Hello! This is my blog!

Yes, this is my blog. I’ve designed it to be a scroll down and read blog all in one page but I’ve noticed that it can be a pain for newcomers. So I’ve made life easier by making categories that are easy to search up!

On the sidebar, there’ll be a list of topics under the ‘Quick Links’ section which serve as shortcuts to whatever topics you want, it has the same scroll type of thing there (sorry, still trying to figure out how to make it a click-and-go experience there).

 

Alternatively, you can just scroll down and read all the latest schtuff. Alrighty, now go wild!

Photographers, Bring Yer Own Bag

Okay look, I’m serious about this one my fellow photo friends, there are tons of threats out there in the world. I can only name a handful:

  • First-world problems
  • Not being able to play through fields of wheat
  • Having a camera bag with expensive gear

Today, we concentrate on the 3rd point as the 1st one is self-explanatory and the 2nd is too intense and mentally straining for me to even attempt to cover.

As convenient as camera bags can be with the quick access zippers, the customisable inserts and the general feeling of having a solid, reliable camera bag on you. But there’s a couple of issues with having a bag solely made to hold your camera.

And I mean, if you do have a bag which completely fits the criteria below that I think are lacking in most bags, please do share what bag you use in the comments and just uh… ignore everything I said.

Once again, I’ll try to explain this in a way in which (hopefully) doesn’t turn into a rant.

1. those damn thieves.

There are some anti-theft camera bags, but boy are those expensive. Most CBs, however, aren’t, and they look quite theft-worthy. I mean there are some that are subtle, but their looks and branding can give it away too; it’s worse when the branding is obnoxious as hell.

This is a robber’s thought process (or I would assume it’s like this):

*sees a nice bag – which is a “subtle” bag holding tons of camera gear* 

“mmmm dat bag looks gud, if they got a nice bag they must have nice things”

*proceeds to snatch your bag*

And bam, there goes camera gear worth more than your life taken by an outlaw who thought your bag “looks gud”.

I can give examples here too, camera bags like the Tenba DNA series, Peak Design’s bags and anything from ONA bags can prove deadly as they’re too beautiful for today’s society. Sorry folks.

2. Your bag packs cameras, yes… what else can it hold?

Well? From my experiences, not very much. After 7 months of using the Lowepro D100AW and some other camera bags, I’d say that camera bags can’t do very much beyond holding camera. Maybe your keys, phone, boarding tickets, ID card… then?

Companies have been trying FOR YEARS to integrate an all-rounder bag which can serve for camera gear and for other extra stuff, like and WANDRD, but I honestly do not think anything revolutionary is being made here.

Now don’t get me wrong here, such bags bring forward a whole new level of organisation.

It’s absolute genius but it isn’t a stable solution, only the thought process of something big that is soon to come.

SIDENOTE ABOUT PEAK DESIGN I JUST WANNA QUICKLY THROW IN:
Peak Design uses every single inch of their bag for something useful, except for the interior. Those FlexFold Dividers are damn convenient, but it doesn’t utilise all the space you find in the main compartment of the Everyday Backpack – nothing fits nice and snug.

I can throw a camera body, a couple of lenses here and there and some accessories too big for the side pouches, and I still can’t put my lunch there. It’s either because I’m afraid my camera is gonna smell like pasta sauce or my gear is gonna bounce around as I walk.

But hey, that’s just a nitpick. I won’t be surprised if I see that they do make a bag which improves on that and shuts me up as a result.

SOLUTION

Just use a normal bag dude, one that is quite popular (Hershel’s Supply and Co or even a casual Adidas backpack if you want to stay that safe) and use an insert. There are really good inserts by Tenba’s BYOB series which I definitely suggest you look at. If you’re traveling, this is great to keep your camera gear safe and remain low profile to thieves.

