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 wordpress (6)

Sunday
Dec082013

Black Friday Thoughts

Note: began this entry last week. Been exhausted. :-(

Thanksgiving was the day after dinner with my parents, so I was pretty tired. We started to say what we were all thankful for but the conversation sidetracked, and never refocused. With the FLOTUS' suggestion in mind, we spoke about ObamaCare and politics... but I won't get into that here and now. I'm truly thankful for two wonderfully supportive parents and the relationship I have with my family now. Also, although we give each other a hard time, Stephanie does a good job taking care of me and reminding me to eat. I forget about that sometimes when I get involved in a project or, well, sleep.

It hasn't always been easy or fun, but I don't think I could get by without them and their support. Disability really sucks like that. Thank you. And a shoutout and thanks to all of the wonderful internet people — hopefully you know who you are. Your generosity, kindness and encouragement, thoughts and prayers are cherished and appreciated. I hope you have a great, merry Christmas! (...and a happy New Year!)

Now to Mainstream Sheeple Consumer (yes, very bleak—err, black) Friday thoughts.

I really miss Steve Jobs.

Mostly in an abstract way; it's not like I knew him personally, but insofar as a man (or woman) can be known by their great works and contributions, it pains me greatly that his direction and insight is no longer a constant.

Although Apple might honor and carry his legacy through their refinements and further developments of his breakthrough products, they've lost their prodigal navigator and are thusly adrift. It's impossible for me to know whether or not Steve would've allowed the iPad mini to exist, but I cannot fathom his acceptance of iOS7 on it.

Some people claim to run iOS7 just fine on first-gen minis. Many others, myself clearly included, believe that the tablet is just too slow for it. It's clunky. Glitchy. It crashes and lags.

It's ruined the mini experience for me. The mini was my favorite tablet, one of my favorite things, even with the iPad2-like specs and unimpressive screen. It gave me the iPad experience that I love on a device that I could use all day — the iPad 3 is just too heavy to hold up for hours. With iOS6, the mini was quick and stable.

It allowed me to create.

iOS7 was deliberately designed to be sleek and minimal — two qualities I don't have an issue with — however, it feels like style over substance. Over-engineered, unavoidable. Apple won't let dissatisfied users go back to 6, and even pushed the update install to devices. It seems like a marketing tactic to throw out at keynote speeches. Almost all of our users are on the latest version of iOS, while Android devices are split between...

Compounding my tablet frustrations are blogging woes.

Squarespace 5 has started getting hit with referral-link spam. At first it was maybe a few a week, then a few a day, now maybe a dozen per day. This nuisance isn't easy to take care of on an iPad, and has obscured legitimate comments, emails, questions... I've got to do something about it.

Sorry for the trouble here but I'll be happy to assist you. We will continue to maintain Squarespace 5 for customers. However, updates and apps that are released in the future will be geared toward the Squarespace 6 platform. – Squarespace Customer Care response

So it looks like I'm blogging on an obsolete platform. Simply move to their Squarespace 6? And perhaps in a few years, they'll grow tired of that, release version 7, and cut support/updates for 6.

I get that things progress and change is necessary for business, but because the systems are incompatible and there's no automatic 5 to 6 conversion tool, it's extra stress that I don't want.

So I've been looking into alternatives. I found two articles particularly informative.

I'd like to focus more on long form content and less on blog design; unfortunately, so many "blogging platforms" (CMS) are setup for full-site management and treat the blog as a secondary item and focus.

Perhaps more importantly (at minimum, of equal importance) is sustainability — Internet immortality. Permanent links. Link rot sucks. Importing and exporting content sucks — there's always loss and errors. That makes something like Posthaven — at least at face-value — very attractive. Their promise, for $5/month is a service that will last forever. I blogged at Vox, played with Pownce, tweeted at Jaiku, shared with Posterous — all gone.

I think my only real reservation with Posthaven at the moment is that I don't like the look, and it seems like there's no choice with that. No templates or themes, or CSS or whatever. Just pure, simple blog — take it or leave it. I don't think it's attractive or very usable. On their site, they indicate that custom design is something that they're working on implementing, so I'll have to keep an eye on it. If you use Posthaven, I'd love to know what you think of it, and how it compares to similar blog only services (like Medium, Ghost, Postagon, Roon, etc).

