Weber Connect Smart BBQ Hub

    I decided today that I really did need a new thermometer for my Weber. I have had nothing for a couple of months now and I can only do simple cooking, like chicken wings, steak and burgers. Today I wanted to cook pork belly bits and I knew that I would need to monitor the ambient temperature.

    I chose to get the Weber Connect Smart Barbecue Hub mainly as my local shop had them in stock so it was a quick buy. The other thought was even though it was more than I wanted to spend (AUS$200), being made by Weber it should be quality, but who knows?

    So far I am pretty happy. I really like:

    • USB recharging
    • Wifi connection (I can check temps while not at home!!!)
    • Longer probe wires
    • Magnetic base
    • Easy to see

    I am excited that now I can start doing low and slow bbq’ing again.

    My other choice was an Inkbird (which was the make of my last thermometer that broke) or the Meater, which costs even more (for wifi) and only has one probe.

    I want to break 3

    (Yeah an hour behind Nike and I could sing a Queen song about it. 😁)

    I have a goal, I have had it for a while now and 2021 is going to be the year I completed it. Well to be honest 2018 was going to be the year (spinal fusion) and then 2020 was going to be the year (piraformis). 2021 is going to be different, I have a coach and he is doing wonders for my performance, I am breaking PB's all of the time and I have so far only doing the base training. Soon I begin training for a marathon.

    Now if only I can find a marathon in Perth that is confirmed (City to Surf cancelled, Perth TBC, Sunset Coast TBC/slow) and not on my daughters birthday (Bibra Lake).

    I want to break 3

    Walking in lockdown

    We had our last walk in lockdown tonight and watched the sun go down.

    Back to work tomorrow...

    Using WorkOutDoors for logging my Apple Watch runs

    Today I started using WorkOutDoors for my runs again and I’m going to provide regular updates on how the app performs.

    My wife has recently set a challenge to compete in a triathlon so after much research I decided that a Garmin Fenix 6S would suit her needs the most. While setting it up I realised many of the features that the Apple Watch lacks for running and I started to look into what apps are out there. This lead me to WorkOutDoors which seems to be the runners favourite Apple Watch app.

    Of all the things I wanted in the app the ability to have more data screens and be able to do interval sessions easier were most important. WorkOutDoors more than covers these requirements.

    When I downloaded the app I really didn’t like the default screens. I wanted to make sure I could see the data I needed clearly. So that became my first tweak. There are so many options it is mind bending.

    Today was just an easy run for 65 min, it gave me a good change to try out what I had set up.

    Overall it worked really well and I again made some tweaks which you can see in the image below.

    Interestingly it really does seem that Apple really has an opportunity to improve the built in Workouts app and make the Apple Watch more functional. Hopefully this is something on the planning board.

    Turning the Timeline into a List on Twitter

    Episode 337 of the Upgrade podcast had a great discussion about using lists in Twitter.

    I really liked Jason’s idea that by making the timeline a list it keeps everything under control. The only downside is that people may not think that you follow them anymore.

    So the setup would be:

    • follow everyone that you want to see every tweet from, that is the first list and the timeline
    • Everyone else goes into a list, for example Educators, ADE’s, Journalists, Companies, Running
    • Check different lists when you have time or want to catch up on a topic

    It would be nice if Twitter embraced this more and those in lists are still treated as being followed.

    Running 2020

    This has been an interesting year for my running. I started off so well and worked hard to complete my first marathon since back surgery. Unfortunately due to COVID-19 my plans were put on hold when the Bunbury Marathon was cancelled and I had to plan for a race later in the year.

    Unfortunately again, I suffered from an injury that I am still having issues with. Taking weeks to diagnose and not treating correctly, my piriformis has been a pain in the ass 🤣.

    As my recovery continued I decided to investigate having a running coach take over and hopefully set me up to complete a long time goal. At this stage I am super happy and his advice has been awesome. If you are interested he runs Stazza’s Stable and I highly recommend his services.

    So this year has been a roller coaster and I can only hope 2021 will bring success. Time will tell I guess.

    If you are wondering, I am aiming for a sub 3 hour marathon some time in August or October depending on my training and if events go ahead.

    Cooking a brisket

    It has been great to finally have a real go at cooking a brisket on my Weber BBQ. It was around 2 months ago where I attended a special class at the Perth BBQ School, where I learned from local brisket celebrity Big Don.

