Watching My Health
I know it is cliche now to say that every year is a fresh start but I honestly did feel different coming into 2019. I would not go as far as to say I am a “new me” but I am willing to admit that I did feel a sense of relief (of letting what happened in 2018 happen) and excitement (of trying things different) going into the new year.
January’s, I feel, are always rough. Coming out of the hype of the holidays with all of the time off and then celebrating New Years to immediately jumping back into work where you left off. One thing I did try and think about in January though was a yearly theme. Yearly theme’s are nothing new but it is, I personally think, better then any resolution. Setting a resolution to “losing weight” or “working out more” does not provide you the foundation of building habits to reach your ultimate goal which in the two examples I mentioned is becoming more “healthy”.
Building new and better habits are the key to fulfilling any goal or New Years resolution. Having a yearly theme encapsulates the idea of reaching ones goal but having it be apart of all of your life, not just focusing on a specific task. For instance, setting a resolution to work out more or go to the gym more creates this burden to try and go to the gym everyday. This can work for some and those few will actual build a habit of going to the gym and be successful in there resolution. But like most gyms will admit, memberships sky rocket at the beginning of the year then trickle off to the usual norm by summer time. I believe the reason for this is that people aren’t allowing themselves to incorporate there actual goal to every part of there life which an limit the amount of effort that is actually put in.
To provide a counter example of a yearly theme in comparison to a resolution would be a yearly theme of health. Health provides a broad scope of what it is you want to focus on this year and also allows for more approaches to being successful in that theme where a resolution might just focus on trying to hit one task. As a matter fact health is my yearly theme this year and I want to provide more details in what I hope to achieve in following this theme throughout 2019.
As I get older I have found that I struggle with my weight a lot more. I work at a desk job that does not allow for much activity and my diet has never been the best when choosing what meals to eat. As a gift for myself, for earning a promotion at work, I bought a new Series 4 Apple Watch. I have been wearing a watch regularly for about 4 years now which has included the original Apple Watch and a couple of analog watches. I got rid of my previous Apple Watch (a series 1) when I realized I didn’t use it as much as I wanted to. So the past year I have been rotating a black Seiko 5 watch and a brown leather strapped Nomos knock off called Rodina.
I have been constantly been thinking about getting something focused more around activity tracking once I decided on my yearly theme of health and knew I wanted to get a watch that could provide more when it comes to health. Partly because of my promotion and because I wanted this watch to my everyday dress up or dress down watch I opted for a stainless steel model with the milanese loop. It was definitely on the pricey side and I had a bit of buyers remorse after taking it home but it is a fantastic looking watch. Whether I am wearing a button down and jacket to work or a t-shirt with jeans the watch is beautiful.
Back to health, so I have decided to try and complete all 3 activity rings at least 5-6 days a week. If you are not familiar with the three activity rings they include move, exercise, and stand. Move is keep track of the calories that you are burning throughout the day. Excerise is keeping track of the minutes of excerise you are doing, by using the work out features on the watch and your escalated heart rate. And stand is keeping track on if you are at least standing once an hour which I am usually able to achieve pretty easily because of the reminders to stand and also I already try and get up and take a break once an hour while at my desk at work.
I hope to eventually achieve completing all 3 activity rings 7 days a week but for now I am going to build the habit of going to gym in the morning and do what I need to do throughout the day to try and complete each ring. In a previous article I talked about getting rid of my car, which has forced me to either walk or ride my bike to work everyday. This definitely helps achieve my goal of completing my excerise and move rings.
One addition to the Apple Watch that I forgot came with WatchOS 5 that was released at the same time that the Series 4 Apple Watch came out, was challenging your friends to compete. Apple Watch has had the ability to share your progress of your activity rings with friends for awhile but in WatchOS 5 they introduced a competition feature that allows you to compete with certain friends that you “challenge” against. The way it is scored is by giving you a point for every percent that you earn throughout the day, after 7 days it calculates al of your completed percentage vs there’s and who ever has the most wins. Since I got my Apple Watch I started sharing my activity with 2 other friends and have been competing with all 3 friends that I am sharing my activity with. So far I have beaten 2 out of the 3 and am close to beating my 3rd friend (sorry not sorry for bragging). Since then I have also restarted new competitions with the 2 I had competed against before. We all agree that it is very motivating to have the competition and is causing each of us to go to the gym more or take that additional walk on our breaks to try and earn an extra percentage.
