Galaxy Note 8 – 1 month in

As I sit here in a costa coffee in Didsbury, Manchester it occurs to me that I have Now been using the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 for almost a month now.

I think it’s fair to Say that this phone has come to surprise me as time has gone by. At first I began to think we had reached a time where mobile phones had peaked and we are entering an era of mere incremental upgrades between devices. Slightly bigger screens with slightly smaller bezels and a slight boost in memory and processing power. The bit I missed is that with each major iteration of hardware, the software upgrades that come with it, are more useful each time. The switch from iOS to Android has presented some clever features that I’d not even heard the Android fan boys shout about. An example of this, somehow my phone detects when a company or spam line is calling me and auto populates the details, allowing me to make an informed decision on whether to take the call. As someone who has held the same number for over a decade, this has proven incredibly useful in a time where telemarketing somehow still wreaks havoc on British phone lines.

The widgets piece is something android users have been boasting about for generations of Android and iOS however Apple somewhat addressed this in a recent release in which widgets could be included in spotlight search. Whilst a nice addition on Apples part, the Android integration seems a lot more established and, as expected, open. It’s not only Google or Samsung apps that get the privilege of deep integration into the system ui. Audible, Spotify, Inbox all fit in incredibly well.

On the flip side, my Garmin watch comes up with all sorts of weird notifications. Why is WhatsApp checking for messages and why do you notify me. When I set up the phone I set the privacy settings so notifications didn’t include the content of the notification on the home page.  I’ve searched and searched and have no idea how to fix this problem so that notifications work better on my watch. It might also be worth mention here that the settings menu is both better and worse than iOS. The search feature is good 90% of the time but a week or so ago when “OK Google” stopped working I literally couldn’t thing the settings to repair it. It fixed itself with a switch off and on again. Perhaps a homage to the fact that the vastness of a modern day mobile operating system is unlikely to run perfectly all the time as there is simply so much going on. 
The camera also has impressed me a number of times. When lighting and space is available you can really make use of the portrait mode. The normal modes and video are also impressive and the sound quality when recording far surpasses that of my previous iDevices. I’ve spent some time fiddling with the pro modes and whilst useful in difficult lighting situations, I think I’d rather have my point and shoot or SLR on me for anything serious.  I was intrigued to see Google are going for a software based portrait mode on the new Pixel devices rather than the addition of a second camera. We saw the results of the single camera on the initial Pixel and I’ve no doubts the  engineers at Google will build something more impressive this time around.  DxO mark team scored the Note 8 with 94 alongside the iPhone 8 Plus. It will be interesting to see how the iPhone X fares against these scores but the Pixel 2 and Huawei Mate 10 pro have already ousted Apple and Samsungs efforts with scores of 98 and 97 respectively. 

I am very glad to have made the move and look forward to experimenting more with the device over time. I’m expecting Samsung to provide me with a Dex at some point in the near future as part of their pre-order promotion and in 11 months, I’m expecting a Galaxy Note 9. 


Android Switch & The Galaxy Note 8

On the 14th of September I took a leap of faith and ordered the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Having smashed up my iPhone 6 a number of times over the past few years and witnessing Miss TimFord.co.uk’s iPhone carry out the same tasks as mine but much faster, I recognised that after three years, my trusty 128gb phone was going to need replacing.

The iPhone X and iPhone 8 presentation left me both excited and underwhelmed. In fact from the presentation, I was most impressed with the new Apple Watch. The iPhone X would have been the one for me but I’m not fussed on the notch and fancied a bit of a change anyway. Also, as someone who enjoys doodling and watching videos a large screen and a stylus appealed to me. With that I placed my order and for the past 6 days I have been enjoying using the Galaxy Note 8.

My first impressions were a little underwhelming because I was more or less carrying out the tasks I always had on my phone but with a slightly bigger screen. Then I got deeper into it and began to start understanding the Android operating system and some of the more complex features I could use. I’m not going to use this post to do hate on Apple because I loved my iPhone, iPad and Macbooks in the past. I like Windows computers and I like Linux too. How boring it is to be just a fan of technology rather than a fan boy.

