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About: Updated 8/22/19


Preface:



Hallman Labs is a simple name, which is based off my last name, but in reality this company/website is one person (keep that in mind). I will call on talented people for edits occasionally if it is a heavy load, such as the review series, but some of those are solo projects. I launched the website out of necessity and curiosity  as to what I could create, as well as a legacy of some sort. This site is mainly to help others through my own experience and that is how I write it. I’m not a paid author, but I have jumped through the English course-hoops, all the way to the end of the line for Engineers. I am sure there are typos on the site, but I do my best and I hope others find it useful in their own journey. You’ll find no ads on this site and that is on purpose, I’m not totally against advertising, but for now I’m not using any.




Keith Pic for Site




I grew up in Claremont, NC where I began using computers at the age of 5 thanks to my Father who exposed me to both DOS and the Internet before I even started middle school (1999)!  Around this time is when I started getting into computer hardware and hardware modifications.  During those teenage years I started to realize how much I enjoyed soldering and creating/repairing electronics. There were many modifications/upgrades my Father and I did over the years between Middle School and College. A few examples include: motherboard voltage mods, GPU voltage mods, sound card mods, amplifier mods, and DIY guitar effects pedals (BYOC).

One of my other passions as I approached my first year in high school was (American) football. During my Senior year season, I was voted by the “Midwest 2A” HS coaches poll as an All Conference Outside-Linebacker 2004 (Conference Award for the total season performance, coach nominated), 3x “2004 Red Zone Player of the Week” (Conference Award is given for outstanding performance inside the 20 yd line, each game) and I won Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year 2004 (Individual School Award is given to one defensive player a year).

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I set the 2nd highest power rating in 30 years, still to this day (Individual School)! Power Rating is calculated by taking your lifting maxes (1 repetition, highest weight possible) and dividing by your body weight: ((bench + squat + power clean + jerk press) / (body weight)). Mine calculated out to 8.03.


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Power Rating (far right column): You’ll see me twice at the bottom right of the pic (2004 | 7.20 & 2005 | 8.03) and L. Hallman is my brother (1998 | 6.93)

I was able to get into the “Red Club”. The Red Club requires a 400lb squat, 300 lb bench, 275 lb clean, 275 lb jerk press and 3.0+ GPA; had to get 4 of the 5 to get in. Here lay some of the most talented athletes in the history of our weight program at my old HS (Newton-Conover), multiple D1 players. You will find most names found below are also seen on the board above. Neither boards were easily attainable, especially when you consider you only have till your 17 or 18 to achieve such records.


Red Club Chart Lightroom Ver
12 Years of Champions! The Newton-Conover Red Club, you can find me at “2005: Keith Hallman”

2004 Newton vs West Lincoln Newspaper Clipping Scanned
Newspaper Clipping with me (#54) on the right with black gloves.

If you watch the hit closely in slow-motion, I get the initial helmet-to-helmet hit to take him off balance (he goes from an athletic stance to pigeon-toed) while simultaneously throwing an arm bar to send him flying. His feet/body travel 3 yards through the air from the initial hit location, that completely surprised me after contact! Sadly, the cost of making hits like these would be much higher than I ever expected.. For the sake of honesty, I want to mention that my team lost the game below and the running back below scored the 2nd most points in the game.



The type of hit shown above will get you thrown out of the game these days, due to the ducking of my head, which delivers a chin shot with my facemask. You are still able to hit a running back with your helmet incidentally, but this would be called targeting (by an observant ref). When I played (Senior year was 2004/2005) the only things you couldn’t do while playing on defense, was to spear someone (jumping off your feet with head first contact) or fighting. I did this because I had 2 shoulder surgeries (both sides) and didn’t trust my shoulders. I was at a large size disadvantage to almost all running backs. I weighed in at about 145lbs and 5’9″ my  senior seasons of HS. To make up for the size you have to increase the power of your hit with higher speed during contact.

The running back in the video above had colleges talking to him about the next season, but I’m not positive he actually did. Regardless, it was this type of size disadvantage that set me up for failure from the start. You can’t fight physics, especially at 145-150lbs… Little did I know at ages 14 to 17, this would do permanent damage to my spine. I have been living with chronic neck pain for 12 years now, the last 7 years without being on any opiates, ever. I feel like I need to tell people, my pain went down when I came off of opiate pain medicines. I also went through concussions (three of them), a dozen of broken bones, multiple surgeries and more; still I’d do it all over again given the chance.

In this day and age, we know that prescribing someone with chronic pain an opiate based pain medicine for a substantial length of time will only weaken the body’s natural pain relief systems, creating the sense your pain is worse than ever. The latest studies show that as few as 5 days is all it takes for physical dependency, there is no safe way to take those medications. I would rather see doctors point patients toward natural alternatives & non-narcotics for pain relief, including low impact exercise (such as walking 2+ miles daily). I used to believe that the more I moved, the more I hurt, but that is 100% false. By getting out and moving you are maintaining and/or increasing your joint mobility and joint health (neither of which can be done with any medication).


