Wiser Web Wednesday

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


Think Business
The Waterford Distillery in Ireland continues the march towards eventual release, continuing to work extremely closely with the farmers growing barley for the spirit.

The relationship between the distillery and its farmers is a close one, thanks in part to an app from farm technology company Farmflo. “All our farmers have it on their mobile phones, and they use it to record everything they do on their field, all of which we get to see. Over time, we build up the complete story of every step, which consumers will be able to see too.”

With improvements in technology occurring at a rapid pace, it’s exciting to think of the developments being put in place to assist relationships such as these:
Waterford Distillery’s soul searching


There seems no end to the spread of whisky distilleries across the globe, and although Rampur isn’t the first, India certainly isn’t bursting at the seams with them either.

Rampur Distillery is located in northern India near New Delhi, hundreds of miles north of Amrut’s Bangalore distillery and Paul John’s distillery in Goa. While it shares some of the same climate conditions that lead to rapid maturation for those whiskies, Rampur’s location in the foothills of the Himalayas create more significant temperature extremes that affect maturation.

More choices for the whisky lover (depending on which markets receive distribution of course) can only be a good thing:
Radico Khaitan Enters Growing Indian Single Malt Whisky Market


Although I don’t recall specifics, the “For You” recommendations which popped up during my trial of Apple Music in its early days also seemed to suffer from the combined family library syndrome.

At the very least, if I tell Apple Music I don’t like the One Direction playlist (again, not that there is anything wrong with that), Apple Music should not throw it at me again … every day … for the rest of my life.

Irrespective of years worth of repeated plays, I would have thought telling Apple you don’t like a certain artist (which I myself never bothered to do incidentally) might at least have some effect.

Apparently not:
Apple Music Recommendations. Not “For Me”


PC Authority
As someone who works in the insurance injury, we are indeed seeing more and more dashcam footage – all with varying quality. For best results, Anthony Agius with a little of what to look for.

It’s 2016, so don’t waste your money on anything lower than a 21:9, 1080p dashcam.

From a quick search you’re looking at around A$200 – $300 for a model with features similar to those described in this article, though you will find some aggressive pricing around on sale items if you shop around:
Buyer’s Guide: Dashcams are becoming the must-have driving accessory – so pick the right one


The Clicky Post
For many years now Mike Dudek has made quality wooden pen storage, and it is always great to see new collaborations from time to time.

This one is a beauty, though limited to twenty numbered pieces – best to get in quick if you are a fan:
Announcing The Morse by Dudek Modern Goods – Limited Edition


Nib & Ink
The other half of the collaboration mentioned above – Matthew Morse.

It’s your perfect hand-lettering workstation.

Indeed it is:
Special Project: The Morse by Dudek Modern Goods


The Pen Addict
Dave Rea, the man behind Indxd, discusses the very real problem some pen reviewers face in the form of overly aggressive detractors who are all too happy to comment.

To the content creators of the pen community there’s plenty of “noise”, and precious little “signal”: those times when the audience actively engages.

Speaking of audience engagement – I’m the first to admit I probably don’t share the enthusiasm as openly as I should, which is something I am certainly aware of. My attempts to change this are somewhat sporadic, though I’d like to think these Wednesday link posts do show at least a little appreciation.

There are some excellent suggestions in this post, though as always, it’s a pity they need to be made in the first place:
Signal and Noise – on Trolling Pen Reviewers


The Guardian
Further to the link above, a former moderator of The Guardian news website, on what many might consider “the worst job in the world” — particularly given the number of comments can exceed 70,000 per day.

But there are limits. The anonymous free-for-all of the online world can be damaging. It is easy to misinterpret, to overplay your hand, or become desensitised to the real people behind the screen.

In posting the links about this topic I’d also like to put in a positive spin. I have developed two very valuable friendships through my blog — neither of which would have ever come about were it not for the comments and contact form providing access for those particular readers (one of whom sent me this article — cut from the newspaper).

