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The Motivator

tvOS 13 is what Apple TVs should’ve been like 4 years ago



I have a real soft spot for the Apple TV. I’ve used the range for years, and it’s still got pride of place in my home — but I also think it’s one of Apple’s disappointing products.

And that makes me sad.

The recent tvOS 13 update has been a long-awaited push in the right direction for the hardware, yet for this current iteration of the device, I have a feeling it’s too little, too late.

Oh no, you’re going to get all David Copperfield aren’t you?

Damn straight.

Now, the first Apple TV I used (which I believe was a second generation device) felt ahead of its time. I remember being in awe of how you could just send a video straight from your iPhone or iPad to the television. Honestly, my friends and I spent hours playing YouTube videos through the big screen. It was magical.

Yes, the actual Apple TV looks pretty much the same, but the remote has changed. Ahh, the memories of always losing that little silver controller.

Unfortunately, things have been on a downward trend since then.

Aside from a few small additions (better hardware, new remote, Siri-integration, a 4k model), the Apple TV hasn’t added any features as powerful or interesting as those early days of casting video.

Hell, I wouldn’t even say the Apple TV is even the best at that any longer. These days, the substantially cheaper Chromecast ($35 compared to the Apple TV HD’s $149) is far more efficient at sending phone video to your TV.

In terms of functionality, the purpose of the Apple TV became… muddy. Yes, it works well as media streamer, but you can get way cheaper Android media boxes for that price (like the $70 Roku stick for example). It didn’t really have any features that truly separated it from the market.

In other words, it felt like Apple had a great, ahead-of-its-time thing going, but just kinda ignored the hardware until it lost its competitive advantage.

I feel there’s a tvOS 13-related ‘but’ coming here…

Well, tvOS 13 has included some of the first interesting updates of the Apple TV since… well, ever. Now, I assume this increased focus on the device is down to the launch of the confusingly named Apple TV+, also known as the company’s streaming service.

With this set to be a big focus for the tech giant, it makes sense that’d it turn some attention to one of the primary ways to view the upcoming shows and movies: its video-playing hardware.

Right. So what are the tvOS 13 updates then?

Let’s use the ever-dependable bullet point list to help us get this done quickly:

  • Multi-user support: you know how Netflix has users so you can watch your own shit? The Apple TV has that now too
  • Apple Arcade: yep, you can now play a huge library of games on the hardware
  • You can connect Xbox and Playstation controllers to the Apple TV now: not bad, right?
  • A control centre: kinda minor, but you can now hold down the TV button on the remote and access a menu similar to the iOS version

There are a few other minor updates (like wireless sound syncing and new screensavers), but these are just incremental features — even if they are useful.

apple tvos 13 blue planet screen saver

This is one of the new screensavers, specifically one using Blue Planet footage.

What Apple has done here — specifically with Apple Arcade and controllers — is give the Apple TV a point of differentiation: gaming.

In theory, you should be able to play a title on your mobile on the train, then arrive home and pick-up where you left off on the Apple TV. That’s cool. It makes the hardware feel more relevant again, like it can do something none of its competitors can.

But what’s the problem?

Well, it’s the hardware itself.

The Apple TV HD was launched in October 2015, while the 4K version was released in September 2017. That’s old. This means the performance of some Apple Arcade games isn’t really that great. If you’re looking for a great gaming experience, you want something that can handle it.

Or, if you view it another way, we’re looking at hardware that’s effectively coming to the end of its life before there’s a clear reason to buy one. That’s not a particularly appealing thing to say about a product, especially from Apple.

Heres a picture of the Apple TV 4K so you don’t get bored of all these stupid words everywhere.

So what would you do differently?

It always surprised me that something like Apple Arcade wasn’t released ages ago, as gaming seemed like an ideal fit for the hardware. But at least we’re there now.

Another thing I would’ve loved to see would’ve been Apple investing more in supporting tvOS developers. If you browse through the app store on the device it’s… uninspiring. Deeply so. While the iPad, iPhone, and even the Apple Watch have apps that seem built for the system, there’s really a lack of exciting software for the Apple TV. Any help the company could’ve given to increase this community would’ve paid dividends.

It’d also be great if Apple could open up the Apple TV to more third-party video services from across the globe, even though I don’t expect this to happen, as it’s got this far with its walled-garden approach to software. You can always dream though.

Then what’s the future?

Basically, I think the time of the current Apple TV devices is over. They’re looking out-of-date and were never really developed to their full potential — which kinda sucks considering I’ve owned mine for almost four years now.

