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Nerds on Draft Episode 003

Nerds on Draft continues rolling along with each week bringing new opportunities for tasting good beer and saying stupid things in public. Episode 003 is an exploration of Belgian beer and an examination of how you get to a place where you can comfortably say a project is “done”.

“Focus on the details” has become a meme lately and so has “say no in order to say yes to the right things”. Both have their merits but neither address the discomfort of putting something you are excited about into the world. The thing you made is the conglomeration of thousands of choices. Once you ship, each one of those choices is there to be judged and pored over by anyone with a comment box or Twitter account.

The conversation this week is circuitous and rambling but at least we have the Orval and the Rochefort 8 to keep us somewhat on track.

My iPhone 6 Mini-Review

While I love the smooth, rounded edges of the iPhone 6 and the screen is great for looking at things, it is simply not a convenient phone to actually use. The bottom line for me is that the size of the phone makes interacting with it frustrating and it annoys me in various ways throughout the day.

The iPhone 6 is a huge phone1 and, it turns out, I’m not a huge fan. I tried to like it. I really did. At the same time, I had expected this would happen so I shouldn’t be surprised. I have been bemoaning the impracticality of a bigger phone since the rumors first surfaced. While it was an interesting novelty during the first few days, as time wears on, I dislike the iPhone 6 as my main phone for a variety of reasons.

Despite my misgivings about the phone’s size, it certainly has a better “feel” than the Samsung Galaxy S5 (which leaves you with the impression of it feeling like a cheap, plastic piece of crap). And while the iPhone 6’s size remains a major obstacle to my enjoyment and its utility, the inconvenience extends to the app interfaces themselves. Developers will need some time to come to grips with how to adjust their app designs to suit the larger form factor. What was surprising to me, however, is that apps like Mail still have critical controls along the device’s top edge. To reach any top edge interface elements requires two hands or two extra taps (for the ridiculous but sometimes necessary Reachability feature).

The placement of the Power button on the right side of the device is awful. With practice, I am getting better at not adjusting volume whenenver I turn off the display but it still happens far more times than I’d care to admit.

When the phone is lying on my desk and I want to turn off the display, I have to adopt a curious spidery grip in order to hold the phone firmly enough to depress the power button, yet not depress the area where the volume buttons are. Since these buttons are directly opposite each other, your natural instinct is to hold the phone on opposite sides and press. On the iPhone 6, this makes the volume go up and only delivers enough of the remaining pressure on the button to turn the screen off 50% of the time. Despite my complaints about the size, power button placement is the thing I hate most about the phone.

If ApplePay is really the panacea they are making it out to be, it may be enough of a reason to stick with the iPhone 6. However, if ApplePay ends up being another Healthkit (a whopper of a disappointment so far), I may end up going back to the iPhone 5S. I guess that makes me a contrarian. There are worse things to be.2

I will also hold out hope that next year Apple will introduce a new 5S-sized phone to compliment the 6 and 6+. I would love to have a 5S styled like the iPhone 6. I won’t hold my breath though since the trend is bigger and not smaller. I fear we all may be shopping for bigger pants by next year.


  1. The iPhone 6+ is a ridiculously gargantuan phone and I really don’t get the appeal of it at all. The box should read “Hammer Pants Required”. 

  2. Like a guy with really stretched out pockets, for instance. 

Introducing Nerds on Draft - A Podcast

Gabe Weatherhead and I have conversations. Topics include technology, software development, project management, new apps, Apple, family stuff, travel and beer – you name it, we babble about it at some point over the course of a week.

It was during one of those conversations that Gabe suggested we turn all of it into a podcast. The seed of the idea is simple – we get one or two beers that both of us have on hand, open them up and talk about what we think of them. Then we let our conversation range far and wide.

If you don’t like beer, don’t worry. The beer talk is a bookend on the proceedings. If you really only like beer, skip the middle parts.

The whole thing is what we call “Nerds on Draft”, an open and honest conversation about the things that make up our lives in a way that I hope interests you.

iTunes Link - RSS Feed Link

Custom Keyboards - No Thanks

I think Gabe hits this one right on the head.

Despite what I notice as a strange communal sense of relief that custom keyboards have finally come to iOS, when I look into how they work all I see is another vector of attack or misuse of personal data.

For example, if Swiftkey were to get bought by Facebook or Google 1, These companies would potentially gain access to a treasure trove of your information – basically everything you’ve ever typed. And even if Swiftkey were simply storing data about how you write and what you type to help your typing accuracy, having your writing tendencies in Facebook’s possession would provide major assistance in tuning the content (read: advertisements) on your Activity Feed.

Maybe I’m paranoid but giving a company that kind of trust seems like a recipe for disaster.

As a consumer, when you look at the custom keyboards available on the App Store it’s hard to know what they’re doing behind the scenes. As Gabe mentions, we willingly put ourselves in the position of relying solely on the App review process to protect our data and privacy. Since we have seen Apple reviewers allow the release of Pokemon knockoffs consisting of a few screenshots, I worry that they don’t have a tight enough grip to give us an airtight bubble around our personal data. Some of that responsibility falls to us.

Because allowing something to watch what I type isn’t risk free, I’m not going to take the chance.


  1. It would be a match made in heaven.