Mindfulness (and Consumption)
The other part of health that I am focusing on is mindfulness. Just to reiterate, this is why yearly themes are so much more useful then resolutions. Health can be a very broad and far reaching which allows your to focus on real life things in your life that you would like to approve your health in.
Mindfulness is definitely something I have been trying to focus more on since 2018. I read books such as Waking Up by Sam Harris about meditation and How to Be a Stoic by Massimo Pigliucci about stoicism and focusing on how to not allow your mind to control your feelings or thoughts. These both were very enlightening and I feel I gained a lot out of them but still struggle with allowing anxiety and stress to take over when I am trying to be productive or positive.
The Apple Watch will come into play here with the Breathe feature. This has been around since the earlier Apple Watches but I am going to try and take it seriously now by actually taking the time to breathe and relax. The apps prompts you to breathe and will allow your to choose how long in minutes (which also equates to breathes 1 minute is 7 breathes, 2 minutes is 14 breathes, etc.) you would like to breathe for. Once you begin the watch will tap your wrist in a pattern in which you follow of breathing in and then breathing out. It is very simple and something I could just do without the watch but it provides a reminder throughout the day which on my own I would not do.
Using the breathing app is a way for me to relax and unwind for a few minutes which I can do sitting at my desk or when I am at home on the couch. The small increments of sitting and not doing anything else but focusing on my breathe I feel can provide benefits in allowing myself the time to “breathe” once in awhile.
Another part of the mindfulness that I hope to achieve from the watch is consumption. I have currently reduced my podcast subscriptions by less than half and have decided that I am going to try and read more this year. This, I am hoping, will provide mental health in not consuming so much YouTube videos, repeated negative tech and political news, and mindless scrolling through Twitter.
I am hoping to achieve this new way of consumption with my Apple Watch. WatchOS 5 introduced a new sync to your watch feature that apps on your iPhone can now utilize. So for instance my podcast app of choice, Overcast, will automatically sync all of my current podcasts to my Apple Watch to listen too. I also have two audiobooks that I am currently reading syncing to my Apple Watch as well. This, I hope, will force me to just pop in an AirPod and start listening to an audiobook when running errands, taking a walk break at work, or cleaning the house instead of propping up my iPad for a YouTube video or scrolling through Twitter as I am running into people on the sidewalk outside of my office.
The benefit of just having my Apple Watch when doing these tasks is to not need to have my iPhone with my all the time as well. I signed up for the cellular service for the Apple Watch so technically I can go anywhere now with the watch and still be able to make phone calls and use messages without my phone. As long as my podcasts and audiobooks are synced up too, I will be able to consume what I want with my AirPods as well.
I am looking forward to my health theme this year. I am also excited about taking additional steps in “watching” my health including my diet and maybe meditation. This do not require the Apple Watch which is what I wanted to focus on in this blog post but it does fall into the theme I am trying to follow this year. In a upcoming blog post I want to discuss digital health as well which will include my reading of Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. Identifying how I should be using each piece of technology in my life I think will provide great benefits to my health especially in the mental side of things but could also roll over to the physical side in getting me off the couch or my office chair.
Though it is an expensive new addition to my gadget arsenal I am really looking forward to using my new Apple Watch as described above and hope I can achieve not only better heath throughout the year but better habits to sustain better health in the future.
I previously wrote a blog post, Project Tech, where I talk about the tools that I use for my projects and how my constant upgrading and researching the right ones can sometimes can distract me from actually doing the work I want to do. I can say that lately I have been better in this area but this blog post that I found by Leo Babauta from Zen Habits reminded me of the difficulties of constant optimization.
Leo starts the blog post out saying:
Many people I know are on a quest to optimize their lives — some of my favorite people in the world will spend days trying to perfect a productivity system, get things automated, or find the perfect software for anything they’re doing.
I was (and still am) one of these people in some ways. Though I have stopped a lot of the previous purchasing, selling, repurchasing and reselling different gadgets or tech to find the best option. I am obsessed in reading or listening to podcasts about how other people do task management. The apps, process and method of getting things done is something I have always found fascinating. But the need to constantly be striving for the perfect system, Leo argues, takes away from what the actual thing you are trying to accomplish.
