Itsalexma!

Finale

Tai O

As a freshman, I am still finding goals for my future, like struggling in the middle of the ocean. There are always risqué moves when you are experimenting things; hmm… at least I gave it a try (I could still afford the time.. I guess). Putting myself into a Professional Communication major was one of my recent experiments; that was pleasurable and forceful at the same time. Many of my classmates had been reflecting about the sudden change from writing formal essays to imaginary creative writing pieces. Personally, I prefer writing in casual than formal words, because they push me to think outside the box, after all, the purpose of writing is to communicate.

Coming to the last days of this semester, I was actually surprised that I did survive in the class full of native writers. There’s still a long way to go. Although I may not end up working in the field, it was a nice experience working with all the future journalists. You guys opened my eyes and I enjoyed every bit of it.

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B.F.F. (Black Friday Fanaticism)

Black Friday

It was still the illustrious Black Friday a few hours ago and I didn’t choose to enter the arena, but I hope you guys had a good one! Apparently, I received orders from friends in Hong Kong and London, even from my brother in Vancouver. That bloke demanded me to go and at least buy something for them (aimlessly). Sorry guys, unfortunately I do not think I’m used to the habit of shopping aimlessly across the stores anymore. I GET WHAT I NEED NOW (ahem, my stolen Comme des Garçons wallet and earphones). Be qualitative.

However, the rumored madness reminds me of a Youtube video:

The above probably shows:

1)   How cool the T by Alexander Wang clothes are to the fashion people

2)   The T by Alexander Wang clothes are economic goods

3)   One of the features from the characteristics of humanities

What do you think about Black Friday? Were you one of them in Target?

Photo: imgace.com

George Orwell meet … Mark Zuckerberg

Big Brother Is Watching You

In the article George Orwell meet … Mark Zuckerberg, Lori Andrews took reference from Orwell’s classic 1984 to communication nowadays. He mentioned the changes of identity and privacy nowadays ever since the very first idea of social network has developed, which reminds us to the state of the society under the monitor of ‘big brother’ in the book.

As a big fan of his literature, I can’t help but imagine that George Orwell would be proud. Perhaps we have already built the Ministry of Truth among our networks, as every of our move is track-able. I mean, there is no doubt the Internet has a mega-powerful influence on the 21st century, it is like our second skin but however, there are costs of that: ripping off our freedom. I’ve mentioned the Internet can actually tear us apart from reality in my previous blogposts, and friendship does not meant to be in black and white (think of the fake friendships that only last in your screen, and that ‘unfriend’ button).

It is hard to avoid having any contact with the modern ‘big brother’ nowadays, unless you live in Mars.

Photo: politicsworldwide.com

How many more generations do I have to wait for?

So, reviews were published a few months ago about the 1st generation of the Google Glass. Not only being quite a shocking idea, it was expected to be one of the biggest inventions after iPhone; fashion brand Diane von Furstenberg even promotes them in her fashion show (below), which pushes the device towards a more fashionable boundary.

DVF Google Glass

I thought it was some sort of super shades that allows us physically connect Google with our brains… hmm… I wish. But it seemed like the critics (who are the only ones who had tried it) didn’t enjoy much:

Several months later, the multinational corporation decided to make something that is more ‘popularized’ to the public, and is responsible for this:

Google Glass 2nd

According to Hypebeast, “The tech giant has outfitted Glass (2nd generation) with a hardware update, as well as a new earbud system to replace the previous bone-conduction speaker. Further, the device will also be compatible with prescription eyeglasses, expanding on the strategy to make Glass a universal everyday accessory.”

Although there are more features coming up, it still damages our wallets a bit.

Photo: Hypebeast

What is outside your binoculars?

What is outside your binoculars?

I have an unhealthy obsession with the Internet, that, I think we all are these days. However, when it comes to reading, I still prefer physically holding a book or newspapers, they make me feel (look) so scholarly.

Sadly, we don’t get everything from the Internet.

