It’s me Morgan, your geeky tech expert and as always I’ll discuss all things technology (which sometimes bores my girlfriend.) Anyway, I want to talk about a technology exhibit I attended in New York City called Gadgets For The Body And Mind. This exhibit lasted a good three weeks but I only attended the first two weeks since I had to return to my video production project that I’m working on for a new client for my freelance business. I saw a lot of geeks there but a few were actually posers because when I discussed technology topics with them, they looked clueless. Here are some highlights of that exhibit.
I embrace certain conspiracy theories and when I saw a line of popular spy gadgets that law enforcement officials and regular people use to spy on people, I was not too happy. For example, I heard about this super small surveillance camera that can be drilled inside any home appliance or even implanted in your purse or suitcase. In addition to this, an attendant showed me a few GPS systems that look like pocket calculators that can be installed in or underneath cars. I visited a seminar within the exhibit that showcased computer programs that allowed someone to monitor all computer activity and I was really upset when I learned about the latest gadgets in cell phone surveillance. Continue reading “My Experience With A Technology Exhibit in New York” »
When I was in college I worked at the campus radio station and I had a blast there because I was given the late night classic rock show that was hosted by an older alumnus for a long time. I went in the stacks and found a lot of great classic rock albums from rare and established rock artists and it was during my time at the station that I developed a liking for all kinds of classic rock bands. Over the years I purchased albums from artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Moody Blues, The Doors and Fifth Dimension. Altogether I have about thirty albums in my basement and I’m always on the lookout for unreleased material from legendary artists online or at local record stores. Here are my top 5 music: Continue reading “My Top 5 Music Bands” »
Hey everyone! It’s Morgan and today, I would like to discuss digital modern pianos. I love music and what is even better, is making my own. I like to play with the piano keys, writing down lyrics, and simply expressing what I can create from the top of my head. This past weekend, I bought a digital piano from this local music store a few blocks away from me. My last one was pretty old, and I thought it was about time that I purchased a new one. When I first walked in the store, I noticed the wide variety and I could not take my eyes off any of the brand new, untouched digital and acoustic pianos.
Not a lot of people know the difference between a digital piano and an acoustic piano. Not unless they actually play piano or grew up in a house with them like I did. The traditional piano most people know is the acoustic piano. The acoustic piano creates sounds with hammers hitting the strings. It is called acoustic to separate itself from the digital and so people know how to differentiate while describing it.
A digital piano replicates the sound (and sometimes the feel) of an acoustic without the use of strings and hammers. Another difference between digital and acoustic is the digital piano comes with sample beats and sounds that the piano player can incorporate into their music at the touch of a button. Some digital pianos have the ability to record music.
Recently, I visited a website dedicated to digital pianos and I read the reviews on the home page. Many decent reviews on digital pianos expressed how much they loved the piano brands because the sound is clear and allow them to put their own recorded beats and sounds into them. It is also versatile in the fact that it can come with pedals and a stand like the acoustic piano, or it can come in the form of a simple keyboard.
Digital pianos are each made up of a keyboard with sensors, a sound bank, amplifiers, and microphone, speakers, and/or headphone jacks. Also, the quicker and harder I press the keys on my digital piano, the louder the sound it makes! Other sounds can be heard from these pianos and each key is weighted to give that “piano-y” feel. Each digital piano has a chip that goes with the sound and loudness of the keys when played.
There are many advantages and disadvantages when using a digital piano. The advantages are the portability of moving the piano from one place to another (very light), it can be played silently, doesn’t need to be tuned, comes with many sounds, records voices and sounds, and not a lot of maintenance is involved.
A couple of disadvantages should come to mind. The quality of the sound isn’t perfect; it will still sound “digital”. Also, there is limited sound that can be produced. Like any kind of technology, digital pianos may face bad speaker output, bad amplifiers, or poor key action. When I had my old digital piano, I had many issues with sound coming out of the speakers. At first I thought it was the speakers themselves, but I tested them out and they were good. One of the keys didn’t play as hard as it did when I first bought it.
Whichever you decide, be sure it is right for you. I love digital pianos and I still like to play acoustic. Everyone has their own preference. Just be sure to do the research before investing in an instrument that may not be up to your standards. And remember, ask questions and test the piano out before buying!
Hunting isn’t my favorite thing to do, but it is an activity I like to partake. Since the beginning, man had to learn how to protect and provide for their families. The hunter would find his target and get himself ready to aim and capture his prey. The same thing follows today. The art of bow hunting has a long, thorough history that many aren’t aware of. The difference is that these bows and arrows have improved through the miracles of 21st century technology.
