App of the Day: Rise

I have always, always, always had issues with waking up to an alarm. I don’t sleep but I do sleep hard so its difficult finding the right alarm so I have many. I had been docking my phone to my sound system and having that wake me but now that I am back in school in a confined space, its difficult to that because I do not want to wake up other people in other apartments. When I started my internship that complicated things more because I HAD to be up by a certain time. Originally my dad was calling and waking me up but he cant always do that. I recently started using the app Rise which is available for free on the App Store.

Its simple, easy to use, and it works. The app has an intuitive UI so i suggest watching the tutorial. It is a progressive alarm. I have to be up by no later than 6:30 so I have it start waking me up by 5:45 and usually be 6:00ish I am awake but no later than than 6:31 when it gets intense.

Additionally, Rise can also help one get to sleep and contains a playlist called “Sleep Tunes” which contains a few songs but you can also make a playlist from songs already on your iPhone. I have not used this feature but intend to very soon.



Black History Month: Michelle Howard

Michelle Howard—the first African American woman to achieve three star rank in the military and first to command a US Navy ship.  She was the first woman graduate of the US Naval Academy to be selected for Admiral.  Currently she serves as Deputy Commander United States Fleet Forces Command and Director Combined Joint Operations From the Sea Centre of Excellence.

Black History Month: Ursula Burns

It’s about time, I got a woman into the mix. Too often we here about Madame CJ Walker, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks and other influential black women go unnoticed.

I am definitely a business guy. So i wanted to talk about a business woman, Ursula Burns. Burns is the 1st African American woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Xerox. She also serves as the Madam Chairman and ranks as #11 Most Powerful Women in the World according to Forbes.

Burns was raised by a single mother in, a New York city housing project. Both of her parents were Panamanian immigrants. She attended Cathedral High School, a Catholic all-girls school on East 56th Street in New York. She went on to obtain a bachelor of science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Polytechnic Institute of NYU in 1980 and a master of science in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University a year later.

In year three as CEO, Burns is still trying to reframe Xerox as a services business rather than a strict seller of printers and copiers. Services like managing electronic ticket transactions, road tolls and parking meters now bring in half of all revenues, and Burns sees continued growth through small acquisitions of health care and processing technologies. After beginning her career at Xerox in 1980 as a summer engineering intern, Burns climbed the ranks to eventually become the first black woman ever to run a major U.S. corporation. This year she spoke out against Augusta National Golf Club’s male-only membership policy, saying “it’s ridiculous” and, if unchanged, Xerox wouldn’t sponsor the Masters on her watch. Perhaps it helped. In August, the club finally opened its membership to women for the first time in 80 years.

Some credit belongs to Wikipedia, Forbes. I wrote the entry paragraphs.

Black History Month: Dick Gregory

Richard Claxton “Dick” Gregory, comedian and civil rights activist whose social satire changed the way White Americans perceived African American comedians since he first performed in public.
After a childhood of poverty in St. Louis, Gregory attended college on a track scholarship and later served two years in the army. In the middle 1950s he concentrated on finding work as a comedian, always having had, as he says, “a good rap.” He spent several years working occasional gigs as master of ceremonies at Chicago area black night clubs, alternating his work with periods as a car washer and post office employee. In 1958, he opened his own nightclub, the Apex Club, in Robbins, Illinois, but the club soon failed, leaving Gregory in debt. A turning point came in late 1959 when he rented the Roberts Show Club in Chicago and organized a party for the Pan American Games teams. The success of the party and of Gregory’s role as its master of ceremonies convinced the owner of the club to hire Gregory as the regular master of ceremonies. But when the job ended a year later, Gregory was unemployed and broke once again. It was then that he got the one-night job at the Playboy Club that changed his life.
As he became better established as a comedian, Gregory put his convictions into practice by devoting much of his time to the civil rights movement of the 1960s. On behalf of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Congress on Racial Equality, and other prominent civil rights organizations, Gregory made appearances at demonstrations, marches, and rallies throughout the country. He performed in many fund-raising shows for the movement and participated in nonviolent civil disobedience actions. When his concern for America’s social problems demanded a greater level of involvement, Gregory entered electoral politics. In 1966 he was a candidate for mayor of Chicago and, in 1968, the presidential candidate of the Freedom and Peace Party, a splinter group of the Peace and Freedom Party. Gregory’s campaigns were closely associated with the New Left and Black Power movements of the late 1960s and called for civil rights, peace in Vietnam, and racial and social justice. Although neither of his electoral campaigns were successful, they did draw attention to issues that Gregory felt should be better known. His unsuccessful presidential bid, a write-in effort in most states, garnered some two hundred thousand votes and substantial media attention.
In the late 1960s Gregory came to believe that his personal life must be changed in order to bring it into harmony with his political beliefs. Accordingly, he became a vegetarian because of his commitment to nonviolence. His research into diet and health led him to outspoken positions on the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle and the ill effects of the normal American diet. Soon after, he quit the nightclub circuit in favor of speaking engagements at colleges, churches, and schools.
Encouraged by the benefits of his vegetarian lifestyle, Gregory began in the 1970s to explore other areas of health care and nutrition. He soon became interested in fasting and marathon running, activities he now practices as a personal witness to call attention to social issues. He has fasted a number of times to publicize the world hunger problem, to draw attention to the nation’s drug abuse epidemic, and to emphasize the plight of the American Indians. Gregory has engaged in marathon runs for similar reasons, running from Chicago to Washington, DC, for example, to urge that action be taken by the government to ease world famine.

