The Work Isn't the Work


Recently, you may have noticed that there aren’t any podcasts coming out at the moment.  I apologize for the inconvenience.  Tyler has had a family emergency that warrants some time away.  I have also been working on a new show with Joseph and working on other projects.  So, expect new shows in the future.

Although the circumstances are excusable on why there has been a podcast absence, the past month has left me very introspective about my work.  Then, with the recent release of a new Cortex episode, I have realized that having a yearly theme may be very useful in accomplishing what I want to do.  Now, Grey said this quote during the most recent episode,

“The work isn’t the work; the system is the work.”

The episode, and this quote specifically, inspired me to create my own yearly theme/system.  Now, I’ve been thinking about what kind of theme I want, which will help with macro planning.  This episode was all about how Myke is looking for a “year of adult[ing]” and Grey looking for a “year of order”.  These themes are good, but they aren’t 100% what I’m going for.  Also, with senior year approaching very rapidly, there is a necessity to grow up.  So, stealing from Myke’s theme may not be the best idea since it’s already forcibly happening.

So, my initial thought was to see where I need to improve the most.  Below is a list of things I don’t do well.  I believe that these will help shape my year.  It’s quite personal, but I feel like this list is very similar to many teenagers today.

  • I don’t eat

  • I don’t spend enough time with my parents

  • I don’t keep track of my money well

  • I’m very egotistical when communicating with my peers

  • I block out and intimidate those who want to ask for help

  • I’m very cynical

  • I get frustrated, angry, and upset easily when it comes to certain subjects

  • I wear the same basic outfit every day

  • I don’t spend enough time with my friends

  • I don’t read enough

  • I don’t spend enough time with my girlfriend

  • I don’t communicate well enough to my mentors and teachers

  • I write too informally

  • I believe everything is a competition

  • I get frustrated with myself too easily

  • I don’t sleep enough

  • I don’t exercise enough

  • I’m very bombastic when I enter a room

  • I care about things that are very minuscule and really should be left alone

  • I don’t spend enough time with my sister

  • I don’t encourage my sister and tell her how much I love her and how much I’m proud of her enough

  • I need to be more aware of when people need me to be serious and when I can/can not be in a jokey and non-serious mood

  • I need to build up others instead of tearing them down

  • I need to be more responsible for little things at home (closing cabinets, cleaning up plates, etc.)

 

All of these things are a lifestyle change I NEED to make.  So, obviously, I want to encourage a positive lifestyle within my life especially when it comes to my communication and interaction with others.  When it comes to working, I perform well myself but, my interactions with others are flawed and that needs to change.  All of these things would work in a sort of “Year of Order” like Grey’s new year’s theme.  But, it’s not 100% there.  But, if I change it to “Year of Structure”.  There, we got it!

So, the “Year of Structure” is very simple in concept but has a lot of room to grow and become something really great.  Here are some basic outlines on things I want to do/complete this year.

  1. I want to spend more time with my friends, family, and girlfriend.  This means that I can’t just sit around and do nothing.  I want to be much more active in their lives so, I’m going to get school/work done ASAP so I have the most time to spend with them.

  2. I want to become more likable.  Honestly, I don’t know how to accomplish this but, asking my girlfriend and friends will help with that.

  3. A BIG problem that affects me every day is the fact I don’t eat.  I want to push myself to eat more so that I may gain weight and have more energy for the day.

I hope this year’s theme will be a big step forward in the right direction.  I’ll be sure to keep you updated as the year goes on.

My Case for RSS

By Alexander Mervar

This post has been inspired from one of my favorite MacSparky posts of all time.  Thank you to David Sparks for making a great blog and being a huge inspiration to my writing and work.


    Everyday it seems like it is impossible for me to go through a complete day without hearing an individual or group of people complain about the amount of time they spend on social media, their procrastination habits, etc.  Their usual argument usually lies around the fact of how these habits have negatively impacted their lives by hurting their grades, relationships, sleep schedules, or something similar.

    Now, I have no problem with social media, procrastinating, or any of those other habits.  If you look at my Twitter feed, you’ll see that I CERTAINLY don’t have a problem with Twitter.  But, I do have a problem when these things impede on your academic or social capabilities.  So, when I observe the nerd and geek trend of many people dropping their RSS readers for Twitter or Facebook, I see the very slippery slope that many of my friends and colleagues have placed their faith in.

