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!

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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 ipad (60)

Tuesday
Mar102015

Thoughts on Apple Watch and MacBook

Thoughts on Apple Watch & the (new) MacBook

Do people still wear watches?

In all seriousness, I know that people do. I used to — but that was years ago. Simply, why wear a watch, that may or may not be accurate in timekeeping, when I have a smartphone with smart time? I’ve grown accustomed to checking my phone for the time when necessary. Yes, the process is slower than glancing at one’s wrist, but I don’t live a life that requires me to (nearly) instantly and frequently know what the time is. My guess is that that’s true for most people.

Of course, the Apple Watch does a lot more, but is it worth it?

But hey, it’s Apple, right?

Well, I might’ve bought into that logic when Steve Jobs was still at the helm, but the Apple isn’t ripe anymore; it’s lost its luster, and there’s some mold growing on it.

iOS 7 & 8 have had serious issues. Crashes, storage problems, battery life issues, WiFi connectivity issues, lag… in pursuit of doing more and looking prettier, Apple has killed the best feature of the iPhone and iPad — responsiveness.

My iPad 1 & 2 never felt slow. Swipe, open or close an app — it all felt instantaneous. iPhone 3GS felt that way, too, even after a new generation replaced them. Everything since has been disappointing; in particular the iPad mini and iPhone 5S. It makes me hesitant to buy a new Apple mobile product because it feels like I’m paying full price to beta test.

Form > Function

Stylish and slower. That’s the new Apple way, apparently. The new MacBook looks fantastic. Super thin, color options, streamlined everything.

Except now it has only one port (plus headphone jack), USB-C. So if you need to charge the notebook and use USB, you’re SOL unless you pay for an adapter. No more MagSafe power. The onboard processor isn’t likely to remain fast for very long. Also, instead of 720p (pseudo-HD), the new MacBook has a 480p FaceTime camera, a disappointing concession likely made to keep the screen ridiculously thin.

In total, the MacBook looks like a design ahead of its time; when the component manufactures catch up, I’m sure the super thin and light notebook will shine, despite its drawbacks. But right now, it’s like a concept car; visually stunning but impractical — perhaps too radical — for the current market.

And I see a similar thing with the Apple Watch — to an extreme.

The Apple Watch is an expensive toy.

I really wanted to like the watch. The concept is interesting and admittedly, I was excited when it was announced. Unfortunately, technical limitations and FDA rules and restrictions keep it from being the device that it should be.

Granted, I haven’t personally seen or used one yet. I admit, when I first heard about and saw the iPad keynote, I thought that that device wasn’t a great idea. So wrong about that. I’d like to be wrong about the watch, too… but that seems far less likely.

Tech reviewers and journalists have tested the device and only a few are really excited for it. Several mention feeling confused and underwhelmed, unsure of what the device offers for its price point. Several mention that the apps seem to load slowly and that the UI and buttons seem unintuitive.

It’s also a bit ironic that Apple convinced us that we need (want) bigger iPhone screens, only to turn around and essentially say: those screens are too big to be truly usable, what you want is a tiny one.

So the question for consumers is: are you willing to spend $349 - $17,000 for a wearable gadget with less than 24 hours battery life that does less than your iPhone and does it slower?

Note: I’m not trying to talk anyone dead-set on buying an Apple Watch out of buying it — it’s your money, do what you like with it. These are just my questions and concerns.

But I’d personally struggle with buying an overpriced first-gen device that doesn’t seem to add much value. If the watch is successful, Apple will inevitably release a Watch 2 that will do more, last longer and operate quicker (actually, I have doubts about the latter). And then a 3 and 4… or perhaps an Apple Watch Air.

And unlike conventional, dumb watches, the Apple Watch isn’t a buy-once, lasts-a-lifetime device. While we may be prepared to drop $200-500+ for a new iPhone every year or two, how many will want (or be able) to add another $350+ to keep the phone+watch combo updated? This in addition to the every 2-5 or so years between computer upgrades and 1-2 years for a new iPad.

Also, if you browse the [Apple Store], you’ll see that the watch bands aren’t cheap, and there’s no way to pick a Watch base model without a band — so if you want to personalize the Watch, it will cost you an extra $50+. Some of the bands are stupid expensive. I get that Apple may be attempting to position itself as a luxury goods brand, but it should be a tech company first.

Apple Watch: Functionality Restricted

Our stupid government has also contributed to handicapping the Watch.

The Apple Watch could have had all kinds of sensors that allow it to essentially offer diagnoses — but it can’t, thanks to the FDA.

It reminds me of [23andMe], a company that offered a DNA test that revealed genetic predispositions for all kinds of health problems (or benefits) for $99 — until the government kneecapped them for not paying up to satiate bureaucrats and cover special interest operating costs. Now their product is far less cool — it gives you info on your heredity.

