Following a brutal mugging that resulted in the loss of his wife and paralyzed him, Grey must overcome his aversion to technology when he receives an advanced AI system.  Together Grey and STEM, the experimental AI implanted into his body, seek out the ones responsible for that night to execute brutal and gory revenge.


Upgrade is a fun movie.  It takes elements of sci-fi body horror and action and mixes them up into something nice.  The best part of the movie for me had to be STEM.  STEM was a great and kind of unexpected villain.  I say unexpected because I figured it would be the villain but I didn’t expect it to be the mastermind behind everything from the beginning.  STEM forced its creator to orchestrate the mugging as STEM caused the car crash that stranded Grey and his wife in the area.  Once it was in Greys body it spent the next few days ensuring that he was constantly exerting himself to the point where his mind would be too exhausted to resist it, enabling STEM to permanently take over his body.  Once that happens Grey is stuck in a dream like state where everything was a dream and he’s woken up in the hospital with his wife next to him, meanwhile STEM has a human body which he can navigate society easily with.  STEMs character integrating into human society with his hyper intelligence and superhuman combat abilities is something I wish we got to see, unfortunately that may be only be shown with a possible sequel.

This movie had some really great action scenes as a result of Grey turning over control to STEM.  Being an AI he’d move in this fast and jerky robotic style, dispatching enemies with cold, calculated precision.  It was kind of like something out of the Matrix except STEM was way more brutal and devastating. These scenes looked pretty good and made for some pretty sick kills with STEMs lack of emotional attachment to human life and all.  The use of practical effects for the kills made them look gory and visceral and was a great throwback to old school action flicks that did the same.  Practical effects will always reign supreme over CGI in my opinion and it’s great to still see it being used in film today.

The main actor did a really good job as well.  Its interesting to see him torn between wanting revenge for his wife being murdered yet also disliking how STEM wanted to go about it.  Because of the way they’re connected to each other, Grey is fully conscious of what STEM does when it takes over.  Grey was visibly disturbed by the things that STEM did and it took its tole on him mentally, to the point where he wanted to give up his pursuit of revenge, only to be forced to coninue against his will, reduced to a passanger in his own body.

Overall, Upgrade is a great movie.  Its got great acting, a good story with a great villain, and great effects.  The mix of sci-fi body horror with action is interesting and was executed pretty well in this.  Coupled with the great use of practical effects, this movie is a must watch.




Working With Upset Customers – LYNDA.COM



Here at the Fountaindale Public Library we have a vast selection of databases and eresources in which one can choose from.  These include ones that fall under specific categories of research as pertaining to such topics as Articles & Research; Career & Consumer Information;  Education & Homework Help; Genealogy, History, & Culture; Home & Lifestyle; Lifelong Learning; Movies, Music, & Entertainment; Reading, Writing, & Publishing; and Servicios En Español…just to name a few.

Today I will be looking at those that fall under the category of “Education & Homework Help” as well as “Lifelong Learning”.  These include Universal Class, Mango Languages, Lynda.com, and Gale Courses.  Specifically, I will be discussing Lynda.com and my experience with it and using it.

Lynda.com is an online subscription library we offer here at the Fountaindale Public Library that teaches the latest software tools and skills through high-quality instructional videos taught by recognized industry experts.

To begin with, you have to create an account.  Once you have done that, you are now ready to be exposed to a plethora of various subjects and topics to examine and purse.




The course I took and will be discussing is “Working With Upset Customers”. “Working With Upset Customers” is taught by Jeff Toister.  Presented in five parts of video instruction, Jeff examines the various facets of what you need to know and what you need to do to effectively serve angry and upset customers. He does this through proven techniques for effectively neutralizing negative situations.  He also shares specific actions employees can take before and after encounters with upset customers that will reduce the likelihood of problems occurring in the future.

