Buying a House in Austin Checklist

I have been meaning to jot down all the things I wish I knew before I bought my house, with the hope of helping someone out.  I will add to it as time goes, but here is the raw list:

  • Sunrise/Sunset (What direction does the sun sent and rise)
  • Crime
  • Schools
  • Ground (Clay, rock, etc.)
  • Flood plains?
  • Property Tax
  • Road Width
  • Distance Between Houses
  • Noise
  • Neighbors
  • Internet
  • Daytime vs Nightime vs Weekend (Visit at all times)
  • Through Traffic
  • Traffic
  • Commute
  • Cable vs Fiber VS ADSL
  • Year Round Weather
  • Options
  • Last House vs Not last house??
  • HOA’s Rules vs No HOA and benefits of HOA (Gym, park, pool, etc.)
  • Future Resale Potential
  • Jobs
  • Shopping (Supermarkets, gas stations, etc.)
  • Pollen or No Pollen Allergies
  • PPI- Pre Purchase Inspection
  • Hire private inspector before signing when pointing out things that need to be fixed
  • Per-Approved for mortgage (If international money is involved make sure it’s “clean”)
  • House age
  • Hard water vs Soft water

I will add more information about each of these points eventually.

Thanks,

ET

Best Budget Podcasting Setup for 2018

Just about every year I evaluate the best entry level podcasting setup, and 2018 is no different. Before I list out my budget podcasting recommendations I want to explain my rational and criteria:

  • Must be inexpensive
  • Must be plug-and-play for both Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • Must have great sound
  • Must be able to grow with your podcast

MICROPHONE

The best bang-for-your-buck budget podcasting microphone:

  • Audio Technica AT2005 USB – I have been using this mic for years and it sounds better than a lot of higher priced mic’s on the market. It features both USB and XLR connections, and has an audio jack for headphones that allows latency free monitoring of your audio. I recommend starting with a USB connection and when your show grows and you feel like you want to level up the show production, you can add a mixer/audio interface and start using the XLR connection on the mic.

WIND SCREEN

A budget must have accessory to prevent unwanted noises:

  • Foam Windscreen for your AT2005USB – This helps prevent unwanted sounds, like breathing, from reducing the quality of your podcast recording. A cheap but worthwhile investment.

MICROPHONE STAND

Last but not least you need something to hold your mic:

  • Microphone Stand – You don’t want to have to hold the mic the entire podcast, and the stand that comes with the AT2005USB…well….just sucks! This is just a simple desktop mic stand that I have been using for years and it never gives me any trouble.

START YOUR PODCAST NOW!!

Podcasting is such a fun and exciting art form! It really doesn’t take much money to get started. You can use free software like Audacity for the PC, or if you are on a Mac you can use either Audacity or GarageBand, which are both free.  Plug in your mic, launch your audio recording app, and start Podcasting!

Thanks,

ET

 

*Disclaimer: Some of the links are Amazon Affiliate links that DONT cost you anything extra but help support the site. 

Should You Buy A Nintendo New 3DS / 3DS XL / 2D SXL in 2018?

Nintendo 3DS in 2018

With the Nintendo Switch selling like hotcakes, the one question a lot of people ask is:

Should I buy a Nintendo New 3DS / 3DS XL / 2DS / 2DS XL in 2018?

Well the answer is….WHY NOT?! and YES!! Now let me explain myself a bit. The “DS” platform has been around for years and the amount of games in the catalog is staggering! The Nintendo 3DS & Nintendo 2DS handhold systems play both DS and 3DS titles, so you have hundreds if not thousands of games to chose.

Why Should You Collect Nintendo a 3DS System & Games?

There are several reasons why I am recommending you get a 3DS based system in 2018.  First, is that fact that the new Nintendo 2DS XL was recently released and it has all the upgrades you need for the back catalog, including DS, 3DS, and the NEW 3DS games (these newer titles need either a New 3DS / New 3DS XL / 2DS XL to play due to better system specs). I know it’s confusing….BUT to insure you have the right system…Just pick up one of the new Nintendo 2DS XL’s and you’ll be good to go.  In the US they are currently priced at $149, but can sometimes be found on sale.

