The Google Pixel 2 XL Review

The Google Pixel 2 XL Review

The Big Decision

I finally did it, I made the big decision to switch from iOS to Android. After upgrading to an iPhone 7 Plus in 2016 and seeing no massive improvements (other than the camera), I felt it was time to try something new. That something was the Google Pixel 2 XL.

It’s safe to say that I have been somewhat bored with iOS. The tried and tested safe user environment and the graphical user interface, coupled with the recent announcement of the iPhone 8/Plus and iPhone X left me with a taste of disinterest in my mouth. I’ve felt that there hasn’t been a massive jump in evolution with the iOS ecosystem for some time.

So when I spotted the Google Pixel 2, I felt like it was time to potentially make the switch from an ecosystem I was so heavily invested into an entirely alien one. It was no easy decision I might add. First I had to pay off my current contract and secondly, I had to figure out how I was going to migrate from an all Apple system to an open Android system.

So thus my journey began. After days of watching and reading reviews on the Pixel 2 and the XL version, I debated the possibility of the change so much that I consoled with my good friend Daryl Baxter from Outpost about it.

Daryl was the main influence in my decision to purchase my iPad Pro (review on that in the future). He advised me to “go for it”, change is always a good thing and we both agreed the iPhone X was lacking in a lot of ways, but even worse the iPhone 8/8 Plus was not a justifiable upgrade after such a short time.

On the 1st  December 2017 and after much research and discussion I took my first step from iOS to Android with the purchase of a Google Pixel 2 XL.

The First Mistake

It all started with a huge mess, the first mistake started when I ordered the wrong Pixel 2 model. I accidentally placed an order for a white Pixel 2 due to Carphone Warehouse’s complex and unfavourable website. I found the phone I wanted, I clicked buy, and I was then brought to the available tariffs. It was here that I was shown some very good tariffs, so I picked the best one. However, I would soon find out that it switched my selected option of the Pixel 2 XL in black and white but for the basic Pixel 2 phone in white.

The next day the phone arrived and I instantly knew something was up by the size of the box. This was not the phone I wanted. I quickly checked my receipt and it was indeed the Pixel 2 in white. This was slightly embarrassing, a setback, and a mistake that forced me to visit my local Carphone Warehouse store to sort out this mess.

The staff at the Malvern Carphone Warehouse store saw where the confusion lied. The Pixel 2 in white is the same name as the Pixel 2 XL black and white on the website and in their internal system. During this discovery, we must have spent a good 15 minutes confirming that the phone I initially desired was to be the phone that we were to order in its place.

This negative did have a happy ending in the end. I received the Black and White Pixel 2 XL in 64gb on the same contract with no additional cost to my monthly payments.

The Anticipation

After a day of anxiously awaiting the arrival of the phone I had read so much about, the anticipation became unbearable. Fortunately, the phone arrived at work with 20 minutes to spare before the end of the day. I rushed home with excitement and began the process of unboxing, inspecting, and then setting up the phone.

Unboxing

I felt a similar vibe to unboxing an Apple iPhone when unboxing my Pixel. The packaging was neat, clean, and featured precision folded cardboard with a perfect fit, gloss white packaging and that clean Apple famous aesthetic.

Each part of the phone had its own compartment. First, you open the box to reveal the Pixel 2 XL and below that, the quick-charge plug socket, a USB-C cable, and the USB-C to headphone adapter.

Pixel 2 XL BoxPixel 2 XL Unboxing

Pixel 2 XL unboxing components

The Transfer

Setting up the Pixel 2 was extremely easy and quite frankly, somewhat worrying. With the simple connection of the two phones with a single cable, I was able to transfer all my contacts, messages, and photos over to my new phone. If it wasn’t for my impatience I wouldn’t have felt so silly. One day prior to receiving my Pixel 2, I spent the majority of the night researching and transferring all of my contacts, photos, calendars, and much more over to Google’s alternatives.

All that was required was for me to make this transfer was to disable the password on my backups through iTunes. This transfer took about 15 minutes in total for around 14gb of photos, apps, calendar entries, contacts, and messages.

The iPhone to Pixel 2 XL Transfer

This easy transfer poses a potential security risk. If someone has access to an iOS device that does not have encrypted backups enabled, it would be easy for anyone to potentially clone their data and steal personal information. I’m honestly surprised Apple has allowed this form of data transfer to be possible.

