A Darwin Storm

A Darwin Storm

So we’ve been living in Darwin for about six months now, and are coming to the end of our first wet season. It has, apparently, been one of the least wet wet seasons on record, but there have still been some pretty interesting storms come through.

Here’s a timelapse video of a storm as seen from our balcony this evening.

Darwin 20 Mar 16 from Des Paroz on Vimeo.

Enjoy.

Thoughts on Evolving to an iPad Only Future

I’ve discussed previously about how more and more people are going iPad only, or at least iPad Primary. People like Federico Viticci have famously gone iPad only, and educator Fraser Spiers wonders if a MacBook Pro can substitute for an iPad Pro.

More and more people are sharing their adventures and epiphanies in going iPad Only, or iPad Primary, and I thought I might share some links to some of those stories…

Drew Coffman discusses his thoughts on Living With the iPad Pro. Clearly Drew has found that the iPad Pro is the ideal computing device for his current needs:

The thing that excites me more than anything is that the iPad Pro is such a young platform. Even with its flaws, I’m still enjoying it more than any other computer I’ve ever used. There’s plenty of room for the iPad (and iOS in general) to grow—but I’m no longer using today’s technology while dreaming of tomorrow’s. I’m more than happy with what exists in the present.

Meanwhile, Khoi Vinh comes to the conclusion that he isDone with MacBooks, though not with Macs:

But now, in contrast to my iPad, my laptop seems altogether much more cumbersome than I prefer to deal with. It’s much, much heavier and bulkier than my iPad, especially when you factor in its power supply and a carrying case.

He is speaking as a designer who relies on the powerful features available in macOS, yet his conclusion is that the best place for the high-end desktop OS is on his desktop, where he can have a high-end computer…

When I think about where I’m most productive with OS X, it’s always at my desk, where I have a huge monitor.

This makes a lot of sense. No matter how good a notebook computer is, a desktop running the same OS is always going to be more powerful and more flexible.

Ben Brooks is another who has a clear view on Why iOS is Compelling

iOS is my everything place now. It’s not only always with me, but it’s always in sync with itself. What’s on my iPad is on my iPhone

Justin Blanton made a prediction on Twitter in 2011 that looks like it might be closer to the truth than fantasy…

In a recent post Justin provides an update on the evolution to iPhone-only

nearly all of my professional (and personal) consumption can be done enjoyably from my iPhone or iPad; and almost all of my professional output is channeled through either email or Messenger, also easily handled by my iOS devices.

Clearly he broadened his thinking to include tablet devices, but he is actually upping the game on his prediction – he now thinks that iPhone 8 will be the tipping point. I like that he talks about the ‘enjoyability’ factor of using an iPhone or iPad.

###Conclusion

Some of these above are going iPad Only, others are going iPad Primary (especially when mobile), and others are even moving to iPhone centric. The future of on-the-go computing is clearly going to be centred on nimble, portable devices like tablets and smartphones.

Notebook and laptop computers are far from dead, but the real place where a desktop OS like OSX or Windows delivers the greatest power will be on the desktop.

Around the Web for 7 Feb 2016

Around the Web for 7 Feb 2016

Talking to My Watch. Gabe at MacDrifter posted interesting thoughts on a $10 app (actually $14.99 in Australian dollars) – Drafts being his use case for an Apple Watch.

The Drafts Apple Watch app is a wonderfully futuristic way to write. Within two taps, I’m dictating real text that’s not a total mess.

I don’t just use it to dictate small bits of text. I can actually dictate long passages while looking like an idiot. But, the real trick is to dictate a bunch of small messages and then combine them in the Drafts app for export as one long document.

Meanwhile, The Incompetent Writer talks about a couple of ways of doing quick link posts from an iPad to a WordPress blog, also using Drafts.

But, of course, not all blogging is like that. Sometimes we are responding to another person’s post, or want to connect a few different arguments; sometimes we just want to fire off a quick piece that’s nothing more than a link, a quotation, and a comment.

Why should a short post take you a long time to write, when it doesn’t have to?

Here are two options for writing quicker “link” posts.

Completing The iPad Pro – The Smart Keyboard

I ordered my iPad Pro just over two weeks ago – and it arrived here in Darwin just two days later.

