content top

Did you say Coffee?

Did you say Coffee?

As far as the baristas at Intelligentsia Coffee in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago’s north side are concerned, I might as well be a coffee junkie. I most certainly am, by all accounts, but the difference between your run-of-the-mill junkie and me is that I actually have a job. But what’s great about my job as a freelance graphic designer is that I can do it anywhere and at anytime of day. That is, if I have a cup of Intelligentsia Coffee by my side. I started drinking coffee as most people probably do, which was in college with gallons of cream to delude the actual flavor. But eventually you undergo the process of learning to like how it tastes, or noticing the differences between a French roast and an Ethiopian roast, and the difference in texture based on preparation method.

Read More

Want your iPhone to get wet?

Want your iPhone to get wet?

As a white-water rafting guide on the Snake River in Rexburg, Montana, keeping my phone dry isn’t exactly a simple task. The families, bachelor parties, and businessmen on team retreats who I frequently lead on these trips are always stunned to hear me ask them if they want pictures of them on the ride. But of course, they always say yes, so I bring my phone along with me, and then when we get to a particularly gentle eddy in the river, I rip out my iPhone and take some action shots. Everyone’s always very impressed. That is, unless I either A.) fall in the water with phone in hand or B.) drop my phone in the water and never see it again. Either way, my phone is ruined, and so is my reputation as being the river guide who effortlessly takes fantastic photos and shouts hilarious, encouraging things, all while hurdling down a river at an electrifying pace.

Read More

Outsourcing is a cool way to build a team

As any regular reader of this blog will know, we’re always on the lookout for cool stuff.

It’s funny, but more often than not, that cool stuff involves designer good looks or quirky functionality. However, today, I want to speak about a mate of mine in the UK who has adopted what I think is a really cool way of setting up his new business. Mark is a designer, so by nature is cool. He’s one of those guys that just oozes style, even when he’s not trying. However, I’ve never thought of him as particularly savvy when it comes to business stuff; but how wrong I was.

Mark’s been salaried for the last 20 years and has decided to take the plunge and start his own design agency; or more accurately, Mark is about to (pretty much) become his own design agency. I say this, because the way he’s set everything up, he’s pared the employees he needs down to a minimum by outsourcing as many of the tasks as he can. Mark will have a team of only 12 employees and will outsource absolutely all the tasks that he doesn’t deem to be essential on the payroll.

Mark has taken this approach because he spent a long time observing how his old agency worked. It was a large-ish agency with a team of about 60 in total. HR people, bookkeepers, SEO experts and the likes were all permanent members of staff who had the right to sick and holiday pay, and in Mark’s terms, were what made the agency sluggish when it came to financial, and even creative results.

As Mark sees it, the people who need to be employed so they can share the vision and secure the future of the business are the design bods and no one else. This is the model that Mark has decided to put in place. He wants the designers on side and he wants them to be a tight-knit team, so he’s put cool packages together for them.

Everyone else will work from remote locations, either at home or as part of a larger outsourcing arrangement. Even his SEO guy won’t be salaried. Outsourcing in this way means that Mark can get his bookkeeping, his HR and even his payroll done by experts on an arrangement whereby he only pays for what he needs, and can kiss goodbye to having to find holiday cover or sick-leave replacements. Working this way means that Mark can tap into the expertise he needs, when he needs it without breaking the bank.

In fact, he’s even got himself ahead of the game regarding Pensions Automatic Enrolment. This is a UK system that will see a whole lot of employees in the UK opted into an employer’s pension scheme over the next few years. Mark watched his previous employer really struggle through Pensions Automatic Enrolment and even though the date when he needs to start is well in the future, he’s hired a company to do everything for him on an outsourced basis (their website is at www.ukpensionsautoenrolment.co.uk). I must say, I’m seriously impressed with Mark’s cool approach to setting up his business and am starting to look around for opportunities to outsource stuff that I get no pleasure or value from doing myself.

Read More

Getting Geared Up for My Next Camping Trip, the Technological Way

It’s no secret that when it comes to life, I love all things technological that simplifies everyday tasks and provide neat ways to handle business. And, while I love the tech world, it’s also no secret that I love getting away and camping too.

But, being me, I can’t get away without taking some high-tech gear with me to simplify things and keep my camping trip awesome. So, what did I do? I invested in a premium camping stove and quality cookware to make sure that each meal I cook tastes as good as gourmet. While this isn’t all that I brought, it’s the thing that I was most glad that I had along for the ride. And really, it’s not hard to figure out why.

So, Why a Camping Stove?

 You know that I’m bringing more high-tech gear than just the stove when I want to get away. I got the portable pressure shower, air pad for sleeping, portable espresso maker, or portable speakers. But really, getting outdoors is also about the amazing atmosphere and the food that goes along with it. See where I’m going here?

But I know what you’re still wondering: with all of the high-quality gear available, most of which you just listed above, why choose a camping stove as the featured item that you’re bringing? And really, there’s a few reasons why (more than just because I consider myself a foodie).

