Stuck on a Programming Problem?

Banging your head against your keyboard, drinking more and more coffee or simply losing interest and surfing the web are the worst things to do when stuck in programming.

The problem is, these reactions are the default for too many people in the industry. It not only doesn’t help the project you are working on, it also doesn’t do your body any favours by increasing stress levels.

The best thing to do when stuck is to stop, un-plug, and come back to the problem later with a fresh mind and fresh eyes. Believe me I have been there and it really does work. Here are some easy techniques to help you become un-stuck.

Talk to those around you

If you are at the stage where you have been stuck for a while, and find yourself browsing the best family tents or looking through the Consumer Tent Guide, it is obvious your mind has strayed to leisure activities outside work and not the problem at hand.

The best step now is to leave your desk and walk away from the room you are working in. Find a co-worker that is not a programmer (or a family member if you are working from home) and try to explain to them in simple terms your problem. Often, by having to explain the problem out simply, you may stumble upon a solution. And it is always good to have a break and joke with others around you rather than stress on your own at your desk.

Go to the pub

No, seriously. Or go to anywhere where you can relax and escape your temporary problem (and you really must think of it as temporary, as it will be resolved. No need to panic). Obviously if you are at work, use your break to freshen your mind and leave the office. If you are working from home, take a trip down to your local and try not to stress about your hiccup with work.

Often, when we return to a problem with fresh eyes, we can see things from whole new perspectives, or look at things in ways we never thought about before.

Take a nap

Well, not suddenly, but if you have taken that 20-minute break and your mind is still blank upon returning, the best thing is to probably tackle the problem the next day. So start working on something else while still at work so you can remain efficient in your job. Now go home, and sleep without stressing about your initial problem. Chances are the good night’s sleep will help you find a solution.

Posted in Software

How Technology is Improving Foundation

For years now the idea of wearing daily sunscreen has been a mantra touted around by dermatologists and other skin care specialists as being the one essential ingredient in keeping your skin young. Cosmetics companies have long ago come on board to this view and began producing an incredible array of products formulated  with spf. But until recently this was an unregulated industry, and so many companies were overstating the effectiveness of their products sun protection.

But now this has to change, thanks to new rules released by the fda, which state that in order for companies to make spf claims on their products labels, the coverage must be broad spectrum offering protection for both UVA and UVB rays.

These new rules have forced many companies to remove spf labelling from their products, while others are going through a reformulation process geared towards creating products that meet these new guidelines. Luckily for everyone constant improvements in technology are making these transitions easier and the result is that the overall quality of cosmetics continue to improve year after year. Anyone who still remembers foundation from the nineties for example can easily compare it to the incredible array of high quality, reasonably priced makeup available today. Using foundation as an example of this change, many bb and cc creams have long claimed spf benefits on their bottles.

Today one Korean manufacturer called AmorePacific has reformulated its bb cream to create a powerful new cream that can boast an spf protection of 50. AmorePacific is committed to producing natural products that avoid chemical ingredients, this poses a particular challenge when it comes to creating an effective quality color cream that still offers spf. The reason for this is that the only known natural sun block ingredients are the minerals zinc and titanium oxide. Both in their natural powder forms have a tendency to be a cakey and not blend well. The solution AmorePacific came up with was to use bamboo sap instead of water as a diluting agent, thereby allowing the sunscreen to blend well when applied to the skin. This is great news for lovers of natural bb creams, however this particular product isn’t cheap, one bottle will set you back roughly $60.

For those who aren’t fussed about natural ingredients and love foundation that offers thicker protection, the brand Cover FX has reformulated their foundations using artificial sun screens that are broad spectrum and offer an spf protection of 30. They have also come out with a foundation primer that includes spf. Many dermatologists dislike using powder foundation as a sun block, claiming that a person does not apply powder evenly throughout their entire face and neck area and that it doesn’t tend to last all day. For this reason medium to full coverage foundation in liquid or cream formulations is your best bet for good spf protection. The good news is that technology continues to improve, and manufacturers are taking notice of these improvements, and reformulating their own products to cater to the needs of the more internet savvy consumer.

