Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Exam Stress


For anyone still in eduction or anyone facing a big moment, you will understand that Christmas or any holiday celebrated at the end of the year is always tainted by the dread of looming exams in January. This will only be a short post as I myself am currently/should be revising for exams.

I am an anxious sort at the best of times, so being under stress makes me a quivering wreck. I want to write and tell anyone reading this that stressing does not help at all, and even though doing well in something feels amazing and not achieving what you wanted feels devastating, it is not the be all and end all. Life goes on and better things are sure to come your way! So head up and lets get through this!


Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Future of Technology: What to Look Forward To (Google Glass, XboxOne, PS4, Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch, iPhone 5C and Ultra HD)

A list of products set for release soon and a rating on how excited I am to get my hands on them.

Google Glass


Set for release to consumers in 2014, the Google glass is a head mounted, wearable computer system that when connected to a smart-phone allows a 'hands free' communication with the internet using voice commands. The Google glass displays visual information in the optical head mounted display allowing the user to view images through the glass. The unit also has an inbuilt camera, allowing images and videos to be taken through the product. This feature has sparked privacy questions about the Google glass and some places have banned the product before its release to consumers! 'Explorer editions' of the Google glass were released early for test users, allowing the product to be fully reviewed and lots of publicity and advertising through outlets such as YouTube. The price set for release is $500-$300 and I have to say this is not something I am eager to purchase and I don't see the appeal for a mass market. Excitement rating, 4/10.

Xbox one


The next member of the Xbox family is the Xbox One, set for release on November 22nd ready for Christmas and one week behind of its main rival the Playstation 4. The main features of the Xbox One are the new AMC processors in the console which increases the performance from is predecessor the Xbox 360. The Xbox One also integrates the Kinect capability which allows users to interact physically with games and make video calls with the inbuilt Skype capability. The largest criticism about the Xbox One is the fact all games will need to be downloaded from the Xbox store rather than a physical copies purchased.This will change the resell market for games and may affect the popularity of the Xbox One. This console will do well as Xbox loyalists are sure to buy it, but will it out compete the PS4? Excited? 6/10.

PS4


Set for release the week before the Xbox One, Christmas 2013 will be the chosen battleground for the grand slam between these two heavyweight consoles. The PS4 will also contain AMD processors, a camera system for motion control and the new dualshock 4 controllers. Sony plan to make more emphasis on the social side of gaming by including a share button on the new controller and allowing the connection of other devices such as smart phones and tablets to enhance gameplay. This console is more attractive to me as a Playstation fan, but I haven't out grown the PS4 yet so would need a big step up to sway me to purchase the new console. Really excited for this one, 8/10.

Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch


Samsung have just announced the Galaxy Gear Smartwatch that will allow the user to connect to a Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note 10.1 and view and use applications form the smartphone. Pipping Apple to the Post for the watch style smart product, Samsung have announced this product to avoid any more law suits. Looks like an interesting product, but similarly to the Google glass, it doesn't seem to have much of a market or use? 2/10.

Iphone 5C


The newest iPhone to the family, the iPhone 5C is going to be the first budget apple product. As the phone is set to be announced on September 10th, not much information is available on the product but it rumours have suggested the phone will be available in a range of bright colours and set to 'Brighten everyone's day'. Excited to see this product and I'm sure Apple will claim yet another market for themselves, 6/10.

Ultra HD and 4K Televisions


Ultra HD TV's available in 4K (2160p) and 8K (4320p), are the new range of TV's to take over the HD market. With an LG 84" TV being £16,999 form Curry's, the market for household TV's is probably not ready for television's at this size and price, but the technology behind these televisions will soon be reduced in size to allow for household TV's to include this technology. This product is the one I am most excited about and can really change the TV market in a way that 3D TV's failed to do, 9/10. (Here is a bonus brilliant video showing the power of ultra HD).


Sunday, 8 September 2013

How To Have An Epic Day

Dance like no-one is watching,
















Sing like no-one is listening,












Work like you don't need the money,













Love like you have never been hurt,











Live like there is no tomorrow.














Have a great day!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

10 Films Worth Watching On Netflix UK And US


Using Netflix's 30 day free trial is well worth a go, especially with the Hola Unblocker Google Chrome extension that allows Netflix US and UK content to be viewed from the same account. Click on any of the images to watch the films trailer.

Worth watching on Netflix UK:

The Hunger Games (2012)



Jeniffer Lawrence plays Katniss Everdeen, a girl who takes the place of her sister after being chosen to compete in 'The Hunger Games'. Kind of a Western version of the Chinese film 'Battle Royale', kids killing kids with any means possible. A great film, but has been produced with family in mind. 8/10

O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)



3 convicts escape their chain gang in the deep south of America in the 1930's leading to an epic adventure. Based on Homer's Odyssey, the trio meet many a foe on their journey to freedom. One of my favourite films with an incredible soundtrack. 10/10

Project Nim (2011)



The sad story of a chimp taken from it's parents in the 1970's to be risen with humans to show the capability to learn language when raised in a human environment. Interesting documentary film that will evoke every emotion. 6/10

Hook (1991)



Robin Williams and  Dustin Hoffman take a different look at the classic fairytale of 'Peter pan'. A classic film from my childhood that never fails to make me smile. 'RU-FI-OOOO!!' 8/10.

