I’ve enjoyed this short but fun album. Weezer chose a good collection of songs to cover. While the album is fun and a good listen, it does not have staying power. In my opinion, none of the these covers come off better than the original (minus Paranoid by Black Sabbath maybe.) But if you are an Music subscriber, I definitely recommend a download and listen. If you are new to Weezer, you need to start right here! If you are familiar with Weezer, what you get with the Teal album will be no surprise.
Technology Talk from Technically Passionate People
I needed a change. There was just too much clutter. I had too many apps I didn’t use. I had too many apps performing the same task. I knew there was an issue, but I didn’t want to admit that it had become an issue. It took a mini-vacation away from technology to realize this. I came back to my device which did not fail to ping me with a never-ending stream of nofications with all the unimportant news and reminders of mundane tasks I had assigned myself. Why am I torturing myself? Why have I allowed this “smart” technology to become my master? I made some changes. I went back to my basics which had been buried beneath the barrage of bullshit I have allowed to clutter my life. Can I eliminate it? If not, can I delegate it? If not, can I automate it? If not, I need to do it. And it shouldn’t take some fancy ass system of web hooks and url schemes to get the job done if I will just zero-in and focus. So I restored my phone. I reinstalled two kinds of apps: the essential and the enjoyable. This has taken me some time to get used to, but it’s been worth the effort.Read More
My monthly playlists come together (literally) last minute. I have a Spotify premium account and it’s my streaming service of choice but I still utilize iTunes and the Music app the most. I have a decently sized digital collection and I’m always finding new favorites in older albums. I take screenshots of new songs I find myself enjoying and sometimes end up in the (wonderful) rabbit hole of similar recommendations. At the beginning of the month, I sit down, gather my screenshots and put them all in one neat playlist. After this, I start working on elements of the sharing process with said playlist in the background. — I would describe this one as: very passionate, emotional with a little fun and explicit-ness threw in there!
The chosen cover - You Are My Sunshine by Jasmine Thompson - may require tissues. You’ve been warned!
I can tell this is going to be an often played playlist even as others are added to the mix.
I hope you enjoy!
I bring you guys the last bit of 2018: my December favorites!
I typically spend a lot of time looking through recommended playlists, artists and songs but December when you’re not a child is hectic! This playlist became the equivalent of leftover night. You know… the end of the week, where there’s no energy left to the task of cooking or grocery shopping, so you see what’s accumulated from the various dinners. iTunes shuffle algorithm never fails and eventually just generates those songs/albums I listen through. Some I re-discovered because my hands were busy and I couldn’t reach any of my devices.
I caught a showing of Bumblebee, and that’s where The Smiths feature comes from! — I love looking through movie/show playlists made by Spotify users because they're so thorough and include every song that the official soundtracks tend to leave out.
I’ve also included two covers because I couldn’t decide and I realized I didn’t have to! Like A Virgin by Madonna is covered in such a unique way by Caught a Ghost and Addicted to Love by Florence + The Machine.
Like leftovers, this playlist randomly came together but gets the job done!
My typical process for these playlists is listening throughout the month and taking a screenshot as a song stands out, and I find myself replaying it. By the end of the month, as I’m putting my playlist together, I tend to notice the pattern in my listening. My emotional state, in a way. We tend to get swept away in the daily routine that only the traumatic or exciting tend to stand out.
November was the month of gratitude and, boy, am I truly grateful for all. However, November was rough and, because of it, the playlist turned out soft.
I haven’t explored a lot of Spotify lately. Most of these came from my music collection, and the few times I went into iTunes to see what was new. A few favorites released new music towards the end of November, there’s a song played in the credits of a movie I landed on by channel surfing (James Morrison), and the rest of these songs are the ones I’ve ignored in artists’ albums for their more mainstream ones.
All in all, it’s one of my favorite playlists. Hope you all enjoy as well.
As many of you know, or if you don't, I have struggled with my weight my entire life. I have been a guest on the JackedCast Podcast a few times and have told my story so make sure you check those episodes out here and here. I am not going to rehash everything from the podcast, I will just start with the last month.
