Author: MattyIce

My name is Matthew Berger. As a 23 year-old personal trainer with a BA in English (minor in Psychology) I have a knack for researching tech, fashion and fitness trends and how corporate marketing uses the human psyche to sell. With a desire to move past the fitness industry and become a copy writer/editor, I intend this blog to provide you with some insights into my life and these topics that keep me preoccupied past my bedtime.

Up your Training Intensity with HIT

HIT

Are you tired of your current workout routine? Does the thought of doing another chest workout this Monday kill your motivation? Have your muscle or strength gains stalled? If you answered yes to any of these questions, don’t worry because you’re not alone. The human body is a fickle beast that adapts to training without continual variation. If you’re seeing diminished gains or need a change of pace, you should consider bumping up your intensity through the HIT method.

High Intensity Training (HIT) is a form of exercise that utilizes progressive resistance training by way of short, intense workouts that aim to reach and go beyond muscular failure. While there are many iterations of this style of training that have utilized this approach to building muscle and strength, such as DC Training, Dorian Yate’s Blood and Guts system, and Mike Mentzer’s HIT training, High Intensity Training was defined and popularized back in the 1970’s by the founder of Nautilus, Arthur Jones.

Background:

Until Arthur Jones formulated his beliefs on muscle building, the common adage was to train with high volume made popular by fitness mogul Joe Weider. Employing Arnold Schwarzenegger as the face of bodybuilding through magazine publications and supplement/fitness equipment ads, high volume training was regarded as the superior training style. While not considered as “hardcore” as HIT, high volume training is arduous in its own right, consisting of hours, upon hours in the gym lifting with an incredible amount of volume, in order to induce muscular hypertrophy.

Jones saw a flaw in the high volume approach, as it didn’t encourage progressive overloading of the muscle that he believed was necessary. After developing his program, known as the Nautilus Principles (Jones never actually named it HIT) he put his reputation and body on the line, creating the Colorado Experiment in 1973. Performed at Colorado State University, this study examined two subjects, Jones and professional bodybuilder Casey Viator, to test Jones’ method and see how much muscle could be gained in under a month. Needless to say, the results were nothing short of astounding with Viator gaining 63lbs in 28 days and Jones gaining 15 in 22 days.

Photo of Jones before and after Colorado Experiment

Photo of Jones before and after Colorado Experiment

As incredible as these results sound, they should be taken with a grain of salt as Viator was coming off multiple injuries in which he lost substantial muscle he once had.  Both men also strictly dieted for weeks leading up to the experiment to insure a perfect environment to gain weight. Regardless of any controversy or not being entirely “empirical, the experiment gave merit to Jones’ claims.

The Training Philosophy:

High Intensity Training fundamentally relies on the less is more mentality because there is an inverse relationship between the amount of volume versus the intensity one can exert on a given exercise. While the high volume approach advises repeated stimulation of a muscle, Jones’ HIT relies on overloading the muscle over a shorter period of time.

In a given exercise, HIT advocates recommend using the least amount of sets to achieve muscular failure, while performing each repetition in a slow and controlled motion. This all-out set hasn’t been proven to be more effective than multiple sets in building more muscle or greater strength, but the theory behind only doing one set to absolute failure ensures that the workout be kept brief to limit any unnecessary movements that’ll prolong the recovery period (remember that muscle is built during recovery workouts and not the actual workouts themselves).

To ensure maximum recovery to perform at one’s best it’s recommended to rest at least 48 hours in between workouts, while not going beyond 96 hours without training because risk of muscular atrophy increases. This works out to a three-day-a-week lifting schedule with four days of recovery. Jones argues that this schedule is beneficial not only for recovery, but also for preventing the body from becoming adjusted to a regular routine. This, along with added intensifiers, will guarantee continual progression.

The All-Out Set:

After reaching muscular failure on a lift, there are intensifiers than can be added to a set to overload the muscle even further. Say a person performs 10 repetitions on a bench press and cannot do an 11th. To add an intensifier to the set, one could perform a few more negatives (having a spotter pull the weight up during the concentric part of the movement and let you lower the weight to your chest yourself), partial reps (moving the bar from your chest to a few inches off of it, not performing a full repetition), or a drop set (after completing the ten reps, take off a certain amount of weight from the bar and instantly try to get another ten reps with the lowered weight). There are many more intensifiers that warrant their own article, but these are a few that can be added to take a muscle beyond failure.

Training Frequency:

Six time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates is a lifelong HIT advocate.

Six time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates is a lifelong HIT advocate.

