In Summer blogging - Thesis

Over the summer I was required to post 20 communities I belong to. Here are those communities:

1. Graphic Design
For my first community I’ll use the most obvious one which is the Graphic Design community. Within that, there is so much I can branch off to (my interest in Swiss Design, the SUNY New Paltz Design community). I became interested in graphic design when I was a senior in high school. I found the amount of creativity it offered as well as the attention to detail to be incredible. There are endless links for graphic design, but here are some of favorites (blogs, discussions, you name it):

I think this may be THE main site when people think of design. There’s inspiration, job posting, lots of good stuff here.

The Dieline
Really great site that showcases package design. Good for inspiration.

Smashing Magazine
I have learned so much from this site. Gives really good insight on web design.

I really like minimalism (however, there seems to be a lot of confusion as to what that is lately). So I’ll come here and check out what’s new.

I can go all day posting links I check out, but I think this serves as a good starting point for this community.

2. Apple
The second community I belong to is Apple Inc. I have always been intrigued by their OS and made the jump from Windows to OSX when I graduated high school. I have never been disappointed in using their products. I even remember when i got my first iPod and iPhone. Those two, combined with my Mac, are literally part of my everyday life. The Mac and iPhone are tools that help accomplish tasks I need to get done.

Although they receive a lot of criticism, especially for the walled garden they keep you in with iOS (even I jailbreak to get out of that), I can’t say that I’m disappointed when using their products. At the end of the day, I think the functionality is good and I am more than pleased with it.

The obvious site would be their main website where there are announcements and options to buy products.

Mac Rumors
I am constantly keeping up with what Apple may be announcing and what they are working on (although, nothing is ever set in stone until they announce it).

OSX Daily
Some rumors make their way here, but this site offers tips to be more productive (plus I have learned a handful of useful Terminal commands here).

Steve Jobs Biography
Really great read by Walter Isaacson. Gives really good insight to the man himself and the company and how he ran things. What I enjoyed most was how unbiased it was; it presented Jobs just as he was. While there was a lot of good in him, a majority of the bad seemed to overcome that.

3. Guitar Player
This stems a lot from Dave Matthews Band. When I heard their music, I became interested in playing guitar (around 12 years old). My parents bought me a Yamaha electric and I played the hell out of it. Never took lessons so I have no idea how to read music. But I know how to play which is what matters most. Over the years I have acquired many different guitars (12-strings, acoustics, and electrics). My main guitar is an Epiphone 6-String acoustic electric (very close to buying a Taylor). This is what I do most on my downtime.

Ultimate Guitar
I’ve been using this site ever since I started playing. There are countless guitar tabs (sheet music for people that don’t know how to read music). In addition, there are so many forums to get feedback with an amazing community. It’s truly incredibly.

4. Dave Matthews Band
The fan base of this band is truly a community of it’s own. Their music means a lot to me. Has really gotten me through a lot. Every summer I go see them and spend way too much money. But, every show is different and they always bring something new to the table. On stage, they are unbelievably on point with each other. I guess that’s what happens when you jam with the same guys for twenty years.

The band has always let fans record their shows, audio wise. People spend thousands of dollars on recording equipment and then spread the shows through either torrents or by mail (you have to send them the CDs with a return pre-paid envelope). It truly brings the fans together and is a great way for everyone to communicate. In addition, the official fan association has a forum set up so fans can set up meet and greets. Before concerts are just as good as the show itself. I’ll truly miss it when this band retires.

Dave Matthews Band
The official website for the band. You can purchase clothing, CD’s, tickets. Also has an updated setlist page. There is also a link to join the fan association.

5. Batman
I am really going to try my hardest to keep this one short. Been a fan for literally as long as I can remember, was introduced to the character through the animated series in the 90’s. Watched the 89 movie with Keaton and Nicholson maybe a thousand times as a kid (no, I hated Adam West as Batman). As I got older, bought some comic books here and there, became really interested in the psychology of how the character works, motives, reasons, would the bad guys exists if Batman existed, whole nine yards. I hold Chris Nolan’s films as the definitive storyline of Batman. The idea of putting “an extraordinary figure in an ordinary world” was a good approach. In addition, he has successfully gone deep into the psychological aspect of Batman. The main reason why I have always been a fan? Because he is relatable (to a certain extent). He’s badass and has no superpowers. Definitely one of the huge pieces of my childhood that has stayed with me.

The Psychology of Batman
I know, I couldn’t believe this book existed either.

The Dark Knight Returns
This is the comic that broke away from the campiness that Adam West created. It introduced a very serious tone for Batman. A lot of people refer back to this comic (The Dark Knight Rises took a lot from this).

