What I Actually Need in a Smartphone

I have spent the better part of 2 years trying to find the perfect smartphone. In that time I’ve learned there is no such thing as the perfect device. Today I will be discussing what I actually need in a smartphone and not what I think I want.

Since the beginning of 2013 I’ve owned an iPhone 4, a Nokia Lumia 521, an iPod Touch and dumb-phone combo, an iPhone 5c, a Moto X 2013, a Moto G 2013, a Samsung Galaxy S4, a HTC One M8, an iPhone 6 and now my current phone is an iPhone 5s.

After Owning 10 smartphones in 2 years I’ve finally figured out what I need in a smartphone:

Enough storage space for music, apps and photos

A decent camera

4-inch screen to make it manageable to use

Most of all though it should work well as a phone. The 2 things I find most important are loud enough speakers and a reliable signal.

I had found the iPhone 6 near perfect except the screen was a little too big for my liking and it was only 16GB. I was filling it pretty fast. I decided to sell it to Gazelle and instead of buying a 64GB iPhone 6 I got a 32GB iPhone 5s due to its compact size.

I plan to use my 5s until it no longer works since Apple has given up on phones with 4-inch screens and I don’t want anything bigger than that.


Shows You Should Be Watching: Vampire Diaries Edition

The Vampire Diaries is a show you should be watching. (Warning: spoilers ahead. Which are hard to avoid including on a review for a show that is currently airing its 6rh Season.)
The original summary of The Vampire Diaries released by The CW explains what the show is about better than I ever could; Four months after the tragic car accident that killed their parents, 17-year-old Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev, “DeGrassi: The Next Generation”) and her 15-year-old brother, Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen, “Everwood”) are still trying to cope with their grief and move on with their lives.  Elena has always been the star student; beautiful, popular and involved with school and friends, but now she finds herself struggling to hide her sadness from the world.  As the school year begins, Elena and her friends are fascinated by a handsome and mysterious new student, Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley, “Army Wives”). Stefan and Elena are immediately drawn to one another, and Elena has no way of knowing that Stefan is a centuries-old vampire, struggling to live peacefully among humans, while his brother Damon (Ian Somerhalder, “Lost”) is the embodiment of vampire violence and brutality.  Now these two vampire brothers ? one good, one evil ? are at war for Elena’s soul and for the souls of her friends, family and all the residents of the small town of Mystic Falls, Virginia.

Now before Fall 2009 when TVD premiered I was not into the idea of Twilight-esque stories and the whole vampire craze. I just didn’t see the appeal. The only things I knew about vampires then was what the story of Dracula stated. I only decided to watch Vampire Diaries because I watched Nina Dobrev on DeGrassi: The Next Generation and the description of the show was very intriguing.

Once I watched the show for the first time I was sucked in and couldn’t wait until the next episode. There are just so many elements of the show that make it great to watch but the main 3 in my opinion are; character development, story and relationships.

The character development on The Vampire Diaries is one of the best parts of the show. Two of the characters who have gone through the most noticeable changes since the start of the show are Caroline Forbes and Tyler Lockwood. Before being turned into a vampire Caroline was a spoiled self-entitled brat most of the time and now her personality is completely unrecognizable as she is caring, protective of her friends and doesn’t take crap from anyone. Now with Tyler before he triggered his werewolf gene he was a selfish, arrogant bully but over the seasons since, he has learned to tone down his temper and tries to think before he acts.

Another thing The Vampire Diaries does that is great for character development is flashbacks that explain a characters’ past more thoroughly. Even full episodes dedicated to flashbacks are very interesting to watch and they still manage to keep the plot in the present going.

The second best part of the show is the story arcs. Every season has an over-arching story that usually comes to an explosive conclusion. Season 1 was basically getting to know the Salvatore brothers, learning how Mystic Falls acts towards supernatural beings and being prepared for the arrival of Katerina Petrova. Season 2 was all about preparing for the arrival of Klaus and discovering the Sun and the Moon curse. Season 3 was about The Originals and how they have shaped the vampire world over a 1,000 years. Season 4 was about Elena becoming a vampire. the Five Hunters and meeting the first immortal, Silas. Season 5 was about the Travelers’ and the destruction of the other side.

Finally the third best part of the show is the relationships. The writers are very good at making you care for couples that you wouldn’t think you would. From the beginning I was very fond of Stefan and Elena together and got frustrated with all the scenes they made that hinted at Damon and Elena falling in love. Now that Elena is no longer with either of them I still prefer her with Stefan but can still appreciate her relationship with Damon. Some of my other favorite couples are Bonnie and Jeremy, Caroline and Tyler and Alaric and Jenna.

