Best Climbing Belay Devices of 2021

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Best Budget Belay Device for Gym Climbing

Black Diamond ATC

Price: $18Style: TubeWhat we like: Cheap, simple, durable, and easy to use.What we don’t: To belay from above in a multi-pitch scenario, you’ll need to step up to a device like the ATC-Guide below.See the Black Diamond ATC

 

The Pillow Method

The Pillow Method is a simple reality shifting method that involves writing down affirmations on a piece of paper, repeating them before bed and sleeping with the paper under your pillow.

Helpful resources about the Pillow Method of reality shifting:

Photo by Martina Bombardieri on Unsplash
Photo by Martina Bombardieri on Unsplash

Video

Digital TV

The BBC’s red button service was one of the most prominent upgrades for digital TV, allowing access to additional channels and text services. Photograph: BBC

After the invention of time-shifting, digital television broadcasting was the biggest thing to happen to TV since colour – and, combined with DVRs, it paved the way for further evolution.

Digital television brought with it many advantages over analogue TV. The most obvious for the consumer was an increased picture quality and an expansion of the number of channels that could be broadcast at the same time over the same radio frequencies. Digital TV also enabled enhanced services, typically accessed through the “red button” and a replacement of the teletext services.

Several specifications battled it out for the digital TV crown in the 80s and 90s, with various countries and regions adopting different standards, but it wasn’t until 1998 that the first digital broadcast was made in the UK.

The digital switchover followed in most countries, where the analogue broadcasts were switched off leaving only the digital broadcasts, which paved the way for new 4G mobile data services in the UK by releasing the existing spectrum for new uses.

The airwaves that carried fuzzy analogue TV now carry your cat gifs, breaking news and place-shifted video, but more on that later.

Adding Custom Section Headers

Play around with the starter app and you’ll observe:

  1. The app displays 20 photos related to each word search.
  2. It creates a new section in the same UICollectionView for each search you perform.

There are no section headers in the UICollectionView. So for your first task, you’ll add a new section header using the search text as the section title.

To display this section header, you’ll use UICollectionReusableView. This class is like UICollectionViewCell, except it’s usually used to display headers and footers. Like cells, UICollectionView places them in a reuse queue rather than deleting them when they scroll out of the visible bounds.

You’ll add this element directly to the storyboard and create a subclass so it can dynamically update its title.

Creating a UICollectionReusableView Class

Create a new file to represent the custom class for the header.

  • Select File ▸ New ▸ File. Select Cocoa Touch Class.
  • Choose Subclass of UICollectionReusableView.
  • Name the class FlickrPhotoHeaderView.
  • Leave Also create XIB file unchecked.
  • Select Swift as the language.
  • Click Next.

Select the starter app project’s Views folder and click Create to create the file.

Next, open Main.storyboard and select the collecti

Next, open Main.storyboard and select the collection view in FlickrPhotosViewController. Select the Attributes inspector and, in the Accessories section, check the Section Header checkbox. Notice a Collection Reusable View appears in the storyboard underneath the Collection View.

Setting the Section Header View Class

Setting the Section Header View Class

Now, you’ll set your custom class as the section header view. To do this:

  • Select the Collection Reusable View added in the collection view.
  • Open the Identity inspector and set the Class in the Custom Class section to FlickrPhotoHeaderView.
  • Next, in the Attributes inspector, set the Identifier to FlickrPhotoHeaderView.
  • Also set the Background color to Opaque Separator Color to give it a nice offset from the rest of the collection view.
  • Open the Size inspector and set the Height to 90.

Now open the Object library with the key combination Command-Shift-L and drag a Label onto the reusable view. Use the Auto Layout align button at the bottom of the storyboard window to pin it to the horizontal and vertical center of the view. In the Attributes inspector of the label, update the font to System 32.

Connecting the Section Header to Data

Connecting the Section Header to Data

Open FlickrPhotoHeaderView.swift in an additional editor pane and Control-drag from the label in the header view over to the file and name the outlet titleLabel. It will add the following code:

Finally, you need to implement a new data source method to wire everything together. Open FlickrPhotosViewController+UICollectionViewDataSource.swift and add the following method:

This method returns a view for a given kind of supplementary view. For this app, you only have headers, but you can also have other kinds of supplementary views.

Here’s the breakdown of this method:

  1. Handle the UICollectionView.elementKindSectionHeader kind which UICollectionViewFlowLayout supplies for you. By checking the header box in an earlier step, you told the flow layout to begin supplying headers. If you weren’t using the flow layout, you wouldn’t get this behavior for free.
  2. Dequeue the header using the storyboard identifier.
  3. Check that the view is the right type and, if not, simply return it.
  4. Set the search term as the text on the view’s label.
  5. Assert in the case that the kind was not what was expected.

This is a good place to build and run. You’ll get a nice section header for each search, and the layout adapts nicely in rotation scenarios on all device types:

Bravo! It’s a small change, but the app looks so m

Bravo! It’s a small change, but the app looks so much better now, doesn’t it? :]

But there’s more work to do!

The Tea Party Method

The Tea Party Method is a reality shifting method created by Amino user ☾꧁𝙰𝚣𝚊𝚣𝚎𝚕꧂.

This method involves meditating before going to sleep, then visualizing yourself having tea with your DR-self.

