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Tips to Pass CompTIA Security+ Certification & SY0-501 Exam

 

With massive data growth in every organization, the need for security is increasing every single day. Most companies face such security threats as data breaches and hacks that’s why the demand for qualified professionals that possess skills to protect company’s data has increased. Employers are ready to pay them high salaries, that’s why such professionals should be certified. If you wish to make a career in such a demanding and constantly developing field as security, having a certification is a real necessity for you. Among the certifications available here, the best way is to start with CompTIA Security+ credential, as it doesn’t require prerequisites. Being a vendor-neutral, it is one of the most demanding IT certifications in the field of security that after its completion grants you a number of benefits.

In this article, you’ll get to know the tips on how to gain this certification. So, to start with, you need to pass one exam, known as CompTIA Security certification exam or simply CompTIA Security+ Certification Practice Test Questions.

CompTIA Security+ Exam Overview:

The CompTIA Security+ test (SY0-501) is an online test that includes about 90 multiple-choice and performance-based questions. You are given 90 minutes to answer all the questions and your task is to score 750 on the scale of 100-900 in order to become a CompTIA Security+ certified professional. The price for taking this test is 339 USD.

There are no prerequisites to take the CompTIA Security+ exam. And the skills you should master in include access management, cryptography, architecture and design, disaster management and risk management among many. Only being confident in your knowledge and being armed with hands-on skills you are able to pass the exam successfully.

Sometimes, the hardest part of studying is simply starting. This is because we often don’t know where to begin with, so we keep putting it off until the last minute. When there’s no other option, we start cramming—often with cataclysmic results. If this sounds familiar, you’re in the right place. The CompTIA exams have a reputation of being difficult, but it’s not impossible to pass. We’re taking a look at some tips and tricks to help you ace SY0-501 certification exam.

1. Create a Study Plan

After getting a good grasp of the test objectives, creating a study plan is essential for time management. Remember to allocate more time for difficult topics. Additionally, leave time for taking practice exams and revising problem areas. Most of all, stick to the schedule—there’s no benefit in cramming!

2. Recall Objectives of SY0-501 exam

This is plain and simple but too often overlooked. Take some time to read through the Security+ test objectives you can find on the CompTIA website (this goes for related qualifications as well). Reading through the objectives will leave you with a good understanding of the required objectives and steps needed to pass the test.

Not only will you develop a thorough understanding of what can be found on the test, but you’ll also have a handy roadmap to keep track of your progress throughout the exam. Knowing how far you are and how much is left is imperative since the exam is time-oriented.

3. Practice, and Practice a Lot

Practice exams and questions are extremely useful when testing your own skills and readiness for the exam. Additionally, you can focus your time and attention on areas that you have issues with. When reviewing your answers after SY0-501 test, you can figure out your problem areas and put some extra effort into them.

In addition, practice gives you confidence. There’s nothing like acing 10 practice exams in a row when preparing for your CompTIA exam. You may be spending a lot of money on this certification, so knowing that you’re truly ready is vital. Once you’re able to nail these tests, you can sit your exam with assurance that you have the ability to pass.

4. Braindumps

Using quality material to study, like official CompTIA textbooks and resources from certified industry professional is non-negotiable. Sometimes, real exam-takers post exam questions after taking a test, such files are known as braindumps. Still, these files should be approached with caution, since they usually include the answers as well, you must keep in mind that there is no control over these questions and the source could be unreliable. Moreover, simply learning the answers to an exam won’t bring you very far because you won’t understand how to apply the concepts in a work environment. To be sure that you use the actual braindumps, find reliable platforms on the internet, such as PrepAway, Exam-Labs, ExamCollection among many. These websites offer the most updated files checked by IT experts. What you need to know is to use these braindumps for your revision, as they are the best option to systematize your knowledge.

5. Choose your preparation method

The learning process of each individual is different. Developing an understanding of the best practices to help you retain information is one of the best things you can do for yourself—it could save a lot of time and help you get rid of unwanted frustration. Choose a perfect method that suits you most, for example, start making short notes, learn with flashcards, keep thing written, use diagrams and try to use maximum time. Eg. while traveling in a bus or when you are stuck in traffic, you can start reading your notes which will surely help you to get better score.

6. Join Online Community

To succeed in any test or exam a person must find as much prep material as possible. For that, you can search the internet to find variable resources, from books to large online platforms. What will help you more is the communication with individuals that are sitting for or already passed SY0-501 exam. Ask them questions, discuss your stumbling blocks and you’ll find the solution and enhance your preparation with additional valuable tips and tricks.

7. Tip to Tackle Multiple-Choice Question

Keep cool and think logically. Even when faced with those “all of the above” options, there are ways to allow yourself a fair chance. Firstly, eliminate any and all answers that are clearly wrong. This may leave you with a single answer or 50/50 odds (which are considerably better than flailing around in panic).

Then identify a keyword in the question and try to recall the relevant information. Capitalized words are uppercase for a reason. This may seem redundant but can be extremely effective—simply think of ways the retained information relates to the word.

8. If it’s too Hard, Skip it

If you find yourself spending too much time on a question and getting frustrated by the lack of solution, move on and come back to it later. This could save precious time and your subconscious will keep working on the problem while you’re away (or you may find the answer in one of the later questions).Keep in mind that CompTIA sometimes places beta questions in papers. If a question is completely out of left field, leave it for now and come back if you have time left. While these questions aren’t graded, it’s difficult to identify them so it’s best to write something down.

