Top 5 Things You Can’t Do If You Want To Be Friends

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I’m starting a new tradition of highlighting 5 things that drive me nuts every year. 5 things that if done, disqualify you & I from being pals.

  1. You own or are considering a selfie stick. Can you even imagine what people in previous decades would think if you tried to describe this? If you feel that you have to carry a stick to attach your phone to around, so that you can take pictures of yourself…that’s a problem.
  2. You copy/paste Facebook posts saying you will win millions of dollars by posting it. Remember seeing all those Mark Zuckerberg posts about how if you copy and paste his message into your timeline you have a chance to win millions? Yea you do. UNFRIEND.
  3. You use or have ever used the word “bae”. Exceptions include you are Danish and are referring to pile of shit or have said something to the effect of, “Don’t ever say bae again or I’ll kick you in the neck.”
  4. Vaguebooking. Definition: An intentionally vague Facebook status update, that prompts friends to ask what’s going on, or is possibly a cry for help. Just stop. I get that social media has created a stage for everyone, but just get to the point and stop over-dramatizing your life. Unless you’re a celebrity. Then you’re supposed to.
  5. Passive Agressiveness. To me there is no greater cowardice then people that act passive aggressively. It’s basically admitting that you don’t have the courage to confront people directly and rather than keep it to themselves, find subtle ways to still get their way or get in a dig indirectly. Facebook is a breeding ground for it.

What say you internet? What can you add to the list???

My Favorite Things 2015 Edition

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Every year I like to write a blog post that recaps some of my favorite products or services I experienced that year. While I didn’t host a talk show announcing my favorite things and giving them away to a screaming out of control crowd, I am posting them here for you to get for yourselves. Feel free to scream if you’d still like.

AirMail – I’ve struggled to find an email program on the Mac that I can get behind. The Gmail interface is horrible, and unfortunately, the Mac Mail program has always been lacking and buggy. AirMail not only works great, but looks slick as hell. I’ve been using it for a few months for my work and personal email, and have enjoyed every minute of it. Works great, and has a great UI. Only $10 in the Mac App Store.

The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land – My favorite mobile game of all time. I’ve pretty much given up on most games, but this one sticks. Of course being a fan of the TV show helps, but even if you aren’t, this is an incredibly well designed game that you can actually play without having to pay every 5 minutes to progress. Perfect user experience for mobile, entertaining, great music/sound effects, they really nailed this across the board.

Tech Matte Phone Car Mount – I finally found a phone mount for your car that gets it right. These geniuses got it right on 2 counts…how it the mount attaches in your car, and how your phone attaches to the mount. The first being using your unused CD slot to attach the mount. It works like a charm and no more having to worry about suction cups or adhesive on your dash. Plus, who listens to CDs anymore? The second, and my favorite part, magnets. Your phone attaches magnetically. You can either slide a magnet between your phone case and phone, or attach an adhesive magnet to the back of your phone. Either way, it’s a genius way to manage this as you can attach your phone to the mount quickly and easily. The magnets hold incredibly well regardless of which method you use. And the damn thins is only $11. It’s a no brainer.

New Macbook – I wrote a review on this bad boy, but just needed to reiterate my love for it. No mystery I’m a Mac guy, but not to the point where I’m so blind that I can’t see when they miss the mark (see my Mac Mail comment above). However I love this machine. It is a fantastic travel laptop plain and simple. It’s not a power machine, and it won’t replace a desktop by any means, but if you’re looking for something that travels well, you can’t go wrong. I actually prefer the single input design. I’ve got the adapter if I need more inputs which keeps the slim profile.

Marianas Trench – I don’t know what it is about these guys, but I stumbled across them a few months ago and they are all that I’ve been listening to since. They are a band based out of Canada that just released a new album this year. Definitely a pop feel with a unique blend of different sounds depending on the song. Some Queen, Michael Jackson, etc. Definitely worth a listen.

UrbanEars Platten ADV Wireless Headphones – While I typically use my noise cancelling in ear Bose headphones for most of my headphone listening, I really wanted a wireless pair of on ear cans for more casual listening and workouts. These definitely fit the bill. I’m no audiophile, but they sound just fine, and love how the controls are simply swiping actions on the ear piece…no buttons or levers. They’re comfortable and I love the feel of no wires.

2015 Macbook Review

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If you’ve read my blog for any period of time, it’s no secret I’m a fan of Apple. Despite my love for the majority of their products, I’m not without an ability to point out when they fail (Apple Music…eck). But once again I’m blown away by the technical achievement of their latest offering, the new Macbook.

