Bits and Bytes: Why You Should Build a Gaming Rig

If you want to build a gaming PC, there's never been a better time. In fact, if you want to game - it's never better to do it than right now!

So it begs the question - why should you build your own gaming rig if there are plenty of options to purchase in the form of a pre-made PC or console? You can get into your gaming right away!

Well - prebuilt gaming rigs are subject to huge markups. Usually double, in fact. Check the components of the best gaming rigs you can buy right now and there's a stone cold guarantee that you could put the parts for cheaper and put the thing together yourself. In no uncertain terms - you'll pay less and get the same - especially if you were looking to buy a PC from a brand name.

Prebuilt PC's do have their benefits though, as not everyone has the time to build a computer from scratch. It can be quite scary on paper - but it is very similar to playing with building blocks. All the components slot into the motherboard and just need to be hooked up. Of course you'll need a screwdriver here and there but it sounds a lot scarier than it is. Just make sure you know what components work on your system.


Building a PC is also good as the PC is far more transparent than consoles. If a console breaks down, it needs to be sent off in order to be fixed. If your PC fails, you can simply fix the issue with a new component or work around. It's good to get your hands dirty. Shopping for parts that you need will ensure that you do your research. You'll be the expert and know the PSU that has the best lifespan or the graphics card unit that can run your favorite games. This knowledge is valuable and will allow you to solve your own issues with the computer instead of the quick fix presented by buying a computer that can't be opened up easily. Research from the ultimate guide to choosing the best and perfect monitor for gaming right through to finding out what RAM setup is best for your specification is a great way to learn more. There are plenty of issues that come with fixing your own PC, but because you have handled each part, you'll be the master of it and know exactly how it works.


Of course, building your own computer allows you to build to your exact specifications. Maybe you don't want the brand name computer thats costs one thousand extra because of some lights or a unique case? Building your own PC allows you to spend on what you want and pay more for the components that you value more. You aren't restricted in scope.

Building your own gaming PC is also incredibly satisfying. Once you pile all your components into the case, start it up and play your games - just know that you, and you only, made it all possible.

Turn Your Experise Into Cash

People tend to get trapped into believing that the only way to make money is by getting up, going to work, and bringing home the bacon. Well we’re here to tell you: that is complete nonsense. Being told “follow your dream” or “turn your passion into your job” might sound like cliched, unhelpful advice, it isn’t a million miles away from the truth. Because the truth is that anybody, absolutely anybody can take what they love and make money from it. We’re not saying you’ll become a millionaire (though dream big!), but if you’ve got a passion that you know others also enjoy, you could build a sizable side income that could one day become a full time gig. Sound good? Of course it does! Here’s how it’s done.



Helping out the Newbies

Most people go to a tutor to help with their English or Science or whatever else, but they also need help getting better at whatever their passion is. No, forget that - they want help. It can be anything from language to guitar to helping a would-be Hemingway improve his or her creative writing skills. If you live in a busy urban area, post an ad around town and in the shops related to your activity. Charging by the hour for a few hours a week can bring in a healthy monthly top up to your income.


On the Web

If your passion is travelling, then why on earth have you not started a travel blog? In all likelihood, you have a ton of knowledge about how to get to A from B cheaply, the best hotels to stay in during a trip to Prague, the absolutely most amazing ship trips you can take in South America, and so on. People who want to travel want to read that stuff, and before they’re on their own adventures, they’re reading it a lot - online! Make yours the site they get the info from.



Make it to Print

You don’t have to sit around waiting for a book publisher to give you a deal: do it yourself! By releasing a book to the world, you can make a passive income that most people would take as their full time wage. If you’re an expert on, say, World of Warcraft, then put down all your knowledge into a few chapters, get an online book printing quote, and get it out there for all the other World of Warcraft obsessives to buy.


And...No Imposter Syndrome, Please

There are plenty of people out there who think “but I can’t write a book/start a blog/sell my expertise, there are others out there better than me…”. Maybe there are, but they’re not the ones taking a proactive approach: you are. In the process of getting your expertise out there, you’ll learn that you really do have a lot to offer on the subject, especially if it's been your passion for years and years. In any case, you shouldn’t care if you’re suffering from imposter syndrome - so long as the money keeps rolling in and people love what you’re doing!

Book Review: "Give and Take"

"... when concern for others is coupled with a healthy dose of concern for the self, givers are less prone to burning out and getting burned—and they’re better positioned to flourish."

