#2

Had a great day today. Monday’s usually suck because after all, they’re Mondays, but today’s Monday just so happened to be pretty dope. Here are the top 5 reasons why today was great.

  • We got a lot of rain which really helped cool down this Texas heat.
  • I had a great day at work today. The rain slows things down in the field so I was able to have some relatively distraction free work today. I love it when that happens!
  • ¬†I was able to secure 2 preorders for the NES Classic from Target.com today (Score!) This item was just made for me and now I know I will for sure get a couple when Nintendo inevitably doesn’t make enough of these for everybody who wants one for Christmas.
  • The boss bought lunch today and that is always awesome.
  • I am just about to go out on a date with my beautiful wife.

Not bad Monday, not bad at all.

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#1

Today was a good day. I was able to sleep in as well as get in a nap between church services. I was very behind on sleep as I helped out at a church camp for the youth of our church last weekend. It was a ton of fun and I really enjoyed getting closer to some of the kids. At the same time it was very hot and tiring but the positives far outweighed the negatives. Tonight after church and eating with friends, the wife and I went to Target and bought a bunch of household items like toilet paper, paper towels, & trash bags. I like to just get a massive amount of this stuff every few months rather than buy small amounts of it all of the time. I also bought some Pokemon cards while there because even after all of these years I still gotta catch em’ all! After that we went to Baskin Robins and got ice cream for dessert. It was awesome. I think the moral of this story for the kids is just enjoy being a kid. Someday you will turn around and be 30 years old and have adult responsibilities like a house mortgage and having to buy toilet paper. At the same time, you can still buy Pokemon cards and ice cream to make yourself feel like a kid again and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A new challenge

So I have been wanting to write more lately. After all, I own this domain and hardly ever post anything here anymore. I am going to try to write something everyday, which will definitely be a huge challenge for me. It will sometimes if not all of the times be very short but at least it will be something. I hope you will enjoy.

The iPad Pro

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I purchased an iPad Pro 12.9″ (the big one) a few weeks ago and wanted to give my opinions on it now that I have had it for a while. I got the silver 128gb cellular iPad Pro. I also purchased the Smart Keyboard and the Apple Pencil (more on the accessories later). I was not sure how I was going to like it, at first it seems comically large, but after spending some time with it I absolutely love it.
The Hardware – There’s no denying that the 12.9″ iPad Pro is huge. It is also pretty heavy when compared to the standard 9.7″, 1.57 pounds vs .96 pounds, but it is about as light as it can be given the size of the device. The Retina display is a joy to look at & I just love how big the display is. In fact, it has quite a bit more screen space then my laptop for the last several years, the 11″ MacBook Air. The speakers are a huge improvement over the previous iPads. There are now four speakers as opposed to two and they are on each corner of the iPad Pro. They get really loud if you crank them, so much so that I have not found the need to connect it to a bluetooth speaker. The battery life has been really good as well. I’m getting 12+ hours even when watching a ton of video. And the standby time has been great as well. I love that there is just zero battery anxiety with this device, if you have it fully charged in the morning you will not run it down in the course of a day.

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The battery life on the iPad Pro is legit.

Another new hardware addition on the iPad Pro is the new smart connector on the bottom of the iPad when it is in landscape. This 3 pin connector allows it to attach to various 1st and 3rd party accessories wirelessly and with no power required from the accessory. This is a really cool new feature, one that I use nearly constantly with my Smart Keyboard.

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The Smart Connector

Lastly, the A9x chip and 4gb of ram make the iPad Pro 12.9″ super fast. Everything just flies on this thing.

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Test results from the Geekbench app on my iPad Pro 12.9″

Overall, I really like the hardware of the iPad Pro. However there are a few nitpicks that I have with the hardware:

  1. Apple ships the iPad Pro with a dinky 12w charger that takes a very long time to charge the iPad. The 12.9″ iPad Pro supports fast charging via USB-C, but you have to pay about $75 for the necessary charger and cable. This is ridiculous on a device at this price point. They should ship it with the proper adaptor and cable.
  2. The iPad Pro is really not a one handed device, unlike the mini or regular size iPad. It is pretty unwieldy in portrait orientation. If you want something to read books on or slip into your purse, this is probably not the right device for you.

The Software – The new multitasking features introduced in iOS9 for the iPad were just made for the 12.9″ iPad Pro. Multitasking truly feels at home on this big screen. It gives you almost 2 full size iPad apps side by side. Check out the multitasking view in the picture below.

Narwhal (Reddit client) on the left, Safari on the right, and a picture in picture baseball game on top.

