Atomic Time Clocks

Today, I blog about my G-shock watch. Wait, if you are not yet impressed, you will be.  It is so cool, especially the Atomic Time function. If you are scratching your head, let me explain this special feature. If you want absolute accuracy beyond belief, you will appreciate the way your electronic device syncs up with the Atomic Clock at Fort Collins, Colorado. This is also the location of the WWVB radio station that millions use to synchronize their consumer electronic products. If you have a wall clock or a clock radio, you know what I mean. It also works for various appliances, cameras, irrigation controllers, and high level applications. I love it and couldn’t wait to get my G-shock watch so I could keep perfect time and never have to set it again. I am partial to technology and this is a prime example of something personal you can own and use that exhibits the wonders of electronics.

Atomic Time watches are a few years old ever since the Fort Collins radio station has been broadcasting what is called “a phase modulated time code.” This enhanced the existing AM/pulse-width-modification signal. Thus, watches like mine have taken off in popularity given their superior performance. It gets rather complicated to go into the details, so suffice it to say that the station has several antennas that have been refurbished over the years. An amazing computer ensures automatic tuning. Think of a wondrous set of transmitters making this all happen.

Can anything go wrong? Yes. But it is easily remedied so that there is frequency certainty. It involves removing path delays, usually minor. The system depends on proper receiving and averaging techniques to reduce uncertainty. If you are falling asleep at these details, let’s talk about my great watch. You can find them at all price points, but I went for a top model by Casio, a well-known brand among men who care. Even if you are a landlubber, the watch with its sci-fi dial looks amazing on any wrist. It will turn a nerd into an athlete. You find out a lot more about G-shock watches at The dial has an LED light, countdown timer, and 1/1000-second stopwatch. What more could a guy want?

Water resistance is big with owners of this marvel. It is good to 660 feet. If you indulge in professional marine activity and serious surface water sports, this is the one for you. For your hard-earned money, you get a resin case with mineral dial window, Japanese quartz movement with digital display, flash alert, world time (48 cities), multi-home time, and a ribbed resin wrist band with easy-to-use buckle closure. Something to note: this is not a watch for scuba divers. They have other options.

So much for Atomic Time and my new G-shock watch. Aren’t you thrilled you tuned into my blog today? I will always have something new to tell so come back soon.

Day Away From the Screen

Even the most diehard computer nerds take a day or two away from the screen now and then. Otherwise your eyes start to cross and your brain ceases to function. You know the feeling. For me, it has to be something really enticing like an adventure on the lake with a bunch of my friends to get me to abandon my laptop. Imagine you have a friend with a boat and that you are invited to spend the day riding in tubes towed by it. It is a nice sunny day, not blazing hot, but warm enough to enjoy the chill of the water. The sky is crystal blue and the air is clear. It is a day for photography for sure. Instagram, get ready for a barrage of pix.

You and the gang arrive at the destination at the same time as the boat and you descend from your vehicle ready to roll. The moment the boat hits the water, you are all primed for fun and competition. Yes, we all have it in us to outdo one another at any sport. Why not tubing? If you have never tried the towable tubes from Inflatables Life, you are in for a surprise and some hilarity. You can yell and scream at each other to your heart’s content.

Imagine that you are the one elected to keep tabs as to who is the winner of concocted, imaginary races. You note down every name with care. It seems as if everyone has a turn at the coveted first place. Now you have to think of a prize. After a day of whooping it up on the water, the gang is exhausted and the boat is docked. It is time for a break and a bottle of cold beer. When award time comes, you offer the “best towable tube rider” with a basket of goodies. Some thoughtful soul remembered to bring it along for snack time, but it is now in the hands of the “winner.” He can dole out the treats as he sees fit. He has power for this one moment in time. That is his prize and he enjoys every minute as top dog.

At the end of the day as evening draws near, you assess the time spent away from your desk and you conclude that it has been more than profitable. You and your friends are relaxed, closer than ever, and refreshed and ready to resume work full speed ahead (yes, boats still linger in your mind). Friendships are established and deepened on outings like this and you to have more of them through the year. Before long you all will be busy on individual projects with no time to spare for outdoor recreation.

If you have been imagining this scenario as you read my blog, you will have entered into my own reality. It all happened exactly as stated. Now it is your turn to get out there on the water in the best towable tube.

