Most Computer Projects are Built on Caffeine and Broken Dreams

broken-dreamsAs a computer programmer, I can tell you that there are two things that lay down the foundation for all major computer projects.

Caffeine and broken dreams.

Any program that has been in the business for any amount of time will tell you the exact same thing.

Sure, programming takes a lot of insider knowledge, experience, and a bit of understanding as to how computers communicate with one another and what code will and will not do. But don’t let anyone trick you into thinking that there’s anything more important to programming then caffeine and broken dreams.

How broken dreams led me to computer programming in the first place

When I first got into computer programming, it wasn’t because I had dreams of creating the “next big thing” that would change the face of technology forever.

Heck, I didn’t even want to have to learn how to code!

In fact, I had always had aspirations of becoming a big-time finance guru, some businessman sitting up in an office somewhere delegating tasks and making wheelbarrows full of money before lunchtime.

But that career trajectory changed when I finally got fed up and frustrated with a program that I was using, program that was supposed to behave a certain way and just flat out refused to.

I tried absolutely everything I could to get that program to behave the way I wanted it to, but it fought me every single step of the way. I thought about how if it would only do one thing differently, the entire program would be a completely set of tools that everyone could take advantage of – and then I thought, why don’t I make that change?

Well, I learned how to code and made the change and released the program to the world at large – and it promptly fell flat on its face. Apparently, not everyone was as excited or as enthused as I was about the fix I had made.

That broken dream push me deeper and deeper into the world of programming and then I could have ever imagined, and made me want to fix real problems that people all over the world are dealing with – problems that only programming could solve!

Bad coffee is still coffee…which means it’s good coffee!

Caffeine (usually in the form of the nastiest, sludgiest, blackest coffee you’ve ever seen) is the only way that I can get through major programming projects.

Without high quality caffeine pumped directly into my system on a half hour basis, I’d never be able to slam through the sheer volume of code I need to if I have any plans of getting a project in under a deadline. For that reason I have one of the best coffee makers, a Keurig K75, you can see some reviews here.

I’ve tried just about everything else imaginable to get this kind of stuff done without having to result to that black liquid goddess, but time after time everything else falls well short while she keeps bringing the “good stuff” night in and night out.

I prefer mine just as jet black as it gets, but if you decide to full around with a little bit of cream and an even smaller amount of sugar nobody would begrudge you.

But if your backs against the wall on a project, reach for a familiar cup of Joe and see what miracles you can pull off.

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How computer programming can kill you – and what I do to prevent that

computer-programmerAs a computer programmer, I have a little bit of a tendency to look at the “tiny little details” of things probably much more than I should.

When I’m working on a project that’s not such a bad thing, as I’m able to fly through chunks and chunks of code without missing a beat and correcting almost all of the errors and issues on just a couple of passes.

When I’m researching things about how to improve my health, or whether or not my job as a computer programmer is killing me, it’s not so handy. I usually up as a researching absolutely everything and become a borderline hypochondriac and start to freak out about implementing new habits and routines to protect myself and improve my health.

Because, believe it or not, becoming a computer programmer can actually kill you – and it’s entirely your own fault.

Sitting down can be just as bad as smoking

People (including me) were understandably shocked, upset, and at the same time absolutely blown away when the recent research published by number of leading universities stated that sitting down for extended periods of time each and every day can be at least as dangerous to our long term health as smoking multiple packs of cigarettes every week.

Think about that for a second.

Sitting down on your hind end for hours and hours at a stretch (you know, maybe like, when you’re writing code or something?) can be WORSE for your body and your long term health then sucking down a box of cancer sticks every couple of days.

But it’s true.

“You sit that close to the screen and you’ll burn your eyes out”

And as if that wasn’t enough to completely freak you out (and it probably should be), your mother or grandmother may have been right when they told you that sitting that close to a screen is going to burn your eyes out.

Now, your eyes probably aren’t going to start leaking out of your head like that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark – but you never know.

What we do know is that long-term exposure to computer monitors, computer screens, and other modern devices can do some very real and serious damage to our eyesight.

There are a couple of different things we can do to make sure that we manage and mitigate these issues as computer programmers without throwing our computer out the window and sticking to typewriters.

Here’s what my daily routine looks like now

Now I spent a couple of hours in front of a computer screen programming away, but I break those hours into major project chunks (say an hour or so of work) followed by a quick hike.

Whether that means I pile into my car and head out onto a trail with my brand-new hiking boots (which I picked up online and absolutely love thanks to their strength, durability, and all around comfort) or just strap those bad boys to my feet and head out on an adventure in the neighbourhood makes little difference – it’s getting up and moving around instead of planting my rear on a seat that’s important.

On top of that, I’ve learned to use a couple of eyesight exercises that I picked up online to make sure that I don’t fry my eyeballs out while working.

So far, so good!

I’d encourage you to try at least both of these different tactics out if you are a computer programmer, and especially tell you that you need to spend some time hiking out in nature. Grab yourself a great pair of boots (you can find reviews online) and get lost for a little while – you’ll come back to each project with more energy than you could believe and you’ll be saving your life in the process!