Initially my biggest take from the ecosystem differences is that because of its open nature, some of the apps that I used with my iPhone seem to integrate a better than on iOS. An example might be Amazon’s Prime Photos app, which with Android seamlessly backs up all my photos to the cloud and can then more or less be used as your standard gallery app. On iOS this would be the case if I opted for icloud but alternative offerings integrate less well. It’s common knowledge by this pin that that if you sign up to all Apple offerings and go fully into it, the platform can be seemless. If you are out of the ecosystem for one or two things it can become less smooth.

I’m impressed with OK Google and less so with bixby. Google services work pretty well these days and I haven’t encountered the issues I’ve heard from early android adopters that it offers a second rate service compared to competing platforms. Voice control is certainly better than my iPhone for my accent and much more responsive, as it should be, this phone is three years more modern.

Battery life is still not full day. I use my phone for Spotify, podcasts, reading, gaming, blogging, video editing, Animating, working and social media. It’s never going to last a day. That said it’s not as bad as the iPhone. I get through a full working day without a charge where as my old phone would make mid day.

I will miss FaceTime. Apple’s seamless integration of video chat to the iOS platform is second to none and I’ve not used a tool as simple and effective. Google Duo and Skype may work for those who can be bothered to login but for the majority of people that’s an inconvenience.

Overall I’m really happy with the move. It’s been fairly smooth as I’m not overly invested in the Apple ecosystem. My contacts and things came over from Google. WhatsApp is much more common than imessage and texts in the United Kingdom so that wasn’t an issue and I’m subscribed to Spotify so music is more or less cloud based. I was very worried about losing out on the Apple podcasts app as it is brilliant and it’s content far reaching. I’ve replaced that with cast box and so far so good. The kindle app has books covered and film will be covered by Netflix and Prime Video. 

The screen is truly magnificent and makes watching video on a mobile truly a joy. The size of the device hasn’t caused me any headaches yet although some of my accessories will need replacing. Namely my running band and windscreen mount. 


Experimenting with Caffiene: Week 2 Results 

Monday:
I arose on the sofa at my Dad’s having had a solid five and a half hours sleep. Having been “in da club” the night before, I was devastated to realise that today was going to be a day without a single cup of tea.
The majority of the day I spent feeling ropey and tired and actually fell asleep when I came home after cleaning the house. 
Headaches throughout the day but likely due to the previous nights antics. Tuesday will be the real test as it’s a full work day with a normal early start.

Tuesday
:

 

Not having a cup of coffee with breakfast or tea in work felt utterly weird. Come 10am I felt numb and had a dull ache in my head.
Having come home and continued to have a dull headache it had subsided when I popped into Cardiff for dinner. 
Overall a day of dull headaches. Didn’t feel particularly tired. Should be back to exercise the following day.

Wednesday

Hands down the most painful day yet. Started ok. I’m definitely not sleeping much better without. Or at least I’m not falling to sleep easier. My fitbit seems to be saying I get 6-7 cycles of deep sleep on any given night now but apparently the metrics aren’t that accurate on fitbit. 
By about 5pm I felt tired and sick. Whether this was related to the lunchtime meal deal and run or because of Caffiene withdrawal I’m not sure. 
A lot of people don’t really understand the point of this experiment. I’m intrigued to see how the first coffee or tea feels after. 

Thursday
:
Day four is supposedly the hardest but I actually felt pretty good in the morning. Almost managed 8 hours sleep.
Come the afternoon I was starting to lag again and by 7pm the headaches came again. It was pretty hard not to accept a brew when visiting family and I’d started to really miss drinking tea.

Friday

OK so Friday started with weird dreams about cups of tea. It was honestly weird but I’m guessing my body is thinking what happened to that beverage you used to love! 
Nothing. I still love it and I will drink a cup of tea again in the near future.
In work the headaches were more or less absent and I even had a 1 hour mindfulness session with a Buddhist Monk where I was carefully thinking about my feelings and there was nothing noticeably bad about my head. 
I spent the evening at a wedding (Congrats Ryan and Angharad!) and had come to decide the worst of it is over. Because coffee, tea and sodas are off the cards, the majority of drink choices end up being water. Still or sparkling. With beer on the odd occasion. 

Saturday
:
Early rise for a flight. The morning I thought I would really want a coffee and so far so good. The rest of the day in Paris where cafe culture is at its best would be a test though. 

