Apple’s Dilema with Microsoft Laptops

 

It seems that with the unveiling of the Windows Surface Pro 10 by Microsoft, Apple has taken a step back and is stalling on the reveal of their new Macbook Pro. The Surface Pro and the Macbook Pro both have similar features including a touch screen and touch pad. However, Microsoft has beaten Apple to the reveal and Microsoft now has an edge over Apple; for once.

Apple’s technology has become very popular in the past few years with the release of new iphones and other Apple products. The most popular and most purchased laptop computer has been the Macbook. With a sleek design and state of the art computing program, it has always surpassed Microsoft’s technology. However, Apple has always lacked the touch screen feature until this new Macbook. On the other hand, Microsoft’s main selling point was the touch screen and ability to write on a tablet with a stylist.

As far as I can see, Microsoft was very smart in revealing their Surface Pro before the Macbook because the features are very similar. If Apple were to release their product now, there really wouldn’t be any major selling point to their touch surface and consumers wouldn’t see any significant difference. Apple’s touch surface is technologically advanced, however, because it mirrors the Surface Pro, many will see Apple as a copying company and not favor it. Microsoft has the upper hand here and is using it to the best of their advantage.

As well as a touch screen, Microsoft has also developed new Virtual Reality (VR) head gear, an internal artificial intelligence and new color palettes that are more technologically advanced than Apple. It’s my hopes that Microsoft and Windows will become the new Apple and put Apple in the dust. I’m tired of this monopoly that Apple has and it’s time that Microsoft shows them who’s boss.

Business Insider: Apple v.s. Microsoft

Business Insider: Microsoft’s Edge on Apple

 

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“Vine” mobile app will soon be discontinued by Twitter

Vine, a mobile application, lets users share a video up to six seconds with other application users. The app was released back in 2013 when it received a huge following. To this day, it still has many users. However, Twitter just released a statement saying that they will be taking over the app and restructuring it to fit the needs of Twitter. The CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, states that they will be “making the necessary changes to ensure Twitter is positioned for long-term growth”.

I think this is a huge step for Twitter. With the ever growing competition of Snapchat and Instagram, video sharing has never been so huge. Video sharing originally started on YouTube, connecting people from around the world. Snapchat has seemed to do that and much more as well as Instagram but with different layouts and styles. Twitter claims to have a clear vision of how they want the organization to move. Competition is huge in the social media age right now and it seems that Twitter is really the only one to not have made a huge transition recently. I think this acquisition will really put them in the lead with Snapchat and Instagram as far as media content sharing goes.

Seeing that Vine always had a big following, I have no doubt that the acquisition to Twitter will be no problem. I really think many will be excited for the new release of the program. Seeing how other companies like Snapchat have developed their app to continuously expand their audience outreach, Twitter seems to be following their footsteps. Hopefully they will potentially take some of those followers for themselves too. Until the new Vine-incorporated release, Twitter is going to keep everything really a secret to the public. I’m really excited to see what new features will come of this!

Twitter Discontinues Vine Mobile App

 

Family Guy, An Animated Comedy (S:3 E:2)

Family Guy is an animated TV series that currently airs on FOX and releases new episodes every week. Family Guy is most known for its comedic take on very controversial topics and subjects, all of which that take place in the sitcom setting of a “typical” family home.

In this particular episode, Brian the dog, decides to move out to L.A. in hopes of landing a job in the TV and film writing industry. However, things don’t go as planned when he gets into directing pornography instead! The topic is comical and is very bizarre. Not to say that this sort of thing cannot happen but the topics are just out-of-the-world crazy! Parallel to Brian’s plot, the rest of the family decide that Stewie should audition for a show so they can be flown to L.A. to visit Brian. The TV interview is filled with curses and makes fun of how stupid the show is while referencing many different people like Jack Nicholson. After the interview, Peter, the father, exclaims how happy he is to go to L.A. and comically tells the family how “sexy and clever and funny everyone is there”.