The FDA would require from Apple boatloads of paperwork and millions of dollars for the watch to do more than give you general wellness information. Their stance is essentially this: we’re too stupid and impulsive to hear the truth about our own condition — an issue also faced by 23andMe during its short-lived battle against the Federal government.

The Apple Watch could’ve likely made preliminary diagnoses for everything from serious neurological issues to a common cold or flu.

That would be an incredible reason to wear it every day.

By simply tracking your normal resting and active heart rate, blood pressure and movements, it could determine when you’re off your game and notify you.

Instead, it’ll tell you how well your run went and when you should stand up at work. Great.

I hope I’m wrong about the Apple Watch and MacBook.

Won’t have to wait long to find out.

Are you going to buy an Apple Watch and/or MacBook, and if so, which model/s?

Saturday
Dec132014

Marrakech Magic Theater Card Design

I haven’t posted in awhile so I thought that I would share a design. I’ve posted some recent projects at Behance if you’re interested. But here’s a design created on the iPad using SketchBook Pro.

The design is work-in-progress and part of a project for The Marrakech Magic Theater, San Francisco’s #1 rated show on both TripAdvisor and Yelp. If you’re in San Francisco or visiting soon, make sure to check out the show and let Peter Morrison know where you heard about it.

I’m also working on a few new projects for MMT that will be completed and released soon. It’s nice to work on something that I have a lot more control over; I’ve been having pretty bad luck at Video Poker lately. However, I did place in a slot tournament for the first time and won $100 Free Play at JA Nugget last week, so maybe things will turn around. Wish me luck!

Sunday
Apr272014

Reno is fantastic!

Instagram @bradtastic

I'm absolutely loving it here. I just wish I had more time and energy each day because unpacking is time consuming. I suppose I have too much stuff... in addition to everything from my previous place, a bunch of furniture from the office came with.

Still sorting and organizing a month in, but even with the still packed boxes everywhere, it already feels like home. Many friends and acquaintances from the Bay Area were puzzled by my decision to move here — some called Reno boring — they really have no clue. Reno has just about everything I'd want in a city, and it's not that far from Lake Tahoe.

I just got my iPad replaced at the local Apple Store, and it's running great. It's encouraged me to work on iPad art again! And hopefully I can finish a few projects that have been held up due to my health issues. Perhaps it's too soon to get excited, but the atmosphere here is overall, more comfortable. I've only had one migraine thus far!

Also, I'm hoping that I can refocus on writing as well. Writing is a depreciating skill, and I'm somewhat out of practice. Although I've outlined many different ideas, I haven't been able to focus on publishing decent content. The environment and atmosphere in my new condo by the river should be much more conducive — all around, I feel better here, for whatever that's worth.

Hopefully things are good wherever you are, too... but if not, consider Nevada!

Now, if only we could do something about Harry Reid...

 

Sunday
Nov242013

Can't decide between iPad Air or iPad mini with Retina Display?

Written on iPad mini, using Penultimate & oStylus DOT

If you're having trouble choosing between Apple's new iPads, ask yourself this:

What do you use the iPad for, and where?

 

If your primary tasks involve text; plus you watch some TV shows, movies, browse the web and chat with friends, the retina mini is probably the way to go. It's $100 less, has the A7, 326ppi display (highest density Apple offers on anything), and is super light and portable.

 

However, if your primary tasks are some sort of visual content creation, you should strongly consider the Air.

 

Numerous reviews point out the sad reality that Apple chose a cheaper, lower grade display technology with less color accuracy for the new mini. In addition, the clock speed is 100mhz slower and the iPad mini has less thermal headroom. This translates into lowered performance over time when running processor intensive apps; the Air can keep running at higher speeds for longer while generating less heat on critical components.

 

While speed may not be an issue for months, it will invariably matter sometime in the future. The Air will remain viable for longer, making it a better overall investment, even if you are planning on upgrading each year.

 

 

Neither new iPad has Touch ID, a feature I've come to love and one that makes usage much easier and more pleasant. I can let my device lock whenever the screen shuts off without having to swipe and type a password each time I turn it on. It's arguably even more beneficial for an iPad than iPhone due to the size of the screen and the keypad layout; you have to swipe and stretch farther to unlock the iPad, and the power button is farther from the home button.

 

It seems inevitable that next year's iPads will have Touch ID and faster processors, and the mini will likely have a screen on par with competitors' and the larger iPad. If you really want a great retina mini like I do, wait for that one.

 

Meanwhile, if you do a lot of drawing, design, 3D or photo work on the iPad, you'll likely appreciate both the 9.7" screen and the accurate color. Apple has done a pretty good job ensuring that their full-size screens are calibrated straight-away. The Air is significantly lighter than iPad 3/4 — and while 1/4lb heavier than the mini, it's the same thickness.

 

If you can, get to an Apple retailer and demo the tablets.