I value the discussion, advice, opinion, and interaction through regular correspondence with each of them very highly, and have no hesitation in saying my life is richer for it.

It is such a pity so much negativity exists out there, for there are some truly great people in the world — some of which will hopefully comment or contact you through your blog:
They called it ‘the worst job in the world’ – my life as a Guardian moderator


The Gentleman Stationer
A combination of colours that speak for themselves:

This particular celluloid might be the most beautiful material I’ve ever owned.  It’s a mixture of black, graphite, and gray pearl intermixed with veins of bright blue (think “Bung Box Sapphire” blue).

A great post as always from Joe – you’d best go take a look:
Pen Review: Edison Menlo in Tibaldi Impero Celluloid


Fast Company
Two pen community favourites bring their A-game to educate a wider audience, providing expert advice for Fast Company readers on notebook buying.

A better strategy is to learn about different types of notebooks, so that you are best informed to make your own decision while avoiding the obvious clunkers.

Even if – as an enthusiast – you know this stuff, Ian and Ana have done a fantastic job on what is essentially a pretty broad topic based on the options available out there:
How To Buy A Paper Notebook That Brings You Joy


The Specialty Coffee Chronicle
It would be hard to find an agriculturally-based industry immune to the effects of climate change across the world, and coffee is no different.

It’s clear that climate change is already impacting coffee growing communities across the globe in significant ways. Climate smart agriculture and adaptation practices for farmers developed for the local context are critical for the future viability of specialty coffee.

There is some important work being done to counteract the devastating effects on such an important crop:
Climate Change: Adapting to a Changing Environment


The Age
Could this really be happening? Australia Post are planning to charge for later collection of items undeliverable. Although not the sole domain of Australia Post, we’ve all been victim of the mysterious undeliverable card received after we’ve been home at the supposed time of the attempt.

Fahour’s “introductory offering” to his new “pick up” service will top out at $9 a parcel, if you miss the postie because you’re at work or you simply don’t hear them as they tippie-toe up the steps to knock ever so lightly on the door before running like crazy for the van, yelling at the getaway driver to put the pedal to the metal.

A courier company’s delight:
John Birmingham: Australia Post’s $9 pick-up service enough to make me go postal

Wiser Web Wednesday

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


A great piece by Ben Thompson on the position Apple finds itself in regarding its services (i.e. App Store, iCloud, Apple Music).

Apple will not fix the services it already has, or deliver on the promise of the services its hardware might yet enable, unless a new kind of organization is built around these services that has a fundamentally different structure, different incentives, and different rhythms from Apple’s device teams. You don’t make great products because you want to make great products; you make great products by creating the conditions where great products can be produced

A sound rationale put forward here on the need for change:
Apple’s Organizational Crossroads


John Scullen
Even if you have a solid system in place for processing the multitude of sources we gather information from each and every day, it never hurts to review that system for possible tweaks to improve it.

Do I process everything in all my inboxes every day? No chance! Not all your inboxes are created equal. While I usually clear my task manager inbox at least once per day, I’m comfortable processing my email inbox and notebook entries less often. Once or twice per week is enough for my physical in-trays and camera roll.

John never fails to get you thinking with these types of posts, Well worth reading, and then genuinely asking yourself the question:
Are you absolutely sure you’ve processed all your inboxes?


The Pelikan’s Perch
An interesting post on the back story behind Pelikan’s 4001 Blue-Black ink, which I was unaware is not available in the US.

While today’s packaging omits such phrases, Pelikan’s own published literature does indeed confirm the presence of at least a small amount of iron gall in their Blue-Black ink.  The iron gall allows it to be more light resistant than any of the other inks in the 4001 line (though less than Scribtol or Fount India)

Although I don’t own any myself, it’s always interesting to learn a little more about the tools we may come across in the pen and ink realm:
The Story Behind Pelikan 4001 Blue-Black


The Pen Addict
Great tips and a look at some possible tools for fountain pen photography by Susan M. Pigott writing at The Pen Addict.

