Games to Day

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!

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.

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!).

WORKOUT ANYTIME in the Jacksonville Daily Record

WORKOUT ANYTIME in the Jacksonville Daily Record

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

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

Quick Tip: The Sims 3 – Game Recording Is Slightly Darker Than The ‘Normal’ Colours Of Regular Gameplay [FIX]

Just a Quick Tip for those of you recording The Sims 3 and finding that your videos are looking ‘darker’ than the original gameplay itself – a problem that has been around for some people for over a year now… It’s not that the game isn’t recordable (although for some people they got nothing but ‘blank/black screens’ a few years ago) it’s that the recordings are coming out, what looks like, a few shades darker than what the game really is.
I was recently seeing a spike in the number of people talking about this problem again and decided to see if I could find a fix, or at least a workaround, for it; and what I found was something that everyone can do for now (at least until AMD/NVIDIA or Maxis/EA makes an update that fully fixes the issue) and that is simply: to run The Sims 3 in Windowed Mode.

Whether you are using Dxtory, Bandicam, Afterburner or most other game recording programs (even NVIDIA’s Shadowplay has the same issue for some people), the fix [more of a workaround] that I found for now at least allows you to record your Sims 3 gameplay with proper colours, as you can see in these frames extracted from a couple of game recordings, below:

Comparison between the display modes and the colours when recording (Darker vs. ‘Normal’) for the recording issue with The Sims 3, showing that the workaround works [at least for now] in two extracted frames from two game recordings (one in Windowed Mode and one in Fullscreen Mode). [In the right half, the camera has been ‘zoomed in’]

Have fun recording your Sims 3 gameplay once again, if this problem has made you stop – and
See You In The Games!

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.

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

(click image to see Full Size)

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

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

(click image to see Full Size)

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

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

Battlefield Play4Free – PlayTesting The XM8AR LMG (3 Full Rounds – Myanmar, Dalian) Raw Gameplay [Unedited] Gameplay Video

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 (now called Play4Free Funds) 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 random 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.

I recently won the XM8AR in The Daily Draw (for one day of use) on my Medic and thought I’d try it out and see how it felt and quickly write a post about it [I’ll call these PlayTests]. I am not a gun expert or know a lot about the statistics of the guns, but I will discuss briefly here how the gun actually feels and plays, especially compared to the Medic default, the MG3 Light Machine Gun. I played a few rounds with XM8AR LMG and recorded the first three full rounds. Here they are, shared unedited for you [a ‘Raw Gameplay’ video]:

Recorded with: Bandicam @1080p (HD) using the x264/H264/AVC Codec
Recorded game: Battlefield Play4Free (MMOFPS, a F2P game/Microtransactions)
Recorded levels/maps: Myanmar (Jungle, Assault), Dalian Plant (Rural Industrial Port, Defense then Attack)

[YouTube did something with the Aspect Ratio of this video and I had to use a command in the Tags section to fix it. Let me know if anyone has problems viewing this video properly]

Normally locked until Level 15, the XM8 felt great to use on my Level 10 Medic. It’s ammo box is a little smaller at 60 rounds (vs. the default Medic’s MG3 having 80 rounds), but it never felt ‘cramped for shots’ and didn’t feel like it took too long to reload.

The XM8AR Light Machine Gun is normally locked and cannot be used until your Soldier is Level 15, unless it is bought outright or won in The Daily Draw. Click to see Full Size

The nicest thing about the XM8 was the accuracy. You could really tell you were going from the “Low” rating of the Medic Default MG3 to the “High” rating of the XM8AR.

Comparison of basic stats between the default Medic gun, the MG3, and the XM8AR

Looking down the sights, the three-prong irons of the front sight are quite thin and easy to line up in the view of the rear sight, which is in the form of a circle. There is only a little bit of a pull up and slightly to the right, but the recoil is very small and easy to compensate for once you get used to it. I even felt comfortable shooting from the hip and at a distance because this gun felt so darn accurate compared to the starting weapon for a Medic.

The thin front prongs of the iron sight feel easy to line up for targets farther away and the XM8AR feels like it is very accurate, as can be seen by this Headshot from across a courtyard in Myanmar. Click to see Full Size

An all around great gun, it was fun as hell to use for a day. For only 300 Credits you can try out for a day of play, too. If you have 1250 spare Play4Free Funds you can purchase it permanently. It is a nice accurate gun to run with and may be worth it. Try it out for yourself sometime.

Have fun and See You In The Game!

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.

My Trip to Baticaloa

On my way to Baticaloa, This was taken on the Polonnaruwa Habarana Road today (12/06/2011) @ 2.00 PM. Wow what a Jumbo!

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.

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.

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)

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.

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)

At one time, Raptr offered Rewards for playing (and letting it track your Hours or Record your Gameplay); ‘Reward Points’ that you could collect, every time you Optimized a Game (let the utility auto-configure your in-game options/settings for you), or viewed/contributed to a game Forum (similar to Steam’s Game Forums [forii?]). You could also earn Raptr Reward Points just by playing a game and having it running (it gave a running total of your Hours Played).

The Raptr/Gaming Evolved Client, as it looked in 2014, showing the Reward Points collected at one time
(from the Gaming Evolved/Raptr Press Kit, Click to see Full Size)

Prizes to spend your Points on were Draws for, or outright purchases of, Full Games and game tie-in material, such as Character Costumes or Vehicles (Mounts). Just before it was taken away, I even saw some Computer Hardware in there (some dated GPUs mind you, but still, it was neat to see some computer parts you could earn ‘with time played’ only). I never did win a Draw for a Retail Game, but I heard from a couple of people who did. There were many, many upset users, who had been saving for years (literally), at the loss of the points system. Some noted at the time that perhaps it was an early bell, tolling for the end of Raptr, even then…

The Raptr/Gaming Evolved Client, as it looked in 2015, showing Plays.Tv in its ‘built-in’ Beta phase and Graphic Drivers being kept up-to-date [I owned an AMD/ATi GPU at the time], the client still showing Reward Points being tabulated, and the Twitch Broadcast implementation
(Click to see Full Size)

There was a Forum interface built-in to the Raptr client (directly-accessible within it) that was similar to Steam’s Game Forums [too similar?], where people could discuss games, talk about upcoming releases, and share Screenshots; but there wasn’t too much going on in them [that I could see, personally]. There were some helpful and contributive posts, but they were always few in number:

Example of Raptr/Gaming Evolved Game Forums, showing Guild Wars 2, circa 2016
(Click to see Full Size)

As ‘the end’ neared, the Forums became overrun slowly by Spammers and non-English posts talking about other websites (not that there’s anything wrong with speaking other languages, I know a bit of a handful of languages myself, but it was an English forum and much of these posts were clearly Spam of one sort or another). People started asking why things weren’t getting ‘cleaned up’, near the end.

The Raptr/Gaming Evolved Official Raptr Forum, shown in the client, displaying the number of users of the forum
(Click to see Full Size)

While many felt it was ‘just like Steam’ or ‘not needed’ even back then, it still boasted over 100 Million registered users at one point (as evidenced by the number of users within the main Raptr discussion group, above) – and it was even ‘targeted by hackers’ in 2015 – infiltrated in an attempt to gain access to the many users’ data and potentially personal information. A notice went out in January of that year, notifying users to change their password, as a result of the recent security breach:

Raptr Forum Notification, urging users to change their Passwords, after a recent security breach, circa January 2015
(Click to see Full Size)

Personally, I feel sorry that I couldn’t spend more time with Raptr/GamingEvolved, as I only discovered it a couple of years ago.. Over the entire time, my own illness prevented me from posting more, sharing Screenshots more, and talking more about Releases and Reviews [as it does here in this blog!]. I feel like it could have been ‘the next Steam with bonus game configuration’ perhaps – but alas, it simply had too many challenges going against it… People started asking for Chat interface (a la Skype) and Voice Chat, but the Voice part never came. People wanted a GVR (Game Video Recorder) and while that arrived, in the form of Plays.tv – first in the app itself and as a stand-alone utility – perhaps it was too late to save Raptr, as both NVIDIA then AMD, came out with their own ‘built-in’ gameplay recording capabilities about the same time. For example, in 2013, NVIDIA’s Shadowplay became part of their Settings Optimization client, GeForce Experience, which allowed high-performance gameplay recording. Eventually, AMD’s ReLive, part of their Crimson GPU Driver update, also allowed high-quality gameplay recording as well. Both of these essentially negated the game recording aspect of Raptr (Plays.tv, which continues onward today as its’ own stand-alone recorder):

Information Panel about Plays.TV, the gameplay recording utility that was once included with Raptr/Gaming Evolved
(Click to see Full Size)

Although many didn’t use Raptr, or even like it, there were those that used the client to at least keep track of their Hours Played, used it a light social-media app, or just enjoyed the semi-automated Graphic Configuration within. As a former user – that wished he used it more – I myself say a sad ‘Goodbye’ to Raptr. So long, old friend, I wish I got to know you better…

It’s Not Just You™ – Fallout 4 Crashing with NVIDIA’s SHARE Game Recorder (Possibly Relating To The High Resolution Texture Pack) [Notification, Text-Only]

Updated 2017-06-19: I found one cause of the crashes with SHARE and Fallout 4 (for me) – The HRTP

Just a quick post to say that, if you are experiencing Fallout 4 CTDs (Crashes To Desktop, where FO4 closes without any messages or anything and you are left staring at your Desktop in Windows), I want to let you know It’s Not Just You™ – as I am finding I am experiencing this as well, lately…

I haven’t looked into Forums specifically for this, but perusing Forii off and on over the past year or so, where many are talking about Fallout 4 and Crashing, it seems to happen a lot to people anyway, for just about any reason, unfortunately. I myself wasn’t experiencing this very much though (gladly), until just recently when playing FO4 again [and spending way too much time building up Settlements instead of getting Quests done], I was testing out different Game Recording Programs and started seeing this happen.

I’m happily playing Fallout 4, getting frustrated at the Building mechanics or shooting some Raiders attacking my Settlement, when all of a sudden, BOOM – desktop image and icons. No message, nothing. Fallout 4 has closed itself instantly. I of course start it up again and begin to see where I last hit QuickSave or the game automatically Saved for me – but this has happened a few times in a row now where BOOM – the desktop greets me and icons appear. No message, nothing.

So, I tried to pay attention to what I was doing or what was running as Background Tasks – and the one thing I found, that when I changed it, the crashes stopped happening?.. I was recording with SHARE, NVIDIA’s new version of ShadowPlay, their game recorder that is included with their Graphics Driver. Interesting. I have up ’till now had no issues with SHARE, enjoyed testing it out, taking Screenshots with it and testing out the various Quality settings and forgetting about all of those tests and never writing about it. It seems to have great performance (very small performance ‘hit’/effect) and has a decent amount of options/features.

I then tried some other game recording programs I have purchased over the years, Playclaw, Bandicam, Mirillis’ ACTION, and none of them had any Crashing occur while I was using them (although Fallout 4 didn’t seem to like to start up with Bandicam running sometimes [but when I started the game first then Bandicam, it recorded fine]). Hmph. That’s too bad, I was liking SHARE. There could of course be a myriad of things that could be causing this (I have sometimes run into the game not starting up, with a black screen then shutting itself down again/closing, no matter what game recorder I am using – and again, there are people with high-end Intel CPUs and NVIDIA 1080’s with CTDs…); but for me, it seems to be SHARE, at this time. I might go and mention this in the Official NVIDIA Forum, if noone else has recently. Perhaps this is just a temporary issue in this game and their Drivers, in this version.

I am running NVIDIA GPU Driver Version 382.53 in Windows 10 64-bit, on a GTX 1060 3GB GPU, as of the date of this post.

I know this was a Text-Only post, but I took this screenie of the Driver
Version (so I would remember it) and didn’t want to waste it

I mention all of this because, I was not really experiencing any Crashes-To-Desktop with Fallout 4 prior to thinking of testing out SHARE for a while, just a bit ago. I am Level 42 in the game, after ‘starting out a second time’ and enjoying playing again, taking notes and screenshots for some future posts on it, while I slowly build and shoot my way through The Commonwealth… Where was I? Oh yeah, the crashes. It’s sad, but I want others to not feel alone (you’re not, really, go look up “Fallout 4 crash desktop”..). If you are experiencing Fallout 4 closing without any error messages recently, just letting you know – It’s Not Just You™…


Update 2017-06-19:
For my personal battle with this, I did some more testing and found that I was able to use NVIDIA’s SHARE to record with, for quite a long time (hours), when I disabled/uninstalled the High Resolution Texture Pack DLC…
I am not sure if this is the only related aspect to it (as CTDs happen for even GTX 1080 users and higher capability systems than mine and it happens to those not using the HRTP or SHARE at all), but for now, it seems that this issue may be directly related to that [for me] as it crashes far more often than without running the HRTP – and I have no crashes when recording with other Game Recorders and The High Resolution Texture Pack…

Is it that the HRTP is ‘too much’ for my little 1060 with only 3GB of VRAM and SHARE together? 
Is it related to how the game then uses more RAM (I have 16GB of RAM installed) with the HRTP and possibly a symptom of some RAM issues, perhaps?
I’m not sure of a solution yet, so I cannot say – but if you are experiencing this problem of ‘Crashing while recording Fallout 4 with SHARE’, try disabling the High Resolution Texture Pack for FO4 – it worked for me, just now. (Alternatively, use a different Game Recorder for the time being..). HTH

Original Mexican Mazel Mex

  • 2.5 cups cold water
  • 1.25 cups cornmeal
  • Generous dash cayenne pepper and/or cinnamon
  • 2-3 Tbs. corn oil
  • 3 onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 8 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 fresh green or jalepeno chilis, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • Diet Start
  • 1 Tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped and torn into leaves
  • 1 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped

Combine water, cornmeal, and cayenne. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat for 5-8 minutes. Pat evenly onto bottom of 8″ x 12″ casserole.

Sauté onions in corn oil until translucent and fairly soft (10‑15 minutes). Add tomatoes, chilis, and garlic, and cook 2-3 minutes. Pour mixture over cornmeal base and bake in 350° oven for 20-25 minutes. To serve, sprinkle with cilantro and parsley.

YIELD: 2 servings.

Although taste is bitter if tomatoes are unpeeled, the peels are an important aid to digestion.

Hazel Enchiladas

  • 6-8 corn tortillas
  • 0.25 cup corn oil
  • 2 recipes Mazel Cheese Mexican
  • 1 recipe cooked Salsa Mazel
  • 1 recipe fresh Salsa Mazel

Dip corn tortillas in hot corn oil, then into cooked salsa. Fill with Mazel Cheese Mexican, and roll into enchiladas. Cover with cooked salsa. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes. Serve with fresh salsa.

VARIATION 1 Add I bunch fresh spinach, cooked and chopped, to Mazel Cheese Mexican.

VARIATION 2 Add 1 tablespoon fresh mixed chives and parsley to Mazel Cheese Mexican.

VARIATION 3 Use 1 recipe Mazel Cheese and 11/2-2 cups sour cream rather than 2 recipes Mazel Cheese.

YIELD: 2 servings.

Depending on size of tortillas and how you fill them, you may wind up with a bit of extra filling. If so, add it to the casserole or reserve it for another use. But better too much than too little.

a passenger train in India had a most unusual issue, 22 carriages carrying 1000 people, got disconnected from the engine, and the emergency brakes didn’t work to stop it, it rolled backward 7 miles

http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-india-43697965/engineless-runaway-train-in-india-gives-passengers-a-scare

No Backtracking

No Backtracking principles

This is a plan for life. You will carefully reintroduce certain carbohydrates into your diet — and find the balance that maintains your weight and keeps you feeling trim. This crucial phase will allow you to:

  • Establish the carbohydrate levels that you can eat in order to remain slim and supply your energy requirements
  • Break totally with bad habits made in the past
  • Never return to yo-yo dieting
  • Find a healthy attitude to food and a viable eating plan for the rest of your life.

No Backtracking rules

During this phase you need to:

  • Increase your daily carb intake by no more than 10g (1/3oz) each week
  • Add new foods one at a time
  • Eliminate a new food if it provokes weight gain; a return of physical symptoms lost during the Fast-Track Plan; increased appetite, cravings or water retention

Diet Start

  • Drop back to the next-lowest level of carbohydrate intake if you gain weight
  • Carry on eating adequate amounts of healthy fats and lean protein at every meal to ensure a balanced diet
  • Continue to take vitamin and mineral supplements regularly, drink masses of water and, of course, exercise regularly.

Make this diet the one that works

Once you have reached your target weight, you can start on the No Backtracking plan. Increase your intake of carbohydrates by 5-10 grams per day until you reach your optimum level for weight management This will probably be around 40 per cent of your total daily calorific intake, but remember that everybody differs, especially when you consider activity levels.

If you have high insulin resistance, then you may have to Keep on Tracking and be careful about how many carbohydrates you consume on a daily basis. But if you’re one of the lucky ones with low insulin resistance, you may be able to eat most vegetables (including starchy vegetables), fruit, pulses andwholegrains such as oats, barley, millet, wild rice, couscous and buckwheat. You can also begin to use recipes containing carbohydrate ingredients such as breadcrumbs; you may even be able to handle an occasional potato. But don’t eat all these things in one day. You still have to monitor your carbohydrate intake to stay where you are – healthy and energized. Remember the eating habits that got you here in the first place. You should have successfully gauged your ideal carbohydrate level, and be maintaining a stable weight and energy levels, within 4-12 weeks of following the No Backtracking plan.

Stick to the basic weight management tips and try to be good 80 per cent of the time. We are all allowed the odd slip up – if you want a slab of chocolate cake from time to time, make sure it is the best you find and enjoy it. If you ever see the scales creeping up, cut back, even go back to the Fast Track plan for a few days until your weight is back to normal, and then gradually raise your carbohydrate levels once again.

A template for life

Two portions of higher GI carbohydrates are included per day on the suggested eating plan. Treat this as the template you ought to follow from now on. And try some of these tricks to keep your carbohydrates at a moderate, healthy level:

  • Opt for rye bread, oatcakes and rye crackers instead of wheat-based bread. Even if you are not wheat-intolerant, it is worth considering this.
  • Eat fruit 20 minutes before eating anything else, not afterwards. Fruit takes less time to digest, but if eaten on top of a heavy meal, can cause bloating.
  • If you are going to drink alcohol, choose dry white wine or, even better, red, which contains flavonoids with antioxidant and anti-platelet properties thought to reduce deaths from coronary artery disease. If you have managed to kick the alcohol habit, opt for grape juice, which contains flavonoids similar to those in red wine.
  • Mix sweet potato with cauliflower as a mash or purée to go with roast chicken. The aim is to mix a high GI vegetable with a low one, to reduce the total carbohydrate level.
  • When making a rice dish such as risotto, reverse your ratio of vegetables to rice: add a little rice to a heap of vegetables. And try grating raw vegetables such as carrots and courgettes into the dish at the last moment – it adds texture and you get the benefit of all those raw phytonutrients.
  • Don’t give up on those whey-protein smoothies – they are still the most effective way of getting high-value biological protein.

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

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

The “Fatal Graphics Error” message, when starting MTW2

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

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

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

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

See You In The Games!

Solving the Weight Loss Puzzle Part 1

Have you tried to lose weight and failed? If so, you are not alone. 95% of the people who try to lose weight fail to reach their goal, and even less are actually able to maintain their weight loss once they achieve their goal. Obesity and the associated disease diabetes are increasing exponentially in the America despite the many published health warnings about the health risks associated with being overweight.
Why are people unable to lose weight? People are hopelessly confused about the factors controlling bodyweight regulation. This is not surprising when you understand that every single program, book, and guideline developed by various diet “experts”, including our own government, lacks crucial information, contains misinformation, or contains myths. The list of experts and programs seems endless: Dr. Atkins, Dr. Andrew Weil, The Pritikin Diet, Sugar Busters, Protein Power, Dr. Dean Ornish, the Paleo Diet, the Ketogenic Diet, and all the rest. To make matters worse much of the “information” from different experts seems to be completely contradictory.
Take this short True/False quiz to see how much you really understand about controlling your weight and bodyfat levels.
Eating a low fat diet is the key to losing weight
Eating a low carbohydrate diet is the key to losing weight
Most obese people have a slow metabolism
Obesity is a genetic disorder
Some people have a slow metabolism and some people have a fast metabolism
Exercise is not really effective for weight loss
You can eat all you want and lose weight if you do not eat carbohydrates
Low carbohydrate diets are unhealthy
If you eat foods in the right combinations you will lose weight
The key to weight loss is eating healthy not counting calories
Americans are eating more fat than ever before
Americans are eating less fat than ever before

Sound familiar? It should. All these statements have been made by various “experts”. Unfortunately, all but the last one is FALSE. If you want to control bodyweight you have to understand ALL the factors that govern bodyweight regulation and how they apply specifically to you. Stay tuned for part 2 of this article to learn more!

The carbohydrate jewels

By upping your intake of low GI fruit and vegetables, you will not only be on your way to becoming leaner, but you will have a profound effect on your health. The amazing phytonutrients (plant nutrients) that you find in brightly coloured raw organic fruit and vegetables are clever little substances that can protect you from ill health in various ways, although many people’s diets are sadly lacking in them.

Phytonutrients can help regulate the immune system, stabilize vitamins in body tissues and protect from serious illnesses, such as such as cancer. They do this by working as antioxidants alongside vitamins A, C, E and D, and the minerals, selenium and zinc. As a team, these powerful compounds have the ability to slow down the damaging oxidative process caused by those ‘enemies of a healthy state’, the free radicals. Antioxidants can also rid the body of these free radicals, which are the natural waste products of metabolism, which, if left unchecked, can lead to degenerative disease, by causing imbalances on a cellular level.

Diet Start

Take note that these free radicals are also found in overheated oils and fried foods, another good reason to kiss junk food good bye.

