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, you must tell me. The ability to see what dirt the app/company has on you is important, and it should be your choice whether you allow that or not.

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 before that creep down the road does 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, you can see the area 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 control you give the user, the better the experience. The balance needs to be there, though, 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 you account, whether it’s with different devices or around the world.

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 modes

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.

Here’s an infographic 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 add these, app devs, I appreciate you.

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.

Here’s a video with b-rolls and so much noob skilz, it’s unbearable. It doesn’t show a lot either, sorry.

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 little rage and knife 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 little “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 know that this is only for packing light.

click-to-buy-uk

click-to-buy-murica

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 →

How to save Google Drive space with Gmail

Well it’s 2.35am, you’re emailing your colleagues dank memes when all of a sudden, your 15GB of space fills to the brim with errors popping everywhere. You consider getting a subscription, but you haven’t paid rent yet so you’re screwed. Here’s how to save space.

Delete them meems.

I know they mattered to you and were there for you during your divorce, but it’s okay. Go to the ‘Sent’ section of your Gmail and just delete. Delete every thing that belongs to your heart. Do the same for the spam, inbox (any unnecessary ones) and make sure to go to the bin and slay all the beasts you once called friends.

If you have any subscriptions, make sure to read (keep the precious ones if you like) and delete. This button is key to all storage saving. Once you clear up your Gmail, head to the Bin and permanently get rid of all emails.

I’m sorry pal, those memes must go.

TIP: The emails with files and attachments, if not important or is already saved, can be deleted as well. They bump the storage down a lot.

Make a new account

If you use Gmail intensively and can’t handle the onslaught of emails, make another email and redirect all subscriptions and other unrelated stuff there. You can also use it for signing up to websites or just dedicate it towards being a professional email for outsiders to contact you. It helps you be a little organised.

Now watch those numbers drop as quickly as your marriage. This was a simple but hopefully useful tip that’s helped me out a lot.

My productive routine (or daily ritual or whatever you call it, i don’t care)

Everyday, I strive to be as productive as I can so when I’m done, I can spend my time enjoying Bloodborne or even the old Crash Bandicoot.

For projects/lists: Trello

A great minimalistic board showing your tasks, ideas and lists. Trello integrates with many other apps (Evernote, Slack etc.) to optimise the workload and generally make things more efficient.

For weekly and daily planning: ToDoist

This is a really clean app organising your everyday tasks. It’s got those little things that makes life much more easier, like creating a task which you can prioritise with flags to know what is the most important to get through. I love it.

Note-taking awl day err’day: Evernote

This is a no-brainer. Evernote syncs on nearly all platforms as it takes in notes that you have full control over. I’ve used it for YT scripts/scenes and general brain farts I want to remember later on.

Notebook: Notebook

Pour out your heart and soul into a physical notebook. Stylish, improves handwriting and writing things down is generally just awesome. Any notebook would do, but I would like to use the Evernote Smartbook so I can save whatever precious stuff I draw/jot.

TIPS:

  1. Sunday should be planning day as you’re about to get right into the thick of school/work.
  2. Spend every night reading a book or just writing in a journal to gradually create a ritual that your brain remembers so when it’s sleepy time, you’re prepared.
  3. Always read one light or factual book (e.g. 10 Steps to Earning Awesome Grades) and an emotional, plot-driven story.
  4. Look at Thomas Frank’s videos on productivity. If you watch closely you’ll soon realise that I based everything off of this dude.

Would like to introduce:

The Five Minute Journal – keeps me motivated and happy. Don’t do all of this without a clear goal in mind.