He begins with a brief introduction of the course overview.  From there, he dives right in and examines customers two basic needs.  The first need customers have are they’re rational needs.  Rational needs can be defined as what a customer needs us to do for them.  And then there is the second need, their emotional needs, this is how a customer wants to feel about the service they’re receiving. Pointedly, he states that when someone is working with an angry or upset customer taking care of their emotional needs is and must be the absolute top priority in the given situation.

He first looks at Serving Angry Customers.  In doing so, he examines understanding our natural instincts.  Then he focuses on listening with empathy, helping the customer be right, and using the Acknowledge and Refocus technique.   The Acknowledge and Refocus technique is made up of two steps.  The first step is to acknowledge the customer’s feelings. The second step is to refocus the conversation on solving the problem. By doing so, it steels away from blame or confrontation and allows working with a customer to find a resolution. It can also help a customer cool down since they are no longer focusing on the thing that made them angry.  However, one thing he is very adamant about is that a line needs to be drawn when it comes to abusive behavior by an angry customer and that no matter what such behavior should never be tolerated.

Next, he addresses Learning from Angry Customers.  This includes preserving the relationship, conducting an after action interview, finding room for improvement, and passing along complaints.

Finally, he discusses Preventing Customer Anger.  This includes creating personal connections, avoiding unpleasant surprises,  replacing trigger words, and using the Pre-emptive Acknowledgement technique.  The key to the Pre-emptive Acknowledgement technique is spotting situations where a customer is likely to get angry. You prevent their anger from boiling over by acknowledging their feelings before they actually get mad. When customers get angry, it’s often because they have an unmet emotional need. It feels like nobody cares about their problem. The Pre-emptive Acknowledgement works because it acknowledges the situation and the customer’s negative emotions before they boil over.

With that he concludes the course, with a brief summary of all the topics that were discussed.

As you proceed through the course, it tracks your progress.  Finally, once the course is completed, you are then able to print up a certificate of completion.

I found the course to be very informative, easy to follow, and well presented.  You can tell Jeff is well versed in all the intricacies of working with upset customers and all that it entails.

I really enjoyed my experience with Lynda.com.  It makes learning very easy and hands on.  It allows you to learn at your own pace.  If there is a certain section or any material that you aren’t too sure or familiar with, Lynda.com lets you go back to those parts and/or sections and replay them.

If you get a chance to check out Lynda.com, do so.  Learning has never been easier, more user friendly, or convenient. I can’t recommend it highly enough.


– Brian S

New Year, New You?

Last year I swore it would be a New Year, New Me type of attitude. Well at least when it came to my eating habits. I had informed everyone in my family and my fiancé that 2017 would be the year I would start watching what I ate and start to eat healthier and exercise. Well as we already know, changing a lifestyle of eating habits overnight is no walk on the park.

It’s been a whole year now and I have changed a couple of things in my eating habits. I eat less candy, no chocolate, and a little bit of chips but not too often. But, the most important thing is I’ve been getting ingredients that are low sodium or reduced fat. However, that still isn’t enough. I need to do more so I can feel more energetic and just overall start on a cleaner diet. Luckily, Fountaindale has many useful databases that can help.

I decided to try Gale Courses. I searched cooking and looked through the many results it gave me. I then looked at the start dates and selected one that I found worked with my work schedule and clicked, “enroll now.” I then, selected my course start date, clicked “continue”, and created a free Gale Courses account with my library card. After I registered to the course, I received an email with a confirmation number. The class I signed up for was, Luscious, Low-Fat, Lightning-Quick Meals to teach me how to eat better.

Start Course dates are:

  • January 17, 2018
  • February 14, 2018
  • March 14, 2018
  • April 11, 2018

Before starting a course, it gives you all the information you need. It provides the syllabus that contains all the information you need to know and what the next 6 weeks will be like. It also provides the requirements that will be needed in order to complete this course, which in this case is only an email and internet. I believe this is a fun class to take and to learn more about cooking. Therefore, if you are looking for ways to bring up the flavor and start eating healthier this New Year join me. Or sign up for another class. Better late than never, I say. Let the lessons begin!

food blog -DR


Universal Class – Bartending and Mixology 101



Here at the Fountaindale Public Library we have a vast selection of databases in which one can choose from.  These include ones that fall under specific categories of research as pertaining to such topics as Articles & Research, Arts & Entertainment, Auto & Home,  Business & Employment, Consumer Information & Finance, Education & Homework Help, Genealogy, and Government & Law…just to name a few.

