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What You Need to Know Before Learning Chinese

I started learning mandarin Chinese a few months ago, and I figured I should share some information that would have really helped me when I was just beginning.

First off, if you plan on learning how to write, you may seem overwhelmed at first. But no matter how “crazy” the character is, as Nike would say “Just do it”. Just forget about how complex it looks and take it slow and you will get it. I actually started off sketching each character because I wasn’t used to writing those different lines. Soon you will get to the point where you can write each one, with little trouble. After some time you will also notice that many characters are made up of different combinations of different strokes. Then it’s just simply a matter of “putting this stroke with this one”.

Chinese consists of only one syllable words, such as: Cha, Chang, Kan, Jiao. Each one has its own meaning, but then when you combine two or more words together you get a new word. For example, the word “Shi” means City and “Chang” means Open Space; when you put them together you get “Shi Chang” which means Market or Open City.

Chinese only has about 400 one syllable words, but each one of those words has 4 different tones. Tones are how you fluctuate your voice when you say the word. For this overview we will use the word “ma”, notice how the meaning changes with each tone. The first tone is constant, as in you don’t change your voice at all. An example of the first tone is ma1 (ignore the numbers for right now) which means “mother”. The second tone goes from low to high, such as ma2 which means “hemp”. The second tone kind of sounds like a relief, as if you were carrying something heavy and then set it down as you say the word. The third tone starts high, goes down low and then raises at the end of the word. Think of it as trying to make an arc with your voice as you say the word. Ma3 is an example that means “horse”. The fourth tone is opposite of the second, the word starts high then ends low; ma4 means “scold”. As you can see if you don’t learn tones, you could might as well be speaking gibberish!

Lastly, you will often see the pronunciation of the character in English, this is referred to as Pinyin. The English pronunciation is usually followed by an arrow or a number, which indicates the tone that should be used. In the above paragraph I used pinyin to write the pronunciations of the word “ma”. Some words aren’t as pretty as “ma”, many have Qs, Xs, and Zs. These all have different sounds than in English. The Q is pronounced like a J, and the X and Z are S and Ch respectively.

Now your done with that there is so many resources out there for people wanting to learn Chinese. There are sites similar to frenchlanguagedojo.com, but instead of French it’s Chinese, and you can learn some secrets to easy learning and memorization. I would recommend learning five to ten characters a day and then learn how to speak up to 20 words. Since you only need about 2000-3000 words to read a Chinese newspaper, five characters a day will get you moving at a good pace.

How the Freedom App Can Save Your Life

It seems like struggling to stay productive is becoming increasingly common among people nowadays. As for me, productivity comes in waves — I’m either super productive for a period of time or I go back to the normal me, aimlessly browsing the internet for something that catches my attention.

Does that sound familiar to you at all?

Below I will talk about the tool that I use to keep me on task when I need to.

Meet Freedom.to

Freedom is another new app that lowers the amount of distractions on the internet by blocking sites that distract you the most.

The difference with Freedom when compared to similar apps is that this one also works on your mobile device (where most of us probably waste most of our time).

Does it really help?

Studies show that it takes you about 23 minutes to get back on task once you get distracted by an email or notification.

Some would also argue that multi-tasking is actually less productive. If you’re trying to go back and forth between a group chat on Skype and your financial report, then you probably won’t be too efficient.

The biggest pro for using this app is that it breaks up the bad habit of always looking at distractions. Once you get into the routine of always looking at your news feed, the habit gets stronger every day.

The only downside is that the app has gone full-blown “freemium” for devices. Coincadentially enough, you could look online for the freedom apk and get all the upgrades for free if you have an android device.

As a little bonus, the app also comes with automated scheduling for turning on and off the night shift mode. I recently downloaded Flux on my Apple laptop, and realized I was totally missing out on this simple bit of automation.

Santa Claus 3 – The Escape Claus

Today we went to see the movie Santa Claus 3 – The Escape Claus.
We previously seen the first two movies made in this trilogy and I have to say that I thought this movie was the best of the three of them.

I have always been a big fan of Tim Allen and I truly enjoyed the first two movies that were made, and usually each sequel is a little less than the previously made movie but in this case, I thought that the third sequel was the best out of the three.

This movie stars, as previously, Tim Allen but also adds to the case Martin Short, another wonderful entertainer. Putting these two together in one movie together was a wonderful idea.

