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Star Wars Day & Finn’s Name, Polarr App, Scanbot App

Star Wars Day & Finn’s Name

So today is Star Wars day, May the 4th, and I thought I’d take a moment to talk about how Finn got his name.

The day that The Force Awakens came out, Jenn and I still had not decided on a boy’s name. We had a thousand girls names that we agreed on, but for boys we just couldn’t agree on one. We had a shared Wunderlist of boys names that was 15 names long and we couldn’t pick one.

There’s little Finn!

While we were watching The Force Awakens on opening night with a BFF (boys can say that too right?) we felt Finn kick for the first time. I knew he would be a Star Wars fan! But during the movie I kept hearing Poe talk to FN2187 or Finn. I kept hearing that name and just loving the way it sounded. Jenn had put the name Finley on our list. I never really stuck with that name, but hearing Finn sounded great.

A week had gone by and I couldn’t get the name Finn out of my head. So we were driving down the name and I turned to Jenn and said, “Let’s name him Finley. We can call him Finn.” She was ecstatic. We decided to choose my favorite name, Truman named after my Grandfather, as his middle name.

This was last year. Finn with his hunk of junk!

So we didn’t directly name him Finn after Finn from the movie, but Star Wars was the deciding thing that pushed me to go with the name Finn. So Finn has close ties with Star Wars. He even has a small plush Millennium Falcon that he loves to play with.

So that’s our Star Wars day story.

Polarr App

If you haven’t heard of the app Polarr then you need to go check it out. It’s a photo editing app for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It edits RAW and has about every single option for editing that you can think of. It even has the ability to do local adjustments with the Apple Pencil on the iPad which is what many photographers have asked for.

My one hang up is the UI. I just don’t really like it. Swiping through the filters, which aren’t super great, is horrible. It’s such a pain to navigate most things too. Compared to Snapseed it’s a chore to do anything it seems. Snapseed seems so natural to use whereas Polarr just is not that great. Now, it’s super functional. Don’t get me wrong. It has everything you could want, but it isn’t beautiful.

All the buttons at the bottom are just too small.

One thing it has that I just discovered is the ability to save a preset. Even Lightroom doesn’t have this option. So I edited a photo tonight and saved the preset and used it on other photos and it works perfectly. It even syncs between devices. That’s pretty hot.

So I’m trying to use it more for editing, but not for it’s pre-made filters. I just don’t really like them. I don’t know why, but they seem a bit more extreme. VSCO, RNI, and Filmborn’s filters are a bit more subtle which I’m seeming to like more now.

I’ll keep giving it a try this week and report back on if it makes it to my first page of apps.

Scanbot App

Scanbot is an app you need. I don’t care who you are, but this is an app you need. It’s just a simple scanning app, but it works perfectly. Any, I mean absolutely any, important paper I get that I don’t want to forget I immediately scan it in to Scanbot. Scanbot has the best scanning technology and it immediately turns it in to a PDF and pushes it to iCloud and Dropbox as well as keeps it in the app. It can then use OCR (optical character recognition) to read numbers and text for you to copy. It’s insane.


Recently Scanbot added the ability to fax from the app. Yep, you can now fax something you scanned in. Jenn and I have to often fax papers in for Finn’s medical bills and what not. This will be helpful. We haven’t tried it yet, but I will be trying it tomorrow.

There’s something super comforting about scanning in every piece of paper and always having it with you. Business cards, bills, packets of information, everything. I scan it all in. We get lots of packets of info regarding Finn every time we go to the Cystic Fibrosis Center downtown. I scan them all in. I will then go in to Dropbox and take them out of the Scanbot folder and store it an the appropriate folder.

Scanbot is the app that I never knew I needed, but now it sits on page 1 of my iPhone and I use it all the time. It’s an app you definitely need. Go check it out now.

-Woody

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Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month, Quantified Self, Airmail

Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month

So May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness month. Our son was diagnosed when he was 1 month old last year on May 13. We had no idea what CF was.