    Below are the steps I took over the 26 hours before we ate:

    1. Choose a 5kg Brisket from a good butcher. Big Don says at least 3kg.
    2. Trim brisket for a good shape and uniform fat. I removed a good 200g of meat from mine.
    3. Lightly cover meat in American mustard to help hold the rub.
    4. Add the rub which is basically salt and pepper. Big Don sells his own blend if you live in Perth.
    5. Cook at 120 degrees Celsius using the Weber Snake Method with smoking wood of choice. Also use no water in the tin under the meat.
    6. Cook right through the “stall” which about 76 degrees Celsius.
    7. At 84 degrees wrap brisket in butchers paper. Make sure it’s pink.
    8. Cook through until it reaches 95 degrees. I rotated mine uniformity. At this point it had been 16 hours. This is longer than I was expecting and not sure why.
    9. Rest on bench for an hour to ensure meat temperature was dropping.
    10. Place in an oven at 60 degrees for 12 hours.
    11. Remove from oven and check the brisket internal temperature was 60 degrees. Big Don says this is the optimal temperature for slicing.
    12. Slice from the thin end to about half way where the end meat starts becoming fatty.
    13. Rotate 90 degrees and then continue slicing.

    The end result was better than expected and I am looking forward to having another go.

    Apple Watch Heart Rate and Hairy Arms

    Since owning an Apple Watch, both Series 2 and 4, I’ve struggled with the heart rate sensor whilst running. This lead me to buying a dedicated chest strap heart rate sensor. I’ve had both a Wahoo and a Garmin and they both seem to work well until they don’t. So recently the Garmin one just couldn’t provide data. I changed batteries, tried repairing, basically everything. So I was left trying to decide between dropping another $100 on a new strap or just use the Apple Watch and never get good data.

    Then I was relaying this story to a friend and she flippantly pointed out how hairy my arms are and maybe I should shave. Now this got me thinking to the point to give it a go and what do you know - it works!

    It makes sense really, as there was plenty of hair to remove and it would only block the sensor working.

    So, if you have hairy arms, shave under your watch to get better and more accurate data.

    PS after updating the same friend on the story, she told me she was only joking and had no basis to plant the seed.

    Cooking Steak on a Weber Charcoal BBQ

    I thought it was about time to share how I cook great steak on my Weber Charcoal BBQ. Now when I say "steak", I mean the kind of steak that you share with your family or "get your meal for free" size steak. So this could be a large cut t-bone or a tomahawk or a ribeye. For my demo I am cooking a 1.1kg yearling ribeye, which will be dinner for my 7 year old, my wife and myself. We will also get some leftovers for lunches through the week.

    So first of all I get the Weber set up for the cook. This is indirect cooking so I have an empty basket on one side of the BBQ with an aluminium try adjacent (which the meat will sit above). I leave the access grill up ready for the hot charcoal. I always have my smoking wood ready to go too. If you want to keep an eye on the temperature, you can also use an internal thermometer, this is optional as cooking times should be around 1 1/2 hours with the indirect method. Below is what it looks like.

    Weber BBQ setup

    Next we light some charcoal in a chimney. I normally measure how much I need with the other empty basket and add a little extra for luck. It takes about 20-30mins to get a nice white glow, which is just enough time to prepare the meat.

    Charcoal heating in chimney

    So now we are going to prepare the meat, I protect myself with some nitrile gloves. Google these guys and find them from cooking shops or hardware stores. They are kinda heat and cutting resistant, so perfect while working with raw or cooked meat. Also you look really cool.

    Nitrile Black Gloves

    Now I take the meat out of the wrapper. At this point I will get excess moisture off the meat with kitchen towel.

    Yearling Ribeye

    Now for the rub. You can pick what you like. I am using Barbecue 101, which I got from a local Perth BBQ school. They also taught me how to cook this 😀.

    Barbecue 101 Rub

    I then shake reasonably amounts of the rub over the steak and help it out on the sides.

    Steak covered in rub

    Once the charcoal is ready, its time to get it all on. I will tip the charcoal into the basket and then pick up the strays with tongs. I then add a small amount of water to the aluminium tray, this helps keep the temperature low. The meat is place over the tray and away from the charcoal. Last of all I add the smoking wood to the charcoal and flip down the grill cover. It should look like the image below.

    Weber with charcoal and meat

    Now we put on the lid and make sure the holes are open on the lid and positioned over the steak so the smoke passes over the meat. I also open the bottom vents the whole way too and only close them if I think its too hot, maybe above 180C.

    Now it time to get on with your condiments and enjoy the smells of the meat cooking.

    Depending on how you like your steak, you will just need to cook until the internal temperature reaches the required amount. A quick google should provide an answer, but I use this website.

