FLAT & MINIMAL
Designer and techie with a background in architecture. Co-founder Thinkerous
Apple iPhone 6
I received my new devices over preorder from Apple and wanted to do a quick first impressions review regarding it’s physical design and ergonomics. I won’t be going into iOS 8 although I have been beta testing it throughout the period til its release more recently, and I’ll also spare the nitty details since there are countless reviews out there that do better jobs at that.
The model I will be reviewing is the 4.7” screen iPhone 6 in “Gold” (64GB). First and foremost, the new minimalist packaging is on point. I’m absolutely loving the outer package design…its mere simplicity effortlessly brings forth curiosity the moment you see it. I’m all for it ;)
 

The device itself is as expected. It’s now rounded all around so no hard or sharp edges and in result, much more comfortable to hold. There’s a negative side to this, however…it slips easily. It may be because I’m still getting used to the thinness, but the rounded edges do entail a less grippy feeling. I’ve always gone case-less with my devices but this may be the first time I’m considering a case for it.
 

Apple moved the power button to the side and it was a smart decision. I’m still thinking it’s atop by muscle memory but as I’ve noticed, it’s much harder to reach up there now so having it on its side was the right move on this bigger device. The two things that I want to address, though, are the protruding rear camera and the white plastic seams on the gold model. There’s something a bit off about the use of white on the gold model, but I’m not sure if having used a matching color would have been a more aesthetic improvement.
 

The rear camera, as I understand, is something that couldn’t really have been avoided due to the actual thickness of the device. The camera module is not small enough to fit, so unless Apple sacrificed the thinness for a slightly thicker device, they would have had to wait to develop a much thinner camera module. The annoying result is the device doesn’t sit flat on a surface as shown above. This will likely cause the camera to be more prone to scratches but at least they’re using a sapphire crystal lens cover. Another reason to grab a case.
In the end, Apple pulled off another successful product. The new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus has a slew of hardware improvements and the perfect software to complement them. The bigger screen size is definitely an improvement in my opinion. As our tech and media evolve, we need a canvas big enough to display more and more information. The iPhone 5/5s served us well over the past two years (just as the previous generations did) and the 6 came at the right time when we were ready. I do think that the 6 Plus is still too big though.

Apple iPhone 6

I received my new devices over preorder from Apple and wanted to do a quick first impressions review regarding it’s physical design and ergonomics. I won’t be going into iOS 8 although I have been beta testing it throughout the period til its release more recently, and I’ll also spare the nitty details since there are countless reviews out there that do better jobs at that.

The model I will be reviewing is the 4.7” screen iPhone 6 in “Gold” (64GB). First and foremost, the new minimalist packaging is on point. I’m absolutely loving the outer package design…its mere simplicity effortlessly brings forth curiosity the moment you see it. I’m all for it ;)


 

The device itself is as expected. It’s now rounded all around so no hard or sharp edges and in result, much more comfortable to hold. There’s a negative side to this, however…it slips easily. It may be because I’m still getting used to the thinness, but the rounded edges do entail a less grippy feeling. I’ve always gone case-less with my devices but this may be the first time I’m considering a case for it.


 

Apple moved the power button to the side and it was a smart decision. I’m still thinking it’s atop by muscle memory but as I’ve noticed, it’s much harder to reach up there now so having it on its side was the right move on this bigger device. The two things that I want to address, though, are the protruding rear camera and the white plastic seams on the gold model. There’s something a bit off about the use of white on the gold model, but I’m not sure if having used a matching color would have been a more aesthetic improvement.


 

The rear camera, as I understand, is something that couldn’t really have been avoided due to the actual thickness of the device. The camera module is not small enough to fit, so unless Apple sacrificed the thinness for a slightly thicker device, they would have had to wait to develop a much thinner camera module. The annoying result is the device doesn’t sit flat on a surface as shown above. This will likely cause the camera to be more prone to scratches but at least they’re using a sapphire crystal lens cover. Another reason to grab a case.