This never actually became a bother. The whole day I had mild headaches but nothing that stopped me enjoying Paris. The night want particularly late but we’d done a lot of walking so I’ll put my tiredness down to that.

Sunday:



And so that’s a week of Caffiene free and a week of Caffiene reduction complete. The first week wasn’t too hard. The second week really was. I felt terrible throughout. 
I was at the cabaret in Paris until the early hours and felt pretty tired but again likely to be to do with the lack of sleep and bottles of wine. 
Uber home at about 2am and then off to bed ready for an early morning run.

Monday and Conclusion
:
I only had 5 hours sleep. A quick 7km run around Paris just to get in the strava pictures and try and gather some kudos. 
I returned to the hotel to enjoy breakfast. This was going to be my first Coffee in a week. How was it? Meh. I didn’t feel any buzz. The headaches seem to have stopped so it didn’t mitigate them. If anything it just made me a bit hot and bothered. 
Going forward, I intend to drink a lot less caffiene but not give up completely. It is unlikely I will revert to the days of cups of coffee followed by cups of tea. I will probably continue to avoid caffiene after lunch in order to try and sleep better.
Did this experiment prove anything? No not really. Experiments like this are difficult because it’s extremely hard to have complete control over your body. There are too many variables in day to day life to draw cause and effect from any one thing. The headaches could have been from lack of hydration, or nutrient depletion elsewhere. 
When anyone makes a dramatic change to their diet, they tend to report massive benefits almost instantly. I tend to find the people who make the most drastic changes are the ones thinking more about how they feel. For example, your mate who went from eating fast food every day to Vegan and now feels great. That’s obvious but it’s not necessarily the lack of animal products  that’s made him feel better, it’s the dramatic change from prepared meals and fast food to home cooked and fresh produce. 
All in all I think the experiment was worthwhile, I’ve identified I was perhaps over doing it and that I might have a reliance on it to an extent. I hope to reduce that reliance and try more similar experiments in the future.

Experimenting with Caffeine Results – Week 1

So I’ve been reducing my caffiene intake across the day for a week now and here are the results:

Monday: 

Work was fine, I had a cup of tea and two coffees from the vending machine in work. These are half coffees so I’ll probably attribute the two coffees to be one cup when doing the charts. I drank about 3 x 750ml flasks of water throughout the day.

No withdrawal at all and no feelings of needing a cuppa. Didn’t really know what to do with myself when I got home and sat down in the living room. Ended up gardening, buying squash to drink instead and then going for a run. I don’t think the run was impeded by the lack of afternoon/evening caffeine.

I still struggled getting off to sleep before 11 but that could be because I was wired from the fairly late run and cooking time.

Tuesday: 

Managed to get up and have breakfast at home today. Nespresso and Cheerios to start the day. Settled on the idea that 11am would be the best time to have a mug of tea in work as well so it was all over by 11:30. Same 3 flasks of water drank throughout the working day.

At 6pm I’m feeling like I’ve got a bit of a headache. Almost like there is a bit of pressure on either side of my head.

Swimming at 8pm was a tough set of 100m at sub 1:30 pace for 14 reps as well as warm up and cool down. I did not feel significantly drained without caffeine. The headache had subsided by the time I was in the car.

Tomorrow is a rest day fitness wise and today hasn’t exactly been intense having only hit 6.5k steps and a relatively intense 1 hour swim (although short at 2450m).

Wednesday:

Routine established. Nespresso with breakfast. Tea at 11am, today made for me by one of the kind assistants in work.

No headaches at all. 

According to my fitbit data, I’ve been sleeping deeper but not longer or better. According to me, it hasn’t helped at all yet. I’ve not been able to get off to sleep easier. 

I may be a tad over trained as my heart rate  has been slowly rising over the past few days. I’ve taken today as a rest other than some light walking. Day 4 tomorrow, supposedly when it starts to get hard if you go full cold turkey. Hopefully I will be alright.

Thursday:

Routine adhered too yet again. I had a headache by 6pm again but then cycled into town to see my brother for dinner. He very obviously was not involved in this experiment as he had a cappuccino for starter before exclaiming he should have had a flat white…

The extremity of the headaches that people suggested would happen hasn’t happened just yet but that could be down to the fact I’m still consuming in the morning. Quite tempted to go full caffiene free next week.