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How I Use DJ Software to Play at Parties

dj-softwareAs a computer programmer, a lot of people naturally assume I’m an introvert. Of course, this is often the case with people in my profession. At times, it can really pay to have the ability to focus solely on the job at hand and not get distracted by the outside world. But the truth is that I’m actually a DJ who uses software and my laptop to play at parties all over my city.

iTunes

I got started DJing at my own party. It just seemed like a natural solution to the dilemma that I needed someone to stay in charge of the music. So I hooked my Apple laptop up to some JBL speakers and simply played music through my iTunes.

It became my entry point into DJing when people would approach me about playing their favorite songs. If I didn’t already own it, I had to go on YouTube to find their tunes. After all, it was my party and I wanted to keep the guests happy.

Toward the end of the night, I was actually really enjoying myself. In fact, maybe I am a bit of introvert after all, because I began enjoying the time behind my computer more than being in front of my guests.

Mixcraft 6 Home Studio

After that first experience, I began looking into software I could download that would give me a better handle on the actual production of the music at my parties. There are a lot of options out there, let me tell you. To help find the best dj software check out this guide.

Fortunately, I found Mixcraft 6 Home Studio. This piece of software had enough positive reviews that I felt I could trust its quality. At the same time, the price tag was only like $30, so worst case scenario, I wouldn’t be breaking the bank.

Mixcraft is great because it allows you to play any songs you like, just like through iTunes. However, you can do different things to mess with their tempo, the bass, etc., just like a real DJ would.

You can also record your own tracks as Mixcraft will store up to 16 of them at once. So for that first party, I made six of my own. With over 2,000 loops and effects to choose from, it became pretty easy to customize any track I wanted too.

Fruityloops

Now that I’m a little more experienced with DJing and making music, I spend a lot more time working with a software called Fruityloops. It may sound like a funny name, but this is the same software that professional DJs use all over the world. Plus, it’s been around for well over a decade.

With Fruityloops, you can build any track you want from the ground up. Furthermore, there is countless software out there that works in tandem with it, so you never run out of options in terms of sound.

I have to say that my experience as a computer programmer makes it easier to learn a lot of these softwares, but they’re also made to be user-friendly. So if you want to DJ too, I’d just follow the path I laid out for you here. Be patient and you’ll see results.

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My OGIO Renegade RSS 17 Laptop Backpack Review

Ogio-Renegade-RSS-Laptop-BackpackThe Ogio Renegade RSS 17 backpack is a really great bag, made out of polyester material and a nice smart black color. The 17 inch version not only supports some pretty large laptops but can also squeeze in a hell of a lot of other stuff too.

It isn’t just a black hole for all your belongings though, a lot of thought has gone into the design which means that there is nice place to store all of your gadgets with easy access. For example there is even a little pocket on the strap of the backpack which is big enough to store a mobile phone. In fact I tested an iPhone and it fits perfectly in here, it is a pretty safe place too as thieves will not expect there to be a pocket here.

Other pockets include the side pockets which are perfect for small accessories such as chargers and leads for your gadgets. There is also two pockets which are good for storing water bottles but they also zip up meaning you can store other items in there as well. The front pocket is great for other small items such as pens, passport, money, USB flash drives, earphones and even a small notebook.

There is then another large but thin pocket in front of the main compartment which is great for larger items like iPads / tablets, larger notepads, documents and even a keyboard. The main compartment of course has enough room for everything else such as books, clothes or even other gadgets if you like, though bear in mind they won’t have as much protection as the laptop compartment.

Even with all of your gear inside it is pretty comfortable to wear, it has good weight distribution and comfortable straps. Though of course like any bag if you pack too much in and walk for a long time you will start to feel the weight on your shoulders. In fact before purchasing the Ogio Renegade RSS, comfort was one my key considerations since I am a frequent traveler but after reading the review here I was satisfied this laptop backpack would meet my needs.

This bag is very well made with the highest quality materials as you would expect since it isn’t particularly cheap to buy. If you have used any Ogio gear before you will know that you are buying the best and it will last a very long time, and if anything goes wrong there is a very generous warranty. Ogio have great belief in their workmanship so are prepared to put the money where their mouth is and offer long warranties on their products.

Overall if you are truly serious about protecting your laptop and storing all of your gadgets and accessories whilst on the move you can’t go wrong with this backpack. This bag has a great combination of fantastic design, first class build quality and comfort. Sure it isn’t the cheapest bag out there but if you have the money to spend and want the very best then the Ogio Renegade RSS 17 comes highly recommended.

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Kodak to Sell Most of its Consumer Printing Business

color photosThe once dominant and worldwide photography firm Kodak hopes to sell most of its consumer and document imaging businesses that made it so famous many years ago. The company is desperately trying to emerge from bankruptcy and needs to raise as much as $700million in order to pay off its creditors.