Making Food the Focus of My Most Recent Camping Trip

No camping trip is complete without some amazing food and I personally don’t have the patience to settle for food over the open flame. The neatest part about camping stoves is not only the fact that they offer a convenient way to cook any delicious food but also because they give me time to relax and take advantage of my time away from the office.

Of course, no amazing camping stove is complete without cookware to match. But I wasn’t really willing to drag around a full set of pots and pans because the point of going away was to enjoy myself all weekend. Luckily, I found a traveling set of pans at www.ChefJohnCookwareReviews.com that were convenient and of the quality I was looking for. The best part? I didn’t have to spend a long time looking for what I needed and before I knew it, I was in nature cooking up delicious meals for both me and my friends!

 Getting Away, the High Tech Way

As a tech CEO, I’m always looking for the next best thing, especially when it comes to activities where purchasing tech gear simply enhances my experience. For that reason, I’m so glad that I brought my own gear this past weekend to make my trip a success (camping stove included)!

And, while I like to think that I’m up-to-date on all of the best gear, I know that there will always be new improvements coming out. For that reason, I can’t wait to go out again and see what’s in store. Until then, I think I’ll stick to what I have and the amazing time I had with it.

Read More

Hot Technology Advancements in HVAC

Technology is a wonderful thing. The advancements come every 18 months and the results can sometimes be not just incremental steps but huge leaps. These moments where we take a leap in advancements are exciting for everyone. Their impacts are felt far and deep. Where there is bleeding edge development on the forefront of this advancement, there is also a trailing edge. Diffusion of that technology to other, potentially more exciting fields.

The latest and greatest are as far as it’s impact on our daily lives is, believe it or not, air conditioning. One of the largest and mostly unseen technological marvel of our generation is heating and cooling. You rarely see it, but these comforts keep you at the optimal temperature all year long. You may not notice it’s there but remove it and you become quickly aware of it’s absence. That in fact is one of the largest issues with this technology. Because of it’s out of sight out of mind mentality that has arisen around it, we don’t really optimize our largest asset. The energy consumption is constant and often unnecessary as a result as discussed in this article. We are literally wasting money heating a location that doesn’t need to be heated. To cut energy costs and increase your average value of life as a result of more free cash, we can look again to technology.

According to the Pool Heater Reviews at poolheaterreviews.org, pool heaters are starting to get the same technological frills that have made so much of our lives easier. Application development swept the world by storm over the last 8 years since the iPhone and it’s app store came out. The constant contact and mobile control has given us a fidelity never before experienced in our daily lives. What’s more is as the technology has diffused into more and more places, the economies of scale have begun to kick in. We are beginning to, for the first time, experience the fringe benefits of ubiquitous computing. A chip in every device. Wifi connections and small sensors litter our daily lives and they are beginning to talk to talk to each other and use real time information to optimize their performance. This really comes in handy with your electric bill that can go down from using a smart pool heater. Not to mention that you can heat it up from the comfort of your own home, or while on the road. There is nothing better than being able to jump into a nice warm pool.

Another significant improvement has been made with cooling technologies which I am utilizing right now. Instead of cooling my entire house with a central AC unit while I am the only one home, I recently purchased a portable air conditioner that I have in the office. After reading through the portable air conditioner reviews at http://coolaer.com it was clear that this would be a much more energy efficient way to live. There is so much loss from a central air conditioning unit that I was wasting hundreds of dollars every day cooling upstairs during the hottest part of the day. Now I just bring this smaller unit into the office during the day to keep the temperature normal, and into the bedroom at night where it is sometimes required.

Read More

The unconventional sport – knife throwing

If you are looking for a fun, exciting and unconventional outdoor sport that can really make your day, then you are in the right place. In this post, I am going to introduce a new and cool sport – knife throwing. It is a perfect hobby for someone who is bored of normal sport and wants to try something fun and dangerous at the same time. They even have an international knife throwing competition! If you want to get your adrenaline pumping, you should not be reluctant in giving it a go.

It is indeed a very cool sport because you are actually throwing a weapon, I mean you could hurt someone if you are not careful (not that I suggest you to). But this certainly has made it more interesting and exciting. There are also so many ways to throw a knife. At the beginning, I was throwing it like a newbie. Now I am practicing the underhand throw, overhead throw, side-way throw and no spin throw, how cool is that?

The sport of thrill and skill

This sport isn’t just about thrill and excitement; it is also a great social activity as it is so much more fun when you play it with friends. I also believe that knife throwing can have a positive effect on your mind, and from my personal experience, this outdoor sport helps me release stress and it enhances my self-confidence. Since knife throwing involves precision skills, it also helps you to improve your concentration. Speaking of the positive effects of this sport, my hand-eye coordination improved after few months of knife throwing.

To me, the complex and challenging nature of knife throwing is something that made it interesting for me. In this sport, you have to work with a basic and fundamental tool that nature has blessed humankind with. When I started, I thought such a sport would take a toll on me, but this was not the case. I was overwhelmed to see how simple it was to play it. However, you may have to spend few weeks to a couple of months of practice before you can nail it down. When the blade sticks, the joy of success is something that gets you going in such an outdoor sport.