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Blu-Ray: Adding to the Collection

I am not really sure I have talked about it before but I really enjoy movies. I like collecting old movies that re-release on BluRay like Deer Hunter, Citizen Kane, etc. I like watching old flicks but I also appreciate the supreme video quality of high definition. I often run into to films which have not been yet rereleased and some I doubt with every be released on Blu-Ray. In honor of that hobby and this month being Black History Month I wanted to highlight some titles that are lesser known among my generation.

 Let’s Do It Again


This movie is an absolute classic featuring legends like Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Calvin Lockhart, Ozzie Davis, and John Amos. This was an all-star black cast back in the 1975 when it came out. The plot is basically about rigging a boxing match in order to raise money for a fraternal club. It’s a strong comedy and that has long gone underrated.

Uptown Saturday Night


Uptown Saturday Night is another black classic featuring several similar actors including Calvin Lockhart, Poitier, Cosby, Harry Belafonte, and the late comedic genius Richard Pryor.

Steve Jackson (Sidney Poitier), a blue-collar worker at a steel mill, has just begun a two-weeks-long vacation. He is convinced by his friend Wardell Franklin (Bill Cosby) to go to a party that Saturday night at Madam Zenobia’s, an uptown nightclub.

While the two are at the party, the club is robbed. The masked bandits force the patrons to strip to their underwear, then steal their money and jewellery, including Steve’s wallet.

The following day, Steve is at home and reading his newspaper when he learns he has won the lottery. However, he realizes that the lottery ticket was in the wallet that was stolen from him, and Steve and Wardell spend the remainder of the film tracking down his wallet by consulting with crooked politicians, fake detectives, con-artists, and underworld crime bosses. As the ad for the film states: “They get funny when you mess with their money”.

Black History Month: Daymond John

Daymond John (born February 23, 1969) is an American entrepreneur, investor, television personality, author and motivational speaker. He is best known as the founder, president and CEO of FUBU, and appears as an investor on the ABC reality television series Shark Tank.

John was born in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, but spent his childhood in the Queens neighborhood of Hollis. He was raised an only child by his mother and attended Bayside High School. In high school, he participated in a co-op program that allowed him to work a full-time job and attend school on an alternating weekly basis, which he credits with instilling an entrepreneurial spirit. After graduating high school, he started a commuter van service.

FUBU‘s origins date to 1992. At the time, wool hats with cut-off tops were popular, and John noticed them being sold for $20, which he considered overpriced. He went home and sewed around 80 hats with his next-door neighbor, Carl Brown. They sold their homemade hats for $10 each in front of the New York Coliseum, and made $800 in a single day.

Sensing potential, Daymond and his mother mortgaged their house for $100,000 to generate start-up capital. In addition to Brown, he recruited longtime friends J. Alexander Martin and Keith Perrin into the business, and began sewing the FUBU logo onto hockey jerseys, sweatshirts, and t-shirts.[3] To make ends meet, John held a full-time job at Red Lobster, working on the FUBU business in between shifts. In 1993, he convinced LL Cool J, an old neighborhood friend, to wear a FUBU t-shirt for a promotional campaign. Later, while filming a 30-second advertising spot for The Gap, LL Cool J wore a FUBU hat in the commercial and incorporated the line “for us, by us” in his rapping.