My journey started towards the end of October. I weighed in around 215lbs mid-October. I was comfortable with the number; however I wasn't satisfied with my look or the feel of my clothing. Everything felt a little snug. I had been looking into the Keto Diet as a few people I follow on Twitter have had great success with it. You probably want to know what the Keto Diet is. Without getting into all the nitty-gritty, the Keto Diet is a low carb (5%), moderate protein (20%) and high fat (75%) diet. For more in-depth information, Google is a great resource and so is this website, www.ruled.me. So I did some research, got a meal planner that calculated my macros for my target weight, at the time 200lbs. All of the food recommended were things I liked; bacon, steak, avocado and so on.
The first day was the most difficult. I went from grazing and snacking all day and eating what I wanted without thought to a very clean diet. Breakfast mostly consisted of sausage, bacon, eggs, and cheese. Lunches were varied, chicken, steak, ground beef with veggies, cheese, sour cream, and olive oil. Dinners were similar to lunch. I was really enjoying the first few days of food alone. October 22 was my first day, and I weighed in at 213 lbs with a BMI of 29.8. A week later on October 28th, I weighed in at 205lbs with a BMI of 27.9. Now, before you say "Holy Sh*t" a lot of that weight loss is water weight.
I was thrilled with the progress, and I thought to myself, damn I'm only 5lbs away from my goal, this diet is amazing. I continued on with the meal plan. Halloween was a little difficult because of all the chocolate that was around (a habit not craving). Aside from that, I was okay. I noticed a few things happening. First off was people seeing a change in my appearance. I saw my clothes were looser, which is the best way to tell how your diet is going. I also noticed I wasn't hungry, ever, or craving anything. I was really shocked and happy about that.
Week 2 came with no changes in my diet or activity. I lost 2lbs that week weighing in at 203 with a BMI of 27.6. The weight loss wasn't the greatest, but I wasn't expecting to maintain 5 additional pound loss per week, that's not realistic at all. I didn't change the foods I was eating, and I even slipped up with my calorie and carb budget a few times. I'm human, it happens. Best thing is to is not beat yourself up over it and get on the right course the next day.
Week 3 I had a breakthrough. I weighed in at 198lbs. I hit my original goal of 200lbs in 3 weeks. I decided I wanted to keep going and set a new goal of 185lbs. My BMI was down to 26.8, I was feeling good, not hungry, slept well. Everything was great. Then I hit a roadblock. I wasn't losing weight, in fact, I kept jumping from 196 to 199. Nothing had changed in my eating habit. I spoke to a few people I knew were on keto about their roadblocks. The best advice I got was not to begin fasting for a more extended period. I also started adding MTC Oil into my diet, mostly in my morning coffee.
Going to jump to week 4.5. The day of Thanksgiving. 193lbs and a BMI of 26.2, eight pounds away from my goal. The fasting tip I got is really paying off. The best part is I never feel hungry. I'm still eating bacon, cheese, steak, anything I want except carbs. Thanksgiving is my first "cheat day." I will be resuming Keto on Friday and will be avoiding the scale until Monday morning.
There are a few things in addition to the actual food that I do. I use this app, Carb Manager: Keto Diet App by Wombat Apps LLC, to track everything. If it has a barcode, I scan it. The app is free, but you can pay for the premium features. They allow you to track additional things. You also gain access to recipes and a meal planner. It's about $40/year. I also weigh everything I eat. That's the best way to see how much you are consuming. Keto is more than just minimal/no carbs. It's about a state your body enters. You can track it 2 ways, using urine test strips or a blood test. I do both. The strips can be found at your local drug store. The blood test kits can be ordered online. I got mine from Keto Mojo for $50.00.
