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My 7-Day, $7 GraphicsZoo Review

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The luxury of an on-demand graphic designer is a recent one. Gone are the Mad Men days of walking into a glamorous, sexy office building to hire a firm to do design work for you. Now, if you need a design completed, all you have to do is log on. GraphicsZoo is one such on-demand graphic designer. Here is a GraphicsZoo review you do not want to miss.

Side note – how fun is it to say “GraphicsZoo review” out loud? Say it with me “GraphicsZoo review.” Fun, no?

Anyway…

For a flat, monthly rate you can have all the designs your mind could dream of. So, I decided to see what was up with them. I signed up for their 7 Day $7 Trial. Not a bad deal, right? Here’s how my experience went. 

Logging On, Part One

When I first signed up for GraphicsZoo, I didn’t actually sign up. Not yet anyway. I had filled in and submitted the necessary log-in information. Next was the payment information. I paused on that for whatever reason, got distracted and closed the window. I would take care of it the next day when I had a moment. 

GraphicsZoo, however, took the initiative. I received this email the following day:

I hadn’t given them any money yet. Seems a little odd for a company to get the ball rolling when a customer has knowingly not handed over any kind of payment information. They sure seemed eager to get started, so, why not? Let’s get to work. 

Except, when I clicked on “Post a New Project,” I was sent to this page: 

You may be asking yourself, “what the hell is Laravel?” Because I sure did. Laravel is a free, open-source PHP web framework. It’s a website programming tool. That’s the best way I can explain something I don’t fully understand in layman’s terms. 

Why was I sent to this page by an official GraphicsZoo email? 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Logging On, Part Two – The Sandwich Shop of My Dreams

Now ready to hand over proper payment information, I signed up a second time. Again, GraphicsZoo sent me an email about starting a project before I had submitted the payment information. But this time, they didn’t even give me time to walk away. 

I get it, you’re Eager McBeavers. Let’s wait until I hand over payment information, yes? 

Once I got settled in, I submitted my design request. Since high school, I’ve had a very silly dream about opening up a sandwich shop. So, to make a younger me excited, I decided to create a logo for this dream sandwich shop. 

My nickname in high school was Blondie, so I decided to stick with the theme and name my dream shop “Blondie’s Sammiches.”

Now, I had plenty of ideas as to how I wanted a logo or a label to look for this dream shop. But I wanted to see what GraphicsZoo designers could do with minimal direction. I gave them the initial freedom to decide for me. Let’s see what kind of raw talent they got. 

I asked for a classic New York deli-style design, and the rest was up to them. At least to start. 

Once submitted, I happened to notice the expected delivery date. September 6. That date would seem arbitrary, but I signed up on September 1. Kinda funny that the first expected delivery date is just under the 7-day mark, no? 

I see what you’re doing, GraphicsZoo. 

Design First Draft

To GraphicsZoo’s credit, they delivered the first draft ahead of schedule. For minimal direction, they delivered a half-decent design. 

I asked for a classic New York deli-style design. I think, despite the super-dated early 90’s color scheme, they did pretty okay. 

Now, I wanted to see how they would take direction. I preferred the first design with the text wrapped around the sandwich logo. I only wanted to change the color. I asked for a variety of text options (black, white, and colored) and that the sandwich be filled with “sandwich colors,” for lack of a better description. 

We all know what “sandwich colors” are, right? 

Turns out, GraphicsZoo designers did. 

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

We were approaching the 7-day mark, so I was hoping to get a revision on the design before that mark. 

I would periodically check-in, but I would have a difficult time navigating the site. Upon checking in, I would see this page: 

If I were a less patient person, I would have been irritated. If I was paying regular, non-$7 prices, I would be furious. My inner Karen would be roaring. 

After some digging and clicking, I would eventually find my project. But, frankly, I shouldn’t have to do that no matter how little I’m paying. If I’m about to open my dream sandwich shop, I want to be able to find my potential logo with absolutely no issues. 

Seeing empty folders on an initial log-in is, well, not good. 

Design Second Draft

Thankfully, one day before the end of the 7-day trial, I received a second draft. To my delight, they had followed my directions well. 

Sure looks like “sandwich colors” to me. 

If I had more time to work on this, and if I were actually opening up my sandwich shop, I would have more revisions to make. But, considering the quality of design in the brief time allotted, I think this is a solid design. 

What is “solid” in terms of an academic grade? A “B?” A “B-?” Either way, my mother would tell me to do better. 

Cancelling The Trial Before The Real Charges

I was now in a time crunch. Considering I don’t want to pay over $300 for a service I won’t be returning to anytime soon, I wanted out and fast. I mean, look at these prices. 

Not exactly in my budget. So, it was time to cancel. I requested a cancellation and then… well, I waited. 

But, I don’t want to wait to see if my cancellation goes through or not. When you go to cancel your Netflix subscription, they cancel it. There’s no suspense. And when there’s that amount of money at stake, suspense is not the emotion I’d like to be feeling in the moment. 