This was my second rest day as I’m still hoping to get my resting heart rate down.
I managed to head to bed a bit earlier and a managed full nights sleep and had the benefit of a lie in due to working from home this Friday. 
Friday:

Awoke feeling fresh and at home for work. Routine has once again been adhered to. Probably not going to get as much water in today as the water cooler is 3 miles away 

Heart rate seems to be stabilising so exercise can start again. 

Ended up going to watch the Cardiff Blues and having a few too many beers. Was out of the bar by 1am as feeling incredibly tired. I didn’t stop for a coffee at Mcdonalds on the way home as I often do. I think the beer negated any negative feels from not having caffiene.

Saturday:

My last coffee capsule with caffiene in was consumed whilst feeling slightly ropey from the prior nights antics. That was that for the day however another night of drinking was due for a friend’s birthday. 

No headaches and tried to stay up for the boxing which was funny because I fell asleep before the McGregor / Mayweather fight…

Sunday:

Awoke feeling fairly fresh despite a lack of sleep and a few beers. My friend made me a single cup of tea and that’ll be it for the day.

Lunchtime was a bit of a test as I visited a good coffee shop in Bath with my parents. Luckily they served some tasty craft beers so my father and I indulged.

Conclusion:

Overall giving up after noon hasn’t had a huge effect either way.  I don’t think I’ve been sleeping any better or feel particularly  refreshed. I think the culture is what I’d miss most if I gave it up completely. Not having a coffee with my brother the other night and choosing a beer isn’t always as easy as it was this week. I’ve also missed the diet coke but I don’t think that’s a bad thing to give up. Next week I’m going to give it up completely. Perhaps only until Saturday but we will see how it goes. 

Experimenting with Caffiene

As a Brit, Tea has long been a staple in my daily hydration schedule. It has formed part of my daily routine perhaps since I was 7 years old and over time, the addition of coffee has fueled an intake of caffeine to the point where I’m unsure if I’ve become reliant on it.

Never one to drink instant coffee, it wasn’t until the American style coffee chains started rolling out across the UK that I became a coffee drinker. In fact, the first time I ever had a coffee from a takeaway was when visiting Botson in my early teens and buying a Venti Americano for $1 from a Starbucks. Nowadays I love a good “quality” coffee from some of the better independent stores in the country and have also been known to have a weak spot for the blended iced beverages that change names on a weekly basis.

On a daily basis, I wake up to the Nespresso machine, place the pod in the compartment, push down and listen to the dull hum of pressurized water being forced through a small aluminium capsule of ground joy. I know many coffee lovers would have me crucified for enjoying Nespresso but much like how I think Starbucks is the McDonalds of coffee, and therefore even the most pompous of connoisseurs secretly love it, I think it’s alright. Convenient and better than the hassle of grinding at home.

Following the morning coffee ritual it’s into the office, where I would consume between 3-5 cups of tea over an 8 hour period perhaps with a truly vile vending machine coffee. At no point do I need these beverages. They are just nice to have, break up the day a little and warm me up a little bit. I’m not chasing the buzz. I’ve never chased the buzz and I’ve never said “I can’t do anything in the morning until I’ve had my morning coffee”. I don’t actually understand those people.

It is likely I would then drink 1-2 cups of tea in the evening at home. This would be at any time between 5-9pm. Now I know absolutely nothing about this but I’ve decided to do the maths and mess around with my intake to see if I can get on without it. I don’t have a problem with it at all, in fact I quite like tea but I’m interested either way.

Potential benefits:

  • Performance enhancement – When I really need it it could pay dividends (i.e Triathlon/Half Marathon/Race Days)
  • Sleep – All I know is what I’ve heard, I’ve never done the digging but apparently you sleep better.
  • Money – I don’t buy coffee out that often, 33p a day on Nespresso is next to nothing. Tea is a human right. This is probably the one I care about least.
  • Diet Coke – There is no way this stuff is good for me but I love it. Avoiding Caffeine means avoiding Diet Coke.
  • Teeth – Again, don’t care, if they go too gross I’ll just save and get them fixed

Downsides:

  • Headaches and withdrawal – Apparently after 4 days off caffeine or with a significant change to routine you get withdrawal and get antsy and angry. I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens to me.
  • The Social – Tea and Coffee are sociable drinks. Going out and drinking a water with someone is awkward for everyone. I’ve found the same as I’ve dramatically reduced my alcohol intake. People think I’m boring.
  • Warmth and taste – I’m sure this can be addressed with Decaf but as I mentioned before, I like tea and coffee and they are great winter warmers.
  • Something to do – Sometimes when I’m bored I just make a cuppa because it’s nice. Most of the self help people who recommend giving up caffeine tend to be the same people who want you to have nothing nice in your life at all.

