I Coded and Published A Google Chrome Extension Plug-in Called "Work Mode - Block ALL Social Media" on the Chrome Web Store

Download WorkMode, the Google Chrome Extension that Blocks ALL Social Media HERE.

Visit http://workmode.org/ to learn more.

After a frantic 11 hours of coding and de-bugging, interlaced with long stretches of wiki-reading and API manual-reading, I finally created a functional Google Chrome Extension Plug-in called "Work Mode - Block ALL Social Media". It's essentially a plug-in to the Google Chrome browser that, when active, shuts down all attempts to access popular social media such as Facebook or Twitter. It was coded in HTML, CSS, and mainly, JavaScript. Also incorporated usage of JSON manifest syntax.

Work Mode Logo
The (embarrasing) logo for Work Mode - Block ALL Social Media.
Here's the description I wrote for the Extension:

"There's thirty minutes until the assignment is due. You're on the clock. There's no time to waste.

But...you go on Facebook instead, and waste away your time until there's none left. Social media can be a HUGE time waste.

Luckily, there's the Google Chrome Work Mode - Block ALL Social Media Extension.

WorkMode is a Google Chrome Extension that, when turned on, auto-blocks ALL social media from even appearing. For example, if you try to go to Facebook.com, the tab will auto-shut down - no warning, no mess.

To activate, simply click on the gray/white 'W' icon on the top-right of the Chrome browser. This will now change the color to a red/black 'W' icon, and WorkMode is active.

Work Mode is purposefully built to be as lightweight as possible -- it takes less than a second for most users to download!

Work Mode was developed with the most basic features -- no frills.
Currently, these websites/social media are blocked when the plugin is activated:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit
  • Vimeo
  • Tumblr
  • Google+

You can download the Chrome Extension at http://www.tinyurl.com/WorkMode .

I Recently Had A Piece Published on thePhatStartup Titled "Business Lessons Learned From The Movie Reservoir Dogs"

Zach Schwartz, a great friend of mine (zachtwotimes is his blog), approached me with the opportunity to post an article on thePhatStartup.com, a truly unique website that combines entrepreneurship and hip-hop at the same time.

I wrote an article titled 'Business Lessons Learned From The Movie “Reservoir Dogs”', which talks about the characters in Reservoir Dogs, especially Mr. Pink played by Steve Buscemi, and how their actions relate to business lessons that could be learned today.

Click here to read the article and check out thePhatStartup.com.

A Discussion of the War of the League of Cambrai - 1508 AD to 1516 AD

The War of the League of Cambrai was a series of conflicts mainly between the Papal States of Rome and Central Italy and the Republic of Venice, and was started by the Papal States' warrior Pope, Julius II.
The war is so complex that it has 4 stages, with the belligerents changing sides back and forth. Venice, for example, changed sides from fighting France and the Papal States in the beginning, to fighting the Papal States with France in the end.

Stage I:    
The 1st Italian War resulted in a very fragmented Italy, which the Borgias tried to take over many regions, especially Romagna. The lords in Romagna, wanting to avoid losing their estates, pleaded to the Venetian Republic to become part of the Republic in exchange for their estates protection. Venice agreed, and annexed the provinces in question. The Papal States, discouraged that there was a very powerful Italian state that could counter their power, encouraged the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian  I, to attack Venice. This Imperial venture failed, so the Papal States, with the League of Cambrai (France, HRE, Spain, Ferrara, & PP) attacked Venice over a slight provocation, namely that Venice had named a religious official without the Papal States' approval or advice. This was just an excuse, however, to launch a destructive war to curb the Venetian Republic's power.

Stage II:

The Papal States, now realizing that having a strong French presence in Milan and N. Italy was much more dangerous, joined the Venetians, who were already fighting the French (because of the Papal States) and the two Italian powers began campaigning against France.

Stage III:

The war was going badly for the Papal States and Venice against France, so the Pope used his power again to form a "Holy League", consisting of Venice, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, and surprisingly, England, who wanted to take down their enemy.

