Creating LOGO using Adobe Photoshop

Suven Consultants

Logo is the most important asset of a company. Logo represents your  company.

The dictionary meaning of a logo is a symbol, sign, or emblem. Human beings have used such symbols throughout time to convey a succinct message. In present times, logos tend to be graphical in nature, designed for easy recognition of an organization. It is a tool to build an identity for the organization, as part of its trademark or brand, and to generate favourable thoughts and feelings about the organization.  

A logo needs to be original and memorable for the greatest impact.

logo




 A logo refers to an image that relates to a company. For example, the image to the right, is an example of the Suven Consultants logo.

Features of a Corporate Logo


Identify Target Market
What type of customers are you trying to attract? The success of your company’s branding efforts will rely on the customers you are pursuing. Trendy graphics and hip hop music may attract the younger consumer, but this type of advertising might turn off the mature customers. Cater to the interests of your potential clientele.

Legalities
Research your ideas so you do not infringe on another company’s brand. Developing your brand is a long term investment. Register your trademark legally to protect your company’s name from imposters and possible customer confusion.

Logo and Color Scheme
Choose simple color choices and an easy to read font for your company logo. Choosing a graphic that says something about your business helps in creating your unique brand name. A good example of an effective logo is the swirled red, white and blue Pepsi® circle. The simple logo dominates the cans and bottles it is printed on and the only reading required is to determine if it is regular, flavored, diet or caffeine free.

Celebrity Endorsements
Visual stimulation will help prospective customers remember you. Grab their attention with ads and commercials using a recognized person or character. Hanes® sales increased when Michael Jordan became a spokesperson for their national campaign and television commercials. Small businesses starting out probably cannot hire a famous celebrity like Michael but there are other ways to attract customers and create an identity for your business. Create your own character. Animated celebrities like M&M® candies have been brought to life on television and online ads. If you are directly involved with your customers in a retail environment, you could be the face of your company. If you are uncomfortable using actual photos, consider turning your picture into a cartoon. There are several photo programs that can transform a picture into a sketch with the click of a mouse. You could also hire a professional to animate your likeness and use it on all of your advertising.

Catchy Tag line or Jingle
“You deserve a break today” is not heard as often as it used to be but most people still remember that catchy jingle. That saying became popular before there were fast food restaurants on every corner. It was a treat for a woman to pick up dinner at McDonalds® and not have to cook. What does your company offer that can help the consumer? Your tag line should be short, easy to remember and send a message to your customer. Turn your tag line into a musical jingle and your company will become the brand consumers will remember.
As a final step, drag your gradient layer below all the other layers in the Layers window.

Your logo is now complete!

——–

What We Will Make

We will use Adobe Photoshop CS6 for this tutorial, though you’ll be perfectly fine with older versions of Photoshop as well.

Step 1: Create a New Document

Go to File -> New, or press CTRL+N in Photoshop. Select the appropriate width and height for your design. I like to have a large enough canvas to work with – around 1000px width and 600px height. You can always change canvas size later.

Suven Consultants

Step 2: Create the Basic Shape

To create the effect that we want, we will make our logo with two overlapping shapes as shown below:
We’re going to use the ‘Pen’ tool to create our shapes. It’s the pen shaped icon on the toolbox to the left.

Now create a new layer. Name it Shape 1. Select the pen tool, select ‘shape’ in the tool properties at the top. Choose a bright red color for the fill (I used #ed1c24).
It’s useful to switch on the grid while drawing. Go to View -> Show -> Grid, or press CTRL + ‘. Create the shape as shown below:

For the second shape, instead of drawing it from scratch, we can simply duplicate the Shape 1 layer and flip it horizontally.
Select the current shape in the layers window on the right. Right click on it and select ‘Duplicate Layer’. Name the new layer Shape 2 you want.
Now select the duplicate layer, go to Edit -> Transform Path -> Flip Horizontal
You should have the following shape now:

Suven Consultants
Step 3: Change Colors

Since we want to create an overlapping ‘Origami’ like effect, we will make one of our shape layers slightly darker in color to give the impression of depth.
Double-click on the Shape 2 thumbnail in the Layers window. The color selection pane should pop-up.

Select a slightly darker shade of color.
While you’re at it, drag the Shape 1 layer on top of the Shape 2 layer in the Layers window as well, such that Shape 2 appears to be behind Shape 1.

Suven Consultants

Step 4: Creating the Shadow

Duplicate the Shape 1 layer as described above. Name it Shadow Layer Change the color of this new layer to black (#000000). Go to Filter -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur. Choose a radius of 2.75 pixels. Your image should look like this now:

Now drag the Shadow Layer underneath Shape 1 in the Layers window. Right click on Shadow Layer and select ‘Create Clipping Mask’
Your image logo should now have the nice shadow effect.

Suven Consultants

Step 5: Add the Text

We’ll now add text to our logo. Unfortunately, the default Windows font selection isn’t exactly too great. So instead of using tired, stale fonts like Arial, we’ll head over to Google Fonts and download a bunch of new, modern fonts.
For this project, I recommend downloading Raleway. This is just a personal preference though. You can choose any one of the hundreds of free fonts on Google Fonts. Some of my personal favorites are:

  • Open Sans
  • Roboto
  • Ubuntu
  • Exo
  • Lobster
  • Bevan

I choose Arial with font-weight of ‘bold’ and a font-size of 200px. Feel free to experiment with this if you want.
Place the text below the logo. For a bit of extra effect, add a drop shadow to the text. Right click on the text layer, select ‘Blending Options’. In the window that pops up, choose ‘Drop Shadow’ and pick the parameters:
Suven Consultants

Step 6: Add a Background Gradient

This is the final step to give our logo a bit of dramatic flair.
Click the ‘Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer’ button at the bottom of the Layers Window.
Choose ‘Gradient’. In the window that pops up, select ‘Radial’ under Style. Make sure to check the ‘Reverse’ option at the bottom. 
Now, double click on the gradient color in the window. The gradient edit window will pop up. Play around with the colors and settings for a while until you find something you like.

