Support SaysBrad
  • Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound 3.5 Grams
    Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound 3.5 Grams
    Artic Silver

    If you’re having problems with your Adonit Jot capacitive touch stylus or Hex3 Jaja, you can improve its performance and reliability with careful application of thermal paste! For more on this, check out my capacitive touch stylus how-to fix-it guide. Months later (Sep 2013), my styli are still performing great!

  • Klear Screen iKlear Cleaning Kit for iPad, iPhone, Galaxy, LCD, Plasma TV, Computer Monitor and Keyboard (Cloth, Wipes and Spray)
    Klear Screen iKlear Cleaning Kit for iPad, iPhone, Galaxy, LCD, Plasma TV, Computer Monitor and Keyboard (Cloth, Wipes and Spray)
    Klear Screen

    I use this cleaner for my iPhone, iPad 3, iPad mini and MacBook Pro. It’s great all-around and won’t mess up the oleophobic coating on iOS device screens.

  • Adonit Jot Touch with Pixelpoint pressure sensitive stylus for iPad - Black
    Adonit Jot Touch with Pixelpoint pressure sensitive stylus for iPad - Black

    Adonit Jot with Pixelpoint, works with a lot of new drawing apps on iPad.

  • Klear Screen's iKlear 8 oz. Pump Spray Bottle 7351-IKHP, Others, Electronics & Computers
    Klear Screen's iKlear 8 oz. Pump Spray Bottle 7351-IKHP, Others, Electronics & Computers
    Klear Screen

    The stuff I use to keep my iPad screen nice and clean!

  • Cosmonaut: Wide-Grip Stylus for Capacitive Touch Screens
    Cosmonaut: Wide-Grip Stylus for Capacitive Touch Screens
    Studio Neat

    Awesome capacitive touch stylus created by Studio Neat. Great guys, great product. I use mine every day! Bradtastic Approved.

  • Adonit Jot Pro Stylus for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Other Touch Screens (ADJPG)
    Adonit Jot Pro Stylus for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Other Touch Screens (ADJPG)

    Adonit Jot Pro is an awesome capacitive touch stylus for iPad & other tablets.

  • Pencil by FiftyThree Digital Stylus for iPad Air, iPad Mini and iPad 3/4 - Walnut
    Pencil by FiftyThree Digital Stylus for iPad Air, iPad Mini and iPad 3/4 - Walnut

    Even if you consider yourself a casual doodler or note-taker, you’ll love this well designed stylus. Built for Paper by FiftyThree, the iPad app — however, many other apps support Pencil.

  • Bicycle Standard Index Playing Cards (Pack of 2)
    Bicycle Standard Index Playing Cards (Pack of 2)
    Sportsman Supply Inc.

    Playing Cards for your password creation or poker game!

My Wish List
If you’re looking for an app, need personal or corporate branding, marketing material, an illustration, logo, sketch or design — there’s a Brad for that!


Why anti-gambling laws are stupid.

DFS players say that daily fantasy sports isn’t gambling because it’s a game of skill. Unfortunately, that argument sucks.

It is gambling. Of course it is. The typical DFS player will argue that if DFS is gambling, then the stock market is, too. They’re right. Both are gambling. But so is just about everything in life.

The argument is used primarily to try and dodge America’s ridiculous gambling laws. It goes, “if it’s a game of skill, it’s not gambling.” Wrong. Online Poker was banned in most states; it’s also a game of skill, but it’s definitely gambling.

However, (and though I’m not a fan) I appreciate Chris Christie’s line (regarding DFS): “Let people play, who cares?!”

It’s hypocritical for the government to allow gambling in most other areas of life but restrict it when bets are made on games. Yes, our government does tons of other hypocritical things… but why are we letting it?

Some may argue that gambling is a destructive, addictive habit — that the government should step up and protect people from themselves. I’m in the libertarian camp on this; I don’t believe that the government — especially Federal — should be stepping in to control and define morality whenever they feel like it.

