Products I’ve been impressed with lately 11 Aug 2005

109 comments Latest by karolyn

Nokia 6682 - my first Nokia phone. There are some UI quirks I’d like to see addressed, but overall I’m really thrilled with the phone. Great build quality, nice materials, nice weight, nice physical balance, nice look, and nice mix of phone-first PDA-second features.

Medium Shoes “Environmentalist” - authentic materials and superb build quality. Comfy, durable, nice look and feel. You can tell these guys care about design and craftsmanship. [Disclaimer: They are customers of ours]

Clip-n-Seal bag clips. The only downside is that they’re two pieces, but boy do they work.

The scroll ball (aka Nipple) on the Apple Mighty Mouse. The jury is still out on the overall mouse, but the tiny scroll ball is remarkably better than any other scroller I’ve ever used.

Nike Free 5.0 running shoe. Insanely comfortable and light. Best $85 I’ve spent on shoes in a long time.

Plan of Chicago. A beautiful book with beautiful ideas and hand drawn maps. This is vision.

Bach Rescue Remedy. Mad science, no science, purely placebo. I don’t care. It works for me.

Biotene Mouthwash. Most mouthwashes burn my mouth, this one does no such thing. No alcohol, no stinging, just minty freshness. This is one healthcare product that delivers on its promise.

Audi S4. Best car I’ve ever owned. I’m surprised every day by this car. I used to be an Audi hater, but now I can’t say enough good things about them. They know how to pay attention to the details like no other car maker today.

Rosendahl alarm clock. It’s a small clock with big numbers so you can actually see what time it is. And the entire clock is a button. Love it.

What are your favorites of the moment?

109 comments so far (Jump to latest)

David G 11 Aug 05

Audi S4 eh.. Nice. I’ve been thinking about getting a TT, but afraid it might be too small.

As for a favorite product of the moment, I’d have to go with my Gmini 400. 20gig mp3/video/CF card reading device that is simply awesome. Granted pair it up with set of Sony in ear headphones and it sounds great.

Oh.. And also the new Pest (Ninjatune) album coming out is simply awesome.

Rich 11 Aug 05

Damn, you’re company must be doing good. How the hell do you afford all of these top notch products?

JF 11 Aug 05

Rich, it’s amazing how much you can afford if you spend your money on good things. We all waste so much money on crap thinking we’re going to “save” but in the end we don’t. Buy the best you can afford and you’ll have it for a long long time.

The other thing about buying the best is that you end up buying less. You don’t need to replace things as often. You don’t need to pay for repairs as often. Etc. Those savings add up.

And of course you have to take care of what you own. It’s not enough to buy you have to maintain.

Rich 11 Aug 05

I concur. I always try to. Especially when it comes to food! Only the best for me. I just can’t afford an Audi yet! In due time…

Olly 11 Aug 05

Thinking about a TT? Hairdresser’s car ;-)

There’s an last-model RS4 Avant (Estate/Station Wagon/Big version) that lives near my house. It’s a lovely machine. I want :)

Patrick 11 Aug 05

Welcome to the club of happy Audi S model owners, Jason :)

Bill 11 Aug 05

I’ll echo the Audi… I just got a an A4 Quattro with the big engine and the sport package (wheels, tires, suspension). As close as you can get to the S4 without getting one. I’ve always wanted one and ended up buying something else that I was less pleased with. Audi definitely gets it.

The styling on the 2005-1/2 made a difference as well. Much better looking car than the last couple years.

I’ll agree with Jason as well that if you buy better stuff and take care of it - you have to buy LESS STUFF. As a kicker - you get to enjoy nicer things.

There’s also the concept of paying more for the things you care about and less for the things you don’t. Over a lifetime, you’re going to average out at a mid-range. Example, offset your iPod (which you love) with whatever lawnmower happens to be on sale (because you could not care less about brand or features - you just want something that cuts the grass and starts).

Polly Stark 11 Aug 05

* My VW MkIV Golf. Great car - reliable, nippy, comfortable. And the final version before they screwed up the body design.

* My Cambridge Audio HiFi. 540A amp, 340C CD player. Great, clear sound. Equally brilliant at reproducing the especially quiet bits in Godspeed You Black Emperor! and the especially brutal bits of Walls Of Jericho.

* G4 Powerbook. I am actually in love with it. I love my little baby more than any girl.


Polly

Mark 11 Aug 05

For me -

Honda Pilot: I love this truck. The coolest feature, lap belts that pull down from the ceiling for center passengers in the 2nd and 3rd rows

Ikea desk: Solid and simple. Assembly instructions that were crazy easy to follow

Treo 650: Keeps my life organized

Acura RSL: Don’t own one (yet) but for just under $50,000 it has standard features seen on top of the line BMWs, Mercedes, and Audis which are optional and whose baseline is at least $20,000 more

——-

A question though - you’re also a Treo 650 owner (or used to be) did you give it up or do you own 2 cell phones? If so, why?

kingbenny 11 Aug 05

- Martin D-16GT
- J. Crew argyle socks
- Public Enemies by Bryan Burrough
- Snappermail for Treo
- Donut peaches

Rob 11 Aug 05

I’m currently digging the Booq Boa.XM Limited Edition Backpack - the best bag I’ve ever purchased or seen - and several other things that I found on Uncrate.

Rich 11 Aug 05

XM Radio. As a commuter, I don’t know how I ever lived without it. The comedy channel makes the traffic just disappear.

