The Toolbox Fallacy

I have been thinking a lot about this video and just how true it rings for me and many other creators.

If I had (x) then I could do (y). That is a mantra I have said to myself for years over many different things. Thoughts like “If I had a camera I could take good photos” or “if I had more time I could write more.” These are all fallacies, and for some I have proof.

For instance, because of the wonderful Timing App I can look intro great detail how I use my time. Here’s how I spent my time on Monday September 16th, 2019.

As you can see, I spent a ton of time just watching YouTube videos instead of something productive. Like reading articles or writing, or doing literally anything productive.

If you watch YouTube as a means of entertainment and enjoy it that’s great. For me though it is a way to procrastinate and put off the important yet scary things. For me it’s writing. Every time I prepare to write I still get butterflies in my stomach. I get afraid that what I have to say isn’t good enough, even though I haven’t said anything at all yet.

In order for me to combat this I needed to make the time to sit down and write. It’s still something I am working on but I try every morning to write for at least 30 minutes. Some days that works and on other days it isn’t possible for me to do that. But instead of just making up things I “need” I took a look at this time tracking data and really took it in. I added YouTube to my list of blocked domains. Instead, I download the videos I want to watch and only watch them during my lunch break at work. It’s a start, but it eliminates the possibility of diving deep into a YouTube rabbit hole.

One of the things I have done to combat this Toolbox Fallacy was to start this new photo everyday challenge for myself. I decided to make photography something I get back into because it is a lot of fun for me. So I decided to flip my Toolbox Fallacy. Instead of “I just need a good camera, so I can start taking photos” I turn it into an iPhone photography challenge. I turned the limitations on myself into innovation.

In fact, I’ve been having a lot of fun pushing my iPhone to its limits. In fact, I finally got a photo that I am really excited about.

if you find yourself in a “Toolbox Fallacy” look at what you’re saying that you “need” and see if there’s a way for you to turn that limitation into innovation. It might not always work, but for me it has allowed me to turn a barrier into a doorway.

One Year Shot on iPhone

Dexter Portrait Shot on iPhone X August 9th, 2019
Dexter the cat. Shot on iPhone X

This is the photo that made me want to take more creative pictures on my iPhone. Previously, I rarely had fun with my iPhone and snapped photos on it. Partly because I didn’t want to be “that person” always taking photos, and partly because I thought iPhone photos weren’t “that good.”

The photo is a portrait of one of my cats, Dexter. It’s still one of my favorite photos I’ve taken on my iPhone. I snapped it on my iPhone X, the phone I have currently, on August 9th this year.

The iPhone is a Camera

Fast-forward one month and Apple announces the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro. The number one feature that they touted, like every year they have a new iPhone event, was the cameras.

What surprised me this year compared to years previous was my interest and investment I had about the new cameras. I think Phil Schiller said it best when he called it “computational photography mad science.” Something about those photos they showed from professionals the films shot on iPhone kept me on the edge of my computer chair. It was honestly the most fun I have had in a while with an Apple Keynote.

Upon reading more about the new iPhone 11 Pro I began to get excited about what I can do with my iPhone’s camera system. Shortly thereafter that I saw a number of photos being shot on the new iPhone 11s. One that blew me away early on was Austin Mann’s iPhone 11 Pro Camera Review.

My New Shot on iPhone Project

All of this excitement has made me want to do something to bring photography, specifically iPhone photography, into my life.

So for the next year beginning today I will be posting one photo a day on my Instagram. I will also have a weekly roundup here on the blog if you don’t want to follow me on Instagram. I will say, that I may post more than one photo a day on Instagram. For that reason, I suggest you follow me there if you want everything.

As I sit eagerly awaiting for my new iPhone 11 Pro I’m excited to start this new journey into taking more photos with my phone. I can’t wait to share them with you all both here on the blog and on my Instagram.

Moving to WordPress.com

I have long said that the open web is something I feel strongly about, and that in order for you to truly own something on the internet it has to be on your personal website. You can’t expect companies like Twitter, Facebook, Medium, or other big name social media platforms to care about that stuff. They should, but we all know that it is in their best nature to keep that stuff in their home turf and make it as difficult as possible to get it elsewhere. 

To save time, my argument for the open web boils down to this: Would you rather have all of your work in the hands of someone else, or in your own hands?

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Bye-Bye iPad

Update: A couple of people have asked if me not having an iPad means the end of A Slab of Glass, it is not. Christopher and I both have talked about the podcast being more than just about the iPad, and we have been making strides to do that over the past few months. So no, A Slab of Glass isn’t going anywhere.


After about 2 months of it collecting dust, I decided it was time to say goodbye to my iPad Pro and consequently the iPad Lifestyle. There are a couple of reasons for this, but I will stick with the one that is worth talking about: I simply don’t use an iPad anymore for my work.

No, this isn’t a “you can’t get real work done on an iPad” article. I have gotten real work done on an iPad for years and loved it, but due to some changes in my life the iPad isn’t the best tool for the job anymore. Here’s why.

