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Year: 2019

Ska City at The Odditorium

We played our second show recently, and the good George Hodges produced a fine live recording of it for everyone to hear.

The Internet Archive, the same people who bring you the Wayback Machine, is a great place where live music recording enthusiasts are posting all kinds of great stuff for free listening. Not only is the Ska City show there, but there are millions of other things you can get lost in listening to as well.

Here’s the Ska City show:

https://archive.org/details/SC2019-12-11.m1280.24

And here’s the page you can start on to choose your own musical adventure:

https://archive.org/details/audio

Challenges IT Teams Face Every Day

IT, and the teams who help support the business through information technology, plus everything that comes with it, generally face some challenges occasionally. And that’s before they even read a ticket. Receiving tickets daily for the team to complete, is part and parcel of the job. But there are additional challenges that they need to face to overcome and be able to provide the best service for the business they work for. Supporting the business with their IT needs is a career that many love, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any real challenges that can make the day more difficult. So here are some of those challenges for you to understand while your IT support team may need a little extra time occasionally.

Amount of tickets

Tickets raised for an IT team, are the bread-and-butter of their workload, tickets can be raised from somebody’s power supply not working, to an issue with the mesh network that has just been implemented. The IT department will have to deal with all changes in software, set up equipment for new staff, and deal with any IT challenge that becomes apparent every day. The amount of work that comes in is generally unpredictable, so if you hear the IT manager become a little frustrated by the amount of work. This isn’t because they dislike their work, it’s because the amount of work coming in can sometimes feel really significant. So you may hear the odd grumble from the IT team, that will make you realise how often tickets are raised. It may also make you consider whether your issue could be dealt with differently.

User error

In addition to the number of tickets that are raised, there are a large proportion of cards that are increased due to user error. This is, of course, a training issue, since if staff don’t know how to use the equipment, there is given, then that’s the issue, rather than an IT problem. Many people are becoming wise to the fact that they can deal with many IT issues themselves, and trying their best, but occasionally the team find the easy way out and ask the IT department to look at a simple problem. This is, of course, something that can be dealt with, but you won’t always completely eliminate user error.

Coffee supplies

Due to the vast amount of work that the IT department in any business receives, there is an enormous amount of coffee usually consumed in the office. This can, of course, pose problems if you run out. It would help if you had an IT department firing on all cylinders, to ensure that the inner workings of the business are kept steady. Downtime in any business is undesirable obviously, so this is why it’s essential to prevent these issues as much as possible.

Communication is critical, and IT helps in a big way when it comes to communication. So not wasting the IT teams time, and ensuring that preventable challenges are actually prevented, will help any business in the long run.

Everything You Need To Know About Riding A Motorcycle In 2020

There are few things that evoke freedom quite like riding a motorbike. If you’re used to driving cars, the removal of that metal cage does something quite peculiar; it makes you feel like you’re on top of the world as you ride. Obviously, there are still myriad safety concerns and checks to undertake on a minute-to-minute basis as you ride, but the two experiences – riding a motorcycle versus driving a car – are as different as night and day. Here’s everything you need to know about riding a motorcycle in 2019, whether you’re a beginner who’s never been in a vehicle before or an expert looking to learn more.

You need good gear

Driving a car is unlike riding a motorcycle in many ways, but one of the most crucial differences is that you’ll need good gear. There really isn’t an official uniform for driving; sensible shoes and no mascot costumes seem to be the driving (no pun intended) principles. For riding a bike, however, you’ll need good leathers, a great-quality helmet, and more. Your equipment journey starts with a little tip: for boots click here. You’ll thank us when you’re strapping yourself into some of the finest motorcycling gear there is. Try to wear it in before you hit the road, because it will probably feel a little strange at first.

It’s safer than you might think – if you ride well

According to the NHTSA (the American traffic safety administration), in 2015 alone, around 33 percent of riders killed in motorcycle accidents died as a direct result of their own speeding. 40 percent of those accidents involved riders that weren’t wearing helmets. Motorcycles carry more inherent risk than cars – there’s less overall protection for you if you crash, after all – but a heightened level of vigilance and consummate skill behind the handlebars mean that you shouldn’t crash if you ride well and keep your eyes on the road at all times.

