GiveBack my iPad

They say spenders often marry savers. I believe that. Every person I have ever dated was a big saver. And I used to be a Big. Spender.

I would spend every last dollar I had on gadgets and stuff I didn’t need and make terrible financial decisions. Examples! In 2016 I bought my current wallet which cost me $120. In 2013 I bought the original Microsoft Surface Pro for an astronomical amount (to poor student me) and barely used it before I sold it at a huge loss. In 2009 I bought an $850 prebuilt desktop PC that did not work out of the box and never even tried to return it. I have bought 8 phones since 2015 (LG G3, Motorola Moto X, iPhone 6S, Samsung Galaxy S7, iPhone SE, Google Pixel 2, iPhone 8, and another iPhone SE) (not a joke). In the Summer of 2015 I spent over $50 in bars almost every night. You get the gist.

A couple of months ago I decided to declutter my house and get rid of most of my stuff (thanks, Marie Kondo). I wanted to live a simple, elegant, minimalistic lifestyle. It’s going great. Instead of throwing everything in the trash, I have been trying to donate, sell, and trade-in some of my old possessions to soften the monetary blow. And this week, I made my favorite trade so far and got a 2018 iPad from the Apple Store for a grand total of $1.10, which I thought was a hilarious transaction.

I took advantage of the Apple GiveBack program, which I knew for sure worked with all fairly recent Apple devices such as my iPhone 8, but I was surprised to learn Apple would also take my Samsung Galaxy S7. They gave me two Apple Store gift cards, one for each device I traded in, which I immediately used towards the purchase of the iPad. I’m sure I could have sold the iPhone 8 for a little bit more on eBay, but the amount of time and effort it would take is not worth the few extra bucks in my opinion. This process was completely hassle-free and really quick. I was in and out of the store with my iPad in 25 minutes.

Now, I do not own a laptop, and I have an old gaming PC I do not really use anymore (in fact, it’s in storage right now). I borrow my girlfriend’s 2012 non-retina MacBook Pro when I really need to use a proper computer, but for the most part I have exclusively been using my phone and my Apple TV for the past few months. I thought it was time for me to have my own computer again.

I knew I wanted an Apple product because I find Windows 10 to be a disgustingly disorganized mess of an operating system, and I knew I wanted something portable. At the time of writing, the least expensive MacBook you can buy in Canada costs $1,499 and I do not have that kind of cash just lying around. I decided to make a financially sound decision and go with the 32GB Wi-Fi 6th generation iPad (the most recent non-Pro iPad), which would end up costing me $1.10 with my trade-ins. I did not get AppleCare or any accessories at the store, but I am going to get AppleCare, a smart cover, and the Apple Pencil in the coming weeks. I will, of course, write about it and let you know how it all goes.

I have had the iPad for two days now and have been using it as my main machine, to the point of almost not having to interact with my phone at all. I already have some thoughts about it, but I want to use it for a bit more before I share my thoughts on the experience. I will also share some nifty tips and tricks I have found in my readings, and yes, I am the type of person who reads the 400+ page iPad User Guide from Apple.

Learning how to build a website

Building my own desktop PC was a seemingly impossible goal I set for myself in 2012. I had just moved to another town for attending college and I was homesick, sad, and unemployed. I needed a project to focus on. 

I knew next to nothing about PC parts. Not to mention the only building experience I had prior to this was messing around with Legos. The Internet is a pretty big place with pretty bad information at every corner, so before I started researching PC parts I had to research how and where to look for information on PC parts. The journey was going to be a long one.

I turned to Reddit and found a wonderful community over at /r/buildapc. It has 1.3 million subscribers at the time of writing. It’s huge. Subreddits have a reputation for getting toxic as they grow in size, but this is not the case here. I love the people over there. They have very useful resources, too. In fact, you can learn most of what you need to know just by reading the material if you are digitally antisocial.

Anyway, long story short: I researched PC building for a couple of months before choosing my parts on PCPartPicker. It’s an incredible website. You absolutely want to use this when you build your PC. Philip, the guy who created it, is a genius. In January of 2013, I had received all my parts and decided to build. I used PCPartPicker’s build videos as a reference and it was a lot of fun.

Fast-forward to 2018. I hit a rough patch: personal problems, lost my job, etc. Not good. I needed a new project to focus on. I decided to once again learn how to build something seemingly impossible: a website. Of course, I was once again facing the same problems I had before. A lot of stuff to read and research. Web hosts, domains, WhoIs, SSL certificates, front end development, back end development, etc. But you know what? It turns out you don’t need to know all of this stuff to start building a website in 2019. Many platforms now offer a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor along with drag & drop functionality. There are dozens of companies to choose from, but I settled on Squarespace for 3 reasons. One, it’s the most popular one within my Internet bubble (podcasters I listen to, YouTubers I watch, and bloggers I read). Two, it’s an all-in-one solution: you can buy the domain from Squarespace, host on Squarespace, and do everything right on Squarespace. They even give you free WhoIs privacy. Three, I had a promo code. Thanks, John Gruber.

This is it. This is the website I’m building. I started on Valentine’s Day, so not long before publishing this blog entry. It would be cliche to say it’s a work in progress, but it’s a work in progress. I’m going to document the process of building a thing inside the thing I am building. I had a lot of fun setting up the first version of the site, and I’m looking forward to learning more. 

If you have tips or simply want to say something, shoot me an email and I’ll read it.

Welcome!

As of 9:00 AM EST on February 19, 2019, my website is online and public! I have been working on it for a few days, and it’s been a lot of fun. More on that in the next blog entry.

The theme of Spinning Beach Ball is LOVE YOUR COMPUTER AGAIN, which is based on the assumption that you hate your computer to begin with. I would say that’s a fair assumption, since computers are the worst. You can expect to read about topics such as Passwords are an archaic security system that should be banished in the shadow realm forever, Paying for email is not a bad idea, Why did you give your email address to the cashier at Sephora?, Internet privacy and why having something to hide does not make you a criminal, and Pay for your next phone up front unless you hate money. And that’s just off the top of my head!

Since you’re already here, why don’t you give us feedback? We would like to hear what you think of the site’s design and interface. We would also like to hear what topics you want us to cover in the future!

Anyway, I’ll keep this intro short. Thanks for checking out the website, and I hope you enjoy it.