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Saturday, 10 January 2015


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A person who wears two watches is never quite sure of the exact time. (Unless they are atomic watches synced to the time signal of course).

The only brand I'm stuck on is Subaru. We bought the first one after I had an accident and have never looked back. I've never been all that impressed by Apple products. Their computers are good enough I guess (my son the programmer loves them) but they are over priced and I have too much money and time invested in purchasing and learning Windows software to switch to a different system. And the rebel in me resents the control Apple exercises over what software/apps you are allowed to have on your device, often for reasons that have nothing to do with hardware compatibility. Censorship sucks.

I feel the same way about Dell computers and windows operating systems.

An automatic transmission is like point and shoot for cars.

Too much marketing and efforts at market segmentation kills sales.
The car I have now, a low fuel consumption 5 seat monovolume, well, only ONE manufacturer does it in Belgium; Citroen C4 Grand Picasso.
Some marketing wanker decided that if you want nice trim you need to get a big engine, a small engine then a autobox and it spread to all the brands...
Even the model we ended getting, had to be specially ordered to get a manual 6, an efficient engine and the trim we HAD to get (bank rules)... But even so, we still could not have the goldilocks combination so we are burning about 0.3L fo diesel per 100km for NO good reason (we still get 4.6/100km average).
Frankly we nearly gave up.

"You can't wear two watches without looking like a nerd. (Correct me if I'm wrong, those of you who wear two watches.)"

As you see here http://www.thepurists.net/Patrons/Members/AlbertoS/Breguet/Hayek/Hayek.htm
Nicolas Hayek who died in 2010, normally wore up to 7 or 8 watches at once, and didn't look like a nerd. Although owning the Swatch Group (Omega, Breguet, Blancpain etc.) may have given him a good excuse.

"...I absolutely love it—it's not perfect, because it's wrong wheel drive and Honda has a long and staunchly defended history of designing poor seats, a tradition which of course is carried over into my Acura..."

In the same curmudgeonly vein as my Apple Watch comment, doesn't it snow where you live? If so, my experience says that, short of all wheel, front wheel drive is correct wheel drive.

My 2003 Accord was the first vehicle I'd ever owned with an automatic transmission. Its five speeds are perfectly spaced and, unlike the prior half million miles of commuting, all my driving since purchasing it fails to tire or hurt my left leg. Bliss.

As for the seats, it all depends on one's stature/build. Nearly four years into retirement, the Accord is in great condition. After a dozen years and over 215,000 miles, the single failure was a brake light switch, which I purchased for $7.00 and installed in 20 minutes. I'm not motivated to replace that vehicle. Nonetheless, I do go to new car dealers from time to time and check out the latest offerings. In addition to ongoing uglification (horridly small windows and repulsive shapes/trims), in my view the worst degradation has been seats. They all have grossly excessive bolsters on their bottom cushions, digging into one's thighs if a relaxed, i.e. slightly leg spread, position is assumed. Even if I win the lottery tonight, I've no interest in buying any new car. :)

It is funny the way different people think about things. I at one time was a car nut. Not super fast cars or crushing acceleration, just nice manners on winding roads and, at the time things you could not find in Detroit iron. (like doors that fit and seats that don't make you tired when you sit in them). Now...oh dear, now I've had my base model Camrey, a 2002, for 12 years. At only 170K miles I hope to drive it for another 12 years but that is probably unrealistic. I now really dread car shopping and would rather hand the money to a friend who I know to be a hard nosed car shopper and ask him to 'do the deal'. He would do it for pizza and beer.

I've used them since 1985. Missed that first year and the whole Apple II thing. It could have been different. Someone offered to buy me/us a computer that year, and I had been using an early IBM PC. I looked at both options and when I saw the Mac could do some (advanced at the time, crude now) graphical stuff for which I had a very real use, I decided to go that way instead of sticking with my PC. I suppose I may have been one of the very first "switchers!" (Before the PC I used... and PDP-11.)

"Honda has a long and staunchly defended history of designing poor seats."

I'm sure you are right about this -- because I know you know way more about cars than I do. But the seat in my 2000 Honda Insight is so comfortable, I wish I could get a used one and turn it into an office chair. And it's in pretty good shape for having been used continuously for 14 years.

