Article: Interview with Lee Peterson

by on January 30, 2024

Years ago, I conducted a few interviews on this site and really enjoyed the process. With this site celebrating 25 years, I thought it would be nice to get back into that habit, showcasing some interesting voices on the tech web. I had the opportunity last week to chat with Lee Peterson, whose work has appeared in a few different publications, as well as his own blog, LJPUK.NET.

Eric Schwarz: As sort of a background for folks who may not be familiar with your site, who are you, what do you do, and what’s your site about?

Lee Peterson: Hi, well my name is Lee Peterson and I am based in the UK – hence my site name. Initials plus where I am from, I have had this for ages and seems to have stuck. By day I work in the software industry and outside of that I am freelance writing and working on creating projects like my blog. My site is about anything I am passionate about, I decided a while ago not to worry about a niche and write what I enjoy to think about. This means you’ll see anything from my thoughts on Apple and apps all the way to Star Wars!

Eric: You have provided content for numerous other Apple-related publications, correct?

Lee: Yes, I started off contributing to a UK based publication called Tap! This was my first published article that I could go and see in the store. This really got me interested in contributing to other publications. I have since contributed to Cult of Mac, The Loop Magazine and Tech Radar but most of my writing appears on my blog.

Eric: While writing online is nothing new for you, it seems that you’ve been trying to figure out a “voice” for your blog, or at least a focus. Can you share a little about that process?

Lee: I’ve been blogging since 2008 in various guises and had blogs with different focuses. When I started I had a site that just did guitar-related stuff. As I got older I decided to focus on whatever I was passionate about. I have a lot of interests and just wanted to own my own personal space to talk about it. My writing isn’t that planned if I am honest, an idea comes to me and I write about. I need something quick so I settled on WordPress that lets me post from my iPhone or iPad or Mac whenever I need to. This seems to have settled down now to tech, Apple, apps, productivity and Star Wars!

Eric: With this series, I’m hoping to highlight some of the lesser-known tech sites and the people that run them. You’ve been blogging for awhile—do you still think it’s something anyone can or should get into?

Lee: I feel strongly that if you are passionate about something and want to share your thoughts it should be on your own site and not social media. Look at what happened with Twitter, I decided a while ago to post mainly on my blog and then use social media to reply to comments about my posts and keep in touch with people that I have grown to know over the years. I might be biased given I use WordPress and it’s pretty straightforward but I do feel that anyone a get into it without relying on social media.

Eric: Speaking of Twitter, over the last year, we’ve sort of seen an implosion of social media—joining Mastodon indirectly led me to your site, but how has the shift away from Twitter and maybe figuring out what services to prioritize been for you?

Lee: As soon as Elon [Musk] took over I deleted my account, I had built up a good audience but I have morals and feel strongly that I wanted to follow them. I had already started to use Mastodon and to be honest I am enjoying being on there more than I did Twitter. I see my timeline and nothing else, I love that it’s not I’m not at the mercy of an algorithm.

Eric: Speaking of social media, It seems that all the talk has been about Vision Pro this week and last. Are you interested in it? Is there any tech in particular that really fascinates you right now?

Lee: Having used just PSVR [PlayStation VR] so far I am curious about it but don’t see it being mainstream. I feel that it’ll always be a niche market and until the tech shrinks significantly we are going to be wrestling with the comfort of using one for any longer periods. I doubt I’ll pick one up when it comes out in the UK but will be curious to try it. In terms of tech that fascinates me then it’s the Steam Deck and advances in portable gaming. Video games are my comfort food and I play them a lot, the new wave of mobile gaming fascinates me. I am a portable gamer since the days of the SEGA Game Gear and always had a preference for something I could take with me. Having access to the Steam library, Xbox Cloud Gaming and then a Linux OS that I can plug into a big screen setup and use as a PC is very interesting and something I hope we see continue to get better.

Eric: I’ve appreciated that you’ve been very honest about switching between devices—I think we all have had those moments when companies just don’t make the perfect product we want. As someone who also had a soft spot for the little iPhones (original SE and 12 mini), I can sort of relate—I jumped to a regular 15 this year, but sort of forced myself to adapt. Has your indecision between the iPhone 13 mini and 15 Pro been settled or will you be switching phones again soon?

