Bite Size Review – My 49 Days with a Cell

Sometimes it’s hard to be honest about what you want and what you need, with yourself. I didn’t think to myself that this was something that was going to teach me anything when I landed on My 49 Days with a Cells in the Apple Store. A bit like the Eggs game (which is a time waste, and a very good one at that!)

That’s it. 49 days of these cell’s lives. You are the person who has to take care of them. Easy.

Well, not so much. It turns out that taking care of these little cells is about as difficult as it is to look after ourselves.

For a little while now I’ve been on a journey where I’m trying to learn how to take better care of myself. I’ve had very drastic changes in my life. Just a lot of life happens in a very short time. I suddenly lost my dad and as a result of his death I moved home 4 times in 3 years. During that period, I would have worked two jobs at the same time, just to get the ends meet.

Then, I started to suffer massively from health problems. Two months after I got married, I had a lump removed from my breast, as they thought it was cancerous. I was at the time in a job that was pursuing a dream I wanted but it made me slowly sick and stressed because of the working environment. Since quitting the job due to sickness and being burned out,I decided to go back to college to pursue a Masters degree and work at the same time. More health problems, however, occurred to a point where I wound up having to leave both my college degree and what work I was doing at the time. I had major surgery in January where they removed my uterus and not even a full 2 years later and I’m pending another surgery next month to figure out why things are still wrong.

TL: DR Needless to say, I know the strength of what one of those little cells holds firsthand.

We are back to the land of simplicity, gameplay wise. You’ve got bonus energy to spend on the first cell. What ‘s great, it gives you the freedom to see what you might want to do with your cell, and then you’re going to plan your first week with it. At first, your choices feel endless; food, exercise, culture, rest, play, study and wash are all your main categories and then they are subdivided into categories. So, my first week has started. Through my little cage, I tried to live vicariously, wanting to fly, read and play without end. However, it did not turn out that way.

There has always been a trade off doing too much without caring about other needs such as feeding or sleeping in the cell. Around the time I was halfway through my first lifecycle of cells I recognized that I was making the same mistakes that I personally made.

I just didn’t take care of it. The little cell couldn’t eat properly, couldn’t rest and had barely planned time to take a bath! I was so focused on putting everything in its existence that I would have forgotten to take into account what it wanted or needed. I just didn’t listen to it.

I was so focused on doing what I thought it was important, and wanted me to take notice of the fact Nobody was listening to them.

Ultimately, it was too late to rectify the error by the time I realised that I had left it undernourished, deprived of sleep and stinky. Fortunately, it didn’t die (well, it depends on how you look at it), but on its 49th day, it decided to turn it into a stone.

I started my second round with its previously divided cell (which carries all of the previous cell stats) disappointed, and equally a little mystified. A cell’s life cycle is from 15 to 30 minutes of playtime anywhere, so I was startled when I realized the cells respond to you when they’re in an event — if they don’t like an activity, they ‘re going to tell you.

It took me some time to understand that in some respects life imitated art. These little cells had hopes and aspirations and I forgot the key things to make this a success in the pursuit of that achievement.

Through listening, loving, and caring.

Like how I had forgotten to listen, to appreciate and to care for myself.

They say you should talk to yourself as if you were talking to your friends and I have never been good at taking advice like that. But something really hit home with me about My 49 Days with Cells, it taught me a lot about myself and I’m sure it can teach you something too.

My 49 Days with Cells are available on both the IOS App Store and the Google Play Store for free.

Should You Care? Women – Critical Lit Games

CriticialLitGames is the brainchild of writer turned coder Susan Gray, her focus with CriticalLitGames is to blend her two loves of literature and gaming using Augmented Reality (AR).

Coming from an arts background, Susan has been writing fiction from a young age starting off with short fiction and novellas moving on later to writing and publishing plays and poems. Her love of writing didn’t end there but seeped into her gaming life. She told me during her chat that when she was younger, she used to write to gaming companies with her ideas for games that she wanted to see. From this love of gaming leant her to coding where she had picked up Q and Visual Basic realising she may not need the major gaming companies to achieve her dreams. She could make the games herself.

