Wiser Web Wednesday

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

 

MbS-P-B
I’ve never really found the iOS lock screen a particularly useful aspect of the operating system — though of course acknowledge that also comes down to how I use it (or not) as much as anything.

iOS 10’s design still felt simpler to use, so I started over and instead compared the designs on how many actions one needed to take in order to accomplish common lockscreen tasks

Here Mike Bates takes a closer look and provides some context for why iOS 10 may somewhat improve how I use that lock screen:
Taking A Closer Look At iOS 10’s New Lockscreen

 

Harry Marks
The COVERED podcast remains one of my favourites, and although I’m not looking to ever start my own, there are some great tips here if I were.

It also provides some insight into why it is such a great show:
5 Interviewing Tips I Wish I’d Had When I Started Podcasting

 

MacSparky
Scrivener finally makes it onto iOS, and David Sparks gives things a test run. All of the key features seem to have made the transition, syncing to all of your devices via Dropbox.

That’s the magic of Scrivener. It not only allows you to write and organize your words for your big writing project, it also holds your research as well

I’ve owned the Mac version of Scrivener for a couple of years now and never really had cause to use it, and given the types of things I write (mostly in Ulysses), I cannot see that changing any time soon.

Knowing so many have waited for Scrivener to appear on iOS for so long, it is great to see it finally here, and appears to be just what everyone was waiting for:
Scrivener for iPad and iPhone

 

The Gentleman Stationer
Another of Joe’s Top 5 lists of particular interest to me, given I use pens other than the fountain variety each and every day.

The Hi-Tec-C Coleto, Retro 51 and Baron Fig Squire figure heavily in my own usage, though the Lamy 2000 multi pen does sound like it would fit right in:
Best Non-Fountain Pens for Everyday Use, Part II: Non-Disposable Pens

 

The Penman Post
A guest post from Kate Wai of Pandora’s Box, looking at the gorgeously orange OMAS Ogiva Alba.

I particularly enjoyed this post, and with the same model (number 147 of 327) sitting in my collection, I hope to put down a few thoughts of my own about it in a future post.
OMAS Ogiva Alba Orange Review

 

Three Staples
Coming in at number six on Jinnie’s order of awesomeness ranking of Field Notes COLORS Editions is the Grass Stain Green Edition from 2009.

Although I do not have such a Field Notes list – if I did, this edition would certainly be high on it as well. Another great post from a place that is high on my unofficial and undocumented blogs of awesomeness ranking:
Field Notes Colors: Grass Stain Green

 

Pen Economics
It would be easy to sit here reading this latest post by Jonathon, look at the pen’s price and think: not now, not ever — and leave it at that. High end pens exist for a reason though, and who am I to dampen enthusiasm, even if it is mixed with a little trepidation — rightly so for such a significant purchase.

Of course the post is not simply about a quest for an expensive pen, providing insight into the criteria used and decision making which goes along with such a purchase. In doing so, to me, it also highlights some of the joys this hobby brings — even if a large part of what I read or look at I’ll never own. The reality is — I’m more than fine with that.

To be honest, in the past I’ve always considered pens of this ilk (and cost) were generally bought by those who only had to satisfy the aesthetic criteria outlined in the post. Even then, satisfying that criteria only as far as how it might look on a fancy desk somewhere. That is, the wealthy tycoon for whom the cost is loose change and considering anyone else in the decision to purchase only goes as far as those who may come and fawn over it.

Thankfully, spending more time on this hobby over the past few years, and hearing more of the genuine enthusiasm those within it have for their “grail” type pens, my views have changed a little. It is certainly a joy to hear about these quests, particularly when they are fulfilled. It is also nice to think the pen in question will be appreciated for the fine writing instrument it is, rather than simply a conspicuous yet under utilised adornment on a desk somewhere.

So, for me, this fine pen that is the Montblanc Blue Hour Skeleton doesn’t satisfy my personal aesthetic criteria, and the columns on my balance sheet aren’t quite as wide when considering future pen purchases – the resulting answer for me does indeed become: not now, not ever.

