I Am Finley

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Is iPad the Computer for You?

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There’s no such thing as a laptop replacement, and if there were, the iPad isn’t meant to be one.

Matt Gemmell

Golly, I’ve been thinking the same thing since WWDC. As all the reviews of the new iPads and of iOS 11 have been hitting, the age-old— well, seven year old question has been iterated again and again. Is this the iPad that finally kills the laptop?

Seldom does the writer acknowledge that they mean “is this the iPad that finally kills my laptop?” It’s a very personal question. Apple sells many different computers.

For many, the iPhone is the only computer they need. They scroll through Facebook, reading articles and liking photos. They message their friends. They respond to the occasional email. They watch Hulu and Netflix. My wife is usually in this camp. Perfectly comfortable to never grab a bigger screen.

For others, very powerful, customizable computers are required. Video editing, graphic design, photo editing, and more. They can do everything and more on their MacBook or iMac.

And then there are those that are happy with their iPhone, but sometimes or even often need a larger display. They may use a word processor. They may communicate much more and desire a bigger software keyboard. They may even prefer a Bluetooth keyboard. They may build websites. Or design websites. Or edit photos and video.

Consumers pick the computers that suit their needs. You may find that you can do everything you need on an iPhone. You may want a bigger screen, but more portability than a laptop. Or you may need much more power for your day-to-day tasks.

For me, I haven’t touched my Mac in over a week. I haven’t needed to. I’ve found Web Tools, Coda, and a Droplet to be all I need to get my job done. Most of that time, it has been a 12.9" iPad Pro that has done the job, with an iPhone stepping in occasionally to handle an email or text message.

Is the iPad the computer for you? You won’t know unless you try.

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DirecTV Will Only Support Internet Explorer Come July

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DirecTV has announced that they will only support Internet Explorer starting in July. Sorry, my bad. They will only support Chrome. Still, just as bad a move.

I remember when I got my first Mac back in 2004. Many sites still only supported Internet Explorer 6. And IE6 didn’t exist on Mac. Only IE5 did. Off the top of my head, the biggest two sites that I frequented that did this were my bank and Old Navy. Yes, Old Navy, an ecommerce site, in 2004 only supported IE6. No reason for it, as they didn’t use much DHTML— the hip term for JavaScript at the time— and certainly had no features that would require a specific browser, but that was the way things were done in the early 2000’s. You picked one or two browsers to support and that was it.

When jQuery first came out in 2006, it was built around browser-detection based forking. If IE, do things this way; if Firefox, do things this way. It wasn’t long before they abandoned that and went to feature-detection. If the browser supported this feature, do things this way; otherwise, do things this way.

When iPhones first hit, the popular thing was to look for a user-agent string that included iPhone. If present, deliver an iPhone experience. Then responsive web design hit in 2010 and we started targeting screen dimensions.

This was the push for the longest time. Get away from detecting browsers and specific devices. Look instead at what the browser and device are capable of, and progressively enhance the UX from there. Build for the lowest common denominator.

But now, so many sites are built to require JavaScript. React, Angular, Vue, and other JavaScript frameworks have taken over front-end development. We are including so much JavaScript on our sites that we need task management scripts and package managers to keep everything straight. Our engineering has gotten more complex than ever necessary.

And, to make matters worse, we are starting to see developers getting back to supporting specific browsers. When your front-end uses very specific, new technologies, that is the choice a developer has to make. Either a) don’t use it, as the support isn’t great yet; b) use progressive enhancement and provide a feature when available; c) find a polyfill to provide support to the greatest number of users. There should be no d) only support Chrome.

If you don’t learn your history, you are damned to repeat it.

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The iPad Just Grew Up a Little

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When the iPad Pro was first announced, I knew that I needed one. Simply put, I wanted to shift my workflow to something simpler and more focused. That is the reason, by and large, that I have always chosen small laptops. The 12" PowerBook, 13" MacBook Air, and recently the 11" MacBook Air. I love small screens because they allow me to keep my screen more focused on my task at hand. My apps are always full-screened or split-screened for specific app pairs. And the iPad Pro, with split-screen and a large (for iPad) screen told me I could do the same with an OS that was built for focused use.

So I bought one. And built a web inspector for it. And started developing websites on it. Coda + Web Tools made for a great pair. Last year I got to refine my workflow a bit, but then I had to work with a C# project at work, so I went back to my MacBook and built there. Then, in February I got to start working on a new website built the way I wanted it. We chose Craft for the job and I set up an EC2 for remote development from my iPad. It was great. Aside from the few times that I absolutely needed a Mac— Sketch and such— and the few times that I used a Mac out of convenience, the iPad was used for around 80% of the development of the new Sensi website.

