2015 Pigments Painting Award

The Future of Wearable Tech

Technology has been seeping into our lives in different shapes and ways. The ease and convenience that technology is adding into our lives is undeniably a treat for us. Technology has made it possible for engraving multiple functionalities in our lives, thinking of the smartphone, it is a combination of a telephone, a phone book, a directory, a camera so on and so forth. Similarly, smart watches have recently been introduced into our lives to add another wow! factor into our lives.

The first smart watch came into the arena back in the year 2014, after Samsung introduced their first Tizen-powered smartwatch. The competition was continued by the introduction of LG and Motorola’s android smart watches. Apple has been fairly late with their first move after they introduced the Apple watch in April 2015. Let’s shed some light on the current situation and the future of wearable tech.
Why do I need a SmartWatch?
This is the question that might hit your mind if you are thinking of making your move into the Smart Watch world. The use of Smart Watches can be categorized under two umbrellas, notification devices, and health trackers. Ever since, the introduction of the watches, the basic idea or goal behind them is vague. As long as their current use is concerned, they are not a good choice keeping in mind the fact that all the smart watches in the market are at an average price range of $250.
It has been 4 years since the introduction of the first smart watch and there hasn’t been any large-scale advancement in the sector. There are multiple other factors that may keep one from buying a smart watch. Battery life being one of them, Even though there is not much a smart watch these days can accomplish, it barely lasts for a few hours as compared to a traditional wrist watch. Charging a smart watch twice a day might not seem like a good idea to many including myself.
What to Expect?
The world of technology is fairly different when it comes to the definition of the actual use of a product. Thinking of a smartphone, as users, we never thought it would evolve in a way that it would make our lives as dependent on them as they are right now. Several tasks that we used our Personal Computers for initially are now being handled with the aid of the smartphone.
Long story short, smart watches can be the center of our lives when we are able to accomplish more with their use. One such application where smart watches are being thought of as a key is Internet of things or IoT. The idea of controlling each and every light bulb and appliance with the help of a smart watch is truly intimidating and highly attractive.
The year 2017 is being called the year of wearable tech, with several companies floating teasers of their upcoming smart watches. We have our fingers crossed to see what they will surprise us with.

Wired Magazine Article on Wearables


Linux on a Crappy Old Computer

Let me start off by saying that the use of an old Crappy computer is not a reflection of the Linux operating system which is solid and a quality open source operating system. The choice to use an old computer versus using my current computer as a dual boot system was an easy choice to make, my unfamiliarity with Linux and my tendency to experiment would have possibly killed my Windows OS which was not really an option.

The only logical solution would be to purchase an old, inexpensive computer with a working DVD-ROM installed. I purchased a Lenovo Think Pad x200with the 2 gigs of ram and 300 gigs of storage. It came with a good battery and charger. The machine was very clean and booted up very quickly, I believe it had Windows Vista on it.

Downloading Linux OS

The next step was to download the Linux setup files and following the detailed instructions started to burn the DVD image file. (Not sure why they call it an image file) Get Files from Site

Once the DVD was ready I could either run the system from the DVD or install it. Was not in the mood to play around and opted to install onto the old computer. Pretty easy, open cd player, slide DVD in, close door and restart. Fifteen seconds later I was asked if I would like to install the Linux system and if so is okay to format (erase) the hard drive? Yes…

Now I was getting a bit excited in anticipation of something new to learn. Success, the system installed, WiFi was all set up and the machine came to life even faster now. Everything worked and without a single issue.

Looks great and was really surprised to see all the goodies that are packed with Linux OS. Office for Documents, spreadsheets, plus graphic editing software. Linux has been installed for about four months and I’m always finding new things to play with and learn. Also, you can download new free products and features. Personally, I tend to keep things simple and refrain from the temptation of cluttering up my computer.

The original idea was to craft a dedicated system only to create and craft some stories and possibly start a book. By the way, the total cost of all of this was about thirty dollars and that was for the computer which I found on Craigslist. The software is free, open source ( they take donations to help support all the great development).

Linux OS Just Works

My experience with this little experiment has really been fantastic. So much so that now I enjoy using my old Crappy computer almost as much as my more modern sibling. Linux is a great option for people that want something a bit different from the normal. Windows is a great OS and will stay loyal but there’s something special about the robust feature packed Linux System.

Note One, most hosting providers, large and small use Linux for their servers, fast and very efficient.