    Now, there are two problems with this slippery slope of putting the existence and safety of your newsfeed into the hands of platforms like Twitter or Facebook.  The first problem is the inevitable and necessary addiction to these platforms an individual would have to develop to maintain an up-to-date newsfeed.  In a platform like Twitter, it’s very easy to have 500+ unread tweets since the previous time you logged in that morning.  You naturally skip all of those stories and jump to the news articles that are being published now, or if you wish to stay up-to-date and not miss an important story, you have to basically live on Twitter or Facebook (or both) and maintain an eternally present watch over your feeds.

    The second problem is the idea of having an algorithm, which was created to maintain your attention for the longest period of time and provoke a response (replying to a tweet, liking, etc.) from you, in charge of what stories and posts you do (or do not) see.  John Green made an excellent video about this very topic that I think you’d enjoy:

    For me, the way I combat this is with an RSS reader.  “RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is a way to queue up and serve content from the internet.” (MacSparky)  It’s the perfect form of staying subscribed to my favorite news feeds, web comics, blogs, and much more of the everyday slice of the internet I consume.  Unlike Twitter or Facebook, RSS takes away the necessity to check it everyday.  If you miss a day, all your missed articles will be waiting for you, which also gets rid of the need for an algorithm to control what you see.  I think David put it best when he described how returning to an RSS feed after a break is like “...get[ting] caught back up with the world.” (MacSparky)

    I personally use Reeder as my personal RSS reader and I highly recommend it.  I hope you decide to give RSS a try.  Now, I’ll leave you with some wisdom from the Jedi Master, David Sparks, himself.

    If you are thinking about using RSS, I have a little advice. Be wary feed inflation. RSS is so easy to implement that it's a slippery slope between having RSS feeds for just a few websites and instead of having RSS feeds for hundreds of websites. If you’re not careful, every time you open your RSS reader, there will be 1,000 unread articles waiting for you, which completely defeats the purpose of using RSS. The trick to using RSS is to be brutal with your subscriptions. I think the key is looking for websites with high signal and low noise. Sites that publish one or two articles a day (or even one to two articles a week) but make them good articles are much more valuable and RSS feed than sites that published 30 articles a day.

Ghost Storage

By Joseph Hock

I want to write about a world problem, something that may affect you very soon.  This thing is detrimental to the deterioration of our…… phones.  I am talking about “Ghost Storage,” an infamous being that roams the inners of my cellular device.  Ghost storage is more commonly referred to as “MOM, MY PHONE IS BROKEN I CAN’T TAKE PICTURES.”  However, just because you have no storage left, doesn’t mean there is a ghost.

image (1).png

Ghost storage is a problem or glitch on many devices.  This spirit roams on your phone and does nothing except take storage and not give it back.  Your device will not let you download anything or take pictures depending on the degree of ghost and what you already have on your phone. 

On my phone, the ghost consumed over and decided to move in, my phone has 16 Gigabytes, and 1.5 of those are used by me.  The ghost has occupied 14 gigabytes of my phone and I only have space for 2 small apps and text messages.  If you get this glitch, you will know very soon because as soon as you try anything new with your storage, your phone will deny you access.  It’s as if the ghost is binge-watching episodes of “Stranger Things” on Netflix and eating all the candy it can find.  My point here is that the ghost will also slowly start to grow.  With updates like iOS 11, your phone will give the ghost plastic surgery and cut down its Gigabytes down by 2 or 3, but not enough that it won’t grow back.

I am going to explain a few ways that may help to keep your storage down until you can fix it or get a new phone.  There are a few things that I specifically do to keep storage down on my phone, some are just logical and you should do anyway.  First, and probably the most logical is deleting text messages.  Most teenagers do this anyway, but it is important if you notice your phone has no storage left, and a lot of conversations, to delete them.  This not only clears storage but eliminates all chance of your girlfriend finding out you cheated on her.  (That’s a joke everyone, I wasn’t the one who told you to do that.)  Next, you should find a base set of apps that you want, small enough so that you can later get a few small games to play in class when your teacher is boring.  (Again, if anyone asks, this stuff is not coming from me.)  If you have an app you never use, try to get rid of it. 