The Strangers (2008)



A chilling horror film, telling the story of a couple stranded in a holiday cottage that gets terrorised by 3 people out for trouble. Not critically acclaimed but the fact it could happen, sends shivers down my spine. 6/10

Worth watching on Netflix US:

Marvels Avengers (2012)



Jam packed with Hollywood celebs, Avengers Assemble sees well known Marvel super heroes come together to kick the butt of any baddy in their way. I was really impressed the way all the individual films from each super hero are worked into this one to keep continuity. Great action/adventure film. 8/10

James and the Giant Peach (1996)



A classic Roald Dahl book turned into a charming Walt Disney film, telling the story of poor James who escapes his nasty aunts to set off on a great adventure in a giant peach with some interesting friends. Another childhood favourite. 8/10

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)



A high school student decides to have a day of school, much to the disapproval of his principal. *Hilarity ensues*. A classic film that really needs to be added to your favourites list. 7/10 

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)



Another chilling horror, more twists than a bag of pretzels. A group of friends go for a break in a cabin in the woods, funny that. But there might be more than meets the eye to this lodging. Really creepy... 7/10

Super 8 (2011)



A Steven Spielberg film set in 1979 shows a group of friends witness a train crash while trying to make a 'Super 8' film, leads to unexplainable events in their town. A fantastic film that has a brilliant story and filmed brilliantly. 9/10


Friday, 6 September 2013

8 Things That Really Annoy Vegetarians

15 years of vegetarianism has encountered many a niggle, here is my top 8:

1) Everyone becomes a dietitian when they realise you don't eat meat


Do you get enough Iron in your diet? You must have to take loads of supplements right? Argghhhh. My diet is fine and is probably better than your meat munching habits thank you very much. 

2) Pesky pescatarians 


Are you a vegetarian?
 Yeah, but I eat fish.
 So your not then. 
*Well I have to eat fish and fish isn't a meat anyway* Derp

3) Waiting for your food twice as long as meat eaters


This is aimed at my friends at the 'Golden arches'. Please pre make some of the vegetarian options and keep them warm like you do with every other meat meal you sell. Thanks.

4) Discovering many 'light' yoghurts use gelatine to thicken them

 Naming and shaming Muller! Come on guys, really? So many good yoghurts don't use gelatine in their products, is it a cheaper alternative? I don't know but it just adds something to my can't eat list.

5) Places running out of the vegetarian option


Set the scene, fireworks night, cold and wet and in the distance is a pasty van selling hot food. Queue for 20 minutes reach the end of the line and ... 'Sorry we're sold out'. Now my proposal is a vegetarian card that when ordering veggie food needs to be presented before you can purchase any veggie options. Bit extreme? 

6) Weird vegetarian alternatives


Now I know I am not alone in the disgust of the release of this range of products. Fish flavoured prawns? Fishless fish cakes? And to make matters worse, the secret ingredient to achieve the magic taste is 'Fish flavouring'!! YUCK, NO THANK YOU!

7) Being asked, "What do you eat for Christmas dinner?"


Christmas day is a hard day for vegetarians. On December 25th you are likely to see groups of veggies wondering around lost, searching aimlessly for what to eat for Christmas dinner. Well this is what a meat eater thinks anyway, trust me it's not that bad.

8) People assuming you an eco-warrior hippy activist 
  

There is nothing wrong with being a eco-warrior hippy activist but just because we don't kill to survive doesn't mean we wear sandals and hug trees.

Luckily this list of 8 is massively out shadowed by the pro's of being vegetarian including watching food programmes about what's in your sausage and not having to feel ill and generally having a healthier happy lifestyle.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

The Syrian Conflict


The Syrian conflict has shot to the top of governments agendas due to the recent use of chemical weapons against its own people. This murder must be stopped but what is the best possible solution?

Bashar al-Assad is the President of Syria and has served since 2000 after succeeding his father Hafez al-Assad. His initial stance as a reformer for the country was shattered when he ordered a mass crackdown and military sieges on pro-rebel forces amid the recent protests against his leadership. Syria was officially declared in a state of civil war on July 15th 2012, following the reports of the death toll reaching 20,000 for all sides. The conflict has now reached a point of intervention as evidence showing the use of chemical weapons by the government against it's own people has surfaced. Horrific images were released of hundreds of people that had been murdered with the use of Sarin gas, a nerve agent and weapon of mass destruction that causes paralysis and suffocation when inhaled are absorbed through the skin. This attack was questioned by governments about whether rebels had killed the Syrian people to try and force intervention from other countries or whether the Assad Regime was responsible for this atrocity. 