With this style of training, frequency becomes one of the most important aspects of it. In a higher volume approach to strength training, it isn’t uncommon to see people lifting anywhere from 4-6 days a week (even 7 for the crazies out there) for an hour to multiple hours at a time. If proper rest and nutrition are implemented, this isn’t a big deal, as high volume training doesn’t use as heavy of weights that tax the CNS system and require more rest.

When training with high volume and not using maximal effort in every set, muscular fatigue is an issue that requires rest to recover from but CNS fatigue is much less common. Often brought on by lifting too heavy, too often with inadequate rest times, CNS fatigue affects one’s neurotransmitters, which send signals from the brain to the muscles. With compromised neurotransmitter function, one might feel constantly exhausted while being well-rested and reduced cognitive abilities.

Because of the increased risk of CNS fatigue and injury, advocates of HIT believe that training should occur no more than three times a week, limiting an hour (at the absolute most) per workout. This will help ensure a proper amount of recovery time per workout and reduce the risk of injury or overtraining.

Risk and Controversy:

Arguably, these techniques this will elicit a greater increase in muscular strength and size since the body will be taken beyond muscular failure, while high volume training will not generate the intensity. This form of training has proven to be very effective, but it’s also very hard on the body and requires far more precautions than a high volume training method. One’s risk of injury will be reduced if proper warming up, impeccable form, and proper rest and nutrition aren’t adhered to.

Sample Workouts:

With one of main principles of HIT being variation, there are is an abundance of ways to set up a workout routine that adheres to the HIT philosophies. Based off the recommended three-day-a-week schedule, workouts can be set up as a three full body workouts, an upper/lower body split (two upper, one lower), or a push/pull/leg split. Exercise choice can be tailored to fit the equipment available or to personal preference, but here’s an example of a week using each routine:

Full Body:

Day One:

1. Barbell Squat

2. Bench Press

3. Pullup/Chinup

4. Stiff-Legged Deadlift

5. Seated Shoulder Press

6. Bicep Curl

7. Triceps Extension

Day Two:

  1. Leg Press
  2. Bent-over Row
  3. Chest Press
  4. Lying Hamstring Curl
  5. Military Press
  6. Skull-Crushers
  7. Concentration Curls

Day Three:

  1. Deadlift
  2. Bench Press
  3. Low Cable Row
  4. Lunges
  5. Upright Row
  6. Dips
  7. Barbell Shrugs
  8. Preacher Curl

Upper/Lower Split:

Day One:

  1. Bench Press
  2. Bent-over Row
  3. Shoulder Press
  4. Pullup/Chinup
  5. Dip
  6. Barbell Curl

Day Two:

  1. Barbell Squat
  2. Stiff-legged Deadlift
  3. Leg Extension
  4. Lying Leg Curl
  5. Standing/Seated Calf Raise

Day Three:

  1. Incline Barbell Press
  2. Single Arm Dumbbell Row
  3. Dumbbell Pullover
  4. Upright Row
  5. Skull-Crushers
  6. Preacher Curls

Push/Pull/Leg Split:

Day One (Push):

  1. Bench Press
  2. Shoulder Press
  3. Incline Dumbbell Fly
  4. Dip
  5. Triceps Rope Extension

Day Two (Pull):

  1. Bent-over Row
  2. Lat Pulldown
  3. Low Cable Row
  4. Barbell Shrugs
  5. Hammer Curls

Day Three (Legs):

  1. Barbell Squats
  2. Stiff-legged Deadlifts
  3. Leg Extensions
  4. Lying Leg Curls
  5. Standing/Seated Calf Raise

Takeaway:

Arnold vs Mentzer

Arnold and Mentzer. Two great bodybuilders built using very different systems.

Since being conceptualized in the ‘70s, High Intensity Training has become an increasingly popular method of training, largely attributed to its versatility. While high volume training’s merits are limited to bodybuilding and physique enhancement, HIT can be used as an effective bodybuilding or strength/powerlifting program. HIT’s benefits aren’t limited to physique and strength development though; High Intensity Training has been shown to improve metabolic conditioning and cardiovascular health as well.

Despite numerous success stories and proven benefits, HIT isn’t without its flaws. The risk of injury is greatly increased with this form of training, as the intensifiers take the body beyond failure and perfect form becomes hard to maintain as the body reaches this threshold. But with strict adherence to proper form, rest and recovery, High Intensity Training is a training method that can produce dramatic changes in body composition and physical strength.

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Lenovorola: A new look to a familiar face?

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Could we see a new mobile brand make its way to the US markets?

