Deciding on a new camera

When it comes to taking photos, I always resort to my iPhone. It’s a great camera and provides an adequate level of quality in most of the photos that I take. Lately though, I find myself looking towards an actual camera itself.

There’s lots of reasons for this, but the main reason is that I want to understand more about taking photographs as opposed to just pointing and clicking with my iPhone. I also know that I will, with time, take better pictures than my iPhone does. I’m hoping to use the camera for a wide-range of photos, but mostly I’m looking to using it for wide landscape shots, action shots and portraits.

I’m looking at a DSLR camera, specifically the Canon EOS 4000D DSLR. It comes in at an affordable price and many of the reviews I’ve read, rate it as a good entry camera. The next model up from this is slightly more expensive, the 2000D. At about £40 more, I’m not fully convinced though if it’s worth the jump up.

Whatever I decide, I think both are good enough starter cameras to begin with.

A moment of peace and quiet as I walked off the golf course a couple of weeks ago. #mbaug

A bug is causing my TailwindCSS to fail all of a sudden. #mbaug

Me and Drew had a great afternoon playing golf under a sky of floating clouds. #mbaug

Looking up through the trees in the back garden. #mbaug

Despite numerous attempts to read Dune over the last few months, I just can’t get into it.

Normally I wouldn’t be too bothered about ditching a book. However, when you see it on “must read” science fiction lists, you wonder if you’re missing something about the book.

Made the switch from Apple Music to Spotify today. So much easier to move about in the app and there’s the addition of the web player as well.

To get myself familiar with Ruby on Rails again, I’ve been taking some ideas from other web applications and implementing them myself. I started with Hey’s auto-filing labels. In doing so I picked up a wee bit more on remote forms and Turbolinks and the .to_sentence method.

Trust people’s common sense

Senior minister Michael Gove has said he does not think face coverings should be compulsory in shops in England, saying he trusts people’s common sense.

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr, Mr Gove said wearing a mask in a shop was “basic good manners”.

Coronavirus: I trust people’s sense on face masks - Gove

The problem with this approach is that by and large, people will ignore what’s common sense and just do what they think is right by them.

I don’t always agree with Nicola Sturgeon’s politics, but I agree wholeheartedly with the move to make masks compulsory in shops in Scotland. It keeps the staff safe, it keeps the customers safe and it removes any grey area in between where people wonder whether they should wear a mask or not.

I’ve been enjoying watching Picard on Amazon Prime for the last couple of nights. Just a few episodes in, but really enjoying it.

A paid tier on Twitter? If the benefits were right, I’d definitely go for it.

We had a new deck put in the back garden to give us more seating space. Up until that time, Scotland had been enjoying a wonderful sunshine. Since the deck was finished, and coincidentally lockdown restrictions eased, it’s been pretty much grey and wet.

That’s Scotland for you.

The 3 x 5 card

Nicholas Bate gives us a productivity system so simple it can fit on a single index card.

A fresh 3 by 5 card taken from the stack. One side is work. One side is home. Each side is divided in half with a vertical line. On the LHS side are things you need/have to do. E.g. at work return a client’s call; at home buy some pasta. On the RHS are things you don’t have to do but you will do because they will make your future life easier by reducing the things you have to do on the LHS.

The Tools of Excellence for a Brave New World, 8: The 3 x 5 card

Sat down with the rest of the family tonight and watched Hamilton on Disney+. Absolutely amazing, loved it!

My review of The Last of Us Part 2

This week I finally finished The Last of Us Part 2.

I’ve been waiting patiently for this game to come out for a few months. Being a fan of the first one, I eagerly awaited its release. I preordered the game through the PlayStation store and started playing it a couple of days after the release date. This post is just a few thoughts I had on the game. I’ve tried to avoid any spoilers, which is why this review is short.

The game starts five years after the first game with Joel and Ellie settled in the town of Jackson. From here, the story begins to unravel with a good pace, and you’ll soon find yourself in the thick of the action once again. You’ll find yourself taking out the infected, as well as searching for crafting items and munitions to top up your supplies.

There are some differences to the first game that I liked. For a start, there are more characters in this game which is a nice change from the smaller cast of the first game. With more characters, you get more story, and I do like games that have a good story to them. There are also more places to explore in the game. You can wander off the path of the game a bit more, and with the added option of jumping and climbing, you can use elevation to your advantage in combat. Stealth is still the best option in combat, but you can also use speed to your advantage, as your character can switch between actions more smoothly.

The setting and story are two areas of the game that I particularly enjoyed. Seattle, where most of the game takes place, has been recreated with incredible detail. While the setting was fantastic, it’s the story between the characters that I enjoyed the most. There are cinematic scenes in between the action that fills in parts of the story. I thought there were more of these scenes than in the first game, but to be honest, they did add to the game and its story.

The game also has its dark and violent moments. That’s not to say these moments shouldn’t be in the game. They should. It’s these moments that add heightened tension to the game. By the end of it, you’ll wonder how you’ll ever manage to play the whole thing again.

Despite these dark moments, I thoroughly enjoyed playing the game. It’s a different game from the first one but also a different game from many other games. I think it stands up there as a great game, and those involved at in producing the game at Naughty Dog, have done a fantastic job in creating a successful sequel to The Last of Us.

Friday night fun.

Pizzas from our favourite local Italian restaurant, a couple of cocktails for me and Jen, followed a few board games including the family favourite, King of Tokyo.

A great way to start the weekend.

Despite switching to TailwindCSS, I still find myself styling components so that they look very similar to Bootstrap. I’m still startout on the journey of TailwindCSS though, and I think in time, I’ll start to find ways to get away from this styling.