I went on a hunting trip with a friend and his uncle last fall. It had been a while since I’ve been in the deep woods, looking for some deer or rabbit, and preparing myself to hit my target. When I went with my friend, his uncle gave us some advice about choosing the right tools to use. Additionally, there is so much strategy involved. Before going out and buying an arsenal, it is important to learn modern bow hunting and the importance of a good quality bow.
Luckily, the bows and arrows used today shoot further and deeper than the ones hand-crafted by the hunters thousands of years ago. These bows are not only harder to break, but they are pretty light weight. Carrying the bow isn’t a hassle when it comes to its weight. Knowledge and shooting dexterity is important if you want to get the perfect, precise hit.
Types of bows are the traditional longbow, recurve bow, and compound bow. The traditional bow is the most basic and it is straight until it is strung. Afterwards, it does curve. The recurve bow has more muscle to it; devices are generally not used with this bow. The compound bow has a lot of cables and pulleys and is the most commonly used bow these days. The wide variety of bows allows the hunter to figure out which one works for him.
The shafts of the arrow can be made from a myriad of materials. Traditional wood is still used to make these shafts. Other materials used are: fiberglass, carbon, aluminum, and an amalgamation of aluminum and carbon. The arrow heads, also called “points,” come in an array of colors, materials, shapes, and sizes. The hunter has to decide which material to use based on the situation. Broad heads are used to hunt large game, as well as smaller animals. There are varied blades used such as removable, fixed, and expandable.
I’ve applied many strategies to my hunting each time I would go. As a beginner, you have to start off in baby steps. Learn how to position the arrow (nocking), pull the arrow in the right spot (drawing), steady the body properly, and release the arrow. After learning these steps, judging distance should be understood through practice and sight skills. Understanding the land, learning the signs placed in areas, and knowing the kill is best.
Methods such as still, stalking, and glass are helpful to understand. Still is simply standing still or moving around after periods of time until you find the game. Glass is using a scope or binoculars before stalking the target. Stalking method, which is the one I usually use, is simply locating the game and positioning myself for that sweet shot. It doesn’t matter which one you use, be sure it makes you the most comfortable.
After the hunting trip with my friend and his uncle, I was able to kill two deer and later, took home some meat.If you are looking to improve your skills, practice these methods and see what works for you. It took me a long time to figure out what I felt suited me.
Some people like basketball; others like baseball. Personally, I like golf. It’s a great chance to be outdoors, spend time with friends, and I get to use a putter. Instead of mini-golf, I decided to go to a real golf course and spend time with a couple of guy friends. My intentions of going to this golf course were to practice my swing and work my personal best. I was a tad rusty since the last time I actually went. It was five years ago with some family members of mine. After some poor performance issues, I decided to get back into it full swing (pun intended).
For several weeks, I’ve been practicing and going to a laid-back golf instructor for some lessons. I have never taken real lessons before, and at first I was hesitant because none of my friends or family have gone to a professional for help. They had learned from their friends who played in high school and college. The instructor, who I will call “Matt,” taught me a few tips to work on my swing and strengthen my focus. Lord knows my focus has been pretty nonexistent with work and everything else. I figured golf would be a good release for me.
I wanted the perfect golf swing. I’ve heard of this universal perfection of the golf swing, but I just want to be able to follow the rules of golf while swinging the ball as far as I can without having to conform. Still, I thought going to a golf instructor would be a nice idea to get pointers. Because of Matt’s laid-back attitude and open-mindedness, I was able to learn that the best way to get that swing is through visualization. Visualization is picturing yourself doing something and doing that act successfully in your mind. Matt said that is what I had to do. So, every day, I’d picture myself making that hole in one. I pictured myself keeping my composure and making that ball go in the hole with minimal swings. I simply want to perform well.
Another tip Matt gave me was in order to produce desired results, I should get a distance measurement device. The device was a lifesaver. GPS, smartphone, and watch distance measurement devices are pretty helpful to work on the swing since it gauges measurements and conditions. These handheld devices definitely bettered my performance more than I expected.
Not too long ago, I went to the green with my friends to show how much I had improved. I left behind the doubt and negativity, and used my visualization techniques and practice to show off what I could do. They were amazed of how much I had improved since they last watched me. Before, I was pretty rusty, but now that I learned what I could accomplish, that rustiness disappeared! I urge those beginners who want to take up golf as well as golf enthusiasts to take the time to do what I have done to improve my swing.