In the end, Apple pulled off another successful product. The new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus has a slew of hardware improvements and the perfect software to complement them. The bigger screen size is definitely an improvement in my opinion. As our tech and media evolve, we need a canvas big enough to display more and more information. The iPhone 5/5s served us well over the past two years (just as the previous generations did) and the 6 came at the right time when we were ready. I do think that the 6 Plus is still too big though.

Côte&Ciel Driver Sleeve
The past two months, I have been using the classic “driver sleeve” from the minimalistic, Parisian carry brand Côte&Ciel, on my 15” Macbook Pro with retina display. Previously, I had sandwiched my laptop between a sweater or some books inside a backpack or carried it out unprotected, so I had been meaning to find a lightweight sleeve that suit my aesthetic preference.
This particular sleeve (silver shown) comes in ten (10) different colorways and features their signature “Diamond Grip” textile with a second-skin fit for great durability and easy access opening.
 

The opening is secured by a tight-wrapped elastic band that hugs the laptop in and prevents it from slipping out. How well does it work? Well enough that the laptop won’t fall out held upside down and shaken with the opening facing down. Also, it actually takes a bit of force and practice to swiftly take the laptop in or out, but the sleeve does feature a little strap on both ends that you can pull outwards to make that process easier. 
 

The “diamond grip” textile material is quite nice. It feels like any other textured, elastic fabric - neither soft nor rough to touch. I have never had any trouble holding it or it slipping off my hands so it does fair a good grip as well, hence the name. The sleeve is also just thick enough as a nice, soft cushion with a more finer cotton lining in the inside to prevent scratches and provide more durability for everyday handling. 
 

In addition, they claim the outer fabric is water-resistant meaning slight precipitation from rain or small spills should be effectively repelled and roll right off. However, this doesn’t seem like the case since all liquids (water) directed on to the fabric seem to be entirely absorbed.
Overall, it’s a great product that does its job well enough on its own. It’s light yet durable in the most minimalistic approach possible. The construction itself is very high in quality with attention to detail made obvious through subtle design cues in stitching and branding. If you’re looking for a clean sleeve that balances form and function, definitely give these a look.

Côte&Ciel Driver Sleeve

The past two months, I have been using the classic “driver sleeve” from the minimalistic, Parisian carry brand Côte&Ciel, on my 15” Macbook Pro with retina display. Previously, I had sandwiched my laptop between a sweater or some books inside a backpack or carried it out unprotected, so I had been meaning to find a lightweight sleeve that suit my aesthetic preference.

This particular sleeve (silver shown) comes in ten (10) different colorways and features their signature “Diamond Grip” textile with a second-skin fit for great durability and easy access opening.


 

The opening is secured by a tight-wrapped elastic band that hugs the laptop in and prevents it from slipping out. How well does it work? Well enough that the laptop won’t fall out held upside down and shaken with the opening facing down. Also, it actually takes a bit of force and practice to swiftly take the laptop in or out, but the sleeve does feature a little strap on both ends that you can pull outwards to make that process easier. 


 

The “diamond grip” textile material is quite nice. It feels like any other textured, elastic fabric - neither soft nor rough to touch. I have never had any trouble holding it or it slipping off my hands so it does fair a good grip as well, hence the name. The sleeve is also just thick enough as a nice, soft cushion with a more finer cotton lining in the inside to prevent scratches and provide more durability for everyday handling. 


 

In addition, they claim the outer fabric is water-resistant meaning slight precipitation from rain or small spills should be effectively repelled and roll right off. However, this doesn’t seem like the case since all liquids (water) directed on to the fabric seem to be entirely absorbed.

Overall, it’s a great product that does its job well enough on its own. It’s light yet durable in the most minimalistic approach possible. The construction itself is very high in quality with attention to detail made obvious through subtle design cues in stitching and branding. If you’re looking for a clean sleeve that balances form and function, definitely give these a look.

