Honeymoon in Japan

After our wedding, and cleaning everything up, we had just another day or two at home before heading off on our honeymoon. We decided to go to Japan, since neither of us had ever been there, and we both really wanted to go. It was a really amazing trip, even though it was brutally hot and humid at the time of year we went. We managed to do most of it on award points/miles as well, so that made it all even sweeter 🙂

Tokyo

Flew from Denver to Los Angeles, and then LA to Narita (Tokyo). When we landed, we caught a train to our hotel near Shinjuku, got settled, and then explored Tokyo for a few days. Highlights were ramen (duh), soba, hotel room views, Tsukiji fish market (and buying our own knives from there), catching up with Moser, and deliciously strange little mushroom chocolate snack things.

Matsumoto

From Tokyo, we caught a train up to Matsumoto where we stayed for one night before heading to the Alpen Route. We had delicious soba noodles, visited the amazing Matsumoto Castle, dropped in to a local craft brewery, then got some sleep before a long day ahead of us.

Alpen Route

The Alpen Route is an interesting series of “public transit” systems, connected to provide passage through the Japanese Alps. It includes electric buses, a couple of funiculars, some walking (across the top of a dam), and a gondola. It’s really beautiful up there, and it was a nice way to break up our city visits, see some of Japan’s amazing nature, and also get from one part of the island to another.

Toyama

The end of the Alpen Route for us was Toyama. We stayed there a night and had probably the best sushi meal I’ve had in my life. It was amazing, and a very unique experience. No one spoke english, we just took what they ordered, and there were signs talking about purity and no smoking and no drinking. We also went to a strange rockabilly bar, drank beers outside a Seven Eleven, visited a trendy little coffee shop, had black ramen and strolled through another castle grounds.

Kyoto

From Toyama, we got a bullet train down to Kyoto where we stayed for a few days. Kyoto is the city of temples, but we only actually visited two of them. We also went to some cool tiny whiskey bars in alleys, went shopping, had more great coffee, more great food, watched a Maiko (Geisha apprentice) show, and visited another awesome market (Nishiki).

Hakone

From Kyoto we were off into the mountains again, this time to Hakone for a relaxing retreat and special experience at a very fancy ryokan. It was more of a 5-star hotel than a traditional guesthouse, but it was a really unique experience. We had a private suite with our own hot-springs-fed bath tub on the deck with a view. It was amazing. We stayed 2 nights and were treated to absolutely mind-bending food in our own private dining room. During the day we visited the Hakone Open Air Museum which was also a highlight.

Tokyo

After all that relaxing, it was time for a couple more nights in Tokyo before heading home. We stayed in the Godzilla hotel in Shinjuku, and then a capsule hotel for the final night (super weird, but pretty cool!). We got a chance to catch up with my friend Adam, from high school (hadn’t seen him in about 18 years!). We went to “Golden Gai“, an area where there a tons of tiny bars all stacked in next to each other, and we also went to all you can eat + drink with Moser, which was amazing. On the last day I went to the Samurai museum, and then we were headed home on a direct flight from Narita to Denver. We managed to get first class thanks to all the points I’ve collected from work travel, so we flew in style 😎

Japan was really amazing, and I’d love to go back. I feel like we barely scratched the surface of anywhere we went, let alone all the rest of the country that we didn’t even touch on. It’s such a unique place in so many ways, and I really feel like I just got the tiniest taste, even though we managed to fit so much in. One day, I shall return!

36.204824138.252924

Married

Erika and I finally made it official and got married this year. We were legally married on July 5th (at the courthouse), and then we celebrated with friends and family properly on July 7th. Here are some pics from the week.

Thursday Courtroom Wedding + Photos

Friday BBQ

We invited people from out of town over to our house for a casual BBQ on Friday the 6th. Since a huge portion of the people attending the wedding were from out of town, it ended up being a pretty big affair, but it was fun. I was running around like a madman, so I mostly forgot to take photos. Here are a couple though.

Saturday Photos

Before our main reception, Erika and I spent some time with our photographer in our neighborhood to get some pictures. The neighborhood is Five Points, and this particular area is referred to as River North, or RiNo. There’s a bunch of really cool street art, and we wanted to feature that in our photos. I think they turned out pretty excellent.

