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This past week’s episode of the Weekly Briefly was a short one. I’ve been a single dad for the past 5 days while my wife was on a trip. And I — ahem — chose, that instead of juggling both my boys and trying to keep up with work stuff as best I can, I would put all the work stuff on pause and be 100-percent dad. Totally worth it.

Elgato Avea​ transforms your home with beautiful dynamic light moods.

No matter the weather and season outside — with Avea, bring the atmosphere you like to your home. Control your ambience from your iPhone or iPad and unwind in one of the carefully crafted settings with subtly changing light. For example, let the Cherry Blossom setting fill your house with springlike cosiness.

After a relaxing evening, simply set your alarm using the built-in wake-up light scene. With Avea, rise and shine along a natural sunrise, right in your bedroom.

Avea connects directly to your iPhone or iPad using Bluetooth Smart technology, without requiring additional gateways or bridges. But it doesn’t stop there: once you have chosen a light scene, the smart LED lightbulb will take care of the rest, not requiring a constant connection to your iPhone or iPad. Connect more than one Avea, and they will automatically coordinate their lighting to create an even more immersive atmosphere.

Even better, Avea is soon available on Apple Watch, making it easier than ever to pick the perfect lighting for your mood – right from your wrist.

Avea is available for US $39.95 h​ere.​



My thanks to Avea for sponsoring the site this week. Sponsorship by The Syndicate.

Tuesday, April 14

This year’s WWDC logo is fantastic. My favorite compared to the past several years for sure. You’ve got the iPhone and iPad app icons, watch icons, and is that an Apple TV in the center? “The epicenter of change.”? Surely there’s more going on here than just a hint at fancier stuff that the Watch will be able to do.

Speaking of The Sweet Setup, this week’s setup interview is with a friend of mine, Kelly Tomlinson. Kelly’s a fellow Kansas Citian, and she plays a very active role in Kansas City’s tech and design scene.

Mike Schmitz wrote a fantastic app review for us on The Sweet Setup in our pick for the best Mind Mapping app (for iPad and iOS):

MindNode has the perfect balance between beautiful design, ease of use, standard features like iCloud syncing between your Mac and iOS devices, and import/export features to make it a functional part of any workflow.

The best thing about MindNode is that it is incredibly easy to use. The UI is simple and intuitive, even if you’re not an experienced mind mapper. In fact, you could probably start using MindNode without even fully understanding the concept of mind mapping because the user interface will actually teach you how to do it.

MindNode is awesome — I use it regularly. It’s basically my office’s white board and then some.

Friday, April 10

On this week’s episode of my podcast, The Weekly Briefly, I talk about the purpose of (and the science behind) lifestyle practices and daily habits.

This topic is one of the most important issues of my life. I have a personal commitment to live with intentionality in as many areas of my life as I can. I want to be intentional in my marriage and in how I raise my boys. I want to be intentional with my business and family finances, with my creative work, with how I spend my time, with my diet, and more.

This week’s show was sponsored by:

Tuesday, April 7

Over on The Sweet Setup, we’ve just updated our pick for podcast apps with a new favorite: Overcast.

There are many podcast clients in the App Store. Our new pick for what we consider to be the best podcast client for iOS is Overcast. Overcast has a very easy-to-use interface, in the year since it was released it has seen frequent updates, and it’s available as a universal iOS app and a web-based player. But best of all are Overcast’s two most useful and compelling features: Smart Speed and Voice Boost (which we’ll get into later).

Overcast has become the podcast client of choice for all of us here at The Sweet Setup. Its Smart Speed feature has saved us a more than a cumulative 100 extra hours of listening time, beyond just standard speed adjustments alone. After comparing it to the competition and using it extensively, Overcast is the podcasting app we recommend.

My friend, Chase Reeves, interviewed Mike Vardy and me for one of the recent episodes of The Fizzle Show. It’s a great episode — not your typical three dudes talking on a Skype Call type of show, it’s tightly edited and constructed, more like an episode 99pi or something you’d hear on NPR.

Now, I’m not sure that I’d call myself an “expert”, but I will say that having a daily de-brief that includes what progress I made that day, combined with writing down the single most important thing I need to do tomorrow has literally changed my work life.

Monday, April 6

High roaming charges have scared global travelers for far too long. In the past, savvy tourists would have to purchase expensive and limiting roaming packages from their mobile carriers, or they just kept their phone off entirely for fear of surprise charges when they arrived home. Now it’s possible to know true mobile freedom when you travel the world with Kno​wRoaming.

