Can’t wait to dig into the new procreate update :)

I missed my train at krakow station last night. So I finally returned to street photography with my iPhone.

I’m becoming increasingly critical of the IPad as a platform. Not because it’s getting worse but because it’s got so good. There are so few things that now hold it back, those that do become increasingly frustrating.

No one makes a living on Pateron 🔗

No one makes a living on Patreon

Of those creators, only 1,393 — 2 percent — make the equivalent of federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, or $1,160 a month, in October 2017. Worse, if we change it to $15 per hour, a minimum wage slowly being adopted by states, that’s only .8 percent of all creators.

Kind of depressing reading as it casts a lot of doubt on pateron and donations as long term viable income streams. At the same time, it’s not the most suprising statistic and seems to refect common distribution curves where the top far out performs the majority.

“Changes that seem small and unimportant at first will compound into remarkable results if you stick with them for years.” — James Clear in Atomic Habits

Isralie style coffee and baklava in the coolest coffee shop in Krakow. 76737E3B-A92B-4667-8DF0-E5452C5E5555.jpg

We’re in our favourite coffee shop in Kazimierz, the old Jewish district in Krakow, and there are free short stories. This one is a graphic novel. CCE51CCA-FD93-4A55-BC0F-9CDC566912C4.jpg

November 2018 Now and Then Update

Last month I tried updating my Now page at the start of the month and writing a description of what had occurred, and what is coming up. It’s kind of a “monthly review” for me.

So here’s my November 2018 Now and Then Update


Goals My goals for last month were a mixed bag Spend time with my daughter - I caught up with the copyblogger course I’m doing and now just need to submit some work. - I did nothing for “the ninja project” and it’s probably on the back burner unfortunately. - I read very little more of On Writing Well but I did read some. I’m hoping to slowly continue this month - I did try a couple of calligraphy styles, but the main thing I did was investigate the Pentel brush pen by doing Inktober only using that pen. It was a really fun challenge to try an unusual and different pen. I kind of want to do something similar with a different pen next month and see what comes up. - My writing portfolio still needs a bit of an update but it’s coming along well - I did nothing for NaNoWriMo but I’m going to start free writing everyday, it may lead to a book, or not. Hopefully it will stick beyond just November. - I didn’t plan to, but I ended up completing Inktober and I’m going to put a post with every image. - I spent far too much time considering what new phone I should get. I had placed some limits and requirements to stop me upgrading sooner and they were now all met. However, I didn’t want to blindly follow my gut but really check and make sure I was making a good choice that reflecting a suitable use of money. At times like this I like to review why I don’t use certain products and consider what it would be like to switch system as well as the pain points. In this case I really considered getting an Android phone. There are certainly some advantages but I’ve happily decided against doing so, I placed one last restriction on myself to give myself time to make sure I was happy with my final decision and so in a week or so, I should upgrade.

Key Events - My parents visited and met their Granddaughter - My in-laws visited again and we prepared some great food. - We went to a wedding in Lublin - I had a major project at work that was a great challenge, but quite stressful.

Unexpected delights - Starting reading Atomic Habits by James Clear - Getting back in to exercising after some illness - David Sparks Omnifocus field guide provided some really interesting ideas. - I’ve really got back into Jazz music again.


Last time I talked about goals, this month (inspired by James Clear) I want to focus on habits instead. - Daily writing first thing (instead of browsing and searching the internet) - Playing some Jazz guitar at the weekend - Personalizing a couple more Siri Shortcuts so they are more useful - Going through a couple of courses I signed up for in the past…and did nothing with! - I’m looking for a better way to manage quotes.

Upcoming events - My wife’s birthday - Some national holidays (1st November and 11th)

A Long-Term Review of The Focus Course

“The Focus Course helped me create a manageable plan of action that worked with my work and lifestyle that I could easily implement.” - Me

I noticed the Focus Course had reopened today and my testimonial (the one above from being one of the initial beta testers) is still there. This made me reflect on the course and what has changed since then.