Note Two, not mentioning the Apple OS was done on purpose and I do not support the company’s way of thinking. Not much for big companies dictating what I can see and do, what app I can use, and I have not yet to date seen a phone or computer that had any individual personality The new Apple slogan….Sheep Love Apple

Android, Windows, and Linux support growth, expansion, and creativity. Everyone makes individual choices on how things, look, act, and function. If an app is poor, it rating reflects that and it dies.

Just saying…

Comments and Notes on Linux

There are so many good flavors of Linux, I usually tell people that ask to just try a whole bunch till you find the one you really like. The loading methods that KnumKnutz recommends make it easy to try them out. Ubuntu was the first really mainstream Linux that garnered a lot of interest. Dell even offered towers with Ubuntu as an optional OS for a while. They may still, I don’t know. I tried several and find Mint to be easy to configure, customize and control. Ubuntu is a close second. Can’t beat Ubuntu Server edition for home servers. Tried Manjaro on a recommendation, but thought it wasn’t as easy to configure. Ubuntu and Mint have a large following now, so there are a lot of options and software for both that is easy to acquire. More and more games are being written that work in the Linux environment, which makes them very stable. Many tell me that CentOS is the way to go. It all comes down to what you like and what you want to do. Install Oracle Virtual Box on your Windows platform and try different Linux distros until you settle on one. I know a fellow that uses Kali light (without the hacker tools) for his home PC because it is so stable and secure.

Stamford Residence Basement Project

The Stamford Residence basement project has been in the works for a few months now. The entire house has been updated and worked on including new lighting, removal of walls, new bathroom spaces, crown molding and new paneled doors now fill the house with elegance. The basement which is used a great deal did not reflect the feel and cleanliness of the house. I will break the basement project down into various phases which will allow for fine tuning of plans and problem areas that need to be addressed. Working with electricians and plumbers to bring the project to a beautiful conclusion.

The project started off with just some simple wall repairs and the removal of some very old carpeting that originally spanned the entire basement. The next step was to remove the poor condition steps and risers and update them with new solid oak steps and new risers. In order to accomplish the task, the removal of all the paneled walls needed to be completed, opening up the stairway. The next unplanned step was the removal of all the 2x3s which really opened up the stairway. Installing the steps was completed and a new idea was introduced which opened up the stairway even more(Phase Two)

The removal of the space under the stairway was the next logical step, sheetrock was installed and a new clean space created. Basically, Phase one was to remove all the old dirty moldy wood and replace anything that was damaged with new and fresh materials.


Pebble Time Watch Faces

One of my favorite new pastimes is spending time creating the Pebble Time watch faces and the popular Pebble Classic watch faces. There is a certain amount of gratification when creating the watch faces, personal enjoyment building them, hundreds of downloads, and exposure. All the Pebble Time watch faces that are created are crafted and thought out. Every dial, marking, and even the logo or theme has been designed for brightness and clarity on the small Pebble surface area.

You can create Pebble watch faces several ways. The first is to use the popular and standard programming language “C”  plus use the Pebble compiler or create images and use the Pebble watch face Generator which currently only supports black and white. There is also a color version watch face generator but it is very primitive and offers zero useful features. Whatever method you use, have fun with it. Nothing like using your own watch face that you created on your Pebble. The Pebble staff have also put up some great tutorials on how to build your own custom watch faces.

Pebble Time Watch Faces Need a Watch

All this is great and wonderful but you also need to purchase the watch. Yes, this is a plug for a great company with a new set of great watches coming out in the next few months. Pebble.com Pebble Time 2 , Pebble Classic 2, and Pebble Core. Great time to purchase the orginal classic or Pebble Time.

Official Bulux Tubmariner Watch Face

The Official Bulux Tubmariner analog watch face. Yes, it’s a spoof on the classic Rolex Submariner. Many hours were spent fine-tuning every detail. Everything from the day of the week to the current date. Image created with Photoshop, even the Rolex fonts were used. Have fun and let me know how I can improve this. TUBMARINER 33ft x 3 / 3atm PEBBLE CERTIFIED. Why Bulux? A British cuss word that has no definite meaning. Cannot be used as an insult. Example: Bulux! While hitting your hand with a hammer. The American equivalent would be Sh_t or F_ck.

Get Free Watch Face from Pebble Official Bulux


Crystal Clear Time Original

Quality and clarity is the key when reading the time. I mean if its hard to see, what’s the point. This was created with Photoshop and is super easy to read. Handsome and simple with the date always showing. Enjoy…

Now Offering the White Version because the black original version is so popular.

Get Free Watch Face from Pebble Black Version

Get Free Watch Face from Pebble White Version

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Dump Trump Pebble Watch Face

America is already Great…Simple Digital Dump Trump watch face that is guaranteed to start a conversation …show your support and sport this political statement. It Also comes in a full-color version.

