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 apps (31)

Tuesday
Dec162014

iCloud Drive Sucks: Apple is Screwing Up

Presently, iCloud Drive is unreliable crap.

If it’s working for you, I’m happy for you and hope that it continues to work well. For me and probably tens of thousands of other people, files appear, disappear, appear but won’t open, take days or weeks to sync…

It’s a mess.

I’ve been working on more substantial, long-form content for this site and other things, but since iOS 8 and Yosemite, I haven’t been able to reliably work on documents on my various devices.

I prefer to work in Ulysses III/Daedalus Touch, iA Writer Pro and Day One, and all three worked great before the switch to iCloud Drive. Now I’m having issues with all three.

  • Ulysses/Daedalus — None of my documents from Ulysses III show up in Daedalus on iPhone/iPad. Waiting for a sync to spontaneously occur yields nothing. Tried the reset troubleshooting instructions; nothing.

  • iA Writer Pro — Numerous documents aren’t listed on iOS. They are viewable when using the iCloud Drive folder feature, but are gray and won’t open. New documents take over 20 hours to sync — some have failed to sync entirely.

  • Day One — After waiting weeks and trying the troubleshooting methods repeatedly, the majority of the entries have synced across the various devices. However, 14 entries from my iPhone 5S wouldn’t upload for another few weeks, and finally synced today. During this time, entries would appear synced and then disappear a day later.

To be fair, a lot of the first-party iCloud Drive features are working okay. Photos enter the stream much quicker, and that’s nice.

Additionally, iOS 8 is problematic in general.

Shame on you, Apple. I’m really glad that I never moved beyond iOS 6 on my old iPad 2, because iOS7 ran and iOS8 runs so poorly on the iPad mini (first gen). My iPad 3 has issues with iOS8 as well; random lag and crashes. For the most part, the iPhone 5S handles iOS 8, but there are still random crashes and occasional device restarts.

In an attempt to beautify the OS, you’ve made it slower and glitchier. Turning off the fancy visual effects makes for a minor stability improvement, but overall, iOS devices haven’t seemed faster than iOS 6. When I first received the iPad 2, I was impressed by the lack of slowdown and minimal (if any) wait times. Now, idling has become the standard. In many ways, it feels like devices have taken a step back. I really miss Steve Jobs.

It’s as if these new iOS iterations are designed this way to force people to upgrade to the newest devices every year — and yet most of their phone deals with the major carriers are based on two-year contracts and upgrade cycles.

While it’s a nice idea to have synchronicity across devices with iOS 8, I’d prefer speed and reliability. Ideally both is best, but right now, that’s not reality. Also, Apple removed the Camera Roll in favor of a new organization system; while some may prefer it, it’s not optional. This seemingly small change has serious consequences for many apps and is far less usable for me.

Apple, please don’t be like Microsoft. Put your customers first and you’ll continue to stay on top.

If you try to put short term gains in profit and market penetration ahead of the user experience, put the desires of shareholders ahead of the needs of the consumer, your supporters will begin looking elsewhere. As I’m sure many already have.

Tuesday
Oct072014

“Pressure sensitivity,” I knew the iPad could do it!

Got an iPad? Do you ever draw anything on it?

Ever since the first iPad, I couldn’t figure out why the capacitive surface couldn’t tell the difference between a tiny tap and a hard push. Turns out, it can, and I’m not talking about the soon-to-be-announced new iPads… your current iPad — as long as it has iOS 8.

I first noticed this with Paper by FiftyThree and their Pencil stylus. You can use the edge of the stylus to draw lines with greater thickness. Pretty cool. Then I looked at Zen Brush. Turns out, that app can do the same thing with just your finger. Go try it out.

Makes me really excited for iPad Air 2 or whatever they’re calling it. Now if they would only release the iPad Pro.

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.

Friday
Oct182013

Notes Plus Review - iPad Handwriting Apps

An inkblog Bluetooth pressure sensitive capacitive touch stylus written response to a comment!
 

Yesterday October 17, 2013 was a pretty big day here in America — our lackluster government has resumed spending ten billion dollars per day and the default crisis has been averted postponed until mid-January.

But I also got a comment on my blog entry iPad mini note taking problems. I decided to write a reply in atypical, inkblogging fashion. Here's the comment by Jeremy.

