Macintosh turns 35

Remember me? I just turned 35 years old! In 1984, I cost $2,500 and came equipped with a 9-inch black and white monitor #yikes! Compare the 1984 model with the swankiest version available today– $2,299.00 for a 27-inch screen with a Retina 5K display. 👀👏🏽

In 2013 I visited the Living Computer Museum in Seattle, WA and got a chance to experience many working iterations of Apple’s Macintosh computer. There’s also an Apple Museum in Prague – you can check out the 3D Tour here.

If you want an even more personal trip down memory lane, check out the Macintosh Software Library where you can play old-school games and applications right in your browser!

Smart Speakers

The smart speaker industry is expected to grow 63% in 2019 (Deloitte). I have not been an early adopter of smart speakers because I wanted to scope out the market, gauge user adoption and weigh pros/cons for each option. The most popular options being: Alexa (Amazon), Google Assistant (Google) and Siri (Apple). Apple is my go-to for hardware (phone, laptop, watch) and I tend to prefer Google for services (i.e. calendar, mail). Given my perception, I’m curious to know if it will hold up in the smart speaker arena.

Before we get started I have a few biases / perceptions about smart speakers to disclose:

  1. I’m ~75% paranoid that someone on the other end will be “listening” to what’s going on in my home (see also Enemy of the State).
  2. Amazon scares me – they are getting too big and too involved…. in everything. (VICE News). So much so that I recently cancelled by Prime subscription. (see also RWA Series – Subscriptions).
  3. Apple seems “safe”. Washington Post
  4. I’m not interested in having a smart speaker that makes it easier / encourages me to buy anything or hear ads…. ever.
  5. I feel pretty confident that when Apple launches something new that it’s fully vetted, well thought out, tested and ready to go. Others sometimes just want to be first to the market and will launch anything to get a dollar, whether it truly “works” correctly/ideally or not.
  6. Having a lot of choices on which options to “connect to/use” is not my cup of tea. As an IT professional, I prefer to keep my personal technology choices/life simple!

Now, back to business – the business of choosing a smart speaker (Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri). One tech reporter summarizes the decision this way, “You are choosing your tribe… This decision will shape how you get information, what appliances you purchase, where you shop and how you protect your privacy.” Washington Post  To be honest, this article itself wasn’t very helpful; but the comments (781) were: “Here are my top 3:

  1. Why would I “invite” any of these devices into the privacy of my home?  Really, the speaker delivered a family’s conversation to one of their “contacts”?  It is unfortunate that a technology with the potential to be true assistants to those with disabilities, is just being marketed to the general public as a way to build databases to sell more stuff.
  2. Just remember, with all of these products YOU’RE the product. If you think you’re inundated by ads now, just wait. With these devices, your every move is being tracked inside your home and is put up for sale.
  3. Interesting how Apple has solved the privacy/security question. Basically it generates a pseudo random ID when you ask it a question, and that is what goes back to the cloud. So there is no way to associate your account with the action/query. 

I find it pretty interesting that not once have I even mentioned (or thought about) the actual features/benefits of smart speakers. What can they actually do? To be honest, I have no idea other than the general things I’ve heard/read about: turn on/off lights, set the thermostat, play music/movies, lock the doors, etc. Do I really need any of that? Nope. Do I actually want any of that? Nope. I don’t even use Siri on my iPhone. At this point, I cannot think of a single reason/way these items would enhance my life. That is what technology is supposed to do, right?

As this point I just need to point out one (obvious) thing – sometimes we get so caught up in making a decision about which technology to embrace, we forget why we want/need it in the first place. If I HAD TO CHOOSE, it would be Apple Home (privacy/security trumps EVERYTHING); but, to be honest I’m not at all even remotely moved to add a smart speaker my collection. Maybe that will change in the next 6-12 months; but, for now… I’m good! In case you are curious / intrigued, see also Best Smart Speakers 2019

In summary, be sure to let your LIFESTYLE & NEEDS help dictate what technology you embrace (bring into your home) and fully weigh the pros/cons of all options! Bri’s Recommendation on Smart Speakers? Just say no!

 

Bri’s Favorite Things 2018

It’s that time again! For the 5th year in a row I’m publishing Bri’s Favorite Things, which can also be used a Holiday Gift Guide for your friends and loved ones. (See also: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014).

Because it’s year FIVE, I’m going BIGGER and BETTER and offering you TONS of options, so…. BUCKLE UP!

