Wiser Web Wednesday

Wiser Web Wednesday – a semi-regular link to posts of interest from around the web, by those far wiser than myself:


Daily Coffee News
As suggested in this post, coffee batch brewing has evolved in many areas with the possible exception of reinventing the actual brewing process itself. Whether or not it needs reinventing is perhaps another matter, however the Ground Control brewer by Voga Coffee is aiming to do precisely that.

Every time you eliminate all the water from the grounds, you establish a new solid-liquid phase partition equilibrium. In advanced chemistry labs, this technique is used to enhance extraction efficiency. This addition of new, fresh solvent to dried grounds essentially ‘re-starts’ the extraction, putting you at the beginning of the extraction curve. You can get at all the flavor you left behind in the prior brew cycles, but also remove all the brewed coffee from the grounds before it ever gets to the point of the extraction curve where bitter tannins are significantly pulled out.

An interesting approach, and as always, the proof will in the cup:
Voga Coffee Readies Ground Control, a Reinvention of Commercial Batch Brewing

Also from Daily Coffee News

This new release grinder from Baratza only needs to work as well as their reputation and grinders which precede it to be a hit.

To this point, conical burr grinders have always functioned with a stationary outer ring burr and a rotating conical inner burr. The Etzinger Mechanism works oppositely. The inner burr is stationary, and the ring burr spins around it, driven by a proprietary direct gear-drive system Baratza has licensed from another Swiss company and tested for strength and durability

A beautiful looking machine indeed:
Baratza Reveals the Sette: One Rotating Ring to Rule Them All


Nick Cho on Medium
There are certainly more and more coffee brewers around these days, with another version appearing (it seems) every other day, be it on Kickstarter or by direct production.

Problem is, when the next new machine comes out, your machine has now been made obsolete because your new machine was good at being new, not good at making coffee.

A sobering thought for the new next big thing:
On designing new coffee equipment


Jim Seven
James Hoffmann with some high level analysis and comment on dark versus light roasting, and the overall philosophies that have developed relating to same in this current “wave”.

My point is that we are scathing to anyone who lets a roast run a little too deep, while utterly forgiving of those who make the opposite mistake. I would like that to change. I believe they are both equal mistakes, both impact the enjoyment of the end cup (though I would argue light roasting is perhaps worse as it seems to discourage consumption more. Also a painful truth: dairy and sugar do little to make a grassy, sour cup of coffee palatable…)

True enough. Even if you enjoy variety and consider all roasts are equal, there are many who consider some are more “equal” than others — a fact likely to be explained for the most part by footnote two in the post:
Lightness and Darkness in Roasting


The Gentleman Stationer
I’d say the following is pretty accurate in the eyes of many who are familiar with both brands of notebooks:

I always think of the Leuchtturm 1917 notebook as the fountain-pen friendly option for those who like the Moleskine aesthetic but hate Moleskine paper.

Leuchtturm is certainly a good place to start when looking for a notebook to handle a far greater variety of inks if you are currently a Moleskine user — assuming you need it to of course. Its only when the search continues you find even more options out there, such as Rhodia and Quo Vadis which Joe mentions in the post — or even this Monokaki Notebook for example.

Wherever you end up, and with so many great colours available, the Leuchtturm 1917 is well worth a run if you haven’t tried one already. A reliable source (me — in store on Monday) tells me you can pick one up for AU$31.99 from your local Dymocks, or the slim version for AU$24.99:
Leuchtturm 1917 A5 Notebook: The Fountain-Pen Friendly Basic Black Notebook

Now is also a good time to remind you Joe’s Newsletter, the Digital Divide is going from strength to strength. The current edition discusses that age-old conundrum of multitasking, in the context of Cal Newport’s theories on “deep work”. Or as I like to call it: focus.

Joe also shares his thoughts on how his analogue tools fit into the mix.


The Fountain Pen Quest
A pen I am certainly unlikely to ever be pulling out and using, though I agree with Ray: what a beauty.

Look at it! It’s said that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Well, the Regency Stripe is beautiful in my eyes. While I wouldn’t normally go for something so shiny, this was conservative bling.

Just enough of the shiny, which is held in check by the contrasting black. Perfectly balanced. Love it! A fantastic review by Ray as always:
Review: Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe


The Well Appointed Desk
I’m always interested in “sketchbooks” from the perspective of trying them as notebooks, given I’m certainly no “sketcher”. In this post Ana also explains the origins of the 140 gsm “cartridge paper” which I was unaware of before now.

