Motion and Live Photos

Apple’s Live Photos and Android equivalent, Motion Photos, initially seemed a bit like a gimmick when they were announced. However, there are a number of times now where the Live Photos on the iPhone has been of good use - mainly to capture amusing antics before or after the photo occurred! With playing with Android, I was surprised that this didn’t appear to have the same. However, after some googling, I discovered it does, and it’s called Motion Photos.

Benchmarking ARM

There has been much talk on how well ARM processors have moved on and how they can potentially now compete with x86-64 chips. Even though Microsoft have launched the Surface Pro X, which uses an ARM chip and Apple are moving the Mac’s to ARM processors, I hadn’t really considered just how far they’d come. I’ve had a Raspberry Pi and various versions since they were released and have been able to adequately use the Pi3+ for minimal desktop use and I’ve had the iPad Pro for work for a number of years as well, which has performed quite well, but I’ve never really put two and two together on how well they compared to the X86 chips I have.

Windows 10 DPI Scaling

I’ve resisted the high DPI screens for Windows machines for a number of years - mainly due to the cost of the screens. However, I’ve since upgraded a number of items and they now have larger screens. My monitor is now a Dell S2719DC 27” which has a display of 2560 x 1440 and my Surface Pro 7 has a resolution of 2736 x 1824. Both of which require some Windows scaling to adequately use from my point of view.

Pixel 3a vs IPhone SE

So, the iPhone SE was re-released, perhaps as a way for Apple to compete with the cheaper Android devices out there. Google started something similar last year with the release of the Pixel 3a - a cheaper, less powerful version of the Pixel 3. I’ve tried both phones - I own the Pixel 3a and my wife has the iPhone SE 2020, so thought I’d write a quick review. Camera The Pixel series is known for its camera, and the iPhone has always been well regarded for its camera - with Apple pushing the camera features heavily in various advertising.

Inspire Continued

After some further experimentation and use, I’ve a few more comments on Inspire Writer. I have been initially impressed with the Windows Ulysses clone. My initial review was written in it and was written using the 10 day free trial period. I purchased the software after using it for a day on the Windows Store - so I’ve been using the Microsoft Store version. There is a stand alone version available as well, though I would hope that there is feature parity between the two.

Markdown Journaling

I’ve been journaling now for years. I started off using Day One for iOS and macOS. However, after this updated to the second version and moved to a subscription model, I decided that I didn’t want to pay for it, and moved. Since then, I’ve been using Zim Wiki for my journaling. This has generally served me well, and ran nicely on Windows and Linux1. It worked and the output was portable and under my control, as each page is a text file and displays images inline.

New Synology

With the lockdown and working from home more often, I decided that my Synology (DS 116) was due for an upgrade. I wanted to retire one of my Raspberry Pi’s that was running my Pi Hole server and I wanted to have a play with some of the features on the higher end Synology’s - such as virtual machines and Docker, as well as make use of the BTRFS file system, so that meant getting one of the Intel Atom powered Synology devices.

File Juggler

One of the programs on macOS that I felt was missing on Windows was an alternative for Hazel. I spent ages looking around for an alternative, and the best I could find for a while was DropIt! The only issue with this is that DropIt is a bit more of a manual process in comparison to Hazel, as you have to drag and drop files into the program for them to be sorted1.

OxiPNG and Pngout

One thing that had stuck with me from reading Coding Horror, is that you can increase the speed of your website with free bandwidth. In fairness, it’s not free bandwidth, it’s reducing the file size of the files that you’re hosting, so it’s faster to download. The Zopfli article above is the more recent one - the first was regarding pngout (article). Both pngout and zopfli can reduce the size of files - specifically in this case, PNG files.

Windows PowerToys

Microsoft are making use of their purchase of Github to host the source for their ongoing work in to Powertoys. PowerToys is a collection of applications that perform a range of different tasks that users may need to undertake regularly. There’s an Image Resizer that hooks in to the right click menu, there’s fancy zones, which expands upon Windows snap, by adding zones to snap to. However, the big draw for me is PowerToys Run.