Welcome to March!

Welcome to March on Mother Nature! As you can see, I have decided to go retro with the article image and do it up in the inspired style of Sonic Mania, considering that Sonic Mania is set to be released within the next few months. There is news just around the corner surrounding Sonic Mania and Project Sonic 2017, which I am excited about and I honestly cannot wait to get my hands on Sonic Mania when it comes out. If Project Sonic 2017 gets an official title and if there’s all-new gameplay featuring both Classic Sonic & Modern Sonic, then I shall consider the possibility of buying the Project Sonic 2017 if it lives up to the hype. I know SEGA & Christian Whitehead both have one heck of a great year ahead so I am pretty sure they will exceed our expectations any which way.

The next few weeks are going to be much busier considering my Summative Assessment deadline for the Self-Directed Curiosity Project is right near the end of this month, so I will be making sure to work my socks off as I am so determined to pass and bump last year’s grade up to a Merit or Distinction at least. Also, I will be working harder than usual over the course of the next few weeks as I have a GCSE English Speaking & Listening Assessment coming up which I am currently preparing for, so I hope it goes well, so fingers crossed! Meanwhile, I will be making sure to put all of the hard work in with my GCSE Maths coursework as I seriously want to pass this time around.

Spring is ready to embrace its beautiful side and with the clocks going forward towards the end of the month, it is safe to say that Mother Nature will blossom with vibrant colours and displays. Not only that, but with the temperature of the weather slowly going back to normal, I cannot wait to enjoy the lovely Spring weather once again. The clocks are set to go forward as part of Daylight Saving Time on Sunday 26th March 2017 at 1:00 AM so I thought it would be wise to let you all know in advance so you know exactly when the clocks go forward.

I should warn you as I read something a short while back for when the clocks went back that if you have any devices with Airplane Mode switched on, such as an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch and any Android devices and smartwatches, then it’s recommended that Airplane Mode must be switched off very briefly in order for every device’s clock to go back or forward an hour. I am prepared for the clocks to go forward so to speak, but even so, why waste time when you make the most of it by making the best out of it?

If I am able to find the free time over the next few weeks, I may consider doing some drawings that I can publish on here, or if I head out to certain places in and around London over the next few weeks to photograph anything nature-based for my coursework, then I will make sure to publish any photography work I produce on this website.

Until then, Welcome to March!

Alex Smithson

Monthly Roundup: May 2016

With this month being the least productive since the start of 2016, I will be making sure to take a look back at the articles that were published over the course of this month.

1.5.2016 – As the next couple of weeks were set to get warmer considering that Summer would be just a few weeks away, I welcomed you all back to Mother Nature for May. I also mentioned that I would be very busy with my college studies, which meant I would be publishing articles less frequently than the month before, considering that April was extremely productive. I did mention that I would be travelling up to London on Tuesday 10th May to the Barbican Gallery where Madonna was a few weeks before as I would be going to see an exhibition that would comprise of over 250 intuitive works produced by Martin Parr.

5.5.2016 – On the 20th April 2016, I ceased the opportunity to take some photographs for my Final Major Project, and I headed to the 96 George Street Building opposite Croydon College to snap a photograph from the viewpoint space that was free for use. I used the photograph for the featured image of this article, including showing it below in full colour, along with the details of the photograph. For instance, the dimensions of the photograph, including the make of the camera, not to forget to mention the F Number, Aperture Priority, including the ISO Speed etc.

6.5.2016 – As the weather on this day was absolutely peaceful, I was able to cease the opportunity to take some photographs of some of the blooming flowers that were in my garden. I did attempt for the first time with my Nikon D3300 with Aperture Priority, which delivered some fantastic results considering I never experimented with Aperture Priority on my own camera before.

15.5.2016 – On Tuesday 10th May 2016, I travelled with my Film & Photography class up to London on a trip to the Barbican Gallery. As it was the first time I had ever visited the Barbican Gallery, I was shocked to find just how massive it was inside the Gallery. There was so much information available at hand and whilst I was there, I was able to take photographs around certain parts of the Barbican Gallery where I was allowed, and I must say I was surprised. The damp and dismal weather that day didn’t stop me from getting a collection of photos together.

