Category Archives: Opinion

Must. Try. Harder.

Has it really been a year since my last post? Technically no, as it’s only been 364 days but let’s not split hairs here – there’s no denying that when it comes to keeping Cooking with Apples updated with fresh, exciting and engaging content, I really do need to try harder. Thanks for your patience… if you’re, er, still here?!

Of course I started this blog as a bit of fun – an experiment to see whether or not I was any good at writing, and whether or not anyone would take an interest in what I had to say. The lack of any activity here reflects the fact that things haven’t really been all that much fun lately, and that I’ve been questioning whether or not I’m good at anything, let alone writing.

2013 has been an interesting, roller-coaster of a year with more highs and lows than I can remember – my ship has not sailed a particularly smooth course, and it’s been one of those years that in many ways I’d like to forget. Equally though I will learn from my experiences and take comfort in the fact that I suspect I’m not alone – life has a habit of throwing all of us the odd curve-ball from time to time, some of which connect and cause real pain, others we somehow manage to deal with better, react quicker and avoid any devastating impact.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for sympathy or for someone else to fix the specific things that need fixed in my life – I recognise what those things are, and need to do the fixing myself. I’ve suffered from stress this year and will admit that I’ve felt very low and alone at times too, but there are people who have to deal with far greater stress, tragedy or misfortune than I do. I have nothing to complain about as I have everything anyone could ask for, and with a loving wife of 18 years and two beautiful children there’s no reason why I should ever feel alone.

Whilst many people suffer from chronic ill health and others battle with obesity, I am without a shadow of doubt the fittest and healthiest I’ve ever been too since making those lifestyle changes 3 years ago and starting to cycle to work. In case you’re interested, I’m still ‘winning’ and maintaining a healthy 11st12lb, plus 2013 saw me clock up an impressive 5,572 miles on my bike – that’s a significant 18% increase on last year and a lot of diesel I’ve not had to buy!

I guess everyone deals with what life throws at them in their own way, and it’s only when too many curve-balls come at you at the same time that things can get overwhelming and maybe reaching out is the right thing to do. A problem shared and all that, although I suppose the cyclical might suggest that it depends who you share with.

I’m my own worst enemy really, still looking for answers when I don’t know or fully understand the questions, worrying about things that I can do nothing about rather than focusing on things I can, and always wanting to fix problems rather than deal with them – 2013 has taught me that those are two very different things.

And so here I am on the verge of another Christmas holiday with part of me really looking forward to a well-earned break from the regular routine, and part of me dreading what 2014 will bring, other than a mid-life crisis – I may not be over the hill yet, but it’s getting very close.

Wherever you are, and whoever you are sharing your Christmas with this year, make sure you have a happy one. With the New Year just around the corner too, if you find yourself looking back on 2013 thinking that it was a roller-coaster ride that got a little out of shape at times, that maybe you could have dealt with things differently, stood up for yourself more often, been more attentive and not got so worked up about things you have little or no control over, you’re not alone.

I don’t normally do resolutions, but this once can’t hurt… Must. Try. Harder.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Review: iGrand Piano for iPad

It’s been quite some time since I’ve felt either the need or desire to purchase an iOS App, and I can count on one hand those Apps that I was willing to pay more than a few pounds for. Then I spotted IK Multimedia had released iGrand Piano for iPad – in their words “The Concert-Quality Piano App for iPad” with the promise of a Gallery of World-Class Pianos, Literally at Your Fingertips. Sounds almost too good to be true…  Continue reading

Lumix GX1: A Few Little Things

I’m not very good when it comes to making decisions, so when I wanted to upgrade my ageing Panasonic GH1, those who know me had to put up with my usual cycle of conversation, investigation, over-analysis and justification as I wrestled with the fact that I am ridiculously picky, and my pockets are usually shallower than my aspirations. However, having sold some unloved bits and bobs via a certain auction site, I thankfully had cured shallow-pocket-syndrome for this purchase, and just had to decide which camera to buy! Easy, right? Continue reading

Wacom Inkling: worth the wait?

