Category Archives: editorial

After #WomenBoycottTwitter, Twitter Vows to Make Changes (Again)

Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey has promised in the past that Twitter would become a platform where people can feel safe. Unfortunately, it hasn’t gotten a whole lot better. People, women and minorities especially, still face harassment on Twitter, and too little is done when they come forward with complaints, leaving them silenced and afraid to speak at all. Twitter was used to stage GamerGate, targeted harassment of women in the gaming industry, it’s being used by white supremacists to spread hate and organize, and reports of this hate have largely gone unstopped until it becomes large enough for Twitter to step in. I myself, after a tweet of mine went mildly viral, found myself using Twitter’s report tool. The man child who was targeting me was banned for a few days, and he was automatically blocked from accessing my profile, but little more came of it. I’m sure he’s unbanned now and spreading his hate like nothing had happened. This is all too common, and doesn’t stop Twitter from becoming a toxic place.

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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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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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Why You Should Get a Mechanical Keyboard

I’ve now written three reviews of mechanical keyboards. There was my first (and the one I’m typing on right now), a CM Storm QuickFire Rapid, a Rosewill 9000V2, and, most recently, a Vortex Race 3. Each keyboard was different. One without a number pad, one with a number pad, and one that pushed all the keys into a compact package. Each one had a different switch type, a different sound and feel. But all of them had one thing in common: I loved them all. Typing on any one of these keyboards is wonderful. Sure, my Rosewill 9000v2 was a bit too large for my desk at work, that’s why I replaced it with the compact Vortex Race 3. My CM Storm is way too loud for the office, even when I don’t bottom out the keys, so it stays here at home, with me. The Race 3 has its flaws, but it’s still my favorite keyboard. Regardless, they’re all great for their own reasons, in their own ways.

Mechanical keyboards cost a bit more than standard keyboards, and they’re often wired, instead of wireless. Still, they’re the best keyboards you can get your hands on. For only a slightly higher price (you can find half decent mechanical keyboards for under $50), you can get a keyboard you’re going to love, and one that’s going to last you a long time. Let me tell you how.

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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.  It 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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