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Being Honest With Myself

It’s no secret that I write a lot about blogging on Rocket Panda. I have a thing with going meta, I even used to host a podcast about podcasting before Rocket Panda even existed. That said, sometimes it can be fun to go down memory lane.

Yesterday I was migrating my website over to micro.blog1 and I noticed something about my writing style over the last two years. There’s been a stark contrast in my older posts and the ones I write now, and I wanted to talk about it.

My older posts were me trying to imitate and mimic tech journalists like that of 9to5Mac and TechCrunch. I was trying to be more journalistic and matter-of-fact without adding anything personal to them. I even tried to make myself sound like and Apple expert, but if I am being honest with myself I know little about the history of Apple and the impact they made before 2008, which was when I jumped into the Apple ecosystem.

Once I realized that wasn’t working out for me, I moved to doing things like listicles and have my Top 10 iPad Life Hacks and The 9 Things I Learned Going iPad Only. I look back at both of these kinds of writing and cringe, because desperation has a foul and pungent scent and I reeked of it. After I got over how much of a try-hard I must have looked like I realized that had I not done those things and looked in the mirror afterwards I wouldn’t have come to the conclusion I have today about what it is I want to write about the things that I’m passionate about.

If you look at my more recent pieces, I am writing more personal pieces about the things that I can add personal input on. I have written things like Why iOS 13 Made the iPad Home Screen Fun Again and my TouchType Pro Review2. These things are comments on the news from Apple and the companies that cater to those users, but I center it on myself and my feelings on it instead of trying to make this an article for TechCrunch or something similar.

It is much more satisfying for me to comment on the smaller things that I’m comfortable speaking on instead of trying to get my share of the pie with what the rest of the big Apple blogs are commenting on. There are times where I may add my feelings and opinions on something but only when it is something that I am comfortable with. Gone are the days where I try and do some quick research and reading up on something that I know nothing about just so that I can be with the rest of the Apple News cycle. It is great if you enjoy that but I found it to be extraordinarily draining both mentally and emotionally. Chasing that forever-spinning wheel of tech news is not something for me.

If I am still staying honest, it’s hard to make a blog about the Apple news as a single independent writer. That faucet is broken and it is just a firehose of information shooting out at you with an unlimited supply of water. I have tried being a part of the firehose and it’s simply not for me. I would rather be a trickle of water by myself for a small amount of people to drink from. Which brings me to why I have moved my site to micro.blog.

Why I Moved to Micro.blog 3

The reason for this is two-fold:

  1. I am not a Pro Blogger, and I need to stop acting like one
  2. The atmosphere at micro.blog isn’t as formal as something like WordPress for me, and I like that

When I say I am not a Pro Blogger I mean that I don’t have hundreds of thousands of readers, and I don’t think I necessarily want that. It isn’t a goal in my life to make Rocket Panda anything other than a way for me to express myself creatively. I don’t look at stats, I don’t see what posts are getting the most clicks, and I definitely don’t want to make my site a digital billboard with ads everywhere and videos playing automatically. That wasn’t the case when I first started though, I wanted to make Rocket Panda my full time job so badly. So much so I was willing to throw a piece together I thought would get lots of clicks and subscribers instead of writing something that I was happy with.

What I want when it comes to this blog is that I own every pixel top to bottom and that I can say what I want, when I want without worrying about upsetting anyone that has control over my livelihood.

As for the second point, micro.blog is a place for me I consider a much friendlier atmosphere than that of Twitter or Instagram. There’s nothing about this service that makes me upset or feel inadequate about myself. It is just writers and bloggers sharing their lives, thoughts, ideas, and photos with others. As someone that doesn’t have a staff of writers it can be lonely at times writing, and having the ability to be a part of a community that isn’t culturally toxic and genuinely delightful helps fill that void for me.

I could have kept my blog on WordPress and linked it to micro.blog, but for me it made more sense to just put all of my chips in this service and embrace the limitations it comes with. I am happy with my setup and I hope to see it stick, and I think that this time it will.

After some tinkering and playing around I finally figure out how to fix my biggest gripe with the service, which was differentiating the micro posts (the things I would post on Twitter) to the articles (like this one). Because of the addition to categories and the support for Hugo I managed to figure out how to add parameters to my site to hide my micro posts from the website but still have them post to micro.blog for those who follow me there. For those interested, I found the answer to that from the Hugo Discourse which is a group of helpful individuals4.

This isn’t me saying that you should move to micro.blog, that is for you to decide. That said, I do think that more bloggers should look I the mirror and answer the tough questions about what they are writing about and what they want to share, because it took me way longer than it should have to listen to the people who told me to write more personal posts over the bland lists and news articles I was writing.


  1. More on that in a bit 
  2. Sorry Salman if you’re reading this, I still haven’t sent the review unit back to him. 
  3. I have since moved back to WordPress because of wanting to have link posts work the way I want, as well as having more granular abilities with the way my site looks. That said, the sentiment of being more informal is sticking with me. 
  4. I have bookmarked this site for future browsing as well if I ever decide to tinker with my website again