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Sponsor: Literature & Latte Makers of Scrivener

My thanks to the folks at Literature & Latte for sponsoring DigitalDojos this week. L&L has always been dedicated to making great apps across the board for mac OS, iOS & Windows. Makers of the amazing writing tool that is Scrivener L&L has always put writers first & provided the perfect app to do just that. With the release of Scrivener 3 the app has got even better offering all sorts of tools for authors, screen play writers, and just well anything you want to write. Be it a short story or a full manuscript Scrivener surely has the tools for you. 

This weeks content is made possible by the team & their great writing tool. Stay tuned as we take a deep dive at the latest version of Scrivener & how you can use it for any & all of your writing needs. Check out Scrivener for Mac, iOS, and windows today!

 

Whose Scrivener for for?

That’s the best part Scrivener is really for anyone who has something to say. Used worldwide by authors, biographers, poets, screenwriters, and much more.

Platforms is Scrivener Available for?

Write anywhere on whatever platform suits you best. Start on your mac or PC & end up writing via your iPad or even iPhone with their latest iOS app.

What Makes Scrivener Unique?

My favorite thing about this is there’s no one specific thing. Rather the app itself is a workshop for you to do as you please. Write freely & unstructured or piece your story together meticulously in the great interface. A powerful binder allows you gather all your research materials & easily reference while your writing, keeping you focused on what matters. It can be as advanced as you need it to be or as simple as needed & that’s the beauty. Overall what Scrivener allows me to do is take my thoughts dump them into the app & figure out how to stage it from there. Be it an e-book idea, list of notes, or research for a much bigger project.

Apple’s WWDC 2017 Overview

Apple hosted their annual World Wide Developers Conference for 2017. Here’s a run down of the major announcements & product releases. Skipping the traditional Apple sales numbers & figures Tim Cook simply opened with the statement that Apple is doing great.

Video Overview

 

Broken into 6 parts WWDC focused on

  • tvOS
  • WatchOS
  • Mac Lineup
  • iOS 11
  • iPad Pro
  • HomePod

 

tvOS

Apple first announcment focused on the recently overhauled Apple TV OS. Not much was highlighted about the OS other than to confirm rumors that Amazon Video will be coming to Apple TV. This means Prime members can now stream Amazon Video content on their Apple TV devices. We’re sure to see the Amazon App hit the TV App-Store soon.

watchOS

Coming off the release of the Apple Watch 2 the company seeks to bring some software updates to improve the overall OS performance as well as bring some new customization to the watch. watchOS 4 will be bringing features like new watch faces, improved activity goals, improved music controls & some behind the scenes improvement.

 

A look at some of the new watch faces featuring the all day siri assistant face or the interactive Toy Story faces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minor touch ups here for an already highly improved OS.

 

macOS

This time around for the Mac rather than an all new OS we got another revision of what we’re currently on with Sierra. Dubbing the new OS update “High Sierra” yup you read that right. High Sierra will focus on updates to the core technology of the OS. These updates however are not to be dismissed as they make big leaps towards modernizing the OS as a whole.

Three main areas that High Sierra will aim to focus on:

File System- Ditching the HFS file system MacOS finally makes the leap to APFS (Apple File System) the same filing system that is used on iOS. This means all your documents, photos, and so on are now organized in a system that is not only safer but faster in it’s overall performance whether it’s duplicating files or  transferring them across the drive.

Video- Adopting the new HEVC standard for video MacOS will support H.265 files which is up to 40% better compression for video & supports the raising standard of 4K video. Allowing to stream & handle 4K playback much more seamlessly on the mac.

Graphics- On that same token graphics is another big area High Sierra seeks to improve upon. Metal 2 will bring much needed improvements to the GPU in macs & allow for overall better performance be it gaming, video editing, and so on. The same platform will allow for a better VR experiences on the mac. Yup that’s right VR on the mac. Metal VR will allow developers to creative VR experiences on the mac & work effectively with new headsets as well as pro grade apps on the mac such as final cut.

Outside of these core improvements several apps throughout macOS will also receive some updates & new features. Safari is a notable one that’ll be getting features such as Auto-Play video blocking & intelligent tracking prevention when it comes to your browsing habits. Other apps such as Photos & Mail will also get some new features such as editing tools & improved full screen support. You can read more about the updates to apps here on the official page.

Dev Beta is available today while Open beta will be released in July.

Mac Lineup

The entire mac lineup received updates to the hardware all mainly surrounding Intels latest Kaby Lake chipset.

 

Macbook – The standard macbook received the latest Intel chipset alongside getting a bump to the 1.4 Ghz i7 model (Turbo boost up to 3.6 Ghz) & available up to 16GB of RAM.

Macbook Pro- Processors upgrades from 3.5 to 4.1 Ghz depending on the 13 or 15 inch model.

Macbook Air- Upgrade to the 1.8 Ghz Intel Kaby Lake chip.