I haven't worn a watch for 25 years and it will take a lot for me to wear one because a watch on my wrist is a bit uncomfortable. If you already wear a watch you just switch to the Apple Watch.

Agreed it's not a watch, but from early indications it's a supplement to the iPhone. I think I'll be more comfortable "always" carrying a smart phone rather than wearing a watch. But in two or three years, who knows what the watch will do. It will be a while before it matures and to see if it stays around. It's also a matter of how many devices one wants. An iMac (mine is mostly an auxiliary machine now, but the Retina display iMac might change that), a MacBook Pro (main), an iPhone, an iPad (I don't have one), and a Watch.

"If you think about it [Apple Watch], it's only for people who don't currently wear a watch."

Really?? Do you think no one who wears a watch will buy a smart watch?
Wouldn't they just leave their old watch at home when they get the Apple one?

I've worn a watch my whole life, but recently find myself leaving it at home and just looking at my phone (er, iPod Touch) for the time.

That's like saying that new cameras are only for those who don't already own a camera, since it looks nerdy to use two cameras simultaneously. And yet I would guess that most of your readers own more than one camera - personally, I have 3 excluding the one on my phone, although I generally only use one at a time...

One thing I'm grappling with a bit as I age is the impermanence of brands I thought "would always be there" when I was younger. Nothing is permanent. Even some things that should be forever, like stick shifts, seem to be on the way out.

I say this as the owner of an 8 year old Acura TSX that I still love, even though I really want/need an all wheel drive car for snow and dirt roads...

Well, two statements from my side:

1. Saying "You can't wear two watches" AND at the same time saying "Apple Watch is not a watch" - what does that mean? It just means wearing an Apple "Watch" and a traditional watch at the same time does not mean wearing two watches… sounds logical doesn't it?

2. Even seeing Apple Watch as a watch, why not wearing two watches and accepting being kind of a nerd? Remember Nicolas Hayek, president of the Swatch group always weared two watches or more:
Honestly as a collector of mechanical watches I always wear two watches. Surely some people do ask "Why the hell do you wear two watches?" My answer "same reason why women wear two bracelets".


Or, Mike, you could just go by design, thus avoiding being frustrated, when your 'team' comes up with a total mistake. To me, the iWatch looks like a Timex. Something cheap, which stops working the day after warranty expires.
I have my eyes set on Motorolas 360. It actually looks like an analogue watch (until it starts flipping messages and alerts at you!). Or maybe I just go with something more reliant, that doesn't need a recharge every 6 hours. Sometimes it's nice not to be 'online'.

As illustrated, it seems to me that it is a watch—you can use it to tell time, and even the date. Looks like it's configurable for digital or analog display as you prefer, too. It would replace a normal watch, taking on the timekeeping function and adding many others, is what the advertising seems to say. Same as "Pebble" and various other products in this category.

Christian Wanscher, everyone who has held the Apple Watch says it is the first smart watch that has the build quality of a higher end timepiece, including the founder of Hodinkee. The Moto 360 is still kind of cheap feeling in person, outside of maybe the leather band.

In my mind, this just illustrates that you are not a "technology" person.
When car companies you "liked" went through low cycles in product quality or offerings, you dumped them because you cared about cars. When camera companies you liked went through a similar phase, you dumped them because you cared about cameras.
Apple went through a very significant low in product quality and product offerings in the early to mid-90s. You stayed. You don't really care about computer/technology products provided they do the minimum you require. Would this be a fair assessment?

[It's an astute analysis but at the same time not a fair assessment. A better assessment may be that I changed car and camera companies because of outside factors mainly having to do with insufficient funds. But yes, Apple did go through a low period. My employer bought my computers during that period, so the option to stay or go wasn't my decision to make during that time. --Mike]

Looks great actually, but daily charging? That really would bug me.

I think have about six watches (with another in the post), and each day I decide which one to wear.

Also, several of my watches will cope with swimming in the sea. And they all have a useful life expectancy of 10 years or more.

I don't see the Apple Watch fitting well into this scenario, which is quite common among people who like watches.

