LIBBY App – Listen to Library Audio Books

I listen to audio books pretty much every day.

Though I have an Audible account (12 books / year) I spend far more time on the Libby app. I’m coming up to 500 audio books borrowed, so far.

I can read 2-3 books a week at 150% normal speed.

Once I put a popular book on “HOLD” — wait time does seem to be increasing. So I recently added a second library to the app. Now I can put up to 60 books on hold: 30 for each library.

Bottom line … I LOVE THE LIBBY APP.

And I do donate to the libraries.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

DJI OM 5 Gimbal – my review

I was quite happy with the DJI OM 4 Gimbal — but somehow lost the magnetic phone clamp.

The magnetic phone clamp is the best feature. The one thing that makes it better FOR ME than competitors like the Zhiyun Smooth Q4. I hate balancing phones on a gimbal. With the OM 4 and 5 you don’t need to.

Rather than pay for a replacement magnetic phone clamp (CAD $35), it was smarter to simply buy the upgraded OM 5 (CAD $149) which includes the phone clamp. I can use the same phone and clamp on either gimbal.

I do feel the OM 5 is slightly better:

  • NEW built-in extension rod for “selfies”
  • lighter and more compact — but at the expense of much shorter battery life
  • ActiveTrack 4.0 and gesture control does seem more reliable. An important feature for me.
  • In “selfie” camera mode, it smoothly tracks your face by default

The MAIN downside is a shorter battery life than the OM 4. Only about 6 hours.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I used iPhone 13 on the OM 5 shooting in portrait orientation to keep the footage as SMOOTH as possible. I’d intended to upload it VERTICAL to Instagram and Facebook. Facebook worked. Instagram wouldn’t upload over multiple attempts.

I certainly prefer landscape and YouTube.

BACK to the OM 5 …

Click PLAY or watch the DJI hype video on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch the DJI tutorial on YouTube.

Here’s the best tutorial I’ve found.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The following tutorial is more comprehensive.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

My Electronics Bag for Travel

I stumbled upon the HIGHPASS HYBRID BRIEFCASE BACKPACK in an electronics store. And was instantly impressed with the look, feel and weight (762 grams or 29 ounces).

I discarded the shoulder strap, further dropping the weight.

On the road, I frequently need to day trip with my laptop and a just a few extra items. Jacket. Snacks.

Read a review.

My Spigen MagSafe wallet

A new upgrade to my life is this lightweight minimalist wallet.

Spigen Smart Fold Magnetic Wallet Card Holder

It carries only 2 cards (driver’s licence & credit) along with some emergency cash.

I don’t attach it to a phone. Instead I keep it in a a dedicated zippered card pocket which most of my pants and shorts feature.

What I like best is using it as a phone kickstand.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

My Tripods in 2022

I’ve experimented with many tripods over the past 2 years. CRITICAL gear as I mostly travel solo and want to take photos and videos of myself while adventuring.

Weight and volume are super important. I can take them all on some bikepacking trips. But for hiking, I usually only take two of the smallest. All of these tripods can hold any of my 3 small cameras.

My favourite is the Miggo Splat. Super tough. Very reliable. BUT I did manage to break one.

Even better — but not as durable — is the Fotopro uFO 2.

Like the Splat, it can wrap around fence posts, tree branches, almost anything.

Least likely to make a hiking or bikepacking trip is my Neewer 56 inches/142 centimeters tripod. It’s good — but 2.73 pounds/1.24 kilograms is often too heavy.

I’m not much of a selfie stick guy, but the new-to-me 3m / 9ft Insta360 Extended Edition Selfie Stick has me intrigued. I MIGHT even end up getting one of their expensive Action Cameras.

I’ll often take it along despite the 365gm / 12.8oz load.

I bought the lightest JOBY GorillaPod I could. Only 325 Grams. But it’s pretty flimsy for anything more than a phone camera. I’ve never had much luck with JOBY. Those arms break easily.

So far I’m really liking my new DJI Mini SE drone. Until I crash it 🤔 … drone footage can replace tripod for long establishing shots.

Shooting video of yourself when alone can be tricky. Here’s how I’m doing it, so far.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

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.

My Bike Helmet Mirror

I’d always been a skeptic of helmet mirrors: Easily breakable. And WHY would I be riding in traffic?

BUT so far I’m quite happy with the EVT Safe Zone Bicycle Helmet Mirror:

  • quickly removable
  • looks very durable
  • adjustable with one hand
  • more relaxed with assurance about what’s coming up behind
  • easier to decide when to cross the road
  • 100% made in the USA

The largish mirror makes it easier to see what’s coming. But it’s nowhere near as good as a car mirror.

AND it’s quite expensive. About CAD $90.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Google Maps – LIVE view

In the tangled web of European old city cobbled streets, I used LIVE view for the first time.

A preview of the augmented reality we’ll all be using soon.

NOW … Google Maps often screws up. LIVE view often doesn’t work. But when it does, it’s a game changer for those frequently lost. Like me. 😀

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I’ve also used Google Map LISTS for the first time. Very handy.

Finding BEST Flights on Google Sites

I’ve booked a number of flights lately.  #PandemicOver 😀

I ALWAYS start with Matrix Airfare Search by ITA Software  A few companies — e.g. Southwest — opted not to be included. 

Even if my date of flight is fixed, I always start with “See calendar of lowest fares”.

Clicking around, once I have the price, date, details (usually AC or WJ), I go directly to the airline website to book the flight.  One. Less. Middleman.  

I try to avoid booking on a series of airlines as — when something goes wrong — each blames you and the other airline for your woes.

Google Matrix originally let you book flights.  But the airlines complained so they dropped that feature.

If I can’t get the price promised on Matrix, I try Expedia or one of the other aggregators.  Once in a while they have a block of cheaper tickets no longer available directly from the airline. 

If that’s too confusing, here’s a comprehensive tutorial

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Recently I used another Google flight site, deciding to fly to Lisbon on November 1st from Calgary.  

From that page you can click from any country to any continent. From Canada to Europe, for example.

As usual, Air Transat was the cheapest way to get to Europe from Canada.