Anti-gambling laws are stupid; it’s all about control and money. “I know better than you, so I’m going to force you to live the way I think is best.” DFS was just banned in Nevada. Why? Because DraftKings and FanDuel aren’t licensed by the state. No other reason other than “give us money.” It’s not like you can’t bet on sports here… in a sportsbook.

How everything in life is a gamble.

Gambling can be broken into three categories: pure chance, skill and chance, and pure skill. It’s all gambling.

Most people play “slot machines.” This is a pure luck-based game. A random number generator sets odds on the machine to pay out a certain amount a certain amount of the time (over a theoretically infinite number of bets). There is no set schedule, no hot or cold machines. Playing craps? Odds of rolling 12 is 1/36. Can it be thrown three times in a row? Of course. That’s variance. You could also roll 200 times and never throw 12. But over hundreds of thousands and millions of rolls, it will average out to approximately once every 36 throws. Slot machines run on similar math.

Other examples of slot machines: keno, bingo, lotteries, scratchers and roulette.

Most people gamble on everything else like they’re playing a slot machine.

Blackjack, Video Poker, Texas Hold’em, sports… games of skill that people just take a shot at without skill or much thought. These are games where there’s a mathematically correct thing to do; if you know this math and act on the knowledge (making a correct decision), you will have an edge (over acting randomly or making a suboptimal choice). But most people don’t care to make correct decisions — they just want the action. People do this with other life decisions, too.

But… so what?

Gambling, for most people, is entertainment. Like TV, an amusement park or a movie. All of those things cost money with close to a 0% chance you’ll make money while enjoying those activities. Looking at most gambling like other entertaining things makes sense; you pay money (place a bet) and some action happens (reels spin, numbers appear, cards are dealt).

Some people don’t see it that way. Those people are wrong.

I don’t tell you what shows you can or cannot watch — what business is it of yours to tell me or anyone else (adults) how we can spend our money? If you choose not to gamble on games, good for you, that’s probably a good decision. If you do gamble, good for you, too.

Yes, some people get addicted, and it’s very damaging. Some people skydive and plummet to their deaths. A better analogy; some people spend all day in front of the TV and slowly kill themselves in the process. Some people drink themselves to death. That doesn’t mean that we should ban any of those things. Individuals make choices and those choices have consequences. That’s why there are some things children can’t do — as a society, we don’t believe that they’re fully aware of the rammifications of their actions, so we protect them. Either being an adult means something or it doesn’t.

Games of skill with chance.

In contrast to “slot machines” of various sorts, there are games where good decision-making leads to victory. This most closely resembles everyday life.

Daily Fantasy Sports and Poker are both games where, if you make better choices than your opponents, you’ll win over time. However, both are incomplete information games filled with uncertainty and randomness.

As a first example, football: a star player could get the flu or have a migraine that hinders his performance. You’re not likely to know about it beforehand, or to what degree his performance will be affected. Likewise, a player in your lineup could suffer a devastating injury removing him from the game. You can’t know with certainty that this will or won’t happen. That’s just chance. Bad luck. However, a skilled DFS player will still pick the best lineup, hope for the best, and win more than lose.

In Texas Hold’em: the best hand you can be dealt preflop is two Aces. The odds of this? 1/221. Very rarely your opponent will be dealt two Kings in the same hand — the second best hand, but very unlucky for him. Heads-up (one-on-one against two Kings), if all five community cards are dealt, your Aces will win about 81% of the time. However, it’s not a surefire win: about 19% of the time, your opponent will catch a King (or two) for three or four-of-a-kind, a King-high straight or perhaps a King-high flush.

Still, if I have Aces, I will stick in as much money as I can because I’m a big favorite to win, and most of the time, I do.

Then there’s complete information games of skill with practically no luck. Most things in life aren’t like this.