First Impressions of Android Oreo

My first impressions of Android Oreo were very positive. Google’s minimalist approach was a much nicer Android experience than that I have experienced using my friends Samsung phones.

Everything was very simple, easy to follow, and there was minimal clutter. The layout was very customisable with app placement and widgets. I love the fact that I can swipe up to view all the apps on my phone. This feature is something I wish iOS had. With iOS I found scrolling through pages of apps (in no particular order) quite frustrating (and yes, I do realise there is a search function) whereas on Android they’re all laid out in alphabetical order and presented in a simple fashion.

Another thing I love is the fact that the theme changes depending on your background. If you’re running a light image as your background you will have a light theme filled which is pleasant and bright. If you have a background filled with dark imagery the OS will switch to a dark theme which I have to say is very appealing and does not strain my eyes – especially at night.

Battery Life and Charging

I use my phone a lot during the day, when I’m not working I’m glued to my phone reading emails, catching up with social media, watching videos, surfing the internet, and using location and processor intensive apps on the regular. So having a good battery is incredibly important to me. The battery on the Pixel 2 XL is impressive. Google supports USB-C quick charge which will give you 7 hours of battery life after only 15 minutes of charge. On a full charge I can get a day and a half of usage and at a push, I can get two days battery without a charge.

Now when it comes to charging, the phone is supplied with a quick charge wall adapter and a USB-C cable. This is somewhat of an inconvenience because this USB-C cable is only compatible with USB-C devices or the supplied charger. One solution I found was to purchase several USB-C to Type-A cables which allowed me to use my Anker power brick, the USB connection in my car, and to allow myself to connect the phone to my computer.

A Key Missing Feature

Jumping from an iPhone 7 Plus to a Pixel 2 XL in terms of usability and reachability came with some problems. There is a key missing feature which could be implemented to make the experience much more fluent and enable easier use with one hand. That feature is reachability. On the iPhone 7 Plus I can double tap the home button and it would drag the screen down to allow me to reach the back button and many other options at the top of the screen.

Android does have a way around this in terms of returning home with the handy back button. However, this isn’t great for apps that have menus and buttons located at the top. This forces me to use two hands.

The Headphone Jack and Speakers

Wait, there is no headphone jack? Well, what did you expect? It has become so normal for electronic device manufacturers to give up potential battery real estate for a headphone jack. I can’t blame them, the provided adapter is small enough to not be an inconvenience and I see no decline in audio quality from using an adapter over a standard headphone jack. Yes, I’m losing the ability to charge and listen at the same time, but honestly, if I’m ever at a location where I can charge my phone, I’m usually within arms distance of my iPad, or computer which has a set of speakers or a headphone jack. I just wish Google included some headphones as I’m currently using my old iPhone headphones.

The speakers on the Pixel 2 are front facing and powerful. The audio quality is clear, precise, and there isn’t a tinny sound that destroys any enjoyment of your content. I know for a fact they are not the best smartphone speakers on the market, as I believe the new Razer phone holds that crown. However, for day to day use, they’re right for the job.

Things I love

You may have noticed that I have already picked up on two things I love about this phone, but there are a lot of things I love about the Pixel 2 XL. To start with, the actual phone itself is gorgeous. I love the panda look of the black and white model, even down to the orange power button. This gives it a unique look and something that adds something new to a market crowded with all black, rose gold, and grey phones.

The rear touch sensor fantastic. It unlocks my phone in a fraction of a second (much faster than my iPhone) and if you swipe down on the sensor it reveals your notifications. Swipe down once more and you’ll have full access to your quick access options, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Flash Light, and more. Now, what about the camera? The camera is fantastic, possibly the best results I’ve seen from a phone camera but, not without its flaws.

Size wise the phone fits comfortably in my hand and doesn’t feel like I’m holding a phablet and the button placement are easily accessible without any strain.

Google Photos is fantastic! When you purchase a Google Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL you gain unlimited storage for full resolution pictures and videos online. This means you no longer have to store them on your phone, thus eliminating the need for a large storage model. I have the 64gb model and when I connect to Wi-fi, my phone backs up all of my photos and videos instantly. Once this is done I have the option to remove them from my phone and free up space. Another handy feature is the built-in assistant. The assistant scans images based on location, people, and date it was taken, then it offers to create events, animations, collages, and even apply filters. It is a lovely touch which allows me to take a trip down memory lane every so often.