I was inspired by this picture from 9gag.com , when I was aimlessly surfing around the Internet a few days ago. I realize how little do we know about the world when social media is our only source; there is always a better alternative. You see the gap behind the door? Maybe there is a scent of freshness from the grass that we can’t smell from the binoculars. Maybe there is a dragon spitting fire. Maybe your crush is there waiting for you to hold her/his hand.

There are a lot outside your screen. Friends aren’t meant to be in black and white.

Photo: 9gag.com

@ Dining

Dining

“Thank you for the earrings.”

“As long as you like it.”

“I do. I’m kind of hungry.”

“Where do you want to eat?”

“You can make the cut.”

“What about… Italian?”

“We had Italian for lunch on Sunday.”

“Mexican?”

“You know I hate tacos.”

“Fine, fine. Maybe that music café at 51th Street?”

“A meal at a music café, seriously?”

“I’ve heard there are Japanese restaurants in Minneapolis.”

“Japanese.”

“Yea… Sushi, soba, udon noodles… things like that.”

“Ugh.”

“That’s just an option.”

“How about some Polish food.”

“You’ve been cooking Polish food for weeks.”

“You are exaggerating, and that’s where I’m from. I miss my food.”

“There are vegetarian options in that Japanese restaurant.”

“Really? Like what?”

“I don’t know, Connor said it’s nice.”

“Can you at least do some research before proposing something? ”

“For sure they have cucumber sushi, salad, Californian rolls…”

“Why did you say you don’t know when you do know something?”

“Jesus! What’s wrong with you?”

“All I want is some food. I thought you’re somewhat different.”

“All I did was suggesting choices for you. You should at least…”

“Let’s go to a Polish restaurant.”

“Say what?”

Photo: Tommy Ton

Organic

Fall 001

love to travel.

This is my nth time visiting America and I love this place. But in the past I was wandering around in big cities like a typical tourist, so this is probably my 1st proper Fall in the States (if you can call it authentic). I’m lucky enough to have pals who own cabins in Wisconsin; it was such a paradise and everything is so organically cool.

Fall 002

What does the fox say. It’s real. I did wrap it around my collar.

Fall 003

A proper Fall experience would never complete without having s’mores next to a bon fire with this lake-view.

Ryan brought Zach and I to fish in this lake. It was my first time to fish and I caught a bass! A seriously lively moving fish. It was chillier down the water; the sky turned gray and it started to rain. It was rather fictional until the engine of our boat froze down in the middle of the lake, where we drifted like post-shipwreck survivors for 30 mins, before the boat successfully resurrected itself.

Fall 004

It wasn’t my first time carving a pumpkin, but it certainly was for Aashna. She grabbed the blade and pierced the pumpkin fiercely.

Talk about the thriller Saw.

Maybe she was a professional in her previous life and who knows. But that was great. At least it grabbed our attention.

Fall 005

Who doesn’t love colors? Fortunately we came here in the right time.

Well, it’s going to snow very soon.

Curve Benefits

Galaxy Round

Last week, Samsung gave birth to the rumored smartphone with a curved OLED display, named after Galaxy Round.

Its features are almost the same to its sibling, Galaxy Note 3’s, including the 5.7-inch 1080p screen, but their similarities ends at the new ‘Round Interaction’: a new feature that allows the user to look at information such as missed calls, battery usage, and the date and time by tilting it on a flat surface when the screen is locked. It also has a slightly lighter weight (154g) and a 2800mAh battery.

The new features are remarkable, but fail to catch my eye. It doesn’t scream wow to me at all because the difference between Galaxy Round and other Galaxy series models aren’t big, just like the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 5S.

There are often new phones released in the market; and perhaps we may have heard the comments our friends made about the slight difference between different models. On the pro side, these corporations do create competitions as well as drives for lifestyle innovations, our quality of life has undoubtedly enhanced from time to time; but from the customer’s point of view, it’s unworthy for renewing our phone models with that amount of value they list in the market, when changes aren’t too significant.

