Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Seiko Spring Drive - The Quiet Revolution

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sony MDR-1000X more than worth its price tag

This year has been a good one for music lovers looking to pick up a pair of solid noise-cancelling headphones, as audio-equipment manufacturers are pushing out feature-packed and wireless-capable headphones at reasonable prices.
Sony's MDR-1000X headphones are the latest to join the fray, and they are easily one of the best in the market currently.

It is the Japanese company's premium consumer product and is priced to match. At $599, it is pricier than its closest competitor, the Bose QuietComfort 35 (QC35), which is arguably the standard which other noise-cancelling headphones are matched against.
The 1000X, however, holds its own against the QC35, with superb noise-cancellation and excellent audio playback quality.
The large, luxurious earpads cup the ears just right to provide a decent amount of passive noise-cancellation.
Turn on the active noise-cancellation, and the headphones become an isolated bubble of music that shuts out the outside world almost too effectively.

  • PRICE: $599
    WEIGHT: 275g (without cable)
    FEATURES: 5/5
    DESIGN: 5/5
    OVERALL: 5/5
The 1000X shuts out noise from sources such as vehicles and background chatter, and it does so by keeping the pressure on the ears - which some people find uncomfortable when using noise-cancelling cans - to a minimum.
The sound quality is clear, clean and wonderfully balanced.
From the rock tunes of The National to the electro-synth of The Chainsmokers, the 1000X was able to reproduce clear mids and solid bass, without one overpowering the other.
Sony wasn't content to leave the 1000X as just a pair of headphones with noise-cancelling capabilities, choosing to add a whole host of features that improves the experience of wearing the headphones while out and about.
Microphones on the outside of the earcups constantly pick out ambient noise to adjust the amount of noise-cancellation required in changing situations.
They also work in conjunction with other useful features that Sony has worked into the 1000X.
With the headphones' Quick Attention feature, for instance, users can cup the right earcup to activate the microphones so that they can hear what people are saying to them without needing to take the headphones off.
There are also two ambient sound modes: normal and voice. Normal mode makes the 1000X behave almost like open-back headphones, picking out ambient noise like keyboard clatter or traffic next to you.
Voice mode filters out most ambient noises but attunes the headphones to people speaking, which was useful while I was travelling on the train so I didn't miss the announcement for my stop.
The earcups are also touch-activated, and it was very convenient for me to switch tracks by swiping forward on the earcup, or to adjust the volume by swiping up or down.
One thing that makes or breaks a pair of wireless headphones is how smooth the wireless connection is from music player to headphones. In the weeks I've been using the 1000X, I have yet to experience any noticeable skips while connected via Bluetooth.
It supports wireless playback with Sony's proprietary audio format, LDAC, which is able to transmit high-resolution audio wirelessly without the decrease in audio quality that regular Bluetooth audio formats suffer from.
However, only Sony's own digital audio players can play LDAC files. You don't need to buy into the entire Sony ecosystem to enjoy the 1000X, though, as they sound great on smartphones and iPods.
The 1000x comes in very serious colours - just black and grey - which give them a nice, cool industrial look.
The slightly bulky earcups can take up a fair bit of space, even though they can be folded inwards into a more compact package.
The battery life is very generous, easily exceeding 20hr when used wirelessly. It took me more than a week and half of moderate use - about 2hr a day - before I needed to recharge the battery.
  • Verdict: While the MDR-1000X is pricey, its excellent noise-cancellation, playback quality and host of useful features make it worth the price.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Remembering Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, world's longest-reigning monarch

Thais wept in grief across the nation Thursday after the palace announced the death of their beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the country’s unifying figure and the world’s longest-reigning monarch. He was 88.
Hundreds of people gathered at Bangkok’s Siriraj Hospital, where Bhumibol had been treated for a variety of ailments for much of the past decade. Many sobbed loudly, clutching each other in anguish and shouting “Long live the king.”
The government announced a 100-day mourning period and a 30-day moratorium on state events. His son, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, is to succeed him on the throne.
Most Thais had seen no other king in their lifetime and thought of Bhumibol, who reigned for 70 years, as their father and the embodiment of goodness and godliness.
Although a constitutional monarch, he wielded enormous political power and served as a unifying figure during Thailand’s numerous political crises. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

8 Easy Yoga Poses to Relieve Sciatica Pain in 16 Minutes or Less

“Ah! My sciatica!” I’ve been hearing that from my grandmother since I was a child. She’s seventy-six now, so that’s about a third of her life that she’s been saying that. Probably longer because my brother remembers her talking about it too.
Let’s start with what the sciatic nerve actually is. As this will help us better understand the sciatic nerve pain my grandmother complains about. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the human body, starting at the spine base and running right down through your thigh and calf muscles to your foot.
The average person has about a 40% chance of experiencing some sciatica pain throughout their lives. It might not be a chronic pain, but you could have trouble with it. That’s kind of a startling statistic until you learn that not all sciatica trouble causes pain. Sometimes it’s as simple as tingling in your legs or weakness in your knees.

Symptoms Of Sciatica Trouble

  • Pain anywhere along the sciatic nerve in the lower back, buttock, back of the thigh, and/or calf.
  • Fatigue, numbness, or loss of feeling in your legs and/or feet.
  • An electric, tingling, burning, pinching, or pins-and-needles feeling
  • Weakness that can cause your knees to buckle when you stand up from sitting.
  • Foot drop: a condition in which you are not able to flex your ankles enough to walk on your heels.
  • Reduced reflexes in your Achilles tendon and knee.

What Causes Sciatica Pain?

Sciatica pain can be caused by herniation in your lumbar spine – this is the part of your spine that curves inward, near you lower-middle back. This is serious and you should consult a doctor about this immediately. But nearly 70 percent of sciatica cases are caused by piriformis. This muscle is one of a few small deep hip rotators that you use to turn your thigh out.

Reducing Pain in Your Sciatica

In order to reduce pain in your sciatica, particularly if your pain is caused by the piriformis, there are a few back stretches you can perform that originate in yoga to help stretch your lower back and to help prevent or stop sciatica pain.

The Standing Back Twist

back twist sciatica exercise
This is a great pose for people who aren’t bendy enough to start with some of these other poses. Put your foot up on a chair, and place the outside of your opposite hand on your raised knee (left hand to the right knee or right hand to left knee). Place your other hand on your hip. Turning your upper body while keeping your hips facing forward hold the position for thirty seconds, then switch. Don’t push past where your comfortable.

The Knee Raise

Knee raise sciatica exercise
Lying on your back draw one knee to your chest, keeping the other leg straight. Push down with your knee and pull up with your hands. Keep your shoulders on the floor.

The Two Knee Twist

Two knee twist sciatica exercise

Lie on your back. Splay your arms to form a capital “T.” Keeping your shoulders on the floor, turn your knees out to one side. Keep your shoulders on the floor. Hold the position for a minute, then alternate sides.

The Single Knee Twist

yoga spine sciatica exercise
Lie on your back. Keeping one leg straight, bend one knee to a 90° angle, place the opposite hand on that knee. Turn to face the arm still on the floor. Keep both shoulders against the floor.

The Twisted Lunge

yoga lunge sciatica exercise
This is a trickier pose but really opens your hips. Step one leg forward, bend at the knee. The other leg should stay out behind you. Try to keep your feet one leg’s length apart. Turning your back, place your opposite elbow on the outside your bent knee. Bring your palms together. Hold for thirty seconds.

The Seated Twist

spinal sit yoga twist sciatica exercise
Sit with your legs straight in front of you. Bend on the leg at the knee and place it on the outside of the other knee. You can keep the leg straight or curl it up, whichever is comfier. Put one hand flat on the floor behind you, place your opposite elbow on the outside of your bent knee. Turn to face behind you, keeping your legs pointing forward.

The Cat Pose

cat pose sciatica exercise

Super easy. Get on your hands and knees. Bend your back down and lift your chest by pulling your shoulders back. Breathe and hold for ten seconds. Return to a flat back, then tuck your chin into your chest and raise your back. Hold for ten seconds and release. Do this for a minute or two.

Child’s Pose

child pose yoga sciatica relief
The easiest pose on this list. Get down on your hands and knees, then rock your seat back onto your heels, leaving your hands on the floor in front of you. Hold for as long as you like. Don’t fall asleep like this, your legs won’t forgive you.
For more tips on how to properly perform each movement, grab a copy of Yoga Burn by Her Yoga SecretsYoga Burn is a yoga program that is divided into 15-minute videos with tips to help ensure that you achieve the basics of each pose and carry out each movement with the proper techniques. Follow this link to order your copy today.