Ditch the iPhone for a cellular Apple Watch?

I’ve seen some companies are now offering “dumb phones” which are basically cell phones that do two things, phone calls and texts. The idea is to break the habit of being always connected to the internet, games, social media, and anything else that strives for your attention.

The problem is, you still have to carry the thing around, and I think the cellular Apple Watch would be a good alternative to those. With a pair of Airpods and the watch, you’d be able to do almost everything. Make phone calls, text, play music, listen to podcasts. At least, in theory, I think this is possible.

The downside to this idea is Siri, and one example is that Apple refuses to let Siri play songs on Spotify. Of course, there are many other problems with Siri but that alone is enough to make the whole idea a deal breaker for me. Maybe Android watches have the solution?

I think it’s a neat thought experiment to think about ditching the cell phone and still remaining connected to what you need. I just don’t think the tech is there yet for me.

1Password 7 for Mac

AgileBits just released 1Password 7 for the Mac and it comes with a ton of new improvements. Some of the things I’m really looking forward to is the new design and the ability for better app integration:

With our new app integration we’ll automatically suggest logins for the current app you’re using. Along with support for drag and drop, this is a real game changer.

Not being able to use 1Password for standalone apps is one of the reasons I’ve always preferred browser-based apps. So I think this alone will be huge.

If you are not using 1Password or another password management system then I highly recommend you start and you couldn’t go wrong with 1Pass. It’s seriously great and when you hook it up with 2fa logging in has never been quicker and easier.


Take Notes On Paper

Walter Isaacson in the conclusion of the biography of Leonardo Da Vinci:

Five hundred years later, Leonardo’s notebooks are around to astonish and inspire us. Fifty years from now, our own notebooks, if we work up the initiative to start writing them, will be around to astonish and inspire out grandchildren, unlike our tweets and Facebook posts.

I’ve used a notebook in some form or fashion throughout my life and I love going back through my old ones. Most of the time it’s simple scribbles of me working through a problem, or planning out features in the software I’m building, but it brings me back to that point in my life. I never assumed anyone, including my grandchildren, would find it interesting, but I would love to have old notebooks and journals from my grandfathers. Both served in WWII and lead interesting lives to me, so learning more about them through their writing would be amazing now.

Earlier in the book Isaacson related Leonardo’s notebooks to Steve Jobs:

The more than 7,200 pages now extant probably represent about one-quarter of what Leonardo actually wrote, but that is a higher percentage after five hundred years than the percentage of Steve Job’s emails and digital documents from the 1990s that he and I were able to retrieve.

That stat is pretty amazing to me and makes me think of how much of our digital lives are in siloed ecosystems owned by a few big companies. Unfortunately, I don’t see us bringing the web back to its roots and away from that.

Xbox Adaptive Controller

In my family, we are not big gamers. We have an old WII and then just iOS games. The main reason for this is because one of my family members has slight cerebral palsy that affects their entire left side. Going through life with this has its challenges and playing has always been pretty much out of the question. The only controller they could use one-handed​ was the original Nintendo and of course the WII.

AdptvCntlr_Top_Alt_RGB.jpgThis week, Xbox announced a new Adaptive Controller that aims to help those with disabilities:

For gamers with limited mobility, finding controller solutions to fit their individual needs has been challenging. The solutions that exist today are often expensive, hard to find, or require significant technical skill to create. A number of individuals and organizations are creating custom solutions, but it has been often difficult for them to scale when most rigs need to be so personalized.

Joining the Xbox family of controllers and devices, the Xbox Adaptive Controller was created to address these challenges and remove barriers to gaming by being adaptable to more gamers’ needs.

You can find out more information about this controller on the Xbox site and sign up to be notified as soon as it’s available.

How much have I spent with Amazon?

A few years ago my family only used Amazon to purchase books and electronics, but over the past year and a half, the company has made its way into our daily lives and now we order everything we can through it. It’s so convenient and easy to just pull up what we need and click order, versus spending the time driving to different local stores and then either not finding what we need or having to wait forever for an employee to show us where the product is. It’s so much easier to search, look for it as a prime item, and then have it appear two days later.

One thing you might not realize is a nice feature Amazon offers is the ability to download your entire order history which makes it easy to see exactly how much you are spending. To create this report follow these steps:

  • Click your “Account & Lists” from the top navigation
  • Next in the “Ordering and shopping preferences” box look for “Download order reports
  • From here you can create your own report to download and see how much you’ve spent.