I’ve never really been a photographer by any definition, with the first half-decent camera I’ve really used being the Canon DSLR we purchased second-hand for my daughter’s senior school art projects. Even now, the photos for this blog are still taken on my trusty iPhone 6 with the stock standard lens.

One thing I would add, for just A$4.49 from the App Store, the iPhone app Camera+ has a macro mode, which captures pretty decent close up images (such as this one from a recent post), without having to resort to an expensive add on lens.

Clearly my photography and image processing are not up to the standard of many, though I think it’s worth pointing out you can achieve a lot (and perhaps enough for what you need) before outlaying a significant amount of money on additional equipment.

Mind you, there are some great and very well styled images here, and there is a lot to be said for natural light:
The Art of Fountain Pen Photography


From the Pen Cup
Certainly not the usual Pilot-Namiki post, given those are traditionally pen-containing pieces. Not this one, with Mary bringing a couple of mechanical pencils into the fold.

These look and feel like heirloom quality pencils, and came with price tags that seemed more than fair.

At first glance they look like pens, however provide a great option for a beautiful looking mechanical pencil:
Namiki What?


Pens! Paper! Pencils!
Ian takes a look at the recently released Pelikan M120 fountain pen, which probably has a certain appeal to many given the “old school” looks.

I think it looks great: very Mad Men, which is a good thing, although of course I don’t suppose that lot would have used a pen with a steel nib.

As noted in the review, Ian had a few issues with the nib skipping when writing, incidentally not found by two other reviewers using the same pen:
Pelikan M120 Fountain Pen Review


The Well Appointed Desk
Such a shame to see things like this, which I guess is always a risk when having work done on any pen – vintage or otherwise.

In other words, my pen was returned to me more damaged than when I left it with him and I only received a cursory apology and a “these things sometimes happen”.

Sound advice here which may not prevent such occurrences from ever happening, however might at least limit the damage or expense if they do:
When Bad Repairs Happen To Good Pens


Nib & Ink
Matthew Morse with a great review of the Visconti Rembrandt. A lovely blue, though perhaps not to everyone’s tastes as far as overall styling is concerned.

The Rembrandt collection is offered in a few colors, all of which are made from a variegated resin, giving them a visual texture reminiscent of the chiaroscuro technique so popular with the pen’s namesake

I must admit I don’t mind the overall style seen in the images, however you can only be certain when seeing the pen in the flesh (or variegated resin as it were). If you agree, click the link to check out the post, and enter the giveaway running through to the end of the week:
Review & Giveaway: Visconti Rembrandt


Fountain Pen Quest
Not a bad ink and pen combination by any stretch. Ray describes an interesting occurrence with the nib appearing to loosen of its own accord. I had a similar experience with a Pelikan M205, however put it down to somehow loosening the thing myself. That was some time ago and I’ve not had any problems since.

From the sounds of it, perhaps this nib’s days are numbered in its current form anyway:
Ink and Pen Notes: Pelikan M805 Stresemann with Pelikan Blue-Black


Pen Economics
Jonathon puts forward the valid suggestion that any list of beginner pens could well do with one of the vintage variety.

Most bloggers have a list of five beginner pens which they feel are good value, but I worry sometimes those lists are more about the five best pens which could be your very first one. My feeling is that the first five you buy should offer you a nice range of experiences so you can help to figure out what suits you: long/short pens, thick/thin sections or barrels, East/West nibs. And those lists should probably include a vintage pen as well.

Upon thinking a little on that, personally, my hesitation centres around two points: my own lack of experience with vintage pens, and additionally, the possibility that if the first pen was a dud (which of course is possible with any pen), the other four wouldn’t even matter.

Still – a good point, and one well worth putting some thought towards:
Why aren’t vintage pens more popular?


I’m not the biggest fan of the standard Whitelines paper, however expected this collaboration with Leuchtturm would perform better on that front.

Apart from being a bound notebook and Leuchtturm paper, the major difference between ‘regular’ Whitelines paper and the Whitelines Link-thing is that the latter comes with a designated App to scan in the Whitelines Link paper.