Back in February, well-known Chinese computer technology company, Lenovo, purchased Motorola from Google for $2.91 billion, a fraction of the price Google paid (roughly $12.4 billion) two years prior. After establishing itself as one of the premier smartphone companies in the Chinese market, Lenovo aims to bring its mobile phones to the US markets with the purchase of Motorola.

Why is this significant?

Back in 2005, Lenovo purchased the personal computer business of IBM, which includes the ThinkPad laptop and tablet lines. World-renowned for their IT products and computer software, IBM is a company that is arguably too big to be able to garner the meticulous attention and focus to bring a computer that could compete with the likes of Apple or HP. After agreeing to sell the ThinkPad lines under the Lenovo name, Lenovo has been gaining market share becoming the leader in PC computer sales with 16.9% of the market in 2013.

Due in part to the clout that IBM holds amongst consumers, Lenovo added a modern and revamped look to their laptop and desktop hardware. While still making budget-friendly computers providing incredible performance but lacking artistic design, Lenovo has made a name for itself becoming a design pioneer in the Ultrabook laptop category.

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Reviewers heralded the design of the ThinkPad Yoga upon its release because Lenovo created a laptop that took on an entirely new form factor. Despite still opening the same as a typical laptop, the Yoga utilizes a 360 degree hinge that allows the laptop’s screen to be flipped against the back of the keyboard to be used as a tablet. Innovations to form factor as seen by Lenovo are helping bridge the gap between laptops and tablets; a gap that manufacturers are looking to close.

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Can Motorola’s clout make Lenovo a success in the US? 

Any smartphone manufacturer would love to have Motorola’s telecommunication acumen. Motorola was a pioneer in the mobile phone area after creating the first handheld mobile phone in 1973 as well as laying claim to unveiling the first flip phone. From two-way radios to cell phones to signal amplifiers, Motorola is reveled for making quality products that any company would want to bolster their mobile products.

As hard-pressed as it is to admit, selling Motorola was in Google’s best interests. Already having a line of smartphones and tablets by way of the Nexus line with Android Silver in the works, Google doesn’t need Motorola to advance their presence in the smartphone world; they need to put more effort into their marketing strategy.  But Lenovo doesn’t’ have the same influence in the smartphone world and being a leader in PC sales isn’t enough to make an impact. If it were, then Window’s Phone would hold more than 3% market share. Piggybacking on a name as well-known as well known and trusted as Motorola, while providing fresh and innovative hardware, Lenovo could see the same success that it saw after the acquisition of IBM’s ThinkPad line.

All New HTC One All Over Again?

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Did you wait with bated breaths for the HTC One M8 to be released amidst the slew of leaks and renders posted amongst social media and tech blogging sites? After the critical acclaim of the 2013 HTC One, the tech world anticipated a flagship that had the potential to take control of the Android smartphone market out of the hands of Samsung with superior build quality, friendly UI, and unparalleled audio performance. Once April came around, we witnessed HTC unveil a phone that improved on every aspect of its previous iteration, but still left a little more to be desired from the M8.

It would appear that HTC has plans to release a second flagship phone later this year to compete directly with the iPhone 6 and the Galaxy Note 4 being called the HTC One M8 Prime (let’s hope they don’t name it this for brevity’s sake). The ever-accurate @evleaks has revealed that HTC will be adding a supercharger to the already top of the line device. According to the leak, the processor will be upgraded to a quad-core Snapdragon 805 processors clocked in at 2.5GHz from the 2.3GHz 801 and adding an addition GB of RAM (3GB total).

Photo of @evleaks 360 degree render of the M8 Prime

It’s debatable as to whether or not users will be to fully utilize the Snapdragon 801 on the current M8 so bumping to the 805 wont make a noticeable difference besides improved battery performance. A more efficient use of power might be negated with what @evleaks disclosed the alleged display.

If true, the M8 Prime will be one of the first major smartphones to be sporting a 5.5-inch Quad HD display, equaling a pixel density of 534. Nothing has been leaked on battery size yet, but given a half inch bump in display size and increasing resolution from 1080p to 2K will almost force HTC to include a larger battery if they hope to have create a phone that lasts more than a couple hours away from a wall charger.

Take away the next gen processor and incomprehensibly crisp display, one of the most compelling leaks is the camera. The past two One models have used the same four megapixel shooter utilizing larger than normal pixels. HTC has stuck by their “Ultrapixel” camera as the larger pixels take in more light, allowing for greater low light performance. While low light performance is top notch, the camera has otherwise been the most criticized feature on both models.  Rumors on the M8 Prime peg the M8 Prime sporting an 18MP camera, as outlandish as it sounds. I’d be more opt to believe an 8 or 13MP camera, utilizing their Ultrapixel technology, but we shall see a fall draws nearer.

