Hello My New Blog

With every new year comes a redefinition of who I am.

Frithos Roadtrippin 2014

These places were in my bucket list, dreaming of one day visiting.

Happy Valentine's Day

A romantic day I will never forget.

Happy Father's Day

A day we celebrate everything our babyboy does for us.

Marina Turning 2

My baby is growing up by leaps and bounds now.

December 21, 2014

Movie Review: Dawn of the Apes

Dawn of the Apes, the sequel to the Planet of the Apes is quite exceptional. It seems to be centered around the truth behind trust and how difficult it is to achieve and maintain.  It is very fragile and so powerful at the same time.  It can build and it can destroy almost everything even a complete race.

Trust and hate appear to be the polar opposites but they are very similar.  They both are powerful enough to build and destroy. Be careful who you trust and be careful who you hate because those you trust or hate could end up being the wrong person.

My favorite parts of the movie:
  1. Family matters.  We got to see the story of Cesar and his thriving family. He worked hard to create a “civilized” family structure that he was so proud of.  “Ape don’t kill ape” was taught to their young as they believed as long as they took care of each other everything should be good. 
  2. Be careful who you trust. There is bad people everywhere, even family members can turn their backs on you.  Humans and apes after all end up acting just like each other and just like the human race finishes itself out, so do the apes end up turning on each other.  Humans and apes are not very different after all.
  3. War is never the answer and hate destroys all. This was the most painful and truthful part of the movie.  “War has already begun.  Ape started war, human will not forget.”  Cesar tells him human friend, warning him he must go to be safe.  These friends wanted peace but no matter how much they tried, there was always someone not willing to see past their hate for the other. 
Overall I give this movie a 4 STARS.

I don’t usually do this but this movie has a very strong message and it got me thinking. I like when a movies does that. This is not just an imaginary fairytale movie, but it’s very much possible.  How we humans treat each other out there sometimes seems like we are worse than animals.  Why or why must we behave this way?  How is it that rudimentary feelings of empathy and love could be completely missing in some and not others?  What makes us so different that some cannot feel for our fellow human?  Whey are some humans so rotten?

Hate.  Such a powerful word.  The root of all evil it seems.  It creates so much chaos and so much destruction.  Our human race and this world in general could be so much better if only we found a way to overcome or at least tame this feeling.  Find a way to keep it in check or redirect it to something else.  I will never know how this human race would fare should a pandemic virus kill off most of the human race.  What of the survivors?  Would we co-exisit and look out after each other? As it stands now I feel those that do survive would have it even worse than those who don’t. When we are faced with such a tragedy, will we vow down to our almighty creator and realize he is in control and not us?

This movie got 4 STARTS because it got me thinking.  Sad really.  As things look like right now, I don’t think we got this “humanity” thing figured out yet.  God guide us and protect us from anything bad happening in and around our lives.  God is in control of our lives and I can only pray he continues to work with our hearts in many ways so that one day we don’t have to fear ourselves.

The good news is that one person can make all the difference!
Here’s to being that person and making that difference! :)

December 19, 2014

Review: HP Chromebook 14 - New Version (Snow White)

I never thought I would say this but this little machine rivals my Macbook Pro and for what I use my laptop most of the time, this $299 laptop is more than enough.  I purchased this for my daughter and now I am drooling over it and it's already in my cart.  Even though it's not technically mine, I have set up and tested it out just in case and I loved it and wanted to keep it. Just kidding, I don't take my kid's stuff. (or do I?) What's not to love, the price is unreal, I never imagined a computer would cost this much and be this useful, this light and fast to use.

If you are like me and live online, this HP Chromebook laptop runs specifically off the internet.  It has a beautiful design, super fast as in boots up in like 9 seconds and run off Chrome OS with all the apps you already use online.  Chrome OS has Gmail, Google Calendar, Google +, YouTube, Google Drive and so many more apps from the web store.  All these apps require just one thing, an internet connection, if you have one you're good to go.  If you are not online, you can always use it offline and update your information as soon as you plug back in.

At this time, I find myself moving strictly online for all my business use.  I have already made the move from Microsoft Office software where I had to be pinned down to a desk to Google Apps for Business.  Best move I've ever done! Read more about my experience here.  This has allowed me the freedom of mobility where I can service my clients much faster and everyone is happy.  Now my desk is a chair, at my bed, a couch, outside by the fire pit or out visiting my parents!  No matter where I am, I can always access the same apps and take up from exactly where I left off.  The cloud is awesome!

