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3 Stooges Syndrome

I have been thinking a lot about habits lately and I think that one of my biggest flaws, as many others also have, is that we suffer from 3 Stooges Syndrome.

One thing, I constantly deal with is new interests and goals I set for myself when I want to make a positive change in my life. The issue is when I have so many things that it all seems to be too much.

I can’t lose weight, eat healthier, plan my mornings, read more, learn something new everyday, save more money, and do one nice thing a day all the time.

One thing I have learned over the years about myself is that I plan and set all of these things I want to accomplish and hit the ground running with every single one of them simultaneously.

Doing this seems plausible and honestly really exciting when I get started. But by day 5 I’m questioning whether I really need to go to the gym again, or I tell myself I am “too busy” writing a blog post to make a healthy lunch so I get McDonald’s again. “It’s fine,” I say to myself shoveling fries in my face, “I can afford one bad meal this week.” I am sure I am not the only one. You have probably done something similar, right?

I’d like to take a page out of The Simpsons when I talk about these kinds of things, and call it the 3 Stooges Syndrome.

As you can see in the video, Mr. Burns is in for a doctors exam. Turns out he has so many illnesses his immune system won’t let any of them through the door because they are all prevent the other from getting in (cue noises from Curly).

If we dissect this a bit and spin it to make these illnesses into goals and resolutions you make foryourself, it’s obvious that having all of these grand plans you set means nothing was going to get through that door.

I’m not saying goals and resolutions are illnesses, but I am saying that if you have too many you won’t be able to accomplish any of them. So what do you do?

For me, I had close to 10 different things I wanted to accomplish this year and I have slogged through them making zero progress on them. I wrote out all of these things on a piece of paper and really took a hard look at them. I asked myself why I want to accomplish this, what the outcome I wanted was, and what it will take to make this happen. I took an honest look at all of these things and then took an honest look at myself. What could I truly make happen this year? How many of these could I really get done? The answers for these questions made me look at these goals, resolutions, and plans and consider which are worth doing now and which are worth doing later. I decided I am going to do just one of these at a time, and move on to the next one after completing the first.

If I can get just one of these goals accomplished that’s still more than the 10 that were stuck in the proverbial door. One success is better that ten failures.

So if you are like me, and you can’t seem to make much progress on any of the myriad of goals you set yourself, take a long hard look at what you actually want to accomplish and keep the rest in your pocket until you get that first thing done.

I’m a Podcast Addict and Went Cold Turkey for Two Weeks

Joe Berkowitz writing for Fast Company:

As far as I know, scientists have not conducted tests about the long-term effects of sustained exposure to podcasts. I don’t need statistics, though, to fuel my suspicions that walking around listening to other people’s voices all the time, and allowing that to become my default cognitive setting, has probably warped my way of thinking and sapped some creativity. How could the constant stream of content not train me to be a more passive thinker, a spectator of life? Listening to other people’s ideas all the time creates a buffer that might be keeping my own ideas submerged in my subconscious. Almost everything I think while mainlining Doughboys or The Dollop or The Daily is a surface-level reaction to whatever I’ve just heard. There had to be a cumulative effect of my brain functioning like a YouTube comments section.

Luckily, there was an easy way to find out whether being at Peak Podcast has taken a negative toll. All I had to do was hang up my headphones for a while. It was time for me to listen to something else: nothing.

The plan was to go on a two-week podcast fast. Two weeks may sound like laughably little time for such an experiment, but I was absolutely dreading it at the outset. It would be the longest I’d gone without a fix in nearly 10 years.

The other day I was watching a video on my iPad in my office, I paused it to go to the bathroom. I caught myself needing to grab my AirPods as soon as I pressed pause on the video so I can listen to a podcast for the 10 minutes I would be without some sort of media to consume.

I also can’t fall asleep without listening to a podcast. My mind swirls with ideas, questions, fears, and just randomness that is a carnival in my mind. The only thing that helps me with it is listening to something that will drown those thoughts out.

Needless to say this article came to me at the right time. I’ve decided to take part in the challenge for two weeks myself starting Monday. I am sure I will write about it on here, but until then the only podcasts I will be listening to are the ones I will be recording and/or editing.

Oittm Charging Dock Station Review

With the era of AirPower now behind us, the search for the right charging dock can be an arduous process. As someone who decided not to buy anything for their desk in hopes that void could be filled with AirPower, when the cancellation of it was announced I went on the hunt to find something to replace it.

After some time looking at chi chargers, I wasn’t impressed with any of them. Those that were appealing to the eye were not so appealing to my wallet. Eventually I decided to start looking at other options out there that are wired charging docks. Docks that have been on the market long before AirPower was even announced.

Whilst looking at the options, Oittm reached out to me and offered to send me their Aluminum Charging Dock to try out. I normally don’t take free merchendise to review but given my situation it seemed almost unfair to me if I said no. Two days later a package was at my home ready for me to get started putting it all together.

The build quality of this is a mix between aluminum base and stand with a plastic inside and top cover. On the outside sit 3 USB ports to plug in things to charge it with, and two USB ports on the inside for the Apple Watch charger and the iPhone charger to plug into. The base has a top cover hiding the small compartment where the 2 inner USB ports are, making the dock a lot less of a cable management device and more like a singular charger you can have on a desk.

