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The Gay UK Article – My Come Out Reactions

By Creativity, Friends & Family, Gay, Journalism, LifeNo Comments
gay-world-large Some of you know that I regularly write for The Gay UK. I recently wrote an article under the theme of coming out for their Tridigital magazine (available to buy on iTunes App Store and Google Play Store) about people’s reactions when I came out gay. I enjoyed writing the article and thought you might enjoy reading it. So here it is:

I’m out to everybody. These days I rarely need to come out and say that I’m gay, but it wasn’t always like that. Over the years I’ve come out to family, friends, work colleagues and even my GP. There’s been mixed reactions from people when I’ve told them that I’m gay, but most have been positive. In this article I’ll share some of the most memorable with you.

Family
Coming out to my mum was one of the best things I ever did. I knew she would be supportive, as one of her best friend’s is gay. She acted as a proxy, telling other members of the family and family friends that I was gay so I didn’t have to. Some years later she did tell me that she was worried that I would have a more difficult life as a gay man as ‘people can be so cruel.’

The funniest reaction from a family member was when my mum told my Granddad. He told her that I ‘just haven’t met the right girl yet.’ This wasn’t homophobic, just a lack of understanding and naivety of the gay world. This naivety is wonderful and one of the many reasons I love him immensely. He used to work on the tills at what has been dubbed The Gay Sainsbury’s in Manchester. He never realised (and still hasn’t!) that all the gay couples are actually together.

When I came out to my older Brother, a sporty lads lad, he said: ‘You’re still my brother. And I still love you.’ This acceptance from him meant the world to me and it still does.

Friends
My friends and I don’t really remember me coming out. That means that it wasn’t really a big deal. It was said, accepted and then we moved on. But there’s always that one friend isn’t there? When I came out to him, he said: ‘Me too.’ We’re still friends today and our same sexuality helped to build the bonds of a lifelong friendship.

Work Colleagues
I’ve had many work colleagues over the years, all in different settings and the vast majority coming out has been done by answering the questions: ‘So how was your weekend? What did you get up to?’

However I did have one Born Again Christian work colleague who said: ‘I accept that this is how you feel, but it’s not part of gods plan. It says so in the bible.’ This was a face palm moment and I rarely spoke to him after that.

At one workplace a closeted lesbian work colleague saw the overwhelmingly positive reaction to me as an out gay man and this gave her the courage to talk about her life and her partner openly. Prior to me arriving she had avoided conversations about anything personal, but after seeing how our work colleagues reacted to my talk of gay pride and my relationships she became more open at work and seemed happier for it.

GP
I had gone to see my family GP, an older Asian man, about something and decided to disclose my sexuality to him. I think I was at the stage in coming out where you want to tell the world that you’re gay. He said: ‘it’s unnatural.’ And then resumed talking about what I had gone to see him about. This hurt. Said by a supposed non-judgemental professional. Whenever I hear someone say ‘unnatural’ it takes me right back to that consultation room and makes me feel really uncomfortable.

My coming out reactions have been in the vast majority positive. I have been accepted for who I am. But that’s not always the case. Gay people coming out face the fear of rejection, actual rejection and in some cases abuse or violence. If someone can’t accept you for who you are and recognise that your sexuality is an important part of who you are, you have to ask yourself a serious question: do you really want this person to be a part of your life? I know what my answer would be.

Blog soon,

Antony



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Whoops, I Bought An iPad Air (32GB, Space Grey)

By TechnologyNo Comments
Lit Up Reindeer I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a tablet for a while now. I wanted something I can access Facebook on, use to listen to Music and watch Films/TV Boxsets on while being in the living room with the cats.

When I saw the previous generation Kindle Fire for £99 on Amazon’s website, I wasn’t sure whether this was a Christmas offer or Black Friday offer. I wasn’t even sure if the Kindle tablet would be what I wanted. But at that price, I had to look into it.

So during my visit to Manchester Christmas Market (see Getting Into The Festive Spirit: Manchester Christmas Market) my friend and I nipped into Currys PC World to have a look at the Kindle.

I was looking at the newest Kindle the Fire HDX and the screen was just seven inches. So on the one hand the Kindle was cheap, but on the other hand the screen was far too small for what I wanted to use it for.

Undecided on cost or screen size, I spoke with my friend about it and then to mum. With some persuasion from mum, I decided to buy the much more expensive iPad Air (32GB in Space Grey). Whoops! Here are some obligatory photos:

iPad Air - Box New iPad Air - Case Boxed New
iPad Air - Cover Green iPad Air - Home Screen
iPad Air - Back

The reasons I bought the iPad Air were: bigger screen, compatible with my other Apple Products (iMac & iPhone 5), really light, great hardware specs (including better camera than most other tablets) and a massive range of Apps via the App Store.

I also splashed out on a cover. A cover, just covers the front of the iPad (the screen), costs £35, comes in a range of colours and is perfect for using the iPad at home. Whereas a case, covers the entire iPad (front & back), costs £65, comes in a range of colours and is ideal if you’re planning on taking the iPad out and about. Be careful when buying, as their package design is very similar.