Making payments online, chatting on Facebook, researching stuff on Google or watching videos on Netflix or YouTube all can be done on this Google Chromebook super fast, portable, light and easy.  All you need is a Gmail account to sign in and done.  Surf away.

What it doesn't have: Windows Office or any other type of software on your PC.  At least not the software version of Office but you can still use their online app version of their software. This is a new type of OS (operating system) that runs off the internet.  No matter where you are you will access the same information.  Everyone and their grandmas are going strictly online now, providing their clients with online versions of their software.  A lot of people love and hate this conversion but either way, the cloud is the future.  There is no escaping it.  I have made the move and I don't regret it one big.

I got mine for $299 but at this time Amazon has it for $289 but it can drop as low as $268! Find it here: HP Chromebook 14 - New Version (Snow White)  I would never endorse or recommend  something I haven't tried, use and love.

December 17, 2014

Google Apps for Work. Best move I've ever done!

While this title say it all, I can't say enough how excited I am about making the move to an all online business network.  While it does take a bit to get used to it, once you do you will not regret it.  Like all good things, it takes a bit of work to get it just right.

Our family business is based in Houston and we decided to become an online only business about a year ago.  No more calling phone numbers, getting voice mails and hoping to get a call back.  The voicemail messages back and forth were a thing of the past.  This made me communicate and make a final decision for an appointment take an eternity.  Sometimes there were so many missed calls along the way that some customers would give up, or me.

Nothing is more frustrating for a business than lack of communication.  This makes or breaks a deal and I was struggling with this for quite a while.  In my business I am not allowed to make decisions on the types of appointments made so I always have to pass down messages.  These messages usually got lost in translation.  This was so frustrating and I had to make a change.

My life glued to a desk.

Ever since I can remember I've been using Microsoft and all their software.  I'm a big fan you could say.  Word, Publisher, Excel and of course Outlook are used on the daily.  When you run a business, these softwares are a must.  While I still use the softwares for many things, I always felt a slave to my Outlook software, it had me glued to my desk all day.  Why?!  In the time of mobility and doing things on the go, there had to be a better way, there just had to.

There had to be a better way!

I had to try something else and my first obvious choice was Microsoft 365.  This was an on the cloud service where all my Office products would be available to me whenever I wanted. Simple, right?  I tried it out and downloaded all their software in my home computer and also in my laptop, the place that was supposed to set me free.  I thought I had it made, I was dreaming big of a day where I could reply to emails while sitting in the middle of a daisy field.  Wrong-o!

It never worked!  As in, what the point of the CLOUD when none of my work is updated?!  What's the point if I am still having to sit in my desk all day trying to get this figured out and to work?!  Frustrated as hell I felt a complete failure!  I felt like I had wasted so much of my time on something that didn't work as smooth as I wanted it to.  I gave up after a week or two and went back to the way things were, only now I couldn't because by downloading their Office 365 software it corrupted my old Office software that I had and caused it to not work anymore.

Now I was in trouble.  A lot of trouble...  as in worse than before trouble!

Enter Google Apps for Work.

Then the heavens parted and the Online Gods heard my cry!  I got an email from Google advertising their Google Apps for Business and as if it was the sign I was looking for, I click it.  I won't go into how I set it all up, that's a whole other post (this is long enough as it is) but I do have to say it wasn't just a click or two.

While there is some technical work to be done on your website hosting provider page and a little customization, it's nothing that a bit of knowledge won't get you through.  I've done our web development in our business page since the beginning of time, so this wasn't as painful as say, Office 365 where I tried everything and still didn't work.  It was a steady flow of steps that were pretty easy to follow, a few videos and I was done before I knew it.

A small warning: I do want to mention there was a day or two of email interruption as the servers get re-routed to Google.  I had GoDaddy handling my emails so they advice you to begin the transfer maybe at night or on the weekend where you won't have as much traffic.  Also, make sure you contact your old website company (mine was GoDaddy) and have their hosting department reset and allow for external emails on your website.  You will need to do this if you have a "contact" page on your website.  This happened to me and I didn't get emails from my contact page for a couple of days!  That was the only terrifying part of the whole ordeal but once I learned why I wasn't getting the emails, my whole process was complete.  Yes, I felt like a badass!!!!