Saturday Big Party/Reception

On Saturday we held “the main event”. We rented to rooftop of the coworking office where I work from sometimes, which has a great view over Denver and the Rockies. We had some drama between gale force winds, sudden and heavy rain, lightning, a 911 call when the band got stuck in the elevator, and having to rescue the photo booth tent out of a tree… but we stuck it out and once things calmed down it all turned out great. We had a great time, people ate, drank, danced and chatted, and generally it was a good night.

It was stressful, it was exhausting, and hey, it was pretty expensive, but it was worth it. We had a really good time, it was excellent to see everyone, and now we’re married. We’ve got some stories to tell.

39.7600005-104.9694634

Loosely Joined

I had to chuckle recently when I realized just how complex some of the systems in my life are, even if I rarely think about the details.

  1. Most nights, I weigh myself on a Withings wifi scale (an older version).
  2. That data syncs over Google Wifi, via a Comcast Xfinity connection, to the Nokia/Withings Health Mate service.
  3. Then MyFitnessPal automatically syncs the data from Health Mate, and keeps a copy,
  4. before Garmin Connect also syncs a copy to integrate back with other data (like heart rate and activities) .
  5. If I’ve been doing specific activities, then some of the data from Garmin Connect (although not that weight info) will also sync out to Strava and create activity records.

The last step remaining is that I want to hook up my copy of WordPress to sync all of the data back so that I have a copy under my direct control.

Fjällräven Classic USA, 2018

This year, for the third year in a row, I participated in the Fjällräven Classic USA here in Colorado. Read about the 2016 USA Fjällräven Classic and the 2017 USA Fjällräven Classic.

As with previous years, this was a 3 day, 2 night backpacking trip in the Colorado backcountry, hosted by Fjällräven and their sister brands. This year felt like they are really hitting their groove with organization, distance, and difficulty, and I think it was overall the “best” one yet.

Erika came along this year as well, and we did a lot fewer training hikes because we knew the course was significantly shorter, had both been really active all year, and were generally just pretty confident. We were also busy getting organized to get married (which happened the week after the Classic!), and I was breaking in a new mountain bike, so we had some other things on our schedules 🙂 Nonetheless, we got in a few training hikes (or rides) at Table Mountain and Aldefer/Three Sisters.

The Course

This year’s course was significantly shorter than last year’s (thank god). I think the first day was probably too short to be honest, and it left a lot of time at the end of the day to just sit around and… drink too much. That’s partially because we had to start earlier than last year (apparently a requirement of the Forest Service), so the day was just over really early. Day 2 was pretty long, and pretty hard, but there was a lot of variability (compared to last year’s long, hot, exposed slog), so I quite enjoyed it by comparison. I was definitely tired by the end of it though. Day 3 was “all downhill” and quite easy, although it went on a lot longer than expected based on looking at the map quickly.

Here’s the entire course, again created on the wonderful Caltopo. Note that these paths are based on trail information stored in their database, so it’s not necessarily exactly where we hiked. One of my friends on the trail said Day 2 in particular was quite different, and actually came out at more like 14 miles. I’m looking forward to tracking this myself using my Garmin watch next year.

Fjällräven Classic USA, 2018
Distance and elevation breakdowns per day.

Day 1, June 27

We were heading up from Denver with my friend Michael, so we had to get a really early start. We arrived at Copper Mountain Resort by about 7am, so that we could get the last bus to the trailhead at 7:30. Once at Tennessee Pass, we got prepped, hit the trail, and made good time for the first day. From memory we got to Camp 1 by about 2pm. The last section (through Camp Hale) was pretty flat, dry, and exposed, plus we were just trudging along gravel roads, so not that great. The rest of the day was nice single-trail through forest though, which was beautiful. Camp was on the grounds of Nova Guides, a snowmobile/ATV rental company based out of Camp Hale. They had a nice (fishing) pond, green grass, and plenty of space for us to all set up camp (either together on the grass, or a bit more dispersed up the hillside, which is what we chose). Our friends Rene and Michelle even had an amazing surprise for us, having lugged in a small bottle of champagne to pre-celebrate our wedding!