I’ve had my iPad for a few weeks now, so I thought I’d give you my first impressions of some of the Pros and Cons:

Pros Cons
  • Light-weight, feels lighter than the average book.
  • Great Battery Life.
  • Charges really quick.
  • Compatible with my iPhone 5 charger and USB charging.
  • Like the Space Grey effect, reminds me of the Star Trek pads.
  • Easy to set up & use.
  • Always on, quick to check Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
  • Great Apps available on the App Store.
  • iPad specific Apps, to make the most out of the iPad Air.
  • Made for media consumption, whether it be: Music, films, TV Boxsets or ebooks.
  • Now comes with free Pages, Numbers, iPhoto, iMovie and Garage Band.
  • It just works. No crashes at all (so far), not even Apps.
  • Silent operation – no sound of cooling fan.
  • Reasonable speaker sound quality.
  • iMessage & FaceTime.
  • Can be backed up through iTunes or iCloud.
  • Updates Apps Automatically.
  • Has Siri.
  • Find My iPhone – Works for iPad, so you can detect where it is if its ever stolen.
  • iPad as a device is expensive.
  • Doesn’t come with headphones.
  • Would literately be a blank canvas without the Apps on the App Store.
  • Covers are expensive at £35. Cases are extortionately priced at £65.
  • Made for media consumption – Feels difficult and slow to create things on the iPad.
  • Inhibits creativity and makes it less likely that you’ll spend your time creating something.
  • Pages, Numbers, iPhoto, iMovie and Garage Band are all designed to help you be creative, but each takes up an awful lot of disk space.
  • iTunes doesn’t accept .avi files, so most of my movies can’t be played on the iPad. Have found a work around which I shall be blogging about soon, it’s just frustrating because I shouldn’t have to do this.
  • No way to access my wireless hard drive.
  • Doesn’t seem to want to link to my iMac through WiFi.
  • Missing the biometric security, the finger print scanner the iPhone 5S has.

One or two of the Cons might just be things I haven’t worked out how to do on the iPad yet. If you know how to do something that I’ve put on my Cons list, feel free to leave a comment.

The iPad Air 32GB Space Grey is available to buy on Amazon, on the Apple Store Online or on your local high street (at various retail outlets).

Write soon,

Antony

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My Advice to Apple

By Technology, ThinkingNo Comments
Apple-logo Since The Death of Steve Jobs, Apple seem to have lost their way. The iPhone 5 was disappointing and in my iPhone 5 Review I wrote about the disappointments and missed opportunities. I’m no technology whizz; just a customer who wants Apple to build on it’s success. So Apple this post is addressed exclusively to you. Let’s start with the iPhone shall we?

Your next iPhone release should be an iPhone 6. Forget the ‘S’ models unless you are going add something new; something more than a bit of unnoticeable Speed. No more rehashing of the previous model.

On a hardware front you need to take advantage of new technology including Wireless Charging. You need to improve the features that customers want such as a bigger screen width. In the iPhone 5 Launch Key Notes Presentation you made a point about keeping it the same width as the iPhone 4 so that it could be operated by one hand; but is this really what customers want? It seemed strange that all your competitors have widened the width of their smart phones but you haven’t.

The great thing with all your devices is that the hardware and software work in synergy. But software wise you’re to slow at making the changes customers want. Think back to the copy/paste feature, it took you far too long to add it in an update.

You need to loosen your control on the App Store, especially when it comes to your competitors Apps. When you delayed the Google Maps App and made the shambolic Apple Maps App, customers were left frustrated at not having a decent Maps App. We live in a world of convenience; so inconveniencing customers is a good way to loose them. Some customers saw it as a cynical attempt to control which software they use and taking away customers choice is another sure way to make them switch to your competitors.

We understand the need to update hardware; but let’s never have a repeat of the Lightening Connector fiasco. Support your existing customers by providing an adapter free of charge; as charging £25 for a tiny connector was seen by many as an exploitation of your customer base. Give accessory developers early access to the iPhone 6; so that when it launches customers can buy compatible accessories such as cases, speaker/dock devices, car handsfree kits, etc. It’s now several months since the iPhone 5 launch and there still aren’t many accessories around for it.

A really good way to emphasise value for money would be to put product packages together. So buy the iPhone 6 and get the latest iPad for a reduced price if bought together. For the iMac you could put a reduced price Time Capsule and so on. This would encourage your customers to spend more and give them an added sense of value for money.

imac-2012 Take the new iMac as a good example. You’ve slimmed it down, made it lighter and added loads of great features. My iMac (Part 1) is the the older version. It’s become everything I use technology for: I write on it, play music, view photos, watch DVDs/TV on it and surf the web. I won’t be upgrading as you’ve removed the DVD player and I watch DVD’s on my iMac daily. You’ve assumed that I want to download or stream all the films, TV and other media. Most people won’t spend the price of an iMac that doesn’t meet their requirements. They’d choose a different machine instead.

The key message is that you need to ask and listen to your customers. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the iPhone 6, iPod Touch, iPad, etc. you need to do market research for them all. You need to find out what customers want and need, rather than assuming you know what we want. You need to make sure your products are value for money; otherwise you’ll price yourself out of the markets.

