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!

Entries in API (2)

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!

Sunday
Jun022013

Two Email Tips: Lifehack Your Inbox

Oops! Scheduled post failed, so it didn't post in May!
 

I do just about everything from an iPad.

Almost everything tech-related, that is. More accurately, iOS. (I'm sure I could use Android just as efficiently with ample time, effort and money invested in it, but I'm sort of locked into the Mac ecosystem with apps and generations of OS X computers)

[ tl;dr – digital life is tough to manage and email is getting out of control. Try shortmail & apps such as Mailbox (free, universal) for iOS to manage Gmail. ]

There's probably enough posted here about the iPad — I just mention it again because, being so sick this year, I really haven't had a choice — if it couldn't be done on a lightweight, handheld mobile device, I couldn't do it. Still, I've become back-logged; behind on emails, writing and blogging, reading, art and design. Very frustrating. [fyi: If I post all that I want to say on topics optimization and organization, it'll span thirty pages, so I'll break it up into sections.]

E-maelstrom, email storm

Recently I stumbled upon a site called AppSumo, a collection of lifehacks and productivity tools/info, primarily for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Browsing the site led me to rethink email and task management, calendar planning and organization. I've been sort of on the fence about Gmail, unsure of what to think or how seriously to invest in it. As a platform, there are wondrous components to Gmail via Google Labs and integration with all of Google's apps (Android and Google Glass eyewear also pretty cool). But I also think that there are reasons to be hesitant, or at least vigilant.

So I have email boxes at all of the major services, for various things. Yahoo was a big deal at one point, and they may be again, buying tumblr. (I still haven't figured out how to effectively use tumblr, however.) XBOX LIVE requires a Microsoft account so there's Live mail (used to be Hotmail, is now Outlook.com), dot Mac turned into MobileMe followed by iCloud… it's tough to keep up with it all and keep it all straight.

All made more complicated (difficult) being limited to an iPad and iPhone 4. At least Siri helps — a bit.

So in my quest for some semblance of order, some quieting of the chaos, I turn to apps.

Shortmail — email, simplified. (free, iPhone only)

Shortmail is a unique concept: keep emails under 500 characters. Recent updates to the service allow attachments via Evernote and Gmail linking; any email under 500 characters goes to shortmail, over and it's sent to gmail. Each shortmail.com address is based on your twitter account handle, but you can also make up your own shortmail.me address. I don't know how much traction it's gained, but I like it and hope to use it more for quick conversations when text messaging isn't an option. My main email box gets cluttered with too many messages. Shortmail is quicker. I just wish they'd release an iPad app or universal update.


Mailbox — currently Gmail only (free, iOS universal)

Mailbox is beautiful, minimalist and intuitive — and I'm excited to see where it's going. I already prefer it to the iOS Gmail app, and in some ways it's nicer than the native Mail app. It's new (so don't expect it to be perfect) but I haven't run into any issues other than a lack of portrait mode (it's landscape only on the iPad). It would also be nice to be able to edit/add labels and move/archive/delete messages in bulk. I hope developer Orchestra, Inc. adds Outlook.com mail support!

The Email Quest, Objective: Empty Inbox

Email is the digital equivalent of physical mail, right? An inbox is like a physical mailbox — except people don't leave envelopes stuffed in their mailboxes after receiving and opening them. For many, myself included, getting that Inbox to "0 messages" is a battle, a constant effort — time-consuming. Frustrating, even. Often, people just give up and let messages accumulate, or they don't care to sort messages. Over time, Inboxes can collect thousands of messages, and this inhibits usability.

An example.

Say you're searching for an email about an event, but you can't remember what that event was called — perhaps it was six months ago and you're looking for some pics from it. If you have a cluttered mailbox, the keyword "event" could pull up hundreds of messages, most of them unrelated to your intended query. An organizational system can alleviate this frustration.

Second.

Search doesn't always function properly when there are too many emails to sift through. If you store emails locally (on your computer or device), those emails take up space, and searching takes up memory. If you use cloud or IMAP mail, those messages take up server space and extra bandwidth to search through. A large inbox — messages unfiltered and unorganized — takes longer to download and thus, search.

These two apps can help you clean up your inbox. Both services offer tips on how to do this, and in the future I'll make a post about Google features for automatically sorting emails and something they call "canned responses."

For now, take a look at these two apps, Shortmail & Mailbox, and tell me what you think. If you have email tips and tricks, I'd love to hear about them!