Though for one particular pen enthusiast, it is good to know that same equation returns the answer: not quite now, but perhaps soon:
The Value of a Pen

 

Ninety Plus® Coffee
A brief reminder of why the term “shade-grown” is more than simply a fancy label slapped on some specialty coffee offerings.

Over the last two decades there have been increasing efforts to weave strong threads of agroecology and rainforest restoration in with specialty coffee farming. The results have been not only increased forest biodiversity and better coffee, but through branding practices like the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center’s Bird Friendly certification program, increased buyer loyalty.

A little explanation of a specific coffee growing approach with many positives:
Stewardship for Taste

 

Jimseven
As I was reading this piece by James Hoffmann, I increasingly began to think: does there necessarily have to be the next big thing or change in coffee? The answer is of course not, yet said in the knowledge that there will be something. After all, there always is – eventually.

There will be a point which we will cross in the not too distant future where speciality, as it is now, will be normalised.

As the author points out, normalising specialty coffee obviously results in the collective bar being raised as far as quality is concerned – an overwhelmingly positive result.

So where to from there?

Perhaps there will be a few transient and divergent paths along the way, however I guess something will eventually stick, and away we’ll go – invariably as the fourth wave I guess:
When Speciality Stops Being Special

 

The Age
Melbourne (and Australia’s) coffee scene becoming more scientific by the day:
Chief coffee scientist Monika Fekete: helping create the other perfect fuel cell

 

Perfect Daily Grind
Regular readers might remember my little hit and miss natural coffee processing experiment I recently undertook in my back yard. Things go a little deeper in this article on Perfect Daily Grind:

Ben Weiner explained to me how Gold Mountain use refractometers on their farm to measure sugar content. This helps him decide if the sugar content is high enough for natural processed or honey processed coffee

An interesting read, along with a little refresher on some processing differences for your reference:
Washed, Natural, Honey: Coffee Processing 101


Wiser Web Wednesday

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

 

Sprudge
While this method of brewing doesn’t sound overly enticing, given the content of this post, and those who swear by it, clearly there is some merit — and flavour it would appear.

After 5 minutes of brewing, stir the coffee or swirl the pot gently, and pour coffee slowly. If you would like less grit in your coffee, wait an extra 5 minutes after stirring

My advice would perhaps be to give it that extra 5 minutes:
The Lonesome Art Of Cowboy Coffee

 

Tools and Toys
A very thorough review of the Ascaso I-Mini coffee grinder by Álvaro Serrano for Tools & Toys. Noted in the review as a sub three hundred dollar machine, it is of course a little more expensive in local Aussie dollars (AU$380.00 from De Bartoli).

The i-Mini is a tremendous grinder that punches well above its weight, and once you take a long hard look at its rivals, it becomes increasingly clear what an incredible value it really is.

For my filter and Aeropress brewing, nothing beats my Baratza as far as I’m concerned. That said – it is certainly nice to read well presented and thought out reviews such as this one — usually what you find on Tools & Toys:
The Ascaso i-Mini Coffee Grinder Review

 

Five Senses Coffee
Although not all of these categories may be relevant to the choices you make when buying coffee – they are all variables which influence how the resulting brew will ultimately taste.

A great overview of what to consider when buying beans for your brew:
Coffee selection guide: How to choose the beans that are right for me?

 

Perfect Daily Grind
A look at two establishments applying age-old methods to coffee in Tokyo.

They decided that their coffee was a one-man show, that craftsmanship is more important than a line at the door.

Without a taste test I guess I cannot say how good they are for sure – I’d certainly like to give them a try though:
The Japanese Master Roasters Ignoring the Third Wave

 

Jimseven
James Hoffmann writing on the ever-increasing popularity of the Geisha variety within the coffee industry.