JF 11 Aug 05

A question though - youíre also a Treo 650 owner (or used to be) did you give it up or do you own 2 cell phones? If so, why?

Yup, sold the Treo when I moved from Sprint to Cingular.

Not Steve 11 Aug 05

@ JF and other Audi owners. Wonderful cars, but I suggest you refrain from test driving the 3-series (including the M), if attention to detail is your thing. Having owned an A6, 330i (after extensively test driving the S4), and now an X3 it’s clear that BMW has just a bit more on Audi when it comes to polish. Note that I’m directing this at the sporty end of Audi’s line, which deviates from the overall ideology of the brand.

Mobil'Homme 11 Aug 05

Have to agree with the Clip -n- Seal. I got a supply of them recently, and they rock my bag-sealing world. I had a supply of clips that I got from Ikea that were decent until the hinge broke. CnS, by contract, is indestructible and way more hackable due to the two-piece design. Don’t mind that one bit.

Plus, get the large size, extract the plastic rod, and you have yourself a wicked rod for whacking friends and acquaintances. Excellent for some good, clean, and painful as hell, 6th-grade fun.

Clay Preheim 11 Aug 05

If you like Daniel Burnham’s work, you should really check out this interesting work of (mostly) non-fiction by Erik Larson:

The Devil in the White City.

A super interesting book for any history-minded Chicagoan.

I’m excited to check out “Plan of Chicago” — thanks for the tip!

David 11 Aug 05

I really heart my Bianchi. It’s my only sizable purchase of late, and going for great over saving a couple dollars has made a huge difference.

Brad 11 Aug 05

Trek 520 touring bike. If you live in a city, you might want to consider this for urban riding: it’s a road bike with wide tires like a hybrid, a comfortable geometry for long rides, and is virtually indestructible. I live in the province of Quebec, which has the worst-maintained road system in North America, and this bike takes all the potholes, bumps, and cracks in stride. Decent components, very stable when carrying a heavy load, and it has a triple crank to help you up the hills when your panniers are full.

Patrick 11 Aug 05

@Not Steve: Been there, done that. I guess at a certain price point in German cars it boils down to personal aesthetics preferences. Oh, and I’d never ever trade the quattro for a rear wheel drive in an all year car in rainy/snowy Europe.

Steve 11 Aug 05

My list is pretty much based on what Justin said about nice things, and having to buy less often, and spend less money in the long run.

Martin HD35: This thing is an absolute dream. It’s by far the best standard Martin I have ever heard. Guitars are funny that way though, because everybody has their preferred sound. I like loud and boomy, and that’s what the HD35 was made for. If your looking for mellow and balanced, the clapton signatures are hard to beat. Just as a general tip, When buying Martin guitars, a good deal on one would be 60-65% of list price. Most retailers will have them priced in the 70-75% range.

Powerbook G4: We all know ‘em and love em. I’m just amazed I got along with my iBook for so long before this thing! My only suggestion for anybody buying one, would be to put as much RAM in it as you can reasonably afford.

Dell FPW2405: Great monitor! Good size, great price, works with the PB. I’m not too picky about colors and all that stuff, but everything looks superb to me. I think the 20” might be a better mix of price/size since it’s almost half the price right now.

UnderArmor: Justin mentioned shoes, but I thought I would toss out my favorite piece of workout gear. This stuff is great. It’s insanely comfortable, breathable. I personally use the Heatgear Tshirt, LoseGear Evol Jersey, and LoseGear MicroShort. The heatgear is a compression shirt, so when you are lifting weight, there is better muscle support, and you can fatigue the muscles a little more efficiently. Somewhat pricey, but definitely worth it.

DL Byron 11 Aug 05

Great to see Clip-n-Seal made the list. Thanks! I just posted “No Hinge, No Cry” to your point. No hinge means thereís nothing to break it also means that sometimes the experience isn’t always clear. It’s so simple, some customers pause to figure out what it does. As Mobil’Homme notes, we’ve got reports that Clip-n-Seals make great light sabers and drum sticks. Thinking of that and the 40-inch long ones we custom manufactured for NASA, I imagined astronauts dueling in space and coming home with unexplained welts and bruises.

The product I’m absolutely digging right now is the Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine.

Steve 11 Aug 05

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale: Almost forgot this. This stuff is good for everything. Pour it on a cut, it’s better than neosporin. Drink a few when you have a sore throat, sore throat goes away for a couple hours. And if absolutely nothing is wrong with you, it’s just some damn fine tasting beer.

Aaron Post 11 Aug 05

Nice list, so is this 37signals web version of the “Oprah Effect”

Mike 11 Aug 05

Glad to see everyone falling all over themselves to one-up each other on the type of car they own. Reminds me of being on the Metra train one Chicago winter day and one guy says, “My BMW does great in the snow.” Another guy chimes in and says, “Yeah, my Lexus does pretty well, too.”

Brad 11 Aug 05

Powerbook G4: We all know Ďem and love em

We don’t all love ‘em. For me, this has been the second-most-disappointing computer I’ve owned since my G3 iBook (which was a disaster). My PowerBook G4 arrived with the non-closing screen latch problem, which I fixed myself, but now after only a year or so of use the screen is going dark on one side. Plus the keyboard doesn’t light up anymore in the dark (and yes, I’ve checked the system prefs).

Darrel 11 Aug 05

weíve got reports that Clip-n-Seals make great light sabers and drum sticks.