And then there's this: Web Design is 95% Typography – Information Architects — thoughts from the genius Oliver Reichenstein. I've read his thoughts on typography (I love typography and handwriting), and agree with most of it. It's particularly true for this blog, since I tend to post fewer, write longer (instead of many/short). This theme just looks bad with big type. If only I could work on it from my iPad.

I'm not good with code. I know a bit — enough to understand it when I see it, but I can't use code like I use a pencil (or stylus). I can't wield CSS as a design weapon, and that limits what I can customize on my own. If only I had more time, more years of life.

Squarespace (like many other visually fancy UIs) is difficult to modify on a tablet. There are a lot of JavaScript effects and overlays, menus and some drag-and-drop. Stuff mobile Safari doesn't do well (at least as Squarespace has coded it — I've seen some neat interactive HTML5 stuff on iPad, like FiftyThree's site). I really think that they could do away with all that or offer an in-app option, but alas, the limitations of small company. And they're based out of New York — not my first pick for a business.

My goal, of I can ever manage it, is to write about the tech, games and design that I love, disability and pain management, and politics (local, national, international). I believe that it's important to our first amendment and culture to express controversial and perhaps unpopular opinions, always remaining truthful and forthright. I don't like political correctness and white lies, and I don't want to live in a world where government tells me what I can buy, where I can go, whether or not I can own a gun, airplane or anything else. I don't want to live in a world where creativity and ingenuity is stifled and suffocated under the burdens of taxes, regulations, penalties, local, state and federal ordinances requiring prior authorization and approval, etc...

...but I really, really don't like all the public insults, flame wars, death threats, obscenities and personal attacks hurled at strangers online and elsewhere in our society today. There's an awful tension and hostility and a lot of hate — so I plan on contributing to debates without attacking others or responding to personal insults. I won't instigate persecution and I will report threats (and hate speech, where applicable), because it isn't right or productive. We do not have the right to never be offended, but we do have protection against battery, libel and slander. I encourage debates where people vigorously defend their positions and say "you're wrong," but I condemn the "you're an idiot and you should die" that seems to occur online with alarming frequency. Liberal or conservative, it doesn't matter who's saying it — this type of attack is wrong, and if I see or hear it in the mainstream media or popular blogs, I'll flag it — because I think character is important and people need to be aware of it.

In my experience, the racism, discrimination and flaming comes from:

  • people with an intellectually, factually indefensible position — perhaps thusly, they believe that their only option is to end discussion entirely or redirect it from information and ideology to personal attacks,

people so arrogant and/or narrow-minded that they believe that there's no possible way that they can be wrong; thus they are unwilling to even hear or entertain the opposing argument or view — and often in anger, shut down civilized discourse with disdain, using statements ranging from cynicism and snide remarks to outright vile hostility and threats of violence.

Sometimes it's difficult to contain anger, I understand that. But even if someone is wrong — stubbornly so — it would be far better to simply withdraw from dialogue than resort to conversational (or actual) thuggery.

So in the spirit of American Christmas, those are my stresses, wishes and cold-weather! winter worries. And now that I've shared them,

I can get back to blogging about fun stuff like iPad styluses and the joys of iPhone 5S. PLUS: why I won't ever switch from iOS to Android, and why I simultaneously want Android to always be awesome!

Happy December!

Saturday
Aug312013

SaysBrad Blogging Update

I've been thinking about this blog, its content and structure, what I want to do with it, what I write and how often. It's time-consuming — especially the reviews and commentary. Recent events have encouraged me to write about more serious matters; it's important, but not always "fun."

I've been blogging about whatever I find interesting for about a dozen years — the problem is that I like a lot of random things and don't always know what to share and when to do it. Do I blog for me? For you? For whom? I'm not really sure... perhaps all of the above.

When I started this blog, I decided that I wanted a change of pace, something different from the ego-centric LiveJournal days and the myriad of now-defunct blogs and disorganization. In part on the advice of a few blogger/Internet friends, I stopped splitting up my blogging across various sites and dumped all of my ideas into one site... but in doing so, I've lost something and have edited away a lot of potentially great content.

I used to have a personal site about my chronic pain and disability troubles, but it felt like a chore and stopped being fulfilling. Frankly, I'm not sure many people cared to read about it — it's fairly depressing. I thought about migrating that content. I still use tumblr, and although I decided to get rid of the custom domain, I still like the service in general. Tumblr is clean, organized and simple; its usability makes it ideal for sharing links, images and videos. I've also explored Pinterest a bit.

