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Tuesday
Mar232010

Wood Glue Gives New Life to Old Vinyl Records

After reading Use Wood Glue to Clean and Restore Old LPs, I just had to try it out on some of my unplayable records I've accumulated over time.

I started out with my Dad's old copy of Cream's Disraeli Gears, which I've cleaned thoroughly multiple times (with my special record cleaner recipe), repaired all the scratches manually by hand, and it still sounded pretty messy. I knew that even if this experiment didn't work out, it wouldn't have been that big of a loss.

The result was astounding. The record was playable for the first time in years, removing almost all noise generated from years of accumulating dust and debris in the record's crevices.

I moved on to something a little more treasured, which was the US Mono release of Jefferson Airplane's Surrealistic Pillow. While I've always loved the way "White Rabbit" sounds on this recording, at its peak on the record it is dissatisfying when shrouded in the static white noise cluttering the recording. After the wood glue treatment, it sounded perfect, beautiful, powerful, and all those other adjectives that express awesomeness.

I've started going through my Sinatra collection applying the glue in the evening and then peeling off the plasticized layer in the morning. It's the best record cleaning solution I've come across, for its thoroughness, time efficiency and cost efficiency. I highly recommend it to anyone out there looking to restore their LP collection. For more info on the process, watch the YouTube video with the Lifehacker post.

Thursday
Mar182010

Find Free Books With Google

My previous post, “Why buy the milk, when you can get the milk for free?” looked at sites that are giving away content for free. This post looks at how to find books for free with Google using a simple search query.

Here it is:

intext:”[Title of Work]”+”[Author]” filetype:pdf

Like this:

I don’t know how long the link will be available after this is posted, but my guess is that plenty more will pop up, since that’s the nature of the internet-beast.

And when you need a textbook for a graduate class:

A little more digging, but anyone can find a pdf of the book in its entirety.

Why am I writing this?

To let modern day writers know that their work is being distributed around the internet in a million different ways, both known and unknown. I found myself in The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan Student Handbook, for the 09-10 school year. As a writer, I don't want to spend my days hunting down every last unpaid copy of my book, I'd rather be writing and reading, which is my book can be downloaded, shared, "pirated", transfered, read, etc. for free. But if you want something you can hold your hands, you got to buy a copy, which I think is pretty fair, and so do other popular authors, like Cory Doctorow and Seth Godin.

But everyone's different, so if you're a writer looking to find these circulating free copies of your work, this is one way to locate some of them.

And if you're out to find free stuff on the internet... well, you probably already know about this trick.

 

DISCLAIMER:

I do not endorse illegal activity. This post is meant for informational and educational purposes only to be used at your own discretion.

Thursday
Feb182010

Why Buy The Milk, When You Can Get the Milk For Free?

If you’re up on your latest U.S. economy news, then you know, you’ve seen, you’ve heard, that things aren’t getting all that better in the market place. More than ever people are thinking about where their dollars are going and where they can cut costs at every corner.

So I ask, “Why buy the milk, when you can get the milk for free?”

The old adage, “Why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free,” shows that there really isn’t a need to make a long-term investment of taking care of a cow, when you can get milk for free. Why go through all the work of caring for an animal to produce the resource that is already freely available to you.

Nowadays people not only charge for the cows, but the milk, the cheese, and on and on. But there are people out there giving away “milk” for free, and it’s just as good as the milk that’s available for purchase, and sometimes better.

Music:

Pbthal’s Vinyl Rips

Metallica’s album “…And Justice For All” is both loved and hated by fans and general listeners alike, because of its extremely dry audio mix. I have listened to the 45rpm four-record release of the album, the first and second Japanese mini-LP pressings, the MFSL version, various fan re-mixes, and the standard CD releases, only to be a disappointed Goldilocks without that bowl of perfect porridge. That is until I came across Pbthal’s website with a rip of the US Double-LP of the album, which is flawless start to finish. And there’s more, like Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow in Mono and Bob Dylan’s Freewheelin’ in Mono sound outstanding.

Books:

Seth Godin, Cory Doctorow, Chris Guillebeau, myself, and many others make their ebooks free to read and download, but the print versions are available for purchase.

