Category Archives: editorial

Google Stood Up for Their Employees, Not Their Policies

Late last week, a 10 page manifesto written by Jame Damore surfaced. It had been circulated around Google’s offices prior to being leaked by an employee who was troubled by it, and wanted to bring external attention to the views within it, which they thought to be offensive. The proclamations within the paper had to deal with Google’s diversity policies and the liberal nature of Google’s culture, and perhaps the culture of the entire tech industry right now. ┬áIt accused Google of groupthink, of foolishly wasting time trying to recruit more women, more minorities, supporting them once they joined the company, and educating other Googlers on microaggressions in the workplace that can hold women and minorities back. Google’s aim was to aid in further recruitment, increase interest in technology education, and to address the unique needs of these groups. James Damore wasn’t just mad about liberal culture though, he also claimed that the reason Google had so few women engineers was not because they weren’t trying hard enough to hire women and incentivize women to pursue software engineering, but rather that women are biologically incapable of being good engineers. He gave no reason for why he believed Google had few minority engineers, likely because his beliefs on the topic are equally reprehensible, as his paper may have suggested.

Naturally, he created an unsafe and unwelcoming environment at Google. Many people called for his termination, as they did not want to work with someone who looks down on women’s contributions to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), and does not favor the countermeasures to systematic oppression minorities experience through racism. Women and minorities didn’t want to work with him, not even cisgender white men wanted to work with him. Google employees couldn’t see how he could contribute to the company without a team that wanted to work with him. No employee should be forced to work with someone who has shown coworkers such disrespect, nor should Google have to engender illogical complaints against the diversity programs they’ve worked hard on. Google agreed, and fired him, for the content of his screed, yes, but more for the way it hurt the company’s ability to produce results.

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The Apple Watch as a Fashion Statement

I was in a restaurant having lunch with a few friends. Someone in our group looked at my wrist, “Oh, is that a new band? I like it!” She’s a fashionable woman, exactly the kind of person you’d want to get a compliment like that from. Here I was, wearing a piece of technology on my wrist, yet it was somehow considered fashionable, unlike the calculator watches of old. The Apple Watch managed to impress a style-minded person in a way that no wearable piece of technology has ever been able to do. Is it thanks to smartphones that technology became personal and cool? Perhaps. But it’ll be the smart watch that makes technology truly fashionable, and Apple has taken note. In that sense, the Apple Watch was designed by the most forward-thinking engineers, designers, and executives who knew their watch would be more than a utilitarian smart device for your wrist, but an actual accessory as well. Apple knows that technology must not only improve your life from a functionality standpoint, but also compliment your outfit. 
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Apple’s Behind on Design

Considering looks and practicality alone, I’d take the Galaxy S8. Sorry, Apple.

Don’t you hate it? Samsung, LG, Microsoft, and Google create some amazing designs, and then Apple comes in, copies everyone, and makes a worse product. Wait, that’s not how it happens you say? Well, if we were talking in 2007, maybe you’d be right. But we’re having this little chat in 2017, and things are a bit different right now. Right now, we’ve got Microsoft making all in one desktop PCs that are made for designers, architects, and artists so they can work hard using tools that are familiar, like pens and their fingers. We have Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa doing far more for users than Siri. Then we’ve got Samsung and LG, two companies famous for pirating Apple’s designs, now creating cellphones that not only feel better in the hand than anything Apple’s selling, they’re doing it by looking better too. Plus, they’re using new an innovative technologies, like OLED panels that barely have a bezel, wide angle selfie cameras, iris scanning, larger aperture cameras that are better in low light, and did I mention those screens? Less bezel means more phone you can interact with, it means being able to use a 5.8″ screen with one hand, unlike the bulky monstrosity that is the iPhone 7 Plus’s 5.7″ screen. Plus, these screens do it while presenting more vivid colors, deeper blacks, higher resolutions, and less energy usage.  

Let’s face it, Apple has not only fallen behind, they’re being crushed. 
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Pro iMac Coming Soon, Won’t be a Touchscreen iMac with Apple Pencil Support.

