More or Less

Regarding my previous post about consumerism and the idea that we have to have more and more, I believe that less is actually more. The more you have, the less productive you can become.

I’ve learned this the hard way and spent a lot of money trying to find the best devices for myself over the years. In doing so, I’ve acquired more than I needed. Why is our mindset programmed to think that more is better?

This has led to my embrace of minimalism, or “essentialism.” Only buy and use what you need. More things leads to more distractions and makes us less productive.

My digital toolbox includes the MacBook Pro, the iPad Pro, the iPhone Pro Max and all the essential software I want and need to produce the work I want to. If I could, with confidence, manage my photo archive on the iPad alone, then I would not own the MacBook. Yes, it is possible, but I do not want to find workarounds. I’ll get there someday, hopefully soon, and then Mac & I will part ways.

The iPad for me is both a creative and consumption device and has quickly taken over as my primary tool. It has been upgraded with outstanding cameras but do I really want to carry Paddy around everywhere to snap photos? Nope, that is what Max the iPhone is for.

I do not need most of the things that others want. I need what is essential to me at the moment. But if we really want to become more productive and happy, then we will continue to work with less, not more.

From left to right: Paddy, Max and Mac

Dirty Santa

Material possessions have ruined what used to be known as the most wonderful time of the year. Why are we so miserable and feel pressured to find that gift that someone had put on a long list of “wants?” Ol’ Saint Nick went corporate and then we see how holiday season morphed into holiday shopping season.

A long time ago I chose to resume control and choose to celebrate people and joy instead.

Photographic Memories

After organizing decades and terabytes worth of images recently, I realized that I rarely take time to appreciate these images. I have thousands of images of my daughter, but I never look at them. They are stored in the dark, collecting digital dust. I want the best camera I can afford, so I can create photos that are forgotten. That doesn’t make sense.

Some of these photos will come in handy when old age catches up and my memories fail me. I prefer not to wait that long.

Despite their neglect, these digital memories mean everything to me and to anyone else, they would mean nothing. Sure, they represent my photography skills that grew along as much as my daughter has grown, but they are not award-winning compositions either. But they mean the world to me. If my home catches fire, the iPad and the hard drives are coming with me. Everything else can be replaced.

These precious digital files captured moments that will never happen again. They tell stories of where we were, how we were doing, and remind us of how blessed we are.

Despite all this realization, I will still take photos, knowing they may never again be viewed unless I re-organize them. I will continue to purchase external hard drives and upgrade my iCloud storage to fill them up.

One of these days, I will have them displayed out in the open in a paper format, be it in a book or a frame. They mean everything to me.

Minimal & Maximal Design 

I’ve always been fascinated with design, especially design that invokes an audible “ooh.” My first, impressionable experience was watching a Lamborghini Countach rocket past a highway patrol car in the movie “Cannonball Run.”

Here are some examples of next-level design, engineering, aerodynamics, technology, magnificent and minimalism: Apple, Tesla, Lamborghini, Nike, Ferrari. All these brands represent the best in the industry by utilizing great design and materials.

Electric engines that go from 0-60 in 1.9 seconds? A superconductor hybrid V-12 engine? Autonomous driving? 32-Core GPU, & 32GB Unified Memory? Hell yes.

Monotone, grey, silver, black, navy, chrome, white are my signature colors. Clean, goes with everything and minimal.

I cannot afford the best in all situations. But I do when and where I can. It makes me appreciate what I have just as well as I can appreciate the best from afar. And yes, I used “maximal” in the header.

The Future of Digital Currency

If I stopped to think about it, and I have, most of my money is digital. My paycheck is directly deposited to my account. My transactions are digital. I frequently pay for goods and services with the flick of the Apple Watch and the built-in Apple Pay. These are tied into my bank accounts. If the point of sale terminal does not accept Apple Pay, well then out come the plastic cards tied into the same banks. Transactions made online do not use paper currency. Rare is the moment when I use folding or metal currency.

My state is partnering with Apple Wallet to include digitized driver’s license. Same with my health/auto insurance providers, passport, TSA approval, transit pass, vaccination card, etc. No more physical wallet for me to lose. This is just how I like it. Minimalism at its best.

The Apple Wallet

Again, most of our money is digital. Are we all leaning towards cryptocurrency? Why not expect and embrace a transition into the digital future present?

PSA: Do have access to paper money for emergencies and/or power loss.

Crypto Denbow

I missed out on Bitcoin and not investing early. One BTC currently equals $59,263.01. Same with Ethereum. 1 ETH currently = $4,543.21.

Current values as of 11/25/2021

So, I will slowly invest in lower, more affordable tokens instead. To be honest, the money I invest in these digital currencies will be treated as if I were going to a casino. Only take what you don’t mind losing and have fun with it. Very little will be invested, but it will be fun to watch and learn how the process works.

The plan for me is to start small, start slow, and then eventually convert to and purchase Ethereum. Why ETH? Because that is the currency that is driving the digital art market, known as NFT (non-fungible token.)

I want to mint some of my photographic work to explore how the digital art work evolves. I’ll go into this with low expectations, of course. Do I really expect that my work will fetch 2 ETH worth $9,000? Not at all, but, it CAN be possible. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the going rate for The Invisible Man by Brainsky.

