Tyler Stalman jumped into my world — seemingly out of nowhere — a while ago when he sent me an incredible set of tips about filmmaking. That 50 second video blew my friggin mind.

Here it was I thought Tyler was some nobody with a good eye, but turns out I could not have been more wrong. Well, he does have a good eye, but Tyler is a prolific photographer, filmmaker, YouTuber, and Instagram whatever-word-I-use-for-influencer-that-doesn’t-sound-stupid. I’ve gotten more and more exposed to Tyler’s work over the year and I’m constantly impressed with all of it.

Plus, he’s a Canadian, so naturally he’s annoyingly impossibly nice.

Anyway, I say all this in part because I’m trying to call attention to things and people that are cool and deserve it. I say it in part because I think you should give Tyler a chance and check out his work.

As with all things, I also say it in part because I have a selfish motive. I was on Tyler’s podcast this week. On this episode, my ATP co-host Marco Arment and I spent some time with Tyler discussing what it’s like trying to break into YouTube in 2018. I really enjoyed the conversation; I think there’s a lot to learn in it, even if YouTube isn’t your bag.

I always learn something whenever I chat with Tyler (or Marco!); I bet you will too.

 

This week I joined Florence Ion, Jason Snell, and Stephen Hackett on the weekly wrap-up show, Download. On this episode, we discussed the 💩show that was Sundar Pichai’s visit to DC, Instagram’s new management, an Apple grab-bag, fake [technology] news, and the Mother of all Demos.

Download’s a fun show, and this one in particular I thought came out really well.


 

Mac Power Users is an institution.

Just recently, my ATP co-hosts and I celebrated our 300th episode. We spent a little time discussing the run we’ve had, and congratulating ourselves for showing up every single week for around five years.

Katie and David have been doing Mac Power Users since 2009!

As recently announced, Katie is leaving Mac Power Users at the end of the year, so I’m overjoyed she and David asked me to join them for one last guest spot before Katie goes.

On this episode, we discussed my new working life, my transition into becoming a YouTuber, my rekindled love for iPad, and my Go Pack, and more.

Being on MPU is both great fun and a great honor. I’m sad to see Katie go, but I’m also super excited for what Stephen will bring to the table.


Nik's Minimal Wallets

I freaking love Tom Bihn bags. I have a Cadet, which was my daily bag when I carried a 15" MacBook Pro. I have a Co-Pilot, which is what I use now that I’m flip-flopping between the MacBook “Adorable” and my 11" iPad Pro. I have various and sundry other smaller things that Tom Bihn makes, because I like bags in my bags. Yo dawg.

In addition to bags, I’ve always been pretty opinionated about wallets. I prefer to have as tiny a wallet as possible, despite wanting to carry a fair bit of stuff in my wallet:

  • Joint credit card
  • Joint debit card
  • Personal credit card
  • AAA card
  • Driver’s license
  • Medical insurance card
  • Dental insurance card
  • Some cash

Yes, there are arguments that some of the above could be pared down — I’m looking at you dental insurance card — but that’s the situation as I write today. (Yes, I carry cash. Yes, I judge you for not carrying cash. No, you’ll never know when it comes in handy. Yes, it does more often than you think.)

Nik has come up with four different designs for his Minimal Wallet:

  • 1: Two interior pockets, enclosing strap, and nothing else.
  • 2: Two interior pockets, enclosing strap, but one pocket is see-thru.
  • 3: Two interior pockets, one exterior pocket, enclosing strap, one pocket is see-thru.
  • 4: Two interior pockets, one exterior pocket, enclosing strap, webbing loop for attaching the wallet to a clip.

Tom Bihn was kind enough to send me samples of wallets 1-3, and I do quite like all of them. They’re all extremely light and thin, and available in (as I write this) nine colors.

For my needs, I prefer wallet #3. For 99% of the purchases I make with a physical card, I use our joint credit card. That card lives, conveniently, in the exterior pocket. On the interior, I have my ID and medical cards on the left hand side, and other cards on the right-hand side. Finally, the cash gets pinched in the middle.

