Two Weeks with iPad mini ›

That’s when it clicked. When I realised I had – without really thinking – done all the things I need an iPad to do for a whole week without being forced back to a full‐size iPad, I saw that the iPad mini is just that: an iPad.

When it comes to iPad, Fraser is one of those people whom I make sure to take note and listen to what he’s saying. He uses iPad a lot more than most people, so I believe his judgement on the device is one to be taken note of. I’ve played with iPad mini for about 30 mins in total over a couple of visits to the Apple store here in Cheltenham. The weight of the device and how easy it’s been to hold in one hand has me considering selling my iPad 2 to upgrade to a mini, my only reservation being could I continue to use it in my work the way I’m finding I use my iPad 2?

I have not found the mini to be unusably small, even with iOS being scaled down to fit. There have been occasional apps where certain operations have been fiddly, and I found drawing precisely with a stylus was difficult because of the relative size of the stylus tip. This might be something that can be overcome with a bit of practice but I’m not there yet.

This is now my only reservation. I use a stylus and the Paper app to scamp ideas, it beats my Moleskine because I can use subtle colours to guide my thinking. I can see a trip to the Apple Store armed with my stylus coming to maybe confirm or deny that nagging that the reduction in weight is worth me seriously considering upgrading (and curing the pain I get in my wrists after reading for extended periods).

New headphones to replace the broken pinchy ones I dug out a box. #vscocam

Do you like to shave?

I like to shave.

Ask most men my age, their late twenties, that question and its usually met with a snort. An upturned lip. A look that says “are you serious?” without words passing their lips.

In fact if you asked me that question a few years ago I would’ve responded in much the same way.

So what changed I hear you say? My approach changed. When I moved into a flat to live on my own for the first time I became much more aware of how I spent my money, every penny suddenly counted much more than it ever had. Spending several pounds on a can of shaving gel had to stop. So I bought a cheap shaving brush and a puck of soap that I knew would last far longer than the shaving gel ever had.

That small change began something. Since it took me a bit longer to have a shave I started to relax, to take my time with it. I began to see shaving as a time to pamper myself and relax. I started to enjoy it.

Fast forward a couple of years, and although I’ve had an electric razor for quick shaves during the week, I’ve always enjoyed my Saturday morning wet shave. Once again an awareness of how I spend my money has prompted another change in my shaving set up. I ran out of cartridges for my Mach 3 and on going to buy some new ones, the cost floored me. I can’t spend £13 on 8 razor heads which will last me only a couple of months before threatening to pull the skin off my face.

I took to Amazon to find out if they were cheaper, they weren’t, but one of their handy suggestions based on other peoples purchasing habits was. I’m not talking slightly either, I’m talking £9 for 100 blades. A grand total of 9p per blade and according to the internet (means it’s true right?), each blade should last me 5 or 6 shaves. That’s about 2p per shave. So I took the next step in my shaving career and bought a double edged safety razor for £20. That means in just over 6 months I’ll be saving money and in 2 years time I’ll still be using the same pack of blades. Brilliant.

But do you know what’s even more brilliant?

I enjoy shaving even more now. I have to take even more time with it, making two or three passes over my face. I’ve had to relearn how to make a lather, turns out I was doing it wrong but the Mach 3 didn’t show it up. In fact I’ve had to relearn how to shave entirely, but it hasn’t been a chore. I now shave 3 times a week, using similar tools to my Granddad who I remember getting up early to shave in the kitchen sink. He used to take his time, I never understood why.

I do now.

Shaving isn’t a chore. It’s a relaxing, soothing treat, and a great way to start the day, or finish it if you’ve had particularly stressful one. In fact it’s more than that. It’s a pause, a moment in time where I’m not thinking about anything else (I tried it once; blood everywhere), it’s an opportunity to give my mind a rest and just enjoy the moment.

Less ›

It is expensive in the moment, but not in the long term. The reason is twofold; I’ll take more time to make a decision, and sometimes that means not making a purchase at all. And of course, if you buy quality, it lasts. Both factors reduce your consumption.

Great thoughts from Chris Bowler on buying less and the reasons behind it. I try to make my purchases count, for the reason of quality and in the long run its a wiser use of my money.

Should keep me going for a while!

Autumn Desktops ›

Autumn is my favourite time of year. I live the colours and the chance to layer up. Around this time I always find myself trying to find some nice shots for my various wallpapers. My iPhone and iPad are now rocking a couple of these shots.

Kindle Paper White Review ›

For a long time I’ve thought about buying a Kindle. I read a lot, articles and books, to relax with and of course articles get read on my iPad and books the old fashioned paper way. But living in a one bedroom flat with limited storage is tempting me to consider a Kindle. Reviews like this one from Shawn Blanc help with that decision making, each revision of the Kindle is becoming more and more appealing. Trouble is, I love the feel of a thick paperback in my hand and the look of a series next to each other on my shelf.

Instead of striving for purely invisible design, or design that is “stunningly, beautiful visible” but unusable, our aim should be to balance the decisions we make and the aesthetic we choose to arrive at a state of appropriate visibility. Now that’s good design.

Rian van der Merwe in So, is good design invisible, or not?

So, is good design invisible, or not?

Ben Brooks’ Hard Graft Flat Pack Shore Review ›

Just when I thought I had found a bag to last me a lifetime 1, someone goes out and makes a bag I find irresistible. I’m talking about Hard Graft’s newest iteration to their Flat Pack which now accommodates the 15″ retina MacBook Pro.

Every time Hard Graft release something I usually find myself sitting drooling over their website for a few minutes. The Flat Pack is at the top of my wish list, because as Ben mentions, it’s irresistible.

I read Bens review with interest, it seems Ben has just a couple of minor sticking points with it but they’re not big enough to really hamper or sour the experience of such a beautiful product.

iPad mini: Good things come in small packages ›

The iPad mini doesn’t add anything to the iOS experience feature‐wise, but it does make using iPad apps out in the real world far more likely. I never felt comfortable using my iPad outside the office or house, but I think I’ll be taking this smaller, lighter iPad with me more often.

I had a brief play with an iPad mini at the weekend. Unlike with the iPhone or the original iPad, I didn’t get a big wow moment, instead a more relaxed and confirming this feels right. Seems to be the general theme from the reviews I’m reading online.


Evernote 5 for iOS ›

I’m finding myself more and more drawn to the Evernote world. This coming update looks like it could be really nice to use and finally push me into using the app more regularly. The only thing that’s not show is the home screen icon, hopefully they’ve improved that as well, the current one is ugly.