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 tablet (12)

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.

 

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.

 

Tuesday
May142013

Brad's Personal Update No. 2

Hi everyone, I just wanted to let you know that I think I’m starting to feel a bit better. But I don’t want to jinx it. I do, however, want to share a few things. I downloaded the update for Paper by FiftyThree and I’m so happy about the new zoom tool. Although I think it still needs some tweaking, it’s a very clever way to achieve a blend of style and functionality that fits the theme and mission of the Paper sketching app. If you have an iPad, you need Paper, even if you don’t consider yourself an artist or creative. It’s just that cool.

I’m writing this blog entry from the official (semi-janky) Squarespace app because for some reason, my favorite, go-to app Blogsy isn’t able to load my categories. I don’t yet know if that’s a Squarespace problem or a fomola (Blogsy devs) issue, but I emailed Lance (fomola Big Boss aka CEO aka awesome friend) to find out. [I’m still very interested in migrating from Squarespace to WordPress, but I don’t have the knowledge or energy yet to start making that happen — I’d want a nice WP theme and don’t know how to go about putting that together.]

Paper by FiftyThree art

Inspired in-part by the Guild Wars 2 Mesmer profession (which reminds me of Accel World’s Kuroyukihime character), this purple abstract butterfly was created on the iPad mini using Paper specific tools (primarily the pencil and watercolor) in order to familiarize myself with the color wheel and zoom. Although it’s still work-in-progress in both forms, one is a screenshot showing off the new zoom/magnifying tool. It took a few minutes to get used to, but in general, I like it; although I might’ve preferred a more traditional zoom functionality, this style does have advantages because you can see exactly where you are drawing relative to the whole page/screen, without zooming in and out, back and forth. It’s also very fast with a decent margin for error, and doesn’t interfere with the undo/redo feature.

I’m excited, because Paper is finally an app I can use start to finish for my style of design. Until now, it’s been a rough ideas and sketching tool; first it was limited by a restricted color palette — they fixed that — and now they’ve added zoom. I’d still like to see a smaller eraser tool (or a variable one with opacity adjustment) and portrait mode, but as is, it’ll work well. I’ve come to prefer the two-finger circular undo/redo and now wish that other apps had it.

Next

I have to take things slow and pace myself, but I’ll see about adding new sketches and designs to dribbble along with more blog entries here such as app and stylus reviews & tips. Until then, take care, enjoy life, and wish me luck. Thank you all!

Sunday
Aug122012

Awesome iPad Stylus

There are 46.1 million capacitive touch styluses (styli maybe) on the market. Approximately. Most are the same with a different name. Many of them suck.

The Cosmonaut by Studio Neat is a wonderful iPad stylus for just about anyone. Don't let the odd looks dissuade you. Check out Studio Neat's product video.

Below is something that I wrote using the Cosmonaut stylus and Noteshelf on my iPad.

 

Monday
Jul092012

Designing with Paper

I used to like real, analog paper.

Clairefontaine, Rodeo, Whitelines, and the occasional Moleskine. However, instead of lugging around thick, heavy notebooks, I now use the new iPad…

For just about everything.

 

Now, instead of the stationery store, I have the App Store. My Paper is supplied by FiftyThree and my notebooks are supplied by Evernote, Noteshelf and ThinkBook. I create mind maps and mood boards in Infinite SketchPad and Adobe Collage.

With my disability, I have to do just about everything from home. The Apple iPad allows me to find inspiration and create in an organic, fluid fashion. Apps open quickly, the battery lasts all day — I design more efficiently on the new iPad than I ever did on a desktop computer or in a sketchbook.

The new iPad Retina display is stunning — it's so clear that the iPad 2 feels unusable by comparison. As an artist, photographer or designer, four times the pixels is a fantastic upgrade. Further, text is so crisp that I prefer the iPad over Kindle for reading.

Sketching in Paper helps me unwind and brainstorm new ideas. I use it when I don't want to focus on precision and finite control. Brainstorming is about broad strokes, which Paper handles phenomenally. Some of these drawings inspire new designs and illustrations — some just look cool. And I enjoy sharing them.