I reached out to GraphicsZoo’s support team. I had asked for a confirmation of cancellation. But they had something else in mind, at first. 

And so, our dance began. 

There was a decent amount of back and forth. “How about this subscription plan?” No, just cancel, please. “Well, how about this one?” No. Just cancel, please. “Consider this plan!” I said NO. No means no! 

Eventually, my persistence and complete and total unwillingness to pay a single cent more won out. Grace, my support … person, finally conceded. 

She was doing her job. Can’t sneeze at that. I can sneeze at the practice of hounding someone not interested in paying a single cent more. If I were running a business, however, I’d insist on that policy. 

I may have been mildly annoyed about that process, but ultimately no harm was done. The cancellation went through. 

Conclusion

All in all, I would call my 7-day $7 trial experience with GraphicsZoo mediocre. I found the initial signing-up experience to be bizarre and unintentional. There’s no way GraphicsZoo meant to send me to a web programming tool when asking me to start a project. 

That’s the kind of whoopsie-daisy that really needs to be rectified, and immediately. 

I was slightly irritated by the persistence of a support coordinator to get me to keep paying them, but that’s the nature of business. There’s nothing wrong with that. 

I was mildly impressed with the designer’s ability to deliver a decent design in a short amount of time with minimal direction. What they delivered was fine, but given the circumstances, I think it was solid. 

Despite the decent work by the designers, I probably wouldn’t recommend GraphicsZoo. The experience with the initial signing up, the difficulty navigating their site, and the over persistence by the support department left me with a bad taste. There are plenty of other services out there better organized with the same quality of design. 

If I could put my experience with GraphicsZoo in a single word, it would be “Meh.”

Be sure to read our other GraphicsZoo review to help make up your mind!

Chris Blondell is a Philadelphia-based writer and social media strategist with a current focus on tech industry news. He has written about startups and entrepreneurs based in Denver, Seattle, Chicago, New Haven, and more. He has also written content for a true-crime blog, Sword and Scale, and developed social media content for a local spice shop. An occasional comedian, Chris Blondell also spends his time writing humorous content and performing stand-up for local audiences.

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Sony Stocks Plummet After Microsoft-Activision Deal

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Sony shares fell by more than after a Microsoft-Activision deal was announced. 

There is no doubt that this deal weakens Sony’s position in the market.

“Whether or not Activison Blizzard’s content is progressively made exclusive to Xbox platforms and services, inclusion of new releases into Xbox Game Pass for several major games franchises, including Call of Duty, will undermine Sony’s third-party business.” 

Piers Harding-Rolls, games research director at Ampere Analysis, explains the situation. 

Sony has benefitted from the ability to negotiate timed exclusive content for Call of Duty but this is now under threat.” 

Shots fired in the never-ending console war. 

Did The Market Overreact?

Serkan Toto, CEO of Kantan Games, thinks so:

I think the market has totally overreacted in Japan today.

See?

Sony will continue to push out blockbusters, there can be no doubt about that.

Those PlayStation exclusives are pretty sweet. Spider-Man, The Last Of Us, Ghost of Tsushima? Come on now. 

Sony can, of course, fight back: they still have their own top in-house studios spread around the world, PlayStation remains a powerful brand in gaming, and acquisitions are in the cards for Sony as well.” 

PlayStation isn’t going down without a fight. 

The Console Wars Continue

For some time, Sony has been ahead of Microsoft. But the $68.7 billion Microsoft-Activision deal raises the stakes the highest they’ve been since the Black Friday Battle of 2013. Franchises like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft could become exclusive. 

How will Sony respond? We shall see what happens next in the seemingly never-ending console wars.

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Silicon Valley Blue-Collar Workers Hope To Return To Their Posts

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While big tech companies are delaying return to offices, Silicon Valley Blue-Collar workers anticipate full return in the coming months. 

Despite the economic disruption experienced due to the COVID-19 outbreak, businesses tried their best to ensure business continuity. Big tech companies were the first to allow their white-collar employees to work from home when the pandemic hit. However, not everyone can work remotely, like in the case of service workers.

Madeleine Rivera, 33, is a contractual food service worker at Google’s campus. Rivera is holding on to the slightest signs that workers will return to the company in the future. Recently, she handed out free peach ice pops to Google employees who have returned to work already. She’s trying not to overthink about the rising COVID cases in the country. According to her, being optimistic and happy matters. 

As the Delta variant enters a new troubling phase, more tech companies like Lyft and Facebook delay re-opening their workplaces early next year. Because of this, the companies’ contracted cafeteria workers, cleaners, and shuttle drivers are becoming more anxious. 

Most Silicon Valley blue-collar workers are not sure whether the Delta variant will delay their returns even longer or, worse, risk their jobs entirely if in-office work becomes less significant than it was before. As many white-collar employees have settled into work from home, blue-collar workers are struggling even more because of the unpredictable situation. 

“My kids don’t want me to go back to work, but I said I have to do it,” said Liliana Morales, 37, a food service staff at Facebook. Morales recently returned to work after having been on paid vacation since the pandemic started. Everyone needs to go back to their everyday routines, and it has been months that she has been out of work, Morales said.