This is the problem with them. I’m thinking of buying a bag of them just for my 3 year old who is constantly stealing them out of the kitchen drawer.

Bill Bradford 11 Aug 05

My favorites/suggestions:

Tivoli Audio Model One. Not only the best AM/FM radio I’ve ever heard (INCREDIBLE sound of a single speaker), it makes a great external speaker for my Mac.

Matias Tactile Pro Keyboard - $99, but I expect it to last forever. If you liked the “big clicky” IBM keyboards, you’ll like this one.

My iBook (only a G4/800Mhz). First laptop/portable I’ve ever bought (rather than using hand-me-down x86 laptops); saved my bacon when it became my only computer for 1.5 months while living in a hotel. Love it to death.

Evan DiBiase 11 Aug 05

The 6682 and Cingular, huh? That’s exactly the combination I want! I’d really like to know how you ended up with that combination; I don’t see the 6682 on Cingular.com anywhere, and the Nokia site doesn’t provide a link to buy it.

Griff 11 Aug 05

S4, nice. I have a 2003 A6 3.0. Not fast, but roomy, smooth, and solid. I am with you on the Nike Free’s, I have started using them for shorter runs and so far I am very impressed. Other things that I have been impressed by are as follows:

Canon Pixma iP4000R Printer - 802.11b/g connectivity (no making a PC into a printer host), duplex printing, two paper feeds (so one can have photo paper, one plain, sadly the cassette won’t go down to 3x5 index card size), works with my mac and my MS PC’s. Nice output.

Garmin Forerunner 201 - Great way to track your running distances and times. Use it with USA Photo Maps (shareware) and overlay your tracks on satellite photo. I love doing this especially when I go for a run somewhere new when travelling.

Rega Speakers and NAD components - Big fan of UK stereo products. Lower wattage. Built for sonic accuracy, not loudness. Especially good for acoustic guitar, piano (it really sounds like a piano) and female vocals (Natalie Merchant sounds great as does all my favorite Irish music). I would have gotten a Rega integrated amp and cd player to match, but I have a new baby and daycare costs are brutal.

Audible.com - If you have an MP3 player, a high speed connection, and any free time, this is the best service ever. I have the 2 book a month subscription plan. All kinds of great titles for all tastes from Ayn Rand, Peter Senge, Dali Lama, Tom Peters, and David Allen, etc and they are always adding new titles. A must if you spend any time in the car, train, or air. I use especially enjoyable books to motivate me to run (can listen unless I am running).

Etymotic ER6i Headphones - in the ear headphones can take a little getting used to but they are so much more effective than noise cancellation and much more portable (and no extra batteries). At home, I can even put on some classical so I can read in the same room as my wife watches TV (I can’t read with the TV on, I wish I had that gift).

Griff

Jake Ingman 11 Aug 05

As a poor college grad student, I have low-budget alternatives for many of these.

Sweet Car ::: I ride my bike - can’t beat the mileage.
Mouthwash ::: I eat a banana - (two birds - hunger & smell).
Alarm Clock ::: My cell phone has an alarm clock.
Bag Clips ::: I have a roll & fold method that I should patent.

I’ll admit that when it comes to things I need to use repeatedly, I get the good stuff (15” powerbook), and I’d love to have lots of these things, but my pockets always seem empty.

Dan Boland 11 Aug 05

Steve: I’m a huge Newcastle fan myself, but I’m impressed that they (meaning Sierra Nevada) have detailed food and beer pairings. I don’t know if that’s a regular thing on beer websites (can’t say I visit those too often), but at any rate, that’s great information to pass along to people.

Ryan Platte 11 Aug 05

Rescue Remedy, eh? Nice to see a shout-out for homeopathics.

In addition to flower essences, my family’s had truly remarkable results with treatment from a classical homeopath. The kind of complaint your family doctor will say isn’t anything wrong or “needs more tests to know what’s going on” — that stuff is frequently no problem at all for a skilled homeopath.

As for science, it’s actually on quite a sound basis, as long as you care about empiricism (does it work?) vs. rationalism (do I understand how it could work?). From what I’ve seen, the scientific studies that respect the raw empiricism used in homeopathy generally validate it, the ones that bring rationalistic assumptions into the experiment generally dismiss it. But it works repeatably in real life, no matter what they do in the lab.

Rob Sanheim 11 Aug 05

The alarm clock looks nice, but $99 for it?!

Steve 11 Aug 05

Dan: Newcastle is good stuff, definitely one of my favorite brown ales. A similar beer that I enjoy is Downtown Brown from the Lost Coast Brewery. Porters and Stouts are hit and miss with me. But S.P.A. is the one I’m always in the mood for.

Rob 11 Aug 05

Herman Miller Aeron Chair-very comfortable to sit in for an extended period of time.

Treo 650-form and function


BillSaysThis 11 Aug 05

Interesting design on the Nike Free concept. But I always wonder how a customer is supposed to determine personal suitability from walking in the store with shoes on for two minutes. Can’t really wear them for a week or two and then return them.

A personal favorite in the tech realm is the Ximeta 160GB NAS drive I bought last Summer. Totally simple and connects to the router so always available. In a slim silver box.

Justin Perkins 11 Aug 05

I’m sorry to say, but for cars available in the United States, nothing beats the ‘99-‘05 Golf TDI (A4).

