Just a Thought

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If you don’t want compromising pictures of yourself to get into the wrong hands, the best advice is to not take those compromising pictures in the first place. That’s the unfortunate truth of the internet. It is a wonderful tool that allows the limitless spread of information, but at the cost of spreading literally everything.

You can hide behind layers of security and encryption, but if you’re a popular target, those walls will eventually come crashing down. If you’re a well known person, don’t take that risk, it’s just not worth it in the end. Put your phone away, and put your clothes back on; that’s the best security advice I can give.

Life with the iPhone 5s

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After my Nexus 4 started developing problems with charging in April, I got an iPhone 5s. I needed a phone that would just work, and have enough battery life to get me through a busy day. I had originally planned to get the 32gb version of the 5s, but the T-Mobile store didn’t have it available, so I got the 16gb base version.

I’ll admit, I was “not the biggest fan of iOS 7”:http://dzine-studios.com/2013/06/10/thoughts-on-ios-7-aka-android-4-2/ when it first came out, but I’ve since grown to love it. At this point, I appreciate what a bold move Apple made with iOS 7, they’ve essentially started another major design trend1. That’s what makes them innovative, they lead the pack instead of just following others. I used to be a huge fan of the iOS 6 era design, but now it looks gaudy and overbearing compared to iOS 7.

I could easily go on and wax poetically about the fingerprint reader, the camera, the processor, and more, but you could just go and read an Engadget review if you want the details. The bottom line is *everything just works*. I don’t think about any of the features the 5s has, I just use them. The fingerprint reader works flawlessly, the camera takes good pictures quickly, and the phone is still just as zippy and fast as it was when I got it four months ago.

That, in my opinion, is the best feature of the iPhone. You don’t need to fiddle with options and a million third party apps to get a decent experience, and you don’t need to kill apps and toggle wifi/bluetooth/data/gps on and off to try and get decent battery life. After using Android phones for close to two years, it’s lovely to be able to just use a phone without thinking about it.

The iPhone 5s definitely has a much more premium feel as compared to a Nexus 4. It feels like a solid device, as opposed to the toy-like plastic feel of most Android phones. In addition to having fantastic hardware, I also love the Apple ecosystem of apps. The apps really are designed better, and function better, almost always better than their Android counterparts (if they even have Android versions). In addition, so much hardware is designed to work with Apple devices, like my car, or the treadmills at the gym.

The physical size is one of the 5s’ greatest features in my opinion, and I really am not too thrilled with the upcoming iPhone 6 being bigger. I love how the 5s fits into my pockets very comfortably, instead of sticking out and feeling bulky. Nowadays, my Nexus 4 feels bulky and unwieldy, as compared to the perfectly sized iPhone 5s.

The storage space being only 16gb hasn’t bothered me very much at all. I started using Spotify Premium shortly after I got the 5s, and it really has eliminated the need for a large internal storage disk. Streaming music over mobile data did not work very well in NYC, especially with the large gaps in service in the subway system; however, here in Phoenix where I drive everywhere under the open sky, I always get perfect reception. Now that T-Mobile has started allowing unlimited data for music streaming, I can stream in high quality without ever worrying about my data running out. It’s super liberating to be able to listen to literally anything at any time, without needing to sync or wait.

Battery life is no longer a concern for me, as the 5s always has enough juice to get me through at least a day and a half. Since I generally charge it nightly, I’ve never had a dead battery, or even gotten close to it. I wish I could say the same of my Nexus 4, where I had to ration my battery use at the end of the day and come home with 2% battery life.

Having the iPhone 5s is just a weight off my shoulders, as I can just use it without thinking about the technical aspects of it. I already spend most of my days staring at code and debugging, so it’s really nice to not have to do the same with my phone.

1. I know that Microsoft technically did flat design earlier than Apple with Windows 8, but nobody really caught on. When Apple did flat design, everybody and their mother scrambled to redesign everything to match the iOS 7 style. That’s what being an industry leader does.

No More Break

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It’s long been a blogging tradition to have a little excerpt of the blog post on the front page, with a “read more” link to continue reading the full post. I had this system going on here for a little bit as well, but as of this year I’ve stopped doing it completely. Why? It’s an archaic remnant from the for-profit blog era, where making visitors click through would allow them to see more ads, and thus would generate more revenue for the blog owner.

Online advertising has changed greatly since then, and unless you have targeted ads like Fusion/The Deck, there’s little point to having ads on your blog unless you’re some viral/meme blog. I haven’t had ads on this blog in a very long time, so it just seemed a little stupid to have “read more” links for no real reason. Sure, the home page looks tidier with only excerpts, but this site is primarily a blog, with no other purpose, so why hide the content?

That being said, I’ll be going through the older posts and removing all the “read more” links. Unfortunately I did not have the foresight to make automatic excerpts, so I have a whole bunch of posts to manually edit. Oh well. It’ll make writing easier from now on, because I won’t have to think about where to split a post. No more unnecessary interruptions.

Doing Just Fine

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It’s been two months since I packed up all of my things and moved to Phoenix, Arizona. Looking back on it, I have to say it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life so far. But let’s rewind for a bit and catch up on where I left off.

