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)

Sunday
Dec152013

23andMe, SaysBrad 2013, and screw the FDA

 

Dealing with medical problems and disability, I missed out on a lot of things this year. It's easy to just get upset about that — and everything else going on in the world — it's extremely easy to forget how amazing life is and how much technology has changed everything, for almost everyone.

Sometimes, it seems like the Internet is just full of complaints. And cats. Much of it is superfluous, and I've spent some time on this blog trying to point that out to people. But some complaints are valid, and the Internet has given a voice to many who would otherwise remain silent.

I mention this, because the FDA has blocked 23andMe, a DNA analysis company, from releasing medical information related to DNA as part of their $99 mail-order test kit.

Personally, this genetic information could be very valuable; it could tell me if I'm a carrier for the condition that killed my two brothers, why my nervous system responds the way it does and how best to treat my chronic pain, muscle spasms and disability.

I found out about 23andMe because of their Black Friday sale and ordered a kit, only to find out the day the kits arrived, that 23andMe would only be able to supply ancestry related information.

Basically, the FDA is stopping me from seeking affordable advice about my own DNA.

And I'm upset about that.

I've tried to distract myself with technology and blogging, and even managed to figure out how to stop the spam problem that I was having for quite awhile here at Says Brad. I was contacted by a few blog readers, which is super, as well as an app developer (so I'll be reviewing a new note taking app soon).

I found out that the new iPad Air might have some problems detecting and interacting with pressure-sensitive styluses, and read a bit more about the new iPad mini. I'm now reconsidering it as the superior (personal) choice for all-around use, despite the color accuracy/range issue.

I was going to write about testing blogging platforms such as Roon and Postagon, questions and thoughts that I have about pure blogging options Posthaven and Ghost, as well as testing — and my likely move to — Squarespace 6, but it's been hard to focus on with all of the issues I'm having and becoming aware of concerning the Federal government. I want to make Says Brad purely about design and technology (mostly apps and mobile products), but I haven't had the motivation to do anything about it yet.

Perhaps getting this rant out of the way will help. I know that lack of interest and general depression is a byproduct of chronic pain and the medicines used to treat it, and that awareness is usually accompanied by a resolve to push past it and try to do something — anything...

I really put a lot of hope and faith in my DNA results that now, at least anytime soon, won't be able to get... unless I can find some reliable, affordable expert to help me interpret the raw genetic data that I can still get from 23andMe.

Maybe if enough people out pressure on their Congressman (and women), something can be done about the ridiculously backward, prohibitive, abusive and dictatorial federal government and FDA. I don't think that that will happen, however, unless things get much, much worse. Congress is part of the problem — it's systemic, and it's affecting people. Small businesses, individuals, people with medical problems. I don't want government handouts and help. I want them to get the fuck out of the way.

Well.

Hopefully now I can get back to graphic design and the fun stuff. That is, after I stretch and take a few hour's nap. Word of warning: if your health is good and your body works (at least somewhat) as it should, take care of it and don't take it for granted. Chronic pain and disability is a neverending nightmare.


Before Christmas. Happy holidays. Oh, and don't be offended if you don't like or celebrate Christmas, but someone says Merry Christmas or whatever. Just say thanks. Don't be miserable.

Thursday
Sep262013

Burned Out Site

For whatever reason, over the past few days, my website has been hit by numerous spam reference links & comments. It's tiresome going through it all, and Squarespace said that there isn't a great automated option to solve the problem. It's time-consuming cleaning out the crap, and it feels like it isn't worth it at times. I'm already overloaded by emails because I don't have enough time awake to manage all of it, and now there's this to deal with. So I suppose there's another reason to look at either: migrating to WordPress with DISQUS comments, or finding someone to help me manage the site (and add content) — or both. I don't suppose you're interested? :-) I wanted to write about iOS 7 today but I feel like I just don't have the energy. I'll likely add a few more photos to my Instagram, however. @bradtastic Thanks for the continued support!
Friday
Aug302013

Content & Thank You!

New content coming soon, I promise. I've been really sick — fever and infection for six days now, so I haven't been able to do much of anything except drink water, sleep, and a few less pleasant things... the fewer details, the better, yeah?

