December 12, 2018

Using ALL The Note Apps

I have an odd situation concerning my notes. I have been using Apple Notes for all my notes, but I have to find something else for work notes because of some constraints.

Unfortunate Constraints

  1. Can’t use Mac App Store on all devices
  2. Can’t use iCloud Drive on all devices

Devices To Be Used

  1. MacBook Pro (No access to iCloud or Mac App Store)
  2. iPhone 8 (No access to iCloud)
  3. iPhone X (No restrictions)
  4. iPad Pro (No restrictions)

Things I Want To Capture

  • Text
  • Images
  • PDF Documents
  • Audio Notes (Rarely. This can be done in Voice Memos.)
  • Apple Pencil Sketches (This could be done elsewhere)

Note apps I have been trying to make work:

Apple Notes
This would be my first choice but uses iCloud on macOS to sync. ☹️

Uses iCloud to sync. ☹️

Standard Notes
Overall a pretty good app, but electron on the Mac is annoying ( and ugly). Overall it’s very fiddly with all the plugins you need to use.

Good app, but only supports plain text.

ZOHO Notebook
Great looking app. Very flexible in input types. This is currently in first place.

This is one of the worst apps I have ever used.

Outlook Notes (syncs to Apple Notes)
Formatting is terrible. Very limited.

Anything I am missing?? Thanks in advance!

Notes Apple Notes Bear Standard Notes Simplenote ZOHO Notebook OneNote Outlook
December 9, 2018

Noise Cancelling Headphones

I have been using the Bose QC35 (series 1) noise cancelling headphones for travel for the last couple years. Recently both Valerie and I were going to be traveling internationally at the same time and I wanted her to have the joy of noise cancelling while on her flight. Because I know the Bose are great, I gave her mine since she was going to be leaving on her trip before I did. I then set out to see what else was out there..

So what did I look at?

Bose QC35 (Series 1) Headphones 🎧
Purchased: July 2016

  • Great sound quality. 👍
  • Very comfortable for long listening sessions. 👍
  • Charges with micro USB. 👎
  • So-so battery life. 👎
  • Wired connection is a 2.5mm jack. 👎

Sony WH1000XM3 Headphones 🎧
Purchased: November 2018

  • Touch controls are annoying to activate consistently. 👎
  • Great battery life: 30 hours. 👍
  • Switching between devices sucks. I have had to remove and add the headphones to various devices a lot just to get them connected when I switch. 👎👎
  • Charges with USB-C. 👍
  • Wired connection is a 3.5mm jack. 👍
  • Very comfortable. 👍

Microsoft Surface Headphones 🎧
Purchased: December 2018

  • The cups make my ears hot. 👎
  • Top band not comfortable. 👎
  • Squeezes my head to much. 👎
  • Charges with USB-C. 👍
  • Tells you the battery level (in hours) and what device it is connected to when you turn them on. 👍
  • Tap controls on both sides so it doesn’t matter which side you tap. 👍
  • Turning rings on each side. Volume on right, NC on left. 👍
  • You need to tap lightly or the noise is irritating in the ear cup. 👎
  • Long pressing the controls will activate voice assistant (Siri for me). 👍
  • Pretty good battery life: 15 hours. 👍
  • Wired connection is a 3.5mm jack. 👍
  • Automatically pauses playback when you take off headphones. 👍

So what’s the verdict? Well, I ended up returning both the Sony and Microsoft headphones. Overall, after weighing the the pros and cons, neither were good enough for me to justify the $350 they each cost.

The Bose QC35 (series 1) aren’t perfect, but I will hold on to them a little bit longer until something else comes along that is worth the upgrade.

Headphones Travel Audio Bose Sony Microsoft
December 4, 2018

How-To: Migrating Content From Bear To Apple Notes

If you are looking to move note content from Bear to Apple Notes, this looks to be the best way to do it.

Q. What format should I export to?
A. Exporting to RTF seems to be the best for preserving content formatting, and it has the bonus of embedding photos and PDFs if you have them inline by using the .RTFD file format.

Q. What about my folder structure?
A. When you export from Bear you can select an option to preserve your structure on export. This way you can import into Apple Notes and have it keep your structure.