Although the current season isn’t as great as Seasons 1-3 it is beginning to hit its stride again for the first time since The Originals were spun-off into their own show and left The Vampire Diaries. I hope we get a few more good seasons out of the show before it ends though. I could go on and on about this show but I will just leave you with check out the show and I bet you won’t regret it.

Places to watch it: Seasons 1-5 are on Netflix, current Season 6 episodes are on Hulu Plus and new episodes air Thursdays at 8 on The CW.

The CW Fall 2014 Schedule Prediction

The CW Fall 2014 Schedule Prediction

Canceled: The Carrie Diaries, The Tomorrow People and Star-Crossed
Mid-season: Beauty and the Beast, Hart of Dixie, Jane the Virgin and IZOMBIE.

I’m not that great at predicting the schedule for The CW and will try my best.

8:00pm Arrow
9:00pm The Flash (NEW)

The CW should make Mondays their night for super-hero shows and IZOMBIE could air in mid-season on Mondays.

8:00pm The Originals
9:00pm Supernatural

I would leave Tuesdays alone and let The Originals and Supernatural stay together.

8:00pm Supernatural: Bloodlines (NEW)
9:00pm The 100

I would think the Supernatural spin-off will get picked up next week by The CW. It might fit well with The 100 I’m thinking.

8:00pm The Vampire Diaries
9:00pm The Messengers (NEW)

The Messengers is more sci-fi like The Vampire Diaries and might do better in the post Vampire Diaries time-slot then Reign did this year.

8:00pm America’s Next Top Model
9:00pm Reign

America’s Next Top Model always airs Fridays at 8 and the show that airs after it is usually with a female lead (i.e. Nikita and Hart of Dixie) so why not try Reign after it at 9.

CBS Fall 2014 Schedule Prediction

CBS Fall 2014 Schedule Prediction

Canceled: Friends With Better Lives, Hostages, Intelligence, The Crazy Ones, and The Mentalist.
Mid-season: Comedy: Cuz-Bros, More Time With Family, Save the Date; Drama: Battle Creek, Red Zone and Untitled CSI Spin-Off Project.

Mondays (September – October)
8:00pm The Big Bang Theory
8:30pm How I Met Your Dad (NEW)
9:00pm 2 Broke Girls
9:30pm Mom
10:00pm Person of Interest

Mondays (November)
8:00pm 2 Broke Girls
8:30pm How I Met Your Dad (NEW)
9:00pm Mike and Molly
9:30pm Mom
10:00pm Person of Interest

Due to CBS getting the rights to 8 Thursday Night Football games CBS has said that The Big Bang Theory will start out its season on Mondays and move to Thursdays in November. The only logical place for it I think would be at 8 because CBS could use it to help How I Met Your Dad or any new sitcom at 8:30 do better. Then in November 2 Broke Girls could be moved to 8 and hopefully be a good lead-in like TBBT. At 9 in September I would schedule 2 Broke Girls and when it moves to 8 in November the new season of Mike and Molly would begin. Mom would air all season at 9:30. To round out the night Person of Interest would be put at 10 and hopefully do better than the shows CBS tried this season.

8:00pm NCIS
9:00pm NCIS: Los Angeles
10:00pm Scorpion (NEW)

2 hours of NCIS is fine for Tuesdays and should remain that way. Putting NCIS: New Orleans at 10 I think would be too much. So I would schedule Scorpion instead.

8:00pm Survivor
9:00pm NCIS: New Orleans (NEW)
10:00pm Criminal Minds

Survivor will most likely remain on Wednesdays at 8. CBS should move CSI to a new night and move Criminal Minds from 9 to 10. Then at 9 I would like to see the new NCIS spin-off.

Thursdays (September – October)
8:00pm Thursday Night Football

Thursdays (November)
8:00pm The Big Bang Theory
8:30pm The Odd Couple (NEW)
9:00pm Two and a Half Men
9:30pm The Millers
10:00pm Elementary

The Big Bang Theory will return to Thursdays in November and I think it should be used to launch another new show. The Odd Couple I think sounds like the most promising CBS sitcom pilot to me and Matthew Perry starring in it doesn’t hurt. Two and a Half Men would remain at 9 and The Millers would be moved from 8:30 to 9:30. Elementary should probably stay put at 10. Seems like a solid Thursday night line-up to me.

8:00pm Undercover Boss
9:00pm Hawaii Five-0
10:00pm Blue Bloods

Friday would remain the same as it was last fall.