Lee: I have settled on the iPhone 15 Pro, it took me a while to decide though as you know. I have now sold the iPhone 13 Mini just to stop myself from switching. My main concerns are around RSI and typing all day in my day job I wanted to keep something small and light. The issue I have though as I have gotten older is I need larger fonts and the Mini just doesn’t cut it for that so I have had to adapt. Having recently switched though to an iPad Pro for my main computing device I am using my iPhone less at home, which I think helps.

Eric: What would your dream iPhone include?

Lee: My two favourite iPhone models are the iPhone 5c and jet black iPhone 7. My dream iPhone would be iPhone X sized, so 5.8”. The front would have Face ID as it does today and the Dynamic Island. The back would be unapologetically plastic in fun colours, just like that 5c. I would give up wireless charging for this, but let’s be real it’ll never happen. That would be my dream phone. I like to use a phone without a case and the newest designs just aren’t that comfortable to use so I end up having to use one. Both the iPhone 5c and 7 in that jet black were phones I used without a case and didn’t even give getting one a second thought.

Eric: As you mentioned, you’re diving back into the world of iPads. Is there a chance that will take the spot of your Mac entirely or is this still a bit of an experiment?

Lee: It has already taken the spot of my MacBook Air M1. I picked up a used M2 iPad Pro 11” and for my uses it’s been great. The only thing I am still struggling with is stage manager when I dock to my work setup that includes a 27” monitor and mouse and keyboard. There are many bugs but I hope they are working through these at Apple (i.e. some of their employees use this day in day out and know what the issues are). I use an iPad to help with my RSI, giving me different setups and the flexibility to work with say the Apple Pencil on its own and write across the whole interface, this works surprisingly well.

Eric: I feel like the iPad has always been the device that is a sure-bet for controversial takes by any tech writer—some people want it to replace their Macs, some want to pick apart what it can’t do. How has it been for you?

Lee: When I picked up that original iPad I thought it felt like the future, I still do. I tried to get it to replace all of my workloads up until a few years ago. At that point the only iPad I had was the newest Mini and I loved it. It helped me get back to the essentials and use it as an iPad, not force workloads it couldn’t do for me. Nowadays I use the iPad because it’s different from the Mac. I enjoy the more laid back experience and flexibility and I prefer using iOS and iPadOS apps than Mac ones. I use apps and very little power apps, the most I go is Logic Pro and that works well on iPad along with my guitar interface that I use. The only place it’ll let me down is if I podcast with others and need to record my local audio, hoping Apple are working on that one as it’s been an issue for years.

Eric: Switching gears a bit, I noticed your post about trying to use only one streaming service at a time. As someone who is fascinated by the media landscape, I’ve been watching with interest (and sometimes frustration) as prices have increased, the “art” aspect has sometimes taken a back seat in favor of “safe” hits, and there’s a lot of uncertainty about the future of some of the services. Have you thought about that at all? Is there a point where the price hikes start driving people away from services? Is it sustainable?

Lee: I am seeing people dropping Netflix in particular, for me I just subscribe to those that interest me. I am a massive Star Wars fan and when there is a new series on Disney+, I’ll subscribe. I am not worried about the content that Disney put out on this but would like them to slow down a little and maybe give us one series a year rather than feeling the need to push out as many as possible to keep gaining subscribers. What I am not a fan of is the recent addition of paying but still getting ads, this seems like a price gouge and a way to get people to up more cash and move to a new ad free tier. I think most people will take the ads though to be honest based on what I see. I don’t see the price increases changing for a while, until they see a big drop off, I’m really curious to see which services end up with the biggest user base.

Eric: Is there anything else you’d like to share, shamelessly plug, or want readers to know?

Lee: I will shamelessly plug my blog at LJPUK.NET, this is the best place to follow along with what I am up to and remains the one project that I keep enjoying. You’ll see links off to wallpapers that I produce (this is from my photography) and is a big passion for me, it also gets me out of the house to take the actual photos themselves. Working at home gets tough over time and it’s important to have a hobby or activity that gets you outside. I’ll just end by saying thanks for the questions and opportunity to share my thoughts on your site.

Eric: Thank you for your time and sharing a little about what you do!

This post has been filed in Articles, Interviews