.

    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.

    Chronic Illnesses and Diet part 1

    Chronic illnesses are frequently the result of a web of interrelated factors. Your body may be reacting to a germ, an allergen or a toxin or you may be deficient in a vital nutrient. And the whole situation may be complicated by insulin resistance. It’s unrealistic to think that finding and treating just one piece of the puzzle will be sufficient to remedy the problem. Restoring balance is a more realistic approach.

    Balance and Health

    Balance is a key concept in most alternative medical approaches to health, such as traditional Chinese medicine, naturopathy, homeopathy and Ayurveda. One of the problems that mainstream medicine has with these alternative medical systems is that the practitioners appear to offer the same remedy for all sorts of illnesses. This doesn’t seem right to doctors trained to think that there are a certain number of discrete diseases that exist in nature. Physicians have also been taught that for each disease there is a distinct treatment. We know, for example, that if you have a strep throat or pneumonia a particular antibiotic is the right treatment, while another antibiotic is appropriate for your urinary tract infection because a different germ is involved. If you burn your finger or you break your arm, the treatment is again going to be designed for the specific problem that you have.

    Diet Start

    There is certainly some truth to the idea that specific illnesses or conditions need precise, individualized treatments. But there is another valid argument to be made as we move away from acute ailments to focus on the increasing prevalence of chronic illnesses. Sometimes the symptoms of a chronic illness can be suppressed with drugs, but since the cause of the disease is unknown, an individualized remedy to cure the person is out of the question. When an alternative medical practitioner recommends a generalized strategy that is not necessarily aimed at the distinct disease but is more directed at correcting imbalance, these approaches are designed to get to the underlying causes rather than the individual symptoms.

    If you are in pain, it’s hard to believe in a treatment unless it works right away. Dietary changes and other generalized strategies, like the Body Clock Prescription, usually do not produce instant relief. These measures do sometimes take effect quickly, but it’s frequently a slower process. I think you will be more motivated if you understand what lies behind much chronic illness.

    Rhythmic Disturbances May Underlie Many Chronic Illness

    As researchers continue to elucidate the mysteries of the scientific basis of disease, we realize more and more that similar fundamental mechanisms underlie much chronic illness. These include abnormalities of cell membranes and their capacity to send and receive messages, the backfiring of chemistry designed for cellular defense (autoimmunity and inflammation) and ‘sparks’ from your own metabolic fire, environmental radiation and chemical pollutants (oxidative damage). This is why a generalized strategy to treat chronic illness is beneficial.

    To this list I would add dyschronism or the failure to keep the various cadences of the body’s biochemical activities in harmony. Disharmony is the direct cause of jet lag, symptoms related to shift work and some sleep disturbances. But having your body in disharmony is also likely to bring out the worst in you more readily than if your body is well tuned. Poor tuning contributes indirectly to the expression of other illnesses, as indicated by the tendency for many ailments to have their own characteristic time peak of maximum intensity. There is evidence to support the idea that there is a rhythmic component in a number of diseases; among the most significant findings related to dyschronism are the following:

    Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression directly linked to the shorter daylight hours of winter.

    Sudden cardiac death and nonfatal heart attacks occur most frequently between 7:00 and 11:00 a.m.

    Strokes occur more frequently between 6:00 a.m. and noon.

    Asthma sufferers experience their worst symptoms in the early morning hours.

    The growth of breast cancer cells may be inhibited by melatonin. (When a 1995 study showed that Finnish flight attendants had an increased risk of breast cancer, the principal investigator hypothesized that frequently crossing time zones was part of the problem, since jet lag interferes with the normal production of melatonin. Although his theory has not yet been proven, other studies have shown that melatonin inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells.)

    Circadian rhythms have been substantiated in the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (least pain and stiffness around 5 p.m.) and allergic rhinitis (peak of worst symptoms between 5:00 and 7:00 a.m.).

    Mt Trip to Manila, Philippines cont……..

    I returned to Colombo on the 19th morning without any delays. On the way I met one of my colleagues at Bangkok airport and that helped pass the time as well as chat on the plane.

    I found an interesting article on the web regarding “don’t know that you don’t know” I found the article to be spot on and very helpful in understanding this phenomenon. http://www.doceo.co.uk/tools/knowing.htm Now I can start to develop some strategy to work around this problem so that I am better prepared to face such an issue the next time around.

    I finished documenting the results of the workshop in Manila and sent the results for comments from the client. I am still waiting for the results. Hope I am able to finish this assignment this week as it has the potential to get delayed and get ugly.

    In terms of my future travel plans there are no assignments where I need to travel overseas at present. The assignments I have lined up are in Colombo. However things can change very quickly.

    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.

    Spending Your Money Wisely with Quality Food

    Wherever possible, it is best to grow your own food. This is a help with the family budget. But many excellent articles of food may not grow well in your particular locality. They must be brought from a distance and exchanged for cash. If you are on a limited budget, how can you spend your money for the greatest value in food? This is a very practical question.

    Foods which are manufactured and refined usually cost much more than those in the natural state. At the same time there is danger that some of the minerals and vitamins have been lost in the manufacturing process. In such a case you lose out in two ways, first, by paying much more for the product, and second, by the loss of essential elements from the food. This is not a wise way to spend a large portion of your money. Do not be carried away by all the glowing advertising material on the package or container.

    Take the question of breakfast cereals so widely advertised today, particularly those flakes that have been coated with sugar. Such breakfast food is scarcely worthy of a place on your table and in your family budget. Dry cereals in any form offer less nourishment than do the raw materials from which they are made. Much of real value is lost in the manufacturing process. And when a sugar frosting is added, the effect on young children is far from good. That sugar coating is the worst feature of all. This excess sugar increases the possibility of dental decay and often results in chronic indigestion as well.