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The best tech gifts for men

Yes, the holidays are almost here again, and so if you haven’t finished shopping yet, it’s time to start thinking about what to get those special people in your lives. Or the people you want to suck up to – could go either way. So this year, we have a roundup of some of the best gifts you can give that will apply to most guys… though many of them will honestly make sense for anyone regardless of age or gender. Or you can go regift that fondue set from last year. We won’t judge. Should you decide not to go that route, here are some things you can think about.

Looking for even more options? Check out the following guides:

  • 10 cheap tech gifts that only look expensive
  • Best tech gifts under $25
  • Best tech gifts under $50
  • 11 cheap secret Santa gifts
  • These gifts look like they come straight out of Star Trek
  • 6 geeky gift ideas that aren’t just for nerds anymore

Exercise tracker

Exercise trackers are a thing these days. They allow you to track your steps, heart rate, and a number of other vital statistics to keep you healthy and happy. The Fitbit Blaze is Fitbit’s first foray into smartwatch territory. The Fitbit Blaze uses Fitbit’s custom software to track your body’s stats, and deliver some smartwatch notifications as well. The design is a little on the chunky side, but it can average around four days of battery life.

See more

If Fitbit isn’t his style, maybe give the Garmin Vivosmart a look.

Get Fitbit Blaze at Amazon
Get Garmin Vivosmart at Amazon
 

Home Assistant

Home assistants are one of those items that, once you have them, you can’t live without them. From checking on weather, appointments, or traffic to controlling your smarthome, a home assistant is one of the more futuristic technologies available today. But they can be a little pricey and it seems like something one wouldn’t buy for oneself, which is what makes it a perfect gift!

Google Home is a great product, and it even allows you to make phone calls and play movies and YouTube videos on your Chromecast-connected TVs. Google Home is a jack-of-all-trades kind of product, while other home assistants are a little more focused in one area or another. So, The home is definitely our recommendation in this gift guide. Check it out in the links below.

If your recipient is more Amazon-focused, then the second-generation Echo is also a great buy. Don’t forget both Google Home and the Amazon Echo have “mini” counterparts – you know, if you don’t love them THAT much.

See more
Get Google Home at Google
Get Amazon Echo at Amazon

VR Headset

In the world of VR, Oculus is by far the best known brand out there. While devices like the HTC Vive offer an outstanding experience the Oculus Rift headset is one of the go-to models in the world of VR. It offers a great array of games, plus support from a multi-billion dollar company which is always helpful. The Oculus Rift requires a pretty hefty computer to hook up to, much like the Vive, but the price is a bit lower – around $100 dollars lower.

Truth be told, the HTC Vive is a great experience too – you won’t really go wrong with either one. But Oculus has the name recognition and has a much stronger source of cash, tipping the scales in its favor.

Of course, if your recipient has a Playstation, the Sony Playstation VR is a great headset as well.

Get Oculus Rift at Amazon
Get HTC Vive at Amazon
Get PlayStation VR at Amazon

Headphones

In case you haven’t noticed, wired headphones are a dying breed. At least, those with a 3.5mm jack are. It remains to be seen what will happen with USB Type-C connectors or lightning connectors (hashtag #courage). For now, it’s best to adapt or die, so let’s talk about some bluetooth headphones.

The Jaybird X3 bluetooth in-ear headphones are sleek and stylish with great connectivity. These headphones come with a nice carrying case as well, making them a nice little package. That being said, these are in-ear monitors, which isn’t for everyone. The sound coming from them tends to be good, but not great, so if sound quality is of the utmost importance, or you’re not a fan of in-ear headphones, you may want to look at the Grado SR60e instead.

Get Jaybird X3 at Amazon
Get Grado SR60E at Amazon

Media Streaming

More and more of our content is coming from the internet these days. With the somewhat recent introductions of cable replacement services, like YouTube TV, Sling TV, and others, cord-cutting is becoming a real possibility for many folks out there. Of the wide variety of set top boxes that are out there, Roku stands above the rest. First and foremost, Roku has been doing this for a long time – long before the cord cutting phenomenon began. The Roku Express is an inexpensive, but not underpowered little box that can load up all of your cord-cutting apps without breaking a sweat, and without breaking the bank.

Roku’s UI is also very nice and very streamlined. Oddly enough, Amazon’s Instant video app works much better on the Roku than it does on the Fire Stick. Go figure. Speaking of the Fire Stick, that’s not a bad alternative to a Roku, if you happen to like Amazon’s interface and ecosystem.

See more
Get Roku Express at Amazon
Get Amazon Fire TV Stick at Amazon

Tablet

The future of tablets doesn’t really look all that bright if we’re going to be totally honest. But, there are still some solid use-cases for tablets today. The aforementioned cord-cutting/media streaming is a big one. Gaming is a solid number two. Whatever the case, tablets are still here, and they’re still fun to play with. And in the tablet space, the industry leader is far and away the iPad. From its inception the iPad has handled the transition from small phone screen to large tablet screen the best. Apps are designed exclusively for the iPad, and not just scaled up.

Sure, the iOS interface is about as exciting as watching paint dry in a cornfield in Iowa after 8 hours of fishing having caught no fish. I may be overstating, but the point is, even though the interface is not exciting, the apps make the ecosystem, and iPad app development is not going anywhere any time soon. However, if you’re a fan of thumbing your nose at industry trends, the runner up in the tablet market – the Amazon Fire also sports a solid lineup of devices to choose from with its own app ecosystem – assuming you can live without Google services.

Editor’s Pick
Get iPad Pro at Amazon
Get Fire tablets at Amazon

Phones

Of course if you really want to blow away a man during the holidays, who doesn’t love a new phone to play with. And recently, the Google Pixel 2 XL is one of the most solid phones you can buy today. It’s true, there may or may not be some screen issues, and until those can be addressed it’s hard to throw a lot of weight behind this recommendation. But, by the time you procrastinators out there are looking to shop for the holidays, perhaps we might have more clarity.

