Put sticky notes on your iPhone

I use sticky notes a lot on my work laptop and today I installed Sticky Widgets and added a little note to myself on my iPhone.

I use them for little to do lists on my laptop but just a little reminder to myself here on my iPhone.

If you’re into putting a reminder in your face then check it out.

EA Play coming to Xbox Games Pass Ultimate for the launch of next gen

Link

Getting an Xbox Series X over the PS5 is almost becoming a no brainer now, especially if you go for the monthly ultimate pass, which is adding EA Play on 10th November – the same day the console launches. This looks a great deal and for someone wanting to play games without spending a fortune on games (£70 each!) then this approach from Microsoft seems to be a winner to me.

What’s up with iPadOS 14?

I’m continuing to have issues with iPadOS 14, two of which I wanted to go through here and has me asking – does Apple test their own software on every device they ship?

I’ve restored my devices multiple times and for me these two keep coming back, it seems specific to the 11″ iPad Pro.

This is a bizarre issue that I have been experiencing on my iPad Pro (11″ 2020) for the last couple of beta’s and even now on the public release – see the image above. There are two issues here related to the same issue – inconsistency of element sizing.

You can see that the two widgets on the left are two different sizes and then looking at the apps you can see that they are also taking on different sizes. I’ve never seen this in a public release before and can’t believe I’m the only experiencing this issue.

The second issue relates to the use of the Apple Magic Keyboard, here I get keys and the trackpad being unresponsive. Like I’m using a remote app over an internet connection, I type keys and it can take up to 10 seconds for anything to appear on the screen. I’ve now completely stopped using the keyboard and just using my iPad undocked, I’ll give it iPadOS 14.2 but if that doesn’t work I’ll be looking at a warranty replacement.

Am I alone in my iPadOS UI issues?

The best minimal digital watch

After returning the series 6 Apple Watch I’ve been looking to simplify things a little and disengage with so much technology. I’m on so many screens between my phone and the day job I wanted to go back to a simpler time and not worry about tracking everything about what I’m doing throughout the day. My series 2 is a great step tracker but I don’t want to track steps anymore. I’ll still try to keep a habit of walking daily but I’m taking a break from fitness tracking.

This led me to looking at my little collection of digital and analogue watches and wondering what I should use.

I wanted something simple, an easy to read display, a timer and light. There was only one choice – Casio F-91w.

These watches are classic, based on the same ones I wore in the 80’s. It’s so light you forget you’re wearing it. The only area it gets let down is the terrible light but I can live with that. At less than £15 I can’t complain.

There are other Casio’s which I’d recommend like the AE1200, another favourite of mine and has a better light.

I just keep coming back to this watch, I love its design and simplicity.

How I’m helping myself to stop using my phone before bed and early in the morning

I’ve picked up some bad habits in this uncertain period including using my phone right before bed and first thing in the morning. My sleep pattern has suffered really badly and sometimes even at 3am I’m awake and then shattered with fatigue throughout the day. This has a negative effect on my mood and those around me so I’m doing my best to break it.

This is where screen time on iOS comes in handy, I worked out what I wanted to improve about my routine and added downtime to my iPhone so that it was a reminder to not use my phone. You can enable this in settings as follows.

I’ve also removed my RSS reader, Reddit and Tweetbot from my iOS devices so that I can only check using my Mac, which is rare these days. I’m purposely trying to disconnect and give myself a little bit of a breather.

My iOS 14 home screen setup

After weeks of playing around with widgets I’m finally settled on a setup I’m happy with.

This is the main screen, I’ve got TODOIST and FANTASTICAL widgets there keeping me honest with what I have got on. The other apps are there for ones that I tend to like to use the most.

Here’s all of my screens

  1. Left of home: Siri shortcuts, Carrot weather, Apollo and Battery
  2. Home: As above, Fantastical and Todoist widgets
  3. Right of home: My health based one. Fitness, Streaks and Pedometer++ widgets. Then the apps that I like to use for my health.
  4. App library: I use this a lot but started to pull down to use the spotlight search to load apps

How are are getting on with iOS 14?

Getting lost in widgets

iOS 14 widgets have taken off like I wouldn’t have imagined and looking at Twitter and Reddit I’m feeling great about the ways people are being creative with their home screens. Making technology your own via stickers or customisation is very important to me and to be honest a reason I always looked over at Android.

I’ve been messing with

I’m still messing and not settled yet but having fun.

I’ve also discovered Scriptable allows you to write your own widgets, something that I think I’ll start to learn about this week.

I hope Apple embraces this and lets us easily change icons in the future and bring it to iPad.

iPhone 11 Pro, a year later

I’ve been using my 11 Pro for over a year now and it struck me that it doesn’t feel that long and is still a great phone to get. I’m on my second one, due to dust under the lens that Apple replaced but I see no need to upgrade – it’s a solid choice. You’ll also start to see used models on the market and it might be worth a look instead of going for any new models.