Looking at this episode, the audience is already narrowed to those who can handle such crude topics such as porn, especially if it’s being vocally broadcast on their TV at home. A majority of the demographics are mid-20s to as old as late-50s. Typically males watch more than females, especially considering the show is called Family GUY. The crude topics and old famous people references are a lot for a younger crowd to handle; they just don’t understand the humor. With an older crowd, it allows the writers to expand their vocabulary of jokes and pull humor from just about anywhere and from any topic. With a show like Family Guy, many would assume the target audience is small. However, with a show so controversial, many are actually drawn into it. Not many shows tend to jump the shark or talk about such bizarre topics. Many want to see what the show is about and want to experience what is usually forbidden due to social norms in society.

“Grimm” Likes To Tell Fairy Tales With A Twist…

TV Series: Grimm Season 1, Episode 1 & 2 (via Netflix Prime)

Grimm seems to be one of those shows that like to date back to when you were young, laying at the feet of a grandparent, listening to old fairy tale stories like Hansel and Gretel and many others. With a modern twist added into the mix, each episode becomes a guessing game on which fairy tale will be in the spotlight this time.

In the pilot of Grimm, a female college student is seen jogging through the woods, wearing a red hood and listening to music. She stops running when something catches her eye and BAM, she’s attacked and slaughtered by some wolf-like creature. Later on in the episode, a mailman is seen delivering on his normal mail route when a little girl wearing a red hood walks past him on her way to school. He turns around and kidnaps her, taking the girl for his own. If you haven’t guessed, the two girls represent Little Red Riding Hood (LRRH). Slightly different from the original fairy tale, these LRRHs are out minding their own business, not out to visit grandma in the woods. Later on, the killer and kidnapper are found out to be a man, called a “Blutbad”, who identifies as a wolf-like person, wanting to kill anyone who looks like LRRH.

In episode two, Grimm decides to pull a different fairy tale into play; Goldilocks and the three bears. In the fairy tale, Goldilocks enters an empty house, only to eat their food and sleep in their beds. Almost identical in Grimm, Gilda (Goldilocks) enters an empty house with her boyfriend, Rocky, where they drink and make love, only to find out that the “bears” or homeowners are arriving back home. This follows true to the story. The writers then add their own twist of having a ritual for the bears when they turn 18 involving chasing down prey and unfortunately for Gilda, she seems to be the main prey, along with her missing boyfriend, Rocky.

Grimm really seems to have a good grasp on their fairy tales. The incorporate them well into their writing while still putting an entertaining twist to it.

“Workplace” – Facebook for Professionals

Social media seems to be the hot thing lately with everyone communicating with each other, commenting on each other’s posts and posting the latest videos on what Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is up to. Some profiles seem to be littered with inappropriate posts and pictures of weddings and night’s out while others have hundreds of pictures of last weeks vacation to Peru.

When employers look at new hires, part of the process usually requires them to search for the potential employee on social media. This allows the employer to get a feel for the behavior and work ethic of the employee and potentially catch them off guard with an inappropriate photo or two. However, with Workplace, invented by Facebook Inc., this problem is avoided. Users can create a professional profile with an up-to-date resume and previous connections, very similar to Facebook’s layout. Workplace includes a news feed from friend’s that one may follow as well as corporate business news and breaking news articles. Users are able to connect with co-workers and other professionals in an appropriate interface. Some features with Workplace include the ability to conference call, join specific groups/organizations and video chat with multiple people at once, similar to Skype.

How I see it is that it is very similar to LinkedIn, where it allows users to create a profile and connect with other workers. LinkedIn also allows users to add skills and endorsements to their profile for others to see and like. As far as the business world goes, Workplace is not much different from LinkedIn. If anything, the only added benefit Workplace has is the ability to like various groups and conference call/video call with teams in them.

As far as the future for Workplace goes, I can see it starting to become a bigger enterprise. However, I believe that Facebook Inc. will have to find the selling point to Workplace over LinkedIn. Right now, both are too similar and Workplace does not stand out. Then again, Facebook Inc. has come up with some great material in the past and I would not doubt it if this interference becomes the new norm for societies and organizations to operate on. Maybe one day Workplace will replace LinkedIn because more people are attracted to the fact that Facebook Inc. made it. Maybe that’s the selling point.

