From my Reading List

Though Wiser Web Wednesday is now retired, from time to time I thought I’d share some things I find of interest. After using quite a few third-party read-later services over the past couple of years, I must admit to embracing and enjoying the ubiquity and simplicity of Safari’s Reading List feature.


Five Senses
One aspect of home espresso brewing which cannot be emphasised enough is even grind distribution within the filter basket prior to tamping. While there are commercial products available of considerable merit to assist with this endeavour, the team at Five Senses demonstrate how it can also be done effectively without costing a cent:
Level Up – Even Espresso Distribution


Where is Scott Rao?
The terms “espresso roast” or “filter roast” are often displayed on retail coffee bags, as well as referred to in discussions about roast levels for different forms of brewing. Scott Rao weighs in with perhaps a more pertinent question and a slightly different way of thinking:

To me, the difference in roasting for black vs. white coffee is significant; the difference in roasting for filter vs. espresso is modest. That delicate, lightly roasted Yirgacheffe that tastes sublime as a straight espresso may drown in a cappuccino.

Roasting for Espresso vs. Filter


The RescueTime Blog
Belle Beth Cooper writes one of my favourite personal blogs, in which you will find some impressive analogue-based organisation outlined in regular updates.

Writing here on The RescueTime Blog, some handy pointers in relation to taking effective notes.

For starters, don’t use a laptop to take notes, no matter where you are

How to take more effective notes


The Pelikan’s Perch
I’ve written previously about the cheery Pelikano in my collection, and remember being impressed by the nib performance at the particular price point.

Some news from Joshua at The Pelikan’s Perch of an update for the line, now to include the Pelikano “Up”:

Gone is the plastic of the current P480 and, in its place, the Up will feature an aluminum cap and body along with a metal clip.

Reading the post, it certainly does nothing to dampen my enthusiasm for this particular low-cost line of Pelikans:
News: The Pelikano Up


Alt. Haven
Junee lists some pens sporting stainless steel nibs which are worthy of any collection. I’ve considered the relative merits of stainless steel and gold nibs in a previous post myself, and maintain the same opinion today as I held back then. That is, with many great steel nibs around, I’d consider gold provides a different writing experience, though not necessarily a better one on all counts.

I’d also add my Faber Castell Ambition and Kaweco Ice Sport to Junee’s list:
Stainless steel nibs for everyone


In looking at various clipboard managers on both iOS and macOS, I’m yet to nail down a preferred option. Gathering links such as those on this page are often a decent test as far as utility and output options are concerned, with iOS based reading a big part of sourcing those links. That being the case, Copied seems fairly compelling, and syncs across to my Mac:
iPad Diaries: Clipboard Management with Copied and Workflow


The Sweet Setup
As I’ve mentioned above though, utilising Safari’s Reading List for saving articles also finds me capturing and editing these links whilst on my Mac, bringing Alfred’s clipboard manager into play.

Perhaps in the end I’ll use a little of both:
How to use Alfred as a clipboard manager


Append Clipboard with Alfred for Mac


Whilst I acknowledge I am being a little facetious — okay, perhaps more than a little in pointing this out, I do find it amusing in this post PC world, iPad users have pushed the cutting edge far enough to finally be able to capture notes by handwriting them:
iPad Diaries: Apple Pencil, Notability, and the Joy of Note-Taking


Matt Gemmell
No need to say it. Yes, I get the additional power these apps on the iPad provide, yet it does nothing to stifle the chuckle as I read them:
Using the iPad for: Taking notes and planning

Where is Wiser Web Wednesday?

After a little deliberation over the past month or two, I’ve decided to hit the pause button on the Wiser Web Wednesday posts at the current time.

The past couple of months have seen more than a few Wednesdays missed – far from the end of the world of course. Also a predictable scenario, and the very reason the little blurb at the beginning of the posts describes each as a “semi-regular link to posts of interest from around the web…” — tailor-made for those who may slacken off a little with posting. Nothing like planning ahead!

I’ve always maintained (and indeed commented to others) that no apology should be necessary when personal blogging schedules change for whatever reason, and continue to believe in that philosophy.

Think of this as more an update, and a wholehearted thank you to regular readers who found the occasional link useful or interesting, and of course to those who provided feedback or comment.

The reason for the change is probably as you’d expect — the time taken in putting things together, notwithstanding the handy iOS action extension sending content from the web straight into Ulysses with titles, links and text. There is obviously a little tidying up and additional comment to be added before publishing.

Easy enough, however the little things add up — whether it’s a few minutes spent checking social media (doing less of this); the few dollars per month on subscriptions (auditing and prioritising those), or your daily coffee (still doing this equally as much – no surprises there!). In any event, while relevant, this is not a post about priorities or time management per se.

So, after deleting the half-dozen Sunday through Wednesday reminder points from TaskPaper, perhaps I’ll just sit and work on something a little longer on those days, happy enough the looming Wednesday morning deadline is no more. Of course I do plan on continuing the somewhat irregular, yet ongoing stream of regular posts as always.

