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  • (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 mac (7)

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?

Thursday
Jan162014

OS X: Getting rid of Dashboard

How to permanently* remove Dashboard in OS X Mavericks.

Now more than ever, Apple’s Dashboard feels redundant.

When Apple first announced Dashboard Widgets, it was sort of revolutionary to me; all of these mini-apps, adding functionality and usability to my computer with a tap. However, with the numerous innovations that have come about since multi-touch and iOS, Dashboard seems like a slow, unnecessary relic of OSX’s past.

Dashboard was designed before multi-touch mice and trackpad gestures, and was an innovation prior to the iPhone. But it’s still built into the latest Mac OS X release, Mavericks.

Don’t want it anymore? I didn’t. Why have something around that I’m not going to use that just slows down my computer and eats up bandwidth? Here’s how to kill it. Note: you need admin privileges.

Step one: Open Terminal.

Add the following line of code:

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean true

Two: Relaunch.

Add the next line:

killall Dock

Three DONE!

Now, Dashboard is finally a thing of the past.

Widgets are mini-apps. iPhone is a mini-computer.

I understand that some people will still benefit from Dashboard, I don’t need a list of reasons why it’s still valid. There are a number of really cool widgets available. Just nothing that I can’t do faster with Safari or more conveniently on my iPad or iPhone, devices that are always right next to me and can function as a second screen, mini-computer. Siri can do just about everything that standard widgets do (I can’t at the moment think of something I’d do with a widget that I can’t just tell my phone to do for me), without changing to a separate space or obscuring my main screen.

Not really permanent.

* However, sometimes we change our minds about things. If you need to bring Dashboard back, simply change true to false

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean false

Don’t forget!

killall Dock

Dashboard should now be back.

If you like this sort of post or it helps you out, please let me know!

I feel like I shouldn’t have to write this (but lest it become a problem somehow)…

You modify settings on your system at your own risk. Please don’t blame me if something goes wrong or doesn’t work on your system — I’m not there, I don’t know what happened. I’m basically just passing along information that helped me.

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.

Friday
Jun142013

What Makes Apple's Future So Compelling?


Tim Cook + Tony Stark = Apple's new Iron Man Mac Pro.

Just look at the thing. Incredible. Unbelievable, even. I'm used to seeing powerful, professional computer systems as massive, hulking monstrosities — 90 pound liquid-cooled steel and aluminum towers with 900w power supplies. If the new Mac Pro is anywhere near what they claim, it'll change everything.

"Can't innovate any more, my ass!" – Phil Schiller, Apple Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing, WWDC 2013 Keynote

Steve Jobs was Apple. It's taken years, but Apple has finally created a new identity for itself without him at the helm. It's exciting! The recent WWDC keynote outlined big changes and new beginnings for Apple: the next OSX called Mavericks, iOS7, a complete rethink and redesign, and the Mac Pro — what looks like something straight out of Iron Man 3.

There seems to be a pervasive, holistic approach to technologies that will fundamentally change how we think about computers. Everything is intertwined, interconnected. The Internet is fast, always-on, available everywhere. Phones talk to tablets, TVs, notebooks and desktops, cars and cash registers. The next-gen video game consoles will have accurate motion-tracking and handheld components (XBOX Smart Glass, PS Vita — and the Wii U, well... never mind that).

Apple seems to understand this philosophical shift. Six years ago, a phone without a keypad seemed unthinkable, ridiculous. This was in part due to technical limitations, but mostly because it went against the identity and concept a phone. Back in high school, I thought the Palm IIIc was the greatest thing, ever, and if you could've shown me the iPad back then, I'd've called it sorcery.

Mobility is so important to us. We want lightweight phones, light computers — but at what cost? There's an understanding that performance or capacity must be sacrificed when shedding weight, but what if that changed? And what is light (weight)?

iOS7 is a dramatically visual overhaul of an already stunning and swift operating system. It's been visually reworked to convey simple, natural and elegant efficiency. The scope of the redesign reflects incredible, infused passion and dedication, from precision typography to carefully curated color palettes. It's a perfect counterpart to devices like the iPhone 5 and iPad mini — fantastically thin glass and aluminum works of art, beautiful, even when powered down.

Apple-thin is in.

With the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Retina, Apple has shown us that a computer doesn't need to be a simple, cheap netbook to exist without a disc drive. They must've realized years ago that with on-demand streaming video from services like YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and HBO GO, people would stop watching DVDs on PCs. Sure, I sometimes think, conceptually, it'd be nice to have a Blu-Ray player with my MacBook, but I never miss it. I watch those movies on a big screen TV, and every time I have to lift my MacBook, I smile, due to some form of disbelief and think, "how is it this light?!"

The concept of lightweight design has finally carried over to desktops. That's why the new Mac Pro is brilliant — especially for creatives. Its tiny footprint and sci-fi design is inspiring. It'll run Mavericks, blazing through calculations next to iPads and iPhones running iOS7.

This image of the near-future conveys a balance between man and machine; an idyllic, non-adversarial relationship between an artist and his tools. This harmony is the infrastructure that ignites the creativity of thousands of designers and developers releasing the apps that make iPads, iPhones, and Macs so incredible, and so fun.

