I share my year with Todoist before going in depth on my setup for 2018. I recommend this video to anyone looking to get organized this year. I provide some Todoist tips and tricks for beginners and advanced users alike.Read More
December is a month that made my Spotify suggestions all misses. I think it's due to the two playlists I kept playing were piano Christmas songs and one of their sleep ones. As one can imagine, the algorithm bots where trying to knock me out during work hours!
By playing a couple of previous months radio playlists (on Spotify) I was able to force the bots to generate something worth the monthly fee!
Ansel Elgort (the actor) came up a few times and right as I was starting to feel insulted by the bots, I got to one that I quite enjoyed. I wanted to hate it, but Baby Driver knows music, ok?
And a blast from the past is our cover this month. -Only Hope sang by Mandy Moore, covered by Alex G and Gustavo Guerrero.- I recognized this song from the A Walk to Remember soundtrack. Let's not judge our middle school choices, but that soundtrack is pretty good!
I hope you all enjoy.
This was my first Apple Watch band purchase that wasn’t part of Apple’s branded collection. I was drawn by the combination of colors and materials coupled with the macho design. Typically, I’m not the kind of guy to band swap but this one priced at $149 pushed me over the edge. Looking for a new band? Check out Juuk’s selection of high quality Apple Watch bands here. I’m sure you can find something you like.
Clarity is a really straightforward and clever utility that aims to make your favorite wallpapers even better. It offers 3 different very distinct features
- Mask - darken areas of the wallpaper where you want critical information such as the system clock to pop against a darker background
- Blur - adds blur effects of varying degrees to your wallpaper. I use this feature all the time to contrast the original wallpaper for the lock screen with a blurred for the home screen. The color range remains the same so they simply complement one another while letting the apps be the focal point of the home screen
- Gradient - simply cycles through different colored gradients. When you find one you like? Save it.
This cool little tool gets used by me all the time. Clarity is free in the App Store on your iPhone. It comes highly recommended.
November was a month I heavily concentrated on my Christmas playlist. If it wasn’t for those emails Spotify sends to let you know your favorite artists have released something new, this playlist would be an unofficial Christmas playlist.
This month's cover is courtesy of said emails. Kina Grannis (often featured) released her cover of At Last (by Etta James). It took me a couple of listens to really get into it. You go in expecting Etta James, but that just sets you up for disappointment. Kina Grannis has her own style and this is exactly that. Beautiful in its own lane.
A couple of radio overplays I've included are Perfect by Ed Sheeran and Bad At Love by Halsey. They're nothing "new" to discover but the songs are great despite radio stations abusing the replay button.
The rest of the playlist consists of songs from my own personal (iTunes) library that just stuck. I often set music on shuffle and happen to come upon a song/album I own and somehow never really listened to. This usually happens when other songs in the album stay on repeat and by the time I'm sick of it, I skip them all on future "shuffle" drives.
I hope you all enjoy.
This week my "Sweet TEK" (pick of the week) was Twitterrific for macOS. I am a loyal and highly satisfied user of Twitterrific on iOS. It handles multiple accounts for me with ease. Twitterrific is feature rich and beautiful to look at. When they announced plans for a Mac app, I will admit. I got excited. There is consistency in Twitterrfic on both platforms. New users of the Mac app will have no trouble adjusting to the desktop layout and UI. And as a bonus, if you buy Twitterrific for macOS, you will get access to some custom icons on the iOS version. (see image below)
Twitterrific comes at a cost that could be considered high for some at $19.99. But if you love Twitterrific and are a Mac user, I recommend taking the plunge. The development team is highly active and always improving the product. Pick it up today in the Mac App Store. If you like it, maybe you can tweet the team at @iconfactory and let them know why in 280 characters or less.
October's playlist is a little more "throwback" for me.
I found a few. The Beatles cover by Imaginary Future, an artist I discovered a while back. A couple of The Beatles songs always remind me of my dad and certain movies him and I watched growing up. He's the only one that would watch cartoons or children's movies with me and still be engaged after the thirtieth time (bless his heart!). To this day, he'll still put them on and sit, watch and laugh at them like it's his first time. Also, in case you think "aw, how sweet!", keep in mind this is also the man who thought it appropriate to play Cobra for a six year old. By age seven, I had watched the most popular movies from the late 80's and early 90's; Lethal Weapons, Dirty Dancing, Pretty Woman, Ferris Buellers' Day Off and many others. My dad gave zero foxes about film ratings and scarring your child! I think back to these times and there's always a Beatles song playing. Hey Jude is the chosen one this month.