7:00pm 60 Minutes
8:00pm The Amazing Race
9:00pm CSI
10:00pm The Good Wife

60 Minutes has always aired Sundays at 7 so I know it won’t be moved. The Amazing Race probably won’t get moved either. Due to The Mentalist looking like it will be canceled this season I would move The Good Wife from 9 to 10. Sunday night at 9 is a good spot for an aging drama like CSI and most likely will do fine no matter what night it airs.

ABC Fall 2014 Schedule Prediction

ABC Fall 2014 Schedule Prediction

Canceled: Betrayal, Mixology, Super Fun Night, The Neighbors and Trophy Wife
Mid-season: Reality: Dancing with the Stars; Comedy: An American Education, Irreversible, Keep It Together, Suburgatory; Drama: Astronaut Wives Club, How to Get Away With Murder, Forever and Warriors.

8:00pm The Bachelor (Dancing with the Stars Jan-Mar)
10:00pm Secrets and Lies (NEW)

Mondays I would leave mostly the same with seasons of The Bachelor and Dancing with the Stars alternating in the 8 to 10 slot. At 10 I would move Castle to another night to free up the slot for a new drama. I believe Castle will be moved because it will complete its sixth season this month and I doubt it will last to many more seasons. So ABC should start to groom a new show in that slot. Secrets and Lies sounds really interesting and ABC has already picked it up for 10 episodes.

8:00pm Agents of S.H.I.EL.D.
9:00pm The Whispers (NEW)
10:00pm Castle

Agents of S.H.I.EL.D. is doing well in its current time-slot and most likely will remain at 8 for Season 2. This fall ABC should try a drama at 9 instead of 2 sitcoms like they did this year. Besides if Trophy Wife gets canceled and The Goldbergs, which looks like it will be renewed, returns this fall it can be moved to Wednesdays after The Middle. The Whispers is a new alien sci-fi drama but has an intriguing twist in which the aliens use children to get to the adults. It could possibly do well Tuesdays at 9 I think. Castle’s new night could end up being Tuesdays.

8:00pm The Middle
8:30pm The Goldbergs
9:00 Modern Family
9:30pm Selfie (NEW)
10:00pm Nashville

The Middle and Modern Family have done well for years in their respective time-slots but nothing else seems to stick at 8:30 and 9:30. I would move The Goldbergs to Wednesdays at 8:30 and see how well it meshes with The Middle. After Modern Family I would try out a new sitcom at 9:30 entitled, “Selfie,” in which a young woman tries to live offline with the help of her marketing guru. It is loosely based on My Fair Lady. It seems like it would do well with today’s viewers.

8:00pm The Winklers (NEW)
8:30pm Saint Francis (NEW)
9:00pm Grey’s Anatomy
10:00pm Scandal

Instead of trying out a new drama at 8 that would fail like it has for years now I would make a new sitcom hour from 8 to 9. The Winklers sounds really great and not to mention it stars Henry Winkler, better known as The Fonz, and should do quite well. Saint Francis is the only other pilot ABC has that would fit with The Winklers I think. 9 to 11 would remain the same.

8:00pm Last Man Standing
8:30pm Fresh Off the Boat (NEW)
9:00pm Shark Tank
10:00pm 20/20

Last Man Standing should remain at 8 and The Neighbors which aired this season at 8:30 will most likely be canceled. So a new sitcom needs to be picked up and put in the Friday 8:30 time-slot. Fresh Off the Boat is about a family of Chinese immigrants living in America in the 1990s who just moved from Washington D.C’s Chinatown to Orlando, FL which has no Chinatown or Chinese culture at all. Sounds really good and I think it could do well. From 9 to 11 Shark Tank and 20/20 would remain the same.

7:00pm AFV
8:00pm Once Upon a Time
9:00pm Resurrection
10:00pm Revenge

I would leave Sunday nights alone since it currently does so well and you shouldn’t mess with success.

FOX Fall 2014 Schedule Prediction

FOX Fall 2014 Schedule Prediction

Canceled: Almost Human, Dads, Rake and Surviving Jack.
Mid-season: Reality: American Idol; Comedy: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Last Man on Earth, Weird Loners; Drama: Glee, Home and Runner.

8:00pm The Following
9:00pm Backstrom (NEW)

FOX Mondays is hard to predict but I think that The Following will air at 8 and a new drama will be scheduled at 9. Backstrom has been picked up for 13 episodes and sounds like a typical FOX show.

8:00pm New Girl
8:30pm Mulaney (NEW)
9:00pm Cabot College (NEW)
9:30pm The Mindy Project

FOX has struggled with Tuesday nights for a while now and the network should continue with young skewing shows like New Girl and The Mindy Project. Mulaney has been picked up for 6 episodes and sounds like it would pair well with New Girl. Cabot College has a blind series commitment meaning FOX plans to air it no matter what.