  • 9.4 mile hike (total of 15.66 miles for the day, per Fitbit)
  • +352′, -1,559′ elevation
  • 31,471 steps
  • 5,046 calories

Day 2, June 28

This was the long one, with all the elevation gain. Out of Camp Hale (early – we left at about 6:30am from memory), we wanted to try to clear the exposed valley floor before the sun got too high and hot. From there it was up, up, up, over Kokomo and Searle Passes, past Janet’s Cabin, and to Camp 2. We stopped for multiple lunches, had a photo shoot with one of the official photographers (it’s very awkward getting close-up video of each cheese and elk sausage), stopped to use the Grayl to get clean water, snapped a bunch of pictures from the amazing views, and trudged into Camp 2 pretty weary, but pretty happy.

  • 12.8 mile hike (apparently more like 14.5 mile, total of 19.42 miles for the day)
  • +3,542′, -1,133′ elevation
  • 39,016 steps
  • 5,766 calories

Day 3, June 29

The last day was a bit of a sleep in, break camp, then head mostly-downhill to the Trekker’s Inn, finish line, and closing party. We managed to intercept an ATV taking some supplies up the trail and snag a beer on the way down, and there were even llamas at the closing party!

  • 5.9 mile hike (total of 9.65 miles for the day)
  • +399′, -2,019′ elevation
  • 19,381 steps
  • 3,989 calories

Passport

We carried a small “passport” with us throughout the hike, which was used to keep track of us (stamped at each checkpoint/campsite), and also included a map. It had some details from Leave No Trace and info about sponsors as well.

 

Wrap-Up

As I mentioned earlier, I think this was the best organized/executed iteration of the USA Classic yet. Before going, I had sort of decided that it’d probably be my last for now, and that I’d go on my own backpacking adventures rather than do this again next year. After going again though, I’m reminded of the fun I have, the great people, and the sense of accomplishment that I think is different in a group setting than it would be on my own (or even with just a few close friends). If the timing works out again, I think you’ll probably see another of these posts from me again next year :).

Final Stats

  • 3 days, 2 nights
  • 28.1 mile hike (apparently probably closer to 30)
  • +4,275, -4,711 elevation
  • 89,868 steps
  • 14,801 calories

Note on numbers: distances and elevation are from Caltopo, so they’re based on the trail data they have available, for the specific trail that I’ve marked out (which is I think pretty accurate). Steps, calories, and “total distance” per day are from Fitbit, using a Fitbit Blaze throughout the hike.

Other people’s experiences:

39.501419-106.1516265

Specialized Enduro 29″

I bought a bike!

Back in Australia, back in the day, I had a Specialized P3 which I used for some downhill riding. I sold that eventually in San Francisco, after years of not really using it (it’s not a practical city-bike, and I didn’t have easy access to get out and mountain bike with it). When I moved to New York I bought a Cannondale Bad Boy 9, which was a much better choice for in the city. Fast forward a few years, and living in Denver means I’m close to mountains and a bunch of world-class downhill riding. In 2016 I picked up a Motobecane Boris X9 fatbike, which was fun, but pretty impractical.

Ever since getting the Boris, I’ve been itching to get a “real” bike and get back out there. With a fat tax return coming my way, I was feeling cashed up and spendy, so last weekend I jumped on Craigslist (again), and found myself a sweet bike. I managed to get around and see it the next day, and bought it on the spot.

The bike is a Specialized Enduro Comp29/6 Fattie, with a bunch of modifications. I bought it from a guy who works in a bike shop, so he’d built it up, but never actually ridden it on a trail, so it’s brand new. Here’s an attempt at a breakdown of the modifications.

