About me

First and foremost I'm a gamer with a great passion for all types video games! Been playing console and computer games for over 20 years now and I don't think I'll ever stop! I'm the type of gamer who enjoys challenges and achievements as well as learning and analyzing mechanics so that I can help others improve their gaming skills.

Professionally, I am developer with a degree on Information Technology. Graduated from the Florida International University where I specialized on mobile application development experience for iOS and database administration. I'd like to think that I'm also a highly capable web developer with both front and back end development experience. I think that I can attribute my career path, problem solving skills, attention to details and strategic planning to the fact that I could relate anything to video games and how they work.

On my free time I enjoy watching and keeping up with the latest movies, social media and music trends but this can be quite difficult since unfortunately we only have 24 hours in a day. I've also started writing 2 different blogs which can be seen on this page and on my blog page if you click here . Other hobbies of mine include music (having played the Guitar, Bass, Piano and Flute in the past) and TV production, everything from animation and video editing, to directing and photography.

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Weight Loss by the numbers

Author: Pedro Zabala

  • Earlier this year, I on the verge of hitting 300 lbs and decided it was time to start losing weight and change my life. I planned out a roadmap of what my goal was and what I needed to get there. Now, 4 months later I have reached the halfway point to my goal, and now weight 245 lbs!

    So the big question always is: "Whats the secret?"

    The answer is actually quite simple, setting up a fail proof plan by numbers! Here is what I mean by that, and the formula for anyone to follow if they want to achieve similar results

    1. Willingness to lose weight: Might seem obvious but this is the most important part. In order to achieve your goal, you need to really want to do it and know that it won't always be easy but if you stick with it you will achieve the desired results.

    2. Know your BMR: Your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) simply put is the average number of calories your body burns every day without any exercise. There are a few different formulas and sites you can use to help you determine your BMR, the on I used is this one. Most people would say that this is also about how many calories you should be eating per day

    It is important to note that this does change from person to person but it is good to know an ESTIMATE which will help with the next part of the process.

    3. Understand your weight loss options: Lets start by noting that a healthy weight loss rate is 1 or 2 pounds per week! Now, for our formula we will consider that 1 pound is about 3500 calories. This means that (depending on your plan) you will want to create a 3500 ~ 7000 calorie deficit per week in order to lose weight.

    This is where your BMR comes into play! Let's say your current BMR is 2000 calories, and your plan is to lose 1 pound per week. Here you now have 3 options on how to do it:

    Option 1 (No exercise): Do a diet that consists of eating 1500 calories per day. This means every day you will create a 500 calorie deficit which will grant you that 1 pound less per week. This is my least preferred option since it has the highest chance of failure if you don't consume enough calories per day you will often feel hungry and are more likely to give up.

    Option 2 (Light diet + heavy exercise): This option is basically doing a diet equal to your BMR and creating the calorie deficit purely out of exercise. You could eat 2000 calories per day, and burn 500 via exercise to achieve the goal of 1 pound per week. This is option is preferred over option 1 but also has a down side, doing this can make you feel tired every day if you are not used to this much exercise, specially if you are trying to do more than 1 pound per week.

    Option 3 (Balance): This is my favorite option because it is almost fail proof. Do a diet that you feel comfortable with, and base your exercise on the rest. You can test multiple diets around until you find one you like (this could be as simple as counting the calories you normally eat) and leave the rest for exercise. If you find you are doing a diet of about 1800 calories per day, then you know that there is only 300 calories missing that need to be burned via exercise!

    4. Setting your goal: Now this piece is pretty simple but it is also very important to know. Losing weight is not something that will happen from one day to the next, so it is important to set realistic goals. Grab a calendar and count the weeks: If your goal is to lose 10 pounds by losing 1 pound per week, that means in most cases you are looking at about 2 and a half months. Write down your current weight and date on the calendar and then on the same day of the following week, write down where you should be. This will help you see if you are reaching your goals. Simple!

    One thing that is important to note about this, especially if you are planning on doing a long term commitment like I did, is that you may have some good weeks and some bad weeks but over time this can serve as a guideline of your overall progress. If one week you end up gaining 1 pound but the following week you go down 3 then you know in the overall road map you are still doing good progress! Also note that in the beginning, the first week or two you might lose a lot more weight than planned. This is normal! just think of it as getting a head start on your scheduled plan

    5. Break your diet: Okay, this is not what you expected right? Why should step 5 in our plan be to break the diet? The answer is simple: For this to work, you need to feel comfortable and not restrained. Going out with some friends for dinner, drinks or a BBQ is fine to do once a week or every other week. This will not make you lose all the progress, it is simply a small bump in your overall plan! Constantly denying your cravings is the easiest way to lose motivation and giving up on any diet.