That being said, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is also a great phone to pick up for the holidays. Samsung has been absolutely killing it in the hardware department, and the Note 8 takes real advantage of that stylus. For a powerful phone that will last and last, the Note 8 might just be your phone of choice this holiday season – especially when it comes to snapping photos and sending them to friends and family.

See more
Get Google Pixel 2 XL at Verizon
Get Samsung Galaxy Note 8 at Amazon

Laptop

But since we’re talking about computing power, why settling for a phone or tablet when a full-blown laptop might be just what the doctor ordered. And in that area, the Dell XPS 13 is a beautiful line of laptops that absolutely kills it in the hardware department. The Dell XP 13 laptop can be just as powerful as you need it to be – it’s a very versatile line of laptops and comes in a number of configurations. But all of them come in the same gorgeous package.

If you’re not a Windows fan, give a long hard look at the ASUS Chromebook Flip. With a full touchscreen, tablet mode, USB-C ports and more, this is a solid contender in the Chromebook space.

Get Dell XPS 13 at Amazon
Get Asus Chromebook Flip at Amazon

Robot vacuum

When you think of robot vacuums, you think of Roomba. Sometimes you think of a puppy on a Roomba, but that’s a different conversation. Having a robot vacuum wandering around the house, doing what you hate to do is one of those wonderful things that you don’t think you need, until you have it. Giving this as a gift to someone is another one of those “you won’t buy it for yourself, so here” gift ideas. The Roomba 690 is one of the midrange options which gets you a lot of bang for your buck. It has WiFi connectivity and can be controlled using an app, plus there’s a host of other bonuses and add-ons that are pretty huge.

If the Roomba doesn’t float your boat, you can also take a look at the iLife A4. We also have a breakdown of a number of different robot vacuums over on DGiT.

Get Roomba at Amazon
Get iLife A4 at Amazon

Smart Coffee Pot

Coffee is arguably one of the most important parts of waking up in the morning. Millions of customers standing in line at Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and more every day can’t be wrong. But this is the future, and the future of coffee is in the smart Coffee Pot. Not to mention, we all like to drink coffee while we watch radar; everyone knows that. Enter the Mr. Coffee Smart WeMo Coffee Maker. This app-controlled coffee pot lets you automate much of the coffee making process – check the status of the coffee pot, set daily schedules for brewing, etc.

Alternatively, you could also take a look at the Behmor Connected Coffee Pot. We also wrote up a comprehensive look at smart coffee pots over a DGiT. Take a look!

Get WeMo Coffee Maker at Mr. Coffee
Get Belmor Coffee Maker at Amazon

TV

Vizio.com

Nothing says love during the holidays like a new TV, but getting the best new TV, without busting your budget can be a pretty big ask. The Vizio M Series 55-inch TV offers a lot of bang for your buck, and comes with an Android tablet to boot. The downside is, you use this android tablet as a remote which can be less than ideal. But to wrap up a TV and a tablet for the holidays, is a pretty big win in our opinion, so this would be a good way to go.

If you’re looking for a TV for gamers, the TCL P607 is a solid buy as well. Both TV’s are full array backlit instead of edge lit resulting in better black levels.

Get Visio TV at Amazon
Get TCL TV at Amazon

Drone

What man doesn’t want a drone? For the money, the DJI Spark is one of the best out there. Remarkably slim and stable, you can even fly the DJI spark using gestures, rather than a remote. Sure, it’s mostly a parlor trick at the moment, but it’s still pretty awesome tech and fun to brag about at parties. The DJI Spark is a great, “Grab and go” type of drone which will get you some great shots, and has a fair bit of range as well.

But it you want to really blow their doors off, take a look at the Phantom 4, also by DJI. The Phantom 4 is the Cadillac of drone flying with a range of two miles and more. Learn even more about your drone options over at DroneRush.

Get DJI Spark at Amazon
Get DJI Phantom 4 at Amazon

Home Game Console

At the beginning of the year, Nintendo came out with its new gaming console, the Nintendo Switch. At first, the console was tough to get hands on. Now the system can be had at most retail outlets without much hassle. The Nintendo Switch is one of the most versatile gaming systems out there. The tablet-like console has controllers on either side that slide off, the tablet itself has a kickstand, plus there’s an included dock to hook the console up to a TV. It is very close to an optimal gaming solution.

It’s not without its drawbacks – it’s a little underpowered compared to most modern gaming consoles. But the versatility of gaming scenarios, from family game nights, to road trips is pretty much unparalleled by any other system. If you know a gamer who doesn’t have a Nintendo Switch, this would put a smile on their face. Of course you could also get an Xbox or PS4, but odds are the person in your life already has one if they are into games at all. 

Get Nintendo Switch at Amazon

Smartwatch

Smartwatches are one of those fun accessories to a smartphone that you need to use, in order to understand. Unlike many accessories of this nature, there’s a pretty high barrier of entry to get in on this trend. So, what better way to bring joy to a man’s heart than with the gift of a smartwatch. The Samsung Gear S3 Frontier smartwatch is a stylish smartwatch that works great with his Android smartphone. The Tizen-based watch even add Samsung Pay ability through the watch, making contactless or magnetic stripe payments fun and easy. The days of cash are numbered and contactless payment opportunities are becoming more and more widespread. Best get on that wagon now.

Of course, if you need a watch for an iPhone user, look no further than the Apple Watch Series 3. No seriously, look no further, because that’s basically the only smartwatch that will work. The Apple Watch Series 3 adds LTE connectivity to the fold, which can be a great addition to the smartwatch family.

Looking for more options? Be sure to check out our guide to the best smartwatches.