6. Competitive Swimming
I started swimming when I was about 11 years old. My doctor recommended it to me to help with my Asthma. From there, I took off with it. I made the varsity team in seventh grade, served as team captain my senior year, and was part of one of the best teams in New York State. In-between varsity, I swam on the club team and was a registered USA Swimmer. So, I swam year round all of those years.

USA Swimming
This was the main site I always visited. Every trial time was located here (Junior Olympics, Empire State Games, the Olympic Trials, you name it). This site has absolutely nothing to do with the varsity team. Your times from these meets can carry over to the varsity meets, but not the other way. The meets for varsity are not USA Meets so even if your time qualifies for the Olympic Trials, you won’t make it. You have to participate in a USA meet.

7. Social Networks
Who isn’t part of a social network? They are everywhere. Facebook being the biggest one. I truly don’t mean to sound like a hipster, but I enjoyed Facebook before it became huge. It felt more like a community. Now, it is an endless stream of useless information. Ads all over place, people posting pictures of what they ate for lunch (honestly, who cares?). Even the hashtags are absolutely ridiculous (and now Facebook makes them usable I see). Yet, I still have one. unfortunately it is the only way to communicate with a majority of people. What happened to just a simple phone call?

Just Facebook’s main site.

I don’t use it too much, but tech support from various companies are quick to answer. The jailbreak community has produced very useful Twitter accounts to deliver updates.

8. Harry Potter
My mom bought me the 3rd book first and I had no idea what was going on. I learned from everyone else that it was part of a series. The minute I picked up the first book, I was hooked. I bought each book as it came out (at the time, only the first three were out). Never before has a series taken me on such a great adventure. The films, were meh to me. I prefer the books all the way.

I have never used this site, but apparently it is huge with fans. I read somewhere that Rowling was working on a complete encyclopedia for the Harry Potter world. Because of this site, she has decided to stop working on the book and instead put that information here.

9. Technology
Pretty broad, but phones, computers, and software seem to be the focus of what interests me in technology. But if someone creates something cool, I’ll definitely check it out.

Lately there has been quite a shift of their content. It seems as there are a lot more user submitted posts (I assume they have to go through some sort of approval process). But there are still some write ups here and there about tech.

Addictive Tips
I don’t remember how I came across this one but they will usually focus on the main operating systems (desktop and mobile) and offer random tidbits here and there for those platforms. Just wish they updated more frequently.

10. Ultimate Frisbee
I can’t really remember when it was I got into frisbee, but it was definitely with my cousins. Once we mastered throwing one, we decided to play ultimate frisbee games (down at their house in Trenton, NJ). I can seriously play for hours.

USA Ultimate
The official site for Ultimate and games. Has college, club and a masters division. While I was never a member of a club (town club), I do visit this site on occasion. Most of the games I play are just pick up games. Never anything official.

11. Reddit
I could have added this under social networks but it’s not really for people connecting. It’s more of a user submitted content site. It’s seriously amazing how much information is on this site. What’s even more amazing is that it’s all ran by the user. For anyone who hasn’t used it, it’s kind of an advanced Pinterest. More than just photos too. There are sections called subreddits. Basically just different groups. Like Batman? There’s one for that. Like photos of people cleaning their decks with a power wash? There’s one for that too. A common saying on that site is “There’s a subreddit for everything”.

Reddit’s website. Pretty much explained how it works already. Sort of poorly designed but it works for this. Why fix what’s not broken I suppose.

12. Camping
As a family, we started from a small tent and worked our way up to camper. Every vacation we took was with the camper (Mt. Rushmore, up in Maine, South Carolina). It really is so much cheaper than a hotel (but if you buy a camper and maintain it, it will most likely wind up costing more in the long run). Ever since college I’ve stopped going because of work and all that, but I do miss it (one of our favorite camping spots was right in Gardiner).

Jellystone Park
A little on the childish side but this is the chain we camped at for a LONG time. I think a little over ten years. Seriously made great friends especially at the one in Gardiner.

13. Gaming
Been part of this for a long time. My earliest memory with video games is when my parents bought my a Sega Genesis. Till this day, I still have it hooked up and it works just fine. As with new games, I recently have been getting back into it.

I don’t do much gaming on the PC but when I do, I use a client called Steam. All of the games are digitally distributed and will always be tied to my account. Pretty cool idea on their part.

Pretty much everyone’s go to site for games. The site features reviews, rumors and interviews. Really good to check this out before making a decision.

