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  • 3 Reasons Google Inbox is Baller!!!

    3 Reasons Google Inbox is Baller

     

    Google Inbox is a simple, but game changing way to do email. It challenges you to somewhat unlearn what email is and what email should be. Enough fluff… Let’s do this…

     

    “Done” Emails

    Remember archiving emails? Probably not because most people do not understand what archiving is or does. Hell, archiving gmail is super unintuitive. I have been archiving for a few years now, but only because I took the time to look up explanations of what it was. Google realizes this and has replaced archiving with “Done”. It is nice because it represents the idea that google wanted all this time. You really had to have this mindset of completing emails instead of erasing them into oblivion. I am not sure if marking an email as “done” is any different than archiving it on a technical level, but it feels much more comfortable. I kind of think of it like homework assignments. When you finish homework, you do not just trash it, but instead you put it away for a while. If you ever need it again, then you can grab it, but hopefully you won’t have to. This is how I am with my email. If it is not something I have to deal with, then it is getting marked as done. The email disappears and I do not want to think about it or worry about it unless I absolutely have to. Luckily the email still exists, so I can easily look it up if I ever need to. Basically “Done” email is not deleted, it is not in your inbox, but it is there if you need it somewhere down the road of life. This road is filled with emotions that harness an altered sense of reality, rationale, and altruism. I digress...  

     

    Snoozing Emails

    This feature is great. This is the alarm clock of email. You get an email, but do not want to respond to it now. You are not going to take the time to create a calendar entry or make a reminder to get back to it, so you Snooze it! Say you get a semi interesting email that you would like to look at when you are less busy, but you do not know what to do with it? That is right, snooze that crap. Say you are being super productive and do not want some half interesting email to get in the way?; Snooze it! Say your in laws are driving you crazy? Snoozing will not help, but life is still better than not having snozing google inbox emails. I think you get my point.

     

    Pinning Emails

    I will admit, this is almost the same as “Starring” your emails. However, I will return to the beginning of what I started with: Google Inbox is about changing your mindset. If you have had to work in a busy office environment, then you probably have appreciation of using sticky notes. Pinning emails is the sticky notes version of email. The important thing about sticky notes is that they are front and center. You do not pile a bunch of paper over it, but you put it on your computer monitor so you do not forget it. Pinned emails work in a similar fashion in that they stay at the top until you un-pin it, mark it as done, or delete it. You do not have to go looking for a pinned email. It is simple and it works.



    Conclusion

    Listen, hopefully this post is simple, straight forward, and to the point; just like Google Inbox. It might be a little intimidating and confusing at first, but it is totally worth the adjustment. It has a baller interface that is clean and easy to use. You can use it as an app on Android or iOS and you can use it on the web. It has made going through email a much more pleasant experience for me and I would highly recommend you give it a shot. It is still invite only, but leave a comment and we might hook you up.




  • 3 Reasons Apple Was Forced Into Encrypting Its Phones

    By J.W.Morse

    Watch Here | Listen Here 

    Recently Apple announced that it would start encrypting all of it’s mobile devices in a very interesting way. Apple has said, “[We can’t] bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data. So it's not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants... [for] data from devices... running iOS 8.” And that is a huge F-you to the US government. And let's be honest; the government has been doing more than saying F-you to tech companies.

    Let me explain:

    As it stands, what we are told is the NSA and FBI needs a FISA court order to request user information from Google, Apple, Yahoo or other companies. FISA was created after the Nixon administration spied on Americans. Out of the 33,949 cases the court has heard since 1979, 11 have been denied.

    That is not a court; that is a formality. And even beyond that, The Fisa Amendments Act of 2008 made it so FISA did not require individualized targets to approve surveillance programs.

    Rep Barbara Lee Makes some good points about the FISA amendment act of 2008 before it was voted on. 

    • Rep Barbara Lee - “I rise in strong... opposition to this very terrible bill. It does not strike to proper balance between protecting national security and preserving our cherished civil liberties. Now I know how important those protections are from personal experience with unwarranted domestic surveillance and wiretapping during the J.Edgar Hoover period. The Government's infamous cointel program ruined the lives of many innocent persons. Others, including myself had their privacy invaded even though the posed no threat to national security. We all remember how Dr. King's family were the victims of the most shameful government sponsored wiretapping. WE must never go down this road again, yet here we are again. This bill undermines the ability of federal courts to review the legality of domestic surveillance programs. It provides de facto retroactive immunity to telecommunication companies. It does not sunset until 12/31/2012. How can we do that? Four years is way too long. A good bill will protect Americans against terrorism and not erode the 4th amendment. This bill scares me to death, and I urge a no vote.”

    This is seriously who we need representing us. But it wasn’t enough:

    • President George W. Push “today I am pleased to sign landmark legislation that is vital to the security of our people. The bill will allow our intelligence professionals to monitor the communications of terrorists abroad while respecting the liberties of Americans here at home.”

