1 Thing A Week

Weekly posts from the mind of Charanjit Chana

Week 337: Selvedge Denim Update

Almost two years ago, I wrote about selvedge denim. At the time, I had just brought a fresh new pair of jeans that needed breaking in.

I didn't do anything extreme with them, just wore them quite a bit over the past two years. They've got great whiskers and signs of wear. Unfortunately the inner-thigh area has deteriorated to the point where they're in need of professional repair and I have just taken in a new pair.

I've settled on Uniqlo as the reasonably prices source and they hold up pretty well day to day. This is what they look like after 23 months of wear:

I plan to get my 'old' pair repaired as RE:Uniqlo Studios are a thing where you can take your items to bring them back to life.

Nudie Jeans have a similar program and so do British jeans maker, Hiut Denim.

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Week 336: The price of film stock in 2024

I have a Canon SLR at home with a range of Canon and Sigma lenses and have been thinking about making use of it. There's a bit of film left in the camera, but not much, so naturally my first thought was to finish the film and get it developed.

It doesn't feel like I stopped using film all that long ago. In reality it's about 15 years since I had a roll of film developed. Back then, it was easy to find a roll of film in pound shops and super markets.

Not anymore.

The last few rolls I had developed in an Asda super stores where they had dedicated counters for various photography goods. Before that, I believe it would have been either Bonusprint or Truprint but neither exist in an analogue format. The former has gone digital and the latter swallowed by Snapfish.

And so to Amazon to look for a cheap roll of film. The cheapest (that doesn't charge extra for delivery which inflates the overall price) is £7.99 for a 100 ISO roll, but it's black and white. The cheapest works out to be about £11.60 per roll. Three roles of Kodak Gold 200 ISO film.

Unfortunately, I don't know what it would cost to get it all developed. Snappy Snaps seem to be the only high-street store in the UK still offering this service. I'll venture in and find out the price before buying any film because I'm guessing it won't be cheap.

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Week 335: Embossing ambitions

I have had a bit of a tough week (I might write about it at some point) so posting this pretty late on to keep the streak going.

Quite a while ago I came across this video about a rubber stamp shop in NYC, which looks like it's still going and it's somewhere I would love to visit.

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One Of Every Porsche Road Car In One Place!

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Hallelujah! Physical Buttons Could Make a Comeback Due to New Safety Regulations

The buttons on the dashboard of my car are close together with little separating them. They're more like toggles so I have to look at them as I would a digital button. The difference is that they consume 3D space so it's not just about tapping the right square, the square takes more space in the Z-index if we're talking about a 3D model and that alone makes it easy to use.

When it comes to something like a radio or AC controls that you might use often and build up muscle memory for then for me the physical world wins over the digital world here. Bring buttons back to cars.

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The Ludacris Drink Champs episode

I've been a fan of Ludacris' music for years but towards the end of this interview he really cemented his place as an ultimately good force in the world of hip hop. You can watch the whole thing below or skip to 2hrs 45 minutes.

The only other episode I've watched all the way through is Pharrell on Drink Champs which is also worth a watch.

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Week 334: Momento: the sports ticket scrapbook app

Every now and then, a new web app in the vein of Wordle comes along. On and off for a while now I've been playing Football Grid, a game where you guess the 9 different players who have played for a combination of two clubs or a club and a specific country.

I wanted to tweet a suggestion, only to find out the account had an app in the app store and I went to take a look.

Momento is a sports scrapbook that helps you keep track of the various games you have attended as a fan.

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Vanishing Clock

via Kottke

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Week 333: Cities at similar latitudes

Something I had long planned to look into was cities of at a similar latitude because it always surprises me when I stumble across the fact that New York is closer in latitude to where the Mediterranean is rather than somewhere like London. Given New York gets snow I would have expected it to be higher than it is. This tweet made me want to finally take a look at it:

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Week 332: 3 Months with Apple Fitness+

Included with my Apple Watch Ultra 2 was a trial of Apple Fitness+, I waited a little before getting it going, but was keen to see what the service was like.

Overall, it is a great service but for my own body I pushing myself too hard with longer workouts on my exercise bike. I've had to take a bit of a break but the plan is to get back on it tonight.

The trainers are all very good, instructions are clear and the on screen graphics help to push you along. The full integration between devices is brilliant, Apple have nailed it as a non-line coaching set up. I really enjoyed lots of the workouts I did and there were plenty that pushed me well out of my comfort zone too.

Things that were not so great with Apple Fitness+

Let's get the bad things out of the way, there aren't many.

My biggest annoyance was how things are filmed when a new move is introduced. For cycling you always see the leader's legs so matching their speed is up to you. For other workouts, like HIIT for example, you might feel like you're doing it right until the camera angle changes. Too many times I was too far gone in burst before realising I wasn't set up right.

My only other annoyance was around zone information when cycling. If you're doing a generic indoor cycling session, you get zone information which helps you understand how much effort you're putting in and I find motivating. When in an Apple Fitness+ session with a trainer you're often asked to 'go all out' but without the context of zones, I don't have much to go on. I think zones should be available in all cycling workouts or at least made an option.

Audio gripe

I do not understand the appeal of Spatial Audio with these workouts. My iPad or iPhone mounted on a bike, Spatial Audio makes it feel like everyone is a little further away. Maybe others find it useful and more immersive, but I found it pointless.