The Internet is Spying on You

How does an inanimate object know your shopping habits? It is some kind of omniscient being that knows everything about everyone. Every time you are on line, you leave a trail behind that this creature is memorizing for future reference. Let’s say you are buying a hot tub today. You spend an hour on various websites reading descriptions and reviews, and comparing prices. You abandon this project for a few days but when you are checking your emails, suddenly an ad appears out of nowhere for the “best” hot tub at a site called Hottest Tubs. What? How on earth?

No, I am not paranoid. This is a reality we all face. If you want to use the Internet, this is the consequence. It is part of the “privilege” of being a user to have your computer think for you. It searches by itself and brings you things you might want to buy.  Listen, I prefer ads for hot tubs over the sneaky sexy blurbs I get from Russian women selling their bodies to me by email. As much as I change my “preferences” and report spam, nothing really happens. I am doomed forever to get hot tub advertising. Even if I elect to buy one, I don’t know how to report it to the powers that be in the brain of the Internet.

It is clever indeed: this ability to keep you shopping until hell freezes over. Don’t try deleting your “cookies” as it doesn’t help. This is just a history of the websites you open. Your browsing for goods and services takes you to many other places. I know people who get these pop up ads and buy things they suddenly are told to need. It is convenient and just a marketing tool. This is a brave new world of e-commerce and it is quite competitive. I can see why someone programs a memory system into the Internet. How do they do it? It is a massive process no doubt, but it yields results. The fact is: the Internet is spying on you. The spiders are running wild tracking your every move.

A spider is just a program that cruises through web sites and reads activity associated with them which it then sends to a search engine index. Each index has its own program called a “crawler” or sometimes a “bot.” I love the lingo even though I don’t love what these programs do. They are invasive of your privacy and should be against the law. New sites get the most attention. These spiders have very long “legs” that span huge sections of the appropriately-named Web. They can be in many places at once, thus effectively accomplishing their goals in a short period of time. They love to gobble up hypertext links. I have to admit that most e-tailers want this kind of scrutiny to promote their business. And you as a user can just stop shopping online anytime you like!

Fingerless Gloves + Touchscreen = Win!

Sometimes you have an impossible task. For me, recently, it was finding the best cycling gloves that are comfortable, economic, and also allow me to use my touchscreen. It took a bit of searching as I was rather particular about what I bought. After careful scrutiny, I ended up with fingerless gloves. There are advantages and disadvantages to these, but it depends upon what is most important to you. Do you want coverage or do you want to access your touchscreen? I pride myself on being able to come up with sound solutions given many options. I know how to read between the lines and determine which product will serve me best. It is not enough to read the testimonials as they aren’t always specific enough. You must look at the photos carefully and read the product specifications. You want a good fit with some dexterity. You want a good grip on your bicycle controls. Given that I use my touchscreen virtually all day long, this turned out to be the priority in making my decision. When a particular usage is that obvious, why not go with your instincts.

I was so engrained in this search that I decided to buy a pair of cycling gloves like these for my brother as a gift. I knew he was wedded to his touchscreen so I went with a similar model but in a different color. He praised my choice to the skies. When we ride together now, we look like fingerless twins. What is good enough for me is certainly good enough for my brother. Getting the identical item therefore made perfect sense. There are constant choices in life to make, each more significant than the other. You have to have a good idea of your priorities to choose a good end result. Don’t just go with someone’s recommendation or because it was selling at deep discount. You get what you pay for is wise advise. Sometimes we don’t take the time to think things through. If we took hours on every purchase, we would never get anything done.

I should right a protocol for buying things online. It would start with why you want the object and what is your ideal price. You then list your options and start to compare as you reflect. You can make charts of pros and cons of each type of cycling glove for example. You could circle the important points—the key things you have discovered in your research. The item with the most circles wins. Above all you want your gloves to be well-made, preferably in the US, comfortable, designed for functionality and performance. You absolutely must be able to operate your touchscreen devices perfectly without a problem. Keep your gloves handy stored in your bike and take care of them if they get damaged, torn, or wet. Treat them like kid gloves and they will respond in kind. Good luck my fellow glove searchers.