I’m not writing this as an attempt to claim some superiority in my preferences. I’m writing this because I’m not comfortable with the decision, that appears increasingly collective, that this is the thing we should champion

An interesting read containing some valid concerns around this disproportionately expensive varietal:
On Geisha

 

Crane Reaction
Todd Crane, formerly of That One Pen, transforms his online home — now covering a broader range of topics on a new blog.

From the man himself:

A place where a husband, father, teacher, science nerd, sports fan, music geek, tech user, pen and pencil dork, etc. tries to keep track of and understand as much as he can.

I’m looking forward to the new content, however to kick things off here — it has to be a pen post of course:

I enjoy some pens you can buy by the dozen at the grocery store and a couple of my pens come from limited batches.

Yep – a good pen can take many forms. As can a great blog. All the best with the new site Todd – it looks great so far:
A Good Pen Matters

 

The Finer Point
Whether you call them “top” lists, “favourites”, or “highly recommended” as is the case here – it is universally accepted we all have our favourites, be they for our own use; recommendations to others; or both.

Though I’m not necessarily familiar with everything on this list – I think you’d be pretty safe to count on Jenny’s recommendations:
My Highly Recommended List

 

Pens! Paper! Pencils!
Upon first seeing the images in this post, I thought: yes, that’s a striking design, yet retains a certain degree of class, only for Ian to describe it thus:

It looks like a reptile all dressed up for a night out at a 70s themed nightclub

Regardless of which more closely aligns with your own thinking, this pen would be well worth winning for your own collection. Check out the post for further details:
Twiss Green Lizard Fountain Pen Review

 

ScotchWhisky.com
To peat, or not to peat. A couple of industry figures give their (at times somewhat irreverent) views on the matter.

Balance and co-existence are probably key words to remember here:
The Debate: Peated whisky: the ultimate dram?


Wiser Web Wednesday

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

 

Light & Ink
With one method of export in text editing app Ulysses now DOCX rather than Rich Text Format, some workflows may have suffered a little. Although I don’t often export with either, this workaround might be handy for some.

One that’s new to me is Zoho Writer. I installed it after checking the features page and seeing that it did indeed have RTF export. One nice feature is that it also shows up in Ulysses’ share sheet when exporting as DOCX.

Where there’s a will there’s (usually) a way:
Patching the RTF Hole in Ulysses

 

Katie Floyd
I’ve listened to the Mac Power Users podcast for long enough to know that if one Katie Floyd is reconsidering her Evernote situation then significant changes have occurred with the app. Of course that is exactly what has occurred with recent pricing increases causing many to rethink whether Evernote still has a place in their monthly subscription outgoings:

I understand the need for subscription pricing and sustainable revenue streams for App developers. But sometimes it feels like we’re being pecked to death by ducks.

I must admit for the first time, I’m seriously looking at other options including either dropping my plan down to the plus level or canceling the service all together.

I’ve mentioned on these pages before my slow migration from Evernote to Apple Notes. This remains incomplete, largely due to my extreme apathy towards sitting down and determining if I even need a lot of what remains inside Evernote.

Interesting times ahead with so many alternate apps which may not be exact Evernote replicas, yet might do the job well enough:
Sad Elephant

 

Fountain Pen Quest
Although my entire fountain pen collection almost fits into the array of Nock Co. cases I picked up in the original Kickstarter campaign a couple of years ago — that is not to say other options do not appeal.

This offering from Visconti, the subject of Ray’s keen eye, is a nice option if requirements call for a more rigid protective case:
Review: Visconti Dreamtouch Leather 3 Pen Holder

 

Ed Jelley
Upon seeing the Schon design pen pictured around the Internet, my main concern centred around the weight — simply from a personal preference point of view.

While the form factor is great for EDC, the weight of the stainless is just a bit too much for my taste. It’s fairly noticeable when you’re carrying the pen in pocket, and even more so when using it

I’m sure there are those who love the weight, however as always — each to their own in this hobby. There are plenty of great options for everyone.