Since I was on an Imaginary Future kick, I included the first song of his I listened to: I Knew This Would Be Love featuring his wife, Kina Grannis.
The majority of the others are ones I found via my Spotify Release Radar. Most were from artists I've previously "liked".
On the radio, I kept catching parts of this song. Eventually, I got Siri involved and she lead me to Praying by Kesha. I was shocked it was from her, so different from her previous work. I was pleasantly surprised and moved by the lyrics and her journey.
I hope you all enjoy this mix.
I use several services paid for via subscription model. Bobby makes it really easy to keep track of what services I use, how much I am paying and when they renew. While it's true you could use the iTunes Store app, emailed receipts or even the Reminders app to collect all this information, having a dedicated product to do all this for you just streamlines the process.
The app is also very well designed. You can use the available templates or create your own you may need for less popular services that may not turn up in a search. There is a light and dark theme available or let time of day decide that for you. You can also choose between 4 different app icons.
Are you subscribing to multiple services? Is this something that would be of benefit to you? Let us know your thoughts. And check the latest episode of the iOSDocked contest for more information on how you can win a new case for your iPhone 7/7 Plus/8/8 Plus or new iPhone X!
Irvue is a nifty utility that makes changing the wallpaper on your Mac an automated task. With a few tweaks in the settings options, you can set your wallpaper to change every day, every hour or every week. You can tailor the wallpaper selections by selecting Unsplash channels based off artists or keywords. This app has been a delight. It takes zero effort and is visually stunning. Download it. Check out some sample images below.
My September listening was all over the place. In the best of ways, of course.
This playlist includes some mainstream songs/artists, oldies, tv shows I've never watched... it's good.
First of all, I've listened to a lot of Glee songs, playlists and I've never watched a single episode of this show. My love for covers doesn't discriminate. I recently discovered a Glee playlist on Spotify, and even though I own a couple of the albums, there's a lot I hadn't heard before. It was all I played for two days straight. But one of the first songs I ever heard, years ago, by the cast was The Only Exception (originally by Paramore). I chose this particular one as this month's cover song. A little throwback for y'all.
For every time I've watched Dirty Dancing, I've listened to the soundtrack 30 times. It's always playing at some time or another. I have an iTunes Playlist for the movie because the original soundtrack excluded a lot of songs. Cry to Me by Solomon Burke is one of those, yet one of the best songs in the movie. It's included in this playlist with the highest honors.
Everything else is newer stuff that was suggested by iTunes based on my past listens and purchases.
I hope you all enjoy!
The TEKSide Team team shares their home screen. Check out the gallery below!
This week my "iLike" (pick of the week) was the new portrait lighting features that Apple showed off in it's hardware event earlier this month.
You have to admit. The iPhone is king when it comes to smartphone cameras. The 7 Plus introduced us to new features focused on depth of field. This has definitely been one of my favorite features to use when taking photos of my family. It truly makes the photos look stunning. I imagine the portrait features are going to result in some great shots as well.
Have you been happy with your smartphone camera? What do you think about the latest camera enhancement announcements? If you haven't watched the Apple event, it's a good watch.
This will be the first time I include three (yes, three!) songs from the same artist.
In 2015, my obsession with Wet (group) started. Their sound is very unique and to this day, they're my most played. Whilst listening to Wet, I launched the Spotify Radio for similar recommendations. -Creature of habit does not want to stray too far!
One of those songs included was from the band Exes. I clicked on their Spotify profile and spent the next week listening to their entire discography. These three, were the ones I replayed most and currently have in the background as I work on this entry. Bands with women as the main vocalist is my new type and I refuse to fight it.
I had a couple of covers I really really enjoyed. I'm trying to feature ones that provide a different sound from the original but still something one recognizes. The Japanese House covered Landslide with said requirements. You can nod and sing along but their own sound still carries the lyrics.
The other songs that make up this playlist are ones recommended to me via Spotify. It's been doing a great job this Summer. I probably just jinxed my Fall recommendations.
On iTunes, unbeknownst to me, I had albums that had not synced to my iPhone. I have 'sync all music' selected (hi 128GB!) which makes it a bit more difficult to see where the errors (if any) lie. One of these albums was Bionic by Christina Aguilera. It was released years ago but it's the last one of hers I truly enjoyed. One of my favorite songs from that album is You Lost Me. When she performs live, she tends to get carried away with riffs and runs but the embellishments in this particular song make it the most beautiful of arts.
I hope you all enjoy this month's mix.
What I find great about Sanebox is it's ability to make any email client you prefer to use as powerful as you need it to be. Sanebox works behind the scenes to make your email experience better.