    To be honest, I think Bush believed that what he was doing would help, but what we have found out is the government is very good at expanding reasonable liberties beyond their original intention.

    Let me get back to the point; how the government has burnt tech companies. The FISA court is at best a formality. More recently with the Edward Snowden leaks it was revealed that the NSA had been tapping into Google, and Yahoo clouds to collect and siphon unencrypted data traveling between the companies private servers on private lines. What is even crazier is that Google and Yahoo said they had no idea this was happening.

    So to say that tech companies have been burnt is an understatement. Basically, tech companies kept their front door locked, but didn’t worry about their windows on the 2nd floor. Then the FBI comes along and crawls through the window to see if your neighbors left any evidence about crimes they were doing. A warrant was never produced to break into the private house, but supposedly one exists but is classified so you can't see it. Then one day you find out they are coming in your house, So you lock the window, because you don't want the government to know how small your Penis is. It's proportionate to my body size and average to my ethnicity. We have been over this many times Kate, and no this pills aren't working, so we are just going to have to get used to it.

    The government is abusing their power and taking advantage of your privacy without very little legal backing and bringing up very painful issues.

    That is exactly why Google and Apple are encrypting their end users phones and throwing away the key. Because they can’t trust FISA, they can’t trust Congress and they sure as hell can’t trust the FBI or NSA.

    • Jay Strubberg NewsyTech “A Chicago police chief told the Washington Post ‘The average pedophile is probably thinking, I should get an apple phone.’ and on Tuesday a former FBI investigator also writing in the post said the new privacy rules will create needless delays that could cost victims their lives.”

    That is a really good point, and the Director of the FBI actually gave specific examples:

    • “In Louisiana a known sex offender posed recently as a teenaged girl to entice a 12-year-old boy to sneak out of his house to meet this supposed young girl. The predator posed as a taxi driver; he took this young boy, murdered him and tried to alter and delete evidence on both his and the victims cell phones to cover up the crime. Both phones were instrumental in showing that the suspect enticed the child into his taxi and that suspect was sentenced to death this year.”
    • “And lastly I mentioned was it has been used to prosecute, it has also been used to exonerate innocent people. In Kansas data from a cell phone was used not long ago to prove the innocence of several teens accused of rape. Without access to the phone or the ability to recover a deleted video from that phone, several young men could have been wrongly convicted.”

    Those examples are huge, and it makes complete sense to me why the FBI and NSA want access to our data. Honestly, I think they had the best intentions when collecting it I do, but things have gone too far. We are being forced into a corner where we have to take away the power a court has because we cannot trust that court. And because of that, the bad guys will get away, and innocent people will go to jail.

    We all know that freedom is not free. We have to make a choice; do we care more about safety or freedom? Now I know a lot of you are going to say, “Josh what if someone is holding a gun to John Connors head? What will you choose then?” I will tell you right now; I am choosing safety every single time because I love that kid. I am not going to make a rational discussion. I am not going to make the right choice. A nation that thinks like allows small freedoms to be eroded every day. That is all it takes; simple liberties removed for safety and we are on the path to totalitarianism. Nazi Germany was Totalitarian, so a nation that takes safety over freedom risks putting a Hitler in power.

    And don’t think we don’t already choose freedom over lives. 33,000 people die every year from drunk driving. If we forced every driver to take a breathalyzer test before driving, nearly all of those would vanish, but we are not comfortable sacrificing that freedom. Why then, are we comfortable sacrificing so much freedom for fantoms that kill much, much less than drunk drivers?

    To take it one step further, killing people is not the goal of terrorism, it is the means to the goal of dismantling our government and way of life. The truth is, terrorists want us at war with them. The reason is, well, James Madison said it best, “ No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” Officially we have been at war with terrorism since October 7, 2001, but let's be honest, it has been going on a lot longer than that.

    Additionally, what is the end game? When have we won the war on terror? The answer is never. Terrorism has and will always exist.

    We are at a point where we can't trust the court system to provide appropriate warrants. I want to believe in the court system, and I want them to be able to access information for convictions of the worst criminals. I just don't think I can trust the courts to do the job the way that is consistent with our constitutional rights. Closed doors make it a lot easier to bend the rules.

    • FBI Director James Comey - “ I believe that people should be skeptical of government power, I am. I think this country was founded by people who were, who knew you could not trust people in power. So they divided power among three branches so you could set interest against interest. And then they wrote a bill of rights to ensure that the paper and effects of the people were secure from unreasonable searches.”

    I love the sentiment of security, but I do not believe that I am safe from unreasonable search and seizure. I do not believe that my information is safe from the government. The FISA amendment act of 2008 proves to me that the government has no interest in protecting personal information if they feel it is anonymized in bulk data. We are not secure from unreasonable searches.