 

I have found myself using the multitasking view so much more with the Pro than I did with my iPad Air 2. There are a few other new software features that the 12.9 Pro gets, namely a full size software keyboard with a number row & a two column today view. These are still the early days for the 12.9″ iPad so while I feel like things will get better on the software front, not everything is rosy right now. A few of my gripes are –

  1. You can only have the same amount of icons on the home screen as all of the other iPads. There is so much wasted space!
  2. Some of the apps are still not optimized for split screen (Pocket), picture in picture (YouTube), or even the new screen size ūüė° (Facebook).
  3. The multitasking app picker is just awful at trying to find the app you want. There needs to be a complete redesign as well as a search bar.

The Accessories – When Apple announced the iPad Pro, it also announced two brand new accessories that only work with the Pro – The Smart Keyboard & the Apple Pencil. I own both and would like to tell you my thoughts on each.

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The smart keyboard is awesome, it has a full sized keyboard & doubles as a cover for the front of the iPad Pro.

The Smart Keyboard – Before I purchased my iPad Pro, I did a lot of research on various cases & keyboards. I narrowed my choices down to two options – the Smart Keyboard & the Logitech Create. Both keyboards have their pros & cons & both support the new smart connector on the iPad Pro. I decided on the Smart Keyboard due to it’s lighter weight, more minimal design, & the ability to pull it off as easily as a smart cover when I just¬†want to use it as an iPad. That second part ended up not mattering much because I absolutely love the Smart Keyboard and would estimate it is connected to my iPad Pro 95% of the time that I use it. Some combination of it being a full size keyboard, it instantly responding to you pressing a key with no need to wait for a bluetooth connection, never needing to be charged, and all of the keyboard shortcuts available for the iPad in iOS 9, have just endeared me to this accessory in a way I had not imagined it would. I use it setting on a table, my desk, on my lap, as a stand for watching streaming content, etc. This is the accessory for the iPad Pro in my opinion. It also completely takes away one of my gripes with the 12.9″ Pro, namely it being a little hard to hold comfortably for extended periods. With the Smart Keyboard, my iPad simply rests on my desk or on my lap with no strain on my hands at all. Would it be better with backlit keys and a shortcut row of keys? Absolutely, and I hope that a future version does all of that but for what it is, I absolutely love it.

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The Apple Pencil – Oh, the Apple pencil. It’s so beautiful and I love it so much, but I am not quite as bullish on it as I am on my Smart Keyboard. On one hand it is the best stylus I have ever used hands down. I’ve tried out a bunch of iPad styluses as well as the styluses for the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book, and the Apple Pencil is just better. It has the least amount of latency I have seen and it is a joy to use. It is really fun to use in an adult coloring book app called Pigment. It is also really cool to take handwritten notes in Notability¬†and Apple Notes. It’s useful for editing photos as well. But the main thing it is awesome for is for artists. If you like to draw, this is the stylus for doing that with. Unfortunately, I am not even close to being an artist so using the Apple Pencil for drawing is not something I can really take advantage of. This leads to me not using it that often and for what it cost, it’s hard to justify recommending it if you are not an artist or a big handwritten notes taker. I got it solely because I was excited about trying it out and because it looks so beautiful. I am trying to figure out ways that I can use it but right now it is not used as much as my Smart Keyboard.

So those are my thoughts on the iPad Pro. I love it and use it every day. I go for days without turning on my Mac since I got it. The fact that I can have a 12.9″ Retina display with tons of storage & power, LTE connectivity, all day battery life, and the huge app selection of iOS in a device that weighs what the original iPad weighed is just mind blowing to me. ¬†At the same time, I know that the iPad Pro is not for everybody, especially the big one. It’s not a cheap device & some people are still more comfortable with a laptop or a desktop. That’s perfectly fine, use the device that is right for you but I firmly believe that the 12.9″ iPad Pro is the right device for me.

 

My Favorite Things of 2015

Hey guys, as we enter into another year I wanted to take minute to look back on 2015 and see what some of my favorite things of 2015 were. These are all things I acquired or enjoyed last year. Here’s to an even better year in 2016!applewatch1

Apple Watch – I love my Apple Watch for many reasons. I love how it looks, I love getting notifications on my wrist, I love how many times it saves me from pulling my phone out of my pocket, but most of all I love the fitness tracking and activity goals it provides. I have been more active this year than in the past 6 or 7 years and trying to fill those little activity rings every day was a big part of it. I even joined a gym for the first time in my life when it got too cold for me to exercise outside. Yes, this product is not for the masses yet but I couldn’t imagine going without it. Link

 

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It’s so beautiful.

