The Sunday Edition — 04.15.18

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Emryn’s new play table

Emryn’s new play table. Shot on iPhone X and edited in Darkroom for iPhone.

I’ll go out on a limb and say there is a stigma attached to parents who say they don’t enjoy parenting. The first reaction I get when I tell anyone I’m not full of abundant, glowing joy each time I have to get up at night to calm a screaming child kind of tells the story. Or the way other new mothers react when Jaclyn says she’s still struggling to get even half a regular night of sleep due to a little one that wants to eat every three to four hours. It’s almost as if the struggles of early parenthood are to be embraced to the point of delusional happiness.

The fact of the matter is this: Yes, our little one’s face first thing in the morning lightens our world and helps push us through the day. But we need to be pushed through the day — be it due to utter fatigue, never-ending cluelessness on how to handle the next new situation, or just a general tiredness of screaming, shrieking, and crying, parenting, so far, has not been “fun”. I dread the thought of wanting to do this two more times.

If I’m a terrible dad for saying that, fine. I’ll work on getting better. Our struggles now are likely never getting in the way of growing our family. And there’s nothing saying the next child will be the same.

But I’m not “enjoying” these early days.

I’m quite excited for this stage to end. It was a pretty rough week.

There were some incredible pieces to hit the net this week. Pieces that probably require link posts of their own.

Take Serenity Caldwell’s 2018 iPad review, for example. She shot, composed, edited, and published the video review entirely on the new iPad. The artwork, penmanship, and overall creativity level for this review has pushed iPad reviews to new heights. Absolutely incredible work.

Or take Isaac Smith’s Frontier Journal. Isaac’s journal on adventure and fun endeavours is an awesome display of great photography, great prose, and a sense of calm. Phenomenal work, Isaac.

And the wild story of Symphony of the Seas is sure to push your opulence awareness to new levels. Crazy.

Happy Sunday. All the best in the week ahead.

Supported By

The Sunday Edition — 04.08.18

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Photo by Nonki Azariah

Photo by Nonki Azariah on Unsplash.

I’m part of a large group of people across this great country — and the world, for that matter — who are taking this Humboldt Broncos tragedy with difficulty. Craig Button on TSN remarked how a tragedy like this can hit so close to home for so many people thanks to how we’re all brought up in Western Canada — the arena is the lifeblood of so many rural Canadian communities, and so many of us have experienced the multi-hour road trip on a bus to a tournament or playoff game. When you step on that bus, you only have dreams of playing in the NHL, not your life coming to a tragic end.

I’ve caught myself crying three or four times this weekend, only to remedy the mourning by hugging my little girl a little tighter.

To all those families affected in the tragedy: The only words I can pass on are that the world is thinking of you and praying for you. Find solace in your loved ones, in your prayers and devotions, and in God.

To all those first responders, who undoubtedly experienced the worst day of their careers: My hat goes off to you for your courage.

To all those media, journalists, and reporters who have handled the tragedy with grace, compassion, and dignity: Thank you for giving life to the victim’s stories, and thank you for not making it political. Just once, it’s refreshing to hear the outpouring of love for the lost, rather than hear vitriol thrown from one side of the spectrum to the other.

The hockey community is one of the very best, and despite the horrific tragedy, the community’s finest have shone once again.

It’s been quiet around here recently. As a result, I’m going to bombard you with a whack of interesting links I found during the week that were all slated to hit Fresh Links at some point in time.

  • Quiet By Design: Naomi Campbell Interviews Jony Ive — Vogue
  • Stratechery 4.0 — Stratechery
  • AppStories, Episode 49 – Pick 2: Bear and DEVONthink — AppStories
  • It’s Weirdly Hard to Steal Mark Zuckerberg’s Trash — The Outline
  • Announcing the fastest, privacy-first consumer DNS service — CloudFlare
  • Finances 2 for macOS
  • Finances 2 for iOS
  • Workflow: Clearing Out Your Camera Roll — Rosemary Orchard
  • Halide, Darkroom and Rekindling Photography as a Hobby — The Candler Blog
  • The Physical World of Baseball — Take Note
  • First Tesla solar roof customer installation is now up and running – feeding the grid and Powerwall — Electrek
  • Striking Photos of The Men Who Work in an Active Volcano — National Geographic
  • ‘Put your helmet on’: Blackhawks call on rec-league goalie to finish off Jets — The Athletic

As always, I appreciate your attention and patience. Like the hockey community, the blogging community is a joy to be a part of.