Slothie
So a couple days ago I shared this picture on reddit that a friend took for me during my trip to the Peruvian Amazon back in January. Didn’t expect it to garner this much “fame” online, but I have to say this is one of the most ridiculously random, proud moment or achievement, rather, in my life. Thanks to all for loving the lil guy!

Here’s the actual selfie, or “slothie”: IMG

Slothie

So a couple days ago I shared this picture on reddit that a friend took for me during my trip to the Peruvian Amazon back in January. Didn’t expect it to garner this much “fame” online, but I have to say this is one of the most ridiculously random, proud moment or achievement, rather, in my life. Thanks to all for loving the lil guy!

Here’s the actual selfie, or “slothie”: IMG

(Source: awwww-cute)

Youtube Large Player Fix (obsolete)
When watching videos on Youtube, there’s been an annoying page design flaw present when on the Macbook Pro with retina display, or I assume any other large, high resolution display. This happens when you’re viewing videos in “Large Player” mode on fully scaled retina resolution. See the image above? The dotted box visually represents what I’ve just explained, and if you’re in the same position as me, you know exactly what I mean. So I wrote a short userscript to fix it by making the player the same width as the content div under.

 

// ==UserScript==
// @name       Youtube Retina Display Fix
// @namespace  http://cheeyoonlee.com
// @version    0.23
// @description  Fixes the annoying large player and content width mismatch on scaled 
    Retina displays
// @match      https://www.youtube.com/watch?*
// @copyright  2014+ @cheeyoon
// ==/UserScript==

function addGlobalStyle(css) {
    var head, style;
    head = document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0];
    if (!head) { return; }
    style = document.createElement('style');
    style.type = 'text/css';
    style.innerHTML = css;
    head.appendChild(style);
}

addGlobalStyle('.site-center-aligned #player.watch-large, .site-center-aligned 
    #player.watch-medium, .site-center-aligned #player.watch-medium-540 { margin-bottom: 0 
    !important; }');
addGlobalStyle('.site-center-aligned #player.watch-medium { width: 1040px !important; }');
addGlobalStyle('.watch-medium .player-height { height: 615px !important; }');
addGlobalStyle('.watch-medium .player-width { width: 1040px !important; }');
addGlobalStyle('.watch-medium .html5-main-video, .html5-video-content { width: 1040px 
    !important; height: 585px !important; }');



 
It’s basically a javascript file that’s injected into the targeted page when loaded to replace given style parameters with custom values. As noted by @match, I’m only targeting the video page by using the HTML query string watch?* where the * represents any video ID. Next, I define the addGlobalStyle(css) function which will add my edited style rules to the page’s loaded CSS. Finally, I call up the function by finding specific classes and ID’s and replacing them with my own values; the !important markers are used to force the changes no matter what, a bit of a dirty trick. That’s all there’s to it.
I’m really surprised no one has addressed this issue, as much as I’ve searched, and neither has Youtube. Am I alone here..?
Edit: This script is now obsolete after Youtube as implemented theatre mode which is a slight improvement.
Installation: You first need either Greasemonkey (for Firefox) or Tampermonkey (for Chrome) if you don’t so already. Then simply install my script here and it should be enabled upon installation. Enjoy!
Discussion for original issue here.
Released under the MIT License (MIT)

Youtube Large Player Fix (obsolete)

When watching videos on Youtube, there’s been an annoying page design flaw present when on the Macbook Pro with retina display, or I assume any other large, high resolution display. This happens when you’re viewing videos in “Large Player” mode on fully scaled retina resolution. See the image above? The dotted box visually represents what I’ve just explained, and if you’re in the same position as me, you know exactly what I mean. So I wrote a short userscript to fix it by making the player the same width as the content div under.