Leo also gives 6 cases against optimization and 6 alternatives to optimization in the article. The three that stood out to me the most from each were:
- Optimizing is a trap of dissatisfaction. Optimizing is the quest for something as close to perfect as you can get it. But that’s an unrealistic ideal. It doesn’t really exist. And we’ll never get to optimal — when we get close, we’ll continue the habit of being dissatisfied with the way things are. We’ll have put in a lot of work, but then not be happy. Because the search for perfect is a trap, where you’re strengthening the mental habit of dissatisfaction.
- Optimizing is a focus on what’s not important. Coming up with the perfect productivity system, the perfect todo list software — it’s not important. It’s procrastination on the things that are truly important. The tasks at the top of the todo list you already have, that you’re not working on, so that you can optimize. Coming up with the perfect diet system isn’t important — eating vegetables is. Eating nuts and beans and fruits is important. Forget the rest, just do that. Coming up with the perfect vacation isn’t important — you’re missing out on what’s right in front of you, there at home, when you are trying to optimize your next trip.
- Optimizing is a distraction. It’s like cleaning the decks when the Titanic is sinking. It’s not important that you optimize. It’s important that you are present, that you learn to be mindful, to be compassionate, to work from a place of love, to let go of your attachments, to see your interconnectedness with others. To be pure love, and to give your gift to the world. Not what todo software you use, not what bulletproof coffee you drink, not what perfect backpack you carry. Don’t get caught up in the distractions — focus on what truly matters.
- Instead of trying to find the perfect software, the perfect tool, the perfect travel clothes … focus on being content with where you are, who you are, what you have, what is in front of you right now. Contentment is much more important than getting to perfect.
- Be present. Appreciate the fleeting moment, because there won’t be many more before you die. Be fully immersed in the moment, cherishing the beauty of this life.
- When you find yourself with the urge to optimize and find the perfect setup, recognize that you’re letting yourself be distracted from what’s important. Then ask yourself, “What’s most important right now?” Focus on that, even if it gives you discomfort and makes you want to run. Get good at that, rather than good at optimizing.
Though these ones stood out to me the most and helped me identify things I can do better, the article overall is pretty great and I recommend you read the entire list of against and alternatives to see if anything sticks out to you.
iPhone XS Max
You should be able to tell by now that I like to change and rethink my tech setup often. After figuring out my computer setup, which by the way I am very happy back on the iPad Pro by, I realized that the temporary deprivation I was putting my self through with my phone was not realistic.
I only had one SE Diary entry during my one month experimentation of replacing my iPhone X for it. I even claimed that the announcement of the new iPhones XS was weak compared to the previous iPhone X. But ultimately I wanted to come back to the bigger phone so, of course, I got myself the BIGGEST and best.
I decided that if I am going to go back to XS it made sense to try something new instead of getting something very similar to my previous X. I decided on the XS Max with the new 6.5” OLED Super Retina screen in Space Gray instead of the Silver which I really enjoyed on my previous X.
Overall I am very happy with this device, there is not that much different besides the huge size then the iPhone X and I actually really like the Space Gray coloring. It gives the phone a very sleek look compared to the shiny polished silver which kinda of stood out at times.
Compared to the SE the Max is huge. Scrolling through Twitter, the size of Instagram photos and using my favorite podcast app, Overcast, everything is so much more roomier. The handling of the large device is going to take some time to get used to. I actually did not really care for the Plus model phones because of the unwieldy-ness of using them with one hand. The exception with the Max compared to the Plus phones is having the entire screen on the front of the device. Having something this big with big bezels on top and bottom with a smaller screen made the Plus phones not worth the effort. The Max on the other hand is worth getting used too since the screen is gorgeous and practically bezel-less (do not mind the notch).
There are some things that I (surprisingly) missed from the SE though now that I have been using the Max for a few days. The status bar not showing if my AirPods are connected with the little headphone icon, unless I bring down Control Center, is disappointing. And the fact that I can not fit the entire phone into my pocket of my favorite pair of jeans can be annoying, the bottom (or top depending on how my phone goes in) slightly sticks out. The phone in my pocket in general can be very uncomfortable in certain situations like sitting or riding my bike too. Neither of these things are deal breakers though, time will eventually allow me to get used to it.
Status Bar Comparison
In conclusion I am happy coming back to a more current device. I would have been happy just going back to the X but since the new phones were out anyway it made sense to try something new. The OLED screen is incomparable and having more space to type on the keyboard or read is pretty great. The SE has its advantages but bigger sizes are where we are now and I am very happy to be back.