Intel Iris Plus graphics 640 are now the based config for the 13-inch Macbook Pro with the higher 650 upgrade available. Price point wise the 12-Macbook has a new entry level price of $1,299.

iMac- A refresh of the iMac brought all new GPUs to the base 21.5 & 27 inch model housing either the Intel Plus Graphics 640 or Radeon Pro 550 or 560 for the 21.5 inch model which is the first time we’ve seen discrete graphics offered to said model. The 27 inch will have three options for GPUs in the Radeon Pro 570, 575, or 580 at 8GB of VRAM.

The main idea here is that said iMacs be it the 21.5 or 27 inch model can handle VR now making it more appealing for developers or simply gaming through the all-in-one desktop.

The bigger announcement comes around the next generation of iMac. Apple’s iMac Pro is an answer for the prosumers while still housing it in the famous all-in-one shell. The iMac Pro features such specs:

  • Processors that can support up to 22 teralops (8, 10, and 18 core Xeons)
  • Memory up to 128 gigs
  • 4 TB of Storage
  • Improved thermal cooling system

Oh & a truly sleek space grey color scheme to pull it all together

 

As for external ports Apple has added additional ports for expansion via their recently adopted USB C ports. Notice that all the ports axed from either the latest iPhone or Macbook Pro are still located on the latest iMac.

The iMac Pro will start at steeper price point of $5,000 & won’t be available until December. Now this is definitely a machine more geared towards the professional grade consumer in mind. In a way its a response to show Apple still does acknowledge the market while also ignoring their lack of support the Mac Pro. Housed in an all-in-one body & behind a 5K retina display however you can’t help but be marveled at the iMac Pro.

 

iOS 11

Apple then moved on to focus on the mobile line of devices & the latest iOS 11 update set to come later this year. In all honesty not much to highlight here other than a couple features most of which will be brought over to the iPad Pro.

Notable updates include:

  • Apple Pay brought to iMessage (Venmo for iMessage essentially)
  • LivePhotos recieved Loop, Bounce, and long exposure updates to create more interactive photos
  • New Photo Filters
  • Brand new App-Store app
  • Improved iMessage App-Drawer
  • Siri updates including beta translation software
  • AirPlay2 now provides multi-room audio streaming (Think Sonos for your iOS based devices)
  • Improved Control Center UI

 

The other major updates were iPad Pro focused. Bringing for the first time a cross between iOS & macOS for the latest iPad Pro.

AppDock- Think a mac dock for your iPad that can now be brought up in the OS to quickly access functions & most used apps.

 

Improved Drag/Drop Gesture Support – You can now in combination with the splitscreen view easily drag & drop text, images, and files from one app to another.

Improved Markup for PDFs via Apple Pencil & within notes

ARKit – This will bring augmented reality kit to iOS & more particularly the iPad Pro to interact with digital objects in a real life setting. The technology demo’d looked promising & ran well on the iPad Pro.

The improvements while subtle on the iPhone end do bring some promising additions to the iPad line. Bridging the gap between mac & iOS.

iPad Pro

On the topic of the iPad Pro it did receive it’s own update. Coming in now at at a 10.5 inch model while still weighing at a unbelievable 1lb. The biggest & maybe underplayed update comes in it’s new display that is better & bigger in every aspect. Leaving more room for the content to shine with the slimmer bezels. Under the hood however the iPad Pro receives a 120 hz refresh rate versus the previous 60 hz.

The iPad Pro continues to pave the way for a portable device that more some users can entirely replace their mac. Paired with iOS 11’s new feature set the iPad pro is faster & better then ever.

 

HomePod

In the final announcement Apple introduced their highly anticipated smart speaker the HomePod. While I’m personally not a huge fan of the name think of it as Siri meets wireless speaker. Competing with the existing market of Amazon Alexa & Google’s Home. Taking it a step further the HomePod aims to rival sound systems such as Sonos with the ability to pair multiple speakers for a multi-room experience.

The HomePod focuses on quality audio with it’s seven tweeter system to produce sound at every angle. Paired with technology that Apple claims will detect the environment in order to project the appropriate sound given the speakers location. Of course the other end of the device is the smart assistant built into it. Trigger the phrase “Hey Siri” will allow you to ask Siri almost anything from sports scores to setting a timer or of course streaming music through Apple Music. The big kicker is its price point at $350. Comparing it to the base models of Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, or even the Sonos Play 1 this is definitely coming it at a more premium price. Pairing this with multiple HomePods in a household will allow for multi-room audio streaming similar to that of Sonos. This is a new area for Apple & one that they’ve been eyeing for quite some time so we’ll see how it plays out in the smart home space. The device will integrate tightly with HomeKit in order to communicate with smart devices be it lights, doors or a security system.