Without telling to much of the story line, this movie is about Santa trying to make Mrs. Claus happy and going as far as inviting some “guests” to the North Pole for Christmas. Also in the story line is the magnificent Martin Short as Jack Frost who wants to be Santa himself. Jack does some pretty low stuff to sabotage Santa and make him give up on the whole SC thing, but finds out that nothing bothers Santa except “family” trouble, so Jack steeps even lower to make Santa Claus believe that he never should of become Santa in the first place.

The wonderful Tim Allen does his usual great acting and finds out what things would of been like if he never would of been Santa Claus and he fights his way back to owning the Red Coat.

This movie was entertaining in all of it’s usual ways but it also had a very lovable and family oriented story line behind it. It made you feel good about the word “family” just being in the theater watching it. The ending is definitely one that makes you sit back and say “Ahhhhh”. The ending will truly Warm your Heart, just like the ending of Sleepless full movie.

I highly recommend seeing this movie, if you missed it while it was in the theater, know that it is one that you will want to rent and maybe even purchase for your video library when available.

Pokemon D/P – the New Change to the Competitive Battling Circuit

Remember the times when Pokemon games were so simple? Pick the uber powerful Mewtwo, pick one attack and its off to an easy win. But that was back in the day. Now, with the introduction of the new competitive battling scene, Mewtwo will not be considered the “God-of Pokemon” anymore.

Since the release of Diamond and Pearl, players have seen a drastic change in the competitive battling circuit. When moves such as Fire Punch, Waterfall, and Ice Punch were all special moves (meaning the higher their special attack rating is, the more damage it would do) due to their typing, now they are physical moves. This change was brought into play after much debate about the logic of the attacks. Shouldn’t punches and attacks that require physical contact be physical attacks?

Popular moves such as Swords Dance, Dragon Dance, Bulk Up, and Calm Mind also play a huge role in the battling scene. It is not surprising to see Alakazam with Calm Mind, or Tyranitar with Dragon Dance. Pokemon who had limited move pools due to the physical/special attack typing back in previous generations get a nice boost and some even moved up tiers. An example is Dragonite. Back in the third generation (Ruby/Sapphire), all Dragon moves were special moves, and his special attack stat was not what you could call impressive. With the separation of special and physical attacks, Dragonite can now use the powerful Dragon Claw, which gains STAB (Same Type Attack Bonus), and allows it to take down other threats such as Salamance.

What we once thought was a game for little kids now is a game for strategists and those people who are looking to use their brains for a little bit. With new items to hold, including the risky Life Orb and the ever so popular Choice Band, players may have to rethink their team strategies if they want to become a Pokemon Master. Those who stepped out of the fad after growing older and just play Pokemon Heart Gold ROM may want to revisit this new generation, as it brings about new and exciting opportunities for battling like we’ve never seen before.

Keep This in Mind When Hiring a Housekeeper

While some view having a housekeeper as an invasion of privacy, and would never pay for such a service, there is still a large population of consumers that enjoy the time and energy that is saved by hiring a housekeeper. By having a housekeeper on hand it’s one less thing to worry about in your busy life, which can mean the world to some people. Regardless of why you choose to work with a housekeeper, there are some tips to keep in mind when choosing one.

  1. Ask for Recommendations – Think about if you had to choose a new doctor. Would you look through the phonebook and just choose any ole doctor, or would you ask family and friends for recommendations? It may seem strange comparing a doctor to a housekeeper, but in many ways the housekeeper is in charge of even more responsibilities than a doctor. Housekeepers are in charge of the safety of your home and belongings, and might be around your children from time to time. Don’t you think it would be worth it to choose someone or some company that has recommendations from people that you trust?
  2. Phone Interview – Most companies are quick to spring for the opportunity to do a walk-through with you and give you an estimate, but this can be tough to deal with because they can be pushy or rush you through it without going over the details. Try to get someone on the phone and ask questions like what type of products will be used, and if they change cleaning cloths between jobs. If they are unwilling to go over the finer details over the phone then they probably aren’t the best choice.
  3. Individual or Company – There are pros and cons when it comes to hiring either an individual housekeeper, or a company that provides you one of their employees. The individual may offer extras beyond the typical cleaning like folding clothes, but things might come up in that person’s life like becoming ill, which will leave you high and dry. You could then go for a company which is unlikely to cause any problems, but at the same time they might lack the personal touch that an individual can bring. A company like Cfait can help you navigate the crazy world of freelancers, and choose an individual that is perfect for the job.

At the end of the day, life is about enjoying your time and home. While some find enjoyment and a sense of satisfaction from working around the house, it is beyond a chore for others. Hiring a housekeeper doesn’t instantly label you as a lazy person, you may just want to spend your time on things that matter more to you.