Although upon reading the post it does sound like an improvement, I’ll most likely not be racing out to buy one, even though it does do a pretty good job of scanning the results:
Review: Leuchtturm 1917 “Whitelines Link” notebook


Five Senses Coffee
Exclusive Australian importer Five Senses with a brief rundown on the new Sette grinder from Baratza.

The Sette is a complete overhaul on its predecessor models with not only a new look but also an innovative approach to the internal mechanics.

Also without doubt on of the best looking consumer level grinders out there (check out this video).

Expected at Five Senses around June:
Introducing the Baratza Sette


Barista Hustle
Recently, some professional coffee folk banded together on a project to do with coffee grinding – it turned out pretty well.

So interesting, that we decided to turn it all into a paper; subjecting our methods to peer review and the rigorous process of publication. Last week, this paper was published in a Nature sub-journal -Scientific Reports- as open access.

There are some interesting findings on origin, processing, fines, and temperature, all in relation to grinding. Without resorting to reading the full, in-depth paper – a nice overview by Matt Perger – one of the authors:
The Grinder Paper: Explained


At SL28, a members only coffee bar in London.

Of course, due to the nature of the co-working space being accessible only by members, you have to belong to access the cafe. Luckily there is a membership tier available just for the intrepid coffee drinker: for £10 a month, you get access to the delicious coffees of SL28, with three free cups included in your monthly dues.

All that remains is to check the entry criteria.

“What! Are you serious? Sorry buddy – not in those shoes.”
Inside London’s First, And Most Exclusive, Members-Only Coffee Bar

Wiser Web Wednesday

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


512 Pixels
This time of year there is much ado about the Atlanta Pen Show, and of course The Pen Addict podcast community as an ever-increasing subset of attendees. Although I cannot see myself ever getting over there, I’ll chip in for the Live Podcast Video while each year it continues to run on Kickstarter.

I like the challenges presented by producing a live podcast. The tech requirements are different, as is the environment. The Pen Addict community is amazing, and it’s always fun to do something new and exciting with them.

Here Relay FM co-founder Stephen Hackett with a little of what goes on behind setting and recording the live show:
Behind the Scenes at The Pen Addict 200


The Pencilcase Blog
Pocket-sized pens do hold some allure for me, as I’m often walking from office to writing spot (read:cafe) with a pen in my pocket.

Of course having a demonstrator pen eyedroppered is awesome, but the folks over at FC went beyond that, and added a custom, rough finish to the inside of the barrel and cap. This texture adds a lot of visual interest to the pen, with ink sloshing around inside, that gets stuck on the texture.

There is even more allure with a pen that looks like this one. A great review, and also check out the associated giveaway:
Franklin-Christoph Pocket 40 Review


Peaceable Writer
I still find Patrick Ng’s Chronodex system to be one of the more attractive ways of managing time and tasks in an analogue system.

After trying it a few years ago, I couldn’t quite make it stick. That may have had something to do with me drawing freehand the graphical dial at the heart of the system on occasions when I ran out of printed templates.

There were some areas of Patrick’s Daily Scheduler that didn’t resonate for me, and so I, uh, took them out.

As described here, probably a little modification of the template is perhaps as far as one should go with any “mods”:
Tale of a Vandal Notebook User: More #Chronodex


The Clicky Post
I must admit some of my favourite posts are those celebrating some of the cheaper options in this hobby of ours.

Whilst it may seem that the only writing instruments I use are fancy fountain or machined barreled pens, I actually use my fair share of your normal, everyday, “over-the-counter” pens for much of my general writing and note taking

I’m with Mike. Despite the blog posts and Instagram feeds full of fountain pens, fancy nibs and inks – I’m sure a lot of gel, felt tip and “roller-balling” goes on in the day-to-day of many:
Inexpensive Pens That I Reach For Often


Dot Cross Dot
After seeing this Indian-manufactured pen reviewed by Ian Hedley on Pens! Paper! Pencils!, I remain no less intrigued upon seeing it again.

