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Ben Helstad
Exploring the world with childlike curiosity
Exploring the world with childlike curiosity

Ben's posts

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Quantum Dots Giveaway!

In celebration of Google Pixel's launch, I'm giving away 10 promo codes for Quantum Dots so you can replace those subpar Pixel icons.

To enter the giveaway, do the following:

1. Follow me on Google+
2. +1'd and reshare this post with the tag #BetterThanPixel
3. Leave a comment below on what you like or dislike about the new Pixel phones.

The giveaway ends a week from now on October 11, 2016. The winners will be announced the following day. Winners will need to contact me over hangouts or via email to receive their promo code. Failure to do the steps above will disqualify you from the giveaway.

More information about the icon pack can be found here:

Other announcements

When Quantum Dots exited the beta stage, I said the price would increase. However, the price has not increase since then. After the next update, the price will increase from $0.99 to $1.15. So if you want to get this icon pack under a dollar, do it soon!

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Great app for creating notes!

So far I'm digging this app so much. It's like the iOS Notes app only better!

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I have been asked to discuss something that I tried to learn recently that was difficult and a struggle.

That something for me is prioritizing. I've read Essentialism and learned about doing and picking the most essential things to do during the day, but I still struggle with it.

I find that there are numerous activities that need to be done, and I believe that they are all important and critical. It's extremely hard for me to pick the 1 or 2 tasks that absolutely must be done and really dig into them so I can have the greatest impact.

I'm still learning how to do this, create a priority for the day, but I've started asking myself, when a choice comes along, "What will have the greatest impact. What will push me forward? What will propel my life in an area I care about? What do I fear?" Asking myself these questions has helped to find focus and drive.

Good morning Plussers! 

It's been ages since I've been on. I think this keeps happening, but I'm glad to be back, and ready to rock it! 

What's new... What's new... Only everything! 

It's been so long since I've posted on G+ that I'm sure many people have forgotten me, or come pretty close. That's okay! 

I started working with my wife on her photography business and the closer we get to our goals, the more I realize that we can't do it alone: We need the help of people smarter, kinder, faster, more experienced, and clever than us to help hold us up and point us in the right direction. When I realized that, I also realized that I would find no better place to find those kind of people than here, on Google+. 

So, I'm back. I'm sorry I've been gone, and I've missed every single one of you, but I can see that you all are doing extremely well for yourselves. It's time for me to learn from the best and give back as much as I can. 

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Why is vanilla so expensive? Bees.

Specifically, it's all about the Melipona bee. The vanilla orchids have developed a membrane between their female (ovary) and male (pollen) gametes. It's a good move for the plant, because self-fertilization results in sterile seeds which cannot grow up to be new little baby vanilla orchids. The Melipona bee can crawl right up in there to pierce the membrane and deliver fertile pollen.

Small problem about this small bee: it only lives in Mexico. If you want to cultivate vanilla somewhere else with appropriate climate, like Madagascar, you have to replace this bee with another animal. We replace the bee with a human. A person takes a little toothpick and pokes pollen through the membrane of every single flower. To make this even harder, the flower is only fertile for the 8-12 hours after it blooms.

Frankly, it's shocking that vanilla isn't more expensive.

New Hangouts Feature

Not sure if this has been discussed yet but it looks like SMS integration across all devices and platforms has finally happened! I can respond to an SMS text from my computer, iPod Touch, phone, or tablet. Pretty stoked about this!!!

My new Hangouts wishlist

I've been thinking about the app for the last couple days and wanted to share my new wishlist for Hangouts.

* The ability to record short sound snippets (5 - 10 seconds) and send them 
* The ability to manipulate or draw my own pictures (Needs mobile)
* The ability to send short video snippets (gifs) and send them
* The ability to name my group hangouts if necessary
* The ability to rejoin perpetual Hangouts from the same link instead of creating a whole new one 
* The ability to share my location (may already be in)
* Consolidating all of my Hangout pictures/stuff into one Folder on Google+ Albums
* The ability to see all of my texts + hangouts on any machine, so long as I'm signed in

I guess when it comes down to it, I really like a lot of work Apple put into their new iMessages and I hope Google does the same and MORE with Hangouts! 

Don't Starve...

I've managed to hook +Heidi Maddern on a game I love called Don't Starve. She's been kicking some major booty and surviving for a really long time! If you have't already, check out +Klei Entertainment's Don't Starve and have a great time!
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