Apple versus the World

•October 8, 2017 • Leave a Comment


Life in 2017 isn’t complete without the latest silicon brick in your pocket. The technology landscape has changed drastically in the past 6 years. Six years? 

It has been almost six years since the former CEO and co-founder of Apple passed away and the company was put in the hands of Tim Cook. Has Apple continued in the way Jobs had intended? Is Apple still the most innovative tech company in the world?  It depends who your asking. 

Steve Jobs didn’t just have a knack for hardware innovation. He also was instrumental in developing a software ecosystem that revolutionized the way we interact with our devices.  Apple iOS, tvOS, MacOS (formerly OS X), and iCloud have this unsettling ability to talk to one another. You can buy a movie on your phone, watch it Facebooking on your MacBook Pro, and then finish on your Apple TV.  Not every technology giant has a user experience as refined as Apple’s. 

But is that enough? Tim Cook has made Apple more invasive in our daily lives with Apple Pay, Apple Music, and HomeKit. The problem is, to access all of these nifty features you are required to buy their expensive hardware. Hardware that on paper isn’t better than its competitors. While no tech company use to be able to hold a candle to Apple as far as innovation and refinement goes, that gap is quickly closing (if it hasn’t in some cases already). Of course, Apple products have always come at a price and have been marketed as premium products. Companies such as Microsoft, Samsung, and LG now have their own line of premium tech. The Microsoft Surface Studio is enough to make even the most loyal fanboys think twice. While Samsung has offered OLED displays for a couple of years on its flagship models, Apple has only now offered it on its most expensive iPhone X. 

All the while many consumers feel that Apple’s prices are becoming too premium. The new MacBook Pro is an amazing machine but forces the average user to drop extra money to buy dongles just to use the most basic accessories. The iPhone 7 eliminates the headphone jack for the sake of “innovation” urging users to go for pricey wireless headphones not included with the phone. 

So what’s the deal? What will Apple look like in five years? 10 years?  Are they holding back only to wow the world with an innovative new product in the future as a sales strategy? Only time will tell. It really all goes back to personal preference. Many people can’t live without the hardware innovations of Samsung but on the other hand Apple has arguably always had the most seem less and user-friendly software experience. That goes for both its mobile and computer operating systems. Apple has always focused on the user before the technology and I like to think that is still true. Many people demo an Android device and decide they like it better than Apple but then you know…the grass is always greener… I mean, how many different ways can you design and redesign a flat rectangle with a screen and a camera?  

So if you aren’t sure of the future of Apple rest assured, they are going to be around for a long time. Make a list of all the Apple exclusive features you couldn’t live without and make a list of what the competitors exclusively offer and make that decision thoughtfully. You may find that transitioning your digital real estate is more involved than you thought. 
H. Trelane Schlenker

Christ follower, graphic designer, photographer, blogger, and more!

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Color

•May 4, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Over the past couple weeks I’ve been doing some research about color theory. It really is a fascinating subject and the average person doesn’t realize its power. 

Of course everyone knows the good ol’ color wheel, but there is a lot more to it than that. If you look at websites that have been around for many years and if you can find screenshots of those sites over the years you will be amazed at how they have changed. 

Many companies who sell or have sold high end products use a great deal of purple in their designs. Companies that are trying to instill trust in their customers use blue. Many finance companies use green because Americans associate it with money. Keep in mind though if you are a web designer the green won’t work in another country…unless they too have green money. 

Even more interesting was studying the colors used on the websites of presidential candidates from last year. Some of the older candidates used color schemes similar to that of Facebook and Twitter which conveys that they are trying to connect with younger generations. Most of the candidates used blue in their designs which is often said to convey a sense of trust. Black, while being a color of sorrow and mystery, also is worn to display confidence. It was used on many of the web designs. The color red, often used to represent power, is used confidently on the website of the big man himself. 

It’s amazing to see the power of color and it’s subliminal influence on our minds. While you may think the donkeys and elephants wear red, white, and blue to be patriotic, there’s a little more too it than that. 

It’s Been a While

•April 23, 2017 • Leave a Comment

It has recently come to my attention that I do in fact still have a WordPress account. The last blog was posted in 2009 or so.  In light of this reunion of blog-blogee, it’s a perfect opportunity to reminisce of long forgotten social media accounts. 

1) WordPress is obvious…because I already mentioned it. This account was created for a web cast class in college. I enjoyed the blogging and really don’t know why I stopped. 

