This BGR headline is ridiculous. The reason Apple started streaming The Interview, is because they decided not to give all the distribution cut of the money from the film to Xbox Video (where I bought it) and Google Play. The film is making money, Apple is in the business of making money, and therefore they would be fools not to offer it. The question is why did they delay offering it and lose out on the initial surge of money. I doubt it’s because of Apple TV consumer demand. I doubt it’s because they initially thought the movie was in bad taste and didn’t want to release it. It was probably some legal/political negotiation point with Sony that delayed it… or simply Apple’s internal holiday logistical delays.
So 2014 was a slow year for me in terms of blogging. I’m not making any sort of New Year’s resolution, because I don’t believe in them and gave them up years ago as my last New Year’s resolution, BUT I am resolved to return to blogging and be more vocal here than I have been going forward.
Because, lately, I haven’t felt as myself as I used to feel. I am a blogger, after all, and a good one. Time to re-embrace that destiny, and give up on things like being a writer, which isn’t the same thing, and which I’m not as good at. So there.
This is an odd place to be for a former Lead Blogger for The Unofficial Apple Weblog, but here I am. Sure I have an iPhone Plus and my work machine is a 13-inch MacBook Pro Retina, and I work for an awesome creative software studio that’s often working with Apple on cutting edge software for our clients. But, I realized sometime during the past year that in order to avoid the dark-side of my workaholic nature, and in order to still enjoy technology as I always have, I needed a separation between my work computing and my personal computing. And so I took the 13-inch MacBook Pro Retina that was my personal machine and which I’d been using for work for 2 years, and I sold it, and asked work to provide me with a computer.
This then sent me into determining exactly what I need in a personal computer. I knew I didn’t need another machine that simply became a replica of my work machine and was ill-used. One of my long-term goals has been to produce my own graphic novel, and over the past 5 years I’ve been trying to move from traditional art to digital art in support of that goal. What did I want in. a personal computer in support of this? A touchscreen interface with some sort of pen entry with pressure sensitivity, of course. On the Mac side of the world, there are no solutions for this. The closest to it is the Modbook Pro, but it’s a clunky hack that is based on older Apple hardware. Not to mention it’s expensive.
This summer there was a nice sale on the Cintiq Companion Windows tablet, so I bought one and that became my personal computer. It’s been a great improvement over the Wacom 13WX tablet that I used to own and which had a cumbersome external box that had to be hooked up to a separate computer to actually use the device. The Companion is a great drawing computer, and surprisingly, Windows 8.1 is a great OS for a device that straddles the world between tablet and computer. And it’s so much better than the days of XP (which was the last time I was a Windows user). Sure, it has a bit of a split personality between the two different versions of Internet Explorer, etc., but more often than not it works at its chief job of getting out of my way and letting me do what I want to do.
Thanks to the Cintiq Companion and some time refining my characters, I’ve relaunched Bosh and Bill, both as a graphic novel initiative, and moved it from a dying Crowd Fusion site to an easily maintained Tumblr site (Sorry, Brian). And now I’ve finished at least an early draft of Page 1 of the first Origin story of Bosh and Bill and I’m getting good feedback on it from r/comic-crits.
So, it’s been great. But guess what? The Companion is still just a tad bit too big and cumbersome for sketchbook level doodling when I am sitting in my recliner at night juggling one of my kids in my lap, or when I’m reclining in bed at night. You know what’s a horrible tool for drawing on? The iPad. It’s just bad. People are making great art on it, but they’re basically training themselves to be specialized digital finger painters and they’re doing lots of infinite zooming and strategic erasing to get to the detail they want. It’s not convenient for an actual mobile creative workflow.
You know what is conducive to that? My brand new Surface Pro 3. I picked one up yesterday courtesy of some Christmas + early birthday gifts from my family. It’s the lowest end i5 model that was on sale for $899. I also got the cyan blue keyboard cover for it for $100 more. That’s on par with the cheapest MacBook Air you can get, and you know what? It actually is better. It’s faster, the screen is closer to “retina” than an entry level MacBook Air, and it’s a great slightly-larger than an iPad tablet device that can do so much more. I’m writing this blog post on it and so far I love it. The N-trig based pen needs calibration on a semi-regular basis and isn’t as good as the Companion’s Cintiq pressure sensitive pen on its matte paper-like screen, but it works great as a balance a kid on one knee and doodle a bit drawing device that I will actually use to accentuate my workflow and produce more drawing more often.