  • I’ve got married
  • I bought a home
  • I welcomed my daughter into the world
  • and I changed job

There’s more that’s occured of course, but these points — espeically the last point — really highlight The Focus Course’s legacy in my life. At the end of the Focus Course, I had set several core goals, I also chose a simple habit to impliment, the one which would lead to the biggest impact on my life. It was to “do a fitstar workout everyday” to help move toward my health goal. Now I go to the gym twice a week, have hit the weight goal I was aiming for (I have trouble with being underweight) and am much healthier than before.

In work, I left my job as a teacher this summer and became a content writer. It was a long term professional goal to write for a living but one that felt so distant. Still, I kept writing. This habit with sprint targets kept me moving and eventually someone noticed. I wouldn’t have followed this path were it not for the Focus Course.

Setbacks along the way

There have been setbacks along the way. I’ve had periods of distraction — I’ve recently noticed that I am distracted more by my phone than before — and some goals didn’t work out. I’ve tried things and changed my mind. I’ve had periods where I didn’t even check on my goals. But I can still access the Focus Course and have redone the course twice since I first took it.

I’m about to restart the course again and I’m sure it will be different this time. For instance, I have a daughter now and this is new. Certianly some of the task will end up differently.

You should do the Focus Course

The focus course isn’t cheap but it is one of the most life changing things I’ve done in my life. The method of learning is one that I’ve tired to use in learning courses I’ve set up and if you stick to it, it will make a difference.

You can sign up here.

I have no affiliate relationship with the focus course, this recommendation is just that. A heartfelt recommendation of something that will make a difference for you.

Honestly, I think Evernote might finally be turning things around. The templates feature is the first in a while which focuses on their core functionality, taking notes. I’m more hopeful about them now that I have been in a while.

October is almost over so I guess it’s time to look over my now page from last month and get ready to update it. Also I’d better get a couple of things ready for my challenges next month.

A Dark Consensus About Screens and Kids Begins to Emerge in Silicon Valley - The New York Time 🔗

A Dark Consensus About Screens and Kids Begins to Emerge in Silicon Valley - The New York Times via @leo

A wariness that has been slowly brewing is turning into a regionwide consensus: The benefits of screens as a learning tool are overblown, and the risks for addiction and stunting development seem high. The debate in Silicon Valley now is about how much exposure to phones is O.K.

Interesting article that touches on ideas you’ve probably heard a lot recently. I agree more with the “principled limited” screen usage. There’s an incredible depth of knowledge on the internet including things like YouTube (I don’t think there’s been a better time to learn a musical instrument and I’m brushing up my jazz guitar chops) but YouTube is designed to get you hooked and spend more time there, and often the brain dead stuff is the most addictive. We have to be careful.

Yesterday I critiqued productivity obsession and the constant drive to find that one tip that will finally solve your productivity pains…today I was watching David Sparks’s Omnifocus field guide and his section on Tags gave me some great ideas. Basically, doing the very thing I critiqued. Yup.

I thought I had finally found a cheap airport express to get my Airplay 2 on…but ebay had other ideas. :(

Confession of a Recovering Productivity Addict

Six years ago, when I was living in Spain, I was obsessed by Productivity. I tried to make my system as efficient as possible, using the best apps to help me get things done and spending hours a week listening to podcast on the topic. Of course, the irony was that I spent more time learning to be more productive than actually being productive. It’s easy to look down on that with hindsight as I now know many of the fundamental principles and ideas which help with productivity but back then I didn’t. At the same time, I don’t really care for listening about productivity advice (especially as an isolated topic) anymore, I know that the thing that would make the biggest difference for myself is applying what I already know, not learning something new.