 



Yes, I use Windows, too, but aside from great game optimization and the games themselves, I don't prefer it. I'm hoping this will change once Microsoft realizes that Windows 8 looks like the touch screens at Wells Fargo ATMs and gives more power to independent developers and artists. Fat chance. Have you seen the XBOX ONE? It's basically a gigantic, expensive piece of spyware. No wonder the PS4 preorders are outpacing the PRISM box.


Coming soon.


Later, I'll be posting about very serious matters regarding our government and troubling issues we need to take a stand against. My blog will likely take a more serious tone, but I'll try to keep positive and continue to post some fun stuff like tech tips and app reviews.

 

Friday
Nov162012

Removing Apps From Launchpad

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

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


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

Want full control of your Launchpad?


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

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


Since Apple won’t help, I will!


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

Hopefully this helps you!


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

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

Thursday
Oct062011

Legacy of Steve Jobs

I was going to write about my Disneyland trip, or maybe about the iPhone 4S and Siri, but on Wednesday, an icon, a tech hero died. This you know, of course, because Steve Jobs was that important. Millions of lives have been made better by his inventions, and his passion brought technology to market that has reshaped the world. We operate differently because of iDevices, whether you own one or not. Multitouch displays, app stores... MP3 players replacing CD players. The iPad saved tablets from obscurity, and Steve proved that you can defy the status quo and succeed against opposition.

And then there's Pixar. A generation of children grew up watching their computer animated films, and the success of those movies has reshaped Disney — and perhaps storytelling, in general.

I can imagine some of the great things Steve Jobs could have accomplished with more time, but one of the most amazing things about him is that he created things we can't imagine. As a child, I never dreamed that one day, I might have a Star Trek device in my pocket. If you think about what the iPhone 4 is compared to the first iPhone, and compare that to the Palm Treo and other "smartphones" that preceded it, you can see how far things have come.

For me, the iPhone and iPad have been life-changing. Both devices enhance what I do in such simple yet amazing ways, and both are so intuitive and natural, they seem like extensions of thought, or extra limbs. The iPad has replaced my desktop and notebook computers — it does just about everything that I need to do. I also use it as a notebook, sketchbook and journal. And with the iPhone 4S and Siri, I'll have a phone that's one step away from sentience. I was thinking about getting the Infiniti Personal Assistant service, but in a few weeks, I'll have something just as good, built into the handset.

Of course, much of the brilliance of iOS belongs to the software itself and app developers, but having spoken to many app creators, I know that iOS was built to be powerful and easy to create for. iTunes and the App Store are both brilliant tools. iTunes has done amazing things for musicians, authors and programmers.

Steve Jobs created a company that makes my life better, and more fun. He influenced me more than any movie star, storyteller or US President. I've never loved a phone or tablet until I bought one made by Apple.

It's hard to know where to begin or end this. I'll have to add more thoughts later. I'm often compared to Vulcans, but news of Steve's death made me teary-eyed after the initial shock and disbelief. I suppose I'm still trying to process the loss. That's incredible by itself.

Tuesday
Jul202010

Computer Hardware

Despite all this “antennaegate” nonsense, I got myself an iPhone 4, and I’m happy with it. The retina-display is amazing. I also got a Kindle DX last week; the more time I spend with it, the more I love it. At last, I thought to myself, all I need to get is a 3D HDTV and move out of Oakland, and everything will be peachy!

 

Alas…

Once again I find myself out of storage space on my main computer. My main computer isn’t new, anymore… and I’ve been giving some thought toward getting a new one. I just don’t know what would best suit me at the moment.

Things are changing.

My life was simpler last year; I knew what I was doing, I knew how to do it, and I wasn’t going out much. I’d made dramatic lifestyle changes and had settled into the uncomfortable routines of pain management. This year, I’m trying to be slightly more active, and I’m once again using computers frequently.

Desktop or notebook?

The iPad was the real game-changer. The iPhone did a lot to make some net-based tasks easier, but typing on one just isn’t quick or convenient enough. With the iPad I was able to establish new routines and processes to get stuff done. Apple’s tablet was the first device of its kind to really replace a notebook — it’s so far beyond the netbook that it’s unreasonable to compare the two.

Unfortunately, I can’t do everything on the iPad. Though there are many wonderful apps available on iTunes’ App Store (there are also many dismal ones), many necessary utilities are missing. I still need a Mac for some stuff. But what would suit me best? I’m debating between the iMac and Mac Pro.

Perhaps someday soon, I’ll have both; a work machine, and a media machine. For now, I need to prioritize, and the next two pieces of hardware I need are a printer and a WACOM Cintiq 12WX. Most of my design work starts as a sketch, and my Tablet PC is just too old to be effective. I can’t even find a replacement battery for it. I did add a Motion Computing LE 1600 to my wishlist, however, and at $450, it’d make for a great gift.

 

With or without, things are happening. I’ve been creating new artwork and I’m going to release some new designs as well as some writing. Somehow, with all of this going on, I’ve managed to set aside time to watch some Star Trek and post journal entries. However, my books and my aircraft design are drifting toward limbo — I need to rectify that.

If you also want to make some things happen, here’s a book I suggest:

Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky