TV Viewing is Getting SMART-er

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The title is sort of stating the obvious, but let me explain. I think the majority of my generation caught the back-end of cable TV before digital viewing came in (e.g. SkyTV and Virgin Media). However, with the help of the internet and the greater competitive development of technology, televisions are getting “SMART-er”.

The Death of TV on a Telly

For years now, Sky, Virgin and BT have been a pinnacle part of our furniture. Much of TV viewing requires a box on the TV stand which contains hundreds of different channels. From Hollywood to Bollywood. From Bollywood to Nollywood. Then to Friends on every other channel. I think some show sport, but rumour has it you have to sacrifice a limb for it.

You know when it all changed? When screens replaced buttons on devices which became heavily reliant on the internet. That changed television in a way which we constantly overlook. It is leading to the death of television on a telly (if it has not already happened). Netflix became the ‘King of the Jungle’.

It costs significantly lower than TV boxes, and you don’t actually need a box to view it. Sky Originals from previous years often appear on it, so no need to buy boxsets. In fact, many major TV networks put their shows on Netflix. It offers pretty much the same thing a TV box would, yet you don’t even need a TV to watch it all. Your phone, tablet or laptop can all show it in the same quality.

Future-Vision

Streaming is taking over. TV boxes will soon become a thing of the past. Think about it. Streaming services are half the price, accessible everywhere at any time, accustomed to you and…NO ADVERTS!

For the majority of the 10’s, Netflix dominated the streaming scene. I mean Hulu have been around and Amazon Prime snuck in too. But Netflix is the first name you think of in this discussion. However, other big name players are entering the new game. Disney recently launched Disney+ and both ITV and BBC have created a joint service, BritBox, to keep British television up-to-speed.

The question is, what can the likes of Sky and Virgin Media offer that these services can’t? Rather than offering a wide-variety of channels, these services actually analyse your viewing and will recommend shows for you. It saves you flicking through an endless library. I am pretty sure these TV boxes are not able to do that. Oh, and you don’t need a TV license either.

TV’s don’t just have channels anymore, they have apps. You can even browse the web on your TV. On my TV remote, there are actually buttons for Netflix and Amazon Prime to take you straight to the apps. To me, this indicates that one of these is the first place a viewer would go. It is certainly the first place I go. It tells me they expect you to stream your TV shows and not plug in a box.

It’s hard to see how this isn’t the death of TV boxes. It could be a critical blow for the likes of Sky. Even though they have a deal with Netflix, will it be enough to save their platform?

What even is ‘Telly’ now?

Make Earth Cool Again…

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You see the wildest, craziest, almost unbelievable science and gadgets on the internet…and they really can be cool AF! You see them used for life hacks, fun in the name of science, even complete random nonsense. But, can fun science and engineering be put to better use? Can we use them to make Earth cool again?

In this article, we will take you through a few modern revolutionary items which could be used to create a much more sustainable environment.

This isn’t just an article as to why it could improve our planet, it’s the direction we must go. The 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) was the biggest step we have taken so far into globally agreeing the actions we must all take to save our planet. There were many challenges discussed and many actions to defeat them, but the most significant agreement to have been made at COP21 is that we must not let the planet temperature rise another 2 degrees Celsius. By informing and engaging less-developed countries, as well as agreeing actions within individual nations (such as bans on petrol and diesel cars in many countries), the leaders, the businesses and the people of their respective nations will be doing their part in saving the planet.

As per my last blog article on the current state of our planet (Earth is Dead), I shifted a lot of blame on those in power; whether they be government or private companies; but COP21 will ensure everyone plays a part in providing and relying on more efficient energy sources.

While the plans and actions have been agreed, there’s only one place where we can exceed those expectations and really give ourselves a boost in the mission to save our planet… Science and Technology! And guess what, they’ve already started! Here are three revolutionary products, created by the art that is engineering, which can change the world and give us a MASSIVE boost!

OohoSkipping Rocks Lab

To be honest, I don’t know how this hasn’t taken over the majority of packaging materials. This is a game changer. I don’t understand how this isn’t talked about. I’ve told a lot of people about this and yet it seems to be the case that I am the only one who was actually aware of this.