If you can’t live without the quick access, just get yourself a Capture Clip from Peak Design and feel free to slap your camera there because I bet you that no one knows how to steal it. Slightly inconvenient but still, it works I guess \_(ツ)_/

If you’re a mirrorless user or just someone who doesn’t bring a whole lot around you, you can always try out Tenba’s Tool Box series (I swear I’m not sponsored or paid by them in any way), it’s just a smaller padded insert to put in whatever your heart desires.

I mean… your heart’s desires must be within reasonable size as the Tool Box can’t hol- I’ll stop.

But it does save space and your non-camera-specialised bag can fit more now.

And scene

I hope this kinda brought awareness over how much of a vulnerable position your camera gear is in, and how crappy having a camera bag can be too due to a waste of space.

But I wouldn’t totally mind if you had Peak Design’s Everyday Backpack, though my only concern is if someone thinks it unsubtle enough to rob it.

The Stupid Reality of Terrorism - Header

The stupid reality of terrorism.

Hearing the recent news on terrorism has really been a shock to everyone, and I think I’ve rejected this thought because it’s genuinely just atrocious but this is all nothing more than killing. This is the brief.

  1. Terrorism is stupid
  2. Being tougher on terrorism is practically impossible
  3. Terrorism won’t stop.

I’ll go through these points clearly with structured paragraphs that will definitely not turn into a rant.

1. Terrorism is stupid

Hell yes it is. Think about it you radicalised idiots, you’re slaughtering innocent lives of people you never knew, people who had families, lifelong plans and the same raw human emotions you once had, and you destroyed that for what?

Nothing. That was worth nothing.

Islam has nothing to do with this either, Islam doesn’t promote this. Islam doesn’t permit the butchering of unarmed harmless people. You’re just being a self-righteous monster killing people that did nothing to you. Thinking your life is superior or worth more than someone else’s is disgusting, no human can ever determine another’s death.

Also, people kill so they can make a change to the world? wooooow, real smart there. I doubt you would be making a very good impression on yourself.

2. Being “tougher” on terrorism is practically impossible

Look Theresa, ISIS is causing quite the havoc. Cracking down on immigration and making international contact difficult is not gonna cut it. The only physical form of ISIS are the incredibly stupid mislead self-righteous idiots in Syria right now, but in the Western world? Well, it’s a movement.

Anyone can really “join” as there isn’t any formal structure behind it. Not that we know of. Literally anybody can run into the streets and yell whatever misguided preach they want, as long as they attract attention by killing others. There can be groups of people either connected by family, work, friends, a community or just one person. Anyone can do it, and the people who recruit I believe are found worldwide, not just Syria.

(Please do tell me if I’m wrong, I’ve just personally seen nothing that proves otherwise.)

So whilst people from abroad may be an issue, I believe we are slightly prejudiced here. There are issues within this country with those who suddenly change their ways, and we must prioritise looking more into that. And if you think about it, it’s stupid because they believe they have a message for the greater good, but they’re not really reminding us are they?

ISIS definitely exists. It’s just impossible to tackle because it’s not just a bunch of idiots in Syria, there’s people everywhere being radicalised like this.

3. Terrorism won’t stop.

It really won’t. Anyone can do it, they might do it because they think they’ll die a martyr and do it for the greater good. Some may do it because they think it’s the right thing. Some just want to conquer the world with their opinion. Some think they’re the right ones and others who don’t agree die. Some just think that scaring the authorities must mean that it is for good reason, like the Suffragettes or something. Though that’s highly unlikely.

It’s just stupid. And it’s become so normalised that any idiot can do it, regardless of the lost lives.

At this point I’m incredibly depressed thinking about the why of terrorism. But know this: fear never works, it only fires up Trump, and it only ward people away. So try it. We’ll be 4 steps ahead of you.

 

(apologies for any atrocious grammar or repetitive of the word stupid, it’s late at night and I get really passionate for some reason in the night – Nishat)

Dear Pocket.

Dear Pocket,
I absolutely love your website/app/God-sent-article-saving miracle, and I appreciate that you have a really minimal design to accent the wonderful dark theme that I can enable. I can neatly organise the things I either want to read for later or the things I wish to preserve for later reference, like an article on photography or further understandings on how the brain functions, and it’s amazing.

