iPad Air- Why I upgraded over the iPad Mini

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During the first part of January I was bouncing back and forth between getting the new iPad Air and the first-gen iPad Mini.  While I still had my trusty iPad 3, I also have an insatiable appetite for new, shiny techy things, and on a practical level was trying to lighten the load in my bag by reducing number of items I was carrying around.  At the time, I had in my bag my laptop, the iPad 3, the 30-pin charger cord, my iPhone 5 lightning cord charger, and my Kindle Touch.  Full disclaimer: I am not independently wealthy, so I made sure to sell my iPad 3 on Amazon, along  with the smart cover to help fund this new relationship with my desired iPad.
 
Originally, I found an amazing open box deal on the first gen iPad Mini at Microcenter here in Dallas.  If you ever need a place to find great deals on lightly used products, be sure to check out a Microcenter if they are in your area.  I also purchased my iPad 3 here, and have since referred to friends to make their purchases here as well.  Impossible to beat prices, although you have to watch what you get since it could have a defect or two.  But if you’re willing to take the risk, it could save you 20% or more on the price of a still-new, premium product.  
 
While I liked the lightness of iPad Mini, a few things turned me off about about:
 
  1. Size:  While I originally thought I would like the form factor, after using it for a few hours I found it just wasn’t for me.  I also realized that it would not work for my job, where I often use the iPad for meetings to review documents with customers and prospects.  The screen was just too small for my liking.
  2. Screen Resolution: Because I had the iPad 3 and the iPhone 5, I was spoiled with the Retina Screen.  Moving back to a non-retina was something I didn’t want to do.
  3. Outdated tech: I’ll admit it, this is where I sound like a real snob.  But the fact is I couldn’t justify taking my money and investing in technology that was only going to be more outdated as I used it over the coming years.
Knowing that this was not going to be my solution, I was able to also sell this new-to-me iPad Mini on Amazon (which I would not recommend- will post on that later) and take my proceeds from both sales to buy an open-box iPad Air, Black, 16GB.  AND I LOVE IT!
 
Here’s why:
 
  • Weight:  It is amazing how “airy” this piece of technology is, and how clunky it makes the iPad 3 seem.  I can literally hold the Air with 2 fingers and read on it all day long.  Huge advantage over the iPad 3.
  • Screen: I cannot believe how clear and crisp this screen is, especially when comparing to the non-retina Mini.
  • Speed: Running multiple apps on this device is a breeze, as is switching back and forth.  I have not had any issues with the iPad keeping up even when streaming movies our Apple TV, emailing, checking Twitter, etc. all at once.
I know my needs are not for everyone, and there are plenty of others who have fallen in love with the 1st gen iPad Mini and the new iPad Mini with Retina screen.  My good friend Zach never leaves home without his Mini, and has it loaded to the gills with apps that make it a virtual 2nd laptop for him.  For me, it just didn’t fit the  bill.
 
There are some things I miss about my old trusty iPad 3 though, mainly my Logitech Keyboard.  While it seems counterintuitive to want a keyboard for the iPad, the iteration I had for the iPad 3 was a lifesaver for small airplane seats (I’m looking at you, American Eagle), distraction free writing, using the DayOne Journaling App, etc.  Due to the iPad Air’s new form factor, it just doesn’t work anymore.  Perhaps that will be a purchase down the road one pops up at Microcenter.
 
What about you?  What technology changes have you made recently, or are considering making in the near future?

