iPad Pro 12.9 Hot Takes

Mind you I was only able to thumb around the iPad for a few minutes while it was still redownloading everything before having to head out but here are some quick thoughts.

  • Wow this guy is pretty unwieldy in hand. Notably heavier than my 10.5, which feels impossibly light.
  • I like how the keyboard includes the number row. I do not like the delete key location because it totally messes with my muscle memory of how iPads work.
  • I can’t wait to get my Apple Pencil and more importantly the Keyboard Folio for this device. I feel like I can’t properly evaluate it and compare it to my 10.5 until that occurs. 1
  • Curse Apple for forcing the home indicator on this device. Almost all my apps have not been updated and have the black borders. And some apps that have been “updated” like Facebook Messenger look horrid with a punted black status bar and home indicator strip. I hope this improves quickly.
  • I opened Ferrite and am very excited to edit tomorrow’s podcast on this guy.

By the way, I suppose I am officially ready to get rid of my 10.5 inch iPad Pro2. If you’re interested I’m looking to sell it for 700 with Smart Keyboard, Apple Pencil, and the Lightning to USB and Power adapter which is 950+ new from Apple today.

Maryland was deemed gerrymandered af. Glad they plan to fix it. Here’s the thing – it’s a solved problem. If they don’t use a purely algorithmic approach, I don’t think we’re making progress.

Introducing my new podcast, Overanalyzed.

Early in the year, my old coworker, Jun, and I were discussing how we missed our lunch time chats where we’d overanalyze various things going on in our lives. As two people who love podcasts, naturally we thought why not make a show of these conversations.

It has taken some time for us to get in a rhythm and find our stride, but today we’re announcing our fortnightly podcast Overanalyzed. There are six episodes up. The most recent one is fitting for today – it’s about taxation. Subscribe if you’d like and tell a friend!

🎶 Live at The Royal Albert Hall by Alter Bridge Review

When I got the email that Alter Bridge recorded a live album with a full orchestra I was extremely hyped. Strings sections with rock music is my kryptonite, in a good way. I’ve greatly enjoyed listening to it and I recommend you check it out too. If you like what you hear, I recommend you to sit down with the Blu ray and a surround sound set up and soak it all in. With a full orchestra, the added channels of separation make for a clearer and more nuanced experience.

The Blu Ray also includes interviews with the band and the various people who made this special set of shows a reality. It is cool to hear them talk about Words Darker Than Their Wings which was a stand out track during my first listen. Apparently its been a fan favorite they have considered playing live for years, but Myles wasn’t so sure about it. Once you hear it, you’ll understand why. He hits a note at the end that is in the stratosphere. With the swelling crescendo of the Parallax Orchestra behind him, it is a goosebump inducing moment. I’m glad they played it and hopefully next time I see them live the ice has been broken and they’ll play it again.

This is one of the better live concert videos I’ve gotten in some time. I’m excited to see what Alter Bridge does next.

2018 Mid Year Review

At the beginning of the year, I decided to craft some resolutions and for the first 3 months I did a good job of reflecting and providing updates.

The next three, not so much. I missed recapping April before leaving for our big vacation in May and since May was mostly spent on travel, there was nothing to say about my goals. I decided to skip June too and craft a midyear review article. It took me longer to get around to this than I wanted, but such is life.

Rather than concentrate on my progress, I want to talk about my goals at a macro level. I think its time to reevaluate them.

Ever since proposing and talking wedding, Rachel and I have started to budget together. I tried really hard to track my individual spending but it became really difficult though vacation and in a way, it doesn’t matter. As much as I want to track my own habits, our budget is now a team sport. So long as we get to where we want to be by the end of the year, I’ll consider it a success. This weekend we had a nice conversation about our budget and the next 18 months or so and I am really happy with our progress thus far.

Cooking for myself has been fine, but I have been eating out more for lunch lately as I create more work friends who want to eat out. I like to think of these outings as professional development and again – as long as I stay within the budget, I suppose its not the end of the world. The key is to not get lazy in the kitchen both in what I prepare and how often I make things.

Weight loss has been an interesting one. Looking back at March I remembered that I went under 230 that month. Well, vacation wasn’t kind despite walking 9+ miles a day. Luckily I have been hovering around 228 the last week. While in London, I was consistently filling my rings due to all of the walking. At that time, Federico posted about his health journey and I felt inspired to try and do the same. According to Activity++ (which allows for the 2 “rest” days in there) I have a 62 day streak of closing my rings. I’m really happy about that, particularly since my move ring is set for 750 calories. I have to work up a sweat and be intentional to break that. Like Federico, I have decided to put my health first and I recommend everyone give it a try. Its one of the best ways you can treat yourself.

iOS development is another interesting one. With grad school and work, I feel like I have no programming left in me. I’m done with this goal for this year, and frankly, for a while. Luckily, I am scratching my iOS itch in a much nicer way – I recently got the go ahead to try and do some ARKit work. I have been watching WWDC sessions and working in Xcode at my day job. Hard to beat that! I’m really excited and mildly terrified of this opportunity. I hope I am able to deliver something useful.

Finally, I am looking forward to finally getting this podcast out. It’s already up if you know where to look for it, but we haven’t officially launched because of our summer travel making it hard to get in a rhythm. We should be good now. Episode 4 is recorded, and 3 is 95% edited. With some work to the website and a submission to iTunes, we’ll be a real show. Though still green, I think the show has potential and it’s a lot of fun to make something with a friend again.

Unhealthy Relationship with Rest Days

As I have gotten into the routine of working out every day, I have run into a problem: Rest Days. Anyone with an Apple Watch knows how it incentives 30 minutes of exercise every day. This month was near perfect besides the day after WWDC. I’m working towards my 3rd straight perfect week badge. But I think my body is telling me today to take a rest day, and this isn’t the first time. Today I’m feeling especially run down and its a busy evening so I am contemplating a rest day more so than ever. I think my fear with taking a day off is associate with my fear of losing momentum. I need to get over the rings and focus on what will truly result in a healthy lifestyle.