In finishing up, thanks for reading — I do appreciate your support.

Wiser Web Wednesday

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


The Finer Point
A couple of popular A5 notebooks within the fountain pen-friendly sphere. Of the two, I prefer the Rhodia paper slightly — finding a little too much nib glide with the Clairefontaine stock.

Of course this is personal preference, and either of these will suit a fountain pen user well:
Notebook Comparison: Rhodia versus Clairefontaine A5 Notebooks


JetPens Blog
A nice round-up of a selection of fountain pens manufactured by Pilot in Japan. Perhaps not news for the long time pen-obsessives, though a good background for the developing pen enthusiast:
Luxury Japanese Fountain Pens


The Pen Habit
Coincidentally, I recently received a letter from a friend written with the illustrious broad nib of a Gaston’s Exclusive. Written in Iroshizuku Asa Gao on Tomoe River paper, it came up a treat.

They are super-smooth and deliriously juicy. If you have an ink where you want to highlight its sheening capabilities, then this is the nib for you. It is a marker of a pen, but with a whole lot less feedback

And yes, even just looking at the cursive writing on the page, I reckon I can confidently confirm the above.

Read more about it here:
Bexley Gaston’s Exclusive Review


The Pelikan’s Perch
Joshua at The Pelikan’s Perch with a look at the effects of the recent Brexit decision on Pelikan prices.

While exact figures are not yet clear, it is anticipated that Pelikan’s products will see a 10% increase in the UK starting in November

As always I guess it pays to shop around online:
News: Brexit’s Impact on UK Pelikan Pricing


With the Platinum Preppy such a great pen, a natural next step might be the Plaisir, which is great value at around AU$30.00. Some great colours available as well.

the medium has a very large sweet spot. It can be rotated and held upright or even at a low angle and will still write well. As a gift to a newbie, the fine is worth considering as it produces a line more comparable in width to the familiar rollerball or gel pen.

A great review which is perhaps just in time for Christmas?
Review: Platinum Plaisir Fountain Pen


While I don’t use a ton of workflows in the Workflow app, they can be handy at times.

I’d also recommend listening to a series of episodes on the Canvas podcast taking you through the basics of setting up the up the app and creating your own workflows:
Workflow 1.6 Brings Revamped Gallery, Better Tools to Share and Import Workflows


As a dedicated listener to a podcast put together by two of the founders of this cafe, I chipped in a very small amount to the Kickstarter campaign referred to in the post.

Although I hear regular updates on how things are proceeding on the podcast, its nice to read an overview of the business itself, and the philosophy taken by the owners towards their staff in terms of entitlements and development.

Oh and they serve great coffee too:
Inside Cat & Cloud’s Santa Cruz Dream Cafe


BBC News
The SIAM Journal of Applied Mathematics (full article PDF Link) is not the usual place I turn to for coffee news.

Although the principles of grind size/distribution, and the shape of the filter vessel and coffee bed are often discussed in coffee writing, I think this may be the first time the principles have been looked at from a mathematical modelling standpoint.

If formulas for finding “the constants of integration remaining in the outer solution by using modified Van Dyke matching” is your thing — then I’d suggest clicking through to the full PDF article I’ve linked to above.

Otherwise, try this somewhat lighter summary:
Maths zeroes in on perfect cup of coffee

Wiser Web Wednesday

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


Though I don’t normally lean towards themes as far as my pens and inks are concerned, what’s not to love about a coffee imbued collection.

A nice roundup, though not sure I’d go as far as a scented ink:
Fountain pens and coffee, a delectable duo


Macchiato Man
Yagan Kiely reviews a couple of the excellent inks available in the Bookbinders Snake Ink collection.

Eastern Brown has become a favourite of mine, and I’d agree the Emerald Boa is fairly dry, although thoroughly enjoyable to use as well.

Some great images and comparisons included in the post:
Double Ink Review: Bookbinders Emerald Boa and Eastern Brown


Gourmet Pens
I’ve always had a soft spot for Montblanc’s Meisterstück range, being where my fountain pen journey began almost 20 years ago. I still have the standard black and gold Classique in my collection today.

Fast forward to today, and I’m quite drawn to the matte finish of the Ultra Black series.

I’ll admit though, my budget priorities are not likely to see me make another Montblanc purchase any time soon. As Azizah points out in the post, the Montblanc price tag is likely to be a barrier to many, along with perhaps the size of this particular model.

Nice pen though, and well reviewed as always:
Review: Montblanc Meisterstück Classique Ultra Black Fountain Pen


Brewing Coffee Manually
Making a tea-like brew from the dried skin and pulp of the coffee cherry is becoming more common these days.

While not to my taste, I did make a batch with the pulp after the natural coffee processing experiment I wrote about earlier this year, and it was, I must admit, a better brew than I’d expected.

If you do enjoy fruit infused beverages, this might be for you, and is at least worth trying if you come across it.

Advice on both hot and cold brewing methods for your enjoyment (or experimentation):
What is Cascara? – Exploring Coffee Cherry Tea


Perfect Daily Grind
Coffee made at the push of a button (or two perhaps), and reordered when you’re running low in the same way.

