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The personal site of Jamie Knight, an autistic web developer, speaker and mountain biker who is never seen far from his plush sidekick Lion. View the Archive

Topics: Autism Development

My setup (2017)

Here’s a quick overview of my setup in early 2017. Hopefully this will remain stable till 2018/2019.

Always with me.

Two devices are always with me. My iPhone and my Apple Watch.

My iPhone 6S is probably my favourite phone yet. It took a while to get the right case to stop RSI but since then it’s been amazing. It’s almost two years old and it’s still fast and capable.

I use my phone for everything from writing to social media and reading RSS feeds.

Working alongside my iPhone is my 38mm Apple Watch Sport. My watch is extremely helpful. Being autistic i really benefit from tools to help me to stay organised and communicate. The Watch is literally my voice, wallet and organiser. It’s a great device.

In my bag.

I don’t normally carry both an iPad and a MacBook but sometimes I do.

My 12.9” iPad Pro is supplied by my employer. It’s what I use for sorting out email, accessing the VPN and the like. It’s a great device for typing when combined with the studio near canvas and the magic keyboard. I’m new to the iPad but so far I am super impressed. I’m glad I tried something different.

If my iPad isn’t in my bag then my 2015 12” retina MacBook probably is. I love it’s portability, performance and flexibility. I spend a ton of time working from the cafe and for coding, photo editing and slide making I prefer to use the MacBook.

At home.

At home I have my iMac, my server and my iPod.

My 2014 5K iMac is a beast. It’s by far the fastest Mac I have ever owned. The screen is gorgeous and and it’s the most productive and comfortable place for me to work. This is where I spent most of my time for BBC and freelance work. It’s also handy for a bit of gaming etc.

None of my devices have decent storage. So I have a 2011 Mac Mini Server as a NAS. It has a copy of everything and also runs my development servers and the like.

My final home device is my iPod. It’s what I use in the evening and is loaded with lots of audiobooks and the like.

Summery.

In total I have 7 devices in my life. They each serve a different purpose and they are all useful.

If I had to reduce device count I’d drop devices in the order iPod, Mac Mini, MacBook, iPad, Watch, iMac, iPhone.

The iPad is a work device so I don’t really count it. The Mac mini was also cheaper than a boring hard drive of the same size so I also don’t really count it as a day to day device. It simply sits around making sure all my data is safe.

If it wasn’t a work device I probably wouldn’t own a MacBook and an iPad. I may sell the MacBook on in the future if I don’t use it enough.

Final thoughts.

As i mentioned at the start, i am hoping that this year my tech setup will be very stable. I am extremely lucky to be able to have a nice selection of devices for all the things i need to do.

Published: 25 March 2017 | Categories: Permalink

The massive iPad and the little MacBook.

At the end of 2016 i wrote about my setup. The very short version is that i wasn’t very impressed with the new MacBook Pro’s and had decided to stick with my iMac and older MacBook Pro setup.

This is broadly still the case, however it has been tweaked a little.

A little MacBook.

The first change is that i swapped from a MacBook Pro to a MacBook. My partner is taking my 13” MacBook Pro to university with him. It makes more sense for him to have it than for me to have it and barely use it. I brought myself a little 12” MacBook to use in the mean time.

I will write about the MacBook again in the future, but in brief It’s brilliant as a satellite device, but unworkable as a primary computer. I do push its limits often, but because i brought it with a 60% discount i am happier to live within those limits and go to the iMac when needed.

A massive iPad.

The second change is that i swapped from a borrowed 9.7” iPad Air to a work issued 12.9” iPad Pro.

It didn’t make sense for the BBC to buy me another Mac. I wouldn’t use it as i already have better Macs at home, however, i needed a way to get onto the BBC VPN and an iPad does the job nicely.

We went with the bigger iPad as a bit of an experiment. A friend of the team has one and i wondered if i could follow his approach.

Perhaps ironically, the iPad is now bigger than my MacBook.

Till 2018.

With those two swaps made I don’t expect to see any other hardware changes now till 2018 when i may retire the iMac in favour of a MacBook Pro and 5K display. We will have to see what happens.

I am excited to be able to have both the MacBook and the iPad Pro. They overlap in interesting ways an i look forward to exploring them more in the future.

Published: 14 February 2017 | Categories: Permalink

Games i played in 2016

I’m not really much of a gamer, i tend to play a single game intensely for a while then not play anything for months. Gaming is something which takes a lot of focus and energy so after a long work week i’m more likely to pick up the the TV remote than an xbox controller.

When i do game, i tend to do it with freinds or play puzzle & driving games. Here’s a quick run through the games i played in 2016.

 Forza Horizon 2 & 3.

Forza horizon is an open world driving game. You drive around a large map and take part in different events and races. The maps are huge with the drive between races often being 10-20km. There are other activities too, like looking for special boards and hunting down lost cars.

I like this style of game because its a mix of sometimes i can repetitive thing (the circut racing) and exploring a large world. It’s really satisfying to explore something like a large forest and eventually find an old overgrown shed with a ferrari in it.

Forza horizon does not try to be a simulation, the driving benifits from practice but its not accurate or very realistic. It’s challenging enough to be interesting but not challenging enough to be too difficult. I tend to come in the top 3 of most races i enter on the first go.

 Forza 6.

Forza 6 is the similation version of the horizon game. It aims to be as realistic as possible and on the harder settings is very very difficult to play. You play through a series of “Chapters” each defining the type of car. Starting with releltively slow street cars and ending with forumla one cars and other motorsport toys.

I really enjoy the challenge of understanding how to drive fast. It requires a super delicate touch and lots of practice. The game is also vast, with every race having 6 different groups of similar cars avaliable. Completing all of chapter one took me months.

I don’t think either game is definitively more fun; it really depends on my mood. Adverture and exploring versus repetition and refinement.

Dirt Rally.

Dirt Rally is the most recent edition of the classic Colin Mcrea Rally series i played as kid. After going a bit odd for a while (becoming more of a driving variety show game) the series refocused on just the stage based rally driving dialing up the realism in the process.

It’s like an off road version of Forza and that is really appealing. In many ways it sits between Forza 6 and Forza horizons. Runnig through stages and touring the world (with some stunning landscapes!) but while also still working towards a specific goal etc.

It’s really fun and very challenging to delicately slide a mini around an icy corner hald way up a mountain!

Unlike the other two games which have a “instant reply” system allowing you to retry a corner after a crash Dirt Rally is a single run everytime. If you make a mistake you have to live with it or restart the whole stage.

For the long stages it can be hard to keep the focus to be quick, smooth and not end up over wrapped around a tree.

Gears of Wars 4.

Gears of war is a shooting game. I dont enjoy the single player mode much. I find it repetitive, loud and annoying. However, i love playing the miltiplayer mode with my freinds.

Five of us can get together to build and defend a base from wave after wave of enermy attackers. It gets steadily harder as waves go one and you complete the mode when you hit wave 50.

I don’t tend to do well in intense firefights so i have taken to playing as a sniper (where i can pick off enimies from a distance) or as an engineer (where i fight very little and spend my time bulding traps and keeping sentry guns etc maintained).

Surviving on the higher waves requires intense team work and specilisation. As a sniper, my role is to pick off the big monster before they get close enough to kill a a member of my group.

Lego Star Wars Force Awakens.

Unlike all the other games which i have played on the Xbox, the final game i have been playing this year is for the Mac. It’s the Lego Star Wars game where you get to play through the story of The Force Awakens. It’s well designed, pretty and simple to play.

What games did you play in 2016? Did you play any of the games above? Feel free to leave a comment to let me know.

Published: 8 December 2016 Permalink

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