United I Choose

The Flag of the United States is on display outside my home 24/7, 365 days a year.

Be it rain, sun or cold, she’s there. When she grows weary and begins to fade I retire her with the honor and dignity I hold true to my heart and soul. She is replaced with a vibrant new flag until her time has come to pass.

The cycle continues…

The honor I mention comes from symbolism. Our flag is referred to as “she” as a bow of respect to the seamstress Betsy Ross. The honor and symbolism is cast upon by the one that respects it not the other way around as many would like to assume.

As I proudly fly the flag of the USA, I’m reminded of my father, brothers, uncles, cousins and countless friends that have defended (and continue to defend) her with the honor she deserves.

When I want to get angry and upset at those that desecrate our flag, I have to stop myself and think about something my father said:

“I fought so people could have the freedom to think however they want, regardless of what I think.”

Never lower your level of belief by fighting someone on their beliefs. If they think desecrating our flag will change things, let them do it. Don’t hold your breath waiting for change with those actions however. The results from this behavior is a creation of an even wider void.

Do I want to “help them pack” and move them out of the country? No. I’d rather them be here, where they have the freedom bestowed upon them by their own relatives and peers to have these opinions. What other country would allow them to express this behavior anyway?

Am I challenging anyone? No. This isn’t a playground and I’m not daring anyone to step over a line. The honor and power come from within. It begins from the heart, not from a store bought piece of cloth.

 

Yes, Old Glory continues to wave proudly outside of my house. I’ve seen vehicles pull to the side of the road, people getting out of those vehicles to salute or place their hand over their heart for a brief moment. They won’t make the news nor will these moments become internet sensations. But it does show me that our values and beliefs are stronger than ever, and it comes from within ourselves. United We Stand!

BlackBerry Passport: A Writer’s Choice

The Blackberry Passport is the oddest, quirkiest, one of a kind smartphone that I’ve seen in a long time…

What do you think? (Don’t judge my makeshift screen protector, nor the case)

And I Love It!

The Blackberry Passport is what I’ve been looking for in a productive smartphone. The size and shape almost forces you to write. The physical keyboard may feel cramped during the “Getting To Know You” phase, and with only three rows of buttons it’s easy to see why it’s been overlooked in the saturated world of portable devices. But those are what I call “Change Factors”.

Finally Getting It Done

I’ve used smartphones for many years. I’ve spent more time exploring how to get things done rather than getting things done. Even more time was spent wondering if there was a better way than how I was doing it. Beacause Distractions.

BlackBerry’s OS fades away, allowing me to construct, write and edit on a mobile device to an extent I was never able to achieve before. They operating system handles all the technical operations behind the scenes, jumping to attention when I need it.

From a writer’s perspective, my transformation from giving the Blackberry Passport a passing glance to all out obsession with acquiring the device didn’t happen overnight. I was currently using an android device. I was ok with it overall. But I did find editing and writing on it to be more cumbersome than what it was worth. Before the backlash starts, it’s important to note that I am a huge android supporter. So no fanboyism here.

Truth be told I never so much as considered Blackberry as being the provider of my next smartphone. I thought Blackberrry had given up on simple folk like me in favor of business minded professionals. They gave up on jumping on the perverbial bandwagon and being like everyone else. This made me look at myself from a whole new perspective. I realized that I am a business professional.

Even though I stilll enjoy what I do with all the passion, innocence and sense of wonder I’ve had since writing as a kid. The Blackberry Passport has shown itself to be the missing, albeit, not perfect, link in my mobile writing world.

A Strange Addition That Fits In

I’m a quirky, odd and non mainstream person. As a freelance writer, I have everything I need (and then some) to write and publish from my home office. I was lacking when it came to mobile work. The other phones I’ve had (iOS, Android and Windows) could be corralled together in one lump. In their own respective way they were great for quick edits, emails, pictures and texts while I was out and about. Gaming differed from device from device, but was wonderful. That wonderful gaming experience was also hurting my production.

