May 16, 2019

I Had A Migraine?

May 16, 2019. The day that I experienced a migraine for the first time in my 35 years of life. I have known people that have them, but there is obviously no way to really understand what something like this is like when it’s happening to someone else. That all changed today. Holy shit did it change.

I have no idea what triggered it (if anything in particular). I have been traveling for work the past couple weeks and today was the last day of meetings for this week, and that’s when it hit me. It started off slowly as a mild headache, then gained momentum, and that headache became very intense. It was followed by nausea, dizziness, and high sensitivity to light. Each symptom progressed to 10x what they started at. Fortunately, I must have read the future this morning because I got a late checkout from my hotel today, so I went back to the hotel and laid down in an attempt to get some relief from the crippling pain in my head. The light sensitivity was probably the strangest part of this whole experience. I shut all the drapes and turned off the lights, but even the smallest light source felt blinding. I felt like a cliche Dracula who needed to throw up his cape and dash away into darkness.

I will definitely be doing some further research into this, all while hoping this is not the first of more to come!

Migraine Health
May 12, 2019

Brydge Keyboard - iPad Pro 12.9 (2018)

Ordered: 2019-01-08
Received: 2019-05-11
Price: $169.99 + $7.99 (shipping) + $12.32 (tax) = $190.30

Here it is, the Brydge Keyboard for the 2018 iPad Pro 12.9”! Brydge Keyboard Box

Typing On It

  • At first, I thought the keys felt a little small, especially if you are used to typing on a MacBook Pro or Magic Keyboard. The keyboard area is the same physical size as the Magic Keyboard. I grabbed some digital calipers, and it turns out that the Brydge keys are actually slightly smaller at ~15.5mm wide. For comparison, the Magic Keyboard is ~16mm, and the MacBook Pro is more like ~17mm.
  • I am typing this whole thing on the Brydge so I will put something down below at the end on how that went. Keyboard Comparison

Lap Typing
Typing on your lap feels much like a MacBook. There are two things I would mention here.

  1. It’s pretty narrow, mainly if you are used to a 15″ MacBook Pro.
  2. The hinges stick out a good bit so they poke you in the legs/knees, which can be kind of annoying over time.

Touching The Screen

  • It has a little bit of wobble. Not enough to make it not useable, but it’s there. I knew it would be since there really isn’t a reasonable way to engineer something like this as a third party and have it not wobble a bit.
  • This may go away over time, but I do find myself using my left hand to grab the edge of the screen while I touch it with my right hand some of the time.
  • You can set it at any angle which is excellent compared to other keyboards that attach to the iPad.

This sounds weird, but it looks too much like a MacBook now… Why is that bad? Well, I am continually trying to use the trackpad that is not anywhere to be found. 🤦‍♂️ It’s the opposite problem I have on my MacBook Pro when I try to touch the screen.

Removing The Keyboard

  • This is an area where the Smart Keyboard wins. You basically just have to rip it off (magnets), and you are done. This one takes a little more dedication to remove the iPad from the corner hinges, and then fold them each back down so you can store it in a bag. Then to put it back on, you fold them out and try to align them to be even so you can put the iPad back in. It’s a little fiddly, but not that bad.

  • I have a small concern when picking it up. If you close it, and then pick it up like a laptop to carry with you, in your hand, under your arm, there is a pretty good sized gap between the keyboard and iPad. If you squeeze with your hand to make sure you have a good hold on it, you are bending your iPad and keyboard toward each other. This is not a problem if you hold it by the non-hinge edge. iPad Keyboard Bend Comparison

Special Buttons

  • Home Button - I have become very accustomed to hitting Command+H on the iPad, but this keyboard has a dedicated button for home which is pretty neat. Hit it once to go to your home screen, and twice to go into the window switcher mode.
  • Lock Button - Simple one tap to lock screen. Same as reaching up to press the power button, but a nice little touch that adds convenience.
  • Battery Life Indicator - Since this has its own battery, it is nice to have a quick way to see what the battery life is at any time. Although, if you use the battery widget in iOS anyway, you can see it there as well.
  • Siri Button - If you are a big Siri or dictation user, having a dedicated key will be great.
  • Software keyboard - Sometimes you need things that only a software keyboard can provide. Instead of un-pairing your Bluetooth keyboard to access those features, you have a dedicated button to bounce back and forth.
  • Media Keys - Glorious media keys! Volume, screen brightness, audio playback controls, keyboard brightness. Battery Widget

LED Indicator
There is a single multi-color LED indicator light on the keyboard located within the power button. This light gives you indications for the power status of the unit, Bluetooth pairing, and battery life.

  • A single press of the power button will light green for ~3 seconds if powered on.
  • Holding the battery button for ~4 seconds will light the LED with the following conditions.
    • Green Flash x3 (75%-100%)
    • Yellow Flash x3 (25%-74%)
    • Red Flash x3 (10%-24%)
  • Hold the Bluetooth button down, and it will begin blinking blue when in pairing mode.

