You Should Play: Life is Strange Before the Storm

Rachel and Chloe meet at a fight during a punk show. Chloe held her own when I played.

I’ve discussed Life is Strange at great length before, and for good reason. It’s probably been one of the most impactful games I’ve played, and I think I could honestly call it my favorite, despite not being an action-heavy game, which are usually my favorites. The end of the game has stuck with me, perhaps even haunted me, since I played it. I always recommend it to everyone, even people who don’t play video games. In fact, I especially people who don’t play video games. This is a game that is perfect for anyone who loves a story, not just gamers, and you’d be cheating yourself out of a fantastic story by dismissing it as “just a game.” The game involves Max, an introspective girl who discovers she can rewind time, and her best friend Chloe, a punk rocker with a troubled past (and future), as they try to navigate a difficult world of bullies, depression, threats of violence, love, and most of all, solve the disappearance of Chloe’s best friend (and possible former girlfriend), Rachel Amber. The twists the story takes as these two learn the dangers and wonders of messing with time bring players through a rollercoaster of emotions.

The trailer for the original Life is Strange game

Dontnod, the creator of the first game, is making a sequel, though it won’t involve the original characters, it’ll be a completely new situation with a new group of people. However, they knew fans needed more time with the original cast of characters. They got DeckNine to make a prequel for the game, Before the Storm, staring the protagonist’s best friend Chloe, showing the most difficult time in her life, and perhaps the second greatest pivot in her life: when she met Rachel.
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DxOMark Calls iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus the Best Smartphone Cameras They’ve Ever Tested

“The Apple iPhone 8 Plus is the best-performing mobile device camera we have ever tested.” -DxOMark

DxOMark is a company that tests cameras. They’re well known for their comparisons of professional cameras, classic SLR cameras, DSLR cameras, mirrorless, and more. They’re the go-to source for camera reviews. They even make a $500 iPhone attachment that turns your iPhone into a high-end point and shoot camera. As smartphone cameras improved, they also got into testing smartphone cameras, comparing them so consumers could figure out just how good the camera on a smartphone is before buying it. If photo quality is your primary concern for a smartphone or camera, DxOMark’s rating is your holy text. They compare image quality using a variety of measurements, from sharpness, focus, contrast, color accuracy, bokeh, zoom, low light performance, differentiating light performance, and more. They attack camera reviews form both a subjective standpoint, comparing the visual quality of the photos, as well a a more scientific standpoint, comparing the exact pixels from each photo for sharpness and color accuracy. Their exhaustive test has become the industry standard. 

DxOMark got their hands on the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 8, and put them through their rigorous test. What they found was that both smartphones blew the competition out of the water. Google’s Pixel smartphone and the HTC U11 were tied for the top spots, but they’ve been throughly dethroned, with the iPhone 8 beating them by two points and the iPhone 8 Plus beating it by four. 
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Apple’s Not First, It’s Best

Apple didn’t release the first smartphone, they didn’t release the first touchscreen phone, but they did release the best, by a wide margin. Since then, other smartphones evolved to look more like Apple’s, and from there, we get the iOS vs Android duopoly that we have today. Apple wasn’t the first to make a GUI, the first PC manufacturer, the first to put a fingerprint sensor on a phone, they weren’t the first with two cameras, or even the first to make an MP3 player, but they’ve done the best versions of all of these things, changing the market forever. That’s why I hate graphics like the ones above, which seem to come out every time Apple releases some exciting new iPhone. No, Apple wasn’t the first, but they’ve done everything so much better, so the question becomes, why did the others create such half-assed projects to begin with? If you’re going to do something right, take your time and do it right, don’t rush it and release something that’s less than the best. That’s Apple’s philosophy, it’s why iPhone users stick with iOS, and it’s why we’re excited to use the iPhone X.

So, what about the points raised in the graphics above? I’m going to tear each of them apart. Why? Because I hate the spread of fake news far more than I hate know-it-all fanboys, and this involves both.
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Everything Apple Announced, and What it Means

You know? I like the number 9. It’s the highest single digit decimal number, it’s the number for the first month of fall, it’s my favorite number squared, and, for some silly reason, 9/10ths of a cent are added to the price of every gallon of gas in the U.S. Yes, 9 is a pretty special number. Unfortunately, some people tend to disagree with me. Namely, Microsoft and Apple. Microsoft jumped from Windows 8 to Windows 10, perhaps to distance itself from the disaster that was Windows 8, and Apple just released the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X (pronounced “ten”). In one or two years, it’s unlikely they’ll release the iPhone 9 and iPhone 11, they’ll likely mix up the names, so we likely will never see the number 9 on an iPhone. Why’d Apple release an iPhone X (ten in Roman numerals), alongside the iPhone 8? For nostalgia’s sake, of course, but it’s anything but a device stuck in the past. The new iPhones weren’t the only new Apple devices on the stage on during Tuesday’s event. Apple also announced the Apple TV 4K, Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE, and new features of iOS 11. With the introduction of three new flagship iPhone models, it was certainly a unique event, and with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus going on preorder last Friday, we can get an idea of how popular these devices will be.

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Apple Just Leaked the LTE Apple Watch, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and… the iPhone X

Apple has never been a company to look into the past, always moving forward. However, once before, they celebrated how far they came with a brand new product that encapsulates all the greatness of their past products while simultaneously forging forward. The 20th anniversary Macintosh, released in 1997, came out just a few years before Apple released Mac OS X, a dramatic leap forward in the desktop operating system. It’s a rare moment of nostalgia for Apple before they forge ahead with new technologies. Plus, customers love these creative devices. Something else Apple rarely does? Leak their own products. 2017 seems to be a unique hear for them, because this year, they’re both looking back, and leaking their own products.

For the second time, Apple accidentally released firmware that reveals their upcoming products. Now we know for sure that the next iPhones will be called the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and a new premium model, the iPhone X. Apple also revealed a new Apple Watch, presumably the LTE Apple Watch, as well as a secret feature of the iPhone X: emoji that track (and react to) your face!

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Apple Could Skip the ‘S’: Patterns in iPhone Naming Rumors Align

Two supposed leaks or rumors state the possible names for the iPhones won’t follow Apple’s standard naming patterns, though they disagree on the final names for the most hotly anticipated iPhone in years. Previously, it was assumed that there would be three iPhone models released this year. There would be the upgrades to the current models, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus would be replaced by the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, and then there would be the new model, the iPhone 8. However, two new rumors state that Apple will skip the ‘S’ moniker this year, going right to the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus for the 4.7″ and 5.5″ iPhones, respectively, and the 5.7″ with almost no bezel iPhone would instead be named either the iPhone Edition or iPhone X. But which is more likely?
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I Need a New Mac and Apple Doesn’t Want to Sell Me One

My MacBook Pro is over 7 years old now. I’m a software engineer, and I like to do my own design work for small projects. I’m also a fan of photography, and need a machine powerful enough to process large images. I even occasionally make and edit videos. Basically, I desperately need a new, far more powerful, computer. Through upgrades, my 7 year old machine has gotten upgraded memory and a solid state drive, which is why it’s been able to stay relevant for so long. But now it’s too old to keep up, the processor has been pushed to its limits, and even with more memory and a faster drive, it’s finally starting to feel sluggish. Software demands have finally outpaced what I was able to do for this plucky little machine. What do I replace it with? What could last me 5-6 years and provide the power I need? Can it also be portable?

No, not if I want to buy any of Apple’s disappointing computers.

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