So blogging, photography, design — art — all aided by iOS; an iPhone and an iPad. I also like to use an oStylus DOT and a KlearScreen microfiber cleaning cloth.

I like designing new things…

If you know someone looking for a design, new business card, marketing materials, an advertising campaign, billboard, postcard or help with writing or branding, please tell him or her about me — with a brief consultation, I can answer questions and outline the project. Thank you!

Sunday
Jul012012

The new iPad

Reading on the new iPad is wonderful. The Retina display is simply spectacular. If you do a lot of reading, writing or drawing, the new iPad is a worthwhile upgrade. Digital magazines and websites look better than printed pages, and sketching with Paper or SketchBook Pro feels real.

If you decide to get a new iPad, I suggest getting AppleCare+ for iPad. $99 and it includes two accidental damage replacements for $50 each. Get the AppleCare with the new iPad or before you open the packaging; this makes it easier, because it must be purchased within 15 days and if the iPad is opened, it must be inspected by the Genius Bar at the Apple Store.

Thursday
May032012

Paper by FiftyThree actually awesome!

If you sketch, doodle, jot, draw or paint, you will love Paper by FiftyThree.

That's what I think, anyway, especially if you use an oStylus (Bradtastic Approved, of course!) the world's best capacitive touch stylus. Of course, you need an iPad.

Download Paper by FiftyThree (from the App Store)

They've announced on their blog that Paper has been downloaded 1.5 million times, an impressive number, especially for an app that isn't a game (and even for a free app). They also announced the number of pages that have been created, though I don't know how they know that without spying on people's usage… a scary thought. I will have to ask them.

Initially, I didn't like Paper.

I thought it was overpriced form over function, more style than substance. My opinion was formed using the one free tool, and though I'd like to think that the App Store reviews did not influence me, I'm sure that that was a factor as well.

I was comparing Paper to "pro" drawing and painting tools. In doing so, I missed the beauty of Paper — simplicity. I saw its minimalist interface as a negative, something between crude and kitschy. I thought of paper as one thing trying to be something else, and decided to dislike it on that alone. Throughout, I still acknowledged that custom ink engine and crisp feel were special — noteworthy… good.

Discovery.

About a week or so ago, I downloaded The Essentials (the $7.99 USD IAP) after discussing it with several people, reading reviews and emailing FiftyThree. I decided that it made more sense for two reasons:

  1. The Essentials may include other features or tools in the future.
  2. it's a hassle to download each individually at a savings of 3¢.

I first got the full Paper experience first on the iPad 2, and was immediately struck by the difference. The trial versions (called "Try it!" in the Store) do not do justice. Paper instantly transforms (think butterfly) from dull to dangerous. This wonderful sketching app delivers a rich, satisfying experience, perfect for doodlers and serious designers alike.

Some ways to use Paper

Paper can be used to make masterpieces — I've seen some — but that's not its strength. Here are a few ideas.

  • mind-mapping
  • visual notes

Both of these have dedicated apps, but the simplicity and aesthetics makes Paper a good choice for concepts.

  • doodles, scribbles
  • diagrams
  • graphology (handwriting analysis)

  • telephone notepad

good for phone numbers and jotting quick thoughts while on the phone; also great for idle moments and rants (while you're placed on hold)

  • logo ideas
  • conceptual design
  • scenery
  • symbols

artists of all skill levels and types will likely find that Paper's tools are a great balance between speed and control.

Four stars, work in progress.

Paper isn't perfect — it's WIP. FiftyThree is still adding features. If you have suggestions, contact them; I did, and got a very sincere reply. Being critical of an app and offering constructive feedback early on will help to shape the direction of this tool.

Some people just don't like Paper, and that's okay. There are a lot of drawing apps on the iPad, and many great professional tools such as:

  • Procreate
  • ArtRage
  • SketchBook Pro
  • Layers
  • Brushes

And there are inexpensive alternatives with wonderful functionality as well:

  • Sketch Club
  • Infinite SketchPad
  • Noteshelf

There's also fun, social stuff like Clibe.