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Could this raised lens be the rumored 18PM camera?

We know very little as of yet, but given @evleaks history, there is merit to these rumors. As with most smartphone manufacturers, HTC has not announced this phone and likely won’t until sometime in the fall. Despite less-than-stellar profit margins on previous flagship devices, HTC is a company that creates innovative and critically acclaimed smartphones while withholding the oft-overdone software gimmicks . We just hope that HTC can employ a marketing campaign worthy of the One’s brilliance. 

Source: PhoneArena

Yes, we’re are at a gym, but do we need to talk about it?

Sometimes I really hate gyms. You wouldn’t assume so considering I’m a personal trainer, love being active and spent most of my time in college finding ways to make a career in the fitness industry. But after working at a gym full of corporate execs and engineers who spent more time curling their phones than dumbbells while boasting about their portfolios, I came to see this gym as an extension of the office people worked at.

 Working at my university gym wasn’t much better. Being filled with guys in cut-off tanks and girls, albeit quite attractive, wearing Lululemons and enough makeup to make Kiss look natural made the whole experience fill like a prelude to the night downtown that would commence a few hours later. I should make it known that I am no saint. I used to flirt at the gym (before I worked there) and I do own a few self-crafted cut-off tanks, but it isn’t something I admit with pride. Nowadays, I wear baggier clothes, lift in the mornings before the post-work rush, and lift at a small, non-Globo gym close to my house so I can truly enjoy the lifting without any of the gimmicks that are commonplace at gyms now.

So I was working out earlier today, minding my business, maybe small talking a few of the housewives that frequent the gym the same time I usually do. There is, however, a middle aged man who shows up towards the end of my lift who I’ve come to avoid at all costs. You know this man. He’s the person that always has something to tell you and will spend 20 minutes getting to his point just to realize that he has no point. I consider him a stranger because I know not his name, occupation, or anything about him besides his love for being at a gym and spending his money on supplements. I believe I’ve never even asked him a question come to think of it.

Because I’m one of the few people there in the mornings who isn’t a housewife or retired, he likes to come to me and talk about supplements and how he wants to drop a few pounds and make his push for his pro card in bodybuilding. For the record, this man is nowhere close to being ready to win a bodybuilding competition, let alone winning his pro card.

As I gather my belongings in the locker room after my workout, this gentleman corners me and asks me if I’ve heard about this new testosterone booster (I had not) and that he got hooked up at GNC earlier by getting a 30-day supply for $65.

Now I haven’t gotten into my feelings about the supplement industry yet in this blog and I won’t go into too much detail here for brevity’s sake, but I will say that no supplement is worth $65. The supplement industry is the current day snake oil salesman and, while there are some products that have proven benefits (although it’s a very small percentage), no product is worth the prices they retail for.

But I digress. I imagine this man is probably back at his house right now, perusing his latest issue of Flex Magazine (if you’re unfamiliar with this publication, it’s a magazine that consists of roughly 30% content and 70% supplement advertisements) trying to find the next breakthrough supplement that’ll help maximize his gains.

Although this is just an assumption, if he does find anything, I will surely hear about it tomorrow.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/mind-reader/ 

Google Nexus vs Android Silver: What will Change?

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The five generations of Nexus smartphones from the Nexus One, Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, and Nexus 5

The Google Nexus program is a line of smartphones and tablets that run Google’s stock Android operating system. Unlike every other Android smartphone that flood the market such as the Samsung Galaxy S5 or HTC One, Nexus products are designed, developed, and marketed solely by Google. The only thing that Google outsources is the manufacturing of the products, which have been made by LG, HTC, Samsung, and ASUS. What’s most enticing about these devices is that they’re fully supported by Google and receive updates faster than any other Android device.

The beauty of Android is that Google released it under open source licenses that allow technology companies to run it as their platform’s OS that is very cost effective and highly customizable. One of the biggest downfalls to Android is with this highly customizable and open source platform, comes the ability for manufacturers to put their own UI on top of the pure OS that Google intended. While not inherently a bad thing, the added UI often serves to bog down the device, take up precious storage space, and creating lag during use. This is where the Nexus line truly shines, as they do not come with any manufacturer or wireless carrier modifications to the OS, similar to Apple’s iOS platform.

With a device that has been all but manufactured by Google, comes a piece of hardware that supports Android the way Google intended: vanilla and unrestrained. The near uninhibited customization that Android allows has attracted many developers to use the open-use code to create custom ROMs, new features, and a slew of apps that have grown to rival what iOS has to offer.