KnowRo​aming is a super-thin global SIM that adheres to your existing SIM card, providing simple pay-as-you-go data and voice roaming in 200+ countries. Gone are the days of hunting for local SIMs when you land in a new country, or searching out a Starbucks for bit of time on Wi-Fi.

Just apply the KnowRoaming SIM sticker once to your unlocked GSM phone or tablet you can enjoy the service any time you travel. The smart SIM stays dormant when you’re at home, and only activates when you leave the country.

The KnowRoaming App lets you manage your account and track your usage in real-time, purchase foreign numbers from 40+ countries to travel like a local, and buy unlimited daily data packages for $7.99 USD/day in 55+ countries.

The KnowRoaming SIM sticker is available for $29.99 USD. ​Get it here.​

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My thanks to KnowRoaming for sponsoring the RSS feed this week. Sponsorship by The Syndicate.

Friday, April 3

This week’s episode of The Weekly Briefly is longer than normal because it’s jam packed with stories and advice from the past four years of making a living online.

I share ins and outs, fears and motivations, challenges and victories. Highlights include:

  • Why I quit my job to write shawnblanc.net for a living.
  • The launch of my members-only podcast and how I thought it was so audacious to charge $3/month.
  • The shift I see related to advertising as a significant revenue stream.
  • Building and launching Delight is in the Details versions 1 and 2 — including what I learned about how an idea needs to mature and grow, how my idealistic approach to marketing isn’t practical, and how I felt like a fraud when I wanted to charge $29 for the complete bundle.
  • And my latest project, The Focus Course, and the challenges and fears I’m facing with it right now.
Wednesday, March 25

Speaking of time management, there’s a new Fantastical app out and, well, it’s fantastic.

I’ve been using Fantastical for Mac since before it shipped, and it is hands down one of my most-used and favorite apps. It’s such an awesome blend of helpful and delightful.

The new version is a serious upgrade. It rocks a very handsome, Yosemity-ified look, a full-on (non-Menu Bar) Calendar app, Calendar sets, and a slew of new features.

Fantastical 2 for Mac is on sale for 20% off right now. If you’re a Fantastical user, it’s a worthwhile upgrade. If you’re new to Fantastical, you’re in for a treat.

Tuesday, March 24

A fantastic, photo-rich review of the GR Echo by Álvaro Serrano:

The GR Echo is the smallest of GORUCK’s Original Rucks. While the GR2 is perfect for multi-day adventures and the GR0/GR1 are all about versatility, the Echo is arguably the most specialized bag of them all. It’s the best daypack you can carry.

NeuBible has got to be the most well-designed, gorgeous Bible app for the iPhone. It came out just a few days ago and I love it. For years, my go-to iOS Bible app has been ESV Study Bible + which is certainly feature rich, but it’s not delightful and beautiful app.

NeuBible takes a different approach in that the entire experience centers around reading (what a novel idea!). The typography, fluidity, gestures, design elements — everything is simple and considered.

If you’re looking for a power-packed Bible app that has reading plans, commentaries, notes, social sharing, syncing, etc. Then this is not for you.

If, however, you’re looking for a simple, beautiful Bible app that’s built with reading in mind, then this is it. Just $2 on the App Store.

Friday, March 13

This week on The Weekly Briefly: Staying balanced when we’re hyper-focused on a particular project. As in: how not to be constantly thinking about work all the time.

Monday, March 9

Apple’s updated website for the Watch has all the details we’ve been speculating about for the past several months. Like shipping date (pre-orders begin April 10, ships on April 24th), battery life (18 hours), the price of the Edition (starts at $10,000 and goes up to $17,000 depending on the bands), that yes, you can buy individual bands, and more.

Also, on the Apple Watch website, there’s a weekly blog by Christy Turlington Burns tracking where she’ll be writing about how she’s using her Apple Watch to train and prepare for the London marathon.

In an hour (at 10am Pacific), the Apple Watch event will be kicking off. You can watch the live stream here on Apple’s website, or also via the events channel on your Apple TV.

Friday, March 6

Just in time for the weekend, here is this week’s episode of The Weekly Briefly. And today’s topic? Rest. Defined as time taken to relax, refresh, and/or recover strength.

