My New Phone Is Not Magical

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fabulous phone. I had to replace my much-loved Galaxy Note 4 because it was shutting off unexpectedly, even when the battery still had a charge, even when it was plugged in overnight. A factory reset was no help.

So for reasons, I got a Samsung Galaxy Note 8. And it’s bigger yet slimmer, faster, and much more expensive.

My wife inconceivably actually wanted me to get a new phone .

The camera is great, though not a DSLR. It has a stylus which I’ve gotten accustomed to in my last few phones, for those times when you just want to be able to write a note, or draw, or tap on the screen with more precision. There are some cool tricks, but for me, it lets the phone input be more organic. I love it.*

And there are features missing. To make it waterproof it’s now sealed, so I can’t replace the battery when it goes bad. My last phone had infrared in a way I could use as a remote control. I didn’t use it but it was there.

This phone has infrared on the front facing camera so I can use dumb live stickers. Well, the face recognition and iris scanning is cool….

And the camera is fine improvement with two rear lenses and image stabilization, even a 2X optical zoom. But features I like were easier to get to on the old phone, as they were less buried.

So I have mixed feelings. And I plan to have this phone for a long time and I will love it to death, but like always when I replace it: I miss my old phone.

Animated messages are neat but you have to limit how many lines you draw.

But it’s not magical. It’s a great tool, but that’s what I expected. And my potential disappointment in “dazzle points” is well-tempered by the fact that instead I can focus and use the features that help me communicate and schedule and live better, without being a gushing fanboy who needs to play with all of the shiny new toy apps instead of using the phone for what I bought it for.

—–David

P.S. And I know that the Note 9 is weeks away from being released, but I don’t know that it is going to be a magical improvement, and it will certainly cost more than what I paid to upgrade now on a discount, and saving money is a feature I will always appreciate.

* My favorite thing about the stylus is that you can pull it out of the phone and just write immediately on the screen even with the phone locked (screen off memo), which is amazing in the middle of the night when you have a song idea or annoying thought in your head that you want to leave for a reminder in the morning, because you can make a note just like you have done for years without even turning on a light.

Okay, that’s a little magical, even though my last phone did it.

My New Phone Is Not Magical was originally published on Creative Uploads

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Capture Creativity Quick

So one of the difference between successful people and — let’s say less successful people? — isn’t the ideas. It’s sharing them. It takes a lot of work, but we can take the first step very easily.

If your goal is producing creative content, jokes, stories, music, art, whatever…. the trick is to capture the inspiration when you have it even if you can’t devote time to it when it first arrives. It doesn’t have to be finished; you are writing a note to your future self. It can be a sketch or fragment, it just needs to last long enough that you can work on it more, or remember enough to build on it, even years later!

I’m going to talk about musical creativity, but this works for all sorts of inspirations. ’80s pop star John (Cougar) Mellencamp wrote the lyrics to one of his hit songs on the shower door with soap. Who knows how many books and businesses have been built on the backs of bar napkins? I’ve chanted things to myself all day while avoiding just writing them down, kept a notepad by my bed — though now I’ll actually write notes to myself on my phone with a stylus –- which may or may not be better than my previous habit of just getting up for an hour in the middle of the night to write whatever song started when my head hit the pillow.

Countless songwriters have sung into tape recorders over the ages or scribbled down notes . With my first camera capable phone, I would record one-handed the melody that had come to me in 15 second video clips. Sometimes, like this example, I angle my iPad on my music stand so that I can see where my fingers were later.

The improvement on this is that now as soon as I’ve come up with the fragment of a song on any instrument, I turn on the electric piano and record the phrase and following improvisation via MIDI direct into a computer. (GarageBand on iPad works pretty good too in a pinch.) Not only does this give me the exact notes I played in the very improvisation I am building on, but it means that I can edit them, fixing glitches in my spontaneous phrasing, or creating a complete arrangement on top of the original sketch and eventually moving the first take out of the mix completely.

So much easier than my early attempts with cassette tapes. Heck, I once spoke the first chapter or so of a book I never wrote into a cassette recorder while hiking, that’s hilarious to listen to. (You don’t know if I’m pausing because I needed to breathe or I didn’t know what to say next.)

Anyway, my point is this applies to anything that you want to capture organically and move into the future as a more polished product. You don’t need to rely on your memory, and you certainly don’t need the conceit that if you forget it later, it wasn’t that good an idea. Don’t be a baby: write it down or capture it, and let your future self figure out that sometimes it’s crap and sometimes it’s not.

And if you end up with too many fragments of stuff to get to, oh darn why is that a problem? Learn to filter through it and work on your favorite thing until you have something done, then climb back on the pile and see what’s next.

—–David

P.S. For the record I often use S-Note on my aging Samsung Galaxy Note 4 for writing things down, and I love Evernote but now that it is free for only two devices at a time, I am trying desperately to use Microsoft OneNote which I find much more cumbersome and harder to search. It seems like OneNote wants you to have everything local before you can search, where Evernote searches in the cloud so you can pull down what you are looking for.

I really wish there was a reasonably priced plan for Evernote that gave me more devices but the tiny amount of monthly bandwidth that I really use. The upgraded plans are still too much of a stretch for the mostly casual user.

Capture Creativity Quick was originally published on Creative Uploads