Now let’s get into the good stuff, like clearing your history.  It may be beneficial for you to clarify what you’ve been looking up, but the main purpose is so all of the data and sites you visited are not saved on your phone.  Also, clearing “cookies” off your phone can significantly help and will lessen the glitch from growing.  The last and definitely the best is Google photo, one of the best applications ever to run on an iPhone.  Google photo takes and puts your pictures into a cloud, so you can delete all your photos without being nervous (don’t forget to delete them from “Recently Deleted”).  If you complete all these things, your storage will stay low enough that you can use your phone in an everyday manner instead of constantly getting low storage notifications.

image.png

Now that I’ve cleared that mess up, I can start telling you guys the things that I’ve tried but have unfortunately failed miserably.  First is app cleaners, you can get apps that clear your phone, scary right? And these do clean the inners of your phone, but it’s more of a house cleaner than a police officer to get the ghost out.  Along with this is the settings cleaning, which cleans deeper parts of your phone, but again Mr. ghost stays.  Restarting my phone was the first thing I tried, so you can imagine it didn’t work.  It actually didn’t do anything, it didn’t even clear the stuff it was supposed to.  I moved on to clear it on the computer, restarting it with iTunes on my mac, but even though this did more than the last restart, it still cleared no space up.  My last idea was re-downloading my apps and cleaning them all out, this freed the space that the apps took, but nothing more.  The apps I own do not take storage inside your phone and save it there, so I failed again.  I will keep trying to solve my problem, but the solution may be $1000 and a new iPhone X.  I am going to keep trying but I know of no solution at this point.

I have an idea of where it came from, but I may or may not be true.  It seems to be a glitch in video recording and saving.  This summer I went to the College World Series for baseball and I wanted to vlog the whole trip because we could go anywhere in the whole stadium (even watch games in the room).  I made the choice to vlog this on my phone, a bad idea, and each vlog was shorter but took longer to download and gave more storage updates.  After the trip, I put it all on iCloud, but the other storage remained.  I know it should be on camera and photos, but I believe that when I downloaded the videos, it saved them on my phone.  I have looked very deep into the internet but cannot find any explanation for who, what, when, where, why, and how it even happened.  I will keep everyone posted about this problem every two or three blogs and let you know if I ever find anything.  Have a great day everyone, and I hope you don’t believe in (storage) ghosts.

I Have Failed

By Alexander Mervar

Today, I write with a heavy heart.  Today, in AP Physics, I have rounded to 10 m/s/s for the acceleration due to gravity instead of using 9.80665 m/s/s, which is the actual acceleration due to gravity.  This was a HUGE mistake and has become the singular most embarrassing moment of my life.

My moral high ground has been revoked and now, I have become like the lowly rounders.  

Go on without me sweet believers in the beauty of the decimal.  Go on into Valhalla.  Because today will forever be the day, Alexander Mervar fell from the great decimal throne.

Tweetbot 4: Functionality and Formality

By Alexander Mervar

Over the course of the past year, I have exponentially increased the time I spend on Twitter.  I had never seriously considered it as a social media platform until the 2016 presidential election, which came at a time when I was deeply interested in the American political system.  At first, Twitter did not seem like anything amazing in February of 2015, when I created my account.  But, once the presidential election started to pick up speed, I was able to commentate and discuss with people in a live public forum instantly!  Once I came to this epiphany, I was hooked.

Twitter instantly became a part of circle of favorite platforms while others like Snapchat, Facebook, etc. died off for me and I left them behind.  Although I enjoyed Twitter's basic social functions, the standard application isn’t the absolute best and most effective way to experience Twitter on a mobile device.  Applications like Tweetbot provide an amazing, customizable, and intuitive platform for an understandable, personalized, and professional Twitter experience.  Juxtaposing Tweetbot, Twitter’s application sometimes feels like a never ending, unorganized, and bland wall of text.  Twitter a great product but, the presentation is unsatisfactory.  Tweetbot provides a solution to these problems.

TweetBot

Twitter

Visual Presentation:

This app is beautiful.  Although it seems fairly basic, it provides a senses of functionality and productivity without compromising on formality.  So, let’s talk about the functionality.


 

Functionality:

Tweetbot 4 ($5) is the perfect example of a constantly maturing and growing Twitter client.  Tweetbot provides simple and functional changes that are always appreciated such as landscape support for those who enjoy getting a wider view of tweets, improved iPad functionality, and an informative statistics section within the application.