For those that don’t know, this is how the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation describes CF:

Cystic fibrosis is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time…People with CF have inherited two copies of the defective CF gene — one copy from each parent. Both parents must have at least one copy of the defective gene.

Jenn and I are both carriers of the CF gene ∆F508. So Finn has the mutation double ∆f508. Right now he’s doing good. There are still lots of struggles with this disease. He has to do breathing treatments two times a day for the rest of his life or until there is a cure. He needs to take enzymes before he eats because he can’t get all the nutrients from his food. Here’s how the CFF explains this and a few other things:

People with cystic fibrosis are at greater risk of getting lung infections because thick, sticky mucus builds up in their lungs, allowing germs to thrive and multiply. Lung infections, caused mostly by bacteria, are a serious and chronic problem for many people living with the disease. Minimizing contact with germs is a top concern for people with CF. The buildup of mucus in the pancreas can also stop the absorption of food and key nutrients, resulting in malnutrition and poor growth. In the liver, the thick mucus can block the bile duct, causing liver disease. In men, CF can affect their ability to have children.

Because of the thick sticky mucus we have to be super careful with germs. We now have to become “those parents”. You know, the kind that wipes everything down with Clorox wipes and bathes in sanitizer. We have to so that Finn will be healthy. Yes, we can get looks at restaurants or even comments from waitresses, “First time parent?” Yes, we actually had a waitress ask that and we said, “Yes, why do you ask?” She pointed out all the cleaning we were doing and we had to explain to her that our son had a rare disease and we had to do this even though we don’t want to. She apologized and all was well.

Every day can be a struggle, but with the right support system it can work. We have amazing friends and family that help us.

Finn doing his breathing treatments.

May is also when the CFF has their big fundraiser Great Strides. It’s a 5K walk to raise money. Georgia always does very well. Here’s our Great Strides page if you want to learn more or donate: Finn For The Win

Quantified Self

I’ve always been super interested in the quantified self movement. The whole idea behind it is that you track certain things about yourself so that you can take that data and see possible ways to be better. Small versions of this is tracking your heart rate and steps. There are some people that take this to the extreme, but also are able to get a lot of excellent insights.

I’ve been using an app on and off over the past few years called Reporter. The app sends you six random “surveys” a day that asks you a bunch of questions and collects data. You write the questions based on what you want to know. So I have questions like, “Are you being productive right now?” And after that I have, “What circumstances are encouraging you to be productive?” and “What circumstances are hindering you from being productive?” After a certain period of time I can take this data and start to see if there are trends on when I’m being productive and what typically contributes or hinders me being productive. It also records your location and who you are with so you can see if there are certain locations where you typically are happier or certain people that make you happier.

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Not only is Reporter a useful app, it’s very well designed.

I’ve just started this app back up again and I’ll report back when I have about a months worth of data. Before the app wouldn’t back up to iCloud and it does now. Super excited.

Airmail

I’m going to start using Airmail as my new e-mail app. I really like the design and it has a ton of 3rd party integration too. I really like sending e-mails to my to-do app. It helps me remember the context of certain to-dos.

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From airmail.com. It’s a simple and great looking app.

I’ll update after I’ve used the app for a while to see if it’s a worthy replacement for the stock app.

 

-Woody

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Sippy Cup, Pretty Little Liars, RNI Films

 Sippy Cup

Finn has been able to hold his sippy cups for a while, but he’s chosen not to. He will take it and hold it and flip it upside and start biting the bottom, lol. Occasionally he will drink from it while holding it, but today he really started holding it better.


It makes things ten times easier when they can start holding and drinking by themselves. I’m so glad he started and I can’t wait to see him get better.

Pretty Little Liars

So Jenn and I are picking up Pretty Little Liars again. We’ve watched a ton of it and I’ve noticed a few things.

The girls miss A LOT of school and no one seems to care. They are NEVER in class! The skip class like they were in community college. I went to both public and private school and both of them required that you be in class. These girls had to have missed like 60 days or more of school in a year. Not to mention that they never wear the same thing twice and they always have brand new clothes and their hair is always perfect. They have probably spent $30,000+ in clothes and haircuts.

Anyways, it’s a fun show.

RNI Films

This app is amazing. It’s from the company called RNI or Really Nice Images. They make Lightroom film presets just like Mastin Labs or VSCO. But so far, both Mastin Labs and RNI make apps that, I believe, are better than VSCO.

Here’s a picture of Finn I took today and the second picture is the Kodak Ektar 100 film preset with the RNI Films app. I love the result.



I much prefer to have presets that are based on an actual film rather than just a number. VSCO is moving to this, but it’s still far behind. I also don’t like having to import photos in to VSCO where they just sit there for no reason taking up extra space. RNI and Filmborn take the photo, edit it, and you can overwrite the original or save a new copy. Far superior to VSCO.

-Woody

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Microsoft To-Do, Random Pipe, Portrait Mode

Microsoft To-Do

I have to say something…I like a Microsoft app. I’m sorry. But I actually like it. Recently Microsoft announced that they are slowly going to be killing off Wunderlist and creating their own app called To-Do. They are getting ripped on ProductHunt and Facebook. It just seems to be easy to beat up on Microsoft. They are sort of like the nerdy kid in school: he’s useful, smart, but a little ugly. It’s easy to make fun of them.

But I have to say that I believe that these people are wrong. To-Do is a great looking app. It’s simple, well designed, and functional. I really like it. I’m going to give it a go and write up a little mini-review later.

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I think people are just upset that Wunderlist is finally going away. That part I understand.

Random Pipe

Anyone understand pipes? Our townhouse has a random pipe that comes out of the ceiling in our second bedroom. They assured us that it would never drip. Guess what? It’s dripping.

The good thing is we will be out soon anyways. There’s just no way that having a pipe stick out of the ceiling is up to code…

Portrait Mode

I cannot stress how amazing Portrait Mode is on the iPhone when you have good lighting. I used to have the setting on where you keep both the Portrait Mode photo and the original, but I found I never used the original. So now I just save the Portrait Mode photo. The results are amazing. Take a look at a few pictures of Finn using Portrait Mode with some light shining in. I edited these using the RNI Films app.

 

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Edited using RNI Films app on iPhone.

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Edited using RNI Films app on iPhone.

-Woody

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Getting Things Done, Mindful Minutes, WordPress Updates, Bob’s Burgers.

Getting Things Done

I’ve read David Allen’s Getting Things Done book several times. I love it. I love the whole method of GTD. It’s actually insanely complex, but there’s one aspect of it that I use all the time. His first step is to get everything out of your head and on to your paper, or app. So anything you’ve been thinking about at all: digitizing VHS tapes, taking out the trash, checking the oil in the car, finally picking up basket weaving; get it all out.

Once I start getting everything out of my head and in to my todo app, things get easier. The burden has been lifted and now I can just check my app to see what needs to be done. It’s one simple, small, step, but it has huge dividends. I stopped doing that for a while and just picked it up when I redownloaded Omnifocus the other day. I was using Todoist, but there’s something about Omnifocus’ design that I just love. It’s simple, but can be complex. Since I’ve started using Omni again I’ve gotten way more things done.

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I love using Omnifocus. It’s super simple when I need it to be, but complex enough to handle anything.

Mindful Minutes

I can’t tell you much mindful minutes has helped me. I’ve read tons of articles and a productivity book that mentions how just taking a few minutes to breathe and focus on your breathing can “hack” (remember that buzzword from 2015?) your brain in to being more focused.

It’s certainly helped me. The tough part can be finding a quiet space. During lunch I’ll hop over to my parents house which is usually empty and I’ll get about 5 minutes of breathing done through the Breathe app on the Apple Watch. It’s huge boost.

