Hobgoblin Ruby
Beer

Hobgoblin Ruby

24th September 2020 PERMALINK • 1 min read

Continuing on from the McEwans Levy just over a week ago, I've been drinking another ale tonight from a collection I got as a present a while ago.

Tonight I gave the Hobgoblin Ruby a try. It's advertised as having a sweet caramel and fruity taste, with a mix of chocolate and crystal malts.

Since this is only the second time I've tried an ale before, my palate isn't that good. However, I definitely notice the fruity tones, and in general it tastes a bit rich. I think that could be the chocolatey flavour coming through, but it's not something I'm a big fan of.

I'd say that if the McLevys was a 7/10, I'd give this a 6/10. I can drink it, and it's not that bad, but I wouldn't say it's that god either.

Meta

A New Home for the Blog

23rd September 2020 PERMALINK • 1 min read

As of right now, this blog has been moved away from the previous subdomain blog.chrishannah.me and simply on chrishannah.me. I've wanted to make that switch for a while now, but it didn't seem worthwhile on its own.

However, along with the domain switch, I've migrated the blog from WordPress to Ghost. That won't matter to most people, and I don't expect it to either. But basically, it means the blog is much more lightweight, and I can provide a few extra things like estimated reading time, primary tags above the post to help contextualise, and a few other technical things that only I care about. I think WordPress could achieve everything that Ghost can do, but it comes with a lot of baggage.

Anyway, enough of that.

The only thing that has changed from a reader point of view is the new domain (Or lack of subdomain). I have set up 301 redirects, so if you do visit the old URL, you will be redirected to the new version. However, it's obviously not a permanent solution.

That also means that the old RSS feed will still work, while the redirects are still there. But just to make sure you don't have any issues, the new RSS feed is: chrishannah.me/feed.

While I'm pretty sure everything has migrated over, and it's all working fine. If you see anything odd, please let me know.

The Apple Watch Series 6
Opinion

The Apple Watch Series 6

16th September 2020 PERMALINK • 1 min read

I’ll start with the fact that I’ve not been the Apple Watch’s biggest fan for a while. I’ve used a Series 0 and Series 3, but for quite a few months I’ve been watch free.

In my ideal scenario, I’d like Apple to offer a smart band instead of a full watch. But I’ve come to terms that it’s probably not going to happen any time soon. And in a weird U-turn, I ended up ordering a Series 6 yesterday in size 101.

The watch I ordered was a 44mm Space Grey Aluminium one with a Charcoal Braided Solo Loop. And it was because of a few reasons:

  • The new blood oxygen sensor. Maybe not impressive on its own, but I think having that and the heart rate monitor, the health/fitness capabilities will increase massively.
  • watchOS 7. I haven’t had a good look at watchOS 7 before this event, and I was really surprised to see how good it was. Especially the new watch faces. (Matt Birchler has a great review on watchOS 7).
  • Going back to work. A big reason why I stopped wearing the watch was because of the lockdown, and that I was no longer commuting to work anymore. Well, I’m going to have to start again soon, and I used my watch a ton while on the way or at work.
  • The new straps. The new Loop and Braided Loop straps are really nice. I found it really annoying that the buckle of the Sports Loop always dug into my wrist, so that’s definitely a good thing.
  • It’s a decent upgrade. As my last watch was the Series 3, the changes over the past three years have added up to become quite a large improvement. So I’m just generally interested in what an Apple Watch can do for me now.

  1. If you want more information on the new watch strap sizes, I did a tiny bit of investigation

My Thoughts on Apple One
Opinion

My Thoughts on Apple One

16th September 2020 PERMALINK • 1 min read

A lot of people have been crying out for a single Apple subscription for quite some time now, and we’ve finally got one. It’s totally the right time for such a bundle. Especially with the new Fitness+ service coming soon. As Apple have been able to create three different plans with up to six different services.

I think the way they’ve split the plans make sense. One for the user that wants the fundamental services of music, television, and games. The same but for families. And one big plan for people that simply want everything. And they’re all topped off with different amounts of iCloud storage.

The iCloud storage probably won’t be one that draws people in, but I think people will definitely see the benefit of the extra storage once they use it.

I’m not sure what I’m going to be doing myself regarding Apple One. Because right now I pay for Apple Music, tv+, and 200 GB of iCloud storage. The 200 GB costs £2.49 a month, tv+ costs £4.99 a month, and I still somehow get student discount, so I pay only £4.99 for Apple Music. A total of £12.47. Less than any of the Apple One plans.