 

Summary:

In all we saw Apple really cover a lot of ground with the conference. Quickly going over micro updates to tv & watchOS & moving into the heavier hitting upgrades such as the iMac Pro & so on. If anything this event showcased Apple pushing the envelope forward for a lot of their technology be it on the software or hardware end. Moving into spaces such as AR & VR showcased Apple’s willingness to dive into what some may consider gimmicky or a trend in tech. Apple doesn’t normally tackle things first rather they try to do it best. The HomePod will have to offer up some better integration & features to stand out against its lower priced competition & time will only tell. The iMac Pro’s announcement paves way for the prosumer space & if anything showcases Apple hasn’t entirely forgotten about that market that once made up a big share of its customers. Featuring a great combination of hardware & software in a way only Apple can do. Are you looking at the typical Apple tax with such hardware? Without a doubt but it’s no question your getting a quality machine that in this case doesn’t pack too many compromises compared to that of the controversial Macbook Pro update. Apple is taking their dominance and pushing it forward in software & hardware while I like the direction their going I still feel there’s more room to improve, a lot more.. iOS 11 for example felt more of a version update of iOS 10 rather than an entirely new OS. iPad Pro users see some great features however it still leaves the OS in many aspects exactly the same. Not too many risks or groundbreaking improvements.

While some will appreciate such updates across the line there still leaves a lot of questions for what Apple has lined up in other areas such as the phone & other lines such as the Mac Pro. Share your thoughts & opinions down below in the comments!

 

 

 

Apple Music Introduces Student Plan for $5

Apple Music is Apple’s music streaming solution to the very populated market. Be it Spotify, Tidal, or Google Music there’s no shortage of services. On top of the overhaul news that is expected to hit WWDC Apple Music has received a couple more updates today in order to entice new users.

A student plan will offer 50% off the monthly subscription, coming it at just $5 a month for access to hundreds of thousands of songs. This will last students up to 4-years of the 50% discount regardless or not if they cancel in between. Meaning you can re-use your address intermittently to get the discount.

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The aim is to make the service more appealing to students while saving them a considerable amount over the years. So if you haven’t heard Drake’s Views album yet & have been holding out on a Apple Music subscription thus far & have a .edu address now’s the time to take advantage of it.

Alphabet (Google) Becomes the Most Valuable Company in the World

Alphabet the parent company of Google has recently became the world’s most valuable company overtaking the behemoth that is Apple. This is big news as the stock climbed 4.2 % as of market open this Tuesday.  The companies market cap is now valued around $542 billion while the previous holder Apple sits at around $532 billion.

Alphabet which was consolidated into one company not that long ago helps the company diversify. Their investments are spread of course throughout all sorts of ventures & projects from Android, Adsense, AI, health tech, internet access and much much more. These various revenue streams have definitely helped the company grow year over year & take over one of the worlds biggest companies. There’s no doubt of the parent companies successful year thus far in market & related to that of product releases. 2010 was the previous year in which Alphabet was worth more than Apple so it’s been quite some time. Their play is to go forward & invest further in mobile as they see most of their ad revenue & business going forward being in that field.

There’s no doubt the market will continue shift & both companies are anything but invulnerable or doomed.

Dojo Gift Guide: Premium Services/Subscriptions

This holiday season whether it’s a last minute gift for family, friends, or even yourself. Giving the gift of a premium subscription or service is a great solution. A gift that is highly affordable & one that most people wouldn’t subscribe to on their own.

I wanted to cover a couple of categories from music to video streaming services & my favorite premium plans amongst them. Most are easy to gift whether the receiver has no account or a free one to upgrade.

Video:

 

Music Services:

For the music lovers in your life a premium subscription to their favorite streaming platform is a great gift. Millions of songs at their fingertips for highly affordable plans. Some in this case you can take advantage of as well through family plans.

Spotify Premium– Premium on Spotify offers ad-free music streaming, High-def audio, and offline playback for Spotify users. One that free members will highly appreciate. The plan starts at $10 for one user & scales up $5 for additional “family” members.

Apple Music Though recently introduced Apple’s service has been gaining traction. Though it requires many updates for the Apple users in your life that prefer to stay within the ecosystem Apple music starts at $10 a month for an individual & $15 monthly for 6 users in your “family”.

Google Play– Google’s service starts at $10 a month as well with a vast library. However Google Play is a bit more Android friendly, so for the Android users in your life or those who prefer Google’s ecosystem this is a great music streaming gift.

Video Streaming:

Video streaming services are becoming more & more popular. Whether it’s the Netflix & Chill meme or cable cutters. Gaining access to tons of TV shows or exclusive titles via some of these great services. Easy gifts to purchase for that person in your life who may have picked up a new TV, laptop, or set top box.

Netflix The king of video streaming service Netflix starts at $8 a month & scales for HD + screens plan allowing more people to watch on their own profiles. Netflix while having a vast library also offers exclusive or originals such as House of Cards or Orange is the New Black.

Hulu Plus– Just like Netflix Hulu has a series of content that makes it stand out. So if theres someone in your life already on the free ad-supported Hulu getting them a plus membership offers the following depending on what plan you get. $8 monthly gets you limited commercials while $12 a month gets you absolutely no commercials.