Apart from having a device free from third party modifications and being the first to receive updates, the Nexus line offers top of the line software that won’t break the bank. Google’s latest smartphone offering, the Nexus 5 retails for $349.00 off contract, whereas a device with near identical specifications (LG G2) will add another $250 to the price tag.

For the past four years, Nexus devices have been essential components for developers who require frequent software updates and minimal third party modifications. While still considered a budget device, the Nexus 5 took the biggest step towards flagship status by offering a phone that could only be knocked on their camera quality and battery life. But despite CFO Partick Pichette acknowledging that the Nexus 5 being a very strong performer, Google will be canning the Nexus program for a new line of devices under the Android Silver name.

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The new look for Android?

Google is company that can sell mobile devices at cost and still make a mint. According to their annual earnings report, Google “generates revenue primarily by delivering relevant, cost-effective online advertising,” with as much as 96% of its revenue coming from AdWords and AdSense. So why would Google cancel the Nexus program for Android Silver if the user experience will be the same?

There are multiple reasons why Google would want to create a more premium line of Android devices besides increasing profit margins. The most apparent reason would be for Google a chance to command greater control over the android market. Despite the success of the Nexus line, the Android market has been dominated by several third party manufacturers over the past few years.

While the source code for Android is open source and members of the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) agree to abide by the standard set by Google, there are manufacturers that take liberties to their software that don’t adhere to Google’s standards. Back in 2012, Google ceased production on a device Acer manufactured that ran Alibaba Group’s Aliyun OS, as it was regarded as an incompatible form of Android.

Currently, Samsung manufacturers the majority of mobile devices running Android and while they do abide by the OHA, their UI, Touchwiz, creates an user experience that only slightly resembles true, stock Android. This poses a problem for Google because as much as Samsung propels Android to a larger market share every year, more of the market is growing to understand Android as an OS that Google didn’t intend it to be. Regardless of increased profit margins, if Google can amass greater sales with their Android Silver program, it can regain control over what the Android OS is supposed to be: reliability with a buttery smooth interface that doesn’t rely on gimmicks. This will also allow Google to prevent update delays that users often experience with third party Android smartphones and better compete with Apple and their immediately available updates.

With Android Silver aiming to deliver premium handsets to the general consumer, Google could be aiming to lead a full-fledged campaign to bring Android Silver to the top of the mobile phone market. With the power and disposable income to run marketing campaigns that rival the likes of Samsung and Apple, Google may also set up kiosks similar to the Galaxy Experience that floods the mobile sections of Best Buy and other retailers to help expose customers to the Android experience.

One of the pitfalls of Android is that it takes patience and ingenuity to master, especially to first time smartphone users. This is where Apple cleans up. The intuitive UI and unrivaled reliability make it leading choice for many users, leaving an opening in the market for Google to take advantage of. According to AndroidPolice, Google plans to bring more unity to the Android experience by providing a 24/7 customer service experience via Google Hangouts similar to that of the Mayday service provided by Amazon on their Kindle Fire tablets. With a service not provided by any other mobile provider, Google could entice casual users and smartphone junkies alike with a top-notch customer service to go along their ever-encompassing ecosystem.

While we don’t understand the full vision Google has for the new Android Silver program apart from speculation, we do know that it plans to pair up with multiple companies such as LG and Motorola for manufacturing these devices. With the strict guidelines Android Silver will require, these companies will collaborate with Google to develop a more premium handset that will deliver the stock Android experience we’ve come to love with the Nexus devices. This, along with an aggressive marketing campaign could provide a flagship handset that could take its place amongst the top of the Android smartphone ranks over Samsung, HTC, and even LG to regain regain full control of Android.

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Will we see a focus on build quality with Android Silver that we could only dream of with the Nexus line?

It is unfortunate to see an end coming to the Nexus program. For the past few months, we’ve seen countless rumors and leaks of Google making the final Nexus iterations coming by way of the Nexus 6 and Nexus 8. These two allegedly being made by LG (6) and HTC (8) were awaited with bated breaths after the success of the company’s previous Nexus 5 and 7 smartphone and tablet. But according to the ever-accurate @evleaks, Google will not be unveiling the Nexus 6 at all this year, working with LG to bring the first Android Silver phone in early 2015 instead. While sad news, rumors have it that the new phone will run Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 810 processor, which would be Qualcomm’s first 64-bit processor to compete with the likes of the 64-bit one found in the A7 of the iPhone 5s.

