Apple Watch – Day 9 check-in


Which Apple Watch?

Acquired Apple Watch on April 24. I went with the Sport Watch for the price and the lightness over the Sapphire lens. So far no scratches. Part of my thinking was that Apple does an awesome job with aluminum. The iPhone looks stellar, why would I want to spend more to get stainless steel? It’s the same wrist-computer, after all. And, like I said, I wanted light.

Got the Space Gray with Black Sports Band. Working like a charm. Comfortable. Doesn’t bother me to keep it on all the time. Good to go! Yes. This is my dog, Spinner. Kind of fun to have her on my wrist.

Got the 42mm. This was a close call as I have small wrists. So the 42mm watch is pretty big on my wrist but I have worn bigger in the old days from time to time. And I survived. I went for the screen real estate and the extra battery life. No regrets.

Does Apple Watch Meet my Expectations?

It’s working great for my first goal of Standing regularly. This alone may justify the purchase. Actual Goal 1 was to learn about this new wearable computer something I’ve heard about for 20 years back when all this stuff was in the future. Now we have something real and backed by Apple’s economic power to change the world.

My minimum requirements are good. I haven’t mastered notifications so they are hit or miss and sometimes I get haptic notifications and sometimes not. I’m sure more will be revealed but I’m busy right now with work so don’t have oodles of time to sort all this out. At least now the Apple Watch is on my wrist so I’m getting to experience this ground breaking new release from day one.

Experiencing the Apple Watch

The experience is pretty transparent, actually, if you don’t count getting dinged to stand up every hour. I usually beat it to the punch partly because I’m afraid I’ll miss one of my hours and I like to get as many Stands as I can per day at this point in the game.

I don’t notice that the watch is on my wrist. That’s the transparent part. It’s just there. After a good 15 years not wearing a watch, it’s kind of handy to have one on my person. And in addition to my iPhone which might not be in an app that shows the time or is somewhere in the house but not on me. It’s pretty rare to not have the iPhone near, but the watch is really near. Even if it takes a half second to turn on.

I have no doubt I will be wearing this watch for the foreseeable future. At least until next year’s version that is. I would love to be able to control some of the variables myself. One great candidate would be how long the watch stays on before going to sleep. I would push it to at least 20 seconds over the current 15 unless battery life got to be an issue.

Looking forward to learning more and seeing cooler and cooler apps over time. Developers have had little to no time to learn how to take advantage of this device. As they learn and iterate, all sorts of improvements will be made.

Ten Reasons to Go Big with the iPhone 6 Plus


I’m preordering an iPhone 6 Plus on Friday but I’ve been unsure until now. Now that I’ve been reading the web and twitter non-stop on my quest for those who have actually had the phones in their hands and sometimes in their pockets, I’m ready to commit.

Things to consider before you decide the iPhone 6 Plus is too big:

1. Bigger Screen is better — always. This is a personal next-gen computer, not just a phone to make phone calls on. Screen real estate matters

2. Optical Image Stabilization. Only the Plus camera has  this great feature for low light shots.

3. Higher Resolution 400 ppi. Sharper screen. The 6 has only 326 ppi.

4. A Lot Better battery life. 20-40% better. No battery case needed. Less bulky in that respect.

5.  Two Column Landscape View in iOS 8. Not on iPhone 6.

6. One device is better than 2. This is a mini mini iPad not just an iPhone but that too. 1 device to maintain and purchase. 1 cellular connection. You won’t need to lug your iPad mini or maxi around as much. Or you can sell/trade-in the mini.

7. eReading – the 5.5″ size is perfect and comfortable for long-form reading.

8. Reachability. There’s a special reachability feature in iOS 8 that lets you still operate it with one hand.

9. It’s Different, Newer. Thus refreshing and stimulating. Be the first one on your block!

10. Still fits in your pocket. Unlike the iPad mini. Yes, a lot of women already find a regular iPhone too bulky for their tiny pocketed skinny jeans and carry the iPhone in a purse. If that’s you, bigger is better since the Plus will fit in just about any purse easily.