HBO Now– For the HBO lovers in your life it’s a simple gift to give. HBO Now gives access to their library of popular TV shows & movies for only $15 a month. This can be access on any device that has internet so no cable box required.

Online Backup:

Backup is a great gift for the tech-enthusiasts or family members in your life. Basically anyone who values their data. Cloud storage offers a way to keep data off site & secure.

Dropbox Pro Dropbox Pro offers a great file sync solution across all devices. This starts at $10 a month for 1TB of storage.

CrashPlan My recommendation for an all in one online backup solution. Their software supports automated backups for your computers making it easier than ever to backup online. Plans can be as low as $5 a month for a 1 computer or $12.50 for up to 10 computers.

Google Drive– For the Drive users in your life Google Drive offers more storage options for those who use services like Google Docs daily.

Amazon Cloud Drive– Amazon offers equally great cloud storage options & at a highly affordable price for unlimited storage. Thats right no limit to how many files you can store. Right now at a promo of $10 for the whole year.

Security:

Equally as important as backup is security software such as the two password managers we’ll be recommending.

LastPass Lastpass while free offers a premium services for $12 annual. That’s $1 a month for a great password manager that allows you to store all your passwords into one app safely & securely.

1Password– Agile Bits 1Password offers a different app interface & model however it also offers a secure password manager. You can store all your passwords, documents, credit card info etc under a master password for secure access. Unlike LastPass you have to buy the app outright to use it starting at $50 USD.

Miscellaneous:

Lastly I wanted to round up some additional services which are highly worth gifting for specific people in your life.

Amazon Prime– For the Amazon lovers in your life this is a no brainer gift. Amazon Prime offers free 2-day shipping on items, Amazon Prime Video Service, and Amazon’s music streaming service as well amongst many other things. At $100 for the whole year trust me when I say they’ll be getting your moneys worth.

Unlocator– Smart DNS is a technology that rather than tunneling all your traffic like a VPN would it only does it for specific services. So for those who are geo-restricted to services like Netflix or Hulu using a service like Unlocator solves all your problems in a super simple setup process.

ExpressVPN However if you still prefer to gift a full VPN service to someone in your life then my recommendation lies in ExpressVPN which has a annual plan at $8 a month. With 100+ servers, cross-platform support, and much more this is a great VPN.

Game Cards- The gamers in your life will appreciate a game card to Xbox-Live, Playstation Network, or subscription to their favorite MMO.

Cards such as Xbox-Live Gold Membership or Playstation Network for the new consoles that people picked up this holidays is a great gift.

 

All the best this holiday season! These again are just some of the many services available online but nonetheless make for great gifts for the people in your life or even yourself. Stay tuned for some more upcoming holiday deals from the Dojo Gift Guide.

DojoDeals: Best Cyber Monday Hardware Deals To Take Advantage Of

Black Friday weekend marks one of the biggest sales period of the year. People either line up for hours or shop from the comfort of their home to get savings on some big ticket items either for themselves or in preparation for the holidays.

Here’s a list of our favorite Cyber Monday deals you can take advantage of. Focusing this time on hardware & gadgets.


 

NOTE: These sales are limited to stock/inventory & of course while time lasts. Additionally some of these deals may be limited to US only. I’ll personally be updating the hardware list throughout the week with any new deals that arise. Most links are affiliate backed, this helps support out site without any extra cost to you.

Tablets:

Tablets at super cheap price points be it Android or discount off Apple iPad’s.

Amazon Fire Tab 7-inch w/Special Offers 30% Off ($35 USD)

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Kindle Paperwhite 6-inch w/Special Offers 17% Off ($100 USD)

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iPad Air 2 Various Models (Up to $40 Off)

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 (7-Inch, White) 40% Off ($120 USD)

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Laptops:

A deal on some great windows based laptops that are up to date with either Windows 10 or Chrome OS be it for work or play.

HP Pavilion 13-s128nr x360 13.3-Inch Full-HD 2-in-1 Laptop (Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD) with Windows 10 22% Off ($560 USD)

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MSI GE62 APACHE-276;9S7-16J212-276 15.6-Inch Gaming Laptop 18% Off ($900 USD)

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Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C4T3 (15.6-Inch HD, 2GB RAM, 16GB SSD) 36% Off ($200 USD)

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Networking:

Some great routers for office or home scenarios that feature multiple antenna’s at great prices & devices to extend your wi-fi.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 – AC5300 Tri-Band Quad-Stream Wi-Fi Router (R8500) 25% Off ($300 USD)

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NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Tri-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi Router (R8000) 18% Off ($250 USD)

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NETGEAR N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender – Wall Plug Version (WN3000RP) 59% Off ($37 USD)

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Monitors:

Great deals on monitors whether your looking for a super affordable 1080P display or a great gaming monitor or better yet 30-inch greatness.