FACT: This blog’s permanent dark theme was inspired by Pocket’s version (please don’t sue me).

There’s a reason Pocket is widely used, and it’s due to its versatility when it comes to syncing to other platforms, reading offline or simply the ease it has on our eyes. If there’s anything you could change to enhance the experience of reading, it’s this:

1. Highlight quotes for future reference

I love that you can share a selected excerpt from what you read, but if you went one step further and allowed us to highlight the part to save (copying to clipboard would also be nice), that would be a huge gamechanger.

So whenever you return to said article, you can focus on what you previously highlighted. You could also have a board which has all of your saved quotes, like the clippings feature in a Kindle. It’s just a convenience thing and honestly, I’d love it.

2. Redirect tab links to Pocket instead of the original page

Bear with me here, you know how there’s a Pocket’s trending stories on the new tab page on Chrome?

I realised there’s always one Trump-related article in this section. That says a lot about his presidency.

There’s some really good damn articles that I want to read straightaway so I click the title instead of the ‘Save’ button. It redirects me to the original article, where I get bombarded by newsletter and “WHITELIST US ON ADBLOCK OR PAY £1.99” popups left, right and centre.

It’s a pain, especially in the night when I’m accustomed to reading with the dark theme on but instead I get blasted with blue wavelengths that chip away on whatever sleep I had in the first place. This is once again a convenience thing on redirecting articles straight to Pocket over saving it, entering the Pocket website and reading that way.

It would be great to have that in the options page.

That’s it.

Yeah, that’s pretty much it. No. 1 is something I think is a personal necessity, No. 2 is just a pet peeve really. Other than those little things, you guys are doing a great job. People are seriously missing out if they don’t use it.

If these changes do happen, I’m going to make a freak out blog, and that is a promise.

 

Best Regards,
Nishat

5 features every app needs.

Dear App Developers,
I would really appreciate it if you had incorporated these features within that sick app you’re dropping this year. These are just basic privacy and nice little touches, so if you do listen to me and basically what the internet is trying to tell you for the past oh I dunno, existence of apps, we will notice that. And we will praise you.

1. Privacy settings

Everything you know that can affect me personally in terms of my rights and my privacy, you must tell me straightforward. The ability to see what dirt the app/company has on you is important, and ensuring that you are aware of this should be their priority.

And don’t try hiding it in the T&C jargon, I speak English.

I see that for safety reasons, you may need some of my personal details, but I want to know how much you’re snooping into. The fact that Snapchat saves your stories and every single snap you send is a definite cause for concern.

2. Email me for confirmation!

When someone (or even myself) enters my Google account with another device, I instantly get an email on my recovery email and the email that got entered, saying that it has been accessed. I like that feature a lot, it pinpoints the location and device used to enter at that specific time.

What would be better, though, is if you send a “confirm this entry” message to my recovery email (otherwise known as your backup email) just like LastPass does. It’s saved me from having important passwords nearly breached into and it gives a sense of confirmation.

Google does add a “Secure your Account” section but confirmation is both quicker and personally accessible.

3. Changing default email addresses

Trello does this nice feature where they allow you to add more email addresses, change the default one and enables the ability to redirect their subscriptions emails to another address, which is basically the icing on the cake.

Some other apps do this too, but it’s a rule of thumb that the more controls you give the user, the better the experience. People do say that minimalism is key, and it sure is when it comes to looks and creating a simple friendly UI, but giving people options help too.

The balance needs to be there, but it works mainly because it is tailored to the user’s preference.

4. Show me the devices (I was gonna make a Jerry Maguire joke, but that would have made me sound old and JM week was a while ago too)

Now most popular apps do this, like Google and Trello. And this is helpful to keep an eye on who has control over your account, whether it’s with different devices or in different countries.

The better addition would be the ability to revoke any devices if I want, like Trello – because Trello is amazing.

But if you are an Admin, a team leader or just a normal hipster being with a lot of iPads, you want that feature to make your account secure and away from prying eyes. It’s a little thing, but it helps.