How to get started

The best way you can get started with this hobby is by getting some beginner throwing knives that can help you learn the trait before you can aim big. It is often the case that beginners tend to break few knives before they actually get the hang of it. Therefore, practicing with a cheap knife should be the way to go for you. Based on my personal experience, I would get a pack of 6 entry level throwing knives and practice at home. You can use a piece cardboard as the target.

I know you will be very eager to throw a knife if this is your first time. But always remember that safety comes first. Make sure you have the protective gear in place. The basic safety kit includes an eye gear and a first aid kit. If you miss, the knife can ricochet and hit you.

Read More

Cool Ready to Fly Quadcopters

With the vast availability of ready to fly quadcopters, there is a vast range of the wonderful machine that satisfies the need of hobbyists and there is a range entirely made up for the professional use. While there may be sport lovers who would want to have it, ready to fly quadcopters are ideal to have if you belong to the photography or video filming world.

Being at the disposal of such a large consumer base, manufacturers ensure they create a product with technological advancements, yet with ease of use. Understandability is the basic feature that will lead to an enhanced usability and handling.

Ready to fly quadcopters are copters which are available in the “readymade” form. You do not need to do anything except charge the battery that is included within the kit and set the gears. The kit includes a transmitter as well as a remote; you can use either of the devices to control your quadcopter. It is always advised to keep an extra battery though so you might want to purchase one with the quadcopter.

While there are a huge number of manufacturers out there manufacturing the ready to fly quadcopter kits, it becomes increasingly difficult to ascertain as to which manufacturer you should seek and which kit should you buy. All of the products available in the market claim to be the best, so it is crucial to know which ready to fly quadcopter kit should you opt for. Obviously when you start your research for the quadcopter, you look for a variety of factors which is then slightly narrowed and at the end, you are left with a limited number of choices.

A couple RTF quadcopters are mini quadcopters, quadcopters that fit in the palm of your hand that comes readily available with a remote and transmitter, and AR quadcopters which is a quadcopter that can be controlled via your smartphone, either your iphone or android phone.

The best you can do before you go out and buy a quadcopter system is to join different forums over the internet that actively discuss quadcopters and its properties, the advancements and personal experiences. This will help you build an understanding of the features and working offered by different manufacturers as well as their repute. Several good companies in this domain include Hubsan X4 and Syma. These are well known brand name companies when it comes to quadcopters.

If you are not an expert at flying the quadcopter, you will need one that is easy to fly and helps you gain control of it quickly. Flying it as a beginner means you might be crashing it a number of times, you need to check some ready to fly quadcopter kits that include replacement parts. You might also want to look for a company that offers support for upgrades in firmware. You definitely need a quadcopter which is uncomplicated, undemanding and can be effortlessly controlled as a beginner. You would also want it to be the one which won’t get outdated as you get your hands over it. Therefore, a thorough insight is required into the matter before you get to choose the one for you.

Once you have found the right one, you will definitely have fun flying it and learning how to glide your ready to fly quadcopter.

Read More

Your movies just got prettier. New video light leaks review






Are you a videographer or a filmmaker?

Maybe you do it for a hobby, filming you and your idiot friends running into telephone booths and jumping off roofs of houses like the Jackass phenomenon (each to their own by the way, some of that stuff can be really funny!), or maybe you have a lot more invested and you do it as a full time profession? You might be a wedding videographer or you focus primarily on corporate videos. You may actually work in television as an editor or promo producer (someone who creates "trailers" or "ads" for TV shows and movies). Whatever it is, you are probably going to get a kick out of this plugin pack I am about to show you. 

There is a company out of Sydney, Australia called LightLeakLove that specifically focus on creating high end visual additives for your video edits. They are a niche within a niche actually, focusing only on 'Light Leaks'. 

What are light leaks you ask? Well according to LightLeakLove.com they are the flares of light that you can overlay onto your footage to give it a different and unique look. They are great for creating vintage looks and are especially good for music videos or sports videos where you are looking to add a bit of energy to your video edit.

Light Leaks for Final Cut Pro X

LightLeakLove have recently released a new collection of light leaks created from the ground up for Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) called "Transition Love". They are described by LightLeakLove as 31 light leak transitions that can be used from within the FCPX program natively. This means that once you install the plugin pack (a simple drag and drop procedure) you can access the light leaks from the Transitions Browser within Final Cut Pro, and can change the multiple parameters on offer from within the Transition Inspector window. This is where the appeal of this package really appears. 

The clever people at LightLeakLove have given you the power to change the Blend Mode, opacity, saturation, hue, brightness and placement of each light leak as well as add a coloured tint of varying degrees. All of this allows you to manipulate each transition to perfectly match your video project.

Another thing that LightLeakLove seem to have done well with this release is to have given away a free collection called "Transition Love Lite". This collection allows you to try out Transition Love and see whether you like it. Think of it as a try-before-you-buy.

