5 Crazy New Technologies in Shoes
July 16, 2014
Running, like other sports, tends to be highly competitive, and participants pay close attention to anything that may give them an advantage over the opponents. Running shoe manufacturers take notice, and are highly competitive themselves. They are constantly marketing new products that incorporate advances in materials and styling. Their goals are to reduce weight, increase consistency across weather extremes, increase foot and stride support—and, it seems, to attract attention!
For example, Adidas and Nike have come out with technologies that seem revolutionary and a bit crazy. Last year Adidas released its Energy Boost, which features 16 plastic midsole “Springblades” instead of the traditional foam midsole. The company also abandoned the EVA material that has been a standard in midsoles, in favor of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). Nike has some innovations of its own. The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31 features an “Air Zoom Unit” positioned in the heel to release tension, along with a lower heel to toe drop. The most radical of all, is the Nike Free Flyknit, which features a knitted, sock-like upper.
I am especially intrigued by the Springblades and wonder whether they really do result in an “Energy Boost”. The description sounds a lot like leaf springs in an automobile—and I would not want to try to drive a car without the springs! Mikal Peveto, director of running at Adidas America, clams the “Springblade provides one of the highest energy returns in the industry.” In contrast to the traditional foam midsole, the 16 Springblades vary in thicknesses and angle placement, and are designed to be more responsive and actually help propel the runner forward.
Important to the success of the Energy Boost is the TPU material the springs are made from. Unlike EVA, TPU does not get appreciably harder in cold weather or softer at higher temperatures, making the shoes perform more consistently. That sounds like a crazy good development!
Nike’s Pegasus 31 takes a different approach to shock absorption. It utilizes the Nike trademarked Air Zoom Unit, a single piece made of a material that absorbs shock, then immediately returns to its original shape. Another difference, compared with the Adidas Energy Boost, is that the Air Zoom Unit is confined to the heel of the Pegasus 31.
The Pegasus 31 also has a lower heel-to-toe drop, further reducing heel impact by encouraging a more natural stance. As a result, the runner pushes off more from the ball of the foot and less from the heel, similar to what a barefoot runner would do.
Carrying the barefoot running idea further, Nike’s Free Flyknit is radical! The top portion of the shoe upper is a knitted fabric that pulls on like a sock. The shoe does have support in the heel and toes, of course.
On consideration, maybe none of these developments is all that crazy. What IS CRAZY is that different shoes incorporate radically different approaches—the Energy Boost with its 16 TPU blades, versus the Pegasus 31 with its Air Zoom Unit and low heel to toe drop, versus the Flyknit with its sock-like upper.
I suspect that sometime within the next few years, some standardization will take place. On the other hand, a few more really, really crazy ideas may be introduced for the highly competitive running world to try out!
The Difference Between a Pocket Knife and a Survival Knife
June 2, 2014
Though both are quite useful in your day-to-day life (and would prove even more useful in a post-apocalyptic scenario), a survival knife and a pocket knife have variations in design and scope of use you should be knowledgeable of.
To cut to the chase, let’s refer to Wikipedia on the quick rundown of each:
Pocket knife: a folding knife designed to be carried in a pants pocket.
Survival knife: A sturdy knife, sometimes with a hollow handle filled with survival equipment.
So essentially, you can already gather that the survival knife is larger and has a far more durable blade, whereas the pocket knife is smaller and tends to focus on smaller intricacies. (For example, a pocket knife can be used as a tool in place of a flat-head screwdriver, to tighten or loosen a screw.) Both can be used efficiently as tools for basic survival, and it is wise to invest in both, having more versatility when both are at your immediate disposal.
A pocket knife features a blade that folds right into the handle, not unlike a switch blade. You can use a pocket knife for a multitude of tasks; as mentioned before, a pocket knife can be used as a makeshift screwdriver, or to fish out splinters in the skin (after blade sterilization of course) perhaps, or to assist in opening letters, or to cut rope and wires. It can also be used to cut food such as steak or fish, or just sink your trusty pocket knife into some fresh fruit and chop up some testy vegetables. You can also use it as a last means of self-defense in desperate situations. An iconic movie moment, of course, is when a gangster character pulls out a pocket blade and springs it open. Usually they are antagonistic and get destroyed by the protagonist, but that just goes to show you shouldn’t be using blades for devious doings.
