We’re About to See Some Impressive Snowfall Totals in South Dakota

An unusually powerful early season snowstorm is cranking up over the upper midwest, producing blizzard conditions over much of the Dakotas and Wyoming. The storm, referred to as “Winter Storm Atlas” by The Weather Channel (TWC), was predicted by TWC to drop between 5 and 12 inches of snow throughout the entire western half of South Dakota, as depicted in their original forecast image below:

The Weather Channel's Forecast for Blizzard "ATLAS"

Unfortunately for them, and perhaps the residents of the area, thunderstorms have been continuously been getting pulled into the cold air, creating massive snowfall amounts, especially in the higher elevations. As of the time I am writing this, Rapid City, SD, has received over 20 inches of snow. More impressively, the town of Lead in South Dakota has received 37 inches. On top of this, winds have been sustained between 40 and 50 mph, with gusts up to hurricane force at nearly 75mph! If what the radar is showing is a sign of things to come, amounts of over four feet will likely be met before the storm wraps up.

South Dakota Blizzard Radar

With the government being shut down at the moment, National Weather Service (NWS) employees are working without pay right now. Since the NWS is responsible for issuing much of the forecast guidance, this could be one of the first examples of why it’s so critical the government not remain shutdown for much longer. The following forecast was posted by the NWS in Alaska earlier today… notice the first letter of each line spells out a hidden message, “PLEASE PAY US”:

NWS please pay us

Casper, WY received much less snow than areas of South Dakota (between 8 and 13 inches), so consider the damage in the picture below. Trees still have leaves, and with the snow being heavy and wet, there is going to be a lot of tree damage, especially in the areas that end up receiving 25 to 50 inches of snow.

CASPER Wyoming Blizzard

Samsung Galaxy S4 Review: The Best Cell Phone I’ve Used In 2013

Samsung Galaxy 4
Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Running Google’s Android Mobile OS

It’s hard to call the Galaxy S4 (the latest in the Samsung Galaxy series) a cell phone when it’s so much more. Making calls is one of the most basic functions, however, even that has become incredibly sophisticated and yet still insanely convenient with this new phone. When you see an incoming call on the screen, you can simply say “answer” and the voice activation will pickup your command and answer the phone for you; this way, you don’t have to press any buttons to answer a call. I assume this feature was intended to be used by those driving their motor vehicles, however, I find it convenient while simply performing regular day to day tasks. If that’s not enough, you can ask the phone questions. For example, I asked it “how many people live in China?” and it quickly replied with the following answer: 1.34 billion people (world rank: 1st). That’s an amazing feature that actually works. The voice recognition has improved greatly over the years and it’s at a point where I’m actually comfortably using it without the hiccups I recollect from earlier attempts.

Web connectivity is another reason why it’s a nice phone. The ability to connect to virtually every web-based service makes it easy to stay connected with the rest of the world. There are apps for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social networks. Beyond social networking, it allows you to check your bank accounts, move money between accounts, send money to others, and so on. For banking alone, I love this phone. Were this not enough, it acts as a high intensity flashlight with the help of a free app that activates the rear camera’s flash. I say rear camera because there are two. One in the front and one in the rear. The one in the rear takes some extremely high quality pictures and videos, while the one in the front is mostly used for “selfies” (pictures taken of oneself) and video chats.

All in all, I would have to say that this particular phone is one of the best cell phones that I’ve ever used and it’s no surprise that it costs around $650 when you buy it without any discounts applied. When you sign-up for a new contract or upgrade an existing phone that’s eligible for an upgrade, you get some nice discounts which make the phone significantly more affordable to the average person. Seeing as prices change and different service provides offer different deals, don’t quote me on any of this price nonsense because it’s certainly temporal.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Review – FINAL THOUGHTS

If you’re wondering whether or not it’s a good phone, it really is. I’ve used more than one Samsung phone with the Android mobile operating system and this one is by far the best. It’s fast, it works, it doesn’t have any problems that I’ve come across, the video and picture quality is superb, voice activation works surprisingly well, and the 1080p touch screen is more crisp than I would have ever imagined. This is one awesome phone and given the opportunity, I definitely suggest picking one up for yourself.

Another Spring Riding Season Begins!

A day of 2 wheeled firsts for me…
10 years of street bikes but I fixated for the first time today, on the back corner of a city bus crossing into my lane in a high speed freeway corner. I was traveling probably 20 mph, or more, faster than the bus, like everyone else. Fortunately, I reacted appropriately, leaned hard to clear the bumper, and split traffic to relinquish enough of MY real estate to the thieving city bus. Mere inches to spare but a clean getaway regardless. I nearly soiled my armour I was so scared. That fixation cost me a lot of valuable reaction time. The bus didn’t scare me, the fixation did.