LightLeakLove also have a blog called Keyframe Corner where they post relevant articles to the video editing niche. It's a cool blog, and some of their posts are really quite detailed. Take their latest post for example. They have done a roundup article of the 50 best free plugins for Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) allowing video editors to add a massive amount of freebies to their toolkits. 

The Transition Love collection is fantastic value for money at $29.95 for 31 light leak transitions and the free collection is really great value, being that it is free! Head over to LightLeakLove.com to check them both out today.


Read More

HUD Technology: The Future of Motorcycle Helmets

This is not for the motorcyclists who refuse to wear motorcycle helmets although what you see here may change your mind. For the rest of you, the future looks bright, as the world of technology has suddenly discovered that the motorcycle helmet is a promising area to which new and wonderful features can be applied.

One of these recent innovations is the heads up display or HUD, which has long been used in aviation. This would allow riders to see all of the information that they need right in front of them like the speedometer, GPS or even the forecast, without having to take their eyes off the road. A fighter pilot for example has many things to think about inside the cockpit as well as outside of the aircraft. A biker doesn’t have quite so much in the way of instruments to worry about and mainly has to concentrate on the road. There is nevertheless information that can be useful and can best be provided by means of a heads up display. While this might seem futuristic, there are already a few companies like Skully making these helmets. In fact, it probably won’t be too long before the helmets that motorcyclists think are cool today will seem like old vintage head gear.

With this new source of information tucked away in your helmet, you become privy to the types of information that up to now were only readily available to the driver of a car. You’ll be able to get the latest local weather information or the latest forecast for your destination. You will now have access to maps and other navigation features so you no longer have to pull over and use your phone. You can even make reservations while motoring along. You’ve suddenly become part biker, part fighter pilot, and part Robocop. Your powers lie in your helmet.

HUDs are in the process of being developed and marketed for motorcycle helmets, goggles, and windshields. Having such a display as an integral part of the helmet would seem to make the most sense. On goggles, the information could prove distracting, while displays the windshield might have a tendency to allow a biker’s eyes to stray from the road. Anything that would prove to be a distraction could be just as dangerous to a biker as an attempt to text message would be.

So is HUD in a motorcycle helmet safe or a distraction? That’s a good question. The answer lies in the basic definition of this technology. The objective is to provide a transparent display that a user can see without having to look away from what they are supposed to be looking at, the road. You can be looking at a map, a weather forecast, or a virtual speedometer and still see the deer up ahead that’s trying to decide if it can get across the road before you hit it. While you may think that what you would see on the display is right in front of your face, which in a sense it is, the images are usually focused 25 to 30 feet out in front of you so your eyes will naturally be focused on the road.

There are several brands and models coming on to the market. While the technology is advanced, it’s been around for quite some time, so you shouldn’t worry about being the first kid on the block to have a helmet with a HUD feature and having to deal with bugs that usually come with new technology. It is actually not that far off from being the standard technology in every motorcycle helmet on the road.

Read More

Will There Be An iPhone 6 Jailbreak?

Hi guys.

I was racking my brain for a topic to talk about and I came across an article discussing if the iPhone 6 would be able to be jailbroken when it is released. It actually raises some very interesting points about jailbreaking the iPhone and I want to take a closer look and also show you some reasons as to why I believe an iPhone 6 jailbreak will be available.

The Community Demands It

We have precious few details about the iPhone 6 at the minute. Call me a skeptic but I have been discussing technology online for a while now and I simply don’t buy into the leaked photos that inevitably come with every new tech release.

Now, there are some leaked images of a supposed iPhone 6 online but I’m not sure if they are real. Only authentic information from Apple is worth believing in these cases. However, the iPhone jailbreaking community is huge. I mean, thousands of people jailbreak their iPhone’s every year and this is why there will be an iPhone 6 jailbreak available from a specialized online jailbreaker. There is such a demand from the jailbreaking community for a jailbreak to be released for the iPhone 6 that it is difficult to see how there wouldn’t be one.

Every Other Model Has A Jailbreak

As expected the iPhone 6 is going to come with enhanced security features and the iOS will be harder to jailbreak than ever. Apple themselves are obviously well aware of jailbreaking and they do take steps to try and prevent it from happening. However they are also smart business people and they know that some people do buy the iPhone for the sole intention of using the enhanced features that comes with a jailbreak.

So security will be beefed up for the iPhone 6 however it can still be exploited. After all, Apple need to at least try to show that they are tackling people hacking their iOS even if they do turn a bit of a blind eye to it.

How Long With A Jailbreak Take?

When the iPhone 6 is released with a slightly revamped iOS then it is predicted that a jailbreak is going to be made available right away.

I firmly believe that this is going to happen. I mean, whenever the previous versions of the iPhone device have hit the shelves a jailbreak has followed suit almost right away and I can’t honestly see why this will be any different this year. There is talk that the iPhone 6 will be on sale as soon as September while others are predicting that it could be well into the fourth quarter before it is available to consumers.

