Apple, TV, video

My Sony X85J 4k monitor/TV

I finally own a 4K monitor. It was discounted everywhere over holidays 2021 for CAD $750. On the other hand, it took a couple of weeks to make delivery. I ended up getting it from Costco.

I shoot video mostly in 4k. Edit it down to 1080p for export to YouTube.

Someday I’ll be exporting 4k.

Based mainly on reviews from RTings.com I decided on the X85J:

  • great response time
  • Native Refresh Rate 120 Hz
  • variable refresh rate support
  • Google TV operating system
  • voice control
  • Sony’s cheapest TV with HDMI 2.1 (4k @ 120Hz SHOULD work — but one review said it fails)

Some customizations

If you want to make HDR content brighter and don’t mind losing image accuracy, change to the ‘Vivid’ Picture Mode, and set Contrast to ‘Max’. These settings result in a much brighter image …

We measured the HDR brightness in the ‘Custom’ Picture Mode, before calibrating the TV, with Brightness at max, Contrast at ’90’, and Color Tone set to ‘Expert 2’.

I’ll mainly be using it as a second monitor for my laptop — when in Parksville.

And use it as a TV, as well. The voice command is limited, but useful.

Apple, photos

Curves Adjustment Tool for Photos

I’m enjoying experimenting with this way of editing photos in Pixelmator Pro

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube

It does feel easier and more precise than other tools. 

Actually I start with the default Machine Learning quick fix. Move to Curves Adjustment IF I want. Finally I might tweak specific colours. 

This pic was much improved, for example, using Curves Adjustment. Cluttered, I played around to make the texture of the art work on the wall more 3D.

Here’s the photo before being uploaded to Instagram. The Instagram version is compressed. Lower quality.

I’m still using the Apple Photos app to move pics from cameras ➙ to folders ➙ to my Flickr master archive.

In fact, Apple Photos is a surprisingly good photo editor now. Less powerful than Pixelmator, but fast and easy for those I’m not posting online. It does have Curves Adjustment, as well.

In fact, Apple Photos has an Extensions tab where you can quickly pull up all the Pixelmator tools without opening that more powerful app. Cool.

Apple, photos, product endorsements, things getting better

My 2022 Workflow = Notes & Notion

Cooped up in my unheated garage WORLD HEADQUARTERS, I’ve been experimenting with BETTER ways to create NOTES and TO DO lists.

When on the run with only my iPhone, I’ll use Siri or jot down a quick note from the Lock Screen.

Click PLAY or watch how to edit the Lock Screen function to your phone on YouTube.

Once in a while I’ll take a photo (or scan) with my phone and save it as a Quick Note.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

If I’m on my laptop and want to take a quick note, I’ll either use Siri — or move my cursor to the HOT CORNER of the display I’ve set up to launch the app. (That works even in full screen mode.)

OK … ALL those methods put my quick notes into a folder in the app called “Notes” via iCloud.

From there, I’ll file them into the best of the folders I’ve created. It looks like this right now.

Done. Notes will archive my brain farts.

Any of those whims that become ACTION PROJECTS I’ll move over to the NOTIONS app.

It’s much more complicated Project Management software.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Apple, video

My NEW MacBook Pro in 2022

While in Europe, my first generation SILICON MacBook Pro purchased November 2020 began to fail. Slowly the display started to go black. I ended up using just half the screen that was still visible. As I post it’s completely black and can only be used with an external monitor.

Just over a year old, the warranty was void. Happily, I’d purchased AppleCare extended warranty and will try to have the 2020 fixed.

In the meantime, on November 25th, I ordered the base model of the upgraded 2022 version.

Love it so far. Especially the RETURN of features that had been discontinued.

One of my online gurus, Serge M from Saskatoon, had his laptop screen crack after he dropped it. So purchased the same machine at about the same time. Base model 14‑inch MacBook Pro with 16GB RAM and only 512 GB internal memory. Both of us will store our large files on external SSD drives.

Kraig warned me that my old 2020 laptop might choke with only 8GB RAM. And he was right — though it didn’t happen very often. And only rarely with Final Cut Pro and once Pixelmator Pro.

Serge tested my new machine editing 4 simultaneous 4K streams. No problem. That’s far more processing power than I’ll need for years. 😇

iJustine tested even more extreme use cases, and was shocked how easily the base model handled video editing.

So … the cheapest base model of the 2022 MacBook Pro is powerful enough for anything I’d want to do over the next few years.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.


For the first time ever Apple bungled my online purchase. I ended up having to cancel.

NEXT I tried to buy one in stock from an Apple store in Vancouver. They bungled that, as well.

FINALLY I was able to get one from BestBuy Canada with only 2 weeks delay in delivery over Christmas.

NOT CHEAP — I paid CAD $2500 AND $300 in taxes. I’ll be paying a few hundred more for an extended warranty.

Apple, hiking, photos, video

Flash Drive Back-up for iPhone

For my purposes, an iPhone X (for example) is better in many ways than a dedicated camera like the Sony ZV-1.

I want 4K video at 60 frames / second. The iPhone does that. The Sony doesn’t.

One BIG downside of using your camera for video is running out of storage.

But I solved that with the purchase of a tiny SanDisk 256GB iXpand Flash Drive Go for iPhone CAD $82.

It works well and quickly to back-up all your photos and videos, freeing space to take more.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Apple, cycling

I put Airtags on my bikes

If anyone rides away on my bike, I can track it down via the Apple Find My network.

Shane Miller tested WHERE to place the tracking device.

Open to the sky is best. Hidden inside the frame near useless.

I’m keeping mine in a bag attached to the bike.

Also, it’s unlikely a thief will be alerted by their own phone — until they get home.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Apple, photos, product endorsements, video

Notion note taking app

I’ve always been a NOTE taker.

Always put together TO-DO lists.

Not always skilled at following through. 😶

For the past few months I’ve been trying NOTION. It’s free for basics.

More complicated than I need. But it is cool.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

It does synch perfectly with iPhone. And I can use the IOS app even when out of service.

NOTION ranked #1 on this list of Best Note-Taking Apps 2021.

I’ve used different notebooks and apps over the decades. Most recently I’ve been trying to stick to the default Apple products:

  • Reminders
  • Text Edit

Love the simplicity and compatibility with the Fruit Company ecosystem of brainwashed.

I’ve yet to find a calendar I like. I’m using Google Calendar — but don’t really enjoy it. Right now I’m trying to switch to Apple Calendar, which I also don’t like.