Took a walk, saw the sun setting. Then some boats.
A few months ago I had the pleasure of talking with Andrew Kim, a designer who over the course of the last year got a lot of (well deserved) attention for a project he did proposing a massive redesign for Microsoft.
His latest project, America Elect, was to take a designers eye to the American electoral system. It's a fascinating look at updating a system that is kind of vestigial - in the sense that since the shift to voting by mail, we haven't really looked at changing ballot design (and in some cases are just filling out the same kind of old ballots).
It's a really beautiful project, and I have a feeling this won't be the last time we see some big ideas from him.
Late last year after the election, I went with my family to Hawaii, specifically to Kauai and Oahu. It was a scenic wonder of a trip.
The video was shot with my iPhone 5, which thrives in the bright sun.
Sometimes, I'll hit the road (or the skies) and end up shooting some video and stitching it together with a song I like, and then I post it up.
1) The time I drove up to British Columbia, saw a Canucks game (I'm a big hockey fan now), and explored north of the city for the first time.
2) The time I went flying with my friend Tony, up to Port Angeles out of Olympia and saw a lot of the Olympics
3) The time I went out on a boat in Union, WA on Hood Canal with my family and heard tales of the people who moved up there in the '30's to start the next San Francisco
I have another video of my trip to Hawaii last year that I need to post up sometime as well. It's a bit longer, and coincidentally much warmer and causes yearning to get back out to Hawaii at the earliest chance.
There's something about the movie that draws me in. I have a fondness for the San Juan Islands, and especially so during the fall/winter -- it's possible they're just preying upon that connection -- but I think I'm equally fond of this movie.
It's a strange premise (TLDW: guy sleeps with his dead brother's girlfriend's sister, antics ensue) but it's such a simple construction - not a lot of music, basic camera work - the only thing that throws me is that he bikes back from Orcas Island to what I believe to be Burien in the span of a morning.
It showcases the beauty of that corner of the world and the complications of modern friendships. It feels very PNW-ish and very real.
This is obviously the most important thing you'll read all day.
It has been said that achieving greatness comes down to just three things:
- A clicky Keyboard
- A Soda Stream
- A fussy way to make coffee
First let me tell you about the Aeropress, or at least show you how it works.
Please note, this is not a real commercial - yes, that's really how it works; no, the video it wasn't made by Aeropress (it was made by a classy gentleman called Adam Lisagor).
You grind your beans, you add some water, you steep it, you plunge it, you get rid of the grounds, then you dilute it, and then you enjoy it. Hands down it is the easiest way to make great coffee I've ever experience.
"But Chase!" you may be thinking. "What about a French Press? That's how real fussy coffee is made!"
The French Press is fine in theory, but let me assure you - it has two downfalls: one is the filter and the other is the clean up. On a press pot, the wire mesh lets too much crap through. Crap in your coffee is not good.
Clean up is also a complete pain in the ass. If you pour out all the coffee, the grounds are compressed at the end of the glass container, and you're either left scooping it out or trying to pour them down the drain. It stinks.
Enter... the Aeropress. First, it's the basic principle of the press pot. But they ad a syringe-style plunger (which creates serious air pressure) and the cleanliness of a paper filter. You measure out your grounds, add hot water, steep, press. That's it. Clean up? Unscrew the filter assembly and plunge further and your grounds and filter go into the garbage (which automatically wipes clean the cylinder). A quick rinse and you're set for a nice, gentle air dry.
I love the Aeropress. I love it more than any automatic machine I've had, and more than french press. It's the best way to make fussy coffee. It also costs about $30 bucks for the device and about two years worth of filters.
Now, the fussy machine is only as useful as its fussy raw materials, which in my case is Tonx. This is a subscription service. They send me a bag of really nice coffee every other week (which means I never go without) and it's been delicious every single time.
Think of it as a one-off delivery of some great fresh roasted beans every two weeks. This way you can get a wide variety of great beans and don't have to worry about finding one certain producer you like (which usually costs more at my fancy local fussy coffee place) and are constantly delighted with treats from around the world.
They sent one two weeks ago that was amazing. I also can't wait to try this week's. They roast every other Sunday in LA and get them in the mail on Monday. By the time they arrive at your door (which is usually Thursday for me) the beans have gotten enough time to be awesome.
So try Tonx. (Seriously - if you sign up with this link you'll get a free sample). Then get an Aeropress.
You'll be 1/3 of the way to greatness.
Posting a comparison test tomorrow.
It is often that I am accused of being a fanboy. First it was for Nintendo (which may have been true) but now what seems like quite often I'm accused of being an Apple fanboy. Ex:
There are more, but that'd involve a lot of digging through Facebook to comments of mine on posts where people ask "What kind of phone/laptop should I buy?" and I answer honestly: an iPhone/MacBook and then get replies of "SHUT UP FANBOY!"
It was easier for a while – people could just say "No I don't want an iPhone - I'm on Verizon." Oops. There went that argument. "I use Gmail" is another one I've heard. Yep - you can't use one of the world's most popular email services on one of the world's most popular phones (for now).
Now, I'm not trying to cast myself as the Apple martyr - there are plenty of others who will take far more heat than I ever will - but for whatever reason, in my social circle (used in the least corporate sense possible) I constantly find myself the center of the fanboy name-calling, which is fine.
But the thing is - I'm not wrong.
I've been wrong in the past - I purchased a Virtual Boy on clearance when I was in Middle School - but right now I'm not. If a friend asks me what kind of laptop to buy, what kind of phone to get, I'm yet to see something that's made by not-Apple that beats the Apple counterpart.
I wasn't always this way. For me, my first Apple purchase was an iPod (which I had to struggle to get to work with my custom built PC in 2003) and then another iPod and then another one.
Then it was one morning January of 2007 and I knew that my sleek and fashionable (story of my life) RAZR was about to hit the garbage heap. Back then, the damn thing had no apps - just internet, email, and phone. It was modern, elegant and seemingly magical. But I remember back to the first time I saw the video of it in action, and I remember what blew me away the most: the phone.
Yes, the phone. You could slide through your contacts. You got your voicemail in an inbox. You tapped a button to put someone on hold or add a call or do whatever you wanted. It made sense. I distinctly remember thinking that apart from everything else - this is the best phone I've ever seen on a phone.
Then of course when it came time to get a laptop, I went with a MacBook Pro. And then a new iPhone (and another, and another). Then an iPad (and another one). And I think that's pretty much fine.
I don't feel compelled to defend a company, to purchase things from a company, or to do anything except enjoy the technology.
There was a quote in a "movie" I watched a few weeks back that talked about scientists tracking energy efficiency in animals in terms of their distance ability. They saw a cheetah was able to use its energy better than a cat, for example. A human was only halfway up the chart. But then they graphed a human on a bicycle - number one by the proverbial mile.
That's what's exciting about where we are right now. We're able to do things that sounded like science fiction on devices so small they seem impossible. It so happens that there is a company that makes some of those devices that I own and use that seems to be doing it better than others, and I like them.
I don't think that's fanboy. I don't think that's shilling. I don't think that's the cartoon Calvin peeing on a Chevy logo. I think it's recognizing where we are and what we do with our money, our technology and our creativity.
The stage is open for someone else to come along and take the spotlight, and I would love to see every company in the tech world come out with something great and crowd Apple off the stage with the new thing that is going to change everything.
I'll be waiting.