Talking to some friends about the blog has inspired me to streamline the content and focus on he fun stuff that I like to write about — and what's popular. That means: more app reviews, product reviews, tech insights, tips, suggestions, maybe some games, that sort of thing. My other writing will go elsewhere. Also, I'm going to try to reorganize the categories and tags to be more efficient and usable — I'm also going to make a few adjustments to the layout, so if you see something broken, please let me know!

Thanks for your support; I think I'm starting to feel a little better (2013 has been one rough year!), so this weekend I hope to update. Also, if you haven't already, you can follow me at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr — all @bradtastic — I post links and photos there throughout the day.

A BIG thank you to the people using my Amazon links to buy stuff — getting a few bucks per week helps me stay motivated to write, and the Amazon credit allows me to get a few new things to review each year! If you have an app or product you'd like me to review, please get in touch!

(Estylo guys! I hope you read this, I've been trying to reach you to talk about the Estylo stylus — I hope all is well!)

My birthday is less than three weeks away — I hope I'm healthy enough to have dinner with my family!

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!

Tuesday
May142013

Brad's Personal Update No. 2

Hi everyone, I just wanted to let you know that I think I’m starting to feel a bit better. But I don’t want to jinx it. I do, however, want to share a few things. I downloaded the update for Paper by FiftyThree and I’m so happy about the new zoom tool. Although I think it still needs some tweaking, it’s a very clever way to achieve a blend of style and functionality that fits the theme and mission of the Paper sketching app. If you have an iPad, you need Paper, even if you don’t consider yourself an artist or creative. It’s just that cool.

I’m writing this blog entry from the official (semi-janky) Squarespace app because for some reason, my favorite, go-to app Blogsy isn’t able to load my categories. I don’t yet know if that’s a Squarespace problem or a fomola (Blogsy devs) issue, but I emailed Lance (fomola Big Boss aka CEO aka awesome friend) to find out. [I’m still very interested in migrating from Squarespace to WordPress, but I don’t have the knowledge or energy yet to start making that happen — I’d want a nice WP theme and don’t know how to go about putting that together.]

Paper by FiftyThree art

Inspired in-part by the Guild Wars 2 Mesmer profession (which reminds me of Accel World’s Kuroyukihime character), this purple abstract butterfly was created on the iPad mini using Paper specific tools (primarily the pencil and watercolor) in order to familiarize myself with the color wheel and zoom. Although it’s still work-in-progress in both forms, one is a screenshot showing off the new zoom/magnifying tool. It took a few minutes to get used to, but in general, I like it; although I might’ve preferred a more traditional zoom functionality, this style does have advantages because you can see exactly where you are drawing relative to the whole page/screen, without zooming in and out, back and forth. It’s also very fast with a decent margin for error, and doesn’t interfere with the undo/redo feature.

I’m excited, because Paper is finally an app I can use start to finish for my style of design. Until now, it’s been a rough ideas and sketching tool; first it was limited by a restricted color palette — they fixed that — and now they’ve added zoom. I’d still like to see a smaller eraser tool (or a variable one with opacity adjustment) and portrait mode, but as is, it’ll work well. I’ve come to prefer the two-finger circular undo/redo and now wish that other apps had it.

Next

I have to take things slow and pace myself, but I’ll see about adding new sketches and designs to dribbble along with more blog entries here such as app and stylus reviews & tips. Until then, take care, enjoy life, and wish me luck. Thank you all!

Sunday
Oct212012

Added Features

Hey everyone! Still plinking away at getting this website and blog updated and the way I want it. I added a few things, including search, categories and a tag cloud.

I’ve also been playing around a little bit with Squarespace 6 and WordPress (bradtastica – my test site) but haven’t managed to find themes or get them looking the way I want. Also, I’m having an issue with MediaTemple and my self-hosted WordPress install. So I think I may just backup my content there and scrap the thing, start over from scratch. I also want to learn how to use Google’s web font thing, instead of Typekit. Not that I know how to use that, either.

Sunday
Jul292012

Trying to edit the website

So I switched my Squarespace hosting to take advantage of the free Squarespace 6 site, and spent some time playing around with the template/site builder. It really isn’t that simple. Maybe I need to read through all of the support materials.

Didn’t really feel like doing that because I spent over an hour trying to remove Microsoft Silverlight from Stephanie’s MacBook. Uninstalling Silverlight on Mac should be easy; delete the silverlight.plugin in the Library > Internet Plugins folder. Except it’s not that simple at all. I had to use Terminal and find all of the hidden files Microsoft sneaks into the computer.

