Unboxing the Kinesis Advantage 2

A fun package arrived today, something I’ve spent a lot of time researching. It’s a unique keyboard designed for people with RSI (repetitive stress injuries) which is something I’ve been dealing with over the last couple of years. Between writing, my day-job, and all the gaming I do, I’m on the computer a lot, and lack of proper ergonomics for the last 20 years are catching up to me.

It’s not as large as you would think, though I should have been smart and included a banana for scale since I took this in the kitchen and they were just out of the shot. *wink*

I plugged it in, and tested myself on an online typing tutor. Currently I’m clocking in around 20 wpm. An yes, I’m typing this from the Advantage. If anyone has recommendations for a good online typing tool, let me know, because I could use a primer from the beginning. Not only is the layout different, but I’m going to mechanical keys which is a totally different feel than the laptop/apple keyboards I’m used to.

From what I read online, the best way to learn to use a keyboard like this and get adjusted to it quickly is to go all-in, so that is what I’m going to do. Out with the old, in with the new. For the next few weeks, I am going to try to get all my writing done from this new keyboard. I’ll be sure to post up on how it is working.

Till tomorrow,

Tom

The 11″ MacBook Air That Could

Had to get a battery replaced on an old 11″ MacBook Air today, and the process was very smooth. Good job Apple! You are handling my hardware issues WAY better than another company I recently needed to deal with.

The laptop was purchased, well, a long time ago. When the first MBA was announced, I bought it immediately. It was perfect for a budding writer. The sloped clamshell was exactly what I needed for my already-becoming-tired wrists to be a little happier about life. I used it for a year, and if I recall, the only complaint I ever had with it was the first gen didn’t have backlit keys.

Apple corrected that for the second gen, and I immediately sold the first one and replaced it. That is this laptop. This laptop and I have been through a lot. It was my laptop for a number of years, hundreds of thousands of words have been typed on it.

At some point, it went to my wife, then my daughter, and I used my MacPro for desktop usage and my iPad for mobile stuff, borrowing my wife’s MBA 13″ when I really needed better power while mobile. That worked for a while until the new MacBooks were announced.

I was hooked. I know the new MacBook wasn’t for everyone, but it was perfect for what I needed. The MBA is one of the best designed laptops ever made, but it lacked a Retina display. While I would love to have a slightly larger MacBook, the 12″ retina 4:3 screen with retina is a beauty to behold, and was, in fact, my first Retina display I ever owned on a computer.

But ka being what it is, the wheel turned and I ended up needing a better laptop to send with my daughter to college. She took the newer MacBook, and I went iPad-only for about six months. By this point I had the iPad Pro 12.9″ with the keyboard and it worked very well.

The 11″ was setup as the Final Cut Pro computer. That’s right! For 8-9 months this little laptop-that-could processed all my videos for my YouTube channel. It was slow, but it allowed me to offload the workload to another computer, thus freeing up my MacBook for recording and other tasks while videos rendered on another computer.

That was until the battery up and died one day. The only way it would stay powered on was with the power cord plugged in all the time, and it got bumped one too many times for me to feel happy about it. I never lost any data, but I we moved the video processing to my wife’s laptop, and this sat on a shelf for a month or so.

Then I thought: hey, I don’t really enjoy typing on my MacBook Pro, mainly due to the size/weight/and the thick base to the laptop really hurts my hands, so why not fix this thing up and use that?

Well, I did it! New battery, cheap Chinese knock-off replacement power cord (the old one was starting to fray) and this thing is good as new! The keyboard design is a bit dated, and it’s pretty slow, but all I’m going to do is write on it when I’m mobile. It will work well enough, which is all I really need. I now have the smaller iPad 10.5″ and so I really don’t want to be doing too much typing on that if I don’t have to. Even though all my blog posts are done in Ulysses on the iPad, so the keyboard is certainly serviceable. I just wouldn’t want to willingly type an entire novel on it.

So yeah, I love my old 11″ MBA. It’s a great little computer and it’s served me well, and will continue to serve me well for hopefully a very long time, or at least until I save up enough for a new MacBook 12″ to replace the one my daughter took from me 🙂

This is one of the reasons I love Apple computers. Six years later, this thing is still rocking.

Till tomorrow,

Tom

The Heat Has Hit

Oh man it’s been hot here in the Phoenix area!

One thing that you don’t hear very often is that when heat hits, it can really sap your energy. Today was one of those days for me.

