Sunday, August 14, 2016

US Womens National Team Rio Olympics Wrap Up

I have been following the US Women's National Soccer team since the World Cup last year and since then, they quickly became my favorite sports team. They are a great team with lots of wonderful personalities and are just a lot of fun to watch.

While the roster has changed a bit from last year's World Cup team, they still have a lot of the same players and staff. The team was favored to win gold again this year but they struggled throughout the tournament. It seems the chemistry was not quite there this time as they had trouble converting on opportunities.

They ended up making it to the quarter finals of the 2016 Rio Olympics but lost a close game against Sweden in a penalty kick shootout. Throughout the game, the US seemed to be dominating at least on possession, but Sweden proved to be more efficient with the few opportunities they had. 

I don't blame anyone for the loss as it was a fair game and Sweden earned the victory. It is very disappointing for the US team, but it is a lesson that they are not unbeatable. I am still very proud of the US Women's National Team and will continue to follow their progress as they train for the next big tournament!

For more on the USWNT check out their Youtube and Twitter accounts here.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

How to use a dishwasher if drain is clogged

A while back, my kitchen sink drain started getting clogged so when I would run the dishwasher, the water would back up into the sink. It was going to take a while before it could be fixed, so I had to figure out another solution. I didn't want to wash all the dishes by hand in the bathroom sink, so I figured out a way to still be able to use the dishwasher.

Under the sink, there is a hose that runs from the dishwasher to the drainage pipes or disposal. This is where the water is drained from the dishwasher. I found if you unhook this hose from the disposal and put it into a bucket or a wastebasket, you can run the dishwasher and the water will drain into the bucket. Then you just have to empty the bucket in a another drain that is not clogged such as a bathroom tub.

It is not the most convenient because it usually uses at least 5 gallons of water per wash so you have to keep an eye on the bucket throughout the cycle to make sure it does not overflow. I found that having 2 small buckets works best. It usually does not drain more than 1-2 gallons at a time so as long as you stay on top of it, it should be able to handle the water.

Check the instructions for your dishwasher to see how many gallons it uses per wash. It can depend on which cycle you choose.

Also remember not to use the sink when you have unhooked the hose underneath as water may get out from the hole where the hose has been disconnected.

Overall I find it works well and allows you to run the dishwasher even if your kitchen drain is clogged.

Friday, July 29, 2016

AT&T Junk Mail - Attempt to Get on the Do Not Mail List

I do not like junk mail so I try to unsubscribe from as much as possible to limit the amount that shows up each day. Lately I have been getting a lot of advertisements from AT&T. I guess it is expected since I have AT&T internet so they want me to sign up for more services. I am never interested so I looked into how to get off the AT&T mailing list.

After a lot of searching I found this which states you must call their number to request to be added to the Do Not Mail list. This is already very inconvenient as they should have an online form to submit your information to be removed from the list. Nevertheless, I call the number to try to get off the list.

It is the standard voice recognition system that does not work very well. I get connected with a representative and explain that I would like to unsubscribe from the mailings. He seemed to be very clueless and at one point I pretty much had to explain to him the concept of what mail is.

While he was trying to figure out how to do this, I was continually pitched upsells which is a pet peeve of mine at this point. I am calling to get off the mailing list, not to sign up for a new tv service. Companies need to stop this practice. No one is going to sign up for a new service spontaneously like that.

After about 10 minutes I could tell it was not going anywhere and after being on hold of an extended period of time, I just had to hang up. It should not be that difficult to get off a simple mailing list.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Pokeman Go Review - Overview of the Newest Hit Mobile Game

Pokeman Go is the latest mobile game sweeping the world. It has only been available for a short time but already it is the most downloaded and used app right now and it seems to be just about everywhere. I overheard someone talking about it last week and while I am not much of a gamer or an apps person, it sounded pretty interesting so I figured I would try it out.

The game is a free app developed by Niantic in partnership with Nintendo and is available for iPhone and Android phones. It uses real world map and GPS so the setting takes place wherever you are. The goal of the game is to capture Pokeman creatures by throwing a ball at them. The concept is similar to Geocaching in that you go around in the real world to find different items. There are many different Pokemon to collect and they are found in different locations.

While you are looking for Pokemon, there are also special stations that are located at public gathering spots and interesting landmarks where you can interact with them and get useful items. The game goes into more detail and there is quite a bit to learn that I have not gotten into yet but so far it has been pretty easy to get started.

After trying it out for about a week, I have been pretty impressed with the game. I like how it is integrated into the real world with the landmarks on the map. It will help you find interesting things in your neighborhood you may not have even known were there.

I was wondering how they developed this game with such detail on a local level. Apparently the company is in association with Google which helps with the mapping part. Also they have a previous game called Ingress which had a similar use of real world GPS so this infrastructure was integrated into the Pokeman game.

The game has had a positive effect on the community as it is a topic that is bringing people together. People are now more inspired to get out and explore while using the game and since there are so many other people participating, it is easy to find others who are playing and talk with them about it.

Right now the game has a huge following and it looks like it will only get bigger as it expands to more countries. It will be interesting to see if the interest continues over time or if people will start to get bored of it after a while. I think if they continue to update it, it will maintain popularity for some time.

So far, game play has been smooth and I have only had the app freeze up once. It is pretty easy to navigate and understand, but documentation could be better. To really have a detailed understanding of the game, you really have to seek out instructions and tips on other websites and forums.

For improvement, I would like to see the option to be able to customize your character at any time. It has some customizing options when you first start, but once you get in, there is no way to change it. I would also like to see more options to interact with other players.

Overall I definitely recommend checking out Pokemon Go if anything just to see what everyone is talking about. It is pretty fun and easy to play and has lots of potential if you really want to get involved with it. Pokemon Go is available now for download on iPhone and Android phones.