BOOKS & WRITING

Becoming , Crazy Rich Asians, Make Your Bed, The Four Agreements, NotebookMildliner

TECH

AirPods, White Marble iPhone Case,*Tortoiseshell iPhone Case, HP Sprocket (case, paper), Marshall Bluetooth Speaker,*Popsocket, iPad Mini

BEAUTY

FARMACY Green Clean Makeup Meltaway, Benefit Brow Pencil, Travel Size CologneLipstickBloom Perfume

ACESSORIES

Double G Brooch,*Crystal Alphabet Charm, Supreme Backpack, Mini Pochette,*Gold Diamond Initial Necklace (Silver)

TV

Outlander (STARZ), Woman in White (PBS), The Crown (Netflix), Greenleaf (OWN)

CLOTHING & SHOES

Quarter-Zip Sharpa,*Houndstooth Tweed Jacket, Adidas Trefoil Tee,*Vogue Sweatshirt, Slippers, Rain Boots, Alabama Sweatshirt

Happy Shopping!

*items I do not own

 

Must Have Tech Toys

I own a few tech “toys” that make life so much easier (and funner!). The best tech are those items you don’t really know you need until AFTER you purchase, try it out for a few weeks, then start wondering how you survived without ‘that thing’ for so long. Here are my top tech gadgets/items of 2018 so far – I use them all DAILY!

Apple AirPods – Yes, I know these have been out forever; but, I literally JUST purchased them last month and OMG I have NO IDEA what took me so long to buy in. They are GREAT and well worth the price tag. My personal macbook (gold), work laptop and iPhone all have different connectors for the headphone jacks and it became super annoying to be somewhere (coffee shop, work, mall) and not have the right cord with you. #problemsolved with Apple’s AirPods. They are Bluetooth and can connect easily to all of my devices! Added bonus? The super slim case is also a charger and you can wear one AirPod at a time to extend the listening/talking time. #winning Purchase here.

Burberry Technical Pouch – Speaking of cords … even though I don’t need headphone cables anymore, I still like to carry my iPhone / laptop charger with me, and occasionally my Apple Mouse (another wireless gadget that connects to both my work and personal laptop with ease!). Where’s a girl to store these items?? Enter the Burberry Technical Pouch. It’s nylon, super sheek and holds ALOT (business cards, laptop chargers, iPhone charger, cleaning wipes, etc.). I had been eyeing this piece for a few months and am glad I finally made the purchase.  Transferring these items between my work bag and my favorite tote for the weekend is now a breeze. This pouch is PERFECT for those busy gals (or guys) who are aways on the go!

Pop Socket and iPhone Case for Spring – Must have for texters, selfie takers, web surfers… basically anyone who is on their phone all the time. Everything it says on the packaging is absolutely true: 1) Never drop your phone, 2) Take better selfies and 3) Prop your phone. Purchase a variety of Pop Sockets here and check out the #popsocketmovement on Instagram. Also, I have been rocking a black iPhone case for some time. Why? Because black is my color! For the Spring, I decided to get a light, airy case for #noreasonatall. iPhone cases here.

If you watched the video above (recommended!) and think Pop Sockets are a joke, think again! Per Forbes:

Barnett started by selling PopSockets out of his garage back in 2014. Now it is being sold at Amazon, Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Walmart and a number of other stores. Barnett said that its sales went from 30,000 PopSockets in the U.S. in the first year to 35 million PopSockets across 40 countries last year. In the first year, revenue hit $240,000 and PopSockets grew 800% every year. This year, PopSockets is on track for manufacturing 70 million products. PopSockets started out with just one employee: Barnett himself. And now the company employs 120 people across Boulder, Colorado; San Francisco, California; Finland; and Singapore.

Enjoy!!!

2017 Favorite Things

My favorite post every year! Enjoy the spectacular items mentioned below for yourself, sister, mother, girlfriend, wife or BFF! As always I only recommend things I absolutely love and have purchased with my own coins! Prices range from $12 to $400+. (See also 2016, 2015, 20142013)

Bath & Body: All things L’Occitane! I am IN LOVE with this company and on my next international trip I will be making a serious extra effort to visit one their SPA’s. I personally use two of their scents: Shea Butter Body and Hand Cream – I keep one in my car, at work, in my handbag and on my nightstand. I also use the Almond line: Shower oil, Supple skin oil and Milk Concentrate. LOVE!!! LOVE!!! LOVE!!! 😍

Accessories: I found a couple of wonderful scarves (Gucci, Banana Republic), a black card holder (Saint Laurent), a black Apple watch band (Casetify) and a gold sparkly pen (Swarovoski).

Skincare and Makeup: These two categories deserve a post all by themselves (stay tuned…) because I WENT IT! For the purpose of this post – gift ideas- I will just mention a fancy compact mirror (Chanel), lipstick (Saint Laurent) and Lila Eyeshadow Palette (Natasha Denona).

Are you still with me? Good! Because this is year FIVE (5) of Bri’s favorite things I am going to do a giveaway!!! The gift will be a Shea Butter hand cream – my absolute favorite!!! To enter, send me an email and tell me your favorite item from this year’s FAVORITE THINGS. The winner will be notified via email on Christmas Day! Good luck!!!!