Pixel 2 XL always on display

The always on display which is prominent on most modern Android phones is fantastic. Why does the iPhone not have this? The tiny notification icons are incredible. I love how simplistic and how little information they give away. It is exactly how notifications should be displayed on a lock screen. However, I’d love it if they were displayed in colour like when they are first displayed.

Google Assistant

Let’s take some time to talk about Google Assistant. Siri is something I barely used when I used my iPhone 7 Plus (and all previous versions that supported it). To me Siri felt underwhelming, unfinished, and half the time it got things wrong. My experience with Google assistant has been the exact opposite. It is accurate, full of information and does what I ask. I simply squeeze my phone (a surprisingly handy and welcome feature of this phone) and ask away.

So far I’ve had a 99% success rate with my queries. Some of those include:

  • Dictating text messages
  • Calling contacts
  • Finding out information on the fly
  • Checking my calendar
  • Playing YouTube videos based off of my query
  • Pausing, skipping, and playing music
  • Launching Spotify playlists
  • Yes, even taking a selfie.

Google Assistant Examples

So far I am still yet to discover everything it can offer. Along with the purchase of my Pixel 2 XL, I was due to receive a Google Home Mini with my phone. However, due to stock issues at Carphone Warehouse I have still yet to receive it. After I’ve received it, I may return to this review to comment on the phone’s compatibility with the Google Home Mini.

Issues I’ve Encountered

This would not be a fair review if I did not mention the many issues I’ve encountered. So to better explain them, I will list them off below and then expand on them.

  • Unresponsive Apps
  • Touch Screen issues
  • Portrait Mode
  • Screenshots
  • Notifications
  • Sharing of data with iOS apps

Firstly I’ll start with my issues with unresponsive apps. One of the many perks of using an iOS device is that all apps are coded for one architecture and have a very good track rate of being compatible across all iPhone and iPad devices. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for Android. Many apps I’ve used have been plagued with bugs, crashes, and slow responsiveness. This has obviously been addressed over the time I have been using the phone, as I have received numerous app updates. So much so, that many apps seem to have multiple updates a week. All though I can’t expect every app to be perfect, I would hope Google would be a bit more stringent with apps and their compatibility issues.

The touchscreen can sometimes fail to recognise my fingers in certain spots. I first noticed this while swiping through Instagram. I’ve noticed this more prominently on the edges and corners of the screen. Coming from an iPhone with a near perfect touchscreen experience, it can come off as disappointing from such an expensive device.

Portrait mode on the camera app is great. However, to unlock portrait mode on the front facing camera I had to download a package for the camera externally and install it. This was a feature highly publicised which was not on my phone nor available through updates from the default Google Play Store.

One little annoyance is the inconsistency of app icons. Now, I know this is me being picky, but why are 90% of my apps circle and the other 10% square?

Screenshots are something I use on the regular but, unfortunately, it feels like I have to crush my phone and hold down the two buttons for almost two seconds before it will take a screenshot. Even after that, I have no options to review and edit them prior to saving them or add any form of annotation.

I love the notification system on Android, it is clean and simple but, it is not without its annoyances. I receive notifications when I visit a shop, save a screenshot, download an image from Google photos, and so much more. Why does Google need to tell me that I should consider taking a photo at my location? I understand a lot of people take photos of their food and drink, but I do not need to take a photo of my trip to the local supermarket.

And finally, one thing that annoyed me was that most apps do not share data between iOS and Android. This is because the majority of iOS apps use iCloud to store data, whereas Android it offers you a choice to store data locally, with Google Drive, or in some cases, app-specific online storage. One thing I would have loved to have kept would have been my old WhatsApp messages that I and my girlfriend have accumulated over the course of our relationship, unfortunately, I’ve had to settle for a text document as a backup.

The Camera

The Pixel 2 Camera is fantastic, the shots it produces are second to none when it comes to a mobile phone (at the time of writing this). I love how clear and sharp images are processed. The increased dynamic range offered by the sensor really brings out so much more.

The flat image produced might put people off, however, I find this to be brilliant implementation as I am someone who edits all his photos before sharing them. The dynamic range present in the flat image allows you to bring out so much detail and colour from something that would otherwise seem quite bland. It’s just a shame we cannot shoot in RAW as I feel this camera could bring out even more from its already impressive sensor.