Q. What if I use Markdown?
A. Unfortunately Apple Notes does not support rendering of Markdown (yet)? If you exported your notes as .RTFD however, it will convert the Markdown on export giving you clean notes in Apple Notes rather than unrendered Markdown. You could export as plain text if you wish to keep the Markdown formatting, but you will not get the embedded media as easily.

Overall, it’s a quick and painless transition! I have nothing against Bear, quite the opposite actually. I would love to continue using it, but due to a work policy that prevents iCloud Drive on my work iPhone / MacBook, I opted for notes because it syncs without iCloud Drive somehow (I thought it did?). 🤷‍♂️

Update 2018-12-09
It looks like it absolutely requires iCloud Drive on the macOS side. No iCloud Drive = No Notes.

Apple Notes Bear Migration Notes
December 1, 2018

Tokyo 2018

I didn’t expect to be back in Japan this soon, but here we are! Our last trip was in 2015, and it was the best trip, so I am thrilled to be back again! It was a shorter trip this time around due to circumstances, but enough time to see and do a bunch.

🇺🇸 🛫 11 Hours [+1 day] (5,141 miles) 🛬 🇯🇵

We did a ton! Here are some of the highlights! 😀


  • Landed and went to hotel. 🛬
  • Walked around the area to de-airplane myself. 🚶🏼
  • Got a delicious taiyaki (fish-shaped dessert filled with sweet bean paste).
    7.04 miles walked


  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Pokémon Center Tokyo DX.
  • Had banana flavored water. Way too sweet! 🍌
  • Dipping ramen Lunch at a random ramen place. 🍜
  • Akihabara - Yodibashi Store. One of my absolute favorite stores!
    7.78 miles walked




  • Valerie was at work this day
  • Went to Akihabara to explore.
  • Took a bit of a break today.
  • Sushi Dinner.  🍣
    10.82 miles walked


  • Valerie was at work this day
  • Fujifilm Square photo gallery. 📸
  • Relaxation day.
  • Went for a run. 🏃
    6.25 miles walked


  • Breakfast at Tokyo Station.
  • Lunch at Pokémon Cafe.
  • Sushi at Uobei. So much fun! 🍣
    9.46 miles walked


  • Breakfast at Eggcellent. 🍳
  • Visited Shiba Park & the temple of Zōjō-ji. 🌳
  • Went to the airport to head home.

🇯🇵 🛫 9 Hours (5,141 miles) 🛬 🇺🇸

Great trip, and as always, can’t wait to go back!

✏️ 2015 Blog Post: A Japanese Sushi Experience

📷 Photos From The 2015 Trip

✏️ 2018 Blog Post: I Love Suica

📷 Photos From The 2018 Trip

Travel Japan Tokyo
November 30, 2018

I Love Suica

It’s not new to say how great the subway system is throughout Tokyo. If you have used the system you are well aware. One specific thing makes traveling around as easy as it can possibly be, the Suica card. The Suica card is a contactless payment system that can be used in place of individual paper tickets at station entrance and exit gates. I didn’t get one during our last trip to Tokyo, but this time I did, and it has been a game changer. Not only did I get the card, I added the card to my iPhone so I can just tap my phone and off I go.

You can get a My Suica” card at any of the JR line stations. Look for a ticket kiosk that has a black header sign above it. After you enter a few pieces of information and then add money to the card, out pops a fresh new Suica card with your name on it!

Once you have the card, you can now tap it at all stations when traveling throughout the subway system. You can even use the card to pay for items at many vendors and shops that accept the card for payments.

You can just use the card as is and you are good to go. You can also go one step further and add the card to your iPhone Wallet so you can simply tap your phone for payment. I highly recommend this as it means one less thing to carry around, and it’s just neat!

Adding the card to your iPhone is easy, here is a quick overview of how to get it all setup.
Note: adding your card to your phone renders the plastic card inoperable

  1. Change your phone region to Japan”. This only needs to be done to get the card initially added, afterwards you can change it back. Side Note: changing the region does not change the language of your phone. Settings > General > Language and Region.
  2. Now you can go to your Apple Wallet and add the Suica transit card. It walks you through the setup.
  3. Go check out your Apple Wallet and you now have a Suica Card in there!

  4. Tapping on the card, and then the blue circle with the 3 dots will show you all the information about the card, and this is also where you can reload your card with Apple Pay. There is also a setting in here that allows you to set a notification for low balance which is a nice thing to have.