Google acquisition of Fitbit being scrutinised by EU regulators

Google announced it was buying Fitbit last year for $2.1 billion and said it hoped to complete the deal some time in 2020. But it’s possible the acquisition will be delayed over fears about the search giant’s increased access to sensitive data from Fitbit’s hardware, including users’ heart rates, their fitness activity, and their sleep patterns.

Google’s $2.1 billion Fitbit acquisition is getting closer scrutiny from EU regulators

I’m still glad I deleted my Fitbit account when I did. Regardless of whether Google says they will or won’t use my data for its search and advertising, I’d rather not give them any chance at all to use it.

Today’s plan was to get in a round of golf with my son, my dad and my uncle at my dad’s golf club. I’ve been looking forward to it for a couple of weeks. As always though, the weather has scuppered these plans.

Taking the day to instead work on my product for a few hours.

Hello Hey!

I’m sold on Hey email.

In the last six days that I have been using it, I’ve been getting my head around its features and workflows that make Hey different from most other email services.

The screener is a nice feature. When you receive an email from someone from the first time, Hey asks you if you want to continue to receive email from that person. Instead of you trying to determine if you have received an email from someone, Hey lets you know. Nice touch!

What I like best about Hey though is that it doesn’t look or act like a typical email client. There are some similarities sure, but instead of going down the same route as every other email client and using the same view for each collection of email, Hey goes a step further to make different groups of email more comfortable to read. The Paper Trail allows to scan recently received receipts, but The Feed page shows recently received newsletters and also makes them easy to browse through much like you might scroll through RSS feeds.

One advantage I’ve found from signing up to Hey is that I can stop using an email address tied to my domain name. Sure, it’s nice to own your domain name as well as use it for your email address, but I often wondered if tying these two together was a bit of a hindrance. Over the years my email address has been used for all manner of accounts and is probably on quite a few mailing lists that I would rather it wasn’t on.

In signing up for a Hey email address, it felt like I had a clean slate to start over with again. When Hey adds the ability to use custom domains, I might not transfer over my domain right away. I think I’ll keep going with Hey’s email address for as long as I can.

I’m going to pull the trigger on the subscription tomorrow at some point. Sure, it’s early days for Hey, and there are lots of things that are missing, but for a product in its first few weeks of launch, it’s got more than enough new features to make me switch over.

Is it time to go out on your own?

In a post-Covid world, maybe the time has come to go out on your own. Keep it simple initially: just you, no start-up capital and a desire to be beholden to nobody. Except you, of course.

Agility Is The Big New Differentiator

Since the lockdown started, it’s clear to me that striking out on my own again is the best way to go.

Giving Hey a try

With Basecamp’s Hey email product now open to everyone, I have decided to try it out for myself over the next two weeks. The plan is to send some newsletters over to Hey and forward a few emails to my Hey account. During this free trial phase, I’ll decide whether to stick with Hey or not. There are, however, several factors which will influence my decision.

I’ve been a FastMail customer for years. I have several email addresses redirecting to a single FastMail account. I’ve never queried the service and what it offers in all those years, but even though I am happy with the service, Hey’s rethink of email has me wondering what else they can provide in the long term.

My primary email address uses my domain for my email address. I also have a few email addresses on other domains as well in FastMail. Hey have indicated that they will support custom domains in the future, but what will that support entail? A single domain, multiple domains?

Like most online services my family uses, we are usually all in them together. iCloud, Netflix, FastMail as well as a few others. Email is one service we use that we are all in one. It would be nice if Hey included a family plan as well. Especially one that supported custom domains for each user as well.

The next couple of weeks will be interesting to see how good Hey is, but I’m not sure that two weeks will be enough to see what Hey is capable of doing. And with it being a new product, there are many features that we won’t see until after a few weeks or even months of usage, by which time I will definitely need to have bought into using it.

I like the new GitHub

This week, GitHub shipped a significant change in its user-interface. And with it comes the same reactions from people that we see whenever any product does a significant user-interface change. Some people like it, some people love it, some people are indifferent, and some people want it back to the old design.

I like the new design, but I did find one particular aspect of it a bit weird. The white space between the repository name and tabs on the left and the repository actions on the right is quite big on my 24-inch monitor. Maybe it’s the alignment of the repository tabs being on the left and not centred in the middle. Yeah, that’s it. Other than that, I like the new GitHub.

This morning as I trawled through my RSS feeds, I found a few links to CSS stylesheets and extensions that revert the GitHub design to the old design. As I’m sitting in the camp that likes the new design, I took a pass on reverting the GitHub design.

Having seen lots of user-interface upgrades over the years on different platforms, I’ve rarely had a moment where I dislike the new interface so much that I would install a plugin or stylesheet that reverts to the old one interface. This stylesheet or plugin won’t always ensure I can use that same design and if it does stop working, then the transition to the new design is that much harder.

These design changes improve the product and also give it a fresh coat of paint to keep it relevant. Also, this new design change from GitHub is not complete yet. GitHub will use this new design as a foundation for more minor changes to come. And with it, there will be a growing appreciation for the design.

That is until they start thinking about a new design change ten years down the line. But that’s okay. I can work with this new one until that happens.

Great night for a few holes.

We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter

An apology from the NFL’s commissioner, Roger Goodell:

We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter.

We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter

This apology from the NFL’s commissioner Roger Goodell, is a move in the right direction. Some might say it’s too late though. It’s been four years since Colin Kaepernick started protesting by kneeling during the US national anthem. His action’s are now being replicated at protests all across the US. Sure, the NFL have admitted that they are wrong, but the real test in their words will be during the upcoming season. Will players be allowed to peacefully protest during the national anthem?