Notpa – Ohoo Water Orb

If this is news to you, which I can guarantee it is for the majority reading this, Ohoo is an ‘alternative’ material for packaging. It’s not plastic. It’s not even paper or metal. It’s seaweed!

The product was developed by Skipping Rocks Lab and is sold by Notpla. Notpla plan to lease the machine used to produce Ooho’s to relevant stakeholders and customers. For example, if an events company wishes to use Ooho’s to create little sachet’s of sauce or food, then Notpla will provide this. Ooho’s are 100% biodegradable and take around 4 to 6 weeks to “disappear”. It’s been used to create little orbs of water, in an attempt to remove plastic bottles from shelves. A single orb can hold around 20ml to 150ml worth of product (primarily liquids). Head to Notpla’s website to find out more.

I can’t be the only one who thinks this is amazing? If this can be developed further and produced on a mass scale, it wouldn’t just reduce the production of plastic and its use for packaging, it could completely replace it! Now you know what I mean when I say it’s a game changer. However, maybe Ooho’s are not so talked about generally because of how undeveloped they still are. They can only be used for very small packaging at the moment, but I am certain that they will become hugely significant in the near future. We would really be reaching our targets as a planet if we do have a strong focus on the use of packaging and Ooho’s will be a very strong start to that. Plastic is very harmful when being disposed of, but the production of plastic is where it really causes damage. If you think of where and how plastic is used, you’ll realise how dependant we currently are on plastic and how the need for Ooho is essential.

Tesla SolarTesla

Tesla Solar – Roof Tiles

So simple yet so clever. Many people are already aware of this product. It’s actually taken off amazingly well in America. To put it simply, Tesla have designed roof tiles which have incorporated invisible solar cells. The best part is that it’s actually a cheaper alternative to slate roof tiling. In fact, it offers different materials and slate is one of them!

Tesla’s batteries are already renowned for their efficiency and use of sustainable energy. The solar tiles are integrated with their Powerall home battery which means you are able to rely on your own produced energy and use it as and when you wish to.

Why is this huge? Because it means we wouldn’t have to rely on massive power plants to power our homes with more expensive and less sustainable energy. Tesla have already taken this international, but it’s about adapting this to the existing, rather than just new homes/buildings. It also begs the question of what new ways we are able to share energy.

Tesla Solar is the first major effort, that I have seen, to change the way homeowners/residents use and gain energy. I mean, obviously solar panels already exist and have done for a while, as well as other renewable energy sources, but Tesla Solar is the first time I’ve seen someone push for sustainable energy as a ‘norm’. It makes the current method of energy-use look somewhat ‘old’. It’s kind of like a “get with the programme” statement.

Bamboo

Bamboo is often used for architecture – Bali (shown here) are well-known for this

An overlooked resource. Bamboo is natural, grows quick and easy and can be used for tons of stuff inside and outside a home! It also absorbs greenhouse gases and grows anywhere and everywhere! I think people need to realise how incredibly useful Bamboo can be. It’s a tough material. It’s used for scaffolding in many parts of the world, in particular East Asia. But not only can Bamboo be used for beneficial tools, it can also be used for luxury items, such as decoration, ornaments, etc.

In all honesty, engineers should take this resource and let their imaginations run wild with it. If any professional region is going to turn this highly reliable, hugely sustainable material into something beneficial for everyday life, it’s them.

In Fact…

…It’s our engineers who have accelerated our journey to a sustainable planet as they are the ones who innovated such game-changing products and the ones who have put our natural resources to efficient use.

Our hopes of the future lie in our scientists and our engineers. Developing and growing such ideas like those in this article are what can help the planet achieve our mission from COP21 and can help us ‘Make Earth Cool Again’.

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Earth is Open to Suggestions

What innovative products/materials should be used at a higher volume, or should have higher funding and focus, to help develop a more sustainable environment? Let us know on Twitter and Instagram!

Creatives Should Ask, “What Would Jobs Do?”