So, yes, tvOS 13 is a step in the right direction, but it has come too late to save the current Apple TV crop — but it’s good news for the next generation Apple TV.

If the company feels the pressure from Apple TV+, keeps updating tvOS, and maybe throws in a hardware surprise or two, the next generation of the Apple TV might end up being the first must-buy version of the hardware in an age. And for that, I’m excited.


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The Motivator

Parents Working From Home: 10 Productivity Hacks




Do you want to become a more productive work-from-home parent? A recent Yahoo Finance/Harris Poll showed that about 40% of Americans were working full-time from their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The option for parents to work via virtual offices using PCs, email, and IM platforms might seem like a practical way to be strictly business at boosting work productivity. Is it the real deal?

The problem is many telecommuting parents might experience new challenges. These include ones related to getting kids ready for school, meals, or bed; flexible work schedules; and Netflix binging. Ironically home-based parents can experience a drop in work efficiency. That’s right!

When doing a balancing act of job and family life here are some helpful tips & tricks:


Tip #1 Make a Home-based Workspace

If you’re going to work from home then it’s important to create a workspace that’s dedicated to your job. There are lots of home-office ideas you can try out.

Keep It Simple

When designing your workspace keep in mind it doesn’t have to include a $200,000 Spiral Desk with several exotic woods. Your home office setup could be as basic as a small desk and laptop computer in the corner. Another good option is a garden summerhouse if you happen to own one.

One of the main benefits of having an official working space is it’s easier to shift into work or home mode.


Tip #2 Get up Earlier for Quality Me-Time

If you’re a stay-at-home mom or dad then consider getting up a little earlier. You should still be getting a full 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night after you pick a mattress that suits your sleeping needs. This means you should be catching Zs a little earlier.

More Me-Time

One of the main benefits of waking up early for virtual workers is you’ll have more time for yourself.

You can spend this time taking a warm bath or shower, drinking your morning coffee or tea, or doing some light exercise. A home is quieter early-morning even if you have kids. This makes it an ideal time for more “me time.” It’s also a good mood-booster before you start pulling double duty as a working parent.


Tip #3 Set Realistic Goals You Can Usually Achieve

If other telecommuting friends make social media posts showing they’re achieving all their work, home, and family goals every day—then it might be too good to be true. A clean house, home-cooked meals, and successful business are all possible but it’s more complicated than Instagram photo-sharing.

Set Goals and Get Help

Make sure to set realistic goals as a working parent. They can be challenging but ones you’re likely to achieve with some effort and planning. You should also complete one item at a time on your to-do list and get help when needed.


Tip #4 Get Virtual Help from Distant Relatives

If you have isolated or lonely relatives they might be willing to help through social media like Facebook or virtual assistants like Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant. This could be for an hour or two daily. For example, a faraway grandparent could help your little one with schoolwork and answer questions.

This frees up time for at-home parents to meet work deadlines and hold Skype or Zoom meetings, for example. If you have a few free relatives who help your kids for 2 hours, for example, that frees up several hours you can dedicate to weekly reports or client calls.


Tip #5: Say ‘No’ to New Work When Necessary

This is a classic lifehack that’s usually related to general time-management advice. An irony is that parents often have to tell their kids “no” when they make a request. However, they often don’t give the same reply about their own workload when they’re already swamped.

Avoiding Burnout

Studies show that parent burnout affects up to 12% of Mommies and Daddies, according to Frontiers in Psychology.

Every day you should compare your to-do list with your available time. If you get a professional or personal request that doesn’t fit within your daily schedule then you should say “no.”


Tip #6 Plan out Your Working Hours

Many home-based workers mistakenly don’t schedule their workday.  A better approach is to make a schedule and aim to stop working at the traditional 5:00 PM. If you finish earlier then it frees up more family time.

Weekly Work Times

Try to avoid the mentality that you have all day to finish your work. Yes, you have flexibility to work during times that you’ll be the most productive. That could be early morning, late evening, or a few hours here and there between preparing meals for your kiddos and picking them up from school.

Try to create a weekly schedule that includes your working times. This will help to prepare you for a busy day like an excellent mattress selection.


Tip #7: Do Regular Exercise during the Morning

How could taking a morning jog or lifting weights boost work productivity? Home-based working parents tend to spend a lot of time sitting and standing.

