Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Apple Pencil - Quick Review

I got my Apple Pencil a few weeks back.  I checked in our local Apple Store multiple times to see if they had one that I could get earlier, but they did not.  If they did receive any early, they did not stay in the store for very long.

I have used the Pencil with Notes, Paper, and Procreate.  Each application uses the pencil well, with very little lag.  Not surprisingly, the built in Apple Notes app makes great use of the Pencil.  I have used it for drawing and for note taking.  I end up with a mix of typed and hand written notes, and of course it works great for diagrams. 

Big thumbs up for hand-writing and note taking.

I'm a doodler at best.  I love using the Pencil to draw.  Definitely the best stylus I have ever used.  I hope to spend more time drawing and painting with the Pencil.  Hopefully I'll actually get better at it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

iPad Pro - Where the Frak is my Pencil?

Yes, I did get an iPad Pro.  

Quick Review: It's a bigger, faster, better sounding iPad.  Make your purchasing decisions based on that.  The enticement for me is 40% larger iPad and 60% Apple Pencil.  

I ordered the pencil at the same time I ordered the iPad.  I received the iPad mostly on time, with some major tracking issues I blame on UPS. 

The real frustration is waiting on the Apple Pencil.  Apple must have had some sort of major manufacturing issue with the pencil.  They have been difficult to get, unless you camp out at the store, or were chosen to receive one due to your press status.  Reviews for the pencil have been overwhelmingly positive, with only a few minor gripes.  

I was able to spend a few minutes with the Apple Pencil at our local Apple Store. Not enough time to give it a real review.  However, it was enough time to say it was the best stylus experience I have ever had.  I have long wanted to get a Cintiq, but could not justify the purchase for my amateur artistic interests.  The iPad does what the Cintiq does and is a full featured iPad.

I'll just have to sit here waiting for my pencil to ship.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sony PlayStation Network Account Frustration

Some how I managed to end up with a PSN master account with my real name as my console id. This is the public name that shows up in online games.  I don't remember setting it this way, but I can imagine thinking that I would be able to change it later.

You can't change it!  They do not allow any mechanism for changing it.  WTF!

This is the kind of thing that keeps me from ever using a service again.  I'm trying to be more reasonable than that, I just spent over $100 dollars on a PlayStation Plus membership and a new game that I can't return.

Sony has apparently said they don't want people changing their ID to prevent trolling.  But couldn't they just put a time limit on name changes. Talk about bad user experience.

So I'm having to now create a Sub Account, meant for minors, so I can use a different ID. Now's the time where I point out that Trolls could do the exact same thing.  I don't want multiple accounts where I have to lie about age.

Crazy decisions by dumb companies.

While attempting to fix all this I wiped my PS4 and now have to reinstall everything.  That was my mistake, I should have gone online first, before trying anything I could do to find what should be an obvious feature.

I now need to apologize to my wife for yelling like a madman at the PS4 last night. I haven't been that angry in a long time.

Friday, August 14, 2015

NodeJS, SailsJS, ReactJS, EJS - JS all the way down

Started a new GitHub project with a generic random name.

Say hello to creepy-squeegee.

There really isn't much to see there yet, and what is there will be changing dramatically.  I needed a place to put some training material and thought it would be good to share it.

The purpose of this app is to consolidate several code samples related to Client and Server web technologies.  Focusing mainly on Node.js, Sails.js, and React.

Feedback welcome.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Swift - Ok, Lets do this!

I keep planning on learning Swift and re-writing my original iOS apps, that I'm very not happy with now.  I think I'm going to try to keep a diary of the process here, in an attempt to make myself write more, and to encourage myself to keep at it.

Downloading Xcode 7 Beta 5 as I type this.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Apple Watch Cont.

How are you liking it?

I'm enjoying wearing a watch again, way more than I thought I would. I have spent a bunch of time tweaking notifications to reduce distractions. I'm currently seeing:
  • Activity - more on that later.
  • Calendar
  • Email - Work and VIP
  • Maps
  • Messages
  • Passbook and Apple Pay
  • Phone Calls - I have not had a phone call on the watch yet.
  • Reminders
  • Dark Sky
  • Pedometer 
  • Slack
  • Trello
  • Twitter - DMs only
  • Paper - Facebook messages only
I'm not sure if occasionally looking at my watch is less distracting that using my phone, but I feel like I'm spending less time messing with my phone when I should be talking to people. 

I do seem to notice alerts on the watch more than on my phone.  I hate being late to meetings or really any event.  The watch really helps me know when I'm supposed to be somewhere.

I have not had anyone ask me about the watch in public. I have also not noticed anyone else wearing one.  They seem to be very rare, and I have been preoccupied with looking at peoples wrists.  The only place I have noticed them was at the Apple Store, and that really does not count.