Below is an example of a before and after photo. The first image was shot at Symonds Yat on an overcast and windy day and the second image is the same shot, but I’ve taken some time to edit it to breath more life into it.

Pixel 2 XL Camera Comparison

The Portrait mode is fantastic (when it works). I’ve noticed on many occasions that the software blur fails to calculate the entire area and at some points fail to blur certain points on an image. It falls short often when shooting objects. It’s very smart with faces, but when you add a body, another person, or varying objects in the foreground and background, it begins to struggle.

Pixel 2 XL Portrait Mode Inconsistency

The Portrait mode is hit or miss. As you can see, it finds it very hard to work with non-human subjects.

Obviously, a software effect will never be as accurate as the real thing, but to eliminate the need for a second camera, it does perform admirably well. Another advantage of this software implementation is both the Pixel 2 and the Pixel 2 XL are equal in camera quality.

Selfie Portrait mode is very promising with the front-facing camera. The software picks up subjects (even in low light) and creates that desired blur effect. It is just a shame that the front-facing camera is not the same as the rear. I believe that all phone manufacturers need to address having equal cameras on both the front and rear.

So what about the low light performance? This camera was advertised for its ability to shoot photos in low light clearly and I can confirm that is is very good in this regard. The quality is good, but it does have a fair bit of grain. Check out a few unedited photos I took during low light situations.

Google Pixel 2 XL Low Light in Snow

Google Pixel 2 XL Low Light

Video

Video quality is fantastic, the in built optical stabilisation makes filming on the move a smooth (but not perfect) experience. I haven’t attempted this with any form of gimbal to see if the optical stabilisation interferes with it like on an iPhone, but it is definitely smooth shooting with little effort.

4K video files are as expected, huge. 1080p is very clear and can be shot up to 60fps, anymore I feel would be overkill as I would prefer far more manual options and the ability to manually adjust exposure, shutter speed, and more. Obviously, I could download a dedicated film app, but it would be nice to have advanced features out of the box.

Ultimately it is definitely the biggest selling point of this phone. It shoots fantastic portrait and landscape photos and is fast to focus and fast to shoot. If you’re after a solid camera, this is the phone for you.

Apps and the Google Play Store

Coming from Apple’s App Store to the Google Play store is quite a difference, Apple’s App Store is very user-friendly and straightforward. When I first opened the Google Play store I had so many app recommendations thrown in my face that I didn’t know where to begin.

Now to some, this might seem somewhat a little much or a godsend, but I have found it at times to be very helpful with an ounce of confusion. Apps are all over the place and it the viewing isn’t optimised for the screen size. Everything apart from the main menu is a slider. This includes the top menu, the categories and all of the app recommendations. Some people may prefer this, but I’d prefer a more tailored layout based on my phone, especially as it is a Google-produced phone. However, amongst this mess, I have found some very good apps which I use daily. So what apps am I using on a day to day basis?

Firstly, the apps I’ve been using based on recommendations from friends are the following.

  • Sync
  • File Manager by ASUS
  • Google Rewards
  • Outlook

Sync was the go-to Reddit client recommended to me by a friend. It’s simple to use layout, easy filtering, search and previews made it a no-brainer to be the first app I paid for an ad-free experience.

File Manager by ASUS is fantastic. It allows me to search through my phones storage and hidden system files with ease in a simple to use interface. It allows me to store images and documents away from all my other apps by creating a hidden folder and storing them in this folder. Consider it a simple secure way to store sensitive documents and images from prying eyes and apps on your phone.

Google Rewards

Google Rewards has been a fantastic download. It is a simple app which allows you to get paid in Google Play credit to answer some of the simplest and shortest surveys imaginable. I was paid 22p to answer a single question survey. Obviously, some people may not wish to give away specific information or personal details to Google, but the information I’ve provided is nothing that would cause me to be at risk from identity theft. If anything, it’ll help Google provide better-tailored products for me.

Outlook has been my go-to email client for my main account. I’ve also tried out the Gmail app and “Inbox by Google”, but it seemed as if these new modern clients tailor my experience and hide important emails. Even when I attempt to search for them, they would be unfindable. Outlook keeps it very simple as it should be with emails. The focused inbox is extremely smart and the “other” folder contains ALL of the remaining emails.

