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 styli (5)

Wednesday
Feb192014

Several Exciting Things in Blogging

iPad Paper sketch, MadeWithPaper FiftyThree

Turns out, trying to rebuild a website in Squarespace v6 with almost no spare time and not enough sleep is pretty hard. 

But I’m working on it. I’m just working on so many other things, too. I’m almost done with several reviews for some really cool products, and I’m really looking forward to updating SaysBrad with new visuals and features. 

If you’re thinking about creating or updating a website, I think Squarespace is a great option. And no, they aren’t paying me to say that — though I wish they were!

However, if you just want a simple blog, I’d recommend Posthaven. I’ve been experimenting with their service for about one month and it’s excellent, especially for mobile users (iOS, anyway — I’m not able to test Android). Priced at $5/month, the guys behind Posthaven promise to keep your content online forever after one year of paid service. I believe that they mean it, but only time will tell whether or not this promise holds up. Posthaven isn’t a huge company with massive, private resources. 

If you like trying new things and experimenting with code, maybe try Ghost. 

My experimental site, Bradtastica, is a Ghost blog hosted by the awesome guys at Ghostify. As is, Ghost is somewhat lacking and I think that there are too many bugs and uncertainties for business use, but the platform is new and full of potential. Within one or two years, Ghost will be a top contender and solid choice for blogging. Right now, it’s more… just kinda cool.

One more thing! 

Over the past several months (during my illness, mainly), I’ve tried several new capacitive touch styluses and have received offers to try a few more. I’m looking forward to posting some comprehensive reviews with sketches and photos. I’d wanted to get Says Brad moved to SS6 first, but with everything going on right now (disability, illness, moving, etc…), I’m not sure when that would be. (I’m also having major problems with the building that I’m in. Will probably have to write/share some scathing comments about PBT sometime.) I really want to separate the technology, political and personal content — just really lacking time and energy. So I’m formatting my reviews for this blog! I’m particularly looking forward to sharing my thoughts on Pencil, the stylus for Paper by FiftyThree. Have had a lot of fun with that. 

As usual, if you have questions or comments, you can reach me via my SaysBrad contact form (email), or through Twitter or Facebook. It’s nice to hear from everyone!

I hope you have a great week!

Thursday
Nov082012

Fixing Adonit Jot and Hex3 Jaja Stylus

Adonit Jot not working properly?

Adonit claims that only 1% of their capacitive touch disc tip styluses have issues with skipping and contact. I've found that to be wholly inaccurate. Every Jot I have has had an issue.

The problem is likely a design flaw that they don't want to admit to. Capacitive touch styluses essentially trick the iPad into recognizing it as your finger. The way the iPad screen works is somewhat difficult to explain, but essentially, a conductive surface of about 6mm is what the iPad looks for.

Instead of the typical soft rubber tips, some styli use discs, like the Adonit Jot series: Mini, Pro, Flip, Touch. Other manufacturers use disc tips as well. The disc is plastic with a metal piece that touches a metal pen, with a small enough surface area to offer precision, and just barely large enough to be detected. In theory, this is great. In practice, well...

If your Jot isn't working properly, Adonit may send you new tips or a new pen. But you will probably have the same problem again.

The most common issue is skipping, where a continuous line drawn on the screen with the capacitive stylus, in this case Jot Pro, is broken into segments and dots. In addition, the stylus may not start a line where you intend, appearing several millimeters after you thought you were touching the screen.

Fear not. There's a cheap fix!

Conductive grease or thermal compound will most likely solve your problem. I improved my HEX3 Jaja the same way. I ordered Arctic Silver Ceramique 2 from Amazon. [Order yours! There's also a link in the sidebar. I get a small credit if you use it. Thanks!] Another brand may work just fine; electronics stores should carry it, places like Radio Shack — or a store that sells motherboards and processors should you want to pick it up at a retail location. Other Jot owners have tried this as well; I actually found this solution on the Adonit forums.

Step 1: Simply remove the disc from the Jot.

Adonit has a guide to replace a disc. Make sure the disc is clean!

Step 2: Place a dab of thermal compound paste on the disc.

You only need a small amount. Just take a tiny dab and put it in the hole where the Jot's ball tip inserts into the disc. You can also rub a thin coating around the ball tip. Afterward, reinsert, and make sure the disc is clean.

And that's it! Your stylus should work 100% better!

I hope I just helped you save your $25-100 stylus, and/or a month of dealing with customer service getting nowhere. I'm sure many frustrated Jot owners have given up on their styluses, so let them know about this!

Problems with Hex3 Jaja pressure sensitive stylus?

The Jaja tips are slightly different. The disc is attached to a 0.7mm metal rod that inserts into the Jaja stylus (or any 0.7mm mechanical pencil). From my experience, it isn't that responsive, and requires uncomfortable, firm pressure and a near vertical angle to work properly.

 

You can improve the Jaja significantly by adding a bit of thermal compound. Remove the tip, and place the disc on a flat surface. Rotate the metal rod to the side, and put a small amount of paste onto the ball. Next, twist the rod and rotate it in circles, spreading the paste around the part of the tip that holds the rod.

