Universal Class – Bartending and Mixology 101

UniversalClassWS

 

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.

 

 

bartending

 

 

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.

 

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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.

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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
fitandroid
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.

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


Jefit

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.

MyFitnessPal
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.

 

MyNetDiary
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.


LoseIt

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!

basi-list

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!

 

-AB

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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 😀

-J.R.-

Nintendo 3DS Software Part-1

It has been a year since the release of the Nintendo 3DS and many of you may have had come upon the game system. I decided to talk about my experience with the Nintendo 3DS. I purchased mine when it first came out paying the $250 dollars for it and did not purchase any games since there were not any games that  interested me in the meantime. In the meantime I used the other applications of the built-in software and actually had fun using it.

The first thing you may notice is that the Nintendo 3DS has 3 cameras (two outside and one inside). The two outside cameras allow you to take 3D pictures! Once you have your pictures you can also add more special effects all in 3D. The effects are really ranged and can go from simple colors to puppy paws and hearts, or even allowing you to select depth in the picture allowing you some amazing 3D effects. Another amazing feature about the Nintendo 3DS camera is that it allows you to take up to 10 minutes of 3D Video! You cannot really make changes to your short film but you can control how fast or how slow you show your projects to your friends.

Moving on to a different feature we have the Nintendo 3DS sound which is a Music player. You can record and edit sounds but it limits you to 10 seconds. Otherwise you will need to provide your own music and save it on the SD card that comes included from the system. You may have to convert your files from MP3 to AAC format to be able to play your music. Whenever you play your files you are given the option of using one of the different 8 animations that go along the music. Some of them are even minigames that keep your score! My favorite ones are the game and watch skin which let you play an old school game and I also like the excite bike skin where two bikes go along the tracks of your music is quite funny to see them move along the tracks of your favorite music and even fall if the beat is too fast.

The Mii Maker application allows you to create your own Mii avatar. This little guy will take the shape or looks you desire if you decide to customize him or you can take a picture with the camera inside of your face and the Mii Maker will create a Mii as close as the image provided. Most of the time it creates a full replica on others it just misses a couple of features but nonetheless is pretty fun creating avatars of your family or friends. You can also create a QR code and share your Mii with your friends. Best of all your Mii or Miis can be used on different games. Which takes us to the next application.

The Mii Plaza my favorite of all the built-in software. The Mii Plaza like its name implies is for your main Mii character. At first you will not find many things to do but when you go take a walk to the mall, maybe the park, or even the library if you come across with someone with a 3DS both systems will sync and share their Miis. Next time you open your Mii Plaza a new guest will have arrived bringing gifts for your Mii. You can receive up to 10 guest at a time and once they arrive to your plaza they will give you a piece of a puzzle for a small minigame. Once you complete the puzzle you will unlock the image in 3D which is a really nice feature. So far I have only completed one puzzle and I am about to complete another one. The Miis you meet they will also take part of a small and hilarious Role playing adventure called Save Mii. In this mini game your Mii is a king that has been kidnapped and its up to your friends you meet to rescue you defeating several type of enemies with sword attacks or magic. The game moments are pretty quirky and funny and at sometimes it can be tough to advance to a different floor because the monsters get stronger or have a lot of hit points. But a good tip is that if you meet the same Mii again their power raises and makes going to the next level easier. To keep you playing the mini game rewards you with several hats that you can use for your Mii my favorite one is the Cap used by Link from the Legend of Zelda.

The built-in game AR Games it’s a pretty simple but fun application that allows you to play games using your surroundings! Pretty much the whole world is your gaming field using AR cards and the Nintendo 3DS camera. With the character cards you can put the Nintendo Characters anywhere either your notebook, maybe on top of an apple or even in a diorama and take a picture of them. The best card of all in my opinion is the question mark card. This one will create mini games for you where you actually move around the card to either shot targets, find clues and more!

The library does offer many games for the Nintendo 3DS check our catalog to see our games!Keep reading XMeetsY for the second part of the Nintendo 3DS Built in Software.

– J.R.-

Let’s talk about Pinterest

In September, I found my way to the site and instantly loved it. A month later, as Mashable published, there was a huge spike and everyone I knew and you knew was on it. Now your favorite brands and companies, libraries, and just about everyone is pinning. Mashable even wrote this handy article about the Marketer’s Guide to Pinterest.