17.5.2016 – Over the years, I’ve known some people who can be thoughtless and heartless, no matter how hard you try to put yourselves out there for them, especially where your respect to them concerns. I’ve had my fair share of that experience and I’m not ashamed to say this, but I will not put myself out there for those who feel it’s okay to take others for granted, have a go at those who are trying to respect and help them and I will most certainly not put my neck on the line for some people who think it’s okay to treat me like I’m something they’ve trodden in.

I wrote this article based on how I felt not just over the few stressful and eventful weeks I had with my work, but also because I felt I needed to get everything off my chest about what I really thought about those who take others, including myself for granted, including the lack of equality, diversity and respect that goes amiss nowadays.

23.5.2016 – A hilarious Facebook Live video broke the internet within a few days after Candace Payne, who purchased a Chewbacca Star Wars mask for her birthday left herself in stitches due to the mask making a funny noise, which also left the internet amused and in stitches of laughter.

I thought it would be nice to write an article on Candace Payne’s hilariously infectious video because it made me smile and laugh for all the right reasons, given that the video put a smile on my face despite the amount of stressful and eventful weeks I had with my coursework. I also thought it would be nice to share this funny moment with all of you as Candace Payne brought me and everyone around the whole world 4 minutes and 4 seconds of happiness, joy and humour. Again to Candace Payne, thank you :-).

26.5.2016 – I published a note of sincere apology for all of you to see, as I wanted to apologise for not being as productive over the course of this month, considering I had a lot of personal things going on, including not being able to have the energy to publish as many articles as I hoped. I mentioned that the past few weeks hadn’t been easy for me as I had so much going on personal-based, but also a lot going on with my Final Major Project, which I’m ready to start wrapping up and finalising before the public show goes on at Croydon College from the 13th – 17th June.

28.5.2016 – Let’s face it. We’ve all been there. We have all worried that we might not be able to succeed in life and we have the dreaded existential crisis that may affect what we want to do in the future. We often worry about certain things that we shouldn’t worry ourselves over. For example, we may feel petrified of the thought of dying, including what happens to all of us when we are no longer here.

I wrote this article because I did, at certain stages, feel like that, where I wanted to give up, but I also thought at those stages in my life that my future was at stake and I couldn’t afford to give up now. I also know it’s not an easy ride where an existential crisis concerned, given that I have been there, but this article was about asking you whether an existential crisis had affected you, despite my experiences of going through an existential crisis of my own at certain stages of my own life.

31.5.2016 – As Apple released their first ever Apple Watch last year, I thought it would be nice to review the Apple Watch Sport considering I brought it a short time ago. With Apple’s first iteration becoming a part of the watch industry, the Apple Watch has been able to help those who own the Apple Watch Sport, the standard Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Edition and the Hermés version of the Apple Watch have the ability to track the person’s Activity in terms of exercise, steps taken, not to forget the amount of calories it tracks that you burn off over the course of 24 hours.

I decided to publish my review of the Apple Watch Sport 38MM 7000 Series Edition considering that I’ve loved and enjoyed using the Apple Watch Sport ever since I brought it, but I also wanted to publish my review of the Apple Watch Sport in case you are someone who has been looking to purchase an Apple Watch for a while. I wholeheartedly recommend the Apple Watch to every single one of you, as it’s absolutely useful for productivity and it has most certainly helped me to be more productive at what I do.

Thank you all for a good month. I sincerely apologise for not being as productive as much as I hoped but I will try my best to make sure I can get more articles published over the course of next month. Again, thank you all for a very good month and I’ll see you all in June.

Alex Smithson

Life Experience | My First Ever Ear Infection | Have You Ever Had an Ear Infection Before?

As you might recall, I took the rest of last week off from blogging and from college as I was off sick due to a diagnosed ear infection in my right ear, which left me in nothing but untold pain. To talk further in detail about my life experience, I will give a run-down as to what I experienced over the course of last week when I had the ear infection.

On Monday 30th November, my ear started to ache after using the cotton buds, which I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to use to clean your ears with, and it started to feel more painful during my English lesson, and by the time I got home, my ear was in pain, and I couldn’t hear pretty much almost anything.