 

Plan:

This week I’ve already started and will report back in the next post about how it’s going. I’m going to reduce so that I have no caffeine from mid-day every day for this week and then aim to potentially reduce further after that. Because I like coffee so much and have a nice machine sat upstairs waiting to be used I’m not sure I’ll ever give up the first morning Nespresso but a reduction from my current intake seems like a good idea. I’ll be looking at reducing by at least half in the first week.

 

Current intake (Spread between day):
180mg = Tea x 5
70mg = Nespresso x 1
13mg = In Diet Coke x 1

Total: 263mg

Target intake week 1 (All before noon): 
70mg = Nespresso x 1
36mg = Tea x 1

Total: 106mg

The Grand Tour – Season 1 

Given that all the episodes of Amazon’s new motoring show have now been released, I figured now would be a good time to utilise the home of my thoughts and opinions to voice my thoughts and opinions. As nobody has bought this up down the pub, or as modern interactions go, on whatsapp, I’m going to write about it here, unchallenged and in long form.
Featuring the former Top Gear trio, the Grand Tours appeal is still in the casts ability to be, or appearing to be completely at peace with themselves. James May is perfectly happy being reffered to as Captain Slow, Hammond as a hyperactive child and Clarkson the controversial traditionalist. There is no doubt that the production team have aimed to reinforce the stereotypes surrounding the hosts and the majority of the episodes bring laughs from the groups unshakeable appetite for banter. The show benefits from a new distribution channel with reduced regulation leading to a show that feels noticeably less “BBC”, giving the impression the trio may have been sensored more than anticipated in the past iteration. This has lead to the slightly contradictory feel throughout the show where some spects feel completely natural and others utterly forced. 

Conversation streets sting is awkward. Celebrity brain crash did not appeal to me in any way and the repetitive nature of “then he turned up” in many of the features became frustrating. Then there is the American. This chap was obviously cast in order to appeal to the residents of Amazon’s head office location. America. In British English he can only and must only be described as an insufferable twat. The intellectual property the BBC own is clearly restricting the show in some parts requiring some creative thinking for linking content between films. These appear to have been slightly misguided.

The production quality is still outstanding. The cinematography (if that’s what you call it for TV shows) is still beautiful and you get incredible shots of all the wonderful vehicles you’d expect from Top Gear. I mean the Grand Tour. The concept of touring the world is welcome and the bigger budget is more apparent here than anywhere else. It appears as if the majority of aerial footage is still shot with a helicopter rather than drone and the tent is noticeably better looking than the studio of old. It’s also nice to see some modernised leader boards and animations throughout. 

The elements of the Grand Tour that are great are as great as the very best bits of Top Gear. There are still laugh out loud moments and elements that invoke fury. It’s still motoring journalism with a hint of debauchery and a dash of controversy. The only downsides are the annoying parts such as Celebrity Brain Crash and the American. These are so infuriating they put a dampener on the whole viewing experience. If you can focus purely on the features about cars and not the linking aspects in the tent it makes for a good time. Remove them and it’s more a documentary film than a show. Hopefully in season 2 they play with the format a bit. We shall see. 

Tales from The M4 commute

Having left my office in the gloom of Bristol Harbourside at some point last year I began commuting in the other direction. I now head deeper into Wales, through the infamous Brynglas Tunnels, along the stop-start A48(M), down the rancid and litter smothered  Rover Way and onto a Multi-Storey in Cardiff Bay. To some this may sound like hell, but I still prefer the sanctuary of my red Seat Ibiza ecomotive (with awful wheels) to waiting around at Severn Tunnel Junction and paying into Great Western Rails coffers. 

Below are some of my observations since turning the other way at the Coldra.