The apps I use on a daily basis thanks to the recommendations of the clutter that is the Google Play store are as follows:

  • Google Fit
  • Google Authenticator
  • Curiosity
  • Inbox by Google

Google Fit unveiled one of the surprises that I was unaware of (which I question the accuracy of) is the built-in pedometer in my Google Pixel. I was unaware that I could use my phone to track my daily steps, calorie burning, and distance walked. As someone who works at a computer all day I do not get to be very active during the day, so being able to set myself a goal is a psychological push for me to get off my backside and move.

Google Authenticator has now become my 2-step authentication app of choice. Originally I chose to use Authy on my iOS due to its push notifications when I sign into an account that requires authentication, but Google Authenticator is simple to use and runs a lot smoother on Android than the alternative. However, I will continue to use Authy for certain logins on Android for the time being.

Curiosity was recommended to me based on my usage of Sync. I love reading about anything that looks interesting and that I can learn from. Technology, science, culture, news, health, whatever. Curiosity gives me daily articles where I can actually learn something new. Whether it is about our solar system or the human body, there is an article for every type of person.

Finally, Inbox by Google is a more advanced mail client from Google that I find to be somewhat interesting and unique, but I seem to have found a lot of issues with it. Firstly, it straight up does not work with my main email account, it only seems to work with my Gmail accounts I have (yes I have multiple). It displays emails in a lovely way with graphical elements and colour, but it also seems to hide emails or make me hunt for them because they’re not important in its eyes. So until these are ironed out, I’m currently using three email clients on my phone. Outlook, Inbox by Google, and the default Gmail app.

My Conclusion

To summarise and conclude on my few months with the Google Pixel 2 XL I would say that as a die-hard iPhone and Apple fan, I would say it was a sensible and rewarding switch. Like all new endeavours, there is much I still need to understand and learn to fully appreciate the phone. There are various software issues and bugs that need to be ironed out and some basic features that could greatly improve the usability of the phone.

The Pixel 2 is an incredible phone, I bought it because I was tired of the recycled iPhone program that made small incremental upgrades each major release. With the Pixel 2 there is a groundwork to dominate the market with simple features such as the multi-use touch sensor, incredible battery life, quick charging, squeeze to assist, and the camera really makes this a standout phone worthy of your money.

So if you’re looking for a new phone with a fantastic camera, long battery life, great speakers, and a confident operating system, I would highly recommend trying this phone out. Overall I give the Pixel 2 XL in its current state a 9/10.

The Outpost Show Podcast

Outpost

My long lost friend Daryl who I haven’t seen since 2012/2013 invited me on his second ever episode of his podcast. Honestly, I sound like a school boy in this so take it with a grain of salt. We discussed our iPad Pro’s the apps we and what we’d like to see.

Please head over to his website and give it a listen.

Outpost

Google Posts – Your Business Needs To Adopt This

Google Posts - Free Marketing

Recently Google unveiled a brand new feature for Google Businesses that will revolutionise how you engage with your audience. This new feature is free marketing for your business. This new tool is Google Posts.

Google Posts

Google Business Posts is a new feature that allows you to publish news, events, and offers to your Google business listing directly on the Google search feed.

If someone searches your business you are instantly able to offer some form of service or information to your customers for upcoming events. This can ultimately be hacked to sell, sell, sell. You have full control over what is posted and Google even offers you a choice of a call to action button. Holding an event? Set the date and times and promote it.

Now I know what you are thinking; is this an extension of Google + or is it an entirely new social network? Honestly, the best way I can describe it is a combination of Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook events.

So Where Do My Posts Appear?

If someone searches your company or business these posts will appear below your business information. These posts are posted directly below your shop images, map, opening times, and telephone number.

The Technical Parts

  • 100 – 300 words maximum – all though, my test posts at work ranged from as low as 10 to 30 words.
  • 4×3 image ratio (800 x 600 pixels for reference)
  • Posts are removed from Google search 7 days after posting (or after date of an event)
  • Insights are available for each post from the posts page in manage locations
  • CTA buttons available for Learn More, Reserve, Sign Up, Buy, and Get Offer.

How Do I Post?

Posting is simple. Login to your Google Business account and click on “manage location”.

Google Manage Your Business

Once you have clicked “Manage location” you’ll be presented with this page.

You will notice a new addition to the menu called “Posts”, click this link. You’ll then be presented by a familiar looking post form.

