It’s a solid knife, but nothing revolutionary.

It’s likely no surprise to readers of this site that my love for knives is not just limited to pocket knives and survival knives, but also to the two kitchen drawers I have stuffed with kitchen knives. I want to talk about the Misen knife, which had a well funded Kickstarter campaign. The sell is this: it has better steel, it has a better edge, superior design, free sharpening for life, and all at a very affordable price of $65.

It’s a really good pitch, and I backed the campaign because I wanted to see if the knife really lived up to the hype. I know a lot about knifes, but not as much about kitchen knives. I did, however, immediately recognize the steel this knife is made from: AUS-8. Let’s just say that as steels go, it is middle of the road and a steel I would personally stay away from in pocket and survival knives because of its rather run of the mill qualities.

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The Compass 1 versus Compass 2

This new stand is a piece of shit.

One of the best products Twelve South has ever made is the Compass. A collapsible stand for iPads which can hold it at two angles, but really you just use it to hold it at an easel like angle. I’ve had one, off and on for years, and swear by them.

However, at some point Twelve South revised the design and launched the Compass 2. The new design looks very much the same, but is worse in just about every aspect (I’m being generous here, because I honestly can’t think of a way that it is better). I hate it.

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Clarks Desert Boots

I mean they’re boots, and a quite like them.

I’ve never been a boot guy, always sneakers or some type of low cut dressier looking shoe. I didn’t understand boots, unless I was hiking or doing something which specifically required boots. But I needed new shoes and travelers seem to universally hail the Desert Boot as not only a great staple, but as really the only shoe most people need.

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iPad Productivity Report – 11/28/2016

Can your relatives work from an iPad, a flowchart for iPad selections, and cellular or not?

The Question

“So can you actually work from an iPad?” I hear that question a lot from friends and family, and I usually annoy them with my response. I respond with a version of “I only own iPads”. Which is my way of saying: yeah, I work only from an iPad.

It’s not the answer people want to hear though, what they want to hear is “you probably can’t” or “no”, and sometimes “yes”. Telling most people they can work from an iPad challenges too much of their knowledge about the way the world works, and they can’t easily grasp it. So telling them it’s not something they have to worry about, is the equivalent of the “it’s not you, it’s me” break up line.

Also it helps get you out of a series of questions if you respond they can work from an iPad: what about X, what about Y, what about Q, what about X but in E way? And on and on they go.

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The Wrist

What belongs on your wrist: Apple Watch, or watch? I say watch.

I stopped wearing my Apple Watch on November 6th, 2016. It wasn’t an eventful day, a planned day, or even something which I put much thought into. But on that day, or perhaps the evening before, I was handed a gift — as some of you may have picked up on, my grandfather passed away recently — and my grandmother handed me my grandfather’s watch and said “I’d like you to have this.” It wasn’t expected, or something I had thought about. The watch isn’t particularly old, but it is the only watch he owned where I actually remember him wearing it all the time.

When you receive a gift like this, you take off that Apple Watch and you put on the watch you were gifted — it’s the polite thing to do — hell my grandmother probably would have hit me if I hadn’t. So I started wearing the watch all night, then the next morning I found a safe spot to keep the watch and dutifully put back on the Apple Watch.

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iPad Productivity Report – 11/21/2016

Which iPad, how’s the Pok3r, and reader questions.

A Quick Typing Update

This past Saturday I received the Pok3r mechanical keyboard for my iPad setup. My initial impressions of this keyboard are very high — I think this maybe the keyboard for my iOS setup. I’ll have more to report on this in the coming weeks, but I will say that my shift away from the Smart Keyboard to a mechanical keyboard seems to have been the right move on the surface of it. But also a costly one, as I am now trying to find out how to get one of these keyboards.

On thing I do need to point about about the Pok3r is that it can be powered (with backlight) from one of the non-powered USB Camera Connection kit adapters. This greatly simplifies the setup and overall aesthetics of having a mechanical keyboard and iPad Pro.

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Outlier Strongworks

These are replacing my jeans.

A few weeks after I received my Outlier Futureworks, I knew they would be the pants I wear the most, and the pants I like wearing the most. They certainly are the most comfortable pants I own, but they are also the most versatile. I love them.

I have been looking to get a second pair of pants which I could split the wear with for a little more variety. I was set to buy many different brands — as the other pants I have just aren’t as comfortable as the Futureworks. Luckily for me Outlier released the Strongworks. Styled similarly to the Futureworks, but made out of a decidedly heavier material — much closer to the thickness of denim.

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iPad Productivity Report – 11/14/16

We talk about fearful Mac users, and good keyboards.

Welcome to the first of many, weekly reports on iPad Productivity — a new bonus for members of the site. First: thank you for being a member. Just the fact that one person, who isn’t my mom, is willing to pay to read my site is amazing.

You Never Forget Your First Love

I’m afraid though, I have to jump right into the thick of it and address this comment from Jason Snell — a comment I see all to often:

Which is my way of saying, though the Mac will continue to evolve in the future, it may finally become irrelevant only when the iPad is capable of doing all the work people currently use their Macs for. And on that front, iOS still has a long way yet to go.

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Revising the Membership and Paywall

It’s a whole new paywall out there.

In July of 2012 I established my site as a paywall with a time delay for all the articles to be free (originally 7 days, revised down to 3 days and then 2 days and moving around randomly since then depending on my mood). It was $4 month, or $40 a year — over the years there’s been odd discounts ($30/year for a couple weeks) and a short lived Quarterly membership ($7 every 3 months). The original paywall cost me $1,500 to have developed and took close to three months to implement. Since then I have hired people to do minor updates to the system, but amazingly it has kept plugging away mostly as it was originally intended.

