Why I Moved To Adobe Creative Cloud

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For the first time in 10 years, I bought a legitimate and updated copy of Adobe Photoshop. In the past, I’ve always had either versions that came with cameras or less than reliable versions I’ve downloaded from the internet. I decided to subscribe to the photography package that includes Adobe Photshop CC and Lightroom 5 for $10/month.

Even though people criticized Adobe’s move to the Cloud I found many advantages:

$10 month is affordable. In the past, each iteration of Photoshop would cost like $500. Even previous copies of Lightroom costed around $200 on it’s own. At $10 a month, this would only be $120 year. I feel that the only people who complain about this pricing are people who’ve probably never bought it in the past.

It will always be the most updated copy. For $120 year you can always have the most updated version instead of forking up more money to own a piece of software. People need to let go of the idea of ownership in software.

There are some awesome upgrades from CS6. Camera shake reduction, smart sharpen, perspective changing are some unique advantages to the Creative Cloud software.

The option to save things on the cloud. Each subscription comes with 20GB in Adobe’s Cloud so you can always have your projects on hand. There are also mobile apps that allow you to continue working on your devices.

It can be installed on two computers. When you buy a Creative Cloud license you can have it installed on two computers regardless of operating system, so you don’t need to worry about buying the right discs.

It’s convenient and safe.  No more disabling updates or using dodgy practises to change a computer’s registry which can affect the longevity of a computer. 

For the price of one less burger a month, I can have the best photo editing software out there in my arsenal.

Recently Used Emoticons

IMG_0868In the age of technology, emoticons are just as important in conveying a message as words. I decided to share my most recently used ones. They generally also reflect my most popular ones.

They seem to reflect my personality quite a bit as well as current events.  I like food (which explains the pizza, burger, chocolate and bread) and I am a happy and excited person (face and hand signs). It also looks like I was wishing people a Happy Chinese New Year illustrated by the goat and celebratory things beside it. I’m also a person not afraid to be a little inappropriate (poop, and air poof representing fart).

What are your most recently used emoticons? And what do they say about your surrounding life? I’d love to know!

FiiO X1 MP3 Player Review

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A few months ago, I left my beloved iPod Classic on the subway. I then waited way too long to buy a new one and the classics were now discountinued. This left me with not much option in terms of iPods. Spending $300 for an iPod Touch didn’t seem to make much sense since I had an iPhone, while the lower ones lacked enough space to hold my entire library. I then turned to the internet to research affordable high-end mp3 players and concluded that my best choice would be the FiiO X1 player at $99.

I bought it in gold (silver is the other option). You can watch me unbox the thing here:

IMG_6254Inside the tiny packaging, there were a ton of accessories that I didn’t expect it to come with: 3 screen protectors (1 of which is already on the screen); a silicone case; 2 sets of decorational stickers. Oddly enough it does not come with earphones. You also have to purchase a micro-sd in order to use it as there is no internal storage. It supports cards up to 120GB.

IMG_7218The player looks a lot more expensive than it’s $99 price tag. There aren’t that many instructions that come with the machine, but it’s fairly easy to use. Here are two tips for future FiiO owners:

– You must go into the system settings and hit “Storage Formatting” on your new SD card if you wish to use your own SD card reader instead of the cable to transfer songs.
– Every time you transfer songs going to “Update Media Library” in the system settings is recommended as it refreshes all the album information. Otherwise, songs only shows up in the list of all your mp3s.

Besides the above, everything is basically drag and drop. You can drag your entire iTunes library (or whatever library you use) onto the SD card and leave all folders in tact. It plays FLAC, APE, ALAC, WAV, WMA, MP3, AAC and OGG files, with up to 192-kHz/24-bit resolution. I can definitely hear the sound difference. Everything is more crisp, clear and loud sounds don’t clip. I also hear a certain warmness of each artist’s recording setting that I didn’t pay much attention to before.

Album covers display, but only if they’ve been part of the original mp3 meta data. What this means is that if you did the “Get Album Artwork” thing in iTunes, it probably didn’t embed itself in the metadata, but elsewhere.

The battery lasts very long (12 hours I think) and the system preserves it well. The screen automatically turns off after a certain time and it also turns itself off. The buttons take time to learn but really once you understand how to hit enter (centre button) and go back (top right), the rest don’t really matter. $99 is totally a steal for this thing!
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I Joined We Heart It

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After hearing about We Heart It on a couple of tech blogs, I decided to check it out. It has been around for a few years but picked up in the media recently for having over 25 million active users. The network was created as a place to share inspiring images. It differs from Tumblr and Pinterest in that you can’t comment. You simply upload and “heart” stuff. This makes it harder for people to cyberbully or troll. If you don’t like something, you simply don’t heart it.

I had a first hand experience on how many people actually use this network. I signed up, uploaded the snowflake photo in my previous post and within half an hour had 100 hearts. That’s amazing considering I started out with no followers.

The network also has a beautiful iOS/Android app. Now excuse me as I go heart some more stuff. You can follow me here.

My Thoughts on the Google+ Integration on Youtube

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There has been a lot of chatter about the recent Google + integration with Youtube. Personally, I’ve been using the social network on and off ever since it first went beta. Right now, it is mostly auto-publishing feeds from my personal blog and Youtube channel.

In contrast, I haven’t actually been an active Youtube user until recently. Obviously I have watched countless videos on Youtube but since I wasn’t an active contributor I didn’t find it that necessary to leave comments. I did find however that I started to comment more after the Youtube name-change to connect ourselves with our Google+ identities. Maybe I wanted more followers on a network I had an iffy relationship with.

There’s a lot not to like about the integration though. For one, if you have separate Youtube pages for different things, you have to manage different Google + profiles. In my case, Ride the Tempo has a channel for occasional live videos. However, I find that the general music fan or listener isn’t highly active on Google+ (as I’ve tried managing a page in the past) so I wish that it could also be connected to my personal page, which people seem to follow. I do believe that there are plenty of users on Google+, as I am in more than 300 users’ circles. That’s more than the followers most people have on Twitter.

Another issue is the publishing of comment to the poster’s Google + feed. Although this can be an asset for users (as their content gets shared), it is somewhat of a nuisance when I want to leave a quick comment on something I don’t want to necessarily share (or share again if it’s my second comment on the same video). Since, it is Google+ based there is no longer a character limit on comments. As a new Vlogger, this seems quite intimidating and scary. Troll heaven. Or right now Bob and his stupid tanks world.

Instead of forcing Google+ on us, Google should have done a much better job explaining what it is for in the first place. It has some snazzy features (hangouts, photo editors) but the original marketing as a better Facebook or Twitter when those existed is comparable to Microsoft’s attempt to sell us the Zune.