 

// ==UserScript==
// @name       Youtube Retina Display Fix
// @namespace  http://cheeyoonlee.com
// @version    0.23
// @description  Fixes the annoying large player and content width mismatch on scaled 
    Retina displays
// @match      https://www.youtube.com/watch?*
// @copyright  2014+ @cheeyoon
// ==/UserScript==

function addGlobalStyle(css) {
    var head, style;
    head = document.getElementsByTagName('head')[0];
    if (!head) { return; }
    style = document.createElement('style');
    style.type = 'text/css';
    style.innerHTML = css;
    head.appendChild(style);
}

addGlobalStyle('.site-center-aligned #player.watch-large, .site-center-aligned 
    #player.watch-medium, .site-center-aligned #player.watch-medium-540 { margin-bottom: 0 
    !important; }');
addGlobalStyle('.site-center-aligned #player.watch-medium { width: 1040px !important; }');
addGlobalStyle('.watch-medium .player-height { height: 615px !important; }');
addGlobalStyle('.watch-medium .player-width { width: 1040px !important; }');
addGlobalStyle('.watch-medium .html5-main-video, .html5-video-content { width: 1040px 
    !important; height: 585px !important; }');

 

It’s basically a javascript file that’s injected into the targeted page when loaded to replace given style parameters with custom values. As noted by @match, I’m only targeting the video page by using the HTML query string watch?* where the * represents any video ID. Next, I define the addGlobalStyle(css) function which will add my edited style rules to the page’s loaded CSS. Finally, I call up the function by finding specific classes and ID’s and replacing them with my own values; the !important markers are used to force the changes no matter what, a bit of a dirty trick. That’s all there’s to it.

I’m really surprised no one has addressed this issue, as much as I’ve searched, and neither has Youtube. Am I alone here..?

Edit: This script is now obsolete after Youtube as implemented theatre mode which is a slight improvement.

Installation: You first need either Greasemonkey (for Firefox) or Tampermonkey (for Chrome) if you don’t so already. Then simply install my script here and it should be enabled upon installation. Enjoy!

Discussion for original issue here.

Released under the MIT License (MIT)

Pley (Pleygo)
Recently this month, I came across a neat service I’d wished I knew about earlier called Pley, formally known as Pleygo. Pley is a subscription based LEGO rental service - some sites describe it as a Netflix for LEGO’s, and if you’re still renting DVD’s on it, they’re probably right.
The service is really cool and simple. You choose one of three plans: Fan, Super Fan, and Mega Fan; each plan increasing in cost for more complex and advanced sets. They offered a month-long free trial of the “Super Fan” subscription tier so I gave it a try.
 

You start off by filling up your “Pleylist” with sets available to your chosen plan. You can easily search for particular sets by name, collection, keyword, or set number. I found their collection a bit limited but I’m told they’re frequently adding more sets which is good to hear. For this reason, it was a bit difficult for me to fill up my Pleylist, but that was what the “Autofill” feature was for. It let me configure which sets I preferred and automatically filled up the rest. 
 

As you can tell, the order of the Pleylist sets don’t seem to apply to which set you’d receive respectfully. This bothered me a bit since I was expecting the “Blackbeard’s Duel” set from the Lego Movie collection. Instead I received the “Droid Escape” set. Please note, though, as this could just be a bug in their system. I was still excited, nonetheless.
 

After a couple days my first set arrived in a plastic envelope, which also serves as a prepaid return envelope: bonus points for free shipping both ways. Inside was a welcome and info pamphlet and the bag containing the LEGO set with the building instruction manual. At this point I felt like a kid discovering LEGO’s for the first time, again.
 

I laid out the set and individually inspected all pieces. I was missing a few small ones, which was unfortunate, but not entirely unexpected. Luckily, Pley’s service is awesome enough to ship you the missing pieces as soon as you report them on their site. And for those asking, yes the set was clean. They’re sanitized after every return to the same standards approved by the FDA for restaurants.
 