Maybe if I lose the Apple Music discount, then it would make sense. But I’d also have to pay extra for higher iCloud storage. I was hoping that I could use a bundle to try out News+, but £29.95 seems a bit much for my usage. Because I certainly won’t be using Fitness+, and I’ve already cancelled my Apple Arcade subscription because I wasn’t playing any of the games.

Apple

Apple Watch Strap Sizes

15th September 2020 PERMALINK • 2 min read

The new Apple Watch Series 6 is here (I’ve already ordered mine). But before I write up my thoughts on everything that was announced, I thought I’d play around with the sizes for the new watch straps, seeing as the new Solo Loop and Braided Solo Loop come in 9 sizes (Although the size guide has 12?). Mainly because I wanted to see if I see any interesting trends, but also, why not?

So it turns out that it’s not as simple as having a representative “Apple” size for a range of measurements. Instead, there are ranges for every strap size, and also one specific millimetre-precise measurement for every strap size that has two “fits”. A precise fit, which they say is for active lifestyles, and a relaxed fit for everyday use. They always recommend the precise fit.

Here are how wrist sizes relate to the new strap size:

Wrist Size (cm) Strap Size
12.6 ≦ 13.1 1
13.2 Precise (Recommended): 1 Relaxed: 2
13.3 ≦ 13.7 2
13.8 Precise (Recommended): 2 Relaxed: 3
13.9 ≦ 14.3 3
14.4 Precise (Recommended): 3 Relaxed: 4
14.5 ≦ 14.9 4
15.0 Precise (Recommended): 4 Relaxed: 5
15.1 ≦ 15.6 5
15.7 Precise (Recommended): 5 Relaxed: 6
15.8 ≦ 16.3 6
16.4 Precise (Recommended): 6 Relaxed: 7
16.5 ≦ 17 7
17.1 Precise (Recommended): 7 Relaxed: 8
17.2 ≦ 17.7 8
17.8 Precise (Recommended): 8 Relaxed: 9
17.9 ≦ 18.4 9
18.5 Precise (Recommended): 9 Relaxed: 10
18.6 ≦ 19.1 10
19.2 Precise (Recommended): 10 Relaxed: 11
19.3 ≦ 19.8 11
19.9 Precise (Recommended): 11 Relaxed: 12
20 ≦ 20.6 12

As you can see the sizes span from 12.6 cm to 20.6 cm. But the Loop Solo and Braided Loop Solo only come in sizes 3 to 12, so the sizes are actually from 13.9 cm to 20.6 cm. If your wrist is smaller or bigger, you’re going to have to find another strap.

While that data is interesting (and maybe useful), I wondered if I could find anything else from the data. So I flipped the columns and simplified the data to represent a precise fit as being inclusive in the relevant sizes.

Strap Size Wrist Size (cm) Range (cm)
1 12.6 ≦ 13.2 0.7
2 13.3 ≦ 13.8 0.7
3 13.9 ≦ 14.4 0.6
4 14.5 ≦ 15.0 0.6
5 15.1 ≦ 15.7 0.6
6 15.8 ≦ 16.4 0.7
7 16.5 ≦ 17.1 0.7
8 17.2 ≦ 17.8 0.7
9 17.9 ≦ 18.5 0.7
10 18.6 ≦ 19.2 0.7
11 19.3 ≦ 19.9 0.7
12 20 ≦ 20.6 0.7

To be honest, I didn’t see anything useful here. But I did work out that the first two sizes have a range of 0.7 cm, the next 3 sizes have a range of 0.6 cm, and the latter 7 have a range of 0.7 cm. I had a theory that the bigger the strap is, it makes sense that it would be able to stretch to a larger size. But I was expecting to see a higher variability.

Beer

McEwans Levy

15th September 2020 PERMALINK • 1 min read

For a birthday present recently, I was given a collection of classic ales. The only problem was, I’ not an ale drinker. I drink lager. And lots of it.

However, I decided with these 6 bottles, that I would give each of them an honest go and see how I liked each of them.

McEwans Levy

So to start off, I went with a bottle of McEwans Levy, which is a Scottish beer. It said it was light in taste, and half of my family is Scottish, so it made the moot sense to me to start with this.

I must admit though, that when I first opened the bottle, it had a really sudden bitterness, which put me off straight away. But I poured it into a glass, and the colour of it didn’t help either. But after I took the first sip, my opinion rapidly changed. It’s certainly got a prominent malt taste, which it turns out I think I like. But it’s certainly a decent beer. I’m not sure I would go out of my way to have one of these, but I’m definitely drinking the whole bottle right now.

I think I’ll class this as a “safe beer”, and give it a 7/10.

Who knows which one I’ll be tasting next.