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Steve Jobs – A true artist of the product. The man who changed the world because, not only did he have the imagination for change, he sold it too.

We predominantly know Jobs as the Co-Founder of Apple. He was the face of the brand. He also funded Pixar, allowing the animation company to become a highlight of our childhoods. “Toy Story” was the first-ever computer animated feature film. For some that’s old news, for some it’s new! Jobs was a huge part of that. It was his vision, hence why he funded it. He was even the Executive Producer (Pixar Wikipedia, 2019).

But it was his work at Apple which really implemented his status as one of the great geniuses the world has ever seen.

Modern Day Genius

I recently wrote an article about Elon Musk (which you can read here) stating how we was also a genius of the modern day. Musk has changed the landscape of survival. But in a world which is built of various social beliefs, industries and a million-and-one different lifestyles, Steve Jobs has not only caused a greater impact, he’s shaped the entire future of how we function.

Steve Jobs didn’t care about the money. He wanted to change the world. And I think it’s pretty obvious to say that if you change the world, there will probably be a handsome cheque being written to you at the end of it. The idea was what Jobs thrived off. Not only what it could bring, but how it could grow and become influential.

He Didn’t Sell Products; He Evolved Our Lifestyles

I mentioned “Toy Story”, but as much as that influenced and evolved the film industry, it didn’t change our lives. But the iPhone, well, that changed everything.

Our smartphones are more than phones. We rely on them. They’re our phones, our libraries, our galleries, our games, our music, our wallets, our news, our maps, our browsers, our emails, our notes, our TV, our jokes, our interaction with the greater world and, for some, our careers.

I predict, one day, that we will no longer need actual wallets or car keys or whatever you carry in your pockets on a day-to-day basis because EVERYTHING will be on your device. They won’t even be called smartphones, they’ll be called our “ePockets” or something.

Jobs did that. He changed the world. He launched the iPhone. He wasn’t the first to come up with a touchscreen phone. But he made the touchscreen aspect unimportant. They were the trend, yet he decided to not even focus on that. ‘Yeah it’s touchscreen, but did you know it’s not just a phone?’ is essentially what he said. That was a huge surprise to everyone! No-one expected that. No-one at all.

There’s been many inventions over the course of recent time which never took off. Microsoft developed tablets way before Apple came up with the iPad, but it never took off. There’s a reason for that. It was just another Microsoft product to be sold. The marketing wasn’t so great, or maybe we just weren’t ready for it. So how did the iPhone become so successful? Steve Jobs didn’t sell the product, he sold the vision. People saw this launch and instantly started to think ‘can you imagine how good this will be in 10 years?’

I still remember the launch. Steve Jobs genuinely blew my mind with how he delivered it. He knew it was a game changer and you can hear that in the reaction of the crowd when he said, “Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices, this is one device…”

“Wait… one device?????”, said everyone.

It still gives me Goosebumps. Legendary.

Watch the iconic launch here:

It’s Not the Same Anymore

Apple’s vision was Steve Job’s vision. I mean, it kind of still is but it seems different. Jobs thought outside the box. He never thought of what the consumer wanted, he thought along the lines of ‘this is new, and people will love it’. His ideas and concepts were not originated from trends in the industry or keep up to pace with competitors; it was his vision of how he wanted everyone to live.

But now, their focus seems to be on the current rather than the future. They’re improving what’s already out there, just like their competitors are doing. There’s no distinction any more apart from their unique house-style. In fact, all Tim Cook does is use Apple’s highly perceived brand image and use it to drive for a bigger profit margin. Whatever Apple sell, people will buy because they assume that Apple are ahead of the game and still changing the future due to the work of Steve Jobs. But that’s not the case anymore. Their competitors have caught up and Apple are, debatably, no longer the most forward-thinking technology company. For example, I see why AirPods exist (wireless earphones were always going to happen, it’s no biggie), but why on Earth do they cost nearly £200? I can get a decent pair of wired earphones from HMV for about £20 and probably cheaper online. Just because they’re wireless does not mean they should cost 10x more! Again, it’s the brand image built by Jobs which has caused consumers to constantly be in awe of everything Apple put out there.