Sadly, it took this monstrous attack to bring the Syrian conflict into the public domain and start talks on a global scale. A 'Red Line' has been drawn and the use of chemical weapons has crossed this hypothetical line. I understand that in the chemical weapons convention of 1993, chemical weapons were determined as illegal and the use, production and stockpiling of such weapons was to cease. However, I see the slaughter of the Syrian people, regardless of the method used to do so, as crossing a'Red Line', and talks should have begun the moment the Syrian army, militia and government agents started to murder there own people. 

So as I'm sure you're aware, government talks have been commencing across the globe, to determine means of intervention within Syria. So what has been put on the table in means of a solution? Bombing Syria to try and pressure the Assad regime to cease conflict? Invasion of Syria forcibly removing the Assad government? Peace talks to try and sanction a cease fire to reduce casualties? Of course the government and media want you to think that these are the only possible means of a solution but there is always other ways to deal with what seem to be unsolvable problems. Recently the UK government has voted against the bombing of Syria much to the disapproval of other governments. Firstly I believe that bombing the government to try and force a resolution is ridiculous, fighting fire with fire would only increase the conflict and lead to more deaths. Secondly the UK's political stance on this crisis has shown the powerful use of democracy within this country which completely over shadows any disapproval.   

An invasion on Syria to remove the Assad government seems an extreme solution and would lead to a new war that does not need to happen, spreading the violence and only pouring fuel on an already raging fire. The Governments hesitation to invade Syria seems to be a result of the embarrassment left from the illegal invasion of Iraq and the death of hundreds of British troops and Iraqi civilians. This also highlights how calculated an invasion is, as countries with resources deemed valuable to the country are quickly invaded where as other countries with no control over oil are left to 'fight it out' themselves. Don't get me wrong, I am completely against any sort of invasion, but it clearly shows the governments thinking when planning intervention. 

I am no expert in this area of politics and government, but it is easy to see on a humanitarian level, something must be done to help the innocent Syrian people, who seem to be used as pawns in a violent and never ending game of chess between rebels and the government. There is no easy answer or solution to this civil war, but now it is high on governments agendas, hopefully a peaceful solution will be found .

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Freshers Guide 2013 - Top 10 Tips For Freshers

Freshers week is approaching; an exciting and scary time, so here is my top 10 tips for Fresher's week 2013!

Be Yourself



Meeting your new flatmates is a nerve racking experience but just being yourself is the best way to make friends. Don't try to impress anyone or tell lies about yourself because people will find out. If you don't fancy going out every night, staying in is not a bad thing and I am sure you will meet like minded people who want to do the same things as you. 

Don't get scammed


When you walk around campus on Fresher's week, you will see many companies trying to flog things to bewilded freshers saying 'they need it'. Don't buy every student discount card and really think twice before buying something you may not need. The best student card to buy is the NUS extra card (http://www.nus.org.uk/en/nus-extra/) which covers all of the places you will want discount. Another good company is UNiDAYs which is free to sign up to and gives you lots of discounts for free! 

Join societies but not too many


Joining societies is a great way to meet new friends who are interested in similar things to you. However some societies will charge a lot of money to join and then charge even more for 'Stash' or hoodies etc. It's OK if you join a few that really interest you, but don't go crazy!

Talk to everyone


Everyone you meet on Fresher's week will be in the same boat as you, so don't feel nervous to talk to people. You never know, they could just become your best friend!

Look after yourself


With all the partying and having fun, you may just forget to look after yourself! Your first weeks of lectures will be full of coughs a splutters as Fresher's flu will be rife. Make sure to eat lots of fruit and vegetables to fight of any lurgys going around and keep the 'Fresher's flab' at bay.

Budget


When your student loan comes in it looks like loads of money that will last forever. It Won't. Don't make any stupid spends during Fresher's week, and try and budget on nights out. Never take your card on a night out unless you want be eating beans on toast for the entire year.

Stay in contact with home


Believe it or not, your parents are probably missing you and are probably suffering with empty nest syndrome. Make sure to take time out from the all the fun you are having to let them know how you are getting on.

Explore


Have fun with your new friends exploring your new home town and finding all the local hotspots. In no time at all you will know the city like the back of your hand.

Be sociable 


Don't sit in your room all day, even if you are home sick. The best way to beat home sickness is to go and talk to people and share how you feel with other people. Feeling home sick is normal and most students will feel home sick at some point in Freshers. 

Enjoy yourself


Going to University was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. It has made me more confident, independent and on my way to my dream career. I have met some of the greatest people and hope to be friends with them forever. I am a very nervous person but pushing myself to take this very scary step was the best decision. So if you are having thoughts about whether you can go to Uni, do it!! It's brilliant!