Gets 45-50 mpg, is an absolute blast to drive and runs on biodiesel no problem. It’s a compact car great for city life, but also is a nice roomy car for small road trips. I’ve been running biodiesel in mine for a while now. It’s really nice to go to a locally run co-op to buy fuel, fuel which is made locally in my area.

Steve, Downtown Brown is OK, but my favorite Lost Coast beer is without a doubt the Indica (IPA). Nice and hoppy, mmmm tasty :)

Don Wilson 11 Aug 05

“Thinking about a TT? Hairdresserís car ;-)”
Uhh, no-far from it. You’re thinking of the Mazda Miata.

Mike 11 Aug 05

BillSaysThis, good running stores usually have a treadmill handy in the shoe section (One store even let me take them for a spin around the block). Or, if a treadmill isn’t available, go to a big discounter like Dick’s and try on the shoe and then go to their equipment section and start running on the display treadmill. I’ve gotten a few bovine-glassy-stares from clerks but it guaranteed I got a good shoe. Brooks Adrenaline GTS-5s are my faves.

I have a product to add: MyWeb from Yahoo. It’s awesome, like a traveling bookmarks list with a comments field where you can add extra info (I also love BackpackIt, but it would seem like ass kissing to pub it on this blog).

Darrel 11 Aug 05

Speaking of web products, Spurl.net is a great product (akin to MyWeb)

Brad 11 Aug 05

I’m with Griff on the NAD stereo components…tastefully simple design, no frills, and fantastic sound.

On the Nike Free: can anyone tell me (Nike’s website can’t) whether they come with removeable insoles? I need those in order to wear them as I use a lift (one of my legs is 1/2” shorter than the other).

Eric 11 Aug 05

@Rob,

You say: The alarm clock looks nice, but $99 for it?!

Clearly you’re not taking Jason’s incredible insights to heart. Please go back and re-read comment #3 in this thread. Now do you get it!?

You see, by buying the best Jason is saving money. Think of all the money he’s saved (or will have saved) by not having to buy those crap alarm clocks that go for less than $90 that would need to be replaced or repaired.

Likewise, a brand new Audi S4 is saving him even more. Think of all the money that would have gone down the tube had he bought, say, a three-year old, well-maintained Toyota Camry. Man, those things just eat money left and right. You may think it’s a long time between repairs, and you may think hundreds of thousands of miles over the life of a car is a lot, but you just don’t know….

You need to appreciate these insights when they’re handed to you on a beautiful silver (not plastic!) platter (not tray!).

Michael Spina 11 Aug 05

The Mazda Miata (aka MX-5) is one of the few cars around that gets it almost perfect. For what it does it’s hard to beat. Cheap, lightweight, simple, tossable fun, well balanced, good gas mileage, great handling. And it’s got nothing that you don’t need in this type of car, like back seats or a power top. And with all the fun it’s still easy to drive in traffic and has enough room for a weekend getaway.

Justin P 11 Aug 05

> Please go back and re-read comment #3 in this thread. Now do you get it!?

I don’t think a $100 alarm clock is going to last any longer than a $20 alarm clock. An expensive is no less “crap” than is a $20 alarm clock. I’ve had a crappy Sony alarm clock for 8 years, still works as perfectly as the day it was new.

There is only a few things on Jason’s list that actually can be categorized under the “buy the best you can afford and you’ll have it for a long time category”. A $100 alarm clock is *not* one of those things.

Stephen 11 Aug 05

Waterman Expert Fountain Pen - If you can’t afford one of the beautiful Namiki pens then the Expert is the next best thing. I’ve had one for a few years, and just bought my brother the Expert II for his birthday. Refillable, incredibly smooth, fat without being like a Cuban cigar, these are a joy to write with.

The Economist - Beautiful typeface and very simply presented this newspaper is worth it’s high price. The rational and calm tone makes it a pleasant read and their style guide should be compulsory reading.

Stephen 11 Aug 05

I should re-read the section on apostrophes… And seeing as beer came up: It has to be Budweiser Budvar (the original Czech bud).

Justin P 11 Aug 05

Eric, one other point of mention…

You are kidding about the whole Audi S4 saving money, right? I mean, you’re not seriously comparing the cost savings of an Audi S4 vs. a Toyota (reliable as hell, Japanese car) Camry, are you?

I am a German car fanatic, but there is no denying the reliability of Japanese engineering.

emm ess eff 11 Aug 05


The most effective alarm clock is the one that costs enough to keep you up at night.

Other than that, for years I’ve been espousing the long term benefits of spending more for true quality.

Sometimes, however, you can spend less and get more satisfying and simple pleasure. For example, I once sold a fun but expensive BMW 3-series for a 1992 VW GTi 16v. With some tender care and careful maintenance, that GTi was a truly wonderful thing — both on the road and on the track.

My obscene collection of All-Clad LTD pots, however, is a somewhat different example.

As for the Audi talk, my painful memories of inhaling coolant vapor through the vents of my 4Kq have gradually been replaced with the pleasant reverie of its agile handling, character, and brutal ability to get grip in any conditions.

I enjoy nice stuff but abhor clutter and mindless materialism. And there’s that corny but accurate saying “if it doesn’t breathe, it doesn’t matter.”

Dan Boland 11 Aug 05

Justin P.: I’m with you on both points — I bought an alarm clock with giant red numbers at Target about six years ago for $8. I still have it and it still wakes me up. And I also drive a Toyota Echo, which, because of its very low cost, good gas mileage, small size and high reliability, make it tough to beat in the “city car” category (if such a category existed).