FUBU gained nationwide exposure when John and his partners traveled to Magic, a trade show in Las Vegas in 1994. Despite not being able to afford a booth, FUBU received over $300,000 worth of orders. FUBU continued growing, signing contracts with Macy’s, J.C. Penney, and the National Basketball Association and a distribution deal with Samsung Electronics. By 1998, FUBU returned $350 million in revenues. Currently, FUBU has amassed over six billion dollars in global sales.

Through his reputation as FUBU’s CEO, John has become a public speaker. He works with brands and celebrities to create additional revenue streams and brand extensions; some of his clients include Pitbull and the Miss Universe Organization. John is also a brand ambassador for the e-commerce company Shopify.

As a motivational and business speaker, John speaks about marketing, negotiations, and entrepreneurship. Some of his recent speaking engagements include California First Lady Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference, AT&T’s History Makers Tour, and Babson College School of Entrepreneurship.

John has received numerous awards, including Brandweek Marketer of the Year, the NAACP Entrepreneurs of the Year Award (which he won twice), the Advertising Age Marketing 1000 Award for Outstanding Ad Campaign, the Essence Award, Crain’s Business of New York Forty Under Forty Award, Ernst & Young’s New York Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the Brandeis University International Business School’s Asper Award for Excellence in Global Entrepreneurship, Details 50 Most Influential Men, and the Congressional Achievement Award for Entrepreneurship (which he won twice).

FUBU has received attention from the sports and entertainment industry, and has been worn or endorsed by LL Cool J, Janet Jackson, Will Smith, Mary J. Blige, Busta Rhymes, Magic Johnson, Lennox Lewis, and Whitney Houston.


Black History Month: Otis Boykin

Otis F. Boykin was born on August 29, 1920, in Dallas, Texas. His mother was a housewife and his father was a carpenter. Boykin graduated from high school, and then he attended Fisk College in Nashville, Tennessee in 1938. After he graduated from college in 1941, Boykin got a job as a laboratory assistant at the Majestic Radio & TV Corporation in Chicago. Otis Boykin did well at his job of testing automatic aircraft controls, and he soon made it to the rank of supervisor.

In 1944, Boykin left Majestic and he went to work at the P.J. Nilsen Research Labs in Illinois. He was a research engineer there.

Finally, he left the Research Labs and ventured out on his own and founded his own company. He named it “Boykin-Fruth Incorporated.” Boykin also continued his education at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Working at his company and going to school was difficult, but Boykin managed to handle his busy schedule. Unfortunately, after two years, he couldn’t afford to attend college anymore, so he was forced to drop out before his studies were finished.

Not being able to finish college didn’t hinder Otis Boykin’s future, though. He went on to further his career, and his biggest accomplishments were inventing several devices. In fact, Otis Boykin invented twenty-eight electronic devices in all.

If you visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and look up patent number 2,972,726, you’ll find Boykin’s first invention. Boykin received his first patent on June 16, 1959. It was for a wire precision resistor. This resistor can be found in computers, radios, and televisions.

Next, Boykin invented an electrical resistor. He received U.S. patent number 2,972,726 for it on February 21, 1961. Then, on June 22, 1965, Otis Boykin patented his electrical capacitor and the method for making the same. It is U.S. patent number 3,191,108.

Over the next several years, Boykin went on to invent the electrical resistor element and the method for making the same; the method of making thin film capacitor; electrical resistance element and method of making the same; electrical resistance capacitor; thin film capacitor; and a self-supporting electrical resistor. He also invented a burglar proof cash register and an air filter to protect humans from toxins. However, he never patented the latter two inventions.

Probably the most important invention that Afro-American Otis Boykin invented and patented was the Pacemaker. The purpose of a pacemaker is to help keep a patient’s heart beating at a steady beat, or “pace”. It’s approximately the size of a silver dollar. It has a generator and wires running from it that are connected to the heart. It also has an electrode at the end of the wire. The electrode sends electrical impulses to the heart to either slow it down or speed it up.

Inside the small generator is a lithium battery and a tiny computer. The computer is what regulates the patient’s heart beat.

The lithium battery usually lasts for about three years before it needs to be replaced. When it does need replaced, the existing generator is removed and replaced with a new one.

Of course, the purpose of the Pacemaker is to help prevent heart failure. Ironically, Otis Boykin died in 1982 in Chicago, Illinois… of heart failure.