Even if you have no idea which of 4 answers are correct, you have a 25% chance if you choose one. If you leave it blank, there’s a 0% chance. Therefore, coming back to those difficult questions you skipped is imperative. And, remember to use the multiple-choice tricks to eliminate incorrect options before taking a random guess.

9. Stay Calm on Exam Day

Be rested, be hydrated, and be confident in your abilities. A large part of CompTIA tests is failed due to panic—not lack of knowledge. So, take a deep breath if necessary and leave the tough questions for last. This is necessary for a candidate to stay calm and more active on exam day. To stay calm, you should try Yoga or morning walk, as they keep you closer to the nature and give you positive vibes which boosts your mental power and help you to stay calm.

10. Stay Positive & Motivated

Yet another really important point is to stay positive about the exam, about the job and a better career ahead. People fall down after few tries. If you are really serious about your career, then always stay motivated and never feel negative about your failures. Keep learning and keep fighting, and this amazing spirit will one day bring you the real joy of success. Remember that there’s always a position that you can apply for after completing SY0-501 exam. The jobs that you can choose vary from systems administrator, security engineer to penetration tester. Show you dedicated nature, believe in yourself and success attend you!

Conclusion

So, we hope that the information we’ve gathered here in this article is important for you. Now, you know the SY0-501 exam details and what is waiting for you at the certification exam, as well as you find out why Security+ credential is valuable and sought-after in the modern world. You are equipped with the tricks that will help you stay active, ambitious and motivated before taking SY0-501 exam. Use the tips provided to pass this test, make the plan, and start riding Security+. After its completion, enjoy the benefits, that the certification offers you, just boost your career of a valuable professional in the IT security.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6 Best Tinder Alternatives

tinder

Lack of time, a constraint on personal acquaintance, the desire to find love with the same interests are just some of the reasons why modern people resort to online dating applications. However, how to find a simple and secure mobile application with informative questionnaires and real photos? We offer the best Tinder alternatives that will help you to find true love.

  1. Badoo

Badoo has a huge user base. You can find people who are nearby or with whom you have crossed paths before. By the way, to see the profiles you are interested in, you don’t have to open them. You can make gifts, communicate in a chat (by reciprocity), and look for the "lookalikes." This is a secure application that works correctly and safely.

Advantages:

- encrypted data transfer;

- verification of photos;

- informative user profiles and advanced interaction with the questionnaires;

- search for "Lookalikes;"

- attractive design;

- integration with social networks.

Disadvantages:

- a small number of search filters (3 out of 10 main ones: by gender, age, and network status);

- notifications with useless information;

- high subscription cost.

  1. Mamba

In this application, there is a well-developed system of filters and very informative questionnaires. A profile you like can be added to favorites. Also, there is a verification of photos. However, to use all the features of the application and disable the limit of likes, you need to purchase a paid subscription. Moreover, this application does not have integration with third-party services.

Advantages:

- informative profile card and advanced profile management;

- verification of photos;

- a large number of search filters (8 out of 10 main ones: there is even a filter by the presence of bad habits, level of education, and language skills);

- ease of use;

- encrypted data transfer.

Disadvantages:

- limit likes per day;

- paid common chat;

- the absence of the “Help” section.

  1. Mylove

Here you can search for users from different countries, filtering profiles by gender, age, region, network status, and dating goals. You can start a chat with any user and, if you wish, add him to your favorites. In addition, profiles can be viewed on a map of the city. Also, Mylove transmits personal data in an unencrypted form.

Advantages:

- informative user profiles;

- verification of photos;

- the ability to cancel the last action;

- statistics and rating of profiles;

Disadvantages:

- lack of encryption of personal data;

- demonstration on the map the exact location of users.

  1. Wannameet

Here you can find people nearby. The application has a well-developed system of filters (there are even bad habits and the presence of children) and advanced statistics with information on the rating of the questionnaire, the number of visits and likes. Text chat opens only by mutual sympathy. The application is easy to use. However, it does not control the visibility of the questionnaire and sends useless notifications.

Advantages:

- A large number of search filters (6 out of 10 main ones);

- encrypted data transfer;

- advanced statistics;

- informative user profiles;

- ease of use.

Disadvantages:

- lack of verification of photos;

- lack of questionnaire visibility control.

  1. Flirt Chat JAUMO

In this application, there are also many filters for user profiles (there is even a filter by appearance). Moreover, questionnaires can be viewed without any registration. Also, it is possible to chat with any user. There is integration with social networks and a map with the approximate location of users. However, the application does not have a computer version.

Advantages:

- a large number of search filters (7 out of 10 main ones);

- encrypted data transfer;

- integration with social networks;

- the ability to assess the database of profiles without registration.

Disadvantages:

- lack of verification of photos;

- extra advertising.

  1. Loveplanet

The application allows you to communicate in anonymous chat rooms, search for users nearby, and give users not just gifts but service opportunities (for example, Premium). However, to use all the functionality, you need to purchase a paid subscription. Also, there is no verification of the photos. But the application is safe and works correctly. Moreover, there are a lot of very beautiful women for marriage, so you will definitely find a loved one.

Advantages:

- informative user profiles;

- encrypted data transfer;

- anonymous chat;

- advanced statistics.

Disadvantages:

- lack of verification of photos;

- the high cost of a paid subscription.

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Is Your Fleet Ready for the New Food Transport Rules?

If you are running a fleet management company that deals with food transportation and deliveries, you need to ask yourself whether the fleet is ready to comply with all of the new rules. Starting a new business does not pose a lot of compliance challenges like those that run with different rules. Both 2017 and 2018 brought some changes into the industry that both small and large food transportation fleets are expected to comply with. However, all of these are for the benefit of the consumers who are the heart of the business.

