Wednesday, July 6, 2016

13 years without hamstring flexibility after back injury

I know a lot of people are proud of their before and after pictures of how they stuck to their workout routine and lost xx amount of pounds after dedication at the gym.  Well, something to the tune of that.  I injured my lower back pretty seriously in 2003, and although I've been mostly fully recovered with some relapses in between, I lost a tremendous amount of flexibility in my hamstrings, due to immobility due to the back injury, where I could only get to my knees without having to bend my knees to touch my toes.  I can't believe my hamstrings have been so tight for a whopping 13 years. I always told myself I need to work on getting my hamstrings more flexible and how it would be great for my overall health and reduce the risk of injury in the future.  Well, finally, this year, I've been stretching my hamstrings daily for at least 2 minutes at the gym for 6 months without hardly missing a day now and I can proudly say I've gained back 90% of the flexibility that I lost.  I can touch my toes now semi-comfortably, and I plan on continuing until it becomes effortless.

Gaining back the flexibility has changed how I walk.  I feel my heel touch the floor now with every step.  My glutes were so flat because of the pull of my hamstrings that I just felt I had no glutes, but now I feel like I have glutes again.  And just looking at my walking stride on the treadmill in the mirror, I look a lot more natural when I'm walking.  And of course, my back doesn't seem to lock up after sitting in a chair for more than 15 minutes to a point where I need a chiropractor to loosen me up.

I can't say it was an easy slow-and steady progress.  I always thought hamstrings could be flexed with a particular stretch.  I hit some plateaus for a few weeks until I realized I had to find other stretches that would hit a particular part of the hamstrings that was holding me up.  I also discovered I had a lot of scar tissue from a severe case of sciatica at the time of injury that required to be loosed up before I can make any more progress.

I would say, out of all the things that have been on my goals list, this one was one of the things that I wondered if I would ever be able to accomplish because the dedication was so high and the payoff seemed so small, but I'm glad to be writing this post.  I know it'll affect my in a big way.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Difficulties of Vlogging

One thing I want to become great at is vlogging my trips and vacations.  After learning how to use/do a camera, lighting, post processing, color grading, audio recording, audio mastering, and buying all the gear that lets me do this in the last 15 years, I've come to realize that I simply am not remembering to shoot the video.  Or I'll think of shooting it but I'll just choose to not shoot it because I don't want to get out my camera or maybe I think people will disapprove in some way.

It's like training your entire life for one big performance.  And then oversleeping on the day of it or half assing it when you get on stage.  I gotta treat remembering to capture the moment and capturing usable footage as something I've been preparing for all this time.  The moments you want to shoot probably all happen once in a lifetime.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

An early adopter, every step of the way

When I was in elementary school, many of my classrooms had an Apple IIe.  Unfortunately, the teachers never let any students use them.  It always remained off.  I was always fascinated with them however, I never got to see it in action.  I really think it would have impacted my knowledge in computing had any of my teachers let me turn on the computer in the classroom.  I was pretty good at figuring stuff out.

My father brought home a used Amiga and hooked it up to our TV.  I spent, what seemed like 8 hours, programming a few hundred lines of code from a book, to have it draw a smiley face with a mouth that moved.  It was fascinating.  We didn't have any components that would save anything we had typed.  So when we turned it off, everything we had typed into it would be erased.

When I bought my first real computer, I went to the computer store to buy a Macintosh.  But the computer salesman told me that I can get a color computer for cheaper if we decided to go with an IBM clone.  It was a decision that changed my life.  We brought home a 386 DX 40Mhz with a 80MB HDD and installed Terminator 2 the game.  I was amazed when it played a very pixelated posterized movie clip.  We upgraded the computer by adding a 200MB second HDD and a 2400 baud modem.  I had no clue what to do with the modem for the first couple of months.

In high school, I took my first computer programming class.  A few students liked hanging out there at lunch time so the teacher let us play with a computer that was hooked up on some kind of a dial-in network.  There was a listing of existing email addresses.  We randomly emailed someone at Mt. Pleasant because it sounded like people were nice there.  Amazingly, we got a response back a few days later.  It was amazing.

In high school, I spent a lot of time chatting with people on BBS's.  Then I found America Online.  AOL chatting was so addicting that I ran up my first AOL bill to around $144.  My parents were angry because we were poor at the time and it was serious money.  I eventually started researching information on the Internet.  I wondered, maybe one day, all the latest information will be on the Internet, and we would never have to not have an answer when we were curious.

My next computer was a 486 DX4 100Mhz.  I took it to college in 1996 and put a 10bit Ethernet card on there.  I discovered MP3s while browsing the LAN.  Unfortunately my computer couldn't play MP3s in Stereo but I still enjoyed the music in mono.

I got a new computer during my sophomore year.  It had an integrated Voodoo Rush card.  A graphics card specialized for 3D games.  It was mind blowing.

Surprisingly, the computer science department at UCSD was still using terminals.  A computer lab would consist of about 25 computer terminals hooked up to a unix server.  I never got comfortable using vi, and I always used pico.