The following day (Tuesday 1st December), I felt a lot worse than I did, as the pain didn’t go for a while, and just continued to get worse, and whilst I was in college, I had been in so much pain that I couldn’t concentrate on one of the things I needed to do with my group, so I took a 15-minute break at 10:45 AM, which is our first break, and that kind of helped me to forget the pain, but after the first break finished, the pain got a lot worse and was too much to handle, and as a result, I was advised to go home, to take some paracetamol or ibuprofen, and to have a lie-down even if it meant using Olive Oil in my ear. I left college early as advised, and I got home, but as the pain got too much for me, I ended up falling asleep on the sofa, and I didn’t wake up for the best part of two hours because the pain just got to me. My parents had to nudge me to wake me up as I was in so much pain.

As a result of the amount of pain I was in, I had to go for an emergency appointment down at my local doctors, and my doctor looked in my right ear to see if I had an ear infection, and the inside of my ear was inflamed, to which my doctor diagnosed me with an ear infection, and I was prescribed an antibiotic Otomize Ear Spray, which I would have to use up until yesterday.

Because I was home for the rest of the week as a result of the ear infection, I did find that having this ear infection put a drain on my energy, as I wasn’t able to concentrate on most things properly, and the ear infection felt like as if someone stuck up to 5-10 warm pins in my eardrum, to cause me so much pain.

For the rest of last week, into this week, I continued to use the Otomize Ear Spray and the Olive Oil, and although my ear infection was completely gone before this Monday, I continued to use the spray and olive oil until early Friday morning just to be on the safe side, to make myself absolutely sure that it would never come back again.

I feel 100% better now, as my ear infection is gone, and I don’t have any pain, which is the result I wanted, and I must admit, I can hear a lot clearer now after almost two weeks.

The only tip I can give to those of you who might use cotton buds on a regular basis, don’t use cotton buds, because it will push whatever you’re trying to get rid of further into your ear, and is not the advisable method to use. Always use Olive Oil or Otex, whichever one you think is more preferrable. Also, and this was a contributory factor to the ear infection I recently got rid of, don’t have your music on too loud as it will cause more of a buildup that can, if your ear is left untreated for a certain period of time, cause an ear infection. I’m only relaying this as this is what my local doctors advised me.

Before I conclude, I will leave you with three questions:

  1. Have you ever had an ear infection before?
  2. Is this the first time you have ever experienced having an ear infection?
  3. How long did your ear infection last for?

Alex Smithson

© Full Credit: Ear Emoji Created & Designed by The Unicode Consortium, who specialise in designing Emojis for all major companies, such as Apple, Google, Microsoft and Ubuntu).

Monthly Roundup: September 2015

To round off what has been an energetic and hard-working month overall, I will now take a look back on the articles that have been published over the course of September.

1.9.2015 – I welcomed you all back to Mother Nature for a hard-working & energetic month. I also mentioned that September would become the month where it would start to get a little bit chilly, considering the fact that August had experienced a Summer washout. I also mentioned that I may have to post less frequently considering the fact that I have my course to think about, as well as my GCSEs which I would be re-taking, considering the fact that I expressed my joy of wanting to go back to college. I also mentioned that I would be starting on Book #4 soon, to which I mentioned that I wasn’t exactly sure as to whether I would release it this year or at the start of next year.

16.9.2015 – As this day marked the release of iOS 9, I published an article focusing around this release, and in this article, I went through a complete rundown of the new features and changes that iOS 9 had brought with it, and also with iOS 9, this was the first update that became available at just a storage-friendly 1.3 GB, which was a lot lower in download size than iOS 8, as iOS 8 weighed in at 4.58 GB in download size. Also in this release, iOS 9 had finally brought about the ability of expanding the regular 4-digit passcode limit to 6-digits, which is much more beneficial as this will help to up the security of iOS, as well as the security of personal photos, videos and also apps, that’s including the ability to further protect the user’s iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

25.9.2015 – My first few weeks back at Croydon College were absolutely perfect, and after going back to college on the 8th September, college felt like a welcome of open arms, as I couldn’t wait to go back, and I wasn’t nervous at all, but I was actually excited to be back. The 8th September had also marked a milestone of its own, as that day was exactly one year to the day that I had started my first ever day at college. A huge amount has changed in that time, everyone has matured, the respect of the students and the lecturers in the college are much better, and everyone gets on really well.