I love my iPad. It is my go-to device for nearly everything. But being so close to it every day, I too have had my list of requests. And today, Apple delivered. The iPad just grew up a little. A lot even.

Split screen is a 100% needed feature, and pure delight on the 13" display. However, switching apps has been largely a pain in the ass. Until today. The new Dock has made for a truly amazing experience. Easily drag an app into one of the two sides, paired apps are remembered, and more.

Atop that, drag and drop is one of those things that didn’t make sense until you had two apps sitting side-by-side and no way for assets to get between them. Last week, Readdle added drag and drop between all their apps and it was something truly magical. Today, Apple Sherlocked not only that functionality that Readdle spent no small amount of time on, but also the Documents app that was a lynchpin of that experience. Easily access you files throughout iOS, iCloud Drive, and even third-party document providers.

The iPad is feeling more and more like a “real” computer, whatever that means. For those of us that bought in early on, 18 months ago or even before Apple touched the “pro” space with iPads, this just solidifies our love for the platform.

Now we just need Sketch and Photoshop. A real Photoshop. With those, I could truly do my job without a Mac.

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A Nastiness in the Left

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When I was in college, I was escorted out of school for wearing a shirt that said, “Homosexuality is sin. Jesus redeems.” I was forced into meeting with the school counselor or risk being expelled.

A few years back, I shared a post about Chick-fil-A on Facebook. Throughout the wee hours of the night, my phone dinged as “friends” called me every name in the book. One even inferred that I’d cause my future child to commit suicide if they were gay. And that wasn’t the first time someone has used that accusation against me. It wasn’t the last time either.

In November, I voted for Evan McMullin. I couldn’t vote for a man I wouldn’t allow my wife and daughter. And I couldn’t vote for a woman that supported abortion past 40 weeks and supported using taxpayer money to do so. Trump won. Since then, I have supported and defended many of his policies. Many of my “friends” consider me a Nazi because of it.

And this is all par for the course when dealing with the Left. Name-calling, silencing with force, and threats against one’s family are normal. But I’m an intolerant bigot.

So it comes as no surprise that Chadwick Moore, a gay New Yorker, experienced the absolute vitriol from people that once considered him a friend when he came out as a conservative.

Most disconcertingly, it wasn’t just strangers voicing radical discontent. Personal friends of mine — men in their 60s who had been my longtime mentors — were coming at me. They wrote on Facebook that the story was “irresponsible” and “dangerous.” A dozen or so people unfriended me. A petition was circulated online, condemning the magazine and my article. All I had done was write a balanced story on an outspoken Trump supporter for a liberal, gay magazine, and now I was being attacked. I felt alienated and frightened.

New York Post

He started to realize what those of us on the Right know as normal.

And I began to realize that maybe my opinions just didn’t fit in with the liberal status quo, which seems to mean that you must absolutely hate Trump, his supporters and everything they believe. If you dare not to protest or boycott Trump, you are a traitor.

If you dare to question liberal stances or make an effort toward understanding why conservatives think the way they do, you are a traitor.

It can seem like liberals are actually against free speech if it fails to conform with the way they think. And I don’t want to be a part of that club anymore.

I have tried over the months since the election to cross the canyon between my Leftist friends and me. Name-calling is the frequent result. They seem to have zero desire to understand the half of Americans that voted for Trump. To try to understand their fellow men and women. They prefer to scream racist, misogynist, bigot, and Nazi.

Republicans have, admittedly, struggled to capture the vote of the youth. But I have been seeing a lot more Conservatism coming from my friends in the last few months. People emboldened to stand against the hatred and bigotry of the Left.

If you want to lose your demographic, bullying people seems to be a good starting place.

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I Hit Record

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I’ve been writing for much of my life. I can go back to posts that I wrote years ago and hear my voice, my convictions, my emotions. I can see the evolution of that over time. Improve upon it. See where I’ve changed.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been playing my guitar again. I’ve been wanting to play with Yousician on iOS and always pushed it off. So I grabbed my guitar and started practicing with Yousician. I have an iRig, so plugging into my iPad Pro was easy. No waking the kid that way.

So this week, I purchased Capo and started playing along with some of my favorite songs. That app is amazing, but a story for another time. The night before last, as I played for three hours, I decided to hit record in GarageBand. After a song, I listened to my guitar. No voice, no drums, just my guitar. And I saw all my amateur weakness. So last night I focused on improving just one thing. And I hit record.

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To the Left

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To the Left: You’ve been pushing to federalize public education for decades as most conservatives have been saying that public education should be run at the local level. You’ve been voting for more and more control to be had by the federal government over education. More and more power. And now you are scared shitless by the fact that that power is in the hands of someone who disagrees with you.