Who’d have thought actually sitting and scrolling through some green coffee listings would make me a dinosaur so soon. Convenient yes, but I know what I’d rather do.

Each to their own of course:
Specialty Success — AMAZON DASH Partners With 3rd Wave Coffee Maker


Roaster Joe
Although a humble home roaster like myself isn’t likely to delve as deeply into the science of moisture and density effects in relation to the process itself, I’m no less interested in reading about it.

…measuring moisture and using that measurement has created a correlation of information to results that is not truly a causation

A cautionary word on ensuring we don’t go overboard on any single variable without considering other factors or the bigger picture:
Coffee Roasting: Measuring What Matters


Apartment Vimeo Channel
I’ve often mentioned in correspondence to friends and even some posts you’ll read on these pages, of many words being written while sitting on a stool at my favourite cafe.

This short, 90 second video provides a glimpse inside what has become a second home during my workweek. You’ll also see I generously loaned owner Oliver Strauss my seat for the purposes of the video:
Apartment X Oliver Strauss


My Cuppa
I recently wrote a piece outlining my home espresso setup — part of which touched on the grinder I use.

This is a great article looking more closely at some key points on optimising your own grinding experience, namely:

  • the ideal grind will change day-to-day and even over the course of the day
  • purging the grinder is critical after periods of non-use or after a change in setting
  • you get what you pay for

Well worth reading the full article:
How to get the best coffee from your grinder

Wiser Web Wednesday

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


To be entirely honest, I’m a very infrequent pencil user, however this new release from Baron Fig deserves a mention here.

The Archer pencil seems both a fine counterbalance to the Squire pen, and complements the company’s paper products well.

Andy Welfle is certainly more than qualified to provide some thoughts on the release, and does so with aplomb here:
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune: a review of the Baron Fig Archer pencil

As mentioned in the post, The Archer pencil, along with its founders, also makes an appearance on episode 62 of The Erasable Podcast.


Ed Jelley
Ed Jelley reviews what is an interesting looking pen, and I’m certainly not averse to a decent ballpoint.

This one looks to have a sleek, vintage style to it, and the expectation is it will show a little wear and “age” well.

I like it:
Ystudio Brassing Ballpoint Pen Review


The Gentleman Stationer
Another good-looking pen, this time of the fountain variety. I’m always a sucker for black, and a matte finish simply adds to the attraction.

Looks are one thing, however as always the proof is in the nib, and Joe’s review leads me to believe things are covered on that front:
Pen Review: Diplomat Aero


The Clicky Post
Mike Dudek with another fantastic addition to the Dudek Modern Goods stable of stylish pen organisers.

With seven pen slots and an A5 journal, The Stationer is definitely one to check out:
Announcing The Stationer from Dudek Modern Goods


Fountain Pen Day
Despite my obvious interest in fountain pens, I’ve never been great at promoting the first Friday in November on this blog.

Perhaps I should refer you to the experts. Which on this occasion, I will:


Joe Buhlig
Joe Buhlig with some praise for pen and paper in terms of planning and tackling your day.

There’s something motivating and more permanent involved in pen and paper. I can’t drag-and-drop a commitment to a different time of day when I used pen

Indeed, that’s one way of staying on track:
The Day On Paper


Jean-Marc Denis
If you have a specific need for some black Mac or iPhone wallpapers, there are some beauties here. I use them as my desk is in a rather unique location which has the uncanny ability of throwing my monitor’s light into a number of bedrooms all at once.

So in the pre-dawn hours when I usually write, these free wallpapers are a beautiful way to avoid searing light in my still-waking eyes, and potentially stirring the other members of the household simply by waking my Mac.

In high-resolution and rendered using Cinema 4D, they look pretty good too:


I guess just because you can, doesn’t mean you should — though you can say that about blogging, and look what I do here from time to time.

With his last story as a regular contributor to Macstories, fellow Aussie Graham Spencer with a detailed look at designing and launching your own sticker pack on the iOS App Store.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Graham’s writing on the site for a few years now, and this feature is no different:
Link MacStories Guide: Design and Launch Your Own iMessage Sticker Pack on the App Store


Coffee & Tech In San Francisco: A Barista’s POV
A peek into the world of a barista working inside the tech companies in San Francisco.

Financial security and schedule stability are big advantages, but you’re not always able to innovate or grow as a barista

From my own perspective, one of the things I enjoy about grabbing coffee during the work day is the chance to leave the office for a few minutes and see the outside world (not always an option for us all I know).

If I had free or subsidised coffee available inside the office? Part of me thinks I’d still venture out anyway:


Where is Scott Rao?
Food for thought in relation to the various brewing techniques you may be using.

Probably the most important benefit of prewetting is that it provides extra time for the brewing liquid to begin this diffusion process before the pouring phase removes (much) extract from the coffee bed

A particularly relevant article for immersion brewing devices such as the AeroPress. Knowledge is power — or at least improved extraction:
Prewetting: When to do it, when not to