FDA Regulations

Both the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 and Sanitary Food Transportation Act of 2005 mandate the FDA to come up with better ways of transportation of food with an aim of reducing contamination. Thus, they have been working on this before rolling it on to fleet owners and management firms. According to officials, this has since been completed in 2016.

Areas Covered

The FDA has tried to cover all food handling and transportation areas across all sectors. The primary goal is to have all vehicles and shipping containers maintained at set standards and to avoid contamination by all means. Apart from hygiene, temperature control is another concern one has to address. Thus, if you are in this sector, you need to understand the new rules and comply. Here are the areas covered.

  • Transportation of food from the firms, especially animals and animal products.
  • Shipping and receiving of food and in and out of the country.
  • Food transportation through enclosed trucks.
  • Food preservation gasses transportation.


Keeping of Records

Fleet companies are required to keep records of their transportation and shipping process. This includes the delivery time, temperatures of the enclosed vehicle at any specific time, and the condition of the food, among many other things. On the other hand, shippers need to show agreements, contracts, and condition records of the food items they are shipping.

According to experts, there is no better way of handling records than embracing technology. This is where fleet solution providers like eyerideonline.com come in. They have record keeping and transmission solutions for you.

Driver Training

Another requirement by the new regulations is the need to train drivers on how to handle food during deliveries. The argument is that some contamination can be prevented by the drivers while they are doing transportation. As a fleet owner or company, you need to show proof that your drivers have undergone training.

Apart from complying with the regulations, delivery fleet driver training on how to handle food safely will also be a plus to the company. Minimal loss of food means more cost-saving and more profits. Customers will also trust your company, which builds a better reputation in the end.

Check the Entire Transportation Process

The last thing you need to do is assess the entire food transportation process and see to it that it is compliant with the new rules. If not, then you are not yet ready. The authorities have ways of doing verifications. Of course, no fleet company wants to be locked out of business or get fined. Get your fleet ready.

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What Are the Rules One Need to Follow in Order to Pass CompTIA Security+ SY0-501 Exam?

The CompTIA Security+ certification the vendor-neutral certification that allows you to work on the overall cybersecurity field. The CompTIA Security+ SY0-501 exam is a worldwide recognized endorsement of foundation-level safety abilities and comprehension and can be employed by companies and security professionals around the world.  The CompTIA Security+ SY0-501 exam will ensure that the successful candidate has the knowledge and techniques required to set up and configure systems to safeguard applications, networks, and devices; execute hazard analysis and response using proper reduction techniques; engage in hazard reduction actions; and run with an awareness of related policies, laws, and regulations. The successful candidate can conduct these jobs to encourage the principles of ethics, confidentiality, and accessibility.  The CompTIA Security+ SY0-501 exam is aimed at an IT security professional with prepaway Security+ Practice Test - SY0-501:

  • A minimum of 2 years' expertise in IT management with a focus on safety
  • Day-to-day technical data security expertise
  • Broad understanding of safety issues and execution, such as the subjects in the domain

Which are the modifications in CompTIA Security+ SY0-501 exam compared to the previous exam?

When there are lots of changes, possibly the most important is a heightened demand for hands-on abilities. Information technology has had a severe impact on the growing world. This trend will grow and continue because the SY0-501 exam is supposed to comprise endorsement of hands-on abilities. This means functionality based questions about the exam, though CompTIA hasn't supplied information about any new exam design. Several types of research indicate a foundation of 90 multiple choice questions, together with multiple choice questions being swapped out to every single performance-based query the candidate experiences about the exam. Although enforcement could be hard, CompTIA indicates that hands-on labs ought to be strong and compulsory given the new exam requirements.

Benefits offered by the CompTIA Security+ certification

Boost Your Employment Prospects

Many occupations require Security+ certification.  Moreover, many public-sector businesses realize the need for safety aware workers. The CompTIA Employer perceptions of IT Training and survey reported 91 percent of managers to imply CompTIA certifications are valuable in supporting experience. It shows an understanding of key safety concepts.

Expand Demonstrate Continuous Improvement & Your Expertise

Among the highest advantages of the Security+ certification is the fact that it provides you with a better comprehension of security fundamentals that are important. Additionally, it shows improvement. IT employees can't manage to stay stagnant if they wish to proceed in their career. The Security+ certification demonstrates your capacity to build your expertise and find out about current security issues.

Boost Your Value

Security+ certification is a fantastic method stick out in an aggressive business and to raise your worth. The value that you gain from the certification provides you an advantage when compared to others who haven't confirmed their understanding. It makes it possible to get in the doorway when following a job or marketing and assists you progress toward a career in safety and IT system management.  Security-conscious workers help reduce vulnerabilities. Organizations appreciate Safety employees recognizing they help them mitigate safety hazards that are costly.  Also, many organizations need to comply with a variety of laws, regulations, and guidelines. They utilize this as a technique and guarantee that a number of workers have certifications.

Suggestions to pass CompTIA Security+ SY0-501 exam

Utilize CompTIA Approved Content

Begin by buying a study manual using the CompTIA Approved Quality Content (CAQC) seal. This will make certain you're currently analyzing not just with the ideal material, but using the ideal material backed by CompTIA itself.

Produce a Research Plan

Preparing for the Security+ test whilst maintaining with your livelihood as well as other engagements can be quite the balancing act. Hence you can structure your total data and work accordingly

Prepare in Small Chunks

Choose bite-sized classes over all-nighters; the ideal research time for a lot of people is 30-45 minutes. Assessing in smaller openings can allow you to stay engaged and keep the info.