    To measure you will need a meat temperature gauge. It is a good idea to use an instant one as they speed up the process. I have a Thermastick, it is great.

    Thermastick, instant thermometer

    Checking the meat around 1 1/2 hours and you should be close. Mine ended up taking about 1 3/4 hours and around 56C.

    Ready at 56C

    The final part of the cook is moving the steak over the charcoal. This is why my meat was a little less in temperature than what I wanted. By adding some rest time to the end the meat will also cook further.

    Now it’s time for a little rest. At most I’d wait 30mins. I waited about 5 for this cook.

    Resting the meat

    Now it’s time to slice it up and it looks great.

    Cutting the meat

    I finished it off with some asparagus, broccolini and zucchini cooked on my gas Weber. Added some cherry tomatoes and leftover potatoes.

    The final meal

    Oh and it tasted amazing.

    Launching an App to the App Store

    Super Colour

    It has been 2 weeks now since Super Colour was released on the App Store. What started with an experiment in converting Unit 4 from Apples' Develop in Swift Explorations from Xcode Interface Builder to SwiftUI, ended up being a great learning experience and dare I say, a neat little app.

    There a number of hurdles to get over when going through the whole process, which probably took more time than developing the app. It is not just a "click submit" and you are done, so keep that in mind if you decide to release something of your own.

    From the data I can see it is installed on a whopping 20 iPhones worldwide, which does make me smile 😁. I honestly had the biggest fun making and releasing the app plus I already have plans for my next.

    SwiftUI - Adding Tabs

    This guide will show how to add Tabs to your app. It is quick and easy, thanks to SwiftUI and allows you start adding multiple views to your app.


    SwiftUI - Creating New Views

    This guide will show how to create a new View so that we can modularise our code, making it easier to modify and maintain.


    Taking an Activity Notification Diet

    No more Activity Notifications

    I recently became aware of the Attention Diet by Mark Manson, it is a highly recommended read and it made me pause for reflection. In cutting back, I started to reduce my notifications and it made me rethink the Apple Watch Activity notifications.

    Although motivational, they are also super annoying. Right now I am recovering from injury and I must not exercise as much, but the Apple Watch just doesn’t care.

    So I’ve quit the notifications, just leaving on Special Challenges. Today was day 2 and it’s been great.

    I’m not sure if I’ll turn it back on after I’ve recovered from my injury as I exercise enough and I’m happy to just complete my rings naturally.

    Also Apple needs to add an “I’m injured/sick/resting” mode.

    SwiftUI - Using SF Symbols

    SF Symbols are a great little bonus when developing apps. It is a whole suite of iconography that can be used throughout a design. This guide explains how to use them in SwiftUI.


    SwiftUI - Adding Images

    In this guide, I will show you how to add images to a SwiftUI app. Look for a nice image before you start. 😊


    SwiftUI - Adding Gradient Colour

    SwifUI makes it super easy to add gradient colour effects to your app design. This guide will show you the basics to get started and provide some inspiration for your own designs.


    SwiftUI - Adding Colour

    In this guide, I will be explaining how to add colour to the SwiftUI app. It is very simple and I show a couple of tricks to make things easier.


    SwiftUI - Alternative methods to add and modify Text and Stacks

    In the follow up to my last post, this guide will show how to use the object library in Xcode to place Text and Stacks directly into the design preview of an app. Yes, this means knowing less code. It is a close to drag and drop coding you can get and it works rather well.

    The guide also introduces the attributes inspector to modify objects in the design, say for instance what font style the Text has. Again less coding required. 😁


    SwiftUI - Basic VStack|HStack|ZStack

    If you are interested in trying some simple SwiftUI, this video will show you how to use VStacks, HStacks and ZStacks to align Text.


    Designing Apps in Keynote

    I have created 2 videos to show how to use Keynote for App design. The first video explains how to download and install the Keynote templates and the SF-Symbols app via Apple's Developer Portal. The second video details how to use the template and app with Keynote to design your own app. It is a little tricky but the end results can look just like a real app.

    Part 1:


    Part 2:


    Unread 2 for RSS

    Article List View | Article View | Article Options

    I have been using Unread 2 for a couple of weeks as my RSS reader and it has become my favourite RSS reader.

    Unread is beautifully designed. It looks great and it is a joy to use. One handed on my iPhone XS Max everything is reachable. I can swipe back and forward all day.

    Unread's article list view cleverly adapts the summary text to provide one or two full sentences, depending on the length. It's a simple feature but makes a huge difference when deciding on reading the whole article or not.