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Getting started with a post is as clear as clicking on “write your post”. Clicking on this will present you with a basic user interface with four basic options.

Google's Post User Interface

Google presents you with a simple and easy to follow user interface.

Writing Your Post

Writing your Google Post is all about what you want to be presented. If you’re trying to grab attention, keep it short as Google will trim it to around 80 characters. No matter how long your post is, make sure the first 10 words are engaging.  Make sure the image you are uploading is eye catching and to the point. This image should maintain a 4×3 aspect ratio. When uploading an image, cropping is available, but working to this ratio will allow more flexibility for your designers.

"Setting

If you are creating an event you should set dates and times. Setting a date and time extends how long this post is shown under your business. When posting regular posts they will be removed from under your listing after seven days.

Set your landing page

Set your click through to a landing page where you want your customers to end up.

You’ve set your blurb and you’ve now set your dates. Now what? Well, what are you offering? If it is a coupon, an event, or information, now you send them to your desired landing page. This page you are sending them to will be the focus of your end goal. Make sure this page capitalises on this new free space.

Viewing your insights is as simple as clicking on the post in the management page and viewing them directly below.

Something for the BMX Fans

Teme Raw Frame

Since starting my job I’ve been working with the owners on a plan they had set in motion since long before I came on. I think my previous roles at Vital BMX was one of the key reasons I was hired. Having had experience in marketing and working in the BMX industry helps a lot. This new project is something for the BMX fans.

Teme BMX

Teme BMX is the brainchild of Rob Brookes one of my managers at the various companies I work for. He decided that after dealing with piss poor service and customer care from Mini BMX brands that he wanted to start his own BMX brand and produce affordable high-quality BMX parts. Fortunately for him, I was looking for a new job in February and I came along. It’s exciting, to say the least, and also very terrifying to join a company and be thrown into the harsh and very oversaturated BMX market. Expect to break even and survive is always on your mind, but hopefully, my connections and advice can help them drive sales and build a following.

Oversaturation

The BMX market is insanely oversaturated, there are more brands than anyone can remember and most being dominated by direct to consumer brands. This becomes an issue as veteran brands and hardcore brands can’t compete without cutting the middle man. Local bike shops are the life line of brands like these. With Teme, it is an extension of Rob’s BMX store located in Martley, Worcestershire. This supports the local scene but also cuts out the middle man that would be a distributor. However, Rob doesn’t wish to cannibalise the BMX market, he aims to build on it by supporting other brands by providing high-quality custom built completes.

The Products

The first products to come out of Teme BMX are two frames, a set of wheels, forks and handlebars. The frames come in a 20″ and 18″ model and are available in both raw and matte black finishes, the bars are 8.75″ rise and 29″ wide, also available in Matte Black. When it comes to forks they’re built to last but feature a modern 28mm offset for steep nose tricks. The wheels are built for those on a budget but feature fully sealed hubs, a 9t cassette hub and female axles. These hubs are laced to double wall rims.

Below are a few photographs of the products that will be coming to market this week. I’m happy to also announce that Jack Lannie will be out first supported rider.

Teme Wheel Set

Teme Matte Black Frame Teme Matte Black Forks Teme Raw Frame

 

What Makes a Good Employee Quit?

Why Good Employees Quit

Why People Quit

We live in an ever demanding time. We work more and earn less, our everyday essentials keep rising in price and we are under more and more pressure to deliver targets, exceed expectations in and out of the work environment. So what makes someone quit?

Bad management

I can’t stress enough that I have quit jobs in the past due to poor leadership and unwillingness to adapt. I have worked with companies that refuse to adopt new processes or technology due to up front costs, infrastructure issues, and being unsupportive in the roles that you are hired to fulfil.

A good manager can turn any mundane task into an exciting and fulfilling experience. When your manager is constantly hounding at you demanding results without any form of gratification for the hours you are putting in after work, on weekends, and in the mornings before you’ve even had breakfast, it can really take its toll on you and push any confidence you have in your abilities out the door.