    Diet Start

    Cereals and similar products that are cooked at home are much less expensive than those that are already prepared. The same is true of breads baked at home. They, too, are more nutritious. It does take time to prepare such food. But in the end this saves money, and the whole family will be healthier and more satisfied.

    People in well-to-do households may not have much trouble in selecting an adequate diet, provided they take the time to do so. Unfortunately, most of them do not bother. They just eat what comes their way or what is advertised over radio or television. This haphazard way of living is likely to result in serious deficiencies.

    The family with limited means must be even more alert to the problem of selecting a diet that is suitable, but not too expensive. They must not allow themselves to be swept away by the flood of advertising so prevalent today. They must buy wisely and well.

    Those who live in the country may find the situation a little easier. A small garden, with a few hens and a cow, may enable such a family to live far better than one whose means are not limited. Everything depends on the choice that is made.

    Actually you can feed your family better than you think you can. But it does take a little planning. However, people who live on a well-balanced diet are naturally happier and healthier. Such a diet need not be an expensive one. In fact, there are many experiments in rats and other animals showing that a less liberal diet tends to promote a longer life. Many modern nutritionists believe that we live on only about half of what we eat. The rest only compels our hearts and other organs to work that much harder to get rid of the extra food.

    Experiments at Cornell University seem to bear this out. A certain number of white rats were used. Some were allowed to eat all they wanted whenever they felt like it. Others were placed on special diets when they were in a rat’s “middle age.” Those rats which ate as they pleased lived 600 days or less. Those on the diet in middle age lived over 1,000 days. The oldest rat lived 1,400 days, and he never had a square meal in his life! It is not the quantity of the food, but the quality, that counts.

    Planning Better Meals

    Some people become confused over such scientific terms as calories, vitamins, minerals, and so forth. This is quite understandable. But don’t let this scare you too much. Today you can balance your diet fairly well without knowing very much about these various terms. Without going into too much detail, you can reach a good middle-of-the-road plan that is almost foolproof.

    During recent years nutritionists have worked out what is known as the “basic seven” food groups. If these foods are included in the diet each day, they will meet the needs of the whole family very well. One does not have to bother with all the endless details of a complicated diet. Just follow this basic plan.

    These seven food groups are easily recognized. They should become the foundation of each day’s meals. Some foods from each should be in one meal, others in another. But these essential things should always find a place at some time in the day. Other things may be added as desired. But it is best not to get too far away from this simple daily program. If any of these basic groups are missing in your daily planning, your diet is likely to be deficient in some things that are vitally important to good health.

    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.

    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.

    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

    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.

    The Ten Steps of Body Clock Diet

    The ten steps of the Body Clock Prescription that follow don’t take much time or many resources but they go a long way toward helping you stay healthy if you are well or feel better if you are ill.

    1. Follow the Body Clock Diet. Put protein in your morning meal, snacks and lunch, either by drinking the Rhythmic Shake or by emphasizing high protein foods. Move most of your carbohydrates from breakfast, lunch and morning snacks to the evening.
    2. If you scored high on the insulin resistance test, adhere as rigorously as you can to the Body Clock Diet. Because insulin resistance is at the root of so many conditions, you want to capitalize on your ability to bring down your serum insulin level. Eat the maximum tolerable amount of your protein during the day and save as many of your carbohydrates as possible for one meal in the evening. Craving carbohydrates is your enemy in this regard; you will probably need to make a gradual transition to the level of strictness that I’m recommending. That way, your insulin levels will come down step by step; they will not be screaming for carbohydrates while I’m screaming at you not to eat them.
    3. Excess alcohol and caffeine interfere with circadian rhythm. The definition of excess depends on the person and on the time of day. In the early evening, the effects of alcohol are minimized by most people’s capacity to easily metabolize two to four ounces of liquor over a two- to four-hour period. But efficient alcohol metabolism declines dramatically after 10:00 p.m., making late night drinking particularly disruptive. Avoid caffeine except at around 4:00 p.m., the one time of day when its circadian effects are neutral.
    4. Stay away from diet drinks because they send a false signal to your body. They promise the potential arrival of sugar and then, after engaging your body’s mechanism for raising insulin, let you down when the sugar doesn’t arrive.
    5. Get plenty of full spectrum sunlight in your eyes and on some part of your skin every day. When you expose your eyes to sunlight — and I hope it’s obvious that I don’t mean staring at the sun — do it without wearing spectacles. These days spectacles of all kinds block both the healthy and the injurious types of ultraviolet rays. So get out in the sun, take off your glasses and soak up a moderate amount of sunlight — at least one-half hour near dawn or dusk — every day. This does not require sunbathing, simply being out in the sun. If you live in a northern latitude where the winter days are short and there are lots of rainy, snowy or cloudy days, then consider getting a light box like those prescribed for people with seasonal affective disorder. Expose yourself to the light box for at least a couple of hours every day.
    6. Establish a regular time for going to bed at night and getting up in the morning and get sufficient sleep every night, preferably during the natural period of darkness between sundown and sunrise. While you’re asleep, expose yourself to light as little as possible. If you wake up in the middle of the night to pee, don’t turn on the light. Instead, use a dim flashlight or nightlight to light your way to the bathroom. Even a tiny amount of light at night will squash your melatonin peak. Remember that melatonin is an antioxidant and informational substance whose narrowly timed peak in the middle of the night, following a healthy exposure to light during the day, may be suppressed by ill-timed light. Failure to have a peak release of melatonin at night is like missing a bus that comes only once a day.
    7. Encourage rhythmic harmony by learning to breathe with your diaphragm. When you relinquish control to your diaphragm, your breathing will take on the normal rhythm directed by the unconscious part of your brain rather than the potentially asynchronous rhythm generated by your chest muscles. This works especially well when you engage in stressful activities that make you unconsciously hold your breath. For example, when I am on top of a ladder trying to hammer in a nail that is slightly out of reach and I dislodge the nail, bang my thumb or bend the nail, I stop and say to myself, ‘Baker, stop holding your breath and take a deep one with your diaphragm.’ Then the nail goes right in. The same is true for threading a needle, looking for lost keys, worrying about finding a restroom when you’re downtown with a filling bladder, waiting in line at the bank or driving on the freeway.
    8. Engage in some form of rhythmic exercise at the same time every day, preferably in the afternoon when muscle strength is at its peak and most people perform best. If you can walk, walk. If you can swim, do that, especially if you can find nonchlorinated water to swim in and are strong enough to swim with a good steady rhythm. If you prefer, ride a bike. But whatever you do, remember to breathe in a relaxed way, using your diaphragm, so that the effort of your exercise reinforces rhythmic harmony in your body instead of allowing unnatural chest breathing to interfere with it.
    9. Working out to music takes exercise one step farther by permitting you to synchronize your activity with the beat of the music. Of course, the ultimate refinement of exercising to music is dance. If you are ill and unable to move about, then simply listen to music, but really listen so that the music penetrates your being rather than simply acting as a background to whatever you are doing. Some types of music are more healing than others. I asked Millie Grenough, a music therapist and author of Sing It! Learn English Through Song, what would be the best choice of music for a person with inflammatory illness.3 She said, ‘It can be anything from Mozart and Vivaldi to favorite Broadway tunes, from long-remembered lullabies or Tibetan chants to your favorite song when you were sixteen. The main thing is that it be music the person loves.’
    10. Meditate daily to reinforce and integrate your body’s rhythms. And if you’re ill, use meditation as the platform from which you launch the powerful tool of visualization. When you dance, you put your whole body’s movement into the embrace of something bigger than yourself — the music. When you are fully the captive of the music, you are free to receive its blessing. And every step of the dance is a choice you make to stay with the music.