I created an Infinite Sketch discussing key points of Paper, pros and cons, and additional features that I'd like to see.

Check out a web version of the Infinite SketchPad outline that I made. I would love to hear your ideas as well, so don't hesitate to comment or message me!

Coming soon: more detailed thoughts on Paper, including comments on specific tools and the UI.

(btw, I love being able to set auto-post times for blog entries, allowing me to write when I'm feeling okay, yet stagger the entries. I know this isn't a new or revolutionary feature and that many people use it, but still… it's brilliant!)

Thursday
Jan262012

iPad inkblog attempt, 2012

I really don't know how this will turn out. I miss inkblogging, however. If you like it, please let me know.

Friday
Nov042011

Is the iPad 2 a toy?

Is the iPad just a big, expensive toy?

I suppose that it could be. However, with hundreds of useful productivity and design apps and new iOS5 features, the iPad 2 is certainly much more than a toy.

There are a lot of games for iOS, but they represent only a fraction of what iDevices can do. The iPhone 4, for instance, is a powerful point-and-click camera in addition to being the best 3G smartphone. There are tools to keep in touch with friends and family, find the best restaurants and the lowest gas prices. Notification Center keeps tasks, weather, stocks and calendars one convenient, downward swipe away from whatever you're doing. And the iPhone 4S? Well, there's an 8 megapixel camera, and most importantly, Siri.

But about the iPad itself, specifically the iPad 2...

The iPad 2 is much more than a "big iPhone."

When the first iPad was announced, I bought the hype — I thought of the iPad as a big iPod touch, nothing more. Of course, everything changed when I actually used one. If you're thinking about buying one (and can afford it), do it. If you're skeptical, try to get to an Apple store to spend a few minutes to test an iPad.

There are features and apps that just wouldn't work well on the smaller screen of the iPhone, even with the retina display. There may be a lot of small pixels on the iPhone 4, but that doesn't just change the size of your fingers. Organization and writing tools are much more natural on the iPad, and there are apps that allow you to draw and write as you could on paper that just aren't practical on a small screen — you'd either have to write/draw smaller, or constantly zoom in/out and scroll. Typing is much nicer and quicker on the iPad, and iOS5 has a new split keyboard feature.

Popplet is a good example of the iPad's wonderful abilities. This organization app, a mind mapping tool, has been around since the first iPad, and I still use it to organize thoughts quickly and to share ideas. Popplet takes advantage of the large screen; you can drop text, images and drawings into the popples (the boxes), resize them, connect them, and move them around, while still seeing the bigger picture. There are mind mapping tools for the iPhone, but I haven't found one as useful. And I do constantly keep an eye out for new apps.

Bringing me to something else, worth mentioning...

You don't need to empty your wallet on apps.

Check out AppShopper, a universal app that keeps track of new and popular apps, as well as your favorites, and notifies you of price changes and updates. I've snagged hundreds of apps, usually in the $1.99-9.99 price range, for free — many of them I wouldn't have known about in time if not for AppShopper. This tool keeps track of the many holiday sales and discounts, so you can get that $4.99 app you've been eyeing for $0.99 when the developers decide to have a special 24 hour sale.

There may be over one million reasons to get an iPad or use it for more than gaming. I could go on for hours about it. I love my iPad 2. But here is what you really need to know: as Steve Jobs said, it's magical. The iPad is revolutionary, and the device can change your life if you let it. (Also, for the disabled/handicapped, the iPad is the greatest computer, ever. Essential.)

This review of sorts may sound like a sales pitch, but it's not... Apple doesn't need my help to sell iPads. I'm sharing, because I've gained so much from this device, the one I'm writing this blog entry from, and I hope to encourage others to give the iPad a chance. I'll try to share more tips, tricks, and reviews... and hopefully, Apple will release Siri for the iPad 2. That'd be a wonderful treat for me. And hey, I'm helping them sell iPads! Apple should do something nice for me.

:-)