#MarchMakeover

#MarchMakeover

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As some of you may have heard, or been a part of, the Raider Relief team put on their event – March Makeover – this past Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Empowerment Center, located on S. Arch Street in Alliance. Now, I am planning a much longer post in the future, outlining how we were able to get over 300 volunteers in about a week, but for now I just wanted put up some pictures and let you all know about our Facebook page at RaiderRelief.org. Feel free to check us out there and be sure to keep an eye out for the before / after photos!

raider reliefmarch makeovermarch makeover

Again, I would like to personally thank everyone who came and helped out. I was at the service today and everyone there was so happy and thankful for everything we did. Know that your work will be appreciated and enjoyed, and have a great end to your weekend!

Cram No More With Easy Flashcards From Cramberry

Cram No More With Easy Flashcards From Cramberry

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cramberry

Through the years, low-tech flashcards have remained one of the best ways to help you memorize facts, vocabulary or pretty much any sort of information you need. However, many times the process of creating flashcards can be tedious – writing a hundred front and back cards is exhausting for anyone. If you’ve made flash cards before, you realize that keeping track of many sets is a pain as well. Once a hardcore flashcard user, I’ve tried almost every online flashcard creation site out there. They all have different strengths, but none really gave me the simple, yet robust, flashcard experience I was looking for on both the desktop and my mobile device. And, then I met Cramberry.Cramberry is one of many online flash card creators out there, but it packs some killer features that make studying away from the computer a breeze. As our exams slowly approach, it can be hard to find time to sit down and study with a large pack of paper cards or at our computer. Along with its website, Cramberry also has excellent apps for the iPhone and iPad, with an Android app expected soon.The beauty of Cramberry’s apps lies in its simplicity. When you launch the app, after you sign in, you are immediately presented with your sets. From there, you can jump right in and begin studying in less than two taps. There are two methods you can use to study – Study or Match. Study takes you to a typical flashcard interface, but the emphasis on simple execution is still there. You are shown a single card, tap “Tap to show answer” and then tap whether your answer was correct or incorrect. If you get a card incorrect, the app will shuffle that particular card back into the pile and show it several more times before you can finish. The other studying style, Match, is both unique and effective. In this mode, you are presented with eight small, movable cards (the fronts and backs of four cards) that you have to drag on top of their counterparts. When you find a match, the cards disappear as a confirmation that it was correct. I find this method of studying particularly enjoyable and found it helps me learn from both sides of the card instead of one.Cramberry’s website is no slouch either. This is where you will be doing most of the creation and organizing of your sets, although you also have the option to study right from your browser. You only get the Study option while in the browser, but Cramberry gives you easy keyboard shortcuts to move through the cards so your hands never have to leave the keyboard. You also have the option to type your answers. If you type in the exact text on the other side of the card, Cramberry will mark it as correct and advance you to the next one. However, if you miss a letter or two, it will show you the answer and ask “Were you right?” and let you mark your answer.I’ve been using Cramberry for three years now and love it. Being able to create cards in the browser and then have them available to study at any time has been amazing. Studying flashcards with a mobile device also has the benefit of being able to operate in the dark. This means I can lie in bed at night and study without having to worry about the desk lamp waking my roommate.The app cost USD 2.99 on the App Store, but they also have a free version which is ad-supported. If you’re not sure yet, I encourage you to try the free version and see how you like it. Everybody has different tastes when it comes to memorization, but Cramberry can definitely give you an experience you won’t forget.Happy studying!

Yes, This Is A Post About The Weather

Yes, This Is A Post About The Weather

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Anyone reading this post right now shouldn’t be. Go outside. Alliance is currently experiencing amazing, summer-esque like weather with temperatures in the 60s. Although spring break may be over, it is nice to see that summer isn’t going to remain in hiding for too much longer.

Another thing you may have noticed is how much more alive people seem when the weather is nice outside. Doors were being held opened left and right, multiple professors finished up their lectures early and everyone has a smile on their face! Such behavior starts a ripple effect and, before you know it, no one on campus has a care in the world.

Realistically, this weather won’t last long (see weather app to the right), but at least we have these few days. Homework is always going to be there with open arms, but elusive sunshine-filled days like today will not. So stop reading already. Go outside.

Pandora’s Box. Where By ‘Box’ I Mean ‘Radio’

Pandora’s Box. Where By ‘Box’ I Mean ‘Radio’

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Pandora Radio might be the single most used app and website I visit other than Facebook. Although music has always helped me to make it through large amounts of homework, I find that when I am in control of the song order, I spend a lot of time switching tracks or setting up new playlists. Enter Pandora.

One of the reasons radio has remained so popular over the years, even with on-demand music from iPods or websites, is because there is something very freeing (and addictive), about not being in control of the song track order. The only problem is that before, turning on the radio was a bit like playing Russian Roulette; every time the song would end you had the possibility of having to sit through a track you don’t enjoy. Pandora solves this problem by “creating” channels based on what you’re in the mood to hear. All you do is type in a song, artist or genre you want to listen to and Pandora throws together a playlist which revolves around the musical elements you chose. The result is the perfect combination of random music, but all from things you like.

Pandora is free to use, with occasional audio ads, and you can create an account to save your custom stations. If you haven’t looked into its website or app yet, I highly recommend you do; and prepare to kiss your old radio goodbye.