    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.

    Workout Anytime on FOX 19

    Workout Anytime on FOX 19

    Tony Petrocelli from Workout Anytime was recently featured on a segment on FOX 19 in Cincinnati. The segment is about what women do wrong while working out. Tony then talks about the locations and mentions that there are franchise opportunities.

    Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

    You can view the full segment here.

    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.

    Knoxville News Sentinel featuring Kurt and April Nitzsche

    Knoxville News Sentinel featured WORKOUT ANYTIME owners Kurt and April Nitzsche.
    The online article includes a great picture of April showing one of her clients, how to use one of many exercise machines at the Maryville location. The story also ran in the print edition on the front page of the business section with a large two picture spread of Kurt and April.
    April Nitzsche explains to Robert Ridenour how to use one of many exercise machines at the Workout Anytime in Maryville on Thursday, January 16, 2014. April and her husband Kurt Nitzsche are the franchise owners of the Workout Anytime in Bearden and are now expanding into Maryville with their second location.         (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)
    You can view the online article here. 

    High-quality protein continue…

    Soya’s starring role

    Soya is another star player on the protein front, and although it doesn’t have as high a BV as whey protein, meat, fish or eggs, it has a multitude of health benefits which more than justify its inclusion in a low-carb diet; and it is a great vegetarian option.

    Soya contains all-important isoflavones, which can reduce insulin levels, decrease arteriosclerosis (thickening of the arterial walls) and lower levels of LDL (Low-Density Lipoproteins, or poor cholesterol). It has also been shown to reduce the risk of osteoporosis (softening of the bones), increase bone mass and enhance the body’s ability to retain calcium.

    Diet Start

    Soya is also of particular benefit to women, as the isoflavones it contains mimic the action of the female sex hormone oestrogen. It is believed that a diet high in soya can reduce the density of breast tissue, therefore lowering the risk of developing breast cancer.

    Make it organic

    The quality of the meat and fish we consume has dropped dramatically during the last century. Gone are the days when we were eating meat that came from animals allowed to graze freely on nutritious grass, and fish caught inunpolluted rivers and seas. Today, most farm animals are fed on grains that are high in carbohydrates and omega-6 fatty acids, then pumped full of antibiotics and hormones. And fish are being farmed in restrictive conditions, rendering them more fatty than their wild counterparts.

    The only real answer is to buy the best that you can afford – the organic option being the healthiest and most nutritious. Organic is better because the quality of the food is better. It isn’t loaded with drugs and hormones, isallowed to graze naturally, and quite often comes from wild sources, so that the level of omega-3’s is higher, levels of saturated fats lower.

    Protein Q&A

    Q. Where does whey come from?

    A, Whey comes from milk. During the process of turning milk into cheese, the whey protein is separated from the curds.

    Q. Why use whey?

    A. It contains the perfect combination of amino acids, in just the right concentrations for optimal performance in the body. Both hormonal and cellular responses seem to be greatly enhanced by whey supplementation. If you are trying to increase muscle mass, whey protein is invaluable in building and retaining muscle tissue.

    Q. How do I know how much protein I need?

    A. Easy-just follow these simple calculations. If you are sedentary you need 0.8g protein per kilogram of bodyweight (0.36g per pound of bodyweight). If you are active, you need 1.4g protein per kilogram of bodyweight (0.64g per pound of bodyweight). So a woman weighing 63kg (1401b) who exercises needs 88.2g of protein per day. A woman weighing 63kg (140Ib) who isn’t active would be fine on 50.4g of protein per day.

    Q. Can I have all my protein in one meal?

    A. No, it is best to spread it out over the day, so divide it between your three meals and two snacks. You can do this by having eggs at breakfast, a portion of nuts for your morning snack, some fish at lunchtime, a whey protein shake as an afternoon snack, and finally by including a piece of lean meat in your evening meal.

