iPad Pro - Main Computer - Micro Update

For the past 2 years I have been using my 10.5” iPad Pro as my main computer for my personal life as well as my social computer at work (meeting notes etc) and tbh it works better than expected. There is a lot of talk with the latest generation of iPad Pros that they could replace your laptop and a lot of critics (especially on YouTube) have hit out and said the limiting factor is iOS and that it CANNOT replace your laptop.  

I think the general problem is that a lot of people try to look for a one to one replacement in tools and ability, where in fact the new platform requires a new mind-set and I believe you can achieve everything, you just need to approach the situation with an open mind. 

Whenever I encounter a roadblock (which is rare for my workflows and requirements) with how I would usually do something on my MacBook Pro (Work Computer) I think “Is there an App which caters for this problem” and most of the time there is and if not there is always a creative solution, for example utiilsing Siri Shortcuts. 

In the coming weeks, I will write up a more detailed overview of how I have integrated the iPad Pro into my life and how I believe it really has helped me keep productive. 

Gratitude

It seems overly simple, but a lot of people dismiss the act of being grateful, and this has adverse effects.

I notice in a couple of people within my social circle who are always complaining and being so cynical about life and what's happening, it’s soo easy to criticise and complain, and it’s rather infectious to the people who continuously hear it (also brings the mood down). If the complainers simply practised gratitude now and again, they would realise they don’t have too much to complain about. Whether that’s their loving and supportive partner, the new apartment they are living in that keeps them warm and safe or the job they have that gives them soo much freedom and trust which not many employers empower. When you think about it, we all have something to be grateful for, and just taking a couple of minutes a day to recognise this will have a powerful effect.

This positive thinking will set you up for success!

Time flies when you don't look at your watch

It’s been some time since I posted here and a lot has changed in my life which has had a significant impact on the schedule of posting I wanted to keep up, let me begin . . . .

We purchased a house! Crazy I know. This was an idea I gave up many years ago when the price of a house was sharply increasing and seemingly growing out of my reach. But it happened and with that process (which wasn’t the simplest), moving and renovation tasks that sunk large portions of my time. We have a Trello board full of topics that are still needed to be tackled for the house as well, so I guess I have now a new long term project on-going.

Christmas and the new year happened! We had both of our parents over for Christmas and this of course was a time we wanted to spend some quality time with them.

My Grandad was sent to the hospital in the middle of January, so we flew out to the UK to visit him as well as the rest of my family.

The first few weeks of work started somewhat quiet and was helping the easing of a new year and gold period, but then change after change impacted some progression on projects which meant I slipped behind on where I wanted to be out now. But ah well, that only consumes 40 hours of my week.

So yeah, a lot of excuses but not all valid! I want to write here more on a regular basis and share all the exciting things that I stumble on during my routines and activities! I will do better!

Spaghetti Ice Cream!

If you’re ever in Germany, head over to any Italien Ice Cream Shop and you will be able to get this lovely creation called “Spaghetti Eis” it’s something you won’t really see outside of Germany. It was apparently invented by an Italian who emigrated to Germany and I guess got a little bored!

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Quotes for Thought

So recently Elon Musk got in some murky water with him smoking weed on a podcast with Joe Rogan. Watching the latest Casey Neistat video it made me want to watch the 2hr long vidcast because of the following statements made:

“Comparison is the thief of joy” - Theodore Roosevelt

“Happiness equals reality minus expectations” - Tom Magliozzi


Small Project - The Snapshot of Joseph Hill

A lot of the time at work and in my personal life, people ask me "what tools do you use?" "What books inspire/d you?" "What process do you apply to keep on top of life and all the projects at work?"

Because of this, I am working on simple public Trello board that should answer all of the questions and give me a platform to be able to update it on a regular basis with what's new and modern in my world.

I should be releasing this in the coming weeks . . . . so watch this space!

Random Thought #2 - Meditation

Meditation is something that I used to think was something just for hippies and that I didn't need to do such an act. However, this was purely my ignorance speaking as I didn't know how to do it and what the specific benefits were. 

Fast forward to today, and I meditate for 20 minutes a day on a daily basis and value the act as a powerful tool to be able to focus my mind and to think straight. For 20 minutes a day, I focus on myself, nobody or nothing else, me and the benefit are that my mind becomes much more focused, and I am much more relaxed in life. 