5. Disability-friendly UI

So for people who can’t hear very well or have visual impairments, this would should be a vital one implemented into all apps however possible. This is singlehandedly the most important feature mentioned in this article.

Here’s an infographic that I made (feel free to use it to promote disability friendly UI) on the do’s and don’ts of design for those with disabilities.

BONUS: C U S T O M I S E

Tuck this little addition into your settings, and I’m sure people will appreciate the treat.

If I were you, I’d have different colour palettes that are compatible with your app so you don’t have hot pink text and illegible typefaces vandalising the project you painstakingly slaved away on.

Just give the people a little breathing space to make the app more comfortable to use.

And scene

Every little thing does actually help, and it does go noticed, and it does make life a lot more easier. If you do add these, app devs, I appreciate you, and so does the internet.

#MakeFlickrGreatAgain

Ever since March 2016, Flickr’s greatest features were only available if you paid. The incredible Auto-Uploadr is gone, and I still damn miss it.

This certainly was a business move, to accentuate the portrayal of Flickr being a photographer’s hipster social network, not a backup to dump memes in. I see their point, but a hobbyist like me and my brother just can’t be bothered to spend £57.72 (during time of writing this blog) annually. And if you’re giving us 1TB of free storage, I’m sure people will still be committed to upload junk there – whatever clears up their phone at least.

Auto-Uploadr was such a huge convenience to us, and even though we have fast internet, the web upload tool is such a pain in the *** and it’s almost as if they purposefully did this to entice us to pay.

That’s why I’m enraged, because I’m trying to put up some of my best work and this uploader is screwing things up for me. It’s either the photos timing out, or the upload bar not moving a single inch for hours.

I’ve literally waited a whole weekend for just 1 batch to upload. I’M SICK OF THESE DAMN STRATEGIC MONEY-MAKING MOVES ON THIS DAMN WEBSITE. Get it together Flickr.

Case Logic DLBP-114 Backpack Review - Blog Post Banner

Case Logic DLBP-114 Backpack: An amazing, lightweight bag

I bought this bag as a deal, with the hopes of having my first backpack as a comfortable experience whilst bagging me some style points (knee slap for the pun). After what would be 2 hectic months kicking off 2017, I can definitely say this dude was the gamechanger for me – the one that made the transition from a messenger to a rucksack seamless.

A E S T H E T I C S

From the outside, the Case Logic DLBP-114 14-inch backpack looks clean, compact and minimal as quilted padding on the front and on the straps accentuates the overall simplicity whilst providing some more cushioning. The heavy-duty zips for the main and front areas are rugged and the likeliness of it breaking on you is extremely rare. From my experiences with your average harsh British weather, rain hasn’t seeped in and wet my books yet, so that’s a huge plus!

You get two pockets on the side which just about fit a phone, snack or a 3DS for the gamers, and yes, I’ve tried cramming in water bottles but no, it doesn’t work. This is probably the huge downside of this bag. But on the bright side, there’s a really smart strap-management system with velcro to fasten any excess strap bits left, securing it safely after adjusting the straps to your heart’s content.

a horrible flat lay, but still a flat lay.

In terms of design, it boasts a good look and remains open for boys or girls, despite the tacky logo on the strap that I just had to cut off. The material itself is PVC free – making it environmentally friendly, no harmful chemicals released – which is always a yaaasss from me.

THE NITTY GRITTY

Well it can fit any normal 14-inch laptop, with extremely thick padding for the laptop compartment that allows space for books or a tablet to fit in. You can put a lot in here, and the outer section seems like it can hold much, but it’s bigger in the inside, so you can throw in a pencil case or a jumper.

I feel like that’s the theme of this bag: smaller on the outside, bigger on the inside. Just like the TARDIS.

The front section has a nice few pen slots and compartments perfects for keys and travel cards, with lots of room underneath for snacks. There’s also a zipper compartment that fits an iPad Mini quite snug. There’s a lot of options to suit your general style, so experimentation is the best way to handle this bag.