So it has been over a month that I was using just an iPhone and MacBook after I got rid of my 10.5” iPad Pro. I ultimately decided that this setup wasn’t for me. There were many reason for this but I want to describe the biggest change that happened that was a big part of the decision I made in changing my setup.
Since getting rid of the iPad I began writing these blog posts from my iPhone. At the time it was on my iPhone X which had a decent sized keyboard and enough real estate above the keyboard to see what I was typing. Soon after this I replace my X with an SE. I still continued writing blog posts on the SE but it became a little more difficult and daunting at times due to the very small keyboard. I had used a 4.7” and a 5.1” screen years before switching to the 5.8” screen on the X so dropping back down to a 4” screen was a big change. So typing on this little screen was more difficult but I could still do it and continued for awhile.
That is when I started wondering why I am so set on typing my blog posts on a iPhone and not on my larger 12” screened MacBook with a full sized keyboard?
The conclusion I came to was I wanted to work within iOS. I loved the text edit apps that iOS had to offer like Textor and Drafts 5. I loved the ability to just write when I first started thinking about an idea and being able to just drop it into my Dropbox folder in the Files app when ready to post to my site.
This all can be done on a MacBook but my current MacBook setup at home didn’t allow for this type of mobile environment. I had a monitor, wireless keyboard and mouse, and external hard drives that kept the MacBook tethered to my desk. When I did take the time to take the MacBook out of it’s peripheral nest and with me to write it just wasn’t the same as iOS.
I realized I missed my iPad.
So I did what any normal technology geek would do, I switched out my entire setup on a whim. I sold my MacBook for another iPad Pro and that is what I am typing this post on now. I opted for a Smart Keyboard setup this time since it came with the sale and I am really liking it. I might switch back and forth with this and the Magic Keyboard but overall I realized this is where I want to be with my home computer. A big beautiful touchscreen computer with an optional keyboard that uses a more modern operating system that just feels right for this future. (We are living in the future)
My new setup is an iPad and an iPhone (SE) now. My wife has agreed to let me use her MacBook Pro if I need it in a pinch for any reason down the road but so far I have yet to need it. Let’s just hope the new iPads that are rumored to announce in a few weeks doesn’t cause my technology geekiness to splurge on a upgrade already.
Nothing that surprising due to all the leaks. The iPhone XS doesn’t seem that exciting to me compared to the previous X.
The iPhone XR is an interesting move towards the new design that Apple has started with the iPhone X. Keeping the look but bringing in lower specs making it cheaper will eventually push out all “home button” version of iPhones.
If anything this event is going to get me searching for a good deal on a cheap iPhone X in the next few months to replace this SE.
So overall I thought the event was kinda boring for me which helped with my addiction of needing the new and shiny.
The SE diaries
First off, compared to the iPhone 5s this iPhone SE is fast! There has been enough time away from the iPhone X for me to forget the speed difference between that and the SE. But I am not seeing any kind of delays or slowness in this device since I started using it last night.
I’m also getting used to the screen size as well. I have been so spoiled with the sizes of the screens since the iPhone 6, and it’s 4.7 inch screen, came out. So at first, about a week and a half ago now, I was pretty negative about how small everything was. Websites, app layouts, text size (you would think too small but actually it can be to large for the small size screen) and touch targets when I’m trying to login or go back in an app. But you soon get over it and when you have nothing else to compare it to you kinda get used to reading long articles and forget you were on a 4-inch display.
Everything else is pretty identical to the iPhone 5s so the shock of this device compared to the iPhone X has worn off now.
I’m sure tomorrow’s announcement will be a little painful, especially when watching it from the SE, but I’m ready for my first anti-consumerism therapy session.
The title of this post is something that I have been repeating in my head for the last week. I have already discussed my getting rid of the coveted iPad Pro and how I am now the owner of a (single-use-reading-tool) Kindle Voyage.
Reading books has brought more joy back into my life and has allowed my mind to fill up with more knowledge (nonfiction) and excitement (fiction) than hours worth of mindless watching of compilation videos or scrolling through social media. I didn’t realize how drastic I was going to take this journey of deprivation once I started with the iPad but I have made some other big changes in my life that I think are worth sharing.
I do want to preface before I began that I titled this post “Temporary” Deprivation because this is not only to help with my life financially, meaning I may repurchase some of these things again if and when I can afford them, but it is also a sort of test on what I can live without, helping me discover what truly brings value to my life.
