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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

    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 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 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

    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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Entries in notebook (4)


Using Paper by FiftyThree

This sketch demonstrates how I use Paper by 53. I like to create notes and mind-maps by combining the Watercolor tool with Draw, Write, Sketch and Outline.

Paper is a art, design and productivity app for Apple iPad that I've mentioned several times before, here at Says Brad and elsewhere. It's a beautiful, minimalist sketching, drawing and writing tool that looks great on the new iPad with retina display — but inherently, Paper by FiftyThree has strengths and weaknesses similar to a sheet of physical paper.

A blank page can be intimidating.

The app developers at FiftyThree have included some neat features in the app to make it less intimidating. There's a sample journal and walk-through video, but one of their best creative aids is very subtle. Each new journal (or notebook, pages) starts with just 10 pages. Ten: it is enough to feel expansive and real without being intimidating. Sometimes unlimited pages that you can't see seems daunting. You can always add pages or subtract them (by deleting).

Still, if you're going to pay $8 for a sketching app…

You may want to know more about what you're getting and what you can do with it. Reading through the App Store comments, one thing has become clear: Paper is misunderstood by many. At first, I didn't like it. I didn't think it was a real art tool. If you are curious what else can be done, search using the tag #madewithpaper at Twitter and Tumblr — some incredible artists have used Paper in amazing ways. Each tool can be purchased separately for $1.99, but I'd recommend getting the complete collection if you're going to use Paper… else stick with the free Draw tool.

How I like use Paper by FiftyThree

My favorite part of Paper is its custom ink engine. It is expressive and natural, and one of the first that really understands capacitive touch screen use. Without pressure sensitivity, the iPad is (in many ways) at a serious disadvantage compared to Wacom tablets. Many apps intimate, approximate, and imitate pressure by adjusting ink flow based on speed. The results often suck.

The Draw tool in Paper is thin when drawing slowly and gets thicker as you increase speed. Without zoom, this makes tiny, detail work and writing much easier than apps like Penultimate.

The Watercolor tool has a nice look and colors blend together beautifully. I like to create contrast with it, and color code related items.

I use the other tools to create basic shapes and add words, sketches and doodles.

Fast and Messy

When I first used Paper, I tried to keep everything neat and perfect, as I would in Autodesk SketchBook Pro. At that time, I didn't like Paper. I felt it was missing things, things I thought I needed.

At some point, I decided to just scribble — I decided to make a mess. It was fun.

Keeping things loose and not worrying about perfect lines, I put ideas on paper fast than ever. I could brainstorm or experiment, create lists and designs, and the results, while messy, were beautiful. Paper is exact enough to get a point across or capture an idea, and loose enough to stimulate new thoughts because it doesn't fill in all of the blanksintentionally.

Paper by FiftyThree has become an everyday tool for me, and I've never had more fun creating scribbles. It's helped me to breathe life into old ideas, and flesh out new concepts, including things I want to do here at my blog. Sharing pages is simple and quick, and the full journal PDFs look great, too. Paper is another reason to own an iPad!

I hope their next version will offer a way to rearrange Paper's papers.

How do you use Paper? Do you love it, or hate it? If you have thoughts or suggestions on Paper, leave a comment! Also, send them directly to the guys at FiftyThree! They care about feedback.


Note Taker HD & Adonit Jot Pro Stylus

Another inkblog post for your enjoyment. Took a while to finish; spent a few minutes here and there when I was feeling slightly better. Got my Jot a few days ago... thanks! Really cool.

I don't know about Note Taker HD however, as stated in the post. If I continue to ink, it will be with something else, I'm thinking, unless I drastically change my handwriting style or technique. It's much harder to ink on iPad versus WACOM Penabled Tablet PC.

Also, join me at Zurker!


Tablets... Game, yes. Work? Not so much.

Mo' blogging options, writing on the run

Even though the iPad market alone is worth like $20B (USD) and tablets are finally being taken seriously, even with millions of apps available on the App Store and Android Marketplace — with millions of people buying apps and downloads every second, still no one has released a decent (or better than) blogging app. There are serious gaps in mobile software.

Mobile gaming is different; there, there's at least six of everything. Anyone know exactly how many tower defense games are available for iOS? I've seen hundreds; maybe a few dozen great ones, twice as many good rip-offs of those great ones, and a plethora of crap. How many versions of Angry Birds do we need? Ten different racing games with the same cars, a dozen FPS offerings, hundreds of sudoku apps... seriously?!

Also, this micro-transaction, in-app purchases (IAP) business is frankly ridiculous — especially the pay-to-pwn model in certain games, such as Glu's Gun Bros. and its clones. The best items cost around $200 USD, and there's really no other way of getting those items other than spending cash. I understand the freemium model; make a game, offer it free, and people can pay for it in increments based on how much they enjoy it. Often, these games have no end, much like MMORPGs — the game is updated to add more, so to continue enjoying the game, players need to spend a few more dollars. Time management freemium games (farming games, building games, restaurant sims) usually offer some IAP that speeds up the process by offering instant gratification. "This plant will take 48 hours to grow, but for $2.50, you can have it now!" This is how hard-earned money is being blown spent.