Acer G276HL Widescreen LCD Monitor 27-inch 1080P 42% Off ($150 USD)

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BenQ Gaming Monitor RL2455HM (24-Inch LED) 42% Off ($174 USD)

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Monoprice 30-Inch IPS 2560×1600 LED Monitor with Anti Glare Finished and Tilt/Swivel, plus Rotation (110734) 64% Off ($500 USD)

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TV:

Tis the season to pick up a new TV screen be it for your living room/home theater setup or any other room in the house. Go future proof with some great 4K TV deals or affordable 1080P screens.

Samsung UN40J5200 40-Inch 1080p Smart LED TV (2015 Model) 40% Off ($318 USD)

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Samsung UN65JS8500 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD 3D Smart LED TV (2015 Model) 38% Off ($2,500 USD)

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Samsung UN55JU6700 Curved 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2015 Model) 33% Off ($1,000 USD) 

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TCL 40FS3800 40-Inch 1080p Roku Smart LED TV (2015 Model) 29% Off ($300 USD)

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Amazon Fire TV (Supports 4K Video) 25% Off ($75 USD)

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Camera:

Great deals on lenses, DSLR’s, and accessories.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens 21% Off ($100 USD)

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Canon EOS Rebel T5i Digital SLR with 18-55mm STM Lens 25% Off ($600 USD)

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Amazon Basics Carrying Case for GoPro – Small 44% Off ($10 USD)

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PNY Elite Performance 128 GB High Speed SDXC Class 10 UHS-I, U3 up to 95 MB/Sec Flash Card (P-SDX128U395-GE) 43% Off ($40 USD)

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Audio:

Deals on all your audio needs from highly recommended headphones to microphones & speakers.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones 50% Off ($116 USD)

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Blue Microphones Yeti USB Microphone – Blackout Edition 35% Off ($99 USD)

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VIZIO S4251w-B4 42-Inch 5.1 Channel Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer & Satellite Speakers (2013 Model) 45% Off ($180 USD)

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Samsung HW-J355 2.1 Channel 120 Watt Wireless Audio Soundbar (2015 Model) 51% Off ($88 USD)

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Computer Accessories & Components:

An assortment of deals on components from cables to hard drives at amazing price points.

Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB Portable External Hard Drive with 200GB of Cloud Storage & Mobile Device Backup USB 3.0 (STDR2000100) – Black 31% Off ($90 USD)

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AmazonBasics Apple Certified Lightning to USB Cable – 6 Feet (1.8 Meters) – White 50% Off ($7 USD)

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Samsung 850 EVO 500GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-75E500B/AM) 48% Off ($140 USD)

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Samsung 850 EVO 250GB 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD (MZ-75E250B/AM) 48% Off ($78 USD)
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These are just some of the great deals that are ongoing during the Black Friday weekend & Cyber Monday deals. We’ll be keeping the list up to date with some new offers & of course tracking some of the major deals for you both hardware & software wise.

5 Tips When Dealing w/Ideas

My thanks to Literature & Latte for making this content possible. They’re the makers behind the amazing writing tool that is Scrivener & idea organizational tool Scapple.

Ideas are the foundation of many businesses & startups. They’re these seeds which everyone has yet not everyone nourishes. You see thats the thing everyone has ideas, literally everyone. It’s what you do with said idea that defines it.

I get asked all the time about how someone can take X idea & turn it into a business, someones potentially amazing idea, or those who simply have no idea & are in search of one. Ideas are apart of the process don’t get me wrong but they are literally step zero. Everyone has ideas & everyone thinks they have a billion dollar idea. Not everyone executes said idea.

So let’s dive into 5 tips when it comes to dealing with ideas.

Video:

 

1- Record it!

Ideas come & go. The act of recording them helps solidify them. Much like making a note of something you need to remember, an idea should be record to come back to, the very act of recording it in some format helps it stick.

You can go with the classic pen & paper method. Personally I keep a small notebook & pen handy at all times in case something every pops into mind  that I want to write down, ideas included. This helps me make notes of things, expand upon ideas & list out pros/cons.

We also live in a digital age where technology is literally at our fingertips. There’s no shortage of apps in which you can use to record ideas. Be it in audio, text, or even picture based format.

In my own workflow I’ve adopted the app Scapple recently by the great folks at Literature & Latte. After using Scrivener for some time I finally made my way to trying out Scapple & immediately implemented it into my workflow. It allows me to create a visual board of sorts of my idea. Manifesting it in the way I want from clip arts, text bubbles, and free form editing.

Whatever method you pick just be sure to record it somewhere you can always refer back to.

2- Share Your Ideas

It’s a misconception that you shouldn’t share your ideas with anyone due to the fact that someone may steal it & or build it themselves. I believe that if your idea is the way you envision it then you should be the only one who can execute it as such. So don’t be afraid to share it.

Sharing your idea opens it to collaboration, criticism, and ultimately makes it a better one. If you have a business idea for startup then take it to people you trust & more importantly will be honest with you. Gather feedback in order to improve on the idea. Furthermore by sharing your idea you can crowd source people who’d be interested in your product, service, site or what have you. This allows you to get no pun intended an idea of who would be interested.