After work, I was feeling sluggish, tired, and weak. I think most of that was due to the heat and me taking a long walk this morning, then a few walks in the middle of the day. I also don’t think I drank enough water to combat the heat.

So combination of all of those were a bad deal for me, making my writing a real struggle to get done.

So the answer is: watch the weather, and stay safe and healthy!

Till tomorrow,

Tom

Productive Sunday and The Girl With All The Gifts Movie!

Another good Sunday for me. I slept in a little bit today, till 7:30, which was nice. My sleep is getting more consistent lately and I think that’s largely because I’m trying to focus on the habits of going to be at a normal time.

Despite consistency, I still look forward and rely on an extra hour or two of sleep on the weekends to help balance out the short on work days.

Today was wake up, drink lots of water, and go exercise. I went out with my wife today, something we don’t always have time to do. It’s nice because we can rant about the children, or just talk through various issues we’re having with writing or YouTube.

We went swimming afterward, which was cool and a perfect way to wind down from 110 degree weather. Shower, eat breakfast, and it’s time to start writing. I started writing at 9, and wrote 1500 words in an hour. Not my fastest, but it was still pretty good. That includes going back over and cleaning up typos and my grammar a little bit. That’s a habit I’ve been trying to work on lately, is doing touch ups on my first drafts as soon as I’m done. Sometimes I missed something and it’s generally better to do things when they’re fresh in your mind. If I try to revise that scene in a few weeks I’ll probably forgotten a few things I meant to say but didn’t actually do.

Then I spent some time with kids, and jumped back into some editing for a bit. Once that was done, I ate lunch, then watched “The Girl with all the Gifts.” Oh man, that was such an amazing movie. One of the best I’ve seen all year. Seriously, if you are a writer, you need to watch it. It’s a masterpiece in storytelling.

I need to watch it again and take notes. Ooh, shivers.

Then I spent a few hours working on my litRPG outline, cleaning up some lingering things from my current WIP that I’ve changed. I’ve actually changed quite a bit, the big thing being the age of the character, which means all previous scenes need to be gone over again and spruced up to make sure the MC voice is up to snuff.

When all that was done, I recorded four videos. YouTube will be back on “semi” regular videos this week. I didn’t have time to get a MegaBus episode recorded, so that’ll be one more week out for it to get back on track.

That’s about it for today. Looking forward to another productive week!

Till tomorrow,

Tom

Email Automation and Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! We’re under appreciated, especially in this time. Thank you for all you do.

I sent off my first email automation yesterday. It was a bit nerve racking. Blog posts are one thing, I’m putting them up on a website where people have to come here to read them.

Email is a whole other thing. I spend most of my time in email irritated at the spam I have, wishing it wasn’t just glut I have to sift through each day, so it’s good motivation to make sure that any emails I send out are actually welcome to it’s recipients.

I also don’t really enjoy sitting down and typing up emails. This is odd though, because I love talking about writing, and my process to people that want to listen, but I guess part of me thinks that no one wants to listen to me blather on about things.

I have to remind myself that some people actually like my writing. Imposter syndrome is a real thing in the writing community. I’m sure other industries have it, but it’s alive and well here.

Till tomorrow,

Into the West – Movie

Good day today. It’s amazing how tired I get on Friday afternoons. I think my body knows that it’s the weekend and it starts slowing down.

Because of this, I try not to schedule anything too crazy on Fridays. I get my daily word count in, but that’s about it. I have an accountability group that I meet with, and I try to watch a movie with my wife.

The movie was “Into the West” by the same director as “Kung-fu Hustle.”

It was a lot of fun. It’s quirky, and VERY Chinese. While I couldn’t recognize most of what they were saying, I was able to pick up some phrases here and there and it was interesting to see how they translated certain Chinese phrases into English.

Highly recommend if you’re into cheesy Chinese flicks.

Till tomorrow,

Tom

RSI Issues

Kids, listen to an old man who’s been through a lot.

Take care of your wrists, hands, and shoulders. I know gaming through your 20’s and 30’s is a blast, but when you don’t take care of yourself for 20 years, you might wake up in your 40’s with pain in your wrists when you’ve been tying for too long. Or spending too much time on a mouse makes your wrist hurt even more.

It’s especially frustrating when you’re trying to build up a long-running entertainment business that you want to do for the rest of your life. I would want nothing more than to write and game for the rest of my life, but I’m going to have to be very careful with myself if I want to spent do the next 30 years doing what I love.

So take care of yourself now, when you’re young. You might just live long enough to regret your choices someday.

Till tomorrow,

Tom