They aren’t classed as essential nutrients, but without phytonutrients your sense of wellness would be severely compromised.

They work in the body at deep physiological and biochemical levels, and luckily enough are to be found in low-density/low GI fruit and vegetables. Eating these raw wherever possible is the key to maximizing their life- enhancing qualities. Cooking destroys many of the benefits that you will reap if you include a colourful array of energy-boosting raw fruit and vegetables in your daily diet.

Life is a balancing act

So now you have a better understanding of the impact that the wrong carbohydrates can have on your body, and have established that you need to incorporate more of the colourful and low GI fibrous fruit and vegetables in your diet. But man cannot live by carbohydrates alone. You will have to take a close look at the two other macronutrients that work hand-in-hand with carbohydrates to provide energy and nourish the body: protein and fats.

The key to balancing blood-sugar levels, banishing insulin resistance and losing excess weight lies in successfully balancing these three macronutrients.

Back to School – Math Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

5 Reasons to Flip Your Math Class

Of all the subjects, math is probably my favorite to teach. But it is definitely not easy. By the time students are in fourth grade, there’s often a wide range of abilities. Last year, I had students who could barely add and subtract and others who were working well beyond grade level. Trying to design lessons that worked for them was a real challenge. If I moved too quickly through the lesson, several students would get lost. If I moved too slowly, others would get bored and start causing different problems.

Then I attended the Georgia Educational Technology Conference and heard some sessions about flipped teaching, and a lightbulb went off.

If you’re not already familiar with flipped teaching, the idea is that we need to “flip” the traditional way we teach — lesson at school, practice problems at home as homework. Instead, students should watch a short video lesson as homework to prepare for class, and then the majority of class time is spent working on practice and application while I’m there to guide them.

I did this pretty consistently for the second half of the year, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. There were so many advantages.

1. Students became more confident.

For some kids, math can be intimidating. Everyone works at different speeds. What may be an obvious concept for one kid may take multiple explanations for another. There’s lots of vocabulary and room for mistakes, and when you feel like other kids are getting it faster than you, your confidence suffers.

All of this went away when I flipped.

Students were watching the videos at home on their own. No one knew whether they needed to replay something a couple of times until they got it. No one knew that they had to pause the video for 5 minutes to try a problem that others would have solved in 30 seconds. They could all work at their own pace, and they came to class more confident and prepared for practice the following day. The attitude shift in my students this year was reason enough for me to continue flipping.

2. Parents were less stressed.

There have been so many times when I’ve heard parents complain about math or express their discomfort in helping their child because they weren’t taught math the way we teach it now. And I get that. I remember thinking in my math methods courses that I could have been great at math if someone had explained it to me better as a child rather than having me memorize algorithms.

Having the flipped model created allies from a lot of math-hating parents. Some would watch the videos along with their children and have those lightbulb moments where concepts and strategies would suddenly make sense. Others expressed a sense of relief that they didn’t have to worry about “undoing” the things we were doing in the classroom by just jumping to the standard algorithms. We were all more comfortable with the math.

3. I had more time to see what students could actually do.

While I always tried to keep my in-class mini-lessons short, there were days when they would drag on because some kids just weren’t getting it. By the time I felt confident they could try some problems on their own, we hardly had any time left. And by the time they got home to do it as homework, they’d forgotten what we’d spent the morning talking about, so they were back to square one.

Now that I’ve flipped, I only need 5-10 minutes maximum at the beginning of my math block to do anything whole group. I spend that time answering questions, clarifying any misconceptions, and checking the 1-2 practice problems that I typically include at the end of the video. The rest of my math block was then spent working with small groups, conferring with kids, and getting into richer practice and problem solving than I could ever fit in before.

I also didn’t have to worry about students getting the right answers only when their parents “helped” them. When it came time for assessments, I had a much better sense of where my students were at and what to expect from them because I was more deeply involved in their learning.

4. I didn’t have to worry when we had a sub. 

In the past, I would write off sub days as lost instructional time when it came to math. Now that I’ve flipped, that is no longer the case. I include a link to the video I’ve created in my sub plans, and I have the sub watch the video with the class again to start the lesson. Usually that gives the sub enough background knowledge to help with the learning task, and my students have enough scaffolding from my instruction that they can work through the practice. It made those lost days so much more productive.

This year, I will be on maternity leave for 12 weeks, so I’m nervous about what will happen with my kids while I’m gone. But I’m less nervous about the math because I already have videos made for most of those lessons from last year. My students will have continuity in math instruction because of it.

5. Students were more successful and could tackle bigger challenges.

Last year was my best year ever as far as student performance on end-of-year assessments and benchmarks. I think a big part of that can be attributed to the move toward a flipped model for math. My students had more time and confidence to master the fourth grade standards, and as a result, I was easily able to push them into bigger challenges. When I surveyed the students mid-year about the flipped model, their responses were overwhelmingly positive in support of it, and I knew it was something I need to continue in the years ahead.

Next Steps

This will be the first year that I use the flipped model for the whole year, so I will need to prepare more video lessons and give some thought to how I’ll transition my students (and their parents) toward this model. In the weeks ahead, I plan to share more about the tools I use to create flipped lessons and some troubleshooting tips for problems that might come up.

Now that I have some experience flipping, I’m going to go back and reread Flip Your Classroom: Reach Every Student in Every Class Every Day by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams. Jon was one of the speakers I saw at GaETC, and he’s one of the founders of the flipped classroom movement. I read the book quickly as I started to flip, but I think there are more ideas to be pulled from it.

I’m also starting to think about other areas where I could flip instruction. One possibility might be some of the grammar, vocabulary, and word study components of my ELA block. I consistently struggle to fit everything in to that time, and flipping might be the answer. I’ve downloaded the book Flipping Your English Class to Reach All Learners: Strategies and Lesson Plans by Troy Cockrum, and I’m hoping that will give me some more inspiration.

Have you tried flipping any parts of your instruction? I’d love to hear more about your ideas and experiences in the comments!

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.

Becoming a GI Joe

All carbohydrates have a value on what is known as the `glycaemic index’ (GI), which indicates how quickly that carbohydrate is metabolized by the body and converted into glucose. The lower a food’s GI, the longer it takes to be converted. Foods with the highest GIs are the ones that will have the most profound and immediate effect on your blood-sugar levels. All the carbohydrates on a weight- loss and insulin-balancing regime should come from the lower ranges.

There are two indexes: the glucose standard, which rates glucose as having a GI of 100 and the white bread standard, which is based on white bread being equal to 100. Other carbohydrates are assigned comparative ratios based on these figures. It doesn’t really matter which index you adhere to, for they both give a pretty good – and sometimes surprising – insight into the speed with which certain carbohydrates are assimilated into the bloodstream.

Diet Start

Below are a few GI values of common foods, based on the glucose standard. Of course you are not expected to remember each specific food’s value, so to make things easier, opposite are two simple tables showing you how to classify fruit and vegetables into those with a low GI value (under 20), those with a medium value (20-60) and those with a high value (over 60).

Density values

Each carbohydrate can also be evaluated by its density value. This is the amount of usable carbohydrate in relation to fibre and water content – the more fibre and water a vegetable or fruit contains, the less usable carbohydrates it will have. The most dense carbohydrate foods are pulses, wholegrains and starchy vegetables, particularly when they are cooked and their fibre is broken down, these will raise your insulin levels, so always be aware of this. The table opposite contains a list of low-density carbohydrates that should form the basis of your carb intake on a low-carb diet.

Not only do many fruits feature highly on the GI scale, but a few should also carry a carbohydrate density warning sign. Bananas, dried fruit and concentrated fruit juices are all a bad idea if you are trying to balance your blood sugar levels. It is best to avoid these totally until your blood sugar and weight have normalized, and then carefully re-introduce them into your diet.

Focus on fibrous vegetables that can be eaten raw or steamed – the type that lose a lot of water whilst cooking. This will mean increasing your intake of leafy green vegetables, such as Swiss chard, green cabbage, kale, bok choy, rocket, spinach and endive.

Men’s Body Click Diet part 1

In the summer the men had to cope with constant daylight, so they were missing the normal cues to go to bed. ‘When it’s daylight, even though it’s midnight or one o’clock in the morning, you don’t think of it as being the time to go to sleep,’ says Dave. ‘Your mind just says, hey, there’s work to be done. I may be tired but I’m not recognizing the need for sleep because it’s daylight.’

Already lacking the strong time-giving effects of light, the men could not set their body clocks by what they were eating, either. ‘We had four meals a day. Two of them occurred at noon and midnight, the other two at six in the morning and six in the evening,’ continues Dave. ‘One of the difficulties in telling what time it was, was that the 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. meals were powdered scrambled eggs and the other two meals were stew. So if you woke up at six o’clock and went into the galley for a meal and you had powdered scrambled eggs, you didn’t know whether you were having breakfast or dinner.’

Despite losing the signals that are normally provided by the cycle of light and dark, the timing of activity, intake of food, reasonable work shifts or even simple obedience to the clock, most of the men managed toget through without becoming acutely sick or injured. But some of them developed a condition they called Big Eye, in which they became stuck in a sleepless state. Almost everyone had duties that required exhausting physical labor, but even so, the men with Big Eye failed to sleep for days.

Diet Start

The men with Big Eye demonstrated that the body’s flexibility is a double-edged sword. The loss of essential time givers easily disrupted their circadian rhythms, probably setting them up for health problems if they continued down that path. On the other hand, proper application of some fairly simple rules for circadian health could have rescued them. And the same rules can rescue you from a potentially perilous state of disorganization.

The Body Clock Prescription reinforces strong circadian rhythms; produces better sleep, enhanced moods, alertness and energy; and reduces the risk for reproductive cancers for everyone. In addition to these overall improvements in health and well-being, there are specific aspects of the diet that have a favorable impact on prostate health, a subject that provokes anxiety for many men.

Prostate Ailments: The ‘Male Problem

There is certainly cause for concern. Prostate ailments are an almost universal threat to men in Europe and North America. Among men in the United States, prostate cancer is the most common cancer; it is also the second leading cause of cancer death.’ In addition, countless men suffer from other prostate problems. This phenomenon represents a kind of `male problem‘ corresponding roughly to what used to be called ‘female problems’, a much less specific collection of gynecological woes that were lumped under this heading in the mid-1900s. The notion of female problems embraced excessive menstruation, infertility, irregular periods,cramps, vaginal discharge and other kinds of medical mischief that women endure.

The male problem is more localized in the prostate gland, the part of the male reproductive system that secretes fluids that help transport sperm. Nevertheless, it is a fairly complicated picture, which includes inflammations of the prostate, a common condition known as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) and prostate cancer.

What’s more, prostate problems may lead you to needing a cystoscopy, where a narrow flashlight is inserted into the hole from which you pee until it arrives in your bladder. On the way, it passes through your prostate gland. Cystoscopy is a procedure that causes ‘big eyes’ in the bravest of men.

Besides cystoscopy, the other method often used to examine men with prostate complaints is digital rectal examination, in which the examiner can feel the profile of your prostate gland. (Digital refers to the doctor’s finger, not his computer.) Both give much less information than you would expect to get from such relatively invasive procedures. Opening your mouth and saying Ah’ discloses much more about your teeth, gums, tongue and throat than any rectal exam reveals about your prostate, unless you have a huge lump. Ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) and computerized axial tomography (CAT) scans are necessary to get a good picture of what’s happening to this gland, whose actual location on the floor of your pelvis seems mysterious to anyone who has not studied anatomy.

Diet and Prostate Health

If you look around you, especially as you get older and start hearing stories from men who have prostate trouble, you may wonder if there’s something simple you can do to avoid it. I’m not talking about early detection, which is mentioned frequently these days. (Of course, most men’s idea of early detection is that early next year or the year after would be just fine.) Nor am I saying that a good history, physical exam, measurements of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a common blood test used to screen for prostate cancer and other indicators of your underlying health, prostate or otherwise, are not a good idea.

But you’re misplacing your priorities if you go through those procedures without making some modest changes in your diet now to prevent troubles in the future. Most men who have a reasonably healthy personal and family medical history and who don’t abuse themselves with excesses of drugs, tobacco and alcohol, other risky activities or excessive inactivity can probably remain free of obvious symptoms even if they don’t implement all the points of the Body Clock Prescription. Some of these pointsare aimed at people who are trying to get out of serious medical trouble or who have risk factors that call on them to follow the diet very strictly.

Naturally, the more closely you follow the Body Clock Prescriptionthe better, but if you do nothing else, I urge you to consume soy protein and flaxseed powder daily to prevent prostate problems. By making these simple dietary changes and keeping your mind open to the possibility that fungal infection, intestinal overgrowth or allergy might have a hand in any prostate inflammation that is not otherwise easily diagnosed by a physician, you can go a long way toward avoiding the possibility of getting prostate cancer, as well as the other problems that frequently lead men to undergo cystoscopy.

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!

Managing the Work/Rest Ratio in HIIT Training

High Intensity Interval Training aka HIIT training is all the rage and there are many different HIIT training protocols available, but to produce the best results it is important to understand how to manipulate the Work/Rest Ratio.    The Work/Rest Ratio is the ratio of time spent working in the high intensity interval to the time spent in the recovery interval and there is no one ideal Work/Rest Ratio. In fact there are three distinct methods you can use to design interval training programs based on how you manipulate the Work/Rest Ratio.
Fixed Work, Fixed Recovery
This is the most common method and often used for group training because it keeps everyone working together.   In this method the amount of time spent in the work phase is fixed as is the amount of time in the recovery phase.   For example the ever popular “Tabata” Protocol is a fixed work, fixed recovery protocol using 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of recovery done 8 times.    Another example is the Sprint 8 protocol which uses 30 seconds of work and 90 seconds of recovery.  In addition, all MX4 programming uses this method either for a 60/30 work/rest ratio or a 4 to 1 Minute Work to Rest Ratio during Density Workouts.
Needless to say there are endless variations of fixed work, fixed recovery interval protocols and each one feels different and allows for a different level of relative intensity.    The advantage of these type of protocols is that they are very simple to design and very easy to track using a simple timer, and if using heart rate monitoring you can adjust the actual work intensity and recovery intensity based on individual heart rate response.   Also this is a very easy way for a trainer to manage a group as mentioned previously.
Fixed Work, Variable Recovery
In this method the amount of time spent working is fixed, but recovery time varies based on heart rate response.  This method is a more individualized way to do HIIT training where each work interval begins after the heart rate slows to a predetermined point correlated with a specific level of individual recovery.  The advantage of this method is it can be customized to each person based on their goal, age and current fitness level.   An example would be doing a 1 minute work interval with a fit 20 year old and setting the recovery threshold at say 120 beats per minute (a relatively low exercise heart rate for a fit 20 year old).  So he would work as hard as he can for 1 minute then go into recovery and stay in recovery until his heart rate slows to 120 beats per minute.
Variable Work, Variable Recovery
This method varies work time AND recovery time based on preset work heart rates and recovery heart rates.   For example using the same example of a fit 20 year old you might set a goal work heart rate threshold at 180 beats per minute – meaning that you keep him working hard until his heart rate hits this work threshold and then immediately begin recovery.    Then you would keep him at a reduced work rate until he hit a predetermined recovery heart rate threshold such as 120 beats per minute.    This is a highly sophisticated and highly individualized way of exercising with precise management of work and rest customized to the individual.
Have some fun and experiment with each of these to prevent plateaus in your workout progress!

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edit:

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

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

https://www.gamersgate.com/offers

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

cool little trailer with a hinged top

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

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.

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.

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.

Curing the carb on a vegetarian diet

Adapting the Fast Track, No Backtracking and Keep on Tracking plans for vegetarians raises all sorts of issues. It certainly isn’t impossible, but your level of choice will be somewhat restricted in the initial phases of the plan — especially if you are a bona fide vegetarian who doesn’t eat fish or eggs, as well as meat. A balanced healthy diet is the ultimate aim of these plans.

Many people adopt a vegetarian diet for reasons of health rather than ethics, but unless you are careful about menu-planning, the average vegetarian diet isn’t necessarily any healthier or less fattening than that of a non- vegetarian. There is often a tendency to combine too many complex carbohydrates with high levels of saturated fats — think pizza, jacket potato and cheese, fries with manufactured mayonnaise or sugar—ridden ketchup. In fact the chances are your diet could be less healthy. This is because vegetarians need to eat a variety of plant-based foods to provide all the essential amino acids that are readily available in animal protein. If just one of the essential amino acids is low or missing then protein synthesis will fall to a very low level or stop altogether.

Diet Start

Complimentary proteins

The key to ensuring that you recive the full compliment of essential amino acids on a vegetarian diet is to combine beans and grains. If you always choose a protein and a grain from the two lists below then your protein intake should be balanced.

The risks of a diet too low in protein

If you arenot careful then you may not have enough protein in your diet. Protein deficiencies in adults may result in lack of vigour and stamina, mental depression, weakness and poor resistance to infection. Antibodies will not function as well as they could — a condition that impairs the healing of wounds and recovery from disease. If you have been through a period of ill health then a higher intake of protein is vital in order to rebuild or replace tissues that are no longer functioning properly.

Good nutrition

In addition to making sure that you eat enough protein, a vegetarian diet may also be lacking in iron, zinc, calcium and vitamin B12 and D — all of which are normally found in animal products. However, these vitamins and minerals can all be found in alternative animal-free sources, and these foods should be staple foods on a vegetarian diet.

Low-carb plans for vegetarians

You may think that it is impossible to follow the Fast Track, No Backtracking and Keep on Tracking plans if you are vegetarian, but you would be wrong. If you want to create vegetarian versions of these plans then there are a number of simple rules that you will find it helpful to follow:

  • Eradicate all processed and refined carbohydrates from your diet.
  • Follow all the general guidelines for the individual diet plans, such as drinking lots of water and eating the bulk of your fruits and vegetables raw.
  • Use the individual plans as a starting point and adapt the recipes to suit your diet.
  • Use tofu, whey protein drinks, certain cheeses, eggs and nuts to provide adequate levels of protein and help you to balance your blood sugar levels.
  • Always carry snacks such as nuts, protein drinks or hard-boiled eggs with you as it may sometimes be difficult to stick to your diet when you are eating out.
  • Try to avoid situations where it would be very easy to break your resolve, such as when you are hungry and the only lunch option available is a sandwich.
  • If a book exists called A million and one things to do with tofu — buy it.
  • Make food as interesting as possible by experimenting with fresh herbs, spices and oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as flaxseed oil.
  • Boost the nutritional value of your food by adding fresh sprouts, such as alfalfa, to your salads, soups and smoothies.
  • If you start to feel tired and lacking in energy, add small amounts of brown rice or other wholegrains to your meals.

It’s Not Just You™ – HumbleBundle ‘Vegas Pro, Discover Creative Freedom’ Installer/Registration Not Working [Notification]

For the next two weeks (13 Days, according to the Countdown at the HumbleBundle Website, starting today) there is a fantastic offer for Video Editors, Music Composers, Web Developers and more – over $900 worth of Software, including Sony’s Vegas Pro [the Vegas Editing Product Line was bought out by MAGIX, a German software company that has produced it’s own editing software for years, popular for their “Music Maker” and “Movie Edit Pro” lines]. So what’s the issue? Well, this Bundle is so darn popular, many parts of it aren’t working/responding, at this time. For example, if you run into the Installer ‘starting but just closing/crashing’ or the store or program ‘not registering’ or the ‘website is down’… just letting you know… It’s Not Just You™

Part of the reason why this Bundle is so popular (although many HumbleBundles are quite popular at different times), is because one of the main pieces of Software offered is Vegas Pro Edit, originally by Sony. This video editing software is a Premium Version (“high end”) of this program, normally being sold at around $400. Along with other great products, such as Magix Music Maker, Xara’s Photo and Graphic Designer, Xara’s Web Designer, Photo Story Deluxe and more – it’s easy to see why this Bundle is so popular, for all kinds of content creators and producers. Indeed, if you are into (or trying to get into) making music, editing video, or web design, at all; I highly recommend picking up this fantastic bundle of software, if you can. The link/URL to the HumbleBundle directly, is here:

https://www.humblebundle.com/software/vegas-pro-creative-freedom




For those unfamiliar with HumbleBundle, it is a retail site that offers a mix of software, books and games, connected to and donating a portion to, a customer’s chosen Charity. For example, my account is connected to Extra Life, the ‘Gaming Marathon’ Fund Raising charity that I try to play for every November, on behalf of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Because I attached this Charity to my Account, any purchases I make will contribute a portion to my charity. One of the greatest things about HumbleBundle however, is that the products – although one is not able to choose which products to buy specifically – are usually offered in ‘portions’ or ‘packs’ for any amount that you can afford to pay (as low as $1 up to whatever you can pay for the software company/charity/etc); and the more you can pay/donate, the more software/books/games/etc you will get. Since 2010, these ‘Pay What You Want’ Bundles (for Windows, Mac and Linux) have become quite popular over time.

The issue that has arisen this time then, is that the Bundle is so popular, that the server for the Installer has become Unresponsive (“not working”). Even the Website for the Retail/Vendor/Developer itself has become Unresponsive, giving this Error Message [to me] seen below (from Chrome):

As also sometimes happens with the most popular HumbleBundles, some people are experiencing very slow Downloading of their purchased products (as in 256kBps or less). Others are experiencing the Installer for the products stops functioning. This is what I personally am experiencing too (the Installer seems to startup, but then ‘crashes’ (or at least disappears) and is unable to continue. After one random attempt, I got a message stating that the Installer actually tried to Download the Installation Files but could not properly communicate with their servers. The message that came up [for me] can be seen below:

Trying another time later on, I did see the Installer for the ‘MAGIX Music Maker 80’s Version’ pop up and start Downloading, which was nice to see; however the overall download speed was pretty slow [understandably] at about 300kBps.