Obscura 2

I remember when Ben first showed me the Control Wheel at Stumptown during my December trip to NYC, just days before he moved back to Dublin. He demonstrated it with pride, even when it was a proof of concept without the rich functionality and haptic feedback it has today. It was clear he was on to something.

I’ve been on the beta for quite some time, but I didn’t truly put Obscura 2 through its paces until I went on vacation the past 2 weeks. After vacation, I wish I had put Obscura on my home screen sooner.

Designed for one hand use, the Control Wheel is a natural way to interact with your iPhone’s camera controls. I love the haptic feedback, making you feel each refinement towards a perfect shot. Obscura also remembers your settings between sessions. I shot a lot with the telephoto lens on vacation and liked that it was still on it when I would reopen. You have to check out the animations between the different grid modes. Superb.

Obscura also makes it easy to take RAWs. I really don’t know what I am doing when editing them after the fact, but this phone has 256 gigs of storage so heres to having the data later on just in case.

The photo library viewer is organized in reverse chronological order and displayed by a swipe down on the viewfinder. I like how I can swipe up in the viewfinder to see my albums, including the automatically generated Obscura album. Tapping on a thumbnail shows you the full sized image along with all the metadata you’d ever want. From there you can apply one of 19 beautiful filters. There are 16 more available; 15 through in app purchase and 1 through sharing the app.

Future app development and features are already under development and I can’t wait to try them out. Experience the joy of capturing photos with Obscura 2 for 4.99.

Here are some sample shots from Canada.

Musical Privilege

I was paging through the Relay.FM guests the other day and noticed my friend Dave Wiskus and clicked to see what shows he was on. I saw one of them was talking about one of his favorite albums Hot Fuss. I decided to relisten to the episode since I am more familiar with The Killers now than when the show was originally released.

Dave brings up a good point near the end of the show. He mentions that years ago music listeners had to go to the record store and spend money on a full album. These purchases said something about them and defined the kind of music they were into.

Between online music stores and now streaming, that whole model is upended. As Dave points out, you pay Apple Music or Spotify for the ability to stream nearly the world’s catalog of music.

This observation made me reflect on my own musical renaissance. When I first got an iPod, I began to fill it with all different kinds of music. In my youth I would… find a lot of things off the back of a truck. If I liked a song by a band I’d just grab the whole discography. My liberal use of μTorrent allowed me to explore music with zero cost. The result was asking my parents for a lot of CDs and and concert tickets1.

With streaming music services, me and millions of others continue to experience new music in a zero risk environment2. When people ask me what kind of music I am into, I frequently say I like anything where I can appreciate an intentionality in the composition. Some days I am rocking out to prog rock, the label I would have perpetuated in the record era. But today its equally as likely I’m listening to Top 40s, jazz, R&B, you name it.

I’m confident I never would have given this music the time of day if I grew up in a different era. The radio lacks the immediacy of streaming which I think is critical. If someone tells me to check out an album, moments later it is streaming to my ears.

I possess no single music identity and I’m grateful to live in an era of musical privilege.

2018 Resolution Update: March

Another update on my resolutions.

Budget

Well, this month sorta broke the budget. But I saw that coming, somewhat. Lucky for me, March was a three paycheck month.

I spent more eating out than I wanted to, even though I inflated the budget for post engagement eating out and our preplanned nice dinner the day after1. I felt like I got a bit more lax after I broke the budget, which is a bad habit. When I saw myself doing that I tried to tighten things up. I’ll be important to bounce back next month, particularly with our vacation coming up the month after.

Unfortunately, I noticed two days ago a bulge in my front tire’s sidewall. Not a good thing. I ended up having to replace all the tires, which wasn’t too bad since 3/4 were originals with 43k miles on them and the other about 30k miles. That was a pretty penny though. Low profile tires on 18 inch rims look cool, but they come at a cost. I didn’t have enough planned in car repairs this year, but luckily I had some slush funds that I didn’t allocate for that reason. Next year I will allocate significantly more for my car.

Cooking

I did end up hosting a big Chicken and Waffles night and it was a success. We borrowed Rachel’s parent’s fryer and I had to get that thing out of the house before I started trying to fry all the things. I met my goal of times eating lunch out, and it was always a social aspect either with friends or my team.

Losing Weight

I didn’t have a measuring tape. But I did go under 230 for the first time this month. I ended the month right at 230 for 4 pounds lost in the month. It was good to see a full month of the graph trending downward.

I am looking forward to getting more outside activity in now that the weather is getting better. Yesterday we went on a nice hike at a park in Baltimore City and I hope to do more of that this year.

iOS

Well, I bought a flight, tickets to Alt Conf and their Podcast Festival, and an AirBNB. San Jose, here I come.

As I wrote earlier this month, I’m at a bit of a development stand still because of Marzipan. But to be totally honest with myself, I didn’t make it a priority with all the other things going on in my life.

It will be hard to find the time for app development with work, grad school, and life’s other distractions. I hope I leave San Jose ready to write some code. I am taking Android Development for grad school this summer so I hope I learn some transferable skills / am able to write some algorithms that I can convert over to Swift for my actual apps.

Miscellaneous

I didn’t end up tidying up my desk much more… This month passed me by. After I was done prepping and thinking about proposing, I was in a whirlwind of celebratory hangs and wedding chatter. I hope that dies down a bit this month and I am able to focus on a few more things in life. A micro goal for this month is launch the podcast I have been working on with my friend Jun. We have two episodes done and ready to release, we just need a logo and a site at this point.