What did you think of the Notes Plus IOS App? I've used quite a few low and high end stylus' with the app and have not been disappointed with the results. www.notesplusapp.com

 

Here's my handwritten 'ink' reply, with text transcript.

Hey there! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! This is written in Notes Plus on my iPad3 (retina) w/ Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus. I've had the app for quite awhile, but never spent much time with it until recently. I really like the recent app enhancements and the close-up writing mode — its method for adjusting the writing box is probably the best I've used. [Note: referencing the app itself] I wish that it was either raster-based, or had cleaner line creation, more adjustability, more color options (or better colors), and finally, Bluetooth capacitive touch stylus support (for line thickness — pressure sensitivity). Jeremy, you've inspired me to work on a full Notes Plus review. Question: which stylus is your favorite, or what type of styli do you like, the soft tip, disc shaped [tip], Bluetooth, etc? Last, what iPad version are you using, and are you using iOS7? I prefer iOS6. I think that iOS7 slowed down my iPad mini substantially. I hope that you have a great weekend and I look forward to hearing from you!

 

It's difficult to simultaneously compose beautiful sentences and fiddle with legible handwriting, spacing and color, but it was an interesting exercise. I think that my quasi-cursive writing style looks pretty good; quality that I think would be impossible in either Penultimate or Bamboo Paper and probably many of the handwritten notes apps, with the exception of Noteshelf and Remarks.

The image at the top of this post was edited (just for fun) using Repix and Distressed FX — both apps downloaded free. I'm not very familiar with either yet, so I decided to combine the effects of each to gauge the results. Distressed FX is particularly cool; I think I'm going to use it more, likely in combination and conjunction with other apps such as Tangent and Over, for photos and designs.

If you're looking for a great app to use with a capacitive touch stylus and don't mind a vector-based app, check out Notes Plus. It has a great deal of features and a lot of options, but remains usable and straightforward.

 

Sunday
Oct132013

Wacom Bamboo Paper Notebook review iPad mini

Inkblogging on iPad mini with Wacom Bamboo stylus.

 

Tried writing block print and cursive (ink blogging, note-taking) on the iPad mini again, although this time, I used Wacom Bamboo Paper - Notebook iOS app instead of Penultimate (Evernote). The resulting handwriting still looks fairly hideous; that said, it's much nicer than Penultimate. The Wacom app has pinch-zoom magnification, but using it is finicky; often when I try to pinch, I end up drawing a line on the screen instead. Hopefully Wacom can fix this.

As a note taking app, Wacom's Bamboo Paper - Notebook isn't too bad — especially for free.

It doesn't compare to the premium apps such as Noteshelf, but it is functional. On the full-size iPad (retina), it's actually pretty nice. The color palette, while limited, offers some nice options. Wacom obviously took time selecting attractive, complementary colors.

Despite originally being designed as an eponymous companion-app/marketing tool for Wacom's Bamboo capacitive touch stylus, 'Paper Notebook has gone through several major iterations and feature changes — the recent iOS7 update being the most substantial and significant. Wacom added new drawing tools, paper styles and notebook covers, as well as support for their new pressure sensitive (2048 levels) Bluetooth 4 device, the Intuos Creative Stylus for iPad..

The drawing tools and artist notebook set is available as the Creative Pack for $3.99, and everything is is offered at $0.99. In the image above, I used only the two standard free tools and free paper type.

I love the iPad mini; mostly because of its lightweight design and rounded edges (the iPad 3 has narrow edges, making it uncomfortable to hold without a nice case like ones made by Incipio), but I don't like drawing on it. In addition to the lack of retina display and slower processor, narrow margins on the left and right side of the screen makes it difficult to draw on-the-go in landscape mode because my palm ends up making contact the edge of the screen (doesn't happen to me when using the full-size iPad).

I also created some handwriting samples on my iPad 3 (Retina display) for comparison that I'll post later. I used the same two apps with very different results. The process of drawing and writing on my iPad and iPad mini side-by-side has confirmed that the iPad mini (first gen; I hope Apple releases a better, retina version soon) isn't a great visual artist's tool.



Worth mentioning: great tools, great devs.