Get Samsung Gear S3 Frontier at Amazon
Get Apple Watch at Amazon

Power bank

You can’t anticipate what’s going to happen on a daily basis, especially when it comes to your smartphone battery. So many smartphones today boast “all day battery life” which frankly leaves little room for error if your day is going to be longer than planned. Sometimes, you’ve just had a heavy gaming day. Whatever the reason, it’s always a good idea to have some extra juice on you when you need to tether on the train ride home, or entertain the kid while in line at the DMV. Does that seem to specific? Because believe me, it happens.

In cases like those, the Anker Powercore+ 20,000 mAh power bank might be a little on the beefy side, but it is very slick looking and slips easily into a bag. Plus it gives you PowerIQ technology and even a USB Type-C port for charging. This will top you off at the end of a long day, or keep you going during an overnight camping trip.

If you need something a little more compact, take a look at the Eighty Plus 10,000 mAh power bank. It’s a lot more sleek and also more attractive. We have a full rundown of a number of other power banks here on Android Authority. If neither of these two are exciting – well, that’s because they’re power banks, but we also have a longer list to look at.

Get Eighty Plus 10,000 at Amazon
Get Anker External Battery at Amazon

Tracking Beacon

People lose stuff. Like always. Which is why there has been a recent surge in tracking tags that attach to your stuff, so you can locate it when you lose it. Use cases for these things extend from wallets and purses, to bikes, to keys – you name it. Many of these tracking tag systems rely on the crowd to throw a blanket of coverage over an entire area. Connectivity range is limited, so in order to track items beyond 30 feet away from your phone, Tile users can report items they come across to their owners. It’s an elegant solution that requires a ton of user adoption in order to saturate an area.

Tile, and similar competitor Trackr have both gotten the type of widespread adoption required to make this somewhat of a reality. There are still gaps, to be sure, but GPS enabled trackers have miserable battery life and cost a lot of money. If you know someone who tends to misplace items, Tile or Trackr might just be a good stocking stuffer this holiday season.

Get Tile at Amazon
Get Tracker at Amazon

So that’ll do it for our holiday gift guide for the men in your life. ‘Are any of these items on your shopping list? Think we left something out? Hit us up in the comments below and let us know what you’ll be camping out on Black Friday for.

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12 Most Insane Rules From the Biggest Neo-Nazi Website on the Internet

White supremacist style guides are…different.

The Daily Stormer is an online hub for racists, white nationalists, anti-Semites, neo-Nazis, and other assorted angry white men. It’s run by Andrew Anglin, who’s been in hiding for months avoiding an SPLC lawsuit charging stochastic terrorism against a Jewish woman in Montana. (Even underground, Anglin has managed to pull in a healthy sum in donations from supporters.) Among the confirmed readers of Anglin’s site are Dylann Roof, who in 2015 murdered nine black parishioners in a South Carolina church, and James Harris Jackson, who murdered a black man in New York City using a sword last March.

HuffPost writer Ashley Feinberg recently got a bit more insight behind the curtain of Anglin’s operation via the site’s 17-page style guide for contributing writers. The document lays out a few standard rules and protocols, from good HTML practices to proper grammar dictates, as well as a few rules that apply only to racist bloggers. The guide is packed with writerly advice on how to promote Anglin’s goals, which begin with expanding readership and end with an all-out race war. The key, per Anglin, is to maintain the site’s veneer of “non-ironic Nazism masquerading as ironic Nazism.”

Here are 12 of the most insane pieces of advice from the biggest neo-Nazi website on the internet.

1. Always blame the Jews.

Anglin writes that the Daily Stormer is “designed to spread the message of nationalism and anti-Semitism to the masses.” To that end, he notes that authors’ “prime directive” is singular: “Always Blame the Jews for Everything.”

“As Hitler says, people will become confused and disheartened if they feel there are multiple enemies. As such, all enemies should be combined into one enemy, which is the Jews. This is pretty much objectively true anyway, but we want to leave out any and all nuance. So no blaming Enlightenment thought, pathological altruism, technology/urbanization, etc. just blame Jews for everything.”

Anglin goes on to assert that Jews should be blamed “for the behavior of other nonwhites” as well as white women. “Women should be attacked, but there should always be mention that if it wasn’t for the Jews, they would be acting normally.”

2. Go easy on the swear words, heavy on the racial slurs.

Contributors are discouraged from “an overuse of profanity” which “can come across as goofy.” But Anglin recommends liberal use of racial epithets, and even offers a helpful list of specific “allowed and advisable” slurs.

•Negro/Negroid
•Monkey
•Ape
•Spic
•Wetback
•Beaner
•Beanperson
•Kike
•Yid
•Sheeny
•Christ-killer
•Haji
•Sandperson
•Paki (can be used for non-Pakistani Moslems, especially Arabs, because that’s funny)
•Muzzie
•Chink
•Gook
•Zipperhead
And others

Anglin adds that while the n-word is also cool, it “shouldn’t be used constantly.” Let spontaneity be your guide, he seems to suggest. Keep people guessing about what new and disgusting way you’ll express your racist self!

3. Demean women, gays, black folks and, of course, the Jews every chance you get.

Anglin shares that “[f]*ggots can be called all the words for f*ggot,” though scatological references are frowned upon. He gives a specific list of words recommended for describing women, and the word “woman” doesn’t appear on it once. Instead, it features “slut,” “whore,” “bitch,” “harlot,” “trollop,” “slag,” and “skag.”

This is yet another moment when Anglin slips in a reminder to writers to shoehorn in more anti-Semitism amidst the misogyny. “Whenever writing about women,” Anglin requests, “make sure to follow the prime directive and blame Jew feminism for their behavior.”

4. But also, be sure to keep things fun and funny so people want to join the…clan!

The most insidious aspect of Anglin’s style guide is its repeated insistence on a stealth recruitment strategy that relies on humor and lightheartedness to get young white readers excited about white nationalism. He repeatedly admonishes writers to cool it with the super angry racist diatribes that might scare newbies off. Instead, he suggests, authors should infuse their racism with lots of jokes, like the hipster racism of Vice circa 2003. (Ironically, in this same document, Anglin trashes Vice co-founder and hipster-racism aficionado Gavin McInnes as a “bottomless bucket of lulz.”)