  5. There is one more setting that I highly recommend turning on. This setting is called Express Transit Card. When you set this to be your Suica card it allows you to tap your phone on the gates without the need for Face ID / Touch ID. You don’t even have to have the screen on. It makes the whole process truly feel like magic. This can be setup in Settings > Wallet and Apple Pay > Transit Cards.
  6. When you enter the subway by tapping your phone, you get a lock screen notification showing your balance and your status of En Route”.

  7. Then when you leave the subway by tapping your phone again, you get another lock screen notification that shows you the trip cost, the starting and ending stops, and your updated balance.

There you have it! Even though the system has been around for quite a while, coming from the transit systems in the US, this feels so right!

Travel Japan Tokyo Suica Contactless Payment iPhone
November 29, 2018

Ten Of My Favorite Computers From The Last 25 Years

⬇️ 1995
    Compaq Presario 47841

⬇️ 1999
    Motorola TalkAbout T900
    Apple iBook G3 - Tangerine

⬇️ 2003
    Apple 12” PowerBook

⬇️ 2004
    Blackberry 8700
    Palm Treo 650

⬇️ 2007
    Apple iPhone

⬇️ 2011
    Apple 11” MacBook Air

⬇️ 2017
    Apple iPhone X

⬇️ 2018
    Apple iPad Pro 12.9
✴️ BONUS: Apple Watch Series 4

(to be on this list they must have been my personal use devices)

1: Why on earth is this on your list?!
This was the first computer that was 100% my own!

Computers History iPhone Mac Blackberry Compaq Apple Motorola Palm
November 19, 2018

I Got A New Backpack - GORUCK GR1

I have been buying backpacks for years as I searched for the right one.” Every bag is flawed in some way or missing some key feature. Versatility, comfort, and quality are the things I want most from a bag, and the GR1 delivers all three. I wish I had one of these bags during my enlistment!

I use this bag as my everyday bag, but also as a travel bag. It holds a ton and with optional accessories can be configured for just about any type of travel. It even has a super secure laptop area that I can use for a 15″ MacBook Pro or an iPad Pro.

With the way it looks (strong military vibe) you may think that comfort is not a top priority, but the support is top notch with this bag. This is one of the few bags that does not put an awkward strain on my back. Everything is weighted and anchored correctly to my body.

Every part of this bag screams quality. The price of the bag is not inexpensive, but the build and attention to detail make it more than worth it. I have seen a lot of bags with lifetime guarantees,” but I actually believe this bag could outlive me!

If you are in the market for a new backpack, give them a look. These bags are really awesome!

I got the GR1

Backpack GORUCK
November 13, 2018

From Accessory To Device

The Watch has been on my wrist for three years now, and it has been a valuable asset since the beginning. That value has increased over the years as the software has gotten better, and the hardware has steadily improved, culminating in the significant hardware update in Series 4.

When I think of my MacBook, iPad, or even iPhone, I consider them devices” that I actively accomplish tasks with. So far, the Watch has been more of an accessory to my iPhone than a standalone device. This began to change with the introduction of cellular connectivity in Series 3 and took a huge leap forward with the introduction of the series 4 watch and watchOS 5. This refreshed combination has pushed the Watch from simple Accessory to great Device.

I have found myself accomplishing more tasks with my Watch alone lately. There is, of course, a fundamental difference between performing something on the watch vs. something like the iPhone, so you have to understand that going in.

To get the maximum amount of utilization from the watch, I have split tasks into three interaction types.

  1. Glanceable Items - Complications that require only a glance.
  2. Short Interaction - Complications that are tappable for quick daily data input.
  3. Medium Interaction - Applications that live in the dock for quick data entry that occurs every few days or weekly.
    *Anything that would be considered a more extensive interaction that this should be done on another device.

So what do I have in these categories?

Category 1

  • Calendar
  • Weather
  • Sunset / Sunset
  • Activity

Category 2

  • WaterMinder
  • OmniFocus

Category 3

  • Workout
  • Timer
  • Music
  • Now Playing
  • Overcast
  • Messages
  • Walkie Talkie

I truly believe in the Watch platform and genuinely can’t wait to see what it does for us in the coming years. ⌚️

Apple Watch watchOS!

⬅️ An IndieWeb Webring ➡️

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