iPad and Apple Pencil best works with Notability app

I was very skeptical about styluses for many years, especially over a screen. Closest thing was Wacom’s Cintiq and that was a giant monitor. The reason that styluses weren’t compelling is because they were laggy and never felt great to draw on screen.

Even with Apple pencil, it is still not great. But very very close. I owned pretty much all iPad models and versions from the very first release (I got a limited edition back then). And I’ve used Apple Pencil from it’s first debut but wasn’t convinced and also rejected the new gadget because it wasn’t Steve Jobs way. But I can totally understand it’s value from the educational standpoint – not art (at least not yet). The first release wasn’t necessarily laggy but you can definitely feel it’s tech side of it. There is only one thing you’re looking at a pencil, and that is the feeling has to be real because you’re dragging a pointer on a virtual paper.

With the latest iPad Pro 10” version, with screen refresh rate going much faster, now you can definitely feel it’s very very close. With the software support and not being paranoid about hand touching screen while writing or drawing, it definitely gets very close to the real thing. Unfortunately I’m still seeing many of the drawing and note taking apps are having the lag it had from 60 refresh rate old screen. I don’t know why it still has that.

Notability is the one app that I’m feeling very comfortable to draw and create stuff with it. My use cases are still a lot of ideation, super low fidelity wireframing, some planning work. I love the output feels truely non-techy creation but it is in fact a digital creation.

Sometimes we udnerestimate the value of not having boundaries when we think. Even including the requirement of typing our ideas or words on a keyboard being a restriction to our mind. I started this back-transformation with using more and more moleskines than taking notes on my phone.

I like Notability app because it’s very simple and plain app with few extra features that I like. You can link your dropbox, google drive accounts to backup all notes in PDF format that becomes very handy when you want to draw some stuff and open in your computer very quickly.

Super Affordable Cloud VPS: Scaleway

Recently I have been having performance issues with few personal sites that I was hosting on my small Digital Ocean instance. I was using 2vCpu, 2gig ram instance costing me $10/month + 30gb disk for extra $3/month. To be honest this is a very very cheap personal server to have and host few sites as well as doing minimal software tests and playing a good proxy/vpn when I need it.

I have installed New Relic, Datadog, Pingdom and linked them to my personal slack account to have everything monitored and reported seamlessly. I’ve been getting CPU and occasional memory alerts mostly because of my wife’s blogs that is getting much higher traffic than my sites. Even with that traffic, it was making me feel the performance that I supposed to get from that server wasn’t as consistent as I wanted.

A new kid in the block

A few weeks ago I started going into cheap ssd vps hunt again and I saw many more players in the game including Amazon Web Services’ Digital Ocean killer. I compared many services and wanted to find something more stable and reliable. But I found a very very new and smaller company utilizing raspberry pi like ARM based hardware in greater scale for this small to medium size VPS services called Scaleway. Although the CPU architecture as “server” is foreign to me, I was getting curious. One of the differentiator factors for Scaleway is because of the initial and maintenance cost of the hardware, the costs of equivalent instances to be ~5 times cheaper. This means I can get 3-4 times more powerful machines with the same minimal monthly cost I’m spending for Digital Ocean or similar services. Scaleway is definitely pushing hard on the $5/mo SSD VPS game.

The main question was and remains “how reliable this new French startup for a permanent VPS need?”. This is obviously a risk but for me, it’s an easy risk to take because I mastered to set up and migrate web and database servers in many years with bare minimum servers as well as with cloud services like AWS or Azure.

So I took the risk and moved to Scaleway in 2 hours with 2x size instance with pretty much half of what I pay which is ~$5/month. It’s been 2,5 weeks and I’m seeing no hickups or any issues so far.

You can explore the machine options and pricing for each architecture here: https://www.scaleway.com/pricing/