Happy Sunday. All the best in the week ahead.

Hodinkee's Review of the Nomos Tangente

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

As my darling wife says, I go through a rash of obsessive periods each year. Each September, obsessions abound around the latest iPhones and iPads. I’ve gone through obsessive research periods on TVs, leather camera bags, camera lenses (duh!), leather shoes, and, most recently, sport coats. Arguably, I’m still going through a sport coat phase (just look at this beauty!).

I fear I’m tiptoeing into a wristwatch phase as well — my Instapaper queue is ripe with Hodinkee reviews.

My interest was first piqued when I came across this introduction article for the new Nomos Glashütte Tangente Neomatik 41 Update. The new Tangente Neomatik 41 is an absolute stunner, with a new date mechanism and that same Bauhaus design Nomos has come to be known for. Of course, Nomos’ pricing is generally outside my range, so this will have to be on the bucket list for BMW-driving Josh a few decades from now.

That being said, Nomos does have some more affordable options without all the bells, whistles, mechanisms, and calibers. The “baseline” Tangente is still a wonderfully designed watch. At 38mm, it’s not overly large. It sports that great Bauhaus aesthetic. I particularly adore the white/black/cyan blue colour scheme. And there is something extraordinarily traditional in this being a manual — you know, actual wind-up — watch. The more simple, less extravagant 38mm Tangente will fit with just about any attire or look you go with, it will last a lifetime, and it’s sure to be an heirloom item for the next generation.

Hopefully that sounded salesman-y enough, because that’s the paragraph I’m going to read my wife to see if she says yes to my proposition. If not, I’ll stash away a few loonies each week and hope the 38mm Tangente is still hanging around a few years from now.

The Last Jedi's Deleted Scenes

Thursday, March 22, 2018

I’ve read a few tweets of people re-watching The Last Jedi and coming away happier with the movie. Yet, I’ve now watched the film three times and I’ve come away more disappointed each time.

I feel like the relationship between Rey and Luke was rushed, awkward, and forced. I still struggle with the entire story line (that of a cruiser outrunning a Star Destroyer while two or three main characters find the “master code breaker” (what???)). And I still feel lukewarm on Luke drinking blue milk from that sea cow.

However, every scene between Rey and Ren (Ridley and Driver) seems to get better with a re-watch. Their chemistry and ever-changing relationship really thrive in The Last Jedi and I can’t get enough of the scenes where they interact telekinetically.

If Episode 9 was a single 2.5 hour scene where the camera didn’t move away from Ren or Rey, I’d be a happy camper.

The Sunday Edition — 03.18.18

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Photo by Bat2121 on Reddit.

Rawson Lake, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park — Alberta, Canada. See the high resolution photo here.

I had a link planned for this week’s Sunday Edition outlining five things you notice when you quit the news, but I think I’m going to press pause to think it through more thoroughly. This idea that quitting the news is somehow the answer to everyone’s happiness problems is flawed. It’s far more nuanced than just pointing the finger at news and stating it’s the root of all evil.

There are many benefits to consuming news which very few of these articles tend to consider. There are patriotic ideals that stem from consuming some level of news. There are preparatory values that can be derived from consuming news.

There are also responsible news consumption habits, which “quit the news” doesn’t convey. News doesn’t cover all parts of the story equally, nor does it cover all stories equally. Nor does journalism (I assume Journalism — with a capital “J” — involves a deeper look at a specific news item, whereas News — with a capital “N” — is mostly initial reporting of the facts of a story at the outset) spend its dollars researching all narratives equally. There is a certain amount of responsibility on the reader to consume all types of information — books, news, journalism, magazines etc. — before developing an opinion.