One big change for me that has been a staple since I got my drivers license when I was sixteen was always having my own car. The freedom of being able to go anywhere I wanted in my own fast, reliable and comfortable form of transportation was always just something I have had available to me. That luxury is no longer available since last weekend. I sold my brand new 2018 Honda Civic only 4 months after bringing it home.
There are many reasons for this decision. One of the big ones was money, I was spending a lot of money on the financing of the car, insurance and occasional fill up of gas. Not to mention the car washes and other maintenance that comes with owning a car.
So money was a big one, but the money on top of me not using it very much was also a big factor that sort of built on top of one another. I currently only live a half a mile away from my day job and for the past month I have been walking or riding my bike every day to work. The weekends we use our other car that my wife primarily drives, a Subaru Outback, during the week since it is bigger and more comfortable for longer drives. The biggest deprivation in only having one car is the lack of freedom of going where ever I wanted during the week. But this “just in case” freedom that I am depriving myself from isn’t reason enough for me to keep it even with all the technology that the Civic had; push to start, keyless entry, Apple CarPlay, brake stop and all the rest of the cool techie features.
Now this was a big one. I recently was given the opportunity to be added to a family plan on AT&T which would allow my services costs to go down by 50% (Sprint $65 vs AT&T $30) but if I wanted to get another iPhone X would only bring my entire costs that I was currently paying at Sprint by about 30% (Sprint $110 vs AT&T $80). I didn’t like the idea of going through the trouble of switching services to reduce costs to end up still paying 70% of what I was paying before. So I decided to take AT&T’s free iPhone SE deal.
Yes, I am trading in my iPhone X and going to stick with an iPhone SE for the foreseeable future. Another twist in this whole series of events is that AT&T did not have any iPhone SE’s in stock so they had to order one to be delivered. I am supposed to receive it by Monday but in the meantime I was able to dig out an old iPhone 5s that I still had from my early days at AT&T a few years ago. The iPhone 5s screen has a yellow discoloration around the edges of the screen, opening apps can be painfully slow (including webpages in Safari) and the battery life is horrendous. But I am currently only paying 30% (Sprint $110 vs AT&T $30) of what I was paying at Sprint and I have a pretty substantial upgrade coming soon that will replace this iPhone 5s, since the SE has two generations newer internals (iPhone 6s internal to be specific) than the 5s.
Ultimately I decided to deprive myself of a brand new car and the gorgeous iPhone X for the money. But I also wanted this to be an experiment for me. My phone and the car I drive has also been an identity thing for me. What people see me drive up in or what phone I pull out of my pocket has always been partly a status symbol. I am not going to say these items didn’t bring me my own person joy and excitement but I also can’t deny that the perception that it gave of myself and my perceived life wasn’t a big part of wanting them as well.
So I am not only on a journey of saving money and focusing on some financial goals of mine but I am also going to give myself the chance to be perceived based off of my personality, morals, ethics and vulnerabilities without the clouded view of all of my fancy toys and wait for it…
Fire HD 8 Kindle Voyage
I found a great deal on a used Kindle Voyage, about $120. I realized that if I want to beat this addiction to YouTube I need make more drastic moves. I found myself using the Fire HD 8 as a tablet more than a Kindle reader.
Compared to the Paperwhite the Voyage is pretty great. I know a lot of people used to say the Voyage was a waste since the Paperwhite is almost identical and the costs do not out weigh the benefits (when new the Paperwhite was $120 and Voyage was $199). But now that the Voyage has been discontinued there are some pretty great deals out there.
The screen is so much more crisp than the Fire HD, for reading this is substantially better. The controls on the sides to turn pages and just the shape and size of the device is very comfortable to hold. I was also able to get the Wifi + 3G version which is a huge convenience since it offers free 3G connection to download books, or other documents I send to it, wherever I am. (This could also be a bad thing since I keep adding more and more books to my huge backlog of a library.)
Overall I am very happy with this device, to the point of me already setting up the return of my Fire HD 8. The more I eliminate the social medias and streaming video services on my devices the better I feel. Especially when I am able to focus on reading more. I plan to discuss some of the books I have been reading but for now it is more Voyage time.
Fire HD 8
This is definitely not a iPad replacement but an iPad Kindle App replacement for sure.
