‘The’ custom BMW R18

While relaxing at home, Brice stumbled across a documentary about the old AVUS circuit in Berlin—a road that was specifically designed to function as both a freeway and a race track. Since the R18 is built in Berlin, it felt like the perfect springboard for the project… More here.

Ever get that feeling of just wanting to go on a very long journey and say f*ck it all? This would be a very good choice to make that journey on. Stunning.

The iPhone Generation

It’s been 15 years since the first iPhone was launched and it feels much longer to me. I remember the Psion, the Palm Trees and various other smart(ish)phones, but the iPhone has become so much a part of my life and so many others that it can be hard to truly remember.

This video from WSJ called The iPhone at 15: An Inside Look at How Apple Transformed a Generation is worth a look because it highlights the impact of the product and how we now have a generation of people who do not know life without it, and without the competition that often feels more than a little familiar.

Not everyone thought the product would grow into the phenomenon that we have today, as highlighted in this tweet (image above) and of course there is Mr Ballmer…

I don’t even think about the iPhone as a product anymore. I don’t marvel at what it can do or hanker for the next version. It’s just there with me all day, every day and it isn’t going anywhere for some time to come. 30 years? It is possible unless I am being short term-ist and am not able to visualise what comes next.

An iPhone / Apple Watch / AirPods charging stand that is cheaper than one MagSafe charger

The (deep breath) Magnetic Wireless Charger Stand, 3 in 1 Magsafe 18W Fast Charging Station with QC3.0 Adapter for Apple iPhone13/12,13/12Pro,13/12Pro Max,13/12Mini,AirPods 2/pro,iWatch 6/ SE/5/4/3/2 is currently available in the UK on Amazon for £28.89.

The HiRise 3 Wireless Charging Stand from Twelve South is $99.99 and by all accounts doesn’t work as it should for the money (review here).

I decided to try the Magnetic Wireless blah blah thingy from Amazon following some reassurance that the reviews appeared to be genuine and extremely positive. And it has proved to be an excellent product that delivers in all of the areas that are important.

It is not a sleek product by any means and does look relatively thick, but it is sturdy and never feels like it will fall over. Charging could be a bit quicker when giving all three devices a burst of power, but it will certainly work well overnight or on a desk.

When you consider that it is cheaper than one MagSafe charger from Apple there is no doubt that it offers superb value for money. I cannot, however, verify that it won’t burn your house down due to poor electrics, but that risk will be up to you and how you feel about non-brand products like this.

When design fails

Take a look at the above watch I bought last week for £50. It’s a 1972 Avia Swissonic which is an electric watch and which was arguably right at the cutting edge of technology at the time. Electric watches were pre-quartz and they were designed to offer an alternative to mechanical timepieces. A battery and a tuning fork were used to keep time, and there are many available today in a variety of impressive 1970’s styling.

I say again, take a look at it and if you think hard you may notice a ‘huge’ design flaw in the dial.

The new Twelve South HiRise 3 looks impressive as well. It has the ability to charge an iPhone via MagSafe, an Apple Watch and a set of AirPods. It is $99.99 and can only charge an iPhone up to 10 watts, the Apple Watch cannot work in Nightstand mode and if you have a case on your iPhone it won’t connect properly. Jeez! That is so poor from a company that has historically made excellent products. A review highlighting the issues is here.

Oh yes, the watch. Look at the number of markers between the 5 minute markers. There are 3.

How on earth can you set the time accurately and, even worse, how can you tell the time accurately on this watch which was marketed as being a much more accurate timepiece for the modern generation? That’s appalling design for the sake of design while forgetting the actual functionality, and something that thankfully Apple rarely does.

Have you any examples of terrible design on products you own?

UPDATE: Neil may have solved the Watch conundrum- ‘Am I being dense? On the electric watch, I wonder if one is supposed to use the gaps between the markings, rather than the markings, to count the minutes?’

One feature of iOS 16 changes everything

I have been largely accepting and underwhelmed with the iOS 16 beaters (oops, should be betas- thanks Simon!) so far, but there is one improvement that stands head and shoulders above the rest.

The dictation is phenomenal and above any other system I have used in the past. I am writing this article by simply speaking to my phone and I am doing so at normal pace while the full stops and commas, and everything else are put in for me.

It almost doesn’t feel real as it’s happening, because it goes back to correct itself, the grammar is corrected as I speak, and I am watching the cursor jump back to insert punctuation where it is needed, whilst all the time not one word is misspelt or misheard.