2) The gothos88 Instagram account has actually been around for about 4 years or so. I didn’t get it at first, deleted the app, and made fun of the ones that actually use theirs. Recently I decided to give it another go and it is slowly becoming my weapon of choice over the social media conglomerate involving a codex of faces. 

3) Snapchat was fun for a few days. I find value in crossing social media platforms and Snapchat fits the bill. But those occasions are few and far between. 

Of course there are long forgotten social media accounts such as Vine, Foursquare, and Pinterest (or whatever). Looking back it has been a treat to see the social media landscape changing over time, such as trends rising and falling (coughs “MySpace”). Microsoft even offers a professional social media networking service via Microsoft Office 365 called “Yammer”. While I’m not sure of the productivity value of Yammer it is evidence that social media has soaked into almost every crevice of our culture. 

BBQ Chicken

•March 21, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Lately I’ve been on this Barbecue kick which is probably the North Carolina roots talking.  This recent kick includes eating and cooking.  So far chicken and pork shoulder are the only two meats to hit the smoker.  Both are fairly cheap and should be mastered before moving on to more expensive cuts like ribs or beef brisket.

Chicken Batch 1:  Being apprehensive about making the plunge into cooking an entire chicken, I decided to try making wings.  The first batch of buffalo wings was seasoned with garlic salt and red pepper.   The red pepper was a little heavy so the wings were pretty spicy, but overall they had a good flavor.  Smoked them for three hours mostly with Applewood chips but also a little bit of Hickory.  Then they were put in the oven for about an hour or so to make them fall off the bone tender.

Chicken Batch 2:  This time it was Barbecue Chicken.  I used a barbecue seasoning kit that I got for Christmas to season the chicken with so it’s difficult to say exactly what was in it.  Most likely it was a little brown sugar, paprika, red pepper, salt…Something like that.  They were smoked for three hours with 100% Applewood.  After pulling them from the smoker they received a barbecue sauce glaze.  Then they were put in the oven for about an hour.  They tasted great and the family devoured them.  The only thing that should have been done differently is that the barbecue sauce glaze should have been applied after they were pulled from the oven.

Overall they both had lots of flavor.  The applewood blends well with poultry because it is less pungent than the hickory.  In the future I am going to use only applewood for poultry, or maybe even try another type of fruit wood.  The barbecue chicken has been the family favorite so far but this is an ongoing process of perfection.

Stay tuned for my next blog on the pulled pork.

And More Star Trek

•December 24, 2009 • Leave a Comment

It is true. I am a nerd. I like Star Trek.  The truth is that I never would have bought the Star Trek comic Countdown if B. Dalton wouldn’t have been going out of business and had a 40% off sale.

So the biggest problem that most fans had with J.J. Abrams rendition of Star Trek is that it completely destroyed the Trekiverse that Gene Roddenberry originally established back in 1966.  Me being a fan, this was hard for me to swallow at first because this movie changed everything so much.  No more Vulcan, and no more Amanda.  What was up with this whole Spock/Uhura Romantic Chemistry?

So getting back to the point of this blog, what was this Star Trek Countdown comic book all about?  The comic book was designed to bridge the gap between the last of The Next Generation movies and the new film.  It explains how the whole Red Matter technology came about and why it was so important.

Another question fans were wondering is why all the new Romulans were bald and had tattoos all over their faces.  Well the comic explains that too.  We learn why Nero and his crew are so bitter and bloodthirsty towards Humans and Vulcans alike.  It re-establishes Spock’s roll as Federation Ambassador to Romulus and why he is willing to help this savage race.

Most Trekkies would agree that Nemesis didn’t do the last Next Generation any justice.  In fact, most of the cast were willing to do one last movie to clean things up.  With Nemesis’ poor ratings, we know that Paramount would have never provided the funding to do another movie for a dying franchise that would end up making them lose money.  This comic book tied up quite a bit of the loose ends for TNG.  As fans we saw the baton being passed from the original crew to The Next Generation Crew, and then in this book the TNG crew passed back to the originals.

So to wrap it up, if you are one of those people who are just totally obsessed with continuity, you should check out this comic book.  It will put your heart at rest for a lot of things and answer a lot of questions you might have.

My Star Trek Mashup video.

Senior Year So Far

•November 12, 2009 • 2 Comments

Wow! It has been quite a while since I wrote a blog.  It would be a good idea to write more on here. Thanks for reading Mr. C!

Well first off the gen ed requirements will be over once statistics is completed.  Most people finish these their sophomore year but changing majors and changing schools proved to be a setback.  Both did happen because God wanted it that way so I’m not complaining.

