Bag and hands

Chaotic lives

My wife and I just spent the last two-and-a-bit hours getting our diaries in sync for the rest of the year. Life is chaotic enough with two careers, one teenager starting Sixth Form, one teenager starting GCSEs, one child starting school, one child in pre-school, my helping to run two schools, swimming lessons, WordCamps, dentist appointments, work trips, visits to the opticians, conferences, birthdays and numerous other life events.

Not content with juggling all that, we decide to make our lives even harder by my insisting on keeping everything digital in Sunrise and Wunderlist, while she prefers analog with her trusty Filofax.

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Journaling

n. The activity of keeping a diary, also known as journal.

As much as I love the idea of keeping a journal, I suck at it. Like most things – and most people – I start out with the best of intentions, but fail to maintain the habit; also, like a bad workman, I often blame the tools but the truth is that it is habit and nothing more.

I’ve tried many tools and formats over the years; too many to list here. Inspired by my eldest daughters recent experiments with Bullet Journal – complete with shiny new Moleskine notebook and washi tape decorations, see the featured image on this post – I started thinking about how to kickstart my journaling habit.

As much as I love analog methods (I am also a sucker for nice notebook and pen) the reality is that I spend most of my time in front of my MacBook Pro or with my iPhone (no Watch, yet 😉) nearby so a digital solution works best for me. Since I am already deep into the Apple lifestyle, the natural choice is Day One from Bloom and it is a very nice app. If you don’t believe me, go read this review from The Sweet Setup.

However I work for a company whose primary product is a blogging platform, and what is a blog if not a form of journaling? Of course a journal should be personal, so I just setup a [private]|(https://en.support.wordpress.com/settings/privacy-settings/) blog, picked a theme, and I am set! Thanks to the excellent WordPress app I have most of the features from Day One on my phone. In fact I think the only thing I lose out on is the automatic weather details.

Let us see how long I can maintain this habit for… 😀

Patuoxun Bluetooth Headphones.

David Murphy:

My son has started blogging, and I pleased to say he chose WordPress.com (no pressure there, honest!)

Originally posted on Tristan Murphy:

Let’s start with some audio.

I recently bought some Bluetooth headphones as I have been wanting to buy some for a while, and the headphone jack on my phone was shot to hell.

After searching for some time, I found these under most popular. I wasn’t disappointed.

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They have a very sleek design, simple controls and the ability to use a standard audio cable to turn them into wired headphones. They have 11 hours of constant (moderately volumed) music, and 354 hours of standby time. There are small indicator LEDs, which are quite bright in a dark room, but not many other bad points. The audio quality is crisp and clear, and rarely stutters.

The charge time is also not bad, being only 2 hours. And by far the best point,They only cost £14!

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Bluetooth headphones on a MacBook Pro

More audio to go: Bluetooth headphones

At the end of 2014 I wrote about budget Bluetooth speaker I picked up for £10, which I was pleased with at the time and – I’m pleased to report – I continue to be pleased with. Even with regular use and multiple recharges the battery life significantly exceeds the advertised four hours (unless I max out the volume for a bit of air guitar).

I’ve since added to my collection of inexpensive gadgets with Bluetooth heart rate monitor and a pair of Bluetooth headphones, of which the latter are the subject of this post.

Priced at the princely sum of £19.99 from Lidl, and available in black – my choice -, white, red, or blue the SilverCrest® Bluetooth® Headphones (aka SBTH 4.0 A1) boasting a 15 hours battery life were my latest purchase.

Since getting the portable speaker my music listening has increased drastically, but I only tended to listen via (wired) headphones when I was either:

  • Running
  • Walking
  • Travelling (with a pair of noise cancelling headphones)

Unless I was trying to block out other noise, I would rarely bother or remember to plug a pair in when I was working; therefore my only reason for picking these up was the typically compelling combination of “shiny new toy” and “cheap”, with “no wires” being an afterthought.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise that this purchase has been a double-edged sword, but the good does outweigh the bad.

Positives

They do exactly what they are supposed to. They paired painlessly with my iPhone 6 Plus and MacBook Pro, and will happily connect to both simultaneously (obviously you can only hear audio from one source at a time). They are mostly comfortable, and I have worn them pretty much all day without discomfort, but on other days they’ve annoyed me after only a short while. Battery is as advertised or better, as it was with the portable speaker. Audio is good enough, but they do distort with heavy bass. For a pair of supra-aural (on-ear) headphones, they do a good job of reducing ambient noise, but at medium to high volumes others will be able to hear what you’re listening to. The built-in microphone is passable.

Negatives

When connected and in use a blue LED flashes continuously on the right ear, which are very noticeable in a darkened room. Occasionally when using the hands-free mode the connection will be garbled, and I’ll have to switch to the phone itself.

Both of those are minor details compared to the next one though, but the majority of the blame lies in iOS. I cannot use these headphones to watch video on my phone due to a significant delay between the video and audio. From my research this seems to be because iOS uses AirPlay for the audio, and even affects Apple’s own Beats wireless headphones. There is no delay when used with the MacBook Pro, nor when paired with an Android phone.

Despite that one glaring problem I’m very happy with them, and have been using them everyday for both music and podcasts.