Upon completing her PhD in Creative Writing, she decided to try her hand at Unity. Her first foray

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into Unity was in the VR space, but during her testing, she stumbled upon AR. She was fascinated about what she describes as the “breach into physical reality” rather than the separatist nature of VR. She realised that anything could be a host for an extra layer of information over the items we see as commonplace in our daily lives. Her mindthen strayed back to her first love of books. How could she add this layer over a timeless medium without distracting the reader’s attention?

She then drew on the experiences she had as a child and tieing that in with her love of video gaming realised she could create the modern gamebook. Thanks to the technological advancements that have to lead to AR she felt this could add a level of novelty to the everyday.

You can find a demo of her previous work here, and you can follow her progress on Twitter at @CritLitGames, on Instagram @criticallitgames, her blog https://criticallitgames.co.uk, and her Patreon if you want to support what she is up to.

Podcast: Pocketnow Weekly

Consider this an item ticked off my bucket list! I made it to the Pocketnow Weekly with my very good friends Juan & Jules. This is a bit of a rollercoaster of a podcast, so I hope you enjoy it!

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About us: Pocketnow has been a key source of mobile technology news and reviews since its establishment in 2000. With offices on three continents, Pocketnow offers round-the-clock coverage of the mobile technology landscape, from smartphones to tablets to wearables. We aim to be your number-one source for mobile tech news, reviews, comparisons, and commentary. If you love mobile as much as we do, be sure to subscribe!

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A Dumb Phone in 2017 – LG B470

When I was planning on myself and Splinters honeymoon this year, there was something that I was adamant about, and that was that I was going to be as tech-free as possible. I was not going to take my smartphone with me (at least, not my daily driver) and I was going to take a hiatus from all forms of social media and internet dependency.

This leads to a couple of issues while travelling; firstly how were you going to get from place to place if you couldn’t book a Lyft to the airport, and when you get to the airport how were you going to get through security without your boarding pass? These were all challenges I was going to have to face without having a handset on hand to do all of these tasks for me that I would have just taken for granted. What I learned is that I certainly do take these things for granted, my iPad served as a grading surrogate for a lot of these unusual tasks. However, it all got done, and our honeymoon went relatively unhindered as a result.

For the honeymoon, myself and Splintor went travelling a fair bit of it. We went to New York to see some of the Pocketnow crew for a few days, then we went to Orlando for five days to go and look at the parks and finally a week in Cancun to rest from all of the running around of the week prior. It leads to a fundamental problem – how am I going to call people or arrange to meet people while I’m over there? If myself and Mark are going to book a reservation for a restaurant, how are we meant to do that completely phone free? Turns out that bit, we can’t.

medium03So, we had to come to some arrangement. How could we remain connected and disconnected at the same time? The solution to that question came in the form of the LG B470, a dumb phone surviving in 2017.

As an AT&T exclusive, it’s not got the highest specs in the world, nor does it have the best camera.

Summary
Screen Size 2.2 inches
Screen Resolution 220 x 176 pixels
Battery Capacity 950 mAh
Camera Resolution 1.3 MP
Processor
Memory
Storage
Carrier AT&T
Other Features Text & Multimedia Messaging, Mobile Web, Text to Speech
Series B470

Though, as laughable as the concept may be for $25 per handset including the prepaid credit that was already on the phone it served our needs perfectly. We could make calls, tell the time, (an unexpected hindrance of continually being attached to a smartwatch. When you don’t bring the smartphone, you tend not to bring the smartwatch either!) and text people were required.

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I remember trying to walk out of Best Buy to text Jules to see which Starbucks near Central Park we were meant to meet and struggling tremendously with the concept of T9. Stopping in the middle of the shop, swearing under my breath as this was something I hadn’t done since my early teens and it had escaped me. I felt like I’d blasted to some point in the future when technology will at some stage get away from my grasp, and I had the confusion I see in my elders. It hit me with the full force of that knowledge, and I was angry that I’d lost that part of my ability. I remember being able to text without looking under my desk in class (Sorry, Mam) and being able to write perfect messages because I had everything down to muscle memory.