A thorough review as always from Ed:
Schon DSGN 01S Stainless Steel Pen Review

 

Alt. Haven
Although I love my fountain pens, I do enjoy using great ballpoints and rollerballs almost as much.

Having a couple of Lamy 2000 fountain pens in my collection, the multi-pen variant of the 2000 line is certainly never far from the pens I consider as “possibles” in terms of future purchases.

Junee with another great review:
Review: Lamy 2000 Multipen

 

The Pen Addict
I’m a firm believer in highlighting posts such as these, for you never know when those new to the world of fountain pens enter the neighbourhood.

Although good reference posts exist, as far as I’m concerned the more the merrier, given it only increases the likelihood new users will come across information which is highly relevant and useful to the hobby:
Zen and the Art of Fountain Pen Maintenance

 

The Gentleman Stationer
As I work my way through the many pen reviews around on the internet each week, I have often wondered both (a) how do the prolific reviewers get through all of the pens they have queued up; and (b) how on earth do those reviewers ever get to use the pens they really enjoy and are favourites?

This might be the nerdiest thing I’ve ever written, but I needed to do something.  I didn’t like the feeling that the idea of testing and using different pens was overriding the joy I should be feeling in using them in the first place

The answer is to create a system such as the one Joe mentions here. A great idea, yet one that also reminds me how thankful I am I don’t have to:
Choosing Pens for the Daily Carry

 

The Pelikan’s Perch
Generally I’m more likely to add different pens to my collection rather than different colours of the same or similar models.

However, this soon to be released offering from Pelikan certainly tempts me to add to the red and the black M205’s currently in my collection.

Brough to you of course where you find all your Pelikan news:
News: M205 Aquamarine Special Edition Demonstrator

 

Too Many Inks
If I’m remembering the system correctly, this looks like ink number 355 entering the Too Many Inks stable.

BMW Blue didn’t disappoint, thought the scan below doesn’t do it justice, this ink shades very well with the dark areas having a red highlight just like the best of the shading blues from Sailor or iroshizuku. This is one very nice blue, I look forward to using it at the office this week.

Look, I’m very pleased the BMW Blue is an impressive ink and has gone to a good home, however someone has to do the responsible thing and say it: David – please don’t ink and drive1:
Montblanc for BMW Blue

 

Crónicas Estilográficas
Now that — is an interesting nib:
East Pen Made in Tokyo

 

ScotchWhisky.com
Having been earlier this year diagnosed with Coeliac Disease, I have a new found respect for the importance of accurate and clear labelling on the products we consume.

Ivan Menezes, CEO of Diageo, said: ‘We believe people should have the best possible information to make informed choices about what they drink: this includes alcohol content and nutritional information per typical serve. Johnnie Walker is one of our largest global brands, which means these new labels will arm millions of people around the world with clear information about what’s in their glass and in a way they can understand at a glance.’

Upon looking at the labelling, the benefits of listing kJ/calories and six further zero’s for the remaining nutritional categories may be questionable, though for the reason I’ve mentioned above, I am not complaining about steps taken in labelling standards.

Besides, I don’t really think you’ll find any negatives resulting from such a move inside your usual bottle:
Johnnie Walker to count calories on labels

 

jimseven
The struggle to further grow specialty coffee is real.

So here’s the problem: what we perceive as our biggest asset to win and retain customers doesn’t work the way we want it to. Not enough people are interested in upgrading the coffee they drink.

Of course it wouldn’t be a jimseven post without some valid solutions:
A customer conundrum

 

Sprudge
Although it might be summer in the Northern Hemisphere — it’s always BBQ weather in Brisbane:
Coffee BBQ Rub Is Magically Delicious


  1. Yep. Wow. Not only did I think of that – I actually wrote it. My apologies. ↩︎

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 Clicky Post
If you’re around the pen community long enough, you will see the inevitable (or so it seems) progression from wherever people start — to fountain pens. Perhaps even more inevitably, you feel you should be doing the same. Mike knows the feeling, and has written a fantastic post here — and judging by the comments, it struck a chord with many.