10056 Days…And counting!

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That is, as of January 21st, 2013, the exact number of days I have been alive.  For those of you without a calculator at home, that makes me 27 years old with 28 fast approaching.
I found this out by visiting http://www.therobertd.com/.  You can too, just click the link and scroll down.  Robert is the author of a book I read earlier this month, 20,000 Days and Counting: The Crash Course for Mastering Your Life Right Now.  While I had never heard of Robert before picking up this book I knew immediately it was a worthwhile read.  You see, Robert is the only manager that one of my favorite authors, speakers, and people, Andy Andrews, has ever had.  Andy is the author of multiple best selling books, and if you haven’t read How Do You Kill 11 Million People?: Why the Truth Matters More Than You Think or The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success you need to pick them up NOW.  Go ahead.  I can wait…
20,000 Days can literally be read in an hour or so, which is how Robert designed it.  Without spoiling too much, the main thrust I got out of this book was the importance of living with INTENTION and CHERISHING each moment we have together.  CELEBRATE each day!  And know that each and every little thing you do adds up to “The Big Thing”, whatever that is for you.
This got me to thinking as well, how am I doing with my days?  Are all days truly created equal?  And am I celebrating enough?
I do not know about you, so I am only going to speak for myself.  And the answer, truly, is no, not all days are created equally and yes, you can live intentionally while cherishing each moment.
There will always be days that stick out in life more than others.  A few of them for me are:
  • The day I was given grace
  • The day I married Kate
  • The day my daughter was born
  • The day I showed up in Tulsa, OK with everything I owed in a UHAUL truck…and drove up to a burned down apartment complex (humble beginnings)
  • The day I moved to Dallas, TX
And these have all just happened in the last 5 years!
Now if you look at these monumental events in relation to your Sunday…what do you see?  I see a day spent:
  • Resting
  • Holding my little girl
  • Talking to my wife about life, the budget, what we are doing this week
  • Getting ready for the week ahead
  • Reading
  • Watching Star Trek (RED ALERT:  Nerd Zone)
And at the end of the day, I hope you see another day that passed that you enjoyed.  We don’t always get days like that, I know.  So that just means we should celebrate the good one’s all the more.
It seems like in life we’ve been programmed to move to “big event” to “big event”.  You’re born, graduate, married, babies, anniversaries, funerals, etc.  And I am just as guilty as anyone here.  But what if, as Robert suggests, we were to live our lives with intention, cherish each day, and celebrate each moment so that when the “big events” happen, you appreciate them even more?  That’s why you see grown men crying as they move towards their goal of a Super Bowl.  Because they realized that all the little things they did added up to get them to where they wanted to be.
So go ahead, try it out!  See how many days you have been here.  Then, think about how you would like the next 5,000, 10,000, or 20,000 days to go.  What do you want to accomplish with the days ahead?  How about just tomorrow?
And here’s your thinking music 🙂

Sometimes, people are just turtles…

Several months ago, my sister-in-law was the recipient of the most elaborately planned proposal I have ever seen.  Every single married guy there has a special place in our hearts for you Bryce Smolen…you single handily showed all of us up, all at the same time 🙂 

Kate and I were fortunate to be a part of the planning process, and even more fortunate to get to spend the night at the beach house in Galveston.

The next morning I went for a run beside the ocean.  On my run, as often does, my mind started to wander and I inevitably got lost.  If you know me, you know this is not an uncommon occurrence.  In the midst of that journey, I ran across a little friend who has stuck with me to this day.

He, or she, or…honestly, I’m not really sure what the sex was.  I mean, if you were looking at a turtle, could you tell if it was a Jim or a Jane?  I think not.  For the purpose of the story, we shall simply call him Fred.

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Fred had wandered about halfway across the road when I came upon him.  Now, I like to think of myself as a good guy.  If there’s a little kid, I make a silly face.  If there’s a lady, I’ll hold the door.  If there’s a turtle halfway across what could potentially be a busy road, why, by golly I’m going to help that little guy out.  And that’s where the problem started.

Have you ever felt like that?  You come across someone and are just so overwhelmed at times with your desire to “help” that you just dive right in, not really fully thinking or considering the other persons position?  Now, Fred and I were not going to have a long discourse here.  He, was little turtle, in danger from the outside world.  I, was a big human, and obviously in a spot to help out.  Surely he would appreciate it, right?

As I bent over to pick Fred up, I realized how incredibly large his shell was.  Easily the size of a car seat.  Doing what turtles do in a perceived dangerous situation, Fred retreated to the inside of his shell.  “All the better to get you to safety little buddy!” was the thought running through my mind.

With Fred a full 5 ft. up in the air, and my feeling of chivalry growing by the second, he decided to let me know that he didn’t really appreciate me all that much messing in his world.  For all I knew, he could have been in the middle of a heated race, and I was just getting in the way of his victory.

So at that moment, he peed all over me.

And we’re not talking a little pee.  We’re talking take the nozzle off the fire hydrant jump in front and get launched in the air, pee.  Amazingly, it came out from all directions, not just one.  Still haven’t figured that one out yet.

I did get Fred safely to the other side.  There’s a joke in here that would tie in well with “why did the chicken…” but we’ll leave some brain power for later.