If I may make a Suggestion then – if you are running into any of the issues above, at this time: my suggestion would be, to definitely pick up the Bundle if you can [Note: You have to purchase the Bundle for at least $20 to get Vegas Pro] – then wait a while before you attempt to install anything. According to the MAGIX website, you can access your purchase (to install it) anytime after buying it, from now until September 2018 [Note: A free Magix account must be created if you do not already have one]. So, there is no rush, once you purchase it, to get the Installation Files from MAGIX. I also recommend backing up your Installation Files, once Downloaded, onto a USB drive, External Drive or even Optical Disc – anything that can back up your purchase for future re-installation, if needed (at least, until you buy a newer version of any applications you like..).

By the way, a quick note about Vegas Pro ‘Edit Version’ (about a 450MB download) – for those wondering about the difference between the Vegas Movie Studio versions and the Vegas Pro versions (and what the ‘Edit’ identifier means), here is a short summary of the differences:

  • the Movie Studio versions of the editor are an easier-to-use, scaled-down version of the Vegas editor, with still many features, allowing up to 200 Tracks of Events (clips/media) – increased from 20 Tracks recently! It just lacks many of the advanced features of the Pro versions (such as the  ‘NewBlueFX Titler’ [professional version], Bézier Tool Masking (“any shape”), et.al). The Movie Studio version comparisons can be found here:

    http://www.vegascreativesoftware.com/us/vegas-movie-studio/product-comparison/#productMenu

  • the Vegas Pro ‘Edit version’ of the editor costs less than the other Pro(fessional) versions, as it is missing the DVD/Blu-Ray authoring package, as well as some advanced filters and creation utilities (such as the Boris FX media generators, et.al) – it is still a ‘full featured’ Professional-level Video Editing program however, allowing Unlimited Tracks, full 4K Support, Bézier Tool Masking (“any shape”), includes the ‘NewBlueFX Titler’ [professional version] and much, much more. The Pro version comparisons can be found here:

    http://www.vegascreativesoftware.com/us/vegas-pro/product-comparison/#productMenu


[Note that the links above will show the most recent versions of the programs, but the comparisons themselves (the effects and capabilities of each) will remain similar, despite the edition versions changing over time]

Here is a capture of the Vegas Pro ‘Edit version’ comparison, for the 14th edition [CAD prices, sorry]:

Although the Vegas line of editing products have always had a bit of a learning curve due to their more advanced capabilities (Sony used to give out a DVD with some introductory courses for it; I am privileged to say I have one of these), MAGIX has created a few tutorials of their own, which can be found at the MAGIX Vegas Pro Tutorials website, here:

http://www.vegascreativesoftware.com/us/vegas-pro/online-tutorials/

So, try not to let it bother you ‘too much’, if you have run into any of these issues (downloading, installing, registering, etc). Just wait a little while longer and try doing it again, in the near future. For now, don’t worry – It’s Not Just You™…

Good Luck with it – and Have Fun!
[Note: I am not affiliated with Sony, MAGIX or HumbleBundle in any way, and I will not receive any compensation for mentioning them here – I am merely an enthusiastic user of their products and wanted to share what I felt was helpful information/notification. I have used other video editing programs in the past (such as PowerDirector, Nero Vision and Windows Movie Maker and some free video editors, such as Avidemux, DVD Soft’s FreeVideoEditor and VirtualDub) and will still use them when desired in the future]

Addendum:

During the time it took for me to compile this posting, I was able to try again and began Downloading then eventually Installing Vegas Pro [Edit version] – and it is going smoothly still – however, Downloading of the various applications in the Bundle are still quite slow. 
If you do not mind that, dear reader, go ahead and try again now; otherwise, as in my Suggestion, perhaps wait a while (as in days) before attempting to have a fast/smooth installation of these popular applications. 

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

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.

Interested in opening your own WORKOUT ANYTIME?

Think big. Keep it simple. Do it with integrity.”

Those are the guiding words of John Quattrocchi, co-founder of WORKOUT ANYTIME. Together with Steve Strickland, John and Steve have drawn from their 40 years of industry knowledge to create a proven, ready-to-run business opportunity for your success.

Proven Formula – The WORKOUT ANYTIME system operates with low-overhead and delivers high customer satisfaction. Our clubs fit into a range of retail spaces, can be run by a tiny staff, and offer the best workout per square foot in the industry. Unprofitable amenities like the pool, spa, courts, aerobics classes, and childcare have been eliminated in favor of a $15 no-commitment price that keeps members onboard month after month after month.

“People join a club to lose weight, build strength and feel better,” explains CEO Steve Strickland. “But eventually, they fall off because of two things: high price and inconvenience. We built a system that offers an unbeatable workout, an inexpensive recurring payment, and 24-7 neighborhood convenience.”

Matrix Equipment – Top equipment is a crucial component of the WORKOUT ANYTIME formula. Steve Strickland’s career experience in both the equipment and club sides of the industry has guided the equipment selection and floor plan. The WORKOUT ANYTIME fitness layout ensures that members never have to wait for the much-desired Matrix treadmills (10+) and cardio gear.

Easy to Get Started – Franchisees usually join WORKOUT ANYTIME with little or no experience in the fitness industry. Some even keep their existing jobs. Yet, our turnkey systems, vendor agreements, equipment sourcing and leasing support make it easy to get started and easy to succeed. Here’s how our ready-to-run approach guides you every step of the way:

Site Selection and Lease Negotiation

– We maintain a network of experienced real estate brokers nationwide who specialize in tenant representation
– Site selection/lease negotiation service offered at no-cost to franchise owner
– In most cases WORKOUT ANYTIME Franchisees receive a generous tenant improve allowance (cash), and up to 6-months free rent per deal
– WORKOUT ANYTIME’s site criteria includes demographics, access, parking, visibility, tenant mix, competition, and the economics of your club

Find out more here. 

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

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.

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.

HOUSE OF INCLUSION Koichi Kimura Architects

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

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

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

Rörstrandsgatan Popular Extraordinary Penthouse

Extraordinary penthouse in the popular Rörstrandsgatan.

Extraordinary penthouse
Extraordinary Penthouse
This confidential loft with windows on all sides there is an optimal location in the circumcircle Birkastan. A rarity in the design and location where the architect has planned floor in every detail to create an open atmosphere where the different rooms in a natural way integrated with each other. This floor will host a social get-together in a bright environment with plenty of space by nearly 5-foot ceilings in the ridge and a large sunny terrace right next to the kitchen. Beams are tastefully built and floor is one of few lofts that are not constrained by snetak. 
Well-chosen and thoughtful details include floor heating under beautiful oiled oak parquet flooring and dimmable spotlights throughout the whole apartment. In the living room we find a plastered fireplace with adjustable chimney sat on the black painted fire brick. Modern sound systems are drawn into the walls. Windows are fitted with double glazing which means, in principle, completely eliminated the sound inlet and heat protection glass to keep the floor cool in the summer time. The kitchen is very lavish and signed exclusive German manufacturer Bulthaup. The kitchen is consistently white countertops in the unique composite material is white Corian. The machinery in Alufinish come from reputable Gaggenau. The two bedrooms are furnished with site-built wardrobes and the slightly larger bedroom has both big walk-in closet and bathroom adjacent. Both bathrooms enjoy exclusive furnishings and are equipped with underfloor heating. One of the bathrooms have both shower and bath and the other only shower. Modern washing machines and tumble dryers from Miele. 
Rörstrandsgatan is one of Stockholm’s main restaurant streets with wide range of pubs, cafes and bars. Nearby is also an opportunity to cozy walking and jogging along the Karlberg Canal. Or how about a picnic or playing tennis in Karlberg Palace Park, only a few hundred meters away. Good communications in the form of Karlberg station with both commuter rail and bus service as well as St. Eriksplan underground station.
LivingsRoom
LivingsRoom

BeDroom Design
BeDroom Design

Bathroom Desing
Bathroom Desing

Design Schema
Design Schema

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.
 

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.

In One Sentence™ – A Battlefield Hardline Main Weapons Overview [Very Short Reviews Of Each, Currently Text-Only]

[In light of the DOUBLE XP EVENT going on right now for Hardline, I wanted to get this hopefully-helpful information up right away for everyone – so here it is without any Screenshots yet – I am collecting some together and plan to place them in-line within, Soon™]

In One Sentence™


A Battlefield Hardline

Main Weapons Overview


By: The Game Tips And More Blog


Presented in a Document-sorta-but-not-really format

I was in the Battlefield Hardline Beta, but didn’t write about it at the time [and have only played off and on since then ‘for fun’ – that is, not really getting into collecting information for others, that they could use – well, other than one Introduction To The Sabotage Gadget tutorial I did quickly a while back… I wish I did more, but I wasn’t feeling up to it, sorry all..].


Recently, I was testing out Origin Access (signing up for one Month, to see if you ‘lose’ things you have Unlocked/Earned after Cancelling the Subscription – which I will write about once it expires) and I have been playing a bit more as well [as I can], wanting to go through each Weapon in Hardline and give a really short ‘Review’ of each, to give everyone a Basic Overview of them – I dubbed these ‘mini-reviews’ the highly-creative-and-original “In One Sentence”™!

Here then, is a listing of all of the ‘main’ weapons in the game, that is, the Primary (eg. Rifles) and Secondary (eg. Pistols), the Thrown (eg. Grenades) and Melee (eg. Knives) categories, with a one-sentence ‘review’ of every single one of them – at least for all of the ones I have Unlocked and have available since starting Origin Access [which opened up all of the Expansion Weapons – there are only about 3-4 types missing out of all of them now… I may ‘tweak’ the descriptions over the next little while but other than small phrasing changes and adding Images later, this is the list, ready to go.]

The list itself is divided into the Classes available in the game, listing all Primary and Secondary weapons available to that class to Purchase and Use, roughly as they appear on the in-game Menu Lists, with the Thrown and Melee weapon categories at the end. As such, there are some overlap/duplicated entries when written in Text form (eg. a pistol found in the Professional list will also be listed in the Operator list, if they both can use them, with the same or nearly the same Review/Overview for each listing). This way though, you can just skip to the Class section you are interested in playing and see the Weapons as they appear in the game, not having to worry about searching for the Weapon name itself.

I would like to do the Gadgets (Class Special Tools) as well, sometime in the future – but for now, enjoy these little summaries of the Main Weapons available, to give you an idea of them if you are a newer player, or to help you in finding something that fits your playstyle (eg. perhaps you want a ‘slow and hard-hitting’ weapon or perhaps you prefer a ‘fast-shooting with lighter damage’ one, and so on) – hopefully this information will help you out in some way, especially if you are new to Hardline (I have already seen an influx of new players since recent EA/Origin Sales, which is great to see). Enjoy, dear reader, and get in there for the Double XP Event on now – and See You In The Game!

Rating Key (if applicable to weapon, when used):

? = Not sure [yet] if they are Criminals-only or Cops-only usage

* = Weapons I ‘Liked’ (fit my playstyle(s), is unique in some way)

** = Weapons that are A Personal Favourite (I use a lot or ‘mainly’ would use)

Scout Elite = A fairly fast-shooting and silence-able sniper rifle with medium-high damage, this Default Professional weapon only improves with Unlocks. **

R700LTR (Cops) = A slow-firing but powerful killer that is silence-able, Magnum Rounds can be Purchased after 50 Kills to make Vehicles cry. *

AWM (Criminals) = Feeling much slower than the Scout – but also seeming more powerful – the first thing I would want to unlock is the silencer for this big boy.

388-Recon = Feeling like it has decent ‘punch’ and good range – if the Scout is “fast” and the AWM is “slow” then the 388-Recon is “middle-of-the-road”, in terms of rate of fire, it seems. *

.300 Knockout = What was once a fast and sleek one-hit-kill-machine, worthy of its’ lengthy and difficult Unlock, this rifle has since been Nerfed™ with a slower firing rate and its’ one-hit-kill ability taken away – and while still powerful and silent, to those who used it in it’s former glory, it is now a slow and decrepid version of it’s former self.

AWS = A pre-silenced but slower-shooting, medium-to-long range rifle, with what feels like medium-ish damage, even though the in-game listing has it as “high damage” –  perhaps this one gets better after a few Unlocks, it felt pretty under-powered and a little inaccurate to me (but this could be the slower bullet speed due to the built-in silencing barrel).

M98b = This bolt-action sniper rifle packs a mean punch – it has so much power it can shoot pilots inside helicopters [I’ve done it! Once! lol] and has very little bullet drop-off – it can even be silenced, but it can it ever be equipped with a Straight-Pull Bolt (to allow you to shoot again without going out of scope) and its firing rate is pretty slow.

M1903 = This World-War-II-era rifle, reminiscent of Saving Private Ryan, comes ‘pre-loaded’ with a Straight-Pull Bolt (allowing you to shoot again without going out of a scope, which Unlocks in 20 kills) and can eventually Unlock a Silencer after 50 kills – but even though I read it is supposed to be powerful against vehicles, it shoots a little too slow and does too little damage to infantry, for my personal liking – maybe you’ll have better luck with it.

SOCOM16 (Cops) = A medium-damage semi-automatic rifle that can be silenced, it feels somewhat inaccurate – but it does have the ability to fire quickly.

SR-25 ECC (Cops) = A semi-automatic rifle that can be silenced, its decent damage along with its fast firing rate will make this a formidable weapon to use, if the medium-low recoil (which feels less than the SOCOM16) can be accounted for. *

M82.416 = Even though the firing rate of this un-silenceable rifle has been severely reduced since I last played with it in Hardline (with the ability to fire a number of times a second back then), it remains quite the hand cannon (firing about once every second now) – with so much power there is very little bullet drop (and it can still take out pilots inside helicopters) – I think it did more damage back then too, but it is still nice to use for the sense of power it brings. *

RO933 M1 = A silence-able rifle that seems to be able to fire as fast as you can click, I like to run this one with an Infra-vision scope, hide in the bushes – and let the bullets fall like hail upon the enemy from the shadows. **

SAIGA .308 = A fast-firing rifle, this one ‘feels fun’ to run with even though it is a little inaccurate, because it has decent damage output. *

PTR-91 = A rifle with mediocre damage, its’ fast fire rate can make up for it, if the medium-ish recoil can be compensated for.

SP-AR = Although fast-firing, this rifle isn’t very accurate while doing so, with its’ high recoil – at least it as a neat, unique ‘report’ [sound].

M1A1 = Although it can never be silenced and therefore will always give your position away when you fire, you probably wouldn’t want to silence this variation on the “Tommy Gun” as it is a pleasure to listen to the unique, heavy-hitting sound this World War 2 staple makes – it is slow to reload but has a decent firing rate and decent punch. *

Mp7 = Although this silence-able PDW shoots very fast, you have to be in Close-ish Range or else you’ll just be burning through your ammo.

MP5SD = This pre-silenced SMG is fun as hell to use, with its’ fast firing rate, good accuracy and decent damage; I like to run this with an IRNV scope and Extended Magazines, staying on the edges of the area, never letting the enemy know what is raining bullets down upon them until it shows up on the Kill Log. **

M1 = The World-War-2-era M1 is a unique rifle that is fun to play and easy to use, with its’ high accuracy and unique report [sound] – if only it could be scoped (and silenced).


RO933 BLK = [N/A, Haven’t Unlocked Yet, sorry]

M110K5 = [N/A, Haven’t Unlocked yet sorry]

1887 = Although powerful, this old-west-style shotgun feels slightly slow when compared to its’ modern-day counterparts – but it is fun to spin it end-over-end a’la Terminator 2 style to reload, once you unlock the ability to Saw Off the Stock. *

MAMMOTH GUN = [N/A, Haven’t Unlocked yet sorry]


SYNDICATE GUN = [N/A, Haven’t Unlocked yet sorry]

A-8s = With only one arrow to fire and a looong reload time, the “Harpoon Gun” can still be a blast to play with, as it is fun as hell to kill someone with this unique weapon that won’t make you show up on the mini-map at all – it is just that you will probably die too (while reloading). **

G18C = Although fast-shooting, this pistol feels a little inaccurate.

93R = With good accuracy and higher damage, this little bad boy can even be silenced, eventually. **

MAC-10 = While the recoil will have you shooting at the sky for the most part, this little guy will spit out bullets and damage faster than a shaken baby spits out broken teeth to make up for it – it’s just that you may be out of ammo before the enemy dies.

MP9 (Cops) = Surprisingly accurate if you can compensate for the recoil, this little fella doesn’t have much in the way of scopes, but it can be silenced after 90 kills. **

TEC-9 (Criminals) = Although fast-shooting, this little guy isn’t the most accurate puppy in the litter (but if you use the sights it does help) – it also doesn’t do the greatest damage, it seems.

IMPROVISED GUN = With decent damage output, decent accuracy and a nice ‘feel’ to it, this little fella is fast becoming a Personal Favourite. **


DUAL VZ.61 = Holding two of these “Czech Uzis” akimbo, you will feel like you are in a John Woo movie – only the inaccuracy will force you to run up close to everyone – but it will be fun doing it. *

T62 CEW = Only one word for this one-hit-disable, “non-lethal” (it counts as a ‘kill’ for Patches and Assignments) weapon that makes all others respect your authority: Fun. **

TRACKING DART = The Tracking Dart is mainly for ‘tagging’ opponent vehicles so that they can be seen by literally everyone – and RPGs will ‘lock on’ to them too – it even works on people! *

FN57 = While this little guy shoots fast, it doesn’t seem to do a heckuva lot of damage – getting fast headshots makes up for it though. *

G17 Race Pistol = A great little dealer of damage, it can shoot as fast as you can click – too bad there are no options for scopes or silencers whatsoever. **

870P MAGNUM = Although this is a slower-firing pump-action style shotgun, it has very high damage output and a little bit of range, too. *

SPAS-12 = While still a pump-action shotgun, the SPAS-12 fires faster than the 870P MAGNUM and it feels like it has a bit more accuracy, too – it just doesn’t do quite the damage of the 870P.

SAIGA-12 (Criminals) = With a nice rate of fire, it feels like it does damage somewhere between the SPAS-12 and the 870P MAGNUM. **

STAKEOUT (Cops) = With damage a bit lower than the 870P or the SPAS-12, shotgun ‘feels’ quite a bit more accurate – and with its’ nice rate of fire (for a pump-action), this beauty quickly became a Personal Favourite to run with. **

M4 (Criminals) = With a nice rate of fire and decent damage, this cannon is quickly becoming a Personal Favourite. **

KSG12 (Cops) = Although a pump-action shotgun, this thing hits like a horse’s hoof to the head – I dubbed this cannon the “Kiss The Ground” shotgun right away. **

1887 = Although powerful, this old-west-style shotgun shoots slow – when compared to its’ modern-day counterparts – but it is fun to spin it end-over-end a’la Terminator 2 style to reload, once you unlock the ability to Saw Off the Stock. *

DOUBLE-BARREL SHOTGUN = A true source of unearthly power once unlocked, the DOUBLE-BARRELLED SHOTGUN will make you feel like a living angel of death, as even one barrel’s worth will end an enemy close by; just point this finger of god at an enemy and say “die” – and as long as they aren’t too far away – they will do it for you. Worth the effort to Unlock and a Personal Favourite. **

SA-58 OSW = I call this “The Recoil Machine”, as unless you fire one bullet at a time, you will be covered in rifle Recoil.

SCAR-H (Cops) = This silence-able machine gun has some recoil, but it “levels out” and can be compensated for, allowing you to enjoy the high damage output and decent accuracy (especially if ‘tap-shooting’ for short bursts). *

FAL (Criminals) = Although this rifle has a fair amount of recoil, it seems to have high damage output – if it can be compensated for, this could be a nice heavy-hitting weapon to run with. **

HCAR (Cops) = With a medium amount of recoil, it “levels out” and can be compensated for, allowing you to enjoy the high damage output and decent accuracy (even during continuous fire, if you can control the muzzle). **

HK51 (Criminals) = Although it has a bit of recoil, this silence-able rifle has a nice ‘smooth’ feel to it. **

SG510 (Cops) = With a nice feeling of accuracy (aimed fire, with recoil compensated for) it also feels like a decently-hard-hitting weapon – this could be a new Personal Favourite for me. *

M39 EMR = With a little less accuracy than the other Battle Rifles, the M39 EMR ‘feels’ a bit smoother though, with a nice rate of fire and the ability to be silenced – it’s just too bad it doesn’t have Extended Magazines available, as it always feels like it’s running out of ammo just a tad too soon. *

M1 = The World-War-2-era M1 is a unique rifle that is fun to play and easy to use, with its’ high accuracy and unique report [sound] – if only it could be scoped (and silenced).

Mp7 = Although this silence-able PDW shoots very fast, you have to be in Close-ish Range or else you’ll just be burning through your ammo.

MP5SD = This pre-silenced SMG is fun as hell to use, with its’ fast firing rate, good accuracy and decent damage; I like to run this with an IRNV scope and Extended Magazines, never letting the enemy know what is raining bullets down upon them until it shows up on the Kill Log. **

RO933 BLK = [N/A, Haven’t Unlocked Yet, sorry]

AWS = A pre-silenced but slower-shooting, medium-to-long range rifle, with what feels like medium-ish damage, even though the in-game listing has it as “high damage” –  perhaps this one gets better after a few Unlocks, it felt pretty under-powered and a little inaccurate to me (but this could be the slower bullet speed due to the built-in silencing barrel).

M1903 = This World-War-II-era rifle, reminiscent of Saving Private Ryan, comes ‘pre-loaded’ with a Straight-Pull Bolt (allowing you to shoot again without going out of a scope, which Unlocks in 20 kills) and can eventually Unlock a Silencer after 50 kills – but even though I read it is supposed to be powerful against vehicles, it shoots a little too slow and does too little damage to infantry, for my personal liking – maybe you’ll have better luck with it.