Use Video Content

Oftentimes, seeing and hearing with an explanation is much more memorable than studying a definition. This is particularly true with exams including CompTIA Security+, which cover a huge landscape of theories that intertwine and overlap.

Practice to Pass

Mock exams are essential since they train one to defy the length, breadth, and depth of the Security+ certification. They also permit you to set your strategies, like crossing off choices or highlighting key phrases.

Cover All Concepts

There will be regions of the test material which you find intriguing, and you'll likely excel in them. Make certain you're proactively not concealing out of -- your flaws while capitalizing on your strengths.

Review Repeatedly

As soon as you've finished a mock exam, reevaluate the questions that you answered incorrectly. Along with noting the right replies, dissect the rationale supporting the wrong choices. Look at making flashcards to enhance your practice exams, which means it is simple to mix up the sequence of the queries. The more ways you exercise, the more queries and theories you may recognize on exam day.

The internet may also prove to be a great source for study materials. You may either purchase these study materials from the various websites or from markets. However, if you want to get the best dumps then you I personally suggest you to choose PrepAway.com, however, you can even go with another dump provider but this is of the best place to get it.

Conclusion

You'll have 90 minutes to finish the 90-question Security+ certification exam (SY0-501). A score is 750 from 900 points that are possible. Passing CompTIA SY0-501 isn't a major deal. The SY0-501 CompTIA Security+ Certification is the written exam that's essential for the candidates to maneuver to input in the IT marketplace. It's the requirement and there is a demand for CompTIA Security+ certified professionals are there in most companies, government departments, small businesses, communication, and care.

 

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8 Interesting Uses for Drones in Society

Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi from Pexels

If you think that drones are just a quick fad or gimmick that makes a fun Christmas present, you're very much mistaken. They've actually got tons of uses in big industry that you might not be aware of. The drone industry has exploded in recent years, with growth in many different areas. There are industrial drones, public service drones, commercial drones and much more.

We're going to look at eight different drones you might not be aware of. Each of these could have a big impact on a number of different industries.

  1. Ambulance drones

These have been trialed in The Netherlands recently. While they can't offer emergency care on the level of a trained professional, they can help professionals carry out their duties. They can also deliver supplies and equipment much more quickly than an ambulance that has to beat traffic. As well as that, they can relay real-time video back to someone in an emergency call center, who can provide expert advice to the public before a real medical professional arrives.

  1. Security drones

Allowing the police and other security professionals the ability to get an aerial view is a huge benefit to them. While surveillance planes and helicopters have been around for a while, they are expensive and are therefore out of reach for smaller police forces or security companies. With the right surveillance drones, your neighborhood can be made much safer. Dronethusiast.com has more on home surveillance drones.

  1. Delivery drones

You might have seen the trials Amazon has been running for these recently. But they aren't just for books, you might soon start seeing pizza delivery drones. You can get the items you want quicker and cheaper than when using traditional delivery drivers.

  1. Internet drones

If you live in a remote area that's hard to reach, you might have had to rely on satellite Internet. Companies like Google have started looking into hovercraft-style drones that sit in the sky above areas which have previously found Internet access difficult. They act as Wifi beacons that send the signal down and allow people in remote areas the chance to get online. This type of drone could be helpful to you if that's been an issue in the past.

  1. Window-cleaning drones

Getting up high-rise buildings to clean the windows has often been an unsafe, difficult and time-consuming job. With the right drone, window cleaning companies can now take a controlling role rather than actually getting up a ladder or pulley.

  1. Traffic analysis drones

Again, this is something planes and helicopters have done for a while. But again, these solutions are very expensive. Now you can get more up-to-date information in smaller areas, and at a fraction of the cost, with the right drone.

  1. Farming drones

Drones are starting to change the way farms work. They've made it much easier to spread pesticides and water crops, and much less labor-intensive.

More and more industries are starting to see the benefits drones can bring. If yours hasn't yet maybe it will soon.

  1. Drone gaming

Drones have also had quite a big impact on the gaming industry. Not only are there real-life drone competitions, there are also more and more games that incorporate drone use as part of their gameplay. Whether you want to fly your own drone or enter a virtual drone environment against others, drones look to have lots of new gaming applications over the next few years.

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Whalek/Happy Life Self Inflating Sleeping Pad

Thank you Whalek for sending us this product to review!

My family loves to go camping though we don’t “rough it” entirely. We make sure that our phones stay charged and we pack our own food to cook on an open fire. Showering facilities are welcome as well. Though we have always brought sleeping pads in the past, having an extra layer between our tent and the sleeping bags is always appreciated. Not too long ago, we reviewed the Whalek Self-Inflating Camp Pad and it’s great for a single person. The double-pillowed sleeping pad is ideal for married couples.

Setting up the sleeping pad is fairly simple. Removing it from the carrying bag and unfolding it does not take too much time or effort. Loosing up the valves on each end of the mat will allow for air to automatically inflate the bottom mat a little bit. This process takes some time and it won’t ever look or feel like an air mattress. Still, it’s far better than sleeping on bare ground! The pillows require inflating the old fashioned way and they each have their own valve.

When you’re ready to roll up and put away the sleeping pad, be sure to thoroughly deflate the pillow and mat portion. Despite my best efforts of deflating and rolling up the sleeping pad, it took several attempts and some force to (mostly) get it back into it’s original carrying sack. The straps and buckles are nice but one of the buckles came off when I was trying to fasten it. I was able to put it back on though. The straps and buckles will probably last longer than the carrying case as I lost a few stitches at the opening when attempting to put away the mat.