Amy 11 Aug 05

Powerbook G4 (12”). ‘Nuff said.

iPod 20GB color. I hadn’t planned on replacing my 3G 20GB, but the color display and the click wheel are oh-so-cool!

Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D digital SLR. Finally went over to the dark side (digital). Originally I was going to abandon my old Minolta lenses and start over with a Canon EOS 20D, but I was shocked when I picked up the Canon and discovered how awkward it felt in my hands. Then I tried out the Maxxum 7D and fell in love — perfect grip, large LCD, large viewfinder, manual controls (i.e., knobs) — everything is focused on the ultimate user experience.

Mike 11 Aug 05

Justin P, I think Eric was joking (that’s how I took it at least).

No one on Earth would buy an Audi over a Toyota if considering maintenance record and cost of ownership alone. I assume Audi quality and consistency has improved from the past, but Audi in the past was responsible for some real lemons.

On the other hand, no 26 year old wants to own his/her Dad’s Toyota Avalon. Toyota has an image problem as far as age of average buyer, that is why they started Scion (which both xA and xB look like awesome cars and vastly cheaper than the $46k Audi that Jason started the blog with).

Bob Aman 11 Aug 05

This is probably going to seem like it’s coming out of left field, but…

Sutton Flowform 30.

Rock solid stable, and plenty of lift for fairly heavy camera payloads. I can easily get my Canon EOS300D aloft in 10-15mph winds with it, and I’ve never had it pull a nose dive even once, a trait that my other parafoils occaisionally exhibit. (Trust me, you don’t want $1000 of camera equipment plummeting to the ground at 60 mph.)

Dan Boland 11 Aug 05

Mike: The Scion xA looks exactly like the Toyota Matrix and the xB might be the ugliest car this side of the Pacer. A guy I work with bought a tC about six months ago, and I’ve seen one other tC on the road since its inception. And I live in Chicago!

But you’re right, I think Toyota does have an image problem with twenty-somethings, and I think a big part of that is the Honda Civic. I work and hang out with tons of people who drive a Honda Civic, it’s insane. It was genius for Honda to make a Civic Hybrid instead of a new hybrid model (a la the Prius) because it just strengthens the Civic brand’s relevance.

Mike 11 Aug 05

Dan Boland, the difference between a Matrix and xA is about $7k (and the xA is smaller in cargo space). xB is definitely a love it or hate it car, the tC is one of those cars that looks a lot like everything else on the road (totally agree with you on the tC). I don’t even think I would recognize it unless I saw the Scion emblem.

Justin P 11 Aug 05

I actually like the look of the tC, at least better than any of the other Scion models. My friend just picked up a new Audi A3, which I think is a very nice looking car. The lines in this car remind me a lot of the tC, but I’m thinking it was Scion who looked to Audi for inspiration not the other way around. We just happened to start seeing the tC before the A3 made it’s way to the US.

I like the seamless transition in from the front/rear windows in the tC to the roof, and the A3 has the same feature. The tC models that are silver with a black roof look really nice.

I’ve never liked the look of Toyotas too much, other than the Prius and the Echo, their cars tend to be too big (Avalon and Camry come to mind) for my likes.

Anonymous Coward 11 Aug 05

I am with you on the Medium footwear I have had 4 pairs of “Alchemists” and am content with never buying any other casual sneaker as long as they keep making them. Great design, materials, and comfort.

Also how did you get a 6682? I have had a 3650 with cingular for a while now and am looking to upgrade to a newer series 60 phone.

Bryan W 11 Aug 05

Powerbook 12”
Ibanez RG7321.

Jason, how is the Nike free as a general shoe? Do you only use them for running and such or are they OK as primary footwear?

JF 11 Aug 05

Bryan, I wear the Free to work and kick around primarily. I actually haven’t run in them yet (I have a pair of shox for that). I’ve heard they are wonderful running shoes. You have to get used to them though.

Dave Simon 11 Aug 05

Was out in Portland last month, my brother-in-law who manages the McCormick & Schmicks with the Full Sail Brewery attached turned me on to their Session Lager.

Great summer beer, very refreshing and cool, retro packaging. Including 11 oz. stubby bottles ala Lucky Lager and Oly.

Definitely also on the 15” PowerBook bandwagon. I love mine. Love it even more connected to my 20” Apple Display. Freakin’ sweet.

I’ve also been downing a bunch of Propel “fitness water” recently. Breaks the monotony of “regular water.”

Brad 11 Aug 05

Another one I thought of:

Google Desktop. This is an awesome free tool (Windows only) that beats the pants off Spotlight for the Mac. You use the same search rules and procedures that you’re familiar with in Google, nothing new to learn. Searches that took 10 minutes using Windows’ or Outlook’s built-in search functions now take 5 seconds. This little gem has noticeably improved my productivity.

Lars Fischer 11 Aug 05

Cool, all these people supporting a German company (Audi aka VW).

I owned a BMW and an Audi, but since my first Mercedes I’d never go back. Anyway, the cars are one of two products where Germany is best (the other is beer) :-)

Eamon 11 Aug 05

I absolutely hated sandals until a friend demanded I try out his old Chacos for a day. Unbelievably comfortable.

freecia 11 Aug 05

Stephen- I’m with you on a nice pen. Not only do I tend to keep an eye on them in attempts to not lose them, they make me a lot happier when I’m using one for mundane tasks.

Stretch T from Gap. It fits well and comes in fun colors.