Update 7-19-16:
I noticed the game has been freezing up more lately which is understandable considering how many people are trying to play it at the same time. Also I noticed it uses up phone battery very quickly. I don't like my battery to run down fast so I may not be using it as much if it keeps using up the battery so quickly. 

Update 7-28-16: 
I noticed when walking around while the game is on, even when it is on battery save mode, the phone tends to get hot. I have read reports of others having this same issue. This may be a problem for certain features of the game that require you to walk around a lot.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Funniest Stories On Reddit

One of my favorite sites to visit each day is Reddit because there are always new and interesting posts and you never know what you are going to find. Over the years I have saved a few of my favorites so I figured I would share them here for everyone to enjoy. Here are 3 of the funniest stories on Reddit:

Guy enrages parents of girlfriend by pretending not to know what a potato is - In this story a guy explains what happened the first time he met his girlfriend's parents. He has the bright idea to try and be funny by pretending not to know what a potato is, but things do not turn out how he expected. The word structure and vocabulary used in this story make it particularly funny.

Guy farts on a misbehaving kid at a store - In response to a question: "What is your silent, unseen act of personal defiance?" redditor RubyRhod goes into detail about a time he farted on a a kid at Target who was misbehaving and being rude to his mother. The writing and details are great on this one as he paints the picture of what happened.

Guy tries to get out of eating a bad steak by throwing it out the window - A guy attends a dinner hosted by his wife's boss. Turns out he does not like the steak and tries a creative way to get out of having to eat it. Things do not go quite as planned.

What are your favorite stories or posts on Reddit? Feel free to share them comments below. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Best Buy Review - Experience Purchasing a New Computer

I recently purchased a new computer from Best Buy after visiting several different stores as well as doing much research online. I usually post reviews like this on Yelp, but since this experience covered several different stores and several elements of the shopping experience, I figured I would post about it here.

I started going into the first store without knowing too much about the tech specs and details of the most recent computers. I consider myself pretty tech savvy but it had been a while since I studied up on the latest processors and such so I was in need of some help. At the first store I was greeted by one of the sales staff in the computer department. I gave him an idea of what I was looking for and he was very helpful in recommending a few different models and explaining all about each one. He did a great job and did not try to pressure me into buying anything before I was ready.

I did some more research and a few days later I decided to check out another Best Buy to see if they had a different selection in stock. This one was a little different but had pretty much the same selection. Interestingly at this one I was not approached to see if I needed help. I walked around the computer department and tested out a few different models but during the time, no one came up to see if I needed help. I didn't mind, but it would have been nice in case I did have a question.

I went back home and continued to do more research. Finally I decided on a computer and found it in stock at a 3rd location. I went there and was helped by one of the sales staff. I told him which computer I was looking for and he was able to help me get it quickly. I was also able to get a price match for a lower price found online at one of the competitors. Overall the buying process was pretty easy and I was able to check out without any issues.

After trying out the computer and monitor for about a week, I decided the monitor was too big and I would need to make a return to get a smaller monitor. I wanted to order the 2nd monitor first to compare them and make sure the smaller monitor would work better. For this one, I purchased online and did a store pick up. This process was surprisingly easy and the monitor was ready to pick up earlier than expected.

After trying the new monitor, it worked great so I decided to return the original monitor. I repacked it carefully in the original box and took it back for the return. Again the process was fast and painless. The customer service was very friendly and there were no issues.

About a week into using the new computer, I noticed the price of the monitor dropped $20 on the website. Since they had a price match guarantee during this time, I gave them a call to see if they would give a credit for the difference. They were very friendly again and were able to give the refund of $20 back to my account!

Overall I was very impressed with the entire process from in store research to online purchasing, to returns and even a price match. I even got some rewards credits for making the purchase so I will be able to go back again soon to use the credits on something else! If you are in the market for a new computer or any kind of electronics, I highly recommend checking out Best Buy based on this experience.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

What to do about guns and gun violence in the US

I usually do not write about the big issues or controversial topics like gun control, but after recent events I decided it was time to discuss this issue. The amount of gun violence leading to injury and death in the US is getting out of hand. It seems every time you put on the news, the top story is about someone who was shot or about some shooting that has taken place. It happens so often, we don't even think twice about it unless it is someone we know or some place near by.

Personally I do not own any guns nor do I have any intention to purchase a gun. I know there are a lot of people who are in support of having guns and many who are against it. Maybe it is the environment I live in which is suburban but in my opinion, guns are way too dangerous for people to be owning and carrying around and most of the time lead to unnecessary violence and tragedy.

One argument those in support of guns might make, is that it is our right as Americans to bear arms. This policy was put into place about 225 years ago when the United States was a very different place. Things have changed tremendously since then. Our population alone has grown dramatically from about 4,000,000 at that time to over 323,000,000 in 2016. We are now a modernized civilized society and there is no reason for everyday people to be owning or using guns in these times.

Another argument is that people should have guns for self defense. It is a good argument but according to the statistics of last year, only about 3% of gun related injuries and deaths were because of self defense. This is a very small percentage and not enough to support this reasoning.

My first proposed solution was that all guns be recalled by the government and that citizens be offered a fair market value for their guns. The problem I found with this is that there are too many guns out there (estimated over 300,000,000) so it would be much too expensive to reimburse something like this. Maybe something like a tax credit could be offered instead of a reimbursement, but it would still cost the US a lot of money to do this.

I think the solution has to be more of a social change within the citizens of the country to make the effort to either get rid of their guns or use them more responsibly. There is not much that can be done about the guns that are already out there, but changes can be made to restrict the future purchases of guns so they do not end up in the wrong hands. This as well as education on gun safety may be the way to start making a change on this issue.