Tag Archives: Nate Harris

Hawks Transform into a Powerhouse

DannyCaplan Editor-in-Chief

Lebron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant are all household names across the country. Then you have your James Hardens, Dwight Howards, and Kyrie Irvings that are all known by an average sports fan. But what would happen if you asked people on the streets of New York if they could name starters on the Atlanta Hawks? Odds are that not many could. However, the Hawks just completed a 19-game win streak, including a National Basketball Association record 17-0 count in a single month.

This impressive streak did not happen overnight. This was almost an eight-year transformation of the Hawks, who were at one point the laughing stock of the NBA. In the 2007 Draft, the Hawks selected Al Horford, a center/power forward from the University of Florida. The Hawks community, albeit small at the time, had their fingers crossed that coach Mike Woodson had not made another terrible pick in the draft. In years prior, they passed on or traded a fair amount of great players like Deron Williams, Pau Gasol and Chris Paul. Luckily, Horford has proved to be the heart to an otherwise crippled franchise.

Since drafting Horford, the Hawks have been to the playoffs every year. Don’t let that stat fool you, though. Atlanta still had issues on and off the court including contract issues with Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Jamal Crawford and Josh Smith. During this span, the Hawks also have gone through three head coaches, but seem to have found their niche with Mike Bodenholzer at head coach and Danny Ferrey at general manager. Besides Horford, the team is completely different. The team is now led by all-stars Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap and Horford, while Kyle Korver has provided the best shot in the NBA thus far.

The Hawks have started a dynasty; hats off to the players and management for proving that you can win games as a team instead of as individuals. There are no stars wearing a Hawks uniform, but they are finding a way to win. The 19-game win streak was no accident. Look forward to some great seasons with this new, reconstructed roster.

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Educational Apps

TylerChan

Technology has given students the freedom to learn course material from non-textbook formats. Though not many people think about it, smartphones are becoming an ever-growing popular tool in education. As a result, many companies are developing new innovative apps for smartphones to allow students that learn through unorthodox, yet effective, methods of application.

On some apps lessons are intertwined within games or built as interactive tutorials that normally would be dreary to read about in a textbook. These apps allow people to learn a topic without the realization that a lesson is being taught.

The most effective educational apps to learn from are within the subjects of reading and writing. Apps such as “SAT UP,” which is a game based on matching two vocabulary words within a list together with similar definitions under a time limit, improves the individual’s ability to connect vocabulary words within texts and as stand-alone words. Another app, “The Grading Game” is a game based on accurately identifying the grammatical errors in an essay within a short time limit. As stand-alone games, these two apps appear boring if one were to play them for their own entertainment, but in terms of education, these apps make learning dull topics more exciting and enjoyable.

Improving one’s ability to learn through apps can also be done indirectly. Apps such as “Luminosity” increase brain activity which in turn increases one’s ability to understand topics faster by being able to connect them to related subjects more quickly.

Apps typically are not associated with learning, but students who are exposed to topics in different ways gain a better understanding of what needs to be learned.

(Photo Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons)

Hooch Sports Season Falls to Conclusion

The weather is getting colder, the leaves are falling, and sports are moving in doors: The fall sports season is officially over. Football and cross-country had summer workouts while volleyball, cheerleading and softball had club team tournaments all summer long. Then school started, and teams met before and after school to prepare for that week’s competition or game. The sports cliché “you win some, you lose some” can be applied to the fall sports season at Hooch, but luckily, winning occurred more often than not for the Cougars.

Throughout the summer and leading into the fall, there was a decent amount of hype surrounding the football team and all their personnel changes. Unfortunately, Coach Strine and the football squad were unable to make it to the playoffs this season. The Cougars beat region teams North Forsyth, Johns Creek and Habersham en route to a 3-7 record. Although they fell short of a playoff spot, winning their last game of the year at Habersham was a sort of moral victory for the class of 2015.

