So it looks like I’ve not posted anything on the site for close to two years now. Obviously I haven’t been the best blogger in the world.
I have written stuff in the last couple years, just not for this blog. I’ve written a handful of informational pieces on some of the little utilities and applications that I’ve written over the years. Those can be found at my GitHub blog. Nothing special, but that is where most of my writing interest has been over the course of this year at least, and even then I haven’t done all that much writing.
Over the last month or two my writing related thoughts have mostly been focused on learning about ways to do documentation via some kind of plain text source file. The one I’ve spent most of my time on at this stage is AsciiDoc. It looks like it could do all that I’m ever likely to want a tool for documentation or book writing to do. The fact that there isn’t really any support for it on iOS is a bummer, especially when compared to Markdown, but it can do so much more than Markdown can. Plus, since it’s just plain text, I could still write it, I just wouldn’t have tools to preview it or generate the final product. Plain text FTW! I just need to find reasons to use it for documentation. I can (and have) put it to some use at work for small personal projects, but I suspect I’m not going to be able to really use it in anger any time soon.
Markdown will continue to be the most sensible thing to use when it comes to writing blog posts, and there are literally dozens of quality apps to choose from when it comes to writing in Markdown on iOS. I’ve written this document entirely on my iPad in Markdown. I started writing in Editorial, but part way through switched to using Byword, just to see if it was a better experience when it came to using an external keyboard. And there are plenty of other options, though I want to try and keep things simple. Some of those apps are a bit pricey (by iOS standards), though if you were to spend much of your time writing they would totally be worth it.
I’m still all about the Kindle when it comes to reading books. In addition to reading who knows how many articles this year, I’ve finished 31 books so far, beating out my (purposefully conservative) GoodReads Reading Challenge goal of 24 books. Happy with the progress on that front.
I’ve been enjoying the Kindle Voyage that I forked out $300 for, but then they had to go and release the Kindle Oasis, which is what I think I’d really like to be using. However, the Oasis is $450! The Voyage was already a bit of a stretch for feeling like it was good value.
The Oasis looks like it would be a great experience to have in the hand while reading, but it doesn’t really offer anything except a better, lighter feel in the hand. Combined with the eye watering price tag, I can’t see myself being willing to get one for a while. Hopefully the price will come down or something.
Work continues to have plenty to do. With the big v4 Go Live for Queensland coming up in early 2017, there has been a goodly number of projects, both big and small, that needed to be done to get us ready for that. Based on what I know, it looks like that is going well. We’re already positioned well in the market, based on what I’ve been told, and if this goes well then we’ll hopefully be able to consolidate our position at the top of the market.
Apple Related Stuff
I had a few cases of odd battery behaviour in the first part half of the year, and when iOS 10 came out around September/October, the battery went to crap. So I caught the train into Perth to visit the Apple Store and they ran some diagnostics and decided to replace the phone for me, which was cool.
What wasn’t cool, was that less than a week later the screen went funny on the replacement, and I had to go and get that phone replaced. It seemed to me that the phone was running, but the screen wouldn’t come on and it was completely unresponsive, and the Apple rep I dealt with said as much after running his diagnostics. Rather unusual behaviour, at least as far as I’m aware. On the plus side, none of this cost me anything, and I got what must be effectively a fresh battery for what was a 2 year old phone. I should be able to make it through till the new phones are out late next year, which is when I plan to get a new phone. I’ll have had this one (and it’s predecessors) for effectively 3 years at that point.
Noting much on the iPad front. I’ve still got the iPad Air 2 which I think I bought in October of 2015, as a refurb. I wanted something a bit newer than what I had, but didn’t see the value in getting an iPad Pro just yet, so I saved some money and got the Air 2, which was a year old at that stage. It’s held up pretty good. My typical iPad work load is mostly recreational stuff that shouldn’t push the machine too hard, so it’s still going fine even now. I don’t use the split screen feature much, but it’s handy to have at times.
I’m thinking about getting an iPad Pro when they do the next refresh, which will presumably be around March 2017. I hope they bring some cool new features to iOS to help make the iPad a more flexible device. I could already do much of my typical daily workflow on an iPad, and I do, but it would be nice if some of the things that are annoying or hard to do could become easier.
I decided that if I’m going to drop a bunch of money on an iPad Pro, then I really should try to start pushing my use case with the one that I have in order to make sure I’m not paying for power that I’ll not really be taking advantage of. So, I guess the goal between now and when the next iPad refresh happens is to try and stretch myself to do more and more with my iPad. Will be interesting to see how that goes.
On a side note, I’m typing this up on my iPad at the moment, with my regular Apple desktop keyboard attached. It works well enough, though it’s not a very portable configuration at the moment, because I have to provide power to the keyboard for it to function. If I was going to do this on a more regular basis, it would make sense to get an Apple Magic Keyboard, or some other portable Bluetooth keyboard.
Admittedly I don’t do much with this site, but I’m having vague thoughts about changing the mechanism by which its content is generated, with the primary goals of both simplifying it a bit and also making it something that could be more easily managed and posted to when using my iPad to do all the work. Not sure if it will happen, but it’s definitely a thought that keeps buzzing around in my head.