Some pocket knives come stock with other tools. The Swiss army knife is arguably the most popular and recognized blade in existence. An array of tools come stock in a Swiss army knife: a can opener, a screwdriver, nail clippers, small scissors, an additional serrated blade, among other tools. These are extremely useful pocket knives, and not all that dangerous, either, unless in a pair of deadly hands. So they are a smart gift for children who are in the boy scouts, well on their way to being educated survivalists.
In contrast, the survival knife is large, durable, and combat tested, being that it is designed as a tool for survival in the wilderness. These knives are built for punishment, hopefully never the punishment inflicted when the blade is used as a means of self-defense. All means of survival can be practiced with this blade. You can not only use it to hunt, but also to skin your kills. Some blades are retractable, while others have hollow handles that can be used to house smaller items necessary for wilderness survival.
It is best to keep your survival knife in peak condition, using the best survival knife sharpener possible to guarantee your blade will get the job done when the time comes for it’s use. The same goes for your pocket knife – keep that sharp and on the ready as well. You might want to sharpen your pocket knife with an electric sharpener, to avoid any unintentional injuries. It is a bit trickier to sharpen smaller blades.
Blades can be iconic. From Aragon’s sword in the Lord of the Rings trilogy to Ned Stark’s Valyian steel in A Song of Ice and Fire, to the world renowned Swiss army knife to John Rambo’s bowie knife in First Blood. Your blade can be used in a number of ways to ensure your survival should you find yourself in a precariously dangerous situation. Always be prepared for the worst, but always expect the best.
Playing around with my dog, Zapper!
May 17, 2014
Just me and my dog zapper playing fetch around the home compound. We really had fun. I could almost feel zapper speak to me whenever I hesitated throwing him the stick to fetch, as if saying, “dude, throw that stick already!” We got along just fine today – unlike in the past when zapper would just ignore me and run, fast as he could, wondering into the neighborhood and scaring the lights out of the little children playing out.
Zapper had just completed his training for the wireless dog fence I bought to keep him from K9FenceReviews.com within a fifty-foot radius of the house. He was quite the naughty one I tell you – but not today! At first I thought he would just ignore the trainer and the whole gadget (which was rather costly) and resort back to his usual playing and running around anywhere. Other times I feared if I let this unruly behavior continue he would one day run raging like a loose cannon and attack someone!… Something!
Well, today he seemed obedient. Was it the fence, I wondered! It must have worked then! Very pleased with the training and the PetSafe Wireless Pet Containment System I got, I fully switched to game mode and threw the fetch stick with more energy. I must have had a sudden unusual surge of energy when I threw the stick far…really far I tell you. By the boundary flags, it landed past zappers play zone! But, did I need worry? I had the fence yeah?
Zapper jumped paws first, running to fetch the stick. He almost got to it when he stopped and rolled on the ground a bit, as if to shake off something of his back. He wiggled a bit and left the stick –lying about 4 inches of his reach- running back towards me. Attaboy!
Ok It’s a fence…not only did it make playing around with my dog zapper more fun, but also worked to ‘tame a bad dog!’ Now I knew zapper would always stick around the house. It’s amazing how the gadget worked. I was impressed that it worked and was safe both for me and for zapper.
I first learnt of the wireless dog fences through a dog blog post and different searches for dog fences. I thought the idea for a wireless dog fence was great. I tried it…and it worked.
The PetSafe wireless fence I bought had a wall-mounted transmitter, an AC adapter for the transmitter, a receiver collar, some boundary flags and extra collar probes. What ’s more, it also came with a comprehensive easy-to-follow training manual. For me, I left zapper’s training to my dog walker.
