Social Starvation

One of the habits I wanted to break in 2016 was the large amount of time that I wasted using social media sites. Day after day I would keep on checking Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram several times during the day.

Thinking back on it I have no idea why I became so reliant on social media. It’s great being able to see photos and status updates of my family and friends back in South Africa, but for every useful post I see on Facebook I’m having to sort through 100 posts or ads for things I have no interest in. Continue reading Social Starvation

Thoughts on Apple Music

Music is my entire life. It’s the only thing that I’ve been good at. I love it. I feel like it’s been my best friend. It’s something that has always given me focus, it’s always made me deal with anything, because I have this soundtrack. And I think that it’s something that’s become something that happens in the background rather than the foreground in the last 10 years or so. I’d like to nudge it a little closer to the foreground. – Trent Reznor

Rolling Stone interview with Trent Reznor

Music has always been one of the most important ways I’ve found to inspire myself. Whether it’s to help me focus more on my studies, give me a welcome break during the day, or to just help me lose myself between the notes as I listen to my favorite songs music has always had an undeniable impact on my life. Continue reading Thoughts on Apple Music

Do You Still Use Your Tablet?

Recently my friend Craig posted over on his blog how he’d stopped using his Android tablet after a while and was wondering whether other people have experienced something similar. So I thought I’d reply with how I use my iPad these days and just why it’s still in my arsenal of tech gadgets.

Almost every job I’ve had has seen me sitting in front of a desktop for a sizable amount of time every day and even my teaching job has me slaving away over a keyboard to create worksheets and lesson plans every day. The end result of all this is that when I finish off the day at work and head back home the last thing I’m keen to do is to sit in front of yet another PC screen to read up on the days news or even type out these blog posts. Continue reading Do You Still Use Your Tablet?

Thoughts on iOS 8

With September and October each year comes the arrival of the latest and greatest phone/s from Apple and of course that also means that there will be a new version of iOS for those of us who who be sticking with our old iPhones and iPads.

Ever since moving to Japan I’ve been an Apple device user and so I thought it might be useful to jot down a few of my thoughts and opinions now that I’ve had a chance to play around with the released version on iOS 8. Continue reading Thoughts on iOS 8

Publish by Day One

Before starting up this blog I’d had a break of about 3 years where I did no writing on the web. My previous blogs all went the way of the dodo and due to my move to Japan I had to stop writing for the various sites and publications I was working for back in South Africa.

Even though I wasn’t writing anything online I kept a pen and paper journal on a regular basis and tried to make the time to jot down my thoughts and ideas, my feelings and anything important that had happened to me. Continue reading Publish by Day One

Moving to Octopress

So the first thing you might notice if you’ve been here before is that the site looks vastly different from before. Previously I was running it on an instance of Ghost 0.4.1. The second thing you might notice is that the site is no longer hosted on kibayanse.com, but rather a vanity URL – terrancebrown.me

So why the change? I love trying out new tech and software and my blogging is no stranger to that. I’d tried out Octopress a month or two back and liked it. It’s simple and yet at the same time gives you a lot of power over customization without sacrificing speed. Since it’s a static site generator it also does all the data grinding before pushing your site up to the internet. This means you won’t have to worry about dealing with a database that might make your site less responsive. Continue reading Moving to Octopress

My Writing Workflow

One of the things I do most frequently on my laptop is to type out notes and documents. Whether it’s a draft blog post or a few paragraphs of fiction, I’ve ended up using a combination of Ulysses III, Byword and Marked for nearly all my documents.

Choosing a text editor or writing software on a Mac can be a daunting task. After all, there are a raft of wonderfully crafted editors each trying to make a name for themselves by addressing a specific need or niche. Scrivener focuses on being a ‘toolshed’ for writers looking to gather all their research and materials together and typing out a fully formed book. On the opposite end of the spectrum is something like Byword that gives you a single window with nothing else and let’s you type out whatever you want using the Markdown syntax. Continue reading My Writing Workflow

Thoughts on FastMail

Recently I’ve been looking to move away from Google’s free services to solutions that, while paid, might be a better fit for me as well. There’s also the fact that Google has a tendency to shutter their services. Throw in privacy concerns and the slow influx of ads into their best services like Gmail and there has been no better time than now to look at moving on.

The first step in this plan was for me to start moving away from Gmail and look for alternatives as Gmail is the service I use the most from Google. I’m speaking about paid alternatives rather than just moving over to Microsoft Outlook or Yahoo Mail which would just be the lesser of two evils and would defeat the whole purpose of moving away from Google by merely giving my personal data to another large corporate entity. Continue reading Thoughts on FastMail

Saying Goodbye To Google

Leaving Google seems almost the hipster thing to do these days but the more research I’ve done the more it seems as though the power users and geek users out there are opting to move to paid email platforms or open source alternatives rather than relying on the big G as they once used to. Just look at the recent backlash from many Nest users when Google spent $3.2 billion to buy Nest. Many people were turned off by the potential that Google would be gaining even more information about them. Continue reading Saying Goodbye To Google