There are many gems inside this article (specifically Number 5) which I agree with very much. But if the answer to a better life is “quit the news”, I think those who adopt the practice won’t find what they’re looking for.

Sony A7 III Hands-On Field Test in Las Vegas — TheCameraStoreTV

When it comes to written photography reviews, I trust Jordan Steele’s opinions most. When it comes to video photography reviews (if that’s the right way to say it), I trust the guys at TCSTV. These guys get invited to press events, but make sure to temper their praise and highlight weaknesses, no matter the camera manufacturer.

This all being said, even if you cast aside the nearly unanimous glowing reviews for the new Sony a7III by those who were invited to Sony’s press event, it seems like this camera is a winner. With the tech packed in, the a7III is a bargain when you point at the a7R III and the a9.

Task Management Pain Points – Orphans — MacSparky

“Orphans” is a great name.

Also, I love David’s idea of creating a repeatable task named “Review Project Status” inside a project. I, too, don’t review projects once a week. However, I could stand to review them more often to ensure I finish what I start.

Simple Is As Simple Does: The Risk Of Retweet — TechCrunch

Really good deep-dive here into what made Twitter so great and where it has deviated from course. Many point at Twitter’s harassment rules as its biggest weakness, but I think the writers at TechCrunch have pinpointed an equally valid reason as to why users have become disillusioned with Twitter.

On Keyboard Placement — Joe Cieplinski

I didn’t really dive into the iPhone X’s keyboard in my little blog post this week.

Perhaps the biggest hesitation I had in adopting the iPhone X was its smaller keyboard. I played around with the keyboard at the phone store on the day it was launched, and my initial thought was that it’s more different than the smaller iPhone 8 than it is the same as the iPhone 8 Plus, if that makes sense. I took a chance.

For my thumbs, the iPhone 8 Plus’ keyboard is still far and away superior. But I can get by with the iPhone X’s keyboard — and its placement — for the next few months.

Build the Life You Want With a Hybrid System — Chris Bowler

A conversation with a friend this week sprouted a pretty good quote (I admit to paraphrasing a bit):

The most productive people I know use one simple task list on a piece of paper.

The crux of the conversation stemmed around many folks preaching system before preaching actual doing.

So with that in mind, I have slight apprehension in sharing yet another productivity system for you to ponder. However, I do so knowing I created my own productivity system by studying others’ habits and recognizing my own.

I’ve bounced around between paper, digital, and hybrid productivity systems over the past few years, with the result being a tendency toward the digital. In my experience, if I have to think about where I’m recording a task instead of just making sure its written/typed out somewhere, then my system has started to get in the way of my productivity.

Therefore, I have some to-do lists written down in a Field Notes book. I have other to-do lists written down in a Nock Co paper pad that I use at the office. Still other to-do lists are written in Drafts on a line by line basis and imported into Things on the iPhone. And still other to-dos are added directly into Things on my Mac.

Do they all end up in Things at some point? Most certainly not. Most do. But not all. Really, it doesn’t matter. If I’m being productive, then who cares.

Study Chris’ hybrid methodology. Adopt it if you want. Completely reject it if you want. Just make sure you’re not spinning your tires and worrying about your system.

As always, I appreciate your attention on this fine Sunday afternoon.

Happy Sunday. All the best in the week ahead.

iPhone X

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

iPhone X

The Silver iPhone X.

The iPhone X is, quite simply, the greatest iPhone I’ve ever laid hands on. In many ways, the X is the pinnacle of Cupertino’s design prowess to date, incorporating stainless steel, glass, and quartz in a tech-laden device sure to embark Apple on the right foot in its next ten-year journey. Without sounding too religiously-blinded, I have a hard time finding things not to like about the X.

You’re sure to have read many a review by this point in time, and judging Apple’s relatively impressive shipping times for such a shortage-rumoured device, I’d bet you already have an X in your hand if you planned on buying one.

