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Making Lemons began as a memoire of my dismally disappointments with life and served as a cathartic tool that, combined with a variety of influences, raised me out of my depression and gave me a focus outside of my career pursuits. It evolved into a kind of self-help booklet, at first mostly for myself, and then as an audience directed book of advice. Making Lemons in a big way was the part of me that has it together and actually remembers the lessons of the last two decades talking to the part of me that’s still struggling to make it happen.
I had started writing a few self-help themed titles since 2011 with the aim to have them published but that didn’t quite pan out. The various works were left on the side line, most incomplete and still requiring editing and re-arranging. Toward the end of that same year, I came up with the concept of Making Lemons. The idea was to evolve my HealthyFortune brand, which by then was not getting the attention it needed, into a more fun and positive website, providing inspiration and some advice on the side. Thus spawned LemonLife.
In the year that followed, I began putting together the content that would become the book Making Lemons, the intended flagship product for LemonLife. After a while, however, LemonLife fell away as a brand on its own and Making Lemons became the title that I wanted more publicity for. As a web presence, it would be the space for inspiration, motivation and advice, tying in to the book which would hold its own as the flagship product, while LemonLife remained the overall series title for all my self-help works.
Making Lemons essentially grew from my entry into network marketing and subsequently into affiliate marketing, chronicling and evolving with my own learnings and experience within these industries. The book itself is about finding and following ones passion, and creating a financial pipeline to fund said passion instead of the other way around. One’s passion doesn’t always cater for the financial rigours of our western existence. On the other hand, having a source of income independent of our career can help us better ourselves within our chosen vocation.
Visit the Making Lemons website for your dose of inspirational matter. And be sure to sign up for some extra goodies
Élouise has a bit of a tradition involving the viewing of a favourite children’s animation on Christmas Day. The tradition has evolved to include any animation movie and, so, this year we thought we’d watch Finding Nemo. I own one of the DVD versions of this movie but since it is sitting up in Johannesburg we had to seek out a rental place in Simon’s Town.
The only place that was open by the time we tackled this particular task was a dispensing machine at one of the BP service stations. I’d not used the video rental vending machine before and I must say I’m rather impressed with its efficiency. All one needs is a credit card or vendor-specific movie card (which can be conveniently attained from the BP cashier) to rent a video as opposed to the copy of ID, proof of residence, and pint of blood needed to open an a account at a standard video rental place.
Aah, but I do digress. To cut short this tale, it turned out that the vending machine was not large enough to house titles beyond 2011 and instead of Finding Nemo, we went home with the suitable replacement, Disney/Pixar’s Brave, and a plentiful supply of snacks.
Thus began the night of discovery into the obsoleted-ness of the DVD.
Now I reckon I can attest to the fact that DVDs and Blu-Rays still have a strong and firm place in modern society. One has only to look around at the number of home entertainment systems on the market, the wide range of titles available in stores both online and irl, not forgetting the aforementioned vending rental unit which would only exist if the demand did. Our society still keeps this form of movie and series distribution a fairly lucrative prospect, I feel.
At least, that’s the case in South Africa. Perhaps, it’s a different reality in the States; I haven’t done the research.
Because, as it turns out, US-based software behemoth Microsoft has decided that it makes more sense to NOT include DVD / Blu-ray capabilities in their operating systems anymore!
I jumped on the Windows 8 bandwagon sometime in mid November. Maybe it’s saying a lot that I haven’t watched a DVD video since the upgrade. I have been rather busy work-wise and been gallivanting across the country for most of December so I do have some excuse.
Still, I never even fathomed that I would insert a DVD into my external drive and have no way to actually play it.
Some short Googling moments later, I learned the cold hard fact that Microsoft has determined that most new PCs and laptops coming out now are minus optical drives and, with the focus moving from disc media to streaming, there really isn’t any reason to pay the odd $2 per Windows copy for the licensing required to playback DVD and Blu-ray discs. Hence Windows 8 has absolutely no, none, nada support for DVD / Blu-ray playback. The built-in players will still read discs and even have the options to look for optical discs but will only read video files such as AVIs and WMVs.
Hope wasn’t entirely lost tho. According to the various articles, I could download Windows Media Centre for free (until January; it’s about $13 or so thereafter) or use the freely available VLC Player.
I would like to take a moment to point out that VLC is free software. That will play DVDs.
Microsoft is a billion dollar company. Windows 8 cost me R500 on the upgrade. It ships standard for around R2000. It DOESN’T play DVDs because of the licensing costs.
Think about that for a second.
Okay. Moving back to our little drama. It turned out that I can’t just download Media Centre. A key is required first. It’s still free but it will be only sent to me within the next
72 hours 2 weeks!
And VLC, which was already installed, kept crashing. Investigations revealed that VLC has an issue with the copy protection found on Disney discs. Brave was mentioned specifically in most of the forums.