Education:

Go to Ivy-league schools through Academic Earth. Watch lectures from Stanford, Harvard, and Yale.

Television:

Hulu and more recently TVGorge make television shows readily available to be enjoyed from the first episode to the most recent.

Movies:

The Lionshare, which is being distributed mainly through torrent networks can also be viewed through various video-hosting websites. I thoroughly enjoyed the twenty-something “what-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life?” plot in the film and wish it the best of success in its endeavors.

How Can I Help?

Well, until Flattr is up and running, you can support your favorite free stuff by talking about it, like I’m doing. I have never purchased advertising on other websites, and I don’t plan on doing it either, because I think if the stuff I make is worth anything, then people will tell their friends. And they’ll tell their friends, and so on, and so on.

All of the websites, authors, and bands I just mentioned have now received a little bit of advertisement from me. It doesn’t cost them anything, and it certainly isn’t hard for me to write about them, because I love their stuff. So when I get the milk for free I make it a point to tell others about the cows that are making it and give credit where credit’s due. That's what I do.

Wednesday
Dec022009

Leo Babauta, I love you dude, but your last post sucked.

A Little Backstory:

When I was younger, my group of friends and I developed our own brand of juvenile etiquette for disagreeing with one another. And so when you needed to tell your buddy something you didn't like about them you opened up the conversation with this phrase, "I love you dude, but…" then your criticism.

Example:

"I love you dude, but the peach-fuzz mustache is not cool, and it doesn’t look good."

If the comment was made in front of the group, an immediate voting on the criticism would ensue. The comment would either be ratified into fact, or vetoed, but most often it was ratified.

Example:

"Yeah man, the mustache needs to go. Everybody thinks so, that’s why we’re telling you."

Some may have seen these exchanges as insincere but within our group, opening up without with the line, "I love you dude" was a form of respect. Granted, it's not the most poetic term of endearment, but it allowed us to be honest with each other, without all the hurt feelings. And so you knew that your buddies were telling you something not because they hated you, but because they cared.

Now that we're caught up, there's something I'd like to say about Leo Babauta's post: "Why reading faster doesn't increase productivity".

"Leo, I love you dude; I'm a big fan of zen habits, read a lot of your articles, and I agree with many of your principles but... your last post sucked."

 

From Your Post:

"I think you should read slower, and focus on doing things slower. It increases your effectiveness, which is a different definition of productivity than 'doing things faster'."

If I understand you correctly, you're saying that focused slower reading increases a person's ability to effectively comprehend the text their reading.

I disagree. In terms of a person's reading rate, there's quite a lot of research that points to the opposite.

Example:

Lori Nunez's dissertation: An Analysis Of The Relationship Of Reading Fluency, Comprehension, And Word Recognition To Student Achievement (May 2009). Her dissertation looked at statewide elementary students in Texas and analyzed various methods for developing reading skills.

In the conclusion, Nunez wrote:

"Consistent with the findings of previous research (Allen, 1988; Buchanan, 2006; Flindt, 2007; Stroud & Henderson, 1943) and the National Reading Panel's identification of key reading components, the study confirmed that early development of reading fluency, comprehension, and word recognition do impact reading performance of students by the middle elementary grades. The results of the data analysis revealed that reading fluency, the number of words read per minute, had the strongest relationship with scores on the third grade reading TAKS. ...It would appear that fluency, the speed and accuracy of words read, contributed to comprehension and understanding of the material read, and ultimately to success on the reading assessment."

And

"In the study, the skill of reading fluency had the strongest relationship and made the greatest contribution to reading TAKS scale scores. The findings of the study supported Rasinski's (2001) argument that the rate a reader reads is significantly correlated to the standardized and informal measurements of comprehension and word recognition."

 

From Your Post:

"productivity isn't about speed, even if we've been led to believe it is. It's about being effective. It's about accomplishing things -- and that's about doing the most important things, not the most things."

I disagree.

"Productivity is from 1809 with meaning 'quality of being productive;' economic sense of 'rate of output per unit' is from 1899."