This product has a clever way of using the wired charging cables in a way your desk still looks clean.

As you can see, the dock has a hidden compartment to place the charging cables so that you can have a dock with a single power cable running around instead of several Apple cables with separate plugs for each device.

Once you plug in the cables and have them set up in the dock you are set to go with charging both your Apple Watch and iPhone. I will say the it wasn’t a walk in the park to plug these cables in after having already fed them through their respective charging holes. Because of the small footprint, the compartment to plug in and hide the charging cables is a bit cramped. Oittm offers cable ties for the wires you are hiding but even when wrapped and tied getting the top lid to close wasn’t an easy experience. I had to carefully maneuver these wrapped cables into the USB plug and then adjust the placement of these cables to allow for them to fit in that compartment. After about 15 minutes of setting this up I finally got the lid to close and everything was working fine. Thankfully, I never have to worry about setting this thing up again, because once it’s set you’re good to go.

Along with the ability to charge your iPhone and Apple Watch, the Oittm Charging dock offer 3 USB ports on the back of the dock to plug in other cables to charge your other devices.

For me this was a perfect addition so that I can use a micro-USB cable to charge my Kindle and an additional lightning cable to charge my AirPods. These extra cables don’t stay plugged in all the time, but when I need them it is easy to plug them in and start charging the extra devices.

The added ports are great when you need them, and offer zero added space when you don’t, making the footprint of this dock as minimal as possible, which is preferred for my small office desk I write on. All 5 ports are powered with a single AC plug, meaning that I no longer have to have several Apple bricks plugged in to my surge protector. I instead can have a single plug to power all of my charging needs.

The Oittm Charging Dock isn’t a wireless charger, but if you can get over that small fact, this $35 dock offers a very sleek design that can handle a lot of charging power with a small footprint. It is a perfect addition to my office desk, and I highly recommend it to anyone in the same boat as me looking for an answer to Apple’s charging problem. You can get yourself one on Amazon today.

Touchtype Pro Review

The Touchtype Pro is a new Keyboard case allowing iPad users to connect their 3rd generation iPads with the Magic Keyboard, and it is available on Kickstarter until May 17th. I received a prototype review unit from the creator of the Touchtype Pro, Salman Sajid, and this seems very close to the final product for me, and it is something I think many iPad users will love.

The Magic Keyboard

The Magic Keyboard was my keyboard of choice when it came to my 10.5” iPad Pro. I was never happy with the Smart Keyboard, nor was I thrilled with the Logitech Slim Combo. The only thing that came close was the Brydge 10.5 Series II, but even that was not a full sized keyboard, making my hands feel cramped after an hour of typing on it.

The Magic Keyboard wasn’t just my pick because of the size, it is also because something about the feel of the keys always felt like the perfect amount of travel and tactile feel for my taste. So for the last year of me using the iPad Pro 10.5” I had it accompanied with the Magic Keyboard. Now with this Touchtype Pro, I am able to use the Magic Keyboard in tandom with the iPad Pro 12.9”. This case has a lot going for it, but there are a few things I would like to see in the final product.

Look and Feel

The quality of the look and feel of this keyboard is out of this world. I love the microfiber cloth inside the case. It is soft and feels like it is actually helping preserve the screen and keyboard from dust and grime. The outer shell is a cross between the look of plastic leather and the feel of polycarbonate, which is very pleasing in the hands as well as to the eyes. The craft put into this shows every single time I look at it or have it in my hands. It isn’t easy to make a keyboard case look good both open and closed, but I think that the Touchtype Pro is the exception to that. This case looks very business casual and can be something any workplace will be happy to see in use.

Using the Touchtype Pro

This Touchtype Pro brings the reliability of the Magic Keyboard together with the iPad Pro. Put simply it unites the best iPad with the best standalone keyboard. It allows people to write with the freedom of a full sized keyboard that is reliable and perfect for all typists out there.

One problem with the Magic Keyboard is you can only buy it as a white version from Apple, for me I think if there were a black version it would make this look even better. Secondly, the Magic Keyboard doesn’t have backlighting, making it a bit more difficult to write with when you are in a dark area, or if you are a night owl like myself and don’t want to wake up your spouse. However, if you’re not in need of backlighting all the time this keyboard does have a function row as well as the knowledge that a spec of dust won’t ruin it forever.

The process of folding and unfolding the Touchtype Pro takes some getting used to, and has a bit of a learning curve, but after a few tries I managed to get it down to a science. I am also a big fan of the train track of magnets allowing users to adjust the viewing angle of the iPad Pro to what ever angle you prefer when typing. For me, it seems to fit perfectly when I have the front flap folded over and the keyboard resting right on the edge. The case looks sleek and the angle is perfect for my eyes.