Today I will be looking at those that fall under the category of Education& Homework Help.  These include Universal Class, Mango Languages, Lynda.com, and Gale Courses.  Specifically, I will be discussing Universal Class and my experience with it and using it.

Universal Class is an excellent resource for anyone looking to further their knowledge and education.  Universal Class offers a staggering 500 online continuing education courses with real instructors.  Some of the courses include such diverse subjects as: Computer Training, Personal Finance, GED Training, Business, Pet and Animal Care, Professional Development, Health Services Training, Music and Painting, and many others.






The course I took and will be discussing in this blog is Bartending and Mixology 101.     To start you need to register as a new user.  After you have created an account, you then can decide on one of the 31 subjects listed.  Once you have decided on what subject you would like to pursue, below each one is an estimate of how many online courses each subject details.  You can also choose to search through the Course Catalog in the Find Course search box.  I typed in the word “Bartending” and with that it came back with 1 match found.  It could also be found under the main subject area of Arts, Crafts & Hobbies and under the subheading of Cooking and Baking.  It shows that there are 7 Lessons, 11 Exams & Assignments, 3 Hours average time, and how many CEUs.  The 7 Lessons were broken down as Alcohol Awareness, Bar Essentials – Alcohol, Bar Essentials – Additional Requirements, Cocktails, Beer, Wine, and Heated Drinks, Types of Establishments, and Employment.  I joined the course and began.  Each lesson included text, photos, videos, as well as links to certain recommended/essential sites as well as glossary of terms.  Each part is divided into sections that need to be completely in order to proceed further through the course.  After going through the specific lesson each portion would go turn from a red color to becoming highlighted with a checkmark and turning green.  Finally each lesson would end with an exam that would be either multiple choice, essay, or sometimes a combination of the two.  After which, would be sent to the instructor to be graded.  Sometimes it would take a few days other times it would only take a few hours to get your grade back via email to see if you passed to move forward through to the next portion of class.  Eventually, I reached the conclusion of the course and when I received the final email that I had passed and completed the course, I was presented with a Certificate of Course Completion.


bartending pic


The whole class and experience was very rewarding.  I found it to be entertaining, informative, and even fun.  The materials were presented in a way that was very easy to understand.  I also found navigating through the course very easy and user-friendly.  I also liked how the instructor would back all the grades in a very timely manner.  I cannot recommend Universal Class highly enough.  Cheers!


-Brian S.

Maintaining your new habits

picture1We are now 4 weeks into the New Year, how are your resolutions holding up?
Fitness and changing diets tend to be most common choice for New Year goals, and it’s easy to become discouraged or distracted, especially with the recent wet weather… but don’t despair!
If you are looking for some help to stay on track, you may find these apps helpful:

Exercise Apps:

These apps will help you track your activities. From walking, running, to wrestling, and many other workouts. You can set goals, create routines, and track your progress.

Google Fit
Monitor your progress through the app and online, connects to MyFitnessPal, LoseIT, Runkeeper, Runatastic, MapMyRun, MapMyRide. Aggregates info from other apps to track fitness, nutrition, sleep, and weight.

runkeeperandroid, iOS
Works with Fitbit, MyFitnessPal, Spotify. Tracks workouts through GPS and provides maps, pace, and previous records to motivate you to push harder!


jefitandroid, iOS
Large exercise database, lets you create custom fitness routines, and manages stats. It does lack connection to other apps for tracking, but it comes highly recommended for weight training.