Kodak hoped that its patent sale would cover the figure however this has not materialised which has led to it sacrificing the consumer part of its business. This will be a sad thing to see but is all too common in the declining consumer printing industry. The emergence of social networks such as Facebook has led to more and more people sharing their photos online rather than utilising firms such as Kodak to print them off.

These sales would mean big changes for Kodak with much less focus on consumer and retail and more attention to commercial printing. Kodak believes the commercial printing industry is strong and by investing more in this area they can emerge from bankruptcy.

Chief Executive Antonio Perez will not reveal the value of the businesses to be sold however it is expected to be a sizeable amount and would almost certainly save the struggling firm from liquidation.

Article by Larry Osburn of www.cheapcolorcopies.org and www.colorlabelprinter.org

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Dr. Oz Weight Loss

garcinia-cambogiaDr. Oz is a doctor and a famous personality on TV. Throughout a typical episode, Dr. Oz will recommend any number of traditional or alternative methods for everything from getting healthy to alleviating pain. He is considered an expert in the field of medicine, having graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and then Harvard. He is currently a professor at Columbia University, as well as vice-chair of surgery.

With these credentials, many people give their full attention when it comes to what Dr. Oz recommends for weight loss. According to WebMD, 36.6% of Americans are overweight and 26.5% would be considered obese — demonstrating that over half of the US population has a weight problem. What does the great and powerful Oz have to recommend for weight loss? His suggestion is an unassuming fruit found in south Asia, Garcinia Cambogia which can be purchased here http://www.garciniacambogia.com.au/.

What is it about Garcinia that is causing Dr. Oz to broadly recommend it for people who are overweight? The extract of the Garcinia gummi-gutta fruit has multiple methods of tricking your body into losing weight. The first is serotonin production in your digestive tract. A side benefit from this trait is that it improves mood and the sense of well-being. Serotonin is a hormone produced in the body that creates a feeling of satiation and reduces food craving. In fact, when your body senses that it has eaten enough, it produces this hormone and as a result, the stomach no longer has feelings of sharp hunger pangs.

The active ingredient in Garcinia is hydroxycitric acid, or HCA. This component is the ingredient that induces your body to produce serotonin. The end result, once taking this weight loss supplement, is that your body produces the same chemicals it normally would as if you had eaten a full meal. This is the first way that Garcinia helps one to lose weight — by suppressing the appetite.

This also helps reduce binge eating and emotional eating. Emotional eating can be defined as the food that you eat because of feelings of stress or discomfort. Increased feelings of happiness, brought by consuming Garcinia, helps fight the urge to binge eat while stressed.

The second method in which Garcinia helps to lose weight is the action of blocking carbohydrate from turning into bodyfat. This so called fat-blocking feature of Garcinia comes from another aspect of HCA. This benefit is that HCA hinders the production of a certain enxyme in your body called citrate lyase.

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My Experience with the Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing MachineI purchased the highly rated Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine in September 2010, my version came with the PM3 performance monitor. I have been battling weight issues for just about my entire life and decided it was time to make some drastic changes and I started a strict diet and exercise regime. At this time I purchased a treadmill and other exercise equipment in the fight against my weight.

Over time I saw some improvements, I was slowly but surely losing weight and increasing my fitness levels. I wasn’t satisfied with this though and continued researching online for new methods and things I could do to continue the progress and also keep my interest in exercise going. I had never used or even considered an indoor rower before but read many articles which talked about how great a workout they offer. I realized that Concept2 make the best rowing machines and decided to make a purchase after reading a review of the Concept2 Model D . An added benefit of these rowers is they are always in demand and really hold their value well.

I ordered the machine online with Amazon and the process was a breeze, I decided to opt for the PM3 monitor as I felt I didn’t need the extra features of the PM4 though it does look impressive. I chose the Model D instead of the Model E mainly for this reason because it’s main feature is that it includes the PM4 monitor. That and it sits a bit higher off the ground, I didn’t feel the increase in price would provide good value for my needs. When delivered I was greeted with one big but very light box, it was far lighter than the other fitness machines which I purchased. Assembly was very easy and the instructions were a delight to follow, I was rowing within 30 minutes!

What really motivates me with this machine is the ability to track the distance rowed and then trying to improve on my times. There is a really big online community around the Concept2 machines and you can even row against other people in the world thanks to a piece of third party software called RowPro. For the more serious rowers there are even indoor championships held all around the world, maybe one day I will be fit enough to compete in one of these! Another really nice gesture is that once you row 1 million meters on the machine, Concept2 will send you a free t-shirt! This is a true mark of a great company.

Overall since using this machine I have seen some serious improvements in my cardiovascular fitness. I still use the other exercise machines but I think feel the rowing machine is more effective and is a lot more fun to boot. The build quality of the machine is fantastic and can really take a lot of abuse, it feels like it will last for many many years. I also love how I can take it apart and put it away in the corner when I have guests for example. Overall I really recommend the Concept 2 Model D, I like it so much I even purchased one for my dad to get into shape!

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