The second reason to get into the 3DS based systems is price. And when I say price, I mean price of the system itself, and the lower cost of games when compared to modern triple A titles.  I love searching retro game shops and yard sales for cheap DS/3DS games. You can build a pretty good collection on a budget. There are tons of Pokemon, Zelda, Kirby, and Mario games out there plus a large amount of second party support.  The price of a 2DS XL or 3DS XL system is reasonable and they are pretty durable with good battery life.

Of course we have to chime in with the portability aspect of the 3DS based systems.  While the Nintendo Switch is portable it is pretty hard to stick it in your pocket, unlike 3DS based systems. Pop in your favorite game, throw the 2DS XL in your pocket or bag and go~!

In conclusion, with the Nintendo Switch basically taking over the Nintendo gaming space, I think it’s the perfect opportunity to pick up a 3DS system and start collecting.  There were a lot of games released during the dark WiiU times that a lot of people just didn’t play.  Best of both worlds would be to have a Switch and a 2DS XL 😉

Must Have Nintendo 3DS Games To Start With

There are TONS of games out there for the Nintendo 3DS platform! Here are a few games that I like and recommend:

  1. Mario Kart 7
  2. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
  3. Super Mario 3D Land
  4. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon
  5. Super Smash Bros
  6. Pokemon Ultra Sun / Ultra Moon
  7. Super Mario Bros 2
  8. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 
  9. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
  10. Metroid: Samus Returns

Thanks,

ET

 

*Disclaimer: Some of the links are Amazon Affiliate links that DONT cost you anything extra but help support the site. 

Best Portable Nintendo Switch Dock

Nintendo Switch Portable Dock

There is nothing better than the dual purpose hybrid feature of the Nintendo Switch. Whether you play docked on your big TV or you play on-the-go in portable mode, the Nintendo Switch shines.

I have had the Switch for several months now, and I have noticed the need (or maybe it’s just a desire…lol) for a second dock.  Of course, you could go the route of buying another official Nintendo Switch Dock, but…..THAT COST THOUGH!?!  Why is that piece of cheap plastic so expensive?? Now, don’t get me wrong…when I have the chance I always buy Nintendo branded accessories due to the quality and guaranteed support.

If I just wanted to put a second dock in the living room or man cave, I would probably go with the Nintendo branded solution, but I wanted a bit of portability since I spend time on the road…

While hunting for a solution I stumbled upon this little dongle type adapter on Amazon. I wasn’t sure of the quality or if it would work, but for the price…I decided to give it a try.  To my surprise it actually WORKS!!

One thing to note is that you need to use a Nintendo Switch Power Adapter and a HDMI cable when using any dock.  So, don’t forget to pick up an extra power adapter and HDMI cord!

 

Nintendo Switch Dock Accessories

Thanks,

ET

 

*Disclaimer: Some links in this post are Amazon Affiliate links that will cost you nothing extra but help support the site (^_^).

 

 

Best Budget Vlogging Setup for 2018

What is the Best Budget Vlogging Setup for YouTube in 2018? I guess before we answer this question we need to talk about what is necessary in a good vlogging camera:

  • Reliable brand
  • Good battery life
  • Auto focus
  • Flip out screen
  • HD quality video 1080p (1920×1080) at 30/60 FPS (Frames Per Second)
  • Wide Angle Lens
  • External Mic Plug
  • Price

Okay, now that we have all the necessary features listed out…Let’s talk about a great setup for a nice budget vlogging setup for 2018.  I personally like DSLR or Mirrorless cameras, as they allow you to vary the type of lens you are going to use, and the style and quality of your video. For most vlogging you want a nice wide angle lens, so you aren’t right up in the viewers face, and you give your viewers a nice view of what’s happening around you. For B-Roll, (extra video like close ups of items/places you are showing off), you could use another style lens that gives a nice crispy look, with the main item in focus and the backgrounds blurred out. (Perhaps the nifty fifty 50mm)

CAMERA

Canon EOS Rebel SL2 – A great Canon body with full 1080p HD and up to 60fps. It’s lightweight and features a flip-out screen and a microphone plug for an external mic. The best part about this camera is that it uses Canon’s dual pixel auto focus technology, which is the best in the business for DLSR’s and Mirrorless cameras.