    • FBI Director James Comey “I suggest that it is time that the post-Snowden pendulum be seen as having swung too far in one direction, in a direction of fear and mistrust.”

    I agree with the idea that we have swung too far in the direction of fear and mistrust. But we have spent our entire lives believing we had a reason to trust. The burden of producing reason for our trust is on you James Comey, and the NSA, and the President. We have reason to mistrust. Give us a reason to trust.

    • FBI Director James Comey - “Some have suggested that there is a conflict between liberty and security. You have to give a little of one to get the other. I reject that framework. I think when we are at our best in law enforcement. In national security and public safety, we are looking to enhance security and liberty.”

    I think Ron Paul can explain this better than me. Here he in the a presidential debate regarding the Patriot Act. 

    • Ron Paul - “I think the Patriot Act is unpatriotic because it undermines our liberty. I am as concerned as everybody is about terrorist attacks. Timothy Mcveigh was a vicious terrorist. He was arrested; terrorism is still on the books internationally and nationally is a crime, and we should deal with it, we dealt with it rather well with Timothy Mcvey. But why I really fear it is because we have drifted into a condition we have been warned against. Our early founders were very clear, they said don't be willing to sacrifice liberty for security. Today it seems to easy that our government and our congress are too willing to give up our liberties for our security. I have a personal belief that you never have to give up liberty for security; you can still provide security without sacrificing our bill of rights.”
    • Newt Gingrich “Timothy Mcveigh succeeded; that's the whole point. Timothy Mcveigh killed a lot of Americans. I don’t want a law that says after we lose a major American city we are sure going to come after you. I want a law that says if you try to take out an American city we are going to stop you.”
    • Ron Paul - “This is like saying we need a policemen in every house a camera in every house because we want to prevent child beating and wife beating. You can prevent crimes by becoming a police state. So if you advocate the police state, yes you can have safety and security and you might prevent a crime, but the crime then will be against the American people, and against our freedoms and we will throw out so much of what our revolution was fought for. So don’t do it so carelessly.

    So that is the choice. How many lives are worth freedom? We sacrifice 33,000 for drunk drivers, but we’re not scared of drunk drivers. We’re scared of terrorists, which is exactly what they want. I believe they want us at war with them for because they know war will continue to remove our freedom. I believe this is more calculated than we think.

    I am honestly scared of the next terrorist attack. Because, and I mean this with as much respect as possible, we only lost about 3000 people from the 9/11 attack. Look at how much freedom we lost for 3000 people. How much freedom would be lose for one million, or even 50? At this point, any terrorist attack would be successful because it would only accelerate the speed at which we give up our freedom, and that is the point of terrorism.

  • Moto X Vs. iPhone 6

    Moto X Vs. iPhone 6

    By J.S.Marler

    Listen here - http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/life-never-lost/e/35796804?autoplay=true

     

    I was lucky enough to be able to use both the new Moto X(2014) and the new iPhone 6 for several weeks and really get a feel for these phones. They both have really great experiences, but only one can be the winner, fight!

    Personal History


    Moto X:

    I got the first Moto X the hour it was available unlocked for T-Mobile on Motorola’s website. At the time is cost $650 for a non customizable, woven black, 16 Gb model. Very pricy, especially since motorola kept on dropping the price over the following months; eventually having sales that cut that price in half. Still, I love my Moto X and I thought it was the best phone of the last generation.

    iPhone:

    I have personally owned or used(on a daily basis) every model of the iPhone; except for the iPhone 3Gs and the iPhone 4. Yes, that means I have had the iPhone 1, iPhone 2, iPhone 3G, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, and now the iPhone 6. Please leave an angry comment if I forgot some other iPhone model. In any case, I think about how blessed I am to have had these opportunities to use all these devices. I really love Apple mobile devices. I have also owned every generation of iPad, except for the 4th generation and the iPad mini line.

    Physical Design, Size, and First Impressions


     Moto X:

    I was a huge fan of last year’s Moto X physical design and size. It was a great balance of a small bezel, dimple on the back, and large screen fit into a relatively small size. I was very hesitant when I heard the new Moto X would increase the screen size by half an inch(4.7 inches to 5.2 inches). I did not think I would like 2014 model nearly as much. It didn't blow me away when I first opened the box, but it was still very nice. Long story short; I now love it. Everything I was hesitant about were completely wrong. I don't miss the smaller size at all. They managed to do the same thing as last year in that, they have a small bezel, good ergonomic design, textured dimple on the back, and a even larger screen fit into an even thinner design. They even made the power button textured so you can tell the difference between the volume and power button without looking. Also, I have used every thinkable combination of button locations and I love having the power and the volume buttons on the right; just like the 1st gen Moto X. They moved the speaker to the front, so there are no “holes” for speakers anywhere on the device. I can, maybe, criticize that this is a 5.2 inch screen and it is sometimes a little hard to use single handed, but this is rarely an issue. To be honest, I will take this larger screen, even if it is a little hard to use single handed at times. I think the thing that might hold people back from the Moto X is that it may not blow you away. It is the kind of design that you appreciate with time and use. You are probably not going to pick up the phone and think it is the greatest thing ever. It does not have a “shock” value; even though it may be the best designed phone ever.