Apple should make a touchscreen iMac and a professional display with Apple Pencil support, that’s a fact. The demand for such products is high, with most design professionals purchasing Wacom tablets and displays to use with their Macs, making the iMac obsolete for designers. If Apple’s iMac came with Apple Pencil support, the computer could take on not only Wacom, but Microsoft’s Surface Studio as well. Apple’s also working on an in-house professional display for their Mac Pro and other Mac computers. This display would be a perfect candidate for Apple Pencil support, which would give serious design and video professionals the touchscreen precision that is currently only found on Apple’s iPad Pro tablets. But, just as Apple has resisted creating any truly professional hardware until the outcry became deafening, so too have they ignored requests for precision and design focused hardware. There is some good news though. While we’ll have to wait at least a year for the new Mac Pro, we won’t have to wait as long for a professional focused iMac, even if it won’t be exactly what we’re clamoring for. Apple has pledged to release an iMac made for professionals, and we can likely expect it by the end of the year. 
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What the iPhone Did 10 Years Ago and Must Do Again

This morning I saw Apple had commemorated the first iPhone, revealed 10 years ago today. The device was revolutionary. When it was released, I was in college. I was attached to three things, my MacBook, my iPod, and my cellphone. The iPhone was able to combine some of the needs of my computer, emails, web browsing, it would allow me to leave the iPod at home, and it could replace my clunky cellphone. My bags and pockets could be freed from the tyranny of needing too many devices. When I finally got my first iPhone, I was surprised by how much it could do and how simplified it was as a device. Truly, it was revolutionary. 

This morning I had to take some stuff out of my handbag to carry a larger bag with me to work. I moved my makeup, wallet, headphones, gum, keys, and something I now carry with me everywhere, my battery pack. Seeing my work phone in there with this battery pack on the eve of the 10th anniversary got me thinking about simplicity, and how Apple’s lost sight of it. 
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Blizzard’s Latest Overwatch Comic is a Holiday Treat for Representation

I don’t write about games here much. I suppose that’s because this is an Apple focused blog, and, let’s face it, Macs aren’t exactly gaming machines. It’s rare I discuss any game here that isn’t an iOS app. Just this once, I’m going to break that tradition for what has been one of my favorite games, and my favorite of 2016, Overwatch. It mixes MOBA-like strategy and first person shooter action to create an exciting and intelligent game. Overwatch has a diverse cast of characters from all over the world, each with a unique backstory, set of abilities, and personality. That allows this game to break with a tradition, especially found in first person shooters, of games dominated by (almost entirely white) men. People could find an Overwatch character from their neck of the woods, characters who they could identify with. Overwatch had a clear message: anyone can be a hero. Race, religion, gender, and even species can’t prevent someone from doing incredible things. Overwatch was already set to be one of the most inclusive games ever created, and certainly one that’s enjoyed by the largest audience. Many publications have already named it the game of the year for 2016. The creators of Overwatch (Blizzard) took the ideal of diversity one step further yesterday, when they released a new comic for the holidays. Much of the story of Overwatch is told outside of the gameplay, through bios, videos, and comics. Small details are often hidden in the game that ties into this media, all of it considered canon in the Overwatch universe. Blizzard gave us a comic for the holidays, and not only did it bring me some holiday cheer (and you can ask my parents, that’s not easy), it also made the game just a little bit more inclusive. One of my already favorite characters was revealed to be more like me than I previously thought. 
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The Unforgettable Pebble


My wonderful Pebble smart watches.

Back in June of 2012, I made a Kickstarter account. I saw a device that was exactly what I wanted. I would occasionally wear a watch, but being the techie that I am, I never liked the fact that I could only see the time from my watch. It seemed to me that we had smartphones, we should have smart watches. Pebble came along and introduced us to a polished, fun, feature-rich, developer-friendly, and versatile cross-platform smartwatch. I just knew it would be an important part of the future. Wearables were going to be huge. Watches and fitness bands now, sure, but maybe glasses, contact lenses, headphones, and more in the future. With that first Pebble, I saw an idea that was reserved for science fiction becoming mainstream. Wearable technology. It felt like we could upgrade what it meant to be human. With a glance at my wrist, I could know so much. It felt like the future.

Just two years later, I backed the watch that’s on my wrist right now. It was the third Kickstarter project I backed (the second being the Bumprz, a “case” made for the iPhone 5). With the Pebble Time, I didn’t even have to think twice. Thinner, lighter, smaller, and a color screen? Shut up and take my money, Pebble. They released the original Pebble, the Pebble Steel, the Pebble Time, the Pebble Time Steel, the Pebble Round, an elegant smartwatch (and the thinnest, most female wrist-friendly smartwatch to date). Later, the Kickstarter campaign for the Pebble 2, the Pebble Time 2, and Pebble Core would come out. I was immediately captivated by the Pebble Time 2. It took the form of the Pebble Time Steel, a high-end version of their smartwatch, but has a much larger screen and heart rate monitor for better fitness and sleep tracking. Again, I had to have it, and backed it within hours of them announcing it.

Alas, that’s where this love story between a girl and her watches ends. Pebble is being bought out by Fitbit, who will not continue to support the brand, its development community, or its users. The Pebble, the smartwatch that made wearables mainstream, the smartwatch that made the Apple Watch possible, the fun company that made smartwatches tailored for both men and women, is dead.

I feel like I’ve lost a friend.

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