 

The thermal compound will improve the conductivity of the tip, and your capacitive touch stylus should now work with very little pressure!

Hopefully this helps! Let me know.

 

Wednesday
Sep262012

Hand Stylus Part II

I thought I posted this a few days ago. Oops. Had some problems with my iPad crashing and some health problems, so I hadn't thought about the update. Today, I've been figuring out how to upload photos, attempting to fix my Says Brad gallery (here; haven't been able to fix it, however), and adding stuff to my dribbble page. Thinking about "going pro" at Dribbble but I'm not sure.

Note about Dribbble: dribbble requires images 400x300 or smaller; their website uploader will crop, but it won't scale images. My Paper sketches are natively 2048x1536, and I've been using PhotoForge2 to scale them to 400x300. That was working fine until today; PhotoForge2 just crashes after startup now.

About the Hand Stylus, 77/100

Anyway, above are a few of my new HAND stylus thoughts. It requires less pressure than the Adonit Jot Pro, but is less accurate and more difficult to use than the Adonit Jot Touch.

Above, I can see slight variations in handwriting across each stylus, but the differences are fairly small. The oStylus DOT, due to its thin shaft/handle, is harder to use while block writing. It's phenomenal for artwork and cursive, however.

I tried to use the Hand stylus to create my madewithpaper sketches, but I couldn't achieve decent results. I can't get the Hand to travel reliably and quick enough across the iPad surface to achieve the pencil and watercolor effects I use in my Paper art.

An interesting twist with HAND.

The Hand Stylus guys are based out of Alameda, and one of them read my earlier review and has offered to meet with me to test my stylus to see if it is functioning properly. If it works out, I'll share the results. They want to meet in Alameda. With my disability, mobility and timing is difficult so I'll see how it goes. It's a cool offer nevertheless.

Friday
Sep212012

Hand Stylus Review – First Impressions

I didn't write with it for long before I could feel my hand starting to cramp; the Hand stylus has some serious drawbacks that I hadn't read about anywhere, and I'm wondering now: what did the other reviewers do with it?

The HAND Stylus – far from being my favorite.

There was a lot of hype surrounding the Hand capacitive touch stylus; numerous reviews praised its design and functionality, thousands were per-ordered and paid for via Kickstarter, and… it looks fantastic.

 

The Hand stylus comes in super sleek packaging: a stamped aluminum tray inside of an understated white paper box with foil logo. The printed materials sport slick graphics. HAND: Designed in USA. Made in China. Sigh. We can't Affordably manufacture things statewide anymore? Oh wait, maybe we can.

 

The Hand has a magnetic clip. A retractable 4mm tip called the world's smallest. I chose the glossy red. It looks amazing and precise. It isn't.

 

The Hand, the problems

The Hand stylus isn't bad. I love many of its features — I love the styling, the highly-technical, over-engineered bits like the rotating retractable nib. But sadly, these features don't save the stylus because the most important attribute, reliably writing and drawing, is off. With great handwriting and focus, the Hand can produce decent lines… just like other less-stylish (and more comfortable) styluses.

The tip feels too soft, too squishy. In order to reliably convey my intentions from stylus to capacitive touch screen, an uncomfortable amount of pressure must be applied from HAND to screen. The tip deforms just enough to give the capacitive touch screen the 6mm it looks for. HAND calls this the sweet spot. I find it uncomfortable and aggravating.

My hand is mightier than the Hand.

The Hand stylus is about as inaccurate and annoying as the Adonit Jot Pro. It's not terrible; it's better than the WACOM Bamboo and the plethora of $10-or-less options. (For non-pressure sensitive use) I still prefer oStylus DOT — although in addition to being more expensive, the DOT is also more fragile. For an equally durable, inexpensive option, I recommend the COSMONAUT, a stylus David Pogue likened to a Pringles can. He probably thinks he's clever and funny, but he's doing his minions a disservice.

Final thoughts on the HAND Stylus

If you like super-stylish, frustrating, unreliable devices (like AT&T phones), get the HAND. However, I think that the Hand is cramp.

 

I can be clever, too.

Tuesday
Sep042012

The Best iPad Stylus and Five Touch Apps

These are a few of my favorite styluses for capacitive touch screens (for me, that's the New iPad with Retina Display). From left to right: Wacom Bamboo, Adonit Jot Pro, oStylus DOT, Studio Neat Cosmonaut.

Of these, my two favorites are the oStylus DOT and the Cosmonaut, but for different reasons.

The oStylus DOT is a highly precise, reliable tool for writing and design. It never misses. Although it's base has a vinyl pad, people have mentioned scratch anxiety due to the metal tip. Believe me, gorilla glass is fairly tough. Unless you have glass shards or sand all over your screen, you should be fine. I've been using the oStylus DOT every day for months (on the iPad 2 and my New iPad) and my screen is perfect. [Also: The Adonit Jot Pro has a hard plastic tip that some people have complained can leave a residue on the screen if you swipe too quickly.]