In the event of an accident, there is a repair kit included. The manual is helpful as well despite finding a typo in it. The company seems to stand behind their products and are willing to help if you are not satisfied with it. The Amazon reviews are positive and this sleeping pad sells for $56 there.


(Amazon Affiliate Link)

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The Porter’s Gate Volume 1: Work Songs


Thank you Porter’s Gate Worship Project for sending us this digital album to review!

I grew up Roman Catholic and then attended a Baptist church in my teenage years. Both of those churches had traditional hymns with only an organ or piano and vocals. I appreciate a good hymn, but I also love contemporary worship with a wide variety of instruments or even a symphonic band! Seeing a need for worship revival, The Porter’s Gate started a creative movement to compose some new worship songs with the help of first-rate singers, songwriters, and musicians.

The theme for this collaborative effort is vocation and they hope to use music as an opportunity to extend hospitality and build bridges with our neighbors. I think they achieved this goal of creating music that is beautiful, truth-filled, and inspiring in this thirteen-track album.


There’s a lot of variety in each of the songs with some of them having a male lead singer while others feature a female lead singer. Urban Doxology was part of the collaboration project too. The voices are all great and I didn’t hear any sour notes. Some of the songs feature just a piano while others have an entire symphony. There are some somber songs and others are energetic.

Like many worship songs, I have to hear the songs a couple of times to have them resonate with me. Listening to this album multiple times has been a pleasant and uplifting experience. The lyrics are God honoring and the music is catchy. I caught myself tapping my foot while listening.

The debut album is due to release on October 6th, 2017 and I highly recommend checking it out through your favorite music provider. I look forward to more inspiring music from Porter’s Gate Worship Project!

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Solo Velocity Everyday Max Backpack Duffel

Specifications:
Body size: 21"x13"x8"
Weight: 2.40 lbs
Fully padded 17.3" laptop compartment
Internal tablet pocket
Separate shoe compartment
Large size zippered pockets
Padded carry handles
Padded back and backpack straps

Strong Points: Unique, well thought out design; looks very nice; lots of pockets, with a very large main duffel area; laptop pouch is extra large, and well padded
Weak Points: Small number of larger pouches; no location for pens or notepads (pens do fit in pockets though); no shoulder strap reinforcements

Thank you Solo for sending us this backpack to review!

I have always cared deeply about what kind of backpack I have used. I went through several cheaper ones before I finally settled upon one that has lasted – a Swiss Gear. The build quality was a huge step above the several cheap ones I used before that; despite the ~+50% price increase, it has been worth every penny, because it has lasted well on the order of ten years. Sometimes it's worth it to pay more, because it may last more than twice as long. But despite this, my excellent Swiss Gear is finally starting to show its age – flaking ends, the logo was lost years ago, and more signs that it needs to be retired soon. So, when I had the chance to review a new backpack, I jumped on it.

Now, it needs to be said that I am nowhere near as rough on backpacks as I used to be. I no longer regularly take the train to work, nor am I a college student any longer (thankfully). So, a bag that looks good, meets my basic needs, and holds my stuff is more than enough.

Having only really owned a school or work oriented backpack, I was more than a little shocked when I saw not only a well padded laptop compartment, but a place to put my shoes! While probably not important for many students, I was surprised how useful this could be.

solo duffel

In order to really put this backpack through its paces, I decided to bring it to work as fully packed as I could. I just so happened to have a scheduled ping pong tournament game at work, so I had a good excuse to bring my gym shoes along; I then filled up the shoe compartment with my size 12 shoes. I packed both my massive gaming laptop, along with the requisite power brick (large enough to be confused with a masonry brick), and my work MacBook Pro and power supply. I also included my fancy headphones and amp, as well as filled up the pockets with an umbrella, Wi-Fi hotspot (perk for being an on-call IT person), and various cables and adapters like I usually do.

The total weight was 20.5 pounds. I have to carry my backpack through a parking garage, up the stairs, up an elevator to the ninth floor, and over to my desk. Thankfully, the backpack not only held up well, but was comfortable to carry. It looks sharp, and believe it or not, it got complimented, as a few coworkers noticed me no longer carrying the company issued laptop bag that I have been using the last few years. I have used it since, and I am pleased with the performance since then.

The main color is a dark grayish blue, with a gray bottom. There are also black zippers along with yellow handles and other accents. I like the look. The front seems oddly flat at first, but the front zipper actually pops open to a central access door, as well as access to all of the uniquely located pockets lined along the opening on each side. It's an unusual design, but it works well. You can hold fairly large things in that main pouch, even if you decide to pack shoes also. If I had an overnight trip away from home, this would be the perfect thing to bring – you could easily pack shoes, a change of clothes, toiletries, and of course a computer, and be ready to rock. It even has a water bottle or umbrella holder on each side, and they are large enough to actually hold said things (unlike some other backpacks I've used with token worthless pockets on the side).

solo duffel

While there is indeed a lot to like about this backpack, and indeed I do like it, I have some nits to pick. First of all, there really isn't a good single larger pouch available for cables, adapters, or other miscellaneous things like most backpacks I have used. There isn't really a good place for a notepad either, as the laptop pouch doesn't have any dividers outside of the tablet pouch (which may be able to fit a notepad if you like). Thankfully, it's tall enough where I can sneak my power brick below the laptop without issue.

