What do you need to host your first esports tournament?

As you know if you follow me, I am the advisor of the esports club at UNCW. Recently, I have been getting a lot of emails from schools, clubs, or organizations who would like to know how to set up their own esports tournament. The following video goes through the basics you would need, the minimum, when hosting a small tournament. I kept this simple so that it would be easy to follow and there are a lot of details left out (on purpose). The idea here is that you have a guide to work from to put together a plan to host your own tournament.

Blue Light – 30 Day Challenge

Update from Week 4 – I am impressed. Still blocking blue light. Very happy with the results.

See my final video here:

Update from Week 3: In addition to everything I noticed in week 2 my headaches are gone. I haven’t had to take headache medicine for 10 days, which is pretty unusual. If I go a full 2 weeks, that will be impressive and a record. Not sure if its just the season, my new diet, or the blue light. My guess is that I am sleeping better and straining less at the computer which is leading to better sleep and therefore less headaches. I will keep you posted at the end of my 3 days next week.

Update from Week 2: I am noticing something new – I can’t stay awake in bed to read. Usually I read from 30-60 minutes per night. For the last 1.5 weeks I have been falling asleep within 5-10 minutes. The first few nights I didn’t think anything of it but now its the same every night. This is cool but I really need to finish my latest book!

Original post:

I have been interested in blue light glasses for quite a while now and for Christmas this year got a pair (https://amzn.to/37twDgw)! Actually I got two pair! So naturally being curious I decided to try them out. I wanted to do a 30 day challenge to see if I noticed any difference in my sleep or headaches when wearing the glasses. You see, I have read that these glasses can do all sorts of wonders, which makes me think they are snake oil. But I am a migraine sufferer, so anything that could potentially help is worth trying out, especially if it’s risk free!

So I began my journey by researching blue light. What I found was that blue light, like most other things in life, is both good and bad. It’s great for us in the day, it gives up energy. But at night, it can mess up our sleep and sleep is very important for human health. So essentially being on a screen right before bed can affect our sleep (notice I said can, not does because the research is very undecided at this point).

So the first thing I did was test my blue light glasses. I bought a test kit from amazon to test them (https://amzn.to/2ugdlNy). This test kit showed they did block blue light. The problem was that I didn’t know how much blue light the test kit shows was being blocked. Additionally, I couldn’t find any research saying how much blue light needs to be blocked for you to notice a difference. This makes this all more tricky as I essentially need to self experiment. So self experiment I did…

Additionally, I also realized that I can block blue light on my devices without glasses. There are settings on your PC, Mac, Iphone, Android, etc that allow you to block blue light.

OK so lets talk some results. Keep in mind, I am only 1 week into this test but I have already learned a lot.

First a side note – I noticed in my research that when blue light is blocked that a screen should appear orange/red. This is what also happens when I turn off the blue light from my computer and phone. But my blue light glasses are clear. The company claims to have some “other technology” allowing it to be clear but when I see what the researchers from NASA are using, they are also using orange tinted glasses. This leads me to my results…

Wearing the glasses, I am noticing nothing. No difference. None whatsoever. But what is interesting is that as soon as I turn the blue light off of my computer or phone, like within minutes, my eyes feel less strained. I really notice this difference right away. I haven’t noticed it impacting my sleep or headaches but there is a difference. This makes me think my blue light glasses need to be the good orange ones (https://amzn.to/2QQlSiV) or they aren’t blocking enough blue light. So my initial opinion is that the clear glasses don’t block enough. I also think you do not need the glasses at all. Why not just turn the blue light off your computer and phone an hour before bedtime? They have settings to set a time so you won’t even need to do it more than once. Anyway, those are my initial results. I will post more over the next few weeks of my 30 days challenge. Here are some videos where I discuss all of this:

How to stop laptop from overheating!

I recently was on vacation, using a brand new alienware computer, and ran into a lot of overheating issues. This is not something I normally experience with my home computer, which is also an alienware, so I had to take steps to solve the issue and make sure the computer wasn’t broken and to lower the temps. High temps can mean a broken machine or it can just mean you need to make a few adjustments.

The main issue I was running into was that games, like Overwatch, were increasing the temps to 99 degrees celsius. That is way too high and can damage a machine. Ideally you don’t want temps above 85-90 when pushing the processor and temps below 65 when idle. To monitor the temps, I used a program call HWINFO, which was showing high temps after just a few minutes of gaming. Here are the steps I took to lower the temps on the machine:

1. Used a laptop board that was vented and angled.
2. Undervolted the machine using throttlestop.
3. Lowered the amount of turbo boost the machine can use.

I describe how I do each of these in the video. By the end of the process I was able to keep the machine below 80 degrees at all times. That means that my machine is not broken and just needed some adjustments to maintain a good temperature. Remember laptops cram a lot into a small space so high temps are not unusual when you push the processor. This was a new machine and hadn’t been tested. I find all of my machines usually need adjustment to find that sweet spot to maximize performance while keeping the machine below temps that will damage it!