The PetSafe wireless pet containment system establishes a circular boundary around your house allowing your dog freely run and play within the safe zone. The transmitter is centrally located and is used to adjust the safe zone. For zapper I set it to a fifty-foot range – subject to adjustment. The lightweight receiver on the collar receives a signal from the transmitter whenever your dog goes beyond the set safe zone and will sound a warning beep. In case your dog strays further past the boundary, the collar –through the contact point- delivers a safe, static correction that keeps running until your dog returns into the safe zone.
Tactical Pens: Necessary or a Gimmick?
April 3, 2014
If you have seen the Jason Bourne series or many other actions movies, you’ll know that unexpected and dangerous situations can arise at any moment. Many times, our favourite action movie heroes are required to use whatever is in their immediate surroundings to defend themselves. This has included magazines, toasters, fly swatters and of course pens. Pens make natural great self defence tools as they are relatively sharp and there seems to be a pen lying around in most places you go. In real life though, is a pen really a reliable self-defence tool?
Introducing the Tactical Pen; a line of pens which are designed with a number of purposes in mind including self-defence. The primary use of great tactical pens though is still as a writing device however they also double as multi-use gadgets to get you out of sticky situations. Ranging in price from about $15 upwards of $100 a tactical pen is marketed for those who want a self-defence tool with them at all times and for professionals who need a robust writing for any situation. Visit tactical tech devices for more reviews.
As a writing tool, tactical pens are extremely functional. They are designed to withstand any amount of stress as they are generally made of anodized aluminum which will prevent any fracturing from taking place in rough conditions. Even if your tactical pen gets run over, it’s tough exterior should still hold up.
Tactical pens are also designed to write in any condition as well. Weather its hot or cold, rainy or snowy, the best tactical pens will allow you to write in any extreme condition. Need to write upside down? Not to worry, tactical pens are designed to work in any condition.
The secondary function of the tactical pen is to in most cases provide you with a self-defence tool. Most models will have a glass-breaker tip on one end in case you end up in a situation where you need to break a window. This glass-breaker tip is functional in a tactical pen as the weight and material of the pen will hold up when introduced to increased stress.
The tip of the pen is also chiseled to pierce objects as necessary. If you were ever attacked, a tactical pen is designed to be used similar to a knife in that it can pierce the skin of whoever is attacking you. I can definitely see how this can provide piece of mind when walking through dark parts of the city at night. Even if you never have to use it, the piece of mind of having something on you which can scare away an attacker is calming.
Further features in some models include a hand-cuff key and other little helpful devices (lights, lasers, ETC) in the case you might need them. As people generally like to carry a pen with them anyways, a lightweight tactical pen can be a good investment to deliver some peace of mind.
The Beard Craze – What’s Happening Lately
March 21, 2014
As I’m sure you’ve all seen lately if you’ve been anywhere in public (but particularly in the bar scene and music scene), beards and mustaches are making a massive comeback.
There was a time in the 80s and 90s where iconic mustachioed men were going clean shaven, and it was really one of the worst periods for facial hair and style in general. I don’t think you will find many people who will tell you that the period between the 70s and early 2000s were any good for style. The thing is, these men went back to growing a tache or a beard after awhile and it seemed all was right with the world.
As these things go, facial hair has come back with many a demographic. Sure, there are more ‘hipsters’ with beards, but businessmen and teenagers a like are starting to sport various whisker styles, and the acceptance for that has been skyrocketing simply because of the massive cultural shift towards stubble.
There are always winners and losers in these interesting, seemingly meaningless social changes, and in this case, the companies making trimmers and grooming products are having an absolutely killer time with all the new customers entering the market looking to find the best beard trimmer.
One of the things I’m noticing, actually, is a shift towards all sorts of grooming. It is slowly permeating the culture around us that ‘grooming’ isn’t a girly thing to do. There is something proper and manly about taking care of one’s appearance, even if that means using waxes and shampoos and oils and combs. One of the biggest things we’re seeing is all these beard grooming tips telling you how to style your whiskers and what you need in a maintenance kit, etc.
Many people are even getting full sets, or all in one units, to include things like the best nose hair trimmer in their daily (or at least somewhat-weekly) routine.