VLOGGING WIDE ANGLE LENS

Canon EF-S 10-18mm F4.5/5.6 IS STM – This is the YouTubers go-to wide angle vlogging lens! Another best bang-for-buck option with built in image stabilization (IS). I also recommend grabbing a cheap UV lens filter to protect your lens from scratches.

MICROPHONE

Rode VideoMicro – Great audio trumps great video! Great sound and doesn’t require batteries. The VideoMicro also features a shock mount and a wind screen to reduce that awful wind noise you often hear on videos. This mic is the best bang for the buck and it’s built well!

TRIPOD

JOBY GorillaPod SLR Zoom – Used by many YouTubers and video creators, and probably made famous by Casey Neistat.  This flexible tripod is the Swiss Army knife of the any vloggers setup. It adds that extra distance and stability you need to make your video look smooth. Plus it can be wrapped around just about anything to get that difficult shot or awesome looking time-lapse video.

That’s it! The best budget DSLR setup for vloggers in 2018. Of course there are many many camera options out there, but I wanted a setup that would produce the best video quality for the best price, and….will set you up to grow if you decide to keep going with video production in the future.

Thanks,

ET

*Disclaimer – Links provided are Amazon affiliate links that don’t cost you anything extra, but do help support the website.

Top 5 Nintendo Switch Holiday Games Guide

Top 5 Nintendo Switch Games for the 2017 Holiday Season

The holidays are here and it’s time to stock up on the Top 5 Nintendo Switch Games!

  1. Super Mario Odyssey –  In my humble opinion this is the best Super Mario Game of all time. With Mario and Cappy working together to complete all the levels. Super Mario Odyssey has just about every type of level you can imagine and more. Just think of the best from Mario Sunshine and the Mario Galaxy games plus A LOT more!  A must buy for the Nintendo Switch!
  2. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Game of the Year 2017…enough said!! If you haven’t played a Zelda game or has been a while…This is the one for you.  This is my favorite game of all time so… of course I will always recommend it.  Many many hours of playtime and you can explore and go anywhere in the world. 10/10 in my book!
  3. MarioKart 8 Deluxe – If Nintendo makes a MarioKart for the system….YOU MUST BUY! The hours and hours of fun you, your family, and friends will have is immeasurable. You can play solo, local multiplayer, or online.  So, there is always someone to race against.
  4. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – A BIG LONG JRPG (Japanese Role Playing Game) with an Anime look and feel. You will get hours and hours out of this game so it’s a real value.
  5. Splatoon 2 – A shooter that’s not bloody for all ages. Jump online and battle all the other squids!

I don’t know about you but I am waiting for Santa to bring me lots and lots of Nintendo Switch games for the Holidays!

ET

Nintendo Switch 2017 Christmas Buyers Guide

Nintendo Switch 2017 Holiday Buyers Guide

I don’t know about you but I am ALL IN with the Nintendo Switch!! It took me a bit of time to actually find one, without having to pay over MSRP ($299 is the real price!), but I finally picked one up at my local ToysRus.  Since purchasing, my PS4 and Gaming PC have kind of been dormant.  There is just something about the quality of a Nintendo game that is hard for others to duplicate.

So…. These are my recommendations for your 2017 Nintendo Switch Xmas / Holiday purchases.  I wont go overboard, just the games and accessories I recommend that you buy to have fun and keep your Switch protected.