Chess is probably the best example. All the pieces are in full view 100% of the time. Every move can be seen and is recorded. The most skilled player will win practically always. There’s no random element that could remove a piece from the board, switch sides mid-game or reconfigure the pieces. If you play Chess for money, and you’re highly skilled, it’s a fairly safe bet.

But you’re still gambling, because you’re betting on whether or not you’re more skilled than your opponent.

If you risk money on something, you’re gambling.

It doesn’t matter if you’re starting a new business, buying a house, or getting some Chinese take-out. Your business could fail, your house could end up underwater (figuratively or literally) and your food could make you sick.

Everything else in life is also a gamble.

If you leave your house, you’re gambling. You could be hit by a car or get attacked by a rabid animal. If you stay in your house, you’re gambling. It could catch fire or a robber could break in and shoot you. You can’t know with 100% certainty that these things won’t happen.

You can mitigate these risks by gambling intelligently — gambling with an edge.

You can make a business plan and make sure you have proper capital (a bankroll). You can choose to buy a house in a good area and actively maintain it. You can prepare your own food, and select restaurants carefully (even inspect them first). You can avoid the likelihood of getting hit by a car by watching traffic and by not walking in the street. You can keep your distance from wild animals when you see them. You can make sure you have working smoke detectors in your home, and purposefully live in a safer neighborhood where home invasions are rare.

DFS and poker players make these kinds of intelligent, deliberate choices every day. You can do everything right to set yourself up to win, but sometimes you won’t. It’s a gamble, but if you make good decisions, one you’re likely to win.

Adults are free to make all sorts of decisions, good and bad. All carry consequences.

Do you go to college? Do you drive in the rain? Do you apply for a new job? Do you stay out too late on a worknight? Do you have another drink? Do you bet it all on red? Do you sit down at the poker table or play $5 DFS game online?

All of these carry risks and rewards, and adults should be free to make these choices without government interference. If you decide that the bad outweighs the good, don’t partake — but don’t make that decision for me or your neighbor. I highly doubt you want me telling you how to live and spend your money — even if I’m right. And I’m almost certain that you don’t want people like me using government force to make you do what we like.

So just let people play.

You play the odds, take risks, take chances — with your money and your life. Just like everyone else. Sometimes, these decisions are made intelligently; other times, it’s a slot machine. Let others make good and bad choices with their own lives.

Next: how poker teaches life skills; why it’s not just a gambling game, and why everyone should learn it. (But obviously, I don’t believe that they should have to.)


Playing Card Passwords: Safe Passwords for Forgetful People

(Note: an edited version of this is available at Medium.)

An effective way to create great passwords with a built-in failsafe.

Recently I devised (at least independently) a method for password creation that is safe (effective), has steps to easily add extra layers of protection, and is usable by basically anyone, forgetful or not.

Sorry, p@ssw0rD is not “safe” and neither are Post-it notes.

Unfortunately many people still use passwords made from real words, and use the same passwords for everything. Not good, right? I think most people instinctively know this, but doing something about it seems too troublesome.

Complicated passwords are difficult to remember, so if you do create one, you create one… and use it for everything.

Here’s a simple solution: a pack of playing cards.

Your standard 52 card deck will give you four passwords, at least 13 characters in length. Here’s how to set it up, and why I think it’s effective. At the end, I’ll list out methods to make the passwords even harder to crack, and ways to make an easier to remember (though less safe) version.

1. Separate the pack into each suit.

Ace through King gives you 13 cards per suit. Designate one picture card or the Ace to be lower case. Use a Sharpie if you must.

2. Shuffle each suit thoroughly and separately.

Thirteen factorial alone gives you 13! = 6,227,020,800 possible configurations, but there’s actually many more possible password configurations per suit than this because you’ve randomly assigned one of the letters on the face cards to be lowercase, and you can either assign the Ace to be A, a, or 1 and the Ten as either T, t, or 10.

My sample shuffle gives me: 92k10835A7Q46J

Pretty decent password.

