Friday, July 3, 2020

Reporting Potholes - There needs to be an easier way

If you are a driver, chances are you have encountered potholes in the road from time to time. These holes in the road are not only annoying but they can also cause damage to your vehicle. If you notice a pothole in the street, it is a good idea to make a note of where you saw it and contact the local division that is responsible for that road so it can be fixed.

There are divisions that are in charge of fixing and maintaining the streets, but the problem is it is hard to know which is responsible for each street. For example some streets are maintained by the local village. Some are maintained by the county. Others are maintained by the state and so on. It is not clear which streets are maintained by which organizations and this makes it difficult to report potholes.

This is why there needs to be a universal system available to make it easier to report road issues like this. It would be a website / app that is map based and allows you to pinpoint an area on the map to submit an issue such as a pothole.

The map and submission part of the website would be pretty easy to make, but the difficult part would be integrating it to all the different streets and public works organizations. Each village, county, and state tends to have their own system for reporting issues and many of them only have a phone number contact. So it would be a challenge to get all of these organizations on board with the program.

But if this could be done, it would make it so much easier to report potholes and issues on the road that need to be fixed. This would greatly improve the quality of the roads for everyone because these issues could be found and submitted as soon as they are noticed and that would help get them fixed as soon as possible.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Soylent vs Ensure Nutrition Drink Comparison Review

As someone who appreciates nutrition drinks for their ability to provide calories and nutrition in a quick and easy manner, I have tried many of these drinks over the years. My favorite go-to drink is the Ensure Plus, usually in chocolate or vanilla. It has a great taste and lots of calories per ounce but it is expensive so I do not buy it often. I have tried many of the store brand nutrition drinks which try to replicate Ensure but they are never as good when it comes to the actual taste.

I have had Soylent nutrition drinks on my radar for some time now and had been wanting to try them for a while but held off on it because of the high cost which seemed to be even more expensive than Ensure Plus. But recently I found a 4 pack of Soylent in the Cacao flavor on sale so I decided it was time to try it out to see how it compares.

Taste:
When it comes to taste, the folks at Ensure know what they are doing. The Ensure Plus drinks are rich and delicious. They have a thick consistency and are easy to drink. I found the Soylent taste to be just okay. It has more of a watery consistency and tastes similar to store brand nutrition drinks.

Nutrition:
The Soylent 4 pack has 11oz drinks while the Ensure 6 pack has 8oz drinks so I did some calculations to see how they compare per ounce on some of the main categories.

Soylent has 320 calories in 11oz which comes to 29.1 calories per ounce. Ensure Plus has 350 in 8 oz which comes to 43.75 calories per ounce. So Ensure has more calories per ounce.

For fat, Soylent has 17g (1.55g/oz). Ensure Plus has 11g  (1.38g/oz) so Soylent has a little more fat per ounce.

For sugar, Soylent has 7g (.64g per oz) vs 22g (2.75g/oz) in the Ensure Plus. So Ensure has a lot more sugar. Soylent uses some artificial sweeteners such as sucralose while Ensure uses sugar which explains the difference in these stats. 

For protein, Soylent has 16g (1.45/oz) while Ensure Plus has 13g (1.63g/oz) so Ensure has a little more protein per ounce.

Vitamins / Minerals:
Both drinks have good coverage for the vitamins and minerals. Soylent has 15% daily value for all of them while Ensure is at 25% for most of them with some being a little higher and some a little lower.

Cost:
The Soylent 4 pack with 11oz drinks is about $9 while the Ensure Plus 6 pack with 8oz drinks is about $10. This makes it seem like the Soylent is more expensive but when you consider the cost per ounce they are actually pretty close in price with Soylent being about $.20 per ounce while Ensure is about $.21 per ounce.

Other:
Both drinks contain a lot of similar ingredients. Once difference I noticed was Ensure Plus includes milk protein while Soylent does not so those following a vegan diet would have reason to choose the Soylent in this case. Ensure does offer a plant based nutrition drink as well but I have not tried that one yet. 