The Differences Between Various Ultrawide Monitors

As with any type of emerging technology, the monitor/display industry has been inundated with an influx of different types of ultrawide monitors. Since there is so much hype and noise around these products, it often helps to find a guide online that can help you navigate the maze of monitors out there. Below we will classify the different types of ultrawide monitors, and explain the details that will help you make an informed decision when the time comes to make a purchase.

  1. FreeSync – A monitor marked as coming with FreeSync basically means that it’s meant to work along with AMD FreeSync, which essentially prevents screen-tearing when it comes to rapidly changing graphics, like when it comes to gaming. FreeSync support is only available when using a DisplayPort cable.
  2. G-Sync – Similar to FreeSync, NVIDIA G-Sync enhances the smoothness of graphics, but the source of the enhancement is different. FreeSync uses the video card to manage the refresh rate, while G-Sync utilizes a chip in the monitor.
  3. Premium Features – While doing your research about monitors you’ll read about many premium features like curved monitor, 144Hz, and 1440p. Curved monitors is a new fad that is slowly catching on, and it’s mainly intended to give you a more immersive experience. The 144Hz feature is all about how fast your monitor refreshes, which is key for shooter games – some say they can’t notice the difference, but some say they can’t go back after making the switch. 1440p has to do with the screen resolution and aspect ration, being 2,560 x 1,440 with an aspect ratio of 16:9. This essentially makes it four times the resolution of a basic HD display.

If you are in the market for a display that has all the bells and whistles, then your options include the Acer XR341CK for FreeSync, and the Acer X34 to take advantage of G-Sync. Unfortunately they only come with 75Hz refresh rate, but are still 1440p.

Only Sell Diamonds to Reputable Buyers

Since the prices of gold and other precious metals have risen in recent years, along with it came a rise of companies wanting to get in on the industry. The problem that this presents is that any company can purchase these precious metals and diamonds, but just a small amount of them are able to accurately assign a value to them. Spotting the legitimate companies can become tough if you don’t know how to cut through the noise, but below we have some tips that will guide you to selling your diamonds for the most possible.

  • First you need to know how diamonds are valued. Just like trying to evaluate a used car: the make, the model, year, mileage – there are certain things you need to know about the diamond like weight, color, clarity, and cut. With companies that don’t know how to asses a diamond properly, they will likely offer you much less money than it’s worth.
  • Second, you need to know where to sell. It is important to work with a reputable company that actually has a reputation that they can’t afford to lose. A reputable company can most likely be identified if they have GIA graduates on their staff. Diamond grading should only be performed by an expert with training from GIA, Gemological Institute of America. The grading scales used in the modern-day industry were created by this organization, so it’s only right that graduates are the most educated when it comes to grading a diamond.

Beyond that, common sense should be able to aid you further. Stay away from cash for gold places. If you want to sell diamonds online, stay away from companies that only want to send payments via Paypal. Selling your diamond online is possible, but it’s probably a good idea to take it to a local store and at least get a couple estimates before going with an online vendor.

Extra Tips to Choose a Payday Loan Company

Even though payday loans have a negative connotation in today’s world, many people still turn to them because they feel like they have no other option. These loans get a bad reputation because of the questionable companies that operate in the market, and the problems that these types of loans can cause. Many consumers get sucked into a cycle where they need a loan to make ends meet, but then cannot pay it back quick enough to avoid high amounts of interest, so then they need another loan by the next paycheck. Regardless of why someone needs a loan, we have some tips that most don’t consider before pursuing a payday loan.

  1. Choose a lender that works with large institutions – In the world of payday loans, there are larger companies that offer a wide range of loans, and they usually work with large, reputable banks and companies. It is preferable to work with these types of companies over the fly-by-night companies that offer only short-term loans.
  2. Nearly half of the states in the U.S. has legislative acts that allow these payday loan providers to operate. That same legislation also polices how licenses are obtained, which also dictates how these companies should run. For example, if you are looking for Las Vegas payday loans, then you would want to make sure you go with a company that is licensed by the state of Nevada. If you are still unsure, you can contact the office of the Attorney General in your state to verify if the license is legitimate, and if the company has had any problems in the past.
  3. Beware of lenders that use Native American lands as part of their business model. Above we mentioned how companies are policed by their state legislation, and that you need a license to operate, but this is all set aside if the company operates from Native American lands. These companies are, for the most part, exempt from consumer protection laws that other companies have to adhere by.