Related Links:

  • eReader Joy on iPhone 6 Plus
    “Unless one really just needs a phone, or money is really tight, this is currently the king of hand-held Everything Machines. I haven’t been this excited since the iPad 1.”
  • Gizmodo on iPhone 6
    “But after a brief time fondling the 4.7-inch iPhone 6—up from a 4-inch predecessor—I feel comfortable saying that this is the right kind of sizing up.”
  • The Verge on iPhone 6
    “The big question with a larger screen is how it affects battery life: Apple says that it managed to cram a longer-lasting and bigger battery into the new iPhone 6 Plus. The phone gets 24 hours of 3G talk time, up to 16 days on standby (384 hours), up to 12 hours of internet use on LTE/Wi-Fi, and up to 14 hours of video playback.”
  • TUAW Steve Sande On Choosing
    “How about holding the device? To be honest, although it looks much larger, I tend to use my iPhone two-handed anyway, except for making phone calls. Did I feel like I was holding a brick up to my head with the mockup? No — I have fairly small hands and it fit nicely.”
  • TUAW Steve Sande More Thoughts on Big iPhone
    “Picking up the iPhone 6 Plus mockup, I found myself much more apt to use it two-handed, although notifications could still be perused one-handed.”
  • ZDNet Matthew Miller iphone 6 Trumps iPad mini
    “My iPad Mini is primarily used to consume video content (streaming TV, movies, and sports apps), read ebooks, and manage my email and calendar. It is not an essential device whereas phones are essential to my daily train commute and business travel life. With a 5.5 inch display, it looks like the iPhone 6 Plus can serve as both my tablet and phone.”
  • iMore Which to get iPhone 6 or 6+?
    “If the iPhone 5 or iPhone 5s are already big for you, you’ll want to stick to the iPhone 6. If the iPhone 5 or iPhone 5s simply aren’t big enough, you’ll want to go for the iPhone 6 Plus.”
  • MacWorld on iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
    “By default, the iPhone 6 Plus takes advantage of its extra screen space to put more information on screen. Apps that previously featured only one pane of information can now offer two in landscape orientation, making the device almost feel like a tiny iPad. However, users with vision issues who were hoping that the iPhone 6 Plus would be a “large-print edition” of the iPhone needn’t fret: You can set the iPhone 6 Plus to use the display like a regular iPhone 6, at which point everything on the screen is just bigger. You choose which you prefer: larger or more.”

Writing on the Go: Where Paper and Pen Fit Now


In a mostly mobile world filled with digital devices, writers, thinkers and creators may have lost their rhythm when it comes to the use of paper and pen. At least that’s what happened to me.

I was an early adopter with the Palm Pilot in the late nineties. I wasn’t writing on paper all that much then because I was fascinated with this new tool. Somehow in the mid 2000’s or so I got caught up in the Moleskine craze and journaling and filled about 20 moleskine notebooks over the next years. Those were mostly large Moleskines but I did try to use the Pocket versions too. Problem was they were small but still too big and uncomfortable for a back pocket.

Flash forward to 2014 and I now have 4 years of iPad use seeking to again go digital but not quite ready to give up on paper and ink either. I’ve got an iPhone and an iPad plus a MacBook Pro and iMac 27 so I’ve got everything one could ask for digitally and mobilely.

I am a fast typist so it is more efficient for me to type when writing. But then, I don’t always have my MacBook Pro with me. And I’ve kind of given up on the Logitech Keyboard Cover even though I bought one for my iPad Air and it works for typing fast into an iPad app. It works, but I have reason to bring my MacBook Pro so then a keyboard for the iPad seems superfluous.

The four apps that keep me chained to the MacBook Pro are: FileMaker Pro, Scapple, Ulysses III and Circus Ponies Notebook 4. These apps either don’t have an iOS equivalent or have an iOS counterpart that leaves a lot to be desired.

A lot of people are writing notes everywhere they are and with whatever is handy so that means on a computer or other digital device or on paper. Paper is still better for a lot of things. Here are just a few of the many reasons paper is still around:

Paper Is:

1. Flexible. You can write at any angle and draw as you please which makes it wonderful for annotation, cocktail napkin diagrams and much more.

2. No Electricity Required. Our digital devices all suck battery like nobody’s business and so require all this maintenance with cables and adapters at every turn.

3. Personal. It’s not neat and orderly necessarily but it is more personal and has an authenticity and expressiveness that can’t be matched in a typed digital document.

4. Typing on glass sucks. It’s a hard surface that doesn’t give at all and doesn’t provide tactile feedback.

5. Speed. What would you prefer when the phone rings and its an important client or other call that requires some note-taking. When all your resources need to be attending to the call, paper’s flexibility and sheer speed of entry usually wins.

6. It folds. Yes, you can unfold an 8-1/2 by 11″ sheet and use it. When iPads can do that and more, the days of paper may be numbered but it’s going to be a few more years I’m afraid.