At the same time I considered purchasing the Smart Keyboard, but the expected delivery was 4–5 weeks, so I decided to wait and see what other options would come onto the market. I ordered a Smart Cover instead, which shipped the same day, but was sent separately and arrived five days later!

When it arrived the smart cover had been damaged in the mail, so I called Apple who have refunded the cover, and then decided to go and look locally at a couple of retailers[1] who had the cover in stock. Arriving at JB Hi Fi at Berrimah, I was surprised to find that they had a half dozen Smart Keyboards in stock[2]. I decided to purchase one, and am really glad that I did.

Having been a happy user of Logitech keyboards[3] for previous iPads I had grown used to the extra row of iOS specific keys for navigation (home, app switch), search and system contols (volume, brightness, etc), and was concerned that not having these would somehow limit my experience. Similarly I was concerned that the extra bulk and weight might diminish the utility of the Smart Keyboard.

I’ve been using the Smart Keyboard for about a week now, and love it. It makes the iPad Pro experience one that it both versatile and complete. The iPad Pro combined with the Smart Keyboard is a notebook computer alternative that will work for me[4].

It is still only a week, so I am sure my opinion will evolve, but here are my current thoughts on the Smart Keyboard.

  • The convenience of the integrated keyboard with a Smart Cover is outstanding.
  • The experience of the built in pairing is excellent. Plug and go in real life.
  • The integrated charging/powering from the iPad Pro battery is excellent. One less charger to worry about.
  • The lack of the extra row of iOS specific function keys has not turned out to be an issue for me. I like the app-specific smart key approach, and look forward to more app developers[5] building in support for these. That CMD+Space brings up Spotlight (search) and CMD+Tab brings up an app switcher is a great experience as there is consistency with
  • Any additional bulk/weight is negligible when compared with the standard Smart Cover for the iPad Pro[6].
  • Proportionally the addition of the Smart Keyboard adds less bulk/weight to the iPad Pro than a keyboard case like the Logitech Ultrathin does to an iPad Air[7].
  • I’d like backlighting, but not at the expense of extra size/bulk, so I think a happy medium has been reached.

My thoughts are along the same lines as the Initial Thoughts on the Apple iPad Pro Keyboard by MacSparky, who said

…the Apple keyboard has the right amount of balance between minimal profile and working keyboard that I think it is the keeper for me.

All in all, I am really happy with the Smart Keyboard so far. It is an awesome match with the iPad Pro, and I am keeping the Smart Keyboard on 24–7 as a cover with an integrated keyboard[8].

My iPad Pro and Smart Keyboard


  1. There is no Apple Store within 2,500km of Darwin, but the local JB HiFi and Harvey Norman stores have good Apple stocks.  ↩
  2. They also had Pencils in stock. As at 24 Dec 15, the Apple Online store is showing 4–5 weeks wait for the Pencil and 3–4 weeks for the Smart Keyboard. Harvey Norman had 13 Pencils & 12 Smart Keyboards on display that day.  ↩
  3. Both the Ultrathin keyboard/cover and Keys-to-Go keyboards  ↩
  4. For several years the month of March has been my iPads of March experiment where I’ve attempted to use only an iPad (and iPhone of course) as my on-the-go device, coupling these with a desktop at home (iMac) or work (generally a PC). Each year the iPad has gotten closer to the goal, but the iPad Pro realises it for me.  ↩
  5. Looking at you, Byword.  ↩
  6. Especially noting that the iPad Pro is already a larger device.  ↩
  7. I haven’t seen any of the third party keyboards for the iPad Pro in the wild yet, so can’t comment on those.  ↩
  8. I have subsequently been able to take a look at the Logitech Create keyboard for the iPad Pro. While it is a nice piece of kit with the function keys and backlighting, it is bulkier, and I honestly could not imagine using it as a permanent cover.  ↩

Around the Web for 16 Dec 15

I’ve been enjoying working and playing on the iPad Pro. It feels like the start of something new…

Checking in with the iPad Pro — MacSparky

I’m going to keep writing about this jumbo iPad as I use and wrap my head around it more. If you want something portable, this is definitely not the device for you. However for getting work done on an iOS device, the iPad Pro is pretty special.

Review: The iPad Pro is a line in the sand — 512 Pixels

The iPad isn’t going away, and if the iPad Pro has anything to say about it, all of us — even people who prefer the Mac — are going to be using tablets for work more and more.