Links to everything discussed in video:

Laptop cooling pad: https://amzn.to/35ax6CI
Throttlestop:https://www.techpowerup.com/download/techpowerup-throttlestop/
HWINFO: https://www.hwinfo.com/

How much does sound quality matter when recording a video or podcast?

Sound quality if very important when creating a video or podcast. Instead of telling you how important sound quality is, I decided to run an experiment showing you how different mics sound. The difference is telling, especially when you hear the difference between a nice mic and your standard mic on your laptop. When you hear the two one after another the difference is HUGE! Here is a link for the Blue Yeti Mic I use when recording my sound – https://amzn.to/2qPRlYm. Take a look for yourself in the following video:

How do I make my videos?

I have been asked this question so many times that I figured it was time for me to show you! So how do I make my tutorials? How do I add myself to a video when showing off a piece of software? Its easy and its complicated! I know that’s probably not the answer you are looking for. I think most people want me to say “I am using X software that does it all” but unfortunately it involves several pieces of software and hardware. In the following video I explain everything I am using:

How to create a podcast

See my latest video on how to create a podcast. This video is designed for the absolute beginner. I am in the process of creating some more advanced ones. In this video I cover the basic steps to create a podcast:

1. Find a topic!

2. Set a schedule

3. Hardware

4. Software

5. Publishing

6. Promoting your podcast

 

Adobe Captivate Virtual Reality (VR)

In this video I review and show you how to use Adobe Captivate’s VR feature. Here is a summary of my findings:

What it is – A very easy to use VR developing environment. You can use both videos and images. Create quizzes. Create hotspots. Have users go through a specific path.

Tech required – 360 Camera. You really need a 360 camera to use this. Fortunately they are inexpensive and adobe gives you a few images and videos to play around with to explore the feature. If you are looking for one, here is the one we use in my technology lab: https://amzn.to/2ZsDGpv

Developing – Really easy. Like super easy. I give Adobe a 5/5 for ease of use. Its not super complicated but that is welcome considering its a up and coming feature that will really get fleshed out over the next few years.

Testing –

Browser – works awesome! This is where the program shines. Doesn’t require a VR device and anyone can use it on a browser. I tested Chrome and Firefox and both worked perfectly. It was really amazing (tbh)

Mobile – This means you are using Google cardboard to view. I was not impressed. First I should mention I hate viewing VR on a phone. I think its just terrible. But if you don’t have other options then its worth trying. Ok, so it works to view but you can’t actually press any hotspots. So that was a big issue if you need to have a quiz or any interactivity. Just putting someone in a room and letting them look around worked fine.

VR Headset – I tested the latest Oculus Quest headset. So to access the program from a VR headset you need to use a VR browser. I used the default Oculus Browser as well as Firefox. Here was the issue – I could view the program and it worked when I viewed the browser as a flat screen. So in VR you can view a browser as a flat screen (like a monitor) or immerse yourself into it (what VR should be). Unfortunately it did not work when you immersed yourself in. You could look around but it didn’t recognize the hand units to press any hotspots. So quizzes and hotspots were a no no.

Overall – Honestly I love it. Yep it doesn’t work well with the VR headset but the fact that it works with the browser is huge. I think there is a lot of application for it. I do however hope they keep working on the product and get it to work with the hand controllers to it works with VR headsets better.

Here is my video demo:

Streaming made easy

One question I am consistently asked over and over again on my youtube channel is ‘How did you make this?’. The easy answer – I recorded a video of my screen and myself at the same time! The hard answer – I used specialized software to record my screen, a video camera to record myself, a microphone to record the sound, a green screen in the background, specialized lighting, and then video editing software to edit the video and finally publish it.

So as you can see, streaming and recording a video takes a lot of work. It involves specialized software and hardware. It takes a lot of time. But its fun. I love it. If it wasn’t a passion of mine I would not be doing it.

To learn about the software and how to get set up check out the following video which goes through the entire process:

Here are links to the hardware I recommend for streaming:

Logitech Webcam – https://amzn.to/2KLOXrK

Blue Yeti Mic – https://amzn.to/2Z8XaLS

lights – https://amzn.to/2H4pTeg

Green Screen – https://amzn.to/2Z3hQ7R

Is Fortnite appropriate for kids?

My son, 8 yrs old, is begging to play this game (fortnite). Apparently he is the only kid in his class that is not allowed to play it, which is ironic considering I am probably the only parent in the class that plays it! Having said that, he will finally be allowed this Oct when he turns 9. I believe he is finally ready. But no way is my 6 yr old allowed. He is not ready. He is not mature enough.

My biggest suggestion to parents – please monitor each game your child wants to play. Here is my 5 point plan for monitoring a specific game:

  1. Ask your child if its appropriate
  2. Google the game and check out some reviews
  3. Look at the game website and/or app store to read the description
  4. Check out the game rating
  5. Play the game yourself

Honestly, I can do all of this in 20-30 minutes. Yes it takes up my time but its well worth it. I have to block about 20% of games that my son asks to play. I enjoy games so I don’t mind learning about them. Plus I can talk to him about the game and see what it is about it that interests him. Check out the following video where I discuss Fortnite and how it is/is not appropriate for kids: