Is it fine to call the Zeiss ZX1 vapourware at this point?
When it was announced at Photokina, I was so incredibly excited to see a proper successor to the Sony RX1R Mark II happen but there have been no announcements since. 😔

This may be a bit meta but I wonder if Apple is keeping new styles of Memoji in their backpocket to coax people into updating iOS when they need to push out a crucial security update, like WhatsApp did a while back.

Apple’s AirPods are disposable and they shouldn‘t be

Last week I came across an article by Geoffrey A. Fowler in the Washington Post titled „Everyone’s AirPods will die. We’ve got the trick to replacing them.“ (thanks to Dave Mark of The Loop for bringing it up).

Sadly, the title is not just slightly clickbait-y, it also belies the sensible discussion about the viability of AirPods the article contains. Fowler goes into detail about how and when the batteries in AirPods tend to stop performing and then dives into an analysis of the economic circumstances and environmental implications of a product like the AirPods.

Fowler quotes a rule by Kyle Wiens, CEO of the repair website iFixit.com, that has stuck with me for the past few days:

The life span of an expensive, resource-intensive gadget shouldn’t be limited to the life span of one consumable component. You wouldn’t buy an electric toothbrush where you couldn’t replace the brush. Or a car with glued-on tires.

Sadly and also predictably, the new AirPods Pro are made to be just as disposable as their predecessors (and just like any other pair of wireless earbuds on the market right now).

I bought my AirPods a little over two years ago. These little things are a brilliant gadget with decent sound and when pairing works as it should, they’re the pinnacle of convenience. They’ve also been in almost daily use since I purchased them then and the battery life is accordingly bad at this point: I get less than 1.5 hours of listening or calls out of them nowadays.
When I purchased them, I knew full well that the battery was not replaceable and to be honest, I’m kind of mad at myself that I put convenience over the longevity, repairability, and recyclability of a device. Typically everything I buy needs to be either repairable and if for some reason that’s not feasible, it has be long-lasting and recyclable.
Case in point: in writing this article I remembered that I bought a pair of EarPods a couple of days after they were released in September 2012 and that pair lasted me almost six years — yes, I treat my earphones carefully.

I’m going to keep using my AirPods until the finally give out or rather until the battery life is so bad that it negates any kind of convenience these truly wireless earphones offer and I’m going to go back to wired earphones with an in-line remote for casual listening. I still have two pairs of completely new EarPods that came with my iPhones over the years in a drawer (one with the lightning plug and one with a standard 3.5 mm plug), or I might splurge on the Campfire Audio Comet.

Two reviews of the Quoc Gran Tourer gravel cycling shoes and my own two cents

Two comprehensive reviews of the Quoc Gran Tourer have cropped up on sites that I frequently read.

Quoc Gran Tourer Review: Rocks, Gravel, Dust, And Puddles
by Cass Gilbert on Bikepacking.com

A Summer of Riding in the Quoc Gran Tourer All-Terrain Gravel Bike Shoes
by John Watson on The Radavist

I’ve been using the Quoc Gran Tourer for over a year now and up until I saw these two reviews, I had thought of writing my own but I found that the assessment of the shoes by these two persons mirrors my own closely enough that there are only two things I would add:

  1. Fit wise, I have moderately wide feet and I appreciate having ample room in the toe box. The Gran Tourers deliver in this area, all the while the lacing system allows me to perfectly tie the shoes so they’re comfortable yet stay firmly on my feet all day long.
  2. It takes quite a bit for water to seep into these shoes but once they’re wet, it takes very long for them to properly dry.

I’ve taken these shoes through quite a lot yet they still show only minimal signs of wear on the upper and they’ve only gotten more comfortable with use. I’m very satisfied with the shoes.

So, eben endlich Fördermitglied bei der Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte geworden. Ist echt notwendig, wenn ich mir den Murks anschaue, den die Regierung so in den letzten Jahren verzapft.

What an absolutely stunning paint job. I want a Cannondale Slate but the geometry isn’t for me. This is giving me serious bike envy, even though I adore Battle Cat, my titanium gravel bike.

A new Spider-Verse movie has been announced

Sony/Marvel announced a new Spider-Verse movie and I’m so happy this is coming. Even though we’ll all have to be patient because the film’s release is scheduled for 2022.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” has quickly become one of my comfort food films. I don’t remember when a movie made it onto this list so quickly and I must’ve watched it more than 10 times already.

Can’t wait.

Watching “The Shape of Water”. I love Michael Shannon in the role of a dirtbag.