In the battle of Android and iOs I felt as though I was the go between that was in the middle of a custody dispute. One could do this better than that and so on. I always compared Android to the angry brother that feels resentment because the other brother gets the attention he craves.

I gave Windows Phone a fair run. I went in expecting this device to be the deciding factor. Productivity wise, I prefered the Windows environment over Android and iOs. Disappointedly, the phone didn’t meld with its laptop/desktop counterpart. The limitations are evident and you can feel the current “in progress” state.

Enter BlackBerry

The Blackberry Passport didn’t impress me at first glance. Were you impressed when you saw it at the top of the page? It’s vastly different when compared other smartphones out there. It’s square shape. It’s three rows of letters will make you think “Where’s the number keys?” (Answer: They appear when needed, virtually, as a fourth row) It doesn’t look comfortable to hold. (But it is). It won’t fit in your front pocket. (It will)

It was so impractical that I forced myself to give it another look. And upon closer examination it occurred on me that, with a little hands on experience, this might just work.

The thought of purchasing it weighed heavily on my mind. I couldn’t shake it. The comparisons are unavoidable. Price wise, it was the same as the newest iPhone. However, for what I would pay for an iPhone, it would soon become just another faster, more vibrant toy. I didn’t need another toy this go round. I also didn’t need a phone on the level of a business professional. I wanted something to fill the gaps between home and work. In fact, because I found myself making comparisons that every one else makes, it swayed me more in the Passport’s favor.

Blackberry Delivers…So Far…

The Passport is unlike any device I’ve ever had. And so far, the positives have overcome the negatives. Regardless of how many phones I’ve had, there was always the like/don’t like comparisons. The Passport is no different. I’m comparing anything and everything. So far, it shines where others have lacked. I’ve always found at least a few things that I like about my phones to justify keeping them. There is always something I don’t like any phone but I’ll tolerate it because it delivers on things that are important to me.

I took the Passport Plunge with the knowledge that I can return it if I’m not satisfied.

I’m Satisfied

The specs, while outstanding as far as smartphones go, wasn’t my deciding factor. It has 3gb of ram, and an inexhaustable amount of (expandable) storage. I wasn’t impressed. On my first outing, I decided to edit a document while waiting in a line. I discovered I was able to maneuver and make adjustments more in depth than my expectations of a smartphone. That impressed me more than bellowing out the specs under the hood.

I’ll be able to provide progressive updates as I become more acquainted with the device.

Unexpected Surprise

The sound on this device is incredible! I downloaded an ambience app to set the writing mood. The sounds are better and louder than any device, tablet and smartphone, I’ve had up to this point. I’ll elaborate more on the sound quality in a future blog

What About That Amazon AppStore Thing?

Yeah, what about it? At first, I thought it was a desperate plea on Blackberry’s part to gain part of the Android market. My conclussion is that it might influence a few current Android user’s decision but…no.

What this means to me is Blackberry acknowledging their app store is inadquate for some current and potential users. I had little to no intention of using Amazon’s appstore, but I found myself to lean on it more than I thought.

The reason is because this device is well on its way to be my daily driver. In the first day of getting it, I thought it would make a great secondary device at best. Now, I’m giving it a lot of thought. It really does fit the needs of this writer for on the go usage.

Who’s It Not For?

If your device use consists of hours of media consumption, gaming and casual social media, don’t bother with this device. Blackberry didn’t make the Passport to occupy your child while you shop or be your comfort toy. There are hundreds of other smartphones out there that will suit your needs. I like to think of the Passport as your manager that will have a drink with you, but remind you not to stay out late because tomorrow is a big day.

An Amazing Powerhouse Of Productivity

I see an increase in my mobile productivity. Something I’ve never experienced in all my years of having smartphones. I can blog on the go. I don’t mean jot down notes, minor editing, save, then tweak and upload when I get home. I can blog from A (Idea) to Z (publish). The software available and the distinctive size are a remarkable advantage. I can compose and send emails in full detail. When a creative idea blasts into view, I can take out this quirky weird device and squash that creativity bug when it strikes.

