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While 2020 was the year of COVID, other things happened, too.

As I do each year, I like to look back at the past twelve months and reflect on what the year brought, good and bad. I considered skipping this year’s retrospective, as 2020 was such an awful year all around; there’s not much positive to reflect upon. Nevertheless, after more consideration, and because it’s my tradition, I decided to continue, so here goes.

Like most years, there are trends that tend to emerge and 2020 was no exception. Though there were far less momentous happenings, personally, the year did indeed have its moments. …


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Though 2020 was a terrible year on so many fronts, one positive aspect is that it gave photographers an excuse to get out of their comfort zone, to study their craft, and improve their skills and techniques — if they chose to take advantage of the time. Unfortunately, I set my camera down, and took very few photos throughout the year.

However, 2020 wasn’t a complete loss. Book-ended by a couple trips, I was able to capture some incredible images, and I take pride in the fact that some of my best work occurred this year.

In January, I had a couple portrait sessions, in which I wanted to work on lighting, and had some very specific images in mind. I believe they turned out quite nicely (though the styles are wildly different.) …


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Me 10 years ago versus now.

Each year, I take some time to create a retrospective about the preceding months, and a pattern tends to emerge. Each year tends to contain many similar events that ultimately lead to a trend for the year. While looking back at an entire decade is more difficult, it is possible to spot some of the same motifs. For instance, my career advanced rather significantly from 2010 to today, resulting in more responsibility, more money, and more stress. But those are all things that take time to develop, and aren’t immediately obvious. …


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Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Each year, I try to look back at the previous months, and reflect on what the year was like. Every year is different, but one thing always remains the same: a pattern emerges. A few major topics can be used to summarize the year, and the trials and tribulations of the previous twelve months. 2019 was by far one of the most tumultuous years I’ve lived through, and certainly had its ups and downs; and they were extreme.

Other Year-End Reviews


Apple is set to release three new iPhone models within the next few weeks. In case you’re not plugged into the tech press world, let me briefly break them down for you:

  • A refreshed version of last year’s iPhone X (which is actually called the iPhone 10) with a 5.8” Super-Retina OLED display.
  • A larger, plus-sized version of the iPhone X with a 6.5” Super-Retina OLED display.
  • A new model, which has a slightly larger, but technically inferior 6.1” LED display. …

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With the release of the next wave of Android flagship phones, namely the Galaxy S8 by Samsung, I find myself lusting over that new phone, and yet, want as I might, I cannot make myself switch back to Android. Apple has managed to lock me in, and I can’t navigate my way out.

For years, I scoffed at those beholden to Apple products.

Over the years, I’ve slowly become an Apple-centric user. Every device I now use is an Apple one. Those who know me well might be surprised that this has become the case. I slammed the original iPhone for its (then) astronomical price of $600. I mocked the iPad as an oversized iPhone but have owned several of them. I lambasted the Apple Watch only to now wear one on my wrist daily. Apple has slowly squirmed its way into my heart (and wallet) and now I’m well and truly stuck. …


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Siri. Cortana. Google Assistant. Alexa.

These are all variations of today’s artificial intelligence-based assistants. They all let you do roughly the same things, like adding items to your calendar; sending messages; setting alarms and timers; and doing basic web searches for tidbits of information.

But they are also very limited in their capabilities. Having to repeat yourself three times to send a simple text message is far more frustrating than it should be. Often times, we get so exasperated in the attempt, we end up picking up our phones and keying in the message manually, grumpily complaining about our ‘stupid phone’. Worse, some people stop using these AI assistants at all, since it’s not worth the frustration to them. …


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On Wednesday, September 7th, 2016, Apple announced the latest generation of iPhone, which they’re calling the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Ironically, the rumors on the internet indicate that Apple will radically re-design the iPhone in 2017, for the tenth-anniversary of the iPhone’s launch. However, the iPhone 7 is technically the 10th model of the iPhone, if you include the original. But technicalities aside, I’m actually quite excited by the iPhone 7.

This year, I’ve actually decided to upgrade to the larger model, the Plus. …


How much would you pay for a 7-inch tablet? An iPad mini, with a slightly larger screen starts at $250, and most Android tablets cost at least $100–$200 or more for a decent one. What if you could get a 7-inch tablet that could also double as a full-fledged PC for only $79? It would be hard to pass up, which is exactly why I didn’t.

Microsoft is currently selling the HP Stream 7 Signature Edition Tablet for $79, which is $20 off its normal price. Considering it comes with a 1-year subscription to Office 365 Personal (worth $70 itself), a $25 Microsoft Store gift card, and credit for 100 Skype-minutes, which combined are worth $95, you’re essentially getting a free tablet. …


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HP Stream 7 Signature Edition Tablet

In February, 2014, I wrote a post titled “24 Hours with a Windows Tablet“. I had purchased a Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet, with the intention of using it primarily as a media consumption device, and having the added benefit of it being a full-blown computer that could run Windows applications. Within 24 hours, it was immediately obvious that Windows wasn’t ready to be a tablet OS, and that it simply wouldn’t work for my needs. So it was that my Windows tablet was returned, and I purchased an Android tablet instead.

Since then, I’ve moved on to using an iPad Mini as my main tablet device, supplemented occasionally by my older Android tablet, and my 3rd-generation Kindle as my primary reading device. But recently, I stumbled across a deal that was too good to pass up: the $79 HP Stream 7 tablet. …

Bradley K. Brown

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