For the past few years I’ve worked on a Macbook Pro, and loved every minute of it. The build quality and user experience was second to none, and I rarely if ever had any downtime or crashes. If you search online you will find thousands of articles, discussions and comments between PC and Mac users beating each other up on which technology is better. I find the whole argument tired and pointless. To each their own. Everyone has different needs, wants and opinions on how they want to use their technology, and there is no one size fits all. Are Apple products incredibly more expensive then their counterparts? Absolutely. But to me, the additional cost is worth the build quality, time saved not dealing with system crashes, and the incredible support of their products. The time and hassles saved are worth the upfront added expenses.

That being said, I’ve now moved to a Macbook and this thing is an absolute technical achievement. It blows my mind that they’ve been able to build a laptop this thin and portable that does what it does. It’s definitely a fairly big shift moving from a full size workhorse laptop to a more portable, travel friendly one, but I really love this machine overall.

What I Love

Form Factor – This thing is crazy thin, lightweight and portable. I haven’t seen anything even come close to this level of build quality at this size. It’s the perfect machine for traveling, and while I had to sacrifice some performance specs for the smaller size, I haven’t found myself struggling with any normal day to day usage.

Keyboard – Full size keyboard? Check. Crazy how they fit that on this. The backlit keys are awesome. Touches like these in such a small package to me quantify the price. This could not have been easy to pull off. The keys have a different feel as there is a shorter distance on the press. They did so by replacing the traditional scissor-based keyboard switches with a new butterfly mechanism, which saves 40 percent thickness per key. That means that you get less travel with each press, but Apple also points out that there’s greater stability across the key, meaning keys don’t ‘lean’ to whatever corner you’re exerting the most pressure on which each keystroke. It takes getting used to, but again, after time it makes sense.

Touchpad – At first the touchpad threw me off. It doesn’t work like previous iterations. There are no moving parts with this thing, yet it throws taptic feedback at you to fool you in feeling the “click”. The addition of the force touch provides more functionality that developers can take advantage of such as getting the definition of a word on the fly. Still playing around with it, but as I get used to it, it just makes sense.

Speaker – It’s crazy the sound that this little thing puts out. No need for an external speaker, the sound is more than enough for casual listening.

Display – If there’s one thing you can’t argue is Apple’s display tech is outstanding. The Retina display on this thing is about as good as it gets.

What I Don’t Love

Inputs – Probably the biggest complaints on the net is around the fact that this machine only has one USB-C input. Yes, it’s not ideal. But there’s no way they are able to build a machine with this profile any other way. Is it a pain? Sometimes. Does it suck that you have to buy a $79 adapter to connect an external monitor, charge and add a traditional USB input? Yep. Honestly, I wish they would have included that with the machine. For me the portability trumps having those inputs in the machine. Having the adapter solves the issue, but yes, it comes at an additional cost. This is definitely a machine meant for wireless connectivity.

Lack of HD camera – Not sure how an HD camera doesn’t happen. I have to believe it can certainly it in the thing, so this is a miss in my opinion. But by no means a deal breaker as I’ve never found myself doing a ton of photos or video calls on my machine.

Price – No surprise here. In most cases, Apple products are more expensive, plain and simple. The anti-Apple community allows rants on this issue, but I feel they never really factor in everything. Build quality/materials, support/service, reliability…all these things factor in to the cost, and while paying more up front isn’t ideal, I believe that the time saved and the quality of the product are worth the price.

This is a machine for the person that prefers portability and simplicity in their computing and uses their computer for productivity and entertainment. While the machine can handle light to medium photo and video editing, it’s not intended for power users in that regard.

5 Ways To NOT Get A Response When Applying To A Job

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I’m back on the hiring wagon yet again. It’s amazing how much time and effort goes into the process of finding the right person for a job. What’s even more amazing that even in this day and age with some much information at our fingertips, the consistent lack of quality candidates I get. Easily only 10% of those that apply are worthy of consideration. So naturally I was motivated to write another hiring post. Hopefully to be found be future candidates to help bump that number up. This time I around I’m focusing on the pre-interview process and what things candidates do that immediately remove them from consideration.

  1. 3+ Page Resumes – Unless you’re a doctor, engineer or some other deeply technical person, there’s no reason for you resume to be more then 2 pages, and for those earlier in their career, one page is totally doable. Less is more, and lengthy, drawn out resumes are a red flag that you are not a strong, succinct writer.
  2. No Cover Letter – Not having a cover letter pretty much tells me that you aren’t really interested in the role and probably just shotgunned the application with who knows how many other job listings. If you can’t take the time to write something up letting me know that you are authentically interested, I certainly won’t take the time to consider you.
  3. Boilerplate Submissions – Not as bad as no cover letter, but pretty close. It’s very easy to tell when someone just copies and pastes the same cover letter for every job they apply to. Especially when there is absolutely no mention of the company or job they are applying to (happens all the time).
  4. Multiple Spelling or Grammar Errors – I’m no champion of spelling or grammar mistakes. My blog posts could be carved up like a Christmas turkey any day of the week. So I can overlook one or two on a resume or cover letter, but if I feel like I need a cryptograph to read it, I’m probably moving on.
  5. Be Completely Unqualified – I’m all for giving people a shot. Especially if they have strong personal traits that make them a long term hire. But if I’m looking for a digital marketer and you’ve spent the majority of your career crafting balloon animals or singing in a barber shop quartet, you’re probably not going to make the cut.