Wallet #3

Everything I want. Nothing I don’t. Light, easy, simple. No fuss.

At prices that range from $24 → $32, these wallets won’t break the bank either. In fact, they’re quite a bit cheaper than my previous wallet, in no small part because they’re from here in the good ol’ US of A.

The holidays are fast-approaching, and a Minimalist Wallet from Tom Bihn would make for a great holiday gift.

 

One of the beautiful things about podcasts is that there’s room for a zillion of them. If you want to talk weekly about anything — even pens — you can do that.

On Double Density, your hosts Angelo and Brian discuss tech news… and also explore the world of the paranormal.

In this episode, I join the boys to discuss the travesty that is Montreal “bagels”, iPads, ARM-powered Macs, podcasting, and internet comment culture. Then things take a turn for the weird, and we discuss superstition and where I sit on the scale of paranormal believers.

Double Density was a fun show to do; you should check it out.


 

Speaking of guest appearances, this fortnight I was the guest on Miha Rekar’s interview show, Parallel Passion. On this episode, Miha and I discussed my origin story for both podcasting and cars, how I do a poor job of responding to trolls, and more.

I had a lot of fun talking with Miha! I think you’ll find the show is well worth your time.

 

Yesterday I had the pleasure of joining Heather Kelly, Dan Moren, and Mikah Sargent on this week’s episode of Clockwise.

On this episode, we discussed what tech products we’d like to see reinvented, what it’s like to live in Dongletown, how tech changed voting in midterms, and what strongly-held decisions we’ve eventually reversed. I also did a DuckDuckGo search for old man hat.

I know how hard it is to make time for another podcast, but Clockwise is short and always enjoyable.


 

As mentioned on his excellent video review, I joined my buddy Tyler Stalman on his podcast, the eponymous Tyler Stalman Podcast. On this episode, we discussed Tyler’s sneak preview of the iPhone XR, which just went up for presale overnight here in the States.

Come for the iPhone XR review, but stay for the really wonderful and meandering discussion of being a creator — both podcast and YouTube — in 2018.

I had a blast turning the tables on Tyler for this episode; I suspect you’ll probably enjoy it too.


Go Pack, 2018 Edition
Closed go pack, with AirPods for scale

I’ve spoken about my “go pack” not once, but twice in the past. However, it’s been a couple years, so I figured it’s worth revisiting.

In short, I’ve found it to be incredibly convenient to keep a small bundle of essential and redundant chargers/dongles/doodads in a small pack that can be grabbed at a moment’s notice. If I’m leaving the house to go somewhere overnight, I take my go pack with me. I have 100% confidence that any cable I may need will be in it.

The key to the go pack — convenient both at home and away — is redundancy. I don’t have to go disconnecting my bedside setup every time I go on a trip. I simply grab my go pack.

Some of these cables are not cheap, which makes this a seemingly wasteful endeavor. The convenience of knowing everything I need is waiting for me makes the juice well worth the squeeze.

As always, some of the below links are affiliate links. I get a small kickback if you use them to buy things. As always, I would not recommend anything here that I don't truly believe in.
Exploded go pack

Essential Items

AHarry’s Toiletry Bag — $20
I got this as a sponsorship perk/freebie, and though it’s designed for Harry’s wonderful razors/etc, the Toiletry Bag is actually a wonderful go pack. It’s light, smushes down if necessary to fit in a corner of your bag, and has two compartments to store stuff in.

BAnker PowerPort 5 — $23
I resisted buying one of these for the longest time, but inevitably caved. I’m glad I did. This small brick will charge both phones, both watches, and one other USB item simultaneously. Very convenient, especially when traveling internationally, as you only need one plug adapter for five devices.

CApple Lightning Cables × 3 — $19 each
I have actually had good luck with the far better priced $7 Monoprice Lightning cables. However, I have enough first-party Lightning cables lying around that I’ve just committed to using only those. I landed on three because I have both Erin’s phone and my phone, as well as my AirPods or occasionally my iPad.