    iPhone 6:

    I loved the iPhone 6 more than I thought I would. There was a moment where I thought I would return my Moto X and carry around an iPhone 6 or an iPhone 6 plus instead. That moment passed and I will go into detail later on. The large bezel compared to the Moto X was not as bad as I thought. The curved edges felt nice and ergonomic. The material is light, but feels premium. The phone is thinner than the Moto X. Apple moved the power button to the right, instead of the top and this is a needed improvement My biggest complaint is that the camera bulges out of the back. This is especially annoying when the phone is sitting on a table and you tap on it. My friend Charlie said that bulge on the back of the phone cuased by the camera lense would cause issues when the phone it on a table. I did not think that would be an issue but I soon found it was. I didn’t realize it, but I use the iPhone 6 on a table enough that it is really annoying. It’s the first time in a while that I though a case might make a phone better; at least for that purpose. Plus, the camera physically looks ugly and amateurish; especially for Apple.

    Winner: Moto X

    Pros:

    Moto X - Bigger Screen | Better Button Location | Better Ergonomics | Dimple on the Back |Better Speaker location

    iPhone 6 - Thinner | Smaller Screen is a Little Easier to Use with One Hand.

    Cons:

    Moto X - No “Wow” factor with initial impressions | not as easy to use with one hand due to larger screen

    iPhone 6 - Camera bulge | Needlessly larger bezel | smaller screen

    PS: These phones are very close to the same size. The Moto X has a 0.5 inch larger screen, but its smaller bezel leaves the Moto X just slightly larger than the Phone 6

    Display


     Moto X:

    The Moto X display is awesome. It is 1080p with 424 ppi. However it is an AMOLED screen, which I am not a huge fan of. The screen does not look as good as the iPhone 6 which has an LCD screen, but the AMOLED allows the Moto X to have a huge advantage with screen notifications.

    iPhone 6:

    The iPhone 6 screen looks awesome. It is smaller at 4.7 inches and a lower ppi at 326, but I do like that it is an LCD screen. The colors are less saturated compared to the Moto X and I honestly think it is a better looking screen.

    Winner: iPhone 6

    Pros:

    Moto X: - Larger Screen | Higher resolution and PPI

     

    iPhone 6: LCD Screen and Great Color Rendering 

    Cons:

    Moto X: AMOLED screen is too saturated in my opinion 

    iPhone 6: Smaller, lower resolution and lower PPI

    PS: PPI is great, but not everything! I have proven 20/15+ vision(better than 20/20) and it is difficult to tell a significant difference once you start hitting 400 ppi in my opinion. I think that we will start to see an increase in phones making their screen better in terms of color and material. There are a lot of people out there that love the higher saturation, I don’t, but remember that this is all just my opinion.

     Camera


     Moto X:

    The Moto X camera is my favorite smartphone camera. Everything from opening the camera with a twist hand motion, the software interface, and the performance is the most practical in my opinion. You can find Windows phones with higher resolutions, HTC phones with better Zoe/Gif like features, and the iphone that just seems to take better pictures some of the time. Still, I think that the Moto X is my favorite overall. It has the best package and offers something no other smartphone does. You can twist the phone quickly to launch the camera. The interface is fast, simple, and highly efficient. You can take a picture, take a video, take burst shots, switch to the front facing camera, or zoom with one touch of one finger. I do not know of ANY other camera that can do that.    

    iPhone 6:

    The iPhone 6 camera is great. Everyone around the internet praises the photos and videos that it can take. I have done side by side comparisons and it just does a really good job. One thing I will note is that it is not perfect. If an Android user were to switch over to the iPhone, then they may have too high of expectations. I fell into this trap thinking that every picture I take will be awesome with the iPhone 6. Unfortunately it has the same limitations that most smartphone cameras and taking the time to get the right lighting, angle, and focus make all the difference. One thing the iPhone has is a slow motion camera that makes for some awesome shots.    

    Winner: Tie

    Pros:

    Moto X: Better access to camera | better software interface | usually better low light performance/exposure

    iPhone 6: Better at taking pictures more often than not.

    Cons:

    opposite of the pros

    This one was really tough for me. The real test (I guess) was that I more often used my moto x to take pictures even though I had my iPhone 6 with me as well.

    Speaker


    Moto X:

    This one is easy. The Moto X speaker is better. It is louder and has a better location on the front of the device. This is especially nice because I don’t have to worry about hand placement covering the speaker. 

    iPhone 6:

    The iPhone 6 speaker holds its own. It is a decent speaker that it better than a lot of other phones out there, but with the located in at the bottom of the phone it can be easily covered up if held wrong. 

