I Actually Took A Real Vacation…

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This past weekend I took a trip down to Naples, Florida to hang out with some friends. While I’ve been on many trips over the past few years they were never really vacations because I always ended up working. It is not that often I take a day off, I guess its the entrepreneur lifestyle. There is always something you can be doing, there are always e-mails to check up on, etc.

I have been working like crazy the past few months, even over-working myself by most people standards. I really have been trying to take ThinkComputers to the next level and also build up Look Social at the same time. This does not leave a whole lot of time for myself. When my friend asked me to come down to Florida I decided that this would be a vacation, not a trip where I was working every morning.

One of the best things about doing what I do is that I have the freedom to do what I want. So when I got the call about coming down I didn’t have to check with my boss to see if I could get off work, I could just book the trip. Freedom of time is something that all of the money in the world couldn’t buy.

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So from Thursday till Monday I did not work. It was a weird feeling at first, but after the first day I really embraced it. It was great waking up each morning not having a massive to-do list or stressing over the things that I needed to get done. I could hang out in the pool / hut tub and not think “Ok after this I need to do…”. I think I was at the point of burning out before I went on the trip so taking the time to just relax and de-stress was much needed. And I could actually enjoy the company of other people and really get to know them.

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Talking about the trip it was definitely nice to get out of the cold of Pittsburgh and hang out on the beach! The group that was on the trip was really great too, good people and now new friends. Hopefully we all can plan more trips together in the future.

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Now that I am home I feel much less stressed and more excited about continuing to grow both of my companies. I think that taking time off to de-stress and traveling definitely has that effect and you should take advantage of it when you can. Even if its a weekend trip, driving an hour outside of the city etc. I think I’ll be planning more trips or even just getting out of the city for a day or two if it has the kind of effect on me!

The Three Bedroom Suite At Elara

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Our Las Vegas Suite tradition continues! Each year at the end of a crazy and busy week covering CES the ThinkComputers crew stays in a pretty cool suite. This gives the crew a real chance to relax and just kick back. If you can remember we started with the 2 Bedroom Hospitality Suite at Vdara and then tried the The Palms Signature 2 Bedroom Suite, now we are checking out the Three Bedroom Suite at Elara.

Elara is part of Hilton’s Grand Vacations Club and is solely a hotel. So you will not find a Casino anywhere or have to walk through one to get to your room, which I actually prefer. We booked the three bedroom suite, which is actually a 2-bedroom suite with adjoining 1-bedroom suite. Check out the video I made below of an overview of the suite, MTV Cribs style!

Some of the best features of the suite are that it has a projector! This way you can have that home theater experience in your room! It great for sports games and movies. The blinds come down perfectly to make your projection screen. The couch in the suite is massive and easily fit 6-8 people! The master bathroom is pretty awesome too! It has a massive jetted tub with a great view as well. It was the perfect way to relax after a long and stressful week!

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All three of the bedrooms are pretty spread out so you if you wanted privacy you could have it. The suite has a full kitchen and it is stocked with light cookware and utensils so if you wanted to cook you could. There is a large dining room table to eat as a group or you could set it up as an office table. The views from the suite were pretty amazing. We were on the 51st floor so from the bathroom we could see the MGM and rest of the strip. From the main living room we could see Hard Rock and out to the mountains.

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The internet in the suite is pretty good, around 20 down and 5 up on WiFi. There is no resort fee at the Elara so things like WiFi are extra if you are not a Hilton Rewards member. The room on average goes for $699 a night.

The CES 2016 Swag Haul

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Each year when I head to Las Vegas for CES I come back with much more than I came with. This is because companies love to give away swag! You know those little goodies comopanies have at their booth or suite and give to you as a thank you for coming to see them. This year I had quite the haul!

Typically I always would talk about the free press bag that us journalist get, but it was a total joke this year! It was a drawstring bag that was probably the cheapest drawstring bag I’ve ever seen! I think the drawstring bag I have from when I bought a pair of shoes is better quality than this thing is!

Anyways I did get some pretty cool things this year though. The best thing would have to be a new graphics card! A new Sapphire R9 Fury Nitro is not a bad thing to come home with! Even though the official CES press bag was garbage Zotac gave me a really awesome backpack that can hold a laptop and much more! SilverStone gave me a pretty heavy duty lightning cable, which is awesome because you know how often those break! I typically always get t-shirts but CyberPower hooked me up with a really awesome sweatshirt. It is like one you would see an eSports player wearing. TP-LINK gave me a water bottle that has an infuser in it, which was pretty cool too. As always I came home with a bunch of new flash drives and bags I can use for shopping at the grocery store.

All in all I came home this year with a lot of goodies and many of them I am actually going to make use of!