Moral of the story: despite the best of our intentions, some people are going to be the peeing turtle.  Do I regret helping Fred?  Absolutely not!  i hope he is still going strong and slow.  But he did teach me a valuable lesson.  The next time that urge to dive in and “help” someone comes along, take a second to actually see what the situation is.  It could be they are just going at their own pace “turtling” through things.  And if that’s all they ever want to do, then that’s all they ever are going to do.  And if you still decide that you must “help” someone…wear rain boots and watch out.

PS- This blog almost got swallowed up into the busyness of the weekend.  If you ever struggle with having things that are important to you that sometimes do not get done, go out and read The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles.  It will give you a swift dose of reality, and the realization that nothing ever gets out until you decide to just do it. 

Productivity & Pals

Every individual in this world is unique and endowed with certain traits.  For whatever reason, when God made me he gave me a certain set of skills and abilities, and decided to leave some things out.  One of these is a logical, ordered mind.  I literally struggle with just sitting down and moving step by step through a (SQUIRREL!) process.  See, it happened just now 🙂  Anyone who has ever asked me for directions, or been a passenger in a car with me on a trip of any length, can also attest to this particular character trait.  
 
For 2013, I wanted to continue the process of tightening the screws on my system so that I could be more productive and be able to rest better.  With Baby Emma in the world now, drawing “hard lines” on my time and calendar were going to be increasingly need to become a reality.  
 
There are literally dozens of different ideas out there, and certainly not “one size fits all” for anyone.  For me, I found the most comfort these past few months plugging into the Getting Things Done (or GTD) methodology as presented by David Allen.  You can find his book here: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.  
 
Be prepared: this is a hands on, get involved, and buy a dumpster for all the stuff on your desk type book.
 
I won’t bore you with the details of the system.  If you really want to dig in, I would buy the book, and also check out Michael Hyatt’s blog for multiple links and suggestions:  http://michaelhyatt.com/getting-things-done-an-update.html
 
I do, however, want to share how no system, and no person, is complete until you have a friend help you out.
 
Remember how I mentioned earlier about the non-linear mind?  I am very blessed to have a good friend who does, in fact, possess such a mind.  So when I mentioned to my friend Zach Arend that this was a new system I was going to try I had a feeling he was going to be somewhat interested.  He also has welcomed a new baby girl into his life, is traveling more for eShipping responsibilities, and overall trying to keep the same “edge” I was seeking.  
 
Once Zach had has hands on the information, he went to work and put the system in place in half the time it took me.  The guy is a freak of nature in this “systems” regard, no doubt about it.  But most importantly for me, because he dove in and got this system in place, he was able to help me overcome a HUGE obstacles I was facing and even found an iPhone app to sort things out for me.  Save the day for me, and saved me from creating some overly cumbersome processes.
 
It helps to have people in your life that have been given different gifts or skills than yours.  While it would be awesome to be great at everything, I bet we would lose a lot of what makes us human if that were the case.  I never would have thought to look for an app that would have simplified the entire process like Zach did, and certainly there is minimal chance I could have put together as wonderful a system as David which has literally changed thousands (if not millions) of lives over the past 30 years.
 
So, thank you David Allen, and thank you Zach, for your help in getting 2013 started off right!  

Welcome to 2013!

I’d like to open this up by giving a large amount of praise to three people.  The first two are my wife and daughter.  Kate, my wife, is a huge motivation and believer in me.  Emma, our daughter, is currently a screaming, lovely bundle of joy 🙂  These two ladies are my chief motivation, as I have been “talking” about doing a blog for 6 months or more.  In an effort to demonstrate the trait of “decide to do it, and then DO IT!” for both of them, this blog has been born.

The second person I’d like to thank is someone who I have never met, yet have been very inspired by his writings over the past month.  Michael Hyatt, who can be found at http://michaelhyatt.com/, and author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World (found here: http://amzn.to/UC1xd5).  His posts over the past several months have been inspirational and practical in getting a blog set up.  Thank you, Michael.  

Having learned over the past several years that often the journey is more enjoyable than the destination, I look forward to seeing where this journey into the world of blogging brings us.  These posts will be weekly, typically covering books/articles I have read, musings on life, and (hopefully) practical information on technology/efficiency that I pick up along the way.

Happy New Year to everyone, and here’s to an amazing 2013!