At the time I implemented this, there was simply no commercial option I could buy, or use, which had all the features I wanted (using Stripe as my payment processor was a major hurdle at the time as most plugins didn’t support Stripe). Had I waited just a couple months more, all the widely used plugins would add most of the support I wanted and needed, but I had made my bed and was already signing up members.

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Convince Me iPad Pro is Better

I don’t care if you switch or not, but don’t tell me most people can’t do it.

Most people are decidedly not developers, by the way.

It’s a statement I hear all the time — people either asking me to convince them the iPad Pro is better, because they want to be convinced, or because they want to prove me wrong. Either way, people either want to get it, or they simply cannot fathom how such a setup would actually work.

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The Apple of Your Eye

Stop expecting trucks to get better.

Sean Sperte on a common sentiment about no longer feeling like a through and through Apple fan:

There may be other reasons I haven’t thought of, but those are the ones that immediately came to mind. And obviously, I do really prefer the user experiences I get with macOS and iOS, despite their many, many… many (gosh, doesn’t it seem like more than ever?) flaws.

When I was talking about the Surface Studio on Twitter, someone responded “have you guys even used Windows lately”. I chuckled, because I have, and it’s shit. Anyone who thinks the Surface Studio makes up for that, is going to be really fucking sad.

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The Nock Lanier

Easily the best briefcase I have ever used.

I’ve now had the Lanier for some time, and have really put it through its paces, so I thought it was a good moment to stop and talk a little more about this very little bag. In my first post I wrote:

And yet there’s something about a true briefcase like this — a notion that people who carry a bag which is generally more restrictive, have somehow figured something out in their life that most of us have not.

I don’t think I could state it any better than that today. This bag is small, but it is in that smallness where you find a calm with it. It is not just small, but because it only has two handles to carry it with — it demands that what you put in it not weigh too much.

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Siri is also better than your assistant in a lot of ways.

After being in our new house for just over a week, I was getting around to unpacking my office (only the garage left to do) and as I opened box after box, more wires sprung up. I shook my head and kept piling them away in more areas of the new office. 
Fast forward to the other morning and I’m reading an article from The Wirecutter posted on The New York Times — a guide to cutting the cord from Cable TV. Another thing I have been working with since moving — for the first time we are going to have two TV areas in the house, should I get two cable boxes? Do I need two cable boxes?

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The Value of a Smaller iPad Pro

How the iPad 9.7″ form factor is still the best all around size.

The other day I was talking to a good friend about how much we both still love the 12.9″ iPad Pro — we use it a lot for work and leisure. We then talked about the smaller 9.7″ and we took some pot shots at it, but now I feel bad — because I undervalue how much a part of my workflow the 9.7″ iPad Pro has become.

When I purchased the smaller iPad Pro I envisioned using it as an auxiliary device — much in the same way I envisioned using the iPad mini. The iPad mini has never fit in well with my life, and with a larger plus model iPhone — it’s even more redundant. But I use the crap out of my 9.7″ iPad Pro, just as I do with my 12.9″ iPad — both end most days with their batteries nearing depletion.

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The Nock Lanier – Initial Thoughts

Purpose built, certainly. It might be one hell of an iPad Pro bag.

Editor’s note: This product was provided to me at no cost for review purposes.

Nock is best known as a company serious about their writing implements — so serious that they create niche carrying cases for writing implements, as well as high quality notebooks. It’s been a while since I wrote about them last, and part of this needs to be addressed up front, because Nock is almost the antithesis of my approach to working.

I work hard to digitize my life onto my iPads, and Nock works to maintain the tradition of handwritten excellence. Two approaches to the same problems. The last time around I hacked a Nock case to hold my wires and stuff, but now Nock is taking aim at something I know all too much about: bags.

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iOS 10 is A Major Shift for iOS

Oh hey, left hand, nice to see what the hell you are up to finally.

For years the Apple mantra was always “just works” and as Apple became more entrenched with their just cause of protecting user privacy — Google went the opposite way. Deep machine learning pushed Android to be preemptive and understanding — Google Now being the primary focus, but certainly not the only place this happens. Back on iOS we have always been siloed where one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing, unless you explicitly tell each hand what the hell is going on. A task as tedious as it is to read about.

And while I typically don’t write iOS reviews, iOS 10 is Apple’s first step into the future of software which customizes itself to the user — and they figured out how to do this without compromising your privacy. People have been hesitant to embrace iOS as their only platform, but iOS 10 is what is going to push a great many people over the edge.

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Apple of the Future

Apple is sneaking in some future changing features and products.

Over the weekend a few others have expressed similar thoughts, but let’s face the fact that this stuff is likely bigger than most of us realized when Apple made its announcements.

Here’s Will Oremus on the matter:

The AirPods can’t store files or access the internet on their own, of course. They need your other Apple devices for that. But as processors continue to shrink, they’re likely to grow more independent with time, as the Apple Watch is beginning to do.


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Just Glass

That thing where the cursor randomly moves to another spot and you feel your text collapsing around you.

I started a new experiment the other day, born out of a few comments from readers. They all remarked how much better it is to edit writing with the software keyboard, over a physical one on the iPad. Which is funny because I was actually thinking about working on setting up a mechanical keyboard again, but realized I packed them away (getting ready to hopefully move).

So I tore off my Smart Keyboards and stowed them in a drawer and committed to using the software keyboard for a week. I expected long fits of rage, but what I’ve found is that I quite like it.

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