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 blogging (35)

Tuesday
Jan052016

Thoughts on 2015 and Beyond

Another year flew by.

I keep thinking about what to say about 2015, but can’t think of anything honestly positive and pithy. Was it a great year? It was definitely a roller coaster year, individually and collectively.

Personally, I started doing a lot of different little things; online poker (No Limit Texas Hold’em cash games and some tournaments), Hearthstone, more consulting… of course there’s still design work. I’ve settled into Reno, NV and have developed a sort of a routine here. I’ve been thinking about streaming and talking about games a bit more, I’ve been a bit more involved in magic. I’ve been working on a lot of new projects.

Collectively, 2015 was a mixed year. Donald Trump took over US politics like a WWE Superstar and started bitchslapping everyone. I’m not a supporter, but politics has never been more entertaining. SpaceX did what was seemingly impossible. Islamic terrorists killed a bunch of people and the media took notice. Sort of. (Boko Haram is still operating under the radar, enslaving, raping and killing people in Africa.)

The world feels more intolerant than ever. I get that the world tends to always get better while people always think that things are getting worse, but I’ve never felt more disconnected from people with opposing views. It’s as if, worldwide, the culture has shifted toward outrage and extremism and discussion has become anathema.

I don’t see a lot of two-way communication between opposing ideologies. Unless it’s mudslinging and character attacks. Everything is a soundbite or a YouTube clip. Facebook is just an echo chamber, with unfriending and unfollowing occurring over “micro aggressions” and statements perceived as “intolerant.” We’re teaching younger people about “trigger warnings” and we’re communicating with emojis more frequently than words. I don’t like the censorship — especially self-censorship.

I get that people don’t want to feel offended when interacting online, but it seems like people are being offended too frequently… and frankly, that’s offensive!

As a society, we’re asking people to apologize for every flippant or off-color (wait, is that a microagression or racist?) remark. I wish people would stop it. Stop asking, and stop apologizing. Deal with it.

Also, I don’t believe that people are as offended as they say they are — I think people just want something to be angry about. It makes me want to say more “offensive” things more often, and I know I’m not the only one. Thus, the divide increases…

Really, I’m not sure what to write about here anymore. I haven’t been particularly interested in technology. Though I wrote about it quite a bit, this was never really a politics blog. There have been a few new apps that I think are pretty cool, so I could share those, but I haven’t found myself inspired to write about tech. It doesn’t seem fun. I’m not sure what Says Brad is anymore.

However, I am interested in relaunching bradtastic.com because although tech products haven’t really excited me, some things on the web have. There are a lot of little things that I find that I think others would like to see, too. So I’m working on that.

I want the site to look modern, so I’ve been sorting through a bunch of video clips that I can use for a background and have been collecting interesting links to share, I’ve been writing little articles about things that I like (and why). And, I think I can distill everything down to five or six categories.

Frankly, I’m tired of just posting everything at facebook. I’d rather have my own dedicated spot. And without a website that I feel really compelled to update, I forget about things like Pinterest. Once I have a site that looks and feels good, I’ll probably want to chime in about tech again, too.

All that said, I think 2016 is going to be a great year.

I’ll finally be able to share some of the projects that I’ve been working on for months, and new stuff keeps springing to life. We’re amidst a new political cycle and everyone is going to crank up the speakers and stoke the flames.

To end on a tech note, if you have a Mac, get Ulysses if you don’t already have it. It’s an indispensable app, and likely the best writing app ever made.

Tuesday
Mar312015

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.

Tuesday
Dec162014

Blogging Update and Ideas

If you’re still taking the time to check out my blog or are new here, thanks for stopping by. I know that content has been sparse since my move to Reno, Nevada — I’m still adjusting to life here and haven’t even fully set up my living space here. I’m attempting to create more long-form content and interesting reviews for this blog, but I’m also looking at transitioning my art and writing.

All said, it’s been more challenging to do this than anticipated. Perhaps that’s due in part to life here being substantially better than it was in Oakland, California.

But because I’ve caught a cold or something major (seems to happen every year around this time) from Stephanie — whom caught it from a two year old she babysits — I have more idle time at home than usual and will endeavor to use this to catch up on design, illustration and writing.

I’m also looking at migrating to Squarespace 7, since the UI is finally usable. SS6 was a mess; many will likely disagree with that assessment, but I couldn’t get anyone I know to switch to it.

Because Squarespace 6 was such an unintuitive design and Squarespace 5 support became, at best, an afterthought, I began looking at alternatives last year. I tried Silvrback (which looks great now, and the price is fantastic), Posthaven, Medium, Roon (recently acquired by Ghost) and Ghost(acquired Roon.io; Roon shutting down this month)… and a few others that aren’t really worth mentioning.

I’m adding a new post about Apple shortly. Additionally, I’ve been writing about Video Poker, and that entry should appear within the next few days. I’ll update the Instagram, Facebook and Twitter when it’s live.

Wednesday
Feb192014

Several Exciting Things in Blogging

iPad Paper sketch, MadeWithPaper FiftyThree

Turns out, trying to rebuild a website in Squarespace v6 with almost no spare time and not enough sleep is pretty hard. 

But I’m working on it. I’m just working on so many other things, too. I’m almost done with several reviews for some really cool products, and I’m really looking forward to updating SaysBrad with new visuals and features. 

If you’re thinking about creating or updating a website, I think Squarespace is a great option. And no, they aren’t paying me to say that — though I wish they were!

However, if you just want a simple blog, I’d recommend Posthaven. I’ve been experimenting with their service for about one month and it’s excellent, especially for mobile users (iOS, anyway — I’m not able to test Android). Priced at $5/month, the guys behind Posthaven promise to keep your content online forever after one year of paid service. I believe that they mean it, but only time will tell whether or not this promise holds up. Posthaven isn’t a huge company with massive, private resources. 

If you like trying new things and experimenting with code, maybe try Ghost. 

My experimental site, Bradtastica, is a Ghost blog hosted by the awesome guys at Ghostify. As is, Ghost is somewhat lacking and I think that there are too many bugs and uncertainties for business use, but the platform is new and full of potential. Within one or two years, Ghost will be a top contender and solid choice for blogging. Right now, it’s more… just kinda cool.

One more thing! 

Over the past several months (during my illness, mainly), I’ve tried several new capacitive touch styluses and have received offers to try a few more. I’m looking forward to posting some comprehensive reviews with sketches and photos. I’d wanted to get Says Brad moved to SS6 first, but with everything going on right now (disability, illness, moving, etc…), I’m not sure when that would be. (I’m also having major problems with the building that I’m in. Will probably have to write/share some scathing comments about PBT sometime.) I really want to separate the technology, political and personal content — just really lacking time and energy. So I’m formatting my reviews for this blog! I’m particularly looking forward to sharing my thoughts on Pencil, the stylus for Paper by FiftyThree. Have had a lot of fun with that. 

As usual, if you have questions or comments, you can reach me via my SaysBrad contact form (email), or through Twitter or Facebook. It’s nice to hear from everyone!

I hope you have a great week!

Monday
Feb032014

The Best and Worst Things about Medium (Review)

Have you ever thought about using Medium for blogging? Here’s my take on the blogging craze powered by Twitter tweeters.

Hope you like it! Might be doing more of that. Especially after I’m moved.

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.

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!