Category Feature

VSCO: How I Share My Pictures

I’ve always enjoyed photography silently. I find it peaceful, relaxing and creatively stimulating. It’s one of the few hobbies of mine which is for my sole benefit.

I’ve never struggled with how to take photographs – or what I should take pictures of. Instead, I’ve struggled with how I should edit and share them both privately and publicly.

While most people share their pictures on social networking sites such as Instagram and Facebook, I tend to avoid doing the same. It feels like an obligation; a duty to post an image worthy of being shared to my followers. Often I end up not sharing the image at all.

When it first hit the App Store, I was a huge fan of VSCOcam (it’s name at the time), but as time went on it became bulky – and frankly – overwhelming to use. I gave up on it.

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9 iPad Apps For Professionals

Since the iPad was introduced 5 years ago, it’s been the subject of a lot of commentary from the tech community. Can it replace a computer? Is there enough developer support? Can it be your only device? Is it a pro computer?

Despite many other tech journalists attempting to make the iPad their main device, I happily used my Mac and stayed out of the discussion.

This all changed a few weeks ago when I picked up a 9.7 inch iPad Pro. I wanted to see how far the software had come in the past few years and whether the platform had matured since I last owned one. In the time since I’d last owned an iPad, Apple released a whole new version of iOS with several features designed specifically for the iPad. It became clear the tide was beginning to shift from laptops to tablets.

In my first few weeks with the 9.7 inch iPad Pro, I made an attempt to try as many pro apps as possible. While I’m still not completely convinced the iPad can be the average person’s only computer, I’m impressed with the pro apps that have come out recently.

Below are some of my favourites..

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How To Make Good Coffee

It should come as no surprise my life runs on coffee. Hell, it’s in the description of this site. Now with a newborn baby to take care of, my coffee consumption has increased even more. For many years I drank regular drip coffee, mostly Folgers, and thought there was nothing better out there.

One day, a friend said to me, life is too short for bad coffee as he filled my mug up with some of his own brew made with a Chemex. Almost immediately, I stopped drinking Folgers coffee. In fact, I stopped actually categorizing Folgers coffee as coffee. Compared to the coffee my friend had given me, regular coffee was bland, bitter sludge.

That day I became hooked on good coffee, and haven’t looked back since.

These days I have a drawer full of coffee tools ranging from: a french press, espresso machine, aeropress, and Chemex. While my go-to coffee brewing method has changed over the years, quality has always been the most important.

So, how do I make my coffee?

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The 9.7 inch iPad Pro Review

I consider myself a long-time iPad user, despite enduring long stretches of time without owning one. I preordered the very first iPad back when everyone was making fun of the name ‘iPad.’ It arrived on launch day at 10PM by a UPS delivery man who clearly had been working way too many hours that day.

The large multi-touch display immediately blew me away. More than any other device I’d used up until that moment, it made me feel like I was living in the future. Movies and TV shows depicted a future where doing everything on a tablet was a reality – and it felt feasible when I first scrolled through the web with the swipe of my finger.

Slowly but surely, I fell out of love with the iPad.  After the gold rush of the first few weeks, the iPad App Store became a barren wasteland filled with simple games and poor iPhone app ports – with a few exceptions. It was clear most developers worked on creating apps for the iPhone, and over time it seemed like the iPad had become a stale ecosystem.

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A 9.7 Inch iPad Pro

The iPad is a hard device to generalize. It fills a wide range of uses from business, to personal, to education and beyond. For some people, it serves as a supplement to their existing computer, and for others it’s their only computer.

This makes the answer of – ‘why do you need an iPad?’ – very hard to answer. For a consumer, this can make an iPad purchase difficult to justify. It’s clear this is a potential issue, especially as iPad sales slow.

After a warm response from the general public to the iPad Pro, it’s been rumoured next week Apple will introduce a 9.7 inch sized iPad Pro, which may replace the existing 9.7 inch iPad Air. It’s rumoured this smaller ‘iPad Pro’ will have all the same features as the larger iPad Pro, as in Apple Pencil/Smart Keyboard support and a four speaker audio system.

pad-pro-apple-pencil

 

If this rumour turns out to be true – which seems more likely everyday – I will be ecstatic.

When Apple released the iPad Pro, I was close to buying one to be able to use the Apple Pencil. From my brief testing, the Apple Pencil is one of the best accessories Apple has ever made. I couldn’t imagine a better drawing tool.

