Support SaysBrad
  • (Most Compact 20000mAh Portable Charger) Anker PowerCore 20100 - Ultra High Capacity Power Bank with Most Powerful 4.8A Output, PowerIQ Technology
    (Most Compact 20000mAh Portable Charger) Anker PowerCore 20100 - Ultra High Capacity Power Bank with Most Powerful 4.8A Output, PowerIQ Technology
    Anker

    This thing, you need. Run your smartphone for days.

  • 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.

  • 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!

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

    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

    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
    FiftyThree

    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 Amazon.com 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!

Tuesday
Jan282014

American Disorder

I got sick again, and it’s such a shame because there are projects I want need to finish and I’d really like to get my political site up and running. Every day I come across things that make me question American culture. This just blew my mind.

Here’s a quote from the article.

A remarkable conversation happened when a woman called into a radio station and defended her abuse of welfare, and unwillingness to work for her and her children.

She called in to brag about how she gets to sit home all day and she gets to ”visit my friends all day” as well as ”smoke weed” instead of working for a paycheck. The women claimed to be getting about $450 altogether in food stamps.

[She] told the radio host, “Can you really blame us?? The caller, Lucy, goes on to claim that while her husband works part-time, he doesn’t really work that much because “he doesn’t see the need for it.

…[She] goes on to ask an incredibly valid question, “Why should I work?” She also says, “We’re the one’s getting paid, can you really blame us?”

I’m amazed, not that this is occurring, but by the brazen honesty of the caller. And she asks a valid question: why should people struggle, work and pay taxes when you can get everything you want for free?

Wednesday
Jan222014

Moving from Squarespace 5 to Squarespace V6

So I finally found a theme that I kinda like at Squarespace 6.

At least it’s the best that I’ve seen so far. Like WordPress, Squarespace is really in the CMS/full website building business and is moving away from blogs. With that in mind, I was hesitant to make the switch.

There’s that, and Squarespace won’t let third party apps like Blogsy work with version 6.

I have no idea why this is. I’ve asked, heard nothing. fomola (Blogsy dev) has asked numerous times… nothing.

Seems stubborn.

But after spending some time looking at the UI and figuring out what does what, I’ve figured out something really, pretty important. SIX is damned powerful. It absolutely blows FIVE away. Tons of little things that I’ve wanted to do here, things that I’ve wanted to add that requires custom code, are just built-in options with SIX.

Now I just need to figure out the best way to move my content and move over to SIX.

There are still a lot of things that I don’t care for with SIX, but I think I can tweak most of it. Basically, it’s just not that readable and usable. I don’t like the typography. It still feels more like flash and style than substance. Also, I can’t seem to get autocorrect, text replacement and substitutions to work in the SSV6 editor.

But I guess people like that. I like this theme that I’ve been playing with. It’s a lot of work trying to get the new, old site up; meanwhile, I’m trying to plan out the rest of my writing. I’m going to add an entertainment section to talk about video games and anime. My personal stuff will be elsewhere, entirely (at the moment, it’s called “Bradtastica”), as well as politics. I don’t think I want to deal with all of those insipid comments insults.

By the way, is it just me, or is this Spacecraft website builder look a lot like… Squarespace 6?

Saturday
Jan182014

Starting the Process

Starting the process of streamlining this site and getting my other writing officially online and organized.

It’s quite a stressful process really, because I was having some issues with Squarespace — speed, connectivity, etc. The company itself is pretty great; some of the best customer service (by email only, though), ever.

I’ve shut down the sparse personal section here, since most of that content will find its home at my disability blog — which will really be more of a personal blog to share thoughts on things not tech-related.

Although I’m very cogniscent of Andrew Keen’s Cult of the Amateur and don’t want to contribute to it, I have to believe that it mightn’t apply here. Perhaps that’s just ego. But being a professional writer isn’t really what people think. There’s only one JK Rowling. Authors, like painters, seem to renowned only after they’re dead. There are a handful of exceptions, but aside from major media and tabloid journalists, most writers have some kind of day job or other thing on the side that they do to just to cover the basic things, like electricity, an internet connection, and sometimes luxuries like food, heat and running water.

Why pay for something that’s offered up for free?

It’s really tough, and in many ways blogging makes it tougher, because it has the potential side-effect of devaluing writing and creative content.

On the flipside, it can open up new avenues of expression and exploration, bridge the gaps of age, race and physical distance, raise awareness of important issues, bring popularity to a topic or author, and can become (sort of)-on-the-job training. I think blogging can be used to help a writer find his or her voice and develop a personal style, as well as procedurally train him (me) in an oft-idiosyncratic creative process.