All sorts of new high tech, gadgety devices are showing up, including some clippers with a laser to help you get a perfectly straight line! It’s usually completely useless, but there are some interesting gimmicky things like that popping up that will surely lead to real breakthroughs before too long.
For now, let us just suffice it to say that there is certainly an underdeveloped industry that is expanding right before our eyes and I will not be surprised when some new tech and science advancements are made in the men’s grooming and facial hair sector.
I’ve got a secret and it begins with motorcycle…
March 10, 2014
So I’ve been derping around with a new interest lately and I thought it was about time to share it here on the blog. Any guesses?
No, not streaking, you pervs.
I’m actually part of the way through my motorcycle training that I signed up for the other week after months of thought and research.
It’s actually a pretty big deal for me because I’ve always said I hated bikes, would never get on one, and don’t see the point of them when you could be riding in the delightful comfort of your enclosed (and safe) car.
So what happened?
Well…check out the picture to the right. A gal happened! (That’s not her, but its a pretty good representation ).
After chatting and hanging out a bunch of times, she convinced me to go for a ride on her bike. Now, it was a tough battle because I didn’t want to ride on the back and look like a doorknob and all the rest of it, but to tell you the truth, I have never felt so wrong in my life!
Not only did I not hate it…I loved it! And my entire life of thinking it was terrible was totally wrong. What a crazy feeling, ha.
Anyway, I got a bit hooked and after a few more rides decided that I needed to do this myself. I researched so much stuff it’s not even funny, from all sorts of motorcycle gear to motorcycle brands to the history of the darn things. Then I got myself registered for a training class like I just said above. So far it’s been really awesome. There is a certain sense of freedom that comes from being behind those handlebars and I’m really excited to get my license and buy a bike of my own.
Safety Stuff Is Pretty Slick
One of the things I have noticed is the safety gear that you can get for your bike. Sure, all you really need is a helmet to ride legally in most states (and even no helmet in a few states!), but do YOU want to have nothing but your bare skin to save you if you get chucked off going at 60 miles per hour? I sure don’t!
I’ve seen helmets anywhere from $40 to $800 with an insane amount of different features, fits, looks, etc. There are heated gloves and jackets for cold weather riding. There are all sorts of cool things out there now, even inflatable clothing that inflate to cushion your fall if you get knocked off the motorcycle.
Basically, it’s come a long, long way, and also doesn’t look like it’s all been made for a dude who wears a fanny pack and black socks with sandals! Know what I mean? A lot of the older stuff that might have kept you safe made you look like a total dweeb. Luckily they’ve made it easier to make the decision to wear this stuff lately because it looks a lot better and honestly that is a huge factor in many guys’ decision to use some of the items.
Anyway, if you want more info on the safety stuff, read the hard core organizational stuff here. It’s pretty dry but man, I read so much there and I feel like I know a ton about safety and proper motorcycle riding.
More to come in the future, I’m sure, thanks for stopping by!
Biometric Technology – Fingerprint Recognition
February 28, 2014
Advancements in technology continue to astound us; continually coming out with new devices, computers, phones, and even security advances. The newest advance on the market right now is the fingerprint recognition.
This refers to the method of verifying a match between two human fingerprints. You just place the pad of your finger onto a device (like an iPhone or gun safe) and it confirms that you’re you by the unique patterns in your fingerprint. Gone are the days of confusing patterns to trace or trying to remember that complicated password.
So what products are offering fingerprint recognition? Let’s take a look at a few.
Microsoft now offers a device for fingerprint recognition that is compatible with Windows XP and Windows Vista. It can be used to access websites and other features on your computer that you want to keep secured away from prying eyes. The Microsoft fingerprint recognition also eliminates sign in hassles.
iPhone 5 with Fingerprint Technology
Along those lines, the iPhone is now offering fingerprint scanners on their iPhone 5C smart phones . The feature is called TouchID and allows you to open your phone with a swipe of your finger; no more typing in pass codes. If you lose or misplace your phone, you won’t have to worry about it falling into the wrong hands or your sensitive personal information becoming public knowledge.
