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Circles

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Missed it by *this* much

A circle is beautiful.

A circle is perfection.

Except when it is not a circle.

The Watch with its Activity Circles can be a harsh taskmaster. The Stand (blue) and Exercise (green) circles aren’t too bad: every week is a fresh opportunity with the previous week’s results no longer relevant. The Move (red) circle is the true master with multiple long term goals including perfect months and, my personal demon, longest streak.

During our Christmas trip to Jamaica, I managed to complete the move circle every day, and without arbitrarily reducing the goal. On the last day, I figured I would get plenty of walking in the various airports, so I didn’t make an extra effort to burn more calories in the morning. As I checked my progress throughout the day, things seemed okay. However, when we arrived back in Austin and got to our car, I was concerned by the number of calories I still needed and the limited amount of time left in the day (which ends promptly at midnight and isn’t particularly time zone friendly).

spider

Not so itsy-bitsy

I expected to be home about 10 minutes before midnight with only about 10-15 calories left to the goal. This would not be a problem. Unless, of course, I were to be distracted by my daughters finding a fairly large spider had built a web by our front door. I took the time to take a picture and by the time I remembered the calorie goal, I only had about two minutes left. I didn’t make it, ending my 166 day stretch. As you can see above, I missed the goal by 2 calories.streak

I took the next day off and then began the slow march toward rebuilding the 166 day streak. I only made it to February 20 before another mishap, this time 6 calories short ending a mere 54-day streak.

Begin again. As of May 4th (May the forth be with you), I believe I am 74 days in, though I had to set a pretty low goal recently due to a mild illness in order to keep on track.

As I finish writing this, it occurs to me that it has drifted past midnight and I had neglected to verify completion. Thankfully, I had not yet increased my goal back up, so it was no problem (and I just now increased it back to a more reasonable goal).

Thank you. May I have another?

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iPad Pro

When I purchased the original iPad, I didn’t have a use for it. I commented at the time that it was probably the largest frivolous purchase I’d ever made. I never regretted it and kept it until Apple announced that it wouldn’t get the next iOS release. It helped that the first Retina iPad was out by then, though it was the short-lived iPad 3 (or whatever it was called), which wasn’t a great iteration.

Once the iPad Mini existed, I was quite tempted by it for the potential of more comfortable reading in bed. However, giving up Retina was not an option. Eventually, the Retina version came out along side the iPad Air and very nearly feature equivalent with it. Mine! The next update to the Mini was fairly minor, with TouchID being the only change I recall. Not tempting enough.

Fast forward to the recent release of the 9.7″ iPad Pro. Nice. Pencil is cool, though I’m not an artist nor do I normally write by hand, so it’s not really something I’m likely to use. There are a number of improvements relative to my iPad Mini that actually matter to me, including split screen multitasking, TouchID, and more RAM. There are, of course, other improvements as well, but I don’t know that I’ll really notice them.

And yet, I bought one. I’m honestly not certain why. Having used it some, there are obviously advantages to the 9.7″ over the 7.9″, and the weight difference is pretty small (until you add the Smart Covers). I’m not unhappy with it and I expect it will probably grow on me.

(Based on Dave2‘s write-up, I may buy Procreate for Pencil fun!)

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Home Screen

homescreen

For no reason in particular, I’ve decided to post a short overview of the apps on my iPhone’s home screen. As you can see in the image, I also have six folders on my home screen; I’m not going to go into detail on those. I’m also not going to detail the other two pages, though I will volunteer that the second page contains less-frequently used apps and the third is all games (none of which do I play with any regularity at all).

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Flashlight’s portrait clock

Flashlight – This is an oldie that I had long ago stopped using, but I’ve since rediscovered it as the best bedside clock I’ve found.

FitnessFolder

Occasions – By far the best birthday tracking app I’ve found. Bonus feature is that it allows curated syncing of contacts from Facebook (as opposed to the all-or-nothing version offered by the official app).

Reminders – I’m still not completely sold on Apple’s app, but its superior integration with both Siri and the Notification drop-down keep me using it for now. I also use Toodledo for tasks that I want to repeat based on completion date (it’s on my 2nd screen).

Music – For a long time, I relied on the Music app usually being accessible from the player controls in the multi-tasking panel, but this fell apart when Podcasts were split into their own app. Now, it’s much more likely that the wrong app is active. If I were a more regular user of something like Pandora, this would’ve already been a problem.

