Urbotics: Samsung LNC630 Review

samsung-lnc630-lcd
Standard

If you’re in the market for a TV, now is the perfect time to buy.  If you purchased a TV right before Christmas and can still return, now is a great time to get your money back and get a better TV for the same price.  For a beautiful television that doesn’t break the bank or make you want to invest in a new pair of contacts, look at the Samsung LNC630 series.  

Now I’m the first person to say that we need some innovation in the TV naming arena, but a search on any tech store website should bring it up.  This television comes in four sizes 40, 46, 55, and 60 inches and is a beauty.  The front of the unit is one glass pane that gives off the illusion that it was crafted from one piece of material (Like a MacBook Pro).  It boasts 120hz, 4 HDMI, 2 USB, 1 composite, 1 VGA and numerous other inputs.  The speakers sound like they came from a 94’ civic, but if you’re buying a unit like this one you probably have a hi-fi setup.  

Now, on to what really matters – the picture.  You are able to choose between four factory presets or, if you have time to burn, you can do it yourself.  I recommend using one of the presets.  The 120hz makes allows fast action to come through smooth, so you can see just how talented Tasha Mack is that head bob thing.  The motion plus feature makes things even better, but can cause the picture to stutter when motion on the television is slow.  It’s best to keep that feature turned off until you really need it.  

In all, this is a solid TV and beats many of the pricier LED-LCD TVs in performance. At around $850 (current BestBuy.com price) it’s a bargain compared to its thinner counterparts (it is 3.5in wide compared to 1in LEDs).  So if size really doesn’t matter and you are excited by the motion in the ocean, grab one of these LNC630 series TVs, and enjoy yourself a nice night of the National Geographic Channel on your new flat screen.  What did you think I meant?

Urbanomics- Monopoly didnt teach the Urbane Professional Anything!

board300x300
Standard

The beauty of an Urbane Professional is that you now have money, or so you thought.  Why is it that no matter how much money we make, it still feels like you don’t have any extra?  I will tell you why.  Because, you do not know how to manage your money. 

As an Urbane Professional working for a Fortune 500 company, YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW TO MANAGE YOUR MONEY!  Yes, I said it and I feel ten pounds lighter.  No one taught you how to go from a low/middle class family to a young professional making more than your parents did at your age and probably more than they do now. 

How do you manage something you never had until your mid 20’s?  It seems simple, but it is not.  We learned at the age of 5, in the game of Monopoly, to buy property, to invest, to stay out of jail, and to pay our debts.  The funny thing is the only thing we remembered from Monopoly is how to stay out of jail and pay our debts.  What happened to investing?  What happened to buying property and collecting rent?  Isn’t that what Monopoly taught us how to do?

As an Urbane Professional, many of us did not grow up in households that learned these principles.  But it is not too late.  There are hundreds of free classes that will teach you how to manage your money.  For lack of knowledge my people perish (Hosea 4:6).  And personally I am tired of perishing. 

Here are some simple principles that can help you today:

  1. Stop using your debit card, carry cash- We have gotten so use to swiping a credit card that we do not understand the value of money.  If you carry cash and pay for items with cash, you actually have to count out that 200 dollars for that pair of shoes or video game system and are less likely to hand over money unless it is something you really need.  Don’t believe me try it.
  2. Use a credit card to your benefit, stop benefiting the credit card company- I have an American Express and for every dollar I spend I get a point that can be used to purchase items.  I pay everything on this card.  Wait, but listen to this next part.  I then go pay off what I spent.  What?  Pay off what you spent?  Yes, that same day or no later than the next billing cycle, I pay off what I spent on the card.  I also don’t go over 30-50% of my limit because that will lower my credit score.  I only use the card to get points versus using it for lack of money.  Most Urbane Professionals use credit cards when they do not have the money and that is not how the wealthy use credit.  Do your research.
  3. Stop just saving your money, invest it-  No matter how much you save you will never make any real money.  The wealthy don’t make money off of saving it, they make it off of stocks, bonds, 401k match, buying assets, etc…  Do you know what happens to your money?  You put your money in the bank and they give you a 1% return and they turn around and give someone a loan at 18% on your money.  Saving your money is good if you want to continue to collect that 1% when the bank is lending your money at 18%.  Doesn’t add up to me.

I could go on and on, but lets start here and see how we do.  In the meantime, go ahead and dust off the old Monopoly game and see what other lessons can be learned.

Metro…wait..I am not Metro I am a Grown Man.

psmithfall09
Standard

Skinny Jeans + ascots + sweater vest = the Urbane Professional Male’s attire.  But have we taken it too far?  Have we allowed the Usher’s, Will I Am’s, and Soulja Boys to change our direction of attire to the point we have altered our manhood.  Let me explain.   When I can see a grown man’s money clip in his back pocket, it is time to re-evaluate our definition of style.