Stock Mine
Drivetrain
Chain SRAM PC-1110, 11-speed w/PowerLink
Crankset RaceFace Aeffect, 6000-series alloy, 24mm spindle, 52mm chainline, 28T SRAM Eagle GX 32t chainring
Shift Levers SRAM NX, 11-speed, trigger
Cassette SRAM XG-1150, 11-speed, 10-42t SRAM Eagle GX, 10-50t
Rear Derailleur SRAM GX, long cage, 11-speedSUSPENSION
Suspension
Fork RockShox Yari 29/27.5+, Solo Air, rebound & compression adjust, 15x110mm Maxle Ultimate thru-axle, 160mm travel 170 MRP ramp control
Rear Shock RockShox Monarch Plus, Rx All-Mountain Tune, AUTOSAG, rebound and 3-position compression adjust, 216x57mm Rear link changed to 2018 flip-chip system, configured in low setting
Wheels
Front Hub Specialized disc, alloy, sealed cartridge bearings,15x110mm thru-axle, 24h
Rear Hub Specialized disc, alloy, sealed cartridge bearings, 12x148mm thru-axle, 28h
Inner Tubes 29×1.75/2.4″”, 60mm Presta valve Tubeless
Spokes DT Swiss Industry, stainless, 3x, 2.0″”
Rims Roval Traverse 29, hookless alloy, 29mm inner width, 24/28h, tubeless ready DT Swiss m1700 29″, 54t star ratchet
Front Tire Butcher, GRID casing, 29×2.3″”, 60TPI, Aramid folding bead, 2Bliss Ready Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5×29
Rear Tire Slaughter, GRID casing, 29×2.3″”, 60TPI, Aramid folding bead, 2Bliss ReadyCOCKPIT Maxxis Ardent 2.4×29
Cockpit
Saddle Body Geometry Henge Comp, hollow Cr-Mo rails, 143mm
Seatpost Command Post IRcc, 12 position micro-height adjustable, alien head design, bottom mount cable routing, remote adjust SRL lever, 30.9mm, S: 100mm, M/L/XL: 125mm travel
Stem Specialized Trail, 3D forged alloy, 4-bolt, 6-degree rise Truvativ 50mm
Handlebars Specialized DH, 6061 alloy, 6-degree upsweep, 8-degree backsweep, 27mm rise, 780mm width
Grips Specialized Sip Grip, half-waffle, S/M: regular thickness, L/XL: XL thicknessBRAKES
Brakes
Front Brake SRAM Guide R, hydraulic disc, organic pads, Guide S4 4-piston caliper, 200mm rotor TRP Quadiem (TRP splined rotor)
Rear Brake SRAM Guide R, hydraulic disc, organic pads, Guide S4 4-piston caliper, 180mm rotorACCESSORIES TRP Quadiem (TRP splined rotor)
Accessories
Pedals Resin Test Ride w/toe clipsFRAMESET OneUp Poly
Tools OneUp EDC
Frameset
Seat Binder Specialized, alloy, 2-bolt, 27.2mm
Frame M5 alloy, X-wing layout, All-Mountain Geometry, threaded BB, internal cable routing, ManFu link, oversized pivot bearings, 12x148mm dropouts, replaceable derailleur hanger, 165mm of travel

I’ve already had it out for a couple of rides, and am getting used to bigger wheels, lots of suspension, a dropper post (love it!), and a long wheelbase (awesome for bridging gaps, less awesome for tight turns). Overall I’m stoked to be able to get out there and ride the beautiful Colorado countryside.

Backpack Review: Arc’teryx Brize 25L vs Patagonia Nine Trails 28L

Looking for a simple daypack for quick adventures? Me too. I’ve been using a Geigerrig Rig 1210 (looks something like this one) for a while, but found it to be a little too small, awkwardly configured, and generally just not really what I wanted. After weighing some options, I ended up with a decision between 2 packs: the Arc’teryx Brize 25, and the Patagonia Nine Trails 28L.

In getting there, I worked out a rough list of things I cared about:

  1. Approximately 25 liters. Based on my current bag, and looking at some options, somewhere around this amount felt right. I specifically didn’t want something too big, because it’d just encourage me to carry more stuff in there.
  2. External pockets. I wanted a few spots accessible without having to dig into the main compartment. That being said, I don’t want the whole bag divided up into a million small pockets (as the Geigerrig is), because that never ends up being useful for me.
  3. Hydration compatible. I mostly want something for day hiking, snowshoeing, and mountain biking, so something with hydration space is important.
  4. Sleek/minimal. I don’t want this bag to be overbuilt, heavy, or trying to be a full-on hiking pack. It’s not going to carry that much weight, but it does need to be reasonably sturdy in its own right.
  5. Decent structure. I didn’t want one of those fold-into-its-own-pocket type bags that’s just a loose sack of material.