And OS9.2 brings the power of 1Password to many more apps…

AgileBits Blog | iOS 9.2 adds 1Password to many new apps

Finally I returned home and was able to verify the amazing news: the 1Password App Extension API will simply appear in all Safari View Controllers in any app!

Around the Web for 09 December 2015

Around the Web for 09 December 2015

Apple Introduces iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case – MacStories. seems like a strange design for Apple

Apple today introduced the new iPhone Smart Battery Case for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6. Available in White or Charcoal Gray, the Smart Battery Case includes a built-in battery which will boost your iPhone’s battery life for talk time up to 25 hours and internet use up to 18 hours on LTE.

Hands on with the tvOS 9.1 update – Six Colors. Glad to see iOS remote app support

Apple rolled out a bunch of software updates today, including tvOS 9.1, which adds a few key features to the product that were missing at launch: the ability to use an iPhone as a remote, and extended Siri support.

Around the Web for 08 December 2015

Around the Web for 08 December 2015

An Illustrator’s Review of the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil

But to my mind, the iPad Pro deserves the Professional label – this is a serious piece of hardware for illustrators, and it’s been a long time coming. And if you buy it, buy the Pencil. Without it you’re not doing the iPad Pro justice.

Apple Maps, once a laughing stock, now dominates iPhones

Apple fixed errors as users submitted them. It quietly bought several mapping companies, mostly for their engineers and other talent. Recently, it added transit directions for several major cities, narrowing a major gap with Google. Apple Maps is now used more widely than Google Maps on iPhones.

And MacSparky weighs in…

iPhone Maps — MacSparky

The news about Apple Maps being used three times more than its “leading competitor” is being touted as a victory from Apple. I see it differently. In my mind, the built in maps app should be used ten times as much as anything else.

My favourite task management app keeps innovating…

OmniFocus for Mac v2.4 ready for a Push – The Omni Group

Today we’ve released updates for both Mac and iOS that bring Push-Triggered Sync to every copy of OmniFocus.

I applaud DropBox for vein willing to try, and being willing to take a different tack

Saying goodbye to Carousel and Mailbox | | Dropbox Blog

Building new products is about learning as much as it’s about making. It’s also about tough choices. Over the past few months, we’ve increased our team’s focus on collaboration and simplifying the way people work together. In light of that, we’ve made the difficult decision to shut down Carousel and Mailbox.

A Lesser Photographer – All You Need Is 1

You don’t need a certain number of followers, a “passive income,” a “monetization strategy” or “1000 true fans” to justify sharing your work.

All you need is 1.

Around the Web for 05 December 2015

Around the Web for 05 December 2015

Thumbs Up for Duet Display — MacSparky

There is a wonderful little application called Duet, made by some former Apple engineers, that lets you connect your iPad to your Mac and turn the iPad into a second screen.

An iPad Pro wish list | Macworld

Checking in With Apple Watch — MacSparky. Totally agree with MacSparky’s thoughts here.

having used one now since the Apple Watch was first released, I can’t imagine not having it. If something happened to my Apple watch, I would go buy another one

Around the Web for 03 December 2015

Around the Web for 03 December 2015

6 Easily Overlooked Features in Photos for OS X | | Peachpit

Apple’s Photos for OS X application is sparse and straight to the point, presenting your photos on a simple white background, but it’s actually more capable than it appears.

Our 51 most commonly misused words and phrases

A linguist from Harvard University is here to help – he has created a list of the words we misuse the most.

Public Beta: December 3, 2015

Let’s Encrypt will enter Public Beta on December 3, 2015.

Hot rumor! Nikon bought Samsung NX mirrorless tech! – mirrorlessrumors

Samsung sources clearly told us it was Nikon priority to create a serious competition to Sony.

Around the Web for 02 December 2015

Around the Web for 02 December 2015

Adobe is telling people to stop using Flash | The Verge

In an announcement last night, Adobe said that it will now “encourage content creators to build with new web standards,” such as HTML5, rather than Flash.

A modern day ‘howcatchem’ — Medium. Interesting back story of a forensic identity audit of a online persona

Our 51 most commonly misused words and phrases

In his latest book, The Sense of Style, Harvard cognitive scientist and linguist Steven Pinker explores the most common words and phrases that people stumble over.