June 17, 2019
Dusting Off An Old Project - Part 2
I have gone through all my old files and got each project file updated to the latest versions of Pages, Photoshop, InDesign, etc.
Now that I have all my files ready for revision 2, it’s time to get down to it! I started by going through the rules booklet and refining it to incorporate things that were noted down in previous rounds of play testing, and added a few new things that came to mind just from simply being away from the project for a while and coming to it with a fresh perspective.
Now comes one of the harder portions of the project, the artwork. It’s going to be critical to have really awesome artwork for this game so I am definitely going to be reaching out to friends who are amazing artists and commission work from them. I have been kicking around the idea of commissioning smaller chunks of the work with people I don’t know as well to get some artistic diversity injected into the game!
I am working on a project plan right now, and hoping to have that done by the end of June. It shouldn’t take that long but I need to be realistic about time commitments such as work, travel, and family.
June 6, 2019
Micro.blog WWDC19 Stickers
For those unable to get all the way out to CA this year for the Micro.blog meetup at WWDC 2019, add your name and address below and I will get a limited edition Micro.blog WWDC19 sticker sent your way!
Stickers Left as of 2019-11-12 10:00 AM = 0
See you all next year!
Stickers have been sent to the following countries so far!
- United States
- United Kingdom
First Batch Going Out!
Second Batch Going Out!
Third Batch Going Out!
Fourth and Fifth Batch Going Out!
oops, forgot to take photos of these..
Photos posted showing their new stickers!
June 2, 2019
Dusting Off An Old Project - Part 1
Sometime around the end of 2012, beginning of 2013, I had an itch to create something, not 100% in the digital world that I lived in. I had a couple ideas swirling around in my head, but the one that I kept coming back to was board games. I had a handful of game ideas running around in my head, and a couple of them, I thought, could be pretty good. I began mocking up game pieces and boards using cardboard and draft paper, and eventually got to some prototypes that were enough of the way there to try some playthroughs with friends. I don’t fully know why these projects never made it through to completion, could have been frustration, denial, burnout, but the end result is that they never got finished.
I was listening to a podcast yesterday, and a completely unrelated topic brought the thought of these two games rushing back into my head. Today, I dug up all the prototypes, and digital files (for creation of the content needed), and set off to make a plan to get one of them pushed to completion! After discussing it with my wife, we agreed on which of the two to do first, and use the learnings from this one to apply to the second game if that becomes the eventual future.
No rule says you can’t put a project aside and come back to it. I really do believe that this time will allow for a (hopefully) richer and deeper experience given a new perspective. This should be part 1 of X blog posts as I go through the process of getting this game from concept to shrink-wrapped box!
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!
May 12, 2019
Brydge Keyboard - iPad Pro 12.9 (2018)
Price: $169.99 + $7.99 (shipping) + $12.32 (tax) = $190.30
Here it is, the Brydge Keyboard for the 2018 iPad Pro 12.9”!
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.
Typing on your lap feels much like a MacBook. There are two things I would mention here.
- It’s pretty narrow, mainly if you are used to a 15″ MacBook Pro.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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!)
- MacBook Pro
- Magic Keyboard
- Smart Keyboard Case
- Brydge 12.9”
Now add in additional features offered, convenience, and things like use on your lap:
- MacBook Pro
- Brydge 12.9”
- Smart Keyboard Case
- Magic Keyboard
- 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.
- 2019-05-24 Worked with CS over at Brydge to do some troubleshooting. My unit is going to be sent back via RMA to be replaced. Looking forward to getting the new unit!
- 2019-06-07 I got a replacement (open box) unit. It seems like the keys are working, but I have been using it for the last day or so and I don’t know if it’s the key mechanisms, or the way I type, or something else, but I still find many key strokes to be missing from my typing (only when I use the Brydge). I think, unfortunately, this keyboard is not going to work for me. This new unit also makes a popcorn crackle sound when picking it up that the original one did not? I really wanted it to work, but it’s too much trouble to constantly have to fix missing characters in my writing.
I have submitted for a return of the keyboard.
2019-06-08 I got some info from the CEO of Brydge about some settings in accessibility to look at and disable. They have had some reports that this may be what I am experiencing. I have a phone call set up with him to discuss my issues further on Monday.
2019-06-24 I have returned the keyboard. Given all the issues I was having, it wasn’t going to work for me to type on every day. I find the Smart Keybaord cover to be a much better input device for me. Not thrilled that I have to pay for return shipping and a “restocking fee”, but it’s better than just putting it in a drawer to never be used again.
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.
May 7, 2019
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.
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.
May 1, 2019
Ultrawide Screen Auto Layout Button
At work I have the following setup to get my work done most efficiently.
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!
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
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Very unique and awesome!
Boxboy! + Boxgirl!
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Great game for co-op play.
Platform: Nintendo Switch
It’s like Stardew Valley with cats!
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Cool visuals and gameplay. From the creators of the Torchlight series.
Platform: Nintendo Switch
So. Damn. Difficult. Really awesome art and music!
Starlink: Battle for Atlantis
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!
April 20, 2019
Siri Shortcuts - Episode 10
Shortcut Name: Where are we dropping?
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?
- Create a list of all names map locations.
- Randomly select a location.
- Speak the location.
Check out other shortcuts
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.
Sony A7 III
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… 📷
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Open terminal.
- Copy and paste the following command:
ls /Applications > ~/Desktop/app_checklist.txt
- Open this new text file that is on your desktop. Select all and copy the text.
- Open Notes.app. Paste this text into a new note.
- Select all the text in the new note, and click the “Make a Checklist” button.
- Done! 🎉
March 11, 2019
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.
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! 📧
March 11, 2019
Author: Daniel Suarez
2009 saw one of the most inventive techno-thriller debuts in decades as Daniel Suarez introduced his terrifying and tantalizing vision of a new world order. Daemon captured the attention of the tech community, became a national bestseller, garnered attention from futurists, literary critics, and the halls of government-leaving readers clamoring for the conclusion to Suarez’s epic story.
In the opening chapters of Freedom™, the Daemon is well on its way toward firm control of the modern world, using an expanded network of real-world, dispossessed darknet operatives to tear apart civilization and rebuild it anew. Civil war breaks out in the American Midwest, with the mainstream media stoking public fear in the face of this “Corn Rebellion.” Former detective Pete Sebeck, now the Daemon’s most famous and most reluctant operative, must lead a small band of enlightened humans in a populist movement designed to protect the new world order.
But the private armies of global business are preparing to crush the Daemon once and for all. In a world of conflicted loyalties, rapidly diminishing government control, and a new choice between free will and the continuing comforts of ignorance, the stakes could not be higher: hanging in the balance is nothing less than democracy’s last hope to survive the technology revolution.
Previous Book in Series
Finished Reading: February 24, 2019
March 10, 2019
Podcasts going down the same road?
I can’t say I am happy to see podcasting heading down the road of Netflix, Hulu, (list the other nine streaming services)..
Another form of media that wants me to have 6 different apps to be able to hear everything the way I want. Rad..
Historically collecting podcasts was so easy.
- Find RSS feed.
- Add to player.
Wondering if Apple will add podcasts back into Music and make deals to include content from these ad free and original content sources?
Perhaps this exclusive / ad free content is only available in these silo apps for some period of time, then it moves to ad supported in normal rss feeds?
I guess this means that podcasting has found the mainstream given the number of companies looking to pull money out of the medium now?
Lots of open questions, but it’s definitely clear that Podcast consumption as we know it is changing, and the change is accelerating.
What’s your take?
I ❤️ Podcasts
Jason Burk | 1999-2019