DApple Watch Charging Cable × 2 — $29 each
Erin and I each have an Apple Watch. There are no third-party substitutes that I trust, even if they do exist. Expensive, but worth it.

ECable Matters 6’ USB Extension Cable 2-pack × 3 — $8 each
Our Anker charging brick is in one spot, but the devices it charges may be across the room from the brick. Erin’s phone, in particular, is often on the other side of the bed from the power, which lives near my side. I’ll daisy-chain two of these extensions with a Lightning cable to enable Erin to leave her phone on her bedside table. Sometimes I need one as well, so I carry three cables. I’ve searched long and hard for thin USB extension cables, and someone recommended these to me on Twitter. I can’t find that tweet, but I’m so thankful for it. The ones linked on Amazon look different, but according to Amazon, are the same SKU I had purchased.

FMonoprice Ultra Slim HDMI Cable — $11
I often want to plug in one of my devices — be it a computer or iOS device — to a hotel TV. It’s often easiest to do so with my own HDMI cable. These directional cables are as slim as I’ve found, and work great, as long as you plug them in the right way.

Dongletown

Three dongles

GApple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter — $69 (!!)
This ridiculously expensive USB-C dongle gives me USB-C in (for power), USB-A (for a peripheral), and HDMI out (for using an external TV/monitor). I’ve tried third party versions, but they seemed less reliable, particularly with the USB-A port. However, if I were to recommend one, I’d go with the FastSnail knockoff, which is roughly half the price.

HTP-Link USB 3.0 to Ethernet — $14
Unfortunately, with the ubiquity of WiFi, hotel rooms very rarely offer Ethernet ports anymore. However, you never know when you’ll want to transfer a lot of data, or wish to do so slightly more securely than WiFi allows. Though I’ve tried some native USB-C adapters in the past, I’ve settled on pairing this traditional USB adapter with the above Multiport Adapter. This way my one-port MacBook can have power and Ethernet, rather than one or the other. Conveniently, the TP-Link adapter requires no drivers to be installed on my Mac.

IMonoprice USB-C SD Card Reader — $12
I have a “big camera”, and take it with me pretty much anytime I’d also need to grab my go pack. To read the images on the “film” in that camera, I use this very-cheap and very-reliable Monoprice reader.

Non-Essential

One cable and one dongle

JSF Cable 6’ Flat Ethernet Cable — $6
As previously stated, Ethernet ports are very rare these days, but it is sometimes convenient to have a cable with you. This flat Ethernet cable is small and light.

KApple Lightning Digital AV Adapter — $49 (!)
Speaking of hilariously expensive peripherals (though in this case we may know why), I still like to carry one of these dongles. It allows me to connect my iPhone (or iPad) to a TV via HDMI. Since I typically have my MacBook with me, I use this sparingly, but it is handy in a pinch.


All-in, with the bag, and the non-essential items, the total bill is an eye-popping $340. However, you may find that many of these items you may have lying around. For me, my spend expressly for my go pack was roughly $100 less.

As a final tip, believe in the sanctity of the go pack. Never remove an item from the pack, as you will forget to return it, and then end up on a trip without an essential cable. I made this mistake on a recent beach vacation, and were it not for some good luck and redundant items in the car, I would have been doomed.


 

Over the last couple of years, I’ve become more cognizant of the feel of the things I put on the internet. It is way too easy to fire off a snarky tweet, or a hot take, about something that isn’t perfect. I’m trying to stop doing that, and also start calling out things that are great.

Sam and Ross Like Things is one of those great things.

Two friends, Sam and Ross, who happen to be not only fellow Richmonders but also friends of mine, talk about two things that they like every fortnight.

Their one rule: No hedging.

I was lucky enough to be their guest this particular fortnight, and though there are a zillion things I could have spoken about, I had to choose only one:

Cook Out. 🤤

I love this show, and I had a blast doing it. Unlike nearly all of my podcast appearances, I was able to do this in-person. Which was critical, since Sam had never had Cook Out before. 😱

Naturally, I came bearing gifts.

Anyway, S&RLT is a great show, that puts a little bit of happiness in the world, every other week. You should definitely check it out.