iPad

My New Apple Silicon

It's neither a laptop, nor a desktop. It is in fact, a 12.9 iPad Pro 2020 model, that Woot put on sale in the final hours of the final day of 2020.

It was an unexpected deal for a glorious device with a beautiful display, incredible features, speed and storage. To go all-in, I opted for the full 1TB of storage, because I fully plan to use the camera for images and video.

Added is an Apple Pencil clone with the highest ratings on Amazon. I've given it a try, it's pretty fantastic.

Some will ask, why buy a device so late in the year, when a new model is right around the corner? A new model with new capabilities will always be right around the corner. This iPad is exactly what I want at this time.

I have to admit, it's quite big, larger than my 11" MacBook Air. Yet, it's far thinner than I expected.

The display is wonderfully vibrant with plenty of screen real estate. It's quite easy to forget it's not actually a laptop. It has the size of a laptop, but the convenience of an iPad. Not to mention, a host of applications, and games not available for macOS. At least not yet.

I've loved the iPad since the day it was introduced. I love the convenience, the power, the functionality, the portability. I won't say this new model is my favorite, because that would hurt the feelings of the other iPads in the house, including the original model from a decade ago. It still works and I still use it.

I will say I'm incredibly excited to try this new one out. I've installed a few of my favorite apps, and they look fantastic. I've been anxious to try Affinity Photo, thus the pencil.

While I do 100% of my writing in Scrivener on the Mac Pro, I'm quite taken with the idea of getting the iPad version and trying it out. Stepping into a new environment both mentally and physically sounds like a fun experiment.

There is still more Apple Silicon to come, a desktop model of some sort to be sure. Until then, I'm jumping into using this iPad. To me, the 12.9 iPad Pro is the future of laptops. All the power of the computer will be bundled up in a lightweight, yet extremely powerful shell, so you can take it anywhere. Then when you need it in the home office, you attach keyboard, trackpad and power supply, so it can run all day.

You can get an external display using AirPlay, so how is this not nearly the perfect laptop?

I have no doubt a 15" or 16" tablet will debut in the near future.

Full contact Yahtzee ahead!

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JixiPix 12 Days of Christmas Sale

I'm a big fan of the JixiPix set of tools and plugins, buying a large part of the collection during the Black Friday sale, but there is still more to offer. JixiPix is offering the 12 Days of Christmas Sale. It appears each day a product will either be free or heavily discounted. The product of the day can be seen on their main site page at JixiPix

Each sale lasts only a day with a different product (perhaps bundle) each day.

Today it's Photo Formation for iPad. I just grabbed my copy, so if you're interested in some fun tools for the holiday and neat plugins to make engaging effects on your photos, JixiPix is well worth looking into.

Head to their main page each day to be directed to the sale of the day. Very nice.

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Put another trillion on the fire – Crime City

This truly does step firmly into the realm of the ridiculous. I have just added another trillion dollars to my bank account in Crime City. This on top of completing the Limited Buildings we’ve had since January. I honestly have no idea what to do with this sort of cash. None of the buildings come close to putting a dent in my reserves and I’ve donated billions to the syndicate. For those playing along, this puts me at $450M IPH.

crimecitybank

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Letter Quest Complete

So there it is, all the levels, all the monsters and all the stars have been defeated and completed in Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey. I have to say, that is a pretty sweet little game. I’ve got around 18 hours of gameplay invested and I’m very satisfied with the game.

Things start off easy with defeating a single monster, but then it gets more complicated with upgraded armor, health potions, dodge ability, plague tiles, whirlwind tiles and the treasure chest rounds. Not to mention a race against the clock in timed rounds and massive boss monster that only take damage under tricky conditions.

I suffered some terrible losses, but also some stunning victories. I think the time rounds were the hardest. Going through 5 monsters in less than 3:00 minutes is nerve racking.

Overall, it was great. I know it’s been out for a while, but I just found out about it and jumped right in. Now that I’ve completed it, I’m not sure if I want to unlock the Premium content – tiles, weapons, and another character, or go back and just beat the stuffing out the monsters again.

Either way, definitely one of the best word games I’ve played. If the Steam version goes on sale, I will pick it up for that platform as well. It’s simple, but challenging and has just the right amount of tension to make it worthwhile.

IMG_0003

With the gem doubler add-on purchase, I managed to get all the upgrades for weapons, armor, dodge, potions, extra gems and other treasures and still have a slew of gems available to spend. I had a lot of fun with this game.

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RPG Combat + Boggle = Letter Quest – Grimm’s Journey

Although it’s been out for a while, I just picked up a copy of Letter Quest – Grimm’s Journey for the iPad and have been going to town. I’m a big fan of word games like Boggle, Bookworm and Dungeon Scroll and I thought the RPG elements of Swords and Poker made that game a heck of a lot of fun. Now, Letter Quest is combining similar RPG elements to make something that is very easy to pick up, but offers a slew of variety.

The goal of Letter Quest is simple – given a set of tiles, spell out the best word possible for the greatest number of points. Those points are then turned into attack damage against an opponent. Each attack drops the hit points of your opponent. Bigger words and words using rare tiles equal more damage.

From there, Letter Quest does a really good job of building in RPG elements like armor for protection against counter attacks, potions to heal to keep the battle going, better weapons that do more damage, spell books that increase the power of certain letters and length of words as well as a variety of play styles. For example, some rounds are timed against an opponent, while others need to be completed in a certain number of words. For other monsters, certain letters are not allowed, such as no damage is taken for words that contain the letter A. Then you have the opposite where more damage is done for using certain letters.

Additional variations include having to use top row letters or corner letters. Then there are counter attacks where letters lose their value due to plague or being cracked. Letters can also shuffle out of play after a word is played. Some tiles may become blocked an unplayable, while others may cause damage to you if played. For some rounds, crystals can be used which increase healing, protection and damage done.

Finally, there are the Boss rounds and Crystal Rounds. These are higher level opponents that usually have a special ability or restriction on how tiles can be used. Words may have to be over or under a certain limit to do damage. Or, words may have to start with a vowel. It might that words over 6 letters have no effect, while words of 3 letters do the most damage.

Each round ends with the collection of gems. These gems are used to upgrade weapons and armor as well as buy spellbooks, potions and other abilities.

I think the combination of RPG elements and Boggle like features blend really well together. Letter Quest is simple to learn, but has lots of variety to keep it interesting. Monsters come with unique abilities so you have to employ a little strategy not just spell the same words over and over again.

You can get Letter Quest for free with some ads displayed at the bottom of the screen and out of the way. If you want to directly support the game and remove ads, you can make an in-app purchase of $2.99, which I think is a very fair price for what you get and the amount of time you can spend playing.

I’ve completed 17 levels and have done the first pass on 25 with plenty more still to go. If you’re a fan of words game and want to spice things up a bit, Letter Quest has a lot to offer. You should get plenty of use out of it and I certainly think it has the, "one more level" quality going for it.

letterquest

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