26.9.2015 – As it was coming up to ten weeks since Windows 10 was released, I published an article on Microsoft’s all-new browser, which was Microsoft Edge. As stated in the tagline, the tagline defined the browser to be: “Your no-fuss online browser for doing.” In the short space of the time that Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge have been out, Windows 10 was installed on almost 100 million devices across the world.

30.9.2015 – Exactly 10 weeks ago today, Microsoft Corporation released the last version of Windows to the entire world, and that last version of Windows was Windows 10. Windows 10, in the 10 weeks since it was released, has been installed on up to almost 100 million Laptops and PCs across the world. Windows 10 has also revolutionised the way we use computers, and with the recent release of Office 2016, both tie in effortlessly and work perfectly with no problems at all. Altogether, I gave Windows 10 an overall rating of 10/10, considering just how perfect it has been on me, given just how speedy it has been since I installed it.

Thanks so much for a fantastic month on Mother Nature, I’m sorry if I haven’t been able to publish as many articles as I had hoped, but I will try my best to publish more articles as and when I can find the free time that becomes available.

Until then, thanks so much for a fantastic month on Mother Nature, and I’ll see you all in October.

Alex Smithson

iOS 9: A Redefined User Interface. A Software Update for Doing.

As iOS 9 is finally available now to download via Software Update in Settings, I am delighted to give you all a run-down of all of the features that iOS 9 brings to the table. Gone are the days where you would need to free up countless amounts of space in order to download an all-important software update in order to get the full experience of a new operating system. Well, now those days are over, as iOS 9 weighs in at a small 1.3 GB, while the installation of iOS 8 was 4.58 GB.

For the first time, the ability of having a 4-digit passcode now expands to 6-digits, as it was felt by Apple that four just wasn’t enough to keep your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad secure, and it is much better this time around as you are given more of a chance to give your iDevice just that extra bit of security.

iCloud Drive, which allows you to store files that you may have been working on in applications, such as Keynote, Pages & Numbers, now has officially got its own standalone iCloud Drive app, which can be enabled by going to Settings –> iCloud –> iCloud Drive –> Show on Home Screen. This is beneficial for those of you who may be looking to reorganise or delete files that you feel you may no longer need or may possibly want to move.

For those of you who may be power-hungry users of the iPhone product line, a new feature is included that will allow you to extend your battery life by more than a few hours if your battery is running low on energy. Low Power Mode is a new feature for the iPhone, which, if you have it turned on, will turn the battery indicator yellow, indicating that the battery’s usage will be extended a few hours beyond the usage time, meaning that you will get to use your iPhone for a few hours longer, without the need of having to worry about charging your iPhone for longer.

iOS 9 also sees the introduction of the all-new News app, which was the most-talked about app shortly after it was introduced back in June during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference on the 8th June 2015. This news app is very useful for if you want to keep up-to-date on the news whilst on the go and even if you’re at home, all of the news articles you want will be right at your fingertips.

Throughout the whole of iOS 9, the font has been changed after a very long while from the Helvetica font to the newly-used San Francisco font, which is also a pre-installed system font for the Apple Watch.

A major change has been made in iOS 9, as Passbook has officially been renamed as “Wallet“, along with an all-new application icon.

Also, the Notes app has officially been redesigned, and is bundled with some new features as well that will make note-taking a whole lot easier.

The Photos application finally gets what we’ve all been waiting for. If you are familiar with taking selfies with your friends, they will automatically be sorted into a “Selfie” photo album, and if you’re screenshotting any apps, they will also automatically be sorted into a “Screenshots” photo album of their own. This is useful for if you don’t want to have to scroll through your whole photo album just for that one particular photo you want to set as your wallpaper, or if needs be, to share with your friends, your family, and even your relatives. This is a welcoming new feature for iOS 9 and is also a useful photo & video organiser.

For the first time in Apple history, Apple have given those who are not developers the opportunity to test a Public Beta of iOS 9, after announcing the developer and public betas back in June, and since the first public beta of iOS 9 went live in July, this was a massive opportunity, as this would give you all, including myself, the chance to test out a public version of the software while it’s in development, in order to make the future releases of iOS better than ever. iOS 9.1 was recently released to developers, shortly after the Apple Special Media Event that took place on Wednesday 9th September 2015, and was also released to Public Beta testing. If you want to take iOS 9.1 for a test drive, click here and then click on sign in, and enrol your device or devices for public beta deployment, then follow the instructions listed and download the profile they’ll provide you.