Drinking a quality beverage. For me, I love Jasmine tea, especially Jasmine Downey Pearls from Peet’s Coffee. Your beverage “sipping time” is a slice of relaxation. Enjoy it by treating yourself to the “good stuff” since those few minutes of relaxation can make your day.

Curious 11 Aug 05

Hey Jason, I’m Looking into getting an S4 or the new BMW 330i. I love the look of the S4 (interior is so nice) but as I research online a ton of forums are saying the S4 is a big gas guzzler?

How has the S4 been so far??

JF 11 Aug 05

I can’t say enough good things about the S4. I promise you’ll like it more than 330, but it does suck gas. The 330 def gets better mileage. The S4 is a V8, the 330 is a 6. That’s the main reason.

Justin P. 11 Aug 05

Gas guzzler indeed, at least it’s fun to drive.

Diego 11 Aug 05

Does anybody knows why Audi’s website has the Netscape Favicon?

I’ve noticed that on chevrolet;s web too…

Dave Simon 11 Aug 05

Forgot to mention my iPod Shuffle. Perfect for the gym.

Bryan W 11 Aug 05

All this talk about low MPG is making me like my civic more.

tim 12 Aug 05

please help those guys at medium shoes!
how does one find a shoe in size 15 on their site?
why do the y offer the Anarchist boots in two colors (black and black) and demand 260 $ for such a simple design?

Geoff 12 Aug 05

“Anthro Cart Desk Furniture”:http://anthrocart.com/ — Durable, ergonomic, adjustable, great customer service.

“M-Audio Speakers”:http://m-audio.com/ — Sound great, works with laptop, desktop, iPod, etc.

Geoff 12 Aug 05

Apparently no Textile here….

Anthro Cart

M-Audio

Peter 12 Aug 05

Nikon Coolpix 4500 makes great pictures and almost indestructible.

Canada Goose Halifax Parka extraordinary quality, snug and hood with real fur ruff

Mercedes Benz E320 CDI Wagon lots of space and torque - what else do you need?

Gorge 12 Aug 05

I ourchased my first phone of nokia 3310.Amazing phone and it is still working.But now i am not use these it is working well.

Gorge 12 Aug 05

I purchased my first phone of nokia 3310.Amazing phone and it is still working.But now i am not use these it is working well.
Gorge

Baba 12 Aug 05

[url:http://www-131.ibm.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?storeId=10000001&catalogId=-840&langId=-1&categoryId=2035724]IBM Thinkpad[/url] - no complaints since I bought it 2001.

Baba 12 Aug 05

How to post a url? there used to be a desccription in the footer…

memer 12 Aug 05

I’ve been a drooling fan of the S4 for years. And just when I’ve decided to pump up my dreams and gumption to think about owning one in the near future, they go and change the nose on the whole line.

That big nose looks fine on the upcoming Q7 (schweeet), but on any other model, it ruins the whole exterior for me. What do you think of it? Ugly, no?

My next best compromise dream mobile is the Infinity FX35 (shh! don’t tell anyone. don’t want everyone on the bandwagon before i can afford one)

Don Schenck 12 Aug 05

Audi S4 … starting at $46,820.

Must be nice. Sheesh.

I don’t like Audis. My opinion.

Enjoy.

Sarah 12 Aug 05

While I’m writing my book there aren’t too many things I can justify buying. But I agree, the fewer better things you buy, the better your life is, even if it’s eight million degrees in NYC and you are locked inside like a bonobo.

So… Barrington Coffee Roasters roasts the best coffee ever. If you happen to be in Great Barrington, MA, you are lucky. It’s nice, and the folks who run it are dedicated to making only the best things. They are super enthusiatic about their product. If you are a bonobo, or you aren’t in MA, then you can order it online. I like the Italian roast.

Neiman Marcus men’s cotton undershirts, the ribbed kind, for this heinous weather.

I like my Tivoli Ipal, because it works on a battery as well as with a plug. I love the feel of the big ole dial, only problem is I need to keep my little Porche Grundig by my bedside because it has the sleep function.

Oh, yeah, and powdered Colman’s mustard. If that doesn’t turn your chest hairs yellow, call me a bonobo. A tiny spoonful is great in salad dressing.

Marsh 12 Aug 05

Brad, try the Copernic desktop search. I used Google’s Desktop Search (GDS) for a while before becoming frustrated by how poorly it handled files that moved or filtering out sorted spam from ham email.

Picasa and Hello are two great apps for organizing and sharing/explaining photos.

Firefox browser and extensions like Super-drag-and-go, AdBlock, WebDeveloper and Scrapbook have changed the way I use the web. So has Bloglines.

Alexandre Simard 12 Aug 05

Re: Audi S4 vs BMW 330i

There’s something amiss here. The S4 is Audi’s answer to the M3, not the 330i. The 330i is 10 000 USD cheaper (36K vs 46K). It’s not the same class of car. The new M3 will assuredly kick this souped-up Jetta’s ass. [/BMW fanboy ;-)]

Andrew 12 Aug 05

The Book of Daniel - Only 30 pages in and I’m hooked. I feel a comparison to 1984 coming …

New Rules: Polite Musings of a Timid Observer - Bill Maher is a funny, intelligent man. The is an absolutely fabulous read.

Sierra Designs Light Year CD Tent - I used my friends and have fallen in love with this solo tent. Great for hiking in the Pacific Northwest. Since when can a tent weigh 3 pounds?