Just like football, the Hooch Cross-Country team started the year with new coaches. Although the cross-country team did not advance to the state tournament this season, runners Charity Starkes (JR) and Owen Schulinger (SO) both placed in the top 15 at the region meet. The softball squad led by seniors Katie Hegerbarth and Rachel Zachary were also unable to make it to the state playoffs, but were able to win some key region games during the fall.

The only fall sport that managed to make it to the playoffs was volleyball. Following a trip to the state championship last year, Morgan Cocca (SR) and Paige Harrelson (SR) had high hopes for this year as well. Unfortunately, Walton High School once again ended their state ring hopes early as the Raiders defeated the Lady Cougars at Walton.

Although this fall did not end with any Hooch teams bringing home a state championship, it was full of exciting moments. From last second field goal heroics by Andrew Gray (SR) to another trip to the playoffs by the volleyball squad, it is safe to say that the fall sports campaign was full of exciting moments that will live on in the Hooch highlight reel for years to come.

Tech Review: A Week with Android Wear

NateHarris, Guest Writer

Oct. 15 is a big day for fans of the Android operating system and phone lineage. Android L, the newest version of the operating system that was unveiled at Google I/O in June, was officially named “Android 5.0 Lollipop,” sticking to the theme of naming each successive operating system after a confection in alphabetical order. The operating system is set to be pushed out on Friday to the Nexus line of devices first, with other Android devices following over the upcoming months.

Oct. 15 also marks a week after I finally received my Android Wear device, and in that time I have learned a thing or two. Android Wear, for those who do not know, is an extension of the Android operating system running on watches resembling small smartphones, therefore dubbed “smartwatches.” Though Pebble watches have been out for a while, and Apple announced over the summer plans to launch a smartwatch in 2015, Android Wear was the first to take on the concept of a watch being more than a watch in full force. The first smartwatch hit the market last year with the Samsung Gear, though it did not run Android Wear software, and its marketability, though eye-catching, did not fare too well. Since then, a few more iterations of the smartwatch have come out, with “the Big Three” consisting of the LG G Watch and the Samsung Galaxy Gear Live (both square faced), and the Moto 360 by Motorola, which has a round face. I, like a lot of people looking at this technology, decided to go all out and combine fashion with form and went with the Moto 360. This added about two weeks to my wait, as, while I could walk into any Best Buy and pick up one of the other watches off the shelf, the Moto 360 was sold out everywhere, including at stores, on Google Play and on Motorola’s website.

(courtesy Nate Harris)
(courtesy Nate Harris)

So let me start with the design. Motorola designers and engineers attest to their idea that when designing the watch, that it look like a watch first and foremost. There is nothing necessarily wrong with a square face, but in my opinion, if clocks are round, a watch should be round. Motorola also teamed up with a Chicago leather manufacturer, offering black and grey leather straps for the watch out of the box (Motorola recently began offering metal linked straps as well). The leather feels great and adds to the style. It feels integrated with the product, as opposed to just serving a purpose like the plastic and rubber straps on the other two watches. The device itself is only 1.7 inches in diameter, but while some other reviewers argue that it is too big or too small, with my wrist, the size is just right. Some complain that it is too thick, but in comparison to the other smartwatches, it is only two millimeters thicker, and compared to a regular round watch, the difference is basically inconsequential.

(courtesy Nate Harris)
(courtesy Nate Harris)