Image Credit: SIPA USA via AP

Country-wide Concerns

While some Silicon Valley blue-collar workers are in better condition, they still have the same concerns as many fellow workers across the country. UCLA Labor Center director, Kent Wong, co-authored a book about the late Mike Garcia, a janitorial labor organizer who led strikes at Oracle and Apple. Wong said that because Morales and Rivera are members of a labor union, they are likely to be doing better than their non-union member counterparts. 

Previously, on a website Amazon created this year to convince workers in Alabama to vote against unionization, the company announced that they provided them with excellent hourly rates, attractive healthcare benefits, and career advancement. There is so much more than the workers can do with their career and family without paying premiums, Amazon said. 

But Wong said all blue-collar workers face problems, whether or not they have union membership. The bottom line is, they are still very vulnerable. 

Image Credit: SIPA USA via AP

Looking Ahead

In interviews, Silicon Valley blue-collar workers said that big tech companies primarily supported them throughout the pandemic. Others said the companies tried to find them other jobs when their original work was gone. Take, for example, the experience of Rivera, a former kitchen staff across Google’s campus in Mountain View, California. She was temporarily assigned to work as a receptionist in almost empty office buildings.

Some companies like Google are already starting to upgrade their headquarters. It’s to return to a sense of normalcy in Santa Clara County, the geographic heart of Silicon Valley.

Facebook is starting to recall their contractors. On the other hand, drivers are being asked to do training and practice driving empty buses, said Stacy Murphy, the representative for Teamsters Local 853 – the union of some Silicon Valley bus and shuttle drivers. 

Morales said that whatever her company orders, they will abide by it. If they say return to work, they will return to work.

Murphy believed that it had been a mixed bag for Silicon Valley firms needing shuttle drivers. Facebook continues to let its drivers make practice trips. While, Netflix and Amazon have been back to 100% capacity since June 2021. Tesla even expanded their service during the pandemic. On the contrary, Apple, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Salesforce never returned. 

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Elon Musk To Launch A Humanoid Robot Prototype Called “Tesla Bot”

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Apparently, Tesla is not busy creating electric cars and self-driving cars with enough waitlists for new customers. Or, anyone might be wondering where the Cybertruck is? CEO Elon Musk has announced a new baby: Tesla Bot. 

Elon Musk Tesla robot will probably be unveiled this year. It would be a humanoid robot dubbed as “Tesla Bot,” designed to perform tedious, repetitious, and dangerous work, Musk said. 

The billionaire CEO of Tesla disclosed the robot would be about 5 feet 8 inches (1.7 meters) tall and weigh 125 pounds (56 kilograms). In addition, the robot would be able to handle tasks such as attaching bolts to cars using a spanner or picking groceries at the supermarket.

Elon Musk Tesla Robot First Appearance

Speaking at Tesla’s AI Day activity, the CEO said the robot could have “great implications for the economy” by addressing the gaps in the workforce due to labor shortages. He said the new machine need not be that expensive. The Elon Musk Tesla robot is described as an extension of the company’s work on self-driving cars. Similarly, the robot will use the same computer chip and navigation system with eight cameras. 

Companies into robotics, such as Boston Dynamics, have produced bipedal robots. But the bulky, heavy machines they have demonstrated bear little similarity to the slim designs of the Elon Musk Tesla robot.

The robot’s first appearance came after a 90-minute PowerPoint presentation about the artificial intelligence upgrades on Tesla’s electric vehicles. The presentation also includes the Dojo supercomputer, a device that helps train cars to navigate city streets without a driver. That’s when Musk said that it makes sense to have a humanoid robot.  

Three slides showed Elon Musk Tesla robot specifications, and Musk pointed out that it is possible to outrun the Tesla Bot or overpower it. He has been questioning the use of robots as weapons in the past and warned about the risks artificial intelligence may cause. He also called it the most significant risk society is facing today.

Fears About AI in the Future

During the question and answer session after the presentation, Musk reiterated that we should be worried about AI. He clarified that Tesla makes useful AI that people love and is explicitly good. One slide showed that Tesla Bot would eliminate dangerous, repetitive, and monotonous tasks. Musk provided an example, suggesting that the Tesla robot could “go to the store and get groceries”. It may not be dangerous, but people might find it repetitive and boring. However, Musk did not reveal the concrete progress of building a humanoid robot. 

Companies building robotics, such as former Google subsidiary Boston Dynamics, have produced bipedal robots. But the bulky and heavy machines they have demonstrated bear little resemblance to the slim designs of the Elon Musk Tesla robot.

Elon Musk is famous for his bold statements about the future, jamming a little on how he envisions his Tesla Bot transforming the future of work, too. He said that, in the future, physical work would still be a personal choice. He added that it is possible if you want to do it, but you won’t need to do it. For him, it is difficult to predict the future. However, this is a vast difference between discussing a few PowerPoint slides and delivering the actual and functioning humanoid robot. Musk assured the public that a prototype would likely be available this year. 

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