So.

I am dealing with domain issues. Once those are straightened out and I can reliably say go to (this-here-great) dot com and read away, I will share it with you. I’m still not good at just getting the content out there; I keep thinking, edit this, change that. I really hope that this gets easier.

Thursday
Jan162014

OS X: Getting rid of Dashboard

How to permanently* remove Dashboard in OS X Mavericks.

Now more than ever, Apple’s Dashboard feels redundant.

When Apple first announced Dashboard Widgets, it was sort of revolutionary to me; all of these mini-apps, adding functionality and usability to my computer with a tap. However, with the numerous innovations that have come about since multi-touch and iOS, Dashboard seems like a slow, unnecessary relic of OSX’s past.

Dashboard was designed before multi-touch mice and trackpad gestures, and was an innovation prior to the iPhone. But it’s still built into the latest Mac OS X release, Mavericks.

Don’t want it anymore? I didn’t. Why have something around that I’m not going to use that just slows down my computer and eats up bandwidth? Here’s how to kill it. Note: you need admin privileges.

Step one: Open Terminal.

Add the following line of code:

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean true

Two: Relaunch.

Add the next line:

killall Dock

Three DONE!

Now, Dashboard is finally a thing of the past.

Widgets are mini-apps. iPhone is a mini-computer.

I understand that some people will still benefit from Dashboard, I don’t need a list of reasons why it’s still valid. There are a number of really cool widgets available. Just nothing that I can’t do faster with Safari or more conveniently on my iPad or iPhone, devices that are always right next to me and can function as a second screen, mini-computer. Siri can do just about everything that standard widgets do (I can’t at the moment think of something I’d do with a widget that I can’t just tell my phone to do for me), without changing to a separate space or obscuring my main screen.

Not really permanent.

* However, sometimes we change our minds about things. If you need to bring Dashboard back, simply change true to false

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean false

Don’t forget!

killall Dock

Dashboard should now be back.

If you like this sort of post or it helps you out, please let me know!

I feel like I shouldn’t have to write this (but lest it become a problem somehow)…

You modify settings on your system at your own risk. Please don’t blame me if something goes wrong or doesn’t work on your system — I’m not there, I don’t know what happened. I’m basically just passing along information that helped me.

Wednesday
Jan152014

Mac and More, "Quick" Update!

Hey, everyone. Things have been hectic and stressful around here, but I’m hoping to get some writing finished today and tomorrow. I was going to write about markdown and apps straightaway, but I want to address recent revelations about the theft of customer information at Target — the 2013 Black Friday hacks. I don’t like the way Target is handling it, and I’ll explain why in detail. I found out about the severity of the issue because of an email target sent! but almost didn’t trust it because their email is super-sketchy and looks like phishing spam!

 

I hope that you aren’t affected by Target’s negligence and the data thieves. Everything about identity theft is stressful.

 

Also, I want to share more Mac OS X (Mavericks) tips that I’ve come across, in particular:

 

  • How to get rid of (disable) the pesky, nigh-useless (redundant, slow) OSX Dashboard… and how to get it back again later if you change your mind.
  • How to access the iCloud Photo stream without opening iPhoto.

 

Sort of like my post about removing apps from Launchpad, these are a few things that I wanted, and believe that it may be of interest to other Mac users.


 

Last, if you like strategic cards games and anime, check out Tanto Cuore.

 

Superb gameplay that really doesn’t have much to do with anime or maids. I’ve been a bit obsessed with Crunchyroll recently.


If you’d like a 48-hour all access pass, leave a comment about your favorite anime or drama, and send me an email!

I need some way to send you the code :-) I only have a few, and it’s first come, first served!


Well, if you get Tanto Cuore and want to play it with me, you’re at the top of the list. ;-)

 

Monday
Jan062014

Says Brad 2014!

Happy New Year! I’m excited about 2014.

2013 didn’t start well for me. I was sick throughout. I feel like I didn’t get much of anything done, like it was a lost year. Looking back at 2013, it feels like it went by before I realized it but simultaneously, it didn’t feel quick. Time feels quite different when you’re sick, and I was sick for probably more than half of the year, including the final weeks of December.

