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I am planning on making some changes to Thoughts Aloft.

I am planning on making some changes to Thoughts Aloft. I said planning on, not hoping to, because I want to get it in my head from the beginning that I will do it.

4 February 2020

Google Pixel 3 Camera

The camera was one of the things that drew me to the Pixel 3. It is simply fantastic.

Super-Res Zoom doesn’t seem to have gotten as much attention in reviews as Night Sight1 but it is still just as awesome as Night Sight. Super-Res Zoom uses the natural shakiness of the hand to fill in details that would normally be lost when using digital zoom.

Here are some pictures I took recently flying over Cuba en-route to Grand Cayman.

It is obvious which pictures2 are using Super-Res Zoom, but it is amazing to me that the pictures are as clear as they are. There is no pixelation as is common with digital zoom. They are not great pictures but they are usable pictures, which can’t always be said of digital zoom pictures.

Oh, I forgot to mention that the pictures were taken at 45,000ft!

  1. Which is amazing.

  2. The third and fourth pictures.

17 March 2019


I have pretty much decided to get a Google Pixel 3 for my next phone. I’ve always been interested in Android but never switched. I won a BlackBerry Key2 recently and have been using it as a WiFi only device,1 and have really enjoyed it. The very large majority of apps I use are cross-platform, and I have found replacements for those that aren’t.2

In addition to the Key2, I also won a Google Home Hub and Home Mini, both of which I’m really enjoying. I have been using Google Assistant a lot, and have come to like it more than Siri. One thing I really like is being able to talk and type to Google Assistant instead of having to choose one or the other with Siri. Side note: Google’s dictation is way more accurate for me than Siri dictation.

More to come.

  1. It isn’t on Verizon’s list of approved unlocked Android devices.

  2. I still have my iPad for iOS only apps.

14 December 2018 · Mobile · Android · Apple · Google

Hello Again

Just a quick post to say hello, and that I plan on posting here on a more regular basis.

13 December 2018

Makerset Field Pen Compact Review

Makerset is a new company from the folks at Machine Era Co. According to their site, the purpose is to focus on their passion for writing tools.

I remember when Makerset launched the Kickstarter campaign for the Field Pen Compact in early 2018. I thought the pen looked nice but thought it was too small, so I didn’t back it. I am a big fan of the original Machine Era Co. pen, so I couldn’t resist when Makerset reached out asking if I wanted to check out their latest offerings. Even though I was sent these pens for free, that didn’t affect my thoughts on the pen.

Top to Bottom: Brass Field Pen Compact, Field Pen, Stainless Steel Field Pen Compact, Fisher Bullet, Machine Era Co Pen, Schon DSGN PenTop to Bottom: Brass Field Pen Compact, Field Pen, Stainless Steel Field Pen Compact, Fisher Bullet, Machine Era Co Pen, Schon DSGN Pen

There is no doubt this thing is small. How small? Kaweco Lilliput small. The Field Pen Compact is 4.12 inches/10.4 cm long, the Lilliput is 3.8 inches/9.7 cm capped and 5.0 inches/12.6 cm posted. The Field Pen Compact is not much longer than a capped Fisher Bullet, as you can see in the comparison photo above. This makes it a perfect size for clipping to a notebook or notebook/pen case combo, or throwing in a bag for jotting down quick notes. Surprisingly, I don’t have any issues holding the Field Pen Compact. The top of the pen rests in the webbing/area between my thumb and index finger, and I have found it very comfortable to hold. I know this will not be the case for those with larger hands.

The Field Pen Compact is available in brass and stainless steel. Both the brass and stainless versions are nicely balanced, with the majority of the weight being at the center of the pen. Unlike with some other metal pens, the brass and stainless pens weigh pretty much the same. The brass is 1.3 oz, and the stainless is 1.1 oz. The weight gives the Field Pen Compact some heft, but I think that’s a good thing with a pen this small.

The Field Pen Compact ships with a D1 ballpoint refill and the weight of the pen means you don’t have to apply as much pressure to write with the stock ballpoint refill. The stock refill is a Schmidt-Mine 635 refill, the refill in my brass pen has been more finicky than the one in the stainless pen, with hard starts being the most common problem I’ve had. The refill writes fairly smoothly for a ballpoint refill, and lays down a dark, consistent line. The fact the pen takes a D1 refill means there are plenty of refill options available.

Top to Bottom: Brass Field Pen Compact, Field Pen, Stainless Field Pen Compact, Machine Era Co Pen, Schon DSGN Pen, Fisher BulletTop to Bottom: Brass Field Pen Compact, Field Pen, Stainless Field Pen Compact, Machine Era Co Pen, Schon DSGN Pen, Fisher Bullet

The click mechanism is one of the smoothest, and quietest mechanisms I’ve used. It is as smooth as the Schmidt mechanisms used in many machined pens, and just as quiet, that also means it very easy to deploy the refill. The size of the pen is perfect for throwing in your pants pocket, but I would do so with caution because of how easily the mechanism moves. The mechanism is partially made of plastic, and Makerset guarantees the mechanism for life. This was mentioned in the Kickstarter campaign but isn’t listed on the product page, so before writing the review I reached out to Makerset and they confirmed the lifetime guarantee.

The click mechanismThe click mechanism

The Field Pen Compact is a pen that I think is hard to categorize. It is the perfect size for a pocket pen, but the mechanism is so smooth and quiet that it would be easy to unknowingly deploy the refill and possibly ruin a pair of pants or shorts. Because of this, I have been using the pen as I would a regular size pen. For me, this means clipped to my shirt pocket at work or in a pen sleeve in my pocket at home. The small size makes it perfect for quick notes, but the pen is so well balanced that I think it could be used for longer writing sessions, especially if the stock ballpoint refill was swapped with a gel refill.

As I said earlier, I didn’t back the pen on Kickstarter because I thought it was too small but was excited to try it out. I thought using the pen would confirm my thoughts on it being too small. I never expected to enjoy this pen as much as I have. This pen is going to be small for a lot of people, but if you have smaller hands, don’t overlook this pen just because of it’s size. Thanks again to Makerset Co for sending these pens for me to review.

2 August 2018 · Review · Makerset · Field Pen

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