An Unplanned Break from Blogging

So this will be even shorter than the one I’d spent a painful half hour typing before Squarespace decided to eat the post.

I completely failed in my commitment to keep up with and successfully complete the #vDM30in30 blog challenge. 

I did that for two primary reasons:

  1. We decided we needed a new, larger vehicle in November. As is normal for me, I obsessively researched the purchase.  We settled on a Kia Sorento and bought it the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Most of the spare time I had in November was spent doing car research, and nearly all of that on my iPhone 6S Plus because of reason 2.
  2. In late October I developed carpal tunnel syndrome. I’m still dealing with it now, having seen my primary doctor and am currently waiting to see a specialist. 

I typed up a good bit of info about my experience so far in the post Squarespace ate (and that I, admittedly failed to save – won’t make that mistake again) so I’ll just post a pic and a few links to what I’m trying right now.

This is me with the 2 trackballs I’m using with my right hand these days.  Not pictured is the one I also use with my left hand.

I’m using the Kensington Orbit with my left hand when I feel like I need to give my right hand a break. It’s cheap and not the best feel/quality, but I had it in a box at home and it’s good enough, for now anyway, for my off hand.

For my left hand, I am alternating between the Logitech M570 for precision work and the Kensington SlimBlade for general use. I bought the Logitech right away when I started hurting because I didn’t want to wait on the purchase process at work, and I figured I would need one at home anyway. I’m currently borrowing the Kensington Slimblade from my boss for a few days because, as the most expensive of the three, I want to make sure it will do well by me before asking him to drop nearly $100 on it.

I’m also going to borrow an Evoluent vertical mouse from a colleague this week. I’ve heard good things about vertical mice. I have tried and will be returning an Anker vertical mouse. It’s too small for my hand and gets fairly crummy wireless reception.

More to come as I figure all this out

I’m planning to post more about this as the pain allows and as my experience with it grows. I’m going to try to experiment with blogging via dictation either via my Mac or iPhone. While I anticipate needing to do some layout and image adding by hand, just being able to save typing most of these words would have been very nice.

iPad Pro – Not For Me

I may end up regretting this, since some folks in my life revel in reminding me when I declare I’m not going to buy [name of Apple product] that I often later do purchase it, but I just don’t see the iPad Pro in my near future, and maybe ever.

That’s a screenshot of our university Apple Store pricing for the iPad Pro and accessories. As an aside, I think it’s hilarious that Apple knocks $50 off the price of a MacBook Air, but only $20 off the price of an iPad Pro, even though they basically cost the same amount of money.

There’s no way I would buy an iPad without AppleCare+, especially having endured the pain of dealing with a shattered screen on an iPad 4 without accidental damage coverage. So the least I could spend on an iPad Pro would be $1028 plus tax. Since I can’t see the point of going with something as large as the iPad without getting the accessories to make full use of it, at a minimum I’d need to add the Smart Keyboard for an extra $169, bringing the minimum to $1197. 

I can’t draw, but I do like to write notes and sometimes doodle, so that’s another $99, bringing the pre-tax total to $1296. And since the state of TN isn’t going to give it to me tax free (outside of tax-free weekend, but that was back in August), my real out-the-door total price would be $1,415.88.

If that makes sense to you for your use case, I am very happy for you. For me, if I’m going to spend $1400+ on a device, I’m going to need it to do more than an iPad currently can do for me. I own a 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina Display and love it, and I didn’t pay too much more for it than I would this iPad Pro.

I’m not sure who the iPad Pro is really for – artists maybe, or maybe folks who can live fully on an iPad but would like a bigger screen than the iPad Air 2 offers.  Even though it isn’t for me, I’m sure it will appeal to a lot of people, and I wish them well.

New Blog, New Platform, New Challenge

I’ve wanted to reboot my blog for a while now and the timing for the #vDM30in30 challenge couldn’t be better. I participated last year and had a great, if somewhat stressful time completing the challenge, so why not add some spice to the holiday season this year, right?

Just like last year, I’ll be distributing my writing across (at least) two blogs – this one and my food blog, Geek Food Critic. I’ll keep the food stuff there and everything else here.

Topics I have in mind right now for either blog:

  1. My review of the new Apple TV
  2. My experience as a new Giganto Phone User (iPhone 6S Plus)
  3. A truly terrible experience at the Apple Store
  4. Thoughts on Dell World 2015
  5. Upgrading SCCM 2012R2 to the latest Cumulative Update
  6. A review of The Salt Lick, a BBQ restaurant
  7. A look back at our first year using Zoom video conferencing service

I’m sure there will be more, especially once I look at the backlog of food and tech posts I’ve meant to write for a while.

So why the blog reboot?

Good question. I started Single Malt Cloud in June of 2011 because I wanted to document a large VDI project I was spearheading and also (I thought) our university’s “journey to the cloud” – whatever the heck I thought that really meant at the time. I enjoyed writing about VDI and related technologies for quite a while, but I’m not working directly in that arena anymore. Over time I branched out and wrote about other topics, including consumer technology, IT conferences, my favorite podcasts – you name it. But it always seemed a little odd to be writing about that stuff on that blog.

The other reason is I was recently asked by a colleague what my blog name meant, and why it was named “Single Malt Cloud” and I realized two very important things:

  1. There was no reason for him or anyone else to “get” the little play on words I thought was so clever when I registered that domain name late one night, and explaining it stopped being fun a long time ago.
  2. I’m a father now, and while I am far from a prude, if I’m still blogging when my 3 year old son is old enough to read something his dad writes on the web … well, I’d rather it be under my name (or as close as possible given domain-squatting jerks), not a blog with a type of whiskey in the name.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the content over at SMC. I’m paid up through for a year, and it all lives at a free blog underneath the domain redirect anyway. I may leave all or most of the content there, or I may selectively pull some posts over here for continuity’s sake.

I’m trying out Squarespace for real this time. I’ve done a 30 day trial before and wasn’t pleased with the way mass imports from WordPress worked and I also didn’t like the idea of having to pay for an account for every domain on which I might want to host a blog, instead of just directing a domain to a subfolder on one account. That doesn’t bother me so much anymore, because as the father of a 3 year old I don’t have enough time to actively write for more than 1 or 2 blogs anyway. I’ve also played with podcasting a bit over the last year, and I like what my Twitter pal Keith Townsend has down with his CTO Chat podcast at Squarespace.

So that’s why I’m rebooting the blog, why I’m building it here, and what I’m doing for the first 30 (now 28) days. Wish me luck!


This is post #1 in the 2015 #vDM30in30 Blog Challenge