My Past Years In Instagram Photos

My Past Years In Instagram Photos

I take a lot of pictures. Just pictures, nothing special. At least, that’s what I thought. I only shared some pictures via Instagram or Twitter. I don’t know whether you look at them or not, but at least I have the sense I shared them with the whole world. Because that is where pictures are made for. To be shared. All those copyrights, not for me. I understand that some people invest a lot in taking fantastic pictures and that they need to live from it. But if no one can see them, what’s the point then?

But ok, that’s another story. What I wanted to say is that pictures are not just pictures. Pictures show your life, your feelings, your talents and so much more. It doesn’t matter you are using a throw-away camera, an iPhone or an expensive DSLR. The expression and the story of a picture are the most important.

With the release of the new Photos.app from Apple, I was scanning my pictures. One by one. More than ten thousand pictures spread over ten years. Amazing! And then I had an idea. Some of those pictures where published to Instagram. I added a nice layer and a comment and shared them with all of you. What if I created a book with all those pictures in it? Wouldn’t that be fun?

Well, the result can be found here. Take a look at it. It is completely free and gives you a look at my past years in photos. I am proud. Proud of the photos I took, proud of what I have done and proud of my life.

Enjoy!

My Past Years In Instagram Photos – Get The Book!

My Past Year In Instagram Photos – Get The Book! (small version)

Backblaze.

The more I do on my MacBook Air, as higher is the need for me to have a backup in the case something goes wrong. That’s why I installed Backblaze.

Backblaze is the solution for me to make sure all my important files are stored in the cloud. Doing so, I will always have them available on any Mac when mine crashes. Of course I have some external harddrives with backups and clones of my MacBook Air. But if everything goes wrong, I know I can trust on Backblaze to get my files back.

They have an app for your Mac that makes sure all it’s data is backed up to the cloud. For me, the app works flawless. The only downside I discovered is that I sometimes have to pause the backup since our network is not that performant all the time. Their app will throttle automatically but it doesn’t take into account other computers in the network. Besides that, they also have an iOS app. This means you can always access your data on your iOS device. Oh, Backblaze also works with Windows…

I like Backblaze and will continue to use their service. I you’d like to subscribe too, you can get one month for free when you use this link. In addition, I get one month for free too :).

Apple did it again.

Monday, Tim Cook presented the long awaited WWDC keynote. A lot of people were really excited for what would be the new things. I followed the keynote via livestream and I have to say I was pretty amazed with some of the things they announced.

wwdc14-home-branding

Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs, but there is no need for that. At least not for the keynotes. Even if you don’t like Apple, you should at least watch one of their keynotes. The way they present their message, simple and clean is a good example for everyone. They know how to sell their products. Talking about their why inspires people to buy their products. Add some ’amazing’, ’huge’ and ’powerful’ and you have the perfect marketing.

Like always, Apple managed to amaze us with some remarkable updates for OS X and iOS. For me, the most amazing announcement was about letting all your devices work together better than ever. No matter where you are, you can always switch from device and continue what you were doing. Being able to pick up a phonecall on my Mac is just a nice example of it. Imagine yourself editing your household budget in Numbers. You have to leave for the dentist and while waiting your iPhone prompts you to continue editing your budgets. Amazing, isn’t it?

There is a lot more but their are a lot of people that are way better in explaining all those new features. iPhoneclub (Dutch), iMore and MacStories are a couple of examples.

It’s not all good news at WWDC. iCloud drive is a nice new feature but we only get 5GB free storage. Pretty stupid if you ask me. My biggest request for iOS 8 was Siri in Dutch. Unfortunately, Apple didn’t announce that one. We get some new dication languages so maybe Dutch is among those. Maybe I should send Tim Cook this blogpost with the request to teach Siri Dutch…

Podcasts all over the place.

I think it must be one year ago I discovered podcasts. I read something about it on Lifehacker and wanted to try some out. Now I’m subscribed to almost sixty podcasts and it’s my main source of knowledge.

What makes podcasts so attractive?

Well, they are mostly free, easy to follow and exist in all sort of topics. The main reason for me to like podcasts is that I can listen to them while driving to my work or when I bring my birds to the various tournaments in Belgium. They’re also handy while I’m feeding my birds. I can’t read a book or watch television when I’m busy, but my ears are always free. When I take everything into account, I listen at least 15 hours of podcasts every week. That is 15 hours of valuable information to gather while traveling or doing something else. There are worser things in life ;).

How did I found so many podcasts?

It’s like reading blogs. You read a post that links to a related post and the train has left the station. Before you know, you can’t keep up anymore. Every day, new podcast episodes are waiting for me to be listened.

How to keep track of all those episodes?

Most of the time, I listen to a podcast episode via my iPhone which I always have with me. I started with the Podcasts app from Apple itself. This app was another trigger for me to start listening podcasts. Early on, I discovered that the Podcasts app from Apple could not fullfill all my wishes when I started subscribing more podcasts. I wanted an app that could download new episodes automatically, create playlists and rank them by priority. Based on reviews and recomendations in the podcasts, I chose Downcast which I shortly discussed in a previous blogpost. Up until now, I’m really pleased with my choice. I use the app on my iPhone, iPad and now a couple of weeks on my MacBook Air. It costs some money, but you get bang for the buck. Everything is synced on all my devices via iCloud. Allthough I sometimes have a problem an my iPad or MacBook Air since I don’t open the app that much on those devices.

Which podcast do I listen to?