I bought a 32 GB refurbished model for only $59 on Amazon so it is definitely worth the price. The original price is $110 and am not so sure it is worth it at that price since the screen is not that great and the performance is pretty lacking at times.
As a reading device it is pretty great though, if you can get past that lack of retina crispness, since it has Kindle books built in. The iPad is so powerful and has so much potential it feels wrong to just use it as a book reader so having a device like the Fire HD 8 fits this area perfect.
You can use it as a usual Android tablet; play games, watch movies, browse the web and use social media apps. But I am not as tempted to veer too far off from reading since I can get a way better experience for those other activities elsewhere, on my AppleTV or iPhone.
I have already finished two books in two months and yes if the screens resolution was better I am sure the experience would be better but the fact that I am reading again is worth the non-iPad low resolution lifestyle any day.
Yeah you know that thing I keep talking about. Well I went to the extreme and got rid of something that I cherished.
I realized that though I felt the iPad was a great tool for writing and being productive I wasn’t actually using it for any of that. I was mostly using it for watching movies, YouTube (so much YouTube), and reading meaningless news articles. I wanted my iPad to be my ultimate writing tool and be a complete replacement of my Mac but it became something I was using in bed way past my bedtime binging on really stupid YouTube videos.
So I got rid of it.
I am now a MacBook and iPhone only guy. This has been my life for about a week now and I have had very few moments where I wish I had the iPad. Not having it has made me realize how nice my iPhone X is and how it was not being used very much do to having the iPad to pick up as soon as I got home each day. I have transferred some of my bad habits to my phone but I know I will always have a constant battle with YouTube and my sleep schedule. macOS is not iOS and I know some will argue how one is better than the other. Especially when it comes to productivity and “real” work but what I am trying to really focus on is the work itself.
I chose to keep the MacBook instead of the iPad because I currently need the Mac for my podcast workflow. Who knows what will happen later as iOS develops but for now I am iPhone and Mac only.
In my last post I spoke about projects and how it is becoming more difficult to just get started on a new idea instead of getting obsessed with the tools I want to use. Since I wrote that I have been trying to be more conscious about my productivity instead of just trying to stay busy, or always preparing to be productive. In this new way of thinking I realized I am overwhelming myself with too many projects at once. I find myself getting stuck or not motivated because of the pressure and overload of ideas clouding my ability to just do something.
I mentioned this before but I am currently going through a minimalism phase in my life. It started out with getting rid of a bunch of stuff but with minimalism that is not where the process ends. Getting rid of the stuff allows more room for you to appreciate and think more about aspects of your life. It also changes you perspective on how things are not the whole story when it comes to feeling fulfilled or happy. You start to think about other things in your life that matter such as relationships, experiences, creativity and peace. My life has been on autopilot for so long that I am realizing that if I really want joy in my life I need to work for it.
During my minimalism journey I stumbled upon Patrick Rhone. Rhone is very well known in the Mac and Apple community but unfortunately I have not come across him until listening to episode 003 of the Break the Twitch podcast. After listening to the episode I immediately looked up Patrick Rhone’s books and downloaded them on my Kindle. I finished Minimal Mac in a weekend and am now reading Enough.
It seems surreal that I stumbled upon Patrick and his book Minimal Mac, which is a collection of his best blog posts from his since retired blog of the same name, during this time of me wanting to minimize the distractions in my life. Rhone ultimately spells out the fact that you don’t need stuff, as in this application or that hardware, to do the things you want with your Mac. The Mac has the essentials right there for you to do whatever it is you want to create the only thing stopping you is, well, you.
I know that I can not do everything and I am always going to find something new that sounds interesting to me. But I have to start putting things in better perspective if I want to actually do anything. So I have scrapped the app idea for now and I am going to only focus on writing. I want to continue to write for Techuisite and I also have a novel idea that has been stewing in my brain for awhile now. No longer am I going to search for the right app or tech setup to continue my progress on these two areas.
This will also be my last blog post about writing more blog posts (thank god, I know!).
I find that I am always thinking of new projects to start. I am currently working on an app, writing for this blog and have a podcast. I also have an idea for a science fiction novel that I would like to write one day. My friend, Nathan, and I have being doing a podcast, The Know Nothings, that we started in June of 2017. We have been on a slight hiatus due to, well, life. And we have recently been talking about starting it up again.