Whether or not we see a Nexus device again, Google has no plans on leaving Android to be run by third party manufacturers compromising the OS for their own software additions. Expect to see big things from Google in the coming months as they attempt to regain control over Android and make a push into the premium smartphone market.

Source: The Verge; International Business Times

Net Neutrality and What it Means for Our Internet Consumption

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FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler during his news conference on Thursday regarding his proposal to allow ISPs to charge for “fast lane” internet access. Photo by ALEX WONG/GETTY IMAGES

Outrage ensues amongst social media outlets after the FCC voted on net neutrality this past Thursday. This will allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to charge Internet content providers at their discretion. Many people have heard the phrase ‘net neutrality’ but few understand the possible implications the new proposal has on our Internet consumption and rights to freedom of speech.

What is net neutrality?

With the current Open Internet Order passed by the FCC in 2010, rules were set to prevent ISPs from putting restriction speeds on any Internet traffic and threatens violations against any ISP that allowed a payments from content providers for increased quality of service. Newly appointed FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal aims to undue these rules and allow for ISPs to limit some traffic over others and set premiums for certain

Have you ever been to Disneyland? Do you remember those horrendous lines and agonizing wait times until you could ride Space Mountain while those jerks in the FASTPASS lane leisurely stroll pass you and ride it a half before you?

Well imagine that you’re Space Mountain and the regular line is the brand new Jenna Marbles video with the FASTPASS lane being Tom Wheeler’s twitter feed. This is the new Open Internet Order that Tom Wheeler is proposing.

Under this new plan, the FCC will allow ISPs to have free reign over who gets the best service. This means that Comcast or Verizon could strike a deal with Hulu to allow faster streaming than Netflix if they’re willing to pay a higher premium for priority service. Obviously Netflix has the funds to match whatever Hulu could pay given their market share, but (insert ISP) could potentially provide Hulu with the highest streaming capability available and bring Netflix’s to a grinding halt, regardless of what content providers are being charge.

How do we know this?

Because Wheeler said it. Though not directly, the Chairman wrote in his blog post that prices for fast lanes will be “commercially reasonable.” The issue lies in his attempts to calm down objectors, as his proposal offers no definitive rules regarding rates or protection from discrimination.

Back in December, Wheeler addressed questions regarding his stance on net neutrality and how he believes it needs to be fixed. Starting off with a history lesson on how human networking evolved form the Gutenberg Press to the Internet we use today, Wheeler affirmed, “ As our networks evolve, so should government oversight.” Being a former lobbyist for the cable and wireless phone industries, the newly appointed FCC chairman acknowledged that he is a “rabid believer in the power of the marketplace. But I have seen enough about how markets operate to know that they don’t always, by themselves, solve every problem.”

If this proposal is enacted, the consumer will be the one week pays the price. Content provider giants such as Netflix and Amazon have already released statements opposing this proposal, stating that this could legally enable ISPs to practice discrimination. While directly affecting internet giants by cutting into profit margins, which will inevitably result in higher prices for the consumer, imagine the implications for smaller companies with similar services who can’t foot the bill. If this was 2008 Facebook would have never had taken over Myspace and we’d be stuck checking our bulletin boards, instead of our news feeds.

Luckily, all is not lost yet. Since voting on this proposal, there will be a 120 day period where the FCC will be receiving input and taking replies. This is the time to voice your opinion by sending your comments to the FCC’s website. You can access the form here.

Source: Recode; BGR

I own an Apron, a Steam Iron and I am a Man

Modern Families:

If one of your late ancestors were to come back from the dead and join you for dinner, what things about your family would this person find the most shocking?

This past Sunday, my sister and I met up with my parents to have dinner at their house for Mother’s Day. During dinner my parents were discussing my staying with her mom during the next few days to help her recover from her recent surgery. The conversation was dry enough for me to tune out as I asked my sister how her weekend was. But I could not tune out a question I heard my dad ask my mom.

“How do you do the laundry?”

I was shocked. Here my father stands a 6’2”, brawny, 51-year-old man who grew up on a rural North Dakota, nearly built the house I grew up in by hand, and worked from an entry level job in construction to become the manager of a water district, didn’t know how to wash the very clothes he’s mucked up busting his ass every day. I was taken aback. Not because it’s so strange that somebody doesn’t know how to clean his clothes but because my father has taught me more than I can relay to you. From working with tools, to driving a manual transmission, how the stock market works and just how to work hard so something that matters to you, my dad has done it all. But he never learned how to do his laundry and, as I later learned, even do basic cooking.

