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 christmas (4)

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.

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.

Sunday
Dec082013

Black Friday Thoughts

Note: began this entry last week. Been exhausted. :-(

Thanksgiving was the day after dinner with my parents, so I was pretty tired. We started to say what we were all thankful for but the conversation sidetracked, and never refocused. With the FLOTUS' suggestion in mind, we spoke about ObamaCare and politics... but I won't get into that here and now. I'm truly thankful for two wonderfully supportive parents and the relationship I have with my family now. Also, although we give each other a hard time, Stephanie does a good job taking care of me and reminding me to eat. I forget about that sometimes when I get involved in a project or, well, sleep.

It hasn't always been easy or fun, but I don't think I could get by without them and their support. Disability really sucks like that. Thank you. And a shoutout and thanks to all of the wonderful internet people — hopefully you know who you are. Your generosity, kindness and encouragement, thoughts and prayers are cherished and appreciated. I hope you have a great, merry Christmas! (...and a happy New Year!)

Now to Mainstream Sheeple Consumer (yes, very bleak—err, black) Friday thoughts.

I really miss Steve Jobs.

Mostly in an abstract way; it's not like I knew him personally, but insofar as a man (or woman) can be known by their great works and contributions, it pains me greatly that his direction and insight is no longer a constant.

Although Apple might honor and carry his legacy through their refinements and further developments of his breakthrough products, they've lost their prodigal navigator and are thusly adrift. It's impossible for me to know whether or not Steve would've allowed the iPad mini to exist, but I cannot fathom his acceptance of iOS7 on it.

Some people claim to run iOS7 just fine on first-gen minis. Many others, myself clearly included, believe that the tablet is just too slow for it. It's clunky. Glitchy. It crashes and lags.

It's ruined the mini experience for me. The mini was my favorite tablet, one of my favorite things, even with the iPad2-like specs and unimpressive screen. It gave me the iPad experience that I love on a device that I could use all day — the iPad 3 is just too heavy to hold up for hours. With iOS6, the mini was quick and stable.

It allowed me to create.

iOS7 was deliberately designed to be sleek and minimal — two qualities I don't have an issue with — however, it feels like style over substance. Over-engineered, unavoidable. Apple won't let dissatisfied users go back to 6, and even pushed the update install to devices. It seems like a marketing tactic to throw out at keynote speeches. Almost all of our users are on the latest version of iOS, while Android devices are split between...

Compounding my tablet frustrations are blogging woes.

Squarespace 5 has started getting hit with referral-link spam. At first it was maybe a few a week, then a few a day, now maybe a dozen per day. This nuisance isn't easy to take care of on an iPad, and has obscured legitimate comments, emails, questions... I've got to do something about it.

Sorry for the trouble here but I'll be happy to assist you. We will continue to maintain Squarespace 5 for customers. However, updates and apps that are released in the future will be geared toward the Squarespace 6 platform. – Squarespace Customer Care response

So it looks like I'm blogging on an obsolete platform. Simply move to their Squarespace 6? And perhaps in a few years, they'll grow tired of that, release version 7, and cut support/updates for 6.

I get that things progress and change is necessary for business, but because the systems are incompatible and there's no automatic 5 to 6 conversion tool, it's extra stress that I don't want.

So I've been looking into alternatives. I found two articles particularly informative.

I'd like to focus more on long form content and less on blog design; unfortunately, so many "blogging platforms" (CMS) are setup for full-site management and treat the blog as a secondary item and focus.

Perhaps more importantly (at minimum, of equal importance) is sustainability — Internet immortality. Permanent links. Link rot sucks. Importing and exporting content sucks — there's always loss and errors. That makes something like Posthaven — at least at face-value — very attractive. Their promise, for $5/month is a service that will last forever. I blogged at Vox, played with Pownce, tweeted at Jaiku, shared with Posterous — all gone.

I think my only real reservation with Posthaven at the moment is that I don't like the look, and it seems like there's no choice with that. No templates or themes, or CSS or whatever. Just pure, simple blog — take it or leave it. I don't think it's attractive or very usable. On their site, they indicate that custom design is something that they're working on implementing, so I'll have to keep an eye on it. If you use Posthaven, I'd love to know what you think of it, and how it compares to similar blog only services (like Medium, Ghost, Postagon, Roon, etc).

And then there's this: Web Design is 95% Typography – Information Architects — thoughts from the genius Oliver Reichenstein. I've read his thoughts on typography (I love typography and handwriting), and agree with most of it. It's particularly true for this blog, since I tend to post fewer, write longer (instead of many/short). This theme just looks bad with big type. If only I could work on it from my iPad.

I'm not good with code. I know a bit — enough to understand it when I see it, but I can't use code like I use a pencil (or stylus). I can't wield CSS as a design weapon, and that limits what I can customize on my own. If only I had more time, more years of life.