    How to Overcome a Negative Habit



    Habits are powerful.  Unfortunately, they often are created outside our consciousness and without our permission. However, we can consciously change habits. Habits shape our lives far more than we realize— they are so strong, in fact, that they can cause our brains to cling to them at the exclusion of all else, including common sense.
    At the same time, positive habits can change our lives for the better. So how are habits created and what can we do to influence them in ourselves and our clients?
    Three Parts of a Habit
    The Cue: a situational trigger that is based on a reward you are seeking.
    The Routine:  a physical or emotional action you take to obtain the reward.
    The Reward:  the satisfaction you get by following the habit.

    The Steps to Changing a Habit
    Identify the Routine:  You must identify how you go from a particular cue to the routine of the habit and the reward it gives you.
    Understand Cravings and Rewards

    The first part of a habit is the cue, but before the cue there is some type of craving.  Cravings drive habits.   Understanding cravings is key to figuring out habits.  In a habit, there is a specific reward that satisfies a particular craving.    In other words, figure out what you are getting from the habit because you ARE getting something from it!
    Rewards are powerful because they satisfy cravings. But we’re often not conscious of the cravings that drive our behaviors. For example, when developing the air freshening product Febreze marketers discovered that people craved a fresh scent at the end of a cleaning ritual.  They found a craving that people were not aware of.     This craving is so strong that without added scent most people do not get satisfaction from an air freshener that just removes odors from the air – they have to smell the scent!   It is exactly the same phenomenon with breath freshners which can be made to eliminate odor WITHOUT any taste/scent, but no one buys them!
    Most cravings are like this: obvious in hindsight, but difficult to discern when they are in control of your behavior. It is critical to discover the cravings that drive habits to be able to change or create habits!   To figure out which cravings are driving particular habits, it’s useful to experiment with different rewards. For example, say your reward is having a cookie after studying every night.  The next time you study deliberately substitute something else for the cookie such as going for a short walk or having a cup of tea instead. 
    The next time eat an apple and another time change call a friend for call, etc. What you choose to do instead of eating a cookie is not important.  The key is to test different hypotheses to determine the exact craving that is driving your routine.   Are you craving the cookie itself, or a break from work? If it’s the cookie, is it because you’re hungry? (In which case the apple should work just as well.) Or is it because you want the burst of energy the cookie provides? (And so coffee may work just as well.) Or is it where you eat the cookie and who you are with?  Do you go to a specific place to get and eat your cookie?  If so maybe the real craving may have to do with a desire to socialize.  
    As you test four or five different rewards, use this technique to identify patterns.  After each activity, note the first three things that come to mind after your reward behavior. This can be emotions, random thoughts, reflections on how you’re feeling, or just the first three words that pop into your head. Then, set an alarm on your watch or computer for fifteen minutes. When it goes off, ask yourself: Do you still feel the urge for that cookie? The reason why it’s important to write down three things— even if they are meaningless words— is twofold. First, it forces a momentary awareness of what you are thinking or feeling.
    By experimenting with different rewards, you can isolate what you are actually craving, which is essential in changing a habit.
    Determine the Specific Cue for the Habit

    This is the trigger that initiates the craving for the reward.   So it is very important to learn the cues for habits.   Common cues including being in a particular place, being with a particular person, a particular time of time of day, a specific emotional state, etc.    Asking yourself these five questions can be very helpful for identifying cues:
    Where are you when the urge for a reward hits you?
    What time is it?
    What is your emotional state?
    Who else is present?
    What did you do right before you had the urge?
    Have a Plan!
    Once you understand the habit you want to change you need to create a plan to change the habit!   The easiest way to do that is have a specific plan of action whenever you experience the cue or cues.    For example, if you smoke when you have coffee know this and plan to do something else deliberately whenever you have a cup of coffee.   The plan is key or you will slip right back into the old routine.
    Another example is having a few beers every night when you get home.  Through the first three steps you discover that having the beer helps you relax after a stressful day.    You also learned that going for a 20-minute walk or doing Tai Chi gives you that same reward of feeling relaxed.   So now you plan to either go for a walk or do Tai Chi ever day as soon as you get home (or even better before you get home!).

    My Trip to New Delhi & Hyderabad

    I am in New Delhi doing an assignment which requires me to do an organization capacity assessment of 5 research institutions in India to ascertain their capacity to receive research grants.

    The journey was interesting as the flight I took had a group of tourists (religious pilgrimage to Buddhist sites in India) of whom a majority were first time flyers. So it was fascinating to see the excitement in their faces as the flight progressed; from the smallest kid to the old folk (Gray haired men and women who were in their late sixties) started to peer through the windows to steal a glimpse of the geographic features below. I instantly recalled my first flight (which I took to the UK) when I was just a teenager.

    I had dreams of sleeping in the flight; however the rest of the passengers were too excited to be quiet. They were talking in loud voices and moving about so much that sleeping was not an option.

    I arrived in New Delhi and managed to go through the immigration very fast and managed to get my luggage fast as well. However when I went out of the airport my pick up had not arrived; so after waiting for half an hour I took a prepaid taxi to the hotel. As a seasoned traveler to New Delhi, I advice all travelers to Delhi to take a prepaid taxi and always have the hotel name and address handy. Also have the telephone number of the hotel so that the taxi driver can call (they all have mobiles) the hotel and get directions if he does not know the place exactly. So without too much of looking around the driver found the hotel.

    My past experiences with research organizations have been limited to engaging them for research in preparation for various assignments. I am looking forward to this assignment as this is the first time I will be doing work for research organizations.