    Winner: Moto X 

    Pros:

    Moto X: Louder | better location

    iPhone 6: Better than other phones, but not the Moto X 

    Unlocking Screen and Notifications


    Moto X:

    This phone is the best at unlocking, and I rarely have to use the power button. The X has IR sensors that turn the screen on, accurately, when your hand comes close to the screen. This is something that Motorola says can only be done with a AMOLED screen. The sensors know when it is in your pocket and turns off the screen. You can wave your hand over the phone to see the time and any notifications. The screen lights up automatically and leaves a “breathing notification” so you can see it without touching it. It is the best any phone has to offer. The only thing I would like is a double tap to unlock feature like the LG G3. Finally the Moto X has trusted Bluetooth. This is where your phone will automatically stay unlocked without a password when connected to a Bluetooth device you deem ok. This works great if you have a smart watch or Bluetooth in your car.

    iPhone 6:

    The iPhone 6 fingerprint reader is awesome. It works really well and is easy to set up. I wish all phones had this option. Otherwise, everything else is  pretty standard here. Notifications have gotten better in iOS 8, but it is still not as good as android. Unlocking the phone is straightforward by pressing the power button or home button, then slide to unlock.

    Winner: Moto X

    Pros:

    Moto X: Better actionable notifications | Breathing notifications | better screen unlock | Trusted Bluetooth.

    iPhone 6: Fingerprint reader

    Voice Commands


    Moto X:

    This phone has made itself famous with its “Moto Voice” feature. You can control a lot of things on your phone with. Calling, texting, searching google, playing music, getting questions answered, and much more is always available on the phone. It works super well and allows you to create your own customer phrase. The phrase I used is “Intergalactic”. You are not completely free in your choice. it has to be real words in the dictionary and it has to be long enough. It failed when I tried to set the Wookie sound or “Yo”. This feature works so well that I was able to have my phone playing music at full volume in my small bathroom with shower running, the washer and dryer running, and it still recognized my voice command to play a song. With that said it is not 100%, but it is a great improvement over last year’s Moto X. 

    iPhone 6:

    iPhone 6 has a similar feature called “my siri”, but it only works when the device is plugged into a power source. This makes it a very limited feature. 

    Winner: Moto X

    Pros:

    Moto X: Voice commands are more accessible and work better 

    iPhone 6: Responses tend to be funny things with a “personality”

    Cons:

    Moto X: Voice recognition can be better for both devices.

    iPhone 6: Has to be plugged in, Does not work as well as Google Now.

    Speed


    Both phones run amazing. They are fast with little to no problems. We have some arbitrary benchmark tests if you guys want to know the “numbers”

    Moto X: Antutu Benchmark Score: 44,102 (higher than all android devices)

    iPhone 6: Antutu Benchmark Score: 48,785

    Winner: iPhone I guess? They both are great! Tie

    Battery Life


     Moto X:

    The Moto X battery life is great. I feel like I never have to worry about my phone battery life from 6:00 - 10:00 pm. I did tests where I tried to destroy the battery as much as practically possible. I would download GBs of apps over cellular, play intensive games, and keep the screen on. I did stuff that would never be considered normal use and still got over 10 hours of battery life.

    iPhone 6:

    Apple is great at battery life; Especially in standby. The iPhone 6 continues that reputation. I can leave it on standby overnight and only lose a few percent of battery life. It is prone to lower battery life when playing intense games like the Moto X, but still overall is great. 

    Winner: iPhone 6

    Google Apps VS Apple Apps


     There are a lot of places on the internet that talk about the comapriosn of android os vs apple os. But something that i think has made a huge impact is not neccesarraly the OS but the apps that are available. Google makes is major apps availbe for ios, but apple locks all of its apps down.

    At the end of the day I will have to go with android on this one.

    Buying, Price and Options. 


    The moto x has the most options and the lowest price. The biggest advantage the iphone 6 has is the storage capacity at 16, 64, and 128GB. I will say that 32GB is the sweet spot for the average user, especially if you have unlimited data. But if you are looking for a lot of storage you are just not going to find that option on the Moto X.

    Android Wear


     one last thing I will mention before the conclusion is android wear. It is something I have really loved. It has enhanced our daily use of our smartphones. It is something that is not available right now for the iphone. The apple watch is coming out early next year, but from what I have seen it is not something that really excites me.

    Conclusion 


    The winner of this fight is the Moto X. It is a better overall phone. I like the camera better, it is a lot more open in its applications, it has better applications, it has a better ergonomic design, better locations for the power and volume, notifications are better. It is just a better overall phone. 

    the iphone 6 does have  great design, minus the camera bulge. It takes great pictures, has great battery life, the screen looks amazing. And it is simple. If you are the kind of person that wants something that you can’t customize that just works, then maybe the iphone is the best phone for you.