Either way one thing is for sure: a jailbreak is going to be made available for the iPhone 6 sooner or later. I certainly hope it is a case that it is released sooner because I use a jailbroken iPhone 5s myself and I know just how good it makes the device.

Anyway, I hope this has been informative for you. I’ll update again soon.

Read More

The Real Method Behind iPhone Unlocking

I always like to update you guys with the ideas and methods behind the technology that we use and today I want to focus on iPhone unlocking.

This is hardly anything new. People have been unlocking their iPhone for a few years now by using a dedicated service to do so however do you know what it actually entails? I thought it would be pretty cool to actually look at how these services complete the unlock and what they do to achieve it.

The Bad Unlocking Methods

I thought it would be beneficial to talk about the incorrect ways to try and unlock the iPhone. I have been talking to some of the leading figures in the industry that dedicate their time to unlocking the device and they say that software and hardware unlocking are two big no no’s as far as the process is concerned.

For a start software unlocking just doesn’t work and nor will it every work and hardware unlocking is incredibly time consuming, difficult and with no guarantee that it will unlock your iPhone. Indeed, you also void your warranty when unlocking with hardware. It involves inserting a new SIM Card tray to the device that needs to be sourced from eBay and it isn’t something either myself or unlocking experts every recommend that you do.

The Good Unlocking Method

So now onto the whole purpose of my post. If you are interested in an iPhone unlock then you will want to know what actually happens to the device and how a service like Lord of Unlocks works.

I’ll try and keep this as simple as possible. Essentially your iPhone becomes unlocked whenever a service such as the one above adds the unique code of your device to the global database that Apple holds. This database is split into two parts; one has the numbers of iPhone’s that aren’t unlocked and can therefore only be used on certain networks and the other parts consists of numbers that are unlocked and can be used on any network that it has a signal for and a corresponding SIM card.

Each iPhone has a unique code known as an IMEI code hence why you will often see this method referred to as an IMEI unlock. This whole process can be completed in less than a day, is cheap and doesn’t interfere with the warranty for your device.

iPhone Unlocking

So really the only method that works consistently is the IMEI unlock. I have tried to keep this as simple as possible because I know from past comments on this site that me going into too much detail and technical knowledge is a problem so hopefully you have grasped the basics here of what an unlock entails.

It is actually quite a straightforward process for services that offer this method. For the user especially it can be very beneficial to how they use their device.

I will be back with some more updates soon because there is going to be a barrage of tech news coming out in the second half of 2014.

Read More

The Best Cool and Fun Outdoor Team Games

Team building is an important exercise but it is one that many companies are not very good at doing. All too often, business owners focus on team building exercises such as building bridges, playing trust games, or attending seminars and listening to motivational speakers, instead of doing more dynamic and exciting activities. This creates a situation where people are reluctant to take part in the activities because they feel that they are boring or a waste of time.

One of the best ways to get people on-board with team building exercises is to take them outdoors. Instead of keeping people cooped up in their offices, let them get outside, enjoy some fresh air, and have some fun. This tactic works well for both busy executives and jaded young people. Even teenagers, who normally resist the idea of any activity that does not involve a computer or an iPad, often find that once they are thrust into something exciting outdoors they quickly forget that they are no longer “plugged in” or within range of a wifi connection.

One of the best outdoor team building games is the humble obstacle course. There are many companies, such as Go Ape, that offer outdoor obstacle courses that are exciting enough to impress sporty adults but still safe and simple enough that even beginners and people who are not particularly fit or flexible can enjoy them. These courses include all of the elements you would expect – such as rope bridges and ladders, tree climbs, slides, net obstacles and zip lines, but they are put together in a safe way. The team building element comes from racing, collaborative obstacles, trust challenges, and the fun of getting outside with people and seeing them in a more relaxed environment.

If you want something with a more high-tech twist, why not consider geocaching. The concept of geocaching is relatively new but it has been gaining a lot of popularity of late. Geocachers hide prizes in out-of-the-way locations and leave clues on geocaching websites. People use their GPS systems to hunt for the caches, and if they find the “buried treasure” then it is theirs to keep. In the wider geocaching community, the etiquette is that if you find a cache and take something from it, you must leave a prize in return. Some more sophisticated geocaching games leave clues behind, and people must solve the puzzles to find the prize. This geocaching concept lends itself to team building quite well, because it means that everyone on your team has a chance to contribute to finding the buried treasure.

If you are planning a team building weekend, why not head out to a camp site and try several outdoor games. Geocaching is a great way for adults and older teens to fill an afternoon, but smaller team-building games such as “mine fields” can be a fun exercise too. In mine fields, one team member is assigned the task of directing the others while they walk, blindfolded, across a course filled with obstacles. The first team to get all of their blindfolded team members to the end of the course unscathed wins.