Before you start any diet, consult your doctor and do your research. There are a lot of pros to this diet. Everyone responds differently to diets so my results may not be the same for you. I cannot stress enough that you do research before you begin this diet. Once I hit my goal weight, I will adjust my macros to maintain 185lbs. I am sure I can do it. That means you can do it also. You just have to stay focused and dedicated. Remember its ok to make mistakes. You also have to learn from them just as I did. If you are currently sticking to the Keto Diet, I would love to hear your goals, struggles or any food tips you have. Happy Holiday season!!
If listeners of my podcasts or readers of my blogs or tweets know me at all, they know that I am a productivity junkie! I use a bunch of apps in this specific category. Sorted 3 is one of them. What makes Sorted 3 standout? It’s a unique approach to calendar viewing. Each event is listed as a task. Once the event has finished? Mark it complete. It is also a beautiful and extremely functional task manager that merges your tasks and events together seamlessly. Sorted 3 also has a very unique feature set. One of my favorite features is task auto-scheduling. Load a bunch of tasks to your itinerary for the day and let Sorted 3 schedule them for you in between the events you already have scheduled. Then set the buffer times between each task to ensure you are not over-scheduling.
Sorted 3 is as minimal or as powerful as you need it to be. It’s easily navigated via swiping gestures. It is also one of the most polished apps I have ever used. I’m eagerly awaiting the Mac version to become a reality. In the meantime, get familiar with Sorted 3 on your Mac and iPhone for free and take advantage of additional features via in-app purchase if you want more goodness.
Are you using Sorted 3 already? Has it become your default calendar or task manager? What are your thoughts? Let us know.
Since I didn’t publish a playlist in September, my initial though was to combine September and October. That idea was quickly scratched because of the sheer number of songs.
Both months have kept me the busiest and tired I’ve been in a while. Because of this, I’ve played music from my own collection and haven’t really checked out anything new. It’s like comfort food: you need something that will hit the spot without the guesswork.
The one song that I’ve had stuck in my head for a while is 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton. I made it the first song in the playlist because it sets the mood: light and fun. The other nine songs vary from pop to folk whilst still keeping it on the lighter side, something that won’t put you to sleep whilst driving.
I hope you all enjoy!
This week my "iLike" (pick of the week) was the Burkley Detachable Leather Wallet Case for my new iPhone Xs Max
I love this case so much. It’s everything you could possibly want in ways of convenience, protection, and accessibility. This high-quality leather case doubles as a full-size wallet storing up to 3 credit cards, an ID and plenty of room for business cards, receipts and cash in the extra side pocket.
The case is perfect for someone looking to combine both of their most critical pocket items. If you decide to wear your tight jeans out for a night on the town, fret not. The internal phone case is secured by a magnet and detaching from the wallet is a piece of cake. And the inner phone case is not some generic piece of crap. It’s just as stylish with a beautiful padded leather back and a sleek, minimal design that looks good from any angle. Want wireless charging? Detach from the wallet and place it on your compatible wireless charger. It is fully compatible.
I typically bounce from case to case throughout the year, but this case has some staying power. I like it a lot. Get yours in one of 4 excellent color options for just under $70. You won’t regret it!
Shortcuts, the best new thing to come out of iOS 12 is a game changer for iPhone users all all stages and ages. I now have 271 shortcuts. That number will more than certainly grow significantly with every passing week. Shortcuts hasn’t necessarily made Siri smarter, but it has made Siri more powerful. So what can you do with Shortcuts? Well before I leave, let me get you started with a few of my favorites.
This Shortcut gives you a button press for clipping URLs to the Pocket app.
This Shortcut logs your nap in Health Kit.
Open in Apple Music: https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/b87d2387ec1e4b9fb991f8e4d6b553d2
See something you like in the iTunes Store? Use this Shortcut to add it to your Apple Music library.
A smarter way to manage the battery life of your device.
Need a smart voice assistant? Hey Google!
This week my "iLike" (pick of the week) was the new camera software updates that accompanied iOS 12.
This whole “depth of field” stuff is just wild. It can make any amateur photographer feel like a pro. I was enjoying some time with the family and was able to take advantage of these new portrait photo settings. The fact that you can adjust the contrast between the foreground and background after taking the picture is just incredible. Well done Apple.