If you are not sure where I am going with this, let me show you.

TIGHT

TAILORED

There is a stark difference between the word TIGHT and the word TAILORED.   As a Urbane Professional you have to decipher through the media’s ploy to empty your pockets and decide what makes sense for your personal life and even more so your career.  Style is an important part of playing and looking the part, but do not let society determine who you should look to for your everyday threads.  It is important to know how to maintain your image.  Any good tailor will show you the difference between a well dressed man and a poser.  I laugh when I see an Urbane Professional in an oversized suit.  This guy does not even realize that he sticks out like a sore thumb.  You have seen this guy before and it was probably in your mirror. 

Does this remind you of what you have in your closet?

You probably looked at that picture and did not find anything wrong.  But, for those of you who are on track, you know the meaning of having a good tailor.

The two pictures above are of the same man.  If I had not told you, would you have been able to tell?  I highly doubt it.  Clothing styles go in and out, but like the “little black dress” for a woman, the tailored suit will always have a place in your closet.  Urbane Professionals must invest in staples (A major item of trade in steady demand) and not in fads (a manifestation of intense enthusiasm for something).  It is your hard earned money, so why waste it on something that will not be here in a year?

I know some of you think that worrying about clothing is metro.  It is not about being a metrosexual, it is about being a man who knows how to handle his business in every aspect of life including his closet.  Are you handling your business?

It Just May be Broken. Will you Fix Him? Yes I said Him.

Broken_Man
Standard

This blog post is the second of a four-part series written by a young professional woman,  featured at www.gsdouglas.com. The introduction to the series can be read here: http://gsdouglas.com/2011/getting-things-right-delving-into-black-relationships.html

Initially I planned to talk about the female-side of this discussion, however I had a change of heart. The change of heart came because I realized in this case starting at the end would be better.  

Men break; many men are walking around broken.  That is the end of my opinion. The beginning is to ask – how and why do men break?

Let’s take the easiest part first, though none of this is easy – how do men break?

Men break when their silent needs aren’t met, when their stated necessities are ignored, and when their character, as well as, self-worth is neglected and bruised – repeatedly.  A broken man is an ugly man, no matter how fine he is in real life. There is nothing like meeting a man and, all too suddenly, seeing the potential in his life only to later discover the demons and hurts in his heart.  For a woman, a broken man is frustrating, saddening and sickening.  Sorry, but the truth owes no apology.

Now, the hard part – why do men break? 

 That answer is multi-faceted; it involves society at-large, family structures, dating experiences and life itself.  No worries, I too recall this is just a blog post.

The meaning of manhood in our society dictates that we call our boys “little men” and teach them how to ignore/suppress their valid feelings.  Family dysfunctions present images of mothers and fathers physically striking each other, and wives beating husbands down verbally to the point of submission.  Dating. What can be said about the sport? Consider that we live in a culture where dating is done on national television; whereby, one person picks a partner from ten to twenty potentials.  Popular television dating totally negates the importance of investing in one person with all you have, with the intention of you both working to become better – together.  For the rest of us, not on VH-1, MTV, or ABC, we carry the baggage of failed attempts (or ignorance from no experience at all) while we wait for someone worth the physical energy and emotional risk.  And finally, let’s talk about life.  The life that happens while we are making plans for ourselves in elementary and high school.  Men must make a living (to afford traditional chivalrous displays, among other things), bury loved ones, and avoid the obvious pitfalls we constantly reiterate– drug/alcohol addiction, STDs/STIs, and the “she tricked me” love child.

So much of why men break is out of any one person’s control – except dating.  Dating requires two people, and for this purpose, a man and a woman. This means the breaking of a man in a relationship is greatly dependent upon the lady he selects.  It would be wonderful if men were able to spot a controlling, manipulating, breaking woman. Yet for the most part, it’s not an easy thing to notice – especially if you aren’t trained to look for it.

Women who try to control, manipulate and break aren’t a special breed; they are regular people. Most are broken in some fashion themselves; or have been taught counter-intuitively by watching other women or through severe anemia of wise-counsel.  Why women break is a whole post on it’s own, and that is coming.

I place greater importance on men breaking because well, it is more important.  A broken man isn’t allowed to recover like a broken woman, and therefore may never recover.  A man who never recovers is no longer fully productive – for himself, his loved ones, and his community.  There is no socially acceptable Oprah couch for a man to sit on, neither are their rules for fixing him once broken.  The fellas won’t hop on a conference call to let a brother heal; but the gym and strip club will welcome him as he silently becomes trapped inside himself.