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If you have an Apple Watch and you ignore the little Breathe notification that pops up…stop. Use it. It’s such a big help during the day.

WordPress Updates

I normally hate WordPress. Their backend is complicated and annoying. Once you use Ghost and Svbtle, everything seems complicated. Those are the most simple backends of any website builder out there. Svbtle, of course, has no site builder. You upload a logo and choose a color. That’s it. Simple, but sometimes too simple.

Well WordPress has done some work. It’s a much more refreshed design so far. I really like it. I’m using the free WordPress.com instead of WordPress.org because I don’t really need the .org updates yet. Maybe soon, but not now.

I also will spend a week or two actually picking a reasonable theme to settle on. I nitpick on everything.

Bob’s Burgers & Downton Abbey

Bob’s Burgers is one of the best shows on television that a lot of people haven’t seen. Every now and then they will pattern an episode loosely off of a movie or something. This week they did a Downton Abbey episode. Bob and Linda won a weekend at what they called “The American Downton Abbey” house. It was a LARP or Live Action Role Play.

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Each person was given a role to play and they were in character the whole weekend. Sounds fun. Unless of course you are chosen to be the help instead of the “upstairs people”. It turns in to a sort of Stanford Prison Experiment scenario and it’s super funny. Definitely a fantastic episode. Check it out for sure if you haven’t seen it.

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Booster, Day One, Cameras, Braves.

So I’ve decided to start a daily blog where I recap my day. I already do this on my Day One app. Day One is a journaling app that is on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. I’ve had it for years. I think I’ve had it for about 5 years or so. I’ve been digitally journaling in it for a while. I have over 1,400 entries in it. Every day I would recap my day and just simply talk about what went on that day. It’s one of the best things you can do at the end of the day.

So I’ve decided to also write on a blog. Talk about how I’m adjusting to a job after working in retail for a long time, apps I’ve encountered during the day, starting a YouTube Channel this year, buying cameras. Pretty much whatever comes to my mind. So let’s get to today.

***

Booster

Our son has Cystic Fibrosis and this weekend he’s had a runny nose. He’s doing ok, but that means that we need to do extra treatments. Breathing treatments 4 times a day is tough. Ask any parent of a child with CF (cystic fibrosis). We will have to do breathing treatments 4 times a day for maybe the next two weeks even though he will be feeling better soon. It’s tough, but as long as he feels better than it’s all worth it. You get used to this sort of thing as a CF parent.

We also have opened his T-shirt Booster for one more week. Some people said they didn’t get a chance to get the t-shirt during the last run. We have to sell 13 t-shirts this time or the shirts won’t get printed. I think we can do it.

Day One App

Day One added a brand new feature that I’ve been wanting them to do for a long time to their app: printed physical books. It was inevitable. They look amazing and are reasonably priced. You can tag certain posts and then just make a book from a certain tag. So I may pick out certain entries and tag Finn’s first year of life and make a book from it. Here’s a quick look at what they look like:

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It’s literally exactly what I have been wanting. I can’t wait to print some.

Camera

I’ve decided to get a new camera as an every day camera. I love my iPhone and it takes some amazing photos but the tiny sensor limits it a lot. I want a little more zoom and I want a little bit better IQ. I believe that I have narrowed it down to the Panasonic LX100. It’s super cheap now and is the exact style that I want. Fixed lens, micro four-thirds sensor and a great lens. It also has the same killer 4K video from the GH4. The only internal conflict I have is Fuji. I really want a Fuji camera, but I would rather wait and save up for a Fuji camera and some lenses. I want a cheaper smaller camera for my every day camera. That’s why I think I’ll get the LX100 and save up for an X-T20 or something. Here’s what the LX100 looks like, I love the classic design and manual controls:

 

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Braves

The Braves have got to start winning again. That’s pretty much it. 6 losses in a row will not cut it. Our starting pitching has been good, but our defense and relief pitching has been horrible. Jenn and I are going to the Star Wars Night game May 6. Super excited to see the new stadium!

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