Stage IV:

The best part of the saga, the fourth stage consists of Venice being betrayed by the Papal States because it was not included in the peace negotiations, so it takes revenge by joining France against the Papal States, and the "Holy League" is defeated. Venice and France decided to split North Italy between themselves.
The lesson to take away from this is, back in the 1500s, alliances were as good as pinky promises. Venice, however, went from the verge of destruction, facing hundreds of thousands of French/Austrian/Spanish troops to ultimately winning the war, the big picture, using very intelligent diplomacy and a dodge-all-major-conflicts war strategy that Pitigliano and his Venetian Army used, led miraculously to status quo in territories from 1508 for Venice at the end of the war. The war ended with France retaining Milan and Venice retaining its lands more or less the same as 1508.

Our US Senator Sherrod Brown addresses LighthouseOhio!

As Zach Schwartz, the founder of LighthouseOhio and my boss says, we are starting to make waves! Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio recorded a statement for our LEAP Demo Day last Friday where he praised LightHouse Ohio's mission and addressed the LEAP Class of 2013.

This video affirms Senator Brown's commitment to this state and to fostering entrepreneurship in the region. LightHouse Ohio was founded on one of Senator Brown's visions—that connecting a student to business in the region would encourage them to stay in the area after college—and so we are extremely honored that he has taken the time to acknowledge our work this past year. Thank you Senator Brown!

Transcript of Video:
Hi, I'm Sherrod Brown, your United States Senator. Thank you to Zach Schwartz for your leadership at LightHouse Ohio. I'm sorry I can't join you all for LEAP Demo Day. The LightHouse Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program equips some of the most talented students in Northeast Ohio with the tools needed to transform a good idea into the next great small business. As high school students and emerging entrepreneurs, each of you contributes to our state's brain gain and proves that Ohioans are ready to out-compete and out-innovate the rest of the world. LightHouse and LaunchHouse exemplify the very best of our great state. To the LEAPers of 2013, I wish you the very best. I know you'll continue to make our state proud. Thank you so much.

Why Losing Your Siblings to College Is The Hardest Thing To Go Through

From the youngest age possible, you remember memories that you hold dear. You remember how you used to splash around in the Slip-and-Slide in those hot summer days and run around in the knee-deep snow in those merry winter holidays. You remember the time you bought that wonderful vanilla ice cream waffle cone with colorful sprinkles in the hot August Fridays, but then you let it melt too much and let it spill onto your shirt, making your mother ground you for a week. You remember the time that you snuck into that old man’s yard on a dare, the fear and exhilaration of breaking the rules sending your heart into childlike spasms of thrill. And you remember doing and experiencing all of this with your siblings.

If you had a fond memory, your sibling would be there.

For the first few years of your life, you love your siblings. They always look out for you. If you find yourself at odds at a bully, your older brother brings down the law with the bully. If you really want a doll or toy, your older sister will incessantly lobby to your parents on your behalf until they finally acquiesce. Friends at the time came and went like the fluttering of pages in a book, as temporary as the seasons, but your siblings were always there, like a lighthouse, casting light on the otherwise dark ocean of life.

 If you wanted a friend, your sibling would be there.

Sometimes, however, you notice some things. Things like how your big brother always takes your favorite bicycle every time you wanted it, and then made fun of you for having a crappy bike, and then beats you up because of some argument you both don’t remember. Things like how your sister complains in the loudest voice possible about how the latest boy she loves didn’t love her back, or her insecurity about her new facial acne, and then takes her anger out on you. Things that make you question if you even loved them in the first place. Why did they have to be annoying at times? But then you realize that they still were there for you, and you still enjoyed their friendship and kindness more than anyone else in the whole wide scary world, and you went on to love them.

If you wanted someone to become slightly annoyed with, your sibling would be there.

After the first ten or eleven years of your life, you realize that having a sibling isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. You realize that you are a big kid, and any limit on your freedom is simply annoying. You want to do other bigger things, like stay past 9 pm, ride in the front seat, and all of those things adults do. Having a sibling simply assures that someone else has a claim to the adult things that are your divine right to do. How could you stand these people? How could you stand for them taking away your freedom? You start to want them to leave the house more. You simply love it when you finally are allowed to stay home-alone, with the whole house free of your pesky siblings. And before you know it, you start to look forward to that one day when they climb into their car, driving away to college from home for the last time.