When I think about all of these projects that I am thinking of starting or am currently pursuing, I always comes back to the tools I plan on using. The projects themselves I know are and can be rewarding but I’m am starting to be more obsessed with the technology to do them with. How can I use my iPad to do this? Or where in all of these projects can I use this new software that I just discovered? I think this line of thinking takes away from the actual projects themselves. A lot of YouTube videos I watch or technology podcasts I listen to talk about the tools they are using on a daily basis. They talk about how Ulysses has changed how they write blog posts, how all the features on Ferrite can make it that much easier to edit podcasts on an iPad, or how this new keyboard changes everything about multitasking on iOS.
When I created Techuisite I wrote my first couple of blog posts on a Mac mini using the WordPress website’s interface. When I first started the podcast I would record and edit the whole thing within GarageBand. Now I use Ulysses mostly on my iPad to write my blog posts, edit them on the iPad with the Apple Pencil and submit the post directly to WordPress from the app. For the podcast I still do record the audio in GarageBand but I also record two separate audio files within QuickTime and upload those to Ferrite on my iPad to edit then upload the episode to our SquareSpace site that hosts the podcasts.
I have evolved my use of technology overtime to make my projects more manageable and more fun to do. I did not start out thinking about the technology I was going to use to make it happen, I just knew I wanted to make it happen.
Currently I have been thinking a lot about a new app I want to create, I may share more about that at a later time, and I keep wondering if I have the technology to do it. If my 12″ MacBook can handle the development work, if I need a second monitor to give me more space, or maybe I need a few new apps that will help with the graphics and other code related tasks I am sure I will encounter. Yet, I am in the very early stages of learning Swift and am no where close in pushing my MacBooks power limits. Instead I need to focus on how I want the app to function and actually learn the development language I plan to build it in.
As I get more and more familiar with new workflows and tools that I can use to create things or start new projects. I need to remember that the projects themselves will push me in the direction of what tools I may need. But the actual projects need to come from pure inspiration or the technology I buy to start them will just be in that box I talked about in my last post, awaiting it’s trip to GoodWill.
Technology and Minimalism
My wife and I have been thinking a lot about stuff and how we can reduce the amount we have in our lives. Most of the stuff is just junk that we have from our childhood and kitchen gadgets/utensils that we don’t need or use anymore. For me the biggest thing has been all of the old technology that I have.
I went through all of my cables, old battery packs, cases, dongles, and other stuff that I keep “just in case” but never end up needing or using. I watched a video done by Joshua Fields Millburn (from the documentary Minimalism) for his living room conversation series titled What’s one thing you regret minimizing where he talks about how to get rid of things you might need in the future. He talked about the “just in case” phrase that we use a lot. He explains in the video that if anything he is keeping “just in case” for the future is under $20 he will toss it. One example he used was how he owned a small pair of scissors in his car that cost $2. He got rid of them thinking he didn’t use them very often but once he realized how he did use them quite often he bought a new pair. Millburn does say that he is not trying to encourage just getting rid of everything and only buying them when we need them. But that if there is a threshold that you can afford to repurchase things you don’t use very often, it will start you on the path of having and needing less. You may even start to realize that you can make do without a lot of things.
Bringing this back to tech, after watching Millburn’s video and talking more to my wife I realized I didn’t need 7 micro-usb cables or old cases for an iPhone 7 I no longer have. So I reduced the amount of cables and extra items that I have been storing in drawers for year, reorganized both my personal and work bag with all the cables and essentials I need so I have everything when I’m on the go, and have also minimized the amount of power cables and dongles that I need at my desk. I have started off small and am working my way up.
Eventually I might just get rid of my desk and use our dining room table or get some kind of mini stand up desk setup facing outside a window. I mostly work on bills or other personal things at home anyway. Most of my creation work happens at coffee shops or on the go. So eliminating the things I don’t need or find useful is freeing. For now I feel pretty good with my box of dongles, cases and cables sitting in my room awaiting it’s trip to GoodWill.
I work with and am around development for my job. I am not a developer myself but I have always loved the idea of programing and creating an app. The fact that you can type a new thing into existence is pretty amazing.
I watched the Apple WWDC keynote and I once again got inspired to be apart of the developers club. So (again) I am going to attempt to learn Swift and create a iOS app before next years WWDC. I want to try and attend WWDC with a finished app in
2019 2020. So I can attend workshops and talk to other developers to hopefully add to my new development skills and may even add enhancements to my future app or maybe inspire an idea for a new app.