As a part of my professional development plan for 2017, I decided to finally read Give and Take by Adam Grant. I've been recommended this book several times by several different people so I figured it'd be good to get around to actually reading it. I'm so glad I did. I really enjoyed this book. I felt like it was speaking to me at just the right moment as I work to move up and grow in a very different work environment. There is so much good stuff in this book so the short version of this review is me telling you to go out there and get this book now. Here's the long version:

Through a series of interview, stories, and studies, Grant explores the idea that being a "giver" is the best way for someone to get ahead versus the popular notion that we all need to be ruthless "takers". Across all different industries, this theory holds to be true, and Grant gives objective evidence to back it up, much from his own experience as well as that of others. He also gives helpful advice on how to overcome common hurdles for givers, like negotiating, being assertive, and avoiding burnout.

"This is what I find most magnetic about successful givers: they get to the top without cutting others down, finding ways of expanding the pie that benefit themselves and the people around them. Whereas success is zero-sum in a group of takers, in groups of givers, it may be true that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts."

In a world where we're experiencing vast complex hardships, fear, and our social capital is at an all time low, I feel like this book is something we all need to read now more than ever. We can make a better world for all if we work together, trust one another, and build bridges, not walls.

"When people assume that others aren’t givers, they act and speak in ways that discourage others from giving, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy."

"Givers reject the notion that interdependence is weak. Givers are more likely to see interdependence as a source of strength, a way to harness the skills of multiple people for a greater good."

I hope you read this book and integrate more giving into your life in however you see fit.

Thanks for stopping by!

Social Gaming: 5 Tips to Help You Throw an Amazing LAN Party

What gamer doesn’t love to throw an amazing LAN party for their friends? Hours and hours of high-octane gaming, screaming at the top of your lungs and chowing down on pizza and fast food snacks is how many people spent their childhood and teenage years—so why not revisit those moments and throw a LAN party?

One of the most incredible and memorable experiences a gamer can have is relaxing with a group of their friends while playing through some of their favorite games together. It could be online team-based games like League of Legends, old competitive gems like Starcraft or even modern party games like Rocket League. Whatever your choice, you’re bound to have a great deal of fun by inviting your friends over and setting up some space for them to use their computers.

LAN parties have been somewhat forgotten over the past couple of years due to the increase in distance between friends who move away for work or family related reasons, the rise of accessible internet gaming due to fast internet speeds and the lack of LAN support for many newly released games. But it’s still a nerdy gaming ritual that many people still indulge in when given the opportunity. So get a pen and paper out and start planning your glorious LAN party with your friends and family members with these five helpful tips.


1. Spacious Seating Arrangements

The more space you can clear the better. LAN parties usually involve people bringing over their own computers, so make sure you can provide them with desk, tables and chairs. You can check out this site for some excellent gaming chairs to fit your budget. The best thing about gaming chairs is that they’re as comfortable and durable as premium office chairs but come with unique design flairs, racing-inspired shapes and many LAN party creature comforts such as being able to recline the seat all the way down to create a makeshift “bed” to sleep in.

If you also plan to use a big-screen television to play console games or if you have a PC setup that uses controllers, you might also want to invest in some large beanbag seats or ensure that your sofa has been cleaned up and all the cookie crumbs have been hoovered up to create a clean and comfortable seat. LAN parties usually involve people sleeping over as well, so ensure that you have enough space for guests to stay over such as spare beds, guest rooms or sleeping bags.


2. Extra Hardware or Computers

One of the worst things that can happen during a LAN party is a piece of crucial hardware breaking or someone forgetting to bring a cable after driving halfway across town to get to your home. It halts the fun, someone will get left out and it won’t be the nostalgic experience that you had hoped for. Things like power cables, network cables, wireless adapters and even monitor cables are extremely important, and there’s always someone that manages to forget a vital piece of equipment for their computer.

If you’re the host of a LAN party then it’s common to always carry some spares or extras so that your guests can game away without worrying too much about hardware failures. You don’t need to have an extra computer or laptop (though that would be handy for anyone that couldn’t bring their computer) but some extra cables, controllers, keyboards and mice will go a long way if you host regular LAN parties in your home.


3. Ensure You Have a Fast Internet Connection

Since most online games require you to have a stable and decently fast internet connection, it’s going to slow down your gaming experience if you have multiple computers connected to a puny router that can’t handle all of the load. To remedy this, check if your internet service provider can upgrade your internet speeds before the LAN party starts. This way you can ensure that everyone in your home gets the optimal internet speeds to make downloading, updating and playing games smooth and fast.

If your router is old and can’t handle multiple wired internet connections, then consider using wireless. Using wireless isn’t recommended for serious gaming, so if you prefer a wired connection it’s a good idea to invest in a simple budget network switch so that everyone can connect to your home network.


4. Plan What Games You Want to Play

This is the second worst thing that can happen at a LAN party. If you aren’t playing games then you’re probably sitting around doing nothing. Make sure you make a list of games that you want to play together. You don’t need to conform to a schedule, but making sure that you and your friends share common interests is key to hosting a successful LAN party.