 

Wired: Facebook’s Workplace

Camera Shots in Sitcoms & Dramas

The Office (U.S.) S:7 E:6 and Game of Thrones S:2 E:2

This episode of The Office consisted of the team dressing up for Halloween and throwing a costume party in the office. In Game of Thrones, multiple stories are happening. Majorly, Tyrion takes over as head of the council, Arya tells her true identity to Gendry and Jon Snow finds out the true motive of Craster.

The Office, only about 30 minutes, is very fast paced, constantly cutting back and forth between dialogue. Looking at the types of shots, The Office is very unique in how the camera moves and pans with different characters. Different from most sitcoms, the camera is handheld and is more shaky than usual, giving it a more ‘realistic’ feel. Jokes are being cracked left and right, causing quick camera movements back and forth with cutting back and forth with each character speaking. The significant amount of long shots set up the scene and allow more than one character to interact and react to speed up the comedy and pacing. Very few close-ups are arranged, most likely because the audience doesn’t care to see a character’s feelings. The characters are there to deliver the humor and keep the action going, not be emotional.

Looking at Game of Thrones, the action was for the most part very slow for the episode. There were many long shots to set the scene, unlike in The Office where long shots were primarily used to incorporate as many people into the scene. The amount of mediums were around the same for both shows, however, there were far more close-ups here. Dramas involve the audience into what a character is feeling and want the audience to get a true sense of the emotion that gets involved with the plot. With a significant amount of close-ups, the audience could truly connect with characters and get an understanding of the emotions they’re experiencing. As a writer for dramas, you want the audience to feel a special connection to various characters so they’ll come back and watch more. Not laying out each shot of the show perfectly will result in poor emotion portrayal causing you to lose the show.

More importantly, lose money.

 

Below are the tallies I took for The Office (U.S.) Game of Thrones…

sitcom-vs-drama-shot-tallies

Snapchat… or really now “Snap Inc.”

Oh my. Seeing Snapchat grow throughout the years to what it has become now has been an amazing sight. I remember first downloading Snapchat onto my phone probably around three years ago. I will say that it is hands down one of the best apps invented.

As far as social media and interaction goes, Snapchat allows users to simply “snap” pictures or videos (up to 10 seconds) and share them with other Snapchat users and friends. After a designated viewing time is up for the receiver, the content disappears, never to be retraced again. This is the main concept of the app. However, through the years, Snapchat has developed updates, further enhancing the picture/video capturing experience. From adding “bestfriends” of the people you snap the most to having one of the biggest updates, “Snap Stories” where people can share daily snaps in one location for others to look at. These updates have began to draw in more and more users, making Snapchat one of the largest privately owned app companies. Today, Snapchat is estimated to be worth well over $20 million. Another big update Snapchat jumped on were the involvement of advertisers. From snapstories coming from big companies like CNN and Fox and gossip from Buzz Feed and Comedy Central, the amount of content a user can experience is essentially endless; constantly being updated around the clock.

One of the biggest and most successful launches Snapchat has had was their unveiling of filters and “Geofilters”. Depending on the users location and the day, a picture can be taken and the filter can be altered, possibly with fireworks around the picture, advertised by Walmart for Independence Day or a Christmas tree advertised by Hollister. The amount of involvement outside companies have on Snapchat are huge. The money that is brought in is massive. The audience is young and vulnerable and best of all, the advertising doesn’t take away from the Snapchat experience. This is by far one of the most brilliant marketing strategies I have yet to see.

Just recently, Snapchat changed its’ name (as of two weeks ago) to Snap Inc. Snap Inc. has also just released an actual, physical product called “Spectacles” which allows users to record video from a camera in the sunglasses. Snap Inc. is getting huge. They’ve moved from virtual to physical. Once released, these glasses will revolutionize the way users capture and share the world they see, real-time.