MAMMOTH GUN = [N/A, Haven’t Unlocked Yet, sorry]



SYNDICATE GUN = [N/A, Haven’t Unlocked Yet, sorry]

A-8s = With only one arrow to fire and a looong reload time, the “Harpoon Gun” can still be a blast to play with, as it is fun as hell to kill someone with this unique weapon that won’t make you show up on the mini-map at all – it is just that you will probably die too (while reloading). **

45T = This pistol doesn’t seem to do much damage, nor does it shoot very fast – but that slow rate of fire gives it decent accuracy.

.40 PRO (Criminals) = While this pistol is decently accurate, it only does mediocre damage and it doesn’t fire very fast – another enemy will probably kill you before the one you are shooting at dies, unless you ‘get the drop on them’.

M1911A1 (Cops) = While it doesn’t shoot very fast or do above medium-ish damage, this WWII-era pistol seems to be decently accurate – but it will win no awards.

BALD EAGLE = With huge damage output, this ‘Hand Cannon’ will feel like you are wielding a hand-size shotgun – too bad it can’t be silenced or have longer scopes put on it. *

T62 CEW = Only one word for this one-hit-disable, “non-lethal” (it counts as a ‘kill’ for Patches and Assignments) weapon that makes all others respect your authority: Fun. **

TRACKING DART = The Tracking Dart is mainly for ‘tagging’ opponent vehicles so that they can be seen by literally everyone – and RPGs will ‘lock on’ to them too – it even works on people! *

FN57 = While this little guy shoots fast, it doesn’t seem to do a heckuva lot of damage – getting fast headshots makes up for it though. *

G17 Race Pistol = A great little dealer of damage, it can shoot as fast as you can click – too bad there are no options for scopes or silencers whatsoever. **

DUAL VZ.61 = Holding two of these “Czech Uzis” akimbo, you will feel like you are in a John Woo movie – only the inaccuracy will force you to run up close to everyone – but it will be fun doing it. *

MP5K = Fast-shooting and if you can compensate for the recoil, pretty accurate – it even works great silenced. *

M/45 (Cops) = Not as ‘smooth’ handling as the MP5K, this SMG feels ever-so-slightly more accurate and has decent damage, to boot. *

MPX (Cops) = A fast-shooting and fun smg to run with, it seems to have a little less recoil than the other SMGs but doesn’t ‘feel’ as accurate, if that makes any sense – it is still pretty good and if you are able to compensate for recoil, a nice gun to use. *

K10 (Cops) = Insanely insane with an insane firing rate, it has been literally only for the insane since the Beta – and maybe those who don’t like keeping bullets in their gun – heaven help anyone if you point this at their head. **

FMG9 = Suppress-able at 90 kills, this fast-shooting SMG ‘feels’ more accurate than its’ kindred, especially after unlocking the Laser Sight and some Scopes – and with a unique stock animation, it is a ‘fun’ weapon to run with. *

M1A1 = Although it can never be silenced and therefore will always give your position away when you fire, you probably wouldn’t want to silence this variation on the “Tommy Gun” as it is a pleasure to listen to the unique, heavy-hitting sound this World War 2 staple makes – it is slow to reload but has a decent firing rate and decent punch. *

SCORPION = A fast-shooting gun (almost as fast as the K10 it seems), this silence-able fella ‘feels’ ever-so-slightly less maneuverable than its’ brethren – and it does a bit less damage, too – otherwise, it would have been a Personal Favourite (I have almost unlocked the Suppressor already on it). *

Mp7 = Although this silence-able PDW shoots very fast, you have to be in Close-ish Range or else you’ll just be burning through your ammo.

UMP45 (Criminals) = Although slightly more accurate feeling, it also feels like it shoots slower and hurts a little less than similar weapons.

UMP9 = Silence-able after 70 kills, this SMG ‘feels’ a little bulky to wield, but seems like it does a notch more damage than its’ counterparts. *

UZI (Criminals) = Silence-able but unfortunately “The Uzi” in-game seems different than it does in the movies – it shoots far slower than on the big screen, but it is also more accurate here. *

M5 NAVY (Cops) = Making you feel like you’re in your own 80’s movie, the M5 NAVY packs a punch and seems to keep accuracy even out to mid-ranges (aimed or not) – quickly making this a Personal Favourite. **

M12S (Cops) = “The Spaghetti Uzi” ‘feels’ ‘clunky’ and a ‘bit’ ‘inaccurate’ to me, ‘but’ it seems to have a ‘few more’ bullets than ‘similar weapons’, which ‘mostly’ ‘makes up for it’, quote marks. *

AUG PARA (Criminals) = While this Criminal-only SMG ‘feels’ like it does decent damage and is fairly accurate, it ends up being only ‘mediocre’ in… well.. Everything.

MP5SD = This pre-silenced SMG is fun as hell to use, with its’ fast firing rate, good accuracy and decent damage; I like to run this with an IRNV scope and Extended Magazines, never letting the enemy know what is raining bullets down upon them, until it shows up on the Kill Log… **

MX4 = Although very ‘average’ in all stats in-game, the stylish MX4 ‘feels’ like it is an efficient damage-wielding gun that is fun to use for some reason – I just kept on using it, eventually unlocking almost everything I wanted in each Attachment category, despite losing many shootouts with it.

M1 = The World-War-2-era M1 is a unique rifle that is fun to play and easy to use, with its’ high accuracy and unique report [sound] – if only it could be scoped (and silenced).

RO933 .300 BLK = [N/A, Haven’t Unlocked yet sorry]

M110K5 = [N/A, Haven’t Unlocked yet sorry]

1887 = Although powerful, this old-west-style shotgun feels slightly slow when compared to its’ modern-day counterparts – but it is fun to spin it end-over-end a’la Terminator 2 style to reload, once you unlock the ability to Saw Off the Stock. *

AWS = A pre-silenced but slower-shooting, medium-to-long range rifle, with what feels like medium-ish damage, even though the in-game listing has it as “high damage” –  perhaps this one gets better after a few Unlocks, it felt pretty under-powered and a little inaccurate to me (but this could be the slower bullet speed due to the built-in silencing barrel).

M1903 = This World-War-II-era rifle, reminiscent of Saving Private Ryan, comes ‘pre-loaded’ with a Straight-Pull Bolt (allowing you to shoot again without going out of a scope, which Unlocks in 20 kills) and can eventually Unlock a Silencer after 50 kills – but even though I read it is supposed to be powerful against vehicles, it shoots a little too slow and does too little damage to infantry, for my personal liking – maybe you’ll have better luck with it.


MAMMOTH GUN = [N/A, Haven’t Unlocked yet sorry]


SYNDICATE GUN = [N/A, Haven’t Unlocked yet sorry]

A-8s = With only one arrow to fire and a looong reload time, the “Harpoon Gun” can still be a blast to play with, as it is fun as hell to kill someone with this unique weapon that won’t make you show up on the mini-map at all – it is just that you will probably die too (while reloading). **

.38 SNUB = Seen in almost any cop movie between 1970 and 1990, this little guy fires fast, ‘moves’ smoothly and is nice and accurate – but it better be because you only get five shots to work with – and there are hardly any add-ons for it at all. *

.44 MAGNUM (Criminals) = The Classic is here, from Movies to Real Life mayhem, the “fourty-four” is a hand cannon of damage to all it gets pointed at, nuff’ said. *

.410 JURY = While not the fastest firing, this little bad boy is literally a hand-size-shotgun (it fires small shotgun-style shells) and since it is smaller than the Fourty-Four and The Eagle – but seems to blast out the damage even out to close-to-medium ranges – this weapon is fun-as-hell to run with. A Personal Favourite. **

.357 RS (Cops) = While still a “magnum” like The Fourty-Four, it doesn’t seem to do quite as much damage – or have the range the .44 MAGNUM has – but it has a bit more ammo at 8 rounds.

T62 CEW = Only one word for this one-hit-disable, “non-lethal” (it counts as a ‘kill’ for Patches and Assignments) weapon that makes all others respect your authority: Fun. **

TRACKING DART = The Tracking Dart is mainly for ‘tagging’ opponent vehicles so that they can be seen by literally everyone – and RPGs will ‘lock on’ to them too – it even works on people! *

FN57 = While this little guy shoots fast, it doesn’t seem to do a heckuva lot of damage – getting fast headshots makes up for it though. *

G17 Race Pistol = A great little dealer of damage, it can shoot as fast as you can click – too bad there are no options for scopes or silencers whatsoever. **

DUAL VZ.61 = Holding two of these “Czech Uzis” akimbo, you will feel like you are in a John Woo movie – only the inaccuracy will force you to run up close to everyone – but it will be fun doing it. *

R0933 = With a high rate-of-fire and equipped with a few little add-ons ‘out of the box’, the RO933 ‘feels’ smooth and easy-to-use, even if it isn’t the fastest killer. *

AKS74U (Criminals) = With a notch up in damage and a couple notches up in accuracy from the RO933, the AKS74U ‘just feels right’. **

G36C (Cops) = Having not seen a “G36C” myself since BF3, this felt like it’s ‘little brother’ – a ‘smooth’ to maneuver with, compact, pretty accurate gun. *

SG553 (Cops) = With the highest average in-game stats than the other Carbines, this weapon should “kick criminal butt” – and that, it does (especially with some Add-ons). A Personal Favourite.**

CAR-556 = Packing a wallop of hit damage and feeling pretty accurate, even at range in short bursts, I have no idea why I can’t ‘get into’ using this gun more – perhaps it is the ‘harsh’ sound it makes? LOL *

ACWR = While the in-game stats show it as fairly inaccurate, I found the ACWR to do decent damage, ‘feel’ smooth to use – and do a nice bit of hurt to the enemy (even at range if you can compensate for the bit of recoil). *

AKM (Criminals) = If you can deal with the huge amount of recoil this gun has, it does seem to have a pretty accurate, crazy-damage, first shot and high-damage short bursts – other than that, it is actually ‘average’ in all stats, in-game.

M16A3 (Cops) = Accurate and with a fast firing rate, silence-able and reminiscent of “movie M16s”, there isn’t much to not like about this weapon. A Personal Favourite. **

M416 (Criminals) = This carbine ‘feels’ like it handles a lot smoother than the AKM, feeling more accurate as well, even though the in-game stats are comparable.

ARM = [N/A, Haven’t Unlocked Yet, sorry]

L85A2 = With a bit of recoil already, it is accentuated by the pre-loaded 4X scope it comes with – but if you are just ‘runnin-and-gunnin’ with it, it feels like a formidable weapon up close – it just seems to have accuracy problems (bullet spread) at anything other than point blank range.

MDC (Cops) = With what seems like a high amount of recoil and inaccuracy, the MDC doesn’t seem to live up to its’ stylish look – it ‘feels’ a bit worse than the L85A2, in regards to ‘handling’.

FAMAS = While quite inaccurate if you just ‘spray-n-pray’, aiming seems to help a lot with this rifle – it ‘felt’ a lot better too, after Unlocking the Extended Magazine – and it seems like it could only improve from there.

F2000 (Criminals) = This huge wall of metal feels like you are carrying a rocket launcher, but with its’ fast firing rate and decent accuracy, there’s not much to dislike about it – other than it doesn’t seem to ‘hit’ as hard as I would have expected . *

SAR-21 = In-game, the stats on this weapon are very ‘average’ – and it ‘felt’ that way, except for the accuracy which, especially if you can compensate for it, seems ‘high’, actually – and it only seemed to get better as I Unlocked more Attachments. *

RPK (Criminals) = With a large magazine size (50) and how this gun ‘feels’ heavy-hitting, while a bit inaccurate at first, I think it can be a formidable weapon after some Unlocks.

RPK-74 = While comparable to the RPK (of course), the ‘74 ‘felt’ a little more accurate, actually. *

AUG A3 = The AUG A3 already ‘felt’ pretty accurate, but with ‘included’ 4X scope and if you can compensate for the recoil, it is a pleasure to shoot – too bad it doesn’t seem to do high damage (but about a ‘medium’ amount). *

M1A1 = Although it can never be silenced and therefore will always give your position away when you fire, you probably wouldn’t want to silence this variation on the “Tommy Gun” as it is a pleasure to listen to the unique, heavy-hitting sound this World War 2 staple makes – it is slow to reload but has a decent firing rate and decent punch. *

Mp7 = Although this silence-able PDW shoots very fast, you have to be in Close-ish Range or else you’ll just be burning through your ammo.

MP5SD = This pre-silenced SMG is fun as hell to use, with its’ fast firing rate, good accuracy and decent damage; I like to run this with an IRNV scope and Extended Magazines, never letting the enemy know what is raining bullets down upon them until it shows up on the Kill Log. **


M110K5 = [N/A, Haven’t Unlocked Yet, sorry]



1887 = Although powerful, this old-west-style shotgun feels slightly slow when compared to its’ modern-day counterparts – but it is fun to spin it end-over-end a’la Terminator 2 style to reload, once you unlock the ability to Saw Off the Stock. *

AWS = A pre-silenced but slower-shooting, medium-to-long range rifle, with what feels like medium-ish damage, even though the in-game listing has it as “high damage” –  perhaps this one gets better after a few Unlocks, it felt pretty under-powered and a little inaccurate to me (but this could be the slower bullet speed due to the built-in silencing barrel).

M1903 = This World-War-II-era rifle, reminiscent of Saving Private Ryan, comes ‘pre-loaded’ with a Straight-Pull Bolt (allowing you to shoot again without going out of a scope, which Unlocks in 20 kills) and can eventually Unlock a Silencer after 50 kills – but even though I read it is supposed to be powerful against vehicles, it shoots a little too slow and does too little damage to infantry, for my personal liking – maybe you’ll have better luck with it.

MAMMOTH GUN = [N/A, Haven’t Unlocked Yet, sorry]



SYNDICATE GUN = [N/A, Haven’t Unlocked Yet, sorry]

A-8s = With only one arrow to fire and a looong reload time, the “Harpoon Gun” can still be a blast to play with, as it is fun as hell to kill someone with this unique weapon that won’t make you show up on the mini-map at all – it is just that you will probably die too (while reloading). **

92FS = Silence-able but not the fastest-shooting pistol, nor the most damaging – it does seem accurate though, if you can compensate for the recoil – maybe it would become something worthwhile after some Unlocks.

P226 (Cops) = Although fairly fast-firing, it is somewhat inaccurate – I would say it is the ‘slightly faster but less accurate version of the Criminals-only CZ-75’ if I had to compare it.

CZ-75 (Criminals) = Although fairly accurate, it is somewhat slow-firing – I would say it is the ‘slightly slower but more accurate version of the Cops-only P226’ if I had to compare it.

G17 = Nicely accurate and firing as fast as you can click, it seems, the G17 became an instant Personal Favourite. **

FN57 = While this little guy shoots fast, it doesn’t seem to do a heckuva lot of damage – getting fast headshots makes up for it though. *

G17 Race Pistol = A great little dealer of damage, it can shoot as fast as you can click – too bad there are no options for scopes or silencers whatsoever (other than the red dot sight it comes with). **

T62 CEW = Only one word for this one-hit-disabling “non-lethal” (it counts as a ‘kill’ for Patches and Assignments) weapon that makes all others respect your authority: Fun. **

TRACKING DART = The Tracking Dart is mainly for ‘tagging’ opponent vehicles so that they can be seen by literally everyone – and RPGs will ‘lock on’ to them too – it even works on people! *

DUAL VZ.61 = Holding two of these “Czech Uzis” akimbo, you will feel like you are in a John Woo movie – only the inaccuracy will force you to run up close to everyone – but it will be fun doing it. *

M67 FRAG = With decent range, ‘The Poison Apple’ does huge damage – I think it’s killzone has been increased since Beta – a room-clearer (as long as they are in line-of-sight), but you only get one. *

M18 SMOKE = While it doesn’t damage anyone, it does provide some good ‘cover’, as it blocks not only seeing people but also spotting.

M84 FLASHBANG = While sounding very useful at first, with the faster pace and highly mobile opponents in the convoluted spaces of Hardline, having an effect with this is rare – although I have had it used on me and have seen people not able to see well for the short time it is in effect (looking around or shooting aimlessly) – it is very rare to be helpful it seems, but it happens.

GAS GRENADE = Quite useful, as it blurs the view of the enemy (affecting their aim as well) and sometimes a killer (albeit slowly) – unless you want to be affected yourself, put on a Gas Mask Gadget. **

INCENDIARY GRENADE (Cops) = Create your own “Napalm Pond” with this grenade-of-fire, which has a good range and good ‘spread’ (the area of effect is fairly big) – the only drawback is that people have to stay in it for a bit to die and some could have Fire Resistance Masks to nullify it (but that is only the Operator Class and only if they have the Robbery Expansion/DLC). *

MOLOTOV (Criminals) = The ‘homemade’ version of the Incendiary Grenade, it has the same area of effect and does the same damage, it seems – and could be nullified by the FR Mask (but as above, that is only the Operators and only if they have the right Expansion/DLC). *

THROWING KNIFE = Slightly slower to deploy and slower to travel than expected, these types of knives are fairly heavy [in real life, I used to own one when I was younger] so they have some drop to account for; but your opponent will die when one knocks them over, making these little guys fun as heck to use. **

BASEBALL BAT (Criminals?) = No matter where you grew up in the world, you will know how to wield a wooden stick – which means this guy can come out fast and keep on swingin’ – do it from behind for a Takedown. *

POLICE BATON (Cops) = A staple of Authority worldwide and resembling the Japanese ‘Tonfa’, this bad boy will knock out a perp in two hits if you don’t take him down from behind. **

NIGHTSTICK (Cops) = Like a Police Baton without the little handle, the Nightstick feels fast to use, if a bit mundane to look at.

BLACKJACK (Cops) = Although still small and slim, this little guy feels ever-so-slightly slower than the other ‘sticks’, for some reason.

COLLAPSIBLE BATON (Cops) = I had no idea there would be such a long delay to deploy this little fella, since he’s so short…but don’t worry he becomes longer.

SHOVEL = As a farming tool, I feel that it has a sufficiently-long delay time to whip-it-out… and that’s enough double entendre for now.

GOLD CLUB (Criminals?) = Feeling like it wields ever-so-slightly slower than say, a baton or bat, it is still wicked fast – and you can do a non-lethal takedown (from behind), to Interrogate the enemy (finding out their positions on the map). *

LEAD PIPE (Criminals?) = Quick to draw and with a somewhat-satisfying ‘clunk’ when you hit an opponent, this guy is fast becoming a Personal Favourite. *

SLEDGE HAMMER (Criminals) = Slow and heavy to draw, this baby packs a mean punch once it does show its’ presence on the battlefield – a one-hit kill, it also takes down doors and crumbles thin walls with ease. *

BREACHING HAMMER (Cops) = The lawful version of a Sledgehammer, this big boy is also slow and heavy – but it forces others to ‘respect your authoritah’ once drawn as it one-hit-kills and takes down doors and thin walls with ease. *

CROWBAR (Criminals?) = If you’ve lived in any industrialized country for a time, you know what a crowbar is and what it can do – and while not seeming quite as quick-to-deploy as say, a bat or a baton, the muffled ‘donk’ sound it emits when hitting someone makes this weapon a pleasure to work with. **

KNIFE = Fast and deadly, nuff’ said.

SHANK = A weapon born out of necessity, the Shank is fast and deadly and other speedy and dangerous words… you get the point – or rather, they will. *

BOWIE KNIFE = This classic weapon, interestingly named after an owner (not its designer) feels ever-so-slightly slower than its’ other bladed brethren.

CARBON FIBER = Although sleek and stylish looking, there is an ever-so-slight delay to deploy this bad boy – but it does seem to have a unique takedown animation that can happen.

SCOUT = A fast knife that will cover your hands in blood if repeatedly wielded in a cluster of enemies.

SEAL = It feels ever-so-slightly slower than say, the Scout Knife, but it is still ‘wicked bad’, as it should be.

SURVIVAL = With an animation similar to the Bowie from the back and a seemingly-unique kill animation from above [that I have seen so far], this knife works well, even if it does seem ever-so-slightly slower than the other knives, for some reason.

TRENCH = With a ‘side animation’ similar to the Shank and a ‘front animation’ similar to the Bowie [that I have seen so far], the look of this fella makes it a touch more satisfying to kill with. *

ACB-90 (Criminals?) = With side-killing animations similar to the Shank and rear-killing animations similar to the Bowie [that I have seen so far], it does seem to deploy pretty quickly. *

DEVIL’S TOOTHPICK = The motions for using this ‘asylum invention’ on people are more ‘hectic’ and seem to shout “mayhem” (you stab less and hack more, it appears).

FIRE AXE (Cops?) = Live out your Team Fortress 2 “killing people who make W+M1 jokes” Pyro urges, or perhaps your childhood dream of being a “Firemans” (or a “Firelady”) with this slow-to-wield but ‘kick-axe’, axe. *

MACHETE = This traditional and practical knife seems to deploy quite slowly – although it does great damage and appears to kill in one hit [so far].

CLEAVER = While not as slow to use as say, the Machete or Axe, it is still “medium-slow”, a lethal takedown (even from behind) – but it doesn’t seem to have any ‘unique’ animations [that I have seen so far].

KARAMBIT = Fast and Deadly, there really is nothing else to say about this ‘little devil’ other than those two words – really, I’m not just being lazy here. *

INQUISITION SWORD = Slow and Heavy to wield – but a one hit kill as you overpower your foe – be sure to shout “There Can Be Only One” in real life when you use it for maximum fun-ness. **

When the Betrayal Expansion was released in March of 2016, a Battlelog Post stated: “Now that various weapons have been released to all classes with the base game update, you can pair a Mechanic with a sniper rifle, or an Enforcer with an SMG. You might not be as effective as you would with your class weapon, but the option is there.” Meaning, if you are utilizing a Weapon that is normally ‘outside’ of your Class, you will be using it with reduced effects!

Again, as stated above, I would like to do the Gadgets (Class Special Tools) as well, sometime in the future – but for now, enjoy these little summaries of the Main Weapons available, to give you an idea of them if you are a newer player, or to help you in finding something that fits your playstyle (eg. ‘slow and hard-hitting’ or perhaps ‘fast-shooting with lighter damage’, and so on) – hopefully this information will help you out in some way. Enjoy – get in there for the Double XP Event on now – and See You In The Game!