    Unread provides a variety of themes and app icons. I really like dark themes with a tint of colour like dark greys or a good blue. Think the blue "dim" dark mode on the iOS twitter app. I am using the Panic theme in Unread and it looks great.

    As a bonus, I have figured how to use Unread as a "read it later" app too. By installing the Feedly app (which is the RSS service I use) I can save articles to the "Read Later" board via the iOS share sheet, this then syncs to the "Saved" area in Unread.

    Unread is a great app and though it took me a while to commit to the subscription (AU$29 per year) I am very happy with my purchase. If you use RSS daily, I could not recommend it more. There is a 50 article free trial, which does give a good feel for the app except its great background syncing

    Unexpected side effect of the Magic Keyboard

    It has only been 2 days since I received a Magic Keyboard for my iPad Pro and it has already changed how I am using my device, one unexpectedly.

    The obvious improvements are nicer typing with real keys and having a backlight. I am also enjoying more flexibility in getting the screen angle just right, unlike my Smart Cover keyboard which I only had 2 positions. I am also typing this on my lap and it feels great, albeit a little narrow, but this ain't no 16" laptop!

    The unexpected improvement is that I now feel more like grabbing my iPad and using it with no case at all. By "limiting" the Magic Keyboard so that the cover does flip around to the back, I now just pull the iPad off the magnetic "stand" and it feels great. This morning I sat in bed and did my morning reading with my iPad rather than my phone and it felt really nice. I never did this before as the Smart Cover was just too bulky, the device did not tell me to use them separately. Isn't it funny how the design of the device talks to how it should be used.

    The only negative I have so far is third party app support for the trackpad, the worst offender currently is Microsoft Word. The toolbar is not reliable in detecting the click, if I have a selection of text it works but otherwise I have to tap with my finger - super weird. As apps update, which I am sure they will, it will be great. Right now I find that I either forget I have a trackpad (unlearn what you have learned) or apps don't respond correctly - so I use my finger, which is a great way to use an iPad 😁

    Petzl Swift RL Head Torch

    Recently I picked up a new head torch to help with the dark early morning runs. Some paths that I use have no lighting and can be dangerous, like this week when I avoided a 30cm dugite. I had been using a Petzl head torch for about 6 years and had been very happy with it but it was not holding a charge and was pretty dirty, so I picked up the equivalent model as a bit of a treat.

    It is super bright, with its maximum 900 lumen led and auto adjust brightness based on ambient light. I find that I use the lowest setting mostly and sometimes the middle one. I could imagine if I was trail running the high setting would be very helpful.

    It is very easy to use, there is one button that rotates through low, medium, high and off. You can switch between auto adjusted to fixed brightness by holding the same button down for a few seconds. I like auto adjust because it means that if a car is coming the other way, I know I'm not affecting the driver.

    The battery is great, especially on the low setting.

    It is really comfortable to wear, which is important when heading out for hour long runs.

    The Swift RL is highly recommended.

    Come Back Marathon on Hold

    As with the many things in life at the moment, I received news that the Bunbury Marathon had been cancelled for 2020. At first I felt like I would finish my training, run the 42km on the same day and be happy with completing my recovery. After sleeping on it, I realised that I really wanted my come back to happen at an event, I wanted my family to cheer me on and hold up the medal to signify my recovery was complete.

    So my plan now is to focus on some strength training over the coming weeks and follow Hal Higdon's Base Training programme. That will lead pretty perfectly into training for the Perth Marathon, which will be held on the 26th of September. I am hopeful that this is far enough away that the event will go ahead.

    It's funny that I thought this would bother me more than it has, but there really is more important things in life. I have recovered amazingly well from my back surgery and I don't need a marathon to prove it, but it will be the icing on the cake.

    Apple Mail markup is so good

    iOS 13.3.1 solved all of the bugs I was experiencing with Apple Mail and I am most happy about this because I love using the markup features.

    It’s easy to markup an inserted image. Just tap the image and tap the Markup option.

    You then have access to all of the drawing tools.

    There is also a feature to markup a PDF file or image received in an email and then send the the markup changes as a reply or add to a new email.

    When opening a PDF file or image received in an email, use the markup icon to begin the process.

    Make the changes and then choose the done button. Mail will then ask to attach the markup document in a reply or a new email.

    This is great.

    To access all of Mails tools choose the arrow above the keyboard.

    The tool bar will open.

    From here it’s easy to change the font, insert a photo, take a photo, insert a document from Files, scan and insert a document and finally write a note.

    All these features are available on the Mac too so it’s great jumping between the two.

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