Why Do We All Have to Be Beautiful?

With other, smaller mirrors, like those in my bedroom or the camera on my phone, I could prepare myself and decide my approach. But with the mirror on the street I saw myself as I was, plodding down the little hill without grace or charm. All at once I could see the truth so plainly. No matter how long I had spent applying makeup or adjusting my outfit or psyching myself up to go out, I was not beautiful… More here.

Brilliant article.

Apple’s Credit Card

The essence of the design of Apple Card is reduction. Some high-end credit cards move many markings to the back of the card. Apple has gone one step further.

The usually present card number, expiration date, security code (CSC or CVV) and signature blank are completely gone… More here.

Now that is looking deep at something so visually simple.

Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean the algorithms aren’t out to get you

By no means are all malevolent programs an accident; some are designed with mischief in mind. Bots can be used to generate or spread misinformation. Jamie Bartlett, author of The Dark Net (US) (UK), warns of a future of ultra-personalised propaganda. It is one thing when your internet-enabled fridge knows you’re hungry and orders yoghurt. It’s another when the fridge starts playing you hard-right adverts because they work best when you’re grumpy and low on blood sugar. And unless we radically improve both our electoral laws and our digital systems nobody need ever know that a particular message was whispered in your ear as you searched for cookies… More here.

A quick, but good read.

The humbling of Britain

This is not “taking back control”. This is not the proud, independent, liberated Britain that the Brexiteers promised. It is grotesque, calamitous, an epic act of self-harm brought about not by some war or disaster but by our own stupidity. And the true “enemies of the people” are not those opposing this catastrophic Brexit. They are not the million decent people from every background who marched in London last Saturday, or the five million who have petitioned to revoke Article 50, but those whose lies, zealotry, and political recklessness have all but broken Britain. For posterity’s sake, those self-styled “patriots” who have so grievously betrayed their country should be named and shamed… More here.

It’s all so sad.

When Life’s Noises Drive You Mad

“My heart starts to pound. I go one of two ways. I either start to cry or I just get really intensely angry. It’s really intense. I mean, it’s as if you’re going to die,” she says.

Rapp has been experiencing this reaction to certain noises since she was a toddler. She recalls a ride home from preschool when her mother turned on the radio and started singing, which caused Rapp to scream and cry hysterically.

“That’s my first memory ever,” Rapp says… More here.

Scary, but fascinating.

Powerbeats Pro thoughts

Beats says its Powerbeats wireless earbuds are the most popular fitness headphones in the world, and the new Pro model sheds the cable that links the left and right buds together. They retain the look and identity of Powerbeats, but Beats didn’t just snip the wire; it redesigned the entire product in the move to a true wireless design. The Pros are 23 percent smaller and 17 percent lighter than the regular Powerbeats neckbuds, and Beats is offering color options beyond white: the Powerbeats Pro will come in black, white, dark green, and navy… More here.

These are no doubt very impressive, but when seen face on they look a little silly. Not as silly as AirPods, but then again nothing looks that silly.

What It’s Like to Grow Up With More Money Than You’ll Ever Spend

You know, I’m not. I’m 59, and now that I’ve been living in the world on my own and managing my own money for a while, I have developed the opposite view of almost everything that my parents did. I started giving money away in my 20s, and my parents thought that was crazy. But it was mine to give. Luckily, my grandfather gave us money directly, which was great because I never had to go to my parents and ask for anything. I was totally independent at 21. So I started giving money away. Within a couple of years I was giving away more money than my parents, who had much more money that I had, which they told me was embarrassing to them… More here.

A very good, and surprising, read.

The Electrostatic Accutron Concept Movement

The Accutron concept movement will remind Accutron enthusiasts immediately of the Accutron Spaceview, an original-production Accutron which had an open dial, allowing the tuning fork mechanism and transistor to be seen. The concept movement likewise exposes the mechanism, however, there’s no tuning fork. Instead, two small turbine-like structures are visible in the lower half of the dial, which rotate rapidly when the watch is in motion, while the upper part of the dial is dominated by a near-identical, but larger, turbine – this rotates continuously, as it drives the seconds hand in a smooth forward motion that recalls the original Accutron watches… More here.