“While racial slurs are allowed/recommended, not every reference to non-white should not be a slur and their use should be based on the tone of the article. Generally, when using racial slurs, it should come across as half-joking—like a racist joke that everyone laughs at because it’s true. This follows the generally light tone of the site.”

Here’s the key, though: “It should not come across as genuine raging vitriol. That is a turnoff to the overwhelming majority of people.”

Anglin reaffirms that the goal is to lure new readers, and potential new adherents to the alt-right’s racist agenda, above all. And the way to do that is by dressing the message up in internet memes and provocative jokes, and then to drive the (racist) point home over and over again.

“[T]hough we do mean to keep readers who are already in the know informed and entertained, it should always be considered that the target audience is people who are just becoming aware of this type of thinking,” Anglin writes. “The goal is to continually repeat the same points, over and over and over and over again. The reader is at first drawn in by curiosity or the naughty humor, and is slowly awakened to reality by repeatedly reading the same points.”

You know how you can end up knowing the words to a song you hate if you hear it enough on the radio? Repetition works. And Anglin’s betting that his writers can beat the audience over the head with their message until it’s gotten inside their heads.

5. Again, avoid overt hatred, despite the fact that it’s precisely what you’re peddling.

“Most people are not comfortable with material that comes across as vitriolic, raging, non-ironic hatred,” Anglin restates in another section of the document. “The unindoctrinated should not be able to tell if we are joking or not. There should also be a conscious awareness of mocking stereotypes of hateful racists. I usually think of this as self deprecating humor—I am a racist making fun of stereotype of racists, because I don’t take myself super-seriously.”

He adds, “There should be a conscious agenda to dehumanize the enemy, to the point where people are ready to laugh at their deaths. So it isn’t clear that we are doing this—as that would be a turnoff to most normal people—we rely on lulz.”

To put a very fine, super ugly point on it: “This is obviously a ploy and I actually do want to gas kikes. But that’s neither here nor there.”

6. Quote liberally from mainstream media sources to borrow their validity and authority.

Anglin urges writers to recycle “large parts” from articles in mainstream news outlets as a way to siphon legitimacy toward his own site. The idea is to do a good enough job of combining verifiable facts with nonsense racist propaganda that the two start to blend together.

“Being able to see the mainstream source quoted allows us to co-opt the perceived authority of the mainstream media,” Anglin writes, “and not look like one of those sites we are all probably familiar with where you are never certain if what they are saying has been confirmed.”

7. Note the media outlets covertly helping us do our dirty work.

While suggesting that writers find concise versions of real news stories to incorporate into their posts, Anglin notes that two news outlets seems to share a similar worldview.

“RT and Breitbart have the benefit of being closer to our own spin on many issues,” Anglin writes, “meaning….they are more likely to include points of interest.”

8. Take inspiration from—who else?—Adolf Hitler!

A quote from Anglin, without commentary: “The basic propaganda doctrine of the site is based on Hitler’s doctrine of war propaganda outlined in Mein Kampf, Volume I, Chapter VI. If you have not read this, please do so immediately.”

9. By all means, stir up the anger and rage of violent racist readers, but do it in a way that ensures we can feign innocence in court.

As he notes in a section titled “Violence,” Anglin is well aware that “It’s illegal to promote violence on the internet.” But as someone holding out hope that the U.S. will break out into a wide-scale race war, he’s dedicated to surreptitiously urging violent attacks by his racist followers en masse.

If you’re writing about some enemy Jew/feminist/etc., link their social media accounts,” Anglin advises writers for his site. “Twitter especially. We’ve gotten press attention before when I didn’t even call for someone to be trolled but just linked them and people went and did it.”

He also suggests that “it’s totally important to normalize the acceptance of violence as an eventuality/inevitability.” So murderous racists like Dylann Roof and Anders Breivik are hailed as heroes using language so over-the-top it borders on comical.

“This is great because people think you must be joking,” Anglin cynically notes. “But there is a part of their brain that doesn’t think that…[E]ven when a person can say to themselves ‘this is ridiculous,’ they are still affected by it on an emotional level. Whether they like it or not.”

10. Use popular culture as a vehicle for the white nationalist message.

People like what they know, and so Anglin aims to replicate recognizable and widely known media to engage readers in a way they understand. Early on in the style guide, Anglin admits that the Daily Stormer “is in many ways modeled off of successful liberal blogs such as Gawker.” (Anglin has reportedly previously cited Vice and Infowars.) He recommends writers fill their posts with “pop culture gifs of the style that Buzzfeed uses.”

But beyond just mirroring cultural digital ephemera, Anglin suggests that writers subvert—or rather, “hijack”—popular memes to give them a racist twist.

“Cultural references and attachment of entertainment culture to Nazi concepts have the psychological purpose of removing it from the void of weirdness that it would naturally exist in, due to the way it has been dealt with by the culture thus far, and making it a part of the reader’s world. Through this method we are also able to use the existing culture to transmit our own ideas and agenda.”

The site got lots of attention when it dubbed Taylor Swift an “Aryan Goddess” and suggested the singer is “a secret Nazi.” (For the record, Swift tried to sue a blogger who essentially demanded she disavow the alt-right, at least until the ACLU intervened on the blogger’s behalf. Conversely, Swift has never threatened to sue an actual white nationalist for claiming she supports their cause.)

Anglin also notes he turned 50 Cent’s “In Da Club” into an anti-immigrant song, because racists are lazy, garbage culture vultures who steal black people’s stuff while complaining about the browning of America.  

11. There’s no such thing as bad press.

Remember how stoked the alt-right was when presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gave a speech about how awful they were? That’s because you can’t shame a movement bereft of morals and principles from jump. Also, because the alt-right’s unofficial motto is “there’s no such thing as bad press.”