Then I got pulled over for the first time ever on a (street) bike for speeding. As it turned out the bike cop was cool and didn’t care about my speed because it wasn’t malicious, just probable cause for a stop; he was, however, concerned about my aggressive lane change(s). He let me go because “you weren’t riding like I know you could, just try not to piss off the people who drive cars.” He liked my response “is it worth trying to get people who drive Priuses to like us?” He didn’t even care that my license plate is cut up to accommodate my Leo Vince exhaust… Cops like that make me reconsider my choice to not follow my father and dawn the badge.
He was a genuinely intelligent cop, who was aware of my strategies for both police interaction and police-avoidance-riding (thanks for those dad). I couldn’t believe it when he recapped my every move and exact intentions over the course of probably 3 miles, as though he could read my mind… So rare to meet a cop like that. He was lurking for a while, using overpass ramps to reacquire my location and “watch my behaviour”, and following; clearly, he was a determined stalker and a genuinely astute rider. However, he did say he thought I was going to run. I told him I knew better to run from motorcycle cops, but it was too late because within two-three minutes of exiting the freeway and parking in on service road, another patrol bike showed up in a fuss. He had radioed ahead and I assume everyone was getting excited for an interesting chase.
What a showdown it would have been had I ran, two white 1400 Kawasakis vs my red super Kow in light traffic. They wouldn’t stand a chance but the radio is hard to outrun and the laptop case on my back makes moving around on the bike a pain anyway 😛
Strange when nearly colliding with a bus and then getting pulled over becomes the highlight of the day and saviour of another dreary Tuesday commute.

I guess statement “The closer you are to death, the more alive you feel” holds true for some because I feel great now, who needs Redbull.
I jest, I still love you Redbull.

-Q

Late season snow!

For any snow lover in Maryland, the winter of 2012-2013 has been disappointing. Over ten storms have produced snowfall, and until today, not one has amounted to over 2 inches. Finally, by some miracle, most of the region was able to score a sizable accumulation of 4 to 6 inches from an unusual late season snow event.

The average high temperature this time of year is nearly 60 degrees in Maryland, and this late in the month it is not unheard of for temperatures to be in the low 80s. Instead, temperatures have been hovering in the low 30s with moderate to heavy snowfall all morning. All in all, a nice treat for the snow starved mid atlantic!

“Buy a shotgun”…. /facepalm

So, after some consideration, I decided that the AR15 style rifle really is the best home defense weapon. I’m serious, think about this…

Think about a shotgun in the home, a short barrel model can have a 2ft shot “spread” over 25ish feet.  So, if you shoot at a person, dog, w/e is threatening your well-being, property, livestock, or even a round into a fence post frighten unseen threats stirring in the darkness, everything around where the shotgun is pointed is going to have holes in it. So what’s worse, 8-9 projectiles (in the case of 00 buck), all roughly the size of a .223 round (the AR15 bullet) simultaneously fired, or a single .223 round?

Let us break this down a bit.

Your average 12 gauge semi auto shotgun holds 5 shells, but many hold more. Mine holds eight but there are “drum” mags available that hold 20 shells. If you have 00 buck shells, that’s ~ 45 projectiles in the time it takes to fire 5 rounds.  Depending on barrel length and design, those projectiles will fall in an ever widening pattern with little control as to where exactly they land. “Spray and pray” if you will.  Now think about a lead birdshot shells, ~410 pellets in a single round. And yes, depending on distance, those kill, even if only ¼ of them hit you, lol.  Shotguns are also notorious for kickback. Fire a 3.5 inch super-magnum shell and you’ll know what kickback really is…

Now let us consider the infamous AR15…30 round magazine is common, .223 caliber bullet. They are accurate to the millimeter at close and medium range.  It’s a smaller charge so it isn’t exactly a good long range rifle.  Every bullet goes where it is aimed, one at a time. They will fire rounds at roughly the same speed as any other semi auto shotgun or pistol.  There is also very little kickback. So really, what would you honestly want to defend your home with if you had to?  What would you want your wife using in the event she had to? Personally, I would be WAY more afraid of a psycho with a shotgun, at least a rifle has to be accurately aimed to hit me before I drop his ass with my licensed concealed carry.

Remember that the second amendment was not written for sportsmen and hunters like the feds would like people to think. It was written for citizens, everyone legally here in this country, not to hunt with, but to defend freedoms against overpowered government.  Not necessarily by force but symbolically.  It cannot be assumed that the government will never overstep its boundaries.  Time and time again throughout history governments have taken it upon themselves to exploit their power.  Humans have not changed; simple laws written on papers will not protect you should things get out of hand further.  Pray they won’t but who knows what our grand kids will face.

Never give up any right because they won’t be given back; once you give up a right, you’ll give up another, and slowly they will be whittled down; it may take generations, but it will happen.

Remain a threat to your government.

To dissent is American.