I don’t necessarily have a concrete idea for an app but that’s okay. My goal is to first learn how to code in swift, we will see what inspirations come out of that journey alone.
I want to give myself a blank slate on this blog and not stress so much on the direction I want it to go. I realize now what Techuisite is for me.
You see YouTube videos with cover art that looks incredible; an iPhone X sitting on some foreign texture, displaying a modern and unknown wallpaper with a title saying some thing like “How the iPhone X changed my life” or “How the iPhone X made me more productive” And…. you get sucked in.
You want to know how the iPhone X might change your life. But every time you are left disappointed. Really, the only reason why you watched the video is because you either have an iPhone X and want to know how your life has been changed or you don’t have an iPhone X and want to know if you did, what it would do for you.
Overall this line of technology videos is just adding to the abundant materialism we all are victim to. I am in no way judging anyone who wants to watch, contribute or enjoy these types of videos. All I am saying is that I am starting to understand what this line of technology reviews and media means to me.
I have been thinking really hard about productivity and minimalism. I know I am obsessed with materials. Buying, owning, talking about and yearning for more and more stuff. I am starting to see that I am not enjoying the things I have but how I want to constantly replace them. This is not only making me stressed and anxious but I am starting to see an unhealthy attitude towards technology.
Don’t get me wrong I love technology. But lately I feel it has been more about the shiny and new. When it should be about the thing that technology can and has done for us as humans. I am constantly fascinated by not only what technology has done or will continue to do but how we were able to create it in the first place.
Conclusion. I don’t want to write tech reviews, I want to write about tech honestly with my own opinions on how it fits in our world. I have watched too many videos being flashy with tech reviews and first looks that I am starting to realize, though I love them and will try to moderately continue to watch them, it is not something I want to do. Techuisite is about how technology is required in our society. Lately I have been stuck in the mode of technology being a want and a status symbol. Not anymore. I want to talk about how tech can help people in big and small ways. Not about how fucking cool the new OLED screen is so you have to buy it now.
I like technology. I want to talk about it. I feel like I grew up right in the middle of technology really becoming personal. I had my first cell phone in fifth grade and the most I could do with the software was make a phone call, send text messages and play snake. I was able to download some cool ringtones and customize the case of the phone but that was about it. It wasn’t until high school until I got a semi-smart phone which let me do a little bit more and then by my second year of college I got the original iPhone.
My point is that throughout my journey through new phones and the new technology that it harnessed I had a personal attachment to them that was far less than how my iPhone X is to me today. It is more than ringtones, cases, and games now. It is a communication device that surpasses any communication that was possible back when I was even in high school. Sending images, video calling, and being able to share things on such a huge scale. Not to mention all of the things that phones are able to provide us that only computers used to be able to back in the day: typing documents, sharing files, or even having an address book, contact list, calendar and task lists that all communicate with each other.
Our phones are our maps, our mediation schedules, our cameras and camcorders, our wallets, our clocks and alarms, our health trackers and so much more. You can not convince me that technology is not a necessity in our modern age and is why I believe it is a requisite to our lives.
Techuisite: the name.
Now before I go further I feel like I should explain the name for my site. Techuisite (pronounced like exquisite but with “tech” in front instead of “ex”) is a play on the words technology and requisite.
Technology is self explanatory.
The definition of requisite is, “made necessary by particular circumstances or regulations”.
In my opinion, technology is becoming a very important part of society, you could say it’s becoming a necessity by society.
I have been wanting to start a personal blog for awhile. I have many opinions and a lot of those opinions are revolved around technology. But to start a blog requires a good name. The past year I have been in pursuit of the perfect name for my blog.
When I started to build my schedule for the last semester at college, I came across the same word that most students cringe at, prerequisite. Prerequisite courses are courses that need to be fulfilled before registering and taking the next course.
This word stuck with me. I looked up the definition of requisite (prerequisite without the “pre”) and it was what I felt technology was to me and the world around me. Techuisite was thus born, and not only does the name have a meaning I was looking for but it also sounds and looks cool.
My new hobby.
I am on the brink of finally graduating from college and because of this I am hoping I will have a lot more time on my hands to try a hobby I have been thinking of pursuing for some time..
I hope to dive into technology that interests me not only as gadgets but how they fit in my life. I don’t really have a specific goal for Techuisite yet but I am hoping by keeping my options open, it will spark new and creative avenues for me to explore along the way. Stay tuned.
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