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Ottawa, Ontario
Canada

Just a little corner of the interwebz where I occasionally jot down a thought or two. Why do I do it? Partly to communicate in some way with you, the reader, and partly because it's some sad way of leaving a legacy of some kind I guess.

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Ramblings

nerd no more

Jonathan Tom

When I was in High School I was a nerd. There, I said it, and if I’m honest, I’m still a nerd but the difference is that I’ve realized it’s not something to be ashamed of but rather to be celebrated. I spent time in the library, I learned sleight of hand, I played a significant amount of cards, and yes, I played dungeons and dragons. For the longest time the stigma of D&D players (as well as AD&D) was that… well, perhaps it’s just better to show you:

As I went from high school to college and into The Real World (tm), I had forgotten about my D&D days but about a year ago I discovered an online, video podcast called Critical Role where a group of professional actors get together and play D&D. I was hooked on the way these actors brought their characters to life - it was amazing and it’s no longer solely attached to the geek subculture. At one point I looked at the viewership for the 9/28 episode and there were over 24,000 viewers!

I feel like I should mention the actors (and some of the guest players) since I’ve made such a big deal of them above:

Matt Mercer also DMs for a Nerdist show called CelebriD&D which has featured such celebrities as Vin Diesel, Joe Manganiello, and John Bradley (best known as Samwell Tarly in Game of Thrones) playing D&D.

In short, Dungeons & Dragons is not just for nerds anymore!

do it again

Jonathan Tom

It's taken me a little while to gather my thoughts on the recent events in Las Vegas. I've come to a revelation and had some thoughts. Firstly, I feel like this happens all too frequently and I would rather not have thoughts be triggered by senseless acts of violence or natural disasters where people get hurt. That being said, with all of these things going on where we all proclaim "prayers for xyz" we have to ask ourselves if prayers are enough anymore?

I may not be a particularly religious man (although I would consider myself spiritual) but shouldn't we be taking a long hard look at the root cause of these events? Climate change and gun control seem to be the major issues on the table here. Climate change has been addressed ad nauseum so I don't feel the need to address it here but suffice to say that if you still believe that mankind has negligible impact on climate change then perhaps you should stop following me right now.

Australian comedian, Jim Jeffries has a good segment on guns (full transcript here):

There’s nothing wrong with saying, “I like something. Don’t take it away from me.” But don’t give me this other bullshit. The main one is, In American accent “I need it for protection. I need to protect me. I need to protect my family.” Really? Is that why they’re called “assault rifles”? Is it? I’ve never heard of these fucking “protection rifles” you speak of. Protection? What the fuck are you talking about? You have a gun in your house, you’re 80% more likely to use that gun on yourself, than to shoot someone else. And people think, “Well, that’d never happen to me.” You don’t know that, because you know what? ♪ From time to time We all get sad ♪ ♪ One day you’re happy Then you’re sad ♪ ♪ And then, uh-oh ♪

Faith is all well and good but at some point we, as a species, need to step up and take action to ensure the safety of our fellow human beings. So today, make eye contact, smile, say a kind word, or do something nice for someone; and tomorrow, do it again.

show us your home screen

Jonathan Tom

iPad Edition

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what are some of your favourite apps?

On the iPad I would have to say that my favourite apps are Flipboard, Facebook, Tweetbot, and Photos. I use at least the first three of those every day. Flipboard as my digital newspaper and the other two to feed my social addiction.

which app is your guilty pleasure?

I spend far more time than I care to admit with [Carcassonne] - it’s a great way to keep the strategic part of my brain sharp and it’s fun too (although I firmly believe that the AI cheats). Aside from that I use Flipboard quite a bit as well but I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a guilty pleasure.

which app makes you most productive?

[On my phone] I definitely go with Slack but as far as my iPad is concerned… probably GoodNotes or Todoist. While having meetings it’s useful to use GoodNotes along with the Apple Pencil to jot down ideas and reminders as they come up. I’m not going to lie though, I still keep a moleskin and a pen handy too. There’s just something about that analog feel of writing on paper.

EDIT: I change my mind - the first answer here needs to be [Duet Display]. Given the size of the iPad Pro it essentially gives me a second full sized monitor for my MacBook Pro.

what app do you know you’re underutilizing?

This has to go to DEVONthink for the same reasons as I mentioned for my “[Show Us Your Home Screen]” article. Basically I need to get a system down for it similar to what I had with Evernote.

what is the app you are still missing?

I’m not sure I’m still missing anything - a while back I would have said a good replacement for Zite but since then I’ve grown accustomed to Flipboard.

how many times a day do you use your iPad?

Probably 3-5 times a day - for extended periods mind you. Most of that time is in the evenings since the iPad is a great device for sitting on the couch.

what today view widgets are you using and why?

I don’t really make much use of today view on the iPad. So… yeah.

what is your favourite feature of the iPad?

I love the screen size of the original iPad Pro.

if you were in charge at apple, what would you add or change?

I always struggle with this type of questions since I don’t really follow the politics of the Appleverse. For the most part I just enjoy Apple products.

what’s your wall paper and why?

It’s just a stock standard Apple Wallpaper. My lock screen, however, is the Hufflepuff crest from Harry Potter. I haven’t yet found an appropriate Ravenclaw crest so until then… it’ll be Hufflepuff.

a thousand dollar phone

Jonathan Tom

The big question I keep hearing since last week’s Apple Event is all about the iPhone X (pronounced iPhone ten, but more on that later), “do I need a thousand dollar phone”? IMHO, the answer is no, especially if you’re asking the question. While I am, what I would call an Apple Fanboy, I am also strongly of the opinions that (a) you should use technology that you agree with, and (b) you should use technology that meets your needs.

Will I be getting the iPhone X? It’s pretty likely going to be ‘yes’. Do I still have some concerns with it? Also a ‘yes’. While the technology itself isn’t new, it is new to Apple products and that makes it somewhat volatile. On that topic there are a few of my more troll-like friends who like to point out that Android devices had most of this technology first. While ‘first’ is great and all, I’m happy to wait a little while for ‘right’.

So who is this phone for then? In short, I suppose it’s for people who want the top of the line, cutting (or bleeding) edge device. It goes without saying that these are people who have to be able to afford that kind of financial hit too. I think Apple realizes this too which is why they have the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus or even the older 6/6Plus and 7/7Plus available at lower price points.