Repeated again in clubs, I get T7Q196Kj43825

For this example, I replaced the Ten and Ace with “T” and “1.”

Repeat twice more and you have four very good passwords.

Storage is simple. Cards go back into the box to be stored in a very safe place. Locked safe, or some out-of-reach place where you store valuables like jewelry, cash or important documents. Some place the pack isn’t likely to opened and shuffled. No one will suspect that the deck of cards is actually you’re passwords set — unless everyone starts doing this, and let’s face it, they won’t.

Your computer (or phone) likely stores a lot of these passwords so you won’t have to recall and type them out often.

Important note: It’s not important that the shuffles appear random, only that it actually is.

Actual randomness (or events near enough that it makes no difference) doesn’t really work the way most of us intuitively think it does. It often ends with what looks to us like patterns. Cards may end up regrouping with for example, two or three cards that form an ordered set, like 234 or 765. You can rearrange that if you want, but it’s not necessary for the password to be “randomized.”

Need more?

One red deck, one blue. That’s 8. Cards come in different back designs. For my example, I’m using Tally-Ho playing cards, but there are Bicycle, Bee, WSOP, Budweiser, cheap drug store cards and practically countless others to choose from.

On making the password even more tricky.

In case 13! isn’t good enough for you, your two Jokers can come into play. Just assign it a value and shuffle it in. Now with just adding one card creates a minimum 87,178,291,200 combinations.

You can also assign cards new values.

In my first sample, I created: 92k10835A7Q46J

But that could easily be 9dKt835a7Q46j or nDK1083fA7q46J with an intuitive substitution of “d” for 2 (deuce) and “n” for Nine and “f” for Five. If these changes aren’t intuitive to you, you can use a Sharpie to mark the cards you’re altering for your password. You could apply these changes to passwords of just the red variety, or maybe just hearts and spades.

Additionally, you could replace a number with a non-intuitive (or less intuitive) character or string. The Ten could become “qo” for the two keys underneath the 1 and 0 on the keyboard. “7” could become “&.” Or, change the Queen to “v.” Create a system that you’re likely to remember or mark the cards.

Here’s a sample result using a Joker:


With a few substitutions, I’ve created a fantastic 15-character length password.

Simplification for passwords you may not want to store on your devices that are easier to remember.

Though less safe, eight characters is still moderately strong.

Eight cards gives you just 40,320 possible combinations, but you choose those eight cards, creating many more possibilities.

My simplified 8 card password:

NA8-jq25 — a password I can remember as “North America 8 - jack-queen twenty-five.”

Another example:

A6wt5KQ7 — trickier to create a mnemonic for, but not impossible. “A6 wt5 ( “w” for “Wild,” five like “f,” wtf… what the five) Kwing 7.”

And there you have it, the Bradtastic Method of Password Creation!

What I’ve presented is really just the beginning of a scalable method for password creation with a built-in failsafe — a pack of cards kept in an actual safe!

Create your own coded system to enhance it, use ten or twelve cards instead of 13, or use the basic method.

Better still, set the system up for your parents who might still be using passwords like “OurDogsNameYearWeGotMarried.” And then send me presents when your inheritance isn’t stolen by a hacker.


Killer Graphics for The Secret Source

A new effect at The Secret SourceI just finished designing a series of “title cards” for The Secret Source. Each represents a downloadable instructional video (soon to be) released at their website. KILLER CASE is probably my favorite, but I’m very happy with each of them. 

My first series, four in total, can be viewed here at Behance or at my Prosite. (I also added a new link in the navigation bar called “Portfolio.”) Created using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

More designs to follow!


Working on new magic website

It’s called The Secret Source and it’s up now — check it out if you’re interested in magic products. Also, if you’re going to MAGIC Live! check out The Secret Source booth!


Playing Texas Hold'em Poker Online in Nevada on

River set for Sixes full of Aces vs Fours full.