Posted in Blog

Music Technology Advances

Technology has come a long way in the last 50 years. Advancements have brought us flat screen plasma televisions, smart phones, touch screen computers, and the ability to store music in palm size devices that we can carry around with us. It wasn’t too long ago that music was played on vintage record players, like the old Victrolas.

Music on the Go

Audio technology has advanced in the last few decades at a rapid speed, allowing today’s youth to travel with their music conveniently. I can still remember a time when it wasn’t uncommon to see someone on the street hefting a large boom box on their shoulders or holding a large cassette player in their hand with huge headphones covering their ears. These days, you can strap your MP3 player right to your arm and plug in your tiny ear buds; music on the go has become convenient and common place. You can even get books “on tape” right on your phone or IPods and carry those around with you.  The quality is amazing, and even the best record player can’t compare with the clarity of today’s digital files.

Technology Keeps Advancing

Records are a thing of the past, and many of today’s youth would be astounded to discover there was a time when you couldn’t download your favorite song and you had to travel to the record store and buy the entire album- even if you just wanted one hit song to listen to. Cassette tapes replaced records, getting rid of the large record players. Music fans were glad to be rid of the needles on those old players. Such a steady hand was needed to play a record without scratching its surface and causing skips and bumps during play. Of course, tapes had their own drawbacks. Those of us that grew up in the 80s remember fondly the relationship between a pencil and a tape; the winding up of a tape that had been eaten and come unwound. Soon, CD’s were all the rage, replacing tapes and the need for the guesswork that came with the fast forward and rewind buttons. Now, you could skip to whichever song you wanted to hear with a simple button and no more winding up off the reels. However, CD’s, much like records before them, could get scratched and cause interruptions in playback.

Digital Files Create Flexibility

Nowadays, we can download music right to our smart phones, MP3 players, and IPods. We can choose which songs we want without purchasing the entire album and create our own playlists, mixing one or more artists or genres together to create our own albums. With these advancements, taking your music with you is convenient and simple.

Posted in Blog

Gamer’s Skin Care

A Gamer’s Point of View for Skin Care

When you’re stuck in front of the television, fending off zombies and attacking a heavily fortified village with your friends, you probably are spending countless hours squinting away at the screen in front of you. After all, you can’t simply put down your controller. There is far too much at stake for you to just stop, which is exactly why you keep playing.

While you are increasing your user stats and winning new trophies and accomplishment points, you are not doing your body all that much good either. Your skin can suffer from these sorts of problems as you start to squint away at the screen. I noticed my skin issues after seeing a picture taken of me through some nikon zoom lenses. It was very clear in the pictures that I had some skin issues. This wasn’t a cheap camera, after all…like the camera around $300 bucks.

However, there are all sorts of different issues that arise with your skin, so seeing spots around your eyes and wrinkles starting to form around the brow is nothing new and is not specifically unique to you, but if you do start to see these problems, you need to combat the issue on your own. A new skincare product (read Dermawand reviews) might be all that you need in order to improve the quality of your skin and take down those spots and wrinkles that have been forming.

Fix your Face

The Dermawand is a product that you hold with your hand, much like a thick pen, and you push it gently around the face where the problem areas are. This is usually focused around the eye and forehead area, as this is where the most common problems are found. The Dermawand works in a few different ways though, in order to instantly improve the appearance of the skin.

First, it delivers thermal energy to areas under your skin known as the dermal regions. Basically, it helps your skin warm up, which in turn improves blood flow and increases the ability to regenerate skin cells, making it one of the best dark spot corrector products on the market. This is the first part of a three step process the Dermawand utilizes.

