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Staying Charged at CES

CES-2014

I went to CES last week. Unlike last year when we descended on Las Vegas for the full six days required for journalists to fully exhaust themselves among a flurry of PR pitches and devices that won’t make it out of January, I decided it was a good idea to get everything done in one day.

To accomplish this, I would need to assemble a setup that could survive 9 hours of flights, 11 hours on the ground with no extended outlet access (more than 10 minutes), and that was light and small enough to carry around in one bag. This wasn’t going to be your typical journo-mega-conference bag — I had to narrow my choices down to five devices. An iPhone 5S, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, 13” Macbook Pro with Retina Display (late-2013), Anker Astro Mini, and a ChargeKey.

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Bound to a Tainted Public Perception

YeThe one thing Kanye wouldn’t say — Jay Z doesn’t deserve nine Grammy nominations.

It’s clearly evident that many people these days don’t like Kanye West. But for all the things people proclaim they hate West for, most of the time it has little to do with his music. So when the Grammy nominations were released on Friday and voters gave West only two nominations in token categories (Best Rap Song for “New Slaves” and Best Rap Album for “Yeezus”) it came as a surprise, but not a shock. Couple that with the announcement that Jay Z received nine nominations, it’s clear that Grammy voters don’t focus solely on music, at least when it comes to hip hop artists.

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Thanksgiving in Mongolia

Ariel Levy, The New Yorker

He was translucent and pink and very, very small, but he was flawless. His lovely lips were opening and closing, opening and closing, swallowing the new world. For a length of time I cannot delineate, I sat there, awestruck, transfixed. Every finger, every toenail, the golden shadow of his eyebrows coming in, the elegance of his shoulders—all of it was miraculous, astonishing. I held him up to my face, his head and shoulders filling my hand, his legs dangling almost to my elbow. I tried to think of something maternal I could do to convey to him that I was, in fact, his mother, and that I had the situation completely under control. I kissed his forehead and his skin felt like a silky frog’s on my mouth.

Ariel Levy details her horrific ordeal as she lost her premature child in a country on the other side of the world, in one of the most heartbreaking and beautiful pieces I’ve read in years. Stop whatever it is you’re doing and read this unbelievably courageous essay that will undoubtedly have a profound effect on you. Share it.

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13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina display (2013) Review

13rMBP2013There are some products that are great, and then there are some that just hit that elusive sweet spot. Last week, I picked up the newest version of the 13-inch Macbook Pro with Retina display (rMBP), Apple’s latest and greatest laptop. Here are the specs of the mid range model ($1499):

  • 2.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 256GB PCIe-based flash storage
  • Intel Iris Graphics
  • Nine hour battery life
  • 802.11ac WiFi, 3.46 pounds, 0.71 inches thick

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“No, You’re just sensitive. You’re crazy. You’re acting like a baby.”

I’ve written a lot of pieces over the last few years. I’ve written about technology, music, and culture with relative ease. But there is one topic that I couldn’t honestly cover. One topic that my emotions wouldn’t let me tackle. Thankfully, Cord Jefferson of Gawker beautifully and eloquently wrote about the plausible deniability of today’s racism.

The biggest example being Kanye West’s recent spat with Jimmy Kimmel.  That was wrong for a number of reasons, but the worst offense was the dulling of the passionate words Kanye uttered during his BBC interview with Zane Lowe. Kanye using his own circumstances spoke to what many people of color too often go through. Too often we feel something is racist, but maybe we are overreacting? Too often a slight is given, but maybe I’m the only one that sees it this way. Too often, nothing is said by the offending party, but a look is given that could hurt more than the words themselves. Racism has evolved, and in some cases, the offenders don’t even believe they are part of the problem.

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Bangerz: A Defining Moment

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Image Credit: Tyrone Lebon

Very rarely do we get an album that will make or break the career of an artist who is already a worldwide superstar. And yet, this is where we find ourselves with Miley Cyrus’ latest album Bangerz. Right in the middle of the musical climax of 2013, one of the best years of music in recent memory, with releases from Drake, Justin Timberlake, Elton John, Cher, Lorde, and Kings of Leon — all in the last two weeks — the reception of Bangerz will plot the course for the future of Miley’s career.

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