Hey guys, it’s Morgan, better known as KnitWit to some of you. In case you didn’t know, I love hobbies. I like doing yo-yo tricks to impress neighborhood kids and their parents. I also enjoy folding sheets of paper to make a bird or a miniature kite. Aside from yo-yos and origami, what I really like to do is longboarding. What is longboarding you might ask? Longboarding is riding a longboard, which is similar to its skateboard counterpart. Compared to the skateboard, the longboard is more stable, has more traction, and more sturdy. I’ve seen a lot of these longboard users at the local park and liked seeing the twists and turns performed. I wondered if I could do that since I was once someone who was into roller blading and skateboarding. Plus, it is another hobby I could put on my bucket list. I was ready to roll (Okay—bad pun)!
I visited a website dedicated to teaching beginners about how to buy a longboard kit and how to ride one. I knew it was a good place to start researching about longboards. I wanted to get a longboard that I could use on the street, so I looked into the kinds that were used for that type of environment. I looked into wheels, bearings, and trucks to make sure I can get the sturdiness that I needed. Smaller wheels are better to speed on, but bigger wheels makes going over pebbles easier.
Bones and Sector 9 are reputable brands for bearings and seem to have positive reviews. If I want the wheels to move swiftly, then I need to buy them ASAP. The T-shaped connectors between the wheels and board are the trucks, so I wanted to make sure they were the right ones for my board. There are lots of longboard brands such as Arbor, Globe, and Madrid. Punked Decks looked like a suitable brand, so I purchased one of their 30” board kits.
I tested the board after it was put together. Braking, carving (snake-like curving while learning left and right), and pumping are some techniques beginners should learn before trying out any tricks. After practicing for a bit, I started to get a hang of the longboard. I was ready to try out a trick or two.
The first trick I learned with my new longboard is slaloming. Slaloming is weaving in and out of obstacles with a set of cones or on sidewalks. You can build a lot of momentum without needing to use your foot. After watching a couple of videos, I finally got it down. Before doing this trick, a beginner should work on their pumping (keeping speed without needing to keep pushing with a foot). Other tricks include kick flipping and the Ollie. It took about a week or two to really get it down, but after learning from the other longboarders and watching them closely, I was able to do a kick flip. Success is mine!
Some tips you should follow? Use a board that works for you, not just because someone recommended the type. Don’t be afraid to ask longboard experts questions if you have any. Think about the environment—are you riding in the city streets or on hills? Last, but not least, see if any of your friends are interested in riding. I started making new friends ever since I began, and now I practice tricks with them. If you are as interested in longboarding as I am, be sure to have fun!
So, I was feeling out of shape lately since I have been busy with work. I live in New York City and that should be enough to tell you what it is like living there. Everything is fast-paced with the morning rush, crowds, and tourists trying to get from one notable NYC site to the next. Another thing about New York City is the food. Pizza, hot dogs, and other delectable dishes are easy to get and with the bodegas, there is plenty of junk food to snack on. Anyway, back to feeling out of shape. I figured that I should do something about it. I don’t want to go to the gym, especially since I don’t want to shell out money each month. I heard about a product that can help me exercise and burn the excess fat. So, I hit the sports store and found a piece of equipment that caught my eye.
I saw the power rack and figured, “Eh, why not?” After receiving and putting it together, I wanted to try out some exercises I saw when reading a couple of men’s fitness magazines. I didn’t just want to drop weight; I wanted to add a few pounds of muscles to my frame. Ladies would like to see KnitWit with some bulging biceps and appearing “yoked”. This simple piece of kit for full body workout blew my mind when I started to exercise six times a week, for three months.
At first, I was having trouble getting into it. I’m not used to using a power rack, but after watching a few weightlifting videos online, I became determined to build my dream physique. First, I did the power rack squats. These squats beef up the quads and strengthen the hamstrings and glutes (yes, my butt muscles). First, I put the bar hooks a bit lower than shoulder length. Next, I set the safety bars to a position that would help me squat at a depth of my choice. With my feet shoulder-width apart, I let the barbell sit on my shoulders. It was a struggle at first to bend my knees and make my thighs go parallel as I went towards the ground. Luckily, I had a friend who has experience with weightlifting to spot me. I do four sets of 8 repetitions with a minute to rest in between.
The second exercise I love doing is the power rack bench press. This exercise builds mass on your chest and triceps while working the abdominals. I simply set the bar to the height I want, lift the bar carefully, and press the weight off my chest. Again, my friend was making sure it was done safely. I do about 4 sets of 6-8 reps with 3 minutes in between.