Before you fall asleep, you’re meant to visualize yourself standing up and telling your DR self that it’s time to go home. When you hug them goodbye, you visualize the two of you merging and then you should wake up in your DR.

Helpful resources about the Tea Party method reality shifting:

  • This original post by the method’s creator explaining it
Photo by Hoang Viet on Unsplash
Photo by Hoang Viet on Unsplash

Colour

A BBC test pattern from a 1962 satellite television broadcast from Goonhilly Downs, England, to New York. Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis

Black and white television continued to improve, but it wasn’t until 1954 that the first colour broadcasts were introduced in the US. The system used a new National Television Systems Committee (NTSC) standard encoding brightness and colour separately so that black and white TVs could use the signal too.

A European colour standard wasn’t set until 1963 with Phase Alternating Line (PAL), which was technically superior and able to deal with weather better than NTSC. Colour broadcasts did not start in Europe until 1967 with BBC2 becoming the first channel in the UK to broadcast in colour, spearheaded by then-controller Sir David Attenborough.

Colour television continued to improve in quality, with screens becoming larger and sharper, cameras more sensitive, and broadcasts stronger for better picture quality.

The setup

Setup for both devices involves connecting cables from your video source to the Slingbox, connecting the Slingbox to your home network, and creating an account with Sling Media to configure and identify your Slingbox to the player software.

For the video source hookup, Sling provides component and composite video cables, plus stereo audio cables, with both models. You connect the cables to the appropriate outputs on the video source, and the inputs on the Slingbox. For video sources that don’t have spare video outputs, Sling has equipped both Slingboxes with video-outputs as well as inputs, so you can put the Slingbox in between the TV set and the video source by connecting cables from the video source to the Slingbox’s video inputs, and then running the cables you’d previously used with the TV between the Slingbox’s video outputs and the TV inputs.

Slingbox 350
Slingbox 350

On the Slingbox 350—a smallish (about 7 by 5 by 2 inches) rectangular box with an unusual honeycomb-style surface—these are your only video hookup options. But the larger, matte-surfaced Slingbox 500, which looks like a standard set-top box that someone has grabbed by opposite corners and twisted (and is therefore a bit hard to stack on top of other components), also comes with an HDMI cable to use with the unit’s HDMI pass-through ports to place the Slingbox between an HDMI video source and TV. But even though you can enable the HDMI input as the content source for the Slingbox 500, Sling recommends not doing so—instead, the company advises hooking up the component video cables as well and getting the video stream from them.

Why? Because the Slingbox doesn’t circumvent HDCP, the copy-protection technology built into HDMI connections to prevent unauthorized use of high-def digital content. That means that you wouldn’t be able to view HDCP-protected content (coming from your cable or satellite box, say) remotely. Using the component video outputs bypasses the problem—content providers have so far been content to let analog video renderings out in the wild.

Slingbox 350 (rear)
Slingbox 350 (rear)

So why bother with the HDMI connections at all? The idea is to give the Slingbox 500 an HDMI input of its own, without taking up an additional HDMI port (besides the one you were probably using with your HD video source anyway). The immediate benefit of that input is to allow you to set up the Slingbox 500 using the TV screen and a small included remote, much the way you set up most set-top boxes. This is a first for a Slingbox: With other models, you must manage setup via the Web browser of a computer on the same network as the Slingbox.

The SlingBox 500 also lets you view media on your iOS or Android device using a SlingPlayer feature called SlingProjector. Simply tap the SlingProjector button, choose the media (your photo stream, for example) and SlingProjector starts displaying it. SlingProjector hadn’t yet been enabled for videos when I tested it (Sling Media says video support will come sometime after launch in a firmware update), but it worked perfectly with still photos, giving you the option of showing them as a slideshow or one at a time.

Slingbox 500
Slingbox 500

Going forward, the Slingbox 500 will also be able to function as a media streamer in its own right. A USB port will support playback of media on a flash drive, either on the Slingbox-connected TV or remotely via the SlingPlayer (the Slingbox 350 has a USB port for remote playback only). This functionality had not yet been enabled on my evaluation unit, but is also due in a firmware update. Presumably Sling Media will pursue agreements with other Internet content providers—I wouldn’t be surprised to see Netflix or Amazon Instant Video support in the near future.

Setup, regardless of whether you do it on a TV with the Slingbox 500 or a computer with the 350, takes only a few minutes if you have information about your video source handy (make and model details). You must also verify a wired network connection or, if you’re using the Slingbox 500’s Wi-Fi, scan for your network and enter its password. The 500 supports 802.11n on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, and I’d recommend using the latter if you’re in a city or any environment with lots of nearby 2.4GHz networks. (I’d also recommend setting up a wired connection, if at all possible, to improve the reliability of your streaming connection.) There was no annoying messing with router settings—the connection just happened.

Slingbox 500 (rear)
Slingbox 500 (rear)

Another welcome improvement in both models is the robust built-in infrared (IR) support for transmitting remote control commands to the video source. Previous models depended on connecting an included IR blaster—a wire with terminals that can transmit IR signals to mimic those produced by a remote control. IR blasters work well, but are prone to getting disconnected by things like wandering pets. The new models still come with an IR blaster, but the built-in IR support is so good I didn’t need to connect the blaster—even though the Slingboxes weren’t right in front of their respective video sources.

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