Aside from the obvious eye candy from travel photos to what you’d love your dream house to look like, what’s your favorite thing about the site? What I really want to know is have you made any of the recipes or done any of the crafts you’ve pinned?

Top 10 iPhone Apps – Part 2

The continuation of “Top 10 iPhone Apps – Part 1”.  Instead of boring all of our readers with a long introduction paragraph I’m going to just dive right in.

6. Genius Scan+ – PDF Scanner – Price: $2.99

Genius Scan+ is a great easy way to quickly scan documents on the go. Genius Scan+ allows for you to quickly scan any document using your iPhone camera and save it as a PDF or a JPEG. The great thing about this app is it also allows you to email the documents that you have scanned. I have used this app more than once, I love to cook and it’s a great way to grab recipes on the go. There have been many occasions where I am at a family members house and spotted a couple of recipes that I wouldn’t mind taking home with me. Instead of me writing the recipes down or having my family member run copies for me, I just whip out my iPhone and scan the recipe and instantly it’s saved onto my phone. There have been a few occasions where I actually needed to send the recipe to someone via email. This app is pretty handy for a person on the go, especially if they like to cook.

7. PlayerXtreme – Price: Free

PlayerXtreme is another iPhone app that I use a lot, and I think everyone who owns an iPhone should at least have this app. PlayerXtreme is a way to store and play non-compatible iPhone videos. If I remember correctly, I believe the iPhone only plays videos in the .m4v, .mp4, and .mov format. With PlayerXtreme you can pretty much play any video your heart desires on the iPhone. Different videos such as: .3gp, .asf, .avi, .divx, .dv, .dat, .flv, .gxf, .m2p, .m2ts, .m2v, .m4v, .mkv, .moov, .mov, .mp4, .mpeg, .mpeg1, .mpeg2, .mpeg4, .mpg, .mpv, .mt2s, .mts, .mxf, .ogm, .ogv, .ps, .qt, .rm, .rmvb, .ts, .vob, .webm, .wm, and .wmv. I use this app all the time, especially when friends send me videos from their Android phone. >_<

8. Ringtone Designer Pro – Price: $0.99

Ringtone Designer Pro is a great way to make your own ringtones from songs you already own. Instead of buying different ringtones at 99 cents a piece I chose to buy one app for 99 cents that allows me to choose which songs I want to make ringtones out of. I basically paid 99 cents for an unlimited supply of ringtones. The great thing about Ringtone Designer Pro is you can pick whatever song you want to use that is already on your iPhone, you can also choose what part of the song you want as the ringtone, and also how long the ringtone will be. This app also allows you to make ringtones for your text message alerts. This app is great simply because when someone calls I can jam to my favorite tune, and I can select specific songs for specific contacts. Now every time someone calls my phone I can jam to “Fire” by Jimi Hendrix. Let me stand next to your fire!!!

9. Smart Office 2 – Price: $0.99

Smart Office 2 is basically Microsoft Office for the iPhone/iPad. I haven’t really used this that much, but once I get an iPad I know I’ll be using this app all the time. I have used it a couple of times recently, to do some last-minute editing on some word documents I had in my email. You can not only view, edit, and create Word documents, you can also view and edit Excel and Powerpoint files. This app is also compatible with many other file types such as PDF, JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG, WMF, and EMF. I think the best part is though, you can print your document wirelessly, the app comes preloaded with software which allows you to print from thousands of different printers from 34 different manufacturers. This app is normally $9.99 so get it while it’s still cheap!

10. OverDrive Media Console – Price: Free

 OverDrive Media Console is a great way to check out books from your local library. With the OverDrive app you can checkout many different books from your library and you can choose a checkout date of 1 or 2 weeks. This is great if you are an avid reader and hate paying high prices for books. The books can be easily downloaded to your iPhone through the OverDrive app. Check with your local library to ensure that they have a subscription to OverDrive before you download the app.

That’s it for the Top 10 iPhone Apps. Please comment and leave your top 10 list, so I can check some new apps out that I may not know about.

-J-