Massage and Circulation

The second step is the wand provides a micro current of about 128,000 cycles per second, that basically helps massage the region. The massaging is also going to help improve the blood circulation, which improves blood flow and helps direct oxygen to the skins surface. Lastly, the product releases enriched oxygen into the skin that cleans pores while improving the tightness into your skin, all of which can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and spots.

 

Posted in Blog, Gaming

Juicing and W.O.W

Health and Cholesterol

Lowering one’s high cholesterol is as easy as juicing vegetables with a  juicer, which is simple and quick enough for World of Warcraft gamers to lower their unhealthy cholesterol levels while not taking away much playing time from the game they’re addicted to. Juicing vegetables can considerably lower your levels, even as high as 100 points if the juicing regimen is continued on a daily basis.

Fiber is a Key Component

A diet high in fiber helps lower cholesterol levels, however if you find that you’re having a hard time eating the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables to reach the quota of at least 30 grams of fiber, that makes a juicing diet a great solution. Using a masticating juicer is one of the best ways to keep you intake of fiber at the daily recommended amounts. After all, while you’re consumed in your World of Warcraft game, you’ll still have time to take a few quick sips of a drink throughout the time of your game play; why not make it a healthy juice drink that will help lower your cholesterol while still virtually exploring your online adventure?

Leave the Junk Food Behind

Being a gamer, you’re likely to consume a lot of junk food and snacks when they’re easy to access while being packed with saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol which can considerably heighten your cholesterol levels overtime. Lowering your cholesterol effectively before it causes complications (such as clogged arteries, atherosclerosis, a slow process that worsens with age) and even cause heart attacks and strokes is highly encouraged.

How a Gamer Addicted to World of Warcraft Lower His Cholesterol with A Juice Diet

By using a masticating juicer, juicing becomes an easy task to do. You can toss in a variety of your favorite vegetables and juices and then let the juicer do the rest of the work for you in a matter of minutes so you won’t have to keep your game paused for that long. The only work you’ll have to put in is cutting down any huge pieces so that they fit properly into your juicer’s feed tube so that it can be effectively chopped into liquid form.

Once the juicer does the rest, all you have to do is pour the drink into a glass and enjoy. Spinach, parsley, carrots, ginger root, peaches, basil, blueberries, tomatoes, watermelon, cayenne pepper, garlic cloves, pears, red beets, cabbage, sweet potatoes, sweet green pepper, cranberries, apples, celery, broccoli, cucumbers, kale leaves, oranges, lemons, and limes are just a few examples of what you can include into your juicing diet to effectively help in lowering your cholesterol.

 

Endless Juicing Capabilities

While you may think these kind of juices won’t be pleasant tasting; The possibilities of mixes of vegetables, fruits, and herbs that can create cholesterol-lowering juices is virtually endless so you’re bound to create a few that you’re bound to like. You can find many juicing recipes online or try and attempt to make your own mix. As with any diet, to get the desired effects, it needs to be maintained everyday in companion with an overall healthy lifestyle.

So, if you’re gamer who’s addicted to playing World of Warcraft and suffers from high cholesterol, skip your usual energy drink fix at least once a day and instead opt for a healthy cholesterol-lowering juice and you can make your gaming habits better for your health. You can even considering choosing to have a juice drink over a bag of chips, slice of pizza, or your usual junk food of juice to live a healthier lifestyle.

Posted in Blog

Components Needed for a Good PC Gaming System

There are many components that make up a good gaming PC. In case you are new to the world of gaming, the following information about PC components will help you build your own custom gaming computer. These components will be the engine of your gaming machine, hence the need to choose them carefully. That is why game fanatics get serious when it comes to choosing exactly what is inside their computers.

The Monitor

Selecting the right model can be very challenging when it comes to this type of gaming component. It is the most vital accessory that can hinder your gaming pleasure. I even tried using a high quality pico projector In order to get the right monitor and obtain maximum pleasure from it you need to take your time when shopping for one. Features like size, type, resolution and response time should always be in the forefront of your mind.