When it rains it pours?

I’m also having problems with my iMac. Time to get a new computer, definitely. This thing is just too old and slow now — it freezes up and hiccups every few minutes. Another reason why I prefer working from my new iPad.

Problem is, I can’t edit the style and theme of this Squarespace site from my iPad. It requires desktop Safari. I hope one day Squarespace will enhance their iOS app to support layout/code editing. So I’ve been sitting here, at my desktop (physically pretty painful!), trying to figure out what overrides what, just trying to get simple things like colors and fonts as I want them. I’ll have to pick this up another day.

It’s okay as is.

Also, I cancelled TypePad Pro (new link) and MediaTemple hosting. Now I’ll have more time and energy to focus on this and my portfolio site, a few designs and graphics, packing up the house to move, and my health — though not necessarily in that order.

Thursday
Jun282012

What?! Blogsy compatible with Squarespace!

Blogsy + iPad + Squarespace = Awesome, cubed

Blogsy is now compatible with Squarespace.

 

Blogsy is iOS’ best blogging tool. No doubt. If you have an iPad and you blog, you need Blogsy… that is, if your service is compatible with it. Blogsy has such a feature-rich, elegant environment that it enhances creativity. It does everything you'd expect — and a lot more.

One great, main feature is its WYSIWYG environment. It is structured similar to a word processor so it's automatically familiar. I think that this helps when blogging from the iPad, and also makes blogging more accessible to those without coding knowledge. Blogsy also has an HTML edit mode, but it isn't color-coded — serious programmers and coders may want to look at the other iOS options.

Overall, Blogsy is fantastic. And now, it's fully compatible with Squarespace, my favorite blogging platform! In particular, I like the drag-and-drop image uploader — Blogsy is much better than the universal Squarespace app.

Awesome Squared Cubed

I'm pretty sure that this new development means you'll see more blogging from me, as well as more #madewithpaper — perhaps in the Gallery!

Sunday
Jun102012

iPad can do anything, quickly

The iPad really is an amazing tool — in can do practically everything!

(Yes, I know that the browser lacks Flash, but with HTML5 sites these days and the sheer number of iOS devices out there, Flash is on the decline, anyway.) Years ago, I was a skeptic; like many others, I saw the iPad as an oversized iPod touch, but once I actually held one and played with it, I realized what an impact the screen size makes. The iPad has come a long way since then, adding retina display (2048x1536 resolution, greater than 1080P)

It's much more than a toy. Just yesterday I painted a graduation card for my sister using Procreate, and I routinely use ThinkBook, Infinite SketchPad, NoteTaker HD, Byword, iA Writer, Evernote & Skitch, Blogsy and Noteshelf (now with retina graphics and Smart Pen support) for writing and note taking.

That might seem overwhelming, so here's an example of a simple, attractive way to capture ideas.

I use an oStylus DOT and Paper by FiftyThree to create simple, attractive mind-maps.

Paper is a minimalist sketching app I've become fond of for its unique style and dedicated community. It isn't a full-featured drawing tool, and many have complained about the freemium pricing, but if you can get past that, you may discover that Paper is a rich environment that can make you more productive.

Instead of fussing with neatness, perfect shapes and clean-lines, I put ideas on paper.

I like to start by capturing the mood with the watercolor brush, and add text, basic shapes and sketches with the write, draw and sketch tools. I like to connect concepts using lines, and group ideas by color. Paper allows me to work quickly; each page can become an outline or a piece of a larger mind-map, and an entire book can be complete within minutes. Individual pages can be saved as a photo or published to social networking sites, like my tumblr.

With the new version of Paper, I can export a notebook as a PDF and view it in iBooks.

For me, a capacitive touch stylus is essential, but you might not need one. Steve Jobs didn't like styli and designed the iPad to be finger-friendly… and it is. I use my oStylus DOT less than 50% of the time. However, certain tasks require precision not suited for fingertips — such as writing and drawing.

I'm constantly amazed by the amazing iOS development community; there are some stunning apps for iPhone and iPad, better than anything I've ever used on a desktop or anywhere else. Let me know what you think of Paper and the other apps I've mentioned, or if you know someone with an iPad, please bring them to my site!

If you have iPad questions, you can contact me directly: my name at gmail.