  • Nobody is paying attention – if anyone is looking for a reason to sell self driving cars and ban humans from operating high speed automobiles, they need only to visit the M4 at rush hour. I witness on a daily basis a huge number of people texting and using the phone without hands free. I witness people applying makeup using the rear view mirror before slamming on the brakes (more on that later). I have genuinely seen a lady writing a greetings card on her steering wheel whilst holding the envelope in her mouth. It’s frankly astonishing any of us make it in to work each day.
  • Radio is great – I have missed out on radio for most of my life. I’ve never really understood it as a medium of entertainment, probably due to my Dad always tuning into horrific AM frequencies to listen to football matches. Now of course I spend my time equally split between Radio 4 and Spotify with the odd bit of Queen’s Greatest Hits. Radio 4 is fantastic. Radio 1 is good in small doses. As for the rest, meh. I anticipate if I ever buy another car, it shall have DAB.
  • BMW drivers – I have had the wonderful privilege of driving a BMW Z3 for the past year. Whilst I was hassled and badgered for driving what is considered a “hairdressers” car by many. Usually the type of hideous macho man crippled with self doubt and loathing. Most likely well into either an unhappy marriage or divorce. Now that’s over with let me sympathise with BMW drivers. They are 99% awful. Sometimes you are on the motorway and they are not ramming you up the rear, flashing their lights and generally coming across like they have some sort of tarmac privilege. It is in fact down to the car. When driving a BMW for whatever reason the pedals, the steering wheel, the gear stick; they encourage you to be a total utter scoundrel. It’s the cars fault. It doesn’t help that most BMW drivers manifest in the form of balding, angry middle managers but it’s not their fault. They have so little identity in day to day life that a 5-Series and a dual carriage way is where they display their power. Or lack of. Much like in work I imagine . 
  • Smart motorways – These are not smart. They  are a death trap. When a train is  delayed. A calm woman on a tannoy will tell you with no compassion that somebody three stops away called it a day. On a smart motorway you get a 40mph speed limit, a red x and have to rely on BBC Radio Wales to tell you what’s occurring, supposing you are sat there long enough to hear the travel news. The same information signs that tell you not to drink and drive (they should say this before entering the motorway) should inform you how long this will add to your journey. Just because keeping people in the loop helps calm the nerves. As for the speed limits, sometimes it just drops to 40 and people slam the breaks in order to not pay money. Who can blame them but putting the speed limit suddenly down on a road where nobody pays attention is both reckless and annoying. The acceleration snake agrees.

I don’t hate this commute at all. All in all its more hygienic than the tube commute I was doing 3 years ago. Shorter and cheaper than my Bristol commute and has more of a purpose than my university commute. Hopefully in the next few months my next commute will surface in the form of a two wheeled experience lasting around 10 minutes. Perhaps leading to a blog post called Tales From Nigel Barrage.

Backwards/Forwards – Looking For The Balance In A Digital / Analogue World

So it’s finally started happening. People are fed up of progress and convenience. People are done with MP3s and stopped sharing photo albums on Facebook. Opting instead to collect vinyl and take Polaroids. Opting to move away from the endless drip feed of uninteresting updates from that one strange school friend who still shares status updates. Actually isn’t it just videos and memes now? That and videos of memes. 
I don’t know if I’m just growing up or growing fed up but I’m enjoying this wind of change. For Christmas I recieved the obligatory Urban Outfitters record player (with stand) and a month prior, Miss #TimFord recieved a Fujifilm Instax Mini. That is to say we take Polaroids and listen to Vinyl now. And we are not alone. Vinyl sold more in the past 3 years than it has in the past 25. Every Boots, John Lewis and Argos in the United Kingdom now sells a variety of instant cameras. The best film I’ve watched in a long time was La La Land, a film that aimed to replicate pure CinemaScope, was shot on film and written in the style of the musicals of old. The twist being that nowadays these products cost a lot more to buy than their yesteryear counterparts. But it appears we are willing to pay it for the satisfaction of tactile feedback whether that be the click of a shutter or the crackle of the needle on the edge of the record. 
I’m almost certain this step backwards is part of something bigger. It’s not just about being at least 30% hipster whilst maintaining your day job and a clean shaven face. It’s more about a desire to own things. To feel things. To do something. Not just to scroll and select. Not just to sit and absorb the constant drip feed of non-information that is pushed in our direction on a daily basis.
Perhaps in the near future I will walk into a room and people will be reading the Sunday papers as opposed to a midweek, digital, Daily Express article on what the new Samsung Galaxy S8 might look like. Or I will go out for dinner and my friends faces won’t be lit up by organic light emitting diodes.
For me it’s not necessarily about turning my back on technology. I love my phone, I love Spotify, Clash of Clans and WhatsApp. Flipboard, twitter and Snapchat. But I also love triathlon, long swims and rides where my phone is either in a locker or a zip pocket. I love speaking to human beings in a pub or a cafe without signal or wifi. I love the ritual of placing a record on the turntable and listening to my favourite album from start to finish. There is a fine balance in everything and finding it is difficult but the key is to reap the benefits of both a digital and an analogue world. Listen to singles of an artist your not sure about on Spotify and if you love it buy the album on vinyl. When you’ve only got 10 shots left of film you’ll make sure each shot is framed perfectly. Why read an article full of speculation when you can wait for the announcement. 
Looking forward 5 years, I can almost guarantee that when my first self driving car parks itself on my driveway, I will still want to have an old school convertible with a manual transmission and heavy steering. Just to keep in touch with what “real” feels like. 