[Hi John, Well, as I've said, I don't think people would buy this just to use it as a watch. A watch is one of its functions and you wear it like a watch, but if you just want a watch that tells time, no question there are lots of much better options, as you imply. --Mike]

I'm sure Apple would strongly disagree with the statement that the target market does not include people who currently wear a watch. Seems akin to saying their target IPad market did not include people who already had a computer. I suspect it will appeal to many current watch wearers for the very reason you note: ultimately it's not a watch (or more correctly, it's much more than a watch).

Just comments regarding watches and cars, Hondas in particular.

Folks that like watches, and there are many of them, don't wear two watches at once, they, like guys that own more than one motorcycle, switch them out from time to time, day to day, or occasion to occasion.

Regarding Honda car seats....well, yes and no. The fair share of car seats in Civics are pretty forgettable (with the exception of my '86 CRX Si), but the car seats in Acuras are actually very nicely designd AND very comfortable. The seats in my 2007 TSX (original version) and my 2008 TL Type S are beautifully made and among the most comfortable I've ever sat in (including the Nissan Altima's Zero G seats). Unfortunately, the ILX is an exception with respect to Acura seats. I drove an ILX for an entire week through the Eastern Sierra when my TSX was in for an AC repair, and the seats in the ILX, unfortunately, are much more Civic-like than Acura-like.

I agree with you that Honda Motor makes fine vehicles, I've driven them continuously since 1981, and have ridden Honda motorcycles since 1987. Their engineering can be truly amazing, as well as the overall quality of their products. For a long time, they set the standard in automobile engineering. They lost their way for a while, though, between mid- 2008 and 2015. The 2011 Accord and 2012 Civics were not very good cars, and there was a bit of a scandal at corporate when the 2012 Civic was not a Consumer Reports recommended car for the very first time in it's history. The biggest challenges have been in the Acura Division. The recently discontinued TL was an unmitigated sales disaster, and NA Honda could not give that car away because it's styling was so incredibly ugly. This was especially bitter for Honda as the previous gen TL (2004-2008) was a very attractive and well-engineered car as well their best selling model in the history of the Division. The second gen (current) TSX is regarded is regarded as being too big and bloated compared to the wonderful, lithe, and superb Euro-sports sedan inspired 1st gen TSX (2004-2008), and their sales were so bad in 2012 and 2013 that they created a division in North American Honda specifically just to figure how to recover Acura sales. The ILX and TLX are the first answers to this dilemma for Honda. Personally, as a great admirer of Honda for many, many years, I was sad to see corporate complacency creep into what was one such a fearless, bold, innovative and fun company. Soichiro must have been spinning in his grave for a while there.

The automobile division seems to be getting back on track; we shall see if the new TLX wil be an answer to their plummeting sales.
Their motorcycles always were and continue to be, incredibly good examples of engineering and riding pleasure.

Maybe you would like to try, before you buy; http://www.demoapplewatch.com

It's kind of like getting the reviewers unit first.

What I don't see with the apple watch is a Killer App. I have an i phone which I like a lot and it has a dozen killer apps in my eyes. The watch doesn't seem to do many things that my phone can't do better. Why would I want to text using my watch when I have a bigger screen in my pocket. Maybe the fitness things but honestly how many of will use that long term??

The only thing I really see as the big draw is purely the fashion cool factor which isn't enough in my book. Am I missing something?

We are moving toward a world of Apple watches and cars that drive themselves. I cannot blame the auto manufacturers if, as they look out over humanity, determine the overwhelming majority are not interested in anything that requires extra effort. Not to mention the fact that automatics are now more efficient than manual transmission, and result in reduced emissions. Human nature, combined with pressure from regulators. will soon make the joy of the manual transmission a thing of the past.

I bought a MacBook Pro as a Christmas present to myself. My feelings about an optical drive are about the same as my feelings toward manual shift. Fortunately there were a few leftover 2012 MacBooks with the optical drive. It gripes me that I could not have an optical drive AND a Retina display. I must be turning into an old codger. Damn Kids!

