The Greatest Art Thief of His Generation

At the age of ten, Tomic pulled off his first heist. He broke into a library in Mostar, climbing through a window that was nearly ten feet above street level. He stole two books, each of which appeared to be several hundred years old. (The older brother of a friend learned of the theft and returned Tomic’s plunder.

This article from The New Yorker reads like a one man version of Ocean’s 11. Great read.

The French Burglar Who Pulled Off His Generation’s Biggest Art Heist


The “Sun is Bad For You” Myth Busted

How did we get it so wrong? How could people with low vitamin D levels clearly suffer higher rates of so many diseases and yet not be helped by supplementation?

As it turns out, a rogue band of researchers has had an explanation all along. And if they’re right, it means that once again we have been epically misled.

These rebels argue that what made the people with high vitamin D levels so healthy was not the vitamin itself. That was just a marker. Their vitamin D levels were high because they were getting plenty of exposure to the thing that was really responsible for their good health—that big orange ball shining down from above.


The Shady Link Between Sunscreen and Your Health


Focus Tips for Landscape Photography

Have you ever tried shooting a landscape on f/11 or above thinking that, since it was a narrow aperture, it would come out sharp? If so, you were probably disappointed. Contrary to popular belief, simply reducing your aperture won’t get you a sharp landscape from front to back. In fact, many lenses get softer as you stop down, and anything beyond f/14 or f/16 runs the risk of being a little soft (depending on the lens you’re using) That’s why simply stopping down to f/22 isn’t likely to give you a sharp landscape.

The fact is that lenses–even at smaller apertures–just can’t keep everything acceptably sharp at the same time. By focusing on something far away, you risk coming out with a soft or blurred foreground and vice versa. That’s why learning the hyper focal distance (where in the image to focus) is important.

Hyperfocal Distance: Where to Focus for Sharp Landscape Photos

The Darkside of #VanLife

Go ahead and do a search for the #vanlife hashtag on Instagram. I’ll wait. There you will be regaled with photos of beautiful people in front of their beautiful converted vans. Waterfalls flowing in the background, their perfectly tanned bikini bodies glistening in an eternally-glowing golden-hour. The text below the photo contains some inspirational pontification about living your life to the fullest, while the sly smiles on their faces hint that they might just have found the fountain of youth and secret to eternal happiness.

Bullsh*t. These people are miserable. Miserable, I tell you! And I should know. I’m one of them.

Made me smile as I’ve done all these things in my dirtbag climber days. :)

Why #vanlife Sucks


Stop Stressessing Over Gear

Thomas freely admits this in his latest YouTube video and he’s embarrassed that camera lust got the best of him. He was putting so much pressure and stress on himself to dig through all of the technical data that he forgot to just be himself and shoot. It’s an easy thing to do. I have been there before, and I’m sure you have too. Like many others who have been through this, Thomas lost focus on his photography and paid a big price for it when it came to his work, so much so that he pulled an entire video and refused to share the the images he captured.

Thomas Heaton is an amazing photographer and I’ve enjoyed his videos. I am completely guilty of getting lost in gear lust and didn’t realize he had fallen in to it too. Guess it even happens to the best. (Which is honestly nice to know)

Stop Stressing About Cameras and Just Focus On Your Photography


Peak Design Travel Pack Review

The Kickstarter campaign for this bag raised over $5million and it is now available on their website here. If you would like to ensure delivery before the holiday season then I would suggest placing a pre-order and getting in line for that first shipment. If you would like to get a 10% discount on your order (save at least $29.99) then we can give you a special discount code, but at Peak Design’s request, we’re only allowed to share it with our email newsletter subscribers. If you want that discount you can click here.

Now onto the review…

I can neither confirm nor deny that I have watched half a dozen review videos of this travel pack.

Review: Peak Design 45L Travel Backpack + Travel Line Accessories


Best Gadgets of 2018

It's difficult to think of 2018 as a year with anything worth celebrating. But despite all the bad news the year dealt us, there were successes -- if you know where to look. In all corners of tech, we saw wins big and small. There were advances in obvious categories like laptops, smartphones and the connected home, but we also looked outside the mainstream for some of the more surprising gems. Think mini synthesizers for music nerds, retro emulators for nostalgic gamers and e-readers for modern book snobs.

Gadgets are the best. 😁

The best gadgets of 2018


Alex Honold on Free Soloing El Capitan

In this TED Talk, Alex Honnold talks about how he was able to feel so comfortable on his iconic Freerider free solo, and how he overcame his fear. Honnold starts with a brief version of how he became a climber, and then tells the story of his two most significant free solos: Half Dome and El Capitan.

My hands sweat just thinking about it.