Would you pay $9,000. To own a digital image?

The future is digital, and the future is now.

(Article header by @lootcorp)

Volume 1

A few months ago I wrote about my own publishing house and how much fun I was having. Even more recently I mentioned that I wanted to branch out by creating digital photo zines. After jumping on a Black Friday deal, I finally decided on Affinity Publisher over Adobe InDesign.

It didn’t take long to work out the basics of the software app, so I combined some images and text, hit “publish”, converted to the PDF format and done. I then uploaded it to Apple Books for easier, more enjoyable reading. Assuming there are any interested parties, the download link is a .pdf. Enjoy!

Now I need to do a deep dive on how to produce a proper zine.

Home Screen Share

Ten years ago was the last time I reviewed my top ten phone apps, and so much has changed over the past decade. The most significant change for me was switching from Android to Apple. I dropped all Google products and software a while back and have zero regrets. I am anti-tracking and advertising in my face constantly. Taking a look back at some of the best apps of the day is a mixture of pride and shame to determine which stood the test of time.

We’ve come a long way, baby. Currently, I own the iPhone 13 Pro Max. Because geeks like to show off what they have and to document their tools, I’ll write about my home screens too. It’ll be fun to look back on the past and compare to the present.

Wallpaper- The wallpaper continues to be Black Sheep. I love to modify and customize my devices, but this wallpaper has been the only one to stick with me over the past ten years. Simple, minimal, black wool/felt appearance. Goes perfectly with all my devices.

Home screen apps-

Mail- I prefer the stock Apple applications where I can. One, they are baked into the operating system and works more smoothly. Two, to limit third-party software from accessing my personal info in emails, contacts etc.

Safari- With Apple’s new privacy initiatives built into their browser, this is a no-brainer for me. The fact that I can sync my browser reading on any device is another win.

Files- I have numerous data in the cloud that I need on-demand access to. Apple’s app, again, wins out thanks to iCloud sync to every device.

Reminders- Pre-installed, simple, free. Why pay $40 a year for a 3rd party to-do list app? Yes, they exist.

Feedbin- My current RSS feed aggregator. Brings the news I want to read from the sites I want to read from. No ads, no BS.

Tweetbot- As a charter member of TWTTR, now known as Twitter, it is a great tool for checking up on updates from brilliant people. I will rarely post anything nowadays. Tweetbot is a third-party app that hides advertising, whereas Twitter is laced with ads. This is my only social media outlet.

Medium- A web journal where writers go to publish their work and get paid. Readers pay a small annual fee to discover articles they want. I do both. Again, no advertising.

GoodLinks- Want to save an article and read it later? Send it here. I’m done with Instapaper and Pocket where they want to charge subscription fees. One time purchase, no ads.

Bear notes- Currently the best, most customizable note-taking app out there. One thing missing is note collaboration with someone else.

Notes- Apple Notes is good, very good but non-customizable and you can collaborate. Which is why it remains on the Home Screen.

Outlook- Not for me because, like Google, I don’t want Microsoft anything. No, this is for work communication and I hate the fact it is on my personal device.

Teams- Same as Outlook. To supervise and communicate with my team, this stays on the Home Screen.

Camera- Apple’s stock app is still one of the best there is. A close second, and not on the Home Screen, would be Halide.

Photos- Well organized, good for quick edits, sharing, syncs to all devices and a great workflow.

Lightroom- For more detailed photo processing, editing, and organization on the go. Syncs to all devices.

VSCO- I’ve enjoyed this photo filter, and sharing app for almost 10 years. Their photo community beats Flickr and Instagram easily. This app deserves its article. Coming soon.

On The Dock-

Settings- got to keep it close by for system changes

Maps- For navigating on those weekend road trips

Messages- Why use a 3rd party app?

Phone- For the occasional phone call. I consider the iPhone to be a camera with calling capabilities.

Everything else gets relegated to the next screen and in folders for easier organization. Apple Music and Podcasts app are well-used and running in the background. Photo apps, reading, writing, finance apps, utilities are all important but not used as much.

Like I said, numerous changes in the past ten years. It’s amazing to me what has lasted the test of time and what goes.

By comparison, here is the list from ten years ago:

Snapseed- Simply the best mobile photo editor out there.

Vignette- This camera app has so many shooting options and filters, it would take another blog post to list.

EyeEm- As soon as Facebook bought Instagram, I looked elsewhere. Social photography is excellent.

Google+ Again, the Anti-Facebook social experience.

Drive- Sync my documents between my computer and phone? Yes, please.

Any.DO- My to-do list goes with me and sends me timely reminders too

Currents- A great too to catch up on news, blogs for my tablet.

Pocket- Want to read it later? Right click and put it in your web pocket.

Google Now- Instant information no matter where I am at.

Spotify- web-based music and radio. I will never buy music again.

None of these are on my devices. I am constantly amazed at how well the Apple ecosystem works. Everything is cooked in and plays nice with all Apple devices. Makes me wish I had gone all-in a lot sooner.

The iPad home screen is a bit more organized thanks to the screen space. Widgets are added, the apps are almost all the same as the iPhone with a few exceptions like streaming media, games, video editing apps like iMovie and Vimeo.

The iPad Pro M1 home screen 11/2021