Sorry blog…

I apologise for how neglected you’ve been over the past year. In a world where social media consumes such a vast quantity of my online time, the long form post has been dying a slow death. Where we formerly posted albums of holidays, we now settle for an individual instagram.  Where we once wrote blog posts, a tweet should suffice. Where we may have sent texts we now exclusively use WhatsApp. 

All that said, I still enjoy writing. I’m still developing my ability to write and over the next year I intend to be writing more. Producing more  actually. Since February this year I have been taken by the vlogging storm and have collected almost 850gb of footage across a number of locations. I intend to put some of this to good use at some point and maybe even go public with it.

Hopefully this doesn’t just remain loose words and I can produce some more anecdotal musings to share with whomever may be happy to read. Now sitting in a permenant role with work, moving in with my partner and embarking on a ridiculous triathlon hobby, I find it increasingly difficult to find the time to do this. However having consumed perhaps a bit too much journalism and media in recent months, I’ve regained interest in putting the pen to the pad. By which I mean typing. 

First Trail Run 

   
 On Saturday, I had very little planned other than running somewhere new and somewhere that was kind of trail like. I hopped in the Z3 and drove myself up to Wentwood and parked up in one of the standard car parks. There was a small map on the information board and I had a quick look. I very quickly realised I’m not going to follow a path with my phone on my arm and no general direction.

I locked the motor and legged it. I ran straight across the car park down what looked like a track. Within about 30 seconds I realised this was no human track. This was an off road track for those Defender owners and motorbikes. That said I had two legs and a pair of Salomon Speedcross 3s on and I wasn’t going to turn around. I ran what felt like a really fast kilometer down the track, staring straight at the ground and avoiding risky dips and very often. I came close to rolling my ankle with each step but by this point I decided I had flexible ankles and I’d be fine. 

This run was already hard and I ran about 4.45 pace per kilometer around deep mud and scattered sticks. I was using mostly my mind as a compass I made it back to a road and headed down and down and down. The only problem with that was that in the back of my mind all I was thinking was going back up. I slipped off the road and onto a track marked for horses. There were so many fallen trees that I was dipping and ducking at every turn and I’m pretty sure that no horse would have made it up that track. 8km in I was running down a mud road through a supposedly privatelumber yard. At 9km I decided there is no way this is going to get me back to the car. A turn. A hill. And a bloke on a bike with a trusty pooch running alongside gave me confidence I was heading in the right  direction. 

At about 9.5km I saw the car. It seemed a bit of a miracle if I’m honesty. I had no idea where I was going from the start. If I broke my ankle there was no signal. I wasn’t getting back. It was also creepy at first. A murdering gimp could be in any bush but I didn’t care. I was not remotely bothered by being in deep woodland lost as hell and continued to run. I think I’d like to throw one trail run in a week to the schedule, weather permitting. It felt like good training and switching things up is also good.

Also as a lone runner wanting a photo I actually had to strap a gopro to a tree, run away from it and then run back. Not sure what that means but I got cool pictures and footage so who cares.