There is no better time to try it than now.  Google is actually giving you a free 30 days trial to try their services and if you don't like it you can cancel and owe nothing.  This is where I got hooked, I thought what do I have to lose? and there was no turning back.

Moving to Google Apps for Work was not a decision I took lightly.  There was work to be done and sometimes these things don't go as smoothly as you usually would like.  There is always something, some mess up and boy did I have a couple.  But I knew I needed something better, faster and mobile and Google Apps has allowed me this freedom.  Getting used to Gmail rather than Outlook was a task that took me a couple of weeks to get done.  Labels instead of categories, one inbox instead of several email folders... but after tweaking Gmail I realized their method was a faster way to handle my business.  With plenty of storage on our Google Drive now sharing will be a breeze, sharing our Calendar and with Google Hangouts keeping in touch will be easier than ever.  There is so many possibilities for us in the future and with Google by our side, we feel our business is in a safe place.

I can't recommend Google Apps for Work enough!  As always I will not recommend something I don't personally use, have tried and love. This is my personal experience and I'm sticking to it. I hope this helps somebody! :)

December 15, 2014

Hello Day One Journal

Writing is my way of life. It's what I do in a daily basis. Sometimes more than I should so obviously I'm always in the look out for the best new writing apps out there.
I have settled quite nicely with Desk for all my blogging/writing done through my Mac, however there's still something missing. Sometimes I don't have my Mac with me and I need to just let her rip.  For these times when I am on the go, there is one app that is always with me.  Day One.

Sometimes my head spinning with millions of words or thoughts just have to come out. It's how I cope. I write my feeling down so that I can find some peace and zen. So naturally that can happen when I least expect it and usually does.  When I need to write, I gotta write and this App works perfectly when I'm on the go.

I can't remember when I got it but my first post was in July 9, 2013 and ever since then I have never stopped using it. Sure the urge pops up every once in a while and wonder if there's something better out there and download an app or two just to try it out but nothing. Nothing comes even near it for me.

  1. iCloud syncs perfectly and so fast between all my devices. This is one app you can find for your iPhone, iPad and Mac and they all work smoothly with each other. Just turn on the iCloud and done. Start in one device and when I'm home I can finish up in my Mac.
  2. Organized in Month and Timeline view. I know exactly what days I posted and what days I slacked off.  
  3. Reminders. It won't let you forget to write! Every day at a set time you choose Day One will ask you how was your day? You can quickly jot down a thought or memory and done.  If you ever want to remember something, you can quickly find your day and read the details and done.  The best way to write your day in Day One is when it’s fresh and new... and what best way to do it that when you’re doing actually it!   
Overall I am very happy with Day One. It uses Markdown so your page is easy to be read by other apps and behaves just like you want it. What I don't like obviously is that this is not a blogging app, but merely made for the daily personal writings. You can however copy and paste your writings into your favorite blogging app or export the files or print the pages. I usually copy and paste from Day One to Desk then add a picture and click publish. Desk take over where Day One leaves off.

I also like that I can keep all my thoughts personal and secure with a password if I choose to. It's all good with this app and can't recommend it enough.  This app has never left my iPhone since I got it and I don’t think it ever will.  It’s a keeper!

I love my Day One Journal... Find it here: http://dayoneapp.com/

December 13, 2014

Bing NFL Predictions

Just wanted to share this cool service that Bing is providing for us football fans.. it's called Bing Predictions.  It's basically the Microsoft search engine Bing that is doing many calculations until it comes up with it's winner prediction week by week.  This is the computer than correctly predicted all of the World Cup matches!  Now it has moved on to the NFL and is doing a great job here too. They also predict the Voice and Dancing with the Stars if you're into that sort of thing.

I don't miss a chance to check out my team Houston TEXANS every week and hope they are set to win.  Looks like today is not gonna be a good week for us playing against the Colts (with a 72% chance of losing) but we can always hope this machine is down with a cold and messed up the numbers.  I don't know how it does it but with some calculations and statistics based on past games, Bing makes a percentage prediction on the winning team.  

Just open your bing search engine or click nfl predictions and here's to hoping the smartest computer in the world is wrong this weekend! :)
May the odds be ever in our favor...  GO TEXANS!!!!