Not long after Redbubble launched their Uncommon iPhone case products, I entered their artists competition to design a cover. Not only was I flattered to be voted into the top 10 designs by fellow Redbubble artists, but lucky enough to be picked by Redbubble as a runner up! My prize? Two cases made up of my prize-winning design, and a Wacom Inkling! I was pretty chuffed to say the least, but was in for a long wait before I actually got my hands on the prize…. Continue reading

Adobe gets Creative with the Cloud

Yesterday, Adobe officially unveiled Creative Suite 6 – the latest and greatest versions of their industry-standard digital media creation applications, promising a whole new user experience with speed and productivity enhancements across the board. I’m a long time user of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Dreamweaver, and whilst I’ve stuck with my copy of CS4 Design Premium, I’ve always known that there will come a time when I need – or even just want – to upgrade. With Adobe also announcing their Creative Cloud, I think the time has come… Continue reading

My Walkman iPhone Case

My Sony Walkman style iPhone Case

**UPDATED** I have a hard time making decisions at the best of times, so when it came to ordering one of my quirky iPhone cases for myself, it took me a while to figure out exactly which one to choose! Of course, given that I’ll be showing it off to as many people as I can, and wanted to take some promotional photographs of it, the pressure was on, but I think I made the right decision.

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Thank you Steve.

My life is ordinary. Every weekday morning I get up early, trying not to disturb my two sleeping children, get dressed and creep downstairs for breakfast. As I munch on my cereal, I’ll use nothing more than my right thumb to check my twitter feed for any breaking news that I might have missed overnight, see if I’ve finally received that email I’ve been waiting for, and look up the weather forecast so I know how difficult my cycle in to the studio is going to be.

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Getting Granny online: iPad, right? Wrong.

So your mother-in-law wants a computer, and she wants your recommendation – what do you say? The obvious suggestion of course – get a Mac. We all know it’s the easiest computer to use, and offers everything she could possibly need right out the box, right? Plus your kids can have free FaceTime with Granny whenever they like, and you can remotely fix any problems using Desktop Sharing. Perfect. “So how much is one of these Macs going to cost?” she asks. Er…. Continue reading

Final Cut Pro X: New Dog, Old Tricks

On the 21st June 2011, Apple released the latest, greatest incarnation of it’s Professional video software – Final Cut Pro X – promising a revolution in editing that was so exciting I even designed some T-shirts to mark the occasion! From the backlash on the interwebs though, it seemed that many professionals weren’t perhaps as enthusiastic as I was, in fact some of them were downright angry at what Apple had done with their beloved software. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I think far too much chatter has been about what’s missing in FCPX, rather than all the great stuff packed into the software that makes it easier to get the job done, and get it done better. Continue reading

Sir Charlie Findlay

It was great catching up with family members that I hadn’t seen for ages at my Dad’s wedding recently, especially Uncle Charlie and Rose who had made the trip up to Scone all the way from Northumberland. It was Charlie’s 90th Birthday a few years ago, and my cousin Graeme – an accomplished violinist and fiddler extraordinaire – had composed a few tunes to commemorate Charlie’s special day, and I arranged, produced and recorded the tracks so they could be presented to him on CD as a birthday gift. Continue reading

What the X have you done with my software?

It would seem that somewhere along the line, Apple decided that the wheel needed re-invented. In this case, the wheel is of course non-linear editing, and why not – there’s nothing wrong with a revolution. As I fumble excitedly around the new user interface my initial impressions of Final Cut Pro X may well be mixed, but I can’t argue with the statement “Everything just changed in post”.

Who wants a new Mac Pro?

The current Mac Pro is a powerful work-horse of a computer, beautifully designed for quick and easy expandability. However good the design is though, it is almost 8 years old – the form-factor was originally introduced way back in 2003 as the PowerMac G5, and I for one hope that with all indicators pointing to a refresh in the not too distant future, that Apple are gearing up to launch the next generation of Pro Mac Desktops. Continue reading