Just Keep Moving

The activity app has been good for me.  I was already using the Step counter in my iPhone, but the watches constant nagging and reminders has really helped me be conscious of my sloth like life.  I get excited when I get one of the goofy awards on the watch.  I try to actually move around when the watch tells me to Stand, and I'm trying to exercise more to get all the rings in the activity app.

Watch Faces

For work I'm using the Modular Watch Face.  Lots of information with a prominent calendar display. I love having the timer on the watch face so I can quickly setup a timer for hot tea.

On the weekends I tend to prefer the Utility face, or the Mickey face.  I leave the Calendar display off to avoid the "No More Events" text.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Apple Watch

Well, I got the Apple Watch. So far I'm very impressed with it.

The Tattoo Issue

First read this article at iMore for more info on the issue.

In summary tattoos can interfere with the green light used for heart rate and security.  My watch shipped the day this information started being discussed.  I was worried that the issue would be bad enough for me to have to return the watch. I probably would have just turned off several features and kept it.  But, I really did not want to have to make that choice.

For me, the tattoo issue seems to be no big deal. It could be because of the inks my artist used, or more likely because of where the watch sits on my arm. There is a patch of yellow right where the watch naturally sits on my arm.

I have had no issues that I think were caused by my tattoos.  It is possible that it is detecting my heart rate incorrectly.  But, it seems consistent with values I have gotten from other sources.

I have had my watch lock while on my wrist twice.  The first time was while using the lawn mower. Sweat was involved and I think the watch may have been too loose.  The second time was while sitting idle on the couch, but I had my arm in a weird position and the watch was being pushed away from my arm.


Pairing was easy, I chose to activate all my apps, and this may have been a mistake.  The first 20 min with the watch were slow and irritating.  I think the phone was copying info to the watch, but there was no clear indication that this was happening.  I got frustrated with things not working and left it alone for about an hour.  The next time I tried to use it everything worked great.  The setup process needs some work.

Everyday use

I have only had the watch for one weekend, so this can't really be a full review.  However I have found the following things to be true:

It is a great fitness tracker.

I need to calibrate it better for my stride.  But so far the way it tracks 'Active Calories' and reminds me to be more active is really helpful.

It is really good at notifications. 

It is going to take some time to configure the correct set of notifications I want to go to the watch.  I only want 'Important' items to show up there.  I only want sound in some rare cases. etc...  I will be tweaking these things until I find the right balance. Letting everything through would be awful.

It is good at being a watch.

I like having a watch on.  At a glance information without pulling out my phone.  I wish it had a mode where the time was always visible without the battery cost.  Perhaps a future version will do a better job of detecting the wrist turn.


Some are pretty slow.  Some don't really seem that helpful.  For instance, there is a Yelp app on the watch, but It doesn't seem to support checking in, which is pretty much the only reason I would use Yelp on my watch.  There are other instances of this.  I've already removed several apps.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Being Creative

I've been sick with a sore throat the last 4 days. I haven't felt quite this bad in over 20 years. I was in college with strep and mono at the same time. My girlfriend took good care of me then. We will have been married for 21 years this June. She is still taking care good care of me. 

While i have been Sick the new HBO Now service became available. The first show i binge watched was Sonic Highways. It was a great show that was entertaining and informative. But, more than anything it underscored just how amazingly creative people can be. Not just Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters, but all of the amazing muscians that were featured on each episode. They are all driven to create.

I have been thinking about creativity lately. I dabble in art from time to time. I also create software for a living. Lately I have been doing little to no art. I also have not been creating software for myself. I have always viewed software as more of an art than a science. I get the same feelng of acomplishment when i finish something.

I work hard to maintain a good balance between work and my personal life. But, lately I havent been using that time in a productive way. I need to work on that. I also need to try and sleep tonight, stupid sore throat.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Spring Forward

Looking forward to getting more details about the Apple Watch today.  I'll be purchasing a watch for myself and one for my wife.  Which watches?  That depends on the pricing.  I was initially planning on getting the cheapest version for my self. But, as I review the current information on the Apple site, I can't help but be drawn to the Steel version of the watch with the Milanese Loop. I love the way the watch looks.  However, it will all depend on pricing, which will hopefully be announced during Apples "Spring Forward" event later today.

"What are you going to use it for?"

Well there are plenty of examples of how version one of the watch may be used here.  Notifications, quick interactions, telling the time. Things that only require a quick interaction with my phone.  I really just want to see what its like to use a smart watch.  Who knows I might even develop some software to take advantage of this new platform.

I've also used fitness trackers before. I hope the Apple Watch will help me be more conscious of my lack of physical activity. Any help I can get there will be good.