Another fun twist on the blindfolded theme is to use AR drones, but have the person controlling the drone be blindfolded. Choose a drone that is easy to control and travels fairly slowly, and have the drone fly a simple slalom course. Have one person be given the job of calling the direction that the drone should go, while the person with the controls has to make corrections based on their feedback. Test the drone before you do this, though! Some drones are quite twitchy and this exercise is not fun if people lose control of the drone before the first cone or pole every time.

Team building exercises serve several purposes. They teach trust and communication and they help people to loosen up and get to know each other better. It helps if the exercises are fun and relaxed. Some youth group leaders opt for exercises in which “everyone is a winner” so that no one is upset or feels under pressure. Whether you want to use this philosophy in an office environment is up to you. Executives tend to respond to different forms of motivation to younger children.

No matter what your target audience, you can modify team building exercises from the Scout handbook or other youth centric publications to suit your retreat or training weekend. In many cases, simply giving people the chance to get out of the office for a while will go down a treat, and your team will be stronger just for spending some fun time together. Any skills that they pick up from the games that you play or the courses that you run are just a bonus.

Read More

Geeking Out While Searching for the Best Flat Iron

It was time to buy my girlfriend a birthday gift and, being the techy geek I am, I decided to try and find the most technologically advanced, geekiest thing I could find. The catch though, was that I wanted to get her something that she wanted and would actually use. I did some research online and found some comparison charts (like this one on the best flat iron at Total Hair Beauty) which helped with some general info. I wasn’t satisfied though. I wanted to give her a gift that was on the cutting edge of the hairstyling world (my girlfriend is in cosmetology school, so I knew something like this would be useful).

With all of the exciting new looks in the world of fashion and hair design, it’s extremely convenient and exciting to be able to create wonderful new looks in the comfort of your own home or bedroom.

Although it’s not always creating a new hairstyle by yourself, you can always do it with a friend. This way the two of you can help each other, and there are several new hair tools you can try that are currently new to the market.

New Hair Styling Tools:

These new models offer new and advanced technology and design features that weren’t available a few short years ago, and they make creating new hairstyles exciting, fun, and safe. In order to decide which is the best new hair modeling and sculpturing tool for you, check out the following models new to the market:

The Bombshell Reverse Cone from Sultra:

Sultra’s latest clipless curling iron allows you to create tighter curls at the root of your hair that cascades down into looser wavy curls toward the ends. The no-slip barrel holds your hair in place as you style your hair with a fresh new look.

The new technology prevents burning and singed strands, smoothes the cuticle, and locks in the look you desire. The universal voltage feature means that you can travel with your Sultra and use it wherever you’re destined. This model includes a felt matt and glove for additional safety and sells for about $130.00.

The CHI Touch Screen Hair Dryer and Styler:

This incredible dryer boasts an incredible 1850 watts of power and offers the most recent technology and a touch screen control panel. This exceptional hair dryer features three power settings, three temperature settings, and three ion settings. The innovative technology rehydrates your hair, eliminates issues of frizz, and nearly completely does away with static!

The look and feel of this model is second-to-none, with features such as a rubber finish and non-slip ergonomic design. This hair dryer is also extremely quiet and tames frizz like no other. This model sells for $200.00 and is worth every penny!

The Sarah Potempa Ceramic Iron:

This highly effective hairstyling tool was designed for use as a flat iron or as a wave-maker. Sarah Potempa includes a tutorial for making a mermaid wave in your hair and explains other hairstyles as well.

This ceramic iron features new technology and an emergency shutoff that activates after 45 minutes of no use. It also cools to the touch after sitting in a neutral position for a few minutes and heats up to your original setting as soon as it is picked up again for use. The Sarah Potempa Ceramic Iron sells for about $189.00.

Ion Hot-Rollers from Calista Tools:

These hot rollers are some of the best on the market currently, and actually take less time than using a typical curling iron where you have to let each curl set before moving on to the next.

After the rollers are removed from the charger, they remain heated for four minutes, allowing you to remove the first curler as you finish rolling the last. The Ion Hot-Rollers from Calista sell for about $99.00.

Silicone Styler Flat-Iron from KISS:

This flat iron hair styling tool offers impressive technology and is an exceptional bargain. Two silicone bars are embedded on opposing ceramic plates to condition your strands of hair and prevent damage. The silicone guides your hair effortlessly through the tool and provides extra control, which significantly reduces wrist stress.

The tourmaline technology emits negative ions into your hair for a healthier and shinier finish. The KISS Silicone Styler Flat-Iron is a bargain at $39.99.

So call your friends and create new hairstyles together using any one of the styling tools listed above.

 

Read More

Best Ways To Watch TV online

Since most of the media streamers have become so famous within the last couple of years, the multi-million dollar question often comes up: Which streaming video service provides the best value for your money? To put the question to rest, we will look at three of the best media streaming companies and make a comparison of their content.

The truth is that it is not a requirement for cable cutters to subscribe to one of these media streaming companies and watch TV online. Once you have understood all the great content that these service providers give, it becomes hard for you to live without one or even more.