S’well Water Bottle – I ran across these in a store downtown and instantly fell in love with the design of this water bottle. If Jony Ive designed a water bottle, I believe it would look something like this. It also keeps my drink cold for 24 hours plus which is awesome. It is expensive but I have loved using it all year. Link

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4th Generation Apple TV – I’ve had every version of the Apple TV but the 4th generation is far and away Apple’s best set-top box they have ever released. From the powerful processor that makes everything run so smooth, to the new app store with a ton of apps to download, it is a pleasure to use. Siri voice control works extremely well & the screen-savers (yes, screen-savers) Apple included are absolutely breathtaking. This is the box we use to watch everything now. The only time the PS4 get’s turned on anymore is for gaming. Link

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Joby Mini Gorillapod & Square Jellyfish Spring Tripod Mount РI have fallen in love with shooting time lapses with my iPhone 6 Plus this year and these two items work together to help me shoot them. I love how compact this whole setup is. It is amazing what you can capture with an iPhone and a few simple tools these days! Link1 Link2

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Oakley Method 360 Backpack – I have a huge weakness for bags and picked up this one down in Austin this year. It has been my everyday bag from that day on. It has all the right pockets and can hold a ton of stuff if needed. Link

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Even with all the hype this movie blew me away. I’ve seen it twice and would see it again in a heartbeat. A true cinematic masterpiece.

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My first two boxes. Sniff.

Fiery Chicken Fries – Burger King – Burger King’s Chicken Fries are one of my all-time favorite foods & when Burger King brought them back permanently in early 2015 I didn’t think that it could get any better than that. I was wrong. In the summer for one month only Burger King released Fiery Chicken Fries and they were glorious! I ate so many of them that I got sick. As soon as I felt better I got some more. I have ate a lot of fast food in my days and I do believe that the Fiery Chicken Fries are the greatest fast food item of all time! Honorable mentions go to Wendy’s Home Style Chicken Strips & Jack In The Box’s Spicy Chicken Bites, may they both rest in peace.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or Facebook. I am ibmacin on everything.

Apple Pay

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My local bank has just recently started supporting Apple Pay and I wanted to post my thoughts on it now that I have had it for a couple of weeks. It was a long time coming with me frequently checking this site here to see if my bank had added support for it.

First, let me talk about how Apple Pay works. Basically, you add either a supported credit card or in my case a bank debit card to the wallet app that is on your iPhone or Apple Watch. Once you have that loaded up you can use it at any place that accepts contactless payments.

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If you see one of these logos, you should be good to go.

If you are using your iPhone you simply hold it near the credit card machine and it will prompt you to hold your finger on the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on your iPhone and it will let you know that it went through. If you are using your Apple Watch you simply double press the contacts button on the side and hold your watch near the contactless sensor. The Apple Watch will give you a tap on the wrist as well as give you a little chime that it went through. That’s it. I just works and I must say it is delightful!

Next I want to talk about how I’ve been using Apple Pay. I have used it multiple times with both my iPhone as well as my Apple Watch & I gotta say, while it is cool paying for stuff with my iPhone it brings a real dumb grin to my face to pay with my Apple Watch. I cannot imagine it ever getting old either. It almost always delights the salesperson when they see what you have done. There is something so¬†futuristic¬†about it. So far I have bought several meals, a soda from a Coke machine at an outlet mall, as well as a toy¬†“figurine” from Toys R Us with my watch. I absolutely love it!

Lastly I want to talk about what the future holds for Apple Pay. Obviously, more and more banks will be adding support for it. They all love it because your information is stored in a secure chip on the iPhone itself and it uses one time verification codes with the merchant so it is much more secure than swiping your debit card in a machine or handing your card to someone. But the thing I’m most looking forward to is more retailers supporting it. The dream would be to be able to use Apple Pay exclusively and no longer have to carry a bunch of cards with you. We’re not there yet. I am anxiously waiting for Target as well as my local grocery store¬†to add support for it. For now, I’m happy to use it wherever it is accepted.

My First Youtube Upload

Hey guys I posted my first video to YouTube today. It’s a time-lapse of the Brazos River in Waco, TX shot from the McLane Stadium Pedestrian Bridge. I shot it with my iPhone 6 Plus and edited it in iMovie. It’s really amazing the things we can do with the phones in our pockets these days. I hope you enjoy it. If you do it would be super rad if you subscribed to my channel. I plan on shooting more videos around my town.