The 20% that takes you 80% of the way

Just like everything, there are a few core productivity principles which take you a long way. Applying those will be more beneficial than spending hours trying to learn the other 80%. Unfortunately that means doing stuff rather than sitting back and listening or reading. I’m not certain on what this 20% is exactly – and it may well vary a bit for you – but the things that make the biggest difference for me include: - Getting a good nights sleep - Doing some regular exercise - Not eating too much bad stuff (it makes me feel tired and bloated) - Listing the key things I need to work on and do today - Writing down the steps in a project and marking the next step - If I don’t know what the next step is, thinking of whom I could ask to find out - Doing a task straight away if it will take 2 mins or less - Saving tasks as soon as I can

Perhaps I needed to be an addict?

I was originally going to write a bit of a rant against productivity culture where people constantly seek that extra trick (or worse app) that will help them finally be productive (spoiler, no matter how productive you are, you can always be more productive and even if you do reach 100% productivity, you will still wish you could do more.) but as I started writing I realized I was (partially) wrong. Those earlier experienced actually help me greatly today and just because I don’t need to hear that advice, doesn’t mean others don’t.

Still, I wonder if most people who are concerned about being productivity would be better served spending more time doing than consuming about productivity.

Today I am declaring a war on “the most optimal”

You Don’t Need to Do “Real Work” on the iPad, Just Normal Work

One of the ideas that get’s branded about when we talk about the iPad is that you “can’t do real work on the iPad”. I used to debate this topic a lot but today I realised that it’s complete rubbish. Not because you can do everything on the iPad, but actually it’s not that important and distracts from the issue that is really important. Let me explain.

The Can’t Do Real Work Narrative

The can’t do real work narrative works so well for two reasons, there are people who propose it and then there are those of us stupid enough to spend time debating it. Sure, it’s a fun question and topic to debate but the conclusion that is put forward — tablets suck, they aren’t the future of computing etc — isn’t dependent on that statement.

So a brief summary of the debate. Real work usually means programming or graphic design work, or occasionally working with some complicated CMS system (because tech writers) it includes every professional task someone needs to do (even if they do it rarely). Under these conditions you can’t do “real work” but in truth things are getting better all the time, there are interesting hacks around these issue which can be better than traditional solutions and not everyone needs to do these tasks.

Not everyone needs to do these tasks

This last point has become increasingly resonate within my own life. I changed from teaching to being a content writer. My day now looks like most typical corporate jobs instead of a life of traveling from location to location, creating handouts and presentations and other more unique challenges.

In my last job, there were some of these classic “real work” tasks that I found difficult: designing graphics, making videos, web design.

In my new job, I have the problems that most people suffer at work and let me tell you, you don’t need powerful programs like photoshop on the iPad to solve those problems.

The Real problems people face with real work

With software, there are a few core programs that I require, many of which have basic iPad apps that lack essential functionality. There are also a few websites and programs which just aren’t compatible.

With hardware, the idea of using my iPad at a desk for hours on end just isn’t sensible. Sure I could jerry rig some system to prop it up at the correct hight, and if I attended a few more meetings then I probably would have the sedentary work life that leads to neck-ache, but I do and as such a giant external monitor on a MacBook Pro is a very welcome relief. 1

These are issues which are rarely discussed when it comes to the iPad and real work and yet are much more pertinent for the average person. If you can’t access every webpage, then you can’t use an iPad for work. If there is some pesky item which needs to be dragged and dropped and doesn’t support touch, then you can’t use an iPad for real work. If you can’t access a common feature in a common app that your office uses, then you can’t use an iPad for real work.

The same isn’t true of chrome OS or Windows 10

Look, there is a lot I don’t like about Chrome OS and Windows 10. They all have downsides and the tablet versions of these devices really do, but they do the basics right. You can open up either device and do what most people in an office need to do (and at home too boot).

The solution to the iPad’s problems for being usable at work isn’t really in pro apps like Photoshop or xcode, but it is in being able to do the last 10% of tasks that people in offices can’t do or are better with a different device.

  1. I should note that there are rumors that the latest iPad Pro will support external monitors in someway. This would be a good step forward but technically you can already do that with the lightning to HDMI output and this doesn’t really solve the issue. You still need to look at the iPad screen to touch it. Unless Mouse or touchpad support came to the iPad that is.