Diet Tracking Apps:

Track your calories and nutrients. These come with databases of food, food importers, and custom food entry. Import exercise data from many other apps to get a complete view of your progress. All of these apps have great base features available, without subscription.

mfpandroid, iOS
Works with Fitbit, Runkeeper. I found their food database is the largest, and it was easy to connect to Runkeeper. You can manage your entries through their website in addition to the app.


mndandroid, iOS
Works with GoogleFit and Fitbit. I like the interface much better than MyFitnessPal. It is app only though and I’ll occasionally need to add new items to the database for future use.


loseitandroid, iOS
Works with Fitbit, Runkeeper, MapMyFitness. App is available on more phones and tablets, as well as through the website.  I haven’t personally used it, but it comes highly recommended.

And lastly, Habits!

The key to long-term success is turning your goals (whether to get into shape, lose weight, remembering to floss etc.) into small manageable tasks that you repeat until it becomes habit.
I am no good at that.
I am however, an avid collector of shiny video game rewards.

Habitica is a free habit-building app that plays like a game. It lets you break down those big goals into small tasks that you can easily track. You are rewarded for completing good habits immediately, with gold and experience points. Indulging bad habits or not completing a task yields immediate consequences by losing health points. With your earned coins you can “purchase” gear, pets, mounts and other game items.tasks-page

And best of all, if you rope your friends into the game, you can compete with them or join together to fight bosses!


The terrifying Basi-list!

habiticaHabitica is available on android, iOS and PC. I’ve managed to floss every night for three and a half weeks now, Habitica has been far more successful than my dentist. Try it out!



Step by Step How to on LP to CD Transfer

Growing up for many of us, our first type of exposure to music came either via the radio or from our own or our parent’s record player!!  For a long time there seemed to be a slow decline of LPs as cassettes, CDs, and, eventually, MP3s become more predominate.  It looked like the death of vinyl was imminent.    However, in the mid 2000’s something incredible happened…vinyl was coming back in a BIG way and has seen no slow down or stopping since!  There are many reasons attributed to this but the one that seems to be unanimous among the young and young-at-heart is the SOUND.  Vinyl just has a richness that MP3 and CDs lack.  With that, newbies started purchasing them while other people started dusting off their old collections and/or parent’s collections and started giving them a spin.  However, as it was now as it was then, vinyl is not the most mobile of mediums BUT with today’s technology converting vinyl has never been easier!!  Fountaindale’s own Studio 300 has the means and way for anyone to convert your vinyl to CD to be able to listen to that vinyl quality and vinyl sound…in your car!  Below are the steps needed and necessary to navigate this:


1.  Insert blank CD-R or CD-RW into CD recorder.  Then place album on turntable.

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2.  Turn the turntable on, choose 33 rpm, and hit start.


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3.  Press record on the CD recorder. Then drop the needle on the album.

1 2

4.  Press play to start the recording process. The recorder will automatically separate the tracks when it detects a pause.  When the first side of the album is done recording, press the pause button on the recorder.

1 2 3

5.  Turn the album over and drop the needle. Hit the pause button to continue the recording process.

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6.  When the second side is recorded, press stop, then press finalize. When it asks FINALIZE OK?, push ENTER on the MULTI DIAL knob.

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7.  Once finalized you’ll be able to listen to the disc on any CD player.


With that you are all set and ready to go, go, go!!

-Brian S

Nintendo 3Ds software- Part 2

Hello and welcome to part 2 of the Nintendo 3ds software. We will continue where we left on the last blog talking about my experience with my 3Ds and how I had  fun just using the applications available in the system and some that are free to download.

