NaNoBlogMo is Finished

Saturday, November 30, 2019

This was way more difficult than I originally thought. Publishing every day for the last 30 days has been surprisingly strenuous. Countless times, I found myself with an “Ah! I have to publish something” around 9:30PM after a long day and have nothing left in me other than a few Fresh Links. Though, if I’m counting right, I was a perfect 30/30.

I felt like I cheated a little bit along the way. At no point could I have ever considered the coveted 50,000 word goal for NaNoWriMo — that’s 1,667 words per day, and my quick Fresh Links or photo posts weren’t going to do the trick.

That was never my original goal though.

My original goal was to see if I had it in me to publish something each day. And to that end, I learned a few things along the way:

  1. I have more to say than I originally thought: In this, I mean that I have some unique thoughts that I can add to overall conversations, and I discovered some cool stuff in the process. My Twitter timeline is a wealth of cool and interesting links and I want to work on sharing them more often here on the blog. And that self doubt that creeps in — that part where you don’t think your voice is unique enough to warrant a publish button — is one of the biggest inhibitors to small blogs like The Newsprint.
  2. I have less to say than I originally thought: You really can force the issue. I published a post about my first impressions of the iPhone 11 Pro Battery Case and the next day I discovered a new anecdote that somewhat overruled everything else. Had I been more patient and taken the day off to get it right, I could have been more accurate in my original take.
  3. I love posting photos of my family: I have essentially become that guy. It has taken effort to avoid making The Newsprint a shrine of my love for my family. I’ve snapped a ton of photos over the last month, a fraction of which have made it to the blog here. If I wasn’t careful, I’d scare people away by presenting too much me. I’ve got to come up with a “Newsprint Stories” that basically replicates Instagram Stories but puts them here for everyone to see.
  4. Posting every day had no effective impact on site statistics: Of all the rational and pragmatic things to think about, this one is one I’m going to take with me into the future. Posting every day and ensuring something new hit my RSS feed each day has done effectively nothing for growing my audience. My two takeaways:
    1. Garbage in is garbage out — it’s smarter to publish awesome stuff a few times a month than it is it to publish everyday with nothing to say.
    2. Your audience knows if you’re passionate about something — readers are super smart and they know when you’re into something and when you’re not.

This past month has probably been one of the most enlightening for me as a Newsprint writer in the history of this little site. I have learned a ton to take with me as I move into the future. This little site continues to be one of the most unique avenues I have to connect with folks online and it will continue to operate in that fashion. I see so many other writers celebrating their 10-year anniversaries and I understand how a small blog can make it that long. These things are passion projects. And The Newsprint continues to be mine.

But tomorrow, I’m going to rest.

Thanks for sticking it out the last 30 days.

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Some First Impressions of the iPhone 11 Pro Battery Case

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Battery cases are total overkill in my life — I sit at the office for most of the day and have a wireless charger on my desk where my iPhone sits. I’m not sure if my iPhone 11 Pro has dropped below 50% in battery life yet.

Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro Battery Case comes with an extra feature up its sleeve though: a direct camera-launching button. Is this button worth a purchase all on its own? Likely not. But the combination of prolonged battery life and direct access to the iPhone 11 Pro’s camera app made it worth a short test run.

This is my first every battery case — I’ve never tried any prior Apple battery case nor have I ever tried a Mophie case. I imagine, for those who need more battery life each day, that Apple’s option is the best option. Aside from the extra battery life, there are handy built-in software complements that make Apple’s option the de facto pick. I love how you can see the Battery Case’s charge right in the Today widget.

But there are a few other anecdotes I’m considering right now, some of which will push me to keep the case, and others that really push me to send it back.

The Battery Hump: For some reason, I didn’t think the battery hump would be as pronounced as it actually it is. This hump is beefy and hefty. More than the increased thickness, I am most surprised by the increased weight of the overall package.

The Silicone Feel: I’ve tested a bunch of prior Apple Silicone Cases and I’ve always been annoyed with how the silicone grabs the inside of your pocket as you slide in or pull out your iPhone. This silicone seems to have less of that grabby friction — it doesn’t slide as nicely as a leather case, obviously, but it slides better than any other silicone case I’ve felt.

The Thicker Feel: That hefty battery hump provides for a few great features (battery, obviously), one of which is the feel of it in your hand. There is no mistaking how sweet the case feels in hand. It provides a tacky, grippy, svelte chassis that really provides confidence when you grab it. I really like the feel the case provides when typing.