After building and overclocking countless desktops, I now use a i7 Toshiba laptop I bought 2.5 years ago for $500.  I upgraded it with a 256GB SSD with 16GB ram.  It still runs like a dream.

I wonder if kids today will experience the same kind of excitement as new technologies present themselves.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

StrongVPN Review

Edit: I've changed my opinion on Strong VPN.  After 3+ years of being a loyal paying customer and advocate of StrongVPN, somehow, I discovered that they double changed me.  When I saw the double charge, I disputed it with my bank, because Bank of America online statements come with a dispute link for every transaction which is convenient for their customers.  When I did that, StrongVPN cancelled my account, and only when I requested a refund, they gave me a refund for the other charge.  StrongVPN never once admitted to their mistake of double charging me.  And told me it was my fault for disputing it with my bank when I should have asked them about the double charge.  What a terrible way to treat their loyal customers.  I would no longer recommend them as they seemed to be represented by customer service personnel who cannot admit to their own mistakes, even when dealing with something as severe as double charging your credit card.  And then blame you because they cannot trust you to not dispute other transactions.  Their logic being, if you disputed one charge, people usually dispute the other (correct) one even though I've been a happy customer for 3+ years.  What do they expect after they cancel your account that after you've pre-paid for a year?   Maybe it was just a rogue customer service person, but people like this hurt the company's revenue due to their egos.

As Korea clamps down on essential Internet services so that you use their services instead from daum and naver, a good and reliable VPN service is becoming more of a necessity.  Just recently, I've discovered I can no longer stream videos from Google Play.  Luckily, with a VPN service like StrongVPN, I can still watch South Park episodes on the Comedy Central app and get better access to free shows from Crackle in Korea.

Having is a VPN is the only way you can still enjoy watching videos from Netflix which always works consistently.  I've tried other VPN sites only to experience that speeds are only good the initial month, then they secretly switch you over to their other server that is always too congested for Netflix streaming.  With StrongVPN, the speeds are always good.  When their servers get a little busy, they just create another one.  I believe a lot of the other VPN services out there are essentially bait and switch scams.

One more great service that StrongVPN provides is that they have locations worldwide, so when the Olympics come around every 2 years, you can switch to the UK servers and watch Olympics live for free.  You can't do that in the US without having to verify that you are a cable subscriber.  However in the UK, you just need a UK IP address.

Overall, StrongVPN has become an necessity in Korea.  Without it, I would constantly feel the weight of the restrictions living in Korea.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Recovering files from Adobe Audition after a crash

I love Adobe products. I really can't live without it. Photoshop is a rock solid application that I can't remember ever dealing with a crash for the thousands of hours that I've used it. However, Premiere Pro and Audition crash all the time. I've lost countless hours of work so far. Crashes in Audition seem more severe as autosave seems to be not present. And only rarely I'm told that there is a file to recover from. However, I ran into an article on how to get back the files.

On my Windows 7 x64, the files were located in: C:\Users\***yourusername***\AppData\Local\Temp\Adobe\Audition\6.0

You will probably recognize a massive file with a random guid for a name that has been modified recently.  You can do an import on a raw file, then define the sample rate which, channels (1 for mono, 2 for stereo, 6 for 5.1), and resolution. I always record in 192000 sample rate, stereo, and 32-bit (float) wav so it was easy to figure this out.  The file you end up with is the recording, and chained to any other recordings and edits you may have made. Just clip what you need and there you go.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Done with XBOX 360. Next console for me will be PS4.

It is true that XBOX Live's paid subscriptions enabled Microsoft to give a richer online experience. And people saw value in that. But for me, I don't really care anymore (and I never really cared) about all the other stuff. It's just a lot of extra fluff that takes my time away from doing things I'd rather be doing. I just want to play GTA 5 online, and the fact that MS is essentially charging me to play a free game online, just makes the subscription absolutely not worth it. I don't think I'm the only person that feels this way. MS should be thinking of offering their XBOX Live Gold for free because the world is waking up to the fact that there is richer content outside of their paid services, and it can be enjoyed without having to give Microsoft any money. Their ploy on charging people for free content is up.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Why people love double entendres

A great double entendre is something of wonder. It's like seasoning to a lovely dish of phrases that adds a je ne sais quoi to the interpretation. It says something, without saying it directly. This gives the reader a chance to connect with the author in a powerful way because it's like a secret message, that is deciphered between the reader and the author. If anything, it is a clever way to deliver clearer imagery. So as in terms of human needs perspective, it is a 10/10 for connection, and maybe 8/10 for significance. That is like a magic bullet to the emotionally famished mind. It is a lethal headshot of a wide spectrum of synapses fired in the brain. Also, people just like being mentally stimulated of nothing in particular, which probably makes the brain work harder for a longer period of time rather than saying something smart that can be understood easily. It makes you look smart for coming up with something clever, and it makes you feel smart for being able to comprehend it. I wish I can infuse a double entendre in every paragraph I write.