My alltime favorite is Mac Power Users, hosted by Katie Floyd and David Sparks. As the title says, it’s all about Mac and iOS and they has cost me quite some money ;). I love the tips and tricks they share and I’m pretty sure they’ve saved me a lot of hours by automating as much as possible.

This Is Your Life with Michael Hyatt is the podcast that inspires me the most. It is great to learn from someone with his experience. I’m able to lift both my personal as my work life to a higher level by applying his lessons.

The iMore show is my way to keep track of all new things in techworld. They cover mostly Apple devices but always with a blink to the other players in this market. Quite often, they’ve also lead me to a solution for something that went wrong with my Apple device. Thanks for that!

There are a lot more podcasts but there is one I want to mention as an extra: Entrepreneur On Fire with John Lee Dumas. I don’t listen to every episode but his enthusiasm is inspiring. It’s a daily podcast where John interviews an entrepreneur everyday. A great quote or a good book is always nearby.

That’s it, time to listen some podcasts!

Windows computer or Mac? A choice between low price or usability.

A lot is written about this topic, but in fact it is easy. If you want to use your computer without effort, choose for a Mac.

I have a Mac for almost three years now. If I knew what I know now, I would have gotten one a lot earlier. Before I got my Mac, I was told that it was too expensive and only for people who make money with their computer. Well the more I use my Mac and see how others use their Windows computer, the more I am convinced that this is not true. Macs are built for daily usage and everything works out of the box. Easy intitial setup, automatic backups and everything synced with your iCloud account. All of this is not available on your Windows computer. At least not with the same ’ready-to-use’.

Last week, I helped someone with configuring Windows 8 on his new computer. It opened my eyes. Windows 8 works fine but is so complex that normal users don’t like it. Settings are everywhere, your computer is divided in two systems, Windows 7 and the new interface. It is just not logic. Even their initial settings are strange. Why would you like to split mails bigger than 800kb?

So if you ask my advice for your new computer, I definitely go for a Mac. It will cost you more but you will gain this back in no time. My parents bought their Mac a couple of months ago and besides some explanations, they did not need any help from me. And they’ve always used Windows.

Get rid of your Windows computer and go get your Mac!

My iPhone Home Screen

My iPhone Home Screen
I use my iPhone daily and couldn’t live without it anymore. Reading, listening, e-mail, writing… It all happens on my iPhone. That’s why I want to share my home screen with you.

Dock:
Launch Center Pro: With this app, you can create shortcuts to a lot of apps on your iPhone. Most of the time, I use this app for contacts I need quick access to. Or for creating tasks in OmniFocus. When I do something regularly on my iPhone, I can probably automate it with Launch Center Pro.

OmniFocus: A taskmanagement app with great interface and possibilities. I’ve tried many ToDo-apps but this one I will not replace soon. It is quite expensive but it’s worth every penny. Stuff I need to do for work, at home or for my birds, they all go in there. Idea for a blogpost? It is stored in OmniFocus via a Launch Center Pro shortcut.

Drafts: The quickest input app I know. When you open the app, you can start typing without thinking about where you will store this. Afterwards, you can dispatch your note to every app you can think of.

Phone: A smartphone is a phone so I want to be able to call someone quickly if needed :).

First screen:
Mailbox: My favorite email application. I love the ability to defer emails to a later time. I can quickly go through my mail and dispatch everything to the correct place.

Fantastical: Before using Fantastical, entering events on my phone was not convenient. With it’s natural language parser, you can enter events in seconds. They have a great interface and the ability to add more than two alarms. Just waiting for the iPad app…

Settings: The settings app is still on my home screen, even after Apple added control center. Toggle something off, check my WiFi-network or simply turn off background refresh for a new app, it is all in there.

HomeWizard (website): Do you love automating things? I do, so I automated some things at home. Lights go on at a certain time, ipcamera in the garden, change the heating… You think of it and you can do it with HomeWizard.

Clear: To be honest, I installed it for its simplicity and amazing design. I use it for simple list like what I need to take with me when I go play soccer.

Scanner Pro: Scanning all paperwork to Evernote is done with this app. I don’t have a scanner at home but this app makes it almost as good as a real scanner.

Reeder: I follow a lot of blogs an techsite so to keep up with all the news in the world, I use Reeder. Mainly to quickly scan titles and saving interesting things to Pocket.

Pocket: Almost every article I read, is stored in Pocket. It delivers a fantastic reading experience and allows me to easily save stuff to Evernote or share with people following me on twitter. Works together with IFTTT (website).

Banking: We need money everyday, so with this app I can manage all my accounts.

Downcast: I start the day and end the day with a podcast. To be able to listen on the road, Downcast downloads the most recents episodes for me. By doing so, I always have a list of Podcasts ready to consume.

Messages: Send messages to family and friends. The easiest way to communicate. Still.

Strides: I try to train myself some habits. I log my daily progress in Strides.

1Password: All my amazing passwords together in one app. I can’t imagine ever living without this app.

iCulture: Dutch newssite about Apple. Without these people I would not have my known my iPhone as I know it now.

Fitbit: I work on a desk  so this app tells me every day that I need to move more. I also track how much water I drink during the day, so I don’t get dehydrated :).

Spendee: Simple app to keep track of my income and expenses. Not a real budget app but can gice you a simple overview for a particular month.

So that is my homescreen. Maybe you noticed that I leave one line blank? I think that is easier to swipe to the next screen and it gives me the feeling that my homescreen is clean.