It’s been a week with the Apple Watch Ultra and I love it.
I like big watches in general, so the extra screen real estate is clutch. I have a few faces I’ve been using with it, depending on Focus Mode and Context:
There are a few things I really love about this watch, outside of the bigger face:
The incredible battery life. I can get about 2 days without charging it at all. Which means I get to use another new-to-me feature
Sleep tracking. I’ve never been much of a sleep tracker, but at the end of this month, I’m doing a sleep study where I’ll certainly be diagnosed with sleep apnea. I’m excited to compare the data on the watch to data from a proper study.
The Action Button. Right now I have it executing my “idea” shortcut, but I might change that (see below).
The Swipe Keyboard. I like that I don’t always have to talk to my watch.
There are a few quibbles I have, which might have less to do with the hardware, and more to do with the software:
Forced keyboard usage for input. I’d much rather the watch default to talking (or at least make it a setting). Because of that, I might change the Action Button, since that forces the keyboard and using voice to execute the shortcut does not.
No Battery Tracking. This was an issue I had on the Series 5 too. I like that I can see battery stats on my iPhone. I wish I could see it on the watch too. Some app (I think Overcast) went haywire and crushed my battery at one point.
Those are it though! Since the battery life is so good, I’ve decided I’m also going to experiment with leaving my phone at home more and rely on the watch for communication and notes. We’ll see how long it lasts.
The end of the year is always a fun time for me to reflect on many things and look forward to what’s coming. 2022 is even more special because it’s the year I left web development to focus on podcasting full-time.
As part of that, I like to review my favorite tech and media from the past year. I’ve been doing it for 14 years! The only change this year: I’m no longer labeling the tech and media section. It used to be only tech, then half and half. Now it’s mostly non-tech.
Let’s get into it.
Gadget: The Kindle Scribe
I’ve started tracking my favorites throughout the year so I don’t fall victim to the recency effect. Despite that, the Kindle Scribe is my favorite gadget. I wrote up my thoughts a few weeks ago and still love it. It’s my go-to device for reading and notes now.
I event spent too much time trying to reliably get my RSS feeds on it. I’ve abandoned that.
Gadget Honorable Mentions
What made this category even harder was a lot of great tech came out this year. So here are a few of my honorable mentions:
Launchers, or Spotlight replacements, were all the rage in the mid-2000s, and I thought it was settled science for me: Alfred has been my go-to since the moment I discovered it.
Raycast is 2022’s take on the Mac launcher, and it’s fantastic. It looks modern, has lots of extensions, and plenty of keyboard shortcuts.
The killer feature for me is the ability to search their “store” right from within the app — something you can’t do with Alfred. Installing and configuring extensions it a lot easier with Raycast, and that’s ultimately what sold me.
App Honorable Mentions
I know it didn’t come out this year, but I’ve been using Highball, a cocktail app, a lot lately as I’ve been experimenting with more mixed drinks. It’s so well designed and serves as a great log for my experiments.
There’s also Marvel SNAP, a game I’ve been obsessed with since learning about it. It’s a turn-based card game and super fun. I describe it as an easier (faster) version of Magic the Gathering.
This used to be “Thing I Learned,” but it was always too nebulous and uncertain. So I’ve decided to make it my “favorite thing I did to enrich myself.” Still workshopping the name.
The winner of this is Brand Deal Wizard, a cohort-based course by Justin Moore. It’s a 4-week program, and I had doubled the $3,000 investment before the end of the program.
It’s super valuable, whether you have never gotten a sponsor/brand deal, or (like me), most of your money comes from them.
Other Things I Learned
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention CaboPress. It’s something I feel like I mention every year but 2022 was legit the best one. I always feel energized after, and this year I decided to make a huge change based on conversations I had there.
And as I mentioned before, I’m experimenting with more cocktails. It’s a fun hobby and I’m learning a lot.
I recognize this book might not be for everyone, but I like to capture a lot of ideas, and I feel like I do nothing with most of them. Cue Building a Second Brain. From my Goodreads review:
While I love capturing notes and have several ways to jot down (or dictate) ideas, this book has already had a profound impact on how I organize them. The PARA system is perfect for how I work, and my notes app, Craft, lends itself very well to linking notes among different areas.
Brotherhood, a book about Obi-Wan and Anakin, also came out. But I can’t always make Star Wars stuff my favorite, right?
TV Show: House of the Dragon…and Obi-Wan Kenobi
Look. I know I picked two here, but my list my rules, right?
Let’s start with HotD. I was worried about this show because, well, we all know what happened to Game of Thrones. But I was hopeful because Bennioff and Weis weren’t involved at all. Then I learned that the book is basically hearsay history and the TV would be the canonical story, which is a super cool concept.
Suffice to say, it made for a great show and I cannot wait until Season 2 comes out.
Now…onto Obi-Wan Kenobi. From what I understand, Andor was better. I still need to watch that2. But Obi-Wan is my favorite character. Ewan McGregor is a gem. And I can’t get enough post-Revenge of the Sith stories.
I thought it was fantastic, and the final episode was very, very satisfying.
I don’t watch that much TV3, so no honorable mentions here.
Music: Coheed and Cambria Vaxis 2: A Window into the Waking Mind
There was no contest here. Coheed’s new album came out in June and I listened to it every day starting in July through October. It’s so, so, so good.
I love that all of their albums are concept albums, so along with actually enjoying the songs, I like to try and figure out what’s happening4.
If you haven’t listened to it, I strongly recommend you do. I was obsessed, and Apple Music Replay proves it.