Security and Gun Safes
Also getting onboard with the fingerprint recognition technology, many gun safes now offer biometric fingerprint locks. The safe will not open until it recognizes the fingerprints of the owner. This ensures safety in a home that has firearms; no one can open the safe except the owner of the fingerprints.
No more worries about children accidently getting hold of your firearms, or worse, a thief or an intruder. Many gun enthusiasts also like the biometric fingerprint locks because it is a quick and easy way to get to your firearm in the event your home is broken into and you need access to your gun for personal protection. They claim this is much faster and easier than fumbling with a key and a lock or a pushing in a pattern on buttons (which also make a tell tale noise), especially at a time when adrenaline is high and you’re in a scary situation.
As it becomes more common, we’re sure to see many more companies and products offer the fingerprint recognition in the near future. In the meantime, I think I’ll wait for them to work out all the bugs first and buy the items after the initial sticker shock has worn off and prices come down.
How about you? Will you be among the first consumers to own a product with fingerprint recognition, or will you wait until fingerprint recognition is more commonplace and affordable?
Xbox One – Have you tried this?
December 4, 2013
OK so I tried the Xbox one for the first time the day it came out – I didn’t get to make it down to the early unveiling in my city so I couldn’t test it out a few days early.
Anyways, it’s a pretty slick machine, though it’s way too big. The PS4 is so much smaller. They’ll probably fix that in a couple renditions from now, but it’s kind of annoying looking at something that is basically the original Xbox on the outside.
I never did the whole Kinect thing on the 360 – no point, didn’t like it, never tried it…whatever the reason, just never was into it.
However, with the Xbox One now coming with a Kinect, of course you have to try it. Continue Reading
Beard Trimming Travel Tips
September 18, 2013
As a man with a beard, you assume extra responsibility for your appearance because it is so important that you keep your facial hair neat and tidy, lest you look disheveled, unclean, or lazy. Obviously, you’ll need the a good product for maintaining your scruff to make sure you always have a great tool to shave and trim your beard and mustache down to size, no matter what.
But what happens when you’re a travelling man? Or if you just happen to be travelling this once, but need to shave? There are a few important things to consider before you hit the road and journey away from the comforts of home.
If you have a corded beard trimmer, it will matter whether you travel internationally. At home, you will likely be able to get away with it, because wall sockets are the same across the country. However, in Europe for example, there is different voltage and different plug ins. You’ll need a trimmer that can handle the voltage change and might need a plug adaptor.
Not only that, but it might be a bit of a hassle travelling with your corded trimmer depending on how thick and unruly the cord is. It’s added bulk that’s not always easy to pack.
Finally, think ahead – are you going to be at a hotel or someone’s house where you can shave, or are you going to be running around from airport to taxi to meeting, with no time to shave?
If you have a cordless trimmer, it’s a bit easier when travelling. Depending on the length of your trip, you might be able to get away without bringing the charger, although you are obviously putting yourself at risk if you do that. If you are only going away for a day or a few days, just remember to charge your device fully before packing it. You should be able to shave wherever, whenever because the charge should hold for a few shaves.
If you’re going for awhile, be sure to bring your charger and make sure that if you’re going overseas you get the proper adaptors so your machine works with the different voltage and plug in.
Typically, it’s easier to travel with a cordless trimmer, but they do have their downsides.
For more information on shaving, trimming, and beard trimmer reviews to help you find the perfect one for you, visit www.beardguide.com.
Galaxy Note – the new 2014 edition!
September 15, 2013
If you haven’t heard of the Galaxy Note, you’ve been living under a rock.
Samsung has really stepped up their game as of late, with this and their mobile phone line.
It’s insane, really.
Anyways, this is one of the leading edge tablets along with the iPad and some of the Windows versions now available. It really depends if you like iOS, Windows, or Android. You will likely already have a favorite, but this might be worth another look.
The Note has a 10.1 inch display and is starting at $550. Continue Reading