The great things about Apple Fitness+

The coaches are all enthusiastic. My favourite partners for riding were Bakari and Sherica. When Cory was in the room too, you know you're gonna have a good session. Wierdly, I found Cory a great partner for the room because he's always smiling and matched my rhythm more often than not.

Honestly, all the coaches were motivating and never let you down with a dull or pointless ride, but Bakari and Sherica were the best persona's for me. If you're using Apple FItness+, give them a go!

Being able to use your phone, your iPad or your TV (via the Apple TV app) made it a great option. Sometimes I'd take over the living room, other times I'd be zoned in with the iPad. Paired with an Apple Watch made it all seamless. With my various headphones it's great too. No need to worry about Spatial Audio, in my opinion and a recent update let you put more emphasis on the soundtrack. This helped me enjoy it all more because sometimes a great song comes on that get's you in the right frame of mind and this helped to stay there.

It's worth mentioning that they've done a lot of work to make sure you can do all sorts of work outs that are tailored to the equipment you have, even if that's none. It's pretty accessible even if you're not using a bike, treadmill or weights.

Being able to build a custom program is great and there are automated options to. Just tell it what kind of activities you want to do and your plan will be ready in seconds. I didn't always appreciate a notification saying 'there's still time' when it gets to about 7pm when I know I'm almost free from work and family duties to be able to work out, but the reminders did keep me on track and even if I was tired I did do something more often than not.

Is Apple Fitness+ worth it?

If you have the equipment at home, then it's pretty cost effective. Cheaper than Peloton, but I didn't realise they had free lessons. That would be a great move for Apple to introduce a subset of classes you could take but right now it's a paid experience no matter what.

I think it's worth the price. I need to figure some stuff out personally so that I'm not pushing myself harder than I should. Once I've done that it will be something I'm looking at diving back into.

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Julius Caesar and Leap Days

I'm a day late on this. I only became aware of the ending in 00 & divisible by 400 during the last leap year which is odd to me given that one of the leap years in my life time was for the year 2000! Maybe we were all to pre-occupied with the Y2K bug to worry about leap days.

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Apple Cancels Electric Car Project

When the next version of CarPlay was originally announced, it left me scratching my head:

If Project Titan (Apple's rumoured car project) is real, then Apple have struck an amazing deal here to be able to integrate with an unbelievable number of cars that will be hitting the road from late-2023 onwards.

Turns out both Aston Martin and Porsche announced right at the end of 2023 that cars with the new CarPlay integration were coming in 2024. I was personally surprised it happened because there seemed to be a bit of resistance to the announcement back in 2022.

This outcome seems best to me, Apple do great software and hardware and are the best at bringing both together. The premium cost for an Apple device are palatable because of their performance and longevity but Apple aren't going to sell a family car for family car money which limits it's reach.

The Apple Vision Pro might be very expensive now, but with time and great adoption, the price will surely come down to make it more accessible. That never happens in the car industry.

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Week 331: Swift Playgrounds on the iPad Mini

As I mentioned previously, I am diving into SwiftUI at the moment. It's both enjoyable and frustrating. Working with PHP is very straightforward, in my opinion. Errors are obvious, configuration is easy enough and it's extremely well documented. Not that SwiftUI isn't, but I am not used to the same types of languages so there has been a learning curve.

I don't know if it makes it harder or if the form factor is irrelevant, but I am learning mostly on my iPad Mini. The device is capable but the on screen keyboard makes it tough. You can only see a handful of lines of code and the previews are mostly obscured if writing an app or working on the preset Playgrounds.

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Introducing Apple Sports, a new app for sports fans

I'm building my own, Liverpool specific, app at the moment using SwiftUI so the timing is terrible. Apple Sports in almost unbelievably basic when compared to Apple News, but it is content rich once you drill down into games.

My app is for a single club, so a smaller niche. I'll keep building anyway, it's useful for me if no one else.

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A list of tautological place names

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Things Unexpectedly Named After People

Of all of these, PageRank was the one that blew my mind. It was named after Larry Page! For more than 20 years I just assumed it referenced the rank of a page 🤦‍♂️.

Clicking through, I also didn't know Max Factor was named after Max Factor!

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Week 330: Revisiting the world of DHTML in 2024

My first adventures with web development involved devouring DHTML books from the library and constantly browsing online for how these elements worked and interacted together. There was a good topic on DHTML from the past on HTML Hell over Christmas.

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Week 329: Yamaha YHT-1840 Review

Having recently upgraded our home theatre system, I shared the Yamaha YHT-1840 on Good Gear Club and thought it was worth a little more of an in-depth look here.

Yamaha YHT-1840 setup

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We don't need more sleep

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Week 328: Getting to grips with SwiftUI

Swift Playgrounds has proved to be a very interesting app on the iPad. Armed with a Bluetooth keyboard, I went through some of the courses to learn more about Swift and it gave me a pretty good grounding in it's concepts.

Once I'd made it through the Learn to Code and Get Started with Apps guided playgrounds, I decided to see what I might be able to build out and I've been prototyping in SwiftUI for a few weeks now.

What I'm struggling most with though is how to make use of certain layouts that Apple have used. I've nailed a few things like navigation and tab based views, but haven't quite figured out lists. The main reason is that the defaults are not what Apple fall back on in their own apps. There's quite a lot of exceptions they have in their own use of SwiftUI from what I can see. Once I've figured a few of those out I think I can build out a really good app and I'd love to have it out in the App Store this year.

Watch this space!

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