You can burn calories

Believe it or not, riding a motorcycle actually counts as pretty decent exercise. Since you always need to control the direction of the vehicle itself – rather than using a steering wheel to direct a car – you’re engaging in constant low-impact activity. This means you’ll be consistently burning fat while you ride. Of course, this shouldn’t serve as a complete replacement to your usual exercise regime; you won’t be able to shed the pounds quickly or efficiently just through motorcycle riding. Still, it’s not bad as a bonus over cars, eh?

Filtering is a revelation

You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced the joy of filtering through traffic. Naturally, you should check your location’s laws about this before you attempt it, but in a nutshell, filtering is what motorcyclists are doing when they weave through stationary traffic in order to attain a more advantageous position. It’s legal in most places, provided you do it safely and without any risk to either yourself or to other drivers. No more getting stuck in constant traffic – just move your bike between cars and watch as you leave the big metal cages behind.

Riding a motorcycle has positive effects on your mental health

Around one in four people in the UK have been diagnosed with a mental illness or with mental health issues. If you’re one of them, there is, of course, absolutely no shame in this. One way you can improve your mental health is to ride a motorcycle. Doing so causes adrenaline to course through your veins, which in turn releases endorphins that will raise your mood and improve your mental health. Besides that, there’s just no substitute for riding through the countryside without metal walls to hem you in. Freedom feels good, after all.

You can improve your mental acuity

When you’re driving a car, you’re simply sitting in the seat and (eventually) mindlessly pulling levers, pushing buttons, and turning wheels. Your brain will soon start to perform the necessary driving actions completely on autopilot. When you’re on a bike, however, you’re working hard at making sure the vehicle goes where you want it to. Concentrating on your technique, as well as watching the road in front of you and accommodating other drivers, means you’re always using your grey matter when you ride a bike. It’s a mental workout in and of itself.

It’s peaceful

Of course, it’s entirely possible to find peace if you’re driving a car, but there’s just something special about a motorbike that invites a feeling of zen. When you’re riding out in the country or the desert with nobody’s thoughts to keep you company but your own, there are few feelings comparable. Riding a motorbike is great for dealing with anger, too; although you absolutely shouldn’t ride without being emotionally stable, if you do find yourself struggling with anger then getting on your bike and going for a ride is a tremendous help. Just be safe.

It’s environmentally friendly

Although there are some bikes which do consume fuel at a faster rate than cars do, you’ll generally find that due to their size, motorbikes are better for the environment. It’s not just about fuel consumption, but also how many resources the bike costs to construct, how many can be made in the same space of time as cars, et cetera. Eco-friendly motorbikes are also being produced and will greatly increase the efficiency and environmentally-friendly quality of the vehicle. If you care about the environment, drop your gas-guzzler and go bike instead.

Why You Should Move To An Up Coming Area and How To Spot One

If you’re thinking of buying a house, then one of, if not the most important thing to look for is the location, then probably the price. However, if you’re smart, you can find somewhere affordable and in a great place if you can find yourself an up and coming neighborhood. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could spot the next “hot” area before it’s hot? You’d get an excellent property for cheap, and end up living in one of the most desirable spots in town.

You will have to keep in mind though that an up and coming neighborhood takes long-term vision, so if you want to buy somewhere, it can take a decade, or more, for prices and reputation to change. And, there’s no guarantee that they actually will. However, there are a few signs which you can look out for which can help you to choose the perfect place.

Businesses

When businesses start to settle in an area, there are usually several reasons why. Especially if they are big companies! They definitely do their own research into areas, salaries, demand vs. supply, transport, etc.and when small boutiques, a co-working space, or a fancy independent coffee shop moves into the neighborhood, it’s more often than not a positive sign that the neighborhood is changing. Most established businesses do a fair amount of financial research and projections before moving into an area. Take San Fernando, for example, with the San Fernando Brewery pouring Valley-inspired beers, San Fernando Boulevard’s street mall, where a vintage and consignment shop and a Truman House Tavern are located. If you’re thinking of moving to this area, check out https://www.mybekins.com/office/los-angeles-san-fernando-valley-movers/.