So I narrowed things down to the Brize and Nine Trails. Both were the same price (at least when I was looking at them — $160), roughly the same weight, and seemed to meet most of the above requirements.

Backpack Review: Arc’teryx Brize 25L vs Patagonia Nine Trails 28L

Backpack Review: Arc’teryx Brize 25L vs Patagonia Nine Trails 28L

Patagonia Nine Trails 28L

I liked that this came in a “L/XL” sizing, which was quite a bit taller/longer, and fit my body well. The main reason that was relevant though, was because it was trying to be more of a hiking pack than I was really looking for. It has a much more substantial hip-belt than the Brize, including some small hip-belt pockets. I found those pockets hard to access while wearing the pack though, and they were really small, making them feel a bit useless. There was also a defect in the manufacturing in one of them where the padding was stitched in folded over. The pack had load-lifters on the shoulder-straps, which felt like overkill. The fabric on the should-straps was also strangely loose and bunched up in places, which made things feel poorly constructed.

Backpack Review: Arc’teryx Brize 25L vs Patagonia Nine Trails 28L

Backpack Review: Arc’teryx Brize 25L vs Patagonia Nine Trails 28L

There’s a large external stuff-pocket which is nice conceptually, but I don’t like that type of fabric much as I’ve had it tear and stretch on other packs previous. There’s also a long, asymmetrical zipper to get access to the main part of the pack, although it’s constrained somewhat by the compression strap on one side. I was not really a fan of the long zipper combined with the “light” fabric used on the pack, which meant the zippers didn’t really run freely.

Backpack Review: Arc’teryx Brize 25L vs Patagonia Nine Trails 28L

Up top you have a top pocket which faces away from your back when wearing the pack (good for other people to get things out for you, probably not great if you’re wearing it the city or somewhere else that crime is a concern). Down the bottom is a semi-hard bottom, with corner lashing points for attaching a sleeping roll/tent externally. They’re pretty minimal, but an interesting touch.

Backpack Review: Arc’teryx Brize 25L vs Patagonia Nine Trails 28L

Backpack Review: Arc’teryx Brize 25L vs Patagonia Nine Trails 28L

Arc’teryx Brize 25

Overall, the Brize just felt much better constructed. The main fabric is a heavier/denser weave, everything seemed to be stitched more accurately, zippers felt more solid etc. There are daisy-chains down both sides of the front, although they’re really unobtrusive, which I liked. The main opening, and the top pocket, both face in towards your back when you’re wearing it. This is an interesting departure compared to most packs, but provides a little more security if wearing the bag in the city, since it’s hard to get into them.

Backpack Review: Arc’teryx Brize 25L vs Patagonia Nine Trails 28L

The shoulder pads are really comfortable and well-padded. The waist-belt is minimal (just webbing, no padding), and really just provides some stability. You definitely wouldn’t want to try taking any weight on it. There’s an ice-pick/hardware loop at the bottom, as well as what I assume is intended to be a loop of attaching a bike light or similar.

Backpack Review: Arc’teryx Brize 25L vs Patagonia Nine Trails 28L

My biggest complaint with the Brize is how the hydration routing works. It makes no sense. You put a bladder in the internal pocket, then you have to route the hose over the internal pocket to get to the exit port. From there, it comes out right in the middle of the top handle. It’s really awkward, and not only makes it difficult to get to the internal pocket, but means the hose gets in the way when you use the top handle as well. I think they should have just put an exit port on each top corner and been done with it.