Verdict:
For me, when looking for the best tasting high calorie nutrition drink, the Ensure Plus is still my number 1 pick. It has a better taste and more calories per ounce. But, for those looking for a nutrition drink with less sugar and similar nutrition compared to Ensure, then Soylent would be a good option.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Pet Peeve – People who touch glass doors and windows with their hands

It would seem like common sense not to touch glass doors and windows with your hands because it can leave smudges, but apparently many people still do this. Lots of places have glass doors which are nice because you can see through and it lets light in, but at the same time they are hard to keep clean because people touch the glass with their hands and leave smudges.

There really is no excuse for this because there is always a handle or a bar or some kind of non-glass surface to use to pull or push the door open. Doors are designed so you do not have to touch the glass, but many people do anyway. This leaves smudges that someone else now has to clean.

While this happens often on glass doors, you see smudges on windows and mirrors as well. Again these are things that should not be touch with hands especially if your hands are not clean and dry. Leaving smudges on windows and mirrors makes the place look dirty and causes extra work for those who now have to clean it off.

I can understand if kids do this because they don't know any better but adults should be more mindful of not marking up the glass in situations like this. If you have not considered this issue before please keep it in mind next time you are going in or out of a place that has a glass door.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Pet Peeve – Squeaky doors and doors that slam too hard

One thing that I tend to notice a lot is issues with doors such as doors that have squeaky hinges or doors that slam too hard. Both of these things tend to bother me but it seems most people either don't notice them or don't care about them. Or maybe they have noticed it but figured there was nothing they could do about it. This is a shame because these issues are very easy to fix!

For squeaky doors, usually just putting a little oil on the hinges does the trick. For doors that close too hard, they usually have a door closer at the top that can be adjusted with a screw driver or a wrench. These adjustments determine how hard the door closes. Also if the door is closing right against the frame, you can add rubber adhesive bumpers to the door frame to dampen the sound when the door closes against it.

These things are very easy and quick to do and can get rid of the squeaking and the slamming. No one should have to put up with an annoying door like this when it can be fixed so easily.

Door maintenance like this may seem pretty minor or not as important as other maintenance and that is probably why there are so many doors in need of attention. Maintenance workers and homeowners may be focused on bigger issues so they never really get around to checking on the little details like if a door is closing properly.

As mentioned before, many people might not even notice these things or care about them, but some people like myself do. For example there is a restaurant I know that has a door that is extremely squeaky, so much so that I avoid going to that restaurant if possible.

Another restaurant I know has a door that slams so I make sure to close it softly by hand when going through. Still when there are issues like this it is a sign that things are not being properly maintained which does not give a good impression.

What are your thoughts on squeaky doors or doors that close too hard? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Travelambo RFID Front Pocket Minimalist Slim Wallet Review

I've had my old Wrangler tri-fold wallet for about as long as I remember but over the years it has started to break down from normal wear and tear so I began to start looking for new wallets. I started with a Levi's leather tri-fold wallet which I liked, but it was too thick with everything in it. Then I tried a Timberland mesh wallet, but I didn't really like the feel of it. Finally I decided to try a slim wallet from Travelambo.

This wallet was pretty inexpensive at just $8 and it had a lot of good reviews so I decided to try it out. I went with the carbon fiber material because it is different from the usual leather options and I figured it would be easier to keep clean.

Upon arrival the packaging was pretty simple, just the wallet in a little wrap and plastic bag. The wallet is very thin and has a decent feel too it. I started adding the cards and money to it to see how everything would fit. I have about 10 cards and usually carry about 10 bills. I was able to get all the cards in but it was kind of a tight fit.

Once you get the cards in, it makes it hard to open the center pocket to put in the money. I also found it to be pretty hard to get the credit cards out of the pockets even with the carbon fiber material which you would not expect to be too grippy.

With all the cards and cash in the wallet, I actually found it to be about the same thickness of my old tri-fold wallet. I was surprised by this, but I think it is because of the individual pockets for the cards vs my only wallet where I was able to put most of the cards in the same pocket together.

Overall because it was hard to get the cards and the money in and out and the fact that with everything in, it was not as thin as I expected, I unfortunately decided to return it. I think the wallet would be good if you only have a few cards and only carry a few bills as emergency, but if you have a lot of cards and prefer to carry more cash, this wallet may not be the best option.