Primarily, I've been using Twitter and Facebook for updates and links, partially due to ease-of-use — iOS' notifications drop-down tab menu has buttons for updating to either service, but because my Facebook posts are sent to Twitter, it's two birds, one shot. Additionally, Safari on iPhone/iPad has Facebook/Twitter sharing built-in; if I read or see something clever, cute, thought-provoking, disturbing or otherwise important, I can quickly send it to Facebook and Twitter feeds. I don't really consider it publishing, but I try to add diligent comments to the updates. (In particular, I like the way fb displays links)

I've been considering using Tumblr instead of Facebook (for links and quick updates). Perhaps I'll just post here — but that means restructuring and redesigning the blog and layout. Currently, Says Brad is set up for several long-form posts per month, not dozens of blurbs per day. If I leave the layout as-is and update hourly, stuff will get lost in the fray.

I still want to post app reviews, artwork, current event commentary and want to write about global issues, politics and government, America, crime and corruption; important, serious matters that seem incongruent with a blog primarily focused on iPad apps and tech toys. How should I reconcile these interests? Should I abandon one for another?

Posting to Facebook is quick and carefree — a process driven by free-form expression and quantity — it reflects the oft-ridiculous plethora of information on the Internet, and I feel less compelled to proofread and edit those posts. Writing for this blog is often laborious and intensive — but also more rewarding. How do I bridge this dichotomy; cherry-pick and consolidate these different, functionally independent updates into one thing, one site, a single blog roll?

 

With a miserable abundance of tragedies unfolding worldwide, these dilemmas seem insignificant and laughable... but it is, amidst more mundane and serious matters, what I've been thinking about while dealing with debilitating pain and physical disability. Blogging, this welcome distraction, is motivating and uplifting.

Except when it's more stressful — like now — when I end up worrying about it. Perhaps I'll just post more, post messy, and see what happens. Thoughts?

 

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!

Friday
Jul272012

Says Brad, enhanced?

Says Brad drawing

Hi. I'm going to make Says Brad better! I think.

To take advantage of the free Squarespace 6 site offer, I'm switching my legacy Pro hosting plan to the new basic. I don't think I'll lose anything, content or feature-wise. Confirming that later tonight.

Im also shutting down (mt) hosting and TypePad service. I'm going to backup the content, of course. If you like/link to an entry at bradchin.com, I can repost that content for you. Both services cost too much and I'm no longer benefitting from either. Though I'd like mad WordPress skills, I have other priorities and web skills to focus on.

I'm going to add more images. I've been better at that recently! I just haven't been on my desktop that much. I want to replace it since it's too old to run Adobe CS6 — but I'm not sure as to what with. Maybe MacBook Pro with Retina Display after more apps become Retina friendly, chief among them, Adobe Illustrator & InDesign and Autodesk SketchBook Pro.

I'm going to consolidate my personal entries here or utilize my other Squarespace for that. I want to write more about dealing with disability (the good, bad, ugly, terrible, funny) — stuff not tech-related, but I don't know if it'll fit here. Perhaps I'll setup a new page on this site.

I want to showcase more of my finalized designs and my creative process because I'm part of the iOS artist community and have heavily integrated the iPhone and iPad into my processes, removing analog, traditional paper altogether. One small step toward green!

For now, enjoy the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, UK!

Saturday
Jul142012

New blogging platform Squarespace 6

I've been blogging with Squarespace for several years and it's been a great experience overall — especially so because my focus is on content instead of code. Squarespace is well organized and uses a clean, robust interface (complete with step-by-step guides) for adding widgets, pages and content. It also has a detailed traffic analyzer built-in. Squarespace has great customer service, too — businesses could learn a lot from them.

Oh yeah, Squarespace is also really pretty.

For Says Brad I use Squarespace 5, a platform tweaked and improved over the years that offers customizable templates, fancy modules and flexibility. The templates are gorgeous — much better looking than stock TypePad and WordPress offerings — sites look great from the get-go, and from there, unlimited tweaks and changes can be made to the themes. I like pretty and unique… I don't like to code. I like code itself, I'm just not that great at it. I don't study it, practice it, or keep up with its latest trends. I focus on graphics, design, branding and English. Programming isn't my forte.

Thusly, my website style options are fairly limited and updating the site's visuals is a significant endeavor. Squarespace 6 might be the answer.

Squarespace 6?

Squarespace 6 is a new platform, independent from 5. It uses templates and a beautiful WYSIWYG UI. Adding content is drag-and-drop, colors are chosen from a wheel — the demo I saw made it clear that 6 offers design flexibility that 5 cannot match without custom coding.