Reference:productivity. (n.d.). Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved December 02, 2009, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/productivity

The two words that stand out for me are the words "quality" and "rate", and the word "rate" is most definitely associated with speed.

 

From Your Post:

"When we speed through tasks and projects, we lose perspective. We forget what's important and just try to do things as fast as possible."

Your quote makes the assumption that when a person does something faster, they sacrifice their effectiveness.

 What about firefighters? Or paramedics? Or doctors?

The rate at which these people do their jobs can determine whether someone else lives or dies, or many people live or die. I think "speed" can have a lot to do with a person's "effectiveness" in the world around them. Firefighters don't rush into a burning building to try to save the most important people; they try to save everyone they possibly can in the time they have.

This not only pertains to the lives of people, but also in people's careers and the lives of companies, in which a person's speed can be determining factor in whether they get to keep their job.

 

From Your Post:

"If reading is important, focus on it, and do it slowly. It'll be that much more enjoyable, and so will the project. And when you absolutely love what you're doing, then productivity is a natural by-product."

If I follow your argument here correctly, you're saying, "If I want to read something that is important to me, the rate at which I read it corresponds to the level of enjoyment I’ll receive from reading it."

I agree that certain texts can be more enjoyable when read slowly, but I disagree that all of the texts that are important to us need to be read this way. I believe, and research shows, there are more factors in the process of translating text into meaning than just voicing the words on the page. The process of visual interpretation of text into meaning is an extremely fast process, and your statement concludes that this method, while fast, will lessen my enjoyment of reading the text.

 

Lastly, From Your Post:

"Slow down, don't speed up. Read slower -- you'll read less, but enjoy it more."

What I don't agree with in this statement, is the assumption that text should be read at one speed. A person can enjoy a fast paced action sequence in an old dime novel reading 400wpm, and then slow down to 150 wpm when detective is explaining how he figured out who the killer was. The reader can read fast and slow throughout the book without losing joy in the text they’re reading.

I was a slow reader for quite some time, and even though reading was important to me, reading slow did not make reading more enjoyable. In fact, quite the opposite.

I don't think I'm alone on this, but maybe I am… I’ve found the more I read, the more I enjoy reading.

We only have a short time in this life, and my approach to reading is much like that fireman running into a burning building. There's too many great things to read in this world that to read them all would take several lifetimes, I'd like to enjoy reading as many of them as possible before my time's up.

Leo, I love you dude, but your last post sucked.

 

Respectfully,

Kris Madden

Saturday
Sep192009

New Articles on Gearlive

Monday
Sep142009

Flushlife

Hello everyone. There's a new article up on Flushlife.com. It's a blog for the extremely wealthy. I wrote an article on finding the best tutor for them, based on my experience both as a tutor and as a branch manager for a tutoring company.

At first I thought that writing the article would be easy because I had a great deal of experience in the field. But there were many questions that came to my mind that had no application for the audience that I was writing for, such as: "How much do you charge?", "What's your background?", "What degrees do you have?"

I figured if I were extremely wealthy then those questions would already be answered. And the truth of the matter is that, the answers to those questions don't always lead you to the best tutors. The five questions I came up with I think apply to any tutoring company, school, parents, etc.

I hope you enjoy the article. There's a link for it on the MY WRITING tab. or you can get there by clicking here.

Wednesday
Sep092009

New Article Up on "Peevish Penman"

I wrote an article for them on a method for writing I picked up on the great gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. Here's the link. Enjoy.

Tuesday
Sep012009

More Autobiographical Tidbits

New article over at GearLive:

The Punk Rock Way To Start Making Comics

What I've learned from playing in failed rock bands and how it applies to getting you comic book idea of the ground.

Monday
Aug242009

New Articles for GearLive Are Up!

Three new articles this past week for Comix 411:

Super Villains Need Costumes Too!

  • A great Batman fan-comic for all to enjoy.

Free Comics!: Will Eisner's Complete Run of PS Magazine

  • With economy where it is, everyone can appreciate free comics from Will Eisner.

Distraction-Free 3D Illustrator Rhonda is Open for Beta Testing

  • Digital artists can get a head start beta-testing this brand new 3D illustrator.