Some minutes and a few page turns later I completed the “Droid Escape” set to my liking. Despite the error and a couple missing pieces, I thoroughly enjoyed this subscription experience. Pley satisfied my nostalgic childhood craving by bringing back LEGO’s in a convenient and simple service. It’s a brilliant idea that allows for more families to affordably gift their children new sets to play around with every month. Finished with a set? Take it apart and return it to receive another set from your Pleylist as many times as you want. Want to keep the set? Purchase it for a discount. I’d definitely recommend it and to at least give it a try. Oh, and it’s free for a month of the “Super Fan” plan with my referral: Pley.com

Pley (Pleygo)

Recently this month, I came across a neat service I’d wished I knew about earlier called Pley, formally known as Pleygo. Pley is a subscription based LEGO rental service - some sites describe it as a Netflix for LEGO’s, and if you’re still renting DVD’s on it, they’re probably right.

The service is really cool and simple. You choose one of three plans: Fan, Super Fan, and Mega Fan; each plan increasing in cost for more complex and advanced sets. They offered a month-long free trial of the “Super Fan” subscription tier so I gave it a try.


 

You start off by filling up your “Pleylist” with sets available to your chosen plan. You can easily search for particular sets by name, collection, keyword, or set number. I found their collection a bit limited but I’m told they’re frequently adding more sets which is good to hear. For this reason, it was a bit difficult for me to fill up my Pleylist, but that was what the “Autofill” feature was for. It let me configure which sets I preferred and automatically filled up the rest. 


 

As you can tell, the order of the Pleylist sets don’t seem to apply to which set you’d receive respectfully. This bothered me a bit since I was expecting the “Blackbeard’s Duel” set from the Lego Movie collection. Instead I received the “Droid Escape” set. Please note, though, as this could just be a bug in their system. I was still excited, nonetheless.


 

After a couple days my first set arrived in a plastic envelope, which also serves as a prepaid return envelope: bonus points for free shipping both ways. Inside was a welcome and info pamphlet and the bag containing the LEGO set with the building instruction manual. At this point I felt like a kid discovering LEGO’s for the first time, again.


 

I laid out the set and individually inspected all pieces. I was missing a few small ones, which was unfortunate, but not entirely unexpected. Luckily, Pley’s service is awesome enough to ship you the missing pieces as soon as you report them on their site. And for those asking, yes the set was clean. They’re sanitized after every return to the same standards approved by the FDA for restaurants.


 

Some minutes and a few page turns later I completed the “Droid Escape” set to my liking. Despite the error and a couple missing pieces, I thoroughly enjoyed this subscription experience. Pley satisfied my nostalgic childhood craving by bringing back LEGO’s in a convenient and simple service. It’s a brilliant idea that allows for more families to affordably gift their children new sets to play around with every month. Finished with a set? Take it apart and return it to receive another set from your Pleylist as many times as you want. Want to keep the set? Purchase it for a discount. I’d definitely recommend it and to at least give it a try. Oh, and it’s free for a month of the “Super Fan” plan with my referral: Pley.com

Flappy Doge

Hate it or love it, we’re reluctant to admit our addition to this ridiculously popular frustrating mobile game, “Flappy Bird”. This fat-lipped, viral bird was just too much for me after countless play-throughs that something had to be done. I didn’t delete the app like any wise person would…instead, I made it oddly enjoyable (original conception by SadPandaTerrabang on reddit). Behold, the adorable Doge featuring Dogecoins!


 

In short, I modified the texture asset “atlas.png” (show above) located within the application folder. It took me a while as this was my first time working with pixel art, so there was a bit of design process and learning. It’s not much, but it’ll make you smile.

Installation: Replace the “atlas.png” file with the above given within “Flappy.app” in its application folder. You will need a jailbroken iOS to do so. For details, check the discussion on the reddit post here or for mod suggestions and what not.

Fun Facts: I’m the original creator of this doge sprite. I did not give “Dumpy Doge” and any other “Flappy Doge” clones permission to use my mod or art asset for commercial use. Apparently, this release has also spawned inspiration for few other popular clones featuring Miley Cyrus and Drake.