Similarities

There were a couple of things that I thought were interestingly similar between the 2 packs. In both cases, the back was made of a thermoformed mesh style material which provides structure and airflow against your back, but is super light:

Backpack Review: Arc’teryx Brize 25L vs Patagonia Nine Trails 28L

Both packs also had incredibly similar buckles on the sternum straps (which I noticed because it was a “new” design that I haven’t seen before):

Both packs also had decent side pockets on each side, which can fit a 1L Nalgene bottom. The Nine Trails uses the same super stretchy fabric as the front stuck-pocket, while the Brize uses a combination of the same heavy fabric used elsewhere, with a portion of heavy stretch fabric that feels more substantial than the Nine Trails.

Verdict

I ended up going with the Brize. It felt like a better fit for my needs, and felt more versatile especially for using while riding (whereas the Nine Trails felt like overkill for that in particular). I really like the build quality, the sleekness of the pack, and I’m honestly just a bit of a sucker for Arc’teryx’s gear in general. I can live with the weird hydration routing issue highlighted above. So far I’ve taken it on a bike ride (loaded up with hydration, pump, layers, and the Nine Trails itself, since I was returning it), and on a snowshoeing/snow-hiking trip and it worked nicely. Plenty of room to drop my Jetboil in there, along with gloves/hat/sweater at different times.  I also have a small kit of emergency items (med kit, small knife, lighter, etc) that now lives at the bottom of the pack, just in case.

Backpack Review: Arc’teryx Brize 25L vs Patagonia Nine Trails 28L

YouTube Service for Keyring

In 7072886 I added a first swing at a YouTube Service definition to Keyring. It’s based heavily on the Google Analytics one that was recently submitted via PR. It’s not part of an official release yet. I’m curious about enabling people to import the videos they publish on YouTube into a WordPress install though, as that feels like something that folks who use it heavily would want as part of their web presence.

YouTube Service for Keyring

Next step will be adding an importer for YouTube, which I'll probably aim to do over the coming weeks.

Keyring v1.9

I just released version 1.9 of the Keyring plugin for WordPress.

Keyring v1.9

This version includes a few pretty cool updates and additions, as described in the changelog:

  • Added a Google Analytics Service definition.
  • Added a Strava Service definition.
  • Added a “Settings” link to the plugin listing if you’re using the bundled Admin UI.
  • Fitbit tokens now refresh properly.
  • Tumblr now requires HTTPS, so updated all request URLs to use HTTPS.

My favorite part of this release is that I didn’t personally do most of the things in there. Two of my colleagues did some of it (Strava service and Tumblr fixes), while a generous and otherwise unknown contributor on Github added the Google Analytics service.

This is open source, working!

Working Out While Traveling

I travel a fair bit for work, and have historically let it affect (read: completely stop) any sort of fitness routine I might have going at home. Normally I try to get to the gym 2-3 times a week, and do whatever is the WOD at my CrossFit (Sprint) gym. When traveling, I just let it slide normally, and then try to get back into a routine when I get home.

This last week, I was in Florida for the week and decided to try to get in a bit of a workout. I made up my own minimal CrossFit-ish routine that I could do in a park on my own, with no equipment. Here’s what I ended up doing (2 days in a row):

10 up-and-back; air squats, pushups, and “box jumps”, with a 2 minute break at 10. Light run for ~5 minutes.

So I started with 1 squat, 1 pushup, one box jump (onto the side of a brick flower bed), then 2… up to 10. Rest for 2 minutes. 9 squats… back down to 1 (for a total of 100 of each). After that, I rested for another 2 minutes, then finished off with a light jog around the park I was working out in. The whole thing only took about half an hour, and fit perfectly into my schedule. It was a really nice break from otherwise sitting in a conference room all day, every day, and hopefully will make it easier to get back into my normal routine next week.

iPhone X / High Sierra Update

Yesterday, I received my new iPhone X. I thought I’d post some notes on the painful process that has been switching over to it. Might be time to start experimenting with a Pixel.

I’m on the Apple Upgrade program, so I assumed it would be a relatively simple process to get bumped up to the next phone, since it’s been more than a year since I got the iPhone 7 Plus. Instead, it ended up involving talking to multiple different people at the Apple store before I could figure out how it all worked, and how to get a new phone, even though my current phone had a cracked screen. Their online eligibility check kept saying that I had used my allotted AppleCare instances, even though I’ve never used any. Eventually I found out that I need to just tell their system there’s nothing wrong with my phone, and then when I send it back in, I’ll end up being asked to pay the $29 to fix the screen, and then they’ll accept is as a trade-in. OK, fine.