 We see these guys all the time.  We don’t call them broken. We call these men playas, dogs or drug fiends; they are the ones that justify hurting others because of their experiences.  On the opposite end of the spectrum however we, as women, may label some broken men as “too nice”, or “softies.” These men are the ones that overcompensate early in the game, with no balance.  Regardless of the social labels we use, the majority of these men simply go by boyfriend, dad and boss to the us and the rest of the world.  Scarier than any label is the idea that broken men breed sons to be “baby brokens”. The sons of broken men grow-up watching abnormality as normal, and they become the best performers of brokenness.  Without the history to understand why we act the way we act, we run the risk of never addressing the source of the pain and therefore may never be able to fix ourselves. 

The damage done by having millions of broken men walking this earth is everywhere.

 As a single, 26-year old woman I’m over it. I’m tired of looking into the eyes of strangers and peeping into the lives of friends, and seeing the ravage and ruin.  It is old to me.

 I can’t control the way society beats a man down, nor can I control the historic actions of the woman who birthed and nurtured him (or didn’t), and most assuredly I have no influence on the path his life will take.  Yet, I can control a man’s experience with me as a person, as a friend, as a woman.  I can talk to my homegirls and share my opinions.  I can make the effort to not be that manipulative, controlling, breaking woman.  In the end, my decision benefits us all.  He may never be my man, but I will be my sister’s keeper.  See, when I leave him, he will be better and not bitter.  From this day forward, “she” will never have to pick up the shattered glass I left behind. 

 Where are the “good”, single men you ask? Take a look around – you may have just stepped on one.

Urbotics: Review on Roku XDS

Roku-XDS-BoxR-H-266669-18
Standard

 “This is perhaps the most beautiful time in human history; it is really pregnant with all kinds of creative possibilities made possible by science and technology which now constitute the slave of man – if man is not enslaved by it.”  ~Jonas Salk

It seems almost contradictory that while televisions with larger screens, clearer pictures, and the ability to view in 3-D (still not sold) are being pushed to us from every angle, more and more people are cutting the cord and getting rid of their cable and satellite TV services.  Outside of live sports, there is little to entice most people to foot the luxury car payment prices most cable providers charge these days.  Giving you even more reason to quote Cee-Lo and give a big F You to the content providers is the Roku XDS.  

In a slim but confusing category of internet content streaming products the Roku XDS at $100 stands out as the best deal in media-streaming boxes.  Boasting more content than the Apple TV, and at least half the price of the Boxee Box and Google TV products, the Roku XDS gives you everything you need without forcing you to pretend you’re not hungry at the next outing with the guys.  

The Roku is small and stylish so it won’t stick out like a Prius in the barbershop parking lot.  It boasts dual band 802.11n wireless connectivity plus a wired Ethernet slot, HDMI and composite AV output, a USB port and supports 1080p video output.  It is also worth noting that if you are one of the people who has difficulty parting with that 110lb. 27in behemoth standard def TV, the roku is one of the only players that allows you to choose your video output.  

Where the Roku XDS really stands out is content.  The box comes with Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Video channels already installed.  Access to the over 100 other a-la-carte channels is easy with the onboard RokuChannel Store.  There you will have access to content such as Pandora, Last.FM, MLB.TV, NBA Game Time,Mediafly, Flickr, and even a channel creatively named My Damn Channel.  While some content requires a paid subscription (Hulu Plus costs $7.99/mo.), you can get everything you want to watch at a fraction of the cost of traditional cable service.  

The Roku XDS is a the top of the line in media streaming boxes that Roku provides.  The Roku HD and XD come in at $60 and $80 (who do companies think they’re fooling saying its $59.99) respectively but offer less connection and output capabilities.  Overall theRoku is a complement to any home theatre setup, whether you do away with cable/satellite or not.  For more information, check it out at www.roku.com.

-Duke Carolina

(The Posh Miss) Urban mothers taught there daughters how to be Moms and not Wives.

16fa5838b5680496_workingmom
Standard

“One day I woke up and realized that I had learned how to be a very good mother, but no one taught me how to be a good wife.” -The Posh Miss

I took a year off from dating in 2010 to figure some things out in my life.  I even blogged about the entire experience and what revelations I begin to have.  The funny thing is the revelation I am about to share, I did not have till yesterday.  I sat at a friend’s house discussing relationships within the christian church and why so many single “Christian” people were not marrying other single “Christians” in the “Urban” church.  We went through dialogue and one of the guys brought up the following statement, “Many of the women in the “Urban” church have bought into the diva mentality.”  He went on to explain how they have a lot of expectations, they seem to require a lot of attention, how they express how they are too good for this or that, and how they will let you know that their Father is Jesus and they are his Princess and should be treated as such.  Now rightfully so, he agreed women are Princesses but the diva mentality that these women had bought into was the reason many of them will probably never get married.

So what is a diva?

Wikipedia says, “The word “diva” is often used negatively, to describe a celebrity in film or music who is extremely demanding and fussy when it comes to personal privileges.”.

