Public Parks


Skkra recommends… public parks!

If you live in a suburban or rural area, you probably dont need to even think about this. The parks near you are likely gigantic state parks, miles long, with dozens of trails and a river to canoe in. If you live in the city, however, chances are you dont have a 2 acre backyard.

I honestly often forget just how nice these public city parks can be, then I’m reminded when I walk by and see a large group all playing some lawn game together. I do help clean up my local park, but aside from walking home through it, I find I blank on using it. It’s honestly a nice place to even just read a book.

So especially if you live in the city, remember to hit the park once in a while. Its surprisingly good to lift your spirits and brighten your mood. Works for me, at least.



Skkra recommends… SQLite!

I love SQL Server.  I loathe Oracle.  In the middle space, there’s SQLite, a database thats most commonly found on mobile devices.  I had the opporunity to work on a project that utilized SQLite from inside of Unity, and it was a pleasurable exercise.

SQLite isn’t as full-featured as any of the big guys, but the fact that the engine is so small and writes to a self-contained database file makes it perfect for mobile devices.  All transactions are fully ACID (for you non tech people, it basically means the database has guaranteed resilience), it can work in 32 and 64 bit environments, and the file format is simple and works across multiple platforms.

The API is easy to work with, and most sql feels pretty standard.  I’d definitely use it again on any mobile development I do.

Urban Beatz Bluetooth Speakers


Skkra recommends… Urban Beatz bluetooth speakers!

Yesterday I mentioned how bad default smartphone speakers are, and my trick for naturally amplifying the sound.  Well, if you need a little “pill” speaker, I’ve always liked the sound of the Urban Beatz speakers.

They’re only around $30, and they’re bluetooth.  You can charge them with a standard miniusb, the exact same ones used to charge PS4 controllers, in fact.  The speaker holds a decent charge – a good few hours of music – although admittedly I’ve never timed it to see what kind of mileage you truly get.  That said, it seems to hold up through the entirety of a booze-filled backyard hangout, so thats enough for me.

I actually don’t believe that the specific model I have is in production any longer, but that probably just means you can get it nice and cheap.

Cornering Your Phone


Skkra recommends… cornering your phone!

Lets face it, the speakers on phones are a joke at best.  So how do you possibly get even half decent sound without an external speaker?

The only way I can ever get decent raw sound from my iPhone is to place it in a corner… the sound bouncing tightly from a corner gets several times louder than you’d normally be able to make it, and even tends to amplify the midrange and bass somewhat.

An area with highly reflective surfaces, like tile, works best.  To make it work, just press your phone into the corner, aiming the speaker directly at it.  You should have a little triangle between the walls and your phone, with your phone becoming the diagonal of the triangle.  Make sense?  I was unable to take a picture of it with my phone, since it’s apparently impossible to take a picture of your phone with your phone.

Anyways, there’s a random tip for the day.  I do it all the time in my kitchen, and also, oddly enough, in the corner of my shower.  I can listen to podcasts in the morning while getting ready for work, and the sound in there is incredibly loud for some reason.