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!

Cut your Protein why no Sugar?

The case against sugar is a complex one. Besides the fact that refined sugar is a totally unnatural substance that has been stripped of its nutritional value—fiber, vitamins, and minerals—apart from the calories it provides, sugar in concentrated form is very hard on the pancreas. The pancreas, which is responsible for the production of insulin and therefore the regulation of blood sugar and energy levels in the body, has adapted through evolution to deal with a steady flow of glucose in small quantities such as those that result from the intake of complex carbohydrates.

One of the biggest beauty cons of all is the idea that if you eat lots of protein your muscles, skin, hair, and nails will grow strong and you will stay young. Like the old-fashioned high protein diet for building up athletic strength, it doesn’t work. The human need for protein has been grossly exaggerated. At the turn of the century, respected opinion held that we need between 120 and 169 grams of protein per day. Then Chittenden showed in human experiments that far better performance and health were possible on fifty grams, a much lower amount. Another scientist named Hindhede set the figure at thirty grams. Then Oomen in Amsterdam and Hipsley in Canberra discovered a population in Australia which develop not only full health, but exceptional muscular structure and performance on a diet of merely 15 to 20 grams of protein per day.

Diet Start

Later in the United States, the American Research Council’s Food and Nutrition Board agreed on a daily requirement of 70 grams for adults. One member of the board, named Sherman, described how this figure was arrived at. The evidence the committee examined indicated that a much lower amount was needed, somewhere around 35 grams, but there was agreement that if so low a figure had been set there would have been a public outcry, so a corresponding “margin of safety” was decided on and the 70-gram figure was published. But because the scientific basis for the figure was nonexistent, the word “recommendation” was chosen instead of “requirement.” Current recommendations for protein intake hover about the 50-gram mark, although there is strong evidence now that we probably need even less.

Your body needs amino acids, the constituents of protein, for its metabolic processes, for growth and the repair and maintenance of body tissue. Proteins are made up of twenty-two different amino acids; all but eight of them your body can manufacture itself. These eight, which have to be taken in through your foods, are referred to as “essential” amino acids.

A large portion of a protein molecule is made up of nitrogen, and one of the important things about taking protein is that it helps keep a good nitrogen balance in the body, so there is as much nitrogen coming into the body as there is leaving it. This balance helps maintain body health and muscle strength, so that you don’t go into what is known as a negative nitrogen balance, when you lose muscle tissue from your body. To keep your nitrogen right, 10 to 15 percent of your total calorie intake should be from protein.

But when a greater percentage than this of your calorie intake comes from protein foods, then your body goes into a negative mineral balance and you start gradually losing precious minerals and trace elements such as zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and chromium from your system. These nutrients, so easily lost from the body, are vital not only to physical health but also to emotional stability and well-being (more about minerals later). Wachmann and Bernstein of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University investigated the high protein diet and came to the conclusion that the protein-rich (especially the meat-heavy) diet plays a strong role in the genesis of osteoporosis, a softening of the bones, particularly in women after menopause, caused by the loss of minerals. This is probably because of the high protein diet’s tendency to leach valuable minerals (in this case calcium) from the system. And purely from the point of view of physical beauty, many of these lost minerals, such as sulfur, selenium, zinc. magnesium, and calcium, can make the difference between prematurely aging skin caused by a rapid collagen and elastin breakdown, nails that split, or hair in poor condition, and radiant looks glowing with strength and health.

Finally, the breakdown and metabolism of proteins in the body lead to the formation of a number of complex by-products such as urea, nitrogen, and ammonia, which can be toxic. These wastes need to be eliminated. This isn’t always easy, and it puts great strain on the liver and kidneys. This is why, on the well-known high protein reducing diets, you are advised to drink large amounts of water in order to water down these poisons and help excrete them.

WTH ? How do both front tires blow up simultaneously?

for the original version, click though on the video below, which will only play on youtube itself

After a review, the team discovered a suspension arm defect led to the entire right front upright collapse, which snapped the wheel tethers and created the dramatic effect

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

Exercise and Fall Prevention

As people get older one of the biggest threats to their health and independence are falls.  A brief review of the statistics on falls provides a sobering view of the threat.

 Falls are the #1 cause of death as a result of unintentional injury among people 75 and older and the #2 cause of death as a result of unintentional injury among people age 65 – 74.
Falls are the #1 cause of non-fatal unintentional injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms in every age group except ages 15 – 24.
Fall result in the second most expensive worker’s compensation claims with an average cost of $23,929.
One out of every three people older than 65 will fall this year.
50% of the people older than 65 who have fallen will fall again in the next 12 months.
Most falls are unreported (even serious falls) because senior fear losing their independence, and many seniors would rather die than lose their independence.
The treatment of osteoporosis with drugs is very ineffective at preventing fractures because it does nothing to prevent the primary cause of fractures which is falls.
Modifiable Risk Factors for Falls

Strength (in particular lower body and core strength)
Mobility (of ankle, knee and hip in particular)
Fear of falling from previous fall/s resulting in altered gate and restricted activity levels which further increases fall risk
Poor Balance which has three systems (visual, inner ear, proprioception)
Impaired Vision
Cognitive Status/Mood
Environmental Factors (slippery floors, rugs, poor lighting, etc.
Medication Side Effects
Exercise for Fall Prevention
Exercise can help address several fall risk factors including strength, mobility, balance along with improved cognitive status.
The most effective exercise boosts lower body and core strength while including a balance component that can be adjusted to each individual’s current capabilities.   This exercise should be weight bearing whenever possible and functional in nature.
reACT – Rapid Eccentric Anaerobic Core Trainer

One of the finest ways to address the exercise component of a fall prevention program is the use of the reACT Trainer.    The reACT Trainer provides a no impact training stimulus with a self-selected range of motion and allows for progressive balance challenge to fit just about any ability level.  
The reACT Trainer is a functional eccentric trainer meaning it provides eccentric dominant exercise that is highly functional in nature with strong emphasis on integrated functional movements in multiple planes of motion with the ability to adjust movement speed to increase or decrease the challenge level.   It is also a very safe training modality.
For more information on how the reACT Trainer can help prevent falls check out the following videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBjKkvuXrYE&t=213s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXljK8BbhLg&t=309s– instructional video

Quick Tip: Heroes Of The Storm 2.0 – Where To Choose Skins, Mounts, Announcers And More [Interface Change]

Yesterday, Heroes Of The Storm “Version 2.0” came out – and along with it a bunch of changes and additions, breathing some new air into Blizzard’s MOBA entry. I have been having fun playing it off and on, discovering the changes and new progression system. I am working on a First Impressions/Overview of ‘2.0’ – but before that, I wanted to quickly make a Tip about something I am seeing a lot in the General Chat in HOTS: people asking how to change the Announcers, Mounts, Skins and other new additions, as the new UI has changed things a bit…

In 2.0, right away you will see that things have changed, as the Main Menus themselves have moved around and information is in different places. For example, the Shop link/text at the top of the screen is gone:

Here is where the Skins, Mounts, Announcers, etc can be located now:

The Loadout button (first one on the bottom, far left) has combined the “Heroes” and “Mounts” buttons and now holds all of the settings for the currently selected Hero. Here, you can choose the Skin, Mount, Announcer used and other new additions via the sections within the Loadout (you can even save Presets of combinations you like). 

Here is a 60-second tutorial showing where it all is, in Heroes Of The Storm 2.0:




That’s it for this Quick Tip – it was just something fast because I have seen it asked a lot in the General Chat lobby lately – have fun in Heroes 2.0!


Proven Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See You In The Game!

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

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

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

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

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

Total Gameplay Time: ~2.0 hrs

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

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


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

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


Total Gameplay Time: ~ 10.0 hrs

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

Total Household Time: ~23.0 hrs


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

DESIGN ROOM HOTEL LE ROYAL MONCEAU

DESIGN ROOM HOTEL LE ROYAL MONCEAU

DESIGN ROOM HOTEL LE ROYAL MONCEAU

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

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

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.”

NETHERLANDS CALM OUTDOOR DINING ROOM IDEAS

NETHERLANDS CALM OUTDOOR DINING ROOM IDEAS

Good ideas that we can see these concrete houses the Netherlands have been totally inspired and inspiring call to us to try. Most of the ideas that we can see the space was not available outside of this house. concrete material, which come from the use of brick and stone was looking for a huge ornate and extraordinary. We can try to come to our ideas to make this house looking for a pleasant as well as ourselves and our families.

The concept of an interior provides ample room to combine the ideas. Integration space that stands between the living room, dining room and kitchen area is desirable for those who like social live and love to watch their children. These applications are rustic room in search of other great ideas that make us who see this house completely. The decorations of great gold bathroom also feel comfortable. Honestly, the more attractive space in this house was the place of these decorations ideas outdoor dining. Designed by Arjen Reas

NETHERLANDS CALM OUTDOOR DINING ROOM IDEAS
NETHERLANDS CALM OUTDOOR DINING ROOM IDEAS
NETHERLANDS CALM OUTDOOR DINING ROOM IDEAS
NETHERLANDS CALM OUTDOOR DINING ROOM IDEAS

1923 Buick Roadster with a cool spare tire lock and tool kit

My Trip to Manila, Philippines

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

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

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

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

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

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

WORKOUT ANYTIME on WFMY News 2

WORKOUT ANYTIME on WFMY News 2

The WFMY News team had WORKOUT ANYTIME Franchisee Jeff Cook on the show to talk about how to do explosive exercises in just a few minutes each day. Mary Anne Mills from WORKOUT ANYTIME was also on the show from WORKOUT ANYTIME and they went through 4 different exercises that can be done at home to burn calories fast. In the next segment Mary Anne and Jeff went through exercises that show moms how they can work out while being pregnant. Mary Anne goes through exercises that build up endurance for labor and how to keep off weight while some moms “eat for two”. They went through the different cardio machines that keep the baby safe and go through a donkey kick exercise. Lastly, the station mentions where the WORKOUT ANYTIME is located in Greensboro and how to get more information on personal training sessions.


You can view the full segment here. 

Cellulite Breakdown and Essential Detoxification part 2

Beware the Heavy Metals

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

Diet Start

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

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

More Than An Apple A Day

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

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

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

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

Franchisee Profile: Bill and Bob Aicklen

Franchisee Profile: Bill and Bob Aicklen

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

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

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

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

WORKOUT ANYTIME in Journal & Topics Newspapers

WORKOUT ANYTIME in Journal & Topics Newspapers in an article titled, “New 24-Hour Fitness Facility Opens In Buffalo Grove.” The article begins with information about the new club and then gives some details about the grand opening. The article ends with information on WORKOUTANYTIME’s plans for expansion in Illinois and some background on Jeff.  Click here to read more or begin below.

New 24-Hour Fitness Facility Opens In Buffalo Grove

A new 24-hour fitness facility recently opened in Buffalo Grove.

Workout Anytime opened at 700 Buffalo Grove Rd. The facility is open 24 hours a day to members with staff on site from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays. Members receive a special key card to unlock doors when staff is not present.

(Read More)

HOME DESIGN FULL OF COLOR AND INSPIRING

It was probably what the designers had in mind when you fill this place with colorful decoration items such as floor cushions, rugs and rustic small packages. Because the white background, these elements stand out and create a pleasant visual contrast. The living room, dining room and kitchen are connected not only physically, but also intelligent design. We love the way the house seems to be decorated according to a fun pattern, which consists of color and youth.

Home Design Full of Color and Inspiring

Home Design Full of Color and Inspiring

Home Living Room Design Full of Color and Inspiring

Home Living Room Design Full of Color and Inspiring

Home Kitchen Design Full of Color and Inspiring

Home Kitchen Design Full of Color and Inspiring

Home Bedroom Design Full of Color and Inspiring

Home Bedroom Design Full of Color and Inspiring

Home Bathroom Design Full of Color and Inspiring

Home Bathroom Design Full of Color and Inspiring

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!

Limitations of Organization Capacity Assessment (OCA) tools

Since April of 2002 I have been involved with Strategic Planning, Restructuring, Re-engineering, Organization Revival, Organization Analysis, Organization Capacity Assessment and Organization Development projects across sectors and boarders. Most of the tools that ate used for this purpose can be traced back to a few general tools which were made famous in the latter part of the twentieth century. Increasingly I have felt the need to further customize these tools in a way that they become more relevant to the current context. This customization has been happening in the past and continues at a faster rate at present.

The single biggest reason that I attribute for this need is that; today we live in a technological age which has some peculiar characteristics. The characteristics are that we need to innovate and improve not only our products but also how we do things inside the organization at a faster rate. This is nothing new; most of the thought leaders of our time have made big bucks selling this message repackaged with additional jargon. These characteristics currently affect most of the knowledge based industries. However as time goes by their affect on every organization be it government, private or development sector will grow exponentially.

As mentioned above since we have to improve the way we do things inside an organization we run into the human dimension of things. We are also aware of the “change management” that needs to happen inside the organization to facilitate the “keeping up” with the changes that drive our organizations toward bigger and better things. However we don not consider that some of the changes required may be limited by the knowledge / intellectual capacity of the staff (here staff include owner directors, CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, and CKOs). In some organizations we may have staff that has reached the limit of their intellectual prowess. When an organization reaches this level it is said to have arrived at the door step of “mediocracy”

The current tools that most of our contemporary consultants use for organizational diagnosis will not help identify this issue of “mediocracy”. However there are some characteristics that are peculiar to these organizations where they have reached the glass ceiling of intellectual limitation / mediocracy. Let me take a few cases from assignment that I have done in the past and elaborate this.

The 1st example that I would like to take is an ICT company that started over 25 years ago. The organization has been fairly successful in keeping up with the changes in the ICT technology; and has been making above industry average, earnings per share. However in the early 21st century there was a need to re-strategize to keep up with the faster pace of change in the ICT technological environment. I was invited to develop a new strategic plan for this organization. By this time I had already identified some of the key markers of an organization that has reached its pinnacle based on the intellectual capacity of its staff; and I was able to identify them in this organization during my first meeting with the senior management of the organization. I suggested to the Managing Director who invited me that the organization not only needed a new strategic plan but it also needed a corporate renewal plan and a VRS. This suggestion was not looked at favorably and I was asked only to develop a strategic plan.

The markers that I identified were:

1. The organization starts adding parallel value chains to the existing organization structure.

2. Organization does not move forward or backwards in the value chain

3. The organization does not spawn new businesses that are “stars” / neither are they known for any innovation (other than the innovation of some of the principles / 3rd party brands that they may represent)

4. History of young star performers leaving the organization on a continuing basis

5. Boasting of people (the young starts) who have left the organization and gone to achieve great things as been trained at this organization.

6. Long serving staff in a particular discipline / technology / expertise

7. Some staff that leave the organization after a few year (not the stars) join the organization again as a manager or a senior in the same field of expertise

8. Staff talk of the same obstacles that they face every year (one years experience repeated over many years) as opposed to innovating / re-engineering / work-a-rounds to overcome obstacles

9. Large number of managers based on technical areas as opposed to value addition

10. Staff do not take up higher education or professional development

11. Average age of staff moves parallel to the age of the organization

The above 11 markers as identified by me is a clear indication that the organization has run out of ideas and the incumbent staff are not able to get the organization out of the hole that it has dug for itself. They need fresh blood and a new playing field to continue being profitable. In its current state it will just survive but never reach its former glory / heyday it enjoyed in the beginning of its existence.

The 2nd example that I would like to take is a research organization set up to do applied economic research. This organization too has been in existence for over 30 years and had enjoyed considerable success in the early part of its existence. This organization too displayed the following common markers as identified by me earlier.

They were:

  1. Long serving staff in a particular discipline / technology / expertise
  2. History of young star performers leave the organization on a continuing basis
  3. Boasting of people (the young starts) who have left the organization and gone to achieve great things as been trained at this organization.
  4. Some staff that leave the organization after a few year (not the stars) join the organization again as a manager or a senior in the same field of expertise
  5. Staff talk of the same obstacles that they face every year (one years experience repeated over many years) as opposed to innovating / re-engineering / work-a-rounds to overcome obstacles
  6. Large number of managers based on technical areas as opposed to value addition
  7. Average age of staff moves parallel to the age of the organization

In addition they displayed the following:

  1. Doing (research) work in traditional / theoretical / safe areas as opposed to doing applied / non traditional / contentious issues based research (Not competing in your space as mentioned in the mission but trying to compete in the space that you perceive to be good at / running back to mama so to speak; relying on your academic training as apposed to innovation)
  2. Contempt / arrogance towards younger organizations (doing applied research) and relying on the age of the organization and past performance as a mark of value (of research) as apposed to quality, (rigor), and relevance to current context.

The above may be considered anecdotal by some; but over the past 8 years across 19 countries I have come across these markers with increasing frequency across private, government and not for profit / development sector organizations which are not considered to be in the knowledge driven sectors.

The question is; are we at the stage that this initial varying degree of prevalence of the markers in other sector may become the norm across organizations and sectors? Only time will tell. However, I am convinced that we are seeing the beginning of another divide that will start another wave of brain drain as organizations start to realize this phenomenon and start to poach intellectual staff from all over the world.

Monitoring weight loss

There are two schools of thought on how to monitor weight loss:

  • Daily weighing
  • The once-weekly weigh-in.

This is an individual issue. If you are the sort of person who needs a daily date with your weighing scales, then by all means do so. Keep a record of your progress using a chart like the one opposite. You may see weight-shifting patterns emerging and be able to isolate foods that have a negative effect on your weight. If you prefer the surprise-at-the-end-of-the-week, that is fine too. You should still keep a record and watch out for any plateaux where weight loss dries up, which may mean that you need to lower your carbohydrate levels or increase your physical activity.

Whichever your preferred monitoring method, keep a tight-fitting pair of trousers or other item of clothing and try them on regularly to establish how your shape is changing. Your weight may stabilize for a while, and if you are exercising regularly and increasing your muscle-to-fat ratio you may even may weigh slightly more for a bit, but you will be fitter and – in the end – leaner.

Diet Start

TOP ANTI-SNACKING TIPS

  • Try not to snack while watching television, playing video games or using the computer. Eat meals and snacks in the kitchen or dining room, so that you are more aware of what- and how much — you are eating.
  • When you feel a snack attack coming on, run a bath, go for a walk, ring a friend… Do anything that will keep you away from the refrigerator.
  • Don’t go shopping when you are hungry — it is then that you may reach out for that chocolate bar.
  • If you are going to snack, make sure it is a protein snack.

Dietary demons – and how to beat them

  1. Not so well-meaning friends and family members: one of the mostdifficult things to deal with is the friend or relative who tries to sway you off-course. Don’t be bullied into breaking your resolve. Decline politely andexplain that you are relying on them for support. If you are visiting them,take a whey-protein smoothie with you.
  2. Boredom: you shouldn’t get bored following the plans,because there are so many different things to eat and ways to prepare your food. Even if you aren’t a natural cook, experimenting in the kitchen willkeep you motivated.
  3. Alcohol: you are allowed a couple of glasses of wine when you start the
  4. Keep on Tracking Plan, but don’t be tempted to have more. There is nothing like a little extra alcohol to persuade you that you’ll start againtomorrow. Avoid the ‘drunken munchies’.
  5. Snack attacks: the three dietary plans allow for a couple of high-proteinsnacks each day between meals, but you could easily undermine all your efforts by hitting the biscuit jar in a moment of weakness. Clear out anything vaguely tempting from your refrigerator and cupboards, and be very carefulat times when you normally seek comfort food.

Curb your cravings by curbing your carbs

When you start eating more healthily and reducing the amount of potentially addictive carbohydrate-laden foods, you should find that your cravings begin to diminish as your blood-sugar and insulin levels even out. This will usually take about 48 hours when you start the Fast-Track Plan. If you do get a ‘snack attack’, try making yourself a whey- protein smoothie; or keep a plate of cold chicken in the refrigerator for weak moments. You can’t necessarily kill a craving, but you can wrestle it into submission.

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.  

Paperless Mission #6: Setting Up GoodReader (iPad)

This is the sixth 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 Notebooks
  • Mission #4: Create Checklists in Evernote
  • Mission #5: Organize Your Files in DropBox

Also be sure to link up at the Go Paperless! Linky. 

Mission #6: Setting Up GoodReader (iPad)

As I’ve mentioned before, I work off a lot of devices. I’m in a 1:1 iPad classroom, but even before my students had access, I had an iPad of my own that I used constantly. I liked having it handy for anything that I was working on, and once I learned about GoodReader, my love for the iPad grew tremendously. I’ve shared some love for GoodReader before, but GoodReader is the ultimate document reader for the iPad. It allows you to read any type of document and annotate over .pdf files. It also syncs with a variety of other apps, allowing you to pull and read all of your important documents into one place.