I held off on the purchase mostly because the iPad Pro – with it’s 12.9 inch display – feels more like a computer replacement than supplement. Despite many other writers trying to make the full switch to the iPad, I personally can’t see myself giving up my iMac or Macbook Pro.

A 9.7 inch iPad Pro would be the perfect supplement to the Mac – and if it supports the Apple Pencil – a great tablet for drawing.

We won’t find out until Monday whether the 9.7 inch iPad Pro is real or a myth, but if it turns out to be true, it may be the exact iPad I want.

On iPhone Thinness

Over the past nine years, Apple has established a predictable release cycle for the iPhone. Every second year they release an iPhone with a new hardware design. Every alternating year they release an ’S’ upgrade with improvements to the core technology and a couple new features. It’s pretty much a given this Fall, Apple will release a new iPhone with somewhat redesigned hardware.

Almost every time Apple redesigns the iPhone – they make it thinner – often by removing ports and making it more power efficient (thus able to run off of a smaller battery).

iphone-6

 

And every time, people complain (and still end up buying it).

‘I don’t want a thinner iPhone.’

‘I like the current thickness.’

‘Instead of making it thinner, put a bigger battery inside.’

These are some of the common complaints. While I can see the reason behind these comments, I truthfully believe these people don’t actually know what they want.

As is so often done, I’m going to quote Henry Ford. I know most of you already know the quote I’m about to insert, but I’m going to do it anyways:

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” – Henry Ford

If this is true, and people don’t know what they want, who does?

Well, Apple tries to guess. That’s their job as a seller of a product. They create things they think people will want. And ultimately, they don’t know if they will. What they do know is that technology products are like a shark, as in, if they don’t keep moving, they will sink and (eventually) die.

Let’s imagine a scenario where Apple listens to this group and makes the next iPhone the same width, or even a little thicker. Predictably, the battery life would be fantastic.

’True all-day battery life’ – the iPhone commercials would say.

‘Finally’ – the group of users would say exhaustedly.

This would be terrible for two reasons:

1.) If Apple determined that the right course of iPhone innovation is not to make it thinner, but instead to keep it the same width, they could conceivably keep this approach for the iPhone 8, and so on. While this may not seem like the worst thing, imagine if TV manufacturers had decided that a shallower tube television was ‘thin enough.’

The plasma TV hanging on your wall wouldn’t exist.

2.) Innovating in battery technology is not just making the battery bigger. It has been well-documented that battery innovation has become stagnant. Making batteries more efficient and providing more ways to keep them charged is forward progress in portable power.

I’m not against the current size of the iPhone, nor do I think it’s too thick or too thin. I believe that in order for innovation to push forward, changes have to happen and in doing so force other changes to occur.

Apple will continue to make all their devices thinner with each iteration, battery technology will continue to improve, and eventually we will own a device we could’ve never imagined 10 years prior. That’s what a technology company is supposed to do – innovate. That’s why so many of us love Apple and their products, because they aren’t afraid to make sacrifices to bring the future to life.

PS: Don’t get me started on the headphone jack, or lack there of (I’m fine with if there isn’t one in the next iPhone).

A New Design And Promise

I’ve thought about this redesign for a long time. I can think of several times when I was ready to move forward with this new look, only to panic and change my mind.

Today I made the plunge. This, as you see it, is the new design of The H&F.

There is something to be said for keeping the design of a website the exact same, year after year, resisting all urges to follow web trends. At some point, though, it becomes arrogant.

When my selfish desire to stick with the original design started to negatively affect my readership, I decided it was time to redesign this site into something easier to read and more mobile-friendly.

As much as I’ll miss the classic look of my prior design, I know this new layout – and its focus on legibility – will be better in the long run.

Now for another note.

Normally I’m not one to share personal stories, but this past week I lost someone very close to me. It didn’t come as much of a surprise, but it hit me harder than anything I’ve ever had to go through.

Of all the memories and life lessons I gained from being close to him, one thing stands out above the rest. He always pushed me to be creative. To follow my heart and spend time and effort on things I’m passionate about. Not only did he inspire me, but he took an interest in anything and everything I was interested in – even if he knew nothing about it.

I know if he was still here with us, he would be urging me to continue to embrace my passion for writing. To continue working hard at what makes me feel inspired, creative and alive.

Today, as I published this new design, I thought of him. More than just a new look, this change is a promise to him. A promise that I will always continue to pursue my interests, be creative, passionate and stay hungry and foolish.

It’s what he would’ve wanted.