Searching for Portable Nirvana

I love traveling light. The less I bring the happier I am generally. Easier on planes, lighter to carry, less to fuss with. Packing the technology used to be the hardest oart for me. 

  • Laptop
  • Phone
  • iPad
  • lots of cables and accessories.

I would always prepare for evey possible computing solution. Over the years I have been able to pair my “stuff” down. If I am not traveling for work I can leave my laptop behind and rely on the iPhone and iPad. 

On a trip to Maine I decided to go with just the iPhone 6 plus. What could I do? What would I not be able to do? The size is great and it is much easier for me to respond to emails and tweets. But would I enjoy working with it if I wanted to write something long form. I normally bring my Logitech Tablet Keyboard. It is full size and still very portable. This time I decided to try an iWerkz Universal Foladable Keyboard.

The keyboard comes with a protective case that doubles as a stand. The keyboard is hinged in the middle to open to a near full size keyboard. Opening it up for the first time I was reminded of another bluetooth keyboard made by Stow-away that I used to use with my Handspring Visor.

Compared to iPhone 6+
Thickness of Keyboard in case next to iPhone 6+

The setup is nice. Using the keyboard case as a stand allows you to use the phone in portrait or landscape orientation. In landscape mode it did cut offf the bottom a tiny bit but not enough to disrupt working. For a travel stand it was perfectly adequate.

Full size portable keyboard

My first impression of the keyboard were mixed. The size was nice, light enough but the keys were very squishy with little travel movement of the keys. I figured this is something I could get used to because it was not a primary input device, just for travel packing. Using it that weekend proved otherwise. The spaceing of the keys was a little off. Not being a touch typist I also found the split spacebar to be harder to get used to then I had imagined. But there were two major issues I ran into.

The first was the keyboard functions. This is a universal keyboard. It works with Windows, Android and iOS. Figuring out the correct key combinations to use the functions was a nightmare. You can see looking at the number keys there are 3-4 functions on each. Below on the Q,W,E keys you can see the primary options for each operating system. One thing I found was that it was very easy to “knock” you out of the Operating system and end up in another one. I found this frustrating.

The second issue was within 20 minutes of typing on the keyboard I had broken two of the keys. One popped off the base altogether and the other would depress and then not pop back up. The spring was essentially stuck. I was able to pry it back up with a butter knife but the next time it was depressed the same thing happened again. Not what you woudl expect in a keyboard. 

The long and short of it was this was not an adequate solution at all and was returned to Amazon. The reviews of the product seemed to indicate that you either got a good one or a bad one. 

For now I will contunue to use my Origami case with the Apple bluetooth keyboard or the Logitech tablet keyboard which are both full size but a much better typing experience.

Tim Cook Speaks Up →

If you have not read the Bloomberg Businessweek piece that Tim Cook wrote the other day you should.  Its great.  Its clear and he communicates his feelings beautifully.  

“I’ve made Apple my life’s work, and I will continue to spend virtually all of my waking time focused on being the best CEO I can be. That’s what our employees deserve—and our customers, developers, shareholders, and supplier partners deserve it, too. Part of social progress is understanding that a person is not defined only by one’s sexuality, race, or gender. I’m an engineer, an uncle, a nature lover, a fitness nut, a son of the South, a sports fanatic, and many other things. I hope that people will respect my desire to focus on the things I’m best suited for and the work that brings me joy.”
— Tim Cook

Sir Jonathan Ive honoured with exclusive gold Blue Peter Badge

I really wish I could embed this video of Sir Jony winning the BBC’s Blue peter award but its in flash.  There will be a special episode airing tomorrow night.  I hope we will be able to view this episode in the United Staes at some point.

We also got a sneak peek at one of the industrial designers CNC machines as he made a much larger version of the award for the host our of aluminum.

CBBC’s Blue Peter presents Sir Jonathan Ive with the show’s highest accolade, the gold Blue Peter badge, in a gadget special to be screened on the CBBC channel at 10am on Saturday 16 February.

— BBC MEdia Center

Remembering Steve

One year ago today many of us lost a friend, a business hero or a source of inspiration.  Today on Apple’s home page there is a moving tribute remembering Steve Jobs.  It is a collection of stills and spoken words from him combined with Yo-Yo Ma’s beautiful rendition of Prelude, Bach’s Unaccompanied Cello Suite.

A few of my favorite stills from the tribute are below.

Steve Jobs holding an Air
Steve Jobs casual
Steve Jobs

The new Amazon commercial

M.G. Siegler pointed out this new Amazon commercial to me.  Apparently it debuted during the NFL game.

I  just watched it and I agree. that it is a good commercial.  Personally I think it is a good commercial because in many ways it mimics Apples style.  Low key voice narration, people using the products and services everywhere.  It humanizes the service.

I watched it a second time because I could not get something out of my head.  It reminded me of something.  Based on the pace and cadence of the storyline it felt a lot like one of my favorite commercials ever from Apple – “Here’s to the Crazy Ones”.

“We’re the people with the smile on the box”

Introducing blocs.tv !

Today is a big day for me, primarily for personal reasons. I have been working hard on a side project for about 18 months. I have hinted on this blog and started a series of posts but they remain very cryptic. I have not revealed to much as I was tying up all the loose ends and not wanting to give away to much until I was 100% good to go. I will continue to expand on them more now.

Today I launched my new product called blocs. The website is blocs.tv

Blocs.tv is an accessory to be used with the Apple TV. The bloc allows the base of the Apple TV to sit in a base and prevent it from rotating (making it easier to use your remote). In addition the base provides a space to store the remote and easily get to it.

I love technology. I love clean simple modern designs. I love tactile materials. Sometimes all the cool shiny stuff can be cold. One of the goals of the design of the product was to combine a warm organic component with a fantastic piece of technology.

 Walnut bloc

If you have a chance please go check it out and let me know your thoughts !
Use the contact form on the store, add a comment here, or you can reach me on twitter.

Originality Score = 0

It seems a shame that after going through a trial that was focused on originality and copying Apple that a few days after the it ends with a decision against them that new images arrive showing Samsung’s new “original” laptop.

That would be fine if it were true, except it is a clone of the MAcBook Air. I guess on the originality side of the coin it does have a stylus but for me that falls more into the stupid category.

See the pictures and articles below:

9to5Mac
the verge
Cult of Mac