My honest reason for starting this blog was to write reviews for things I really like. So, here’s one.
I’ve owned a lot of electronics in my lifetime. Some of them I’ve regretted buying; some of them I’ve loved. I think plausibly the best object that I’ve ever owned (measured by the amount of warmth in my heart when I think about it) is my iPad Pro. I have the 11″ model, with an Apple Pencil and a Logitech keyboard case.
I’m not really an “Apple fanboy”; I’ve owned computers of all types, and while my current primary machine is a MacBook, there’s a good chance my next one will run a free UNIX. My phone runs Android and always has. I remember thinking, when the first iPad came out, “why would anyone want that?”
Well, now I know why.
It is so well designed. It feels like a solid slab of aluminum: sturdy, light, cool. It doesn’t feel like it’s hiding some dark secret about how it was built (which is a complaint I’ve had about other Apple products); instead, you can see where sound enters and leaves, and where the cameras are. The three buttons and one port look simple; they do exactly what you need and nothing else. The screen is symmetric, and it doesn’t care about orientation. The pencil just attaches directly to the side, using magnets! and then it charges!
And, because it’s so well-designed, I use it. Not only that, but it reduces the friction involved with many tasks that I’ve always wanted to do regularly. And now I do them regularly! It’s amazing.
I take notes and brainstorm!
I draw diagrams!
I read papers!
I read books!
With SideCar, I even occasionally use it as a secondary monitor in a coffee shop
11″ is definitely the right size, too. It’s a tiny bit smaller than a stack of paper, but it’s big enough that you can actually read (and mark up) textbook-sized PDFs. I’m carrying around millions of pages of textbooks with me all the time, and I don’t even need a pack animal to carry them.
I feel really grateful that I live in a time and place where magical objects like this exist, and with a level of privilege that allows me to own one. I hope that things continue to get better, and that we can make the future more evenly distributed as we go.
This is my blog. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
Actually, there are even many that are mine. But this one belongs to my current observer-moment.
I made this blog because I wanted to write reviews of things I love, but I don’t want to annoy my friends by posting them on Facebook. I have other things I also expect to write about (a CO2 pumping project I’ve been working on, computer science and programming, effective altruism), but the product reviews are really the core thing.
In accordance with rationalist tradition, the blog title is an anagram of my name.