“We should always be on the lookout for any opportunity to grab media attention,” Anglin affirms. “It’s all good. No matter what.”

12. Even the payment system is a ‘jokey’ homage to Hitler.

Feinberg found that neo-Nazi hacker Andrew Auernheimer, who also serves as systems administrator for the Daily Stormer, recently shared this information with a group of prospective contributors: “[O]kay basically, it works like this, you can write articles, if we dont like them you can put them on your own blog or whatever, if we accept them for publication we will pay you $14.88.”

1488 is a popular number among white supremacists and other garden-variety racists. Fourteen is a reference to the “14 words,” a racist slogan favored by white nationalists and the like. Two eights—the eighth letter of the alphabet—stands for HH, as in Heil Hitler. (During the 2016 presidential election, a PBS docu-special happened to catch an enthusiastic Trump supporter’s gigantic “88” hand tattoo.)

 

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Albatross

There must be a rational way to manage buying and playing PC games. There must be an optimum of getting a maximum amount of fun out of a minimum amount of money spent, and getting the best out of each individual purchase. Unfortunately I must say that I am very far away from that optimum.

I have a large library of unplayed Steam games, which isn’t unusual. The rational thing to do would be whenever I have the time to install an unplayed game and play it to find out whether I want to spend more time with it or not. But somehow that second part causes me a problem. For example I recently installed Wolfenstein: The New Order, because I was in the mood to play a shooter game. I played the game for an hour or two, but didn’t really warm up to it. And now the game sits on my desktop and for psychological reasons I don’t really understand feels like an albatross around my neck. When I turn on my computer, seeing the icon of the game doesn’t make me want to play it. But somehow I feel that I *should* play it some more before uninstalling it and moving on. And I don’t want to install the next game before having done that decision. So in the end I end up not playing any PC game at all, but play something casual on my iPad or watch Netflix or do something D&D related.

The rational me realizes that this is pretty idiotic. If I don’t really like this game, I should just ditch it and try the next one. But the not-so-rational part of me has its doubts: Maybe I just wasn’t in a good mood when I tried the game. Maybe it gets better after a while. Maybe the $25 investment in the game necessitates a second try (which my rational self recognizes as a typical sunk cost fallacy).

I believe that a lot about our enjoyment of games isn’t really rational. We are perfectly capable of loving a game, then hating it, then loving it again. I always chuckle when I see Steam reviews of some player who has spend several hundred hours with a game and now tells you that the game sucks. The simple task of playing a game and deciding whether I like it or not turns out to be not simple at all. And then the default mode becomes procrastination until the game lingered so long on my computer that I finally uninstall it. Maybe I should try a service like Steam Advisor to find games I already own which I actually want to play.

Nintendo Switch game pricing

I haven’t played anything on my Nintendo Switch yet, as I technically only get it for Christmas. That hasn’t kept me from looking what games there are for the console. Apart from the two “system seller” games Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey there are quite a number of Nintendo and third party games on offer. So the choice is quite good. What is not so good is the pricing.

Prime example: Skyrim. I can overlook the fact that the game is 6 years old. I can overlook the fact that it doesn’t look as pretty on a TV screen as it looks on a PC screen. I can overlook the fact that playing it handheld means you run out of battery after a few hours. But why does this game which is sold on Steam for €14.99 cost €59.99 on the Nintendo Switch? Unless you really, really want to play Skyrim on a handheld tablet (unlikely), or don’t have a PC able to run a 6 year old game (even less likely), why would you want to pay 4 times more for the same game? But yet sales are quite good.

For me as a PC gamer the era of €60 games looks like ancient history. I haven’t bought a €60 game on Steam for years. Most full price games on Steam are cheaper than that, and I don’t usually buy full price games; I have enough games in reserve to be able to wait until I get the same game for half price or less. If Bethesda can sell Skyrim for €60, I imagine there must be a lot of console gamers out there who aren’t as price sensitive as the PC gamers. For me that just doesn’t look like good value for money.

Is Kratom Safe Enough for the Fight Against Opioids?

A new study says “yes,” and finds it relieves anxiety and reduces negative moods, too.

A review of 57 years of international scientific evidence may help change the perception of kratom and restore its potential as a public health tool that deserves more research.

As the nation grapples for solutions to the opioid epidemic—now claiming more than 33,000 American lives each year—the potential of the psychoactive plant kratom to become a useful tool in the battle has been the subject of hot debate.

While some in the medical field and many in the general public attest to kratom’s ability to help curb opioid addiction and relieve pain, governmental agencies continue to warn against its dangers to mental health, citing links to psychosis and addiction. In 2016, the DEA briefly recommended criminalizing kratom possession and distribution, before withdrawing the proposal.

The study not only points to the potential benefits of kratom as a safer substitute for opioids, but also suggests the plant’s potential to reduce negative mood and relieve anxiety. Published online this week in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, it represents the largest systematic review of the scientific literature on kratom use and mental health.

“There is a lot of confusing information about kratom in the media that makes it difficult for clinicians and the public to make informed choices,” says lead author Marc T. Swogger, associate professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center’s psychiatry department. “This study clarifies that there is no good scientific basis for claims that kratom causes psychosis, suicide, or violence, and the available data do not indicate that kratom is a significant public health problem.”

Coauthor Zach Walsh, associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia notes that current approaches to addressing the opioid epidemic are leaving large numbers of high-need individuals without effective treatment.

“We need to explore all options, and our findings suggest it’s time to carefully examine the potential of this ancient plant,” says Walsh.

3 harmful myths about the opioid epidemic

Swogger and Walsh reviewed the combined results of 13 studies conducted between January 1960 and July 2017, using data from 28,745 individuals.

“There is a clear need for more rigorous, well-controlled, prospective studies to support a sophisticated, nuanced understanding of the plant,” says Swogger. “But data across cultures indicated that kratom has a legitimate role to play in mitigating harms associated with opioid dependence. The bulk of the available research supports kratom’s benefits as a milder, less addictive, and less-dangerous substance than opioids, and one that appears far less likely to cause fatal overdose.”

Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa; also known as krathom or ketum) is part of the coffee family and has been used medicinally for centuries in Southeast Asia to relieve symptoms of opioid withdrawal, to relieve pain, diarrhea, and cough, and increase stamina and energy. People chew raw leaves of the kratom plant, boil them to serve as tea, smoke, or vaporize them.

How 30 opioid pills for surgery turn into a habit

In recent years, kratom’s use has expanded beyond Asia, and its leaves, powders, gums, capsules, and extracts are widely accessed through retail outlets and the internet in North America and Europe.

“We need more and better research to be able to outline the risks and benefits of kratom in greater detail,” Swogger says. “Only through well-controlled studies can we elucidate kratom’s potential for good and harm, and give the public, policy makers, and health care professionals the information needed to make informed decisions.”

Source: University of Rochester

Original Study DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.10.012

 

 

 

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Best GPS running watches (December 2017)

There are plenty of great fitness trackers on the market right now, each of which cater to different users with different needs. Just need to keep an eye on your daily activity levels? Maybe the Fitbit Charge 2 or Garmin vívosport will suit your needs. Looking for something even cheaper than that? Garmin’s vívofit 3 or Xiaomi’s Mi Band 2 might do the trick. But if you’re a more serious athlete that needs something a bit more powerful—something that can track your long runs and not skimp on the handy watch features—what are your options? Today, we’re going to walk you through our list of the best GPS running watches on the market.

Related: The best fitness trackers | Which Fitbit is right for you?

If you’re a serious runner and need something that will accurately track your routes, has a big, easy-to-read screen, a built-in heart rate monitor, and of course, a GPS, this list is for you. Some of the options on here are a bit pricey, but that’s par for the course in this segment of wearables.

Without any further delay, let’s get started!

Editor’s Note: We will update this list as more devices hit the market.

Best GPS running watch

Garmin fenix 5

Garmin’s fenix 5 lineup is finally here, and these are the best GPS running watches on the market right now.

All three fenix 5 models come with preloaded multisport functionality for running, hiking, swimming, biking, and more. They all feature Garmin’s impressive Elevate heart rate trackers, built-in GPS (of course), water resistance up to 100 meters, as well as navigation features with a 3-axis compass, gyroscope, and barometric altimeter.

They all also feature a variety of connected features that make these devices true smartwatches. Users can get call, text and email smartphone notifications. All Sapphire models are also Wi-Fi enabled, so users will be able to connect with their home network and upload statistics even if their smartphones aren’t around.

Not crazy about the regular fenix 5? The smaller fenix 5S might be for you. It has all the same specs as the fenix 5, though it’s built for people with smaller wrists and has a slightly smaller battery. Looking for something even more beefy than the fenix 5? The fenix 5X is much larger and comes with preloaded with TOPO U.S. mapping, routable cycling maps and other navigation features like Round Trip Run and Round Trip Ride. The 5X will even display guidance cues for upcoming turns.

Read more

  • Garmin fenix 5 review
  • Wrists-on with Garmin’s new fenix 5 line at CES 2017
Buy now from Amazon
Buy now from Garmin

Runner-up

Garmin vívoactive 3

best fitness trackers

Garmin’s vívoactive 3 is a huge step up from its predecessor, the vívoactive HR.

For starters, the vívoactive 3 actually looks like a watch this time around, and it will look nice on your wrist whether you’re at the gym or the office. It’s comfortable too, and has a bright, colorful touchscreen display.

There are a total of 15 activity tracking profiles built in, so most athletes will be covered here. It also has a super accurate GPS and heart rate monitor, a battery that will last around five days on a single charge, and plenty of great smartwatch features built in.

If you don’t mind spending close to $249 on a GPS running watch, you should definitely consider the vívoactive 3.

Read more

  • Garmin vívoactive 3 review
Buy now from Amazon

Honorable mention

TomTom Spark 3 Cardio + Music

TomTom’s Spark 3 Cardio + Music is a great option if you aren’t interested in the Garmin vívoactive HR.

It has everything you need in a GPS running watch – an accurate heart rate monitor, a built-in GPS (of course) and support for a ton of different running applications. Plus, this model comes with a Route Exploration feature that not only lets you track where you’ve run, but also lets you get routes from any website and upload them to your watch if you’re interested in trying out a new route.

It’s worth noting there are a few different models in the Spark 3 lineup: the TomTom Spark 3, Spark 3 Music, Spark 3 Cardio and our pick, the Spark 3 Cardio + Music. Though less expensive, the Spark 3 and Spark 3 Music unfortunately don’t offer a heart rate monitor. The Spark 3 Cardio certainly offers a lot for the money, though we believe the onboard music storage and pair of Bluetooth headphones that come with the Spark 3 Cardio + Music provide a better value overall. The Cardio + Music model only costs $60 more.

Buy now from Amazon
Buy now from TomTom

Also read: The dark side of fitness trackers: how to avoid common mistakes that could hurt your fitness goals

Best budget GPS running watch

Polar M200

If you’re on a budget, you can’t go wrong with the Polar M200.

This is a waterproof running watch with a built-in heart rate sensor and GPS that will track your speed, distance and route during a run, and will also keep tabs on your daily activity, steps, calories burned, sleep time and quality. This is also a sleek-looking device. In our opinion, it’s much better looking than its predecessor, the Polar M400.

Plus, this device also comes with Polar’s Running Index, which will show you how your running performance is improving overtime. In the Polar Flow app, you’ll get a Running Index score that’s automatically calculated after every run, based on your heart rate and speed data.

Buy now from Amazon
Buy now from Polar

Best smartwatch for running

Polar M600

See more Polar M600 photos

Polar’s M600 sport watch is by far the best GPS running smartwatch on the market.