Once you have your important documents organized on Dropbox, open up the GoodReader app on your iPad. Here, you’ll be able to connect GoodReader to your Dropbox account. To do this,

My documents list already has some items and folders listed, but yours will likely be empty. The left column shows all of the folders and documents you have saved in GoodReader (and could therefore access without an internet connection). The right column has all of the utilities for GoodReader. Today, we’re going to focus on the one towards the bottom — “Connect to Servers.” 
When you click on the “Add” button, you’ll be able to see the many, many connections GoodReader can make. Here are a few highlights:
  • Popular Mail Servers (GMail, Hotmail, etc.) – this connection doesn’t grab all of your emails, but it will allow you to see any messages that have an attachment. This is great for when you’re at a meeting and somebody sends out some documents you need.
  • Dropbox – you can read all of the files that you’ve saved there.
  • Google Drive – view any type of Google Drive file that you have — from spreadsheets to presentations to documents.
The connection set-ups are fairly intuitive. You will need to name each set up (On some screens that shows up as “Readable Title;” I named mine based on what I was connecting to), but then you simply enter your username. You can also enter your password, in which case it will be saved to the device and you won’t have to enter it again, or you can log-in each time you want to access a document.
As you can see from my left column, there are a few folders that I’ve downloaded straight to GoodReader so they’ll always be available to me. These are folders that I’m constantly using and want easy access to. I also have it set up so that they’ll automatically download updates to those folders whenever I add more documents to my Dropbox account. 
Once the folders are set up in GoodReader, you can read the documents, but you can also annotate over .pdf files. I use that feature a lot on my curriculum documents, and I’ve also started doing all of my running records and reading assessments on my iPad. Here’s an example that shows you the annotation tools in the document viewing pane:
I keep my annotating toolbar pinned on the right side, and there you can see a variety of annotation options that are available — typewriting text, creating “sticky notes,” highlighting, underlining, drawing boxes, arrows, etc., and the last option is the freehand tool. I use this for running records with a stylus.
One of the best things about GoodReader is that it works well with other apps. Once I finish annotating a document, I can send it to other apps such as Evernote or Dropbox  from the original “My Documents” screen.

How I Use It

This is one of my must-have apps because of the broad range of ways it can be used:

  • Turn your iPad into a second computer monitor — When I’m using lots of curriculum documents to write unit plans, I can leave it open in GoodReader with all of my notes and highlights while I work on my laptop or computer. No more switching between screens on my computer. (Am I the only one who finds that annoying sometimes???)
  • Highlight standards that you’re focusing on each term without having to print out (or lose) new documents all the time.
  • Annotate rubrics, running records, and other types of student work
  • Use with students to create paperless assignments

I’ll be posting more in-depth tutorials about how to do all of these in future installations of this series, but for now, your challenge is to begin exploring GoodReader. Then, in the comment section, share a bit about how you think this app could be useful.

Spring break starts next week for me, and I can’t wait! I will try to get another installment posted this week, but I make no promises. It’s the end of the term, and that’s always a super-busy time with report cards and grading. I must say, however, that I’m more organized than ever going into this given how much less paper I’m using!

Have a great week!

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.

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…

The link between carbohydrates and insulin resistance

The hormone insulin plays a major role in the metabolism of carbohydratesand their conversion to energy in the body. When you eat carbohydrates, they are converted into glucose in the bloodstream, which triggers the release of insulin. This virtually escorts the glucose to the body’s cells, where it can be used as energy. If there is too much glucose, the insulin turns it into glycogen, which is stored in your muscles and liver ready to be converted back toglucose when it is needed.

However, in the high-refined ‘carob’ world in which we live, we often have too much glucose floating around in the bloodstream, and then insulin converts it to fat. And our body cells may become so flooded with insulin that they cease to be responsive to it, so the pancreas keeps producing more and more insulin in an attempt to get energy to your cells. This is known as ‘insulin resistance‘.

Diet Start

Over a period of time, less and less glucose gets used as energy, and more and more gets laid down as fat. Since insulin also sends messages to the brain to tell you that you are hungry, more and more insulin means increasing cravings for carb-laden food.

The only people who are benefiting from refined foods are:

  • The dentists who have to patch up your decaying teeth
  • The pharmaceutical companies who have to sell you drugs to sort out the symptoms of your ailing immune system and your susceptibility to chronic and degenerative disease
  • The food manufacturers, who are only really interested in profit. If you add to this a high intake of caffeine, alcohol, smoking and a lack of exercise, then you will almost certainly be taking a wobbly walk down the road to ill health.

Is it enough just to cut out refined carbohydrates?

Totally banishing all things processed and adopting a healthier diet based on fresh produce is a definite start, but if you have a weight problem linked to insulin resistance, it may not be enough, because if you are still eating a diet that is too high in the wrong sort of carbohydrates — coupled with not eating enough protein or fat to slow down the rate at which these excessive carbs are hitting your blood-sugar levels — you will still have problems. A low-fat/high-carb diet can give you a nasty shock every time you jump on the scales.

The thing to remember is that all carbohydrates have an effect on your blood sugar, and every gram of carbohydrate consumed is equal to one gram of glucose in your bloodstream. So if you are eating more than your body can burn for energy, or can safely store as glycogen in the liver, the rest will be turned to fat.

The key factor in balancing blood-sugar levels and banishing thesymptoms of insulin resistance is controlling your intake of carbohydrates. In order to do this effectively you need to know which ones have the greatest impact on your blood sugar and which do not.

Initially, this will need a little time and effort on your part as you learn about the different sorts of carbohydrates. You may find that the changes you have to make to your diet are quite drastic, but before long — as you start to feel and look better — you will be amazed at how little you miss the wrong kinds of carbohydrates such as processed and sugary foods. Youwon’t feel the need to pile your plate high with potatoes and pasta, because your newly balanced blood sugar levels won’t be crying out for acarbohydrate fix.

My Trip to Pakistan – Islamabad December 2011

This is my first trip to Pakistan after 9/11. The last time I was in Pakistan was in 2008, most of the contacts I had made during my last visits have not resulted in any business. However I was able to secure a training assignment which; believe it or not took 2 years to secure. It just goes to show how some clients work. The need for this training was identified over 2 years ago but due to financial and other ground realities they were not able to run the training course in Pakistan.



The travel plans were made and I set off to Pakistan on the 9th of December. The journey started well as I got upgraded to business class and had a pleasant journey to Karachi. I was scheduled to take a domestic flight from Karachi to Islamabad. Things started to go bad when I landed. I made my way to the check in counter to learn that the PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) flight to Islamabad was cancelled. They just did not bother to contact the agents or the passengers to inform them of the cancellation. The PIA ground staff were however polite and quickly arranged me to stay at the Airport Hotel and take the first flight out to Islamabad on the 10th morning. I had to call my client and the hotel in Islamabad to inform them of the changes to my itinerary. Hurrah to mobile roaming!


My perceptions of an Airport Hotel were based on the other airport hotels which I had stayed in (Dubai, Bangkok, Amsterdam); however the Airport Hotel in Karachi is another matter altogether. It is a real dump. I am not running down Pakistan or its people as I have stayed in very good hotels in Karachi and Lahore on my previous visits to Pakistan. This was a real house of horror. The rooms were dirty and smelly, the bathrooms were dirty and the dining hall was something else altogether. The table cloths were full of food stains and looked like they have never been bleached since the day they were made.


The management of this hotel needs major overhauling if it is to be an airport hotel. The staff of the hotel belongs in a farm looking after animals and not in a hotel serving weary travelers. They have no idea of how to handle guest in the hospitality industry.


I left the hotel early morning (on the 10th) and made my way to the airport to catch the flight to Islamabad. Things ran smoothly from then on and reached Islamabad on time. I was met by the Islamabad Hotel (http://www.islamabadhotel.com.pk/ ) representative at the airport and was taken to the car park to embark on the short drive to the Hotel. In the car park I saw this amazing site of a fork lift being used to move cars that had parked violating the parking rules.

I settled in at the hotel and met the client in the evening to prepare for the start of the training. The training on Institutional & Organizational Development will run for 5 days with 25 participants.


The first day of the training went well and the atmosphere in the training room was good and positive the client was very happy at the end of the day and was keen to keep the same momentum during then next 4 days.


The second day of the training also went along as planned and was well received by the participants. After the training I went to the shops (Jinnah Super Market) with one of the participants as my guide. Islamabad boasts of quite a few good shopping areas with some well stocked shops in clothing. The main thing that struck me is that you do not see poverty on every corner. Islamabad seems to have a majority of middleclass to upper class people living in the city. Quite a contrast to Karachi and Lahore where you do see poverty as it is common in other cities of South Asia.


The third day of training went smoothly without incident. After the training I met the managing director of a company which I met last when I was in Lahore in 2008. We were unable to build a working business relationship since we last met (9/11, war in Sri Lanka and the deterioration of the security in Pakistan which led to the Sri Lankan cricket team being attacked). We discussed the opportunities for joint collaboration and agreed to take the business relationship to the next level. Only time will tell is we are able to do this.


The fourth day of the training too went well and we will be going out for dinner with all the participants. We all made our way to Monal Restaurant located about 4000 feet above sea level (http://themonal.com/monal.htm ) at the top of the hill at Margalla Hills National Park for a night time view of the city of Islamabad.

I recommend to all who visit Islamabad to go for dinner at this restaurant, the view and the food was exceptional and so was the service. After dinner we went to Gelato Affair (www.gelatoaffair.com ) at the Gole Market to have dessert. The ice cream selection available was enormous and great tasting.


The last day of training went according to plan and was able to conclude the training program on time as planned. The participants were appreciative of the efforts of the trainer and received excellent feedback through the training evaluation. After the customary goodbyes and promises to keep in touch we concluded assignment.


The trip back to Colombo was on schedule; unlike while arriving at Islamabad the flight back to Karachi was on time and managed to arrive at Karachi without any hassle.

WORKOUT ANYTIME in the Daily News

WORKOUT ANYTIME in the Daily News

Dale Chaffin of WORKOUT ANYTIME Bowling Green was recently featured in the Daily News. Dale was interviewed for the story and a photographer was assigned to take his photo for a story about the WORKOUT ANYTIME location in Bowling Green where he is the GM and how he has lost 80 pounds since 2012 with help of personal trainer Chris Talley. The story focused on how working at a gym has helped Dale with his fitness goals. 
View the full article here. 

DECORATING IDEAS FOR GIRLS BEDROOM GOOD

True, the fairy tale castles and princesses to provide a wide range of ideas for rooms, but today, we would like to show you something new: the heart. You have seen the newspaper attracted to each student a sheet of paper or sticker. It is a known fact: girls love hearts. Therefore, these six theme rooms under furniture in cardiac function. The colors are also typical of girls (pink, light green, yellow, red, light blue). Chairs, pillows, blankets, nothing has escaped the powerful heart-shaped plan.Some these interiors are a little crowded for our taste, but again, this is not our goal manufacturers.

DECORATING IDEAS FOR GIRLS BEDROOM RED COLOR

DECORATING IDEAS FOR GIRLS BEDROOM RED COLOR

DECORATING IDEAS FOR GIRLS BEDROOM YELLOW COLOR

DECORATING IDEAS FOR GIRLS BEDROOM YELLOW COLOR

DECORATING IDEAS FOR GIRLS BEDROOM PINK COLOR

DECORATING IDEAS FOR GIRLS BEDROOM PINK COLOR

DECORATING IDEAS FOR GIRLS BEDROOM BLUE COLOR

DECORATING IDEAS FOR GIRLS BEDROOM BLUE COLOR

DECORATING IDEAS FOR GIRLS BEDROOM

DECORATING IDEAS FOR GIRLS BEDROOM

Hitman: Absolution – First Impressions and Screenshots

I finally picked up the latest iteration of the Hitman Series, Hitman: Absolution, starring Agent 47 as the main anti-hero, id est killing the bad guys but never quite [arguably] becoming one of them. Differing from the last couple of Hitman publications, Absolution has an overarching story, connections being made in a chronological manner throughout the various stages and settings. Characters are introduced and developed via cutscenes, as the plot is pushed further by your completing the next mission for a feeling of engagement in the storyline.

I personally liked this approach, as opposed to the last couple of Hitman games, which seemed like mostly ‘replays’ of old missions from previous games (which in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing). While there were similar settings, such as a Chinese Market Square, they were sufficiently changed enough – especially with the graphical improvements and new gameplay interface – to seem varied enough to be enjoyable. There were even updated versions of [personal] ‘old favorites’ that I waited excitedly for (such as a ‘Hotel’ stage). Slightly more varied than the old versions, if you include the new “Instinct” game mechanic, these levels felt ‘fresh’, even if they weren’t new.

The “Instinct” game mechanic seems like an effort to simplify the game, making it easier for newcomers and those who had trouble with the complexity and scope of the previous Hitman games. Indeed, I remember reading a lot over the years of people saying the Hitman games were “too big” or “too complex” and that it didn’t help the player much at all, as far as where to go and what to do. It “plopped you down in a large area with just a map”, they felt. Of course, that was the draw for all of the other people, the complexity and seeming openness of the game was enjoyed, where you had to figure out everything yourself. You could decide what to skip and what to do and could decide for yourself how to do it. The new “Instinct” mechanic of Absolution doesn’t take too much away from this (you can turn it ‘off’ if desired) and it actually adds to the cinematic feel of the game by taking the ‘player out of playing’, so to speak, which results in more of a feeling that you are ‘playing Agent 47’, guiding him (and using his innate abilities) through the game, as opposed to ‘actually being Agent 47’ and figuring everything out yourself heavy-handedly. I suspect this more objective approach has already been a point of contention since the game was released.

An example of Hitman: Absolution’s new ‘Hitman Instinct’ game mechanic, showing how Agent47 can ‘sense’ enemies in and around the nearby area and estimates where they may be heading.

When utilizing Agent 47’s ‘Instinct’, the game shows where 47 ‘senses’ there are enemies and where they are and shows you on the screen with outlined shapes. It even shows where 47 ‘calculates’ enemies will be moving to, showing you their intended path with a line of flame and where they will stand still with a larger lick of fire. This is where the adrenalin-dipped decision making and primal ‘danger’ awareness kicks in during the game, as a player can choose to set up an engagement with an enemy, or stealthily avoid these paths and points.

For those who do not like or want the new game mechanic at all, it can be turned off, mainly by choosing a higher difficulty level. There are five to choose from and higher difficulties result in more ‘sensitive’ or ‘aware’ enemies, tougher enemies (wearing more body armor one assumes) and more of them. For those who are new to the game or having trouble with it, the difficulty can be lowered as well, with less enemies, enemies with less skill (not as good at aiming) and less awareness (having a bit more ‘tunnel-vision’) allowing you to sneak around them easier. The option to have this game mechanic off or on, at the players choice, is nice and was no doubt included to appease those who would not like it’s hints and guidance. New players (those talking about the games’ difficulty in the past) can have it on and still enjoy the action and storyline as well. It feels like an ‘attempt to please everybody’ – and I assume it will work well in that regard. (I haven’t read any Reviews of the game (to avoid exposure to the material within) before I purchased it, but I assume that once I indulge in others’ opinions, I will see much disagreement on that last sentence).

View of a hotel cleaning supply room from an air ventilation shaft. Click to see Full Size

The game itself felt atmospheric and cinematic. The music changed as action waxed and waned. Enemies ignored or chased you around winding levels that you had to discover and remember. The graphics were spectacular, with detailed textures, dark and gritty lighting and shading. The core Hitman gameplay was there – even if it wasn’t there for very long. This game felt very short to me. Perhaps it was the somewhat simple Television Movie Special plot, perhaps it was the number of missions (although they were split up into sections). Perhaps it was merely enjoying it so much that I wanted more, but just during the course of writing this article off and on, I have completed the game in it’s storyline entirety (not counting Challenges and Item Collection) in just over 20 hours. That doesn’t seem very long, but I suppose it is to be expected in a game that is more like “Max Payne” and less like “Skyrim” (more Action and less RPG). You could keep playing after finishing the main story, select past levels and retry them, doing them ‘cleaner’ for a better score or achievement, or look around and discover new weapons and pathways, or just redo any level you wanted to for fun.

An example of how the levels are split up into sections and how you can select past levels to replay them.
An example of the updated game engine, with higher-detailed character models, textures and environments.
Click to see Full Size

Other than the copy-pasted ‘general population’ mannequin-people utilized in larger crowds (used understandably to keep memory/resource usage of the game down of course – all of the ‘main’ NPCs have good detail to them), I personally liked the attention  paid to smaller details, such as the amount of debris scattered around the levels – things like cups, papers and garbage, all part of the gritty ‘lived-in-ness’ of the environment, adding to the realism. It’s nice to see games that pay more attention to the surroundings/settings these days, as opposed to the stark, clean-floor environments in games of yesteryear.

Overall, Hitman: Absolution was very enjoyable. It was great fun to figure out steps and schemes for the various areas and carry them out with cold calculation. I laughed out loud a few times and grit my teeth in anger at the more difficult parts, playing them over and over again, trying to figure out new ways to accomplish the objectives and complete the contracts. Despite feeling shorter (perhaps just because it was so enjoyable) and despite some changes that others might not entirely like, I still suggest trying it (especially if you are a fan of the previous games in the Hitman series). I personally had a lot of fun with the game – and isn’t that the most important thing?

Have fun with Absolution and See You In The Games!

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.

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

Popcorn Cart, Warren, Ohio, circa early 1910s

https://www.facebook.com/neatoldphotos.m.lucas2/photos/a.400823796751664.1073741829.400758923424818/908779272622778/?type=3

Sample Dining Room Minimalist Design Idea

Sample Dining Room Minimalist DesignSample Dining Room Minimalist Design

Sample Dining Room Elegant DesignSample Dining Room Elegant Design

Sample Dining Room Classic DesignSample Dining Room Classic Design

Sample Dining Room DesignSample Dining Room Design
Sample Dining Room Elegant DesignSample Dining Room Elegant Design

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!

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.

The Benefits of Jump Training

Watch a group of kids and you will likely see bobbing heads – kids love to jump and there are good reasons for them to jump.   A key aspect of human movement is learning to store energy and then reclaim it as part of a movement cycle. For example up to 40% of the energy required for movement during walking and running is created by storing energy in the leg muscles as the foot lands and then using it during the push-off phase.  The technical name for this cycle is the “Stretch-Shortening Cycle” or SSC.  The SSC takes advantage of the fact that muscles can act as springs:  they store energy as they are lengthened then rebounding in the opposite direction as they get shorter.

Efficient movement takes advantage of the stretch-shortening cycle and muscles are designed to store and release energy in a rhythmic pattern of loading and unloading just like loading and unloading a spring.  In addition, power for all athletic movements is generated by taking advantage of the SSC.     A key aspect of getting the most from this cycle is rhythm and timing which are learned through repetition.
  
There are three distinct phases to jump training:

The Loading Phase – such as landing phase of walking and running where the muscles lengthen under tension to absorb the landing.
The Amortization Phase – where the muscle transitions between loading phase and the Unloading phase.
The Unloading Phase – where the muscles shortens and transfers the stored energy externally like a spring recoiling such as the push-off phase of walking and running.

Jumps can be little – like jumping rope or big – like box jumps.  Start with little jumps.  A great place to start is jumping rhythmically in place with both feet with short fast jumps.   You want to land on the ball of the foot and flex your knees when you land and let your heels just kiss the floor then jump up again and repeat.  Start with really tiny jumps and try to let the elasticity of your calf and quad muscles do the work – done properly it should feel relatively easy.   It will take several weeks to condition the muscles of the foot and calf to be able to do longer sets so take your time.  In addition there are many benefits to performing this training without shoes so the muscles of your foot get conditioned and you have a better feel of the ground.

It is also important to insure your knees track over your toes and do not collapse inward so do short sets (30 seconds or less) of low, fast jumps on both feet and learn to feel the rhythm of the cycle of landing and push off.

Once you master this you can add more height to your jumps after you are warmed up.   Stop each set if you start feeling tired or feel unstable, and recover completely between sets.  Do NOT do jump sets to failure. Eventually you can progress into full squat jumps.   However remember the key to capturing the benefit of the stretch-shortening cycle is a quick rebound after landing.  So if you go too low in the loading phase the pause between landing and rebounding will be too long and you lose the benefit of the stretch-shortening cycle.

Over time you can even progress to single leg jumps or box jumps where you jump down off a height to the ground/floor then land and rebound up.  Take these progressions SLOWLY – it is important to build the elastic strength of the muscles in your foot, lower leg, and thighs over time and stopping BEFORE you are exhausted will prevent injury.  This is why kids naturally like to do short sets of jumps repeatedly – it feels good when done properly!

There are many benefits to jump training including:

Toning the lower body – jumping recruits all of the major muscles of the lower body while at the same time being the ideal stimulus to build bone strength.

Jumping burns lots of calories – once you can build up to being able to do 1 – 4 minutes of continuous jumping like jumping rope you can really rack up the calories!

Jumping pumps up the cardiovascular system – as above once you can jump safely and in good form for 1 – 3 minute sets you will not believe how high your heart rate gets!

Jumping also demands great balance and stimulates fast-twitch muscle fibers.   Fast-twitch muscle is the type of muscle we lose quickest as we get older.   Fast-twitch fibers are not just important for athletes – they are important for preventing falls because the ability to produce force quickly is important to be able to react quickly when your balance is unexpectedly challenged like stepping off a curb you do not see!

Jumping is the best way to build the strength of bones – bones need impact and force to stay strong. The key is starting with small jumps and gradually building the height of jumps and time spent jumping.

There are many ways to build jumping into a workout such as doing some skipping drills which can even be done on a treadmill safely once you get the hang of it.


It is also worth working with a trainer to help you develop proper jumping mechanics and the stability you need to land properly which are pre-requisites for safe and effective jump training.

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.

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.

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.

WORKOUT ANYTIME in the Idaho Business Review

WORKOUT ANYTIME in the Idaho Business Review

WORKOUT ANYTIME was recently featured in an article in the Idaho Business Review titled, “New 24-hour Gym Chain to Expand into Idaho”. The article begins with details about the brand’s plans for expansion into the northwest, including Idaho. The article then provides background on how Rick Hascall (WORKOUT ANYTIME Pacific Northwest Area Developer) and Chris Gately (WORKOUT ANYTIME North Florida Area Developer) met while overseas. Rick and Chris talk about the plan to open a club by the end of the year and then use that as a showcase for other franchise prospects. The article closes with more details about the brand, information on the investment, and how WORKOUT ANYTIME is able to grow in large cities.
You can also view the full article here.

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!

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.

