Thursday, 29 May 2014

'Medium' blogging platform

The 'Medium' home page
Medium is a beautiful, sleek blogging platform which will makes content look outstanding. Easy to read fonts, big beautiful images and unique page design all complement each-other perfectly like how blogging websites should be to make posts look crisp and clean - with nothing to distract readers from the words.

The clean layout of posts was founded in Summer 2012 by a man who used to work for Twitter. Since then it has became one of the most popular blogging platforms.

Once you've signed up with your Twitter account you are presented with a simple blank page with few options. You write a heading, subheading, select a picture for the title background and then write your story. There are also various formatting tools you can use before clicking the 'Publish' button to let anyone in the world read what you've got to say. You can also submit your words into a category so there is a higher chance of more people going to read it. 

A differentiation from other blogging sites is that on Medium posts are sorted by category rather than author. This has its advantages and disadvantages. Advantages: if you are a reader who wants to read up on a specific topic it is a brilliant tool and the collections are monitored by fellow users of the website. Disadvantages: all of the blogger's home page displaying only their articles can not be modified much apart from a header and profile picture. Medium is a gimmick free blogger's dream.

An example of the design language used for posts
You are engrossed in stories on Medium about whatever interests you and the site works a little like a news website with the most popular stories and your personal recommendations being displayed on the home screen. All pages follow the same design code as well. This means, unlike Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr and other blogging sites, your space on Medium looks rather impersonal. So if think you can manage having a blog without widgets, advertisements and links; if you are just about the pure content, then Medium is definitely for you.

Everything on the website is simple yet powerful at the same time. Things are displayed in a very basic manor however it still gives you everything you need. For example, under the 'Stats' menu, you are not bombarded with as much information like what you might get with other sites - however it is all there and displayed elegantly.

If you are looking for a modern way to share your stories on the internet, Medium is definitely the way to go. The site seems to have an awesome community and is straight forward to use. What more could you want from a blogging website?  

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Taking a photograph does not make you a photographer

Summer time: good weather and people in good spirit. Facebook is overflowing with selfies of happy people and their friends however some over-ambitions, professional photographer wannabe has uploaded some pictures that have no significance to themselves - or anyone for that matter. The photo is just of a landscape. Why have they uploaded this?

Uploading pictures of hills, fields or dunes is only acceptable if the 'photographer' has taken into consideration focus, aperture, shutter speed, lighting and other variables, or if it is taken with a SLR camera because at least then it means the quality of the pictures are high. However, if a person has just pointed their mobile phone's camera at a landscape and pressed 'capture' without thinking, the photos should no be going on Facebook or any social networking site (apart from Flickr - because nobody really uses that any-more).

The quality is low (most of the time anyway), which means that even if your view is good, you're not capturing colours correctly and when enlarged the photo can become pixelated. But most importantly, nobody cares; even the people who were with you at the time are more lightly to 'like' and comment on the photos that they are in rather than some landscape which may have well have just been found on Google Image Search. If it is a decent landscape you're photographing, there will be hundreds - if not thousands - of pictures of it which are easy to find with a simple image search - which makes the image very impersonal - however if it's not a good landscape, don't take the photo at all. And if you do take it and upload it, do not have the courage to call yourself a photographer... because your not... not even close to armature photographer!

To conclude, when having a whale-of-a-time walking through the countryside or at the beach, feel free to upload thousands of pictures of you and your friends/family however don't upload random pictures with no human subject; nobody wants to see it.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Monument Valley Review

Monument Valley is a trippy puzzle game for iOS and Android. You play as a princess named Ida and need to navigate your way though a Valley of impossible objects. There are 10 beautifully designed, colorful levels which encapture your imagination however they require lateral thinking to complete. As you progress through the addictive game platforms which can rotate, manoeuvrable columns and other creatures are added to add some complexity.

The 10 levels are sadly short and for £2.49 I would expect a lot more however all of the levels are a treat to your eyes and the sense of achievement you get once you have completed a hard level is inimitable.

The game costs £2.49 on both iOS and Android devices. It can be downloaded on smartphones however for optimal gaming experience, I would recommend you play on a tablet. If you do decide to play on your smartphone though, do not worry about the game lagging or crashing; surprisingly the heavy graphics don't take a toll on even low end smartphones.