The device has only one button on it, placed on the right side where a dial would be on a wind-up watch, and this button serves no other purpose than to turn the screen and device on and off. The Moto 360 does not have a speaker (unlike the other two), so there is a drawback when making phone calls (yes, you can make phone calls using the watch), but, as one main selling point of these smartwatches seems to be a new-found dedication to fitness, all the watches feature some sort of heart rate monitor and pedometer. As far as I’ve used it, it works quite nicely, though finding my heart rate does seem to take a bit of time (perhaps it is just me). The Moto 360 is not completely round; a small cutout at the bottom of the screen is black, but this is to make room for the ambient light sensor and display driver, a feature special to the Moto 360 that allows the screen to adjust its brightness according to the amount of available light around it. The screen also goes dim after a timeout period, and turns back on by the push of the button or by moving the watch in a sweeping motion that simulates raising your wrist up to your face. The Moto 360 seems to have only two major negative criticisms by reviewers, and those are its battery life and its processor. As far as battery life, it depends on what you use it for. Once I stopped touching it every two minutes, the battery lasted me an entire workday (8 a.m. to 6 p.m.). An update to the operating system significantly rectified this issue, though. And while the battery does drain a little faster than one might prefer, the device charges (through an inductive charger, no external ports or USB) from dead to one hundred percent in a little over an hour and a half. The other issue is the processor. Motorola put so much effort into the design, yet copped out for three-year old processor chips. I do not see any real side-effects from this decision, though it does seem to lag a bit if put under more than an average amount of stress.

(courtesy Nate Harris)
(courtesy Nate Harris)

Now to how the device actually works. These smartwatches are not phones. They are accessories that connect to an Android phone through Bluetooth. The first function of the watch is, of course, telling the time. All the watches come with pre-installed watch faces that can be switched out at will, and many developers are releasing more watch faces that can easily be used on the device. The watch syncs with the phone, and any app downloaded on the phone that works on Android Wear appears on the watch (though it is stored on the phone). Android Wear displays all notifications from the phone on its screen, as well as any cards in Google Now. Many of these notifications can be interacted with on the watch, though all of them will open on the phone. However, one app I have right now is a Wear browser, which allows someone to share a URL from the browser on their phone and view it on the watch (a miniature version of the websites’s mobile view). The watch is mostly a Google Now watch. Saying “OK Google” or just tapping on the screen will bring up Google. There is a keyboard on the phone (at least on the browser, there is), but for Google, it is all voice. Yeah, you look like weird walking down the street talking to your wrist, but those people around you are just behind the times. As for accuracy, unless there is really loud ambient noise, Google will understand what you said virtually every time. This is helpful, because the texting function (yes, you can text from your watch) is also voice-operated.

(courtesy Nate Harris)
(courtesy Nate Harris)

From the Google screen, a swipe up will allow access to setting and apps. Since Android Wear is fairly new, there is not too much out there, but it is really interesting to see the ingenuity that developers are having with this new technology. The Moto 360 was the last of the big three to come out, so a lot of apps are optimized for square screens, but many developers are working hard to bring full function to the round screen. I have some games (2048 and a Rubik’s Cube), some functionality apps (Calculator, a third-party Twitter beta app, a flashlight) and some accessibility apps (remotely control the volume or music playback on my phone, remotely control my camera, record audio). The app market is increasing exponentially daily, and it should not be long before big-name apps are available in some function on Wear (iHeartRadio, Tinder and FlyDelta have already taken advantage of the device).

Overall, the device is a nifty little thing. The interface is clean and easy to use, and the round design of the Moto 360 specifically makes it feel like it is a watch. I have had more than a few people give me a weird look as I respond to a text in public, but many of those people end up gawking over it when I show them that I am not crazy, but instead “embracing the future.” The functionality of the watch is a little underdone, but this is a brand new thing and so the full power and extent of its use is still being delved into right now.

Now comes the ultimate question: Is it worth it? I guess I did not say the price in the intro, my bad. The LG G Watch is $229, but Best Buy has been slashing its price to $159. The Samsung Gear Live is $199. The Moto 360 is $249. Now is it worth it? Well, if you are an iPhone person, you can leave now. You too Windows Phone people. Now the non-smartphone people. Now anyone with an Android device older than a year and a half. Okay, first off, you need Android 4.3 and above. Then you need to use Google a lot (as in multiple times a day. Multiple times an hour, even better). Now you need money, and lots of it. Now you need to be able to deal with imperfection, but at the same time experiment, try things out, be a beta tester and respond back to developers with constructive criticism and advice. This is not an everyday user device, not yet. In a few months it may be. The way I see it, as many see it, it is a niche product, for now. Right now, not many people know about it, and even fewer have it, so it is “weird.” The word “smartwatch” keeps showing up as misspelled, that is how unknown it is. Soon more people will know about it, but still few people will have it, and it will be “hipster.” Eventually, everyone will know about it, and everyone will have it, and it will be “mainstream.” Personally, I love being at the forefront rather than in the middle of the pack, being a leader rather than a follower.