HARDWARE

  • Nintendo Switch (You will have to pick the colors you want)
  • Nintendo Switch Pro Controller – For me there is no substitue for having a pro controller.  It’s a bit pricey compared to other gaming system controllers, but it’s packed full of technology and it has a very solid well made feel to it.
  • Screen Protector – These screens will scratch!! So, before you do anything put on of the thin glass screen protectors on it.  That way you can just forget about it.  Most come with 2 so once the first one gets dirty or marked up (if it ever does), you can take it off, throw it away, and put on the second.
  • Memory Card – To save you money Nintendo put 32GB of system memory in the Switch. Some will complain about that, but as for me, with the prices of memory cards….I plopped in a 200GB card and I am good for a LONG TIME.  Plus if you plan on buying physical copies of the games, you wont need to worry too much about filling up the system memory and the extra memory card you added. **You could go with a 128GB memory card for much cheaper if you like and it’s still plenty of space for a while. 
  • ***Optional*** – Extra set of JoyCons for 4 player MarioKart.

GAMES

What’s a gaming system without the games….NOTHING! So here are my choices for the first five or so games you should purchase with your system.  I will put them in order of importance (from my perspective).

  • Zelda: Breath of the Wild – This is my new all-time favorite game. It will keep you busy for a long time (I’ve been playing for 6 months and still loving it.)
  • MarioKart 8  Deluxe – Good for all ages with local multiplayer as-well-as online multiplayer.  It’s hands down the best MarioKart ever! You can use each JoyCon as a controller, a pro controller, or buy another set of JoyCons to give you 4 player races.
  • Splatoon2 – A non-bloody kid friendly (adults too) multiplayer shooter game. There is also a single player offline mode which is very fun.
  • Mario Odyssey –  What’s a Nintendo game system without a Mario game…This appears to be another great game that will keep you entertained for a long time.
  • StreamWorld Dig2 – A recent purchase for me and at $19.99 on the eShop (get a gift card on Amazon). I have just started playing this game and have spent some serious hours digging around in the world. It is a top notch indie game that is very polished, in fact I wouldn’t even call it an indie game.

ACCESSORIES

I am going to throw in a few optional accessories that you might want to pick up as stocking stuffers if you have a Switch already or want to pimp out your Nintendo Switch setup.

Adobe Premiere Elements 15 Tutorial – How to do Squeaky High Pitched Voice

For this Adobe Premiere Elements 15 Tutorial, I show you how to do that squeaky high pitched voice (You know kinda like the chip monks or other funny video you see on YouTube). This functionality is located in the Audio Effects section of the program. As usual a lot of the functions are tricky to find in Premiere Elements, lol. You are looking for the “Pitchshifter” effect.

Get Adobe Premiere Elements 15 on Amazon [LINK]

Thanks for watching!

ET

Adobe Premiere Elements 15 Tutorial – How to do Slow Motion Video

In this Adobe Premiere Elements 15 tutorial, I show you how to do slow motion video. You can do slow motion video with any video but for best results, 60fps (frames per second) video provides a smoother look. It’s a bit tricky to find in Premiere Elements 15 but the option is called “Time Remapping“. Time Remapping allows you to slow down or speed up a video clip. In this tutorial I only show you how to slow down the clip but you can easily see how you would also speed up the video footage too.

Get Adobe Premiere Elements 15 on Amazon [LINK]

Thanks,
ET

How to Podcast with Apple GarageBand

Here is a brand new Apple GarageBand tutorial where I show you how to record audio to use in things like podcasts, voiceovers, and the like.
You will learn how to:

  • Setup Recording Source
  • Record Audio / Vocals
  • Edit Audio
  • Increase Audio Levels
  • Decrease Audio Levels
  • Fade In Audio / Fade Out Audio
  • How to setup a multiple track Podcast with Intro music, main voice recording, and an outro music track
  • Exporting to MP3

Thanks for checking out my tutorials,

ET