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 Xmas (5)

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.

Wednesday
Dec182013

Christmas Colors and December News

Yesterday and the day before, I modified the color scheme here at Says Brad. Some simple updates, but sticking pretty closely to the same RWB Americana theme. (RWB just made me think of RWBY, a cool show by Rooster Teeth) Earlier today, while I was planning and writing my upcoming notes apps’ reviews, I thought about the theme change and decided to give it Christmas colors.

Why not? Squarespace makes it really simple.

At least if you’re using a desktop browser. Modifying the theme in SS5 is basically impossible on iOS.

Because of both of these two elements — simple, but difficult away from desktop browsers), I wanted to keep it really simple and be able to switch back after New Year’s. With a click, you can duplicate your current style and create a new name for it, make the appropriate changes, and save it alongside the old theme. Since the two sit side by side, I can simply enable the original when the Christmas theme is no longer relevant. (I suppose that at any other time of the year, it just looks Italian.)

I need to figure out how to do this at WordPress or Squarespace 6… or wherever I start my disability blog at. I know I said that I was going to get right back to writing about apps and stuff, but the recent ruling regarding NSA data-mining and the White House press release, I think it’s appropriate to discuss privacy, 4th Amendment protections (the word “privacy” is absent from it) and a bit about how that is applied (or not) to internet communications and virtually everything else in the surveillance cities and states of the world (London comes to mind). Is all of this information harvesting making us any safer, and if it is, is the price too high? Although political, I think that it’s a tech-related issue.

I also saw this Reason-Rupe poll today that says 58% of Americans think that police militarization has gone too far.

That includes a full 60 percent of both Democrats and Tea Partiers. Opposition is under 50 percent among non-Tea Party Republicans.

I think that this is particularly important as well, because although the primary tools are still primarily various firearms, high-tech weaponry is becoming increasingly affordable and available, and I don’t want to be hit by a microwave weapon gone awry.

So that’s what’s going on.

I just got a copy of Ulysses III from the wonderful, awesome people at The Soulmen, and as it interacts with Daedalus Touch, I’m going to review the two together. I can already recommend Daedalus Touch, especially if you like to work on multiple projects simultaneously or need to organize and reorganize text dynamically. It’s the smoothest, easiest to use document management tool on the iPad and iPhone.

I’m also trying my best to pack and move, but doing that with a disability is very difficult. It’s inspired me to write a bit about the major changes that occurred slowly over the past five or six years that I only notice when I think about it (like a distinct change form extroverted to introverted). In my mind — much of the time — I’m the same… but the reality is often completely different.

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
Dec172011

iPad for Christmas


It's a strange time of the year. People act weird, in the bay area, even the weather is weird. Me, I started juicing today. Stephanie and my mom convinced me to watch Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead and it got me thinking — I could try this juice thing.

The first glass I could hardly get down and keep down. It was partially the taste, and had something to do with the texture, smell, and the way it felt like it was rolling through my system. I suppose it was mainly the smell and knowing what was in it. I suppose that the color had something to do with it, too.

Anyway, that's all beside the point. I was thinking about things that I'm thankful for — some years ago, I made a Thanksgiving shout out style blog entry that I'd thought about recreating/updating... oh well — and my iPad is pretty high on the list of the things. I could go on for hours about the people and events, but that's likely beyond superfluous.

This device gives me the power of a notebook computer with enhanced functionality. With it, and apps like Splashtop, I have a device that lets me do basically everything except finalized design work. I can create and conceptualize, doodle and sketch, write, browse the web, play games, talk to people, watch videos, movies and TV, and perhaps most importantly, I can forget about my pain and disability for a few minutes here and there.

The device is so powerful and the App Store has so many great apps. Just recently, Rockstar released the 10 year anniversary iOS edition of Grand Theft Auto III! A few weeks earlier, I got The Bard's Tale, an epic action RPG from some years ago released on PC and PS2. They both look great on the iPad 2. I like to play games on 360 and Playstation 3, but I'm not always physically feeling up to it. (Sad, I know.)

I don't have the 4S, but I'd probably like Siri just as much.

Anyway, there's a lot going on in the world right now, European debt crises, Occupy, upcoming primaries and presidential election... it's a complicated place. The iPad greatly simplifies things for me, putting together several devices and what would be hundreds of pounds of magazines, books, and other resources into one simple, fairly lightweight device. iOS may not be for you, maybe you like Android, or you don't like tablets at all. I'd really like a WACOM tablet or Cintiq screen, but I don't know if I need those things urgently. If I had a MacBook Air, I would probably love that thing a lot, too. iCloud is pretty cool.

Happiness may be hard to come by, in short supply, but find it wherever and however you can. The games I play and the other media I consume makes me a better designer and artist. The articles I read make me a better thinker, and hopefully someday, a better citizen.

Hopefully I can write before Christmas and 2012, but if you don't hear from me or see me, know that if you were ever at all important to me, I've thought about you a lot, and for now, I think I'm doing sort of okay. I could really use some help, too, but I'll manage for a little while. Don't just ignore people around you in pain; someday, it could be you or someone you care about, and you might want someone to care about you.

[Oh! I can help with your app needs, at least. I know a lot about iOS and its goodness. Check out Infinite Sketchpad and AppShopper.]

Friday
Dec252009

Merry Christmas was her name...

... She's so damned hot today, I don't know what to say.

It's too sunny, too hot. I'd intended to post something pithy, poignant and possibly maudlin... like last year.

Today, I just want the sun to drop and I want rain. In the bay area, burning logs is illegal tonight. Yay, spare the air!

Stephanie gave me really nice presents.

I'll write and share later, perhaps about etiquette, respect and value. It's not very festive, but it's on my mind.

I heard it's going to rain tomorrow and the day-next. That'll make me happy.