It is better to opt for LCD/LED monitors rather than the old CRT monitors. The reason behind this is LCD/LED have a longer life span compared to CRT monitors. They are also smaller in size, consume less power, have improved visual quality, better resolution and are not bulky.

Response time is also very crucial especially when you are procuring a monitor for the purpose of gaming. Response time means the time taken for one pixel to change from one color to the next. The quality of the picture is one very important aspect in gaming. Trust me! You will not enjoy a game with blurred pictures. A monitor with a response time of about 8 milliseconds is ideal for gaming.

The CPU/Processor

CPU is the central processing unit and it’s the heart and soul of a computer. A good CPU is important because it helps in the mathematical calculations and faster processing of data. Gaming PC’s require fast CPU’s for quality gaming.

RAM (Random Access Memory)

Most PC gaming programs rely on the computer RAM in order to function efficiently. With a larger amount of RAM on your PC, the faster the computers processing power. Ensure that your gaming PC has enough RAM if you want to obtain maximum pleasure while gaming.

Hard Drive

More games will mean more space to store them. The main function of the hard drive is to store programs and data. If you are a game fanatic and want to have a library of games then your hard disk should be up to the task. The amount of free space on your hard disk can also affect the performance of your PC as well. The more free space, the smoother the PC will run.

Graphics Card

In other terms it is called a video card. It is in fact the most important part of any gaming PC. It performs tasks such as; drawing all the 3D graphics and delivers unique special effects that make your gaming cool. With a good graphics card, you can be in a position of playing the latest HD games.

Case and Power Supply

A computer with a good casing will last for a long time and can be trusted to house your precious components. On the other hand the power supply provides enough power for working and playing.

These are the main components that are required in order to build a fantastic gaming PC. Other components to consider when purchasing a gaming PC include the sound card, cd/ dvd drive and networking card in order to have a perfect platform for gaming.

Posted in Graphics, Online Gaming

Internet Gaming – The Rise of Role Playing Games

Role playing games that are enjoyed by millions of people today have had a fascinating history. Before I started playing games full time for my job I worked construction. This was before I even heard about the World of Warcraft. You could find me hauling ladders and framing nail guns to construction sites. My friend got me started on WOW and that was all she wrote!

credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/robertnelson/

WOW is one of the biggest real-time role playing games with beautifully rendered 3D graphics. There will be many options for players based on their preference. One of the most common is to join an online game which is an MMORPG or massive multi-player online role-playing game.

The advancements in computer software, hardware and Internet communications have made the use of these games possible. Many players are located in countries around the world. The first introduction of a massive multi-player online role playing game was Ultima Online back in 1997. This game became a commercial best-seller which was followed by Everquest in 1999 and Asheron’s Call from Microsoft also in 1999.

Many people are not typically aware of the cost to create these types of role playing games. The cost to produce a successful MMORPG can easily exceed $10 million or more. Today the advancements in the creative aspects and graphics means costs will double or triple that amount. The cost to play most types of role playing games online will vary. Users have the option to purchase a monthly subscription that is often between $10 to $15 per month. There is also a fee that may be charged for downloading and then installing the game on a desktop or laptop computer.

Most massive multi-player online role playing games are similar in game play and the style applied to graphics. A player will first need to choose their characters from a range or options. This will include a troll to an elf or other type of character in a particular game. Another selection a player will make is the class or rank for their characters. Classes can include a rogue or a rank, such as priest.

Players will need to gain experience points to move through the game. This is done by killing monsters to increase in a fantasy environment to increase skill levels. Players are playing a game simultaneously as they are connected to a single server. Many times players will need to work together in small groups to complete a task or quest.

The most successful massive multi-player online role playing game to date is World of Warcraft. There are more than 10 million players who are paying a monthly subscription fee.