Below are some photos of iOS 9 in action, with notable new features, such as the all-new News app.

iOS 9 and iOS 9.1 are both compatible with the following devices:

  • iPhone 4S
  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 5S
  • iPhone 5C
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone 6S
  • iPhone 6S Plus
  • iPod touch (5th Generation)
  • iPod touch (6th Generation)
  • iPad 2
  • iPad (3rd Generation)
  • iPad (4th Generation)
  • iPad Air
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad mini (1st Generation)
  • iPad mini (2nd Generation)
  • iPad mini (3rd Generation)
  • iPad mini (4th Generation)
  • iPad Pro

My final thoughts on iOS 9 and iOS 9.1? I must say, Apple have most certainly pulled out all of the stops on this update, the battery life has improved, and not only that, but the all-new News app works effortlessly without a problem, and I absolutely love it. It’s a lot quicker now to get around iOS than how it was before, and iOS 9 is working at full speed even though I own the iPod touch (5th Generation). I am absolutely pleased to say that I am 100% not at all disappointed with this new update, in fact, iOS 9 is perfect.

If you have already downloaded and installed iOS 9 or iOS 9.1, please feel free to comment below your thoughts on the update, and what you think about this update, and how you feel about iOS 9 overall.

Alex Smithson

© iOS Logo Copyright of Apple & Cisco. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

© Font used for iOS Logo in Featured Image: Segoe UI Light

© Applications visible in the Image also Copyright of Apple

© The photos above were taken on the Nikon D3300 DSLR.

This article is dedicated to Tim Cook, and also the late Steve Jobs.

© Apple 2015

Monthly Roundup: June 2015

As I round June off on a high note, I will now take a look back on this month as it unfolded, and I will go through a quick roundup of the articles I have published on Mother Nature over the course of this month.

1.6.2015 – I welcomed you all back to Mother Nature for what would be a relaxing and peaceful month that would lie ahead. I also did a very short look back as I mentioned in this article that it would be one year ago this month that I had left school for good, given that I had also mentioned that I took a near-enough 5-month hiatus from February 2014 to June 2014, as I had my final exams to worry about.

6.6.2015 – Mother Nature marked a very important milestone on this day, as this day saw Mother Nature officially mark it’s 2nd birthday on WordPress. In the space of two years, I have gone on to publish two books online, one of which I have a physical copy of, and with my third book being close to being ready for its final release, I have felt absolutely proud to have come this far in the space of 2 years.

29.6.2015 – After a month-long wait and a lot of research, I was finally able to publish Case Study #6, which focused on the Former President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. This Case Study is the first case study to have more than 10,000+ words containing dozens of research about a Former President.

30.6.2015 – Following just weeks after Apple held their Worldwide Developers Conference, iOS 8.4 was officially released to the masses. Along with this update brought the newly-announced music service, Apple Music. After 2 very long years, the United Kingdom, for the first time ever, gets access to iTunes Radio, including the new Radio Station, Beats 1 Radio (a.k.a. B1), and with this update came an entirely redesigned Music app, which was given not just a massive overhaul in design, but it also brought back with it the ability to play music videos in the Music application, but in Landscape Mode, which was a commonly used feature that was often seen quite frequently in iOS 6.

Also on this day, I published a Special Music Feature article on the Queen of Pop, Madonna’s high-octane music video: “Bitch I’m Madonna (feat. Nicki Minaj)”. This music video had featured a numerous amount of cameo appearances. These cameo appearances featured the likes of Katy Perry, Rita Ora, Chris Rock, Diplo, Kanye West, Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Alexander Wang, Rocco Ritchie & David. This video, as mentioned by some, if not a lot of people, would wipe Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” music video to the floor. This video was directed by Jonas Åkerlund, who had previously directed Madonna’s previous video, Ghosttown, taken from Madonna’s 13th Studio Album, Rebel Heart.

