Category Archives: Reviews

Recently Read: Erebus by Michael Palin

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on this blog (and even longer since I’ve completed reading a book) – I really need to do both more often. I really enjoyed this book, despite the relatively gloomy subject matter. I find Michael Palin’s writing style very engaging; once I started reading it was difficult to put down.

While the mid-1800s seems like another time, in reality it wasn’t that long ago. It is incredible to think how far humanity and technology as progressed – ~150 years later and satellite imagery could provide most of the answers this ship and its crew sought from the comfort of a couch.

Review: Birders (film) on Netflix

I stumbled across this film via a Facebook post and watched it during lunch and on the bus home from work (it’s only 37 minutes long). It provides interesting insight into the birding on either side of the US/Mexico border, an area I knew very little about. A bonus is the wonderful cinematography (in particular the incredible raptor scenes). It’s a niche topic but I highly recommend the film.

iPad Keyboards

After using the Logitech K380 Bluetooth Keyboard with my 6th Generation iPad for a while (as mentioned in my previous post), I spotted a second-hand Brydge keyboard online for $50. This was a great deal, worked well and cemented my love of Brydge keyboards.

Fast forward a few months and Brydge have the Brydge 9.7 on sale for $99, another great deal I quickly snapped up. This seems to be a later version (Model BRY1012) to the second-hand one I was using (Model BRY1001A) – it has extra keys on the trip right hand corner (Battery/Bluetooth/Power) which are a great addition to an already fantastic design.

I even typed this blog post up using it 🙂

Recently Read: Every Tool’s a Hammer by Adam Savage

I have just finished reading Adam Savage’s book “Every Tool’s a Hammer” (ISBN 9781471186004). It was a thoroughly entertaining and informative read and I highly recommend it.

The section on lists particularly resonated with me. I use a similar system at work: an empty box indicates a yet to be started task, a box with a line through it a task that has been started in some form and a filled in box indicates a completed task.

However my favourite part was a new word I learned – ferroequinologist!

Pebble Smartwatch

I am now the proud owner of a Pebble Smartwatch (I went for the “Classic” version).  It seems to play nicely with my iPhone 5s.  My favourite “watchface” at the moment is the built in “time as text” one (although I do think the iWatch one is cool).

I have installed the Pebble SDK and I am going to try to develop an app/watchface or two.  Stay tuned.

OWC Data Doubler

I have just installed an OWC Data Doubler kit in my 13″ MacBook Pro (the late 2011 model).  It is a bracket that replaces the optical drive that ships with the MacBook Pro and allows you to install a second 2.5″ hard disk or SSD.  In my case I have installed a 480GB SSD (KINGSTON SV300S37A480G Media) in the location of the original disk and moved the original disk to the Data Doubler.  The boot disk is now the SSD; I intend to use the old disk as an internal backup drive.

The instructions are very good, all of the tools required are included and the kit itself is of a very high quality.  I highly recommend the Data Doubler kit (and the idea of installing an SSD into a 4 year old MacBook Pro to give it a new lease on life).

Useful Mac OS X Software

Here is some software I use on my MacBook Pro and recommend.  I have no commercial interests in any of them.

BBEdit (or it’s free cousin TextWrangler)

Available from Bare Bones Software or through the App Store.  TextWrangler (a free “lite” version from the makers of BBEdit) probably fulfils my requirements but once I had the funds I purchased the full version.  The best text editor I have used on any platform.  I have been using this product since the days of Mac OS 7.1 on a PowerBook 150 (when BBEdit Lite was available as opposed to TextWrangler).


A media player available from VideoLAN.  Plays just about any format I need.


Simply the best calculator application out there (and available for iOS too).  I used to use the “lite” version of PCalc on the aforementioned PowerBook 150 during my university engineering studies.  Well worth the money.


A free virtualisation platform (now available through Oracle).  Worth a look if you need to run old software on old operating systems every now and then.