Don’t just pick from the latest releases because you’ve probably played those games to death. How about revisiting some old classics? Heroes of Might and Magic 3 was a popular staple for video game enthusiast and it can still hold its own against modern strategy RPG games of today. Old FPS games like Quake 3 Arena are still a blast to play as well. Though they aren’t as popular as newer team-based FPS games such as Overwatch, you can definitely squeeze an hour or two of nostalgic fun out of older titles. And best of all? Old games support LAN play which means that you’ll get buttery smooth lag-free connections to your friends.


5. Don’t Forget the Food!

How else are you going to fuel your all-night gaming sessions if you don’t eat? Gather up some oven pizza, microwaveable snacks and lots of sugary drinks to keep you and your guests playing all night long. You could also contact a takeaway or catering service if you have a lot of guests or if you want to ensure they have quality food instead of fast food.

You might also want to consider the dietary needs of people. For example, if you have guests that are vegetarian or vegan then you want to have some options ready for them too, and consider allergies as well.


Now go forth and have an awesome party!

Thanks for stopping by!

Books Got You Broke? Find Your Way Back To Reading With These Ideas

What student has time to read? You’re already reading enough for your studies, right? Wrong. For the booklovers among us, there’s no such thing as too much reading! We’re all good at making time for what we want to make time for, after all. The only problem is that new books are expensive! If you’ve been struggling to afford your love of reading, we’ve got some tips to help you find a way back to it!

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This one should be obvious. You’re a student. You have access to a fantastic library! You could even sign up for your local library and have two options available to you! If you avoid visiting the library because you think the books will be old and uninspiring, it’s time to change your view. Libraries have a range of books, and receive new releases all the time! Not to mention that you should be supporting your library as much as you can. The more use a library gets, the more likely it is to stay open for years to come! Set aside some time in your day to browse the shelves. You’re sure to come away with more than you bargained for!



Buying a Kindle may cost you to start with, but it’ll soon pay for itself. As well as being easy to carry around, and convenient, Kindles offer the chance to buy cheap books! You’ll only receive a file copy of the book in question, so you should be paying a lot less than you would for a physical copy. New releases can still be pricey, so it might be worth holding fire on those. Most of the time, though, you’ll be paying under the odds! There are even free ebooks for Kindle that you could get stuck into.

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Swapping books with friends can be a lot of fun, and an excellent way to get new books for nothing. You may want to keep a few favorite books for yourself, but you’ll find that you don’t mind giving away many of your reads. You and your friends could set up a swapping club. You could even talk to the people in your building about setting up a swapping library. This can be a fantastic way to discover books you would never come across otherwise!



If all else fails, you could always buy books second hand. It’s still going to cost you; there’s no denying that. Even so, it’ll cost a lot less than buying books new. Not to mention that you can trade books when you finish them, and pick up some new ones! After the initial payment, you should just be able to trade. Check this is a service your local second-hand shop offers before you buy.

So, there you have it. Getting books cheap isn’t difficult once you’ve set your mind to it. All it takes is a little planning. Don’t go without anymore. Take advantage of the resources available to you!

Getting The Most Out Of Your Android Phone

No matter the price tag - there are some extremely beefy android phones on the market today. From Oneplus to Samsung and from Motorola to Sony - many manufacturers are producing premium, yet accessible options - meaning almost anyone can get their hands on some serious mobile power. Tariff options from providers are also dropping in price.

So, when you get your hands on the power of a new mobile device bursting to the seams with Android features - what do you do? How can you get the most out of it?


Firstly, invest in some serious protection. Premium phone options like the Xperia have a large screen surface area and even though the glass is well protected, you’re always a drop away from disaster. A good case is going to protect the chassis and screen of your phone but you cannot go wrong with a tempered glass screen protector that offers so much more safety than the flimsy plastic ones. You’ll be safe from drops for the foreseeable future. What’s more - your screen will be protected from grease and the oils of your fingertips.

Your phone needs to be treated like a computer. Make sure you clean dust from it to prevent the dust and dirt from breaching into the phone. It can cause just as much damage as it does to computers. Compressed air is a great way to blast dust and debris from your phone!

Secondly, you need to keep your phone operational. Again, like a computer it needs to be kept free of old data and files. These do, like dust, build up and can slow your phone down. Enable your photos to auto upload to cloud-based storage to save space - and make sure you rid your phone of apps that you are not using.

Now, let’s talk apps - there are plenty of apps that will enhance your Android user experience - it just depends on what type of person you are!

If you’re an ideas person, look no further than Google Keep or Evernote - these apps are great for jotting down ideas and miscellaneous notes so you’re always in touch with your ideas and have a willing notepad ready and waiting.

If you love your film and TV, look no further than Showbox for your viewing needs. This free app boasts nothing but awesomeness. A great option for catching up and binge watching!