The level of craftsmanship involved in making this pen is amazing, the finish looking as good as an Edison even if the design is not as well refined

In keeping with that initial post, more words of praise from this thorough review:
Fosfor Bangalore


Crónicas Estilográficas
A summary of some recent “issues” that have played out, and continue to do so in many ways within the “enthusiast” segment of the pen community.

I have always argued that we, stylophiles, were a small group, economically weak, almost irrelevant in the economic balance of pen makers when compared to the group of occasional pen buyers.

Highlighting what I have often pondered: which is whether — as a community of enthusiasts — the collective weight of the “little guy” has much sway in the thinking of larger companies, given the market afforded them by the volume of casual purchasers.

I also wonder if we will ever really know the answer:
Signs of Change


Being fairly entrenched with Spark for iPhone and iPad, and the Gmail web interface on the Mac for my email needs, I’m not inclined to shake things up again. One thing I will say though, for something I spend a bit of time in each day – design is a little more important to me than what the following suggests:

While Airmail’s iPad design won’t win any design awards, its support for iOS 9 technologies is some of the finest on the platform. Alongside integration with Split View for iOS 9 multitasking, Airmail for iPad comes with fantastic keyboard shortcuts which highlight how the app strives to provide desktop-class versatility to its users.

I guess for those looking for the full iOS and OS X suite – it’s now all there:
With Version 1.1 and an iPad App, I’m Switching to Airmail


Finer Things in Tech
David Chartier on the iOS file system:

After working in various forms of customer support, campus laptop rental support, classic computer sales, and ‘friends and family support’ throughout the years, and doing my fair share of people watching in cafes, businesses, and Apple Stores, I believe the file system never actually worked for regular folks who don’t live and breath technology. The Windows and even Mac file systems were something they barely tolerated or, most often, simply avoided by saving everything to the desktop.

I’d agree with the above, and when you read enough tech writing, it’s easy to think every user is at least a little interested, which of course could not be further from the truth:
Apple made the right decision in hiding iOS’s file system, and now we have the tools to make everyone happy


You Tube – USA Network
After initially being a little hesitant about whether I’d enjoy Season 1 of Mr Robot, that was soon resolved after a couple of episodes.

Looking forward to Season 2:
Mr Robot Season Two Trailer


That Inking Feeling
Now headlong into an Olympic year – come the August opening ceremony in Rio, stories such as this will probably be more common than we think.

Some time, some perspective and some travel have reminded me of a few things. If I’m going to define myself as a hockey player – and maybe even as a person – based on whether I’ve played in the Olympics, I’ve realised I’m devaluing myself

So close, yet a champion all the same:
The Story of a Not-Quite Olympian


CRS Coffeelands Blog
After a flurry of writing on the slave labour in Brazil’s coffee industry, it’s nice to see some follow-up.

It won’t be easy.  But thanks to more than 20 years of relentless innovation by leaders in Brazil’s public, private and non-profit sectors, the path to total eradication of slave labor may be shorter there than anywhere else in the world.

Interesting reading in relation to what this all might mean for policy makers, coffee companies and consumers:
Stamping out slavery in Brazil’s coffee sector


Brisbane Times
Firmly in the camp of just because you can doesn’t necessarily mean you should, we have a Sunshine Coast cafe serving coffee made on camel milk.

The milk is very accessible and because it is a tourism area near the Australia Zoo we have people interested in camel milk

Yes… of course they are. So – for your $14.50 — I guess only one question remains: One hump or two?
Sunshine Coast cafe serving up camel milk coffees


Perfect Daily Grind
Sometimes I think the great coffee which comes from many countries is in at least some ways because of the challenges faced in bringing it to the consumer.

Don’t get me wrong, great coffee is great coffee — and some grown virtually on our doorstep in Papua New Guinea fits that description.