Covering CES 2016…

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If you follow me on social media then you know this past week I was in Vegas for CES 2016. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the largest trade show in North America and it is where tech companies show off their latest products. I of course was covering the event for ThinkComputers. Covering the event can be sort of crazy as the show only runs 3-4 days and it is hard to meet with all the companies you want to.

I think we did a great job this year though. We posted over 100 videos and close to 100 articles covering the show. That is almost a 50% increase from last year! Almost all of our content was posted as the show was going on as well. It is great to see the progression of our content and how I’ve improved at doing video content. Of course none of this would be possible without my team! Jack, Derrick, and Mark came with me this year. We separated into two teams: Me & Mark and Derrick & Jack. As I said I have really become comfortable in front of the camera, this was Derrick’s first year so he was a little nervous, but still did a good job. Here is one of the my favorite videos I did from the show.

All of our videos were shot with the Sony Alpha A6000 camera. This camera allows for 1080p video, which is much better than the 720p camera we were using last year. The small compact size of the camera made it easy to carry around the show. For audio we used the Sony ECM-WM1 wireless microphone system with a Sony ECM-CS3 Clip style Omnidirectional Stereo Microphone. The wireless system was much better than using wired mics that we have in the past. Although since they were Bluetooth there was a bit of interference in crowded areas. Also the lav mics were a bit cheap and I think we could of had better audio with better quality mics.

All of our video content was edited using Adobe Premier. I really recommend Adobe’s Creative Cloud for anyone that needs to use Photoshop, Premier or any other Adobe product. Mark did all of the video editing and he created our intro and outro clips as well. To render our videos our friends as Alienware provided us with a Alienware 17 laptop, which made encoding pretty fast! Running around to meetings I used Lenovo’s new Active Gaming Backpack, which is extremely comfortable and had more than enough room inside for accessories and my laptop.

CES is a real drain, you barely get any sleep and you are always on the move. To make sure I survived the week I always had something for breakfast, even if it was just a protein bar. I also made sure everyone had enough water, I had 2 cases of water delivered to our room at the beginning of the week! It is really easy to crash when you don’t eat or get enough water.

CES was a lot of fun to cover this year and I can’t wait to do it again next year!

Has Tinder Ruined Modern Dating?

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Dating, it’s something that can be very time consuming and at the same time very enjoyable. Dating these days is a hell of a lot different than it was even 5 years ago. Dating sites and apps have made it easier to meet people and decide if you actually want to go on a date with them or not, but have these dating sites and apps ruined modern dating? Many people that I’ve talked to say they would rather be single for one reason or another, which I feel is very different from when these apps and dating sites did not exist. Here are a few reasons why I think Tinder and other dating apps have ruined modern dating.

Choice
I think one of the main reasons why modern dating is changing and why many people want to be single is choice. At any point in time I can jump on Tinder or any other dating app and match up with someone and decide if I want to ask them out or not. I could easily go on 3-4 dates a week if I really wanted to. Or maybe I start talking to someone then someone else grabs my attention. Maybe the person I am talking to or getting to know does something to piss me off or make me mad, I can open one of these apps and start talking to someone. This is a common theme I see with people who are in relationships, we’ve all seen it, you know when you see someone who you know is clearly in a relationship pop up on Tinder. Having the choice of multiple people to talk to makes is very hard to actually want to narrow it down to a single one.

They Are Talking To Multiple People
Now on the other hand if you are a person who really wants to settle down and you happen to meet someone on one of these sites or apps you will slowly learn that they are like the above example. They are talking to or dating multiple people at once. They like that they can get attention at anytime by opening the app and talking to people. In my experience it is very hard to actually date someone like that as they have a constant need for that attention. Most people I’ve met via online dating are always talking to multiple people.

Wanna F&*K?
If you are a girl on Tinder or any other dating site I’m sure you’ve heard this line before. Well guess what girls say it too. For guys, do you actually think this is going to work? For the girls that are saying it, major turn-off! Sadly this is what Tinder and other dating sites have turned into. So you have to weed through the creeps to actually find someone that can hold a real conversation.

It’s Work!
We live in an age where everything in instant. When you start a conversation with someone on one of these dating sites it’s like you have to sit there and message them all day. If you set the phone down for any period of time they either move on to someone else or get mad that you haven’t responded within 10 minutes! I really is work some of the time!

You Really Don’t Know The Person
We are deciding if we want to go out with these people primarily based on photos and chatting for a little bit. That does not really mean we know this person all that well. For the most part the girls I’ve gone on dates with from these apps are not friends with anyone I know so it’s not like I can ask around about them or anything. These people could be total creeps, look nothing like their photos, have a habit you can’t stand, etc. It is quite odd going out with someone you’ve never met before and that none of your friends know. So either these dates go well, or extremely bad and I’ve heard many horror stories!

At the end of the day apps like Tinder have made it much easier to meet people, but at the same time they have changed whole dynamic of dating in this modern age. Do you use Tinder or a similar dating app? Let me know you story in the comments below!