I’ve been playing live and online poker a lot more than Video Poker recently. The main reason is really simple: higher expected value. The EV from great Video Poker games is about 101%, that is, for every $100 bet, one can expect $101.

Live/Online poker offers much better value — especially if your opponents suck. There’s still a luck factor, but that’s greatly mitigated by skill. If you make better decisions than your opponents, you’ll make money long-term.

Unfortunately (and recently), the NV poker software has been a bit of a slot machine.

More than 90% of the boards were paired, two-paired, contained 3+ flush cards, or a combination of flush and pair.

While the “support” staff at insist that the game is fair, that the RNG is tested and “guaranteed,” the hand history shows a statistical improbability that’s very difficult to accept.

It’s not just a series of 10-30 hands — and it’s not normal. I’ve played for about two months online, and it’s only the past few days that this anomaly has occurred. I played at different hours of the day, on multiple tables, and experienced this phenomenon.

Seven hands in a row on two tables, the flop was paired — like a flop of King-King-Four or 557. This makes for huge hands… monsters. Flushes dominated by Full Houses. The occasional relatively dry board would still have 3 or 4 connected (straight) cards.

I took screenshots of the hand histories and sent them to — of course I get the standard response. It’s somewhat hard to believe that they would tweak the RNG to produce wet aka dangerous boards on purpose to increase their rake (monster hands against other monsters = huge pots = higher rake), but it’s harder to believe that this string of cards is “random.”

More likely would be a glitch or hack that has caused strings of three suited cards flopping, mixed in with paired boards and the rare occasional dry board. Not that they’d admit to this.

And I’m not writing this because I’ve suffered losses; choosing my moments carefully, I’ve been able to capitalize on a few monster hands. Many shared on my Instagram.

I have taken a few hits on ridiculous river cards, however.

Screenshot 2015 07 17 01 58 44

It’s more that, for legal (Nevada, and a few other states) online poker to succeed, it must be fair. I’ve played more than one-thousand hands over the past two days, and the same pattern persists; a pattern that did not occur before. The paired boards and single suited flops came at around the mathematically expected rate.

This aberrant series of hands has changed how people play the game. More pre-flop all-ins and chasing, calling down big bets with very bad (expected) odds because it’s just inevitable that the board will pair on the turn or river, just like the last 5+ hands… and it does. People are calling pot-sized bets on flush draws because the flushes occur at much higher than the expected rate.

It’s probably more likely that you’d be dealt two Royal Flushes in a row in Video Poker (approx. 650,000:1 odds for one dealt Royal) than for these community cards to appear as often as they have.

Hopefully, things go back to normal. I’ve dropped down in the microstakes because at the moment, I just don’t really trust the software and RNG. I’d quit completely except for the fact that I can still win a little money playing these insane games.

I really hope that other players screenshot their hand histories as well and that someone at WSOP looks into this issue… otherwise, I think a lot of people will drop out. Just because Nevada Gaming has certified their RNG at some point and WSOP audits their payouts doesn’t mean that the system is unhackable or error-free. At the moment, WSOP’s “guarantee” of their RNG is practically meaningless to me and numerous other online players.


The Secret Source logo design

Just thought that I’d share these. Playing with clipping masks.


Status Update

Hey everyone.

Thanks for checking out my little blog here. I know it’s been extremely neglected; honestly, I’m just not into technology like I was.

Part of that is changes in my personal life, but a big portion of that is that I feel like new technologies just aren’t revolutionary anymore. Some software is pretty good, but the hardware just doesn’t feel life altering anymore.

The iPhone and iPad were both life-altering for me, but new iterations and the new unstable iOS just haven’t impressed me. I don’t see anything out today that would make a significant change in my life. Some of the stuff on the horizon looks very promising to me… unfortunately, nothing from Apple is on that list. It really feels like the magic died with Steve.

Prior to the first iPhone, I switched from a Palm Treo to a candy bar Sanyo phone without a camera or games because it was super light and had a substantial talk time. I was still using landlines as well. The iPhone changed so much for me.

