Free Comic Book Day

The following is a guest post from my daughter Erica Owens...

Free comic book day is tomorrow and that’s extremely exciting. I’ve personally never been to this before. I buy comic books once a week at Viera Comics in Florida.

My favorite place for comics!

My favorite place for comics!

The atmosphere at Viera Comics is inviting and friendly. Getting free comic books sounds pretty great. There are comic stores everywhere in the country, find your local store and take your family or friends.

I talked to the owner of Viera Comics, Peter. He told me about the events going on tomorrow at his store. Obviously there are going to be free comics available, 10 per family. They are special editions for this day only. They cost the store 20-35 cents a book. So, while you are there, buy something to support your local comic shop and to say thank you for hosting this event. There will also be other things happening within the shop. Peter has, Kyoki Cubed, an artist coming in to do sketches for the guests. Cosplayers will be in costume to take pictures with, and characters from Make ‘Em Laugh Films. There will be a raffle for prizes. For every $10 you spend, you get one entry into the raffle (which could be for something like a CGC comic or a statue, however, he is still firming up the details of the raffle).

This event brings the community together to read and celebrate comic books. Take your friends and family and go experience the life of comic books. You don’t have to be an avid comic book reader, everyone is welcome, there is a series for everyone. Happy Free Comic Book Day!

Thank You Antonia

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One of my favorite musicians of all time is George Winston. I've been playing piano since I was a little kid and I would by lying if I told you his music wasn't one of the reasons I have been playing the piano for so long. George Winston plays solo piano and he has been releasing piano albums for a long time (his debut album was in 1972).

I've seen George Winston in concert twice, most recently here in Florida in November of 2015. What I didn't know at the time was that George Winston was able to play that concert for me and for everyone in that theater because of the kindness of a stranger...Antonia. George had just finished playing at a concert in September of 2012 when he collapsed in his dressing room. George was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), which is a form of blood cell cancer. George needed a bone-marrow transplant if he wanted to live and thanks to a 21 year old woman from Germany named Antonia, he got the bone marrow that was needed to save his life.

Below is a quote from an article by the New York Post:

“Her name is Antonia,” he tells The Post, of the then-21-year-old woman from Germany. The hospital flew her in so Winston could meet her. “I gave her my 17 CDs and said, ‘Thanks for helping me make the next 15!’ ”

Not only did George give his entire music anthology to Antonia but he is also donating all of the proceeds from his latest album, "Spring Carousel", to the City of Hope hospital where he was treated (which is a private not-for-profit research center).

George Winston is not your average celebrity musician. If you see him in concert he is very soft spoken and when he does speak it is generally short and to the point. He is also a very private person, which is why I didn't know any of this had even happened to him. So this post isn't about George Winston and his illness but rather the hero that didn't know George and his amazing music but still donated her bone-marrow and saved his life. We have her to thank for all the music George can now continue to share with us.

Speedpass+ for Apple Watch

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A while back I wrote an article about the ExxonMobile Speedpass+ app for iPhone that lets you pay for gas with using Apple Pay. Well, a couple of days ago ExxonMobile updated their Speedpass+ iPhone app to add support for Apple Watch. This is really good news because using a credit card to pay for gas is probably one of the riskiest activities you can do. It exposes you to the possibility of credit card theft. Thieves have figured out some pretty clever ways to steal your credit card number at the pump, but if you use Apple Pay there is virtually no way anyone can compromise that transaction or get your credit card number. Plus Apple Pay is so much more convenient than any other method of payment. So how does this work?

The new Apple Watch app (which is automatically installed on your Apple Watch after you install it on your iPhone) runs on your watch an uses the GPS location data from your phone to determine which ExxonMobile station you are current at. So step out of your car and open the app up on your Apple Watch. The app will determine the station and ask you to spin the Digital Crown to indicate the pump number you are standing in front of. Then it prompts you to double click the side button on the Apple Watch to pay with Apple Pay and the pump is authorized and ready to use!

I just used the new Apple Watch functionality last night for the first time and it worked well. It makes more sense to use the app from the Apple Watch because I didn't like use the iPhone app from outside of the car (I don't like pumping gas with a cell phone nearby), which meant I used to pay for gas from the iPhone while I was in the car and I would have to strain my neck to look up and out the window to determine the number of the pump I was pulled up to. Now with the Apple Watch I can do this outside the car. The only downside to using the Apple Watch over the iPhone app is that in my case it is a bit slower (but I have the original Apple Watch and not the Series 2). When I say slow let me put that in perspective...it still takes less time than it takes to swipe your credit card at the pump and much of the "slowness" I experienced is because my Apple Watch is slow and not because of the app.

The Speedpass+ app is supported at 9600 ExxonMobil locations across the US. If you have an Apple Watch and have to buy gas on a regular basis I highly recommend you give your business to Exxon Mobil. Companies that put customer's security and convenience first like this need to be rewarded with our business. Unless I am in danger of running out of gas I will be going out of my way to buy all of my gas at ExxonMobil from now on and you should too.

Independent Blogs You Should Know About

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A couple of blog posts ago I wrote about how difficult it is for a small independent blog to stay the course, remain in existence and continue to grow and thrive. In that blog post I also explained ways in which you the reader can help my blog be successful , so if you haven't taken a look and done your part part to help 1Wayswim continue "swimming" please consider doing so. But now its my turn to help out other independent blogs. There are quite a few blogs that I regularly follow and love and I wanted to point others to them as well:

Lights in the Dark:

Lights in the Dark is an astronomy blog that was created by Jason Major 6 years ago when Jason's favorite website (Riding With Robots) shutdown. Within an hour Jason was inspired to continue in the footsteps of that site and started writing at Lights in the Dark. If you are into space at all (even if you just enjoy breathtaking space pictures) this blog is a must. The blog posts are extremely well written and you can tell Jason has a true passion for space and astronomy.

MacStories:

MacStories is a technology and automation blog that was founded by Federico Viticci. Federico founded MacStories in April of 2009 after he was fired from his current job. He started writing about technology on a free Wordpress blog which eventually turned MacStories (which now has 3 additional regular writers in addition to Frederico and 5 more occasional contributors). Several years back Federico had to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which required him to spend a lot of time in and out of the hospital. This lead to Frederico to switch from using a laptop as his primary computer to doing everything on an iPad (because an iPad is MUCH easier to use in a hospital), so he writes a lot about the apps and workflows he uses to accomplish what he has to do on an iPad. For all of us that also do most of our work on an iPad he is our tech hero. MacStories has since started publishing a weekly newsletter and a subscription service called Club MacStories where you can opt to pay a monthly or yearly subscription in order to get even more great content from the MacStories team. If you are into Mac and iOS this is a must read blog.

Macdrifter:

Macdrifter is a tech blog written by Gabe Weatherhead. Gabe is also a personal hero of mine because he shares my passion for great beer and even developed a now dead and buried iOS app for logging beers (TapCellar may you Rest In Peace). Gabe covers a bit of everything when it comes to technology, so I really enjoying reading about his take on things and I think you will too.

Tools & Toys:

Tools & Toys is a beautiful tool and gadget review site that was started by Shawn Blanc, who..."quit his job as the Creative and Marketing Director for a Christian non-profit to spend more time with his son and to write full-time from the comfort of his own corner in the basement." Shawn also has a tech blog called shawnblanc.net and an online course he has developed called "The Focus Course." Anytime I am considering a tool or gadget purchase I always consult Tools & Toys to see what they recommend. I apologize in advance though, because Tools & Toys covers some super cool products and once you see some of these things they will end up on your wish list and cost you some $$$.

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