First, cover about the main landing page.  Within the main Twitter application, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference.  For some, that’s true.  But, the few changes that the people at Tapbots have done have made a HUGE impact on how I look at the original Twitter application.  

Tweetbot

Twitter

First, if you look at Twitter’s home page, you can see that the comment, retweet, like, and message buttons are at the bottom of every tweet.  Now, I’m not going to interact with EVERY tweet in my feed.  Especially when I follow 2,000 accounts.  So, this feels like wasted screen real estate.  With this recurring under every tweet, it adds up.  Then, once you notice it’s constant intrusion into your feed, it starts to get on your nerves.

Tweetbot fixes many problems like this one by having gesture compatibility.  By swiping on a tweet, a customizable action will trigger.  If you’ve read my Apollo review, you’ll know how much I love this.  Then, by just tapping on the tweet, multiple options are opened up to the user, which allows for the best possible way to get to the interaction you desire the most.  This saves so much time as scrolling through the feed leaves you feeling like you aren’t wasting your time looking at the same interaction buttons throughout the visual experience.

Tweetbot Interactions.PNG

A small feature that I absolutely love is the counter of how many unread tweets remain in the feed.  Although a small feature, I love how it adds another layer of information without hogging visual real estate.

Finally, Tweetbot totally innovates with an improved statistics section within the app.  Here, you are able to see a specific ways people are reacting to every one of your posts.  Daily activity graphs, individualized statistics, and a simplified notification list for a more general overview all provide a sense of control over Twitter and condenses this MASSIVE conglomeration of information into a digestible, presentable, interactive masterpiece.  

 

There are so many great things in this app!  So, check it out.
- iPad Support (Universal)
- Landscape Support on iPhone and iPad
- New Statistics and Activity View.
- New Column View in Landscape on iPad and the iPhone 6+
- Split View Multi-tasking on iPad
- More Granular Mute Filter Settings
- Quick Reply from Notifications
- Safari View Controller with Support for Content Blockers
- Improved User Profiles
- Improved Status Detail
- Refreshed User Interface
- Many Optimizations Under the Hood

An Introduction to Cars

By Joseph Hock

Hello everyone, my name is Joseph and I am joining the empire.  I love so many things and I will write about a new one each week!  To start out my journey here on The Hellenistic Empire, I am going to write about probably one of my favorite things on the earth, cars.  

I just wanted to begin with a car that means a lot to me because it is my dream car, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS. In the past couple months, I have found myself a new favorite car.  Over fall break I stayed with a friend who owned a BMW ci330 and I got the chance to drive it.  The car was amazing, but one of the most fun things that we did the whole week was talk about the Porsche 911, his all time favorite car.  

This car has some of the best performance out of any car on the market today, this specific model, the GT3 RS, was only made for a couple different years but is my favorite 911.  It costs a total of $177,000, but it has no tuning or driving issues even after years of use, the car is well made and gives the best bang for the buyers buck.  The 0-60 times are some of the best out of the 911 line and even Porsche itself.  It has a zero to sixty time of 3.0 seconds and runs a quarter mile in 11.1 seconds stock, it is much cheaper and better than many super cars of the 21st century.  It is classified as a 2-door coupe, or sports car, but has the engine and the stats of super cars.  Finally, the car has a flat-six engine with 415 horsepower and 339 pounds of torque from the 3.6 V6 engine.  

The car was based from the Carrera RS from 1973,  but was introduced in 1999.  Overall, the car has an amazing racing record and has gotten drivers choice award multiple times, nothing can stop this car.  Porsche is like the father of cars, and the 911 GT3 RS is like the older brother to every other car in it's price range.  This car has become one of my top dream cars and I can't wait to start saving for it.

A Futuristic Perspective of How Increased Computerisation Affects the Ability to Achieve Economic Prosperity Within the Economy

By Alexander Mervar

Nick Bostrom, a philosopher and researcher of AI at Oxford, states that society in the past has always been exponentially decreasing the amount of time it takes to reach the next level of technological advancement.  If hypothetically, it takes 100 years to reach a technological achievement, mankind has consistently reached the next level of progression within a shorter period of time.  In today’s modern society, STEM fields are pushed within major corporations.  But, these fields are pushing for progress that we may not be ready to handle as a human collective.  For instance, modern autonomy, artificial intelligence, and computerisation have not received the same amount of attention that traditional autonomy has recieved, which we see in many automobile factories.  Many companies use modern autonomy, artificial intelligence, and computerisation to achieve greater economic prosperity for the company but, it negatively affects many workers that this program replaces.  This creates an unaware populace that is not ready for a lack of jobs in the future.  All three of these technological innovations create the modern issue of decreasing necessity for humans doing many different types of labor, leaving many educated and capable citizens to lose their jobs and create a large amount of unemployed individuals.

