No More iPad


About 2 months ago I sold my iPad mini. I didn't think to write anything about it, but I came across an article I wrote last year when I switched to the mini from the iPad 3. I was pretty sold on the idea and it really was nice for a few months, but a couple things happened.

I started driving to work most every day instead of bike commuting- and hence the weight of my Macbook became a non-issue, meaning I can, and do bring it with me most every day.

I had owned the iPad 2 and promptly upgraded to the 3 for the Retina display and used it happily for writing, listening to music, reading, occasional games and some light design work. Though there have been numerous articles by folks that are able to use the iPad as their primary device, I never felt like it could really keep up with my Mac for anything but reading. I've never felt it was as-good at most things as my Mac. Coincidentally, early last year around the same time that I picked up the mini, I also upgraded to the 13" Retina Macbook Pro.

By the holidays of last year, I was bringing the iPad and the Macbook with me, but found myself seldom using the iPad for anything but listening to music. Before long, I signed up for iTunes match and found that I actually preferred to use my iPhone for music as I've still got a grandfathered unlimited data plan.

I bought Emily a Kindle Paperwhite late last summer and noticed that it was pretty slick. I read a few chapters on it and started thinking I'd like one of my own.

The finishing piece that pushed me over the edge was the iPhone 5S. It is so dang fast and makes the first generation mini feel like a dog. It took me a few months to make the decision, but after a two week trial not using it, I put it on eBay and got a great price for it. I used the proceeds to contribute to the savings for a camera and a Kindle Paperwhite.

I really enjoyed using it, but I grew out of it. I've always had the idea that it's unwise to hang on to gear that you don't use. I'm just glad I realized it while the mini was still worth something.


The Internet is a Utility

Sometimes I wish I had some huge platform that would make a difference so I could scream this stuff and actually change the way things are. I don't think I can say it any clearer than Nilay Patel-


Go ahead, say it out loud. The internet is a utility...

It’s time to just end these stupid legal word games and say what we all already know: internet access is a utility. A commodity that should get better and faster and cheaper over time. Anyone who says otherwise is lying for money.

Always With the New...


I'm the type of person that always wants to know about whatever is new. You could say this tendency or habit is cultural or perhaps learned, but either way, I have it. There are so many websites and industries built upon these values and I've had this growing uncomfortableness with how inevitable it all feels.

Fig. A Spartus Alarm Clock Radio Circa 1979-84

Fig. A Spartus Alarm Clock Radio Circa 1979-84

Fig B. Emerson Research Alarm Clock circa 2007

Fig B. Emerson Research Alarm Clock circa 2007

In some areas of life it's much easier to ignore. For instance- I have been using the same bed side clock for 6 and a half years. Before that, I had the same one for almost 25 years (Fig A.) and I've now moved it to my daughter's room. (I'd call them alarm clocks, but I haven't used the alarm since 2007 when I started using the alarm on my iPhone.) The new(er) one (Fig. B) even has some sort of fancy feature that adjusts for daylight savings time and resets itself after power outages. What's crazy is that I really don't care about the extra features as the old one was working just fine. In fact, the only reason I got a new one was because we couldn't find the old one after a move.

Contrast the above with cameras, computers and phones. There are rumor sites dedicated to leaking even the smallest of details about the newest tech right around the corner. I have, at numerous times over the past few years, found myself checking certain sites or subscribing to them even when I'm clearly not in need of anything new. So Stupid.

Lately I've been trying to really consider the usefulness of each item I own and even the wisdom in keeping things that I don't use often. I've done this a few times over the years and have paired down different areas of my life, but I'm hoping to zero in on a more long-term solution.

One particular camera review site recently took heat from a bunch of its readers over a review and it got my friend Roger and I talking about this stuff. The obvious errors made him feel like not visiting the site anymore and I commented that I found its extremely detailed reviews useful when I had bought a couple cameras over the years, but though we both acknoweldged its usefullness for this purpose, we were still going there and looking all the time.

That's the thing though. It's hard to stop looking. What if something new comes out and I'm not paying attention? What if I spend my hard earned money on a new gadget only to have a new one come out next week making mine obsolete? What if the new one is 50% faster than mine or has bettter connectivity, or a better interface? What if something new arrives on the scene and I'm not an early adopter?

Quite simply, something new being revealed doesn't make mine any less capable or my life any less full.

How many times have you heard this?

Do you actually believe it? I say that I believe it, but I still find myself inexplicably drawn to rumor sites, camera stores, and tech websites. There is always something new.

I recently read something written by Greg Storey that feels spot on-

The discovery of new things is a lot of fun, but I'm feeling the need for fewer options, fewer distractions. It's time to put less emphasis on discovery and more on appreciation and application. From here on out I'm going to look at my home, my life, like a museum values their permanent collection. Everything will be considered for how it works in the existing collection, the existing ecosystem.

Man, that sounds like a good idea.


It's Not About the Gear

Quick Note: If you are looking for more information about custom controls, Lenses and tips for the Sony NEX series, take a look here for my guides, reviews and links.

I've been listening to a new (to me at least) Podcast called On Taking Pictures. It's cohosted by a couple of really entertaining guys named Jeffrey Saddoris and Bill Wadman.