Like I said, with Jobs gone, Apple have lost that out of the box innovation which they were built on.

R.I.P Steve Jobs

His work changed the world. He’s an absolute icon in many industries. There’s no denying that he was one of a kind. He accelerated societal development and changed how everyone lives within a decade. Since the launch of the iPhone in 2007, our devices around the house (and beyond) have become essential, problematic and debated. We are yet to learn how to efficiently cope with this drastic change, but there’s no denying we are heading in the right direction. Jobs’ vision is only directing us the right way. It’s crazy to say that how we live should adapt to his vision rather than it being the other way round. That is unheard of.

Every creative agency and creative mind in the world should have some sort of tribute for Steve Jobs in their offices and/or rooms. He’s an inspiration to the creative mind. To all the creatives out there, when you’re stuck in a rut and are struggling to get that ‘light bulb moment’, just ask yourself the question: ‘What would Jobs do?’

R.I.P Steve Jobs.

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Elon Musk: Hero or Villain?

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I first came across this idea back when I was a student. In one particular lecture, my professor asked the question “Is Elon Musk really trying to save the planet or is he exposing a hot topic for profit?” Those who thought he was a hero stood on one side of the room, the others on the opposite. It was 50/50. I thought (and still do) that Elon is the hero we’ve been looking for, but the result of that question genuinely had me surprised. In this article, let us explore both arguments.

Who the Hell is Elon Musk???

He’s the man of the hour. He might just be the man who saves us. He is his own franchise (not sure if that’s the right word here). He’s not only an entrepreneur, but he’s also an engineer, an investor and an all-around genius.

He’s the co-founder of PayPal, founder of The Boring Company, co-founder of Tesla as well as the founder of, my personal favourite adventure of his, SpaceX. These are not the only companies he has founded by the way, just the ones which are more commonly known amongst the general population. He’s the CEO of three of those companies. He has a net-worth of over $20 billion. He’s made it on to two of Forbes most prestigious lists: ‘21st in The World’s Most Powerful People (December 2016)’ and he is the ‘40th Richest Person in the World (April 2019)’. If you want a more detailed background on the man, check out his Wikipedia page.

In this article, we are going to look at his three most recognised successes: PayPal, Tesla and Space X. It will talk about why or why not they may be beneficial to the future of our home. It’s time to decide whether Elon Musk is our saviour or our super-villain.

PayPal

PayPal logo

Not a great amount can be said on PayPal in all honesty, aside the fact it is contributing to the whole ‘cashless society’ movement. It was an early move from Musk, more of a start-up to fund his more recent projects rather than going straight for the sole purpose he conveys.

The whole cashless society idea, which I believe is estimated to be lodged around 2030, is a movement which can really benefit the environment. The printing of cash will be a thing of the past and so intangible monies will significantly reduce the resourcing and use of paper.

However, PayPal incurs fees for commercial purposes for sellers. It’s a fair amount too but there’s many variations, dependant on geographical location, which you can see here (Finder, 2019).

Now, the question is here is: Is Elon Musk passionate about advancing towards intangible cash to reduce paper-use? Or is he using this reasoning to take advantage of the extra costs of using card-payments, whilst applying his own fees, for higher profit?

Tesla

Tesla are the automotive and energy company who are really on the come up. The quality of their vehicles is second-to-none. Although founded in 2003, it is only recently that Tesla are becoming quite the popular name.

Why are they popular? It’s because of the efficiency of their products. Tesla cars are entirely electric, yet they are still as powerful, beautiful and luxurious as your top-end car brands (such as JLR, Aston Martin, BMW, Mercedes, etc). Only once have I sat in a Tesla car, but oh my is it quick! It’s easy for me to drift on a tangent here and talk about why it’s probably the best brand in the motor industry right now, but let me stick to the point here. It wouldn’t be fair for me to say Elon Musk has changed the industry by focusing on electric motors, as many other car manufacturers are also taking the route of electric (and even hybrid) vehicles, but he is certainly accelerating the rate of pace in which electricity-run motors are taking over our roads by producing the best quality product through the only well-known car manufacturer who do not rely on fossil-fuels.

