Back Into the Swing

Took my kids up north for camp this last weekend, which means it’s my wife and I alone in the house. It’s nice but it’s also an odd feeling when they disappear for a whole week.

It’s so disconcerting that it throws me off my normal schedule. Sunday night I didn’t get to bed on time because I’m so used to the family going through the standard evening ritual of “okay kids, head to bed” that I got to bed late.

It’s odd how little things like that can throw off your schedule if you’re not paying attention to it. I’m sure that we’ll slowly adjust to being empty nesters as the kids head off to college and work on establishing themselves out in the real world, but when they all up and disappear overnight it’s a little jarring.

Till tomorrow,

Tom

I’m Beta Reading for a Friend, I Swear

So I finished up a beta read for a friend today. Not a fully book, he actually broke the beta read into half which I thought was pretty smart.

I can’t wait to tell you about this book. It’s amazing! Take all the awesomeness of 80’s alien movies and set it Arizona? Hell yeah!

This has action movie written all over it, and I can’t wait to hear the Honest Trailers about it.

So yeah. I love reading things, specially books from people I know and respect. High tension, high stakes, and an amazing cast of characters.

Till tomorrow,

Tom

Pitiful Kong

So I watched “Kong” the new one with Huddleston and Jackson.

Sadly, it wasn’t very good. Nearly everyone in the movie was a stereotypical caricature.

The CGI was good, but the plot was paper thin. War bad, saving precious creatures on God’s green earth is good.

Plus hollow earth theory…really Hollywood?

I don’t want to spoil it to badly, but seriously, it’s about as bad as the Godzilla featuring Matthew Broderick. Ugh

Till tomorrow,

Tom

Dead Apple Watch

Well, the fun continues here with yet another hardware failure. I think this is the third in three weeks? First my Drobo, then my MacBook Air, now, it’s my Apple Watch.

Note the color, the fact that you can see only the left 2/3 of the screen, and the white dot along the top edge at the top of the part that doesn’t display.

As you can see, my watch done broke. So here’s the story. I was out getting exercise this morning before work, alternating walking and jogging because well, I’m a fat slob who can’t jog for 30 minutes straight.

I had my iPhone in my pocket and watch on left hand, and the only thing I can figure is that while jogging and not paying attention, I swung my watch into my iPhone corner.

I actually ram my hand into my phone fairly often. Almost every time I go out. Like most of men’s shorts, they’re pretty baggy, and my phone jostles around in them a lot.

Anyway, there is no fixing that. It’s a replacement cost, which I could have gotten for a price, but I decided to just upgrade to a new Series 2 Watch.

So now I have a better watch, I guess. I really didn’t want to buy one though. I was hoping to snag a Series three watch when they came out in hopes they had sleep tracking.

Oh well, we’ll see how things go in the future. The good news here is that I won’t need to take my phone with me on jogs anymore as long as I load up my watch with stuff to listen to.

I just wish it did better about pre-loading podcasts and audible books rather than just workout music. Honestly, who wastes valuable exercize time on music rather than learning something?

Till tomorrow,

Tom

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