Currently, I do what is known as assisted meditation utilising a free app called Oak (https://www.oakmeditation.com/) which was created by the great mind Kevin Rose (https://www.kevinrose.com/). 

But you don't need to use an app or anything, sit down somewhere quiet for 10 minutes a day, close your eyes and focus on breathing in and out. If you start to think of other things, think "I recognise I am not focusing right now" and go back to focusing on the breathing and you would be surprised at after a week how much freer you feel. 

Random Thought #1

So, to encourage myself to blog more often I decided to create this new sub-category called “Random Thought” this is the place where I will just throw something out there. It could be something meaningful or something that’s total WTF! Let’s see how it goes . . .  

It’s still baffles me sometimes how people value their time as free and would rather save a few coins and waste hours of their life. I think we have the balance completely wrong and we value money in a really insane way. Below are some questions I ask myself before deciding to subscribe to a specific service or a large purchase:

  

- What additional value with this give me? (Will it increase my productivity or learn something new) 

- Is there something better I could be doing with my time? - Focused on a service (automation - Zapier) 

 —— to break the above down - How much time will this save me in 6 months to a year?

 

 

Bye Microsoft Office 365, Hello Google G Suite

I’ve been an Office 365 user for a number of years now. My main usage was to manage my personal email account/s as I wanted a bit more freedom than what the free providers offer and much more professional looking. I got the Office 365 account without the actual software subscription to Microsoft Office as my girlfriend has that already, so I was paying around let’s say 13 EURs per month for the that package.

A couple of things annoyed me with the Office 365 experience, the main one was how hidden away a lot of the admin elements are. For example I used shared mailboxes to set-up “fake” email addresses that are under my main account to be able to better manage various things such as travel, finance, paypal and newsletters for example. Not only is the option hidden away, but this specific feature is not really supported in many third party email clients (especially on iOS). The second thing that annoyed me was the clunky Outlook.com interface, being big and bold left me wanting more and it reminds me of the UI style introduced with Windows Phone OS. . . . it was hard to manage the multiple accounts and I was put off from day one utilising the web interface.

 

Quick Rant: I think Microsoft really need to overhaul their interface design to be much more minimalistic and pleasing to the eye, without hindering the user. It seems like the current UI was designed by people who don’t actually use the software.

 

So, as of today, I switched to G Suite by Google. This already will save me around 9 EURs per month straight out of the box and the tools on offer are way up my street than what Office 365 offers. The way Google handles “aliases” (Shared Mailbox in Office 365 World) is much friendlier as well and is supported by a nearly all third party email clients (*cough* Airmail) and the interface for the tools are way better! I can also look at how I adapt my workflow now to utilise tools such as Hangouts for consulting sessions as well as tools like Forms. I will for sure look at the Slides application to be able to move my presentation design workflow their as well (my thoughts on the tools coming soon)

The Croatia, UK and Cyprus Trips

This is another short travel blog post to go over the travel I undertook recently.

Firstly, I was in Dubrovnik, Croatia to attend the Reboot Developer Conference which was taking place. Myself and about 7 other colleagues rented a villa by the sea with 2 outside BBQs and as well as our own private pool. I must admit I really enjoyed the team building aspect of bunking with the other colleagues, having BBQs and doing a spot of hiking.

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In terms of sightseeing the first day we went into the old town of Dubrovnik and we walked the entire wall (stopping for a beer on the way off our course) We then found a nice little restaurant aptly called Taj Mahal, but it wasn’t Indian food but Bosnian, which was really delicious.

The next day we all got up early and started a somewhat of a trip ritual of having breakfast outside at 8:30 as a group. The first day of the conference was ok, the opening ceremony had a live instrumental of some Star Wars music (which was a little odd) but apparently some scenes of Star Wars was filmed in the area and last year they opened with Game of Thrones so kinda made sense.

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We decided during lunch that before our dinner date at a rooftop restaurant in Old Dubrovnik, we would hike up to the top of the hill overlooking the old town and then catch the cable car down. Seven of us decided to do this and we really had an amazing time [include directions and path] we stopped just over 3/4 of the way up and relaxed with a beer overlooking the old town, it was truly spectacular.

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We then defended to the Old Town to head to [inset restaurant name here] which was recommend by colleagues who attended the conference last year. It was a fancy looking place and we totally didn’t look the part, but it was an experience (slightly turning the bottle so the label faces you.

