1st impressions of my MacBook Retina

My Mac laptop journey has taken in an 11 inch MacBook Air, 13 inch MacBook Air, 13 inch MacBook Pro Retina and now the new MacBook.

My taste in Laptops has always been light and portable, a large laptop makes no sense for me personally. My original 11” Air was my 1st Apple laptop and I really found it great to use, eventually the reality of the small screen (and my fading eyesight) lead me to the 13” Air which was much easier on my eyes! Then the MacBook Pro went Retina and I loved the screen when I saw it in an Apple Store, after a lot of soul searching I got a MacBook Pro in 2014. Whilst a little heavier and bulkier than the 13” Air it was a tradeoff I was willing to make.

Now the MacBook Pro is for sale and I’m now typing this on a MacBook Retina. This is the Apple machine I’ve been waiting for. A display larger than 11” and Retina, a small portable form factor thats crazy light, fan-less design and bags of battery.

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What are you drinking Marcus?

It’s time to introduce a new type of post I may have shamefully ripped off from a podcast I listen to… What are you drinking Marcus?

In 2014 my amazing Wife invested in a small micro brewery startup called Sacre Brew and ordered me a number of beers as a Christmas gift. This for me was the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received as I have a love of artisanal beers and I love the idea of investing in startups as my numerous indiegogo and kickstarter purchases have shown! Louise appears on the Sacre Brew Community page!

They arrived just in time for Christmas with a little hand written note advising how to store them and to leave a few for a couple of days to allow the process to finish.

So today I thought I’d open the first of bottle of 11 different beers, I’ve waited long enough!

Sacre Brew – Hailstone tripel

It’s very lively and very strong at 7.8% volume, it certainly warms you from the inside. It’s fizz is a little more than I’m used to (I’m not a fan of lager beers!) but it’s not unpleasant. Drinking 1/2 the bottle actually has my head swimming a little already! It reminds me very much of Blue Moon American beer and a citrus slice of orange could accompany it very well. I do have 2 more bottles of Hailstone, I will give that a try that next time!

It’s perhaps a little to strong for a school night, but on a cold Christmas evening it would be perfect! Just the one though it’s at the limit of your NHS 3-4 Units per day!!

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Flipboard makes a difference to my blog stats!

For some reason my latest ProductiveWizard post has been appearing in some peoples Flipboard streams in a number of ways and my ProductiveWizard.com blog has seen a nice increase in views which is really cool!

It’s turning out to be a popular article, I will have to research how to get more articles onto Flipboard as it seems to be the way a lot of people are now reading blogs and websites. (Which isn’t a surprise to me as it’s the way I read them!)

My No.1 travel advice? Take the CityMapper app with you.

I’ve just returned from a fabulous 3 day trip to Paris where we tried to cram as much in as possible, Eiffel Tower, The Louvre Museum, Orangeries Museum, Orsay Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, Boat trip on the Siene, Open top Bus tour, the Arc de Triomphe, Motpaenasse Tower….. the list goes on an on.

To help us navigate between these amazing sites I used a free smartphone app (iOS and Android) called CityMapper, I had used it before occasionally in London, usually whenever I wasn’t sure how to get back to the Station for the journey home! The Paris trip was the 1st time I’ve actually relied on the app.

The app is brilliant, drop yourself in a major city (CityMapper covers 17 major cities worldwide currently) and just explore. Set your ‘Home’ as your Hotel and you will only be a few clicks from getting accurate directions to your hotel from anywhere in the city! We found it so easy to navigate from place to place using the app. Making decisions to take the Metro or Walk within a few seconds and then heading off in the right direction. I grew up with paper maps, I find them fascinating still, however the only time the paper map of Paris came out was to plan where to go at the start of the day, then we turned to CityMapper to get us there and it did not let us down once.

I’d recommend everyone to take CityMapper with you if you are visiting any of the cities it covers as it’s will make your trip that little easier. It’s worth the extra data charges you will incur!

Note, We still did our usual thing of exploring back streets, you never know what you might find!

I think Im going to enjoy The Happiness Advantage book

I’ve just started a book that is set out to convince you that the route to ‘success’ in based upon your happiness and not your happiness is based on your ‘success’

The usual school of thought is something like this;

Get good results at school and you will be happy.

Get a job and earn money you will be happier.

Buy a nice car and you will be even happier.

Earn more money and you will be even even happier.

The book makes you re-think these sort of ideas and suggests that if you are happy already you perform better across all area’s of life and then the results, the job, the car and the money all come to you. The book teaches you how to achieve this somehow, I have not got to that section yet, hopefully it’s not just a ‘Think positive’ exercise!

This is the short 2 minute video that first grabbed my attention.

The book seems to be striking a chord with me so far as I know in periods of my life when I am happy and optimistic life seems to flow that much better. Add to this I’ve started my meditation exercises again and will get my goals down in next week or so I’m really feeling positive to the year ahead.

Lastly, this quote found me somewhere on the internet and has become my 2015 focus.

Will anyone miss Currys : PCWorld when it’s gone?

I ordered a Logitech Keys to Go keyboard for my iPad that was delivered on Saturday using Amazon Prime. Unfortunately there was a defect with Backspace key that was causing it to stick when pressed, I arranged a return with Amazon but there were none currently in stock, no drama.

On a whim I took a look at the PCWorld website to see if they had them in stock today, my 2 local stores (Farnborough) showed they had them in stock. I headed to the main store and wandered the store and eventually found the Logitech display with 2 x KeysToGo in Red and Teal, but no black. A nice store chap went and checked the stock inventory system to find yes they had 2 black in stock and went off to find them……

20 minutes later the store assistant reports that they can’t find them, he suggested I could try the other Farnborough store as a stock check showed they had 3 in store. Well I was out already, why not.

As I wandered around the other store I eventually found a dummy box for a black Keys to Go, with a note to take the box to an assistant. So after eventually finding one I asked if I could purchase one, a quick check of his stock confirmed that 3 were indeed in store. Off he went (via 2 other customer queries) then passed me to a colleague. I wandered the store for a while, had a play on a Roku 3 box (I asked another store assistant, none in stock) then saw my customer assistant coming my way with 2 boxes, both of which I could tell were not Logitech Keys to Go. Off he went again, randomly opening cupboards under displays looking for the 3 keyboards. Poor chap even helped other customers whilst he looked.

About 15 minutes into my 2nd attempted purchase I asked the chap to stop looking, he said I could order online which I thanked him for and headed to the exit empty handed again.

In total I wasted a good 90 minutes trying to buy a keyboard that was in stock in 2 separate stores. The whole premise of physical stores is the ability to buy your chosen goods that day perhaps at slightly inflated price for the convenience. Never again.

New Year 2015

After 5 days without daylight I struggled to adjust my eyes to the winter sun as I stepped outside for the 1st time of 2015, the air was invigorating as I took a deep breath of cool clean air and promptly began coughing, small steps I reminded myself, Man Flu can be a killer.

Perhaps a little over dramatic? :)

New Years Eve and New Years day became a none event for our household due to my illness, but things are now improving and Im starting to feel human again, rest, sleep and Lemsip has been my mantra for too many days. But enough of that!

What does my beloved Aston Villa and I have in common? We’re both a little goal shy currently! Just before Christmas I decided to invest in myself (My 1st goal!!) and signed up for a short course on Goal setting to help 2015 be even better than 2014. I thought I’d have worked through the course by now and have a number of personal and professional goals set but my Man Flu (Yes it does need the Capitalisation) added an unforeseen delay. Over the next few days I will work through the goal setting process and 2015 can start in ernest!

Happy New Year!