First of all, I really recommend it. Second, they have a recurring theme that I need to hear. Taking great photos is not about the gear. I don't need the latest piece of new tech to make better images. I need to take more pictures. That's the main reason that I started my 365 Project this past October.

Of the many friends I'd call photographers, I can only think of a couple that aren't really into gear. I also know of quite a few people who are really into camera gear, but don't actually take many pictures. They own a nice camera as just one more gadget.

In other words, the gear thing is prevalent among us, but remembering that it's not about the gear is not.

Good reminder.

Differences between iPad and iPhone

I've been thinking about the differences between the iPhone and the iPad, and I think that with the iPhone 5 arriving and iOS 6 being rolled out this past week, there is now more differentiation between the various iOS devices than before.

I've been a big believer in both for a long time. I've had an iPhone since the first one came out on June 30th 2007. I was a little late to adopting the iPad as I felt that version 1 was a little underpowered.

Whenever someone asks whether they should get one of them, there a couple questions that I ask that hopefully help people figure it out.

  1. What do you currently do on your home computer?
  2. Do you have an E-reader?

The computer question is a big one and here's why- Both the iPhone and the iPad are really just computers. Smaller, more portable, perhaps less powerful, but computers nonetheless. The E-reader question narrows down one usage case.

Here is how I use mine.


iPhone is the always-in-my-pocket device. I have grandfathered unlimited data with AT&T so I don't ever need to worry about what I download, watch, listen-to or send with it. AT&T does have some limits that they've put in place after the fact, but for all practical purposes, I don't need to worry about it. I use the iPhone as an on-the-go device.

I chose the wi-fi only iPad when I upgraded to the New iPad. Primarily because of the way that I use the iPhone. Oh, there's also the fact that I'd only activated and used the 3G one time in the previous year on my iPad 2.

I've put that differentiation in place between my devices. Aside from this, it really comes down to screen size.


I prefer to use my iPad for reading. I still have Reeder, Instapaper, iBooks and Kindle installed on my iPhone, but primarily as a backup or second option in case I don't have my iPad with me or there is something I want to read when I don't have a wi-fi connection.

My wife has a Kindle that I bought for her last year. She really likes it, and a lot of people swear by the dedicated E-reader. I have yet to pick one up and try it out as I don't want to carry another device and the iPad Kindle app is great.


I will occasionally look at email on my iPad, but most of the time it is easier to read and respond to it on my iPhone. There are a few reasons for this. I have always-on push enabled on my phone, so arrival of email is instantaneous. I find that unless I'm sitting down at a desk, I can type faster and less-awkwardly on my iPhone. In fact, with the exception of a couple times a week when I'm logged into Gmail from my Mac at home trying to really clean out my inbox, I think of email as "living" on my phone.


I write notes on my iPhone, but I like to sit down at an actual keyboard when I'm writing anything longer than 100-200 words. Right now, I'm using the Apple Bluetooth keyboard and Byword to write this on my iPad. The keyboard is identical in termsof spacing and feel to my Macbook Pro and my old Black Macbook before that. It's pretty nice from a protability standpoint and I also really like the fact that there's nothing to distract me.

Making Photos

Do I really need to even write this one? I capture photos with my iPhone. I DO NOT shoot with my iPad.

Editing Photos

I use both devices based on which is more convenient at the moment. Most every photo editing app I use is a universal app that works on both, and the interfaces are pretty much the same. Sometimes I'll gravitate towards the iPad app because of the larger display.

Truthfully though, I only really use the editing on these devices for images that are intended for Instagram posting. Otherwise I load it into Lightroom on my Mac. If there were an editing app with the power of Lightroom available for iOS devices, I'm sure I'd start using them for more.


I have my full music collection on my iPad so connectivity isn't really an issue. I usually play music from my collection on the iPad in my office, or at home. In the car, the iPhone, as it's always with me. I don't have as much music on my phone though because of...Spotify.

I recently started using Spotify and have it on both devices. I use the phone in my office where I don't have wi-fi, and my iPad when I'm at home or in a location where I've got decent wi-fi.


I use Tweetbot for Twitter on both devices. I probably use the iPhone more because of the push notifications and the smaller size of the content. The iPad app is great, but it still feels heavier to use so it is my second choice.

Facebook is probably 50/50. I use the iPad when I'm connected and the iPhone when I'm out and about. Because so much of what I do is posting higher reolution photos, I probably use the desktop browser more for Facebook than I do either of these.


I find that while both of these devices are really powerful, they fit different purposes. As the iPad continues to evolve over the next couple years, I predict that it will continue to replace my "real computer" for more and more tasks. It shines best for reading, writing and for anything that requires or benefits from undivided attention.

The iPhone is the exact opposite for me most of the time. It is best for at-a-glance tasks and on-the-go activities. Connectivity is one part of its strength, and though the iPad can be data connected (if you bought the LTE/3G version). It still doesn't feel quite as connected unless you stop and turn it on. I tried it with notifications turned on, but it felt inconvenient and nowhere near as good as the iPhone in your pocket.

I've heard others predict the demise of the desktop as we know it due to the iPad, but I don't think that's how it will happen. I think that we'll continue to see the iPad (and iPhone) become more powerful and capable until it really sits at a point of parity with Macs and PCs. The choice of which one to buy, will have more to do with specialized use cases, and less to do with power.

I like the way these products are developing and hope that they continue to get better and better at their respective roles. Can't wait!