Have you had an opportunity to test the new Xs series iPhone camera software? What are your thoughts?
This week my "Sweet TEK" (pick of the week) was all the BookBook accessories available from TwelveSouth.
So just one month ago, I was praising all the Apple leather accessories available for their products. But now I’ve changed my tune just a bit. I stumbled across some images on the TwelveSouth website and was immediately sold.
I’m in this phase of my life where I’m resenting the fact that I need technology to be effective in my personal and professional lives. And while my reasoning may sound strange, I ask you the reader, to be patient with me and let me explain.
I purchased all the black leather accessories for all my Apple devices several weeks ago. They are fine quality products. They are also expensive. But more that all that, they are a constant reminder of my addiction to all things technology and more importantly, the Apple brand. I have a real problem. TwelveSouth offers a unique lineup of products that disguises the new and shiny and wraps everything up in a pre-worn, distressed and casual package that separates the tech from the future world it belongs to and brings it back to an age where analog tools cluttered our desks and the pen & pad were our go to devices. It's the look of the TwelveSouth products that allows me to separate myself from the technology in an emotional way.
I’m hopeful this came across well and that you feel the vibe that I’m trying to share.
My laptop, my tablet, my phone and even my cables have new homes. And when all together, the tech becomes invisible, out of sight and out of mind.
What about you? Are you ready to give your tech a new look? Look no further than TwelveSouth. They are sure to have something that will make you feel nostalgic (and smart).
In August, I let iTunes introduce me to a few songs and importing into Spotify generated the rest of the playlist. "Recommended Songs" within a playlist is my most favorite feature of Spotify.
I noticed, eight out of the ten are collaborations. It's no surprise that a playlist with two collaborated songs will generate ALL the collaborations.
The cover for this month is Jason Derulo's "Want You to Want Me". There are some songs that I cannot feel in an acoustic version, this was one of them, but it grew on me. Maybe it will on you too!
I hope you all enjoy this list!
Habitify, available on iOS, macOS, watch OS and soon to be on Android, is an app to assist you in building good habits and routines and easily track progress with helpful statistical views along the way. While I use another app for habit building (a post for later), I do like to use Habitify to help me solidify my daily routines. It is a complete solution as it has clients available to me on all the Apple platforms I use. This is important to me because I switch devices as I move from task to task. Progress is synced in real time as I check off tasks running through each routine with fluidity. Habitify is developed by and tailored for those who are serious about not only being productive but also consistent in how they approach their work and self-development. I highly recommend downloading the free version for yourself and seeing if this is a utility that you could implement into your life.
This week my "Sweet TEK" (pick of the week) was all the leather accessories that protect my Apple devices
Whether it's the quality, the style or the simplicity, I love Apple's leather accessories. It all started with the iPad Pro Sleeve. It fits my iPad Pro with a smart keyboard beautifully. I love that there is even a pocket for my Apple Pencil as well. Then I took a look at the leather folio case Apple offers for the iPhone X. Once again, I came away extremely pleased. I have tried Folio cases in the past but never fell in love with anything. I'm not sure how Apple did it, but they managed to give me more room for "wallet stuff" without the bulk you get from cheaper knock-offs you can find other places. Finally, there is the pricey $179 leather sleeve for my MacBook Pro. I'm not a fan of the prices, but I can live with it if it the quality stands up like I think it will, and it can be a case for another Macbook or two moving forward.
So my devices are draped in Apple Leather. What are your thoughts on Apple's premium leather accessories? Tempted? No so much? Let us know!
Knowing that my playlist choices came from all sorts of places - speakers + Siri in a department store? Check! - Not just one streaming service, I decided to write them all down on my bullet journal first. Made it so much more comfortable than screenshots on my computer or iPhone.
The first song is the cover song of the month: Tiny Dancer by Elton John. This cover is by Florence + The Machine. I listened to it about ten times a day since I was introduced to it in the cool down part of a SoulCycle class. This is the only, somewhat, unrelated song in the playlist. If Google is to be relied on blindly, this was written for the women behind the band members who take care of everything behind the scenes.