Timbuk 2 Duffel Bag - Use this bag when you go ‘recreational’ camping, on short trips, or just to go to the gym. It is oh so versatile.

Puma Ligas - Got them for $40 at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. One of the most comfortable pair of shoes I’ve ever owned and they also hide dirt beautifully.

Dan 12 Aug 05

An S4? You either have no kids or have a nanny for your kids. Either way, GG!

Andrew 12 Aug 05

and remember to get the footprint with the Sierra Designs tent.

JF 12 Aug 05

An S4? You either have no kids or have a nanny for your kids. Either way, GG!

No kids ;)

Anonymous Reader 12 Aug 05

For traveling, I’ve always loved Andiamo Luggage’s ergonomic handle. I first saw it years ago in an airplane magazine and lately I think others have started to copy it. As a business traveler, it has my 100% recommendation.
www.andiamoluggage.com

I also recommend Tempur Pedic beds and pillows. I even take my pillow along on trips.
www.tempurpedic.com/tempurcmsvb

Have a great day all.

A.Reader

Anonymous Reader 12 Aug 05

This also interests me…the future of taxis.
www.skywebexpress.com/

Of course I wish the US had a rail system that included the Bullet Train too.


Have a great day all.

A.Reader

Bobby 12 Aug 05

Alexandre is right; the S4 is the losing response to the M3. However, price for performance, it will outperform a 330i.

And to several of you: the A4/S4 isn’t based on the Jetta.

Yay! 13 Aug 05

More masturbation posts from JF! You are just so damn cool!

atk 13 Aug 05

nice thread.

i’ve been digging my ‘94 ducati monster this summer - and my bridgestone x0-1 (my fave city bike ever) for urban transportation this summer.

Bryan W 13 Aug 05

I’d like to add the M-Audio trigger finger.

Scott M. 13 Aug 05

Hey Jason, does the Nokia 6682’s phone book allow for street address, city, state, and zip? Trying to replace my wife’s Treo 600 with a better ‘phone’ but she says she requires the extra info (including up to three phone numbers per entry). We’re testing a SonyEricsson 710a right now, but she’s not really liking it (the SE UIs are pretty poor, although I know she misses the Palm interface). Thanks in advance.

Scott

Michael Ward 14 Aug 05

I’ve just purchased the Nokia 6680 (the European 3G version of the 6682 - notable addition being the second front camera for video calling). It’s a very capable phone and I’m generally impressed with its functionality and connectivity.

I’d been put off with prior experience of Nokia phones (circa 2000) but I was recently forced into choosing the Nokia 6230i as an insurance replacement for a broken Samsung V80 - and I was so impressed with the PC software that accompanied it that I decided to go the whole hog and get a phone that did the PC software justice.

The 3G connection on top is the icing on the cake (though 3G reception is patchy so I won’t be relying on it).

Michael Ward 14 Aug 05

Scott M.: My 6680 supports address fields in the contacts, and I believe you can enter custom fields as well. I believe the 6682 software is virtually identical, minus the 3G features of the 6680.

Alexandre Simard 15 Aug 05

Alexandre is right;

Hey, thanks!

the S4 is the losing response to the M3. However, price for performance, it will outperform a 330i.

“price for performance” is a tough concept. How do you measure performance? It’s certainly not just acceleration, especially with this kind of car. Then, how do you weigh the different measures one against the other? Also, “price for performance” is not the way most people will shop for a car. They’ll have a budget, and go for the best car fitting that budget. So ratios from differently priced vehicles are not so helpful. It’s better to compare the actual cars available in a designated price bracket.

And to several of you: the A4/S4 isnít based on the Jetta.

Yes, you’re right. I didn’t do any research there. Apparently, it’s actually a souped-up Passat. Much better. ;-)

Seriously, these cars are way out of my price range, which is closer to car-pooling. I was just reproducing a familiar strike against Audi from car message boards. It is kind of true, though. Audi sports cars are engineered from platforms designed to be shared across many models and many brands, whereas BMW sports cars are engineered as sports cars. Of course, it’s the result that counts.

Justin Perkins 15 Aug 05

And to several of you: the A4/S4 isnít based on the Jetta.

For VW people, the A4 is their Jetta/Golf. A4 means 4th generation. Also referred to as “Mk IV”.

There is no relationship to the Audi series of vehicles, although it can be confusing.

Daniel Honig 15 Aug 05

The audi S4 is simply a remarkable machine. For those who feel they can claim the S4 is the lesser of the M3 vs S4 battle you would do well to locate a video that has been around for a while. Topgear the show from BBC pitted these cars against each other and basically called them equal but different. The top gear reviewer personally favored the S4, but that was just his choice. The way in which topgear mentioned they are equal is this: for those that want a squirrely exhilirating ride that has some drift the M3 is probably the best car, for those that want a more refined and stable ride the S4 is the best choice. As proof the cars were tested on oval and squiggly tracks. The M3 won on the oval track while the S4 won the squiggly track by a second. The reason the S4 won is the quattro system which has the effect of the S4 losing less energy on turns and able to get over the apex of the turn faster. These cars are always compared to each other but offer a different experience. I like the refinement and polish of the S4 over the adolescent agressiveness of the M3. It is purely personal prefence as each of the machines is an excellent car. For those who claim the S4 is based on the Jetta or that the M3 is not built on the 3 series platform you should probably do a little bit more homework before offering your less than factual opinion.