It’s 2 Nov and I have had “Have yourself a merry little Christmas” stuck in my head for the past three days. 🤦🏻‍♂️🎄

I won’t be riding Battle Cat, my gravel bike, with the new wheel set for a while because it turns out that the person who built the back wheel must’ve been an amateur and didn’t center the rim over the axle but over the core of the hub. It’s off center by 2 cm. 😣

Ich trat hier in Trier eben aus meiner Tür und irgendwie roch es auf eine Weise nach Instantkaffee, die mich gedanklich direkt in meine Schulzeit in Mainz transportiert hat. Dort roch es im Umkreis von mehreren Kilometern um die Nescafe-Fabrik in Mombach regelmäßig so.

With a bit of luck I’ll be making a few modifications to my bike later today. (The back wheel is in service to have a radial run-out fixed.)

This interview with Queen Latifah on Colbert’s show was a pleasure to watch. The woman is an inspiration.

What a beauty.
2019 Grinduro: Olivetti Drop Bar MTB

That moment when you bought a DT Swiss wheelset and find out that you already have the thru axle conversion adapter you will need for the front wheel from a previous project.

Ach du grüne Neune.
Der Zugbegleiter hier im ICE nach Nürnberg spricht im Dialekt, der alde Hesse.
Hallo Mainz!

Als Radfahrer wünsche ich mir gut ausgebaute Radwege, damit ich schnell und sicher von A nach B komme.
Als Autofahrer wünsche ich mir gut ausgebaute Radwege, damit ich schnell und entspannt von A nach B komme und Radfahrer in Sicherheit weiß.

This was a short but satisfying and satisfyingly muddy lunch gravel ride. I should do this more often.

My gravel bike "Battle Cat" in front of Trier's city scape

I miss the 2nd generation butterfly keyboard of my old 2016 MacBook Pro so much. Best keyboard I’ve ever used and while the mechanism is similar on the iPad Pro Smart Keyboard and damn good for a keyboard of this type, it still feels much less precise.

Turns out that I’ve been riding my bike(s) every day for the past two weeks in some shape or form. Some longer rides, some shopping rides, some just going to the local coworking space. Still, it makes me very happy to get some pedaling in daily.

The first piece for the gravel cassette project has arrived.

Is it ever too late for a cup of hot Earl Grey tea?

I just realised that I haven’t sat down to just listen to an entire orchestral soundtrack/classical album/any album really in a few weeks. I need to make time on the weekend to get lost in some good music.

Just ordered an Ultegra 12–25 cassette and a Wolftooth 18 tooth cog replacement. I’ll try to combine this with my existing XT 11–40 cassette to create a cassette with very tight high gears and sensibly even spacing in the lower gears: 12-13-14-15-18-21-24-27-31-35-40

First ride impressions: Salsa Cowchipper gravel bike handlebar

When I built up my gravel bike, Battle Cat, I decided to stick with the Canyon H17 Al Ergo handlebar at least for a while because I wasn‘t keen on re-wrapping a new bar and I had, up until then, been pretty happy with it. Recent longer outings with more singletrack sections made me curious about the flared drop bars that have become increasingly popular among gravel and cross cyclists. After quite a bit of research, I decided to buy the Salsa Cowchipper Deluxe.

Yesterday I went out for the first proper ride and the route I picked was a mix of gravel tracks, forest and wine yard paths, and some broken asphalt roads. All of it wet, slippery, loose, and muddy from three days of nearly constant heavy rain.

On the first kilometre everything felt strange. The suddenly angled hoods and brake levers, the flare of the bars (24°), the different transition from the flat bar to the hood to the drops, and all of it combined with the Tune Dahu Skin bar tape.
This completely evaporated once I went up the first singletrack climb. The path was parts muddy, parts wet slippery slate pieces that required careful line choice going up and equally careful weight distribution so as not to lose traction riding on 700×40c Donnelly X’Plor MSO tyres already at 3.5 bar.
The flared bars allowed me to get into a wide and low stance, staying seated the whole time. The first fast decent on a muddy path increased the feeling of control on the bike and sections that I would have typically ridden with my hands on the hoods, I took in the drops because the reduced distance between hoods and drops, combined with the overall different shape of the assembly had me riding less hunched over.

So far so good. I’m going for a longer gravel ride on the weekend that will hopefully be less wet and I’m looking forward to seeing how I feel about the handlebar after 40+ km in the saddle compared to a quick 16 km ride.