Generally most people leave their ideas as ideas. The ability to act on it isn’t as frequent as you think. So don’t fear people running with ideas & share them.

3- Ideas don’t have to be revolutionary they can be evolutionary

This is one I had to remind myself of. I’m constantly searching for what I feel can be the next big thing. However you need to realize your next startup, project, what have you doesn’t have to be a revolutionary one. It doesn’t have to create a brand new market or need people never knew they needed. It can simply be a evolutionary one. Evolving of things that exist in the world already. Improving upon services & products in order to bring something better & more evolved. So don’t fret if you can’t come up with the next Facebook, Uber, etc.

4- Solve A Problem

When it comes to not having an idea at all where do you begin? I think the best place to start is with a problem. Maybe its a problem that plagues you or something that the world suffers from. Big or small aim to solve a problem & from there an idea can easily hatch. It’s not easy, ideas can be inspired from anything the trick is to realizing which problems we want to focus our time & energy on.

5- Don’t be Afraid to Think Big

In contrast to #3 you shouldn’t fear thinking big. Most people tend to shy away from big picture ideas simply because they think its not possible. On the contrary, that fear is the reason you should pursuit big projects & ideas. The world needs more people willing to tackle huge issues. Things that take work & perseverance.

Overall ideas can change the world. However ideas alone aren’t enough. They require nourishing, hard work, and discipline in order to grow to their potential. Focus on things that matter to you, a wrong you want to right. Take that idea you talk so much about & actually put it into action.

 

 

5 Podcasts I’m currently listening to

Just like my love for audiobooks I have a special relationship with that of podcasts as well ever since I first discovered them via iTunes. That & my love for long form content make podcasts a great form of media for me be it for commutes, while working, or simply to get my fix on whatever the topic at hand. That said I wanted to compile five podcasts I’m currently listening to that have made their way into my regular listening to rotation. From technology based podcasts to lifestyle & business here are five podcasts I’m currently listening to & without saying enjoying!

The Tim Ferriss Show 

Easily one of my favorite podcasts from New York Times Best Sellers author Tim Ferriss. A great podcast that aims to deconstruct word class performers in a variety of areas from people like motivational speaker Tony Robbins to billionaire investor Peter Thiel. While the podcast doesn’t necessarily follow a scheduled format whenever it does come out usually once a week sometimes more its worth the wait each episode.

Back to Work

Backed by an amazing panel of Dan Benjamin & Merlin Mann Back to Work looks at productivity, work barriers, and the occasional random topic that dives deep into things you never really think about. Tons of hidden gems within each episode & worth going back throughout the archive.

Nerdist Podcast

The popular talk show is one that I recently started listening to & glad I have. Chris Hardwick & his two friends Matt & Jonah each episode feature  great guests from actors to other popular figures diving into a wide variety of nerdy topics.

Startup Podcast

While Startup is currently preparing for season 3 the previous 2 seasons are still worth listening to. Led by Alex Blumberg the startup podcast started as a show covering well the start of the podcast company itself. A great listen for entrepreneurs the show now follows other companies & their startup stories. Captured in a unique storytelling format that I’m a huge fan of & find myself listening to older episodes constantly throughout the week.

Undisclosed

This podcast focuses on the case of Adnan Syed vs The State. Branching from the popular podcast that is Serial, you’ll definitely need to go back and listen to that in full before diving into Undisclosed. This isn’t by any means a sequel to that rather a deeper dive into some aspects of the case. The show itself recommends you listen to Serial beforehand in order to understand everything they’re referencing. For your crime enthusiasts or those who are waiting on Serial second season this should hold you over.

 

That said what podcasts are you listening to if any? Love to hear your recommendations & favorites!

Why I Love Audiobooks

There are 3 ways we as humans learn things visually, kinesthetically, and auditorily. Everyone differs in what works best for them. Sometimes its one specifically or a combination of styles. For me I’ve always processed information audibly. When I was younger I had passion for reading. Be it for school or personal reading pleasure I always seemed to have a book. As I began to grow & reading became a mandatory thing versus something I was doing in my own time I lost the capacity to read books. Novels, short stories, fiction or non-fiction it didn’t matter.

Even when the book really appealed to me I found myself to distracted to get through half the book let alone the entire story. Easily distracted I strived to find a method in which I could absorb information at a pace that made sense to me in a format that I enjoyed.

Thats when I discovered audiobooks through a service known as Audible. Now prior to this service audiobooks have existed whether they were in tape or CD form but Audible made the process simple & appealing. I could listen on the web player, my phone, through my desktop etc. Audiobooks as the name describes are literally books narrated by a voice actor. Sometimes its professional voice talent, multiple voiceovers, or even the author themselves.