    Planetside 2 – Video Tutorial: How To Attack and Defend a Facility – Bio Lab (Subtitled) [Short Version]

    In this brief Tutorial focused on New Players to Planetside 2, I present concepts to attacking and defending a large facility with multiple objectives, such as:

    • capture points
    • shields
    • generators
    • spawn rooms
    • terminals
    and more…
    In the video below, I am playing on the New Conglomerate FACTION. I CAPITALIZE full words that are either important structures and names to remember, or are important concepts to learn for battle.
    During this battle at a large base, I show briefly how to use your HUD (Head Up Display) to locate OBJECTIVES, what some icons on the screen represent, where major structures are and important areas and aspects of the base.

    Although my FACTION successfully takes over a Bio Lab, many of the concepts presented in the tutorial will carry over to battles at other large facilities, such as Amplifier Stations and Technological Plants.
    [A separate tutorial for an Amp Station can be seen here:
    http://gametipsandmore.blogspot.ca/2012/12/planetside-2-video-tutorial-how-to.html]

    With subtitles over sections of a Bio Lab battle, playing as the NC (New Conglomerate), I go over some concepts a few times to make sure they set in for New Recruits, but for the most part, I stick to the main objectives of the base and how to quickly locate them, as well as the various ways to get inside..
    Enjoy and See You In the Game!

    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.

    And More: The EULA Keeps Popping Up When Starting Sony’s Vegas Video Editing Applications (FIX)

    Since the most popular answer on the ongoing poll I have running here at the blog (“what type of posts would you like to see more of in 2014” [top right, it will run until the middle of the year]) is “Tips And Tricks Of Video Capturing And Editing”, I thought I would start more of these types of requested posts by sharing this fix for a problem that seems to pop up intermittently with Sony’s Vegas line of products.

    Whether you have just re-installed it or whether it has been on your system for a while, ‘something’ is causing the EULA (End User License Agreement) to pop up and require you to agree to it, even if you have already done so and/or Registered the program. This question comes up once in a while on the Sony Creative Software Official Forums and I have seen it elsewhere. I was recently reminded of it again because it is also something that just happened to me on my system! I didn’t re-install Vegas or make any large changes related to Vegas, yet this little guy started popping-up every time I started up Vegas Movie Studio HD**:

    The popup that comes up for some people, every time they start Vegas

    The fix is a simple one, originally suggested by a Sony Forum Moderator and quoted/forwarded frequently on the official forums, to those who come and ask the question there. Although it seems more like a ‘workaround’ than a ‘fix [in my opinion], it works just fine and since it is officially supported by Sony and I just tested it for verification myself [that it does indeed solve the problem], so now I share it here with you:

    • To stop the EULA popping up every time you start Sony Vegas, simply open Windows Explorer and navigate to the folder where you installed it on your system. 
    • Then, find the file that is titled, simply, “eula”. There will be no Extension showing, even if you have the Windows option to ‘Hide Extensions For Known File Types’ turned off. 
    • Rename (or delete) the file. That’s it! 

    Now the EULA cannot pop up anymore and won’t, every time you start up Vegas to edit your game captures.

    **Although this example shows steps for the Movie Studio version of Sony’s Vegas Video editing line, the EULA ‘fix’ is the same steps for Vegas Pro, Vegas Edit or other versions of Vegas

    Enjoy popup-free video editing once again – and See You In The Games!

    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)

    “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)

    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.”

    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.

    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.

    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.

    BLACK WALL INTERIORS DESIGN IDEAS FOR A MODERN HOME

    Are you brave enough to try a deep impression on the black walls at home? A dramatic effect can be created on the walls of blacks is unique, and it takes courage and commitment to create an interior decorated with beautiful black walls. A black-painted walls, chalkboard walls, elegant black background, or even some black accents can change the look of the interior.

    High ceilings and lots of natural light conditions seem to enjoy blacks the walls in my room, but even the smallest spaces can look modern and stylish, if all other elements are chosen to enhance the contrast and the dark walls. Some of you are going to see the inside is a piece of furniture in bright colors and decorations that mitigate the effects of black walls, others will benefit from natural light, some are painted on wood or walls, wallpaper, and applications – but all ideas have two things in common: the courage and well-designed structures.

    BLACK WALL INTERIORS DESIGN OFFFICE FOR A MODERN HOME

    BLACK WALL INTERIORS DESIGN OFFFICE FOR A MODERN HOME

    BLACK WALL INTERIORS DESIGN FOR A MODERN HOME

    BLACK WALL INTERIORS DESIGN FOR A MODERN HOME

    BLACK WALL INTERIORS DESIGN DINNING ROOM FOR A MODERN HOME

    BLACK WALL INTERIORS DESIGN DINNING ROOM FOR A MODERN HOME

    BLACK WALL INTERIORS DESIGN BEDROOM FOR A MODERN HOME

    BLACK WALL INTERIORS DESIGN BEDROOM FOR A MODERN HOME

    BLACK WALL INTERIORS DESIGN KITCHEN FOR A MODERN HOME

    BLACK WALL INTERIORS DESIGN KITCHEN FOR A MODERN HOME

    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.

    My trip to New Delhi & Hyderabad Cont……..

    I finished the 5th and final OCA for this assignment. The organization assessed is rather a small one but with a track record of substantial outputs. The 3rd organization Indian Institute of Dalit Studies, the 4th organization Yugantra (www.yugantra.org.in) and the 5th organization Institute of Social Studies Trust (www.isst-india.org) had fewer economists as researchers than the 1st and 2nd organizations assessed. This resulted in their research being more focused on the softer aspects of development such as gender, education and inclusion. This meant that they had more interactions with civil society organizations. In a country that is looking to grow at 8% on an annual basis it is good to have this perspective brought in to the policy making process.

    I finished the OCA by 4 PM and made my way to he airport to take the flight back to Colombo. To my surprise the flight was on time and we were able to board and are ready for take off on time. I dreamt of sleeping in the plane and getting home at a decent hour and taking a shower and going to sleep so that I can start a new day in Colombo without the effects of travel. This however was not to be. As the air stewardess counted the passengers there was one passenger missing. This meant that the airport staff had to look for this idiot all over the airport. As they could not find him then they decided to offload him; so this meant that they had to offload his baggage as well. As the Delhi airport did not have a bar coding system that meant that all the baggage had to be manually processed to identify the missing passengers’ baggage. This took one and a half hours.

    Apparently the passenger was a phantom as he has been checked in (as part of a group) transferring to this flight with his luggage but he was physically not there. I hope they throw the book at the counter staff that did this horrendous mistake. And fix the system to ensure that transfer baggage is not loaded on to the aircraft until the passenger physically checks in. I really thought that this type of kinks in the system would have been sorted out long time ago; apparently not.

    So what promised to be a nice ride back to Colombo turned out to be the longest flight between New Delhi and Colombo. The silver lining is of course that we arrived safely!

    Have to finish all my reports for the India assignment and apply for my Philippines visa next week as I have to leave for Bangladesh on the 24th of March.

    Personal Log: Might not be able to post for a bit longer still… [Editorial/Personal]


    Personal Log, Stardate 20160901 [I have no idea how that works heh]

    Just a quick Personal Note to say that I apologize to my dear readers for not posting anything for a while, and that I may not be able to post for a while longer yet… I have been experiencing a worsening of my ongoing symptoms… I may be okay in about week or so and finish up some Project irons I have in the fire; but I don’t know, it may take longer than that to get back up to the point where I can play and finish testing some recording programs I was working on, and post about it all…

    < Potentially Sad Talking About Sicknesses Follows, In Case Of Feels, Stop Reading, Play Game >
    I’ve never really mentioned what I have or what I go through before, since starting this Blog five years ago.. I didn’t really want to trouble people or put those thoughts/feelings on them, but I have had a few people ask me personally what it was – and I was looking something up recently about my condition (it’s a condition I (and Doctors as well) are constantly having to learn about) and I read quite a bit about other similar stories, where other suffers were in much worse condition than me… They were literally bed-ridden… And while I was also like that for the first couple of years, I have improved slowly over time to the point where I can sit up, and sometimes even play games, and on good days work on an article and do things around the house… 
    My condition is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, which is an infection of the brain and spinal column, which gives components of Chronic Fatigue (getting tired easily with a slow recovery rate (as in days) if I go to the store, etc) and Fibromyalgia (inflammation and pain in all areas of the body, like when you get a ‘flu’ and are sore all over? it’s that, all the time…heck, many of your Aunts or Mothers may have Fibromyalgia, so you may have heard about it..). It is not a well-known disorder, despite millions of Americans having it.

    Every year I learn something new about it or studies that found out something new about it; but nothing is ever concrete on ‘how to get rid of it’, unfortunately. The only good part about that is, is that all Doctors have concluded that it is “something that goes away on it’s own, but noone knows when”… Some people have it for a year or so and some have it the remainder of their lives. I am in my 10th year now, but as I have said in the past, I try to always see the positive in things and I have been slowly improving overall, slowly over the years…

    I don’t want to make anyone feel sad, I am sorry if this information does… I merely wanted to inform my readers that I may not be able to post things I have been working on for a while longer… Some of the things I was working on are: GPU-Accelerated Game Recorder Comparisons (Playclaw, Bandicam, Mirillis Action, D3Dgear, and more), First Impressions of some games that I started work on already (The Elder Scrolls Legends Closed Beta, Dropzone Closed Beta, A Return To The Elder Scrolls Online (I was in the Beta for it) and others), bringing back the “Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From” (there have been no winners so far and I have some Giftable Games a-waiting on Steam and GamersGate) and even more projects that I don’t want to mention yet – to keep them a ‘surprise’, heh).

    I enjoy writing my articles and posts here, helping others with the information I have figured out, found or collected, doing testing, giving tips of games and even Video Editing and showing effects of settings in both, including also creating the Headers and graphics utilized here (they are all done by me)…
    I plan to continue doing this for a long time to come… I just realized there has not been much the past little while and wanted to let you all know there may not be some yet for just a little bit longer (‘recovering’ from a Cold or “doing too much” takes about a week or more each time I do something or get a cold, to get back to where I was, with this illness, everything takes far longer..).
    Thank you for your patience, my wonderful readers, and I hope that I can contribute helpful information again for you, in the near future.

    Sincerely,

    ~Troy from The Game Tips And More Blog

    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.

    Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) continue…

    Adding a Label

    MPLS is a method that takes the best of both worlds and creates a concept that allows IP packets to travel through the network as if IP were a connection-oriented protocol (which it isn’t). Using special routers called Label Switching Routers (LSRs) does this. These routers connect a traditional IP network to an MPLS network. A packet enters the MPLS network through an ingress LSR, which attaches a label to the packet, and exits the MPLS switched network through an egress LSR. The ingress LSR is the router that performs the necessary processing to determine the path a packet will need to take through the switched network. This can be done using traditional routing protocols such as OSPF. The path is identified by the label that the ingress router attaches to the packet. As you can see, the ingress router must perform the traditional role that a router fills. It must perform a lookup in the routing table and decide to which network the packet needs to be sent for eventual delivery to the host computer.

    Internet 2010

    However, as the packet passes through the switched network, it is only necessary for the switch to take a quick look at the label to make a decision on which port to output the packet. A table called the Label Information Base (LIB) is used in a manner similar to a routing table to determine the correct port based on the packet’s label information. The switch doesn’t perform IP header processing, looking at the IP address, the TTL value, and so on. It just spends a small amount of time doing a lookup of the label in the table and outputting the packet on the correct port.