From there, I ordered the new phone online, which comes with a trade-in kit (still waiting to receive that, so hopefully I don’t have to update this post with how that was a disaster as well). The phone arrived 6 days earlier than estimated online (under promise, over deliver), and I was off to the races. I’ve done iPhone transfers before and have never had a problem, but this is the first time that I upgraded to a smaller-capacity device (128G –> 64G; cloud power, yo). I started the set up process, expecting it to walk me through making space or choosing what to transfer, but instead I just got a cryptic error message when I tried to restore from backup. Something about general error 9. That actually correlates to a “connectivity issue”, and if I’d known better I possibly could have saved myself a lot of time at this point. Instead, I assumed that it related to the size/space issue, so I went about deleting thousands and thousands of photos and videos and some apps I wasn’t using to make space on my old phone. I finally got it down to a size that would fit on the new phone, and did another complete back up through iTunes.

At this point I should have been able to restore to the new phone and start using it immediately, right? WRONG. Now the new phone was in some weird state where it was bricked, and the only thing I could get out of it was a screen telling me to go to support.apple.com/iphone/restore. Oh, and at this point the new phone had also taken over control of my cellular account, so my old phone was a really expensive iPod (those still exist, right?). Since all the docs I found were talking about making sure you had the latest versions of everything, this was when I realized I didn’t have the latest version of iTunes, but of course I also didn’t have High Sierra installed. Ugh. OK, so another hour+ later, I got those both installed, and I figured now it was going to work, right? WRONG.

I was still getting similar errors to before, and this was when I bothered to read the docs for that specific error (9) a bit more carefully, and see the reference to using “the cable supplied with your phone”. That couldn’t possibly be related, right? WRONG. I had been trying to use one of these USB-C cables, which have otherwise been fine, transfer data, etc. Apparently they’re not good enough for Apple. I switched to the cable that came with the phone (had to use a USB-C adaptor to plug it into a new MacBook Pro though!), and suddenly things started working. An hour or something later, I finally had a working iPhone X.

What a drama. So now, some quick, early observations:

High Sierra

  1. Meh. Haven’t noticed any real difference so far (have only really been using it a few hours though) except…
  2. Photos (the app) is borked, and now wants to import 900 duplicate photos from my phone because it thinks they’re new. I’m not alone.

iPhone X

  1. The notch doesn’t bother me much after a few hours, except…
  2. Various levels of “support” for the notch mean that some apps go “behind” it, while some apps are shrunk down to show a complete rectangle. That inconsistency is kind of annoying.
  3. Some apps/websites/etc put things right into the corners, and with the rounded edges on the screen, plus the “home bar” at the bottom, that can get a bit awkward sometimes.
  4. FaceID is pretty magic. Creepy magic, but magic. So far it’s worked really well.
  5. Lots of new gestures to get around the lack of Home button (and the use of FaceID, vs TouchID, which messes with the workflow for ApplePay), but I’ve picked them up pretty quickly.
  6. The form factor is really nice. I had the iPhone 7 Plus before so this is smaller, but the screen is still nice and big. Thumbs up there.
  7. When the keyboard is up, it feels weird to have a huge blank space below it, with the alternate keyboard icon in the bottom left.
  8. I had to go through and log back into a bunch of apps for some reason.
  9. Google Authenticator is my most painful fail for the transfer (not counting literally the entire transfer process). For some reason, only a few of the things I had configured in there transferred over properly. I’m going to have to go and reconfigure 2FA on everything from my old phone, into my new phone. Luckily I still have the old phone to even know what the list is 🙂
  10. I might end up turning off the TrueAttention feature or whatever it’s called. Sometimes I want to put my phone down and not be looking at it, but keep it on (referring to something else, keeping it in my field of view, whatever). With Attention enabled, it turns itself off when you stop looking at it (wow, talk about needy).
  11. Overall it feels like a really nice phone, but there are definitely some weird edges and corner cases (puns intended).