In the end, I want Snap Inc. to go public and have an IPO as soon as possible. I want to be the first to find out too.

The Wallstreet Journal: Snap Inc & Spectacles

The Entrepreneur: Changing to Snap Inc.

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PRODUCT PLACEMENT in “30 Rock” S:5 E:1

If you were too engulfed into the episode, you most likely didn’t catch the 15 or so product advertisements. From publicizing the Harry Potter theme park to The Food Network to LifeAlert and Geico, the product placement was everywhere.

However, 30 Rock took a little spin on their product investors. It wasn’t a Coke bottle in the background with an actor standing next to it. 30 Rock did a little bit more and addressed the product in a comical but truthful way. For example, in one scene Liz Lemon is sipping water when Tracy approaches her to sniff her hair. She turns  and exclaims, “Come on! This is a woman’s blazer from a very expensive shop called “Rico’s”, telling him to back off to not mess it up. The writers play around with the advertisement and jokingly poke fun with the fact that indeed, they are advertising a blazer. However, it isn’t overbearing where it pulls the audience away from the story. If anything, it adds humor to the story that this IS an advertisement AND we’re going to have fun with it’.

Looking at other shows such as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, every product that’s showcased in the remodeled house is broadcast to the audience with its’ large logo showing; sometimes coming with a hands-on demonstration. Sometimes the show even gets a spokesperson from the company to speak about their product. This gets annoying for an audience to see a product thrown in their face, especially when they’re watching the program for most likely another reason (not to hear some guy talk about a fridge).

With 30 Rock, they put their advertising into the show with a funny twist. Not so it annoys its’ audience but to poke fun at the fact that it’s a necessary piece of television entertainment. It’s sly, quality writing with some funny humor added to it. If 30 Rock didn’t add this entertaining twist to all of the products they showcased in this episode, then after the 5th one it would be overwhelming and would irritate the audience.

You don’t want to irritate the audience…

Is “Blackshades” really something to be afraid of?

Some of my academic classes are in lecture halls, filled with dozens of students on their phones and laptops. Some of which pay attention to the professor and some who just zone off into their internet filled world, tuning out the entire class. As for myself, I pay attention most of the time but sometimes I just can’t help but wander and look around the room at everyone not paying attention. Something that has caught my eye many times are the tape on everyone’s webcams, just at the top. I’ve always wondered what they were for and why so many people have done that.

Just this week I happened to stumble upon an article explaining the need for putting little pieces of paper or tape over laptop webcams. As CNBC explains, “Cyber-criminals [have been] taking over victims’ computers for spying and money-making purposes”. With the development of a new software called Blackshades, cyber-spies are able to access documents and pictures as well as control the entire desktop from the microphone to what you download to even the webcam. In other terms, this is performed using a RAT or Remote Access Tool. With this RAT, experts are telling users to beware of what they are downloading and be aware of spontaneous and undesired mouse movement.

I think it is ridiculous that all these students are now covering their webcams. Now, I understand that they are trying to be secure and safe by not having anyone see what they’re doing but in all honesty, I think it’s nonsense. If you are a laptop user, you should be aware of what you are downloading and how willing you are to share your information with the world. With that being said, it is unnecessary to put a piece of paper over your webcam. It looks dumb and it’s unnecessary if you’re smart about your computer usage. I guess this really all just comes from my beliefs that everyone is afraid of everything and people need to stand up for themselves and take charge. It also feeds my theory that everyone believes everything they see and hear.

Looking at the Blackshades program, it’s very interesting to see how programs now being developed are able to access someone else’s computer and documents. Especially with the advancement of cyber security and antivirus software, hackers are still able to get around these hurdles and still access someone’s computer. It makes one wonder how these hackers are able to get around the system… Did they develop the antivirus software a certain way so only certain hackers could get through (like themselves)? Maybe this is all a scheme to make people continuously invest in antivirus software so the market doesn’t die.

 

For all we know this could be an inside job.

 

LINK: Inside “Blackshades” and its’ Hackers