easy gift giving

François Lumpp 2016

Giving presents are hard. Other than just gifting money, actual presents require thought and some sort of insight and intimacy to delight a great present. It would make it easier if people just tell you what they want rather than to demur.

For me, I'm good with any red wine but specifically any Burgundy or California Pinot Noir. I'm also good with any box of chocolates like from Kollar or Recchiuti or anybody else really -> [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10]

MacBook Pro 2016

I love the non-touchbar version of the MacBook Pro. Looking down at a keyboard to find buttons doesn't make sense to me so went with the non-touchbar model. I could also complain about the price and battery life (which you can do every time) but the specs and design are solid. There seems to be quite a few lukewarm reviews out there but that's mostly because people are in need of ad/page views.

The MacBook Pro is still the best laptop in the market by a wide margin from a quality, design, and spec perspective. The Dell XPS laptops and Razer Blade laptops (stealth version) are also ones I'd consider.

Specs:

  • 2.4GHz Intel Core i7
  • 16GB RAM
  • 512GB SSD
  • 2k display, although I'm hooking up to a Dell P2415Q 4k external display
  • weighs 3 lbs. and effectively has a 4 hour battery life (this does need to be way better)
  • USB C and the headphone port are great as the only ports

The sad thing about the MacBook Pro is that it's pretty close to complete as a product (which is what you would expect after 25 years!). You can certainly improve on the internals but this thing can't really get any thinner, lighter, louder, or brighter and no more ports to remove.

Of course a laptop can always get faster but this thing is already pretty fast and the bottleneck is on the connectivity and the server side. The real innovation is happening w/ the iPad and iPhone, still quite a few things that can be done there.

So yet again, this particular MacBook Pro defines laptop because there's really very little left to do to make this an even better product. However, I'm curious to see how Chromebooks continue to evolve (especially versus tablet improvements) since a browser based OS or just a web based experience is what most folks use and need, and a significantly cheaper price point gets the Web out there to more people.

 

stepping out of the razor/razor blade model

TT-2012-11-18-merkur

Several years back, I got really tired of buying way too expensive Gillette razor blades, $35 for 8 cartridges of $4.38 per blade. The actual razor that you can buy from Gillette is cheap, $11.50 or less. This is of course the razor, razor blade model of pricing.

I got really sick of it so I flipped the model and I went and bought a $30 razor (the one pictured above) and nice razor blades that cost $0.32 each or 30 blades for $9.00. Yup, $0.32 per razor blade versus $4.38 per cartridge. That's kind of a big difference.

There is slightly more work since I need to use shave soap, 3 for $14. You can get away with not using shaving cream/soap with a Gillette razor/cartridge. Shaving cream or gel are fine too but shave soap is cheaper and lasts a really long time. With shave soap, I can rock out with a $12 badger shave brush to lather up the soap which is kind of a pleasant experience making it and applying the lather to my face. There's some cost savings down the road here but it's negligible.

I finish up my shave with a splash of Osage Rub, it's inexpensive and makes our bathroom smell like a barbershop for a hot second. I do get nicked sometimes and I'll use a styptic pencil to fix it when that happens.

So finally tally:

  • before
    • $11.50 for razor, $4.38 per cartridge
  • after
    • $30 for razor, $0.32 per blade

All those commercials for Dollar Shave Club had been bugging me. I don't get why you need to join a club to buy expensive razor blades at a slight discount. Get a decent razor and buy the old school razor blades for $0.32 and you won't need to join a club for shaving. I've already been priced gouged by Gillette for over 20 years, I don't need to be slightly less gouged by some startup.

End rant.

tech specs for next MacBook Pro

macbook-2015-gallery4

The new MacBook is nice but it's not the upgrade for my current setup. At this rate, I won't be upgrading from a MacBook Pro until 2016, darn. I'm hoping the next MacBook Pro has at least:

  •  3GHz Skylake/Cannonlake chip or higher
  • 16GB RAM
  • 512GB SSD
  • 13 inch 4K display
  • weighs ~3lbs, 10-12 hours battery life
  • USB C and the headphone port as the only ports are fine

I'm still rocking a MacBook Pro from mid-2009 and it still feels more than fast enough. There isn't an OS upgrade or any specific apps that makes me feel like I'm slogging in mud. Minor nits are the effective 4 hour battery life and its weight of ~4.5lbs. That's about it though, can't really complain.

The new 13" Dell XPS also looks pretty good. Too bad it runs Windows and it would still be better to wait for a Skylake version of it.