A moral crossroad of visual fidelity and interactivity? Part 01

In the world of gamers and game critics there are few things that are more praised than a new technology that allows for bigger, better, more life-like visualizations.  As a gamer, it is my opinion that consoles like the Wii, which capitalized on a novelty user interface rather than its graphics capability, are doomed to a brief stay in the hearts of hardcore gamers.

The Wii exploded onto the market November 19, 2006 and Americans stood in mile-long queues to get there chubby fingers one.  Its sales smashed the records, and to date has the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 trumped for worldwide sales.  This could largely be due to its much lower cost, familiar game remakes, extremely broad target audience, and entertaining, if novel, interface.  It’s certainly not because of the quality of their games, which can be described as a “cavalcade of mediocrity” by popular game critic “Yahtzee” Crowshaw.

Nintendo has been digging through its intellectual property and adapting it to the new platform in what I perceive to be a desperate plea to buy time on the wave of interest in motion controls in the absence of innovative titles, and the presence of sub-par graphics.

Just some thoughts, More to come.

-Q

New England Sunset Over Ledge Pond Picture

Fall SunsetThe photograph snapped above was taken in New England shortly after the leaves began to fall.  During this time of the year, the views by Ledge Pond (above) and other neighboring bodies of water instill the viewer with a sense of euphoria.  This is a Codeword.org original image and you are free to use it as you please.

2012 Earthquake In New England, Maine Epicenter

Earthquake Picture
Earthquake image courtesy of the USGS @ USGS.GOV

Earlier tonight, residents across the East Coast (at least from New Hampshire to Maryland) experienced an earthquake which shook their homes.  The U.S. Geological Survey claims the quake was a 4.0 magnitude with an epicenter about three miles deep and located west of Hollis Center, Maine.  No injuries were reported by the Maine Emergency Management Agency.

One individual who was interviewed was quoted having said they experienced “just shaking.”  While earthquakes are often associated with California, it’s not entirely unusual for the East Coast to experience the sudden and violent shaking of the ground commonly referred to as an earthquake.

Fixation Documentary Review: Shreddin’ On Fixed Gear Bicycles (Fixies)

Fixation MovieOne of the hottest documentaries on Netflix right now is Fixation.  While watching this documentary, which covers Fixed-gear bicycling in a West Coast setting, I noticed one of my friends from back in California, Marc Marino (what’s up man), was in the documentary with his unmistakeable leg tattoos and figured I would throw some love towards this documentary in the form of this review on Codeword.org.

Being quite fond of San Francisco and Los Angeles, I found myself reminiscing of riding my own bicycles down some of the very same streets and realized that I am long overdue to visit California and catch up with old friends, as it has certainly been quite some time since I last embarked upon a mission to the left coast.  In regards to the documentary, it’s comprehensive and covers virtually every known aspect of what I would refer to as “fixies.”  This well put together documentary is well worth the roughly 40-minutes it takes to watch and to those former California natives that intend on watching this documentary: don’t be surprised if it induces feelings of nostalgia.

Riding a fixed gear bike takes some serious lower body strength, skills, and some serious nerve to forsake gears in favor of a single speed.  One of the first and quite possibly one of the most entertaining skills to learn when riding fixies is the ability to stop by simply (easier said than done) leaning forward and locking your legs in place.  Once mastered, the leg lock allows for highly entertaining power-slides which prove especially fun on slick surfaces.

Official Fixation Trailer:

How To Shop Smart On The Web (Price Comparison & Product Reviews)

When it comes to online shopping, there are seemingly countless hurdles to overcome to find the right product for the right price. Finding the right product itself can be a difficult task, let alone finding the best price on the product you want. Before you can begin the process of comparing prices from one online vendor to the next, you really need to know which product is the ideal solution for you. In order to figure this one out, you may resort to reading product reviews which are easily found on websites such as Amazon.com or by scouring the vast web via a friendly search engine such as Google.com’s infamous search engine. When reading reviews to narrow in on your target, you may find that there are a lot of reviews to sift through, some of which seem excessively bias in favor of selling the product for financial benefit of some unknown entity and related entities. This is where forums come into play. A lot of useless chatter takes place on internet forums, however, there’s also a wealth of knowledge seeping out of them. When it comes to real product reviews, forums are one of the best places to find the real answers to your questions. After reading review websites, forum discussions, and watching video reviews, you should have an adequate understanding of whether or not a particular product is right for you and which variant, when available, is most suited for your needs.

Once you’ve determined the appropriate product for your needs, it’s in your best interest to take compare prices to find the best possible deal. An easy way to accomplish this task is to take advantage of price comparison shopping engines that take a lot of the work out of manually comparing prices from one seller to the next. Google offers a shopping tool which I believe is great for accomplishing this feat and I definitely suggest you use it to find deals on products you’re intent on buying. Once you have managed to find a vendor for the product you’re interested in acquiring, you may very well want to take the time to search for a coupon code which may allow you to buy the product at an even cheaper cost.

I hope this guide to online consumer shopping assists you in finding the best deals on the products you buy. Good luck!