Gear / Hyperportability

Moving out of the US has forced me to evaluate the gear I use to optimize for portability – but I am still an unabashed fan of the gear I own. Here is the gear I’m currently using to make things.

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Adventures in remote desktopping, or the obfuscation of ecosystem

I love working on an iPad Pro. It’s the device that I find myself wanting to continually pick up, and the device on which I seem to get the most done – not always finished products, but the best and most fully defined ideas I can usually bring to reality. That goes for many aspects of my life: personal projects to cultivate my relationship with my wife, writing and producing the bulk of songs, writing and communicating and planning product ideas and larger initiatives for my job, writing this blog post.

My job is doing product management which, while a very complex and multi-faceted job, is essentially reading, writing and talking. Hey now – the iPad is amazing for that. I’ve got Slack, Outlook, the Google Suite of apps, my writing and task management apps of choice loaded up, and that makes up about 90% of the job.

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A small set of apps to keep me creative

There’s something I keep having to remind myself: no matter how little time I have to put into art, I’m still an artist.

Still an artist, still making art. Music’s my medium of choice. Finding time to work on it is hard though, between wedding planning, an increasingly-demanding day job, other side projects – when can I play or write some music, dammit?

Short, obvious answer: block my time like nobody’s business. That at least gets me time dedicated to working on the things I want to be working on. Once I’m there, how can I explore purely creative ideas and save them when my brain is full of all this other stuff? Equally short, equally obvious answer: technology helps me. But how?

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On Macs and focus

I own an iPad, but I really only use it to watch Netflix in bed with my fiancée since my iPhone 6s Plus is just too small enough for both of us to watch simultaneously. Outside of this pretty obvious use case, I’ve struggled to find a purpose for the gorgeous device in my life.

Everywhere I turn, though, I read about another person finding the iPad completely invaluable in their daily lives. It now exceeds the processing power of the average PC; its app ecosystem is generally much cheaper than the PC app ecosystem; it’s “more fun” to use than any device before. A lot of people who write about the iPad suggest that it allows for a level of focus beyond what Macs or PCs can allow.

I call bullshit. Anyone who says the Mac is too distracting has not given the Mac a fair shot since, well, 2 or 3 versions ago of OS X. Apple has made a series of beautiful, powerhouse laptops, build for demanding technical work – that also happen to be incredibly pleasant to use and conducive to focus.

I’m not suggesting that the iPad isn’t a great device – it truly is a pleasure to use. However, so are Macs, and some tech pundits seem to forget this. Efficiency on a Mac isn’t even a question worth asking – sure, you eschew a touch screen for a keyboard & multi-touch trackpad, but the sheer ergonomics of having both the keyboard & trackpad within millimeters of each other compared to jumping between keyboard and screen are staggering. Sometimes you want to lay back and relax, but when you need to work, the Mac wins every time.

The question really is about one’s ability to focus on a single task or project while working on a laptop/desktop computer.

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Amazing, free Mac apps for tech-averse creatives

I rely on technology (ie. a bunch of apps on my iPhone and MacBook) to keep myself in order: tools to create actionable tasks, collaborate on projects, speed up my workflow, and probably more things I could list if I took a look at my phone.

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For Art’s Sake

It’s been a slow month for us… We’ve spent the past month navigating our way through living in real-life Halloweentown and all the crowds and crazies that comes with it. That, along with dealing with some minor health issues compounded with a disappointing insurance plan, made October a rather unproductive month on the blog front.

Before October began, I was excited to go out and take photos of the city, and all the types of people (and monsters) it attracts this time of year. I felt obligated to document the events and the people…until a familiar feeling set in. An anxiety and pressure to create images because it’s what is expected. It’s something that I hadn’t felt since college – that pressure to produce work that everyone else is producing and you know will get you an A.

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many voices from different paths, but only me in the room

There’s an interview with Annie Clark and David Byrne in which they describe their working relationship for Love This Giant: DB: This was a more intertwined collaboration than most I’ve done. In many ways it was more democratic– we were constantly bouncing what we were doing off one another. Which is creatively great, but also…

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