As of now, I am still on the search for a new wallet. In the mean time, since I still have the Levi's wallet, I decided to modify it by cutting out as much of the material from the inside as possible while keeping the essential pockets in tact. By doing this I was able to get it down pretty thin so I will try using this for now.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Why is paper mail still a thing? Do we still need the post office to deliver mail?

While going through mail and seeing all the newspapers, ads, and junk mail that people just throw out, it got me thinking, why is all this stuff still being sent out? It seems like such a waste of paper. The mail carriers are delivering all this paper every day and a good amount of it is basically garbage.

Over the years I have made sure to unsubscribe from as much of these mailings as possible so I do not get that much. I also signed up for the e-delivery of many statement type correspondence which also helps reduce the amount of mail. But many people do not bother with these things so they end up with a ton of paper mail that is unnecessary.

The same can be said about newspapers. I find it hard to believe that people are still paying to have yesterdays news delivered to them in paper form. I know newspaper subscriptions are way down from what they used to be and I understand some of the older generation who are not tech savvy still read newspapers, but sooner or later I think this format should be phased out completely.

The same goes for paper mail. With the option to deliver bills, notices, and letters electronically, there is little need to deliver these items physically by mail. Maybe some local businesses want to send out ads to the nearest residents and the mail is the best option for this so I can see how they may want to keep this option open.

I'm not saying the post office and mailboxes should be done away with completely. Packages that contain physical goods still need to be delivered and the post office is one of the many services that provides this. I think they should continue with the package delivery and local ads if necessary, but other junk mail should start being phased out.

It needs to be easier to unsubscribe from these mailings. Sometimes they have a contact you can reach out to in order to get unsubscribed from their list, but on a lot of these mailings for things like credit card offers, they do not give any option to get off the list. Many times I even visit the company websites and search around for a contact or some way to unsubscribe and they do not offer it.

We are now in the 2020's and it is time we start making the effort to switch away from paper. There are now quicker, safer, and more sustainable ways to deliver mail.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Subwoofers Should Be Banned – Loud Music Imposing On Other People

One thing that really bothers me is when people blast music with subwoofers when they are near or around other people. Examples of this could be someone living in an apartment building playing their music loud when they have neighbors right near by or it could be someone in a car with subwoofers that is playing their music loud when they are next to other cars or in a residential area.

The thing about subwoofers is they create a low frequency of noise that carries easily and is hard to block out. This is why you can often hear the thumping of someone's subwoofer when you can't hear the rest of the music. Even with ear plugs or ear protection it can be hard to block the bass from subwoofers.

For the person listening to the music it sounds good because they want to hear it and it goes with their music, but for everyone else that does not want to listen to their music, it is nothing but an annoyance. Having some random subwoofer thumping can be very bothersome and even stressful when you are just trying to live your life with some peace and quiet. It can even be a problem if you are trying to listen to something else such as your own tv or music.

This is why I think there should be a ban or at least some restriction on subwoofers. People should not have to be subjected to the music of other people especially when they are in their own home. Blasting loud music with a subwoofer around other people is incredibly inconsiderate. The only times I would say it is ok to play loud music with a subwoofer would be in a concert setting or in a location that is far enough away from others or insulated enough so that is does not bother other people.

At this point it would be pretty hard to ban subwoofers altogether, but I think there could definitely be more strict laws in regards to them. Maybe something like subwoofers are not to be used in a location when they impose on other people. Or maybe a limit on the decibel level of retail subwoofers that are sold to the public.

I know there are laws about disturbing the peace but I can image this kind of thing is low on the priority list for law enforcement when there are other more serious issues going on. Nonetheless I think there needs to be more regulation when it comes to loud music and subwoofers that impose on other people.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Are you bothered by subwoofers or should people be able to play their music as loud as they want? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Commenting on small Youtube channels vs large channels – Why it is important to support smaller channels.

I have been a fan of Youtube since the early days and while it has gone through many changes over the years, one of the main components other than the videos themselves has been the comments. The comments section allows the viewers to interact with the Youtuber who made the video and lets them give feedback and support immediately after watching the video.

Some channels with millions of subscribers will have thousands of comments on every video. They will post a video and within an hour there may be well over a thousand comments. When you watch a video like this, you might want to leave a comment, but when you see there are already thousands there already, it kind of seems pointless.