That pretty much laid the foundation for how the rest of the trip would happen.....

On the Sunday while the others were flying back to Hamburg, Germany I was on a different flight heading to London, UK to have a rendezvous with my girlfriend (Marijke) where we were meeting her former host mom from California who was in London for some casual sightseeing. I joined Marijke and Co at [Insert Name Here] to have some afternoon tea, from here we took an Uber across town to the Oxo Tower, where I had made a booking for us to enjoy some really tasty food while watching the sun go down over London.

The restaurant’s food was really amazing and I would argue that its also a fair price and the staff were really hilarious and made the evening even better.

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The next day we did a spot of shopping at Harrods and at Tiffany & Co on Old Bond Street, from here we headed to the Kensington

Palace to go and see the Princess Diana memorial. This is where me and Marijke departed from her host mom and headed to London Stansted to get our flight back to Hamburg,

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One day later, I was on a plane again. This time I was heading to Cyprus to attend the inaugural White Night’s CEO Summit which was taking place over the next few days. My first impressions of Cyprus is that it reminded me a lot of my time in Malta when I was living there, but Cyprus has some more “modern” amenities like a Starbucks to make it much more me friendly.

The weather was truly kind to me, the high was 29 degrees C in the day and around 22 in the evening, so was really great as it was cloudy as well so it didn’t feel too hot. In terms of the actual Summit (the reason why I was there) it was general ok, I’ve been to a couple of conferences from day 0 and know the first iteration is the most cringe worthy. I got to meet some incredible people who are building the next generation of products and got some basic advice and tips for starting a business.

So that pretty much briefly wraps up my past few weeks, I am currently writing this on my flight back to Hamburg and I’m truly looking forward to a few days of relaxation . . . But next weekend I will be in the sky again, heading to the UK via Manchester to enjoy a long weekend there.

Aegean Airlines - Rapid Process Review

This is a new segment which I’m dubbing the not so sexy name of “Rapid Process Review” this is me just highlighting some minor improvements to general processes to make things more efficient and stress free for all involved.

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I recently took 4 flights with Aegean to go from Hamburg to Cyprus and back. Below are my general observations and some recommendations for minor tweaks to make the whole process much more efficient.

 

Boarding Process

It’s nice to see an airline looking at how to streamline the boarding process. Aegean’s approach seems to be in a way in which Business Class and Families go first and then rows 15 to 30 followed by the rest. I think the idea is good but the execution could be improved.


Here are my recommendations:

General you seem to have a two lane set-up, one for Business Class and one for Economy. How about getting rid of the lane for Business Class and have one lane for rows 15 and above and one for 15 and below. Business Class flyers generally will remain seated and only stand once boarding starts, so why have a dedicated lane for them. You could have them cut the line directly at the front mitigating having a separate lane.

Current Approach 

Current Approach 

Proposed System

Proposed System

In regards to the economy boarding process, I really like the seating split but no one enforces this and so generally everyone just rushes on and its generally a mess gate side. If you utilized the above mentioned 2 lanes for this, people will already be in these lanes and you can just open one up to board 15 and above first, followed by 15 and below. With the two lane approach I would also still make sure people have the right lane for their seat, if not they should be told to join the back of the other lane, it may annoy some people but that’s what they get for trying to cut the line.


I would also recommend having the gate staff be earlier there, this is a common problem that I see across multiple airlines. The gate staff arrive with only a small windows before boarding starts and they get stressed out due to the time pressure, add the passengers are impatient and annoyed with the boarding process, this can initiate some fiery moments which makes all uncomfortable. Just have them come in good time to the gate to get everything prepared and they can already get the lanes organized and it communicated.


Also you should view this integrating VOX video on plane boarding procedures: 

 

Apple Passbook Ticket

I’m really impressed, Aegean really updates the tickets with the actual gate numbers and any changes that are happening in regards to your flight. The back of there ticket also contains all the information from baggage allowance to take off and landing times. I’ve never had this experience with any other airline (even Lufthansa for example) and I can commend Aegean for being modern and saving me time looking at itinerary boards at the airport. Note: This is based only of 4 separate flights and other flights may vary

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In general I’m really happy with my experience with flying with Aegean and would look forward to doing it again