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Audiobooks instantly appealed to me for various reasons. They made the story come to life & add a voice to the otherwise words on a page. I was able to focus more on the story & still continue with my daily activities. Listen to a book while working out, driving, or just working on mindless tasks. Now one can make the argument for multitasking but the idea that I didn’t have to have the physical book in front of me at all times while doing other things made it freeing & enjoyable again. The argument can be made for the very idea of books & their physical nature. I’ve never been one to support such claims as to me the medium doesn’t so much matter as long as your getting the same content. In that case it doesn’t matter if its audio, good ole paper & ink, or even an e-book version.

I signed up to Audible several years ago & have been a huge fan ever since. They offer several plans starting at $15 a month to subscribe to their service & get credit towards any book on their site. They were acquired by Amazon & have since tied into the online marketplaces vast selection of books/titles.

Furthermore here are some other reasons I’ve found audiobooks so much more enjoyable:

  • Speed

I can listen to a book much faster than I can personally sit down & read one. Having the ability to listen in almost any scenario during the day allows for more time to actually read the book. Yes I still say “read” as opposed to listen as its the same concept. Additionally the feature to increase the speed which the narration is read at allows you to literally take a 4 hour book for example & cut it down to 2 hours, the equivalent of increasing the words per minute you can read.

  • Convenience 

The ability to carry literally hundreds of titles on my iPhone at one time is much easier than packing multiple books. It’s ideal when traveling or for flights & whether your online or offline you can easily listen to your books. The app offers option to locally download or stream the book depending on your preferences.

  • Affordable

While Audible isn’t the only audiobook service out there they offer super competitive rates when it comes to books. At a $15 subscription I can get any book whether its 2 or 24 hours long. Savings literally thousands on books over the course of my subscription.

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Now thats not to say Audiobooks don’t have their drawbacks.

  • Annotating

As opposed to a physical book you can’t really add notes or annotations to your audiobooks. Audible has a feature that attempts to let you add notes to certain bookmarks but it could be implemented much better.

  • Titles

While nowadays most new releases get the audiobook treatment there are some both new & old which don’t make their way to audiobook format or are sometimes delayed due to the time it takes to get a narration done.

  • Narrators

Narrators do really set the tone for a audiobook. If you have one that speaks to slow or fast, has a heavy accent, or what have you it can make the experience differ. Luckily all books offer preview samples & in some cases multiple narrated versions to choose from.

Reading is something I wish I spent more time doing in the last couple of years. Coming into High School reading became more of a chore to me & something I did if only required. Reading however whatever you may genre you may fancy is something I find essential to my source of education. Business & self help books, fiction, memoirs & autobiographies,  are just some of what I enjoy. Be it taking time away from work to sit & listen to a book or obsessively listening to books throughout the day the choice is yours. I encourage you if you struggle with reading physical books to find something your really interested in & attempt to try out the audio version. Listen in your spare time via your iDevice, the web players, through a variety of apps or services.

The ability to consume information at my own leisure whenever & however I want. Be it audiobooks, physical ones, or even a E-book is a privilege I don’t take for granted. With information so readily available at our fingertips we cannot but stand in awe of the variety of things that await us. It’s simply a matter of what medium is right for you.

The State of Social Media & The Desire to Belong

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I’ve covered the technology space for nearly decade now. It all started with a broken PC & a desire to get back onto World of Warcraft. My 11 year old self would then become engulfed in a world that is ever changing & advancing. If I think about what my favorite part of covering such an expanding space it’d have to be seeing the social trends come & go. Seeing the would be networks fail, random networks become the new big thing, the big thing phase out as years rolled by.

Thus I wanted to focus on the state of social media. Where we’re at now & how we’ve come to this point & what the future holds. Not just in the network itself but the social aspect. It is called “social” media after all. When it comes to social media over the years be it apps, sites, etc. The same reoccurring factor holds true, as the late Steve Jobs said “Alot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Years ago people wouldn’t be telling you that they wanted an messaging system in which their media would disappear after someone viewed it, a platform in which they were limited to 140 characters, and so on.

These networks & trends come & go in different iterations. It’s more a matter of how long they last. Nowadays there’s a standard set of networks that really matter. By matter, I mean where the people you know are & what they’re using.

State of Social Networks:

Snapchat- 

Arguably one of the most popular networks out there. Famous for its ephemeral messaging system in which users can send messages, pictures, and videos that require the viewer to pay attention as you only have one chance to view the snap. Snapchat stories are basically a look at what your friends are doing. Simply put it’s a look at what your either missing out on or wanted to know about. A window if you will into someones day.

Theres no argument there is money & attention in this space. Evan Spiegel  Snapchat’s CEO is the youngest billionaire to date due to Snapchat’s success.

Facebook-

With the millions of users it has almost everyone knows what Facebook is even if they don’t use it, they probably have one or have had to encounter it before on the internet. The thing you either love or hate but still can’t get rid of cause that one time you may need to reach out to such & such, keep up with family, see old friends, find that girl/guy from the party, the list goes on.