It slowly came back, like riding a bike, and over those few days, I discussed with my tech Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 03.15.18friends the concept of reverting to something like this for the two-week process. People were curious how were we going to document our experiences without something there always at hand for us to use. There was a sense of nostalgia looking at a flip phone like this and lamenting for a simpler time.

I don’t think that lamentation is misplaced, and it is a simpler place to be. A simpler place to sit. A simpler place to just exist. I found myself not wanting to be anywhere else except where I was. It gave me an opportunity to be present and with the people who were around me. That’s not something that I get to feel in everyday life; there is some much that is around us that calls for our attention regularly. So, for me at least it was a beautiful gift to give not just to myself but for the people around me. It was what I hoped to get from spending my time being disconnected from the digital world for a bit.

I would highly recommend it, even just for a little while. To force yourself to tune out and turn off. Give yourself and the people you love the time just to be. It just goes to show that sometimes, going a few steps back can push you a few steps forward.

Tech Bags for Women

Update 1/2/17: Got an update from Pad & Quill about the process around creating leather totes.

The Problem as it stands

As someone who carries a lot of tech with them, I am invariably torn by wanting a really nice bag vs. something that I know will protect my kit. So standard issue black, executive laptop bags that will basically only hold that and nothing else. Doesn’t really cut it for me. But neither, does my trusty Coach Tote that I’ve had for years before this! Even with my MacBook Pro having a hard shell on it, it says nothing for the sake of my Vita, 3DS, Books, Lunch that has to go in on top of it!

That is what lead to me asking the question “Are there any tech bags out there for women?” and also led me to a followup question of “Why should people care about this?”. So, should you care about it? Absolutely! Everyone needs to protect their technology, and most people want to do it in a way that is not only convenient but fashion conscious. Letting people know that there are more options out there than just regular tote bags the more people options people can have for finding a bag that suits them!

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Michael Kors Studio Mercer Leather Tote

So let’s look at a quick use case, shall we? A lot of the bags that I see my friends and colleagues carry are Michael Kors. They have some breathtaking bags ranging from the $160 – $260+, and they’re awesome don’t get me wrong. But, I feel if you’re putting your laptop, purse, phone, etc. You’re going to, in most cases, be putting a lot of valuable stuff in your bag. So it makes sense that you’d want to protect them. Some of these bags aren’t designed with protective laptop spaces inside. So they aren’t ideal. But I can see the appeal of them, they’re super cute they’re known for being durable and reliable, and it has brand power.

The Solution

So I decided to ask around the mobile tech community for alternatives to this. Where you can get beautiful, functional, bags that will tick all those boxes? Of course, everyone has their own favourites that sometimes cost an awful lot less! Don’t worry, though, some of these bags aren’t just specifically for women, anyone can wear these bags. It’s all down to your personal style!

Juan Carlos Bagnell recommended STM and Booq. So we’ll start with Booq.

Booq

Booq aims to create high-quality products that can be worn by men and women alike, with

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Booq – Daypack

No gender stereotyping. All bags are made from a ballistic nylon material and feature numerous compartments to ensure they are versatile for both men and women, for work and leisure. When I was talking to the lovely people of Booq, the rep who I was talking with recommended the Daypack as being one of her top picks. Just for the sheer versatility of the backpack. Booq takes pride in these bags being ethically sourced and environmentally conscious. So, this is always a big bonus for consumers who have that as a requirement!

STM

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STM – Deluxe Laptop Sleeve

STM’s Grace line was the brainchild of STM’s co-
Founder Andia Jacobs. The Grace
A collection
of women’s laptop bags and sleeves are a reflection of Adina’s design ethos of simple, elegant, and fun, now focused directly on a female customer. With a focus on slimmer and simpler products, you won’t find an extensive range nor should you expect to fit a mountain of gear in these sleeves. At the time of writing, there was one deluxe laptop sleeve, laptop sleeve and a clutch. However, the elegant design and form factor should be a must-see for anyone who likes to carry light.