If you believe you’ve been wronged then you should immediately contact the Attorney General of your state, and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). The FTC will investigate your complaint if you believe the company has engaged in illegal loan agreements.

How to Start Getting Your Hair Back

Following the latest trends and fads can really take it’s toll on your hair. Even if you have dense, healthy hair while growing up, dying your hair and using other chemicals to wash or style it is still abuse, and your hair can only handle so much. Below are some tips to naturally regrow hair back to good health, without having to spend too much extra money:

  1. Scalp Massage – Often when you hear about performing a head massage it’s recommended to use some sort of oil like coconut oil or castor oil. While it isn’t necessary to use an oil, it is more effective in the long run and buying the oil isn’t going to hurt your bank. This routine will usually only take about 20 minutes of your time, and it helps to leave the oil in your hair for a bit afterwards before washing it out.
  2. Herbal Rinse – This one is a little bit less known, but there are certain plants out there with beneficial nutrients that naturally nourish and condition your hair. These rinses usually have complicated recipes so you’re almost better off just ordering a blend from an online supplier.
  3. Avoid Conditioners – After shampooing your hair, please stay away from conditioners. They are just extra chemicals that will not help the health of your hair, and more importantly, there are leave-in conditioners with natural ingredients that are much better for your health. If you really feel the need for conditioner – go for a leave-in type.
  4. Wide Tooth Comb – This is a tip you won’t hear often, but again, we’ll take any help we can get. Fine combs can actually hurt the fragile new hairs that are growing in. Also, aim for using a wood comb as well because they are more forgiving than plastic ones.

In the end, regrowing your hair is not rocket science. As soon as you make the click and realize that pretty much all hair products have some harmful chemicals in them, the sooner you can make a change for the best. Do yourself a favor and always read the labels on hair products. Stay away from things that stress your hair too much, like heat treatments, conditioners, tight hair styles, and most importantly, take great care of your general health.

Picking a Qualified Demolition Company for Construction Projects

Even though demolition is really only needed when an old building needs to be knocked down because it is unfit for its new intended purpose, or when a new building needs to be built where an old one was, it’s still important to learn the ins and outs of the process so that you know what to expect along the way. The work included in demolition, especially with old concrete, gets quite tricky with all the safety risks involved. For those particular reasons, it’s essential that you pick a company that are qualified for the job and have experience with dangerous materials.

Qualified demolition companies will usually have a broad range of the most up-to-date machines possible, and tools to match. Often there is a little bit of difference between tools for commercial jobs and tools for residential jobs, so that may be something to keep in mind.

The removal of hazardous materials is the second piece of the large puzzle. A demolition operation will most likely produce at least some sort of dangerous waste that will require specific attention. An experienced company will know exactly how to properly deal with these materials. For example, tearing down an older house, asbestos will be a common problem and can cause major health problems as well as legal problems if not handled properly.

Lastly, while working with big companies can seem like the smartest choice, choosing a smaller local company may actually end up being the best choice. They will be able to offer you their full attention, while also knowing the local laws like the back of their hand. For example, if you are searching in Australia, you can go for a local company and contact Statewide in Perth.

To wrap up, aim for a company that will give you a free quote or consultation. Your first estimate might not be the best one you receive, but it may be the most valuable because it gives you a starting point to negotiate with other companies. Any company that puts in the effort to travel and give a free estimate are usually fully qualified and certified so there won’t be much to worry about.

Ideas for Unconventional Gifts that the Bride and Groom Will Love

Weddings are a special occasion for many, and all the elements can bring excitement: the wardrobe, the ceremony, the vows, the parties, the first dance, the socializing, and let’s not forget – gifts. If you’ve been invited to a wedding this year, then it’s already time to wrap your head around what kind of gift you are going to get the lovely couple. While obviously they would be very happen with a gift that they chose and put on the registry, but sometimes it’s more fun to get creative with it. Here are a couple different routes you can take to give an amazing, unconventional gift.

Cash

Sometimes cold hard cash can be more handy than an actual gift. Cash can be used towards some of the expenses that the couple take on for things like the wedding or moving in together.

Group Buy

If you know some other people that are also invited to the big day, then it’s possible to pool your resources together and buy one big ticket item for the couple. A typical group buy would be for something substantial like furniture.

Personalized Gifts

Nowadays it is actually quite cheap to get common household items personalized with custom engraving, monograms, and even emboss. Companies like Gifts Less Ordinary in New Zealand specialize in gifts like these. The best part about custom gifts like these is that they’re great as gifts for him, as well as gifts for her. It’s essentially taking normal gifting-giving to the next level

Why are Heat Sinks so Important?