7. The Feel. Get a good pen like my favorite the Uniball Vision Elite and good paper from Field Notes, Doane Paper, Moleskine or the exquisite Clairefontaine. This is not finger or stylus on glass. This feels much better.

Choosing the best pen and paper or notepad or notebook takes time to get right. But now it’s worse. You might need to rethink your previous favorite methods. I have.

There are a million use cases for paper and I don’t want to write a book on this so will confine my discussion to what I’ve been using and why.

Back Pocket

Any kind of knowledge professional or enthusiast needs to capture their thoughts on the spur of the moment. I like carrying a small notebook in my back pocket that doesn’t hold a wallet. Yes, I’m a woman who doesn’t carry a purse constantly, only when I have to. And I walk a lot for exercise. Who wants to carry a purse then? So I just have a notebook in my back pocket along with a pen all the time and that covers me. When I go to bed, it is on the nightstand.

What do I use? Here are the 4 recent contenders: Doane Paper spiral bound note pad, Doane Paper utility notebook, Field Notes pocket notebook and Moleskine cahier pocket notebook.

Doane Paper Utility Notebook (3 for $10 direct).  The Doane paper is best of this group. Stapled binding. If you like to bound notebooks, these are really good and should be tried if you haven’t yet. Bright white paper with light small grid plus rules. Some might find it busy but I like it.

Field Notes Pocket Notebook (3 for $10 Amazon or direct or in stores). Stapled Binding. Field Notes harks back to farmers using notebooks over 100 years ago so if you like retro at all, you might fall in love with their brand. Fun is also utmost with all sorts of interesting variations. I will warn you away from the Arctic explorer notebooks though. The water repellant paper doesn’t hold roller ball ink at all. Field Notes is the comfiest bound notebook in your pocket because its paper is thinner than Doane above. You really should go to and watch the video and see their amazing stock. Also, when you order direct, they often give you extra goodies.

Moleskine Cahier Pocket Notebook  (3 for $8 Amazon).  It is the thickest in your pocket with 64 pages which is not quite as comfortable as the thinner 48 page Doane Small Utility and Field Notes. The Moleskine is also the sturdiest and stitched not stapled. The feel of actually writing on the Moleskine is best in the sense it feels like you are writing on a quality journal. You may prefer Moleskine’s cream colored paper.

Doane Paper Small Flapper Jotter (3 for $13 direct). Same paper with spiral binding on top. If you don’t want a bound notebook for your pocket, this is a great option and the one I’m currently using. Smallest size in the group – 1/2 inch narrower and shorter. It’s not quite as sturdy as the others so it tends to bend out of shape but doesn’t fall apart either. Use one-handed a little better. Tear off sheets with ease and without guilt. Lies flat so better for photographing the pages.

With any of these back pocket options, I turn the pad over every time I put it back in my pocket to reverse the bend and it works pretty well.

Medium-sized Note Pad

Here’s the biggest change to my protocol. I no longer regularly use the bound notebooks like the large Moleskine. Now that I’m mostly digital, I am not journaling on paper on the average day. I do it sometimes but I’m more likely to type in a journal entry into my super favorite journaling program: Day One. Now, I’m photographing journal pages I write on paper and storing them. If it isn’t too many pages, I’ll probably do single entries in Day One for each page so I can capture all of it digitally there. If too long, I will store the page images on my computer and add them all to an Evernote note for reference if I haven’t inserted them into one of my dedicated Circus Ponies Notebooks.

Once you say no to paper journaling as your main journaling medium, then you might not want a bound journal to write in. I am using the doane paper Large Flapper Jotter and loving it. I also use the larger Field Notes steno pad when it fits my use case.

Where the Flapper Jotter Rules: I find that the 80-page Flapper Jotter 5.5 x 8.5 inches is big enough for me and smaller and easier to carry than the 6 x 9 inch Field Notes Stenopad. This is perfect most of the time when you are sitting at a table or otherwise have a writing surface. $9 direct.

Where the Steno Pad Rules: The Field Notes Stenopad wins when you need to write in unusual locations like in the car, in bed or standing up because it has a really rigid and thicker cover and back.  I also like the black coating on the spiral wire on the Stenopad compared to the bare wire on the Flapper Jotter. $9.95 amazon or direct or in stores. If you haven’t been to, you should once – it is very entertaining.

Personal Technology for Independent Knowledge Professionals