Apple

What I Want To See From Apple's 'Time Flies' Event

11th September 2020 PERMALINK • 2 min read

Apple’s next event is just around the corner and seeing as it’s very much expected that the event will focus on the Apple Watch. Which, alongside journalists, is suggested by the name of the event, ‘Time Flies’.

The Apple Watch has certainly been a strange product for me. I had the very first model, and absolutely loved it. I eventually bought a series 3, and I was certainly still enjoying using it. But that all changed at the start of this year, when I stopped wearing it completely. I tried to start wearing it again recently, this time with no notifications, or third-party apps, but it still wasn’t a product that I wanted in my life anymore.

But for a while now, there has been a similar product that I’ve had in mind, that I would like from Apple. And that would be a smart band. Not a smartwatch. There are tons of smart bands available now, and they all have their own collection of features, whether it’s fitness tracking, receiving phone calls, listening to music, etc. But I want one from Apple. Partially because I’m a big fan of Apple products, but also because I’m heavily invested in the ecosystem. And any other smart band might have the features I want in principle, but it probably won’t ever be as integrated as something that Apple could make themselves.

Essentially, I want an Apple Watch, but without nearly everything that comes with the Apple Watch. I don’t want a big screen, third-party apps, notifications, or ability to make phone calls. Ideally, the benefit of this product would be that it wouldn’t be directly used. I want a device that acts as a constant health and fitness sensor, and feeds that data back to my other devices, whether it’s directly to my iPhone, or even with its own connect to iCloud.

In total, these are the features that I want this ideal product to have:

  • Takes form as a strap/bracelet, that’s around the same size as a typical smart band.
  • A small display used to show time, date, and maybe a few small health metrics such as heart rate.
  • Ability to upload data via nearby devices, or via a WiFi connection.
  • Long battery life.

It could be that this product is so “basic”, that there’s no reason why Apple would create such a device. But there’s certainly a market for it. Call it the Apple Watch Mini, or the Apple Watch Strap for all I care. I just want a smart band, that’s designed and built by Apple, that works perfectly with my other Apple devices.

Apart from that dream device. I can’t say I’m that excited about anything else from the event. Unless they give hints about the next iPhone or do something unexpected of course. There’s a lot of rumours regarding a new iPad, but my mind is set on a new iPad Pro, so I assume I’ll have to wait a little longer for that.

Technology

PaymentKit: How Apple Lets Some Air Out of this Pressure Cooker

2nd September 2020 PERMALINK • 1 min read

Matt Birchler, on the improvements he wants to see regarding payments in apps:

Simply, I want Apple to allow third party payments in apps. This does not have to turn the App Store into some sort of hellscape where card details are stolen on the regular and no one wants to buy anything anymore because it’s so bad.

E-commerce has grown a ton over the last decade, and it’s grown almost as much in the past 6 months all over again. People buy things online all the time, and modern tools allow merchants to collect that data securely. I’d love to see that come to the App Store, but in ways that only Apple can do.

I like everything he proposes here, especially a “PaymentKit” API, which would allow some form of conformity to a standard, while offering a greater level of freedom to app developers. Mainly because other payment platforms would be able to offer their own options as SDKs to app developers, giving them and the end customers more choice.

Just adding this framework wouldn’t mean an immediate fix to the issue regarding payments inside apps. However, it would lay the groundwork needed for a more competitive marketplace. And with more competition, there will be an incentive to offer a better solution for developers and customers.

Photography

A Couple of Woodland Photos

2nd September 2020 PERMALINK • 2 min read

I’ve been trying to get better at photography recently, by watching a ton of YouTube videos mainly by Nigel Danson and Thomas Heaton, and a ton more. There’s one thing that I notice all photographers go back to, and it’s that simply going out with your camera, is the best thing you can do to improve your photography skills.

So just over a week ago, I decided I would wake up just before sunrise, and go for a walk around where I live. I walked through a few wooded areas, down near a river, and through some generally green areas. The environment wasn’t on my side for the shots I was trying to get, as in I found a few compositions in a woodland where some mist would have really added depth, and by the river, there was a shot I could have got if I had more direct sun instead of it being hidden by clouds.

However, on the walk back to my house, I did discover that there is a small area of “woodland” essentially behind my house. I just never noticed it, because it’s out of the way, and hidden between a load of houses. But anyway, even with lighting that I didn’t like that much, I think I got a two shots that I’m happy with.

I’ve uploaded them to various places – Flickr, 500px, and Instagram. 500px is something I’ve used for a while, so there’s a lot of old photos there, and to be honest I’m not happy with a lot of them. So I’m hoping that Flickr will become my new canonical place for my photography, before I most likely decide to put them here somehow. And, I’m probably going to be uploading a lot of my favourite shots to my Instagram too.

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