Even though the heat sink isn’t something everyone always thinks about when computers come to mind, but just like all the other parts, the computer just wouldn’t work without some sort of heat sinks. Even worse, if your heat sinks are not adequate enough, it could actually end up damaging your computer. Just like we need water for workouts, our computer needs heat sinks to cool down the processor.

But how does a heat sink work exactly? From the looks of the name, it seems like some magical piece that heat gets washed down into and just vanishes.

Put simply, a heat sink is something that takes heat from an object and disperses it. Computers are the most well-known devices that utilize heat sinks, but they are also used on cell phones, media players, and even coolers like refrigerators and freezers.

The heat sink is a specially designed thermal conductor that takes heat from the CPU chip, and carries it away to the big fins that you commonly see. Those large fins actually help dissipate the heat faster since there is more surface area for it to be spread around.

Heatsink Manufacturers typically produces all sorts of models that meet a wide range of CPU specifications. The main specifications that they pay attention to are:

  • The maximum case temperature
  • The maximum power of the processor
  • The maximum inlet temperature allowed to the heat sink

If you are wanting to learn more about heat sinks, I would do research on CPUs and laptops. Laptops present a very unique cooling situation because different manufacturers build their models differently, all requiring different forms of heat sinks.

More Updates to Come After DNS Problem is Solved

We’ve been wanting to make some big updates to our site about our upcoming events and partnerships, but on our office network we keep encountering “DNS” problems like “server isn’t responding”.

We’ve tried the basic fixes like trying to narrow down the causes to trying different web browsers, to see maybe if it’s just a problem with Google Chrome. When that didn’t work, we tried clearing our browser caches and cookies – still no go.

Then I tried getting my iPad out of the car and seeing if I could connect and use the internet properly. With that device is kept saying DNS server unavailable, so I wasn’t even sure what to think about that.

When searching online I learned that it is actually a common problem that happens from time to time and is easily fixable. This one site talks about the steps needed to fix DNS Error Fixerrs.com, which basically has to do with something called “flushing” your DNS on your computer.

After following the instructions and using the following commands in the command prompt, we were able to resume using the internet as usual:

  • ipconfig /registerdns
  • ipconfig /release
  • ipconfig /renew
  • netsh winsock reset

Getting Insurance for the Team

Part of us taking the festivals to a new level in the future will require us to have more full-time staff, and part of bringing people on full time means offering some benefits. We are in it for the long haul, and want members to join us that are just as dedicated as we are. While getting all these different benefits for the employees will be cumbersome at first, it will pay off in the long run if everyone is satisfied and feels secure with their job.

Thankfully we still have the option to do something with Obamacare, and they work with insurance companies to offer a vary wide range of options to accommodate almost any need. This is similar to what it’s like getting an LIC policy in India – it’s a government thing so it’s easier and in a way more trustworthy than working independently with a company.

These are of course just typical growing pains for a company on the rise. We just look forward to growing our family here and cherish the fact that we are able to do this type of stuff for a living.

Taking Our Festivals to a New Level

We’re proud to announce that with we’ve been working with a company that will helps us better increase our revenue per event so that we can continue to improve and expand in the future. They are mainly helping us understand how to improve our profits by using data to solve business challenges. Although we pride ourselves on trying to do everything in-house, and be self-sufficient, we felt it was necessary to take some steps to improve our business overall.

We are still on the rocks when it comes to allowing outside business to work with us, and hopefully our research will give us a clear indication of whether or not it will positive in the long haul.

If you have any business queries, please send us an email and we will get back to you promptly. Thank you

Time for Aerial Footage

It is the future now, and it’s time for aerial footage to become more common. It’s a great way to capture a moment or an event from an angle that just wasn’t possible only a couple of years ago. Now technology is advancing so fast that it’s possible to get devices like drones and outdoor quadcopters for a very low price due to all the competition that is out there.

With prices of drones being at an all-time low since they’ve become widely popular, we figured it would be a good idea to get one of our own to capture some footage of the festival every year. We will then be able to share the video on our site and YouTube for others to see what the festival is like and get a feel for what the atmosphere is like.

We’ve been searching online for a waterproof drone with the option to attach an external camera like a GoPro. The reason for it needing to be waterproof is to mainly keep it safe from the elements and just in case something goes wrong and it falls into some water. In the end, we just want to make sure we have the drone for many festivals in the future.