So is it worth it? As soon as you have it, as soon as you strap it to your wrist, you will find worth in it somewhere. So is it worth it? Better question is, what is it worth to you?

 

(Cover photo courtesy Nate Harris)

NFL Domestic Abuse: Setting a Bad Example for the Youth

DannyCaplan

Editor-in-Cheif

The last three weeks of Sports Center have been filled with a wide plethora of off the field issues instead of actual games: all stemming from with the same headline, domestic abuse. This issue is ever so present in the NFL specifically.

The first major case was Ray Rice; after a long, highly controversial case, Ray Rice has been indefinitely banned from the sport of football. A video was released to TMZ that included a clip of Ray Rice actually punching his then fiancé in the face. The NFL and the Baltimore Ravens denied ever seeing the video, but the evidence goes against their statements.

Another signature player who has “run” into issues with domestic violence is record setting running back Adrian Peterson. Not only is he facing a team inflicted suspension from playing, but could also be facing criminal charges of up to 2 years in prison. Peterson’s offense was for forcing his young son to cut off a tree branch that he would later be hit with by his father.

Since these two major cases, other professional athletes have also been exposed for displaying acts of domestic violence. One of these cases is Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathon Dwyer. Lions running back Reggie Bush came out into the public and said that he finds nothing wrong with “whooping” a child.

In America, professional athletes, and celebrities for that matter, are the ones that act as role models for the public. Unfortunately, in light of the recent domestic abuse scandals, these athletes are acting as a negative role model for fans. Six months ago, there were countless 12-year-old sprint masters who all wanted to be just like Adrian Peterson. However, that goal has probably changed. Since as a society, we are becoming more and more accustomed to these domestic abuse scandals, we are not acting as shocked and disgusted as we should be.

Thirty years ago, if it came out that Joe Montana beat his wife in a casino elevator, nobody would even so much as mention his name. However, five days after the Ray Rice situation broke out, there were parades of fans supporting Rice. This culture that has been created is sending an awful message to young fans. When an 8 year old turns on the news in the morning, he is seeing and hearing about supporters for these athletes instead of the social downfalls that they deserve. Hopefully, as a society, we are able to move on from these domestic abuse charges and respect everybody equally.

And So It Begins…

NateHarris, Guest Writer

So this is college.

I’m sitting in the gardens, my rear end comfortably supported by a small rustic-looking metal bench facing a small brick building. The roar of buses and cars softly echoes from the street to my left, the sight of them blocked by various trees and bushes. The squeaky chirp of a bird complements the traffic, rhythmically sounding off on my right. This place is relaxing. Nobody’s come by since the next round of classes started a few minutes ago, and I’m alone here with my thoughts and a keyboard on my lap.

So this is college.

The hustle of students of various shapes, sizes, ethnicity, gender, age and major trickle past me, the undisturbing chaos similar to salmon swimming upstream. I feel free, independent and alone, and yet at the same time, included, part of a greater whole collectively. I feel like I matter.

I’ve only had one class so far, so I won’t bore you with the details of English 1060H. I ate breakfast at the new dining hall. I got up without having my mom have to remind me to get up. I went to class. I bought a textbook. I did it all by myself. I’m not sure who’s keeping score, but I’m pretty sure I deserve some major bonus points for that.

So this is college.

I feel like I belong here.

I feel like I’m free.

I feel like this is a place I could call “home.”

I feel happy.

 

(cover photo courtesy The Red and Black)

Concert Review: Journey, Steve Miller Band, Tower of Power

NateHarris, Guest Writer

DISCLAIMER: Due to extremely long lines for parking, I was sadly unable to see Tower of Power. I came in just as they finished their last song.