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Doing the type of hit shown above, every practice and every game, takes a serious toll on the body (even just from HS). As you can see below, it created a progressive structural problem in my C-Spine, which has transferred to my lower back/lumbar spine.


C-Spine XRay Over 7 Years History

8/22/19: I had some new X-Rays taken this week and the news isn’t good at all. As expected from my symptoms over the last 12 years, the issue is getting structurally worse. The main bone spur on C4 has nearly doubled in size, almost reaching C3. I have lost spacing between C4 and C5, as well as C1 and C2. The cost of playing in the way I did has taken its toll. Note: Click here for full size image.


College years and later:



By the time I was entering college I had nearly 10 years experience building/fixing/modifying computers + computer hardware and this opened the door for me to thecollege, I. My first IT position was with the NC Department of Waste Management. Here I would learn more about troubleshooting and PC + Network repairs than all my previous years with computer hardware combined. By my second year I was promoted to lead hardware tech and things were looking bright.

Life happened during my 3rd year with the NCDWM and I had to leave Raleigh to deal with medical issues (mentioned previously). However, this would lead to me working for Lowe’s HQ in Wilkesboro, NC.  Here I would be a part of the team responsible for an international hardware upgrade for every Lowe’s store, literally all of them (Evergreen was the name of the project).  Each night we would take entire stores offline to upgrade to IBM Blade servers and replace every point of interaction for employees in the store.  On average, each team member had 5 stores down per night, which was roughly 300 pieces of hardware. This exposed me to a tremendous amount of information on networks and network administration, which requires managing large workflows.  I gained valuable insight into fiber optics and how to troubleshoot fiber optics, along with your standard CAT5/CAT6.

I was with Lowe’s HQ for about a year and the project ended because we had successfully upgraded every store across the globe.  This was when I made the toughest decision of my life (so far), return to school and finish the last 2.5 years of my Engineering degree, or use my experience to move up the ladder in IT.  I decided I wanted a deeper understanding of the things I was using every day and I left a competitive job field for my Engineering degree.

Things with regard to my return to college changed slightly and I will now be moving to one of a handful of colleges in the area with real Audio Tech, Audio Engineering, or Electrical Tech programs (like Clemson & UNC-Charlotte). I learned that the knowledge I had from over a 15 years of practical troubleshooting did little to help me in any EE college courses. For example, the 2nd (and final) general circuits class at NC State does not involve any soldering! From what the seniors told me in 2017, EE graduates these days never have to solder at NCSU! I loved that college, but in the end nobody in the department even noticed my departure (except for a few friends).

After I left NCSU I knew I wanted to do something that I could present to colleges/companies as an example of my abilities.  From electronics troubleshooting & soldering, to working with real world companies. I do everything for this site including writing, editing, photographing and my project ideas. I rely on ingenuity to get me by when items break or just stop working all together. The main skill needed for this type of project is soldering. Soldering, in my opinion, is one of the most important skills an Electrical Tech/Engineering graduate/student can learn. Learning is easy, mastering all the aspects of soldering, including surface mount devices (SMD), is not.

Once I finished planning how to showcase such skills for interested parties, Hallman Labs was born! I slowly built the website up after I left college. Now I average 4-5 times the amount of traffic as before. Any companies looking for a skilled hardware technician and is willing to give a permanent hire with benefits, please use the contact me tab!

Update 7/26/18:

I am on the last steps of launching my vintage parts related business on Ebay and this will eventually transition to selling directly from my website. I am offering both NOS (New old Stock, never used) and used components. All of which have been tested on devices like the Extech 380193 LCR Meter, EDS 88A-IIs, Sprague TO-6A, BK Precision 810C and others, before offering them for sale. I provided an entire page focused on this content and it includes a 400+ line excel sheet which contains the individual test data on every single capacitor you will find on Ebay for sale by my Ebay account: HallmanLabs. This is why my posts slowed dramatically from August through the end of September. I was gearing up to launch this part of the site, instead of the more frequent blog style postings.

 

Update 12/11/18:

Good news! I was admitted into the University of North Carolina at Charlotte for Electrical Engineering Technology (transferring to Computer Engineering).  This is my first blank slate since 2005, it’s been a long time. In terms of a new city/college, new GPA, new people, so I’m excited to see what the future holds and grateful to be able to finish my degree at a school such as this.

Update 8/22/19:

I surprised even myself, and managed all A’s and one B over the summer! The courses were all engineering (Embedded & C++) and high level math (Diff Eq), so I am pretty proud of myself! I just have to keep it up over the next year and some change.

Wish me luck as the fall semester begins! I hope to deliver some content that is from my engineering curriculum. I tried to do this over the summer, but there was just no time with 10 hours of credit in 10 weeks. 

 

Thanks for reading my bio.

Keith

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