This is the official site for Steam. The client that is downloaded to your PC is pretty much designed the same way as the web. The client offers more features than what is seen on the web.

14. Live Music
I suppose I could have put this under music. But when you hear music live, the emotion you get is completely different then when you listen to just a cd. The whole act of going to the concert is part of it too. The tailgating, hanging with friends before and after. It’s awesome.

I named this live music because when people think of concerts, they only think of only huge arena shows. But I do see a lot of local bands (my dad plays in a couple as a percussionist) and I have to say, some of these bands are a lot more talented than most big bands.

Hudson Valley Music
Not only are local shows posted here but there are classifieds as well. You can post what or who you’re looking for as well as putting yourself available. I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with a lot of musicians in this area and I have to say it’s a great group of people.

I really didn’t want to post because it seems like the easy one to put but honestly, there really isn’t an easier way to keep track of all your bands in one place. Plus buying tickets is unbelievable easy especially for mobile,

15. Gym
Since I am not part of a competitive swim team (the Swim Club does not count) I still have to find a way to stay active. So I take full advantage of the gym here on campus, in addition to Planet Fitness back at home. I have saved all of the workouts my coach gave us while I was on the varsity team. In addition my roommates are huge on going to the gym so I learn a lot from them. I feel like it’s necessary to stay fit especially with a profession where I could potentially be spending most of the day in front of the computer.

Planet Fitness
Just a link to Planet Fitness’ main site.

16. Reading
I don’t do it as much as I’d like to, but I do enjoy reading books. Whether it’s related to Design or just a novel, I can definitely sit and read for hours.

Barnes and Noble
A lot of people associate the library with books but not me. I actually spend a lot of time in this store. Always discovering new books. Nothing like buying a new one.

17. Movies
I absolutely love going to the movies. Even more, watching them at home. I like action movies A LOT (what guy doesn’t). But I’ll definitely watch a mystery or thriller here and there.

Can’t really mention movies without mentioning IMDB. Has anything and everything you need to know about movies.

18. Farming
This is an interesting one for me. While in high school, I had worked at Tantillo’s Farm in 208 for about two years. The was great and beat working in a department store. While there, I had the pleasure of learning just how important these farms were (this one in particular is a produce farm). I was working there when the Hannaford’s was being built and I remember all the farms in the area coming together to try and put a stop to it. Sure enough, business started declining. On top of that, all of the cherries had died during cherry season. They took a huge hit with that.

In addition, I got to learn some basics, how to identify different apples, drove some tractors, picked different fruits. It’s been a while since I worked on a farm, but I support them 100% precent.

Tantillo’s Farm
The farm I worked out. Gives a little information as to why you should buy locally.

I would post more about farms and what they go through. But I never really became too active in it. I could do more research though.

19. Photography
Originally, I had come to New Paltz wanting to be a photo major. I absolutely loved film and digital just made things even easier. However, I found that my talent was in graphic design. Hasn’t stopped me from shooting though. I almost always have my camera with me and shoot whenever I can. I clean up a lot of my photos and even print them. It has become a hobby of mine (and a skill too). I enjoy it a lot.

Photography Subreddit
Reddit, the site I am on the most, has a great community for photographers. Reviews of cameras are posted, random tips; anything to help anyone that is either an amateur or professional.

20. Do it yourself
Not sure how to word the title for this one, but I’be been raised in a way to always try and do things myself. Specifically with tasks around the house: wood floors, painting, putting a new fence, paving the driveway, building a porch, those sort of tasks. This also applies to maintaing my computer as well. The Apple Care really is great but I would rather do it myself (like switching hard drives). Since my Apple Care was up three years I go, I really didn’t have a choice anyways. But I’ve gained so many skills with troubleshooting and fixing Macs. I would even consider working as a Genius at an Apple store.

Another area that my stepdad has pushed me to get familiar with is auto mechanics. We practically do any maintenance and repair ourselves. The reason for him doing this is he wants me to understand how these things work. In addition, it will save me a lot of money. For about $100 I can replace the break pads and rotors on the front tires, using some high quality parts. Where a mechanic will charge me maybe $400? Using crap quality. Same goes for oil changes. I can spend about $40 for Mobil Synthetic Oil where an oil change at Valvoline will cost around $35. But they pay what, .20 cents a quart?

Whenever I have to fix anything on my Mac, this site is my first step. There are step by step instructions on how to fix and replace anything. When asked to do it someone else’s Mac, I’ll come to this site.

Auto Zone
Kind of random to have this here but whenever I work on my car I always go here for parts. Can’t even count how many times I’ve walked into this place.