My New Favorite Thing

I adore my new watch. It is my first smartwatch and man does it deliver. Its functions are multiple, making it a prized possession. It costs a pretty penny but I checked it out first before splurging. This is a once-in-a-lifetime buy and I made sure it was worth it. It comes from the famous brand Movado known for superior quality and design. Its Sport Motion model gives you everything you could possibly want including Bluetooth connectivity that you can pair with a smart phone or another device you may own. It can track steps like a fitness watch and even sleep. You just program in your goals. You don’t need several items to do what you need if you have a good smartwatch.

You can enter your activity goals on the date subdial. This beauty has a stainless-steel case and black bezel that surrounds the round dial and the matching reflector ring. The engineers got it right on this one. It has a silver-tone dot configuration that is iconic for Movado and hands that contrast elegantly. There are additionally white and orange accents that complete the dial. It makes for a beautiful focal point that you will look at frequently. Let’s not forget that this watch as Swiss quartz movement and is waterproof up to thirty meters. Plus, the push-button clasp secures the bracelet to your wrist. I can do all kinds of things with my new smartwatch over which I am ecstatic.

You can look but don’t touch. Once I took off the watch to show it to someone and I dropped it. So, I am not going to do that again. You can buy them online which doesn’t allow you first-hand judgement, but they are certainly available in stores. If you want to celebrate some success, treat yourself to this amazing mens watch. Sometimes we just owe it to ourselves to indulge. At this price, no one is going to give it to you for a holiday or a birthday. Sure, there are other choices, but when you consider functionality and design, the Movado wins every time. It is an award-winning company and is even sold in museum shops.

I have never seen one of my friends or colleagues wearing this watch, which is one reason for its purchase. I wanted something unique and all my own. A watch is kind a personal symbol or mode of identity because people always notice them, sitting prominently on your wrist. I can’t say that I have style in my attire, but I believe that I have made up for it with my stellar watch. Check it out on the Web and you will read the ample positive reviews. They are what sold me on it apart from the many uses. People seem to be honest when commenting on what pleases or displeases them, and this watch only gets raves. At night, I keep it in a dish on the dresser so it is the first thing I see when I open the drawers.

One for the History Books

I do things for friends that sometimes fall out of bounds of the normal, but we are pals after all and it is part of the close relationship to put yourself out and see things through to the bitter end. Not every selfless act for a friend is pleasant, but in retrospect it has some meaning. I am thinking of the time I had to take someone to the ER for a case of emergency food poisoning. My friend could have gotten badly dehydrated if he had not received immediate fluids. Meanwhile he was throwing up all over the floor and the poor ER nurse’s shoes. As a dedicated healthcare provider, she did not utter a word. I don’t know who felt worse about it: my friend or I. Nurses pride themselves on their cleanly appearance and I knew we had ruined her plan for the day. You can’t clean shoes with a little soap and water and hope to get out the fragments or the smell. She was going to have to do a major scrub job and then rush to her car for another pair. How many times in her career has she had to do this? Maybe this one was for the history book and it was the only time. Maybe when you see a vomiting patient, you learn how fast you have to turn away.

My friend was admitted that night and spent hours of discomfort waiting for the food poisoning to pass. It wasn’t until the next day that we both came up simultaneously with the great idea of replacing her nursing shoes with a new pair. We felt guilty that they had gotten ruined and the only way to assuage this guilt was to do a bit of shopping. This was also one for the history books. How many nurses get gifts from former patients? Not many we would bet. We found a store that carried medical clothing and footwear and searched for the size we were told that she wore. A fellow nurse was only too willing to help us out in our quest.

We selected a light blue woven fabric sneaker that matched the nurse’s uniform. Blue we were told is the color used in the ER on weekdays. We actually had enough sense about us to take notice. The shoe had a cushioned thick sole and we wanted the identical item. It was a slip on style with added laces for tightening to achieve the right degree of fit. We didn’t even care about the price. My friend was so embarrassed about the fiasco that he would spend anything to make amends.

Seeing the nurse’s face when we brought over the string-tied box was enough to alleviate any guilt or concern. She was surprised and quite pleased at our gesture. Upon opening the box, she exclaimed that we had found her favorite kind and that they were the most comfortable for work. “It wasn’t necessary by any means,” she cooed. But you could tell she was very content. Here was a patient scenario she would never forget.