The good

  • The camera is still great in all conditions. It’ll never replace the DSLR for air shows and big days out but everything else is covered. When I could go out places I’d mostly only take the iPhone. The biggest improvements with this one is indoors and low light. I’ve been impressed with how good it’s been as a general camera taking shots indoors and family situations. I love the 2x zoom but never use the ultra wide.
  • Battery is amazing, hardly think about charging and it would be hard to switch to another device that doesn’t last all day no matter what I’m doing.
  • The finish is nice, I don’t use a case and love the matte glass finish along with the midnight green. Sure I’d love a modern take on the 5c, but we both know that’s never going to happen.

The bad

  • I constantly struggle with FaceID and hope Apple can look at the iPad Air and bring over the TouchID home button.
  • Lack of USB-C is becoming an annoyance for me. My laptop. iPad and games console all charge with it but I have to keep lightning around to charge my iPhone.
  • The screen is brittle, very susceptible to scratching. Since the iPhone X the quality of glass has been terrible and every iPhone I’ve had since had picked up a load of screen scratching. This doesn’t bother me but if you are bothered by it put on a screen protector as soon as you unbox it.

Next upgrade

I’m trying to be better on the environment and intend to skip this years model. When I see TouchID and USB-C I’ll be ready to upgrade. I think if the rumours are true aside from flat sides and a potential new colour the iPhone 12 will be ok to skip over.

Changing my mind on the PlayStation 5 (maybe) and looking at the Xbox Series X

Since preordering the PS5 I’ve been asking myself have I done the right thing? I’ve owned both PlayStation and Xbox over the years but gravitated to PlayStation for Uncharted and because that’s where my friends are. I hardly play online with my friends these days and there’s no new Uncharted in sight so why have I preordered the PS5?

Well the titles I’ve seen in the announcement videos all look great but I’m not sure at this point what are console exclusives.

It’s also got me looking at our existing PS4 Pro and thinking actually Miles Morales and Horizon are both coming out for it and I have PSVR, which I know work fine with it. 2021 is probably the best time to look not now for getting a feel for the game exclusives and which era console they are playable on.

I’m also looking at the £70 game costs and thinking I can’t actually afford to buy that many games, especially at launch. I might end up getting the PS5 and just being able to play anything I’ve already bought plus the collection as part of the PS5 Plus membership. All older games that I can already play, some in 4K HDR.

Now, the Xbox Series X is interesting to me because at £28 a month I can get both the console and a game pass, meaning I don’t actually have to buy any games. Over time I think this is the most sensible option, maybe get a PS5 once my Pro is out of date but go Xbox for next gen.

I love Halo and really want to play flight simulator without buying a PC. The Bethesda buy out also throws a spanner in the works as they have great exclusives and I love Doom.

Given stock levels I’m not rushing into this one plus I need to focus on full time employment before committing to a monthly payment plan but I can see a series X in my future the more I think of it.

Apple Watch Series 6 review: not a must have upgrade

If you’re rushed for time here’s the summary

  • If you love the Apple Watch and use it every day and you are on a series 3 or lower then look at a series 5
  • If you’re on a series 4 or 5 don’t upgrade
  • If you use the Apple Watch as a basic fitness tracker or not all the time stick with what you have

That’s how I feel after using one for a week and why I’ll be sticking with my series 2.

This isn’t to say the series 6 is a bad upgrade it’s just that in the current climate with uncertainty around job security and if we take a more ethical approach to our tech this really isn’t an upgrade most of us need.

What’s new?

Well the main is

  • Blood/Oxygen sensor
  • Brighter always on display

In my testing neither of these are a reason to upgrade. The sensor isn’t as reliable as a cheaper finger based one (I tested both over the course of this week) and the always on display, which nice to have isn’t a must. If you want to get almost there then look at a refurbished series 5 and buy a £20 blood oxygen monitor.

But it really does come down to your watch usage. I get away with the series 2 because I’m not doing things like dictation or using apps on my watch, I see it as an activity tracker not an extension to my iPhone. I turn off all notifications as I find it overwhelming and literally only glance at the screen for time and seeing how many steps I’m up to.

If you’re an Apple Watch devotee then I still think you’ll be ok with the series 5, if you really want an always on display. You’ll save some cash and make use of another device before it gets forgotten and sent to be binned, it’s better to reuse than buy of course.

In terms of blood oxygen then I think until Apple gets approval and creates a proactive way to let you know if it finds something to check out I feel it isn’t of much use. Tracking overnight can help identify issues but you need to know what you’re looking for and to be honest based on my testing I’m not sure I’d trust it just yet. Apple states it isn’t a medical device so this leads me (as someone that doesn’t like uncertainty) to think that even Apple aren’t sure what to do with it yet. Further medical studies will help them with this but I wouldn’t buy a series 6 for this feature, it isn’t full baked yet.

So, there it is my feelings are that there is no need to feel compelled to upgrade to the series 6.

(I will say that I loved and will miss the red though).