This year will bring more significant changes. I’m going to move out of California! That’s an exciting thing for me; a chance for a new beginning, to meet new people, and find new opportunities to learn, grow, and hopefully work. I’m hopeful that November’s mid-term elections will signal a shift in America as well, and I’m making every effort to get my political site up and running as quickly as possible to share some of my libertarian conservative ideas, specifically regarding controversial topics such as gay marriage and abortion. Far too often, people steer conversation away from these serious matters toward the mundane and inconsequential, all in effort to keep peace and to not offend. I think this is usually done with good intentions, I just don’t think it’s a feasible long-term solution, and has aided in alienating people and polarizing the country in ways I’ve never seen before in my life.

But enough of the serious and personal, onto Says Brad!

For about a month, I’ve been writing exclusively in Markdown, and I’m thrilled with this change. Two critical components that’ve made this pain-free and pleasurable: Daedalus Touch (universal iOS) + *Ulysses III* (Mac), and Byword** (universal iOS, Mac).

Ulysses III is so good that while I’m working on a full review, I’ve spent enough time with it to know — it’s indispensable for anyone interested in a fluid, natural, comprehensive and beautiful writing/note-taking environment. (That it syncs automatically with Daedalus Touch via iCloud is a huge bonus.)

I’ve never used a more beautiful writing app… or had as much fun. Ulysses III inspires me to write more, and helps keep me organized and efficient with everything neatly in one place, sans messy file folders and miscellaneous doc names.

Byword is a fantastic markdown/rich text editor that I’ve written about before, but I really only use it on my iPad and iPhone right now because it includes a markdown preview and live, in-line styling — and Daedalus doesn’t. It’s also possible to post to blogs from within Byword, but it’s an IAP priced at $4.99. I’d use it if it were included. (Having communicated with Daedalus/Ulysses debs, The Soulmen, I’m confident that Daedalus Touch will include these things in the future. If you have an iOS device, there’s no reason not to try Daedalus, as it’s now freemium.)

Switching to markdown has helped me to focus on content and forget about formatting. The text is clean and readable, links can be added in as reference-style footnotes, and words can be emphasized and emboldened without ever using brackets or clicking a toggle.

Blogging, 2014

Over a decade ago, I was happily posting to Livejournal without a care or concern for the underlying technology or the longevity of the platform. As a teenager, I just didn’t think about those things. This changed when a Livejournal admin censored me. I hadn’t been posting as frequently and had just undergone surgery to fix my shoulder (bad idea), and didn’t realize that they’d contacted me by email, instructing me to self-censor and remove someone’s full name. As I hadn’t replied, my site was shut down.

It wasn’t just that my content was pulled from public view. I was locked out.

My account had been suspended for violating one of their rules. I was cut off from my own writing, years of work, completely unavailable. I was lucky; able to save my site, discovering what had happened before my account was permanently closed, but the process alerted me to the fact that my content was not my own.

I decided that I was done with LJ. I didn’t like the fact that someone could put extra restrictions on my content and that those rules could change at any time, that I could lose my writing. Since then, I’ve been very concerned about terms of service and content restrictions and ownership. I used WordPress for several years and then stumbled upon Squarespace, and although I’m presently (mostly) happy with the service, I’m always looking at alternatives.

I think that both WordPress and Squarespace do a remarkable job at managing a full-featured website, but lately, I’ve been intrigued by the “just blogging” platforms like Ghost. I’ve been testing different services: Roon, Posthaven, Silvrback… I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on these services and hope that I can help someone pick his/her best fit blogging platform.

More in 2014

In the coming months, I’ll be adding reader-requested reviews of styluses, including a more-detailed review of Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus and thoughts on Pencil by FiftyThree. Also, some app devs have graciously provided copies of their apps for me to try and write about, so I’ll have that upcoming as well. I’m excited about another year of cool technology and discussing these things with you! (The latest Apple rumor is about an iPad Pro iOS/OSX hybrid device — I really hope that it’s Penabled, wouldn’t that be something?!)

In the interim, if you want to chat, send me a message at Twitter or Facebook! I hope you have a great year!

Wednesday
Dec252013

Merry Christmas!

Too many people saying Happy Holidays. On Christmas. What’s with that?

It’s a national holiday here, and according to a recent poll, 9/10 American families celebrate it in some way, so why all the reluctance to just say Merry Christmas? Seems like tolerance and political correctness is a one-way street.

This time of year, and this day, I think is an important time to reflect on family and friends, the year as a whole, and dreams and ambitions for the coming new year. For people working retail, it’s doubly stressful, as the hectic shopping rush leading up to Christmas is overwhelming, chaotic and emotionally draining. A lot of people are running around sick, too… and got Stephanie sick with this horrible cough and aches.

And then she got me sick.