One of the many problems that will affect mankind is the current push towards above human-like levels of thinking within machines.  Out of 100 authorities on AI research, 90% stated that computers will achieve a human-like status before 2070

Table 1: Researchers’ Opinion on When Human-Like AI Will Be Achieved.

Screen Shot 2017-11-08 at 12.27.55 AM.png

But, we are not aware of some situations this kind of synthetic intelligence spawns.  Robotics researchers, AI researchers, intellectuals, and activists signed a petition at the 2015 International Conference on AI regarding one of these specific problems.  The petition was proposed to the the UN to make it illegal for AI that is designed for the killing of human beings to exist.  However, this proved that even as we progress toward greater levels of AI, we still face many possible dangers that we may not know exist, even if this danger in particular was averted.

Another possible danger is the notion that with increased AI capabilities and higher amounts of applications within a business setting, more and more people will be without jobs due to a computer, machine, or piece of software replacing them.  This process, called computerisation, is no longer affecting the traditional factory job.  Instead, it has the capability of crippling the entire global economy.  It can do this by making many human jobs like creative work, statistical input, etc. redundant.  Many educated and qualified humans would become unemployable due to no fault of their own.  An example of this is the vast fleet of driverless vehicles operating today.  These vehicles threaten the modern transportation, commerce, and logistics industries that our economy is strongly based upon.  This technology would plummet the economy into a rate of unemployment unseen since The Great Depression. This kind of computerisation is not exclusive to the transportation industry but is able to affect almost any area of work that AI is viable.  In fact, the unemployment rate would have the capability to reach record levels of at least 40%.

Bart Selman, a professor of computer science at Cornell University, states that AI development, computerisation, and autonomy have always progressed at an irregular pace.  Their development is controlled by a multitude of factors that are sometimes outside of human control.  However, many things can be done to create possible solutions to some of these problems.  As of right now, there is no known solution to every problem that is created with the introduction of AI into the world.  Yet, many AI researchers from academia and industry, and thought leaders in economics, law, ethics, and philosophy all share a common belief that when a new problem surfaces, slowing down to analyze the situation is preferred so that solutions can be created that match the needs and desires of mankind.

Apollo: The Reddit Client of the Future

By Alexander Mervar

I have tried every Reddit client that I have come across.  I've used Alien Blue, the original Reddit client, and it was incredibly outdated.  So outdated in fact that it has basically been forgotten on the App Store.  Then, I tried Bacon Reader, which never really stuck with me due to the fact that it really wasn't created for an iOS user base and its design is filled with flaws that make it almost impossible to use.  Then, I discovered Narwhal, which was the closest thing to the iOS Reddit experience I was looking for.  It is highly customizable and has gesture support but it is flawed in the visual design and wasn't incredibly intuitive for people who are hardcore users, which I have since metamorphosized into.  I used Narwhal for two years and I loved the app (I still openly support it by checking in on development and keeping tabs on the developers) but, it doesn't hold a candle to a new Reddit client I discovered on October 23rd, which was actually the client's release date, Apollo. 

Visual Design

Apollo is developed by Christian Selig, a former Apple employee with an eye for design.  He incorporates all of Apple's key features to make it seem like this app was built by Apple themselves.  Apple's signature clean design and intuitive accents are obvious inspirations throughout the entire app.  In fact, the only reason I know it isn't Apple developing this app is because of the friendly encounters on Reddit and Twitter between Christian and his fans and users I have witnessed.  This makes the experience of this app even more enjoyable knowing that this is someone's hard work and it truly shows!  Apollo is a beautiful app that blows away the competition.  The closest look to Apollo would be the stock Reddit application.  Both of the photos below are from each application.