Lets say you are one of those people that really doesn’t like fountain pens. Sort of feels like you’re the odd one out or that you have to pretend to like them around the cool kids in order to fit in…

What also concerns me from time to time is how easy it could be to form the impression that to fit in, you need to spend a decent amount of money, and keep spending it.

Of course that isn’t true, yet can be an unintended and entirely innocent consequence of collective enthusiasm (like the point raised in Mike’s post above) — particularly in this age of social media:
Fad or Function? Using what you enjoy…and makes sense

 

Jake Weidmann Artist and Master Penman
You know things are pretty special when even the shipping process is in itself what I’d call a work of art.

Each certificate of edition bears the authentic JW gold seal; each one individually pressed with our customized embosser. This turn-of-the-century iron cast lion head embosser belonged to an old library on the east coast before it came into our possession. We customized the die to match our vision for the brand and we love the way it’s unified everything we do within the business.

Amazing work — and Works, for that matter if you care to browse a little through the site:
From the Studio

 

The Gentleman Stationer
One of my favourite notebooks of the past couple of years has been Baron Fig’s Confidant (mine was the Three-Legged Juggler edition). Exactly as Joe mentions here, I too was a regular Moleskine Cahier user until an increased use of fountain pens put an end to that.

Baron Fig uses some of my favorite all-purpose notebook paper. This isn’t Tomoe River paper, however, so if you’re looking for a notebook that will let you run wild with your widest and wettest fountain pen nibs, look elsewhere.

I include that quote simply to emphasise there is a limit to the paper in Baron Fig’s products as far as fountain pens go, however the threshold is a lot higher than you might think for an “all-purpose” notebook. Essentially all of my everyday writers performed perfectly, and I’m looking forward to placing an order once I power through a few more pages of what I am currently using:
Baron Fig Vanguard: A New Direction, and A Good One

 

The Frugal Fountain Pen
A problem Pilot Prera can be a frustrating thing — and understandably so.

I’ve had a Prera for over a year now and have not had any issues — perhaps just the luck of the draw:
My Problem Pilot Prera

 

The Sweet Setup
There is nothing wrong with an intermittent reminder to any or all who might listen, regarding either passwords and/or back ups.

This is the former:
The best password manager (and why you need one)

 

Finer Things in Tech
David Chartier takes a swipe (not just to reply) at iMessage, highlighting where it is lacking compared with other third-party messaging platforms.

Despite those impressive numbers, I strongly believe that, as the iPhone was five years ahead of the industry, iMessage and Messages have been roughly five years behind their competition

All I can really do is mostly nod along, as I see my kids Messenger and Snapchat their way through life with their friends.

Some valid points here:
What’s wrong with iMessage?

 

Ulysses Blog
Author Kevin Tumlinson discusses some advice for writers on all things writing, and the business of being an author.

I have no active memory of the first time I encountered this advice, but I know what I felt at the time: Pure dread. I hated that advice. It made me sick to my stomach. It made me angry, too, because what I wanted to hear was something along the lines of ‘send the right query letter to a publisher and you’ll get a contract and a big fat check, and you can take the next two years to write the book.’

His advice to aspiring authors on writing isn’t new, however is heard often enough to assume it probably works:
Being an Author Means Being in Business


Wiser Web Wednesday

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

 

Macstories
With another Apple WWDC now behind us, and it will be interesting to see what developers make of new capabilities — particularly on iOS. Federico Viticci writing on perhaps why less than expected time was afforded the iPad during the keynote.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple move from a monolithic iOS release cycle to two major iOS releases in the span of six months – one focused on foundational changes, interface refinements, performance, and iPhone; the other primarily aimed at iPad users in the Spring.

Although many were perhaps disappointed — with the iPad Pro line now in full swing, surely it’s only a matter of time:
On iPad Features (Or Lack Thereof) at WWDC 2016

 

Apple
It was also nice to see one of my favourite and most used apps, Ulysses win an Apple Design Award at WWDC.