That is the very problem with government. If you give it power, it could be used against you. This is why our Founding Fathers sought to limit government. You let the government define what marriage is, eventually those in power will disagree with you. You let the government define what hate speech is, eventually those in power will declare your views hate speech. You let the government control what your kid learns and doesn’t learn in school, eventually those in power will teach your kid what you don’t want them to learn.

So now, you all will start moving your kids to private schools because the public schools will go this shit. At least you think they will. And you’ll find that private schools cost a lot of money. And that your tax money is now going to a school your kids don’t attend. And that is unfair.

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Ad Absurdum and Feminism

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I shared this on Facebook this morning without comment:

Sex Slave and Hypocrisy

An explanation with this is necessary. Many in the progressive movement ignore the atrocities of the Islamic world and call anyone that points them out a racist or Islamophobe. It is pure sensationalism to say that a president that has said crude things— and allegedly sexually assaulted women— is oppressing women. It is a lie to say that the Republicans that want to make abortion illegal are oppressing women. Neither of these things is oppression.

Those are the women this was targetted at. Sensationalizing progressive hypocrites.

Are there issues within feminism that are true, valuable, and should be fought for? Yes. Even from a Christian worldview. However, much of what was featured in the rallies over the weekend cannot be endorsed or supported from a Christian worldview.

The modern feminist movement is largely driven by abortion rights, homosexuality, and transgenderism. It is right, as a Christian, to have a problem with this.

But moreover, through satire and ad absurdum arguments, I think it can be addressed in a way to wake some hypocritical people up.

Sharing this without comment or context was likely a wrong choice.

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God Chose Trump

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Just like God chose Saul. Just like God chose Caesar. Just like God chose Nero, and Stalin, and even Hitler. Our God is sovereign. Even when we don’t understand His choices, He is sovereign. It’s one of the comforts that comes with Christian faith.

But remember one thing: God can choose to punish as justly as God can choose to bless. Trump could be either. He could be neither. But God is sovereign no matter what.

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How to Break Your Echo Chamber

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The Echo Chamber. Since November, much has been focused on it. How Facebook, through algorithms, enforces it. How our own confirmation bias encourages us to surround ourselves with things that we agree with. But how does one start to break out of their chamber?

A few years ago, I started to use my morning commute for podcasts. I went through quite a few before finding a couple that I regularly enjoy. While there are a few tech podcasts on my list, my daily morning commute is Albert Mohler’s The Briefing. The Briefing is a news and events podcast, covering things from a Christian worldview. The benefit, however, is that he doesn’t grab articles from Fox, or The Blaze, or even Breitbart. No, he regularly references New York Times, HuffPo, Washington Post, and more on the Left-leaning side. Hearing the way that liberals put things, their use of language, and their train of thought has become a part of my daily routine.

The other podcast that is a part of my weekly routine is Steven Crowder’s Louder with Crowder. While he is less respectful and more comedic, he too cites liberal news sources more often than conservative ones.

By taking 20 minutes a day, one can start breaking down the barrier. So if you are a conservative, I’d recommend both of these podcasts. If you are a liberal, I’d honestly recommend both of these podcasts as well. The reason is that Albert Mohler has a humble honest way of explaining things that I feel anyone can respect him and from him understand the way that conservatives look at things. And Steven Crowder is just hilarious and I think that can work across political boundaries.

Breaking the echo chamber in your life has to be intentional. Make a choice to understand people instead of stereotype them.

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Crap. I’m starting to like Trello.

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I went to Agile training last month at Asynchrony. Our department director wanted our team and a few others to go. I agree with almost everything about Agile. It’s easy to, at least for me.

Last week, as I prepped for our team’s next project, I decided that I want to push myself to do as much from my iPad Pro as possible. I have edited many sites from my iPad. But at work, I have been working on a C# website for the last few months. Despite trying, it was much easier to work in an IDE (Visual Studio for Mac Preview) on this site. But our next project is a complete redesign of a marketing site, setting it up on a LAMP box with a PHP-powered CMS.

There is a difference between making quick updates to a site and starting one from scratch. Quick updates typically only require Coda and Web Tools. But starting from scratch sometimes requires more tools. So I started looking at what I needed.

Image Tools is what I came up with. Two new tools coming soon to Web Tools. Easily open an image and use a ruler to measure and a loupe to grab colors.

My typical flow is to jot down a stream of consciousness in iA Writer. Lots of unfiltered thoughts. But this time, I downloaded Trello. I’ve never necessarily hated Trello, but I have a thing about todo list apps. I buy tons of them. Trello just didn’t fit my flow before. But this time it did. I created my Ready, Working On, and Done columns and started adding cards to my Ready column.

Saturday, as I finished my designs, I started working cards through my columns. And crap, I’m starting to like Trello.

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