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

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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.

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 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 (physical reading books > kindle/e-reader), so that’s a huuuuuuuuuge 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.

In terms of design, it boasts a good look 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.

For the few months of using 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.

It fits nicely for me 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.

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. 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 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.

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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). I might as well make one long list that’s actually not that useful at all. 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 one)

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.

So you removed the headphone jack but still get sales…

It’s absolutely unbelievable. One controversial thing has just been completely glossed over because the iPhone 7 came out. Really?

Apple removed the classic headphone jack, claiming that they want more space to place stereo speakers. I only use speakers to show people videos and that’s very rarely, I generally tend to use a headphone. Now they are rendered useless.

“but neshat du dangle comz wif du fone” Don’t care, how am I meant to charge and use my headphones all through one port?

Now if I get this pointless ounce of glass, it’s probably going to break quicker than my temper. EVEN APPLE MADE AN “OFFICIAL STATEMENT” OF HOW FRAGILE IT IS. Jeez, and what do they exaggerate? The cameras.

One is a telephoto and the other is a wide-angle, which sounds like something I would be interested in if I wanted to do photography like a hipster. Why not just slap a lens on the iPhone 6? Why not just use the Galaxy S7 or the Huawei P9?

Everyone raged about the AirPods (don’t get me started on that one) and how stupid dropping the headphone jack would be. But as soon as the keynote released with their only selling point would be more cameras and a fingerprint-magnet colour, all the haters went quiet. Not this hater.

What is there that’s new? The iPhone 6S had 12MP. Just grab a wide-angle lens and boom, you get the same deal but cheaper. I don’t mean to offend people but no consumer, except tech junkies, will understand what the hell an f1.8 aperture is. They literally just say things and emphasise on it as if it’s a new innovation of today, but God Apple just shut up.

“I can’t wait to get my hands on the iPhone 8, heard there’s no screens!” – an idiot.

Bobby by XD Designs: the only backpack I’d ever have

I’m a messenger bag type of person. If you’ve seen my previous post, you know I am looking for a cheap one to hold my camera and lunch without looking like I want to get mugged. I spoke to wedding/event photographer Eric Rossi (awesome dude by the way) and he recommended to me the AmazonBasics camera bag.

I thought, “yeah, that’ll do.” Then I saw this during those procrastination breaks I have.

It looks like a backpack that had the shape of a sports car. Bobby look damn beautiful, and I think it’s everything I wanted. Xd Designs nailed it on the head with this one, combining looks and functionality together, as not only is it aesthetically pleasing, it’s theft-proof. I keep gushing over perfect it is but I hope it delivers when it comes out.

The three main selling points it claims to deliver on is night safety, anti-theft and cut proof. From what they’ve shown us, it looks like it ticks all the boxes there. It serves its ability with light bars that can be spotted from 100 metres away. Plus, the zipper is neatly tucked in so your average pickpocket dude is stumped as well as marvelled at the beauty of this thing.

On the inside, it’s got nice compartments to put your laptop, tablet and other tech necessities. It’s padded well enough for you to sneak in a camera and lens. Bobby is great for everyone, not just the minimalist tech YouTuber, like students and commuters due to the space left in between the sections for books or lunch!

For travel, it’s simple. There’s a channel to plug-in your battery pack from inside the bag and charge your devices from the outside. You have your quick access pockets to reach things easily, like a little space to hide your phone and even invisible slots in your strap to place your travel card or credit card.

But my God, this is only a small, vague section. There’s a buttload more features that Xd Designs included, check that out in their Kickstarter. It’s actually genius, and it’s the only bag that fits the bill.

You see, I’ve had the endless struggle of finding a bag that is anti-theft, waterproof, has dividers for camera-related schtuff and has space for me to improvise all in a good-looking, cheap bag that has a small form factor. Do you know how damn hard that is? This is the one. Best YouTube video that I’ve stumbled on by accident.

As I type up this blog, Bobby is only £56 and available for pre-order on Kickstarter. Yes, it will be out by November but hey, there are no risks or scams in buying this. What’s even better is that it’s 30% off from it’s retail price of 80%. Production is already under way, and I think you should absolutely go for it, no matter who you are. I know I am!

Apple are the same

There. I said it. It’s obvious, but no one really put their finger on why. Apple gets grilled by many reviewers, but hey, hypocrites be hypocrites. Every product is always the same, except maybe a bump in specs and size. There isn’t really any new features, which is rather disappointing for the luxury reputation they established.

But it seems like it’s intentional. This year has been a great year for the development of tech innovations in the market. So why has Apple not caught up instead of just making new OS’? Because that’s where they succeed.

Samsung, Huawei and other companies have gone above and beyond when it comes to revolutionising today’s phones, with dual-cameras and modular phones. Apple has always stayed behind the curve as that is their stability. Their reputation and level of consumerism isn’t tainted as they aren’t trying something new, they’re sticking to the same, making them seem reliable.

Their reputation is a statement to show off people’s bling. It’s as if they have an acquired taste, like those wine connoisseurs who swish around their champagne and claim that it reminds them of the Summer of ’50s.

It’s made such a mark on society that Apple really doesn’t need to put effort. As long as it is an annual thing, the cash will roll in. It’s really scummy and I hate Apple for it. All of the flaws in their products isn’t cared about, like the downgrade in the selfie camera of the iPhone SE and the stupid shortage of ports on the latest of Macbook.

“But hey, no one really cares at the end of the day” – Apple (there’s a definite chance that they’ve said that)