Just note that I wasn’t able to export from the beginning of time. It would always fail, but doing 12 to 15-month ranges seemed to work. YMMV.


Photos from DuPont State Forest

A couple of weeks ago I went mountain biking in DuPont and had a blast. After coming home and telling my family about it we decided to rent a VRBO in the area and spend mother’s day weekend hiking and exploring the area. Below is a bunch of photos from the three waterfalls, Hooker Falls, Triple Falls, and High Falls. All within a 2 mile out and back walk.

Photos from the cabin

Photos from the waterfalls:

Photos from the iconic covered bridge

Finally, here is the Strava segment showing the path we walked. Keep in mind we were walking with two kids that had to look at every tree on the way so it took way longer than it should. haha



ZSH Stats

I was not aware ZSH had a stats option that will display your top commands until I saw this tweet by Roger Creasy:


Not sure it has a lot of value, but I love little utilities like this that show what you commonly use.

Ulysses Plans to Improve The Code Blocks

From the Ulysses announcement:

The next Ulysses version will ship with greatly improved code blocks.

You’ll have to mark up the beginning of a code block only once to let it span as many paragraphs as needed. No more backtick fatigue! Also, we revamped the appearance of code blocks in the editor to make them easier to distinguish from the body text: they’re set in a monospaced typeface (what else would make sense for a code block?) on a colored background (depends on theme). What’s more, the new code blocks will import from, and export to GitHub-style fenced code blocks. Oh, and you’ll be able to use them in external folders as well. Yay!

I really like Ulysses, but code blocks are the number one reason I stopped using the app. The current system is clunky and annoying so I have a lot of high hopes for this change. It does worry me how this is described and I’m assuming it isn’t going to support traditional three tick markdown code blocks, but instead some special block.


Sales are not made from screaming

I rarely watch regular TV but when I do it’s immediately noticeable how much louder the commercials are than the program you are watching.

I’m sure the advertising industry has done extensive research on this and came to the conclusion that it grabs your attention but it never works in my house. Instead of getting positive attention it ends up everyone screaming, “turn it down”.

Product sales are the same, you can’t scream or spam your way to become a market leader. Instead, it takes word of mouth, trust, and getting people interested. Once you do those the rest will come.

How to draw comics when you can’t actually draw

Chaz Hutton has a great post on Medium with some quick tips on how to draw comics and the section on emotions caught my eye:

You should probably learn how to do emotions. Those are easier than you think and can be achieved through the clever placement of lines. You can go from worried, to surprised, to angry all with some little flicks of your pen…


He demonstrated a few simple ones and in Mike Rhode’s Sketchnote handbook he gives a few more easy emotions:


I love that all these are really just simple lines and shapes that anyone can do, and what makes a good comic is a narrative, not the actual drawing.

New Camera – Olympus OM-D Mark II

I’ve been wanting to learn more about photography and up till now, I’ve been iPhone camera only. For most of my needs, the iPhone works good enough but I wanted to go a step further and invest some time learning the skills behind taking great photos.

For my birthday I got a new mirrorless camera an Olympus OM-D Mark II and from all the reviews it takes great photos in auto mode but has the full manual options so you can go crazy if you want too.

As this is basically my first real camera when it arrived I assumed it would just work. Stick in the battery and start taking pictures, just like my phone. I was surprised to learn it needed a memory card and even more surprised the manual didn’t really mention that as a requirement. If I would have known I would have purchased that at the same time so I would have everything I need. Instead, I made a quick trip to the local Best Buy and overpaid for that convenience.

I will admit I’m spoiled by my iPhone. When you get a new one and unbox it, everything you need is there. Not having something is extremely frustrating. It’s like a kid opening a birthday present with batteries not included. Mark your product up $10 and include a cheap memory card.

I also purchased an intro to photography book so I could start learning how to shoot in manual mode and this is where my next frustration came in. It starts talking about important things you need to understand like shutter speed, aperture, ISO, etc. Then I consult the camera manual to find out where these settings are, but the manual is terrible and now I’m searching Youtube for how to change the ISO. I’m not really understanding how a cellphone that can do much more can be so much more intuitive.

Anyway, the auto setting with the default lens shoots some great photos to my untrained eye and I really like this camera.

Kaweco Al Sport Fountain Pen and Midori Notebook
Kaweco Al Sport Fountain Pen and Midori Notebook
Old Clock


Now to spend hours learning how to use it with auto mode turned off. Wish me luck!