From the 3 months of having this backpack, I’ve noticed how light it is, it keeps a low profile and is a joy to carry. And I haven’t had to worry about its durability because I feel a sense of rigidity within the structure of this bag. I’ve also realised that I’ve had to change the way I pack things because if it’s out of my sight, it’s in someone else’s. This means that the top microfibre pouch, although pretty cool, was used as decoy otherwise it would just be bait.

For someone who is roughly over 4″, this bag is just right at my waistline, so it isn’t dragging around and smacking my butt rhythmically whenever I walk.

THE DOWNSIDES

I feel like the side pouches are a little too small for anything similar to a water bottle, but is perfect for the “littler” things, like a cereal bar or a 3DS. I would’ve liked a water bottle pouch but it would probably stick out like a sore thumb, so I guess it is what it is.

Speaking of things sticking out like a sore thumb, the decision of putting the Case Logic logo on the strap itself is disgraceful. Whoever declared that in HQ has to be fired, even if he’s hit rock bottom with his life ever since his grandma passed away. I had to cut that and the tag that pokes out of the main compartment which gets the zippers stuck. It is a real pain but it’s nothing that a knife and a little bit of rage can’t fix.

Another downside would be that the bag does deflate if you don’t fill up the bottom part enough. The backpack is made so it expands adequately to whatever you put within, but putting a little can give your bag a rather “meh” look. That’s literally the only way I can explain it; basically it just ruins the aesthetics.

This bag has to be filled up to the brim if you want its full potential, but the issue here is that you can only put so much before it stops expanding.

THE VERDICT

The main pros are its slim profile yet good compartmentalisation, but you can only fill so much.

I think that the Case Logic Backpack is a great backpack. It’s light, compact and perfect for a light commute. For school and work, I think this will definitely serve “the bare necessities” whilst looking stylish af. However, let it be known that this is only for packing light. You’ve been warned.

click-to-buy-ukclick-to-buy-murica

this blog, and how i feels.

Okay. Ever since I started this blog, I kind of wanted to experiment and play around with it, see how far I can go. It’s been 6 months, and I couldn’t be any happier.

With this sort of stuff, I get way too over-the-top and be a perfectionist when it comes to design and writing because I know I can do better. But recently, I just figured out the look I want on this website (which is rare taking into account my constant uncertainty when it comes to anything) and I smiled intensely, like a real goofball.

I never smile when I’m working on a project controlled by me. I never smile. (yes i do, don’t worry.)

But I feel good about this. Usually when I’m on a client job, I’m never happy about how my work looks, though my customers tend to be, and it leaves me on a bad note. With this blog, I feel otherwise. I feel…

 

I feel like this is a beginning of a beautiful digital era.

Nintendo Switch Reveal: Promising, but one BIG game-changer.

So, tons of people got invited to Nintendo’s event which revealed more on the Switch, a tablet-esque console with a docking station and JoyCons, and the upcoming games that will be supported. Honestly, I think Nintendo really hit the nail with this one, but there is one concern that scrapes at the back of pretty much everyone’s head.

 

…what about the games?

 

You see there’s so much I love about this concept. The whole modular, portable idea of seamlessly continuing from your TV to a tablet for travelling or just to show off is great. But as with Nintendo’s consoles, there’s not enough substance in terms of games. Sure, you’ve got the Mario games with a side of Pokémon and a lot of other very niche games that I missed out but it’s always put Nintendo on the side.

It’s good not to be included into the console war because you have the freedom of innovation without the risk of another big rig corporation getting in the way, but the games that you see on a PS4 compared to a Nintendo 3DS is more diverse and enticing and I’d pick it any day (unless nostalgia hits). Because there’s all sorts of games: indies, platformers, story, action, FPS etc.

That’s why it’s assuring to see the Switch having more compatible games, working with different companies like Bethesda, Activision, Epic Games and even Telltale dammit (I’m so excited for that one). But I hate to say this, it’s not enough. It’s a start, sure, but they can’t just have Super Mario Odyssey and then attempt to please everyone by throwing in Skyrim and a chance to play N64 games every month with a fee, just like Xbox Games for Gold and PS Plus’ free game system.