 

If you're creating art on the iPad and dead-set on the mini — thanks for reading this anyway! :-)

 

You won't likely be disappointed; the new mini is pretty cool. I love the iPad mini; although a big part of that is because the alternative for me was a somewhat sluggish, heavy tablet with a slow charging battery that overheats constantly. If the iPad 3 was lighter, faster and cooler (temperature), I probably wouldn't have looked twice at the mini. Now that I have one, it's tempting to never go back to the full-size... but I think it's the best choice.

 

 

Whatever you do, please, please... do not buy the iPad 2.

 

Sunday
Nov032013

Penultimate Review 5.0 & iPad mini

After waiting for years, Penultimate (free, iPad) finally has zoom.

This change is huge: it makes Penultimate usable.

Above is some handwriting done on the iPad mini. I decided to try on my go-to tablet because it doesn't write as well as the full-size iPad, and if I were to incorporate Penultimate into normal, everyday usage, it'd likely be on my mini and not my iPad 3.

Simply, I use the iPad mini more. Penultimate is the kind of cloud-synced notes app that's used to capture quick thoughts and sketches, phone numbers and directions while on the phone. Prior to the version 5.0 update, Penultimate was too clunky and ugly to tolerate. I've always liked the Evernote integration, but it just wasn't important enough to put up with (and fight against) a crummy app.

Magnification has been on my want list since version 1. Now we have ZOOM and drift, a new feature that dynamically pans the zoomed-in frame while writing. It takes some practice; as evident in my first sentence on the image above, I was moving my stylus ahead while writing and added too much space between letters. Hopefully it's still legible for everyone else. -b


  • If you're looking for a good note taking app for iPad, check it out. I can finally recommend it and call it #bradtasticapproved. Can't beat that price!
  • If you're willing to spend some money, there are many great note-taking apps for iOS — I've reviewed several here on my blog.
  • If you're looking for a text-based notes app, check out ThinkBook by bitolithic.

 


I really hope that the new iPad mini with Retina Display is as good as it sounds, because even without one, the mini has been my favorite thing. Its diminutive frame and weight makes it a perfect tech companion for me. It's small enough to bring anywhere, light enough to use all day — yet large enough to really enjoy apps, games, movies, websites, ebooks, and typing out emails and blog entries. However, I think between the two new devices (iPad Air, iPad mini Retina), for an artist, the iPad Air is the more practical choice. I'll have to wait and see how the iPad Air and new mini handle pressure sensitive styluses like the Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus, but my guess is that the Air is slightly more accurate and sensitive to small, light pen strokes.

But if the new mini is as precise as my iPad 3 — it'll be a no-brainer.

Favicon design part 2 coming soon. I also want to share my recent illustration work, but I've been a little busy earning entries for the Borderlands 2 $100,000 Loot Hunt. Wish me luck!

 

Wednesday
Oct302013

Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus, Noteshelf and iPad mini

The iPad mini is one of life's pleasant surprises, and in November, Apple will release a 2048x1536 resolution Retina version. Super exciting! I use the mini for just about everything — except writing and serious art/design work. For whatever reason, the smaller screen cannot detect as fine a point as the full-size iPad, rendering some styli — such as the Hand stylus — practically unusable. Hopefully Apple has improved the touch sensor on the iPad mini with Retina display.

Though I've developed an aversion to writing on the mini, when I saw that Noteshelf supported the Wacom intuos Creative Stylus, I decided to give it a go. Results above. Not too bad, I think. It gives me hope for the new iPad mini.

So many pricy things release this year. XBOX ONE, Playstation 4, iPad Air, iPad mini, Mac Pro. That's about $6,000 without a 4K display, but still a technophile's dream. I wonder what will live up to the hype and what won't. I'm normally optimistic regarding Apple products, but I really don't like iOS7 and I'm not completely confident that the new iPads will be issue-free. I am hopeful, however... I want these tablets to be amazing.

The iPad Air is the device I'm currently most enthusiastic about. I started creating digital ink illustrations and it's been therapeutic and fun, and I'm starting to get decent results (I'll post some of it soon). I attribute at least part of that to the Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus — it's incredible. I really hope Wacom works with app developers to get pressure sensitivity into more sketching tools, chiefly Paper (by FiftyThree) and Concepts: Smarter Sketching.

Im trying to get over a bit of a cold, but I'll try to post some art later this week. I hope you have a happy and safe Halloween!

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.

 

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.

 

Monday
Sep022013

Warlords Classic for iOS, Free!

Warlords Classic - official port from Mac/PC/Amiga (universal, was $4.99)

If you're into old school strategy games, grab this now! It's still free — but probably not for long. It's less than 9MB, so you can download it (and play) on-the-go. I don't think I'll spend much time with this one, so let me know what you think!

(I never played the original!) I think I'd rather play Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition, however.