Exercise can provide many health benefits that involve your:

  • Blood Flow
  • Muscles
  • Energy
  • Heart/Lungs
  • Cognition

Doing morning exercise can help to prepare you physically, mentally, and emotionally for a busy day handling your work and familial responsibilities. This can make you a more effective (and healthy) stay-at-home parent.


Tip #8: Avoid Working in Front of Your Kids

This isn’t something you’ll be able to achieve 100% of the time and especially if your kids are toddlers. However, it’s a general rule to make sure you’re 100% “present” during family time.

Work/Family Time

It all starts with scheduling quality time with your kids during the day. This will help to make sure you’ve scheduled time to be present from the get-go.

When you’re around your kids, try to avoid doing tasks like answering emails or taking calls. Even sitting in front of your computer can blur the lines between work and family life. One of the best steps to take is to close the door of your home office when you’re working.


Tip #9 Be Flexible with the New Setup

While it’s good to make daily schedules and to-do lists, it’s also important to go with the flow. There are times you might have to take work calls during family time. Your work schedule might also change suddenly. The key is to stay flexible about the “new normal.”


Tip #10: Outsource Work When You Can

When you’re an at-home working parent, it might seem that your work never ends. Try to get help when you can from friends, family, or food delivery/cleaning services. You could even outsource some of your job’s work, like data input or design work.



Working from home can be a practical option for many parents. The key to more productivity is to create things like daily schedules, yet be flexible for on-the-fly changes during the day. This provides the perfect blend of planning and spontaneity. You’ll then be more likely to get everything done on your to-do list, including video meetings, soccer practice pick-up, and a good night’s sleep.


About the Author

Brett is a writer at ID-Mag. An enthusiast and expert when it comes to sleep products, Brett dedicates a lot of his time reading, researching, and reviewing about both traditional and emerging sleep brands that manufacture varied types of sleep products – from eco-mattresses, smart pillows to cooling sleep systems, Brett has probably reviewed them all. Brett also finds sleep especially important since he juggles a small business which he runs from home, makes sure he spends time with his daughter and he also writes during his spare time – you can definitely see that he needs a great forty winks all night, every night so he’ll make sure that you get great sleep, too!

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The Motivator

Monster Hunter: The Movie content is coming to Monster Hunter: The Game




The upcoming Monster Hunter movie doesn’t exactly look like the most faithful adaptation of the games, centering as it does around a gun-toting US Army soldier played by Milla Jovovich, but that’s not stopping Capcom from engaging in some cross-promotion. Downloadable content based on the movie is coming to Monster Hunter World: Iceborne next month.

You’ll be able to embark on a two-part event quest featuring the Black Diablos and Greater Rathalos, two monsters featured in the movie, and special bonus items will be available. There’s also a player skin based on Jovovich’s character Captain Artemis, which you can see in action here:

It’s all very Street Fighter: The Movie, which was an actual video game Capcom released in 1995.

The themed content will come to Iceborne on December 4th ahead of the movie’s US premiere on December 25th. An all-new Monster Hunter game, Monster Hunter Rise, is being released exclusively on the Nintendo Switch on March 26th.


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The Motivator





Google is currently testing a new application dubbed Task Mate for its Android platform. While the name point towards some kind of automation tool, that’s actually not the case. According to a report by 9to5Mobile, Task Mate is an application that allows users “to earn money by doing simple tasks on your smartphone”. Sounds like Google Opinion Rewards but it’s actually not. Task Mate seems to be more of a toned up version of the former.


Google Task Mate  Google Task Mate

As mentioned earlier, Task Mate is currently in the early access testing phase where Google has kept the access “limited to select users”. The search engine giant is following a referral code system meaning more testers might be able to join using the referral code by an already tester. Although you can download the application from Google Play Store, you can not proceed further without a referral code.

Unlike Google Opinion Rewards, Task Mate allows users to “cash out the earning” by linking an e-wallet or an in-app payment partner. For those who’re unaware, the Opinion Rewards only gives Play Store credit in exchange for completed tasks. Furthermore, Google is not limiting the tasks to its own services. With Task Mate, it will showcase tasks that originate from “business around the world”. According to Google, the tasks that need to be completed are fairly “simple”.

   Google Task Mate

Google has categorized the tasks into two namely “Sitting” or “Field Tasks”. As the name suggests, the former consists of tasks that you can complete without moving while the latter requires you to walk. Basically, “Field Tasks” will track how many minutes you have to walk. For instance, Google might ask you to go to a particular location nearby and take a photo of a business presence there. For Sitting, some of the tasks include “Record spoken sentences”, “Transcribe sentences” and “Check shop details”.


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