WORKOUT ANYTIME Featured in Black Enterprise

WORKOUT ANYTIME Featured in Black Enterprise

Zelly Wesson of WORKOUT ANYTIME was recently featured in Black Enterprise. The article discusses Zelly’s opening of his second WORKOUT ANYTIME location. Wesson has been playing professional basketball overseas for the past 15 years, and during his off seasons Wesson has been back managing his WORKOUT ANYTIME locations. Wesson discusses his role in his locations and how he has been successful. 
You can view the full article here. 

MINIMALIST RA HOUSE DESIGN BY BAQUERATTA

The Minimalist RA House was designed a Tokyo company called Baqueratta.They have a good past in minimalist small residences.The entire house was furnished with modern and minimalist furniture.I love this house and I hope to have someone in future, but I especially like the bathroom.

Minimalist RA House Design by BaquerattaMinimalist RA House Design by Baqueratta

Minimalist RA House Design by BaquerattaMinimalist RA House Design by Baqueratta

Minimalist RA House Design by BaquerattaMinimalist RA House Design by Baqueratta

Minimalist RA House Design by BaquerattaMinimalist RA House Design by Baqueratta

Minimalist RA House Design by BaquerattaMinimalist RA House Design by Baqueratta

Trip to Hyderabad Cont….

Well there are scheduling issues so will go to get my ticket & visa on thursday. Everything else is back on schedule. Trying to contact some of my friends who are in India so that we may be able to meet over there.

I have been doing this job since 2002 and travelling overseas since then; however this trip will be my first time on a budget airline. Dont know what to expect? When I got my online booking it said Meal – To be purchased. some how flying and buying your food did not sound OK to me. I am sure that what ever my first choice is it will be over by the time the airline staff get to me.

Anyway need to finish up all the stuff for today to be able to watch the opening match between Sri Lanka & South frica (ICC Trophy)

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!

HOW TO DECORATE A KITCHEN MINIMALIST

A café is a place where people meet, talk and relax. The ambience of a café is loved by many people and that is why many of them visit one daily after work so that they can talk and share things with their friends and relax after the long day. One can decorate their kitchen with a café theme so that they have a coffee shop at home, or they feel the same. Creating the same theme as that of a coffee shop is a brilliant idea to add a different touch to the kitchen and make it nice and cozy also.

Minimalist Decorate a KitchenMinimalist Decorate a Kitchen

Decorating the kitchen with a café theme is not at all difficult or expensive as many would think it to be. People have two options when they want to incorporate a café theme; they can either completely change everything in the kitchen or they can use what is there, and use it and still create the theme. The things that one can use along with the colors and the final touches, is what matters the most.

A basic thing that one can add to the kitchen which will be useful also and will also help to create the café theme is to use a table with four chairs in the space. The chairs should be comfortable and for this one can add cushions to it. The table should not be crowded with too many things and under table you can opt for a modern carpet or rug.There are several types of these rugs you can get including wool area rugs, contemporary rugs and even discount area rugs that you can find online.The other thing that one can do easily is to paint the walls of a different color. The color should be bright and be chosen keeping in mind the natural light that comes in the kitchen.

Near the table that one keeps in the kitchen, one can place a book shelf and place some nice coffee table books or books of art and poetry. Another thing that can be done to create the café theme is that one should only be able to see things related to a coffee shop in the kitchen. The table should only have sugar and coffee beans etc, the counters should only have the appliances that are used in a coffee shop like the blender or the coffee maker. It is not that the kitchen cannot have other useful appliances; all that one needs to take care of is that these should be kept in the cupboards and should not be seen as this can ruin the café theme that one wants to create.

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.]

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. 

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!]

Peanut Benefits for Health

PEANUT BENEFITS FOR HEALTH

Peanut Benefits for Health – Peanuts are legumes that take the benefits to the area of the roots are forming pods, do you know if the bean plants it has the advantage of a very remarkable in the area of agricultural land, the reason is because the beans are plants that collaborate with types of mycorrhizal fungi to synthesize N in the air become available to the plant, N that includes nutrients that are needed by plants in large enough quantities, land former planted beans have levels of N were pretty much up intake N for the next crop is still there. Not only useful for agriculture, but peanuts also have benefits for our health.
Peanut Benefits For Health - 1
Now let us try to discuss specifically about the benefits of the bean plants to our body and how much is the benefit that we can take from this pod peanut plants. Consider the benefits of peanuts below:
Peanut Benefits for Health
1. Helps To Increase Fertility
For you are the woman I’m sure you’ve got the point. Peanuts contain folic acid, according to research women who ate peanuts 400 micrograms of folic acid have a lower risk of having a baby born with a serious neural tube defects up to 70% at the time before pregnancy and early pregnancy
2. It Can Prevent Painful Gallstones
During 20 years of research have shown if by consuming 1 ounce of peanut butter a week can reduce the risk of developing gallstones by 25%.
Peanut Benefits For Health
3. Can Help Reduce Depression And Stress
Peanuts are a good source of tryptophan, the role of these substances can increase serotonin antidepressant effects (which can affect the atmosphere in the heart) if there is an increase in the amount of serotonin in the blood.
4. Can Improve Memory
The beans have a content of vitamin B3 or also often called by naisin content is also beneficial to maintain the health of the brain and improve memory.
5. Lowers Bad Cholesterol
Peanuts contain cholesterol substances that are good for our bodies, as well as the good cholesterol can reduce cholesterol levels and can control the evil by means of dominating it.

Hopefully article Peanut Benefits for Health can we share today can be beneficial for you. Do not forget to always visit the website abouthealthbenefits.xyz to seek other health articles. Thank You.

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!

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.

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!

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.

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!

It’s Not Just You™ – Paladins (Beta), Having Issues Not Starting or Not Running In 64-bit Mode, Battlegrounds [Notification, Updated As Encountered]

[Currently, this post is mostly in Text-Only Mode, to speed up the ability to publish it… 
I may return to add some Images and/or Screenshots in the future.
This post will be Updated for the next few days, as I encounter new related information.]

If you are trying to play the newest addition to Paladins, Battlegrounds, which is being released in Alpha Testing Stage in their Latest Update – and you are having issues with either (1) the game not launching/starting or (2) the game running in 32-bit mode [which stops you from being able to enter the Battlegrounds, which requires 64-bit mode] – just letting you know, It’s Not Just You™…

For the past little while, I have been trying to get into Paladins and try out this new Game Mode, and take a look at any new changes; but I have been running into multiple issues with the game itself. If related Paladins Forums ‘everywhere’ (Steam, Reddit, Official Forums, etc) are any indication, many, many others are having issues as well.

I wanted to take a moment to make this posting because, even though it seems there are a few people that have ‘gotten it running’, there are many others, like me, that have not. I wanted to share this experience and related information, so that others may know that, well… It’s Not Just Them.

Since I have run into multiple issues and have tries multiple steps so far, I will share them here in Point Form as a list:

Issues Seen/Encountered:

  • Game not starting [Launcher will start, but game itself will not show up]
  • Game not stopping [Game will not Terminate, Steam says it is Running still, but it is not, or has not started]
  • Game not running in 64-bit mode [Game starts in 32-bit Mode and therefore The Battlegrounds can not be tested/run, as it states in-game “64-bit Mode Required”]
  • Cannot Verify Integrity Of Game Files, via Steam [Steam states to ‘exit any game files or tools’ related to the game, but none are running]

Steps Taken/Tried:

  • Put “-Use64 [without quotes] into Optional Game Command Line Parameters (Options/Commands) in Launcher
  • Put “-dx11” [without quotes] into Optional Game Command Line Parameters (Options/Commands) in Launcher
  • Checked “Use 64 bit Client” in Launcher Options [this has never been ‘unchecked’ by me]
  • Verified Cache [‘double-checked’ the game files through Steam, to see if they are what they are supposed to be]
Unfortunately, since I cannot make the game ‘run in 64-bit Mode and enter The Battlegrounds’ in a repeated a reliable manner – I cannot make a section containing a ‘Fix’ at this time… I will continue to observe various Forums and Support Responses, try various Suggested Steps (from the Developers and other helpful Paladin Players (there are a lot of them out there!)), and see if I can make any progress that results in stable and repeatable game launching and gameplay. If I do, I will return here and add it as a ‘Fix’ section. 
For now, despite them not working for me/on my system, there are a few isolated people that have had success with some of the Steps listed. If you are experiencing any of these issues with Paladins at this time, try some or all of them above. Perhaps one of them will work for you, too. 
Good Luck with it – and try to stay positive, remembering – It’s Not Just You™!

LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM DESIGN DECOR STYLE GOOD

The design of a room can be a major problem in the redesign of your home. The problem could grow if you have to do for a child – a girl in particular. But do not worry, because we had some bedroom design ideas for the creative minds of the people working with the Italian girls.

LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM DESIGN DECOR

LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM DESIGN DECOR

They work in an atmosphere of classic charm in a contemporary way through a range of unique colors. Most models adopt a classic style, with good curves and cushions, and a pile of wood painted to create the perfect atmosphere for your little princess.

LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM METAL DESIGN DECOR

LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM METAL DESIGN DECOR

LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM DESIGN IDEAS

LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM DESIGN IDEAS

LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM DESIGN CONCEPT

LUXURY GIRLS BEDROOM DESIGN CONCEPT

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.

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.

How to Cope with Too Many Snow Days

Ice and Snow, Go Away!

This has been the worst winter since I moved to Atlanta eight years ago. We have six-week terms, and during these last six weeks, we lost two days to extremely cold temperatures (by Southern standards), three additional days because of the “snowpocalypse” that buried Atlanta, and now I’m home again due to Winter Storm “Pax” that will likely shut us down the rest of the week. That’s nearly one-third of our term lost!

Adding to my dilemma, our calendar builds in week-long breaks at the end of each six week term. So we won’t be back in school next week either. It’s a serious wrinkle in my plans.

I talked to my fourth graders about this yesterday, and we worked out a plan so they could continue to work from home during these inclement weather days. It’s a really rainy, dreary day anyway (we’re at the “wintry mix” stage of the storm), so it’s not like they’d be outside sledding today. I also suspect that many parents are welcoming the activities at this stage of the winter!

Here are my suggestions for telecommuting with your class during winter weather.

Building a Virtual Classroom

1. Choose a mix of activities that can be shared with parents. I knew early last night that we’d be off today, so I found some activities that aligned with what we’re studying right now. While many of the activities require computer access, I purposefully included some that do not. For example, we’re building weather instruments out of household items, writing stories, continuing our reading, etc. But we’re also using some online resources.

2. Take advantage of online instructional videos. Two of my favorite free resources are LearnZillion and Khan Academy. I selected videos that align with the math and ELA content we’re working on now.

3. Stay accessible through your Learning Management System. We use Edmodo in our class, and it’s a great tool for turning in assignments and having class discussions. I’m checking in throughout the day to answer students’ questions and participate in the discussion questions I set up there earlier.

4. Take advantage of the resources students have at home. I teach in a 1:1 iPad classroom, so we’re constantly on iPads. There are lots of flash-based games that we can’t run on our iPads, however. I’m fortunate that all of my students have computers at home, so I’m incorporating more of those activities for students to complete. I’m also choosing some really fun and engaging simulation games that we just don’t ever get to in class. Two examples:

Law Craft – For the record, all of the games at iCivics.org are worth checking out. In this particular one, students work to craft a law and take it through the legislative process. They have to build support by making concessions, work out the details through committees, and ultimately get the president to sign it. It teaches a lot about how a bill becomes a law.

Edheads Weather – This aligns with the weather forecasting aspect of our weather unit. Students will work through different weather maps to report the weather and predict future weather events. It’s another great interactive game. I highly recommend the activities at the Edheads website. The only downside is that there are lots of ads, and sometimes pop-ups.

5. Be flexible – I can’t really help students troubleshoot tech issues on their home computers, and I can’t make them do the activities at home. I’m not making any of the activities mandatory, but they’re still available. I’m hoping that with the good mix of opportunities, parents and students will take advantage of the resources I’m offering. But I won’t punish a student who doesn’t. If even a few kids do the activities, it’s better than writing off the weather days as a complete loss.

Preparation is Key
It would be impossible to implement this plan with fourth graders if a lot of our technology norms and routines hadn’t already been established. My students are familiar with my class website, Edmodo, and my expectations. Integrating technology in the classroom makes the transition to our virtual classroom seamless.

How do you handle inclement weather days with your class? Do you have any plans resources to keep students engaged while they’re away from the classroom? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

On an unrelated note, I have been MIA from the blogging world since October. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve started working on a PhD in addition to teaching full-time and managing my toddler, so I’ve been insanely busy! I have an amazing student teacher this semester, however, so I’m starting to delegate more. I’m hopeful that will free up a little more time and energy so I can get back to blogging and reading all the stuff I’ve missed. Perhaps these weather days will also assist with that!

HOME DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

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

HOME DESIGN STYLE WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

HOME DESIGN STYLE WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

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

HOME DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

HOME DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

HOME LIVING ROOM DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

HOME LIVING ROOM DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

HOME KITCHEN DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

HOME KITCHEN DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

HOME BEDROOM DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

HOME BEDROOM DESIGN WITH STRONG VISUAL EFFECTS

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!

WORKOUT ANYTIME on WYFF Greenville

WORKOUT ANYTIME on WYFF Greenville

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

Free Weekend – Overwatch and Fallout 4 [Notification]

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

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

See You In The Game!

Georgia Bloggers Meet-up

I was thrilled to get the opportunity to meet up with some other Georgia bloggers yesterday thanks to the organizational efforts of Jayne at Smart Kids. You see, even though I’ve been MIA from the blogging world a lot this year, blogging is always on my mind. Really.

This year has been a whirlwind as I’ve juggled teaching full-time, parenting, and starting my PhD program. Virtually everything I’ve written this year has included a bibliography, and that hasn’t left a lot of energy for my blog. But when I’ve been researching and writing for my academic pursuits, I’ve been learning all about theories of professional learning and how our online encounters fit into that. I must say, there hasn’t been a lot written about teacher professional learning through blogging, and that’s a gap I intend to fill. More people need to know about the amazing teachers supporting each other through social media. They need to know how that process is 10 times better than any other form of professional development and how it empowers teachers to become better at their craft by pursuing their passions and interests.

So when I say that blogging is always on my mind, I really mean it. It’s been at the heart of every paper I’ve written as I work on my PhD. When I got the chance to go meet some fellow bloggers, I couldn’t say no.

The meet up was at Georgia School Supply in Macon, GA–about an hour and a half away from where I live. I was excited to go and meet some fellow bloggy friends because it’s always so good to be able to match names and faces and to remember that there are some real live people with amazing ideas that are working in classrooms, too. I’d never met any of the people there, so it was a real treat.

We talked about our secret lives as bloggers and TpT’ers, shared tips and strategies, made business plans, swapped products, and had an all around great time. I love meeting other bloggers and learning how much we have in common. Everyone I met yesterday was wonderful, and I look forward to keeping in touch with these new friends!

I hope to be blogging more this week as my student teacher takes over EVERYTHING from now through spring break (woot! woot!). In the meantime, be sure to check out the blogs from the amazing people I met yesterday!

Jayne, Kelly, Angie, Stacy, Tara, Valerie

PhotobucketThe Teacher Wife

Funky Fresh Firsties

...And They All Fall Down...

Georgia Grown Kiddo's

Jennifer, Carol, Kathy, Meghan, Kim, Irma, Megan


 
 

Michelin, Jessica, Greg, Erin, Alison

 

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)

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

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

Internet 2010

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

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

Combining Routing and Switching

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

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

Quick Tip: Can’t Record Your Game At All? (64-bit/32-bit Fix)

Just a quick tip for when it seems like you cannot record your game ‘at all’:
64-bit computing is still relatively new for home users, which means that not all 64-bit hardware and applications communicate without problems. Many game recording apps simply can’t record games that operate in 64-bit modes. Just look for a 32-bit version of your game/gameclient and then your game recording program (no matter which one you use, be it Dxtory, Bandicam, MSI Afterburner..) should be able to record the screen. [For games that use Java (eg. Minecraft), download the 32-bit Java at their website]

See you in the games!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall, well done MSI.  /clap

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

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

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




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

Tune Into Technology Linky: Integrating Technology into Reading

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

1. Let kids annotate their reading with GoodReader.



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

2. Share favorite books on KidBlog.

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

3. Create Book Trailers in iMovie.

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

4. Create book clubs and discussion groups on Edmodo.

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

5. Use Evernote and GoodReader to assess reading.



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

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

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

“Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From?”, The Game Tips And More Blog’s Game Screenshot Identification Contest, Re-Starts Again Today! [Updated 2018-02-01 – Answer Image]

It’s the 15th of the month – and it is time for something that I want to start up again (and not only because I have over 50,000 Screenshots burning a hole in my pocket, but mostly that) – something that I had going for a short time, three long years ago…

The Next Installment of The Game Tips And More Blog’s ‘New-ish-sorta-but-not-really’ Contest:

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

(A Game Screenshot Identification Contest)

Having a ‘grand re-opening’ once again today – January 15th, 2018!

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

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


Correct answers submitted by the end of the month (beginning at the time of this posting) will be chosen from randomly, where one Skillful Identifier will receive this month’s contest prize – which is: a gifted game from the Steam online store!

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

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

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

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

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

Update!

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

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

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

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

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

To end The Mystery, here is the answer for this month’s edition of
‘Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From’ (2018-01):


The Answer for this month’s Contest could have been: “Marvel Heroes” or “Marvel Heroes Omega” or “Marvel Heros” or “I can’t believe they cancelled this great game that I only just recently discovered existed especially with all the future Marvel movies coming out what happened this timeline sucks”. Click to see Full Size

Come back next 15th-of-the-month friends, when you can have another chance to be a Digital Screenshot Sleuth in the Fifth Edition of ‘Can You Guess Where The Screenshot Below Is From’ – and a chance to win the Prize that will be carried over to next time: a gifted game from the Steam online store!

See You In The Games!


(The Game Tips And More Blog Contest Game #2018-01)

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.

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.

High-quality protein

Our bodies are composed mainly of protein, which (after water) is the most abundant substance in the body. It is the major constituent of our muscles, tissues, skin, hormones, enzymes, antibodies and blood. Even after childhood protein plays a vital role in maintaining and rebuilding our bodies as they cope with the wear and tear of daily life.

Proteins are broken down by the process of digestion into units called amino acids, and the body requires 22 amino acids to form human protein. All but nine can be produced in the body. These nine are known as ‘essential amino acids‘ and have to be provided in the diet. Foods that contain all nine are termed ‘complete proteins’, and they include meat, fish, dairy and soya protein. Fruit, vegetables, grains and pulses are ‘incomplete proteins’ and have to be carefully combined to provide sufficient amino acids in the diet.

Diet Start

Protein is fundamental to rebalancing blood-sugar levels, because it encourages production of the hormone glucagon, which helps the body to release stored glycogen for energy and encourages the burning of fat. Glucagon also helps to balance excess insulin production.

What is Biological Value?

In order to be efficient, protein foods have to be of a high quality and have what is termed a high Biological Value (BV) — this indicates how much of theprotein is retained by the body. Eggs used to be classed as having the highest BY, but micro-filtered whey, whey-peptide blends and lactalbumin (whey- protein concentrate) are even higher. Micro-filtered whey protein used to be a useless by-product of cheese manufacturing. Now it is processed at very lowtemperatures and turned into a protein source with a very high BV that contains all essential and non-essential amino acids.

The only whey to go

To maintain a healthy immune system, blood, skin and muscles, you need to consume protein with a high By. Whey protein (which is derived from milk, see Q&A opposite) is an excellent supplement that has long been used by bodybuilders and athletes alike. It has many uses in a dietary regime:

¨ It encourages the formation of lean muscle mass

¨ It increases glutathione levels, which has great antioxidant and immune- boosting properties

¨ It helps to build healthy new collagen

¨ It provides an invaluable source of protein for vegetarians who are attempting to balance their diets

¨ It is a quick and easy way of having a high-protein meal or snack

¨ It can be incorporated into recipes as a replacement for carbohydrate ingredients.

There are a multitude of whey products on the market — some better than others. Many come in sweet flavours, which are great when making shakes and smoothies, but you need to source natural, unflavoured products if you want to incorporate whey-protein powder into savoury dishes such as soups. These are widely available through health-food stores and on the Web. Just make sure you don’t confuse them with slimmer’s meal-replacement powders, which are usually laden with carbohydrates.

The average serving of whey protein is a 25g (1 oz) scoop, but check on the label to see how much of that scoop comprises protein: the lower the protein content, the higher the carbohydrate content. And beware of `blends’: these are likely to be bulked up with milk and soya derivatives. To get the best out of your whey products, go for the highest protein concentration possible.

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

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

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

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

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

Teacher Toolbox Trio Linky Celebration!

Since the advent of Teachers Pay Teachers, my teaching toolbox has changed quite a bit. There are so many things that I’ve made or bought for my classroom, and there are many others that are on my wishlist. To recognize that, I’m hosting a Teacher Toolbox Trio linky party.

Here are the rules of the trio:
1. Share a product that you’ve made that you couldn’t live without.
2. Share a product that you’ve purchased that you love.
3. Share something from your wish list that you’re hoping to get for next year.

If you’re not a seller on TpT, no worries — just share two products you’ve purchased that you love!

1. Something I’ve Made

The Classroom Economy Megapack was my first major project for TpT, and without question, it was the one that I used all the time last year. It has everything I needed for setting up my classroom jobs, monitoring daily behaviors on a clip chart, running my classroom economy, and giving students free/very low-cost rewards. Unlike my units that were used here and there, this was on display in my classroom all 180 days, and my kids loved it. This is the one thing that I could not live without.

2. Something I Purchased

Erin’s “A Roller Coaster Day” sub plans were amazing! I had to go to an all day district committee meeting on a Friday in May when the kids were already getting a little crazy, but they LOVED this. The sub said it kept them engaged all day, and given that I was already at the stage of the year when all of our required curriculum had been taught, it was perfect. It will be a permanent addition to my sub folder, and she’s also made one for grades 5-6. You can follow Erin’s blog: I’m Lovin Lit. 