Touchtype Pro in Viewing Mode

The design of this case is admirable with their choice to make it possible to fold away the Magic Keyboard and have a viewing only mode for when I just want to watch a movie or read a book on my iPad. This is something that other cases, including the Smart Keyboard Apple has made for the iPad Pro, don’t have. I miss the old 1st generation Smart Keyboard cases because it was created with a viewing mode in mind. I am not sure why other 3rd party keyboard haven’t done anything like that with their cases for the latest iPads, but it is refreshing to see someone make that decision, and the Touchtype Pro makes it easy to use.

This case does come with its flaws though.

The magnets connecting the keyboard aren’t strong enough to stay connected when I am moving it from a typing mode into a viewing mode. It also collapses on me when I am trying to quickly fold it up to take with me on the go. This isn’t the case’s fault entirely, I know that there were times I was too cavalier with me packing this iPad up and that caused me to be less than delicate on the case itself. If I gingerly move the keyboard away it works every time.

I have spoken with Salman, the creator of this product, about this and he has expressed to me that the magnets in this prototype are not the ones going out to Kickstarter backers. Those who pay for the keyboard on Kickstarter or retail will be getting ones with stronger magnets to avoid this problem. After speaking with Salman on the phone about this I know he cares deeply about this product, and I have full faith that he will fix this before he ships them out to users.

Conclusion

All in all this keyboard case has a lot of great things going for it, and if you are someone like me wanting a full sized keyboard, the Touchtype Pro is a fantastic option worth looking into.

That said, this keyboard is $100 retail, and along with the case costing $100 retail, it makes this keyboard case setup the most expensive of any compared to Apple’s Smart Keyboard, Logtiech’s Slim Folio Pro, and the Brydge Keyboard. That said, you can get a used Magic Keyboard, like I did, on eBay for around $55. Making this less expensive than the Smart Keyboard as well as the Brydge Keyboard. So if you did have to buy both this case and a Magic Keyboard it wouldn’t be outside of the competition.

Now, if you are like many who already own the Magic Keyboard, a $100 case like this one isn’t asking for a lot. In fact, I would argue that this case is worth $150 on its own. There isn’t a case out there that offers this much versatility and usability for the latest iPad Pros. If I am being totally honest I am sad to have to send this case back as I see it being a keyboard case I can use day-to-day.

if you want to get yours, act fast. You can get yours at a discount until May 17th by backing it on Kickstarter and find out more about it on their website.

For World Press Freedom Day, Here’s Our Bipartisan Call to Protect Journalists

Steve Chabot and Adam Schiff writing for The Washington Post:

As members of Congress, we swear an oath to defend the Constitution, a pledge that includes protecting the First Amendment and its guarantee that the freedom of the press not be infringed. The prominence of this guarantee reflects the framers’ understanding that a press that could hold power to account was key to the success of the young American democracy.

History has proved them prescient, and the United States’ model of protecting the press has served as a beacon for other free countries. It also reinforces our responsibility to stand up for press freedom in nations where the simple act of reporting the truth can lead to imprisonment, assault and even murder.

On May 3, we mark World Press Freedom Day, an occasion to consider the indispensable role journalists play in a democratic society and to call attention to the hundreds of journalists around the world who are in prison cells, or have been attacked, injured or murdered, for the “crime” of reporting. The Congressional Freedom of the Press Caucus was founded in 2006 to serve as a voice for the safety and rights of journalists around the world, to make clear that Congress stands with them and to hold the powerful to account.

Regrettably, recent years have been some of the most dangerous and deadly in memory for journalists. Far too many have been taken prisoner or lost their lives in attempts to report news from such places as Syria and Afghanistan. And in a world where authoritarianism is on the rise, journalists are often caught in the crosshairs of regimes intent on restricting access to information to better control their populace.

We see it in the brutal assassination of Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered by agents of the Saudi government for his criticism of the crown prince and the kingdom.

We see it in Myanmar, where two Reuters reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, were sentenced to seven years imprisonment for their reporting on the genocide perpetrated against the Rohingya people.

We see it in Venezuela, where the regime of Nicolás Maduro has employed violence, arrests and intimidation against independent media organizations.

We see it in Russia, where the Kremlin has mastered the art of spreading disinformation as a geopolitical weapon, while simultaneously implementing draconian laws to stifle dissent and free expression within its borders.

Violence and intimidation of journalists has also struck close to home. Last June, five staff members of the Capital Gazette were gunned down in their Annapolis newsroom. In its latest report on press freedom around the world, the group Reporters Without Borders downgraded the United States to a “problematic” country. Just as we decry violence against journalists in other countries, we must speak out against attempts to stifle and intimidate the free press within our borders.

Threats to independent journalism are the canary in the coal mine — they signal a toxic environment for democracy writ large. As the leader of the free world, the United States has a duty to speak out on behalf of journalists who risk their lives to report the news. The truth must not, and cannot, be silenced by a censor, a prison cell or a bullet.

The video in this article is also something everyone should watch today.

It’s easy to take news for granted and even poke fun at it like how The Daily Show and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver do, and I think those are great examples of satire and parody. That said, what people don’t always remember is that the truth comes at a cost, and sometimes that cost is the lives of journalists.

Steve Chabot is a Republican Representing the 1st district of Ohio, and Adam Schiff is a Democrat Representing the 28th district of California.

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