Viewed from the reverse of the writing sample, the only show through was the Pilot Envelope pen and a bit of the panda drawing…

Sounds like an extensive and varied testing process to me:
Review: Seawhite of Brighton A5 Starter Sketchbook


Matt Gemmell
As I’d expect, there are more eloquent turns of phrase here than pretty much anything else you’ll read on productivity and in particular — task management systems.

And I most definitely think that if you’re using something with a load of bells and whistles that you never touch, it’s a red flag. There’s a cognitive load there, and I bet it’s a bit ego-depleting too. Like you’re playing at being an adult, and hoping no-one notices. I like simple things that I can use elementally and idiosyncratically.

Although I’ve switched over from OmniFocus to 2Do fairly recently, part of that process also involved asking myself whether or not I just needed a list rather than a task management system. I went with 2Do and it’s working well for me.

A compelling argument here though for changing your philosophy and approach — if this resonates with your thinking:
Power Unused

In addition, Matt has just re-released his 5000 word e-book: Writing in Markdown, which is well worth checking out if you already do, or are perhaps considering that format for your writing.


Lauren Gemmell
For peak technology awareness and analysis, you needn’t go past the Gemmell household. Here Lauren Gemmell comments on a recent episode of television’s The Good Wife, shown here in Australia on Channel 10.

We all like to think of technology being clean and separate from these human concerns, however the problem with technology is humans.

The piece also mentions diversity in technology, something very relevant to us all.

The episode makes a very clear dig at the lack of diversity in technology and how it influences the products that are built and the knock-on consequences in the real world. It is easy to forget but so important for everyone in technology to keep in mind.

The topic of diversity is also making a frequent appearance in my listening and readings around the coffee industry. That’s two out of the three broad topics I generally link to each week, and is no less important in the third.

This point is also not lost on me in looking through the origins and authors of many of today’s — and previous Wiser Web Wednesday posts:
Data Scientists: if you watch one thing this week make it this


If you have a spare $1000 to put down on a Tesla Model 3 electric car, before you do, perhaps check out this comparison by Anthony Agius with the good old Toyota Corolla.

For $60,000 that’s really the domain of a Mercedes A250, BMW 318i, Lexus IS200 or countless other entry level prestige cars I’d normally not give a rats arse about because I can’t justify the extra cost over a more conventional Toyota, Mazda, Kia or Hyundai. But a Tesla, man, I could treat myself and go against every cheapskate bone in my body.

Always an entertaining read, however also a pretty definitive and in-depth look at the potential running costs and possible savings made by owning one of these (eventually) — also, it might run longer between charges than your iPhone:
A Close Look at Tesla’s Model 3 Potential Cost in Australia


Jason Snell writing for Macworld, in the context of Apple’s recent 40th birthday. Count me in as one of the late adopters, entering the ecosystem through an iPod and soon after, an iPhone 3Gs.

The Mac was so groundbreaking that it deserves a lot of credit, but the iPhone is a product that has transformed Apple. There are many, many people who never used an Apple product before they bought an iPhone

The above quote carries similar sentiment about the Mac to many who have been Apple users far longer than that:
My life as an Apple guy


Analog Senses
In contrast to the above, comments were made by Apple at the recent product event last month, stating the 600 million PC’s over 5 years old currently still in use was “sad”.

Writing on his blog at Analog Senses, Álvaro Serrano takes that sentiment to task, mostly likely using either his 2008 or 2010 Mac — as mentioned in the post.

Yes we all like new and shiny stuff, but replacing a perfectly working computer just for the sake of owning the latest is a luxury at best, and irresponsible at worst. In any case, there’s absolutely nothing sad about owning your machines long-term, until they reach the end of their useful life.

Certainly food for thought:
Morning Coffee


Fraser Speirs
In putting down my thoughts on making the decision to go with an iPad Air 2 recently, I made a point about the relative merits of the “Pro” accessories, and how they fit (or not) into the overall purchasing decision.

Teaching with, and responsible for the deployment of iPads on a 1:1 basis for a school in Scotland, Fraser Speirs makes a great point about such a decision at scale:

My problem is that, processor performance aside, many of the Pro features just aren’t that important to us. The Pencil support is the biggest one but, if that’s all that really leads us to the Pro, the effective price of getting access to, say 20 Pencils is 20x£79 for the Pencils themselves plus 120x£70 to buy into owning the iPad Pro that supports them. Is access to 20 Apple Pencils in the school really worth nearly £10,000?

Whether its 120 or one — it depends on that all important budget:
Deployment Diary: iPad Pro or iPad Air 2?

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