Magnetic Back Cover

  • It comes with a magnetic back cover also to add a bit of protection to the back of the iPad. It has notches in it to accommodate the keyboard hinges. I made a back cover for my iPad out of a Smart Cover so I could have just a back cover when setting my iPad down when using it in tablet mode. The one I made fits better in my opinion, but without the notches, it won’t work well when using the keyboard. iPad Back Covers

So, how was it typing all this? Overall, it was good. It did take a bit of getting used to the key travel and layout. I had a ton of typos when I was starting the post, but it slowly went down as my fingers got used to the keys. Mostly I kept hitting media keys since I am not used to there being an extra row of stuff up at the top.

The biggest concern I have is adding yet another utterly different keyboard to my day-to-day. Including this one, I will use four different keyboards, and they all have a completely different feel. MacBook Pro, Magic Keyboard (Mac mini), Smart Keyboard Case (iPad Pro), and Brydge (iPad Pro).

If I had to rank them all right this second from favorite to least favorite, judging them strictly on how they feel when typing, it would come out like this (HUGE CAVEAT: I just got the Brydge!)

  1. MacBook Pro
  2. Magic Keyboard
  3. Smart Keyboard Case
  4. Brydge 12.9”

Now add in additional features offered, convenience, and things like use on your lap:

  1. MacBook Pro
  2. Brydge 12.9”
  3. Smart Keyboard Case
  4. Magic Keyboard

UPDATES

  • It seems the right shift key is no longer functioning…
  • I am starting to think there is maybe something wrong in general with this keyboard. The more I type, the more I think the unit is not picking up all my keystrokes. Not sure if this is actually a problem yet or just something with the way I type? It seems intermittent.

I’ll be sure to post updates on Micro.blog as I use it more each day.

Questions? Send them my way! I am happy to help any way I can.

Brydge Keyboard In Use

iPad Pro Brydge Keyboard
May 7, 2019

Swarm

Swam Sticker Logo

Once upon a time there was a service called Dodgeball that allowed you to keep a running log of the places you visited. That service was sold to Google and a new service was started in its place, Foursquare. Similar idea with a more polished and fun user experience. I used this service a lot and really enjoyed what is provided. As a with any good idea, it becomes a popular market and competitors inevitably enter that market. Gowalla was a similar service to Foursquare, and at that time, my opinion was that it did it better, so, off to Gowalla I went. And as with most services you start liking, it got bought by Facebook and shutdown.

That ended my run of location logging app usage and I didn’t really pay attention to the category for a couple years. For the most part, Foursquare stayed on top of this category, although they did split out the check-in” functionality mostly to another app called Swarm.

I recently was thinking about how great it would be to have a fast, fun, and effective way to keep track of neat places I have been to or had great meals at. I did some looking around to see what was out there and now I have Swarm installed.

This review for Swarm summarizes what I want out of swarm quite nicely.

Swarm App Review

I am going to try it out again for a while and see how it works out day to day. It sure beats trying to keep track of everything in a note or spreadsheet.

Location Swarm Foursquare Gowalla
May 1, 2019

Ultrawide Screen Auto Layout Button

At work I have the following setup to get my work done most efficiently.

Work Desk Monitor Setup

Throughout the day, I disconnect and connect my laptop from the monitor as I go to meetings. Every time I come back to plug in, I find myself setting up my windows on the Ultrawide since most of the time I have a standard” setup.

As with anything related to computers, if you keep doing it, just automate it.

So, that’s what I did. I made a custom TouchBar button using BetterTouchTool that automatically sets up the windows on my Ultrawide the way I want them. Such a better way to live!

BetterTouchTool Custom TouchBar Button

BetterTouchTool Ultrawide Monitor MacBook Pro TouchBar
April 28, 2019

Six New Games - April 2019

A few games I have added to my collection over the last few months that I wanted to share with you all. 🎮

Baba Is You

Baba is You Game Thumbnail
Platform: Nintendo Switch

Very unique and awesome!

Boxboy! + Boxgirl!

Box Boy Box Girl Game Thumbnail
Platform: Nintendo Switch

Great game for co-op play.

Cattails

CatTails Game Thumbnail
Platform: Nintendo Switch

It’s like Stardew Valley with cats!

Hob

Hob Game Thumbnail
Platform: Nintendo Switch

Cool visuals and gameplay. From the creators of the Torchlight series.

Cuphead

CupHead Game Thumbnail
Platform: Nintendo Switch

So. Damn. Difficult. Really awesome art and music!

Starlink Game Thumbnail
Platform: Nintendo Switch

Cool all around spaceship game. It’s basically what I thought No Mans Sky was going to be. It has Star Fox!

Games Nintendo Switch
April 20, 2019

Siri Shortcuts - Episode 10

Shortcut Name: Where are we dropping?
Revision: 1.0
Add to Shortcuts!