Face Raiders must be one of the funniest games included on every 3Ds. The game starts requesting you to take a picture of a face be it yours or friend/family. It will be very picky while taking the picture but just follow the instructions and the 3Ds will automatically take the picture, crop it, and add especial effects. Now the fun begins! This game is also a AR (augmented reality) game as it uses both front cameras of the 3Ds and turns your surrounding into the stage where the Face raiders will attack! The point of the game is to aim with your cross hair  and look around to shot the face raiders who will kiss you, throw pieces of shattered dimension to you. The game starts to get challenging as you progress and you even get to fight bosses who will be more protected against damage or will have certain weak points that require timing to hit. You do have a hit point bar and any damage you withstand will remain until you finish the stage or find power ups. At the end you get to see a hilarious animation which I will not spoil for you :).

This application even though is not a game it is still quite fun to use. I have always wanted to know what titles I have played and also how long I have played each one of them. This application keeps track exactly of this and even more. It also keeps count of how many steps you have taken since the Nintendo 3Ds has a built in pedometer. It has been a whole year since I purchased my Nintendo 3Ds and it still has a record of the first application I used and the games I have played. This is the last of the most awesome built in software the Nintendo 3Ds when you purchase a device.

The next applications can be applied after you update your Nintendo 3Ds and also I will speak of some free of charge that you can download and take advantage of the Nintendo 3Ds capabilities.

This application it is more like the App Store from Apple or the Android Market. This is where you go to get more applications and games from Nintendo. Most of the applications I will be talking at this point will need to be downloaded for free from the Nintendo eShop and do require an internet connection.  But Nintendo does offer a wide selection of games for a fee including Demos for upcoming games, 3D games, Game Boy games, NES, and many more.

This is free software that you can download to your Nintendo 3Ds. It is really amazing because I am a huge Pokémon fan and I have actually always wanted to have a Pokedex. Thanks to this amazing software you turn your 3Ds in a functional pokedex with all the information of the pokemon you have selected. The pokedex will display the pokemon in a wonderful 3D model that moves and has a especial animation. It will also display what attacks it can learns, a brief description, and what abilities, and type it is. Best of all if a friend of yours has a Pokedex 3D and has pokemon you have never seen before you can interchange them via QR codes.

Swap note is a really interesting application as it allows you to create and receive “notes” that are in 3D.  You can save several message and share them to any user with the same device that comes close to your device via Street Pass ( a connection system used to share information between Nintendo 3Ds) or Spot Pass (the wireless connection to the internet). The messages can be customized with several options from sounds to stationary cards. I have not used it that much myself but I have received a lot of messages from friends.

Many of you have probably heard or already know about Netflix and as you know it can be downloaded or comes in many handheld devices. Nintendo 3Ds is not an exception as Netflix has already reached the system and is available for free download, of course to use Netflix you will need to have an account with them and pay for the monthly fee. The reason I wanted to talk about this application is because Nintendo has promised that there will be 3D videos.  For the moment I have yet to see one of this programs or videos that are to be in 3D but I do think it would be amazing to be able to see a whole movie in 3D.

Finally the Nintendo Video this application it is quite interesting. It does require you to have an internet connection as it downloads different videos in a weekly fashion.  Most of this videos downloaded are Trailers for upcoming movies, video game shorts such as Kid Icarus anime, Music videos, and many more. The videos get deleted as new ones come in so it is quite a short time to view them.

I really enjoy my Nintendo 3Ds and I am actually happy that I purchased when it came out even though the initial price was somewhat high. But it was really worth it especially since Nintendo offered free games to the people that purchased the Nintendo 3Ds when it was released to make up for the price change. Even though upon its release there were not that many games available I was still having fun just using the 3D apps that were available on the system and also had fun playing my Nintendo DS games. So far I have 5 Nintendo 3Ds titles and my favorite one is the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D. I am also very excited of the new titles that will be coming especially Luigi’s Mansion 2 and recently it has been announced of a Nintendo 3Ds XL.

The Fountaindale Library does offer a wide selection of Nintendo 3Ds/DS games and I have checked out some of them before I purchase a copy to myself.

That is all for the software for the Nintendo 3Ds  Please comment and let me know what has been your experience with your 3D and what games have you played or are looking forward to. 😀