I've been very impressed with several apps and their respective developers, so I'm going to review and feature more sketching and notes apps in the near future. For now — if you haven't already, go get Concepts Smarter Sketching and Tayasui Sketches. Both apps are prime examples of freemium done right; ad-free, fully-functional and useful without any IAP, and the paid features are inexpensive, major enhancements to the base app. Function and feature-rich! Check them out and let me know what you think! (Tell the developers, too! Both respond quickly)

Note: If you like creating vector art using software like Adobe Illustrator, Inkpad by Taptrix is still free (normally $4.99)! Inkpad is the best vector tool I've seen for the iPad, and it's been updated for iOS7.

Have you tried Inkblogging from an iPad?

If you have, I'd love to see it and share it with people. If we can encourage more people to draw, the world would be a better place... and if more people used iPads for ink blogging and handwriting, we might be able to convince Apple to release a special active digitizer iPad! Just a thought.

 

Friday
Oct112013

iPad mini note taking problems

Ink Blogging test using Penultimate for iPad by Brad Chin

While doing my semi-weekly tour of the App Store (most new apps release on Thursdays) — downloading new apps and checking out app updates — I decided to experiment with a few old apps.

I'm excited about the prospect of new iPads announced by Apple on October 22, in particular, I'd like a faster full-size iPad (hardware stylus support is probably too much to wish for, since Steve Jobs considered styli anathema) and a retina mini. I do a lot of writing and drawing on the iPad, but it's always felt a bit awkward and lacking. Quite simply, the iPad wasn't designed to be an artist's tool. I hope that that changes.

Opening up Penultimate (an original iPad app purchased by Evernote), I discovered support for an upcoming stylus release, the Adonit Jot Script Evernote Edition ($74.99, shipping Oct 25). I've had mixed feelings about Adonit styluses as they don't work properly for long (although with a little modification, you can fix your Jot stylus), but this one looks fundamentally different. No disc tip. But... there aren't a lot of details on it.

In addition, Wacom released a new stylus called the Intuos Creative Stylus ($99) and it looks awesome. I asked them to send me one to review, but no response. (Maybe you can help me convince them? ^_^ I'd be grateful!) I really want the Wacom Cintiq Companion... but it's very expensive. I've been wanting to do more illustration and cartoon drawing, but the Intuos is difficult for me to use, and the iPad... well, it has issues.

The iPad mini has he same resolution as the iPad 2, meaning smaller pixels, but it also seems like they shrunk the capacitive detection mechanism also. It just doesn't track precisely. After using the mini for awhile, going back to the iPad 3 (retina) is somewhat euphoric — it's that much better.

Penultimate, however, always seems to have issues.

The test ink blog writing above was created quickly on the iPad mini without any magnification or zoom (Accessibility Options > Zoom). The app doesn't have pinch zoom or any kind of Paper by FiftyThree or Noteshelf type workaround, so I used to tap zoom until I finally ditched the app. I like the superb Evernote integration, but it's just not worth it. I don't like messy, ugly notes. If you've seen any of my handwriting, you know what I can normally produce digitally. The image above is just plain bad. I can read it so technically, it's usable, but I don't like it.

The iPad mini seems to track strokes off to the side. (See slash separators in 10/10/13 and the 'T' in "Test") Penultimate on iPad retina seems to simply create sloppy, rounded strokes, almost like a vector pen tool with smoothing, only worse.

I've also noticed that Paper by FiftyThree handles handwriting poorly, even with the magnifying tool. Their custom ink engine is nice for sketching (there is some stunning #madewithpaper artwork online, check it out), but just doesn't track the whip-like, short and rapid strokes used in natural handwriting — cursive seems a little better than block print.

What's your favorite handwriting tool for iOS? My favorites are still Noteshelf, Remarks and Muji Notebook. I've been using Noteshelf to track and compile my thoughts on iOS7 (spoiler: I'm not fond of it), plan my new websites and social networking profiles, and to outline my very overdue guide to iPad palm rejection (wrist protection) for artists.

I took a few new photos for that post, so hopefully I can edit it all and get it up soon. Oakland weather has been somewhat depressing and miserable for me this week... hot and sunny. My neighbors have been thrilled about it. Weirdos.

 

Tuesday
Jan012013

Happy New Year

Well, I guess those Mayan calendar December 21st 12/21/12 people have something in common with those Y2K doomsday preppers. Earth is still here! Assassin's Creed III had me really worried…

If you haven't seen it, I recommend watching the Showtime series Penn & Teller Bullshit. Enlightening and fun! Unless you're easily offended. But if that's the case, why are you reading my site?