Dan 15 Aug 05

Justin Perkins
For VW people, the A4 is their Jetta/Golf. A4 means 4th generation. Also referred to as “Mk IV”.

Ok, you’re blatantly wrong. I mean, more than wrong. It’s just spewed nonsense. The A4 is the B platform of VAG (Volkswagen-Audi Group). The Passat used to, USED TO share the same platform as the A4. As generation of A4 have come about it was initially the 80/90 as the B4 platform, the A4 being the B5 till 2001, then B6 till 2005, and now the B7. Never once has the Jetta or Golf shared a platform with the A4. The Jetta and Golf are on their own “A” platform. And yes, their generations are known to enthusiasts as the Mark II, III, iV, and now the V.

There is no relationship to the Audi series of vehicles, although it can be confusing.

Your whole post is confusing. There are many relationships between Audi and Volkswagen. I buy many parts for my B5 A4 at the VW dealer, and vice-versa.

JF
As a long time Audi enthusiast and also Chicago resident, I invite you to check out the ACCCC. Maybe even meet some of the members. I, for one, am a local web designer and Audiphile and there are many others. Just this past weekend, we had a driver’s education track event in Rockton, IL at Blackhawk Farms Raceway. The club and events details are at: http://www.audichicago.org

Rik 16 Aug 05

Salomon Crossmax S-Lab inline skates, particularly now that I have Hyper +G and Redstar Rocket wheels on them - way fast! I commute to and from work on skates (beats being blown up and-slash-or just stuck in traffic. Yes, I live in London). These are simply fantastic all-round skates - comfy enough to wear for hours on end (and I have, believe me), rugged enough to take any punishment I can throw at them. Bit ugly, but you can’t have everything. You can judge their popularity by their virtual ubiquity on the London Skate…

Salomon XA Pro 2 XCR Adventure running shoes - got these in the middle of winter in Toronto and have worn them most days since, rain or shine. Goretex, kevlar laces, super comfy, ultra-rugged, lightweight. What’s not to like? Oh, the smell…
Going to get a pair of Nike Free 5.0s very soon.

Smart Cafe hot cafetiere mug with integrated plunger - perfect for topping up on joe at work without having to make a pot for everyone else.

MEC Pamir jacket - an amazingly great softshell jacket which is lightweight, super-rugged yet warm and windproof. You can wear it doing anything from cross-country skiing to skating to chilling out in the pub. All Mountain Equipment Coop stuff is generally great - really well constructed and at a sensible price point. Probably why 70% of Canadians seem to be wearing at least one MEC item at any give time.

Professional CSS, by Schmitt, et al. Lovely.

John Zeratsky 16 Aug 05

This post is just begging to be comment-spammed :-)

Mike G 16 Aug 05

Jason,

Where did you find the Nokia 6682? I haven’t been able to track one down in the US yet.

Mike

JF 16 Aug 05

I ordered the unlocked 6682 from Nokia before they took it off their site.

Alexandre Simard 18 Aug 05

Topgear the show from BBC pitted these cars against each other and basically called them equal but different.

I am in agreement with this statement. My previous stabs at the S4 were purely in jest. My personal preference would go to the M3, but both are awesome cars, and I would be blessed to be able to afford either one of them. Although, at that price point, the Lotus Elise is probably the most fun you can buy.

For those who claim the S4 is based on the Jetta or that the M3 is not built on the 3 series platform

I hope you’re not counting me in these ranks. I know the M3 is a souped-up 3-series. My only point was that the 3-series is engineered specifically as a sports-sedan platform, whereas the Volkswagen Audi Group’s B platform, which the S4 uses, is the basis of many a different car, not necessarily all sports sedans. And again, platform-sharing is now the norm in the automotive industry, and it can produce great cars (the S4 is a shining example) and great commercial success (Chrysler 300).

The A4 is the B platform of VAG (Volkswagen-Audi Group). The Passat used to, USED TO share the same platform as the A4. As generation of A4 have come about it was initially the 80/90 as the B4 platform, the A4 being the B5 till 2001, then B6 till 2005, and now the B7.

This is all correct, AFAIK, except for the fact that the upcoming Passat *will* be based on the B7 platform. I think this was mentioned in the discussion I linked to previously. I must confess that this kind of information is somewhat hard to find, though. Manufacturers like the VAG don’t really want you to know that Skoda builds a Golf for Eastern Europe that is half the price the one you’re buying, for example. (Note: I made that up. Please don’t argue with this hypothetical example.) Does anyone know of a good reference site for this kind of information?

Jeremy 19 Aug 05

I’ve been pleased with the self-titled album from Brooklyn’s Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.

Aside from that, I bought a Stella by Genuine Scooters. $5 for two weeks’ commute. Gas was $2.48 yesterday, I get a full tank (2.1 gal) for a little over $5, how can you beat that?

Lars Plougmann 19 Aug 05

MindManager from MindJet and a beautiful aluminium reading light from Louis Poulsen Design were two products that impressed me so much that I had to mention them on my blog.

karolyn 19 Aug 05

NIKE FREE - fantastic. And yes, they come with 2 pairs of interchangeable inserts, one slightly thicker than the other, perfect for you, Brad. Light as air. Soo comfy. And I can’t help but believe their claim (nike’s) that the shoe is supposed to help build the muscles in your feet - like running barefoot.
I saw an ad for them and went to Academy to try them on, seriously, I almost ran to the checkout but I didn’t want to scare anyone.

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