In a sea of so many comments, there is a good chance your comment will not even be seen by the creator since they already have way too many to read. It might not even be seen by other people since it can easily get buried by other comments.

Smaller Youtube channels on the other hand tend to not get as many comments since they do not have that many viewers or subscribers yet. For channels like these, posting a comment can be a lot more meaningful since the video creator is sure to see it. It will also be seen by more people viewing the video since there are fewer comments altogether.

I take these two situations into consideration every time I watch a video on Youtube. If it is a popular channel with a video that has tons of comments, I will be less likely to post a comment because they already got plenty of feedback and support. If I really have something unique or important to say, I might still post it even if there is little chance it will be read.

On the other hand with smaller channels that have fewer subscribers, I really try to make the effort to leave a comment on the videos. Even if I'm not inspired to comment about something right away, I will take a little time to think about it and try to come up with something to say even if it is just something like “Great job on the video! Keep up the good work!”

Even posting a small comment can be very meaningful to someone who may not have many followers or supporters. Sure they can see the views, and the "likes" are nice to see also, but the comments really give it a personal touch and it shows that a real person is watching your video and taking the time to respond to it. This can be very rewarding for someone who is putting themselves out there for the world to see.

Keep this in mind next time you are on Youtube and you are watching a video on a lesser know channel or one that does not have a lot of views or comments. Just taking a minute to leave a nice comment can really make someone's day.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Why are crepes not as popular as pancakes and waffles?

When you think of breakfast foods, some of the first things you might think of are pancakes and waffles. They are some of the staples at least when it comes to American breakfast foods. But what about crepes? They are also available but seem to be lesser known and just not nearly as common.

For a long time I never really gave them a chance, but recently I tried them out at one of my favorite breakfast places, and they are really good! I would say I like them a lot more than pancakes and waffles now. The taste and texture is just better compared to the other common alternatives. This got me thinking, why are crepes not more popular?

I went looking for some frozen crepes in store and they are very hard to find. There are are dozens of options when it comes to pancakes and waffles, but where are the crepes? I did manage to find 1 brand called Belgian Boys with one offering of frozen plain crepes. They were a little pricey, but they were on sale so I decided to try them out.

I did not expect much but surprisingly they were very good! You just have to microwave them for about a minute and they are ready to ego. They are certainly better than any frozen waffle or pancake I have tried. I would buy them again if I see them on sale.

If you are not familiar with crepes, I recommend trying them out next time you go out for breakfast. If you are able to find the frozen crepes in store, I also recommend them as well.

As for the answer to the original question, I'm not sure exactly why crepes are not as popular as pancakes and waffles, because I think they should be just as popular if not more! Maybe they are just not as well known since pancakes and waffles tend to dominate the menus and the store shelves. I think if more people give them a chance, they could catch on in a big way!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Checking In. Some thoughts on the current state of the world.

It's been several months since I wrote my last blog entry so I figured I should check in with a little update in case anyone was wondering. I'm doing fine and not much has changed for me considering the state of the world with the Corona virus. I have still been working since I do food and grocery delivery.

I try to stay up to date on the situation and according to the numbers, a lot of people have been affected by in terms of real life, I have not really noticed it. Yes many places are closed and there are a lot more people wearing masks and gloves, but other than that, it has not been much different. I would say the thing that has affected me most is seeing my family less since we would usually go out to eat, but since the restaurants are closed, we have been skipping that.

As someone who has been out working during this time, I actually like it better now than before because there are a lot less people out there. This mean no traffic on the roads which is wonderful. There are however a lot more people out walking so you have to be mindful of that.

The virus has certainly given people something to talk about since everyone can weigh in with an opinion about it. There is a lot that is bad about the virus but I think some positives have come from it as well. It definitely boosted people's awareness of germs and how to help prevent spreading sickness around. I think these habits will stick with us for a while and help limit the amount of people getting sick.

It has also given most people a break from their everyday routine so they can take some time to reflect. Many people have been too busy with work to do the things they want to do, but now that they have the time, they can actually accomplish some of these things.