Get Free Watch Face from Pebble Dump Trump 

Splat Analog Watch Face

Splat? What a mess…comes with an analog dial plus date on the lower left, digital time on the lower right corner.

Get Free Watch Face from Pebble Splat Analog

Time Up In Flames

Great graphic that is easily visible. Time moves so fast that at times it feels like it is up in flames. Displays seconds on the upper right-hand corner.

Get Free Watch Face from Pebble Splat Analog

HiFi Digital System

High fidelity digital system was great fun to create. On the top row, we have the Bluetooth and battery indicators. The second-row sports the date, the third row shows the time, and the bottom row shows the seconds. Great fun creating this classic and very popular watch face.

Get Free Watch Face from Pebble HiFi Stereo Watch Face

Analog Adventurer Two

Simple analog design with a battery indicator at the three o’clock position. Sporty and elegant watch face. Once again very easy to read. Looks great on Pebble Classic and Pebble Time.

Get Free Watch Face from Pebble Adventurer Two

Digital Speed Watch Face

Digital speedometer watch face. Simple but effective. Also available in color for Pebble Time.

Get Free Watch Face from Pebble Digital Speed

View All Watch Faces by Nicolas Ray

Before and After of Small Deck

Before image of slate antiquated slate steps.

The idea was to mask the unsightly tiny poorly constructed slate exterior steps that never had a real purpose. Besides the steps, the client was also accosted with a primitive half oval basement window that besides being an eyesore, could have been a risk with small children. I was asked to design and build a small 6’x5′ wooden deck.

The removal of the steps would have been messy and expensive, so I decided to use them as the start of my framing. Nailing a series of pressure treated 2’x4’s around the perimeter to establish my square baseline. Building and framing from the top down seemed the only option for a square even result. Using pressure treated 5’1/2″ blanks I completed the top of the deck area, spacing out the rafters at 16″ inch intervals. Then the risers were built and the math worked out to four steps, the last one closes to the ground had an additional 2″ piece that was attached and scribed to accommodate the uneven slate. [su_divider top=”no”][su_divider top=”no”][/su_divider]

After Image of completed Deck, New Door and custom flower boxes.

The risers were primed twice, and two additional coats of Benjamin soft gloss was applied. The tops decking was just coated with a tinted waterproofing which has since been darkened a few more shades. Came out well, considering that it is a free floating deck. Very solid and really completes the surrounding area. The new flower boxes that I built plus the interior patio area that was also completed with a fresh new facelift.

The Total cost of materials for the deck including finish paints came out to just over two hundred plus 4 days of labor.

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Can not resist adding some classic Deck Humor…Enjoy

Smash Tee Domains Purchased

Very pleased with my latest domain purchase of smashtee.com and smashtee.net with an appraised value of over $3000 at this very moment. This now makes my current domain holdings 142 which is a bit shy from last years number because sold off a few. Have decided to actually develop Smash Tee and make it a brand and have crazy fun just doing whatever crazy idea that pops into my brain. Still playing around with the format and design of the site, lots of coding and figuring out how to make things pop and visually interesting while keeping things moving and fast.

Smash Tee Step by Step

I will document almost every aspect of the site and its creation and how I kept the speed of this graphical site fast. Listing all the plugins and short codes used. This post will be continuously updated with everything that is required to launch a successful website and hopefully make a bit of income while doing so.

Smash Tee Components

So far this theme plus these basic plugins have kept my page speed at very except able levels. You can check your speed and follow the directions to increase the speed with Googles Page Speed Insight.

Smash Tee Shirts

Board Emporium Review

Board Emporium Review
Being a longboard enthusiast, always scouring the internet for the latest decks and equipment, it’s easy to forget that we all started off as beginners. This leads me to The Board Emporium, a relatively new website, which doesn’t diminish the amount of useful information that they publish on a very frequent basis, is packed with great articles.

