YouTube Limelight: Synapse

If you have ever watched those 10 minute highlight videos of League of Legends streams on YouTube, you know the typical. A girl in the thumbnail, clickbait titles, routine trash. These videos are usually a drag to me; especially those created for pros and streamers for their personal channels get boring, because not enough captivating content is available on the daily.

However, one channel stands heads and shoulders above the rest–so much that his name has become a Twitch chat term; almost a League of Legends-specific synonym for PogChamp. Synapse stands out as the premium version of highlight channels, and for multiple good reasons. As someone who has a hard time committing to YouTube videos longer than 6 minutes, it’s a testament when I say I will watch any video this channel puts out, at any length. Watching the daily Synapse video is a ritual for me, a highly anticipated ten minutes of joy. It is the first channel that I have ever turned on all notifications for. Intrigued? Here’s why Synapse is so good.

First, he carries himself very professionally and cleanly. While most highlight channels stoop to lewd thumbnails, clickbait titles, and scavenging and stealing Twitch clips to generate views, Synapse is careful to source things himself, receive community contributions, give credit all the time, and respect the wishes of streamers who do not want to appear in his videos. For example, following the recent return of Tyler1 to Twitch, Synapse waited to acquire permission to use clips from his stream before publishing them in his videos. Pretty admirable and honorable compared to the self-elevating, scavenger attitude of most other highlight channels, if you ask me.

The second thing about Synapse is how clearly he communicates with his audience and integrates the audience into the daily experience; not only are viewers invited to submit clips they have taken themselves, and given an opportunity to appear as the comment of the day (through which his hilarious sense of humor is portrayed), but when something irregular comes up in the schedule, it is communicated.

Synapse is also marked by extreme quality. With so many highlight videos coming from every direction every day, viewers can be picky about good editing versus bad editing. Some editing is too obtrusive, some editing is too random, but the art of the edit that enhances humor and skillfully directs the viewer’s attention is laudable. Not only is Synapse’s editing among the best, but his popularity and name reach helps him crowdsource the best clips every day. You go into watching every clip expecting something funny, clutch, or unexpected to happen, and it delivers every time. That’s how I would define quality.

Lastly, something that characterizes Synapse in particular are the running gags he pursues. One of the most famous ones he was responsible for was hashinshin’s “Unstoppable btw,” which he found funny and applied to a lot of other clips. Some others include Kev1n’s bizzare “Outsmarted!”, Pinkward’s non-response, and (one of my favorites) Trick2g’s “I think that was a mistake.” Recently, it’s been hashinshin’s new hit song, “League of hourglass.” (Personally, I don’t find hashinshin very funny, but some people come back just for that, you know. It works.)

As to schedule, it’s roughly every day, but sometimes it’s not every day. It depends on how much content Synapse receives, and, I imagine, a normal life schedule. Also, somewhere after episode #100, he let his viewers know that he would be posting at erratic times of day, because certain trash channels had chosen to copy his work and re-upload it as their own. I mean, that’s when you know you’ve made it, when people are stealing your stuff, right?

Yes, Synapse really only uploads one type of video (he used to upload other kinds before the explosive popularity of his highlight videos), but do you really need to post anything else if what you’ve got it working crazily well? Here’s an old episode that will speak for itself.

I hope I’ve sold it–if you like League of Legends, Synapse is the best you can get. A high quality channel with morals that knows its audience. Personally, I’ve never liked any channel on YouTube more, from any genre. I’ve been watching every episode since shortly before episode #100, and here we are, almost at #300. I genuinely hope this guy goes down in League of Legends history as a pillar and servant of the community.

Plays.tv, looks like you’re out of a job. I can get all my top-notch highlights every day in one place.

