Simplistic Thoughts

Simpler, healthier, happier

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So what happened to the challenge?

Posted by on May 17, 2011 in Health, Other | 0 comments

A while back I came up with a challenge to get in shape. I made a couple of updates, but then stopped updating altogether. So what happened?

A couple of things, but the biggest one was illness. This year has been especially cold here where I am at and I think it led to me getting sick. I ended up catching a couple of colds as well as some kind of throat infection that gave me a high temperature. Hard to exercise and take pictures when I can’t get out of bed. I also had to reformat my computer and may have lost the pictures I had taken for the first couple of weeks. I’ll have to check.

The weather has finally warmed up here, but now we are in rainy season. So instead of swimming at the beach, I have been working on my car, a 1999 Miata. My most recent thing was to install a Sparco racing seat for more support. You can check it out here if you are interested.

At this point I will be updating this site much more often. I am also planning to make some videos of the island once this weather clears up.

 

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Path to Freedom

Posted by on Jun 10, 2010 in Other | 2 comments

Just a few days ago I was watching an episode of survivorman titled “Off the Grid”. As you can imagine, it was all about how to move away from the city and get away from relying on “the system”. He choose to move his family out to a very remote area that was only accessible for certain parts of the year. While it doesn’t seem like suck a horrible thing to me, I think it is a bit too extreme for some.

So are there option for those who don’t live in a remote area? What about those of us who live in the city and the suburbs with limited resources and limited land? It seems there just isn’t much we can do. At least that is what I thought until I watched the below video and learned how one family turned their 1/5 acre in the suburbs into a farm that grows 99% of their food and even makes a living for them.

Over the last year I have started a small garden for myself. With tomatoes, bell peppers, egg-plant, mint, parsley, onions, lettuce, etc; but this takes it to a completely different level. Imagine what the world could be like if we all did this even a little. Imagine watering a lawn full of vegetables instead of green grass. It definitely makes me rethink my garden.

Time to plan a better one. Let me know what you think and what kind of garden you might already have. Oh, and also be sure to check out their website: Path to freedom.

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Upcoming posts/plans for Simplistic Thoughts

Posted by on Mar 11, 2010 in Other | 2 comments

With the exception of the last couple of weeks I haven’t been to great at posting on Simplistic Thoughts. It’s partly because I have been busy with working on other blogs and partly because I have been busy doing various things here in Miyakojima (teaching English, learning Sanshin, studying Japanese, running a half-marathon, etc).

Well, I am going to try and change this and start posting a lot more often. Below are some of the topics that I will be posting about and some of the other ideas for the site.

Broader Topics

In the past, the main focus of this site has been self development, life hacks, and  a few adventures and tips on the side. Moving forward I plan to cover more day to day topics and adventures that I participate in. Since I currently live on a tropical island in Japan, that will range from snorkeling in the ocean, local festivals, spear fishing, and maybe even trips to the store when entertaining.

I will try to keep the posts helpful, and at least entertaining, but they will not be limited to any particular topic.

Getting Back in Shape..again

Last year I did a 30 day challenge using a popular abs program to get in shape. Without changing my diet, I actually got it pretty good shape within 30 days. Unfortunately, once the challenge was over, I cut back on my workout routine. In order to get back in shape, and stay there, I will doing more posting on exercising. I am also planning to make some videos of some of my favorite workouts.

More Videos

About a year ago I bought a new camera which among other things can go under water and also shoot hd video. I have been practicing with video editing software and will try and get more videos on the site. Everything from the places I go to various instructional videos.

More Cultural Topics

Having lived in Japan for a few years now I don’t tend to think about all the cool/weird stuff. When I think about it though, there are actually a lot of items, activities, and sometimes just weird happenings that would make good blog posts. Of course, I will also be posting tips on language learning.

More Adventures

Last year I did a lot of snorkeling, spear fishing, hiking, scuba diving, entering caves, and fishing. I also went to a lot of live performances (from hula to folk dancing to native Okinawan music). I plan to write more about these topics, and when possible, take videos and pictures.

Your Feedback

I would love to hear your thoughts on what you would like to read about more. If you really enjoy a certain topic let me know and I will try write more on it.

I look forward to sharing my adventures with you and thank you for reading.

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Solar Space Heater

Posted by on Dec 8, 2009 in Other | 3 comments

Since the weather here is finally starting to turn cold I have been spending time searching for a way to heat the house. We have a little heater, but that only heats so much and it also uses a lot of energy. Luckily, I finally came across a great option, a solar space heater.

The idea of a solar space heater or “soda can heater” is to use the sun to heat up metals tubes and the air that passes through. They can be built for cheap, using a few supplies for a frame or even some spare materials. The metal tubes can easily be built out of aluminum soda cans.

You can find more info on solar heaters at solar panels for sale.