What does it do?
This is a simple fun one. A quick shortcut to randmonly choose a map loaction to drop at in Fortnite Battle Royale! This is based on the maps from Season 8. Can be used with Siri for automated advice!

How does it work?

  1. Create a list of all names map locations.
  2. Randomly select a location.
  3. Speak the location.

Source Code”
Shortcut 010 Code Screenshot

Check out other shortcuts

iOS Shortcuts Siri
April 16, 2019

I’m Looking At Cameras. Again.

I love photography. This is not news to anyone who knows me. I haven’t had a stand-alone camera since I sold my Fujifilm X-PRO2 a couple years ago (an absolutely wonderful camera). At that time I wasn’t in a place mentally that made sense for me to have it around. Rather than the usual joy I feel when it comes to making photos, every time I saw the camera not being used I only felt guilt.

I have been taking all my photos on my iPhone and making some great imagery in the mean time. iPhone cameras have gotten so good in recent years, there isn’t really a need for a stand-alone camera for a lot of people. If you are looking at stand-alone cameras nowadays, there is generally a very specific reason. Profession, specific subjects you are trying to capture, etc.

For me, it’s the separation from the regular world. A chance to see the world from a different perspective. A set of constraints that you have to creatively work through to get to your objective.

Whenever I am looking to make a larger purchase, I always create one of my patented Jason Comparison Spreadsheets.” (Don’t worry, it’s fun for me.) This has lead me down a different path than I was expecting.

It’s been a number of years and I haven’t really kept up with camera news, so I have been doing quite a bit of research this time around. I still haven’t made a decision, but there are some front runners.

Fujifilm X-T3

Sony A7 III

Leica Q2

Each of these cameras is quite distinctive and with that carry a laundry list of pros and cons. There is definitely some thinking to be done on this, but if forced to pick one right this second, I would choose the Leica Q2. This one is an interesting beast. The majority of what would be considered cons for most, I find to be pros. Fixed lens, connection ports, simple video support.

I like being challenged to pick out singular still images from an infinite canvas of the world, and my gut tells me that this tool fits my way of thinking.

More to come… 📷

Photography Camera iPhone Sony Fujifilm Leica
April 14, 2019

This Is Not A Rant

It’s somewhat of a lesson in business I suppose.

I recently sent in my old 10.5” iPad Pro to the Apple GiveBack program. Keep in mind this service actually has nothing to do with Apple as they use a third party service. Other than letting their name, Apple, appear in the program name, they are completely hands off throughout the process.

The lesson, if you can call it that, is to be aware of who you are partnering with in business. The customer will always ultimately blame you for any heartache they experience when dealing with your business extensions or partners. In this case, I am aware of the delineation between Apple and Brightstar, but the average consumer would not be. This is the kind of thing that can sour a customer on your brand even when the experience actually had nothing to do with your direct brand.

How the interaction went

I was originally quoted $351 after filling out the online form about the device. Great, let’s do it! I realize I could have probably gotten more money had I sold it myself, but I never want to jump through all the hoops and annoyances that come with eBay, Craigslist, enter name of other online service. Brightstar TRade In Quote

After Brightstar received my product they replied with a revised quote of $0, due to case condition.”

This is the photo they sent showing the proposed damage. Damaged iPad Pro

Sorry, what..?

My initial reply

Hello, I have reviewed the photos related to this value change. The photo appears to show the case is bent? This is absolutely not the condition the item was shipped in. The item left me in pristine condition. This damage either occurred in transit or at the delivery location. What are the next steps to escalate and resolve this issue as the item I shipped 100% matched the quoted criteria?

Brightstar

We are sorry to see that your assessment resulted in a revised value, however a bent device is not  consistent with shipping/physical damage and would be a pre-existing condition prior to sending your device to Brightstar. Our receiving team also checks the packaging for physical/shipping damage and there was no report of shipping damage.

Me

Thanks for the reply. Given the response, I will need to escalate this case. The only two points in the transaction that this damage could have occurred is either 1) in shipping or 2) at the Birghtstar facility. The unit was packaged in the provided packaging with no absolutely no damage to case when sent.

Brightstar

Hello Jason‍, Thank you for contacting the Apple GiveBack support team.

As the previous email mentions a bent device is not  consistent with shipping/physical damage and would be a pre-existing condition prior to sending your device to Brightstar.

Our receiving team also checks the packaging for physical/shipping damage and there was no report of shipping damage for Quote ID XXXXXXX.

No further action will be taken from or end

So, there you have it. They entertain no responsibility, and that’s the end of it as far as they are concerned. I now have a basically worthless iPad coming back to me and they wash their hands of it. I still can’t believe it. I would like to believe that nothing happened on their end to cause this, but all I know for sure is how it looked when I sent it; and that was perfect. Make of that what you will..

I in no way expect Apple to do anything about this, but I will absolutely be letting them know about the way in which this matter was handled by their partner.

Apple GiveBack Brightstar iPad Pro
Jason Burk | 1999-2019
blot.im!
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