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YouTube Limelight: Synapse

Year Three

Things that are momentous to me

  • Took Creative Writing in school, wrote some cool stuff, made some cool friends (Spring)
  • Designed a puzzle hunt for my birthday; first friends party in a couple years (March)
  • Traveled to Austin, TX to meet a longtime online friend for the first time (April)
  • Broke 14 minutes in the 3200 (May 13)
  • Took the SAT and the ACT for the last time, reconfirmed that standardized testing is stupid (June)
  • Played music for my first two weddings, both were rainy (July, November)
  • Went to Architecture camp (July)
  • Got baptized (August 20)
  • First day of college (August 28)
  • Went to NA LCS Summer Finals in TD Garden, Boston (September 2-3)
  • Ran my first half-marathon (September 10)
  • Got my driver’s license (October 13)
  • Received First Aid certification (November 4)
  • Graduated high school (November 13)
  • Actually began playing video games, including League of Legends and Steam (November)
  • Starting writing on two new blogs that I am proud of, here and here (November)
  • Also lost NaNoWriMo again, that’s a losing streak of 7 (November)
  • Returned to the place I ran away from for a last hurrah (December)
  • Received a Nintendo Switch for Christmas (December)
  • Ran a lot
  • Wrote a lot

People who I did stuff with, in no order this year

  • Mama
  • Dada
  • Rin
  • XC Fam, miss you already
  • HB
  • RG
  • JR
  • AW
  • NL
  • JD
  • S
  • RC
  • L()
  • People on Discord who make Discord awesome
  • SD?

People who made me happier through entertainment this year

  • My favorite LCS players, including but not limited to Stixxay, Reignover, Dardoch, Biofrost, and Smoothie
  • My favorite LCS teams, including but not limited to Immortals (rest in peace), CLG, and C9
  • My favorite CS:GO teams, including but not limited to Astralis, C9, and first-half-of-year Immortals
  • My favorite CS:GO players, including but not limited to Kjaerbye, dev1ce, Stewie2K, and tarik
  • Synapse
  • jacksfilms
  • Bergability

Goals for this year

  1. Read my Bible more consistently
  2. Love others more
  3. Take better care of my teeth
  4. Set better goals (this list is a terrible start)

I love writing

Also, I have not written much on this blog this past year. I should try to fix that. This blog was originally a passion project and still is; I should (hopefully) never run out of passion. Here’s to a return!

Year Three

Yarn Over: 19 Headbands (2016)

Editor’s Note: This post was originally written last winter, December 2016. It was never published because the original goal was to make 24 headbands. However, I only made 19, and I still believed I would finish eventually…which I never did. So here is the post as it was written originally, with the expectation that I was going to have 24. It’s still pretty good content, I think.

It’s my personal belief that every knitter will eventually learn more about the mechanics of knitting just through knitting itself, if you’re willing to look for little lessons to learn. Knitting has taught me quite a lot of these small things over seven years of doing it; Yarn Over is just a couple of those tips.

Don’t ask me why, I’m crazy. But I’m on indoor track this year, and it is really cold outside. I made myself a bright red headband over Thanksgiving, and I received a bunch of compliments on it. So between that, loving to give Christmas gifts, and a Secret Santa party, I decided to make headbands for the girls on the team. Even though it’s winter season, it’s only the distance section of the team, and it’s only the girls, this still amounted to 24. A lot, but doable, I think.

I don’t think I ever formally decided to myself, but it ended up that each headband was done uniquely and differently. I thought and hoped that it made it more personal to each girl that each got their own design, and I think I would have been bored way before twenty-four if I had done the same headband that many times (it’s either all or none the same, you see).

Although I completed my own in one day, it wasn’t as easy as twenty-four days. I was dealing with an influx of birthdays alongside the headbands, and it was tough coordinating myself to always have a new pattern upon completion of the last one. I was (and still am) suffering from burnout simply because I knit and crochet so much. So this dragged on for nearly a month (wait, I guess twenty-four days is almost a month? I definitely went way slower than that).

Here is the gallery of all of them. I’m pretty proud. Partly patterns from the internet, partly self-invented knit patterns and simple crochet pieces. 3 of these my mom helped me make in order to try and hit the deadline of the post-Christmas Secret Santa party. The pictures are annotated with notes on how I made them and/or where the pattern comes from.

Love you girls. 🙂

(Thank goodness January and February have very few birthdays and I can relax and focus on frontloading for ten million March birthdays. What is the science behind that?)

Yarn Over: 19 Headbands (2016)

Tech Toolbox: Etekcity Roverbeats T3

I will never be able to truly consider myself well-versed in technology; very few people have seen it all. But I do love searching out the best I can find, and once I find it, I stick with it. In my Tech Toolbox I share my favorite software, applications, and occasionally gadgets.

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Portable speakers are on the rise these days, and for clear reasons: mobile devices are everywhere, Bluetooth is incredibly convenient, and you need to have sufficiently loud music to share with your friends anywhere, anytime, right?