After my initial shock, I took a step back and realized that my ability to cook and clean is a product of a shift in societal norms and not any shortcomings of my father or the men of his generation. With the feminist movement, the ‘roles’ of men and  women is becoming less of a dichotomy as more women enter the workforce and men gain acuity in household work.

I find this very interesting because the generational gap isn’t that prevalent amongst my parents or some of the adults I know of similar age because my dad does do a lot of household work such as cleaning and all of our yard work and my mom is very well educated and works in the medical field. I’m interested in seeing how some of the past men in my family would react to having dinner with us if they could come back from the dead.

One grandfather was a farmer and the other was a steelworker and their fathers were immigrant farmers with wives that stayed at home and took care of the kids and the house. The definition of what a man (and woman) is has changed dramatically in the past century and would be very interested in seeing how my ancestors reacted to how we currently live our lives.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/modern-families/

I love Ellen Page, Miley and Mean Girls, but they’re no guilty pleasure

No Apologies:

What’s the one guilty pleasure you have that’s so good, you no longer feel guilty about it?

I could make this a short post and say my guilty pleasure movie is Mean Girls, that I enjoy listening to Miley Cyrus (even before she started twerking with Robin Thicke), or that my celebrity crush is Ellen Page, but I’ve never been embarrassed to admit those things. No, my guilty pleasure a little more complex than that.

This is a little ironic to be writing about in my blog since my persona on WordPress reveals to the reader that I’m an English major who enjoys reading about technology, but the real world doesn’t know that I’m a total nerd at heart. I grew up an overweight, inactive kid without cable TV so my youth revolved around reading books, comics, collecting Pokémon cards and watching the original Star Wars trilogy and Muppet Treasure Island (my sister and my favorite movies growing up).

Eventually I started to play sports and developed the concept of carb control and started chasing girls and partying. Being the captain of a nationally ranked football team in high school and a three-sport varsity athlete, my mind focused on sports, girls and academics, if there was time for the latter.

I began college with the intent on majoring in pre-law (poly-sci/economics/philosophy combo degree at my university) because I was a member of my high school mock trial team and enjoyed public speaking, debates and research. But after having the worst professor I’ve ever dealt with teaching my Intro to the American Judicial System, I was put off Law forever and decided to become a personal trainer and major in what I was best at: English.

As a personal trainer at my university, I became close friends with my coworkers and ended up getting into bodybuilding and attempted to compete multiple times. Everybody I worked with and hung out with assumed I was a kinesiology major and most never knew I was an English major. I know my friends sound terrible because they didn’t know my major, but the topic rarely came up.

It didn’t come up because I didn’t look the part of an English major and I surely didn’t act like one. Between training myself and clients I was in the gym before and after class so I always showed up in shorts and a t-shirt (no, I ‘ve never worn a tank top to class) receiving some looks of bewilderment from other English majors in the class.

I’ve never regretted majoring in English and I didn’t stop reading comics or nerding out on Star Wars because I was ashamed of it; my lifestyle simply changed and my interests adjusted with it. Since I graduated college my passion for writing and interest in technology and comics has preoccupied my free time that used to be reserved for researching and blogging about fitness and nutrition.

So I’m writing to you today to say that I will not apologize for my inner nerd coming out on paper (technically screen) because it’s too awesome to be embarrassed about.

Oh, despite repressing some of my nerdy interests, there is one thing that I never hid:

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I know some comic enthusiasts say he’s a lame superhero, but I don’t care; I’m not ashamed to admit my guilty pleasure.

DailyPrompt: No Apologies

Beats acquisition and what it means for iOS 8

Apple-Beats

On May 9, Dr Dre allegedly confirmed selling Beats to Apple for the premium price of $3.2 billion during his “first billionaire in hip-hop” video. Not known for making public purchases of companies, this is an abnormal move for Apple. If rumor be true, this will be it’s largest buyout ever, having never spent more than $400 million on a company.  Given iTunes Radio offering a similar music streaming service that Beats Music provides and selling Beats headphones on the iTunes store, what will Apple get out of this deal?

A revamped and sexier media player UI

Apple has been a leader in music playback since the release of the first generation iPod back in 2001. For years, iTunes has been the top online music store, registering 1 billion songs sold by 2006. Growing frustration over the limitations iTunes has allowed for other music streaming services to gain traction in the market. Services like Pandora, Spotify and Beats Music are still growing, despite iTunes launching its free iTunes Radio service to directly compete with them. Despite acquiring 20 million users within the first month of its release, Pandora still holds 31% market share to iTunes Radios’ 8%.