With a built-in GPS, IPX8 water resistance rating, optical heart rate monitor and 4GB of on-board storage, the M600 is quite the feature-packed watch. It also comes with support for Polar’s wonderful Flow app, allowing you to track just about any activity you can think of – rowing, skiing, hiking and much more. You’ll also be able to squeeze about two days of battery life out of this thing, which is impressive for an Android Wear watch.

You can certainly find Android Wear devices for less than the $300 asking price, but the M600 provides much more than other devices.

Read more

  • Polar M600 review
  • Polar M600 specs, price release date and everything else you should know
Buy now from Amazon
Buy now from Polar

So there you have it – our list of the best GPS running watches on the market! Did we miss anything? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Next: How to use your fitness tracker to actually get fit – a comprehensive guide

Rage of Demons: Session 5

In the previous session the group left Gracklstugh and traveled to Neverlight Grove. As they had spent two sessions in Gracklstugh, I thought I could at the very least fill one full session with the events in Neverlight Grove. Unfortunately I was wrong, and and we had a short session due to me running out of prepared material. My bad!

The myconids of Neverlight Grove are a peaceful people, organized into circles. Even their “hunter circle” doesn’t actually kill things, but just collects corpses of anything that dies close to the village and uses them as fertilizer. So the group’s first encounter with the myconids (other than their travel companions Stool and Rumpadump) was after they killed a Shambling Mound near the village, and the “hunters” turned up and asked politely if they could collect it. That got the group a friendly welcome to the village, and a quest to kill another monster which was attacking myconids outside the village.

I had some commercial poster battlemaps of Underdark caves, and used one of them for this fight against a Grick alpha. What I hadn’t noticed was that on the map there was a pond with treasure chests visible at the bottom. So after the fight the group wanted to lift those chests, and I didn’t want to spoil their fun and say there weren’t any. So I let them roll on the appropriate treasure table in the DM’s Guide, and they ended up with a Figurine of Wondrous Power (Ebony Fly). Nice, but not overpowered.

Back in the village the group interacted with the myconids and learned that they were split in two factions. The “normal” ones were a bit naive, friendly, and not very emotional. The others were overly enthusiastic, dancing around, and awaiting a great event for tomorrow in the Garden of Welcome. They were asked not to go to the garden so as to not spoil the surprise, so of course they went.

That resulted in several fights against infected myconids and other creatures. Ultimately the group discovered yet another demon lord, Zuggtmoy, who apparently is preparing her wedding to the “Great Body”. Various infected plant creatures serve as chamberlains and bridesmaids in some sort of perverted wedding ceremony. But it is rather obvious that the group can’t stop the wedding without fighting the “bride”, and they aren’t strong enough to tackle demon lords yet. While the un-infected myconids flee, the group decides that they should do the same, and travel on towards Blingdenstone.

Google Pixel 2 XL fingerprint scanner slower following Android 8.1 update

  • Some Google Pixel 2 XL are experiencing slower fingerprint unlock times following the Android 8.1 Oreo update
  • The only solution so far seems to be using the Always On display
  • Google is now investigating the issue

We have been tracking all the Google Pixel 2 XL issues since launch. This handset has thus far been the more problematic of Google’s most recent flagship pair (the other device being the regular Google Pixel 2), and we’ve now got another issue for the list. Unlike some of the previous troubles, however — which were fixed by the Android 8.1 Oreo update — this appears to have occurred as a result of the update.

As noted in the Google Product Forums (via Android Central), some users are reporting that their Pixel 2 XL fingerprint scanner became less responsive after installing Android 8.1 Oreo.

Editor’s Pick

Rather than the nippy fingerprint unlock experienced before, it’s said that the Pixel XL 2 can now take a second or more to unlock. Apparently, using the Always On display can resolve the issue, but it’s not a feature everybody wishes to make use of. Google employees have since responded to the thread and are now reaching out to individuals for bug reports and more information, so a fix may not be far off.

While a second-long delay might not sound like a big deal, to a person unlocking their phone dozens of times per day, and having previously experienced almost instantaneous unlocking, I can understand the frustration. Let us know if you’ve experienced this in the comments.

Firefox Focus gets a little bit better with autocomplete and more search engines

Mozilla

It’s been over a year since Firefox launched its privacy-focused Focus browser, and Mozilla hopes to double-down on the app’s popularity by giving you faster access to your most visited sites and the ability to add any search engine you want.

With the latest update, which Mozilla announced through its blog, you now have the option to turn on URL autocomplete. That way, you don’t have to fully type out the websites you visit the most — just type a few letters, and the search field takes care of the rest.

If you choose to enable autocomplete, Focus can tap into over 450 popular URLs and have them autocomplete in the address bar when you’re typing out a URL. If there are websites you frequent that are not part of that list, the app also lets you add and maintain custom autocomplete URLs in conjunction with what it knows.

Mozilla

Of course, you can disable URL autocomplete at any moment, and even though the feature doesn’t necessarily add anything to Focus, it does allow for greater convenience.

Focus’ update also lets you add search engines from any website that has a search field. For example, if you want to look up a movie on Rotten Tomatoes to see if it got good reviews, you can see the movie’s ranking without going to Rotten Tomatoes’ website.

Again, this doesn’t necessarily add anything to Focus except convenience, though that is what the app has strived for since it made its debut on iOS in 2016. Focus then hopped over to Android back in June, though the goal of being an ultra-lean, privacy-focused browser continued.

Editor’s Pick

By default, Focus blocks ad, analytics, and social trackers, though you are more than welcome to also block other content trackers. You can even block Web fonts, if you so choose, and once you’re done browsing, you can hit the Erase button on the top right to erase your browsing history.

Focus was designed to live side-by-side with the regular Firefox browser, not replace it, though folks certainly seem happy with it — Mozilla says Focus has been downloaded over one million times on Android within the first month of availability.

If you want to count yourself as one of those downloads, you can do so through the link below.

Download the app