Tesla Logo

Who knows where this might lead. It could come to the point where Tesla are the leading brand in the industry and so other car brands would have no choice but to accelerate their own pace of throwing out the oil-run motors and relying on electricity. It would lead to public transport relying on electricity too. It might even expand further than the roads. Our boats on the waters and our planes in the air could all follow in the footsteps of Tesla.

However, there is another side to this. Does Elon Musk want the others to follow Tesla?

A forum on Quroa suggests that Tesla does not supply their batteries to other cars. This is because Tesla’s technology is different. They’re ahead of the game. Their batteries/chargers wouldn’t be compatible with other cars, or even if they were, would not work as well. By offering better product which is more advanced tech than your competitors, and by keeping in-house and quiet, it will give you a distinct advantage in the industry and will definitely induce profit even though they are not selling it.

Does Tesla want to take over? Do they not want their competitors to succeed? Do they want to get so far ahead they kill them off? Do they want 100% of the market share? ALL the profit? Do they want to be just like Apple in their quest of world domination?
Or do they really want to create efficient motors and be the only ones to do so? Does Elon Musk think he’s the only one with the “right” vision and doesn’t trust the others in following that path?

What do you think Elon is trying to do with Tesla?

SpaceX

SpaceX Logo

SpaceX, supposedly, is here for space exploration, transportation and developing space technology. They’ve developed a rocket (Falcon 9) which is “re-usable”, and by that I mean it doesn’t just fall off into the sea it actually lands back on Earth and can be sent up again.

But you know what their mission statement is? Their “ultimate goal” is to enable people to “live on other planets” (SpaceX, 2019). In other words, even though Elon Musk is trying to save this planet, even he knows it’s f****d. In my eyes, SpaceX is a programme to get us the hell out of here before it’s too late. It’s his ‘Plan B’. Just watch this video and you’ll know what I mean:

Elon Musk’s vision for Mars

He wants to send people to Mars by 2024. You know why? Because once that step is done, and considering the pace Musk’s companies develop at, there won’t be many more steps before people can actually live there. Recent discoveries from NASA have suggested that there once may have been life on Mars, with some ice under the surface having been found.

How could Musk possibly be using this programme as a venture for profit rather than an escape plan? There’s not much against it, in all honesty. I might be saying that because I am, admittedly, slightly bias. I love his work. The only argument I could possibly think of is that he’s exposing an industry which only he is capable of being successful in. He has the finances to fund such a venture, as well as the advanced technology to actually have a massive presence there. The longer they stay there and develop their technology, and potentially exceeding NASA, it turns into a bit of a monopoly. NASA will have no choice but to buy from SpaceX (they’re already putting their astronauts on Falcon 9) because if they don’t, SpaceX will do it themselves. They have the knowledge, technology and, at some point, will definitely have the money. They’re either a threat or friend to NASA.

It’s difficult to suggest that SpaceX is some sort of “exploitation”. It’s nothing close to that in my eyes. Yes, it is guaranteed profit; if you factor Musk’s technological ability, his financial stability and his excellent entrepreneurial skills; but you need that if you are going achieve a mission which people don’t think is possible for DECADES! The big money is essential if he is going to achieve that goal. But I guess you could always ask ‘will he ever achieve it?’

YOU DECIDE

Is Elon Musk a hero or a villain? After reading this, it would be great to hear what you think of Musk and his projects!

Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (and give us a follow while you’re there):  

How Social is Social Media?

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Does judgement, conflicts, selling a lifestyle, posting pointless images with unrelated song lyrics count as being social? Let me ask you a question. How many Instagram (or Twitter) followers do you have? For many, it’s well over 300. Out of those hundreds, how many do you actually know? How many do you actually interact with? If you’re answer is “not many”, or thereabouts, let me ask you one final question. Why do you want strangers to see your life? You’re not interacting with each other, I’m assuming you just want to be looked at. Is this being social or is this just a crave for attention? What was the original purpose of social media? It was to stay connected to friends and family, right? It was a way of keeping in touch without actually keeping in touch. It was essentially an update of your life. Let’s be honest, it’s not used for that anymore (or very rarely I should say). In this article, I’m not going to talk about how businesses use social media (that will come another time), but more how personal users sell their lifestyles on various platforms and how some misuse the channel.

