On the iPad Pro.

So last week I mentioned I had started taking classes for a masters degree… One of the things that became very quickly apparent to me was that while I have a really nice computer setup at home. It sucked like portable hole going to a vacuum dimension. I’ve had a iPad of some sort since the iPad2 days. I’ve always found them to be handy but never really good for much more then keeping track of my fantasy football teams and surfing the internet on the couch. The best use I’ve ever found for it is watching movies on a plane or something similarly single focused.

So with this class I made a concerted effort to use my iPad Air 2 with a Bluetooth keyboard for class for taking notes on reading and doing outlines for papers. I knew that writing full blown papers wasn’t going to happen but I was going to go for 70% of my homework. The first week of class it blew up in my face so hard… the keyboard was just to small, my gorilla sized sausagesque fingers were missing and double tapping keys constantly, along with just being generally uncomfortable. The process did show great promise though the ergonomics sucked. Which I kind of already knew from using the iPad at conferences for taking notes, good for a quick thing or two but hands on keyboard for more then a minute or two and things started to be “no bueno”.

So this led to a deep discussion of replacing the iPad with a portable device that could act as a writing and research device and fill the remarkable small iPad sized niche in my life. One of the things I have noticed over the last 2 years since I got a iPhone + is that I used my iPad much less and just defaulted to my iPhone. I seriously questioned if another iPad was warranted or would I better served by a low end surface or MacBook.

Chrome books have merit, I’m not just there yet…

I kicked around the concept for a week and what I finally landed on was. While a second laptop to carry around would be nice, I would already be behind the tech curve on a piece of gear that I knew had a limited shelf life and low resale/hand down value. That’s what killed the laptop and 2in1 situations and ultimately landed on a iPad Pro 10.5 with… a keyboard….

So basically I have a single app focus laptop with a small keyboard that isn’t to cramped for my gorilla like hands that is reasonably powerful, integrates with my workflows, and can fill a iPad sized niche in my world. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how nicely the iPad has worked fill some roles and I’ve already found uses for it outside of the original scope. It’s not a daily carry device in the work bag… I may not use it every day, but it’s there and I only need to charge it once a week. The down side is with the keyboard and the smart connector it’s tough to use it on my lap… and I kinda despise the on screen keyboard. It’s not perfect, but it gets the job done.

On backup strategies for the home…

On backup strategies for the home…

So I had a thought this evening as I was looking at my router and seeing my upload tick across the megabytes while my Crash Plan was syncing to it’s cloud backup.

Do I really need to be doing whole user directory backups to the cloud?

It was a moment of reflection, I had installed crash plan on the new Mac last year because, well that is what I always have done since 2010 when I started with Carbonite. Yes, I had Time Machine… but after the great flower fire of 2010, I had been running a dual onsite / offsite backup strategy. A little belt and suspenders for home, but practice what you preach to the people at work. Fast forward seven years and my two major reasons for doing a multi backup strategy have pretty much gone by the way side.

  1. DEAR LORD I’M THE ONLY PERSON WITH COPIES OF XYZ PICTURE… because I’m a bit of a data hoarder, and apparently no one else in my family can be bothered to learn how to use FLICKR.
  2. Cloud syncing technology is pretty seamless now for user folders.

The first problem is pretty much taken care of by the fact that every photo I take is synced to three different services pretty much automatically off of my phone or main machine within 24 hours. So no issues with losing those pictures that appear to be only backed up by me. The second one wasn’t as in your face and really didn’t hit me till the last two weeks or so.

I signed up to start taking some classes and working towards a masters (that’ s a separate blog post when I feel like talking about it). Anyway the school uses Office 365 which I subscribe to on a personal level already. My entire workspace is through the Office 365 portal on the schools website, which I thought was pretty cool. Until I signed into my personal copy at home with my school credentials and had a second instance of OneDrive sync start up. Thats when it dawned on me, I’ve been on OneDrive for a couple of years now and could lose my computer tomorrow. I wouldn’t care everything I need is up in my OneDrive… it just took a few years for that particular wall to fall.

So now as I sit here looking at my Crash Plan app I’m wondering to myself, do I actually need to continue to pay for a service that while it does provide a complete copy of all my files and 30 days of deleted files…. it’s slow as hell doing a restore and kinda cumbersome for anything more then a folder or two. Also my /User/tom folder on my Mac is 86GB after documents, pictures, music, and some video, but before any of my Virtual Machines.

So that’s something to talk about there, what about Virtual Machines or larger databases you may have on your local machine. Well for me, I use rsync for the VM files themselves to be synced to my home server. After that I really don’t care, I don’t run anything production on the VM’s they are there specifically to play with and blow away as needed. The Windows VM machines are a little bit more temperamental then Linux for me, but that’s because I get annoyed that I have to license my Windows machines versus just popping a new Linux flavor.

So at the end of the day, the question is for me is there a good reason to keep paying for Crash Plan or something of it’s ilk? I honestly don’t know, in just the writing of this post I’ve gone through a fair amount of type space that says maybe not.

Things to chew on.

On beer brewing and being frugal

In the year 2007 I had a pretty good June, I sold my first house… paid off a bunch of bills accumulated because I was selling a house…. bought my first MAC…. and bought my first home brew kit.

One of those three items is still with me today… go ahead guess… I’ll wait.

Jeopardy Theme plays in background

If you guessed the MAC, you would be close but after 5 years the old laptop couldn’t keep up. Almost all of that first beer brewing kit is still with me and still used in some shape or form. The only casualty has been a glass carboy that cracked when cleaning. For 10 years to still be using most all of the stuff is pretty impressive in my world. Which now 10 years on I’m to a point where I want to step up my brewing operations by don’t want to piecemeal the deal.

So here is the outline of what will become the brew setup 2.0

  • Overall the system will use a “HERMS” process https://youtu.be/PNKcQoGZOpQ though mine won’t be nearly that fancy.
  • Hot liquor heating will come from a second propane stove I have
  • One pump for the entire setup which means I’ll be moving hoses
  • which means quick connects for hoses
  • And I need to get a counter flow chiller

I do have a diagram someplace in one of my cloud drives, but it is not ready for prime time.

So in the mean time… I keep plotting and planning.

There be 3rd party publishing apps…

Well now it’s all begun in a way…

That I now can start showing what it looks like to write outside of a normal interface on a dedicated app. The Ulysses app is pretty fantastic, the only problem is it appears to be pretty basic, though I do appreciate it uses the library concept of the MAC and sticks with that hard.

OK so I guess the next thing is to publish a picture of the new setup and maybe one day instead of talking about my computers I’ll talk about beer brewing, turns out that day is farther away then anyone thought….

At least the monitor and laptop are very pretty….