Still the app in which these posts begin and spend their lives prior to publishing, and I’m looking forward to the next version when beta testing is complete.

Congratulations The Soulmen:
2016 Apple Design Awards

 

MacSparky
Every time I begin to think about possibly purchasing an Apple Watch, I remember it is probably not something I’d really use enough to justify the outlay. The redesigned UI and improved performance do seem impressive from all accounts:
watchOS 3: Reality is Matching Hype

 

Les Posen’s Presentation Magic
I’ve enjoyed reading Les Posen’s Presentation Magic over the past few years. Though I typically don’t present with Keynote, there are plenty of tips on offer for presenting in general.

In my sessions with anxious patients, the task as I see it is to assist them to wind back or recalibrate the threat or alarm system so they may bring focus and attention to the task at hand.

As you can see from the snippet of content and title below — this goes far beyond the usual presentation advice. As a Clinical Psychologist, Posen is well qualified to take a deeper look at the Breathe App featured in the WWDC Keynote, plus a few others – and a heck of a lot more around the physiological responses associated with anxiety:
WWDC and the Breathe app for the Apple watch: Apple is only half way there to be really helpful for anxious presenters (and others)

 

Eclectidbits
Nicholas Gold with an impressive review of Montblanc’s new Heritage Rouge et Noir Special Edition fountain pen.

The Rouge et Noir takes Montblanc away from its standard designs (the 149, 146, etc) into the territory of its special, writers, limited editions without asking the buyer for the same level of budget commitment.

It’s not for me, however there are a good many for whom it is:
THE BLANC ET NOIR on the ROUGE ET NOIR

 

Harvard Gazette
An intriguing look at a selection of some of the 2500 samples in the Forbes Pigment Collection.

By the 1920s, Forbes had amassed containers of deep blues, rich purples, vibrant yellows, and myriad other colors from his travels to Europe and the Far East.

One such sample is kermis — the source of the word crimson:

…an Old World pigment created by grinding tiny blisters produced by the insects Coccus ilicis, which lived on the kermes oak tree.

Fascinating stuff — a hat-tip to Smith Journal for this one:
A wall of color, a window to the past

 

The Gentleman Stationer
Joe with an update of the “Tier One” pen list on The Gentleman Stationer. I’m currently just putting together a basic pen index for this site, let alone adding any further categories into the mix. Perhaps in time.

Although we all have our personal preferences and favourites, I cannot see there being too many arguments here:
My “Tier One Pens” List (as of June 18, 2016)

 

Gourmet Pens
The Pelikan Stola is certainly on my list of possible purchases in the future, and part of that allure is a Pelikan without the usual price tag (not that I’m suggesting the quality isn’t worth the money on some of the pricier models). As an every day writer, it looks to fit the bill1 nicely:
Review: Pelikan Stola P16 III Fountain Pen

 

The Pen Addict
In picking up refills for both my own, and my son’s Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto multi pens, I often see the Uni Style Fit gel refills alongside them. I’ve never really been that enamoured with the basic Uni Style Fit pens though, however must admit the Meister is a decent looking instrument:
Uni Style Fit Meister Multi Pen Review

 

Ed Jelley
I’ve been looking at various iPad cases and keyboards lately, and appear to have narrowed things down considerably towards a final purchase.

A great review of worthy case contender here:
Galen Leather A5 Notebook/iPad Mini Case Review

 

The Whiskey Wash
A brief tour of some of the whisky producing islands in Scotland.

There is no distinctive Scotch whisky style in the Islands. Peat has a long association with the whisky industry here, but the use of peat varies widely depending on the distiller.

Who doesn’t love a little variety:
Getting to Know Scotch Whisky: The Islands

 

Starward
A couple of Starward Whisky based winter warmers for these slightly cooler temperatures:
Easy whisky cocktails to make at home this winter


  1. Entirely unintended, however I’ll take that pun. Surely …surely it’s never been done before. ↩︎