Thanks so much to all of you, that’s including my friends, my family, my two main role models and also all of you for such a fantastic, relaxing and peaceful month, and I’ll see you all in July. Also, before I conclude this monthly roundup on a high note, I am delighted to let you know I will be publishing more articles over the course of July and August, now that I have got a huge amount of time on my hands until September. Again, thanks so much to all of you for a fantastic, relaxing and peaceful month, and I’ll see you all in July!!!

Alex Smithson

[Note: Please make sure to keep a close eye out for my third book: “My Journey Through a Lens”, as it will be out very soon, and I will also be announcing the release date for this third book on Mother Nature :-).]

iOS 8.4 Available Now. Go & Get it!!!!!

Coming just weeks after iOS 9 was unveiled at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (also known as WWDC), iOS 8.4 has just officially been released to the masses. With this update comes the official Apple Music service, as well as many of the other new features that are now available in this update. This update came two hours early ahead of the usual release time that Apple have normally stuck to since the first ever iPhone, iPod touch and iPad were released.

Also, the Music app has officially been redesigned and includes new features, such as Recently Added, which is seen most commonly in iTunes. As well as that, the music player has finally got a mini player as you would most commonly see in iTunes as well, and to top it all off, Up Next and other further features in the Music app have finally been added.

Upon opening the Music application, you’ll be greeted with the Apple Music logo and background, with two options that will come up, giving you the chance to choose whether you want to start your 3-month free trial with Apple Music today, or if you don’t, you get the chance to just go to your music library.

Here is the full changelog for iOS 8.4, covering the features that are new to the software, as well as the music application’s icon being given a redesign, ready for the iOS 9 update coming in the Autumn:

This update introduces Apple Music — a revolutionary music service, 24/7 global radio, and a way for fans to connect with their favourite artists — all included in the redesigned Music app. iOS 8.4 also includes improvements for iBooks and bug fixes.

Apple Music

  • Become an Apple Music member to play from millions of songs in the Apple Music catalogue, or keep them offline for playback later.
  • For You: Members can see playlist and album recommendations, hand-picked by music experts.
  • New: Members can find the latest, greatest new music available — direct from our editors.
  • Radio: Tune in to music, interviews and exclusive radio shows on Beats 1, play radio stations created by our editors, or create your own from any artist or song.
  • Connect: See shared thoughts, photos, music and videos from artists you follow, then join the conversation.
  • My Music: Play from all your iTunes purchases, songs from Apple Music, and playlists in one place.
  • Completely redesigned music player that includes new features such as Recently Added, Mini Player, Up Next and more.
  • iTunes Store: Still the best place to buy your favourite music — one song or album at a time
  • Availability and features may vary by country.

iBooks improvements and fixes

  • Browse, listen and download audiobooks from inside iBooks.
  • Enjoy the all-new Now Playing feature, designed specifically for audiobooks.
  • Books that are Made for iBooks now work on iPhone in addition to iPad.
  • Find and pre-order books in a series straight from your library.
  • Improves accessibility of widgets, glossary and navigation in books made with iBooks Author.
  • New default Chinese font.
  • New setting to turn off Auto-Night theme in your library.
  • Resolves an issue that may have prevented Hide Purchases from working.
  • Resolves an issue that may have prevented downloading books from iCloud.

Other improvements and bug fixes

  • Fixes an issue where receiving a specific series of Unicode characters causes device to reboot.
  • Fixes an issue that prevented GPS accessories from providing location data.
  • Fixes an issue where deleted Apple Watch apps could re-install.

For information on the security content of this update, please visit this website:

http://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT1222

After an extremely long wait, iTunes Radio has officially arrived in the United Kingdom, and can now be found next to the playlist icon. Also, Beats 1 and many other various radio stations are now available within the Music app. Apple Music Connect is also a welcome of open arms, meaning that after some time, you can now follow your favourite musicians, either through tapping on the “Follow” button, or by tapping on the “Automatically Follow Artists” button when you add the music from your iTunes Library to your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad device.

At last, after a long wait, landscape mode for music videos has officially returned to the Music app, a commonly used feature that was in iOS 6.

The Music application has had a major design overhaul and has also been more of a focus for Apple, considering that the Apple Music service has just officially been launched today.