Waterfield Design / Peralta

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Peralta – Balani Backpack

Serenity Caldwell of imore recommends Padandquill and SF/Peralta. San Francisco’s
WaterField Designs, a veteran of locally-crafted bags and cases announces a new women’s handbag line—PERALTA. PERALTA’s debut bag, the Balani Backpack is designed to be multipurpose with a focus on a professional women’s’ everyday working life. As one of the only traditional backpacks on this list, it’s really worth a look if you’re interested in a classic twist on a traditional design.

Pad & Quill

When talking to the super people of Pad & Quill, they described their mission as a pure

7-brown-laptop-purse-and-tote
Pad & Quill – Laptop Tote

one. They want to make good art. Each of their bags bears the signature of the artisan who created it, and they have a warranty on their bags for 25 years. Leather bags like these tend to be more gender neutral, making it wearable for anyone. However, for those who don’t like backpack styles, they do have a tote version of their leather bag which has enough room in it to fit your tech with room to spare.

The leather totes are 100% full-grain leather! They are constructed with UV-resistant nylon stitching and solid nickel hardware, so the bags can easily stand the test of time. Instead of cutting a bunch of different pieces of leather and stitching them together, they use unique pieces. Less stitching means less chance of the bag falling apart after only a few years.
While they are not certified cruelty free, the leather we use does come from cattle who’ve lived cruelty-free lives. The leather producer/tannery purchase animals that are raised in beautiful pastureland. In our bags, you may notice slight scarring/marks. The cattle’s entire body gets used, from the hide to the meat, so that nothing to waste.
They also are committed to strong ethical practices in everything we do. The companies they partner with to produce and create our bags are as well. So for those who are a little bit concerned about where the leather comes from, this should help to alleviate some fears!

Timbuk2

Florence Ion recommends Timbuk2. Which, is a bag that I ended up getting from this list. They do a dedicated women’s line, which is some of the biggest that I’ve seen in my searching
the following for women’s bags. They have everything from messenger bags, backpacks, totes, duffle bags. So it’s really worth a look to see what fits your style. I got the Custom Prospect Laptop Messenger Bag, which I got in all

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Black with a blue trim and I adore it. My record so far for getting stuff in the bag is the following: my MacBook Pro, iPad Pro, Playstation Vita, Nintendo 3DS, 5 Hardback books, an umbrella, 2 ready meals, 2 ciabattas and some ham and cheese. This is along with all
of the random crap in the front pocket and the internal pocket which keeps things like medicines and other essentials. That’s an insane amount of stuff! And Yes. It was damn heavy. But never once on the 30-minute trek home from my local shopping centre was it ever actually uncomfortable. As heavy as the contents were the straps never once cut into me nor did I have to shuffle around any of the contents for better weight distribution. So needless to say, I can safely recommend going and looking at these collections of bags.

William J. Mills Inc & Brenthaven

However this I couldn’t possibly complete this segment without Michael Fisher aka

napthol_red_duck_duffel

MrMobile thoughts on the best tech bags. In his hometown, there’s a sailmaker called William J. Mills Inc., and they make his favourite companion bags of all time: the Classic Duffel. He’s had it for years, and he swears by it. However, for his present daily driver, he’s currently using the Brenthaven Collins Vertical Messenger Bag for the Surface Pro 4. You can find his thoughts on the bag in his Winter Wearables video so I won’t ruin any surprises for you! Both the duffle bags and the messenger bags all have a classic style about them, so could be a perfect fit for anyone.

Rounding Out

So what do you think? Are there any bags here that would make you ditch your daily driver? Do you have any recommendations for bags that didn’t make a list? Tell me about them in the comments below. All of the links to each of the bags and people I’ve mentioned today will be in the text above so be sure to check them out. Be sure to Like, Share and Subscribe if you liked this blog and be sure to check out the video version of this blog by checking out the Should You Care? Tech channel.