Podcasts – I’m pretty happy with this app after Apple’s last few updates. In fact, the only real problem I have is the issue described in the previous entry, along with the fact that the Music app is still the real default. This means that very often when I get in the car I have to manually restart the podcast that was playing earlier.

FinanceFolder

ShopFolder

Movies/TVFolder

Camera+ – There are so many reasons to use this over the built-in camera that it deserves its own post. Simultaneous sharing to Twitter, Facebook and Flickr is probably the key feature for me, but others are nice as well.

Google Maps – I’m a big fan of Waze, and for a long time that held this spot. But I’ve concluded that Google Maps is just better. Sure, I miss the social aspect of Waze a bit — in particular, the possibility that someone marked an upcoming hazard with a description of what lane to avoid — but it wasn’t enough. I still reach to mark items occasionally, before remembering that I no longer can.

UtilitiesFolder

Phone – It is a phone, after all.

Photos – I do like showing off my pictures, though I’m much more likely to do so with my iPad.

Safari – I’ve toyed with using Google as my browser, but I appreciate the iCloud support in Safari. Plus, I know Javascript is faster in Safari than anything else on the iPhone, even if I may never notice the difference.

Week Cal – I’ve tried lots and lots of calendar apps and, for me, this is head and shoulders above any of them. This is another one that deserves its own post. A couple of my oft-used features are templates and copying events. Multi-select is also very nice.

NOOK – This spot changes to whichever reader has the book I’m currently reading. At the moment, I’m reading Magyk (Septimus Heap Series #1) which I think was free when I first installed the app. When I finish it, I’ll likely delete the app as I don’t think I have any other books exclusively there.

Gmail – Direct access to searching all my mail is the killer feature here. It also looks nice. That being said, the iPad app is much worse and I still use Apple’s app primarily there. I am on the waiting list for Mailbox (182,886 and falling!), so that may change. I used Sparrow for a while, but gave up on it for reasons I don’t recall.

Social/NewsFolder

Settings – Previously, my most often use of Settings was to adjust brightness. However, I’ve found with the iPhone 5 on iOS 6, the auto brightness works much better than it used to, so I rarely need to adjust it. On the other hand, my cellular connection seems to go wonky every so often, and I’ve found that turning LTE off and on (and/or Cellular Data) usually resolves the issue. Having just written this, though, I’ve decided to swap it to the 2nd page, replacing it with DataMan, which tracks my cellular data usage in real time.

That completes the first page, leaving the privileged four apps that get to be on every page. In the past, I favored apps that I wanted to be sure and notice notification bubbles. However, I’ve since changed my habits such that I’m almost always on the home screen (if not in an app), so that need no longer exists. Now, it’s just my most launched apps.

Messages – Probably my most frequent method of remote personal communication.

MoneyWell – Great for on-the-go tracking of spending, but requires the desktop version to actually work. If you are a fan of envelope-budgeting, this (the desktop version, that is) is the best implementation of it I’ve found on any platform.

Tweetbot – I’ve used lots of Twitter apps, and while there are some features I miss from some of them, Tweetbot tops them all in many ways. I’d say the killer feature for me is being able to Mute via regular expressions. My most-missed feature is being able to optionally post any update to Facebook (in addition to or instead of Twitter).

Foursquare – I’m not sure what to say here as you either get it or you don’t. I certainly preferred Gowalla before they broke it and then killed it, but either way, I’m a fan of the concept.

And there you have it!

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BeerHer2010 & ReNYC2010

My weekend, in pictures:

Saturday – BeerHer2010

While walking to my hotel I encountered this wedding procession.

Poppy & Dawg sitting outside The Ginger Man

Poppy, Rachel, B.E. Earl and Robin at the Ginger Man

Ginger Man chalkboard art

More BeerHer2010 pictures from The Ginger Man, as well as from ayza wine and chocolate bar, are available as a photo album.

Sunday – ReNYC2010

My nod to TequilaCon

The Grand Central Station clock

Strolling through Central Park in a light rain

One of my favorite flower pics ever. Click through twice for full size.

One of many butterfly shots I took (see album for more)

Watching the watcher

Another notch in my Hard Rock belt

Feed the Dawg!

More ReNYC2010 pictures from Grand Central Station, Central Park, the American Museum of Natural History and the Hard Rock Cafe at Yankee Stadium are available as a photo album.

I had so much fun and can’t wait for my next trips — back to NYC as well as anywhere else!

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Thank You.

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