Below are the screenshots that show iOS 8.4, and the redesigned Music application all in action (including iTunes Radio UK & Beats 1 Radio).

I have checked in the Music app, and it’s a luck of the draw, if you feel that you don’t want to subscribe to Apple Music, there is an option to say no, as Apple have put an option below the “Start 3 Month Free Trial” button, saying “Go to My Music”. This is a wise move from Apple, as this means that you don’t have to worry about it, you can still use the Music app for free, and making purchases in the iTunes Store and the App Store, including the desktop version of the iTunes Store mean that you can still use iTunes and the Music app for free without having to pay, unless you’ve already started the 3-month free trial with Apple Music today.

If you haven’t already, please make sure to go ahead and upgrade your iPhone, iPod touch (5th Generation) or iPad to the latest software. This iOS update is much better now and is worth the upgrade. It is also the most stable software update that Apple have released before the final version of iOS 9 arrives in the Autumn.

To update your iOS Device, go to the Settings app, then to General, and then to Software Update, where the update will be available to download and install.

Until then, enjoy the update!!!

Alex Smithson

© Apple 2015

© iOS Logo Copyright of Apple.

© Any of the logos, including the screenshots that have references of musicians and their album artwork, that’s including the changelog that was used in this article are all courtesy of Apple. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

Monthly Roundup: September 2014

Hello everyone, as today marks the final day of September, before we all journey into October, I wanted to take a look-back over September as it unfolded.

On the 1st September, I published my 2nd book, A Year in Photography, which is packed with a lot of information, and is also bigger and much better than my first book: “My Journey Through Photography”. Despite recurring problems with Microsoft Office Word 2013’s server claiming that it went down, I was still able to publish the book with no problem whatsoever.

A few short days after the release of the 2nd book, I updated you all, notifying you that an updated copy of the book was available to download via Dropbox, which meant that you would need to delete the old copy that was released on the 1st September in favour for the new copy that was updated.

Aside from this, I also mentioned in the same article that there were some small changes that would be made to this blog, such as a few small additions of some new social buttons, which were Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook and Tumblr.

During the course of the month, I wrote an article based on the Mount Tavurvur volcano that recently erupted a couple of weeks ago. This volcanic eruption that was captured on camera by Phil McNamara also caught a Sonic Boom, which makes a sudden banging noise that is almost loud enough to perforate your ear-drums. This resulted in Phil saying on the recording of the video: “Holy smoking Toledos.”. The shock-wave also changed the cloud formations in the Earth’s atmosphere, as the volcano had erupted bad enough to blow almost everything out of all proportions. The video that Phil McNamara recorded of the volcanic eruption instantly went viral across the whole of the internet after he published it.

To mark the beginning of college life, I began my first day at Croydon College on the 8th September, and I absolutely loved it. After my first week was over, I published a second article which would round off what was a perfect first week. The atmosphere at Croydon College has been absolutely peaceful, and has also been fun as well, as everyone treats each other with respect, which just goes to show how much of a massive impact college life can have, it leaves such a positive impact not just on me, but also on everyone else.

After 5 years since their 12th studio album, No Line On the Horizon, was released, U2 came back with a bang as they announced their 13th studio album: “Songs of Innocence”, which is now available for free until the 13th October. This album was announced at Apple’s Media Event, which took place at the Flint Centre on the 9th September, where they would also go on to unveil the two new iPhone’s, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. Also, after a long while, Apple finally redesigned their whole website to make sure their website had the same metro-matching appearance to iOS.

For 4 days, the Invictus Games took place in London, which would give all of our soldiers, and many other soldiers from around the world the chance to compete, which was such a fantastic opportunity for our soldiers. This gave the soldiers from the UK and all of the other soldiers from around the world the chance to prove to everyone that even if they may have been unable to do the things they used to do, they would still carry on with sheer determination no matter what, to make sure that they could get the chance to be able to do something again that they may have missed for such a long time.