I believe the reason people dislike Mondays is because they wasted the 48 hours in their weekend — they didn’t get any true rest, and thus never recharged. They are more worn out on Monday morning than they were on Friday evening. On this week’s episode, I talk about a thing I call “counterfeit rest”. What are tiny little things we could do to break our habits of resting poorly, and thus give ourselves more energy (mentally, physically, and emotionally)?

Friday, February 27

On today’s episode of The Weekly Briefly: thriving in the midst of the tensions between our time, ideas, and focus.

If I were to boil my upcoming book down to just two themes, one of them would be this. The other theme would be “committing to honesty and clarity with a bias toward action“.

Sponsored by:

Wednesday, February 25

This is the brand-new album from Mat Kearney, and it’s fantastic. I’m a huge fan Young Love and City of Black & White (“Here we Go” has long been up there in my list of favorite songs). And as a fan of his past music, Just Kids doesn’t disappoint one bit. Have pretty much had it on repeat for the past 24 hours. So great.

Tuesday, February 24

Jeff Abbott wrote our latest app review for The Sweet Setup:

We’ve covered several other list apps previously, such as our favorite simple list-making app (Clear), our favorite GTD app (OmniFocus), and our favorite shared list app (Wunderlist). Why spend the time on such a niche group of apps [Grocery Shopping] that can probably be supplanted by any of the apps mentioned above?

The thing is, you could use any list app for grocery shopping, but our focus for this review is on apps that make the experience of preparing a grocery list and assisting in going through that list an easier affair. One of the things that makes this possible is the ability to remember past items, display relevant items as you’re typing, and the ability to create lists of favorite or staple items that you can easily add in bulk to your current list. Yes, this is a niche category of list apps, and that’s partly why it’s so interesting and why they can be a better choice over other list or GTD apps.

This week’s continuation of bag reviews on Tools & Toys is Stephen Hackett’s Synapse 19:

As you can see from the photos, I opted for the black exterior, but instead of my normal choice of gray, I decided to live a little and order the “Wasabi” green interior for this backpack.

(I’m a lot of fun at parties.)

Monday, February 23

Whether you’re a designer, manager, or developer Sprintly is for you. It’s Agile project management that works.

Designers can collaborate effortlessly with other team members: it makes hand-off between designers and developers especially easy. Developers can keep their existing GitHub and deployment workflows. And managers? They don’t need to tap you on your shoulder to get the information they need.

Bring together all of your workflows by using our Slack, GitHub and Alfred integrations.

Sprintly can help your team ship faster. Sign-up for a free 30-day trial at Sprint.ly.

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My thanks to Sprintly for sponsoring the site this week.

Friday, February 20

On this week’s episode of my podcast, The Weekly Briefly: how putting your shoes away in the same spot can help you write that novel. No, seriously.

It can be frustrating to “start small” with our goals. But making small commitments and keeping them is how we build the momentum we need to be people who keep our commitments. It’s a way to rebuild our personal integrity from something that is small to something that can become an unstoppable force.

Alto’s Adventure is a brand new game for iOS, and it’s absolutely fantastic. The artwork alone is magnificent (I seriously would love some prints of these game screenshots). The music and sound effects are excellent (you should play with headphones on). And the gameplay itself is a lot of fun.

A huge congrats to Ryan and his team for creating something so magnificent.

If you haven’t downloaded Alto’s Adventure yet, it’s a mere $2 in the app store. Just in time for the weekend.

Wednesday, February 18

My friends Myke Hurley and Stephen Hackett have completely raised the bar in terms of indie tech podcasts. This “reboot” of Inquisitive — a podcast I’ve long been a fan of — is just fantastic. If you’re a fan of well-made, researched, shows such as 99% Invisible, and if you’re an Apple nerd, then Behind the App is for you.

SIRUI Travel Tripod

If you think a review of a travel tripod sounds boring, allow Álvaro Serrano to prove you wrong.

Friday, February 13

On this week’s episode of The Weekly Briefly: creativity, fear, and procrastination. If fear is what keeps us from doing work that matters, procrastination is what keeps us from reaching our potential.

Sponsored by:

Monday, February 9

A few days ago I announced a new email newsletter I’ll be sending out every week. On this week’s episode of The Weekly Briefly — my apologies that it’s a few days late — I answer the question as to why I’m doing an email newsletter when I already have a blog to publish to.

‹ Previously