    Is there anything I forgot? Anything that stands out that I should mention? Any phones that you think are better? Let us know in the comments with threatening messages.

    -------


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  • Moto 360 Review

    Editors Note - Is the Moto 360 the best smartwatch ever? It is worth buying? The short answer is that we think it is the best smartwatch currently available. If you want a smartwatch and have an Android phone, then this is for you.

    This review of the Moto 360 is done differently than our other reviews. It is written mostly by J.W. Morse, but has some crap added by J.S. Marler. We have labeled the sections to indicate who wrote what. Let us know if you like this format, think it is stupid, or would just like pictures of bears instead relevant of words.

    Your existential internal voice of guidance,

     J.S. Marler

     

    By: J.W.Morse

    Additional Reporting by J.S.Marler

    Unboxing/First Impressions


    Josh:

    The moment I saw a picture of the Moto 360 I knew, finally, what a smartwatch should look like. Until that point, I knew that everything that had come out so far didn’t meet my expectations, but I hadn’t really figured out what those expectations were. The Moto 360 has, from the very first press images, set my standard for what a smartwatch should look like. Above all, something you wear on your wrist should be a beautiful.

    I have spent about a month with the Moto 360 and I can say that it is a gorgeous watch that feels as good on my wrist as it is to look at. I am struck by the watches ability to play the middle ground between so many things; it has a solid build, yet is light. Constantly useful, but never ‘in the way’. Utilitarian, and a fashion statement.

    John:

    Perfect for bears, dogs, and lions. Not fish; I’m allergic.

    Josh:

    The initial unboxing experience was a bit of awesome, followed by a bit of a letdown.. The box, is very nice looking, and the watch looks amazing in it. Getting the 360 out of the packaging was very enjoyable, and I loved watching the animations as the device booted up for the first time. The let down came when I went to pair the device with my phone. I received an error message telling me the device needed to be fully charged to pair. This was a huge let down because I really wanted to play around with the watch but I had to wait while charging it.

    I know it might seem that I am nit picking, but the unboxing experience is huge to me. It sets the tone in a lot of ways, and, at least until the newest software update, the tone it set was accurate: battery problems.

    The good news is it took less than an hour for the 360 to get a full charge.

    Display


    Josh:

    The real story about the display is the fact that it is round. This is the first round smartwatch for Google’s Android Wear platform. Motorola has done a round display before, but never with all the processing and battery power directly behind the display. Plus, that display was for an old unsuccessful phone. Nevertheless, I appreciate that Motorola made the effort. I may never understand how much of a technological marvel this is, but I think it says a lot that apple decided to go with a square screen instead of a circular one. I think it says apple was not able to create a circular display, or at least make one as good as Motorola did.

     At 205 ppi the 1.56 in screen is not a very high resolution, especially when compared to most smartphones which are above a 400 ppi. The resolution is a little bit less than the Galaxy Gear at 277 ppi, but truth be told I didn’t notice the lower resolution after my first day of use because I’m not holding it up to my face. Looking down at my wrist showed no resolution problems and at the end of the day; that is all I really care about.

    John:

    I feel like I am a little more critical of the screen compared to Josh. Certain stock watch faces were not as optimized for the resolution and noticeable pixels showed when compared to other faces. Even the loading screen fell short of my expectations showing noticeable pixilation.. If you choose the right watch face design, then this is a non issue. I am sure it’s something that will improve in the next generation, but right now I am happy to take a lower resolution if it means double my battery life.

    Josh:

    At the bottom of the display is an ambient light sensor that in my use was pretty accurate. I never felt the need to turn the brightness up or down, and honestly didn’t know that there was a way to change the brightness; even after several days.

    John:

    I tested the screen on the lowest manual brightness and was still able to easily see the display while outside in the New Mexico sun. I would like to thank my friend Louie for suggesting this to me. Your gentle touch will always be remembered.

    Josh:

    The 360 Gorilla Glass 3 for the screen. I love the idea that my watch face is made up of Gorilla skin lovingly heated to 2500 degrees celsius.

    John:

    I was able to test the durability by clumsily bashing his watch into walls and doors during my roid rages. Thankfully there were no scratches, cracks, or dents. Thank you Jesus.

    Josh:

    the interesting part is that the glass sticks up just slightly above the bezel of the watch. I was worried at first that it would detract from my enjoyment, but ultimately I forgot it even existed.

    Josh:

    I felt that the display is a fingerprint magnet. I had the urge to clean the display multiple times a day.

    John:

    I had fewer problems with my display compared to Josh. I did not need to do more than a quick microfiber towel wipe more than once a day at most. I probably ended up wiping the screen once every 2-4 days on average. Josh probably had more issues because he would get really close to the screen, breathing heavily, and his saliva would mist the display with his odd affection.   