It would be bullshit for me to say that there are a lot more to come in the future.

The Downfall of Unlimited Data Plans

Image

Back in the days in UK, it was almost nothing for us to browse YouTube videos in the streets; no extra charges, videos were smoothly buffered and played. Credits to the Unlimited Data Plans from 3 and other telephone companies. However the pleasure ended when I head back to Hong Kong and the States.

The data plans provided in these 2 places were mostly limited. I had to be extra careful when browsing the Internet, beware of the temptation of clicking into the YouTube app; according to Vodafone, a typical 4-minute YouTube music video costs 11MB, which is equivalent to browsing 75 websites. The reason behind was because providing unlimited Internet services to the public would lead to ‘abuse’ to the network, largely consuming various network resources. The result? Huge network congestions.

So, what differences did it make after the unlimited data plans were gone? Probably a closer relationship and less phubbers, I would say.  The vocabulary phubber comes from the words ‘phone’ and ‘snubbers’, thus they are generally negative. Before, people were used to text during conversations, which in terms of manners was absolutely disrespect to the speaker; now there are more face-to-face interactions. There may be less road accidents, because for those who think they’re cool when checking their phones randomly while crossing the road; now they have time to checkout the crossings before cross it.

Yet on the other hand, there would be less people downloading the apps on smartphones and the revenue of online advertisements would be affected. Telephone companies will have to strike a balance between provisions of Internet services and the prevention of Network congestion. Some companies in the States provide various plans with different amount of data services along with their according price lists, which could be a light to other countries in the future.

Photo: Tommy Ton

Thoughts about Instagram

Instagram

If you wander along the metro line of a big city, look at the passengers around you: most of them have their smart phones glued to their palms, and perhaps most of them are using Instagram. Tap tap tap. It’s almost contagious. Why is it so admired? What will happen to Instagram in the future?

My friends went bananas when Instagram was first introduced, “This is exactly what I wanted.” I tried to think of  the reasons behind all of these, and here are several explanations that I came up with:

It’s uber user-friendly: take your snap, choose an effect, upload it, Geotagging, share to SNS or Flickr… with only 3 steps and you can complete everything above. Moreover, photos can be instantly shared to friends on the internet. There are a lot of similar photo-sharing apps on iPhone, but none of them bring you experiences as smooth as Instagram, because it doesn’t have any unnecessary functions.

However, I believe most of the users had made a visit to the PC web version of the app, and let’s admit how suck it is: other than glancing at the photos, changing the password is the only other function it has. Many had been complaining about this, but I believe this is an intentional act:  ‘Insta’ from the word Instagram contains the meaning of ‘instant’, but it’s almost impossible for a PC web to be as instant as a smartphone. I mean, even if the piece of  information can be uploaded straightaway to the web, other Instagram users (presumably) will not carry their PCs everywhere and visit the web. Only instant mobile devices have their significance. That’s because when the user needs it, it is possible for them to access instantly (and thanks to the notification bubbles) to the app.

It’s also comical to see the patterns of how other users are using Instagram, and I’m thrilled to see how the community of Instagram will be in the future.

At the moment, I can see  2 types of users: the first are the kind of people who snap whatever they experience, allowing everyone to access his/her personal life. “Nice shot bro”. “Ill n—a alert! Ill n—a alert!” “I come to award shows for twerking.” “Thanks bb”; the others are perfectionists who would rather publish a small amount of qualitative photos (possibly after a shedloads of Photoshop work) with a massive of likes and followers.

And of course there are users who manage to be in both types.

But which of the two will be the final focus of Instagram in the future? At this point, I cannot confirm you with anything. But according to unofficial statistics from my friends, the level of fulfillment and the number of likes/followers has a positive correlation.

Photo: http://cdn-static.zdnet.com/i/r/story/70/00/008949/instagram-app-2-620×433.jpg?hash=AwyyBGExBT&upscale=1

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