Celebrate Like a Pro

Building websites is fun and lucrative and I am happy to say it is my line of work. It is creative, innovative, and one of the most in demand jobs around. You could celebrate that fact any day of the week. However, my crew and I celebrate like pros only after an individual website build to mark its success and completion. While it happens with some degree of frequency, each time is a milestone to us.

Celebrating should be a regular part of life and most of us don’t do it nearly enough. We roll through our days, weeks, and months, forgetting to pat ourselves on the back every once in a while. It makes for dull living. There are times when it pays to take a break, sit back and witness work accomplished. It feels good and gets the spirit lifted every time. Take it from me that it should be a regular practice no matter what field you are in; and it should be done in a group! The pleasurable mood reverberates in unison with others, so take advantage of the camaraderie when and where you can. Life is all about the little joys that add up.

I believe that if you are going to celebrate, you should do it right. In my world, this means that we like to toast to achievements done as they happen. We get the best booze for our drinks and use only pure crystal barware in the appropriate sizes. Someone is in charge to make sure this gets done. Nothing less will do. If you are going to celebrate in style, why not have something quality in mind. Anything less is going to be a disappointment.

As it were, we came to the good barware part a little late in the game. We were celebrating with mixed drinks for the most part, eschewing the more plebeian beer and wine. (We get plenty of that stuff in our lives although it is surely great in its own way.) No, instead we were going for scotch whiskey in a nice glass on the rocks, vodka martinis, manhattans, gin and tonics, and the like. The best brands of renown graced our makeshift bar countertop. We had been doing this for some time and enjoying it immensely, but something was missing in the overall experience. It was the glassware believe it or not. That was it! It wasn’t up to snuff. The everyday options were plain Jane in comparison and added little to no pizzazz. Someone had the brilliant idea of getting fine crystal barware at a garage sale, and that was the beginning of a new tradition.

Does the liquor taste better in a crystal glass? Maybe, but I can tell you that it feels right and particularly special. You can get used stuff, of course, or have your own gang chip in and buy a new set that is brand spanking new to be inaugurated by you. Your choice. What matters is that you have these glasses on hand, and plenty of them. Celebrating like a pro has its requirements.

Instant Guest Room

If you have a spare room, a sleep over is no problem. But if you don’t, you should think ahead. You never know when someone will be snowed in or forced to stay till morning due to torrential rains and floods. A friend might be your guest if you are working on a project that takes you deep into the night. This has happened to me more than once. So be ready to roll out the air mattress; it comes in mighty handy.

I don’t think many people stock them in the linen closet, folded tight and ready to be blown up into a comfort zone. When they are filled with air, they are surprisingly comfortable. You need a blanket or two and some pillows to finish the job. With me, I trotted it out at midnight and voila! Instant guest room. I am sooo glad I was given one to me by my enterprising cousin for a gift. He had one, too, and passed on the practicality. I was duly appreciative and let him know I appreciated his wisdom about hospitality at home.

It stood forlorn at the back of the coat closet for a year until it was needed. I had, in fact, forgotten where it was and had to do some fast searching. Fortunately, I don’t have that many closets, and few that could house a portable sort of bed! By the way, you can keep them under an actual bed, in the garage if covered in tarp, in the attic, or trunk of your car. You just want it ready, willing, and able when the time comes. It is an emergency cot, sleeping bag, and mattress all rolled into one. No one should ever have to sleep on the floor or ground for any reason.

Accommodating guests is a nice thing to do, even if they are there only to work. They are still visitors to your home in a sense, and you may stop and have a drink or two to relax. So get a decent one that won’t burst open if your friend weighs over two hundred pounds. I have seen them on the Internet, of course, where I see everything else I want to buy.

I have compared them to the one I own and have scoured discount prices. You see, I plan to give one as a gift myself to a lucky recipient. I know that it is something everyone needs but doesn’t own. It solves the problem of the person who has everything. No more racking my brain about a birthday gift for a hiker or a teen girl who has slumber parties. Why not give an air mattress like this for a holiday or even as a wedding gift. Now that would be unique. Accompany it with a nice Coleman stove and a skillet and you are set.

In short, an air mattress can get you out of a fix at home, or it can keep you comfortable and dry outside while camping. It can do double duty as a bed for pets. Don’t underestimate the value of having one or two just in case.