Always be teachable

I was inspired recently after reading the transcript from the graduation speech given by Admiral McRaven to the class of 2014 on May 17th at the University of Texas. The speech provided great food for thought and showed the resilience of humans when it really mattered. It made me think sometimes I need to step back and realise the bigger picture through the little things. It also made me think of the characteristics and attributes that are found in those who strive for better and have character and ‘grit’.

If you don’t have the time to go through the entire transcript here are some of the great points he made.

  1. If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed
  2. If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle
  3. If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers
  4. If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward
  5. If you want to change the world, don’t back down from the sharks
  6. if you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud

Just reading those points might not make much sense, but if you see the reasons why (tied to Navy Seal training) they’ll make a lot of sense to why they matter.

If you have the time have a read of the transcript for yourself, or if you’re so inclined watched the YouTube video of the speech here at the University of Texas website.

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Sustainable Beauty

Quote

And what my mother meant when she said you can’t eat beauty was that you can’t rely on how you look to sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself and for those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul.

Lupita Nyong’o

Soccket – The Energy Harnessing Soccer Ball by Uncharted Play

soccket

Ant and I are passionate about making a difference around the world and we enjoy looking for ways to support innovation – particularly innovation which gives those less fortunate, the opportunity to break the cycles of poverty. One project we stumbled across recently was the excellent idea of Soccket an Energy Harnessing Soccer Ball by Uncharted Play. We love it, because the project has two extremely practical functions. Firstly, it encourages exercise and play by being a useable soccer/football. Secondly, while it is being used in play it has a pendulum-like mechanism which captures all that healthy play and turns it into useable energy! The greatest part about this is they’ve also developed and included an LED lamp attachment for each Soccket ball sold, which when ‘plugged’ into the ball gives up to 3 hours of light from just 30 minutes of play. We think this great blend of two different items give kids in developing countries the potential to stay healthy through sport- which fights the growing obesity rates in developing nations, as well as, uses that stored energy to then give them light to study later!

Go and check this project out on Kickstarter and if you’re as excited as we are about the potential this has to make an difference in lives around the world, support it! It’s only got 55 hours left on it’s clock for you to back Soccket! We think this project has great potential. The last great aspect of this project is that you can either receive a Soccket for yourself or choose to donate it to a child who needs it in a developing country.

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OneSight Charity – providing eyecare through recycled glasses

Ever woken up in the dark and had to fumble around to find your glasses before moving? Hopefully you end up finding them at some point, but for many other people that isn’t so easily achieved – because they can’t afford eye care.

I found out about this great charity today and thought I’d share it, because it’s such a great way to put to use something which I either don’t use anymore or don’t know what to do with. The best part, it’s actually giving someone the gift of sight which so many of us take for granted.

If you’ve got old prescription glasses or non-prescription sunglasses, OneSight collects them and gives them to people around the world who are in desperate need of a helping hand.

More about them below, taken from their “About us” page!

OneSight, a Luxottica Foundation, is a family of charitable vision care programs dedicated dedicated to providing healthy vision, eyewear and sun protection to those in need worldwide. Since 1988, these charitable efforts have provided free vision care and eyewear to more than eight million people in need around the world and have granted millions of dollars towards optical research and education.

Our volunteers give the gift of sight through four program areas:

  • Global Eye Care – We travel around the world to hand-deliver much needed, free eye care and eyewear through temporary Optical Clinics.
  • Regional Eye Care – We provide free eye care and new eyewear to those in need in our regions through temporary Optical Clinics and Vision Vans.
  • Community Eye Care – We help patients in our local communities through in-store and outreach programs.
  • Research & Education – OneSight funds research to address global eye health issues and invests in the next generation of optometric professionals through scholarships and education.

Vision:  A world where primary vision care is a reality for everyone.

Mission:  To restore and preserve clear vision for the over 284 million adults and children who suffer worldwide from poor vision.

Find out more here at OneSight!

You could even help out by collecting gently used eyewear or just donate your old glasses!

 

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Time To Fight Back

It started with milk, then bread. Predictably the battle then spread to produce, with the fruit war making headlines daily. Owl and I were becoming increasingly uncomfortable and wary of these so-called ‘great savings’ which may be great in the short term, but will no doubt ultimately cause endless grief once all competition has been wiped out and mass market monopoly rears it’s ugly head.

Besides the fear of jacked up prices, there is also the fear of Aussie farmers throwing in the trovels and calling it a day for better pay in other industries. If we set prices of commodities by the amount we earn and spend, how can we expect farmers to survive on losses and minimal wages for the sake of our own greed? We would rather buy an iPad than think twice about whether our grocery savings are driving farmers out of work. We feel good about buying fair trade items from Oxfam but forget about doing the right thing by our own countrymen.

zucchini

from Little Eco Footprints

It is time to fight back. I was going to write a whole article about this but I think this blog does it so well that I’m just going to redirect you to it (I hope you don’t mind, Tricia!). I urge you to please think about the future of produce supply in Australia and to make an educated choice when you make your grocery run. I’m not talking about buying organic, GM-free, free range etc (even though they are good too). I’m talking about Australians supporting Australians and doing justice to generations of farmers choosing to feed you as a profession. I hope you understand that it is no less noble than a doctor saving your life, or a teacher educating your kids, or a social worker caring for the needy.