Squarespace (like many other visually fancy UIs) is difficult to modify on a tablet. There are a lot of JavaScript effects and overlays, menus and some drag-and-drop. Stuff mobile Safari doesn't do well (at least as Squarespace has coded it — I've seen some neat interactive HTML5 stuff on iPad, like FiftyThree's site). I really think that they could do away with all that or offer an in-app option, but alas, the limitations of small company. And they're based out of New York — not my first pick for a business.

My goal, of I can ever manage it, is to write about the tech, games and design that I love, disability and pain management, and politics (local, national, international). I believe that it's important to our first amendment and culture to express controversial and perhaps unpopular opinions, always remaining truthful and forthright. I don't like political correctness and white lies, and I don't want to live in a world where government tells me what I can buy, where I can go, whether or not I can own a gun, airplane or anything else. I don't want to live in a world where creativity and ingenuity is stifled and suffocated under the burdens of taxes, regulations, penalties, local, state and federal ordinances requiring prior authorization and approval, etc...

...but I really, really don't like all the public insults, flame wars, death threats, obscenities and personal attacks hurled at strangers online and elsewhere in our society today. There's an awful tension and hostility and a lot of hate — so I plan on contributing to debates without attacking others or responding to personal insults. I won't instigate persecution and I will report threats (and hate speech, where applicable), because it isn't right or productive. We do not have the right to never be offended, but we do have protection against battery, libel and slander. I encourage debates where people vigorously defend their positions and say "you're wrong," but I condemn the "you're an idiot and you should die" that seems to occur online with alarming frequency. Liberal or conservative, it doesn't matter who's saying it — this type of attack is wrong, and if I see or hear it in the mainstream media or popular blogs, I'll flag it — because I think character is important and people need to be aware of it.

In my experience, the racism, discrimination and flaming comes from:

  • people with an intellectually, factually indefensible position — perhaps thusly, they believe that their only option is to end discussion entirely or redirect it from information and ideology to personal attacks,

people so arrogant and/or narrow-minded that they believe that there's no possible way that they can be wrong; thus they are unwilling to even hear or entertain the opposing argument or view — and often in anger, shut down civilized discourse with disdain, using statements ranging from cynicism and snide remarks to outright vile hostility and threats of violence.

Sometimes it's difficult to contain anger, I understand that. But even if someone is wrong — stubbornly so — it would be far better to simply withdraw from dialogue than resort to conversational (or actual) thuggery.

So in the spirit of American Christmas, those are my stresses, wishes and cold-weather! winter worries. And now that I've shared them,

I can get back to blogging about fun stuff like iPad styluses and the joys of iPhone 5S. PLUS: why I won't ever switch from iOS to Android, and why I simultaneously want Android to always be awesome!

Happy December!

Sunday
Dec182011

Changes, says Brad

Things have been sort of static. Many changes this year; friends, people, politics, society, work, health. If I had more time during the day to do things, you'd probably be able to read all about it. As things are, I just can't keep up. Kim Jong Il is dead now, though. Merry Christmas.


So here's what's going on. I'm spending time on illustrations, science, physics and general design, and I've been looking into my disability, health and general well-being. Made some discoveries. I've gotten a lot of great ideas this year from Apple, Disney, console video games and iOS apps (and their developers).


I'm going to try to get out more, and use the iPhone's good-enough camera. Instagram, Hipstamatic, Camera+ and a number of photo editing apps make iPhotography really fun. I've been thinking about switching to 4S (8MP camera, Siri and Sprint — AT&T SUCKS), but I'm hesitant, because of the 3GS. I think the iPhone 5 isn't far away and will be a major upgrade over the 4S, and will share hardware with the iPad 3. Why wouldn't Apple do this? The iPhone 4 form factor isn't that great, and it'll soon be surpassed by Android alternatives (some think that this has already happened). I'm excited about a retina display iPad.


If you have an iPad and you like games, oh wow. Infinity Blade II, GTA3, Bard's Tale... how many hours of fun is that?! Enjoy it. This is an amazing time, despite the turmoil that the world is going through. If life outside is looking too bleak, step into Skyrim. It's great there — you can kill dragons!


I want to share more about health, fitness, self-defense (these are crazy times) and my disability, and this is probably the place to do that. I don't need Typepad. I've tried to like SAY's service, but I just don't, really. If I knew how to properly monetize my blog, it might be worth it, but I'm not sure that I'd want to do that. I wouldn't mind advertising on my blog, but I'd want to advertise Bradtastic Approved things, things I use and love. Maybe there's content there worth saving; I'll have to spend a few hours going through it and figuring out what to bring over here... maybe I'll setup a few pages with the best of the best content.


I've decided to change my diet and focus on super foods and micronutrients. Veggies, fruits (I love satsuma oranges) and some mercury-free fish every now and then. No more red meat. More brain foods.


There are a few people I'm interested in spending more time with... I'm going to change my schedule to accommodate this change. I think I need to. I had so much more energy in Disneyland because of the sheer number of people there... it was amazing. It felt like 2008; needing only a few hours of sleep, that sense of true clarity. And now that the weather is more to my liking, it's the perfect time to take advantage. Of everything.


Enjoy the holidays. Life is short.