We need more games dammit.

In retrospect, it looks like also being the console war is also a good idea because you hunt for game devs to make more exclusives because exclusivity is what is making Sony the belle of the ball in the current console wars. jots idea down for a future blog post

But everything else is fine, though the JoyCons seem shifty af for me as well as the tablet battery but I appreciate the humble thumbsticks being offset.

ToDoist: Awesome addition to your daily life

Whether you’re a productivity nut or not, you need something to at least remind you of the important stuff to get done throughout the week. Meet ToDoist, probably the best app you can get on productivity and also a great app to kick off the year!

I’ve been using this app for months and I must admit, it has done very well towards handling my rollercoaster of a life.

Extra info for extra context i guess.

Before we get into the pros and cons, I think it’s best to add some context first. I’ve been using ToDoist since August-ish and was learning my ways around the basics and how it could fit into my workflow. There was a moment where my computer and iPad broke down and I couldn’t access the app at all which was a real pain until I realised I could print my weekly ToDoist on a local computer and still keep up, which was an absolute lifesaver!

Back to the review! batman transition

Look at it! It looks amazing!

Don’t worry, totally not unhygienic.

I immediately fell in love with the ultra-minimalist UI that shows me everything. No matter which platform you use, it’s always got a consistent, familiar look with customisable themes too.

There’s all sorts of options, giving the user a lot of freedom and just generally making life a lot easier. It’s given you the choice to control things your way, and that is vital for anyone really. They offer no specific way ToDoThis (knee slap for a certain reader I have an inside joke with) and it works.

How it works.

ouch.

To create a task, press the plus sign and type as shown in the amateur gif provided above. You can can create projects and assign the job to a specific section. You can then choose the time, date and it’s priority level.

What’s even better, and is by far my favourite feature, is the smart detection in what you type. So when typing in ‘Next Friday’ or ‘ToNIght’, whatever the upper and lower case the letter may be, it will highlight the detail red and automatically move that task to that date/time.

There’s even a Smart Reschedule addition which automatically reschedules overdue tasks to a suitable date based on your routine/what the robots learn from you! They won’t do it without your consent though.

The shortcuts make life a lot simpler for the mere human being due to the nanosecond of “productivity time” being saved for that 3 hour Louis Theroux marathon you’re going on. In my opinion, this is a HUGE advantage that they do subliminally support and it doesn’t take too long to get the hang of.

Verdict: Downright awesome.

The UI is clean and consistent no matter if you’re using Windows, a Kindle or the extension available in Internet Explorer (thank goodness the latter doesn’t exist) and all the various elements proves to make you more efficient and the algorithms smarter than you. #rekt

As of December 2016, I have no issue with this system because I control the system. Everything works when I work so I basically have no one to blame but myself when it doesn’t work.

So in short, it’s incredible and a 9.7/10, because nothing can be 10 without being a God-sent miracle.

Back-to-school-despite-being-december 2016: Things I would use myself

This was originally meant to be my Back-to-School blog but I just procrastinated thanks to Nishat being Nishat (wooooo). But so many YouTube videos have been made on it, I might as well make one long list that’s actually useful. Because nothing is as exciting as back-to-school-in-december tech, and you know you’re ballin’ when you got affordable tech that’s cool and swaggy af.

(NOTE: I do have affiliate links but that in no way affects my love for these damn products and they don’t bump up the price either. Now scroll, young padawan!)

Continue reading →

New camera bag!

So recently, I bought the Lowepro Stealth Reporter D100 AW and to be honest, there were better choices – like the Tenba DNA 8 (should have got that one dammit). But to think optimistically, I think it’s best, especially being my first ever camera bag, to have the bag with flaws because when I get a better one because then, boom. You can tell the difference distinctly.

That’s really all I had to say. You can continue with your lives now. (review coming up soon!)