Freemium is one thing, and some are fair enough that you can play without spending any money. But now there are premium games offering IAP "cheats." Example: Angry Birds offers an instant-win item for $0.99 — an Eagle that automatically clears any level. EA's Dead Space has a in-game store offering power node and credit pack IAPs.

The iPad is clearly a fantastic portable game console; dual processors, large multi-touch screen... there are Android devices with NVIDIA Tegra2 chips that have similar power. Beyond the toy factor, there are a lot of cool utilities and productivity apps. Also, mobile blogging has changed; people use the Facebook wall, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr to share media. That is blogging, though people might not realize it.

There's a market for and a demand beyond casual, social network blogging, however. There are some decent writing utilities for the iPad and some blogging services have released apps (WordPress, Squarespace, LiveJournal), but many of these apps are problematic and lackluster. The Squarespace app is the most complete that I've used (for blogging), but still far from perfect. None of the apps take full advantage of the capabilities of the services and formats. For writing/word processing, Apple's Pages comes close. I could've used it for work far more often if the app supported vector graphics.

I was on the fringes of the Tablet PC community that existed prior to multitouch displays, iOS, Android, Vista and Windows 7. People had inkblogs and used slate and convertible Tablet PCs as primary work machines. On the few occasions that I interacted with some of the GottaBeMobile guys and other tablet enthusiasts, I got the distinct impression that for some, the slate wasn't a passing trend, it was the Grail.

The iPad is my primary computing device. The iPhone 4 has filled my portable point-and-shoot camera desire. With the right software, the iPad could replace notebook computers; it's fast, has front and rear-facing cameras, wireless internet, decent memory and capacity, a good screen and keyboard support. Of all things, it's the apps (and lack of) that retard it.

Mail supports HTML, but it's only usable via copy/paste. The email editor is weak. Safari is restricted to nine windows as a form of tabbed browsing; this might have something to do with memory, but the iPad can run Infinity Blade and Safari with nine pages.

There are some great iOS apps; I've shared and reviewed a few, and with time, I hope this rant becomes irrelevant. ThinkBook is phenomenal, and I'm enjoying Writing Kit, Daedalus, Day One, iA Writer, Penultimate, Wunderlist and Idea Store. Evernote and Dropbox also work well, despite iOS limitations. I can do just about everything on the iPad... but where's Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator for iPad? Where's ecto or MarsEdit, Scrivener or Storymill? Where are the programming tools and font designers? Where's Firefox?!

It's great that the tablet market has made it possible for two-man teams to create and sell apps... I just hope some established developers start taking these devices seriously for something other than gaming.


Replacing Japanese Paper with Aluminum and Glass

Over the past year, I've used many different notebook apps for the iPad, and though I tried to love them, none really felt right. Penultimate, a great, highly rated app, has many things going for it, but it lacks the precision that a detail-oriented designer needs. Some apps such as Note Taker HD and Notes Plus also come close to paper, but they're both missing things.

However, iPad owners: I've found the answer — my favorite "notebook" app is "MUJI NOTEBOOK." if you haven't seen it, check out more information. Granted, the style might not suit other so well; the Japanese influence is clear, down to the paper types and formatting.

For true "pen and paper" feel, get a capacitive touch stylus. WACOM recently released a Bamboo stylus, but I haven't used it yet — the demand seems high, and there's a several month wait (I do have one on my Amazon Wish List, however, and my birthday is in three months!). I own styli by Ten One and Boxwave; either is good, but the Boxwave is easily my favorite.

It's not perfect—paper isn't perfect, either

MUJI Notebook has text, writing and drawing support with multiple methods of input. Some are slightly cumbersome; for instance, English handwriting to text is difficult to use effectively because the system doesn't detect letter shape, it assesses stroke order. That said, it's still easily my favorite, and I now take notes in ways I didn't — and couldn't — before, because my iPad 2 is near me so often.

For typed notes, I recommend Nebulous Notes... but my favorite iPad writing app is iA Writer.


I'd love to hear about your favorite iOS apps, productivity tips and tools, or whatever else you use to get things done on mobile devices. Coming soon: the team behind Day One (Journal) for iPhone and Mac desktop PC released a universal version of their iOS app. Ive played around with it, and believe that there's room for improvement, so I'm going to hold off on a formal review. One of the main new features is the inclusion of "reminders," a feature from the desktop app, designed to help the user remember to write throughout the day at set intervals. Hopefully, I can review OmmWriter for iPad soon as well.

I'll share some more photos and artwork soon, too. If you're curious, you can check out Antipresto, my Tumblr, for photos, videos, links, and other cool things.