3. Something on My Wish List

I’m really planning to focus on math facts and mental math skills early in the school year, and Laura Candler’s Mastering Math Facts has been on my radar screen for a while. I’m hoping to snag a copy before I go back in July. (Yes, July!)  Laura’s blog is Corkboard Connections.

The Linky Celebration

This is more than just a party — it’s a celebration! I’ve been meaning to do something to celebrate hitting 100 followers for a while now, and as I near the 150 mark, it’s definitely time! If you link up through the tool below, you’ll be eligible to win a $25 gift certificate from Teachers Pay Teachers — enough to possibly clear off some items from your own wish list!

clip art from KPM Doodles
I’ll be using a random number generator to select the winner from those who link up. The linky celebration will end next Friday, June 14 at 11:59pm EDT and the winner will be announced on my blog on Saturday.
Can’t wait to discover some new products and see some of your favorites! Be sure to link up below, and please include the Teacher Toolbox Trio icon and/or another link to Eberopolis in your post.

Happy linking!
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Carbohydrates Benefits For Body Health

CARBOHYDRATES BENEFITS FOR BODY HEALTH

Carbohydrates Benefits For Body Health – Carbohydrates are one of a wide variety of organic compounds which are abundant in the earth. Understanding carbohydrates consist of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. The function of carbohydrates is very diverse and very useful for living things. The function of carbohydrates for mortal one as a fuel source.
For plants during the photosynthesis process can turn carbon dioxide into carbohydrates. The carbohydrate contains a carbonyl functional group and a hydroxyl group. The term of carbohydrates was originally used on a class of compounds which has the formula (CH 2 O)n.
Molecular form of the simplest carbohydrates consisting of a simple sugar molecules called monosaccharides. Many of carbohydrates which is a polymer composed of molecules and sugar molecules are strung into a long chain and the chain can forked branch, called polysaccharides. In addition to monosaccharides and polysaccharides, there are others that is a disaccharide (a series of two monosaccharides) and oligosaccharides (a series of several monosaccharide).
Carbohydrates Benefits For Body Health - 1
Monosaccharides
Monosaccharides are the simplest carbohydrates, this is because the molecule consisting of several atoms C alone and unable to be degraded by hydrolysis into other carbohydrates. Monosaccharides can be divided into aldoses and ketoses.
Disaccharides and Oligosaccharides
Disaccharide carbohydrate which is formed from two monosaccharide molecules that bind through the OH groups by releasing water molecules. Example: maltose, lactose, and sucrose. Oligosaccharide is a polymer degree of polymerization of 2 to 10 and generally is soluble in water. If the oligosaccharide consists of two molecules is called a disaccharide, and if it consists of three molecules called triose. Sucrose is composed of molecules of fructose and glucose, maltose consisting of two molecules of glucose, and lactose molecule consists of galactose and glucose. Polysaccharides are polymers of several monosaccharide molecules can for straight or branched chain and can be hydrolyzed with several specific enzyme that’s how it works.
Polysaccharides
Polysaccharides are carbohydrates formed from saccharides numerous as the monomer. The general formula of the polysaccharide that is C6 (H10O5) n. Example: starch, glycogen, and cellulose.
There are some functions of carbohydrate that is essential for living beings, among others:
1) The function of carbohydrates as the main energy source. Carbohydrates are an important energy source such as glucose is required and can not be replaced by other sources of energy.
2) It has an important role in metabolic processes, can maintain the balance between acid and alkaline body, helping as forming the structure of cells, tissues and various organs.
3) Carbohydrates play a role in the process of digestion.
4) Assist in the absorption of calcium.
5) Represents forming other compounds.
6) Carbohydrates are the constituent components of the genes contained in the nucleus of cells and is very important in the inheritance.
7) Assist in the process (defecate). This is because cellulose is a polysaccharide that is difficult to be digested, but its presence is very helpful to prevent constipation.
Carbohydrates can be found in many foods, here are a few sources of carbohydrates:

Carbohydrates Benefits For Body Health - 2


• Egg whites
• Potatoes
• Seed grain
• Corn
• Cassava
• Bread
• Pasta
• A variety of dairy products
• Fruit Fresh Fruits
Sweet potato
Nuts
Brown rice
• Sago
That article on the definition of carbohydrates, a source of carbohydrates and carbohydrate function. The presence of carbohydrates is important and needed by the human body. Definition of carbohydrates which is one of a wide variety of organic compounds which are abundant in the earth. Therefore, it is good not to overdo and shortcomings in meeting the needs of carbohydrates. The good step is to keep carbohydrate intake remains balanced.

Hopefully article Carbohydrates Benefits For Body Health can we share today can be beneficial for you. Do not forget to always visit the website abouthealthbenefits.xyz to seek other health articles. Thank You.

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.

Health Benefits of Guava for Health and Beauty

Health Benefits of Guava for Health and Beauty

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

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

Does Weighing Yourself Help You to Lose Weight?

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

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

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

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!

LIVING ROOM DESIGN IDEAS GET COMFORT

LIVING ROOM DESIGN IDEAS

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

LIVING ROOM DESIGN IDEAS

LIVING ROOM DESIGN IDEAS

LIVING ROOM DESIGN IDEAS

LIVING ROOM DESIGN IDEAS

Quick Tip: Team Fortress 2 – What To Do With Those Naughty and Nice Winter Crates (Winter 2013)

By now, most of you have seen these Random Drops, Crates that are either “Nice” or “Naughty” – but, “How do you open them..”, you may have asked? Well, this post is just a quick note to answer this question I have already started seeing on game forums and Question/Answer websites. Answer: You Can’t Open Them (Yet)…

Soon hopefully, keys should be available for purchase at the Mann Company Store (Steam/Valve/TF2), most likely for $2.49 USD, if keys and dropped crates combinations of the past are anything to go by [I assume they are dropping them now, to allow people to collect some before the keys go on sale – to sell more keys]. So, if you get these [I have already started getting them when playing, hence the screencaps], just wait a little bit longer, until the keys themselves go on sale. Then, if you want to open them, just purchase keys and unlock them! Soon™… (Remember, you will need one key for each crate)

See You In The Games!

WORKOUT ANYTIME on Cincinnati.com

WORKOUT ANYTIME on Cincinnati.com

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

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

April Nitzsche on WBIR Knoxville

April Nitzsche was recently on WBIR as part of their Workout Wednesday. In the segment April demonstrated some exercises you can do at home and in the gym with kettle bells for a good workout. She also mentioned the new Maryville opening location as well as the Bearden location.

You can also view the video here.

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.

My trip to Vietnam Cont….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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

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.

Getting Started with a Flipped Classroom

Last week, I shared a bit about why I flipped my classroom, and I got some great questions! Today I want to share a bit more about my process and the logistics for flipping. There are lots of ways to do it, and I’m sure there are many other great ideas out there, but this is what has worked for me so far.

1. Plan your lessons 

a) Does it make sense to flip?
You don’t want to flip for the sake of flipping. I always ask myself, “Would this lesson make sense as a flipped lesson?” There are times when some introductory lessons require lots of hands-on scaffolding, and my answer might be “no.” But other times, when the lesson is mostly information and practice, the flipped model absolutely makes sense.

b) What content must be covered?
I go through my math lesson plan, and determine the content that has to be covered in the video. I’m really selective about this because I want my video to be less than 10 minutes long. It’s still a mini-lesson, after all, and if I go any longer than that, my students will tune out. Plus, even though the video may be 10 minutes, the viewing time could be much longer than that if students are pausing the video to write things down or take notes. I try to keep in mind the idea that less is more.

c) Am I the best person to deliver the content?
Usually my answer is “yes,” but not always. I’ve tried to share videos from Khan Academy or LearnZillion in the flipped model, and the kids just didn’t respond as well to those. They’re more likely to tune in when the video is made by their teacher because they have a personal connection. There were a few times when I’ve used someone else’s videos because the production was significantly better in some regard (e.g., it included songs or humor that I couldn’t pull off). But usually, I make the videos myself.

2. Choose your tools

Once I know the content of my lesson, I decide what method I’ll use to produce the video. I choose from a few different options.

a) Screencasts
Sometimes I have a presentation already created in a flipchart for my ActivBoard, and I can just film my voice interacting with my computer screen on that. My favorite tool for screencasting is Screencast-o-matic. It’s very user-friendly and it uses a yellow circle to highlight your mouse so students know where to focus their attention. The free version works well, but for $15/year, you can get lots more editing and uploading options. If you’re interested in screencasting, I would recommend trying out the free version for a while to see if it’s something you’d like.

b) Whiteboard apps
Usually I use whiteboard apps such as Explain Everything or Educreations to make my flipped lessons. I always create the slides in advance so that I don’t waste precious recording time writing out problems or building models that could simply be explained. Then once all of the slides are in place, I’ll record the audio over them. This approach also allows me to work in pieces, too, because I never know when I’m going to get interrupted.

c) Paper slide shows
I’ve blogged about paper slide shows before here. Sometimes the lessons are a bit more hands-on (e.g., using a protractor), and I want to show students some examples. In those instances, I use my DEWEY Document Camera Stand ($120, www.copernicused.com) that turns my iPad into a document camera, and I work and film underneath it. I mostly use this approach with Geometry and Measurement standards, but when I need to do a lot of physical manipulations, the paper slide show works well.

3. Choose your platform

Once I’ve made the video, I need to upload it to a platform for students to view. YouTube is blocked for students at my school, so I use Vimeo instead. I ended up buying a Vimeo Plus subscription last year ($59.95/year or $9.95/month). That gave me much more space for uploads each week (5 GB vs. 500 MB with the free version), and it sped up my upload times, so it was worth it to me when I was crunched to get the videos uploaded after school. I created a channel for some of my videos, and now I’m going back to re-make some or better tag/organize the videos for each unit.

4. Share your content

Once the videos are uploaded on Vimeo, I needed a way to share the links to the videos. When I started, I was posting the links after school each day, but I eventually cut out that step. Now I make one Google Document each term with all of the dates and lesson topics, and then I just copy and paste the links into that document as they’re done. That helps my students because they find the video links in one spot, and I can post the links as they’re available. Here’s an example of what that document looked like one term.

Bonus Tips

1. Make your videos in batches. 
I found it much easier to make all of my videos for the week at once. I could usually tackle this in a couple of hours each week, and it was much less stressful than trying to film every day. I was able to find my rhythm with the process when I batch-produced videos, so that’s how I try to work now. 
2. Start small.
Even if you only make one video each week, you’re still starting to build a library of flipped lessons for future use. I didn’t make as many videos as I’d wanted to last year, but I’m grateful for the ones I already have done because that’s less work I’ll have to do this year.
3. Divide and conquer.
See if someone else on your grade level team would be interested in flipping with you, and then divide up the lessons. Even if you’re not the one teaching the lesson in every video, the students will appreciate it being someone they know. 
4. Get some cheap .mp3 players for student check-out.
Most of my students had Internet access at home to watch the videos, but a couple didn’t. I wrote a grant to buy 10 inexpensive .mp3 players that students could check out to watch the videos. They didn’t require an Internet connection because I saved the videos straight to the hard drives, and since they were cheap .mp3 players (<$20 each), they didn’t have any bells and whistles to make them targets for theft. It was a workable solution for those students who lacked technology access at home. 
Next week, I’ll share more about what my math block looks like under the flipped model. Until then, I’d love to hear from you. What are some tools you use for video production in your class? What challenges do you foresee with a flipped model? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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!

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!]

    It’s Not Just You™ – Battle.Net Issues with Logging In Today [Notification]

    Just a quick post to let others know that if you are having logging in to Battle.Net today (August 1st) that lots of people have been having problems as of this morning. Blizzard has addressed this with a quick note via their twitter, seen at:

    https://twitter.com/BlizzardCS/status/760100687111938048

    Retry or Go Back To Bed? Hmmm….

    For those playing Blizzard/Battle.Net games this weekend, hopefully it will be up soon – just letting you know, It’s Not Just You™ !

    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!

    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!

    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. 

    ‘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”]

    CONCEPT INTERIOR DECORATORS NYC

    Interior Decorators NYC

    Interior Decorators NYC, there are many different benefits to live. Here, culture, food corners, training, and last but not least, the lounge and bar. If you want to spend a night in the city that never sleeps, then to New York City is a great bar, club and lounge, in particular to go. There are several rooms, and also spread throughout the city. live musicians are the best features of these lounges and bars. You can find indie rock band a lot of volume, and other local bands. Part of the show in New York City, a tremendously well. They are tastefully decorated, and the crowd, which is very appealing. These amazing living space in this late night to win the House, hip hop and youre likely to find one that will fit your musical taste.

    They offer large crowds and expensive liquor and very elegant. The interior decoration of these rooms are for lights, big boost mood of the series, in fact, people also benefit from seeing the crowd warm with loud music and too much light. Interior Decorators NYC always find some very funny and what’s better than a bar, club lounges and especially where you can make your night of fun. Once your stomach is full with the best drinks in the theaters of New York, then is time to rock and roll music and if so, what better than a living room and also in New York, where fun begins.

    In addition, these shows are also very useful during the time of the wedding reception. People are now tired of planning parties in hotels and other places. now part of wedding reception is poured into large halls, where people enjoy the maximum level. New York reception halls are simply incomplete without drinks. Here you can plan a cocktail, and also a bachelor party incurred prior to marriage. You can enjoy unlimited drinks which is great taste and you can also enjoy the loud music here. This part of reception or a cocktail can be fun with friends and other relatives. You know some reception includes dancing and fun, and this is the basic ingredient and that is what makes a great party for everyone. It is therefore the reception of the show is so famous in Interior Decorators NYC.

    Interior Decorators NYC
    Interior Decorators NYC

    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

    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. 

    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 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.

    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

    My Trip to New Delhi & Hyderabad Cont…….

    Today I finished the 2nd organizational capacity assessment of research organizations. I must say that I was impressed with this organization in terms of its outputs. I was equally impressed as to how they have been able to manage the organization with limited resources.

    On the way to the organization today I was able to take a photograph of the 3 wheeler which was kitted out as a tipper and used for garbage collection. Here it is.

    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

    Astaxanthin – Anti-Oxidant Superstar

    While many antioxidants can be obtained by eating organic fruits and vegetables, astaxanthin is derived only from a specific microalgae called Haematococcus pluvialis.  The algae uses astaxanthin to protect itself from intense sunlight, ultraviolet radiation and low nutrition.

    There are two natural astaxanthin sources: the microalgae that produce it and the salmon and krill which consume the algae directly. The best resources for these foods are wild-caught Alaskan Salmon and Krill Oil Supplement, which offer many other nutritional benefits.

    Research indicates astaxanthin may benefit those suffering from inflammatory conditions including arthritis, rheumatoid disorders, metabolic disease, as well as cardiovascular, neurological and liver diseases.

    Astaxanthin can also help to increase your muscle capacity and stamina, decrease workout recovery time, and decrease muscle pain.  Other proven benefits include:

    Reduction of Inflammation
    Protects Vision
    Enhances Heart Health
    Decreases Oxidative Stress
    Protects Against Sunburn
    Boost Your Immune System
    Helps Prevent and Fight Cancer

    Astaxanthin and Eye Health

    Astaxanthin is an extremely powerful anti-oxidant:  65 times more powerful than vitamin C, 54 times more powerful than Beta-Carotene and 14 times more powerful than Vitamin E.
    Astaxanthin crosses the blood-brain barrier AND the blood-retinal barrier which is a huge deal for your brain AND your eyes!

    Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family of anti-oxidants that include beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.   Of all the carotenoids, only zeaxanthin and lutein are found in the retinas of your eyes.  This is because your eye is a highly light and oxygen rich environment, and it needs a large amount of free radical scavengers to prevent damage. 
    Scientists have specifically studied astaxanthin for its effects on the eyes and discovered that it is completely safe, and much more potent than all the other carotenoids.   Specifically it has been shown that astaxanthin supplementation can be effective in preventing a whole list of eye diseases including:

    Age-Related Macular Degeneration
    Diabetic Neuropathy
    Cystoid Macular Edema
    Central Retinal Arterial and Venous Occlusion
    Glaucoma
    Inflammatory Eye Diseases including retinitis, iritis, keratitis, and scleritis

    Astaxanthin is one of the few anti-oxidants that you should consider supplementing because you cannot obtain the recommended dosage from your diet alone.      The good news is that there are excellent Astaxanthin Supplements available from companies like Jarrow, Doctors Best, and Swanson to name a few.   It should be taken with a meal with fat because it is fat soluble with dosage from 4mg – 12mg per day although there are no harmful effects from higher dosages.

    Food Repair Guide: Baking Part 3

    Marzipan

    It pays to make your own marzipan as the real thing tastes so much better than bought. Since it is only a question of beating together ground almonds, sugar and egg white to moisten, there is nothing to go wrong.

    Biscuits

    Biscuits are simple to make and homemade biscuits always impress guests.

    They have four dangers: being too soft so that they spread into shapeless plops; being too short or having too great a proportion of fat which makes them hopelessly crumbly; being overhandled, like pastry, which makes them tough; and getting overcooked, which they will do at the drop of a hat.

    Diet Start

    Texture

    Since most biscuit mixtures contain butter, they will always become softer when they go in the oven, so, if your mixture is very runny when cold, it will run away altogether once it gets hot. Unless the mixture is being cooked in a restraining tin try to ensure a reasonably firm texture. Apart from anything else, if it is too runny the biscuit will tend to be tough.

    Crumbling

    If you want to use a very short mixture, mould the dough by hand rather than trying to roll it out, as you will not succeed. Cut the biscuits into fat rather than thin shapes so they have more chance of holding together.

    Toughness

    Do not handle the biscuits more than necessary to get the ingredients well mixed.

    Overcooking

    Once the biscuits have gone in the oven, watch them like a hawk. Take one out and cool it to test, as a biscuit, especially a dark coloured one such as chocolate or ginger, will often be cooked long before it looks cooked.

    Failures

    Biscuits that have fallen apart, spread or generally failed to live up to expectations, can always be broken up and used as decorations, or crumbled and used as biscuit bases (held together with butter or egg white) for dishes such as cheesecakes.

    MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS GO SROP

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

    modern swedish bedroom designs

    MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS

    modern swedish bedroom designs

    MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS

    modern swedish bedroom designs

    MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS

    modern swedish bedroom designs

    MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS

    modern swedish bedroom designs

    MODERN SWEDISH BEDROOM DESIGNS

    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.

    Eat more and more, do you know chemicals in foods blow you appetite?

    In a very real sense, everybody has direct reactions to foods. Direct reactions are reactions caused directly to cells by chemicals in foods. Among the most obvious direct reactions are those caused by alcohol. If you drink alcohol, you are almost certain to experience sedative effects, due to the direct effect of alcohol on your brain cells.

    Often, people with Asian heritage react quite negatively to alcohol, and the common belief is that they’re allergic to it. Technically, though, they don’t have an allergy; they have a sensitivity — because this is a direct reaction, which doesn’t involve the immune system. I believe that it’s clearer and more sensible to say simply that Asians often have a food reaction to alcohol, since food reactions include both allergies and sensitivities.

    Diet Start

    Direct reactions, however, can eventually involve the immune system, because sooner or later the immune system is called in to repair the mess that direct food reactions cause. Therefore, the symptoms of direct reactions can feel much like allergies. Because of this, direct food reactions are sometimes called false food allergies.

    Alcohol has obvious direct actions, but most direct food reactions are more subtle. Often, direct reactions occur when chemicals in foods bind with the cells that produce histamine; these cells are called mast cells. When this happens, it can cause the release of histamine. The food chemicals that are most likely to do this are lectins, which are most often found in wheat, peanuts, and beans. Another cause can be certain partial proteins, or peptides, that are found in tomatoes, strawberries, shellfish, pork, chocolate, and eggs.

    Other foods that often seem to cause direct food reactions are mustard, pineapple, papaya, buckwheat, and sunflower seeds. Ironically, one patient of mine had terrible digestive symptoms, including severe heartburn, and took large amounts of digestive enzymes to help the problem. However, his enzymes were full of papaya, which he later found he was reactive to. When he stopped taking the digestive aids, his digestion improved immeasurably. Moral of the story: don’t trust common knowledge about what’s healthy — trust your own experiences. Everyone is different.

    Other foods that sometimes cause direct reactions are those that contain high levels of natural histamines. Histamines are formed in foods that are allowed to age and ferment. Therefore, histamines are often found in aged cheese, sausage, and salami.

    Other foods that can cause direct reactions are those that contain the partial proteins tyramine, phenylethylamine, and octopamine. These chemicals, like histamines, can cause blood vessels to expand and contract, which causes tissue swelling. In the head, blood vessel constriction and expansion can cause migraine headaches. That’s why people who get migraines often shun the foods that are high in these partial proteins, such as wine, aged cheese, citrus fruit and yeast.

    Another common foodstuff that often causes direct reactions is the artificial sweetener aspartame. Aspartame is mostly composed of the partial protein, or amino acid, called phenylalanine. In some people, it acts directly on brain cells, causing symptoms such as agitation and depression. In other people, it causes blood vessels to contract and expand, triggering migraines. In most people, though, it causes no reaction at all.

    Many people also react to MSG, or monosodium glutamate, with headaches, nausea, dizziness, heart palpitations, and confusion. Others react to various additives, including nitrates, sulphites, and artificial food colours.

    Another name for direct food reactions is pharmacologic reactions. That’s a good description, because it implies an important point: foods, like drugs, are chemicals. Not all drugs are good for you — and not all foods are, either.

    Now let’s look at the last type of food reaction: immune complex reactions. This type of reaction is not well known. But it should be. It can be a killer.

    Foods, like drugs, are chemicals. Not all drugs are good for you, and not all foods are, either.

    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!

    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!

    And More: “An Internal Error Occurred When Overlapped Buffer Is Full” in VideoStudio X10 [Error Workaround]