The oStylus DOT is a phenomenal artist's tool.

The design of the oStylus DOT offers great control at any angle. Because the tip can rotate between the wires, you can maintain perfect contact with the screen irregardless of how sharp an angle you hold it. By comparison, the Adonit Jot Pro stops at 45 degrees. As an artist, I want precision and reliability; a stylus should accurately capture every line, stroke and dot, 100% of the time. The oStylus DOT delivers, making it essential to my artwork, designs and handwriting.

The wires won't easily break, but they can bend, so some care is required. I recommend getting a good protective case for it, as the sleeve the oStylus comes in isn't great protection. If I were able to change anything about it, I'd add a magnet and make the shaft wider for an easier grip: I'd like to be able to use the oStylus to sleep/wake the iPad like the Jot Pro, and after about an hour, my hand cramps — a thicker grip would help. Also, the DOT and Jot aren't as good for tapping and typing because they make a hard impact with the screen; it's uncomfortable and makes a clack similar to that of a fingernail.

Despite any minor issues or inconveniences, I love the oStylus DOT. The DOT, $38, is hand assembled by Andrew Goss, a jeweler in Canada, and the quality is phenomenal. If you draw on the iPad, you need a DOT.

The Cosmonaut is the do everything stylus.

The Cosmonaut, unlike many touch screen stylus designs, isn't shaped like a pen. It looks like a large, black crayon. Studio Neat (with Kickstarter) created the Cosmonaut to feel like a dry-erase marker, and it does. Their logic is simple and sound; the screen surface is slick, and because you can't easily rest your hand on the screen (*I have a super simple method to remedy this, check back soon for a full explanation), the iPad is less like paper and more akin to a dry erase whiteboard.

The wide grip is excellent, although I'd prefer it slightly longer because I have large hands. Due to the wide body of the Cosmonaut, it's easy to control large movements and broad strokes — this stylus is great for anyone, and perfectly suited for children and anyone with hand control problems. If I could have my dream stylus, it would be a pressure-sensitive combo with a slightly longer Cosmonaut shaft and the oStylus DOT tip.

The tip itself is hard to understand from photos — it's similar to the nine-bazillion other styli out there, although slightly more rigid. It glides easily enough, although I have to press down harder than I'm used to for it to accurately register. It has a softer impact on the screen than the oStylus DOT and Jot Pro, but is slightly harder than the Bamboo; it's a nice balance that offers good control and feel for drawing, and more comfort for tapping and typing than the hard tipped styli.

The Cosmonaut is a great everyday, anytime stylus; it's durable, accurate enough, comfortable and stylish. It costs $25 USD but doesn't look or feel cheap. It's not quite as accurate as the DOT, but it is more comfortable, and great for tap typing and games. I like using it with card games such as Assassin's Creed Recollection, Ascension and Magic 2013, as well as RTS games like Eufloria, Autumn Dynasty and Anomaly.

Here are a few apps you must try with an accurate stylus.

Some apps are custom designed to work with high-precision capacitive touch styluses.

Here's a list of apps designed to work with the Adonit Jot styluses. They work great with any stylus, and some have pressure sensitivity features for styli such as Jot Touch, Jaja and By Zero Studio Pen. This list includes many of my favorite art apps, such as Autodesk SketchBook Pro, ArtRage and Procreate.

Paper by FiftyThree is a fantastic sketching app for anyone. It makes your notes look good. Here are some of my thoughts on paper.

Remarks is my new favorite note taking app. It's wonderful; it has most of the features I'd ever want, it's stable, and when I got it, it was on sale for $0.99 — but it isn't the most simple note taking app. Write, draw, type, add photos, record audio, it does it all, and can automatically backup to Dropbox. Super.

Noteshelf is a simpler notes app, but equally amazing. It is beautiful on iPad 2, and the clarity is stunning on the Retina display.

Infinite SketchPad is a remarkable vector drawing tool that offers an incredible canvas — zoom in or out, for incredibly large or complex notes. You have to see it to believe it. Best of all, you can export your notes/art or publish it online in its full glory. This app is perfect for mind-mapping, diagrams ideas, thought webs and all kinds of brainstorming. I use Infinite SketchPad almost daily, and the developer is really cool and friendly.

Sketch Rolls is a super simple, utilitarian sketching app that acts as the successor to the now defunct Drafts by 37signals and drawthings apps. It isn't for everyone, however and it costs $4.99 — there are cheaper apps out there that do more, but some people will like the style of this app. Presently, I like it more than Penultimate.

I hope that this list helps you to get more out of your iPad; the iPad is the single greatest thing in my life due mainly to great apps and a great stylus, and I want everyone to experience it.

I'm putting together an entry on palm rejection (wrist protection) on the iPad, and how to use the iPad more like a notepad without pesky software solutions, as well as a review of the new Adonit Jot Touch Bluetooth Pressure Sensitive Stylus for iPad (what a name!). So if you like my blog, please help me out and tell a friend! (Or Facebook friends, or Twitter followers.) Thanks!