Wishing you luck,

A Customer

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iMac Part 2 – From Windows to Mac: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

By Technology3 Comments

The first thing I noticed is the size of the 27″ screen, as well as the stunning design of the machine. The first boot-up was really quick compared to windows. The beautiful HD display is fantastic and got me thinking that I could have paid the price I did just for a monitor in the Windows world.

I got used to the basics first: the Finder being equivalent to Windows Explorer, the launchpad (which makes finding apps really easy and is similar to the iPhone), the wireless keyboard (which you quickly get used too) and the magic mouse (including gestures).

Then it was time to use my files. I decided to connect to my Iomega StorCenter Network Storage and run fies off that like I did on my Windows laptop. I have a lot of Music, Movies, Boxsets and Documents and I stored them on the Iomega StorCenter Network Storage so they didn’t take up too much space on my laptop, plus it’s a dual hard drive mirroring so it backs them up. Now this is were I hit my first difficulty.

According to Iomega the Iomega StorCenter Network Storage is compatible with Apple machines, but this wasn’t the case. When I properly looked in to it, since Apple released OS X (their latest operating system) Iomega haven’t released a firmware update to make it work with OS X. This is disappointing of Iomega and ment that I had to copy the files over on to the iMac, the problem being that the iMac would loose connection to Iomega StorCenter Network Storage. In the end, I had to copy the files on to my Windows laptop, share the laptop and the iMac and then copy them over, taking several days with both computers on.

Once my files were copied over, it was time to start using the software on OS X to organise and use them. Here’s the apps I used and what I’ve managed to do with them:

  • System Preferences – Is the equivalent to the Control Panel on Windows, apart from it’s so much more advanced. It has inbult parental controls, auto switch on and switch off, and the rest of the stuff you’d expect: Personal Preferences, Hardware, Internet & Wireless (including sharing options), System and Others.
  • Preview – Select any file and press space bar to preview the file, works great on Photos, Videos, Music, PDF’s and every other file I’ve tried it on. The great thing about preview is that it doesn’t open the app associated with the file, so if your looking for something you don’t have a load of different apps open.
  • iTunes – Works so much better on Mac than Windows. Added my entire music collection quickly and without freezing (iTunes for Windows used to love freezing). The sound from the inbuilt speakers is fantastic and actually quite load on full volume. I would also recommend buying the remote control.
  • Mail – Setting up email addresses was quick and easy enough. Love the ease of Mail but did have problems transferring my .eml email exports from Windows. It’s really difficult to do, you have to get them transfered in to .mbox files and then import them. I’ve managed to get the format changed but am still having some difficulties getting them imported. I like having access to my old emails and in some cases need them. I also haven’t found a way to set up signatures like in Windows.
  • Address Book – is more than just-for-email in Mac OS X. It keeps phone numbers and addresses too, I transfered my contacts over from my iPhone via iTunes.
  • Safari & Google Chrome – Both are easy enough to use. I tend to use Google Chrome rather than Safari and it was easy to download. However I had to manually add all of my Bookmarks as couldn’t find a way to export them on my Windows laptop.
  • iPhoto – A brilliant way to organise photos. Organise them by places, events or faces of people. Takes some time to go through the photos and assign people’s faces, but it will ask you if a face is someone you’ve already added. It’s a brilliant way to organise photos and is also used to import photos of your iPhone.
  • Quicktime – The equivalent to Windows Media Player. It’s easy to use and brilliant on full screen. Seems to play any file Windows Media Player would, but I have downloaded a WMV Player that works with Quicktime to play windows media files. The gestures on the magic mouse alter the speed of the playback which can get frustrating if you accidentally touch the mouse after you’ve clicked play.
  • Office – Now you’ll need to buy Microsoft Office again and it’s not cheap. An alternative is to use Open Office, which is what I’m using until I get round to buying a copy of Microsoft Office.
  • App Store – It’s for the OS X and is a bit like the Store for iPhone apps. It’s a bit of a disappointment to be honest. There isn’t many great apps on there and the one game I downloaded and paid £13.99 for would have been cheaper to buy on Windows with a disk. But perhaps it will develop with time.

In terms of input I really miss my number keypad that I had on my Windows laptop (that the iMac wireless keyboard doesn’t have) but on the other hand the wireless-ness makes it all so tidy. Just one power lead going from the iMac to the socket in the wall. The magic mouse has made the move from Windows to Mac easier by enabling the right-click for options. The gestures are useful, say if you want to browse between web pages, but it is extremely sensitive. It gets annoying when your trying to watch a boxset in Quicktime and you accidentally touch the mouse causing it to change the playback speed.

Overall in Mac OS X it hasn’t seemed to slow down at all after putting on my files, downloading system updates, etc. and hasn’t crashed (both of which Windows would have done). So considering the good, bad and the ugly it’s thumbs up for iMac and OS X. Definitely worth the money, now I really need to focus on giving up the cigs to pay for it!

Write soon (on my lovely new iMac),

Antony



I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:


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