If you could design the perfect country for growing coffee, it would look something like Papua New Guinea. With its vast mountain ranges, tropical climate, and fertile volcanic soils, it has the ideal mix of environmental factors.

It certainly looks like a tough slog in producing it though:
Poor Roads: Are They the Biggest Issue Facing Papua New Guinea’s Coffee?


With an increasing amount being said on the topic of gender diversity in the coffee industry, this piece I found particularly interesting, given the views on traditional roles and societal norms playing a large part in where things stand today.

Our own gender expectations—and what classifies as public/skilled work, typically classified as male, as opposed to private/service work, typically classified as female—can lead to this sexism problem, e.g. men being expected to have more technical proficiency than women, and women to be better at hospitality.

An interesting read:
Gender & Coffee: Challenging The Status Quo


The Whisky Sponge
Angus MacRaild on perhaps the passing of what made great whisky, well… great. Settle in (with your favourite dram of course) – this one is an interesting read though certainly not a short one.

How connected can you feel to a product when your role in its creation becomes solitary and related to the correctly timed pushing of buttons? There are undoubtedly many good malt whiskies still produced in Scotland but it has become an industry of factories. An industry long divorced from true notions of craft, authenticity or tradition; except in the abstract as instruments of marketing. The very worst aspects of capitalism emerge when it is allowed to unleash the natural hunger of human greed without checks or balance. A vast corporation is a machine in which each individual can contribute but in which so few can regulate. The greed of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Posts on The Whisky Sponge typically bring about a smile or chuckle, however it’s all business this time. In the midst of corporate efficiencies, large-scale production and the dreaded distiller’s yeast, thankfully there appears some remaining hope for greatness again:
Whisky: The Past & The Possible

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 Pen Addict
It was only recently I was thinking I must put my thoughts together on one of the pens which makes me smile every time I use it: the Faber-Castell Ambition – a really great pen.

The model I own is the green variation, here Susan Piggot reviews the Blue Ocean edition for The Pen Addict:
Faber-Castell Ambition Blue Ocean OpArt Fountain Pen: A Review


The Finer Point
I must admit to only occasionally browsing through both the genuine and non-Midori options for housing the Traveller’s Notebook system. No, I don’t use them – however like many, I have a strange fascination with what others are using.

I have two Field Notes memo books in my Raydori, my Midori passport sized clear pocket and my Midori passport sized monthly calendar.

For those who do, this looks like a decent option from a UK-based supplier:
My Life All in One Place Leather Notebook Cover (or the Raydori)


The Gentleman Stationer
Of course it’s all pen show action this week leading up to Atlanta — particularly for readers/writers in and around The Pen Addict podcast community.

Happy hunting to all those attending:
Pen Show Primer, Volume 1: Why Visit a Pen Show?
Pen Show Primer, Volume 2: Getting Ready for a Pen Show


The Well-Appointed Desk
Ana with a review of the Baron Fig Squire pen, and having just received my shipping notice, I’ll soon be in possession of the charcoal version I backed in the Kickstarter campaign.

But in the end, I am really quite pleased. I suspect I will use it regularly. Its aesthetically appealing, comfortable in the hand and allows me plenty of refill options since I’m a great big picky-pants about that. And isn’t that what you want from a good pen? Something that feels good in the hand and writes the way YOU want it to write?

Again, as with other first impressions I’ve read to date, things sound promising — reassuring to note given mine is on its way:
Review: Baron Fig Squire

More from Ana — this time some packing tips on the topic of the moment: pen shows. Probably not surprising a “Fashionable Friday” post relegates the fishing vest to the not-to-pack list:
Fashionable Friday: The Pen Show Edition – The Well-Appointed Desk


Pen Habit
An impressive looking pen with an interesting filling system.

You fill the pen by depressing the metal “arc” protruding from the top of the pen’s barrel. Pressing down on the arc compresses a metal bar inside the pen which in turn compresses the sac. When released, the sac re-expands, sucking ink up into the pen

As noted in the post — I am not entirely sold on the lock collar appearance either, however am not sure what a better alternative might necessarily be as far as material and colour:
Visconti Millennium Arc Moonlight


CBS News
It’s easy to forget the direct effects our coffee habits have on the growers and farmers who produce it.