Supporting your staff is crucial! I’ve worked with hundreds of people who feel underappreciated and treated like dirt. So much that they refuse to work overtime ever again because a simple thank you was never received for putting in the extra hours over busy periods which resulted in no monetary compensation. A manager must support their staff and praise them for everything they do right. Why treat your staff like a disposable object? The more you disrespect your workforce the sooner you’ll panic when you turn up and they’re gone. A great mentor and line manager I once had taught me an important lesson in life. You have to manage people into the job, not out of it. People are prone to making mistakes and no one is perfect. Spotting an error and then lashing out as if it has destroyed a business is not going to work, a solution would be to approach your staff an mention politely that you spotted an error while reviewing work and make notes of how it can be improved, or in some cases, if that manager is trained and has a clear vision for this project that hasn’t quite aligned, rather than sit on it and wait over the weekend for it to worsen a situation, they could fix it there and then and mention it on Monday morning.

A manager must support their staff and praise them for everything they do right. Why treat your staff like a disposable object? The more you disrespect your workforce the sooner you’ll panic when you turn up and they’re gone. I once had a great mentor and line manager that taught me an important lesson in life. You have to manage people into a job, not out of it. People are prone to making mistakes and no one is perfect. Spotting an error and then lashing out as if it has destroyed a business is not going to work, a solution would be to approach your staff and mention politely that you spotted an error while reviewing work and make notes of how it can be improved on or, in some cases, if that manager is trained and has a clear vision for this project that hasn’t quite aligned, rather than sit on it and wait over the weekend for it to worsen a situation, they could fix it there and then, then mention it on Monday morning.

Advice – Take it

I have always been an advocate for taking on the opinions and advice of those around you. If you hire someone as an assistant or someone in an influential position whose actions have an effect on how a company performs you should listen. Times change, technology advances, and techniques have to be adapted. Algorithms are constantly adjusted to create a fair and equal internet. So managers, if you’ve hired a specialist in a field or someone to assist you; LISTEN TO THEM! It’s so infuriating to see a manager stuck in their ways and fail to listen to logic because what they’ve achieved so far has kept them afloat. You hire people to improve business, to ease the stress on other workers, and to advance new ideas and techniques.

A post shared by Chris (@chriswilmshurst) on

What are the first signs of bad management?

On your first day, your boss calls you in for an introduction and congratulates you once again on joining the team. Once you’ve gone through all the basics you begin to talk about what the future will hold and what your job will consist of. Here you’ll be promised all sorts of toys and support. Fast forward one week later, you’re stuck with the most basic underperforming equipment and you’re left with no clear direction on what you’re meant to be doing. This sounds extreme and unlikely, right? Guess what? This happened to me! I was in a job for almost two years without my own computer or desk to call my own. Now, I do not wish to cry foul about this manager. He was, in fact, a very good managing director who gave extremely good advice and guided me in a business sector I was unfamiliar with, the only issue is he didn’t understand the role he hired me for and finances were not entirely under his control. The thought of spending £1000 on a camera for filming projects was out of the question in the eyes of the finance department, so this caused me so many issues. Self-funding my own job became the norm and thus became a financial drain on myself in a very underpaid position.

So what did I do? I spent months searching for a new job which suited my skill set and desired wage. Throughout this time I was the black swan at work. The business model was dying, the staff didn’t understand social media, and there was an overwhelming resistance to change and adopting these platforms. It wasn’t until I found my current job that as soon as I met the owners I took the job on the spot once we agreed on a wage.

Why Good Employees Quit
Are You Suffering From Bad Management?

Want some advice? If you’re being treated like dirt and you don’t feel appreciated all I can stress is that you speak out and explain how you’re feeling to your manager. If your manager truly has your best interest at heart (which he should as your performance affects his profits) he/she will take action and try to resolve the issues. If nothing improves within a  few weeks my advice would be to walk out and quit. You are a qualified hard working individual who comes to work every day to make a difference.

I can’t express that happiness at work is the utmost importing thing that matters if you’re doing something for a living. Fuck money if it makes you miserable. I would rather get by and be happy than being comfortable and numb. I’ve seen so many people destroyed by misery at work including myself.

Relections

My BMX

How do you look at yourself knowing you’ve become something you dislike? How do you face up to the underlying fact that you weren’t the person you first spoke of, that your kindness deteriorated, your passion and love withered away with each passing moment? Then your own reflection becomes something that you can’t stand.

This is something I’ve been battling with for the past month and further sparked by a heartbreaking and humiliating discovery. I have been a horrible person I was untrusting, stubborn, and aggressive, I also allowed this to completely alter my mood and weight.