Ironically, I am looking for a digital marketer for my team. So now that you have the blueprint to make the cut, why not apply?

My Apple Watch Review: 5 Reasons It Works

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It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Apple products. I’m usually an early adopter no matter what the product is. However with the Apple Watch, I actually held back longer than usual for a few reasons. For starters, I’ve never been a watch/jewelry guy. I’ve never liked the feel of wearing anything like that. I also had reservations about how the watch would look. Would it be too bulky? Uncomfortable? And would it really be worth spending that much on a watch? After a few months of letting the reviews filter in, and actually being able to try them out in a store, I ultimately decided that I did want one as the look and feel issues were addressed shortly after getting to try one on.

There are a plenty of Apple Watch reviews out there, most of them favorable, and plenty of ones saying it’s not worth it. It really comes down to personal preference. And honestly, this is a premium piece of equipment. If you are not the kind of person that has some expendable income for fancy gadgets and such, then this is clearly not a device for you. There’s also been way too many overblown expectations out of a 1st generation device. “Wahhh…the battery won’t last a week.” “Boooo….it won’t blend my smoothies.”  “Pffttt….I can’t teleport to work with it.” Get a grip. It’s amazing to me how out of touch some people can get when it comes to technology. This thing is a technical achievement plain and simple. It’s remarkable what something this small can do.

The Apple Watch is not without it’s short comings of course. The current Apps out there are not strong. There’s only a handful of ones that truly work well on the watch. I would imagine over time this will improve as developers have more time to get the user experience right on a smaller device. Also, the Apple watch is heavily dependent on your iPhone currently. Word on the street is that the next version or software updates may improve this, but for now, you must have an iPhone, and you can’t stray too far from it for the watch to optimally perform. Also, the learning curve is a bit steep to get to a point where you get the most out of the watch. Anyone with a lack of patience or some tech savviness may find themselves frustrated.

So with all that being said, here is my simple breakdown of 5 reasons why I think the Apple Watch works. While there are other reasons, these are definitely the ones that stand out the most.

  1. Convenience – I have an iPhone 6 Plus. It’s a big phone. I haven’t regretted it since getting it as I prefer the larger screen, but it is a bit wieldy when it comes to finding pocket space or having to dig it out sometimes. Having the Apple Watch drastically limits the need to pull my phone out when receiving any sort of message or notification. Most of the time these notifications are not urgent, so being able to quickly glance at them without having to pull my phone out is incredibly convenient and efficient. It may not seem like a big deal, but once you experience it, it’s awesome.
  2. Notifications – The Apple Watch does a terrific job of managing your notifications. Through the app on your phone, you can easily select which ones you’d like the watch to notify you of, and how it does. The Taptic engine is really quite amazing. It makes being notified less obtrusive then your phone constantly going off.
  3. Health – This has been a game changer for me. It is incredibly eye opening to actually see how active you are vs. how you think you are. I know there are plenty of fitness wearables on the market these days, and have been for quite some time. I’ve never been motivated to buy or wear a fitness device as it only really serves one purpose. Not being a watch guy, it took a device that could do a variety of things to motivate me to actually get into the habit of wearing a watch every day. So I’m fairly certain there are plenty of other devices that do what the Apple Watch can from a health standpoint, but just like everything else they do, it’s beautiful in it’s execution. Incredibly easy to use, and an absolute motivator for me. I find myself constantly being more aware of my need to stand, move, exercise to a degree that meets my specific health goals that I set up initially. It’s a fantastic entry point for those new to this sort of thing like myself, and I’m sure there are plenty of other additional apps that can do more for those more advanced. Seeing all of your health data add up over time on the phone app is also amazing to see and an additional motivator to keep it up on a daily basis.
  4. Apple Pay – While more and more stores start to take Apple Pay, we’re finally getting to the point where the wallet can become obsolete. I always thought the play would be fingerprint, but the Apple Watch makes it even easier. One button, flash the watch, done. Paying for something has never been easier. The only real downside is having to wait for this to scale so that most stores have this as an option.
  5. Siri Integration – For whatever reason, I’ve never really uses voice recognition with my phone as much as I should. The Apple Watch takes a very important step in making it even easier to use. You simply talk to it. By raising the watch up and asking for Siri, you’re in voice recognition mode. To me that makes all the difference in the world instead of having to trigger it with a button press. Obviously the small screen that comes as a watch makes it a no brainer to use your voice to navigate it, but the fact that it just requires your actual voice to use it makes it quicker, easier and more practical to me.

So what say you? For those that have or had the watch, what’s been your experience?