Communication classes for me are pretty cool this semester.  Once again because of the above mentioned circumstances my class scheduling has been sort of weird.  It would be nice if the two entry-level classes I am taking could have been done before the upper-division ones.  This would have helped me understand some things much easier.  Nonetheless, all is good.  My advisor is letting Collegiate Chorale count for a practicum because of running sound equipment.

Choir and Chorale are  great.  Sounds of the Season is great but I hope that I never have to sing Handel’s Messiah again.  Band… is another story.  The Warner Praise Band has been playing basically the same music for four years and as we recently discovered, it is middle school difficulty level.  I usually only skip class if absolutely necessary but when it comes to band ALL 6 skips are used.  Mr. “you know who” and I don’t exactly see eye-to-eye.  He gets mad for no reason and yells at me for being disruptive.  This may or may not be true but sometimes it is difficult to take the class seriously.  Maybe I sound like a baby or maybe I have the wrong attitude, but you can see why stipend money is the only incentive that will keep people in.

Other than band school is going well.  Applying to a grad school is…a pain…  I might do a second Bachelor’s cause the degree isn’t that important to me.  Don’t know yet.  Not even sure if graduation in May is gonna happen yet…although I really hope so.

MacBook Pro

•July 24, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I’ve finally made the switch from Microsoft to Mac.  I bought a Sony Vaio laptop for my freshman year of college when I was attending Brevard in Western NC.  The Sony was a great computer but after much abuse and two os re-installs, it was time to make a change.

The switch to a Macintosh was mainly due to the fact that all of my communication courses require them for assignments.  At first I hated using them but after being forced to do all work on them I began to love them.  I was gonna buy one last year but with all the options it would have cost just a little too much.  Let me just say I am thankful that I waited until now.  With the 13 inch MacBook Pro, it is the perfect fusion of the MacBook and the Pro.

The Track Pad:  After reading about this it seemed to be kind of a cheesy feature that probably wouldn’t work that well.  Most electronic companies tend to introduce technologies before they have time to perfect it.  Definitely not the case for the MacBook Pro. It really knows with about 95% accuracy (my guesstimate) how many fingers are touching it.  Another unique feature is that the whole trackpad is a button.  so you don’t have to move your hand down to press a mouse button.

Ports:  The Macbook Pro 13 inch includes 2 USB ports, Mini display, firewire, ethernet, and introducing the SD card slot.  USB is standard for a smaller computer.  The firewire is a great addition if you use digital video cameras or firewire hard drives.  The Mini display is cool if you have an Apple monitor but requires an adapter for a DVI port.  The SD card slot is a great addition for people who use this method of storage frequently.

Unibody:  This is a feature you learn to appreciate.  Using different laptops over the years you never really think about the construction of the body.  The MacBook Pro has two pieces; the main body and the bottom cover.  Most laptops have the body, access compartments, port compartments and a keyboard piece.  Creating the unibody has significantly strengthened the frame making it more durable and an overall more secure feeling.  Making the unibody was also made possible by carving it out of aluminum, making it the most durable laptop on the planet.  The seamless glass screen also adds durability as well as making it much easier to clean.

Battery:  Up to a whopping seven hours!  Instead of having cylindrical batteries like traditional laptops, Apple has layered the battery materials flatly so that it maximizes the charging ability.  While running applications and having the keyboard lit the computer is still getting over five hours

Everything Else:  The backlit keyboard is great!  It is so nice not having to look for the numbers in the dark.  It senses the ambient light so that it  saves power during the day, and is easily adjusted from the F5 and F6 buttons on the keyboard.  It is strange not having fan vents on the bottom but I am presuming that this is integrated with the speakers which also emanate from the screen hinge.  You don’t have to worry about covering the vent when its sitting on your lap.

Overall I have no real complaints about this computer.  There are always little things that you wish were different but nothing that will prevent me from maximizing its usefulness.  The USB ports could be a little further apart because its hard to put larger memory sticks in the slot.  Thats my only complaint.  Originally I planned on having a larger hard drive pre-installed but decided that having a 320GB external, it would be unnecessary.  I didn’t pre-install more RAM because that is rather expensive, especially since DDR3 RAM is just hitting the markets.  I found a website that is suppose to be a reliable webiste called www.crucial.com that sells Mac Ram for a good price.  I intend to bump it up to 4 GB after there is more money in my account.  Good job Apple.  This is the perfect computer for me.