Without that large pouch, this one forces you to be organized, and take advantage of the many smaller pouches available. I have adjusted for the most part, but until I remember where everything is, it takes me a bit longer to find my things. Also, the tablet pouch is a bit thin, so if your case is a larger one with a keyboard, it may not be large enough for you. Finally, the shoulder straps are not reinforced like the toughest backpacks I have used. In cheaper packs, it's always the place where the shoulder strap joins with the body that breaks first. It's too early to tell if that will happen here, though they do seem firmly attached. The many handles on the top, sides, and even bottom are well made and very strong.

In the week or so that I have had this backpack, I have used it every day and really enjoy it so far. While I have had to adapt to its quirks, it can hold a lot, it's very comfortable, and it protects my things well. It looks nice, which is also important. If you are looking for a backpack that can double as a duffel bag, with a single, cavernous compartment, then I highly recommend checking out Solo's Everyday Max Backpack.

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Iserlohn Non Stick Silicone Baking Mat Set

For the reasonable price of $12.99 you can get 2 FDA approved and BPA/BPP free mats that measure 16.5” long , 11.6” wide, and 0.03” thick. These are the perfect size for half-sheet baking pans. The corners are trimmed so they’re easy to lift up as well. Because these mats can withstand temperatures up to 500 °F, you can use them instead of wax paper or aluminum foil to protect your baking pans. Alternatively, you can freeze them as long as your freezer doesn’t go below -40 °F. The mats can be cleaned up with soapy water or ran through the dishwasher. They’re pretty flexible (pun intended) when it comes to storage as well. You can store them flat, folded, or rolled up to save space.

The two mats have different designs and I used the one with the inches and centimeters on it for rolling out some pie dough. I’d much rather sprinkle flour on and roll on top of a baking mat than my kitchen counter top. Pizza dough will be another great use for these mats. Having both of them will come in handy for really big pizza crusts! Here’s the recipe I use for making deep dish pizza.

With Mother’s day around the corner this set would make a great gift for mothers out there that enjoy baking. As an added bonus, a bright red silicone spatula is included. I can never have enough spatulas and the red one will be much easier to find in my silverware drawer too. My family and I look forward to many more meals and desserts made with the help of these baking mats. They seem pretty durable and I’m sure we’ll be enjoying them for many years to come. This set is priced lower than competing models and comes with a bonus spatula. How can you beat that?


(Amazon Affiliate Link)

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Whelek Self-Inflating Camp Pad

Thank you Whalek for sending us a review sample!

Family camp-outs are fun and our kids aren’t too picky when it comes to just using a sleeping bag to separate themselves from the tent and gravel/dirt terrain underneath them.  My husband and I appreciated the foam padding we brought along, but sadly, foam often breaks apart over time.

The Whalek sleeping/camp pad is pretty durable and has many nice features with my favorite being the self-inflation.  The valve is easy to use, though if there was an instruction manual included, I would have gladly read it.  The construction is solid and looks like it can take a bit of a beating.  The carrying bag on the other hand isn’t as forgiving as I can already see some loosened stitches.  This can be problematic as we all know that putting things back in their original containers is never as easy as removing them!

 

My 5’7” body fit nicely on this sleeping mat, but my 6’2” husband had his feet dangling off the end a bit.  In conjunction with a sleeping bag using this camp pad is more comfortable than without. However, if I had a choice between a sleeping mat or an inflatable air mattress I would choose the latter without a second thought!  A couch still trumps an air mattress if there isn’t a bed available.  

The asking price of $60 is a bit more expensive than the others available on Amazon or Ebay.  The sleeping mask is a nice add-on though and I enjoyed using that more than the mat.   I do plan on bring this along on our next camping trip and I enjoy the compact size after a couple of attempts of folding and squeezing it back into its carrying bag.  The Whelek Self-Inflating Camp Pad is great for camping trips and I recommend picking one up if you love sleeping outdoors.

 

 
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

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Iserlohn Bronze Wind Chime

Thank you Iserlohn for sending us this bronze wind chime!

When my oldest daughter was a toddler we did a nine-hour road trip to Missouri to visit my mom and step dad.  It was a nice trip, but when we were half-way home on the way back, the unimaginable happened.  My daughter puked in the car when we still had another 4.5 hours to go!  We stopped at the closest gas station and used up a lot of paper towels to clean up what we could.   The gas station attendants knew what was going on and took pity on us and gave her some lemon lime pop to soothe her stomach a bit.  While we were at the counter my daughter took notice of the wind chimes and as many toddlers would do, grabbed one and broke it.  Since the gas station refused to let me pay for the broken wind chime, we bought a different one that used to be a lot fuller and purpler than it is today.  

 

It’s definitely time for a replacement.  Upon opening up the new wind chime, I noticed that some of the chimes were tangled, but thankfully they were easy to separate again.  There are also two extra hangers included with the wind chime.   The build quality is good and it looks pretty sturdy with the exception of the plastic ring on top.  While it won’t rust like the previous one did, I still wonder how much of a beating it will take with the 50MPH+ winds we can get here in Illinois.  

 

I like the bronze color, though this wind chime is available in silver as well.  Both models are reasonably priced at $19.99.  The design is sleek and the chimes sound great when there is a mild breeze outside.  Thankfully, I haven’t heard it in a violent wind storm (yet).


(Amazon Affiliate Link)

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Iserlohn Office Chair Caster Wheels

Thank you Iserlohn for sending us these office wheels to review!