When I decided to get a portable speaker, my requirements were these: it couldn’t be too big, it couldn’t be too expensive, and it had to have both Bluetooth and jack capabilities. Volume buttons and audio track control were bonuses.

Upon starting research, I guess I was [uneducatedly] surprised to find that everything was quite expensive and many speakers were as pill-shaped or even bigger (to me, the portability and convenience start to be sacrificed here). Eventually, I found a category  of ‘mini-speakers’ that were between 20-40 dollars and had some amount of functionality. I was looking for something small, therefore, I could not have the highest sound quality ever, but I was fine with that.

Eventually, based on prices and features, I decided on the Etekcity Roverbeats T3. It satisfied all my basic requirements–it doesn’t include phone pickup or a microphone or anything, but it has everything that I outlined above. A close second place was the T16, but I believe the prices were different when I bought it (I sacrificed red for economics). The T16 still looks like a fantastic option and if I ever need a replacement, I would heavily consider it.

The T3 comes with:

  • Speaker
  • USB to mini-USB charger cord
  • Male-to-male 3.5mm audio jack cord
  • Drawstring storage bag

There’s always some amount of uncertainty when buying technology online, what with trying to filter through reviews to see whether something is worth it or not, but in my experience, I have learned that only those who have a fantastic or absolutely dismal experience with a product really bother to write reviews. Therefore, I would say to take reviews one reads with a grain of salt.

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How it works: I have been using this speaker for about a year now, and it works fantastic. It is very loud (it is challenging to play anything softly on it). It is very simplistic and small and serves the purpose I wished, so I couldn’t say there is much wrong with it. The volume buttons are not functional on cord mode, but work with Bluetooth. I enjoy the rubber grip around the outside as well as the grippy ring on the bottom to ensure anti-slip. Battery life is long enough for me–I haven’t had it run out on me yet, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t used it longer than 6-8 hours straight before. Both the Bluetooth and audio cord methods both work well–one note to make is that Bluetooth is considerably louder; wired connection doesn’t/can’t play as loud.

Due to its size, of course the sound quality cannot be the greatest. As it gets louder, there is a bit of distortion and the bass can get lost. However, I have never been listening and thinking, “well, my speaker doesn’t sound good.” It delivers without disappointing.

It is to be noted that although the shape of the speaker is very bulky and strong, it isn’t made out of very tough material; besides the rubber grip around the middle, the frame seems to be made of plastic. I have dropped it once, and now there is a dent on the rim, but use it and love it, you know.

If you don’t have too many expectations for a portable speaker, I would recommend the T3. I like it for its small size and simple power, achieved without dishing out for sound. I mean, my sister has already piggybacked off my assiduous shopping and bought the same product.

Tech Toolbox: Etekcity Roverbeats T3

Leisure Literature: The Underground Railroad

When I can find extra moments, there is always a list of books I want to read. Some I anticipate for months, some for years before I find the time to get to them, and some of them live up to the hype and some don’t. Leisure Literature is a book review column that details my thoughts on my recent readings.

I saw someone reading The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead on the plane, and apparently I had unconsciously heard of it before. I put it on my Goodreads list and did some more research; apparently it was one of the big hits of 2016. By chance, I walked into my school library one morning and saw it on the featured shelf, so I checked it out. (Sidenote: The librarian told me I was the first one to do so, hooray.)

The initial “appeal point” of this book was supposed to be that the Underground Railroad is, in fact, a underground railroad. However, the book is much more than that. Cora, a slave on the extremist Randall plantation makes a harrowing escape through many different locations, experiencing basically everything America has to offer a black person during her time. Each place has a different lesson for her as she seeks freedom, all ultimately pointing to the fact that there may never be true freedom.

Somehow, I read this book at an extremely timely point during school and life in general; I am in both US and World history at school, and we were not only talking about the treatment of blacks, free and otherwise, in US history (N. Carolina), but also the Atlantic slave trade in World (S. Carolina). Even Mingo’s policy (Indiana) reminded me of Trump’s policy towards the refugee crisis. Even though The Underground Railroad is technically fiction, it really supplemented my history classes in school, and my history classes supplemented reading this book.