So after what felt like ages waiting to park, my family and I finally arrived at Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood to see Journey’s “San Francisco Fest” Tour with the Steve Miller Band and Tower of Power. This was my first concert in a while, and what I consider to be my first “real” concert (a Beatles tribute band isn’t the same). It was also the first time I’ve ever been to Aaron’s Amphitheatre, and I have to say it’s pretty darn good-looking. I think the pond and the classy movie studio right next door certainly help boost the atmosphere. I haven’t been to many concerts, but I’ve worked at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, and as far as floor-plan, it was fairly similar.

Steve Miller has aged physically. His songs haven’t. (courtesy Nate Harris)
Steve Miller has aged physically. His songs haven’t. (courtesy Nate Harris)

Now this was a Journey concert, and while they have new stuff, they focused heavily on the classics from when our parents were growing up (more on that later), and so the audience was comprised mostly of, you guessed it, our parents. Lots of 40-plus old men and women. Lots of alcohol too. Still, between drunk classic rock fans and stoned modern pop fans, I’ll take the former.

Now to the music. Well, Steve Miller has aged physically. His songs haven’t. I’m not a huge Steve Miller fan, but I know a good amount of his songs, and he made sure to close with hits like “Joker,” “Space Cowboy” and “Jet Airliner.” He even came back for an encore with “Fly Like An Eagle,” a song that I personally hate thanks to a certain 90s movie that shall remain nameless *cough* “Space Jam” *cough*. It is a great song, but I cannot listen to it without seeing a Michael Jordan montage in my head. Thanks a lot, Looney Tunes and Warner Bros.

While Steve Miller had a laid-back, Jimmy Buffett-feel to his performance, Journey brought out a true classic rock concert. And when I say classic, I mean the music was classic, and the aura of the concert was classic. Laser lights, strobes, random colorful patterns and desktop screensavers up on light boards, everything sans pyrotechnics. I’m sure if the front row wasn’t so close, they would have made sure to add some flames for the finale.

The guitarist had one of the most badass “Star-Spangled Banner” performances I have ever seen. (courtesy Nate Harris)
The guitarist had one of the most badass “Star-Spangled Banner” performances I have ever seen. (courtesy Nate Harris)

Journey’s line-up started off with a newer song from when singer Arnel Pineda came on board in 2007 after Steve Perry split with the band almost a decade prior, and a few songs off their newer albums were scattered throughout the show, though the majority of the performance was dedicated to the songs that made the band popular back in the 80s, songs like “Wheel in the Sky,” “City by the Bay,” “Separate Ways” and “Any Way You Want It.” And Pineda was dancing around during all of them. From random jumping and spinning to high-fiving the front row to reaching his microphone out over the audience, I can’t remember ever seeing him standing still. But he looked like he was loving it, and that energy transferred to the audience.

The band did a good job of dividing up their songs so that each member of the band could get a solo song. The drummer sang “Mother, Father,” the pianist got “Open Arms,” and the guitarist had one of the most badass “Star-Spangled Banner” performances I have ever seen. When the flag popped up on the screen behind him, when the lights above him flashed red and white and blue, I knew what it meant to be a goddamn American.

“Don’t Stop Believin’” as a finale. Of course, why not? And they went out on a bang. (courtesy Nate Harris)

And seeing as it’s a Journey concert, I doubt there was anyone in the audience that didn’t already know what the last song would be. “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Of course, why not? And they went out on a bang. And then had an encore, which was cool, “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’,” but kind of undermined the epicness of “Don’t Stop Believin’,” but it was still awesome.

I walked away from the concert with four things. Number one, a sick t-shirt and 40 dollars less in my bank account. Number two, the scarring memory of seeing two people over the age of 45 grinding, and not even correctly (if there even is a correct way to grind…). Number three, a long car ride home. And number four, an awesome first “real” concert. No complaints here.

 

(cover photo courtesy Nate Harris)