I used to roller-blade quite often before having kids.  I still put on my Rollerblades every so often, but not as much as I used to.  I’m familiar with doing standard maintenance including rotating the wheels and greasing/replacing the bearings in them. There are many different kinds of wheels available and in varying degrees of firmness.  The softer wheels will give you a smoother ride, but will wear down faster.    Apparently, softer wheels are great on office chairs if you have wood, or another smooth floor surface.  I wish I had known about these before our wood floors got scratched up by the anti-scratch mats we bought for them. If we would have started off with these wheels, our ruined wood floor could have been avoided entirely!

Included in this $19.99 bundle are five orange or teal wheels with ABEC 7 bearings in them.  These are some pretty fast bearings! They make me want to roll down my driveway, or a big hill, or a long corridor if I worked in a stuffy office building.  If I did give into that temptation, I would no doubt lodge some gravel or sand into my wheels and ruin my wood floor some more!  

Installation was a breeze.  It took me less than a minute to pull off my old wheels and install the new ones.  The orange wheels are much brighter and are definitely more noticeable.  Black or gray would be more professional, but are not available from this vendor.  When going in a single direction the movement on these wheels is buttery smooth.  However, changing directions takes a little more effort with these wheels than the standard wide ones.  Vertically challenged people will be happy to know that these wheels will raise your chair an extra inch or so.

Despite the more effort needed to change directions, I’m still pleased with these wheels.  When we get our floors fixed and remove the throw rug covering the scuffs, we’ll be buying a couple more sets!


(Amazon Affiliate Link)

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Recent Comments
Atown
How well do they roll on throw rugs or carpet tile?
Thursday, 30 March 2017 15:35
Cheryl Gress
They work good on the throw rugs in our office, like butter on the wood floors ... Read More
Thursday, 30 March 2017 17:28
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Iserlohn Garden Hose

Thank you Iserlohn for sending us this 50-foot expandable hose to review!

Last summer we had the pleasure of reviewing VicTsing’s garden hose nozzle and my kids helped in the reviewing process by washing our cars with it and getting sprayed down when it was hot outside.  While I didn’t have any issues with the nozzle in that review, my hose was definitely aging and leaking by the faucet, causing a reduction in water pressure.  A new hose was in order and now we got one to test out.  

hose

Since it’s not even spring and barely in the 50’s temperature wise, our testing options are limited.  I hooked up this flexible hose next to our deck and proceeded to spray liquid and solid forms of dog waste off of our deck.  The water leaking issue by the faucet was gone and the water pressure was strong enough to remove some of the stain from our deck that was painted only last year.  For what it’s worth it was chipping last year too and we plan on using a different brand next time.

I like the braided fabric that’s available in multiple colors including black, blue, green, and red.  No matter what color you choose, the handy carrying bag is blue.  I also like that they include twelve extra washers for when the current ones get worn out and cracked.  While not part of the Amazon package, I also received another VicTsing garden hose nozzle which sadly disintegrated upon use.  Fortunately, last year’s model is still working perfectly.

broken nozzle

The brass connectors seem sturdy, though the rubber sleeves underneath them slide out of place.  The shut off valve is nice and works as expected.  Before using the hose, it managed to get tangled a bit but untangling it wasn’t that bad.  I like how this hose doesn’t kink-up and stop the water flow like my old one did.

Overall, this is a nice $26 hose that I would recommend considering if you’re in the market for one.  I have reservations about recommending the VicTsing garden hose nozzle now though.  


(Amazon Affiliate Link)

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VicTsing Garden Hose Nozzle

hose nozzle

Thank you VicTsing for sending us this product to review!

There are many uses for a garden hose nozzle and we put this eight-mode gadget to the test by using it on three children and washing two cars.  While hosing down my kids on a hot summer day, they seemed to enjoy the mist mode the best. Not only was it gentle and refreshing, it also produced rainbows as an added bonus.  The Cone mode is a little stronger than the mist and the kids liked that one as well.  If you’re looking for some more power that’s not too forceful, the flat mode is another good option to use.

The soaker mode was a disappointment and seemed to dribble more than soak anything.  It could be an issue on my end since there was water leaking out of both ends of my garden hose.  All of the other modes worked flawlessly despite the leaks.  There wasn’t any text or instructions included in the packaging.  Just the nozzle and an extra washer.  The nozzle did have a washer in place as I checked to make sure that wasn’t the source of the water leak.  The hose used is old so I blame that for the leaks and not the nozzle.

If you need a bunch of streams, the center mode is a good one to use and the aptly named shower mode has several streams as well.  The shower mode is great for watering plants.    The jet mode has a powerful beam and the rinse mode is similar but stronger and great for taking off soap from a freshly washed car.

Overall, my kids and I are very pleased with this garden hose nozzle and look forward to more car washes and summer fun with it.  It’s probably time for us to get a new hose though.


(Amazon Affiliate Link)

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Layton v Wright: Dawn of Puzzles (Batman v Superman Parody)

New video out! It's a bit different from our usual Sonic Sitcom cartoons. Any Professor Layton fans out there? How about Phoenix Wright fans? I think you guys would enjoy this one:

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VicTsing Breathalyzer

Thank you VicTsing for sending us a review sample!