Reddit

Apollo

apollo-on-the-iphone.png
reddit-on-the-iphone.png

The Attention to Detail When Interacting with Each Individual Post

Something that I cannot live without are all of the excellent and insightful exchanges that happen in the comments section of Reddit posts.  For me, this means that the interface has to be rock solid so I don't end up breaking my train of thought while I am reading and conversing.  This is another area where Apollo shines!  Apollo's gestures maintain that fluid style of reading so you never skip a beat.  If I want to collapse a thread, all I have to do is swipe.  (I have my gestures customized to my liking but you can have them set up to do a multitude of things.)

Apollo

apollo-collapse.PNG
apollo-result.PNG

Reddit

As you can see, what takes Apollo one simple gesture, takes the Reddit application a multi-step function that is hidden in a popup menu after hitting the "..." option on each individual thread.

Customization

Something I look forward to in every new application on my devices is the different ways I can make the application my own.  For me, that means customization is an absolute must if I am going to stick with an app for an extended period of time.  Apollo offers that customization.  Apollo offers full and in-depth customization for the gestures for each individual part of Reddit.  Apollo has over 20 different app icons (The list is growing); and Christian also plans on adding font options soon.

apollo-gestures.jpg

And So Much More...

I could go on forever but, everything must come to a close (for now).  So, below is a list of some of the features that you can see in Apollo.

- Jump Bar, for super-fast hopping between subreddits
- Super-charged Media Viewer for an amazing experience viewing images, GIFs, videos, albums , and more from a variety of sources.
- Tabbed interface for easy navigating
- Incredibly powerful Markdown composer for writing comments and posts
- Full inline Imgur uploading, both images and albums
- Large or compact posts depending on your preference
- Dark mode (can be automatic)
- Fully customizable gestures
- Safari View Controller for browsing articles and links
- Inline previews of media in comments
- 3D Touch support
- Beautifully organized Inbox
- Filtering and blocking
- Face ID / Touch ID / Passcode lock
- Moderator features
- Tons of settings to tweak
- GIF scrubbing to go backward and forward in time
- Multiple accounts
- Powerful search
- Full Markdown rendering
- Unobtrusive Volume Indicator

Book Recommendations

By Alexander Mervar

  • Ready Player One By Ernest Cline

    Ready Player One is the story of teenager Wade Watts and his journey through the virtual world of the OASIS.  Although the story seems shallow at first, this book is incredibly dense and thick with thematic ideas that challenge the traditional view of reality.  With this theme as an underlying factor throughout the entire story, Ernest Cline makes over 1,000 references to 80s music, movies, video games, etc.  I highly recommend the book for all nerds,  geeks, and lovers of sci-fi.

    Animal Farm By George Orwell

    In his work Animal Farm, Orwell, a democratic socialist criticizes the Stalinist era in Russia through an allegorical story.  Orwell believed that Russia had become a relentless dictatorship based on a cult of personality.  He used the allegory of the Animals in Animal Farm to bring this to his reader’s attention and call out anyone who followed Stalin with blind faith.  I highly recommend this book for any coming-of-age and aspiring political intellectuals.   

    The Communist Manifesto By Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

    In their political powerhouse, political revolutionists Marx and Engels lay down the basis of the communist philosophy and lifestyle.  By pointing out the evils of capitalism, consumerism, and the docile power religion has on people, Marx and Engels look to reform the traditional government system.

    The Fountainhead By Ayn Rand

    Although I personally disagree with about 95% of this book, I still recommend it to people interested (like me) in political philosophies.  This work is basically the antithesis to The Communist Manifesto it pushes the philosophy of a rational dependence on oneself and the pursuit for an objectivist and perfect society achieved through capitalism.

    The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

    Who doesn’t love a riveting mystery?  Sherlock Holmes revolutionizes literature and continues to this day and through reading Doyle’s work it is very clear why.  Sherlock travels throughout England and solves mysteries with intensive detail and demands your absolute attention.  These works will have you staying up late with your coffee (or tea, if that’s your thing) until the sun begins to rise on the horizon.

    12 Angry Men By Reginald Rose

    This is an amazing manifesto to the American trial system.  The power of this book cannot be overstated.  It challenges ideas that were set in stone during the time of writing and its style offers a valid commentary on our modern society today.  This book is so splendid, it has no need to change the setting.  Thus, this entire story has 12 characters (with minimal side characters that truly aren’t necessary) all in one room.

The Podcasts are Growing!