What about the creative types? Well, you have Snapseed at your fingertips to turn your photos into award winning art. The complex editing tool can certainly improve the finished product and turn anyone into a master auteur. Snapseed is a comprehensive photography app, and if you're at any level beyond amateur, you should check it out!

By equipping your phone with some amazing applications and ensuring that it is protected at all times, you can have the best chance of getting the most out of your Android phone - after all, you paid money for it! Why wouldn’t you want to get the best out of it?

The Importance Of Safeguarding Your Computer

What does your computer do for you? If you’re like everyone else, it probably does everything. It helps you study, complete work, relax, play games.

Computers do a lot for us, so we should be doing a lot back for our computers. This isn’t always the case though. Another thing to remember is that our computers hold a lot of data that is key to our livelihoods and safety.

It’s time to take the security and health of your computer seriously.

No matter what you’ve got, be it a desktop or a laptop, it’s important to remove dust from the chassis and components of the computer regularly. This could be by taking the computer apart and spraying the inside with compressed air, or it could be by giving your desk and the surrounding area a good wipe down. It’s vital to ensure there is good ventilation around your workspace so that your computers aren’t constantly overheating and those fans are not sucking in dirt. If they are working harder to cool your computer down, they are going to be attracting more dust and dirt.

Cleaning isn’t just something you perform on the exterior of your computer though. You need to clean the internal software of junk. Like dust, your software attracts temporary files and caches that can fill the hard drive of your computer in no time at all. It’s important to wipe your computer clean of files you don’t need as they will only build up and slow your computer down. Masses of files will lead to a stodgy computing experience and you won’t be getting the best out of your laptop. Try to be consistent with your cleaning and although you should regularly clean out unused files, removing software you do not use is pretty key to the lifespan of your computer. The rule is, if you don’t need it - don’t keep it.


But what about things you do need? Films and memories. Well, you’ve got to back it up! Backing up your precious files to the cloud is one way, but you should have a number of methods so you can store the files you need, whilst keeping your computer clean. Using physical media such as hard-drives and CD-ROM’s can keep your memories and useful files at your fingertips. If you’re scared of losing your CD’s you can encrypt them with passwords and have them duplicated by a service like Nationwide Disc Replication.

You should also be scanning your computer for viruses and malware on a regular basis. Viruses can infect your computer and hide in your files, which is why regular cleaning is important. Anti-virus software is the best safeguard that you can deploy against the threats that your computer faces. Regular scans could prevent a disaster from occurring.

With simple steps you can safeguard your laptop against physical and digital threats. It’s important that you take the security of your data seriously. Don’t be left out and vulnerable.

These Outlets Got Web Application Design Just Right

Sometimes when we’re brainstorming for a new project, we need a little inspiration to get our creative juices flowing. But most of the time, it’s hard to find inspiration for web applications themselves. Yes, there are plenty of blogs categorising beautiful websites, but when it comes to the applications themselves there isn’t as much material out there.

As a result, this post will focus on some of the best interfaces used right now for existing web apps. Web apps don’t just have to be practical: they can be beautiful too.



Gumroad was set up back in 2011 to be a platform that helps creators sell their products directly to consumers. If for instance, you’re a music artist, Gumroad is a way to bypass music studios and all of the hassle of getting signed and make your work public for anybody to buy and download.


Being an arty website, you’d expect the design to be awesome, and it is. The colour bars that animate when you click save help to make the whole experience more interactive and bring pages to life. The site also has a clean feel, making it easy to navigate and understand pricing.


Costa Coffee

Costa Coffee didn’t get to become Britain’s favourite coffee shop by chance - not with competitors like Starbucks and Caffe Nero breathing down their necks. Instead, they worked with a Magento agency to produce one of the most beautiful and helpful web apps out there. Everything has a sort of cartoon-like feel, except of course for the products themselves which stand out. There are also tools that help visitors find local stores and connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter.




Grooveshark is a music streaming service based in the US, designed to help users upload, stream and organise digital audio files. The company is going up against the likes of SoundCloud, and to a lesser extent, Spotify, and as a result, they’ve prioritised the aesthetic. The interface is quick and snappy, and like Gumroad there are a lot of clean edges and minimalist lines. Every audio file on the site is labelled and categorised, making the whole site easy to navigate.



Just a couple of years ago, most people hadn’t heard of AirBnB. But thanks to it, and other sharing economy services, like Uber, it’s become a lot more popular. One of the ways it managed to draw people in was the simplicity and beauty of its web app. It knew that it had to make it simple for people to book rooms and hotels in other countries, and so it immediately set about streamlining the process. Now users have all sorts of features, like wish lists as well as smart search. The search bar simply asks users the question “where do you want to go?” It’s that simple to get started.


There’s also the fact that the colors on the sites are done to perfection. AirBnB knows that the way to sell a holiday is to show pictures of it, so they combine quality photography with a simple colour scheme.