Spotify Stranger Things Easter Egg

Rummaging through Spotify’s settings today I stumbled across ‘Stranger Things Mode – Automatically enter the Upside Down when listening to compatible playlist’.

“Totally tubular” I thought as I fired up the Stranger Things soundtrack, and was magically transported to the Upside Down…

There’s no setting, but the Upside Down can also be entered via your Mac…

Spotify Stranger Things Easter Egg

Nice work Spotify.

Bellroy Passport Sleeve Unboxing

Those of you that frequent my blog on a regular basis will know that I am a big fan of Bellroy’s lovely wallets and leather goods.

I was chatting with the lovely Nashata from Bellroy about their new range of bags – the Duo Work Bag is on my Christmas list – and was delighted to be offered the opportunity to check out their Passport Sleeve.

I’m not due to fly for a couple of weeks, which makes it sound like I fly far more than I do, so in advance of a full review I thought I’d do one of those new fangled unboxing so beloved of YouTubers.

Here goes…

I always enjoy the understated elegance of Bellroy’s packaging – the outside belying the delights within.

Classic Bellroy attention to detail; the refill for the mini pen has its own slot within the packaging, most other manufacturers would have either not included one or just tucked it inside.

The Bellroy Passport Sleeve in all its glory.

Loaded and ready to fly.

Next stop Pixel Pioneers in Belfast

Logitech Keys to Go Review

Logitech Keys To Go Review

I’ve tried a number of keyboards and keyboard cases for the iPad, and my favourite by far is the Logitech Keys to Go keyboard. I’m typing this very sentence on it now.

So what makes the Keys to Go so good?

I prefer a keyboard that is separate from the iPad, as it gives me more flexibility when I’m typing. I can raise the iPad up closer to eye level for example, and keep the keyboard where it needs to be for typing.

A separate keyboard allows me to use the Smart Cover on the iPad, keeping it light and easy to hold when I’m not typing.

These two things alone make the Apple Smart Keyboard a non-starter.

The Keys to Go has another significant advantage over the Smart Keyboard – an extra row of control keys including media and volume controls, a home button, even a screenshot button.

It’s beyond me why the Apple Smart Keyboard doesn’t have these.

Which just leaves the all important feel of the keyboard.

Everyone has personal preferences when it comes to keyboards, and I really like the Keys to Go. I find I type more accurately on my Keys to Go than on my Magic Keyboard.

The keys have a surprising amount of travel given the very flat design; there’s a very positive feel on pressing the keys, not a click, but reassuring tactile feedback.

Oh and did I mention it’s splash-proof? Handy should you spill your Flat White.

The Logitech Keys to Go makes the iPad a genuine laptop alternative for when I’m away from my desk.

And it appears to be on offer on the Logitech site – order one now, thank me later.

Design Is How It Works

design is how it works steve jobs

"Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer – that the designers are handed this box and told, “Make it look good!” That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."

— Steve Jobs

Putting the Artificial In Artificial Intelligence

My son shared this video with me over the weekend, and it really made me chuckle. I guess we don’t need to worry about AI taking over quite yet…

On Siri, Privacy and Consistency

siri-waveform

Apple talks often and proudly about respecting its users privacy, about not sharing or storing information ‘in the cloud and about using machine learning and algorithms on the users device.

About not sharing or storing information ‘in the cloud. About using machine learning and algorithms on the users device.
 
Yet despite all talk of privacy and machine learning, Siri is dependent upon Apple’s servers to decipher spoken instructions.
 
This dependency on server based processing has a negative impact Siri’s effectiveness. On anything less than wifi or a 4G connection Siri is often unable to recognise speech.
 
I now drive to and from the office and I thought Siri would be a great tool for capturing thoughts and tasks as I drive. Much of my route takes me through the English countryside, where connections range from 4G to GPRS and everything in-between. At least 50% of the times I attempt to use Siri it fails, or I receive the message that my watch will tap me on the wrist when it is ready – it never does.
 
So why if Apple is so keen to process information on devices is Siri completely dependent upon ‘the cloud’? Having Siri process speech on the device would improve it’s effectiveness and usefulness.
 
Hell, it might “just work”.