    When the packet reaches the egress LSR, the label is removed by the router, and then the IP packet is processed in the normal manner by traditional routers on the destination network.

    If this sounds like a simple concept, that’s because it is. MPLS still is in the development stages, so you’ll find that different vendors implement it in different ways. Several Internet draft documents attempt to create a standard for MPLS. Other features, such as Quality of Service (QoS) and traffic management techniques, are being developed to make MPLS a long-term solution.

    Using Frame Relay and ATM with MPLS

    One of the best features about the current design of MPLS is that it separates the label-switching concept from the underlying technology. That is, you don’t have to build special switches that are meant for just MPLS networks. MPLS doesn’t care what the underlying transport is. It is concerned only with setting up a path and reducing the amount of processing a packet takes as it travels through the circuit.

    Because of this, it’s a simple matter for an ATM or Frame Relay switch vendor to reprogram or upgrade its product line to use MPLS. For ATM switches, the VPI (virtual path identifier) and VCI (virtual channel identifier) fields in the ATM cell are used for the Label field. In Frame Relay switches, an extra field is added to the IP header to store the label. However, don’t get confused and think that an MPLS network is an ATM network or a Frame Relay network. These switches must be reprogrammed to understand the label concept. It’s even possible, for example, for an ATM switch to switch both ATM and MPLS traffic at the same time. By allowing for the continued use of existing equipment (and

    these switches are not inexpensive items), large ISPs or network providers can leverage their current investment, while preparing to install newer MPLS equipment when the standards evolve to a stage that makes it a good investment.

    For the long term it’s most likely that MPLS will be implemented using technology similar to Frame Relay instead of ATM. This is because of the small cell size of the ATM cell (53 bytes) combined with a high overhead (the 5-byte cell header). In a small network with little traffic, this 5-byte cell header seems insignificant. However, when you scale this to large bandwidth network pipes, this amount of overhead consumes a large amount of bandwidth given the small amount of data carried in the 53- byte cell. Thus, variable-length frames are most likely to become the basis for MPLS networks in the next few years.

    WORKOUT ANYTIME in the Cincinnati Enquirer Community Press

    WORKOUT ANYTIME in the Cincinnati Enquirer Community Press in an article titled, “Mercy Health’s new hospital could be economic boon to township.” The article focuses on the opening of the Mercy Health – West Hospital in Green Township and how that is creating an opportunity for businesses in the community including the new Cincinnati WORKOUT ANYTIME. The article begins with details about the new hospital, then goes into the economic development going on in the area. The article then details some of the businesses opening in the area, including Tony Petrocelli’s Cincinnati WORKOUT ANYTIME. The article includes this information provided by No Limit Agency: “Cincinnati resident Tony Petrocelli is opening the first Workout Anytime in Ohio near the hospital, in a space that was previously a WesBanco and had been vacant for six years.” The article ends with info on other businesses and plans for development in the area.  Click here for the entire article or begin below.

    Mercy Health’s new hospital could be economic boon to township
    By: Kurt Backschneider

    GREEN TWP. — While township leaders are excited about the state-of-the-art medical services Mercy Health is bringing to the West Side, they’re also looking forward to economic development opportunities the new hospital will help attract.

    Mercy Health – West Hospital, a 250-bed, full-service hospital off of North Bend Road near Interstate 74, will open for business Sunday, Nov. 10. 

    Roughly five years in the making, the $240 million hospital will feature the latest advancements in patient care and comfort, new technologies, private patient rooms and expanded medical services for West Siders.

    (Read More)

    My Trip to Batticaloa

    This assignment required me to travel to Batticaloa which is in the eastern coast of Sri Lanka. The drive to Batticaloa is long (About 320 KM) but the killer is that it takes nearly 8 hours to get there. I left at 6.15 AM from Colombo and arrived at 2.15 PM in Batticaloa; stopping only for Breakfast and a cup of tea.

    The assignment was 10 day evaluation of the management capacity of an organization who was delivering services to the people of the eastern province. The unique aspect of this assignment was that the client wanted to evaluate very specific aspects of its organization management structure, financial management, HR management, monitoring and communication systems. Therefore I had to customize the tools we used to a very high degree to ensure that the tools we used were compatible with the specific need. It also meant that this level of customization was a green field (Not done before so don’t know the pitfalls) this was further complicated by the fact that the execution of the assignment had to have a tri-linguistic person to facilitate the field work as well as translate at the synthesis workshop.

    The assignment went in a smooth manner and it was well received by the employees of the organization. Generally management capacity evaluations can get tricky as some managers take it as a personal weakness and get very defensive.

    I was surprised at the weather in Batticaloa and the amount of water on the ground. The roads that went through the lagoon were nearly inundated. Some of the shorter routs to Batticaloa were flooded so I had to travel via Polonnaruwa. In terms of the post war development in the east; I must say that all the reports regarding infrastructure development are correct and perhaps under reported. Road, bridge and utility projects are still going on and the whole of the eastern province looks like one giant construction site.

    The fishing industry is booming in Batticaloa and the seafood prices are less than half of what it is in Colombo. So the team had seafood at every opportunity. The tourism industry has a demand but the number of rooms available seemed to be inadequate for the demand. There is a dire need for quality hotel rooms in Batticaloa. The availability of jobs would be the main social issue in the coming months as the construction industry starts to finish the construction projects.

    I have to travel to Wadduwa (from Batticaloa) to attend the 6th South Asian Regional Workshop on Resource Mobilization which starts today; so will be on the road for the rest of the day.

    Paperless Mission #11: Getting Started with Edmodo

    This is the eleventh 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 #11: Get Started with Edmodo

    One of the tools that I started using in the classroom this year is Edmodo. If you’re not familiar with it, Edmodo is a learning management system that allows students and teachers to interact online in safe environment. It looks and feels a lot like Facebook but without all of the potential problems Facebook could create — especially for very young users.

