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.
My grandparents, parents immigrated to the United States from Sicily, Ireland and Germany. I was born and raised in Claremont, North Carolina. Here 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 the turn of the millennia, 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 many DIY projects, like guitar effects pedals (from BYOC).
One of my other passions as I approached my first year in high school was (American) football. During the season of my Senior year, I was voted by the “Midwest 2A” HS coaches poll as an All Conference Outside-Linebacker 2004 (Conference Award: for the total season performance, conference nominated), 3x “2004 Red Zone Player of the Week” (Conference Award: given for outstanding performance inside the 20 yd line, conference nominated) and I won Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year 2004 (Individual School Award: given to one defensive player a year, coach nominated).
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.
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.
There are many hits shown above, which get you thrown out of the game (these days). This is due to there being so many helmet-to-helmet hits. You are still able to hit a running back with your helmet (incidentally), but many of these would now be called targeting (by an observant ref). In 2004, the only things you couldn’t do while playing on defense, was to spear someone (jumping off your feet with head first contact) and of course, fighting.
I tackled like this because I had 2 reconstructive shoulder surgeries (both sides). This presented me with a huge challenge, two different times I had to essentially start over with regard to lifting strength. This helped teach me about determination and fortitude, as you can see above, I overcame these hurdles. I was at a large size disadvantage to almost all running and pulling lineman. I weighed in at about 150-145lbs, with a height of 5’9″ during my senior season of HS. To make up for the size, you have to increase the power of your hit. I did this with higher speed and an understanding of the physics involved, to provide the optimal blow. These surgeries are how lifting became an essential part of my football performance. Power cleans and squats can make a huge difference in your acceleration, especially while wearing pads and a helmet.
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 13 years now, the last 8 years without being on any opiates, ever. My pain went down when I came off of opiate pain medicines.
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 3 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 (THC derivatives) and non-narcotics for pain relief. That should also include 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).
I also went through concussions (three of them) and a half dozen broken bones; still I’d do it all over again given the chance.
Doing the type of hit shown above, every practice and every game, takes a serious toll on the body (even if only High School Football). As you can see below, it created a progressive structural problem in my C-Spine, which has transferred to my lower back/lumbar spine.
- 8/19/20: It has been confirmed that I fractured cervical vertebrae C3 some years ago. My doctor told me he thought the images from 2019 had a fracture, but he now has no doubt.
- 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.
- One of the two main bone spurs on C4, has nearly doubled in size, nearly reaching C3.
- C5 is slowing losing thickness. My doctor told me this will actually cause more widespread pain than the bone spurs.
- C1 and C2 have lost the natural spacing between them.
- C4 and C5 have also lost their natural spacing.
This is the cost of playing the way I did, i.e. my face mask as the primary contact point. Note: Click here for full size image.
College years and later:
By the time I was entering college, I had 5 years experience building/fixing/modifying computers and this opened the door for my first IT position. This first position was with the NC Department of Waste Management. There I learned 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 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 regarding networks and network administration. I gained valuable insight into fiber optics and how to troubleshoot fiber optic network equipment, 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 a tough decision, 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 (eventually shifting to Computer Engineering).
I am on the last steps of launching my vintage parts related business on Ebay and this will eventually transition to selling directly from the 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.
Good news! I was admitted into the University of North Carolina at Charlotte for 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.
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.
I was once again able to pass all my courses in Computer Engineering, 14 more hours down! I nearly made the Dean’s List for the last two semesters, missed it by 0.18 points.
For the first time ever, I achieved the Dean’s List. Even more impressive, this was during the tail-end of my Junior year in Computer Engineering. This includes some of the most difficult courses in CE. My overall GPA for the Spring 2020 semester was a 3.6 GPA!
Thanks for reading my bio and remember to check back for new articles.