    Josh:

    I do like the taste of gorilla skin glass.

    Battery


    Josh:

    The battery is one of the biggest controversies of the Moto 360. There is an expectation for a watch battery to last multiple days. When it was announced that the 360 had a 320 milliamp battery there were a lot of people who freaked out. Even more so when Motorola said the device "would last a full day."

    The first few weeks of use the battery would last about 12 hours and on a really good day last 15. However, this was before the most recent software update. The update is really quite ingenious, it basically involves attaching a rat on a wheel to your wrist. A little cumbersome, but I think it is worth it. The update significantly improved the battery life. After the update it became normal to have the device sitting at 60% or more with over 8 hours of use. This huge improvement really added to my enjoyment of the device. I stopped worry about the battery life and just started using the device without thought. I don’t think the device will go two days but you can expect to get a day and some change.

    John:

    We have also noticed that battery life can be drastically affected by the watch related apps on your phone. There are third party watch faces you can get from the Play Store and other dark, dark places on the internet. (long pause) (Audio: Play scary music) Google says that android wear was not designed to have phone apps be used as watch specific apps for watch faces; even though it is possible. Some third party watch apps did not negatively affect the battery life (Insert Matrix Face) and others destroyed hours off the battery life (insert bad watch face here). So, be cautious, or at least aware, if you plan to use third party watch face apps.

    Josh:

    I'll be watching to see which watch faces are worth watching out for... 

    John:

    Finally, notifications can have a great impact on battery life as well. Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and other social networks can have a major impact on battery life. If you get a lot of social network notifications, it’s possible that your battery will suck compared to your less popular friend like Josh. Luckily, the android wear app allows you to block notifications for any app you choose. I tested this and was able to extend battery life by blocking facebook notifications. With all that said, the newest update made battery life awesome, even with all notifications on.  

    Basically, the battery is not as bad as you feared, and is now nothing to worry about with the latest update lasting over 15 hours.

    Software


     Josh:

    The 360 is running Android Wear, which is built of the idea that interactions with your watch should be clean, swipe based, and simple. There is never any typing or zooming of any kind unless you download a 3rd party app. Android Wear has the mentality that if you need to do anything beyond looking at and taking simple actions on notifications, then you should use your phone instead. This is actually the perfect approach, because the screen is too small to make huge actions. It’s better suited for seeing notifications, and replying to text messages with voice commands.

    The software is build off a tear structure where your notifications are stacked; swiping down will let you scroll through them. A left-hand swipe removed the notification and a right-hand swipe will reveal additional actions. Simple and clean.

    The other huge advantage of Android Wear on the 360 is that it has not been altered in any way. Google actually built the OS in a way where it could not be altered by the OEM. Exactly what I think it should be.

    John:

    I had some problems with the software. The problems are not huge for the most part, but I will greatly appreciate it when they are fixed. I will go over my gripes quickly. By quickly I mean go into a lot of detail. 

    3rd party Software 


    Josh:

    There are few 3rd party apps that I actually want to use. IFTTT has some useful recipes for Android Wear but I only use have one. There are a few instances where I installed an app and noticed quickly that the battery life of my watch was severely hurt. In a few other cases, it was obvious the developer had made their app specifically for a square screen. 3rd party watch faces are OK, but I have not found any that I actually want to keep using. That should change with the new update for android wear when the APK is released to developers.

    John: 

    I found a 3rd party Matrix face that I really like and does not kill my battery.

    -Calling or texting people with voice commands is cut off if the user has multiple numbers.

    • You can do voice commands for calling or texting people, but if the contact you are trying to communicate with has multiple numbers, then you will be prompted to select the number you wish to use. I do not have a different android wear device to test, but I experienced both numbers being cut off. I was only aware of what was going on because I was familiar with using this feature on phones with Google Now and Moto Voice.

    -“OK Google” trigger Sometimes requires multiple attempts.

    • Too often i find myself in the same place I been before, where I am repeating “Ok google” multiple times before the watch is triggered. I still get much better results than what I experienced with the first gen Moto X, or really any other voice detection software, but we are still not at the casual level yet. I have found myself tapping on the screen to activate the voice recognition more than using “OK google”. 

    -Sometimes watch loses it’s connection to your smartphone.

    • It does not happen everyday, but too often I would see the sad cloud icon on the screen indicating that there is no data connection. This was interesting to me because it still has a bluetooth connection to the phone, but is not getting the data from it. It usually fixes itself, but sometimes needs a turning off and on for bluetooth on your phone.   

    -Some inaccuracy with recognizing speech to text.

    • This is usually more accurate than then using my phone because of the close proximity.

    -”Listen to” and “Play” commands are inconsistent when trying to play music on phone.

