My blogging goals.

alexa-mazzarello-223406When I first started my blog my main idea was to improve my written English and also share some of my opinions, but since then my blogging goals changed a bit.
So now I’ll write about the current state of the blog and also some things to come.

One of the most visited pages on my blog is the KZ guide, any person who doesn’t know me or doesn’t read my “about” page might think I’m just another guy who thinks he’s going to be a reviewer or make lots money from this hobby. Yea, sure…
These days nothing is further from the truth, I did in a very far past think I could sell some affordable gear on a shop, but online retail actually made me give up on that endeavor.
In a way I’m glad for it, because some years ago a headphone shop opened in downtown Lisbon and it was very well situated. The shop was open for one year but the owner had to close doors. Why?
Well, people would actually visit it and try the headphones, but in the end they would buy the gear online because the price was better.
So yea, I have no grand money making ideas for my blog.

Most people don’t know that I actually review KZ IEMs for fun and also because I use them daily. Plus there is a lot of people new to the hobby who can’t spend all the money I already spent on these IEMs.
Given the fact KZ is a very hyped brand on some forums I felt the need to share my opinions on some models, because sometimes it’s hard to separate marketing bullshit from the honest reviews from people who actually pay for gear from their own pocket.
My main goal with the mini reviews around here is to help new people in to the hobby, some of them don’t have lots of money to try out new IEMs all the time, also it takes ages for some gear to arrive from China so every purchase they make must be carefully planned.
That’s also why I never actually went ahead and reviewed my Beyerdynamics or Grado headphones . People who buy those brands know exactly what they want.

I still keep writing about the state of the hobby, mostly pointing out bullshit when I see it, if anyone has a problem with that they can go piss in another tree because this blog is mine. I’m not as aggressive as before but bullshits is bullshit and it will not smell less after some time.

I got some ideas to share about my stencil hobby but work is keeping me a bit busy these days. It’s not forgotten and I will try to dedicate some time to it.

This blog is my main way to share my views about the world, one of the great things about WordPress is that I’m not in a social network bubble, even if some of my page views do come from Facebook.
In the past I shared many posts on that social network sadly I think only a few of my friends actually care about the stuff I write around here so I don’t share my writings in Facebook anymore. I still share on Twitter because users there are more informed about tech, plus I got some audiophiles who follow me.

As for things to come, I got some ideas but nothing too fancy. I will probably keep reviewing cheap Chinese IEMs but also from other brands.
I want to write about music on my free time, nothing too serious just “talk” about albums or songs I enjoy daily. The same goes for some books but I’ll avoid series and movies because everyone writes about that so I don’t want to beat that old horse.
As for the electronics hobby, these days my kids run around so much that I can’t even pick up my soldering iron, so no writing about that for a long time to come. I don’t have a safe calm space to work on my electronics so I only do some repairs when I really need to.

Anyway I don’t want to share stuff just because I can, I want to share interesting things and projects that help other people. In a way this blog does help many people, at least from what I can see on my visitors statistics.
I must say thanks, even if most of you don’t interact with me I’m happy to welcome you all to the journey of my life.

As for blogging goals, right now that’s about it. Peace.

Desktop is up and running.

So my Blackbird desktop is running like a charm, in the end I had to change the CPU for the X version of the Ryzen 5 1600 because Amazon didn’t carry the standard 1600.
The Ryzen 5 1600X is a brutal CPU and I won’t say more. Anyone who buys Intel these days is losing money big time but thats my opinion.

Right now I’m using my Nvidia GT740 with 2Gb DDR5 to do the GPU honors because I need to buy a good GPU to pair with the Ryzen.
After talking with a pal of mine I’m leaning over to the AMD radeon RX series with at least 6 Gb of VRAM, being price, support for Linux and specs the main reason I will change back to Radeon. GPUs are expensive and I want a decent one so I will need to save some money for it, if all goes smoothly I’ll buy it in January because Christmas is coming and I don’t want late or lost parcels.

Because the GPU will be power hungry I’ll need to buy a good power supply or I’ll have stability problems. The one I got is starting to show some age signs on the caps. This sucks but PSUs are very important so I’ll probably buy a branded one from Corsair or Cooler Master with a minimum of 750W.