Some other exercises that I learned were shoulder presses, dips (for chest and triceps), and partial curls for my biceps. I did these exercises and after the first month, I noticed how easy it was to twist a jar of pickles! Okay, I’ve never had problems opening a jar, but all kidding aside, I did notice how easy it was to pick up boxes and carry groceries in a single trip. If you are looking for a piece of equipment to use for workouts, definitely buy the power rack. All I know is the power rack was a great investment for my overall wellbeing.
You know how you just tend to put on a few pounds during the colder months? Well, it’s definitely warmer outside now, but I was still having a hard time shedding that winter fat until just recently. Even my girlfriend was starting to comment about it and bug me to do something, so I went looking for a quick way to get rid of those extra pounds. I got a lot more than I bargained for in the process.
I had taken some self-defense classes in the past, but that really was in the past – many years ago, when I was still just a little guy. The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu program I enrolled in turned out to be more than just a self-defense class though. The experience was a highly positive one and that’s why I feel the need to share it with you here. Not only did I get rid of that extra weight, but I got into better shape than I’ve been in for years thanks to that Jiu Jitsu.
I’m breathing easier, I have more energy and my girlfriend and I both notice that I’m generally in a better mood since I started my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu program. I’ve read up on the positive effects of exercise on the body and mind, and it seems like I’m just enjoying the benefits which come naturally with getting up and getting active. At this point, I couldn’t really imagine going back to a lifestyle that didn’t involve some kind of physical fitness regimen.
As for the class itself, I’ve learned a lot already. It started off somewhat slow, but it’s not like you can just jump into some new fighting style and immediately be proficient at it, right? I went down several times in my first couple weeks, but I’m definitely better now than I was then. I’ve learned how to read people in a sense, looking at their body language to tell which way they’re going to move, or which arm or leg they’re going to swing or kick with, and then react accordingly.
I’ve got to admit, it does feel kind of nice having this knowledge about ways to hurt people who might attack me. There’s a certain peace of mind that accompanies being able to handle yourself in a fight. It’s a good feeling, and if that was all I got from my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class, I would still be happy with the experience.
The world is a dangerous place, you know? You never know what somebody’s going to say or do and it’s best to be prepared for a fight or flight situation so you don’t end up being just another victim. Thankfully, I haven’t had to use anything I’ve learned outside of class, but again, it’s better to be prepared rather than defenseless in the off chance that something bad does happen. I know, I probably sound like a Boy Scout right here, but they do teach a few solid lessons.
Hey guys, it’s me Morgan and in this blog I’ll talk about my trip to my uncle’s house in Colorado. Nowadays his favorite place to visit is the local marijuana retailers and now that marijuana is legal in this state, he buys quite a bit of it. Since I know that marijuana prices would rise as the demand gets higher for it, I suggested that my uncle grow his own marijuana indoors so he can save money on the herb but then he told me, “I have a busy job and I just don’t have much time. You need grow lights to grow marijuana indoors and I’m not always able to buy a lot of grow lights and other necessary supplies. This is why I buy it instead.”
I think it’s a good thing that marijuana is now legal in Colorado because the state’s residents no longer have to be criminalized for buying and growing marijuana; they can have better access to the marijuana and for many people this means an improvement in health conditions. For example, my uncle’s twin sons have epilepsy and when they use marijuana they notice a decrease in the epileptic seizures and headaches. My uncle struggles with multiple sclerosis and when the pain gets the best of him, he gets relief from marijuana.
My uncle has this quirky neighbor who lives across the street and we visited the neighbor’s indoor growing room. The neighbor showed me an old indoor growing guide he had from a few years ago and he served tuna sandwiches to my uncle and I as we discussed tips on growing marijuana in a grow room. The neighbor told my uncle that the temperature of the grow room shouldn’t be too hot or cold and that a fan should placed in the grow room to cool the plants as they grow. My uncle also talked about how all the grow rooms he visited recently contained LED grow lights and how those lights that are energy efficient.
My uncle mentioned to me while in Colorado that thanks to the recent legalization of marijuana in the state, it allowed for more people to become small business owners. He said that prior to the legalization, the town he lived in was filled with petty crimes that involved marijuana but now they can earn a living for themselves with what they enjoy. I agree and this could be the start of a new kind of economy in Colorado and posibly the rest of the country.
I enjoyed myself in Colorado with my uncle and as I checked out the marijuana shops and indoor grow rooms, I’m amazed at how far we’ve come over the past thirty or more years. I’m not ready to start my own grow room yet but at least I’ll have the knowledge I learned here to get started when that time comes.
Photo Credit: Don Graham