In all honesty, I rarely drink.  In fact, all of the alcohol in the house is used for cooking recipes only.  To test this breathalyzer out, I drank ¼ cup of soft, semi-dry white wine while preparing some braised chicken that called for it.  Setting up and using the breathalyzer is pretty easy.  The most difficult part (other than drinking wine that I’m not fond of) was putting in the three AAA batteries.  The batteries were a pretty tight fit, but I got them in by applying some pressure.  

breathalyzer

On the back side of the device is storage for five mouthpieces.  To use the device, simply insert a mouthpiece on either side of the device and press the power button.  The breathalyzer will beep and warm up for fifteen seconds.  When it’s ready it will beep again and you’ll have to blow for five to ten seconds until it beeps again to let you know that it’s done.

wine

Depending on your results, it will rate your blood alcohol level at a normal, caution, or danger level.  If it’s in the danger range, it will beep a few times to get your attention. According to the user manual, you have to wait twenty minutes after you have been drinking to get reliable results.  If you test yourself shortly after drinking, the results will be inflated.

breathalyzer

For my experiment I tested the breathalyzer before drinking and it accurately displayed at 0.000 (blood alcohol level) BAC.  After I drank the ¼ cup of wine, I tested myself again for grins and it registered at 0.101BAC and gave me the danger warning.  After waiting the recommended twenty minutes my BAC level was at 0.090.  A few minutes later it was back to 0.000.   

breathalyzer

Since I prefer not to drink, this device probably won’t get much use unless I suspect my kids in a few years.  For everyone else, the VicTsing breathalyzer is reasonably priced at less than $23 shipped on Amazon.  It’s compact and is the size of a flip phone and comes with a vinyl carrying case to keep it from getting scratched.  This breathalyzer is pretty easy to use and hopefully will save some lives.

 

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Buyus Colored Pencils

Buyus Colored Drawing Sketching Pencils
Developed by: BuyusDirect
Price: $12.95
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Highlights:

Strong Points: Very durable pencils; sturdy container; hex-shape makes them less likely to roll
Weak Points: Faint colors unless you press hard

Thank you, BuyusDirect, for sending us a set of these pencils to review!

We were approached at Christ Centered Gamer to review a set of colored pencils from a company called BuyusDirect – not normally a product we cover, but we don't mind being experimental. It's good to branch out now and then!

The pencils came quickly from Amazon, and contain 36 pencils in a wide variety of shades. The container is a sturdy cylinder, made of yellow-covered cardboard and topped with a durable plastic cap. The writing on most of the container appears to be Chinese, and what little English that is on the container makes little sense. There is a picture of some sort of bear wearing sunglasses in the middle – presumably the "Mr. Cuya" that appears below the picture. Around the portrait of the bear is the odd phrase "CUYA STORY – They love each other and happy every day." Underneath the title of "Mr. Cuya" is another peculiar phrase, "Cool is a kind of life is also a kind of attitude." 

case

Despite the odd use of "Engrish" on the package, the pencils within are of fine quality. Each pencil is six-sided, which means they are less prone to roll off the table than your typical colored pencil. The colored lead within each is durable, and not prone to snapping or crumbling over heavy use. My daughters have enjoyed using them quite a bit, and I've even used them to try and sketch out a quiet, nature scene (which also told me that my drawing skills are sorely out of practice). The colors aren't terribly bold, though, unless you press hard. Fortunately, the lead is durable enough to withstand this kind of pressure. Unfortunately, when my wife tried to use them, it led to her having cramped fingers after just a few minutes of coloring.  

 Another thing that we found odd was the price. The Buyus pencils have a list price of $49.99, but we've seen them on sale for around $12. However, when you compare them to Faber-Castells – one of the premium names in artistic pencils – you can get a set of 48 pencils, and an eraser, for $30.79, also from Amazon. Another thing to consider – Faber-Castells often have the name of the color stamped on the side, while the Mr. Cuya pencils don't. It's a minor point, though – the hue of the paint on the outside of the pencil is going to be the hue you get when you touch it to paper. 

Buyus coloring pencils

All in all, these pencils have a very good quality, but require a bit of effort to really make the colors stand out. They can be a good deal if purchased on sale, but at their full price, you may be better off looking to one of its competitors.


(Amazon Affilate Link)

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uFashion3C Running Belt

running belt

Thank you uFashion3C for sending us a review sample!

Every morning I remember to put some pants on. However, I don’t always choose to wear sweat pants with built in pockets. As luck would have it, those are typically days with ideal weather for walking the dog or riding my bike. For short shopping trips I like to ride my bike and I need to have my phone on me for the inevitable phone call asking me to pick up another item while I’m at the store. Without pockets, what am I to do?

My fluorescent yellow fanny pack is an option, though long out of style. Even if I did have my phone in there I wouldn’t be able to interact with it without removing it from the fanny pack. The universal running waist pack solved that problem with a slim design and a plastic window that accepts your swipes without having to remove the phone. The model reviewed supports iPhone 6/6S/6S Plus, and the Samsung Galaxy S5, S6, as well as Note 4/5. My Galaxy S4 with an Otterbox cover worked just fine. 

Another great feature is the headphone jack port that lets you connect ear buds to your phone without having to remove it from the belt. The straps are adjustable up to a 48” waist and the water resistant/sweat proof material is smooth and soft to the touch. (Much softer than my fanny pack!)

There are a wide variety of colors available from fluorescent pink, green, blue to dark blue, red, white and black. My hubby was bummed that I chose hot pink. For an additional ten dollars, hydration models sporting two water bottles are available. The base model is a reasonable $9.99 on Amazon and ships free if you’re a prime member. If you’re into exercising and don’t want to miss a call, then I highly recommend picking up a running belt from uFashion3C. 


(Amazon Affiliate link)
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Two New YouTube Videos!

Two New YouTube Videos!

My siblings and I have two new videos on YouTube.

One is a continuation of our Sonic videos. It is about our versions of the characters meeting the Sonic Boom versions of the characters: 

The other is a message video from our other channel, Ordinary People. It takes Bible verses and puts them together like a story: 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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