Saturday, March 31, 2012

Paper by Fifty Three

There has been a crazy amount of publicity for the new iOS app Paper by Fifty Three.  There are several similar apps, but none of them are as fun to use as Paper.  It has just the right level of simplicity with an easy to use interface.

The app is free but all the tools you will want to use are sold as separate in-app purchases.  To get all the tools currently costs $7.99, and I think this is an ok value for the amount of time I have already used this application.  Should they have charged for the app up front instead of doing in-app purchases? I dunno, some people hate in app purchases, others are ok with them.


  • Beautiful and elegant application
  • Easy to use tools


  • No way to save to Camera roll
  • Can't zoom in - can't really decide if this is a bad thing.
  • Would be nice to be able to move pages around in the notebook
  • Would be nice to have the ability to change pages to lined or graphed
  • In app purchases for the tools you actually want to use. Would be easier to swallow if they were $1.00 each instead of $1.99 each.

I would expect some of these issues to be fixed in future updates.  I would also expect there to be new features sold via in-app purchases.

If you like to draw, and you have a stylus I would suggest getting this app.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Nest

I wanted a Nest bad when they first came out, but I waited too long to order.  When they recently became available again I ordered right away and a few days later we replaced our old "smart" thermostat with the shiny new Nest.

Imagine the change you went through when going from a dumb flip phone to the iPhone or other smart phone.  That's what it's like with the Nest.  It learns your schedule. It's very easy to change the temp whenever you need to, and you can do this directly, or via the web page, iPhone, or the iPad, and you can do all this remotely.  Want to turn the temp up or down while an hour from the house? You can.

It's just works.  Sound familiar? If you didn't know better you would think it was from Apple.

SodaStream - Replacing Pepsi.

I have been trying to kick the pepsi / coke habit for years, with limited success. Most recently this has taken the form of drinking seltzer water drinks.  We purchased a SodaStream and I have to say it's very cool, and I'm doing better than I would have expected.

The first thing to realize is not to bother with any of the drink syrups. If the samples are any indication, they all taste like ass. You can also get the SodaStream on Amazon, but it's probably the same price at your local Bed, Bath and Beyond.

I haven't managed to enjoy a plain glass of Seltzer water yet.  I need flavor.  My current drink of choice is the following:

  • Open one package of Citrus Splash crystal light and add the powder to empty glass.
  • Add 1 tbsp or less of water  to the glass.
  • Swish around trying to dissolve all of the crystal light in the water.
  • Add carbonized water to glass slowly. There will be some extra fizzing, but if you're slow it will settle down.
  • Add ice.
  • mmmmmmm enjoy.
Other flavors of the Crystal light also work well with seltzer water. There are a bunch of recipes on the net that involve natural fruit juices that we plan on trying.  I'd like to cut out the artificial sweeteners that  are used in Crystal Light.

If you try it out let me know, curious to know if you have any good recipes. 

iPad Rev 3

On March 7th 2012 Apple announced the latest version of the iPad. I'll call it iPad 3 cause it's easier, but Apple calls it the iPad (3rd generation).  For the record the name change doesn't bother me at all.  You can find a run down of the new features all over the internet. But it boils down to:

  • Retina display 
  • Larger battery and improved graphics processor to support the new screen
  • Updated Camera with 1080p video recording.
  • LTE / 4G support on AT&T and Verizon
  • New software and updated software to take advantage of the new screen.

So... What did I get?  I got the 32g Wifi only iPad 3.  I'm now wishing I had gotten the Verizon LTE version just so I would have the option of using it.  However our iPad 1 had 3G and we used it only once. So for now I'll settle with what I got.  Maybe I'll get it in the iPad 4.

Should you get it? If you don't have an iPad then absolutely. If you have a 1st or 2nd gen iPad, then I dunno, really a personal decision.  I got it cause I like to mess with the new stuff and just because I wanted it. :)

  • The display is amazing
  • I haven't played any games yet that really take advantage of the new graphics processor. However, a few of my drawing programs seem laggy when drawing.  Not all of them, I think this is simply due to the apps needing to draw more pixels, combined with the apps not being updated / optimized for the new iPad.
  • The new camera takes decent pics, gonna do some video to play with the new iMovie, I might post something here.
  • iPhoto for the iPad is awesome. Gonna delete some other apps.

The new Apple TV has 1080p support now which you can notice depending on the content you are viewing.  The bigger news is the new Apple TV software.  It made the 2nd gen. Apple TV seem much faster.  And the "App centric" interface changes might hint at more Apple TV Apps coming.

Now back to Draw Something...