The main focus is for the novice longboarder offering great advice and reviews on longboards and equipment. At the same time, I found that the articles had some useful insights that I never even considered. The Board Emporium website is simple to navigate, set up as a blog. In a nutshell, the Board Emporium is well thought out and is a great springboard in your research for the perfect longboard. 8.5/10 Board Emporium Website

Stopping Writers Block

Stopping Writers Block

Really outstanding low tech writing tool that just forces you to just write and not worry about editing or concerning yourself with formatting. You can set the time from five minutes up to sixty minutes. The issue is and what is most appealing is, if you pause for more than five seconds, everything is lost and a red screen pops up saying “you lost”. But if you continue on and complete the task, a green screen appears at which time you can highlight and copy the text to paste onto your blog or application. Works well and once you get past the stress, which by the way is the point of this very simple and very effective online app page. Will try to access it via my smartphone. The paragraph below was my first attempt and last a grueling five minutes. The Most Dangerous Writing App [su_divider top=”yes” text=”Go to top” style=”default” divider_color=”#999999″ link_color=”#999999″ size=”3″ margin=”15″ class=””]

Five Minutes Start Attempt 1 – The Most Crazy App
This is the most crazy app that I have had the pleasure of using. It forces you to continuously keep on writing. If you should happen to stop, everything that you just finished working on will vanish into the wind. Very nerve wrecking indeed. Still have almost three minutes left of writing what ever happens to pop into my little mind. So far so good, but if I pause for more than five seconds, this app will self destruct. The wonderful thing is that it will also improve your accuracy when typing and make your workflow progress at a much faster rate. Now with about two minutes left, my brain is really beginning to feel the burn.
Speaking of Bern, Mr Sanders seems to be doing really well. I would really hate it if Trump is our next president and will be prepared to move to Spain In conclusion. Thank You
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Five Minutes Start Attempt 2 – Hindering the Creative Process

Being my second attempt to use this most awkward writers block app, I must be a glutton for punishment. Some may say that doing this will prevent the creative process. The idea does have merit, running against a clock does add the extra pressure and makes you not really focus on the actual topic at hand…the creative process. I may or may not continue to use this or better yet the idea of using my countdown timer on my phone as my indicator thus removing the additional stress associated with this. Currently just writing for the sake of writing and not really paying attention to what is actually being said. Just like that poorly written sentence that was just a  mess. [su_divider top=”yes” text=”Go to top” style=”default” divider_color=”#999999″ link_color=”#999999″ size=”3″ margin=”15″ class=””]

Five Minutes Start Attempt 3 – Ramblings About Evolution of Computers

Trying to discipline myself and eventually attempt to expand the time that I use this app to the full sixty minutes of non stop writing. I did notice that the speed of my typing has increased and would imagine that eventually I would be up to speed and maintain at least a sixty – eighty word per minute speed. This brings me back to freshmen year of high school when I was in typing class, yes typing class which was an elective. In retrospect, that class proved most valuable and was the stepping stone into the computer age. Computers at the time were not even sold in stores but instead were offered at such places as Heath Kit or Tandy. Our first computer which was the as powerful as a cheap calculator cost in the thousands of dollars and as large as a small automobile. My second computer was a Timex Sinclair  and we were able to program in basic. We designed games and some complex binary images. Then the we had a Mac Classic, 286, 386, Pentium, P1, P2, P3, and what ever came after that. Back in the day we knew languages and could make computers actually do some amazing things. Now, we take it for granted that technology is at our finger tips and cost next to nothing. Not having a computer in school is not an option and in most situations is required. [su_divider top=”yes” text=”Go to top” style=”default” divider_color=”#999999″ link_color=”#999999″ size=”3″ margin=”15″ class=””]

Premium Domains For Sale

Welcome and thanks for taking the time. Over the last few months I have been listing and liquidating some of my domains. Currently have them listed on eBay – [su_button url=”http://www.ebay.com/usr/thegoshops” target=”blank” style=”flat”]thegoshops[/su_button] – my reputation and service are exceptional.  If you have any additional questions please use the contact form. Thanks

Image Edits Favorites

One of my favorite pastimes during down time is working on image edits on my smartphone.  In my opinion, PicsArt ( Pics Art Photo Studio )which is a robust Android photo edit and creation software package that is easily downloaded on the Playstore, is by far the best solution.

These simple images were created then resized also using a smartphone Android app. When working on images, I tend to let the image itself dictate where it will take the manipulation. Turning simple and somewhat ordinary images into something a bit more unusual is just a perfect way to kill time. The images above are just some of the image edits favorites that I just completed.

More Image Edits

This particular image on the left was an experiment that was completed by only using the pencil stylist on my phone Worked on the shadowing and lighting with the eraser and playing around with some different textures. Photography and the edit of images has now become a daily joy. Please enjoy some more edits utilizing Android apps plus the more traditional Photoshop images.[su_divider style=”dotted”]

Winter Storm Image Edits

The storm that hit the East Coast is still piling the snow at a rapid rate, this simple edit was taken out of my window while about 14 inches of white powder is resting on the ground.[su_divider style=”dotted”]

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