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
April 13, 2019

Mac Fresh Install App Checklist

If you are setting up a new Mac and choose not to do a migration (for whatever reason), you may want to have a list of all your applications so you can get back up and running as quickly as possible on the new machine. This is a quick tip that I always use when I am setting up a new Mac.

On your old Mac” Follow these easy steps to get a quick checklist created of all your currently installed apps.

  1. Open terminal.
  2. Copy and paste the following command:
    ls /Applications > ~/Desktop/app_checklist.txt Mac Terminal Screenshot
  3. Open this new text file that is on your desktop. Select all and copy the text. Sreenshot of text file on desktop Text file listing mac apps
  4. Open Notes.app. Paste this text into a new note.
  5. Select all the text in the new note, and click the Make a Checklist” button. Apple Notes list of Mac apps
  6. Done! 🎉
Mac Software Apps Terminal
March 11, 2019

Luna Display

Part of our new Mac mini purchase included a Luna display USB-C adapter. Because the iPad Pro is what we consider to be our main computer”, this was going to be a way to utilize the Mac mini for short sessions while on our iPads.

Here are some of my observations during use.

A. I would prefer the Mac app to be a menu bar app rather than a dock app. There doesn’t really need to be an app in my dock 100% of the time.

B. This window seems to always want to be showing on the Mac which is useless when you are on the Mac. Luna Display Dialog Box

C. Every time I connect, it sets the display configuration to extended, which is not ideal when you are connecting with an iPad to use the Mac from another room. So I have to switch the display preference to mirrored every time I connect. Not sure why it doesn’t allow for a default, or at least remember the last connection state. Maybe something I am missing?

At the end of all this, I have found that using Screens (with Screens Connect) is a more simple and effective way to accomplish remote control of the Mac mini. Plus I really like the way they have implemented touch mouse control.

It’s a neat little device, but I am struggling to see why it would be any better” for remote desktop use compared to a software solution.

*I am not using it as an additional display, which is one of the key features of the device. This works as intended. Perhaps I just misunderstood the use cases for this device.

If you are using a Luna Display and are not having these issues, let me know if you have any ideas. Thanks! 📧

Mac mini Luna Display Remote Desktop Screens Screens Connect
Jason Burk | 1999-2019
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