That cup of coffee — and I’ve seen it — changes the life of those growers. That’s a massive, massive difference. It is one cup of coffee, but it’s changing a life

Out of context quotes like these are often simply seen as hyperbole, however celebrity or otherwise, the means to effect change for the greater good is something to celebrate and support.
​Hugh Jackman: Changing lives, one cup of coffee at a time


Smart Girls Make Coffee
Indeed they do, and there are lots of them. Unfortunately the experiences are not always positive:

I’ve been treated like garbage by male colleagues because they just can’t seem to fathom that I am delegating as a manager, rather than being an emotional woman.

Taylor Browne shares her story of hard-earned success, and it is well worth reading (link via the Barista Hustle Newsletter)
The person, the story and the hard work I knew…


The Singleton Argus
The Australian made Starward Malt Whisky was my favourite among those I received as gifts over Christmas. Although not the double-gold medal winning wine cask matured single malt, it was a mighty enjoyable drop, in no small way attributable to Melbourne’s variable weather according to founder David Vitale.

Our four-seasons-in-a-day is our secret weapon. It creates a richer, mellower whisky in a shorter time frame because those barrels are working so hard every day.”

Apparently, said barrels worked hard enough to get Starward over the line at the recent San Francisco Global Spirits Competition, along with fellow Aussie Four Pillars Gin.

A congratulatory dram is in order:
Victorian whisky Starward strikes gold at Global Spirits Competition


Herald Scotland
Speaking of Aussies, there are probably not many of us with the inclination to buy a Scottish distillery — though I expect the means to do so may have something to do with it as well. One man who did, and had, of course proceeded to buy the Bladnoch distillery in Newton Stewart.

While Pure Scot is hoped to be the distillery’s main volume driver – it currently retails for A$80 (£43) in Australia – Bladnoch single malt will launch in Australia later this year, with the US and UK to follow in 2017

I’ve yet to taste the drink itself, and perhaps the Pure Scot blended might be the way to go while waiting for the Bladnoch single malt to arrive:
Australian yoghurt mogul aims to return Bladnoch distillery to former glories


A considerable amount of words have been spoken and written about the recent changes to TextExpander – the Mac and iOS app which has now moved to a subscription service model.

Smile has a new business model for TextExpander 6. They call it a subscription model but I’m going to call it app renting. I think of a subscription as a recurring fee for ownership. When I rent, I get an access and usage permission but I get nothing to keep. It’s pedantic and probably wrong but it’s how my mind keeps track of value. They can call it what they want and I can call it what I want. We’re good.

Although quite a long post in its entirety, I think the above quote pretty well sums I up. Various monetisation models within the app-sphere are defined differently and mean different things to different people. The result? Different views on the value of such changes and whether they are worthy of our money. However you may define it – the decision to pay up is yours to make:
TextExpander and App Rental

Further, a possible alternative:

I’ve discovered weaknesses in my systems for shortcut expansion as my collection grows. I just can’t remember all of them. Even worse, accidental triggers eliminate all of the efficiency gains for shortcuts. So, I started using organized lists of snippets and Copied.app is great for this.

Whether or not a full featured worthwhile alternative exists across both the Mac and iOS remains to be seen, however I don’t believe we’ll be short of suggestions:
Copied App for Snippet Management


Though I’ve not had the need to nest any folders in the Apple Notes app to date, as the number grows it will most likely come in handy.

Open Apple Notes on your Mac and simply drag an existing folder on top of another. That adds a disclosure triangle to the folder and placed the moved folder inside the destination folder. Then open up the Apple Notes application on your iPhone or iPad and give it a second to synchronize and you’re good to go.

Glad I have a Mac to do it though (or alternatively, it can be done by logging into iCloud on the web):
Nesting Folders in Apple Notes — MacSparky

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?