Happy new year, friends and family. More real content coming soon. It looks like a few of my scheduled drafts never actually posted, so there'll be those, too, after I edit them a bit to make them more relevant.

And of course, stuff about apps.

It looks like Adobe canned their Touch Apps Collage and Proto, as well as Kuler. Damn. If it means that Photoshop Touch and Ideas are going to be better, however — maybe it's okay.

Hopefully you snagged a few discounted apps and games during the holiday — lots of cheap and free apps!

Friday
Nov162012

Removing Apps From Launchpad

I prefer the Dock on the left to maximize vertical space.

Mac OS X Lion & Mountain Lion make Apple computers more like their iOS devices, but this isn’t always a good thing.


Apple’s Lions are pretty — there’s no denying that. However, in adding simplicity, Apple has limited functionality and control. In an attempt to make Mac OSX more user-friendly, Apple has hidden files and features. The multitouch trackpad and Launchpad make Macs function more like iPhones and iPads — the problem is that desktops and notebooks are more complex than their bite-sized brethren.

Want full control of your Launchpad?


"Too bad" seems to be the Apple response. According to Apple, you can rearrange icons and remove Mac App Store apps only. [To remove App Store apps, either click and hold over the app icon (similar to the iOS process of removing/re-arranging apps) or hold the “alt option” key. Click "X." To add any app to Launchpad, drag & drop the app from Finder onto the Launchpad icon (located on your Dock).]

But what if you want to remove an app without an “X”?


Since Apple won’t help, I will!


First, if you’ve used Mac OS prior to Lion, you’ll notice the absence of the Library folder. Apple decided that people don’t need to be bothered with such things and hid it. If you want to view it again, open Terminal.app, located in /Applications/Utilities. Copy/Paste the following:
chflags nohidden ~/Library

Like magic, Library will now appear in Finder. (Note: Before you go modifying your Launchpad, you may want to backup its current setup. To do that, backup the .db file located in /Library/Application Support/Dock)

If you want to remove ALL items from Launchpad, you can follow this guide at gnuu.org This might be best if you have a lot of clearing to do.

However, if you just want to remove some apps from Launchpad


Open /Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app and use the following;
sqlite3 ~/Library/Application\ Support/Dock/*.db "DELETE from apps WHERE title='APPNAME';" && killall Dock

REPLACING APPNAME with the name of the app you want to remove from Launchpad. For example, if I wanted to remove Reminders, I would open Terminal and enter:
sqlite3 ~/Library/Application\ Support/Dock/*.db "DELETE from apps WHERE title='Reminders';" && killall Dock


Note: This won’t delete the app, it just removes it from Launchpad.

Hopefully this helps you!


If it has, please leave a comment and consider liking my Says Brad Facebook page to keep in touch. I’d love to hear from you.

There are a lot of third-party apps out there for Dock, Desktop, Library and Launchpad management, but frankly, I don’t trust them; many aren’t free or are ad-supported, created by people I’ve never heard of. Not saying that they’re all illegitimate, but I can’t be certain. Luckily, a little Terminal magic can solve the bulk of your OSX issues. I’m an iOS guru (lol), not an OSX expert, but feel free to ask if you have questions — if I can help, I will.

Thursday
Oct182012

The best iPad apps!

I’ve started posting app icons and links here at Says Brad!

This page (saysbrad.com/apps/) will contain links to my favorite apps, primarily iPad and iPhone, but who knows, maybe I’ll add other platforms in the future.

If I post an app on that page, I consider it a must-have. These are apps I use frequently and have dedicated numerous hours to.

Got an iOS app and want an honest review, detailed analysis and constructive criticism? Message me and let me know!

Currently, my focus is on art, photography and productivity apps, but I’m open to reviewing other things as well. (I love games!) I like bringing extra exposure to small developers and indie apps, so I will promote those obscure, hidden gems before more mainstream apps reviewed by all of the big blogs and magazines.

 

Uploading these images and editing pages here at Squarespace is a very time-consuming process. I’ve figured out a way to do it that looks okay on my iPad (except for the standard DPI app icon badges). I’ll add more as time permits, as well as try to get website features like search, tag cloud, and category lists fully functional again.