The rest of the playlist deals with romantic love. Various levels of it because apparently, I couldn't stick to one single mood in July. There's two from my personal (iTunes) library that is the opposites. One is about a crush (Things I'll Never Say by Avril Lavigne) and the other about going through your SO's phone and getting heated discovering things you don't like/suspected (Thru Your Phone by Cardi B). The rest of the songs are everything in between. All thanks to Discover Weekly from Spotify!
I had a lot of fun with this one, I hope you all enjoy!
This week my "Sweet TEK" (pick of the week) was not so sweet. As a matter of fact, the verdict is still out on this one as the feature is now in beta and has not been working reliably.
In public beta 2 of iOS 12.0, Screen Time quit working all together immediately crashing upon launch. Beta 2 fixed that issue but with the fix came more problems. Now it appears that if an app shuts down due to the "Downtime" set, the button the user is to push to request for more time does not work. This is the beta life. You can't complain, but we do anyway.
I am a fan of the idea behind Screen Time. Becoming more aware of how my time on my iPhone gets spent, opens my eyes to time invested vs. time wasted. Downtime, a tentpole feature of Screen Time has really pushed me to get to bed on time. I have used 3rd party apps to simulate these features up until now but full integration natively from Apple (once it works as advertised), will just be awesome.
There is more to Screen Time, such as having the ability to set time limits by app category, access to more powerful parental controls and a less distracting view of your lock screen first thing in the morning.
I'm curious, what are your thoughts on Screen Time? Will you be making use of these new tools or ignoring their existence?
I have a pair of them to accompany my two HomePods. What are they? Simple little HomePod coasters that have been crocheted for me by my wonderful wife. She has been honing her craft and meanwhile, I happened to be reading an article about #RingGate. Click the link here for more on that story. Anyway, I use the HomePads to protect the wood finish of the tables in my office. They also add warmth to the cold and neutral grey HomePods. Interested in having some made? I can ask if she has the time. Who knows? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
June didn't have a lot of new (music) releases that I eagerly awaited. Instead of seeing what Spotify thought I'd like, I spent the majority of the month in other's playlists. I mainly follow artists there but there are a few individuals with similar taste in music that I've added. That's where most of these jems.
The three that were not, were from previous iTunes purchases. I downloaded Leon Bridges' first EP, he released a new album and Beyond, the song in this playlist, reminded me more of his first singles.
I don't think I'd call myself a Lily Allen fan. I know there was one song a few years back that was very popular and even then I passed. From the playlists of those I follow, I previewed a few songs of her latest album and quite enjoyed the entire thing! Unexpected and surprised it somehow piqued my interest but glad it did.
The cover I chose for this months list is Girls Just Want To Have Fun. The original version is cute and fun but I liked the contrast of the chorus on this one. It's one of the Spotify Singles by Charlotte Lawrence, Nina Nesbitt & Sasha Sloan.
I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.
So for the past few months, I have been quite happy with the battery case I have been using on my iPhone X. But the lighting port connection became faulty, and I decided to go in a different route with protection this round. I have been on a personal quest to eliminate screen time from my life. My thinking was that perhaps a folio style case would help with that. I was also on the lookout for a new wallet as my old one has sadly bit the dust. So I figured, why not try a case that will address both my needs. Enter the Apple Folio case for the iPhone X. I've been using it for the last few weeks and have been quite pleased with it as a wallet and as a screen time deterrent. The quality of this leather case rivals that of some of the best leather cases I have ever used. I have moved the iPhone from my front pocket to my back pocket as it sits more comfortably due to the increased bulk added by the added functionality a wallet case provides, but the convenience of combining the phone protection and a decent wallet has made the transition smooth. What are your thoughts on the folio style cases? If cost is a primary concern, Apple's take on it will set you back $100. If the price is not a significant factor, I think this will suit you fine. Please feel free to comment below and let me know what you ultimately decide on for your needs.