What’s Changed?

Social media feels like it’s been around forever. I mean, what did we used to do when we were waiting around for something? What did we do when we were procrastinating at work? What did we do on long journey’s? It’s crazy to think social media has only been a ‘thing’ for little over a decade. But a lot has changed in its use in that time.

When platforms such as Facebook and Twitter first came around, we were given a purpose for them by the brands themselves. Facebook was supposed to be used to connect people globally. Twitter was more or less the same except it was more interactive, especially with celebrities (and such) being a lot more active and personal on this channel.

What’s changed is that people have let the ideology of being connected to the entire globe get to their head. The possibilities of what you can make out of this became endless. For those who realised that early on, they have become successful. They have created businesses and careers out of it (e.g. The LadBible and ‘Vine-ers’). But nowadays, everyone wants the same thing. They want to be seen. They realise the possibilities, so they’ll do anything for a like or a retweet. And ‘anything’ became worse and worse and continues to do so. People will embarrass themselves. Matter of fact, they will degrade themselves if it means they get seen. If you want an example, I have one word for you…TikTok.

What’s changed is that the users of social media have realised there’s no limit to what they can do or say on the channel. They almost get lost in it, like it’s detached from reality. It’s detached from reality because people can be whoever they want. Who says you have to use your real name? Or your own photo? Or your own thoughts? People can be massive on the socials but hidden in real life. People have actually forgotten that social media is a part of the real world.

This can cause trouble. I remember I got suspended in school for uploading a video of a kid singing a Peter Andre song and pranking another kid. I thought it was hilarious. But I forgot the people who were seeing this were real people, and some of those real people were people I had a professional relationship with (the students and teachers). But I was a kid, I learnt that lesson early. I see adults making similar mistakes. I saw someone on LinkedIn telling their life-story of how they got to where they were now, which is fair enough, but some of the content was not relevant for that platform. This lady was telling a lot about her personal life, focusing on her past relationships, on a platform where your professional credentials matter, not your personal matters. Something like this would stand out on LinkedIn because it is content which does not fit the purpose. It’s as if they are looking for the attention so they get views on their profile and likes on their post. Only businesses should live by the saying “any publicity is good publicity”, not people. You’re not getting the views for the right reasons. I highly doubt your future employers have a keen interest in your ex. I also highly doubt it’s doing you any favours.

People

People who use social media use it in a way to attract a certain audience. You’re behaving like a business. You want followers to see what you get up to but you don’t even care about them. You don’t care who see’s just as long as they see. You’ll behave like someone you’re not just to get them to see you. You will act like a completely different person online than you will in real life.

People will only show one angle (literally) of themselves. They only get their good side, and I’m not just talking about their selfies. In order to get them followers, to get that popularity and attention, people only show the best versions of themselves (if it is actually themself).

Does this effect people’s behaviour in real life? I feel like it might. I feel like there may be individuals who get so lost in this virtual world that they change their actual habits. They become this other person, one they prefer, so one they become.

Why?

I don’t know…

It could be years of media portrayal of the “ideal” person or lifestyle. It could be the vacuum we call the internet and the virtual world, which ironically could be seen as a disconnect rather than a connect to the real world. It could be something deeper than that.

DISCLAIMER

There are plenty of people who use the socials as a place for creativity, sharing new ideas, alternative news, fun, raising awareness and, it’s original purpose, connecting with family and friends. I respect the people who do that. They’re being positive and are taking advantage of such an impactful platform, rather than getting lost in it.

Here’s the Irony…

Follow the socials! (lol)

Comment below or share your thoughts using the hashtag #YouHerdItHere! And remember to #FollowTheFlock.