Seriously, you need to try it for yourself to understand what it’s like for everything from text messages to quick emails. I find it hard to believe that the on-screen keyboard could get anywhere close.

Apple makes a big deal about changing everything. This time they actually have. It’s amazing.

How to do customer service

I contacted @Chewy last week to see if I could return an unopened bag of my dog’s food after he died. They 1) gave me a full refund, 2) told me to donate the food to the shelter, and 3) had flowers delivered today with the gift note signed by the person I talked to?? 😭🥹. Tweeted here.

That’s how to do customer service. So many organisations simply don’t understand the power of simple gestures.

Hamilton Khaki Field Auto / Garmin Vivosmart 5 / iOS 16

The Hamilton Khaki Automatic is, to me, the quintessential watch. I owned one when I first got into watch for approximately 1 hour. A purchase from eBay, but alas the one I bought was way out and lost over 10 minutes a day. The seller was nice, but he had no other stock and so I left the watch alone, presuming they were all like that.

Of course they are not all bad and the movement inside is actually very impressive for the price, a modified ETA 2824-2 with 80 hours of power reserve and a 6 beats per minute second hand. This means that you can actually see the second hand judder from time to time as the human eye can see ticks below 8 per second, but in a way this adds to the feel of the watch. Mine is currently 2 seconds slow a day which is brilliant.

As a watch, the finishing and design are just about perfect to me- not flashy in any way, kind of a tool vibe and a design that looks good on any strap, and in any situation.

This was the first ‘proper’ watch I bought and it’s the latest. I would love to say it’s the last, but I like watches so we know that won’t happen.

Whenever the Vivosmart is photographed some of the text disappears…

The Vivosmart 5 is Garmin’s latest update to the only adult wrist tracker it makes. A variety of fitness watches come out from Garmin, but the Vivosmart has long fell behind the rest and was in dire need of an update.

And so Garmin releases the Vivosmart 5 which on most accounts is also way behind the competition and was in dire need of an update as soon as it arrived. The styling, or lack of, and monochrome screen look like a 2016 creation and there is nothing about it that creates any positive emotion.

I have worn it for a few weeks while I put the Epix away and wore the Hamilton. It has proved to be much easier to use than the Vivosmart 4, the screen is visible in all conditions and the single button on the front makes a huge difference. It is bigger than I expected and close to impossible to wear in bed for sleep tracking, but alas Garmin sleep tracking is never great anyway no matter what device you use.

Overall I would rate it as a competent fitness tracker and it works well alongside the Garmin Connect software, but the phantom step issue remains. I painted an old desk over a period of 30 minutes and got 4,500 steps for my efforts. 4,500! Driving also adds steps which is annoying to a similar level to what the Epix does and I remain perplexed by the fact that the Apple Watch does not do this.

If you want fitness tracking it is hard to know what to choose, but I am coming around to the fact that Apple seems to do it better in almost every metric apart from battery life- that should change later this year.

iOS 16 has been an interesting beta(1) this year. Totally stable for me, a bit of a drain on battery performance, but otherwise it feels fairly complete.

The new Lock Screen feature is a nod to customisation, but it falls well short of being anything other than a different Lock Screen. I prefer the notifications at the bottom and aside from that it doesn’t seem to do much at this time. Hopefully it is the start of something that will grow, but until that time it feels somewhat experimental.

Of all the new features, most of which will not gain many headlines, the ability to unread a message is huge for me. Being able to edit a message, pull back emails is useful, but leaving the notification live for a message I need to go to later feels like the ticking of a final box.

Nothing about iOS 16 wows me in any way and I don’t think that’s possible anymore, but there is no way I am moving at this point. It’s there, I am here and I guess that’s enough which sounds like a sad state of affairs when I consider the cost of these devices. The problem is that it does so much for me and so my inclination, and energy, to move is simply not there.

What has the ECHR ever done for us?

The above should add some clarity to the below about which many (who do not understand) are getting upset-

Boris Johnson’s plan to send an inaugural flight of asylum seekers to Rwanda has been abandoned after a dramatic 11th-hour ruling by the European court of human rights.

Up to seven people who had come to the UK seeking refuge had been expected to be removed to the east African country an hour and a half before the flight was due to take off.

But a ruling by the ECHR on one of the seven cases allowed lawyers for the other six to make successful last-minute applications… More here.

From Misery to Meaning

Why do so many go through so much disruption in their middle years? Why then? What does it mean and how can we survive it? The Middle Passage shows how we can pass through midlife consciously, rendering the second half of life all the richer and more meaningful… More here.

A highly enlightening book which I found just at the right time.