TED: Alex Honnold—How I Climbing a 3,000-Foot Vertical Cliff Without Ropes


America’s 25 Classic Boulder Problems

Humans have been exploring boulders in America for hundreds of years, going back to the Native Americans who lived in and around many of today’s bouldering areas. In the 1950s and ‘60s, John Gill began taking gymnastics to the rocks, seeking challenges on small cliffs and boulders from Illinois to the Tetons to the Black Hills to Colorado. But he was largely alone until well into the 1970s and ‘80s, when bouldering started to become seen as a pursuit in its own right. Given the size and geological diversity of the US, we may very well have the most—and most varied—bouldering in the world. We also have an extraordinary legacy of classic problems from V0 to V16, with seemingly endless potential left. To list the 25 best problems in America is a challenge.

Yes please.

The Classic 25: America's Best Boulder Problems


Siri Shortcuts, an Apple ‘How To’

If you're absolutely new to the Shortcuts app and never played with Workflow before, this is where I'd start. The guide goes into great detail about what shortcuts are, how you can organize them, and what types of input are supported in Shortcuts. There's also an Advanced section where – and I never thought I'd see this – Apple explains x-callback-url and web APIs. Some of these sections have been adapted from the old Workflow documentation, but it's a fantastic resource regardless. And once you're done reading through Apple's materials, I'll be waiting here.

You know if Apple put a ‘How To’ together that it will be good.

I used the Workflows app for years to help me with posting here quickly from apps like Instapaper. Now that it’s integrated with Siri, I can do a whole lot more.

And so can you.

Shortcuts User Guide


Bear Notes vs Apple Notes

I have a thing about text applications. I love the idea of an app that can hold little buckets of text. I look at these as reference libraries, and I've gone through a string of apps for this purpose over the years. For the last couple of years, I've mainly been using Apple Notes as a result of its stability and deep integration throughout the operating system.

But there are things about Apple Notes I don’t like. My biggest complaint is the slow rate of innovation. I know that comes with the territory of a stock application, but I was hoping by now that it would have a few more bells and whistles.

Also—I acknowledge this is petty—I have never been comfortable with the textured paper design background of Apple Notes. Every year I think they will remove it, and every year it stays in. They have even made textured paper for dark mode. This seems silly, but it grinds on me.

The natural replacement was Bear, a similar notes app that has been out a few years and has been gaining traction. I have played with Bear on and off since it first launched. I have even subscribed. However, its innovative functions never got quite far enough for me to want to invest in it fully until last week.

With the release of Mac OS Mojave and iOS 12, Bear pulls ahead with innovation. I’ve been toying with the app for the last week, and a few days ago, I moved my 1,000+ Apple Notes into Bear. This is still just an experiment.

This is saying a lot coming from Mac Sparky. Bear is one of those applications that makes me wish I could do more work from my Mac.

I'm Trying Bear


Your First Trad Lead Starts With These Steps...

Stop crying. That comes later.

You’ve prepared for this. You’re ready. You’ve spent an hour placing cams and nuts on the ground, yanking on them, questioning if they’re good, and settling on, “I guess—probably?” You’ve read John Long’s Climbing Anchors, and in a no-stress environment can easily recall some of it. You’ve been “mentored” by that guy who carries everything he needs to build a 3-1 pulley on his harness while bouldering at the gym. You’ve prepared enough that it’s turned into procrastination. Suck it up and start leading. Here’s how:


Unsent: An Honest Guide to Your First Trad Lead


4Runner Anytime Rear and Front Camera Install

This mod allows for a couple different options.

You can go with the anytime backup camera alone which allows you to view your backup camera at any time with the push of a button. You can also opt for the additional front camera which can also be viewed at any time. For this, you need to buy a front-facing camera separately.

I’m definitely going to do this mod.

Anytime Backup Camera and Add Front Camera on Toyota 4Runner Install


How Greta Van Fleet Became the Most Controversial Rock Band of 2018

After a viral Pitchfork review, which rewarded the record a 1.6 rating on the site's 10.0 scale, said they sounded "like they did weed exactly once, called the cops, and tried to record a Led Zeppelin album before they arrested themselves," fans mobilized to defend the band's honor online. Websites wrote up the incident with headlines like "Pitchfork Destroyed Greta Van Fleet's New Album and Rock Fans Are Pissed." Jokes were made; familiar pop culture battle lines were drawn. Did you miss the whole controversy? Or simply have no idea what the fuss is about? Unfortunately, we do. I don’t remember how I discovered Greta Van Fleet, but when I first heard the lead singer belting out his opening wail in “Safari Song” (from their 2017 album) I distinctly remember snapping out of whatever I was thinking about and looking at my car radio in awe.

If you haven’t heard any of their stuff, I highly recommend starting with their 2017 album ‘From the Fires’ then head right over to their 2018 ‘Anthem of a Peacful Army’. Rolling Stones opinion be damned, this is some great stuff.

How Greta Van Fleet Became the Most Controversial Rock Band of 2018