To my fellow writers, give this device a chance. I took the chance and so far the positives are far surpassing the negatives. While the Passport isn’t my daily driver as of yet, there’s going to have to be a lot more negatives that come along to change that direction.

Oh, and just you know, this device does make phone calls…

This Is How I’ll Do It: 2015 Revision

If you’ve read my blog in the past, you know how indecisive I am when it comes to writing. One minute I’m fascinated with the latest and greatest, then I’m on to something completely unrelated and different.

That’s going to change in 2015

I’ve spent so much time and money worrying about how to get the word out that I didn’t spend time getting the word out.

Either way, we’re all right

Keep in mind the following is my personal experience and opinion. There is no right or wrong here. You can agree or disagree.

No Android In 2015

In its current state, I don’t see any benefit using the Android system with my writing. I have an Android phone as of this writing. Aside from using to make a few notes and updates here and there, android hasn’t pulled its fair share of weight in my writing world. As a result, it will soon be replaced by either an iPhone or Windows phone.

It’s not just you, Android

I’ll also be distancing myself from my Windows tablet. As with the Android decision, it doesn’t fit into my current routine. Unlike the Android decision however, I’ll be keeping Windows on board in its other forms. I’m waiting with baited anticipation for Windows 10. This will be the deciding factor as to which phone I get.

Now that I’ve touched on what I’m ridding myself of, what am I embracing?

I Can’t Wait To Tell You

The nucleus of my writing world takes place on a 2012 Mac Mini. Capping off the ram to 16gb and sporting 2TB of hard drive space, this is more than adequate for what I need.

Why 16gb?

I’m also bootcamping Windows 8.1 on the Mac Mini. That’s right. The best of both worlds. I have a lot invested in Windows programs so I’m not about to abandon Windows altogether. Besides, you never know when MS Office will come in handy. (Often).

Aside from an older model laptop PC, the Mac Mini will be Control Center to my writing world. Anything and everything that happens elsewhere will be accessable here.

Mobility

Of course, no writer in 2015 is complete without some form of “Writing On The Go” and I’m no exception. I do plan to keep using my android phone, reluctantly, to capture those ideas on the road but other than that, I only have two devices I plan to use while out:

Apple iPad Air: I think the iPad is THE ideal writing tool. Its versatility is unmatched in my opinion. There’s so many writing apps to choose from, certainly there’s at least one that will make your writing life better. You can choose to use a bluetooth keyboard, and there’s a plethora of those to choose from to create your writing world.

And Finally; a.k.a. Saving The Best For Last

This is an unexpected device. Yes, it’s unusual and no, it’s not for everyone. For me, it’s the best addition to my writing world up to this point:

Alphasmart NEO and Alphasmart Dana: These devices appeared to me out of nowhere. Had I been told that I’d be using a defunct 2004ish era device that wasn’t developed for writers, I’d say you were wrong.

But I Proudly Stand Corrected

There hasn’t been a more useful, welcomed device in my writing world. I wrote a blog about these devices. You can read it here. I’ll be writing an update on these devices soon!

So there you have it. My 2015 Writing Plans. What’s your routine? Share your thoughts, ideas and criticisms. Until then…

HAPPY CREATIONS!

 

10 secret OS X features hidden inside your Mac

Riterrick:

Not so secretive but good to know if you’re a Mac user!

Originally posted on BGR:

Apple recently updated its desktop operating system OS X to version 10.10, also known as Yosemite. The latest version of OS X packs tons of new features beneath a sleek redesign of the user interface, but most Mac computer users likely haven’t even mastered all of the features that were already available in OS X.

We recently told you how to access a nifty paint app that Apple hid on your Mac, and now we have a list to share that identifies 10 interesting OS X features that you might not have known about.

View original 335 more words

My Smart Watch Is Smarter Than Yours!

A standing ovation for a watch? One that isn’t even available yet? One that may not warrant such an ovation when it’s release?

Seriously?

A few questions come to mind:

What has this world come to?