By this time, the snacks were eaten and El had fallen asleep and movie viewing was still far from the horizon.
Eventually, I installed the trial of AnyDVD, an app that bypasses various copy protection methods as well as zone restrictions on DVDs, HD-DVDs and Blu-ray media. It’s quite a fantastic little utility if DVDs / Blu-rays are a prime source of entertainment on your PC.
Once this little app was running, Brave acted like a standard DVD and VLC could read it without crashing.
Needless to say, our Christmas movie watching became a Boxing Day activity instead. Brave was quite nice. Then again, I generally enjoy the Pixar fare.
Well, Windows 8 released toward the end of October. I finally got my copy shipped a week ago thanks to limited supplies. I’ve taken my time installing it simply because I wanted to make sure that there was absolutely no reason for me to go back.
Why, you may ask, have I not already determined whether I’m done with Windows 7, given that I actually now own a copy of Windows 8?
In a word, cost. The upgrade version cost me R500 if the order was placed before mid November. A new copy costs roughly R2000 depending on where you get it. No brainer.
Incidentally, I see that the upgrade price deadline has since shifted so that deal is still on if you’re still in the market.
I’ve been using a hybrid laptop / tablet computer for the last year and haven’t been fully able to realise that tablet feel since there hasn’t been a cross platform OS since Windows 8. Without sacrificing the processing power of the operating system, the new Windows adds a much needed (at least for me) touch friendly interface.
Having now installed Windows 8 and using for a few days, I can say that there’s really not much to getting used to it. At the moment, I’m still mostly dropping into the Desktop app and using my programs in much the same way that I was on Windows 7. The major change in the Desktop is the lack of a Start button. It is a bit jarring jumping back and forth to the Start screen when opening new programs but I’ll probably get used to that. Or install a third party menu system; there seem to be some quite good ones out there but I’ve yet to try any.
The standard Windows 8 apps (otherwise called Metro apps by most people) are fairly straightforward, integrating social networking and chat, checking the weather, news, gaming and allowing media playback. I’m still wading through the fare in the Windows store determining what else, if anything, I may want to install.
It will take time shifting over from Desktop mode to the Metro mode which is more touch friendly but lacks any sort of multiple windows that I’ve grown accustomed to in the Desktop. Also, app support is still behind some what. There are equivalent Metro apps for the various things I do on the Desktop but most of them lack the functionality. Windows 8′s aim is to simplify everything and most apps are following suit.
One commendable Metro App that I would like to mention is OneNote. Interesting this product is from Microsoft. It is an advanced piece of software that mimics paper-based note taking to the nth degree. It works fantastically using only touch while offering as much functionality with the keyboard and mouse active. I feel more Metro Apps should offer the advanced abilities that OneNote does.
So far so good with the new OS. I am loving the fact that my tablet PC finally has an OS to fully utilise its hybrid nature.
The Gigabyte T1125 is, in my opinion, an amazing piece of technology that means I don’t have to have a plethora of devices that I need to constantly keep synced.
One of my big issues with my previous setup of Desktop PC and netbook was that unless I regularly made a point of synchronising the two, I could occasionally wind up rushing out the house with my netbook only to discover that I didn’t have the most recent copy of file on it.
I used a combination of Cloud and manual synchronisation and it was, quite frankly, a pain. Cloud synching made sense if I always had an Internet connection available and this isn’t always the case if one is on the move.
Additionally, the netbook, while convenient to lug around, isn’t the most powerful item on market. The atom process with very basic Windows version is fine for some writing and basic programming but doesn’t allow for much more complicated activities or gameplay.
The T1125 is an 11inch laptop that’s only slightly bigger than my netbook was which means it’s still convenient to carry around but it’s packed with an onboard Intel Graphics card as well as an NVIDIA GEFORCE with Optimus and CUDA technology! I can play Half-Life 2 wherever I am!
In addition, the laptop has an Intel Core i5; a BIG step up from the Netbook’s Atom and also a step up from my aging AMD Athlone Desktop. The trackpad and the screen is multitouch (2 points), it has a multitude of modern ports including HDMI and USB 3, standard mic, camera, card reader, 3G module, bluetooth, WiFi receiver and a very useful Management Control Panel. It comes with Windows 7 Home Premium which is perfect for professional use.
The stand out point is the fact that this little laptop is a three-in-one piece of awesomeness. It ships standard with a very innovative dock that allows the laptop to double as a desktop machine. It outshines and outperforms a lot of the desktops that I’ve been eyeing while being portable.
And, the creme de gras, so to speak, is the fact that it also doubles as a tablet PC, albeit a rather bulky one. The screen swivels around to lie flat on the keyboard for an alternative way to interact. Sticking the T1125 into the dock while the screen is in this configuration allows one to have two monitors as well.