Renovations and Regenerations

Often people think that because an area is being regenerated, it must be bad. However, it’s quite often the opposite as when places start to renovate and regenerate strongly; then chances are in the years to follow prices will rise. Big cities often have warehouses and parks that are neglected, and if the council starts to clean up the area, then it usually means that the neighborhood might be on its way up. If the city is willing to invest its money into an area, then others will follow. 

Transportation

Transportation always pushes up property prices as convenience is something that people are willing to pay for. So, look for areas that have plans to improve local transport. But once you have found somewhere, make sure you get in early as once a ‘hotspot’ leaks out, people will follow, and the profit margin will shrink rapidly.

The PeopleAnother sign to look out for is the people who are there already, artists and musicians typically lead the way to a neighborhood’s resurgence because they look for cheap rent. They move into an area to live and work. Then, other people follow. Why? Simply because artists and musicians are “cool.” They often make their neighborhoods look cool, and people like to be near that creative energy. Eventually, the area starts to build up as more and more people flock in. Also, look for where young people are living, as they are often priced out of established neighborhoods, which is why they often lead the way to a neglected neighborhood’s resurgence. Once they move in, restaurants and bars usually follow.

Merle – Lost Recordings

Merle, circa 1992, in Schaefer Dormitory at Warren Wilson College.

Way back in the good years of 1992-1993 or so I was in a band called Merle, based at Warren Wilson College. As a three-piece, we produced some insane sounds, surrounded ourselves with more insane antics, and had a hell of a time doing it.

Merle went on to become The Merle when Morgan Geer joined the band, and our notoriety in Asheville and beyond started to grow. Eventually, I left the band (I was the only one still in school at that point), but The Merle continued on and became an Asheville legend.

An old pal from Warren Wilson (Richard Stowe) recently dug up a tape of a live recordings and some demos that Merle had done from 1992 or 1993. Another old pal (George Hodges) cleaned up the tape, remastered it, and put it out there for you all to enjoy!

Beware: there are vulgarities at certain points, where we asked friends to join us on stage.

Check it out here!

How To Create Your Little Corner Of The Internet

Whatever it is you want to achieve, whether it’s your own offline business, online business, to become an influencer, to be a blogger or a Youtuber, you know that you need to have an online presence. You need to build yourself a little corner of the internet that’s just yours, somewhere that other people can come and see, somewhere you can direct and invite others to join you in your little world. But how can you do this?

Which Platform Is Right For You?

You might not need a website for your business or yourself, for some people it can be a hassle and cost and sometimes, a Facebook page or Instagram account might be the best way to build an audience, connect with people, and keep them updated. What’s great is that the people you want to reach out to are already familiar with these platforms and they are they already waiting for you. For example, if you have a cafe or restaurant, you could create your space with nothing more than a Facebook or Instagram profile. Use them to upload new pictures, keep the menu updated, communicate with customers, promote events and highlight any special offers.

Perhaps you would rather go with a video presence and focus on that, while it’s good to have different platforms, it’s also essential to focus on one at first and get it right. If video is your end goal, then you may as well start there. Whether it’s how-to videos, lifestyle vlogs or reviewing movies, then there are plenty of tools to help you and teach you about Youtube, you can get a YouTube banner template to quickly add some style and visual appeal to your YouTube channel too.

Whatever you choose to focus on first, it’s essential to get that right before you move onto your next thing. You might find you then do want to build a website, and if you do then a good place to start is WordPress, it gives you control and flexibility and powers 25% of all sites out there, meaning it is a trusted and respected platform. You can do just about anything with WordPress; you can have an online shop, create a portfolio for yourself, have a blog, host adverts, collect email addresses, make money – essentially you can run your online business all from one place. You can use WordPress to make your site as big or as small as you want to and there are plenty of plugins which you can use too.

What Do You Want To Achieve?

This is really the most important question, like anything, there is no point in doing it without reason or purpose, so what is it that you want to achieve online and focus on that. Do you want people to know your name, see your work, read your blog or buy your products? Once you have a goal, you can use that to focus on and work everything else around it to get to where you want to go.