When iOS 8 was released on the 17th September, everyone was absolutely on it to install the new update, which to me was also a relief, as this update fixed the battery woes that I had to put up with for a whole year, considering the fact that the iOS 7 ecosystem in terms of the battery was absolutely poor. iOS 8 fixed all of the problems that I had with iOS 7 completely. The battery life was absolutely fantastic, because, just like iOS 6, the battery would last for more than one day, possibly a week. This, however, made me think that it’s always the even number updates that tend to make all iDevices last for a long time, but it’s the odd number updates that always tend to drain the battery the most.

iOS 4, iOS 6 and iOS 8 are the 3 main updates that have made the battery life on almost all iDevices last for a long while, whereas, for iOS 5 and iOS 7, the battery life for iOS 5 and iOS 7 would continually drain non-stop.

Overall, this month has been perfect, I couldn’t have asked for a perfect start to life as a college student, and for everything else, I will always keeping fighting the good fight to make sure I can get to where I want to be in the future, and that is to become a professional photographer.

I just wanted to say thank you to all of you for making my life special in blogging, and also for supporting me along the way when it came to my exams, I shall make sure to keep up the good work…again, thank you :-).

Alex Smithson

Wooah!!! The Summer Holiday Ran Like the Wind!!!!!

Hello everyone. To mark an end to what has been one of the most important months in history, I would like to take you all through a lookback on August to talk about a few of the posts I put up over the course of this month.

At the beginning of this month, I finished up on the last few days of the Glasgow 2014 XX Commonwealth Games, to mark the start of what would be an important month ahead.

With the 100th Anniversary of the First World War, almost everyone around the United Kingdom switched their lights off for 1 whole hour, which would highlight that the beginning of World War I started at 11:00PM on the 4th August.

During the course of August, we lost one of our most cherished actors, which was Robin Williams. He died on the 12th August at the age of 63, and was very well known for appearing in most films and TV shows, with a career spanning over 30 years.

Also, during the course of August, I was absolutely shocked and saddened to find out that one of our own fellow blogging friends passed away. Ajay Mody, who is very well known for his two photographical nature blogs: “AjayTao2010 | My Personal Opening to the World” and “Ajaytao Botanical Photography” passed away suddenly, and in honesty, I found out about the news of his death just a week after he died via Vijay Shah’s Half-Eaten Mind news blog, and I was actually upset and I also cried after hearing the news of his sudden passing because he was an inspiring blogger who nominated and also awarded all of us for all of the efforts we went to in order for our blogs/websites, and if there was something I was a little confused about, he was always there to guide me along the way with blogging. He was a fantastic and joyful blogging friend who guided us all along the right tracks, and I thank him for it. He will be sadly missed, but I will never forget all of the good things Ajay has done for all of us. We will miss you ever so dearly Ajay, we will never forget you. Your legacy lives on.

Before results day arrived, I did a review based on Whitaker Trebella’s flawless and classical masterpiece, Pivvot, which was recently released on Steam, and since the game saw its release internationally last year, it has become available for iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Linux, the Humble Store and now Steam.

On the 21st August, I was like an absolute bag of nerves and cried because I was worried about what results I might get, though my nerves and tears were out of the window when I opened my results envelope to find I actually passed most of the exams I worked so hard on, though I was just 1 mark off a C in Maths, but hopefully it could be re-marked, but this day was a wonderful day for me, as all of that hard work for the subjects I passed in finally paid off, and I was able to secure my place at Croydon College.

In the few days leading up to today, the final day of August, I updated all of you with the latest and new information based on my second book: “A Year in Photography”, in which the article would talk about certain things I have included in this book, and what the design of the front cover looked like before and after. This book is the biggest book yet, containing well over 50-60 pages, and is more like a lookback, but also feels more like as if it has been crafted as a yearbook, given the final design of the front cover.

To mark the end of August, I wanted to notify you all that the book is virtually complete, and will be available for free download tomorrow evening at 6:00PM via a Dropbox link, which will be hyperlinked as a button.

Also, there are some small changes being made to this blog, such as the book buttons, and over the next couple of weeks, I will be looking to make some more additions to the social buttons, as there are currently 6 buttons on this blog, so hopefully the widgets will have a small refresh to blend in for the rest of this year.

For now, thanks for such an amazing August, and I’ll try my best to post some articles over the course of September. College will be a fresh start for me, and workloads are set to increase double the amount I used to do, but I’ll do my absolute best to try and get in a few articles as much as I can.

Thanks for such a wonderful August, and thanks also for viewing the final article for August :-).

Alex Smithson