The Battery Life: This is kind of the name of the game with this case, yet I’m not sure where I stand just yet. The Battery Case comes uncharged in the box, so I plugged it in and charged up the iPhone and case to 100% iPhone and 84% Battery Case. I left the case and iPhone off the charger over night, worked through the day (with an admittedly light workflow) and now, at around 26 hours after charging to 80%, the case is just about dead. I suppose that’s really, really good, though I had farfetched dreams of this case and iPhone lasting the better part of a week on one charge.

The Camera Button: Finally, the feature that pushed me over the purchase cliff. Two aspects of the camera button to note:

  1. It takes more than a quick press to launch the camera. You have to consciously hold the button for about half to three-quarters of a second to launch the camera. Then, when firing the shutter, it only takes a quick press. Clearly this is to ensure you don’t open the camera app mistakenly. But I honestly thought the button was faulty the first time I tried to use it.
  2. I really like the placement of the button. The bottom right positioning is completely new for Apple’s iDevice world — I can’t recall any hardware button being placed in the bottom right corner of a device. But as it stands, when you rotate the iPhone to shoot a photo, the button rests nicely underneath your right index finger and is perfectly positioned for firing the shutter.

I have a little longer yet to play around with this Battery Case and I’ll use the extra time to determine if I’m going to keep it or not.1 As of right now, I think I’ll send it back — I haven’t ever found I need an extra day of battery life in my iPhone. At $200 CAD after tax, it’s a bit on the pricy side as well.

But for that camera button? Seriously, that button almost makes the case worth the purchase.

Almost.


  1. Shout out to Apple’s extended holiday return policy. If you purchased a 16-inch MacBook Pro, that too is only due for return by January 8, 2020. That’s a very, very long testing period.

Design Code’s Angle 3 and a Look at My Current Home Screens

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The folks from Design Code just released Angle 3, a set of Sketch assets with all the latest Apple techery. In the set, you can create really cool mockups (like the ones below) of the new iPhones 11 and 11 Pro, the new full-screen iPads, and more.

But most importantly for me is the fact that these Angle 3 assets actually work. For the life of me, I could not get any angled mockups to work without the screenshot looking all pixelated and muddy. Angle 3 assets seem to be working lovely, as you can see here.

Indeed, all these mockups are my exact devices — I have a 27-inch iMac, iPhone 11 Pro in Midnight Green, and a 12.9-inch iPad Pro in Space Grey.

A purchase of the Angle 3 mockup set provides you updates for all new devices for one year. If you’re an Angle 2 owner, you can likely still buy these new mockups for a bargain.

If you do any blogging and want to spice up your device mockups, this is a fun rabbit hole to jump into.

Happy Birthday Kiddo

Monday, November 25, 2019

I’m sure there will come a time when birthdays get old, when the cake becomes a dinner out, and when the party hats are put aside.

But that day isn’t today.

Two years ago, our lives changed. Soon, our lives will change again.

Happy birthday Reno!

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers Are 2019 Grey Cup Champions

Sunday, November 24, 2019

I’m really not much of a football fan, let alone Canadian football. But there’s something truly special about a small town like Winnipeg getting to experience a professional sports championship. The city came close a few years ago when the Jets ran into the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL Western Conference Final. Alas, it wasn’t to be.

Tonight’s Grey Cup was one of the most dominant championship game performances I’ve ever seen. Every facet of this game was won by the Blue Bombers. The line of scrimmage was dominated by the Blue and Gold. And Andrew Harris being born and bred in Winnipeg? This is just the icing on top.

Congratulations to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

A Tesla Model 3 Interview on The Sweet Setup

Friday, November 22, 2019

It could be considered cheating, this whole “NaNoBlogMo” thing and me simply linking to pieces I previously wrote elsewhere. Perhaps I owe everyone an apology for that.

But I’m also not convinced that every Newsprint reader is a Sweet Setup reader. Perhaps, but I doubt it.

Some of my favourite and best work from the past few years is on The Sweet Setup. And this interview of my pal Jamie is one of the more unique pieces I’ve put together. Jamie was gracious enough to let me join him for a ride in his new Tesla Model 3, and I had to ask some questions along the way.

Head over to The Sweet Setup for the whole interview and my thoughts on the current state of electric vehicles in cold climates.