The five day trip was oddly uneventful— my old car completed the 2600-mile trip without a single problem. I’m glad I waited an extra few days to leave NYC, because by doing so I avoided the snow completely. I drove for about eight to nine hours each day, and slept in motels at night. That kept night driving to a minimum, and aside from being a little bored I didn’t go crazy. I ended up sleeping in Cincinnati (Ohio), Washington (Missouri), Hinton (Oklahoma), and Grants (New Mexico). A lot of it was monotonous farm scenery, but occasionally I’d drive through a bigger city like St. Louis which provided a far more interesting view. As I got into Texas, the weather got warmer and I noticed that the AC in the car wasn’t really working. Not a great sign, but it wasn’t so hot that it bothered me.

I rolled into Phoenix around 4pm on Saturday, March 8th, and I immediately fell in love with the palm trees and warm summer breeze. Coming from NYC where it was below freezing, Phoenix felt like paradise. The apartment complex I moved into was in a less-than-ideal part of Phoenix, but it’s fully gated and the landlord is friendly, so it’s not all bad.

Most people are surprised when I tell them that I didn’t move here with a job waiting for me. Nor did I have a college degree. My girlfriend got a job nine days into living here, at a web design/SEO company known as Falling Up. I subsequently updated my design portfolio, and two days later I got a job offer from Fervor Creative, which I happily accepted.

I immediately loved my job at Fervor, from day one. The people there are all super friendly and cool, and the environment is lovely. I got an iMac to use and I set it up with all of my favorite software, such as Coda and Transmit, along with a second display. Feeling good about my job, I bought a brand new iPhone 5s (more on that later) about a week in.

Just as everything was looking up, my old 2003 Hyundai Elantra started having engine problems. I was okay with the AC not working; I had bought parts and budgeted to fix it, but engine problems can rapidly become very expensive, and I had already put way too much money into the car considering its age. So one day after work, I drove (barely made it) to a Hyundai dealership. I was expecting to just buy a newer used Elantra, but to my complete surprise the dealer worked with me and my limited credit and hooked me up with a great deal on a brand new Hyundai Elantra GT. I gladly took it, knowing that I had the income to afford it.

Within a month of being in Phoenix, I had a stable career and a new car. I still can’t believe how everything came together. Call it luck, call it years of planning; I can’t be thankful enough for how everything has turned out so far.

As for the future, this week I’m planning on moving into a newer apartment complex in Tempe (suburb of Phoenix). I’ve visited the place and it looks like a fantastic place for me to live, plus the surrounding area is clean and convenient. I’ll live there for six months or so until I have plenty of money saved up to finally move into a big house.

To wrap things up, I took a chance. I moved across the country in an old car stuffed with a few of my belongings, to a place I had never been to before, with no friends, no family, nor connections of any kind waiting for me. And I’m much happier than I would have been in NYC. Life is short, so if you’re unhappy then perhaps it’s time to be the change you’re waiting for.

Leaving For A Long Time

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After several setbacks, mechanical issues with my car, and snow-related delays, I’m finally heading out west to Phoenix tomorrow with my longtime girlfriend Maddie. Spending my last day at home has definitely been rather sad, I feel slightly homesick already. My parents are pretty bummed about it too, but they’ve been mostly supportive of it so far, and Maddie’s parents have been cool with it too. I know we just have to get out now while we still don’t have too many belongings or too many connections here in NYC.

At around 6am tomorrow we’re leaving my house with all of our belongings in the car, then we’re driving non-stop until we reach Columbus, Ohio, where we’ll be hanging out with a cool dude (more on that after the trip). Then we’re making a quick drive to Cincinnati where we’ll be spending the night with an old high school friend of ours that lives there. After that, we’re spending the night with a producer buddy who lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. From there it’s straight to Phoenix. Right now I estimate it will take 4-5 days to make the trip, but we’ll see what happens.

We already have a temporary place to stay that rents on a weekly basis with some cool perks like a pool, wi-fi, and fully furnished rooms. It’s a little like a hotel but you pay rent weekly and there’s no lease, so you leave whenever you want. We’ll look for work and then once some money starts coming in (we’re currently running on savings) we’ll look for a decently big three/four bedroom house to rent. The housing in Phoenix is rather cheap, so we’re pretty optimistic.

_I guess this is growing up._

Arizona

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After many months of planning and thinking and talking to my girlfriend, I’ve decided to move to Arizona with her. I’m tired of living in NYC. This city never really appealed to me, and I always felt annoyed by it. I’m tired of the ridiculous rent and gas prices here. I don’t want to pay $1400 a month to live in a closet or live with five roommates. I don’t want to feel like a sardine in a tin can every time I take public transit here. I’m bored of the metal scene here, it’s pretty outdated for the most part. Everything is overpriced here, and people are just unfriendly assholes for the most part. I hate the cold, the rain, and the humidity here. I hate being in such an overpopulated, crowded place.

I’m just not happy in NYC anymore. The nightlife and city life here don’t really appeal to me. I’m not a drinker or a partier, nor do I care about fancy food. I have literally nothing keeping me here, so why should I stay here? That’s why in early March I’m packing all my things into a small car and a U-Haul and driving to Phoenix, Arizona. I can get a decently large house there for like $800 a month, and gas there is always about 50 cents cheaper. I’ve been saving up to move for a few months now, so I won’t be fully broke when I arrive there. Once I get there with my girlfriend, we’ll start a new life there. I’ll meet new people, get a new job, and record new bands. I’m excited for the future.

*Life is too short to spend it living somewhere you hate.* If you feel unsatisfied with your current location, then move! It’s a big country out there, surely you can find your place under the sun.

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