So here I am, trying to make the most of it, and I’m in front of my computer (that I somewhat reluctantly upgraded to OS X 10.9 Mavericks because of all the glowing reviews published on the major tech blogs), and I find out today that my Boot Camp Windows drive is entirely broken and unreadable. I read about it online, and it seems like the best course of action is to delete, repartition and reinstall… and everyone keeps saying backup, backup, backup like a mantra.

The thing is, with the cloud and online backups, there’s really not much to “save.” Everything is already, has already been saved, platform agnostic. The major problem? Reinstalling the apps. Mostly really large ones. I think I’m going to wait to tackle this problem. Too stressful.

Should clean out the OSX side of things, first. Lots of files to tag and rearrange. My big I’m sick Christmas Project that I probably can’t finish by 2014. I know it seems like minor annoyances, but when you’re dealing with years of chronic pain and physical problems, every little minor annoyance becomes extra stress that seems to compound and exacerbate the real issues.

But, I’m going to try to focus on the positives. I think that that’s a good practice, insofar as it’s within reality and reasonably objective. Hopefully I won’t be sick (this time) for long!

Again. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Stay warm and safe.

Monday
Dec232013

Ghost 0.3 Blogging

I received an email today notifying me that Ghost was now offering their hosted service, complete with a risk-free (no CC required) 30-day trial.

So I set one up, natch.

If you want to see it, it's at good.ghost.io. I'm probably just going to post review thoughts there, like notes, since it's very basic. I'm thinking about again publishing thoughts on disability and pain management (and personal ponderings) like I did at my bespoke domain, and something clean — a pure blog — would work well for that. The basic plan would certainly suffice as I can't imagine that I'd get much traffic. I need to read more about stability and potential security risks, first — there isn't a whole lot about Ghost 0.3 online. Do you know anything about it? I'd like to know what you guys think.

I was also considering it for my political site — though my first instinct is to use Squarespace 6, since it has so many built-in features and I already have it. Ghost has some quirks that bug me, but I suppose that minor annoyances are unavoidable.

Maybe the guys at Ghost would sponsor my disability blog? :-) That would be really super!

Wednesday
Dec182013

Christmas Colors and December News

Yesterday and the day before, I modified the color scheme here at Says Brad. Some simple updates, but sticking pretty closely to the same RWB Americana theme. (RWB just made me think of RWBY, a cool show by Rooster Teeth) Earlier today, while I was planning and writing my upcoming notes apps’ reviews, I thought about the theme change and decided to give it Christmas colors.

Why not? Squarespace makes it really simple.

At least if you’re using a desktop browser. Modifying the theme in SS5 is basically impossible on iOS.

Because of both of these two elements — simple, but difficult away from desktop browsers), I wanted to keep it really simple and be able to switch back after New Year’s. With a click, you can duplicate your current style and create a new name for it, make the appropriate changes, and save it alongside the old theme. Since the two sit side by side, I can simply enable the original when the Christmas theme is no longer relevant. (I suppose that at any other time of the year, it just looks Italian.)

I need to figure out how to do this at WordPress or Squarespace 6… or wherever I start my disability blog at. I know I said that I was going to get right back to writing about apps and stuff, but the recent ruling regarding NSA data-mining and the White House press release, I think it’s appropriate to discuss privacy, 4th Amendment protections (the word “privacy” is absent from it) and a bit about how that is applied (or not) to internet communications and virtually everything else in the surveillance cities and states of the world (London comes to mind). Is all of this information harvesting making us any safer, and if it is, is the price too high? Although political, I think that it’s a tech-related issue.

I also saw this Reason-Rupe poll today that says 58% of Americans think that police militarization has gone too far.

That includes a full 60 percent of both Democrats and Tea Partiers. Opposition is under 50 percent among non-Tea Party Republicans.

I think that this is particularly important as well, because although the primary tools are still primarily various firearms, high-tech weaponry is becoming increasingly affordable and available, and I don’t want to be hit by a microwave weapon gone awry.

So that’s what’s going on.

I just got a copy of Ulysses III from the wonderful, awesome people at The Soulmen, and as it interacts with Daedalus Touch, I’m going to review the two together. I can already recommend Daedalus Touch, especially if you like to work on multiple projects simultaneously or need to organize and reorganize text dynamically. It’s the smoothest, easiest to use document management tool on the iPad and iPhone.

I’m also trying my best to pack and move, but doing that with a disability is very difficult. It’s inspired me to write a bit about the major changes that occurred slowly over the past five or six years that I only notice when I think about it (like a distinct change form extroverted to introverted). In my mind — much of the time — I’m the same… but the reality is often completely different.

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