Chart shows Pandora's stronghold over the streaming music market (source: 9to5mac)

Chart shows Pandora’s stronghold over the streaming music market (source: 9to5mac)

With such a recognizable name in the headphone game, Beats Music has experienced rapid growth since its launch in January 2014. In a mere four months since its launch, Beats Music has added nearly 50,000 individual users and another 62,000 family accounts that allow up to five users. This type of growth to match the marketability of the Beats brand is an intriguing prospect for a company like Apple.

This growth is due in part to the Beats name, as well as subscription deals with AT&T offering the family plan for $14.99 a month, but the user interface of Beats Music is much more attractive and easier to find new music than what iTunes Radio has to offer. While I do prefer the UI of Beats Music to iTunes radio, I do not believe this to be a main proponent to the purchase. Beats Music is built on MOG service, which was purchased back in 2012. One of the highlights of MOG is their commitment to providing music in the 320-kilobit format, but given the ability of Apple, this is something they could achieve on their own without paying the steep price of $3.2 billion.

Lower Royalties

One compelling reason for the purchase could come down to the royalties that Beats Music pays for each song playback. According to reports, each song play costs Beats Music $0.000126, which is significantly less than the reported $0.006-0.0084 that Spotify pays. Apple, on the other hand, pays $0.13 per play. If Apple can retain the royalty fees that Beats Music plays, that could pay dividends for it.

Possible HD audio playback and headphones that no longer require a 3.5mm headphone jack

Is this going to be the new look for Apple's stock headphones?

Is this going to be the new look for Apple’s stock headphones? (source: electronista)

Amongst the rumors for iOS 8, there has been talk of Apple prepping for high-definition audio playback. Currently, iOS 7 can’t handle audio playback for 24-bit audio files and the purchase of Beats make this possibility seem even more plausible. With the acquisition of Beats, Apple could start developing HD audio playback using custom, Beats made headphones that utilize the lightning port instead of the 3.5mm headphone jack. This is particularly interesting as the 3.5mm headphone jack is old technology and with the rise of Bluetooth headphones, it makes sense create headphones that use the same port one charges from.

Of course, this is all speculation as the acquisition isn’t official yet and Apple hasn’t made any comments regarding it. What do you guys think? This is a particularly interesting topic as Apple has never made a purchase like this before. If you have any other ideas or theories as to why Apple would purchase Beats, please leave some comments, as I’d love to read them and continue this conversation.

Source: TheGuardian; CNET

iPhone 6 Camera Rumors – Super Zoom and Improved Low Light Performance?

Apple arguably uses one of the best cameras in the mobile tech industry in the 5s with their 8MP iSight camera, but they may be looking to improve it for its next iteration. Rumors indicate that Apple will retain the same number of megapixels for the 6’s shooter but increase the pixel size instead. From 1.5 micrometers in the 5s, the 6 might see a jump to 1.75 micrometers, which will allow more light to enter each megapixel, providing improved low-light image quality. Drunken bar selfies will look better than ever.

Patents shouldn’t dictate what we predict new technology will provide as Apple has many patents that we likely will never see in fruition, but one of the latest filings published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has many photo junkies salivating. This patent is called “Super-resolution based on optical image stabilization” and from the looks of it, it will incorporate a process similar to the Oppo Find 7/7a’s camera to produce high-resolution images from a lower-resolution camera.

Source: USPTO Via: AppleInsider

Source: USPTO
Via: AppleInsider

If you’re unfamiliar with Oppo’s Super Zoom setting, it essentially takes 10 burst shots in succession with its 13MP sensor and combines them together to create a 50MP image. Of course this is a software feature and won’t actually create a real 50MP shot, but the resolution ends up being much higher than the original with Super Zoom on.

Oppo-Find-7-super-zoom-2

Picture highlights the 7’s Super Zoom feature and its ability to zoom much further with its 50MP software adjustment than with its original 13MP shot (via Engaget).

This is an interesting patent for Apple, and one that I am reluctant to believe will be available for the iPhone 6. The 5s currently uses software-based image stabilization for their iSight camera for two possible reasons: they believe that software-based image stabilization will become better than OIS once the software is better optimized or Apple could not fit OIS in their current camera because the phone was too thin. I’m inclined to believe that both factors play a part in the decision, but the latter being the main reason OIS was left out of past models.

As compelling as this feature could be, don’t expect anything to come of it. If the rumors hold merit of Apple unveiling a phablet sized 5.5” model to go with the 4.7” one, it may include more features similar to this to provide a more premium experience without compromising hardware (ala the iPhone 5c). But considering Apple’s struggles fitting a battery inside the 6’s thin design, don’t keep your fingers crossed on this one.

Source: AppleInsider; iSource