    • This has been a pain for me. I love being able to just use a voice command to get music to play. This is especially helpful in the car and the experience is better than using a phone by itself, but there are many inconsistencies. The voice actions have different results on the watch vs Google Now on a phone. This is most notable for me is the “Listen to” and “Play” commands. My phone usually will open the music app correctly, whereas the watch will sometimes do a web search for one artist name, but then open the app for another. This is just software,so hopefully it will be fixed soon. 

    -You have to slide and tap to change music tracks.

    • I wish all music controls could be done in one tap, but changing a music track requires a slide, then tap. Not a huge deal, but there is enough space on the screen to have that easily accessible.

    -Touch screen only interaction vs tactile buttons.

    •  This is not a criticism, but there is something to a physical button. I could not help but think of my pebble smartwatch and how easily knowing and using those physical buttons on the side are. The Moto 360 has one physical button, but you rarely use it. To be honest the physical button do-es not consistently work and sometimes requires multiple presses.

    Josh: If only there was some kind of “Electronic Crown” or something... 

    • Scrolling through voice actionable items to get into settings is a pain.
    • You have to tap the screen, or say “OK Google” and then scroll to get to settings. This is a little different, but not a big deal. What is a pain is that you have to scroll through  12 options before you get to settings. I use settings all the time and never use those other options. This is a pain everytime I use it.  

    -Settings and features structure is confusing between multiple locations.  

    • Watch device settings, phone bluetooth settings, Android Wear settings, and Moto Connect app settings.There are four places you will have to go through to check settings for your watch; way too many. One would be best, but I understand possibly needing two. What makes it even more confusing is that certain settings are only accessible from certain places. For the sake of brevity I won’t go into detail, but it is a very frustrating experience.  

    -Moto Connect software:

    •  I will talk about the Moto Connect software only because it is unique to the Moto 360 and not available for other android wear devices. It is an awesome addition that allows to to customize existing watch faces with different colors. I am excited for this to grow, but it is already the best experience with watch faces you can get on stock android wear.

    Leather Strap


    John:

    I was hesitant about the leather strap. I was accustomed to always wearing a metal watch and then my rubber/plastic pebble. I was worried that the leather would stretch, crack, and look bad like an old belt. However, I have thankfully not had those issues. The leather does stretch a little, but it does not look bad when on your wrist. Other then that I have been very happy with it. It’s comfortable, does not leave your wrist super moist, and I did not have any noticeable wear from excess water after a few rainshowers. I have worn it for hour long workouts and the excess sweat did not negatively affect its durability. 

    Charging


    John:

    The 360 uses a really nice Qi charging dock. Qi charging is awesome I have a few Qi chargers already and it is so nice to use them. I really hope that this becomes the standard. It is something I have appreciated with nexus devices and now with this watch. The charger uses Micro USB which is a breath of fresh air. None of this proprietary cable crap. The dock displays the watch well on your nightstand. It sometimes takes a little bit of maneuvering if the straps angel in a way that lifts the watch up. This could have been avoided by making the dock elevate the watch a little higher up off of the surface it sits on.

    Built In Health Apps 


    Josh:

    There are few health apps so there is not much to say. I found that the step counter and heart rate sensor were usually inaccurate. Not terrible, but enough that I really stopped paying attention to how many steps the watch said I had taken or what my heart rate was. I am sure that this is something that can and will be updated with software, not to mention the possibility of third party app support. 

    Use


    Josh:

    The biggest thing that happened because of the 360 is I pulled my phone out less. I used to pull my phone out constantly just in case I missed a text message or call. That worry has been completely mitigated because the notifications I received are nearly always welcome, needed, and delightful. That is, to me, the biggest reason to wear a smartwatch over a normal watch. It creates a situation where you use your phone less.

    John:

    I particularly enjoyed being able to leave my phone charging in the bedroom while wearing my watch in the living room. I was able to not have my phone, let the phone charge, but still get notifications on his watch. It is even handy when you cannot get to your phone fast enough to answer a call; but instead answer with your watch first.

    Conclusion


    Josh:

    The Moto 360 is the best looking smartwatch on the market right now. The screen could be a higher resolution, the heart rate and pedometer could be better and it could have a better battery life. These are all small things and will get ironed out. If you want the perfect smartwatch, don’t get the 360, or really any smartwatch at this point. Wait for the 2nd iterations to come out in 2015. I expect most of these issues to be resolved next year. If you want a really good smartwatch that looks amazing, the 360 is the best option you have right now.

    John:

    I listed a lot of things that I think could be changed to make the Moto 360 a better device. Despite my criticism; I agree with Josh in that this is the best that currently exists. I have confidence in this device because the hardware is great and  Motorola has already proved that the device can only get better with future  software updates.

    Score:

    Josh: 8 out of 10

    John: 7 out of 10

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  • 5 Reasons Moto X is Better than iPhone 5S (or any other phone)

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    5 Reasons Moto X is Better than iPhone 5S (or any other phone)

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