Did I miss a memo?

Was it mass confusion?

Was the standing ovation sign that was intended to be shown when U2 was giving us free music miscue?

I just didn’t see anything worth a standing ovation

I’m not against Apple products. I have and adore my Apple products (iPad Air, iPad Mini and Mac Mini). I’m not against any products that I have a strong chance of buying at some point. By the way ‘Apple’ can be replaced with ‘Android’ or ‘Microsoft’ and the effect will be the same.

But Come On People

Apple announces it’s finally getting into the smart watch business (Not today, but soon) and the reception is as revolutionary as the announcement that world peace has been achieved.

It might be great. It might be revolutionary. It might be full of bugs. It might not be any better than what’s out there already.

In my personal opinion, the watch that necessated a standing ovation?

Pebble Smart Watch

If anything, it did deserve a standing ovation from me. It’s my favorite of all smart watches.

Why?

It does what it’s intended to do and, in my opinion, does it better than anything else I’ve seen so far.

And that’s not all!

The Pebble Smart Watch couldn’t care less if you’re an Android fan or a happy go lucky Apple type! That’s right, amazingly enough, it’s compatible with both! Granted, there are far more things you can do with it on Android versus Apple, but that’s because as everyone knows, Android is better than Apple. (Builds a wall of self doubt and prepares for the rebuttal)

Memo to self: Remember to include, “It’s only a joke” in all caps to counteract the above statement

But the best thing about the Pebble Smart Watch are the things it doesn’t do as well as the others.

Hear (read?) me out

It doesn’t do pictures. Well, it does, but it does so in a low resolution pixalated mess. I have a phone in my pocket that does incredible pictures (in color), so why should it have to?

It doesn’t send texts. It receives texts, and does so in a easily read manner. That’s all it should have to do. If you need to answer a text, you can do so from the comfort of your phone.

It doesn’t allow you to talk directly into it. Actually, yes you can. It just gives you a subtle look when you do it.

Now, on to what it DOES do.

It keeps accurate time!

Even when not connected to any other device, it keeps track of time.

Pretty cool, right?

Not only that but…(get ready for it)

I can tell the time…OUTSIDE! *Standing Ovation Moment*

I have yet to see any other smart watch viewable while outside…literally…because those things are horrible to look at when you’re outside. Keep the “Ooohs and Ahhhs” to a minimum please.

It also provides you with the weather, because when your outside and you can’t tell if it’s raining or not, it’s important to have a device strapped to your wrist to inform you of these things.

It provides you with the latest Facebook status updates. **Cough**Android Only**Cough** The importance of being up to date on Uncle Marty’s trip to the supermarket is worth the price of the watch in itself. Thankfully, Apple will remedy this significant, and sorely missed, feature.

And the absolute BEST thing about the Pebble Smart Watch is…

It doesn’t compare itself to other smart watches!

Although countless reviewers and testers DO make the inevitable comparison, there really isn’t a comparison when it all comes down to it. Pebble didn’t release this watch to go head to head with any other smart watch. It’s a good thing too, because seriously, they’re in a class all their own.

It’s the smartest of the smart watches. Think of Pebble Smart Watch as someone you see walking around in tshirt and jeans. Not because he can’t a suit, but because he feels more comfortable.

However

As I unboxed and got to know my Pebble, there wasn’t a moment in time (See what I did there?) when I thought to myself…

“Wow! This requires a standing ovation!”

So what’s your thoughts on the Apple Watch? I have no doubt it will put the smart watch market on the map. After all, it IS an Apple product. While I like the Apple line of products, there isn’t a product in the world that’s going to have me gathering in a brouhaha over it. Maybe my mind will change and I’ll be standing up and shouting once Apple releases their watch.

Maybe I won’t

Or maybe, just maybe…I’ve piqued out as a happy, satisfied customer! :)

Addendum:

I didn’t forget to include “It’s A Joke” counterstatement. If you gave a smart watch a standing ovation, or even a dizzying GASP when it was revealed…that’s not a joking matter.