The information will help distinguish some of the differences that exist between these media streaming providers and hence fasten the process of deciding on which one to go for. Without further ado, here is a sneak peak of these media streaming giants:

First, there is Netflix. This company has the advantage of delivering DVD’s into your stone mailbox, and has been king within the media streaming jungle for many years now. It is arguably the most resilient content library than any other media streaming service out there.
Even though, they prefer to select feature movies, their collection of a number of Television shows is growing and improving constantly. In fact, it offers one of the most successful productions that include the House of Cards and the Orange Is the New Black.

With just $ 7.99 every month, you can obtain Netflix’s streaming services, as well as find the best options of getting physical DVD’s sent to one of your mailboxes one at a time for the same price.

Secondly, there is the Amazon Prime Instant Video. This platform rides on Amazon’s great reputation whose origin is an online store and Kindle platform. The truth is that they have a wide selection of content and a great interface. During the previous years, their content may have lacked somehow, but Amazon stepped in to double the number of shows and movies.

The Amazon Prime Instant Video comes about as part of Amazon’s Prime Bundle that goes for $ 7.99 every month. Just in case you make an order for many things on Amazon, you will get the best bargain. In addition to the media streaming services, you will be provided with a free two-day shipping in all the orders with Amazon.

Finally, Satellite Direct TV wraps up the list. Since the inception of this platform a few years ago, it is possible to watch over 3,500 TV channels on the internet. Once you download the Satellite Direct software, you will be ready to enjoy more than 3,500 channels from all over the world, and have 24 hours unlimited and instant access. The channel list even includes some pay-per-view and sports channels for free. The point is that if you use this great service, you will be called upon to pay a one-time fee, which is less than the monthly cable bill.

That said, Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video are by far the best choices if you love watching movies. However, there is quite an overlap in content when it comes to Amazon and Netflix. Therefore, it is best than you subscribe to one of these instead of both of them.

Read More

5 Cool Gifts Your Mom Will Love (Especially After A Medical Surgery)

My mom recently had to undergo a  surgery to fix her pelvic organ prolapse issue (you can read her insights on the transvaginal mesh implant at transvaginalmeshguide.com), so I wanted to get her something cool. I made a short list of the recent cool stuff I bought for myself and decided the SCOTTeVEST for women would be the best choice for her as she loves the outdoors and this is perfect for active people and very usefully at the same time.

If you have a gadget-loving mom, then you already know how interesting and fun it can be to buy gifts for her. If your mom already has all the latest and greatest, and you’re stuck for ideas of what to give her next, here’s a list of five really cool gifts she’ll be sure to love:

1. Chromebook Laptop by Samsung
If mom loves to surf the web, consider getting her a Chromebook Laptop. Starting at only $199, the Chromebook packs tons of great features inside its slim, stunning shell. The Chromebook integrates seamlessly with other wireless devices, such as a smartphone or tablet. It also updates itself automatically, so mom can save herself the hassle of maintaining the OS. Running on chrome OS, The Chromebook comes pre-installed with 100GB Google Drive storage, more than enough room for mom to store all of her photos, videos, and documents.

2. SCOTTeVEST Q.U.E.S.T. Vest
This slim-fitting, sporty vest is great for the mom on the move. It has 42 – yes, 42! – pockets, more than enough for mom to store all of her gadgets. Not only can it hold smaller items such as a smartphone or MP3 player, it can also store larger items like a bottle of water, or even an iPad. Its unique design allows for the storage of multiple items without any unwanted bulkiness. If your mom’s purse is overflowing with heavy electronics, she’ll love the option of storing her gadgets in this vest instead. The SCOTTeVEST Q.U.E.S.T. Vest is available in six colors: black, navy, beige, fog, and red. It retails for $150.

3. SureFire E2D LED Defender Flashlight
Small enough to fit in the palm of one’s hand, the surefire E2D LED Defender flashlight boasts incredible power in a sleek, slender body. But the best part about this flashlight? It doubles as a defensive weapon. At its highest output level, this flashlight is capable of emitting 500 lumens of white light, more than enough to temporarily blind an attacker in night-time conditions. If that isn’t enough, it also has what SureFire calls a Strike Bezel, designed to help mom fight off an aggressor if necessary.

4. Xero Shoes
The Xero Shoe, also referred to as a ‘barefoot sandal’, is perfect for the active mom who likes to combine modern style with classic comfort. Inspired by the sandals worn by the Tarahumara Indians, the Xero Shoe’s versatility and featherlight weight promises to take mom anywhere she wants to go, be it yoga class, a hike through the woods, or a day of water sports at the beach. Want to make this gift extra special? Get her a do-it-yourself Xero Shoe kit and let her have fun designing her own pair.

5. Buckwheat Pillow
The last item on our list isn’t a gadget per se, but any mom will love the therapeutic benefits and good night’s sleep that a buckwheat pillow provides. Used for centuries in many Asian countries, buckwheat pillows adjust to the contours of the head and neck, ensuring maximum comfort and support. If your mom frequently complains of shoulder or neck pain, this could be the perfect gift idea for her.