So I am thinking about switching. Right now, I enjoy blogging from my iPad using Blogsy; presently, Squarespace 6 is only compatible with the Squarespace app and desktop web browsers. I really like Blogsy — it's a beautiful app made by a dedicated team in South Korea run by Lance Barton — and I don't think I'd switch to SS6 until Blogsy is compatible. The iOS SS app has always had issues: faulty image uploads, lost images, blank posts, crashes, lost content — I don't trust it.

Other factors.

I can't really edit colors, layout and themes from my iPad as is (using Squarespace 5) so I don't expect that 6 will be different in that regard. However, SS6 themes have built-in mobile versions for smartphone and tablet browsing, potentially offering a better experience on the devices I love most. Maybe if/when I get a new MacBook Pro (with Retina display, maybe? *wishes*) I'll reassess.

If I were to switch, it won't be completely seamless and simple. It's not like updating an app on an iPhone; Squarespace 6 is incompatible with SS5 and some things might get lost in migration, as currently, the two lack parity. I read something about an import/export tool, but it sounds… frustrating, like more complications, stress.

I need to really study the themes and perhaps play with them first. Says Brad won't migrate anytime soon, but I want to get a portfolio site up to showcase my artwork and graphic design and Squarespace 6 might be the solution.

I'm looking for opinions and feedback on Squarespace 5 versus 6

I haven't tinkered with version 6 yet so I have no idea about its flaws or bugs, if any. I'm planning on moving away from TypePad because it's ugly and I get a lot of spam comments there, and I'm thinking I could ditch WordPress as well. I'm not actively using WP, but because it's practically an industry standard, I thought I should know how to use it because I occasionally get asked if I can design for it. However, if Squarespace 6 is what I think it is — it could be a fantastic small business solution — I'll eventually work on graphics for those SS6 sites, so…

Perhaps the better face-off is Squarespace 6 v. WordPress?

Monday
Feb222010

Writing During Storms

I find it easier to write during traditional “bad weather.”

I love a gray sky — let a little rain fall and I’m thrilled. A day like today — sunny, early — sucks… if it stays like this all-day-long, I’ll be bummed.

Oakland, rated best weather in America.
[By both Rand McNally and Parade Magazine]

I find it easier to focus without fire in my eyes. I like staring out across the horizon and into the upper-atmosphere; there’s something soothing about low clouds and darker skies, a hint of relative-safety and a serene sensation.

I suppose, on a day like today, I’ll write a little blog post.

I finally shared some of my book-writing with my parents. If only I could honestly say that the project was “coming along nicely;” writing a book isn’t like math with an exact answer and repeatable solution, and unfortunately, it gets superseded by daily doings and goings-on. Real life often gets in the way — sometimes people get in the way.
Not that that’s always a bad thing. Life is filled with countless important people and things, and there just isn’t time for everyone and everything. Choices are made — sacrifices are made… and often, even important things get put-off.

On a day like today, I’ll battle the less-than-favorable weather with some down-and-dirty blogging!

WordPress versus Squarespace, part one.

I switched to Squarespace over one-year ago, and I’m quite satisfied with the service. The customer support is top-notch, and most modifications are a breeze. But it’s not all good — there are glaring and stunning issues making me reconsider the gargantuan beast, WordPress.
Because my blog is more than a hotspot for techies and not everyone reading this will know much about — or even care for — the specifications and details of the software and hardware involved, I’ll skip all of that and get to the meat.

The 500 pound giant.

Squarespace attempts to make their UI (user-interface) elegant, and they’ve succeeded in creating something elegant-looking. Unfortunately, a large-screen with high-resolution is required to really enjoy it. If the issue was only aesthetic, I couldn’t in good conscience complain; Squarespace’s clientele and prospects likely enjoy high-resolution displays, and I have one as well.

However, I also use a netbook (the iPad isn’t out yet!), and on it, Squarespace is practically unusable.

Critical functions are inaccessible on a small screen; Squarespace hasn’t built allowances into their main interface for low-res users, and there’s no backup. I could understand certain elements being off-limits — site-design (graphics) modification would be a good example, or adding new sidebars and widgets — but not being able to compose and post a new blog entry? Frankly, that’s pathetic.
At least Squarespace offers a free iPhone app, though composing an entire blog entry by thumb-tapping isn’t fun.
More to come soon, about WordPress, writing in general… and blogging.