My BMX

My diet plan

Over the past three years my perception of happiness was challenged and altered when I met the person I thought I’d marry, I adapted, I cancelled out, and attempted to shape my life around this person. Doing so resulted in less passion for things I loved doing growing up, changes of careers, investing in a different culture, and even putting on far too much weight in the process.
These changes of circumstance contributed to a decline in happiness.
When I gained weight my mood changed, I felt shit about myself, I felt shit around others and I relayed that onto other people. This was evident by the lack of time I would spend with others, I was rarely seen amongst my friends and when I saw my girlfriend at the time I was lazy, I didn’t want to do anything and I was a complete introvert.

It has taken a break up to smack me in the face. I’m one month into an aggressive diet, I’m riding my bike multiple times a week, and I am losing a lot of weight. I know this is the case as people are complimenting the fact that my physical appearance has changed and is reminiscent of my late teens, I’m becoming muscular and slimmer again.

These positive effects in my physique are also transferring to my mentality. Yes, I’ve had some shit discoveries and news today’s but it hasn’t overly knocked me back. I’m confident, I know I’m not ugly, I’m charming, funny, and generous, I have a lot to give to someone who has as much to give back.

So what is my diet? Well, it’s very extreme. I have been eating a bare minimum. Two bananas for lunch and a small tin of soup for dinner. I top this off with 3L of water a day and it has been a challenge. I have had the odd cheat day where I’ve had a packet of crisps or in the case of Topokki, a small meal. This may be considered excessive, but it is helping me greatly.

Here is a before photo and a current progress shot.

Before my diet started

Before starting my diet


Current diet progress

Three weeks into my diet, noticeable changes to my physique

Positive Steps

Without the people I call friends in my life, I wouldn’t be here. They are truly some of the most remarkable people I’ve met. None of them are perfect and some even have had similar experiences, but they are the reason I’m still smiling and pushing forward. I’m full of self-determination (SD) it has been a driving force and love behind everything I’ve undertaking over this month.

If you are new to this blog I noted in my first post that I now have savings, this is something I have never had. I have a game plan, a passport, a list of destinations I am going to visit and what I want to achieve over the next few years.
Writing and music have become my ultimate pass time. I was never a good writer and I did not do too well at high school in my GCSE’S, in fact, I’d quite honestly say I failed. Grammar and spelling are something that I’ve been battling myself with and challenging myself to understand much further as I’ve got older. If it wasn’t for Kyle Carlson at Vital BMX giving me grammar lessons and pointing out mistakes and teaching me about such things as the Oxford comma this blog would be ten times worse than it is now.

Music is also a strong glue that’s held me together. In the past when I had suffered a serious breakup, I’d retreat to my room and listen to extremely depressing music, but now I listen to positive music, music with a strong message of self-determination, ambitions, and goals. It’s these strongly worded songs that keep positivity at the forefront of my mentality.

I want to leave you with a list of songs I’ve listened too that may seem depressing, but have been driving forces in pursuing my goals.

Logic – Feel Good

John Legend – Love me Now

Flume – Say it like that (illenium remix)

Can a Tablet Replace My Computer?

Today I embarked on a new creative challenge. I purchased an iPad Pro 10.5″ in Space Grey in an attempt to limit myself from spending unfathimable hours sat at a computer desk. This decision did not come lightly, as a previous owner of an iPad mini I felt hesitant to make the plunge and click the order button. The iPad mini to me was a terrible purchase. I was an early adopter of the mini and because of that I did not have a chance to sit back and wait for reviews. I found the screen to suffer from immense aliasing and it wasn’t the fastest device to work with which contributed to a poor user experience.


So with a tainted experience in the past why would I jump into bed with one of the most expensive tablets available? The reason is that I believe everyone makes mistakes and even Apple isn’t perfect.  My good friend Daryl Baxter is responsible for this decision. Since launching this blog Daryl has been a big supporter of my site and continued to suggest and tout the iPad’s horn on various occasions. Daryl believes it has increase his workflow dramatically when it comes to writing articles and producing content for his blog.

I’ve known Daryl for several years and he is one person who gives technology, games, and anything a good run for its money when it comes to usability and dealing criticism where it’s due. So I decided to take his advice and pick up a 256gb model. I will be using this for work, photo editing, and updating my website. I aim to put it through its paces, testing out the build in keyboard, battery life, usability, and whether this can truly replace a laptop or desktop PC for the average computer user.