By Alexander Mervar

A Robot and a Wrestler is taking off and Tyler and I are so excited to create more episodes for everyone.  We recognize the fact that it is inconvenient to listen to podcasts on the web or through the downloadable mp3s.  So, I am working to get us on all the major playlist players (Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify)  We will announce everything here on this blog, our respective Twitter accounts, and the podcast itself.  We hope you are enjoying the episodes so far and we can't wait to see where this takes us!

Deadlines and Why They Are Terrible for a Creative Field

By Alexander Mervar

Deadlines are terrible.  When in a creative field they force someone into creating something they are not passionate about.  This drastically decreases the power and greatness of the creation.  For instance, if you would create a video every week, the overall quality would decrease some weeks because you would struggle to find a topic to produce.  So, if you are starting a creative endeavour, do yourself a favour, don't commit to a deadline if it is optional and you can still sustain your project.

Blowing on the Cartridge

By Alexander Mervar

If you remember playing old video games you will most definitely remember the craze around blowing on game cartridges.  You would plug your cartridge into your game console and power up the console.  Everything was great!  But, for some reason, the game just wouldn't work.  So, you would turn off the console, blow on the cartridge, and reinsert the cartridge into the console.  Voilà!  The game magically works!  Now, video games don't work like this but, talking about this brings people back to when they were elementary students coming over to their friend's house to play Pokemon Red.

For most nerds and geeks, nostalgia is a HUGE factor when talking about their favorite things.  So, when Ready Player Once fell into my hands for the first time I was immediately hooked.  Ready Player One is a sci-fi novel that has thousands of tiny references to classic video games and great movies.  So, here is a brief synopsis:

 

In the year 2044, the world has been gripped by an energy crisis from the depletion of fossil fuels and the consequences of global warming, causing widespread social problems and economic stagnation. To escape the decline their world is facing, people turn to the OASIS, a virtual reality simulator accessible by players using visors and haptic technology such as gloves. It functions both as an MMORPG and as a virtual society, with its currency being the most stable in the real world. It was created by James Halliday who, when he died, had announced in his will to the public that he had left an Easter egg inside OASIS, and the first person to find it would inherit his entire fortune and the corporation. The story follows the adventures of Wade Watts, starting about five years after the announcement when he discovers one of the three keys pointing to the treasure.

 

Now, there is going to be a movie and I'm absolutely freaking out over it!  Now, I've loved this book for almost 6 years now.  So, if you haven't read this book yet, please PICK IT UP!

Finally, the Sun Is Out!

By Alexander Mervar

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The sun is out and it's time to enjoy beautiful summer.  Recently, we've seen the power of social media on Instagram and we are so excited to share with you some exciting developments that show you why you should use Instagram to promote your personal and commercial brand.

  1. Instagram Is Killing Snapchat

    • As you may know, Facebook is trying to crush Snapchat by using Instagram as it's weapon.  Back in 2016 Instagram adopted Snapchat's signature feature, stories.  Now, there are over 42 million more people on Instagram stories alone.  This led to Snapchat losing money while Facebook and Instagram raked in millions.  This means that now is the time to capitalize on the growth of Instagram as more and more people join its userbase.

  2. Instagram Is so Easy to Use

    • The increase in users is no surprise when you see how easy it is to understand Instagram's UI.  The UI is so clean and fresh that it looks like your hair after a haircut.  Forget your worries about your parents following you on Facebook.  Soon, your parents will be on Instagram too.
  3. Instagram Listens to Its Users

    • Okay, this one is just a personal observation.  Instagram knows how to treat its users.  The company listens to feedback and usually within a small period of time, whatever problem that arrived was fixed.  Instagram adds new features like stories and better ways to explore and discover other accounts on Instagram.  But Snapchat does none of this.  Instead, they give us a map of where all our friends are, which I have to admit is a little creepy at times.  We never asked for that!  We asked for the ability to discover new accounts on Snapchat.  Did we ever get that?  No!  I believe if Snapchat is ever going to stay alive. It MUST listen to its users and adapt to their needs and wants.
  4. Instagram Live

    • Have you ever wanted to communicate with your fanbase/customers in real time?  Instagram Live.  Have you ever wanted to share an experience with your audience that wasn't really going to fit in some photos or a story?  Instagram Live.  Have you ever wanted to demonstrate a product to potentially millions of people? Instagram Live.  I cannot say it enough, Instagram Live will be the future and companies must work on strategies with their marketing teams to begin preparing for this future.

P.S. How do you like the new website design and domain?  Much better am I right‽