However, as for as interface goes, Windows 7, while fully touch capable, unfortunately isn’t the best interface for a tablet. It does fine but it would be nice to have a more iOS or Android styled interface. Still I wouldn’t want to give up the computing and application power that Windows offers. The Gigabyte does ship with AppPark which is a touch friendly launch interface. It’s pretty and easy to use but lacks any sort of customisability and, quite frankly, I have no idea how to change the default application links. It’s just easier to not use AppPark actually.
I’m really thrilled with this new toy. It has successfully replaced my existing machines and I don’t foresee ever moving the way of the tablet any time soon either. Having too many devices to do more or less similar functions doesn’t make sense to me. Granted the touch interaction isn’t the best but that’s the only gripe I have.
Gigabyte ships the laptop with a dock, portable optical drive (that also has a space for it on the dock), two AC power cables (one for the dock and one for travel), and a neoprene sleeve. For just under 10 grand, that’s a bargain in any books. Of course, having a laptop does mean less upgrade options in terms of processor and graphics card. I hardly think this will be a problem tho. The Geforce is more than capable of handling current games at medium to high settings and the Core i5 will keep things running smooth at least for the next two years, I reckon.
The last time I remember heading off to a yoga class was the beginning of last year. En route I crashed my car, didn’t make it to class and haven’t attempted to do any yoga since. Well, that’s not entirely true. I have done some yoga in my FreshStart bootcamp and during Ka Huna trainings, but those times were intermingled with other forms of exercise and body work.
Until this very night, I haven’t done a full, dedicated yoga class in over a year and a half. I did not realise that I missed it so. At least, my body definitely responded with joy and enthusiasm to the movements and postures.
Amazingly, I also haven’t lost my form and flexibility. My body happily contorted into advanced levels of the postures with relative ease. The instructor, Andrew, fresh back from training in India, helped push my body into a variety of obscure poses. He reckons being a yoga master is my calling. He also seems convinced that my body will be very sore tomorrow because, while capable, it isn’t accustomed to the postures. That’s something to look forward to.
All it all, it was a fantastic class. My girlfriend, Élouise, has arranged these and other classes at her work place in the Baha’i Centre inNorthriding, Randburg. The classes are very well priced at R50 a session and are currently only once a week but Andrew should be doing more regular sessions, including early mornings, in the near future. There may also be discounted multi-class passes available soon which would obviously work out even cheaper.
And I will definitely be making this a more regular pursuit again.
As an interesting side note, yesterday I chanced upon the relatively new location of my previous yoga spot. I knew that they’d moved to the Craighall area but, until my walk around the area yesternoon, I’d not known exactly where. So clearly yoga is back in my life Yay.
I felt really good falling asleep last night. Despite being thoroughly unaccountably tired, I was in a nice space, my dreams were pleasant and I had good sleeping company.
This morning and the subsequent day had a very different feel. A nagging underlying feeling of frustration kept in a very unproductive and lethargic space. It would have been a good day for watching a funny movie or staying in bed all day with half a chocolate cake. Still I determined to get done what I had set out to. With little success.
I needed a laugh. Something to make me go whoop whoop, a lifting of the spirits. I’ve been in a serious space for several weeks whereby I’m not as jovial as I’d love to be and the littlest of things sends me into bouts of … well, kinda like minor depressions. A sort of gentle sadness.
So, today, I chose to stroll about and find something to laugh raucously about. I found myself in a second-hand book store. I like old book stores. There’s a quaint vibe about them that the bigger chain stores, great as they are in there own ways, just lack. Anyway, I wandered immediately to the humour section. Not that I knew where it was, mind you. Clearly, my unconscious mind, under instruction to liven my mood, had a good idea of where to start.
The two books to grab my attention: YesMan by Danny Wallace and Why is God Laughing by Deepak Chopra. Interestingly enough the subjects of both these books tie well into my current non-laughing space.
I’ve been feeling very down over recent times, and very out of flow. I recognise that I’m at the end of a cycle in spiritual terms, in my destroyer ray according to the metaphysics. Things are definitely in flux and I’m don’t feel like I’m in the best space to deal with it. Although I’m sure I have, it doesn’t feel like I’ve had a good, tummy-aching laugh in a long, long time.
I was reminded today by a kiddie publication how important that is. To just laugh until you feel like you’re going to die. That’s a good death, it is. To go with a twisted smile on your face.
Can’t think of anything better, really.
Bleh. I’m not a fan of this serious cycle that I’ve spiralled into. Perhaps being more open to Yes and knowing that God is indeed laughing his insubstantial head off will assist in lifting my spirits a tad. That said, I’ve not dedicated much time to reading non-serious books in quite a while. Perhaps it’s about time I got back into some literary escapism.
I’ll let you know how it goes.