A website not linked on Tricia’s site is the Aussie Farmers Direct. Don’t forget also that the Pyrmont Grower’s Markets are on this Saturday (4 Feb 2012) from 7-11am and are on every first Saturday of the month. Might see you on Saturday if you go  😉

5 Reasons the Samsung Galaxy S II beats the Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Starting off the year with both the Galaxy S II and the Galaxy Nexus in my hand, I thought I’d write a few thoughts on my experience and research into the ‘better’ phone. Ultimately, I believe it’ll come down to each person’s personal choice, but on some fronts you can definitely feel the difference! I’ll break it down into five areas that led me to ultimately choose the S II over the Galaxy Nexus.

Side by side comparison

Left: Galaxy Nexus, Right: Galaxy S II

1. Hardware

If you’re looking for a phone with good specifications, runs on Android and has a decent camera then you really should be looking at these two phones! In terms of hardware the S II pips the Galaxy Nexus at the post. It has a 1.2 GHz dual-core “Exynos” system on a chip (SoC) processor, as well as, 1 GB of RAM and the WVGA Super AMOLED plus 4.3″ screen. Pretty good so far, the Galaxy Nexus on the other hand runs a dual-core 1.2 GHz TI OMAP 4460 processor (ARM Cortex-A9) with 1 GB of RAM and a 4.65-inch 1280×720-pixel HD Super AMOLED PenTile display. From the research I’ve done, this seems to be of slightly lower specifications than the 9 month old S II, so on this front having the S II running the better hardware made sense in the long term (though there are other arguments there with it being ‘older’ in general). The difference is not huge, but it is noticeable.

The other camera on the front differed as well between the two phones, the S II hosts a 2 mp front facing camera compared to the Galaxy Nexus with its 1.3 mp camera. For me this was a bit of a make or break feature as I tend to use the phone for a lot of face to face conversations on Skype. You can definitely notice the quality of the video and recipients of my calls have also noticed the definition and clarity is much sharper (this may not be so good if you don’t want everything on your face to show).

2. Camera

The cameras on these are different and sort of backwards, the S II has the 8 mp camera and the Galaxy Nexus the 5 mp camera, now, having worked in the past in the camera industry I know megapixels mean diddly squat generally and shouldn’t be the only aspect of a camera you should focus on. Between these phones the differences are slight and I really think this will be personal preferences on colour, saturation etc. From what I’ve seen the Galaxy Nexus supposedly does better low light shots, but this has been found by some and not by others. I chose to go with the SII 8 mp because I noticed the colours to me looked more natural generally and the clarity overall was quite good and the end of the day it’s a camera phone, it’s not suppose to replace your SLR. The S II also seemed to handle filming in HD much better probably due to the processor differences.

On a plus for the Galaxy Nexus, it is VERY snappy from switching to camera and taking a shot, so in this sense the lag free might be a clincher for you. I found it a bit annoying because it was so fast that I would take random shots by accident, but that’s just a matter of getting used to I’m sure.

* Pictures in Ant’s article about the Night Owls cinema were taken using the S II camera.

3. Weight

What’s a few grams? The S II is purported to weigh around 116g whilst the Galaxy Nexus a heavier 135g. Not exactly back breaking, but there is a difference when holding them and I’m definitely not a believer of heavier = expensive. Heavier to me just means more likely to be damaged on impact. Lighter means it has a better chance of getting away with a fall. Not that I drop my phones! I’ve read a lot of people find the S II ‘flimsy’ but I have to say, I don’t agree, perhaps again because I haven’t come from an iphone which is significantly heavier at 140g which is a substantial and noticeable difference.

Curvy form factor

4. Screen

The screen on the S II (4.3″) has a slightly green/bluish hue to it, not so on the Galaxy Nexus which was nice and fairly white. That is one plus to the Galaxy Nexus over the S II, but the Galaxy Nexus doesn’t have plus AMOLED screen the Galaxy S II hosts. The other major factor here for me was the size of the Galaxy Nexus screen at 4.65″ this is a little too big for my hands and received some jokes from Ant that I wouldn’t be able to see if a Tsunami was coming because the phone was so large. If you’re looking for a large screen then check out the Nexus, or better still check out the Galaxy Note (which isn’t as large as it seems) especially if you’re looking for a “phablet”. A colleague has one and it’s actually quite functional in size.

5. Expandable memory

If you come from an Apple phone, this probably won’t be a big deal for you. For me it wasn’t going to break the deal, but I definitely prefer having an SD card that can corrupt that I can remove and expand in size. The S II was then the logical choice because the Galaxy Nexus was only available as a 16gb model (with a newer 32gb to come). So the limitation on available memory helped to push me towards the S II.

Finally

Overall, they are both nice phones the Galaxy Nexus has a really nice curvy form factor and an interesting tapered body, but considering you can get the S II for a lot less than the Galaxy Nexus, I would be inclined to pay less and still have the better specs and have the functions I like on the phone over the aesthetics and current OS. The lure of Ice Cream Sandwich isn’t a feature I felt compelled to have right away, as usually there will ultimately be some guinea pigs required to iron out bugs. Samsung has announced it would bring ICS to the S II likely by the first quarter of 2012, which only leaves a month a bit to wait.

If you can afford the costs/wait, the S III is rumoured to be on it’s way this year and apparently in the first quarter of 2012, of course that’s just the announcement, by the time the phone actually reaches consumers it’ll be much further down the track . So if you can, perhaps sit tight and wait it out, otherwise don’t look past the S II for the right price.

This wasn’t written as a full out comparison of the two, but just a few things I think stood out as considerations in keeping one phone over the other. If there are other factors you thought were crucial write a comment and let us know!

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