Some of my favorite things: the different perspectives (Stevens, Mabel, Ridgeway, etc.), the way Whitehead was able to write Ridgeway so dreadfully fearsome (I legitimately jumped each time he appeared), the wide range of characters and opinions, the difference between slow and fast and how it’s interesting regardless of pace, leaving parts of the story unexplained and coming back to it later, and how tactfully death and the gruesome are easy to read and passed over as nothing (because that’s all the room for sensitivity people had back then).

I think it’s an interesting side discussion to talk about whether historical books like this that truthfully document how racism has worked in the past contributes to the subconscious racism many Americans experience today, or if it is a necessary insight into our past. I don’t deny that it is important to learn how we used to be, but I wonder if that unintentionally contributes to how we are now (rather than its ‘intended effect’ of motivating us to be different than we were).

Overall, The Underground Railroad is really well-researched and touches on so many different aspects of the history of African Americans. I looked forward to reading this very much each night with my scant bit of spare time, which tells me that it is a good book (even though I can’t exactly pin my finger on why). I can sense that there is even more to glean from this book if I read it again.

Leisure Literature: The Underground Railroad

Tech Toolbox: Lightshot

I will never be able to truly consider myself well-versed in technology; very few people have seen it all. But I do love searching out the best I can find, and once I find it, I stick with it. In my Tech Toolbox I share my favorite software, applications, and occasionally gadgets.

One of my goals in this column is to find the best software for specific, ordinary purposes, and share that. An example of a staple any computer user needs is screenshot tools. Most computers come equipped without a good way to handle screenshots; the image copies into the clipboard and just kind of…is there. Pasting images isn’t compatible with most places, and to save it into a file is tedious. (Or maybe I’m ignorant about how most people do this.) If you want to upload it to the internet, that’s another step.

(Admittedly, screenshots are less relevant these days, since these days pictures are taken with phones and those have countless ways to share with friends. People even photograph their computer screens. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)

Anyways, I use screenshots frequently, especially when programming, so I really appreciate this tool, Lightshot, which basically streamlines everything related to screenshotting on the computer into one beautiful, free tool.

It’s a bit too meta to screenshot the screenshot tool to add pictures here, but here are some of the things it can do:

  • Use a selection tool to choose what part of the screen you want to capture (easy corner-draggers)
  • Annotate the screenshot with pens, lines, rectangles, text, and more, in any color you want
  • Upload to prntscr.com for free and instantly get a shareable link (if you create an account, you can keep everything you’ve uploaded together
  • Save file to computer
  • Send screenshot to the printer
  • Copy to clipboard
  • Share to social media or search for similar images on Google

There’s really not much to say. Lightshot is simple, yet has everything one could need, has a UI that is neither ugly nor overdone. Et sequitur I recommend it highly.

Download the application for any OS here, and check out the general site/generally file host for free here.

Tech Toolbox: Lightshot

Two Years

An egotistic chronicling of achievements and ‘done-that’s

  • Saw PTX in concert! (May 12)
  • Read 23 books over the summer (June 17 – August 28)
  • Ran 262 miles as summer training for fall XC (June 17 – August 28)
  • Knit an entire dress for my Halloween costume (October 1 – 30)
  • Made a XC scrapbook covering 5th grade until 11th grade (November)
  • Knit 24 headbands (and other birthday gifts throughout the fall) (December)
  • Put 1400 roses on a float in the Rose Parade (December 31)
  • Made at least 3 cool arts
  • Recorded 3 pieces of music
  • Wrote a bunch of essays and drabbles
  • Opened up the wormhole that is Facebook
  • Definitely watched more movies this year than my entire life combined

People in my year

  • Mama
  • Dada
  • Rin
  • run for fun
    • TD, AP, JP, VH, DK, SK, SS, BS, and more – conquered and melted together
    • JR, AT, EC – carpool squad
    • RQ, JB, SS, JS – my favorite new friends
    • AL, OH, AD’A, MP, DH, BD, AB, NU, SS, JS – the crazy freshmen, also my favorite
    • JS, ML, TG, SK, DK, HB – I pretend I’m part of you, also my favorite
    • LS, TL, RW, NC, CW, AVG, MF, MK, EH, EB, AC, VS, GK, TD, AP, SS, BS, KS, AU, and all the rest – cool people, also my favorite
  • JP, JN, I guess
  • JS, SS, RQ – again, because we talk
  • MF, JQ – again, because you make me laugh
  • RC, JP – ?
  • AW
  • JD
  • VS – on and on
Two Years