Also, has anyone been paying attention to OneDrive? Holy unlimited online storage, batman! I have 10TBs of storage currently available to me and if I get close to loading that to brim I just have to email them and request more. That is an amazing game changer. The smallish hard drive size on both my Companion and Surface (128GBs each) doesn’t matter with that type of large available always on storage with full backup. It’s great. Suddenly, Google Apps for free vs $100 a year for full on Office 360 PLUS UNLIMITED CLOUD STORAGE = a no brainer in Microsoft’s favor. This is all incredibly smart, and I’m very bullish on Microsoft these days due to all these smart changes.
So, in any case, I’m mostly Windows in my personal life now. So far it’s working out great. I’ll keep you posted.
The last week has been crazy.
The Friday before Thanksgiving, we received a phone call early in the morning from Kristin’s parents and discovered that her Mom’s best friend since they were kids and pseudo-Aunt to Kristin died unexpectedly in her sleep at the young age of 59. Arlene was a bright shining fun person whom I’d known for over 10 years and who was always fun to hang out with. We’d even been on vacation with her and her entire family. The news was tragic, shocking, and the beginning of a very hectic holiday week.
Kristin flew to New York on Sunday where she would meet her sister before driving up to Connecticut to attend the wake, the funeral, and deliver the eulogy for Arlene.
So Sunday, after Kristin flew off, I went into dad mode and watched both Jackson and Darcy for the rest of the day. At 3:30am Monday morning, Darcy woke up. I brought her into bed with Jackson and myself and we all got back to sleep for roughly an hour before waking at about 5:15. We then had breakfast, got dressed, packed up the mom van and me and the two kids braved the 10 hour drive cross country to Jackson, Mississippi where we were going to spend Thanksgiving with my mother. This was the first holiday since my father passed, so the recent loss of Arlene, combined with the absence of my father throughout the week weighed heavily on me and cast a bit of a shadow over everything.
I do not recommend travelling cross country with a 10 month old and a 4 and a half year old when you are the only adult. It is tiring. It is nerve wracking. And if you have any sort of back pain related issues, like I’ve had in the past, that pain tends to flare up after such a trip.
When we arrived it was instantly good to see my mother, but it was also quickly time to do all unpacking I had to do to then do all the things that one has to do with a 10 month old to prep her for bed. She was in bed, and then it became do all the things you have to do to prep a 4 and a half year old for bed. I was exhausted at this point and told my mom that I was just going to go to bed at the same time as my son. I said good night and took him upstairs only to have Darcy wake up with a very croupy sounding cough and strider. Next thing you know, I’m on my way to the ER in Jackson after a full day of driving, and I remained there until 2:30am when they finally discharged us after several nebulizer treatments and some steroids.
The next day, Kristin delivered the eulogy at Arlene’s funeral. Darcy and I woke up around 7:30 and she seemed better, although I was exhausted and we were all waiting for my brother and his family to arrive. They did late in the afternoon, and it was immediately loud and full of life and kids, but also sad, because the last time we had all been together was the week of my father’s funeral and there was an evident absence of both my father and Kristin who was away at another funeral.
Wednesday, Darcy was sounding croupy again, although not as bad as she initially sounded. I took her with me to the airport to pick up Kristin, thinking that we might end up going straight from picking up Kristin to the ER again, but on the way to the airport, Darcy fell asleep and she made no sound while sleeping so she sounded fine. We took her home, Kristin was back with us all, but Darcy woke up and sounded bad again. Later that night, Kristin decided to take her back to the ER. The doctor who saw her when I took her evidently failed to prescribe follow up medicine, and she was having a relapse, so it was good that Kristin went, and frustrating too. They got home around midnight.
The next day was Thanksgiving and it was the oddest one ever. There were no sports on all day long. Just kids shows. There was no dad. It was quiet and about the kids more than anything else. My brother said the Thanksgiving prayer and thanked God for Dad and we all cried. Then we ate and none of us spoke about it.
The next day was more just hanging out, but with the impending knowledge that the next day we would all disperse again.
Yesterday, it took us close to 11 hours to drive back thanks to multiple accidents involving motorcycles.
Last night, I could not lay flat in bed, because all the crazy travel plus holding Darcy in the ER for 4 hours straight Monday night had revived my back pain issues from a year ago.
It was good to see everyone, but such a sad tragic, tiring week. I feel like I need another Thanksgiving.