8:00pm Hieroglyph (NEW)
9:00m Sleepy Hollow

Hieroglyph was picked up for 13 episodes. It is a period drama set in Ancient Egypt and might do well paired with Sleepy Hollow.

8:00pm Gotham (NEW)
9:00pm Wayward Pines (NEW)

Gotham is a show based on the origin stories of Commissioner James Gordon and the villains that made Gotham famous. Gotham has a blind series commitment. Wayward Pines was picked up for 10 episodes and should be scheduled to air in the fall. Like I said FOX is hard to predict and who knows if these shows will be scheduled together.

8:00pm Bones
9:00pm Gracepoint (NEW)

Bones will probably stay on Fridays at 8. Gracepoint seems like an interesting premise and would fit well with Bones.

8:00pm The Simpsons
8:30pm Here’s Your Damn Family (NEW)
9:00pm Family Guy
9:30pm Bob’s Burgers

American Dad is moving to TBS after it ends its run on FOX this month. The Simpsons should definitely stay at 8 and Family Guy should move back to 9 after the Cosmos mini-series finishes. Since FOX will only have 3 animated sitcoms left a live-action sitcom will probably get paired up with them. I would move Bob’s Burgers to 9:30 and put Here’s Your Damn Family on at 8:30. Of course for all I know FOX could move Bob’s Burgers to another night and leave Family Guy in its current 8:30 slot and use 9 to launch a new drama.

Check back in next Monday, May 12th, in the afternoon to see how well I did.

NBC Fall 2014 Schedule Prediction

NBC Fall 2014 Schedule Prediction

Canceled: Believe, Crisis, Dracula and Revolution.
Mid-season: Reality: The Biggest Loser; Comedy: Bad Judge, Community, Lifesaver; Drama: Hannibal, Parenthood and Salvation.

8:00pm The Voice
10:00pm The Blacklist

I left Mondays the same because NBC has been in disarray for years and needs to have a night that just works and gets good ratings.

8:00pm The Voice
9:00pm The Pro (NEW)
9:30pm Tooken (NEW)
10:00pm Chicago Fire

Currently About a Boy and Growing Up Fisher are doing pretty good from 9 to 10 right now and NBC should try to use that time to launch two more sitcoms this fall. Out of the sitcom pilots NBC has to choose from The Pro sounds quite promising and Tooken has already been picked up for 13 episodes and I figure that would lead to it being scheduled in the fall. The Voice results show and Chicago Fire are fine where they are and you shouldn’t mess with success.

8:00pm Emerald City (NEW)
9:00pm Law and Order: SVU
10:00pm Chicago PD

The 8 o’clock hour needs something new because Revolution isn’t working and I predict it will be canceled. Emerald City is all about The Wizard of Oz book series and NBC needs something similar to Once Upon a Time. Since NBC has picked up Emerald City for 10 episodes I’m confident it will get a fall time-slot. The 9 to 11 slots are all set and Law and Order: SVU and Chicago PD fit good together.

8:00pm About a Boy
8:30pm Growing Up Fisher
9:00pm Mr. Robinson (NEW)
9:30pm Parks and Recreation
10:00pm The Slap (NEW)

Last year NBC was confident that the Michael J. Fox Show and Sean Saves the World would be the saviors for Thursday night but they failed fairly quick. About a Boy and Growing Up Fisher have been doing pretty good on Tuesday nights and I think could be used to prop up the night this fall. Mr. Robinson is a pilot that was given a 6 episode pick up by NBC and seems like it would fit well on Thursdays. I moved Parks and Recreation to 9:30 because 30 Rock did well there for years and they are similar in style. The Slap is an interesting sounding show and who knows it might be extended past an 8 episode mini-series if it does well.

8:00pm Dateline NBC
9:00pm Constantine (NEW)
10:00pm Grimm

Dateline has been on at 8 for years and most likely won’t be going anywhere. Constantine is a superhero show and based on a comic book series by DC comics. I don’t know how well it will be received due to the fiasco that was Heroes. Grimm does well on Friday nights and might get slid down an hour to 10.

7:00pm Sunday Night Football (Fall) Dateline NBC (Mid-season)
9:00pm Parenthood (Mid-season)
10:00pm Salvation (Mid-season, NEW)

Shows on Sunday nights don’t really start until Football season ends. I think Parenthood will be renewed for a 13 episode final season. Salvation is family drama and might be a good replacement for Parenthood.

Next Monday, May 12th, NBC will have their upfront presentation in the morning and I will be able to see how close I was.