Twitter-

The 140-character micro blog that has also taken the social media space by storm. Evolving from a status update network to one that is at the center of many things going on in the world. Find tweets across news networks scrolling tickers, famous figures posting updates, and or a simple way to post something out to all your friends in a short format. Forcing a shorter form of expression. Keeping it short & simple.

Instagram-

 A picture says a thousand words they say. Well Instagram is the place to be if your looking to express just that with the hope of receiving thousands of likes to validate just that. Simple & visual. Pictures & short form video. Tell creative stories, showcase that vacation spot, or take a selfie & post it.

Vine-

Vine is famous for two things short form video & the looping of said video. Creativity in this network ranges across all its categories. However one of those primary spaces being comedy. Rather then the old days of sending people to links of funny videos that may have been minutes long you have these 15 second or less clips that people can consume easily, which can also lead to endless scrolling and the famous phrase “Have you that Vine?”.

Pinterest-

That visual board of wedding plans, house ideas, and a variety of other boards. A smattering of people’s interest arrange in a virtual board. While all your friends may not use it, you more than likely have someone who does. Beyond that Pinterest is much bigger than you think catering to a wide range of demographics young to old.

Tumblr-

Tumblr is the blog you always wanted to set up without really having to do any blogging. If anything Tumblr has setup its own separate definition for blogging. While it is a content creation platform your dashboard is typically filled with more content to consume. A blog for you to really reblog others content. Use it personally or professionally. Filled with its own sets of memes, huge community & fan base of celebrity Tumblrs (Taylor Swift) & many other things.

Now yes I’m well aware that “insert network here” isn’t on the list. There’s so many networks that do this & that I simply choose to focus on the popular networks as of this post.

I’ve seen the start & popularity of each of these networks listed above. From release to the next big thing. The thing is they’re all really still growing & surely will have more years to come. However looking at each they’re all a form of something that can between them. Cause if there’s one thing thats important when it comes to social networks & media it’s timing. A trend is a trend because its happens for a certain amount of time. These apps in question have have similar versions that existed before them. Myspace, Blogger, Flickr, etc. Technology, society, and so on was all in the right place as these networks took off. With the launch of things like the app-store and so on it would change the face of social media & networks.

The next big social network can never really be predicted. Some trends are great ideas & implementations the world just isn’t simply ready for them at certain points. It could take years, better technology, and many other variables to fix that. We as users don’t truly know what we want when it comes to these apps. We may have features we want added or annoyances taken out. In the end though we fall to that of which the masses do more importantly the people who matter in our lives. Leading me into the bigger picture of social media this day in age.

The desire to belong. To be apart of the many rather than the few. Word it however you want but its a reason why a majority of us use whatever networks we do. Cause if it wasn’t for friends, family, and other people across the world with similar interests why would we use “insert app name’.

The Desire to Belong:

Looking around me lately I realize more & more that the world truly does fall on this sort of social pressure. Be it high school or the virtual world we all want in a way to belong to a certain circle. Especially those in my generation & primarily the younger demographic. I remember hearing in an interview with the actress Alice Eve on Conan of all things saying

As a kid it’s much easier to sort of be apart of the group than it is to stand outside it. I think that changes as you get older.

I couldn’t think of a better metaphor for social media in general. A constant need to fit in, for approval, recognition. We’re all guilty of it, myself included. Hell in some parts I’ve made a career out of it. We don’t share nowadays to simply just share, rather for a sense of recognition of what we’re doing. Shared expression itself is asking for form of judgement. Otherwise we’d keep those photos in our camera roll, the opinions to ourself, and that funny moment in our memories rather than our Snapchat Story.

Everybody at one point or another wants to fit in, in their life. Be apart of something & as apart of that they make the necessary sacrifices. The same goes for real social groups than it does digital ones. We use things we don’t like or enjoy, accept terms & conditions that are in some parts ridiculous, in other instances give up our right to privacy. We share these moments in life that’d otherwise be a story we tell someone in digital form. Now I’m not here to argue whether or not thats good nor bad. I’m apart of it. I’m self aware of this issue & contribute to it at the same time.

There are exceptions to this. Those who shy away from networks & what have you. But the majority surely 4 in every 5 friends you ask have an app listed above installed. Why? In parts to share their lives, contribute useful things into the world, tell their stories. In other parts to cater to crowd, see what they’re missing out on, to be apart of something even if they’re not physically present. Years ago the age old question would be “Could you or how long would you be able to last without a computer” or even “The capability to make calls on your phone”. Now the question should be If & how long people could go without their social media apps. A scary, interesting, and reflective thought.

Don’t be mistaken social networking in itself isn’t bad. These apps, developers, or hardware responsible for them aren’t to blame. They all can be used for great things, forming great & healthy relationships, and for amazing causes. However like any good thing they can be abused & or lead us to ask why we use them in the first place?

Is it for us, or is it for others?


Below you can find some other great resources & material on the same subjects by people much more smarter & articulate than I.

TheNerdWriter- Social Media

A Teenagers View on Social Media

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