If you wanted someone to leave, your sibling would be there.

You’re a teenager now, old enough to drive, go to parties, rebel against your parents, and sick of your siblings now cramping your style. You’re the only cool one in your family, and only you can think correctly. You’re siblings are now nothing more than guests living under the same Owen Corning laminate shingles that also, by some coincidence, share your same familial surname. Why can’t your parents and siblings understand that you are right? While you are busy partying, kissing girls, and having your first dramas of relationships in life, all your siblings are doing is wasting their time, growing older and older, becoming more and more indistinguishable from your archaic parents. Now they actually agree with your parents about the issues of life, acting like supposed mature adults. They now tell you all of their supposed wisdom, but you know better than them. How could someone who was your own age only three years ago tell you that you’re stupid? This hypocrisy, in addition to the fact that they now were considered real adults to their peers and the parents makes you now want to hate your siblings. This anger slowly builds more and more. Someday, you reason, you would be free of this nonsense. You concluded that your siblings were depressingly useless people. Their only purpose was to be obstacles in your planned-out road to ultimate success and instant riches. Without them, nothing would stand between you and all of those millions you planned to make while running the next Facebook. All you wished was that they left, and the only reason you didn’t vocally support their disownment was that they had just applied to college, and got accepted to some faraway university in the other side of the country. In just three months, they were gone!

If you wanted to hate someone, your sibling would be there.

It was that time, that day when your sibling climbed into that car taking the final pilgrimage to college. Your parents, dreading this day with a special type of fear and sadness only mothers and fathers can experience, are tearing up. Your mother, with her bloodshot eyes from silently weeping, cooks your sibling’s favorite dish, a chicken kabob with fried rice and mango salad with extra balsamic vinegar, while your father, trying to exhibit some manly restraint, still is trying to cut his attachment to his beloved offspring and helping your sibling with the pillows, bed sheets, and trinkets that were being carried to college, all with a type of melancholy you can’t really put your finger on.

But what were you doing when they were leaving? You just stand there with a semi-goofy face, excited out of your mind to experience that first full day of freedom. You say bye to your brother, who is going to California, and your sister, who is going to New York, the two opposites of the country, with a kind of giddiness that your parents don’t seem to comprehend. You feel slightly guilty that you don’t feel more remorse about their departure, but you brush it away with the excitement of freedom. And finally, it happens.

They leave, and you celebrate.

It’s now two years later. You’re in the middle of the most hectic parts of high school. You’re rattled with a sense of being lost. You’re now being bullied from all sides about the importance of everything. You have to get stellar grades. You have to get stellar test scores. You have to practice your sport. You have to make the varsity team. You have to maintain your friendships. You have to make friends. You have to participate in clubs and activities. You have to volunteer three hundred hours at the hospital. You have to learn how to drive and pay for gas. You have to go to school, then go to work on the weekends. You have to find the colleges you want to go to. You have to write your college essays. You have to pray to your god for luck.

And all of this, you have to do alone.

And when you’re alone and miserable, sinking under the new intense pressure of life, you realize that this is what your siblings went through, and how much you missed having fond memories, having a close friend, someone to be annoyed with, or someone to hate. You realize how much of an idiot you were to throw away the time you had together trying to get away and alone. You realize that being alone wasn’t what it was cracked up to be.

And when you realize how miserable you really are, your siblings are gone.

The CleSportsTalk Organization - An Interview with Zach Shafron

My motivation is the compliments that I will receive from family, friend and colleges. For Cleveland Sports Talk, it's the network that I built that motivates me to continue doing a job well done.
- Zach Shafron, Founder of CleSportsTalk

While most high school students were busy playing video-games or accomplishing nothing, Zach Shafron, taking his love of Cleveland sports, something we all have, and got the idea to create a website that not only had Cleveland sports related content, but the one-stop source for all things Cleveland sports.

Thus, on May 2011, the CleSportsTalk Facebook page was launched. Cleveland Sports Talk is a website that carries content on the three major Cleveland Sports Teams, along with the Ohio State Buckeyes as well. “It all started because a few of my friends voiced their displeasure about my constant posts on my personal Facebook that had to do with Cleveland Sports,” Shafron explained. “I then created a Facebook page which expanded into Twitter as well." After having an established Twitter and Facebook, Zach decided to expand into a website. “I asked my followers on Facebook and Twitter if there was any interest in writing. Plenty of people responded and became my content generators,” said Shafron.