The original iPad seemed like a uselessly large iPod Touch — damn was I wrong about that. The iPad affected how I interact with the internet and create art. It changed how I dealt with emails and allowed me to connect with people even when I was extremely sick (months).

The first capacitive styluses (styli?) revolutionized art creation for me, and the pressure sensitive ones doubled my tablet drawing abilities. The new ones are exciting, but they just don’t seem leaps and bounds better. Each has tried to be an improvement, but reports of accuracy issues plague each. I know what my Intuos Creative Stylus (one) and Pencil can do, how they’ll perform, and I know that they’ll perform accurately. Assuming my iPad works. (More on that in a bit.) I don’t know that about the new stuff, and it just doesn’t seem worth the gamble. (I live in Reno, NV — there are other ways to do that.)

The MacBook Pro Retina put power and a fantastic screen onto my lap. Light, fast and sleek, it was a nearly perfect notebook for me — something that was a true desktop replacement.

The new stuff doesn’t strike a spark with me. Faster? Yes. Better in-general? Of course. Dynamically different? Hardly.

The Apple Watch? Maybe after a few generations. It’s nothing that I need or even really want. For a few days I thought that it would be fantastic, but I don’t see what it’d do for me that my iPhone 5S doesn’t already cover. It’d just weigh down my wrist.

Perhaps if iOS performed better for me, I’d have more faith in the Watch software. Each iOS iteration seems to make older Apple devices perform worse. My phone locks up, lags and crashes almost every day. My iPad? Nearly nonfunctional. Perhaps that’s how they’re going to convince me to buy a new one come Fall. The old one will just freeze up on the lock screen and won’t allow me to draw; so I’ll be forced to upgrade. That’s pretty shitty.

The only Apple technology that I’m somewhat interested in at the moment is a (possible) new Apple TV. Why? Because mine (current ten) crashes a lot while watching Netflix and Hulu. Again, a shitty reason to upgrade: because you have to — the current one stops working.

Not done with blogging.

So I’ve been writing about other things, controversial things. Political and social things. Everyone will admit that America and the rest of the world has serious problems, but people vehemently disagree on how to solve them. Heck, people don’t even agree on what the problems are.

I expect that when I start posting this stuff in earnest, it will have to be at a different site, it will draw out trolls and disgusting comments, death threats and the like. My intention is to stimulate honest dialogue and debate on issues, and I hope to get some of (or mostly) that, but people have a tendency to say awful and evil things on the internet.

It’s really just an exaggerated form of what’s happening in the “mainstream media” (TV, major news sites); more insults and rhetoric than reasoned debate and solutions. I expect (and appreciate) that from regular people (if there is such a kind) pundits, not politicians. Opinion pieces should be challenged by other opinions, and solutions should be challenged by alternative solutions — but that’s not really what’s happening.

I intend to try and offer both. I don’t see much point in saying, “well, that policy won’t work,” if it isn’t followed by “here’s what will.”

It takes a lot of time and research to formulate a cohesive and coherent commentary; creative viable alternatives to current proposals is tremendously more challenging.

It will take time and practice; I don’t expect my early works to be gems. I’ll probably make new enemies, but I think it’s worth it — and maybe I’ll make a few new friends.

And I’ll still write about technologies when something comes up.


Website Issues

It looks like I’m really going to need to do something about this site. Not getting accurate anything, and just loading the editor is a bit of an issue. Maybe because it’s an old version.


Says Brad Logo Concept

I’ve been thinking about creating something simple to replace the SAYS BRAD atop this site.

I haven’t figured out how to color it, or even if I really like it, but I wanted to create something simple and clean, since most of what I design isn’t. It’s an S that looks something like $ with the bar in the center, but it can also be interpreted at SB — two letters connected in the center.

Maybe I can turn it into an Apple Watch face. Something that I don’t need on something that I don’t need… but kinda want.