Storage wise I got a “problem” like I always did.
I don’t like to put all my eggs in the same basket so I got 5 storage mediums on the desktop. Yes, I know this stresses the PSU power rails.
I got 2 drives dedicated to operating systems and 3 for storage. Besides that I got 1 external drive for backups, plus several 2,5″ HDD I have with several backups of the backup. I’m not paranoid, I just don’t want to lose the family photos.
I know I should buy a new 240Gb SSD for the Win10 partition but my wallet isn’t happy about that, so for now it’s in the back burner.

RAM is still on the menu, and I’ll continue to update the motherboard with more modules. If all goes as planned I’ll have 32 GB soon after I buy the GPU.

Because I’m a audio enthusiast and these things matter a bit, I should note that my desktop is not silent but it’s quite tolerable with five fans doing their job:
– 1 for the CPU radiator that takes fresh air from outside the enclosure. Almost silent even in heavy loads.
– 2 silent 12cm fans that push air from the front to the back of the enclosure to remove the hot air of the CPU radiator.
– 1 small noisy fan for the GPU, most of the noise comes from this bastard.
– 1 fan on PSU that takes air from the bottom of the case and pushes it outside. This position of the PSU was one of the reasons I bought this enclosure.

I think the noise will come down when I buy a GPU with 12cm fans, most of it comes from the small fan the GT 740 has.

Final words..for now at least.
My old Core2 Quad will serve my kids as soon as new parts arrive for the Blackbird, right now it’s stored in the attic. It will be their school PC because I’m against disposing of good old tech, maybe thats why it survived so much time.
I’ll make a small update on the state of the desktop probably when I buy the GPU.

Improving self-taught English.

Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

First of all I should say there isn’t a silver bullet to solve all problems one must face to learn beyond the basic English. Save yourself a boring reading if you are looking for that on this post.
To master and learn a language is no easy task and I admit both my Portuguese and English could be way better if my education was higher and the environment where I was born nurtured it from the very beginning.

When I was younger I hated school with all my heart, so much that after the basic required by my country I went to work for my father. My first job required a “hands on” skill learning and no need for language skills.
Sure that I was well paid for doing my job after I mastered it, but I should have continued school and was dumb for not doing so, because my English and Portuguese could be way better right now.
So without much options and with a new full-time job, I had the need to at least improve my English because it was a important skill at my new work, thus I started to learn English and I continue to this day.

I’m not the best example of a student. I’m lazy as hell, my grammar sucks, the structure of my writing is wrong most of the time, even so I keep going because one day I’ll be a better writer.
There is a Russian artist by the nickname Dzikawa that often says on her Twitch streams “Just Do it!”, besides referring to a fun viral video of Shia LaBeouf screaming “Just do it” at full lung power, she is also saying that people should try and try again until their practice becomes second nature. I agree with this because even an old dog like me can learn a trick or two with enough practice.

I already wrote on my blog how I buy things on eBay, in fact I also use it to find good English books to use as reference when I’m writing for this blog.
For example anything by Oxford is good, The Times style and usage guide book is a must have even if a bit impractical.
Just avoid any legalese related books unless you are a lawyer or want to be one!

If possible read in English whenever you can. My writing skills developed after reading a lot of English novels and biographies.
You’ll start to be aware of little details and even correcting some things that seem a bit off or strange when you read them out loud.
Always read stuff you truly enjoy, because that way you’ll have a reason to push your studies forward.
Don’t like reading books or magazines?
Read websites, blogs and go to chat rooms where English language natives hang around.

Disable subtitles on movies and series and above all don’t hear dubbed stuff, to learn English one needs to know the spoken language and translate it in real time, the best way to do it besides movies/series is to practice with real people, in that regard I’m lucky because I got a job which allows me to practice all the time.
Most cities have workshops and groups of people who gather to help and learn new languages, so it might be a good starting point if one isn’t shy.
Having friends abroad is also a good way to improve both spoken and written English, you will be forced to reach out and understand them.

Last but also important, if you are European you will probably learn British English at school but be exposed to American movies and series. Nothing can be done to avoid this so speedway/motorway, color and colour between many other options will have to be dealt sooner or later if you want to write in English. Choose a country and stick with it.

On a last thought about this subject, English teachers are the best ones to correct and point you on the right path, cherish them.
Learning alone is boring so find someone to write to and practice with if possible.