The success of CleSportsTalk is undeniable today, but when it was started its future was not as certain. “I truly cannot believe how fast Cleveland Sports Talk has grown. When I created the Facebook page, I had no clue it would turn into anything, let alone a professional sports website,” explains Zach. “The support I've received from my friends, my writers and everyone that has commented is amazing.

Perhaps what sets CleSportsTalk apart from the other sports sited is the fact that all of the writers are not paid professionals, but amateurs who simply love Cleveland sports. “I pride myself on the fact the site is all amateurs. We have no professional writers, and I hope that this fact helps us draw the common reader,” says Zach.

His writers would agree with Zach. Bradley Ward, one of the writers for ClevelandSportsTalk, joined the CleSportsTalk organization after he saw a tweet from Zach asking if someone wanted to write an article on Michael Brantley. “I have always wanted to write about sports and I listen to sports talk radio all the time. I read about the site's purpose and I was on board. I am a huge fan of Brantleys so I did the article, I was just worried that it wouldn't be good enough,” reminisces Bradley. Sure enough, Michael Reghi from ESPN Cleveland personally complemented Bradley’s article on Twitter, writing “@brad_ward12 Did read your Brantley piece. Liked your content. Hope you have opportunity to do more, and get access to teams in future.

CleSportsTalk is also a great place to learn about a possible career in sports and writing. Edward Melsher, one of Zach’s writers, stated that “One of my career options is being a sports writer when I grow up. I love writing, and this is good practice.” Melsher isn’t alone in his viewpoint. Jay Cannon, another enthusiastic CleSportsTalk writer, states that he would “really would like to hear ‘you should do this for a profession someday’.” Even Zach himself stated that “as for a career, I definitely plan to get into something with Cleveland sports, but I'm just not sure what yet.

It may already seem hard to run one of the most successful Cleveland Sports websites already, but to run the organization means that one has to love Cleveland sports. Zach not only loves Cleveland sports, but worships it. “My parents were never the biggest Cleveland sports fans, but when my dad turned on the Browns game when I was just a little boy, I fell in love,” remembers Zach. “The passion from a fan base rooted in losing amazes me on the daily. I feel like I'm apart of a movement that will never die. If I can help it, I never try to miss any games.” To Zach, CleSportsTalk means everything to him. “I don't know what I would do with my life if I lost this. I consider this my biggest accomplishment even over my bar-mitzvah which is a pretty big deal for a Jewish teen,” he quipped. “When I wake up every morning, I think about how I can improve the site for the day. Before I go to bed, I think about how a can improve the site for the night. It's a 24/7 job because the sporting world is always changing, and I love that the most.

The success of CleSportsTalk comes from the drive of Zach and his writers to be the best sports authority in Cleveland. “I care about this website more than anything, and I basically work my life around it. Everyone seeing this passion in me motivates them to do their best when they write for me. I work harder on this than anything else because this is what I pride myself most on,” reflects Zach. "I look up to my grandparents, and seeing how they succeeded at what they did motivates me even more." Countless of his writers share his commitment, stating that they joined simply because they loved Cleveland sports and writing, in that order.

When I asked Zach if anyone could join the organization, he replied with a enthusiastic “yes!” CleSportsTalk always wants more writers, and Zach personally states that “it’s not a commitment. The writers choose what they want to write about, and if they are busy with other stuff then they don't have to write.

In the future, CleSportsTalk, with Zach at the helm, wants to expand into radio, maybe even a exclusive CleSportsTalk station. As for Zach, he states that “I'm not sure how far Cleveland Sports Talk will take me, but I believe it will take me through high school and definitely into college.
 At the end of our interview when I asked Zach any advice he could give to others, he quipped “Follow your dreams.

If you love something and want to accomplish is then go out there and do it. My parents tell me every day that I should focus on my school work more, but truthfully I'm out to prove them wrong. Passion will take you far in life, and I'm pushing mine to the fullest. You should too," he stated.

"In the long run you'll be happy you did.”

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