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A Question For Hackers

Posted by on May 18, 2009 in Other | 1 comment

hackers

About a week ago I received an e-mail from a good friend mentioning that his website wouldn’t work. Someone had hacked it, and instead of displaying his normal blog it showed a message describing what a hacker was and why they do what they do.  Yesterday, Simplistic Thoughts was also hacked. No serious damage done (as far as I can tell), but it did cost me time to fix it. So here is my question to hackers.

Why not use your talents to do something helpful?

The message that was put on my friends website went on to describe that hackers were people who found school boring and too easy (though the article was full of grammatical errors and misspellings). People who don’t want to succumb to the ways of a capitalist society or maybe feel rejected by society altogether. Instead, they find refuge in their computers. Manipulating or creating programs, and testing their skills by breaking into others computers. Which doesn’t really sound much different to me than any other teenagers excuse for breaking the rules because they were bored.

However, this is only one person or one group’s opinion or ideas of what a “hacker” is. I would guess there are many hackers that would not want to be classified into this category. Hackers are generally classified into a “negative category”, but in truth I don’t think that’s always the case. Hackers have also done a lot of good. For instance, someone who wasn’t satisfied with what their iphone decided reprogram it to do more. Not hurting anyone and not trying to sell anything. In fact it has helped a lot of people get features they want. I am able to use Ubuntu (a free operating system I feel is superior to Windows) because someone decided they could write better operating system.

As a child I thought it was really cool to pick locks. I created my own set of tools and after some time was actually able to get simple locks open. It was a great feeling because I felt I was smarter than the system. I was about 10-12 at the time and only picked locks I owned. But what if I decided to keep going? I would have been faced with two roads. One were I used my skills to break into other peoples locks or the other where I used my skills to make better locks.

I personally believe that hackers are very talented and help push the envelope of what is possible with computers. Doing something because you are intellectually curious is a great reason. But there is a big difference between using your talents and intellect to create a better system, and destroying someones system and hard work just to make a point or to show that you could.

For instance, what if the person who hacked into my blog used his/her skills to help further develop the program to make it more secure and safer.

So I ask my question again, and I hope that a number of hackers and programmers will respond. You are obviously smart and have a lot of talent. So why not use it to make things better? If it is about making a point or standing up for something, then why attack the individual people or small businesses that are just trying to make a living?

Interesting article on hackers

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6 Free Alternatives to Common Everday Programs

Posted by on Mar 11, 2009 in Other | 0 comments

With the exception of my early grammar school days playing “number muncher” on an old Macintosh,  I have been a windows user. It is what I grew up using and since most of the programs were made for Windows. It’s really all there was. Eventually my love relationship with Microsoft and Windows slowly started to fall apart. In college I lost several hours of work due to crashing and though the programs never seemed to work the way they were supposed to, the prices always seemed to climb. Then came the serial numbers. Each time I had to reformat to make windows work again I had to call and confirm my serial number.

Three years ago, I decided I had had it with Microsoft and Windows and started searching for other options. I found a whole new world. Some of the products weren’t only able to compare, but were actually better. I started by replacing Microsoft word with Open Office. It did everything word could do, but didn’t crash. Then I took the leap and Installed Ubuntu Linux as my OS. At first I had the choice to dual boot (I could choose to run either Ubuntu or Windows), but soon realized I didn’t need Windows at all.

Now I can’t say there were no problems. Three years ago there were a lot of things that just didn’t work with Linux. And three years ago I would not have recommended for the average user to switch. However, three years is a long time when it comes to computing. Linux has not only caught up to Windows, but in many areas surpassed it. And best of all it’s completely free. Here is a list of great alternatives to Windows and the programs that come with them. Not a complete list, but ones I have personally used and can recommend.

OS (Windows Alternative)

Ubuntu

Ubuntu Linux-You can download it for free or order a free disk. before installing it you can run it off a disk to make sure it’s compatible. It runs faster and more stable than windows and is very easy to use. You can even run it off a USB. You can get a free copy here.

Office Suite (Microsoft Office Alternative)

Open Office is a complete office suite containing a word program, spreadsheet program, and presentation program, a drawing program, and a database program. The interface is very similar to MS Office and is easy to transition into. You can download it here.

Internet Browser (Internet Explorer)

Firefox and Flock. If you’ve been off the internet for a while, then you probably haven’t heard that the number of Firefox users has been consistently increasing. It is a fast and secure browser with a lot of options. Flock is built on the same engine as Firefox, but with features designed for web 2.0. You can download Firefox here and Flock here.

Instant Chat

Pidgin is a a program that not allows you to connect to a singe chat program, but to all of them at one time. It allows you to see all your contacts within one program. You can download pidgin here.

Video Player

VLC is a media player that can play just about anything. Now I will admit that the user interface is nothing amazing, but it just plain works. You can download it here.

E-mail Client

Thunderbird is a mail client similar to outlook. It has the ability to view and store both private mail and web mail, as well as a number of ways to sort and store it. The interface is simple and there are also a number of add-ons to increase the functionality. I personally prefer to use webmail. However, for those who like a dedicated program, this is a good one.

Keep the list coming. Feel free to list your favorites in the comments.


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