So if you’re wondering what to give to the mom who seemingly has it all (even a WordPress blog), consider one of the items on the above list. She’ll love not only the functionality of these gifts, but the innovation as well.

Read More

Green Technologies Transform Summer Swimming Pools into Eco-Friendly Environments

In our world today we have all become increasingly more concerned with the active conservation of all our natural resources. It has led our society to focus its efforts on being more eco-friendly in all of our actions. There is now an entire consumer culture and market based on the concept of going green which involves building or finding products and services that help each person reduce his or her carbon footprint. All early adopters are relatively aware of this trend, and many have made the choice to use technology products and software that is built upon the philosophy of being eco-friendly. With that being said, and in the spirit of summer, we will dedicate this post to energy efficient pool heaters that can help you and your family conserve energy while enjoying the lovely summer sun. If you currently own a swimming pool, and are seeking alternative more eco-friendly approaches to maintain and heat it, it is highly recommended that you research the various products available on the market. You can start transforming your pool into a go-green playground by researching various pool heater reviews online at this website. This will ultimately help you determine which green-friendly product not only functions the best, but is also the most cost-effective.

To begin, we will first discuss the various ways to heat your pool with solar-powered products and heating sources. Utilizing a solar heater is a great way to transform your swimming pool into an eco-friendly environment. Solar heaters function by using solar panels as a method of collecting heat from the sun to heat up your swimming pool. It is considered to be one of the most energy-efficient products on the market because it retains the ability to heat your swimming pool through the transfer of heat, not through the creation of heat. It is also important to note that it only requires a small amount of energy input because solar heaters primarily operate with your pool’s pump. As a 100% renewable energy source that emits zero pollution, solar heaters are considered to be the most essential component to make your pool eco-friendly and green-conscious.

Swimming pool owners also have the option of using a solar cover in combination with a solar heating mechanism. A solar cover helps improve the energy efficiency of your swimming pool by reducing the amount of heat lost. Please take note that 3/4th of the heat in your swimming pool is lost as a result of evaporation, and a solar cover can be used to act as a barrier between the environment’s air and your pool water. Ultimately it minimizes the amount of evaporation that occurs when your pool is not covered, and as a result, it significantly reduces the amount of heat wasted. It is advised that you use a solar cover when no one is occupying your swimming pool, like at night. Effective use of a solar cover will result in the following: roughly 1/5th of your swimming pools heat will be lost overnight, which is significantly lower than the losing more than half of its heat when you do not use any type of pool cover.

Read More

Smartphone Photography: Camera Technology Trends on the Rise

This year has been quite an exciting time for all things mobile with the integration of new features and technology into the latest smartphone devices. A photographer from Austin Texas who owns J. Bell Photography and specializes in both personal and professional photography, illustrated the following new innovations transpiring in camera technology: sensors, new software applications, increased focus on the enhancement of camera technology in all the latest smartphone devices on the market.

In this article we have included a list of the latest advancements in smartphone camera’s and how it is ultimately transforming the world of photography.

Bigger and Better Sensors

Since the smartphone first became a global sensation and a must-have device for the most all of consumers, we have witnessed an immense amount of people use these devices to take photographs instead of digital or high-end cameras. This is primarily due to the ease of accessibility. After all, our smartphone devices on our person throughout most of the day, making it easy to snap photos from our handheld mobile devices. As a result however, smartphone users had to endure a lack of quality and capability of photos taken from their devices. It was not until recently that our devices have begun to catch up in the camera technology department, and we are not witnessing a drastic transformation in the quality of smartphone camera’s hardware, and image-taking abilities. One of the greatest innovations rests in the integration of larger sensors into mobile devices, which ultimately results in the ability to capture higher-quality images.

Stabilized Optical Imaging

We are very familiar with optical image stabilization in digital cameras. It has been around for quite some time, and it has successfully granted photographers the ability to capture photos that are not blurry, but sharp and crisp at slow shutter speeds and fluid videos, by creating an image sensor or element of optics in the lens that prevents the camera from responding to shakiness. Just last year in 2013, a lot of the leading smartphone manufacturers have integrated it into its systems as a main feature. This feature is beneficial and ultimately useful because it helps by improving image quality in particular situations that require it.

Large Screens Make Room for More Pixels

Just last year a handful of the leading smartphone manufacturers released a series of devices with much larger screens than previous models. It was an exciting time for many smartphone enthusiasts because it meant that there would be more screen space for pixels! One of the first mainstream devices launched had a 5-inch screen, which lead it to receive overwhelming praise from so many consumers and early-adopters. Many people that I know have chosen to sell a tablet here and upgrade to the latest technologies for this reason.

Another blossoming trend is the release of smartphones with screens exceeding five-inches, which are also commonly called phablets. When phablet devices were first introduced to the market, many were skeptical over whether or not it would receive an adequate amount of demand from consumers. Surprisingly or not at all, phablets with their unusual dimensions generated a lot of consumer interest, and are showing no signs of slowing down in its new niche market.

Read More
content top