That does not sound too good now does it.

Artist like Beyonce glorify the life of this said Diva.  Trust me I use to dance and sing my tale off to this song.  But if you take a moment to listen to what she is saying, she is talking about getting money and finding a man who is good enough to be on her level mainly based on his looks and his status.  Is this the Diva you want to be?

So, how did women get so stuck on being a Diva?  Growing up in many urban communities the mom teaches the daughter the following:

  • You are Princess and to not take anything from any man. 
  • You need to be able to make it independent of a man and get your own. 
  • You deserve “x, y, and z” and we better not settle for just any man or just anything. 

Now am I saying that mom was wrong.  No I am not.  Many women had to raise their children on their own and independent of a man, so she only wanted her daughter to be equipped to make it in the “real world”.  However, there is a thin line between creating standards in your daughter’s life and creating a blockage that would cause her to have unhealthy relationships with men she would date in her adulthood.

I started to think how my non urban friends were taught to be a woman.  They also were told they are Princesses and what they deserve, but on the reverse they were also taught how to treat a future husband.  I realized that many “Urban” mothers teach there daughters how to be mothers and not wives.  I know your probably disagreeing but think about it.  In an “Urban” family the wife put the kids before the husband or (child’s father) and it is always seems to be mom&kids against dad.  However, in “other” families the wife honors her husband first and then the kids, which is the correct order.  In those household the parents have built a partnership that the kids cannot breakdown unlike that of the “Urban” family.  Of course, this is not for all families, but if you think about it we all have seen it.

I think because of the separation between Mother/Kids and Father that many “Urban” mothers taught there daughters to be moms and not wives.  Think about relationships.  Many begin with the woman trying to tell the man what he can and cannot do, what he needs to be or change into, and how he needs to respect her.  Does this not sound like a mother and son relationship and not a wife and husband relationship? 

We have to realize that some things that we were taught growing up need a little tweeking as we mature.  Yes respect yourself by all means, but do not expect the unexpectable.  You are not a Diva and you should not want to be.  And if you want to be a Diva, you probably will get the man a Diva gets.  Think about the men that Divas have married, do you want that?  It saddens me to see beautiful women who are alone at 35 and plus talking about how they are not married because no one can reach there expectations.  Take some time to inventory your expectations for yourself and for a significant other.  If it does not line up with the word of God you probably need to restock your inventory.

-The Posh Miss

Georgetown-based Nonprofit Enters the Pepsi Refresh Contest

Standard

 

Education seems to be in America the only commodity of which the customer tries to get as little he can for his money.
Max Leon Forman

Georgetown-based Capital REACH, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has entered the “Pepsi Refresh Contest,” for the month of January. Through Pepsi Refresh, PepsiCo gives away millions in grant funds every month to organizations and individuals with ideas that positively impact their communities.

 

There are six different grant categories including: Health, Education, Arts and Culture, Food and Shelter, the Planet and Neighborhood. Four different grants offer between $5,000 and $250,000. REACH is competing with over 300 other organizations and individuals from around the country for a $50,000 Educational grant.

If they win, REACH will use the grant to distribute scholarship money to the neediest of the 150 students currently enrolled in their unique job training and internship program. Students in the program attend colleges and universities throughout the east coast, but are all residentially connected to the Washington, D.C. area.

“The most important thing for us is scholarships for these kids,” said Rosemary Becchi, the Director of the REACH program whose office is located in the Patton Boggs Law Firm on M Street. “Families across the nation have to go into major debt to pay for something as simple as an education for their child, and we’re trying to help with that.”

Large numbers of students and a down economy make it tough for students to find internships during college and employment thereafter.

The Pepsi Refresh grant would help REACH funnel more scholarship money to the students that currently undergo their rigorous job training sessions and internship placement program. The organization has relationships with 100s of local private and government firms that hire student for internships and full-time jobs throughout the year.

To date, the Capital Area REACH program has placed over 350 students in internships that lead to full time paying jobs after employment.

“If not for REACH, I don’t think I’d be where I’m at today, especially with the economy and everything,” said Kaleab Tasfeye, a REACH student who was in the job training program during the summer of 2009 and now works as an auditor for the Department of Defense.  REACH helped Tasfeye pay for classes and housing at Old Dominion University where he graduated with a double major in Accounting and Finance. “Finding an internship and getting work experience is very difficult, so their program is a great benefit.”

Currently they are promoting their grant idea on Facebook and Twitter as well as various community outreach events. You can easily vote for their idea by texting 105370 to 73774 daily, they are currently ranked 294 and need to break the top 10 to win.

For more information on Capital REACH’s Pepsi Refresh grant idea, check out their web page on the Pepsi website at refresheverything.com/capitalreachprogram where you can also vote for their idea.

 

Woodrow Bellamy