There is a lot of debate on what the solution should be and how it should be handled especially when it comes to when things should start opening back up and when people should be able to go back to their normal routines. I think the quarantining has helped limit the spread but even with people staying in, the virus has spread to an enormous amount of people.

It has caused quite a detrimental effect on the economy with so many things shut down and people not working. I think because of this, we need to slowly start opening things back up while keeping safety precautions in place. The health and well being is the number 1 priority, but the economy of the country and the world is also incredibly important so I think there has to be a balance of the two. I guess we'll have to wait and see how it all plays out.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Is it ever ok to say mean or sarcastic comments to someone?

In general I think of myself as a good person and rarely do I say anything mean or negative to other people, but every once in a while I will catch myself making a negative comment on the internet. Often after it is posted, I will think about it and wonder if I did the wrong thing by posting something that might hurt the feelings of another person. So I started thinking, is it ever ok to say mean or sarcastic comments to someone?

Although I don't necessarily think it is a good idea to do this, I think there are certain situations where it may be acceptable. For example if someone says or does something stupid, I think it is fair to call them out on what they did or said that was wrong. You might be able to do this in a nice way, but I find often a stupid action is best responded to with a sarcastic reaction. I don't even like sarcasm but I find in these situations it can be appropriate as a response.

The event that inspired this topic was seeing a video on Reddit that was obviously fake and yet it was getting a lot of support from people who apparently did not realize this. Not only that, then you have people who see the support it is getting and then they copy it and repost it as if it is their own.

Both of these things are looked down upon in my opinion. One, staging a video and uploading it as if it is something that really happened in attempt to trick people into thinking you spontaneously captured something interesting on video when you did not. Two, copying and reposting that content as if it is your own in attempt to get support of your own for something you did not create.

So when I see examples like this of people doing things I would consider wrong, I feel like they need to be called out on it. So I might make a comment about how it is obviously fake, or might link to the original post and make some sarcastic comment about how it has been posted already. These kinds of comments might seem mean or negative but I feel like if someone is going to do stupid things, they need to be ready to accept the consequences of their actions, and in this case it is going to be negative comments.

What are your thoughts on the issue?

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Eveready LED Pocket Flashlight Review

I was looking to get a new flashlight after my Energizer crank style flashlight stopped working. This time I decided to get a battery powered one since I did not have good luck with the crank style. After doing some research I decided to get the Eveready LED Pocket Flashlight. It is available at Target for $5.49.

I liked the fact that it was affordable and is made out of metal instead of a cheap plastic. Also I wanted something pretty small so I figured it would be a good size. Online the color is black, but in store I only saw grey or green so I decided to go with the grey.

Upon handling it in person it is actually smaller than I expected. In fact I would say it is actually too small to get a good grip on it. But I guess the trade off is that it is small enough to easily put in a pocket or small compartment.

The outside build quality feel pretty good, not overly heavy, but sturdy as one would expect from metal. The lens does feel like plastic when tapping it. It also has a wrist strap which I would highly recommend using because it can be easy to drop due to the the small size,

There were no instructions to install the batteries, but it was pretty easy to figure it out. You just unscrew the bottom and a cartridge from the inside comes out which has holders for the batteries. I found the inside plastic parts to feel a little cheap and the springs for the batteries do not look that sturdy. 

It comes with 3 carbon zinc AAA batteries which are not as good as other batteries like alkaline or lithium. I'm not sure how long they will last, but I would expect they may not last that long considering they are just the cheap kind of batteries. 

After putting it back together it was ready to try out. The on/off button is on the bottom which I found is not very convenient to use. A side button that can be operated by thumb would be a better option especially to operate with one hand.

The light itself is very bright and easily lights up a room. This flashlight is rated at 80 lumens and claims to have a battery life of about 5 hours. Interestingly, in store, there were some other Eveready flashlights of the same kind and price, but the lumens where about 1/2 and the battery life was double. I guess they can adjust the brightness down if they want to extend the battery life. Given the choice I decided to go with the brighter one just in case.

Overall if you are looking for a very small yet bright flashlight with a metal build for a low price, the Eveready LED Pocket Flashlight is a good option. If you have larger hands or would like a flashlight with a thumb on/off button I would recommend another option.