Bulova is really pushing it in a good way at the moment. This is very smart.

When your grail is not the best, it’s still your grail

When I first became very interested in watches, there was one particular model that I always aspired to own. It was the Tudor Black Bay Red and this feeling never really left me. Aspirational is the word because after running through many Seikos, Citizens, Bulovas and countless others I have ended up with the Black Bay red and I think that’s the end of my watch buying and selling story.

I recently owned the Black Bay GMT which is by all accounts a better watch. It of course has the GMT function, it is hard to come by and there are long waiting lists at every authorised dealer, and it is rarely seen in public. If you are wearing a GMT and someone else knows their watches they will notice it and likely be impressed by it. If you are wearing a Black Bay Red the same effect will not be seen because it is a commonly worn watch and in red is the most popular of the Black Bay series.

The problem for me was that the GMT felt cold. The white hands and hour markers didn’t drag me in and the, admittedly subtle, red and blue bezel was a little too noticeable for my liking. It’s hard to explain because it ticked all of the boxes for me, but perhaps it ticked too many which was the ultimate problem.

When you are into watches, and particularly if you have a grail watch, it becomes too easy to compare other watches in an unfavourable way simply because they are not the same. The white hands and hour markers are not a problem in the GMT, but they are not the subtle gold of the Black Bay, a gold that is enhanced by the red bezel more so than in the other colour variants. The date window is useful, but it takes away the clean symmetry of the dateless Black Bay. And then there is the GMT hand which makes the dial feel busy to me. Of course the GMT is still an exceptionally easy to read watch, but once I had seen the Black Bay Red it was hard to not see anything other than business and functions I did not need.

The old adage of less is more has never been truer than with the Black Bay for me. Pulling out the crown just one notch to change the time without the need to gauge exactly which position it is in to make specific changes to each function. The superb accuracy means I rarely need to correct the time and without the need to amend the date every month or two months it just sits on my wrist doing its thing and looking quite splendid.

As easy as it is to say ‘that’s it for me, no more watches’, I have an advantage in that I have never collected watches. I may have owned many, but I don’t like having more than one decent watch in the house. I like one beater watch, in my case a Citizen Brycen AW1590-55E, and a wear the rest of the time watch which is only removed when doing things that a decent mechanical should not be exposed to (grading, running etc etc).

So, this really is it for me. I always wanted this particular Tudor and it is easily living up to my expectations. I have never felt the need to own a Rolex or to spend a huge amount of money on a watch. I don’t care what other people think about what is on my wrist. 99.9% of people have no clue which watch is which and the ones that do probably have a focussed opinion on what a really good watch is and likely it will not be the one you are wearing anyway. And even then, what would I be trying to say with the watch on my wrist? Shall I wear a moon watch and pretend I am an astronaut? How about a massive dive watch for no other reason than it is huge and can go 1000m below the surface? No, why would I want to do that?

When I check the time on the Black Bay Red I simply see the time. I see the chocolate dial and gold hands and markers and a splash of red around the edge. That’s what grabbed me when I first saw it and as silly as it seems it causes me to look just a little longer than I need do when checking the time. This watch is for me, it’s my grail and I neither care what others think and don’t presume they do either. It’s my grail.

Tokyo Street Art Pieces

While the graffiti scene in Asia has been a relatively new import from the west, it’s been a well established subculture in Tokyo ever since it made its way to Japan in the late-1980s. Growing to include more than just graffiti bombed on random rooftops, street art of all types have found homes in many corners of Tokyo, with some of the world’s most respected artists contributing to the ever-growing scene… More here.

Makes me want to dig out my passport.