Posted in Internet Gaming, Online Gaming

The Ever Improving World of Graphics

Back in the Day

Art and video game design have always gone together. In the earliest days of gaming, the most hardware could manage was rough pixelated shapes that offered suggestion of meaning to the player. To the modern eye, that might seem so rough as to not even count as art design. However, in many ways it’s analogous to the actual code used to write games of the period. It seems primitive to modern eyes, but it’s actually quite complex. When one looks back at older arcade games, many of those characters are still alive in the public consciousness.

Psychology Involved

The reason for the character’s longevity has to do with an understanding of the psychology involved with game design. As primitive as these early arcade games might seem, they’re still the foundation of graphical design for modern games. In particular, one strong aspect has been facial ambiguity. A small yellow smile, a miner with a helmet covering his head, bikers with helmets obscuring their features and many other designs were focused on allowing the player to put himself in the role of the protagonist.

How has this principle evolved to modern games? Consider two of the most popular gaming franchises for modern systems. Halo and Dead Space. Both games feature characters whose features are obscured by helmets. This can lead to far greater immersion for the player. It’s easier for people to imagine themselves in the role if they don’t have a visual cue that there’s any major differences.

Design Breakthroughs

However, this is also where improving graphical capabilities are starting to offer a radical shift in design principles. Games which offer extensive character customization have become increasingly more popular in recent years. Game engines toyed with this in the age of DOS games. Because the games of the time tended to simulate 3D physics instead of actually implementing it, customization was a lot easier. Later game engines needed a character to actually react to the environment. This meant far more work and testing for even simple modifications to a character’s appearance. Hardware on the current generation of consoles and computers have now moved past this limitation.

A player can modify their character with, quite literally, thousands of distinct graphical elements without creating any real strain on the graphical rendering system. In this way technology has pushed forward in a sense to allow parity with the ways people in the early arcades lost themselves in the characters. Instead of forcing immigration though, now it can be done through actual approximation of an ideal through a player’s selections.

Posted in Graphics, Graphics For Gaming, Latest Graphics

Using Electronics in Fishing and Boating

The use of high-end electronics in boats was once the domain of people with big boats or with fleets of ships used for fishing. Electronics allow fishermen and boaters to determine the depth of the water and to see schools of fish under the water. The technology that was used to do this has decreased in price to a point where it is affordable for anyone on a modest budget. Review some of the electronic equipment that is available for the best fishing kayak and other types of boats.

Now you know where the fish are!

Sonar

This is a category of technology that includes simple depth finders to sophisticated options to lock in a significant depth when in a lake or out at sea. Equipment that is available today offer clear views of the images below the water. Schools of fish that once looked like a blob on a monitor are now displaying a view of individual fish.

Radar

The use of radar is not limited to commercial ships. Fisherman can use radar to detect flock of birds on or over a school of fish. Many units that are available today can detect birds at a range of five miles. If a unit is used correctly, then it can display distance and bearing to the user.

Auto Pilot

Auto pilot systems that are available today now interface with GPS systems. This means fisherman can auto program a trolling pattern or execute certain maneuvers, such as turning or making the motions of a figure eight with just the press of a button.

Underwater Lights

Many recreational boat owners are installing high-powered underwater lighting systems on boats. This is an option that is available using DC power and AC power. Lighting systems are typically mounted on the free board or transom, right above the chine. The reason is to have the light shine out from the boat to see under the water. Underwater lights are able to attract fish and can also showcase a boat when out at night.

System Monitors

Boat owners can find nautical equipment that is similar to emergency systems used in cars. There is an assortment of communication equipment that can be integrated with most on-board systems. These are able to provide information about an engine problem to a mechanic back on the shore or converse with a seaside restaurant to make dinner reservations.

Marine electronics are a valuable tool for boaters today than any other time in history, and if you are an avid boater, be sure to research options available for types of kayaks and other styles of boats.

Posted in Blog, Software