Movie: Spider-Man: No Way Home
Last year I said it would probably be my favorite movie. I finally got around to watching it in March, and yes. It was indeed my favorite movie.
Runners-up include Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, the only other theatrical release I saw this year.
This absolutely bananas podcast by Wondery isn’t new, but it’s completely fascinating. It dramatically retells the story of every election in US history, providing historical context and the events leading up to the election.
It’s a really incredible look at what was most likely the American mindset during these crucial moments in US history.
It also taught me that at one point in history, nearly every president was shot or almost shot.
Great year for tech and TV. I still didn’t get to a movie theater. Maybe in 2023?
Even though it was pretty obviously a guy writing what he wished a girl was like. ?
I watched the first 2 episodes and was not into it. I’ll revisit. After all, the same thing happened with Wanadivision. ?
New TV. I watch a lot TV shows I’ve already seen 1000 times. ?
It’s 2022 and God-willing, many people will be back to traveling again! I already have 2 conferences planned1and at least 1 family vacation.
As a result I’ve reassessed by bag situation and, as an end of the year bonus, picked up a new bag. So here’s a look at everything in my travel back for 2022.
Watch the Video
If you want to watch me talk about everything in my bag, here’s a video:
Otherwise, here’s a list of everything, with links.
I picked up the Waterfield Mezzo Laptop Backpack as an end of the year gift to myself. I’ve had my eye on it for a while. It’s pricy, but it’s the perfect size at 14.5L with just the right amount of pockets. This will replace my messanger bags and my Nomatic Backpack as my every day backpack.
One thing I love that is lacking in almost every bag I have is the nice big side pockets for my Contigo Water Bottle. It fits perfectly without being too obtrusive.
Front Pocket Stuff
Here is where I keep my EDC stuff. There is a Field Notes or Nock Co notebook, as well as the Nock Co Sinclair pen case. There’s also some business cards and extra pens.
When I’m not flying, I keep my SOG Pocket Knife in the front pouch. It’s small, light, and in my opinion, the perfect EDC knife.
Big Pocket Tech Stuff
The laptop in my laptop bag is an M1 MacBook Air. 2020-2021 was a time of flux for my tech stuff and I honestly thought the iPad Pro would replace my laptop, but I’m just too comfortable on it to let it go.
On top of the tech stuff, I have some important accessories, like the Anker Slim Charger, a super skinny 30W charger I can use for my laptop and iPad. I also have USB-C to USB-C cables, and USB-C to lightning, as well as a Satechi Slim Hub. On big trips, I have a separate tech bag with tons of cables, but the ones I keep in my backpack are generally good for day or weekend trips.
If I’m going someplace where I want over-the-ear headphones, that job goes to my newly acquired AirPods Max. The smart case they come with is an abomination, so I also got the AirPods Max Case from Waterfield, which does lower power mode.
Big Pocket Analog Stuff
I always have my William Hannah notebook on me. It’s a totally customizable binder-based notebook where I do my weekly planning and keep notes. I also have my Theme System Journal, where I keep my daily thoughts, notes, and habit tracking.
I’m excited to take my new backpack out on the road, both for day trips and big travel. What do you keep in your bag? Is there anything you want me to elaborate on?
Let me know in the comments!
Including Craft + Commerce. Let me know if you’re going! ?
Though I’ll probably get the purple one since the white gets SO dirty. ?
This is my 7th Annual Favorites Post. At some point I guess I should starting the posts like that! If you’re new here, I like to recap my favorite tech and media picks for the past year. I try to have them come out close to the year they’re picked, but that’s not always the case. It might just be the year I consumed them, or the year they got popular, as you’ll see with my gadget pick! Let’s get to it.
Stephen Hackett is one of my favorite podcasters, and cofounded my favorite podcast network, Relay.fm. Back in 2018, I spoke to his co-founder Myke Hurley about starting podcasts. Since then, Relay has really ramped up their membership program and I though Stephen would be the perfect guy to talk to about putting out tons of content and deciding what to make free, and what to make paid. Sponsored by Yes Plz, iThemes Security Pro, and TextExpander.
Hey it’s my favorite time of year! With this post I’ve now been doing “Favorites” post for 5 years, which is neat. At this point I have a good process down and I’ve been keeping notes so as to not fall victim to recency bias. Huzzah! Let’s get to it.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about making my iPad Pro my travel laptop. In an effort to get comfortable with using the iPad regularly, I also try to spend some quality time on at when I’m at my desk. You’ve likely seen some photos of my desk set up with the iPad on it, and today I want to go through some of the gear I’m using to make the iPad feel more like a desktop.
As 2018 comes to a close, it’s time for what’s become my favoritepostof the year. I like looking back at the things I’ve invested in and spent time on. This year feels special to me because on top of it being my first full year in business, I spent a lot time automating processes and improving my workflows to be more productive. More on that in a different post, so for now, onto the favorites!
One of the best speaker gifts I got from was from WordCamp Grand Rapids. It’s this nifty zip up pouch for wires and small chargers. It’s super useful, compact, and great for organizing all the things I bring with me when I travel. In this post, I’m going to outline everything I carry with me. Let’s get started!
So I’m a bit of a technophile and an early adopter. Always have been; I had a Palm M100 in 9th grade because it looked cool. Plus it helped me keep my busy schedule of drama club and homework straight. Since then, I’ve tried to get new tech sooner rather than later. Sometimes I write about it. When the iPad Pro was announced, it wasn’t something I was able to buy. But I’ve been looking for a good way to draw on a screen since my first “tablet” in 2005. Well, I was able to get the iPad Pro 10.5″ this year; so how does it stack up?