- Snooze options
- Priority sorting
- Attachment saving
Take advantage of all these great features now with a free 14 day trial. Sanebox has helped clean up my email experience and it works hard at helping to make your overwhelming inbox something you can manage. Take a look at my latest Sanebox statistics.
How can you afford not to at least try it? If you are sensible you will. And when you do? Use this link. Let me know how it works out for you.
Blinkist for me is great because there are many books I want to read but just don't have the time. Blinkist has a team of professionals who read the book, outline the key takeaways and provide their readers with an extremely condensed version while maintaining the integrity and intension of the message.
Through a modest subscription fee, users have access to a tremendous amount of these condensed books. Building your Blinkist read list is easy as suggestions are a front and center feature of the service. Let Blinkist know what your interests are and Blinkist provides you with new reading material on a daily basis.
One of my favorite features of Blinkist is that anything I highlight in the books I'm reading is instantly synced in a Blinkist notebook in Evernote. I use the highlight feature a lot!
Finally worth noting is that if you like the Blinkist read, a link is provided to the full book for you for easy purchase and download.
Create your Blinkist account today for just $5 a month and learn something new.
Another month, another playlist!
I was either out of the music loop or the month of July didn't really have any "great" releases. There was an email notification from Spotify about a new single by X Ambassadors and that was about it. Of course, I did include it in the playlist because my ears liked!
There are two songs that were found because they were just a PR job well done. Lana Del Rey and Selena Gomez were all over popular lists and I always take a quick listen to music that I don't typically lean towards because there's always hidden gems in plain sight! Selena Gomez's is just a single but very catchy, whilst Lana Del Rey (feat The Weeknd) is from her newest album, which is very poppy but, still, very Lana.
The cover for this month still gets me emotional within the first twenty seconds. It's 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' by Ariana Grande. She performed it as a closing tribute to the Manchester victims on her One Love Manchester benefit concert (in June). Of course, the context and even her own emotional response to it sets the tone but it just makes it that much more powerful. Truly wonderful.
For the first time, I relied on Spotify Radio. I typically avoid it because it's six songs on repeat. Or at least that's how it seems to me. I've been listening on my computer, going from a song I love and seeing what new songs I can obsess over, and there's a lot more variety and right on point, at least this month. It didn't matter what song or artist I started the radio from, it was great listening and very minimal skipping. I'm continuing this (instead of relying so much on the weekly discovery) setup and hopefully I have a couple of new discoveries to share with you guys next month.
New and experienced Todoist users alike may find use out of this video detailing how a makeshift weekly review can be created using custom filters.
I have been using Over for very specific needs as it relates to creating podcast and blog piece artwork. But that's not all. Over makes it very easy to add beautiful and captivating fonts and graphics to existing images in your personal photo library.
Here is just one example of how I used Over in one of my own photos:
Over is an easy to use, yet powerful creative tool that allows you to create works of art. The tools available within the app make every iPhone user look like a professional. For more on Over, check out the video below. Over can be downloaded for free with subscription services available for an even better experience.
Scratches. They are the worst. Am I right? Especially when you get one on that pretty Apple logo in the middle of your MacBook. Well I'm not looking at that scratch anymore. I normally place my MacBook Pro inside my laptop bag right alongside my trusty (cased) iPad. How my MacBook got scratched? Well that's a mystery. But since I know now that no place is safe, I have decided to add a little cosmetic protection to my MacBook. Luckily for me, Incase has just the case for the job. Not only does it offer the minimal protection I was after, but it does so with the style. Take a gander at the gallery above for a closer look. If you are still one of those crazy kids that uses a laptop running macOS to get work done, and you would like to protect the beauty of your investment, check this case out. It will cost you a good $70 but I think you will be presently surprised, just as I was.
One of the songs I included in my August (2016) playlist was 'In the Name of Love' by Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha. As I scrolled through new music on Spotify, I played the preview of a song with a similar name. It turned out to be a cover by a gospel singer! I looked through her page on Spotify and there's no way I'd ever give it a change if Spotify didn't bundle new releases they way it does; in one big category instead of categories within categories. Like I've mentioned before, there are things Spotify knocks it out of the park with.
So that's our cover for the month of June. I really like the softer approach to the chorus. No lyrics, just the tune you'd recognize and sing along with if you've ever listened more than once.
A couple of the other selections came together over the last couple of days. A lot of albums and singles were released the last week of June. Basically, my music listening was non-existent the first three weeks and the last four days was headphones in twenty three hours a day.
This is the perfect playlist to unwind with and I hope you all enjoy!