    1. Create a teacher account and create your group for your class.
    Teacher accounts are free, and they’re the first step toward using this in your classroom. Parents and students aren’t able to access Edmodo unless they know the access code that a teacher has given them.

    2. Add some content for your students to engage with the first time they use Edmodo. You can ask a question for discussion or take a poll as a good first activity. You’ll want to have something queued to go so that students don’t just start posting randomness. (They may do that anyway at first, but you can at least buy yourself some time to talk about guidelines and procedures for that before they get too carried away.)

    3. Invite students by giving them the Group Code. This is unique to your group, and students will need an access code for each group they join with their student account. Joining your group doesn’t give them the power to search for other groups. Similarly, if another teacher at your school is using Edmodo, he or she will also have a Group Code that students can enter and just add the group to their account. It’s pretty easy.

    4. Once all of your students have joined the group, lock your group. This will prevent other students from other classes inadvertently joining, and it’s generally a good security measure. You can always unlock the group temporarily later on if you end up getting a new student.

    5. Create an assignment. This essentially creates a place for students to turn in their work. Everything that they complete on their iPads gets turned in through the assignments I create on Edmodo. Then I can see which students have turned it in, assign grades, and give feedback. The beauty of this system is that I can grade work as it comes in without worrying about losing something. This is especially helpful on larger assignments where students tend to stagger their completion.

    6. Give quizzes. I won’t lie — this is probably one of the most tedious parts about Edmodo from a teaching perspective. You have to manually input all of the questions, and there’s currently not a way for teachers to share their quizzes with one another. But the time you put in on the front end of creating the test is more than made up for on the back end by the immediate grading of the multiple choice, true false, and matching questions. I’ll talk more about Edmodo quizzes in a future post.

    7. Set up small groups. You can create multiple small groups within your group, and students can belong to more than one small group. That means that you can have small groups for reading as well as different small groups for research projects in Social Studies, etc.

    Preparing Students

    My students really did see this as Facebook-lite, so it was important that we created some guidelines as a group. Here are some of the rules we discussed and implemented as a class:
    • Use posts to discuss school-related content only — not to share personal information or “status updates.”
    • Use appropriate school language and grammar, not texting language.
    • Be positive and kind and show good “Netiquette.”
    My fabulous media specialist, Sandi at Teacher Technotopia, did a series of lessons with students about “Netiquette” prior to this, which helped a lot. I also moderated the conversations a lot at the beginning. As the teacher, you can delete things that other students post and you can send that student a direct message to let them know that you deleted their post and why you did so. That helped with my class tremendously.  
    As a side-note, one of the things I like about Edmodo is that you can send your students direct messages, and they can send you messages, too, but they can’t send direct messages to each other. Anything they post is either public within the group or for the teacher-only. This eliminated some of my concerns about possible cyber-bullying.

    How I Used This in My Classroom

    Once we got going with Edmodo, I used it constantly. Virtually every test (except math) was done through Edmodo. It was also great for collecting student work, taking polls, and facilitating class discussions. For example, when we were deciding what our class team name would be for field day, I was able to relegate that entire conversation to Edmodo rather than take up valuable class time on it. I also love that students can access Edmodo from any computer or mobile device, so they could keep going on assignments even if they couldn’t take their iPads home. It’s not a perfect platform, but it was really helpful in my move toward a paperless classroom.

    Do you use Edmodo in your classroom? I’d love to hear your thoughts about it in the comments section!

    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!

    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.

    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.”

    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]

    ever worry about what happens to your car when you drop it off at the dealership? Worry no more. Leave your cell phone in the car, with the camera on, or put in a Go Pro, or dash cam

    Seriously, last week some customer did this at the dealership I work at, he wanted to bust the guys who detail the inside of the cars

    http://tywkiwdbi.blogspot.com/

    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.

    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.

    Raptr – Closing Down This September 30th, The Blog Here Says ‘Goodbye Old Friend’ To The Once-Useful Program


    Just a notification that the ‘Graphic-Configurator, Game-Installer, Gameplay-Recorder and
    Social Media client that tried to tie it all together’ – Raptr – will be no more, as of September 30th, 2017

    A few days ago, I received an email stating that Raptr was ending the program/client which at one time was tied-in with AMD’s Graphic Drivers as “AMD Gaming Evolved”. Now that both NVIDIA and AMD have their own ‘game configuration utilities’ and ‘game recording capabilities’ (via Crimson for AMD and GeForce Experience for NVIDIA), “there is no need for such a separate utility”, as Raptr’s ‘Farewell Letter’ basically states:

    “We are sad to announce that we will be closing Raptr on September 30th, 2017. We want to start by thanking you for your support over the past 10 years.

    The world is different today than when we first launched Raptr. Many companies offer game optimization tools. Having an independent platform to do this is no longer necessary.

    On September 30, we will start the process of shutting off access to your Raptr account and disabling features. If you’d like to export your tracked game play history, you can do so immediately using the instructions below:

    • Go to Raptr.com
    • Sign in to your Raptr account
    • Click to get your gameplay data

    If you have any other questions, please send us feedback.

    We are proud of the service we built and the community who helped grow Raptr.  Thank you, once again, for your support.

    Dennis “Thresh” Fong
    Co-founder and CEO”


    Mr. Fong Qin, known worldwide as “‘Thresh’ Fong” for his 1990’s Quake and Doom tournament career, was also the co-founder of Xfire (which itself was acquired by Viacom in 2006). While the Raptr/Gaming Evolved client was useful, it seemed to have challenges from close to the start [or at least, noticeable in hindsight, from when I first started using it].

    The Press Release – the notification that Raptr was closing down – as it looked on the Raptr website, September 2017
    (Click to see Full Size)