#prayforjapan

#prayforjapan

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pray for japan

When I woke up this morning, I had an unusually high number of notifications on my phone. Still in a state of grogginess, I fumbled with the unlock screen and brought up the app which had the largest number of messages; Twitter. Reading through hours worth of updates within about five minutes brought me up to speed on why the Internet was unusually active.Japan had been hit by an 8.9 magnitude earthquake. While this is devastating enough by itself, the, as of this writing, 27 aftershocks have really wrecked havoc on the area. Because of this massive shock, areas surrounding Japan, and eventually many Pacific-facing coastlines, will be impacted by the tsunamis created in the aftermath.As I watched the updates, videos and images pour in; I couldn’t help but feel helpless. While sitting on my couch, eating my breakfast, flooded waters and devastation are sweeping through the Pacific region. I know, realistically, there is little that we living on the Eastern United States can do. I know I am not the only one either; the hash-tag #prayforjapan has been the number one trending topic on Twitter for over the past five hours.This wasn’t intended to be a news update post, but I felt that the events today should remind us all of how lucky we are to be living in Ohio right now. Even with the snow, bi-polar temperatures and the nearing end of spring break, we are incredibly better off than many living in Japan at the moment. So as we enter the last weekend of break, I encourage you to take some time and think about the people affected by today’s events. With that in mind, I hope that this break was relaxing and enjoyable wherever you ended up, and enjoy this last weekend!

The Break Effect

The Break Effect

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I’ll be the first to admit it: I procrastinated with homework this spring break.

Now, I’m positive that I am not the only one, but as I was working on some statistics homework, I thought I would make a chart to illustrate the connection between a college student’s productivity level and the amount of time that passes over the 10 day spring break.

Reading from left to right, each day is labeled with a number. The numbers are annotated as follows:

1. The “I’m going to get all my homework done today so I have all of break to relax!” mode.
2. The “It’s Saturday, I can take a break. I mean, I have all week!”
3. “I can’t do any work, Sunday is a day of rest… and video games.”
4. Sleep in until 2 p.m.
5. “Eh, I have plenty of time left. I’ll hit it hard tomorrow.”
6. Slight increase in productivity until what little resolve you started with is gone.
7. “Oh boy. There are still so many things I want to do before break is over. To the lab!”
8. “Last weekend. It’s as if I never had break, I’ll just do my homework on Saturday like usual.”
9. Small amount of work gets done before friends text you with last weekend plans.
10. “Oh crap. It’s all over. No need to worry though, I’ve been in this place before and emerged victorious.”
11. Up until 3 a.m. finishing all the work you had forgotten about and only remembered because you actually opened you books instead of using them as coasters for the past 10 days. Effectively killing all sleep you regained over break.

Happy Monday.

While this was meant as a joke, and I have been more diligent than this, I believe we have all been in this mode or felt similar as days roll by on an extended break period. It is hard to get up the motivation to start work during leisure, but often I realize that I had built how difficult the actual work was in my mind. Once I started and got rolling, I was able to finish most of my assignments with little pain.

Something that I use to help with my slight tendency to procrastinate is called the 30/30 Minute Work Cycle. The basic idea around this work cycle is that you spend 30, uninterrupted minutes (turning off your Internet helps) working on a task. When that time is up, you can have 30 minutes to do whatever you like. Using this system, I was able to get all my work done in a single day, along with finishing the campaign of one of my favorite games. You can read up on the whole idea here.

Here’s to a productive end of spring break!

Family Ties

Family Ties

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Although it seems just like yesterday that I was receiving bags of massively-produced mail for various colleges, I am quickly closing in on the end of my freshman year. Like some students, however, I have a younger sibling who is currently a senior in high school; giving me the opportunity to experience that first year all over again. My younger brother, Nathan, has already ranked Mount Union as the top place he would like to attend, but I have to give credit to Mount for the latest piece of mail he received.

mount union t-shirt

Now while this will undoubtedly be a contested piece of apparel, and will “accidentally” find its way into my bag come the end of spring break, I can’t help but reminisce to my first piece of official Raider gear and how happy I was to be sporting the new colors. It is a great feeling to be identifying yourself with your future school. I look forward to meeting many of the purple-clad incoming 2015 class. But until that happens this coming fall, I would like to extend a personal “thank you” to the Office of Admission for my new shirt – I love it.

About Kyle

About Kyle

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I don’t even know you, dear reader, but I have been given the task of writing an introduction to myself as my first post on the new University of Mount Union blog. Hopefully as we spend the next several paragraphs together, a mutual bond of respect and friendship will be forged … one that can withstand the test of the Close or Back button. Now, normal convention dictates that this bio must be written in third person: “Kyle Dreger is an amazingly good-looking freshman.” Not being one to stop a good thing, I present the official overview of yours truly.

Kyle Dreger hails from the small town of Rootstown, Ohio, and is currently a freshman at Mount Union. He plans to major in computer science and enjoys working in any sort of code including: HTML, CSS, Java, PHP, daVinci and girls. He loves to write and has been doing so for well over a decade. When he is not writing or coding, he is an active member of the Raider Programming Board, Raider Relief  and Emerging Leaders. Where Mr. Dreger spends most of his time, however, is on the soccer field as a member of the men’s soccer team. He has been playing since the age of three and loves the feeling of night games under the lights.

Around the Internet, Mr. Dreger has the cleverly-awesome username of @kyledreger; feel free to check him out on Twitter or any other online communities. His hobbies include testing out new gadgets, keeping on the pulse of technology news and reading long, somewhat drawl, books. His future plans include graduating with honors in his major and attempting to get a job at Apple where he can apply his passion for good design with quality code to help make devices millions will use.

He sincerely hopes you’ve enjoyed this short overview of his life, and until the next post, enjoy checking out the new blog!