Of course, I originally purchased the iPhone 8 Plus back in September, expecting shortages to ruin the iPhone X until at least January 2018. I had other hesitations as well:

  • A new authentication system in FaceID that hadn’t been tried and tested
  • An all-screen display with new UI gestures that didn’t look immediately graspable
  • An OLED display which had poorer colour accuracy when viewed at odd angles
  • And an nearly-catastrophic price tag.

I was also particularly fond of the gigantic iPhone 8 Plus keyboard (and which I fully miss since adopting the iPhone X).

But all my hesitations and concerns were washed away within a few days. The iPhone X is a wonderfully-sized iPhone — it fits perfectly in your hand and works very well in one-handed operation (except in those far off corners, of course). FaceID is far and away my favourite authentication system to date,1 creating the illusion of a friendlier, more approachable iPhone. And iOS 11’s iPhone X gestures have taken grasp of my muscle memory so quickly that I miss the gestures on the iPad.

Why don’t other iPhones and iPads awaken when tapped?

Weird features, like Animoji, are somewhat lost on me, so my comments end there. Otherwise, the front-facing True Depth camera is a joy to use, specifically with Apple’s Portrait Mode and Portrait Lighting features. I don’t take many selfies, but my selfies look really, really good when shot on iPhone X.

The rest is history. We all know Apple is going to release a bigger and better iPhone each year. It’s fairly cyclical at this point.

The X feels different, though. If this is the form factor we can expect going forward, I feel it would be wise to document where we started.

Wordless iPhone X

It’s such a small detail, but I’m impressed with Apple’s insistence to eliminate any blemishes on the iPhone’s body. Although non-North American iPhones still have the regulatory text plastered to the glass, North American iPhones have been able to shed the hideous glyphs.

Stainless Steel iPhone X Band

If you look close enough, you may be able to find some micro-abrasions scattered across the corners of my iPhone X. However, this iPhone has picked up the least amount of damage in its early life of any iPhone I’ve used in the last five years. I’m not sure if there is something in Apple’s material selections, but durability (so far) has not been an issue.

As a whole, the iPhone X’s design is very much iPhone in nature, but with a stainless steel band keeping its insides locked away. Some have complained of their stainless steel band picking up micro-abrasions, but I seem to have come off pretty lucky in early use.

Rounded Corners iPhone X

Rounded corners are in. Square corners are out.

Simply put, the iPhone X is the cleanest, most utilitarian iPhone ever created. Aside from the Notch, there is nothing that gets between your attention and that screen.

iPhone X Notch

Many have heeped disdain on the iPhone X’s notch, but I’ve been surprised how quickly it fades away. If I had to choose between the Notch and having FaceID, FaceID would win every day of the week.

I have zero quarrel with the designers who went with the Notch design. It fades into oblivion without effort, and even provides some gesture starting points for bringing down Control Center and Notification Center. Plus, the Notch gives the iPhone X that tad bit of character I believe would be lost if an all-screen-only design had been chosen.

True Black iPhone X

True Black — or my name for the OLED screen being able to shut off individual pixels so the screen looks perfectly black — is my pick for the best underrated feature of the iPhone X.

True Black is another one of those jaw-droppers you have to see to believe. I’m surprised developers who have designed multiple themes for their apps haven’t overtly supported a True Black theme of sorts. Apps like Bear, Apollo, Reeder, and Instapaper make use of the OLED display’s strengths, but I’m left pining for Tweetbot to adopt the same night-theme design.

I’m sure it’ll happen. One day.

I suspect I’ll end up with an iPhone X Plus next year when Apple decides to drop square-cornered iOS devices off the face of the Earth. In the meantime, I’ll relish every second I get with a one-handable and pocketable iPhone. 

And I’ll show it off to anyone who isn’t a believer in the future of where Apple is headed.

  1. I’ll include that stunningly pathetic back-side fingerprint sensor on whichever-Samsung Galaxy phone had it. Seriously — what were they thinking?