    6. Tracking your weight: Be consistent of when you track your weight every week. Make sure that every week, when you want to check your progress on the scale you are doing it around the same time and same conditions. For example, I like to weight myself on wednesday evenings right before I go to bed. This is important because our body weight very often changes multiple times during the day and even from day to day. More common on people with a lot more extra weight, it is common to wake up at a certain weight, then be 2 pounds heavier that same day at night and 3 pounds lighter the following morning. This is why checking your weight every day is not a good idea, it will easily frustrate you to see the numbers change every day constantly going up and down.

    7. Eat often: Best way to survive a diet is to eat often in small portions. I think this is one of the keys I've found work best to achieve success. If you plan on eating small meals and snacks, you could for example chose to eat every 3 hours x 5 times per day. You won't ever fill completely full after you eat, but you will be able to stop the hunger and know that in 3 hours you get to eat again! You could have breakfast at 8am, snack at 11, lunch at 2, snack at 5 and dinner at 8! or if you are not much of a morning person, breakfast at 9, lunch at noon, snack at 3, dinner at 6 and another snack at 9. The times are not really important but you get the point. It is important however to try and have breakfast shortly after waking up and your final meal of the day at least an hour or 2 before going to bed.

    8. Find help: Sure most of us can plan on doing all of this on our own without a problem, but having help is always good. Whether it is getting a personal trainer to help you exercise, getting a friend to join you for jogs or having your mom cook healthier meals for you. Any bit of help is always good to not feel like you are on this alone! In my case, one of the things I used to help me was the Nutrisystem diet. They offer great options of small meals that only take about 2 minutes to prepare and are perfectly portioned for weight loss and the best part is you can chose to have brownies and cookies every day as part of your diet if you have a sweet tooth like me!

    I hope this helps you reach your goals like it has been helping me!

    Disclaimer: I am not a specialist for weight loss nor am I paid to say any of this, I'm simply explaining the formula that worked for me and helped me understand and achieve my goals

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Programming 101: Model View Controller and Object Class

Author: Pedro Zabala

  • A few people have asked me to briefly explain to them what the MVC design pattern is and what classes are in object oriented programming so here is a very simple description for each one which hopefully will help you understand what they are and how they work

    Model View Controller:

    MVC is a design pattern which helps define the different aspects of an application by separating it into 3 parts.

    • View: This is the composite layer. It represents the user interface, what they see and what they are able to interact with. Here you have your labels, text-boxes, buttons, images and other elements.
    • Model: This is the observer layer. It represents the back end code which performs all the functionalities and calculations. Here you have all your classes, methods, data connections and object references.
    • Controller: This is the strategy layer. It represents the connection between the View and the Model. This is where you determine for example, which method should be called when a user selects a specific button on the UI. It is also in charged of updating the UI based on a response from the model layer. 
    A class is a construct which we use to define objects in object oriented programming languages. A class (or object) is composed of two pieces:

    • Structure: This is what defines the attributes, fields or properties of a class. For example when you think of a contact on your phone some of the attributes it has are a picture, a name, a phone number, an email address. 
    • Behavior: This is what defines the different actions your object can do or that you can do with your object. These actions is what we call methods. Again following the example of a contact on your phone, some of these actions could be calling, sending an email, sharing contact information. 
    Classes can be used in a hierarchical way which allows you to re-use certain attributes for different objects:

    • Superclass: This is also referred to as a parent or base class. Any attributes or methods defined in this class will carry over to all subclasses. 
    • Subclass: This is derived from a superclass and is often called a child class or sub class. It contains specific methods and attributes for it. 
    Attributes and methods for any class can be further separated into 3 different types which define their accessibility:

    • Private: This means that the specific method or attribute is only accessible within the given class.
    • Protected: This means that the specific method or attribute is only access by the given class or any subclasses derived from it.
    • Public: This means that the specific method or attribute can be accessed by any other class within the application as long as the original class is being referenced.

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