Released under Creative Commons — Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International — CC BY-NC 4.0

Sony PlayStation 4
After passing it up during its launch, I finally decided to get myself the PS4 as a personal Christmas gift. Those who are interested probably have already read numerous reviews so I won’t bother with a formal one. Instead, I’ll comment on the first thing I did before even turning it on: a harddrive upgrade.
 

Changing out the preinstalled 500GB HDD is fairly simple. Slide off the top, glossy cover and remove a single screw holding the HD tray in place. Then slide out the bay, remove four more screws which secure the HD and replace the drive with any SATA 2.5” HD you want, whether it be a HDD, SSD or SSHD (hybrid - which I went for), as long as it’s at least 250GB in storage size. You can find the drive I got here. It’s probably the most cost efficient for speed HD you can get. 
 

The great thing about the SSHD is that it’s the best of both worlds; part SSD for speedy memory read and write, and part HDD for affordably large storage. Benchmarks show the speed difference between a pure SSD vs this SSHD is merely a couple seconds in system startup and game loading time, which isn’t noticeable, yet considerably faster than the original HDD. Once done, screw and slide everything back into place.
 

Next, you need to configure a USB stick loaded with the system restore file to format the new drive and install the operating system. Sony provides a thorough instruction here. Be sure to place the update file into the correct folder or the system will fail to find it upon boot.
 

Reconnect the cables and plug in the USB. Turn the console on into recovery mode by holding the power on button for 7 seconds or until you hear two beeps and follow the on-screen instructions to setup the system. The system should reboot and you’re all done.
The PS4 is a great console. I chose it over the Xbox One specifically for the lineup of exclusive games and content that I’m looking forward to. We could debate about the different features and platform superiority but that’s kind of pointless. Each console has its pro’s and con’s but I don’t care for them so much than what I’ll actually spend most of my time on the system for, which is how everyone else should make their judgement. That said, I personally think the PS4 is more aesthetic and thanks to the new hardware architecture, it provides an easier and better platform for studios to develop games for. It’s a gaming console in its purest.

Sony PlayStation 4

After passing it up during its launch, I finally decided to get myself the PS4 as a personal Christmas gift. Those who are interested probably have already read numerous reviews so I won’t bother with a formal one. Instead, I’ll comment on the first thing I did before even turning it on: a harddrive upgrade.


 

Changing out the preinstalled 500GB HDD is fairly simple. Slide off the top, glossy cover and remove a single screw holding the HD tray in place. Then slide out the bay, remove four more screws which secure the HD and replace the drive with any SATA 2.5” HD you want, whether it be a HDD, SSD or SSHD (hybrid - which I went for), as long as it’s at least 250GB in storage size. You can find the drive I got here. It’s probably the most cost efficient for speed HD you can get. 


 

The great thing about the SSHD is that it’s the best of both worlds; part SSD for speedy memory read and write, and part HDD for affordably large storage. Benchmarks show the speed difference between a pure SSD vs this SSHD is merely a couple seconds in system startup and game loading time, which isn’t noticeable, yet considerably faster than the original HDD. Once done, screw and slide everything back into place.


 

Next, you need to configure a USB stick loaded with the system restore file to format the new drive and install the operating system. Sony provides a thorough instruction here. Be sure to place the update file into the correct folder or the system will fail to find it upon boot.


 

Reconnect the cables and plug in the USB. Turn the console on into recovery mode by holding the power on button for 7 seconds or until you hear two beeps and follow the on-screen instructions to setup the system. The system should reboot and you’re all done.

The PS4 is a great console. I chose it over the Xbox One specifically for the lineup of exclusive games and content that I’m looking forward to. We could debate about the different features and platform superiority but that’s kind of pointless. Each console has its pro’s and con’s but I don’t care for them so much than what I’ll actually spend most of my time on the system for, which is how everyone else should make their judgement. That said, I personally think the PS4 is more aesthetic and thanks to the new hardware architecture, it provides an easier and better platform for studios to develop games for. It’s a gaming console in its purest.