I really tried *not* to be a brand loyalist with regard to automobiles. Had a Ford Probe GT circa 1989, still probably the best FWD vehicle I ever drove, due mostly to very low weight. Next bought a Ford Contour SVT, nice engine and handling but a bit too soft. Sadly, Ford then lost the plot and stopped building small fun cars for a while.
I then got the first generation Subaru 'bug-eye'd WRX, which was a blast. Then got a 2006 Subie STi, which was stupid fast but harsh, loud and crude. I kinda got too old to drive it. It did teach me that all wheel drive is basically mandatory for winter driving where it snows, if you insist on wide performance tires.
But you know what? It's damn near impossible to get all wheel drive, fun handling, and a manual transmission all the same vehicle. Pick any two, unless you're willing to splurge on an Audi S-something. So I got a more reasonably priced Infiniti G37x. Fast, yes. But paddle shifters and a slush-box are nowhere near as fun as a proper manual transmission. Dullsville. Now I was too *young* (at least in my own mind) for the car I was driving.
So I'm back with Subaru and their latest iteration of the STi, and it's fabulous. They actually sanded off all the rough edges, and handling is way better than it was. Same old engine as 10 years ago, but it's still almost too fast for public roads, and now the chassis is the equal of the power-train.
Okay, so I'm old, and teenage males regard me with undisguised horror when I get out of the car. But it's a blast to drive, even (especially!) in snow.

Pssssssst, Mike. My new car is the most fun I've had in a long time, like since I got my MKI GTI:

Enzo The Abarth At Home, November 09, 2014

I'll wait until I see a lot more around. For now it would feel a little conspicuous. My daughter, by the way, was big into multiple watches back in fourth grade. She found all our unused ones as we switched to phones.


One advantage Apple seems to present, in virtually all their products, is the look and feel of quality. I do not care the otherworldly advantages that some Android phones present, every time I hold one, it seems like a low quality Iphone wannabe. Part of Apple's advantage may be the fact that they are always on the cutting edge of product type; they are in a position to define what the product should be. I mean, before the Ipod, who was REALLY interested in bothering with MP3 players?

The problem with the Apple Watch is the fact that it is a watch...There are already really good watches out there. My brother, a watch aficionado, tells me that high quality watches are usually very thin from back to face. The Apple watch has the appearance of some fat gizmo. Like something you would see in a Dick Tracy cartoon. I imagine, It will be a tough thing to overcome. But if anyone can, it will be Apple.

I scoffed at the Ipod, the Iphone, and the Ipad. Now I own and use all of them. With enthusiasm. Right now, I detest the thought of wearing an Apple watch. History says I will probably own one someday. I wonder if it would have been introduced, in its present form, if Steve Jobs were still with us?

Google glasses? NEVER!!!!!

Brand loyalty you say. How about 40 years of wearing high-quality 501s ? I stuck with Levis until they closed their American factories, and off-shored production to the lowest bidder. At this point Arizona Jeans cost half as much and lasted twice as long. A real no-brainer!

I'll get an Apple Watch for two reasons. One is to tell time, 'cuz the iPhone is getting so large as to be difficult to remove from my front pocket. The second is to use as a heart monitor (getting old sukz).

Hopefully, Apple will soon build a stand-alone (non-phone) camera. Bringing photography into the future where it belongs!

A manual transmission is like running your car with DOS.

The Apple Watch is playing a tricky game of mixing technology and fashion. It will be interesting to see if they get the mix of functionality to be compelling enough for people to buy it for the aesthetic reasons.

I used to be an Olympus loyalist, dating back to OM2SP film days. I persevered when all my colleagues were enjoying af, and only gave up when my job moved me away from taking pictures myself. After a long time out of photography, I was delighted by 4/3rds and the E-series and got back in as a serious amateur. Then the bastards dump the E-series for micro 4/3rds. I will never willingly buy another Olympus product as they treat their customers with contempt. I have no free time for serious photography and I genuinely don't know what I would do if I had. I have 4 outdated E series cameras and a collection of lenses, so I suppose I would use them until they give up & then look elsewhere.

I have purchased Apple computers twice. For several years I have been using an iMac for personal projects, and a variety of Windows computers for work. I am seriously considering jumping back to using Windows for personal work too. It is hard to stay committed to a company (Apple) whose products change (or are outright dropped) so often. Apple has decided to drop development of Aperture, which I have been using for the last 3 or 4 years. Who knows what the Aperture/iPhoto replacement, Photos, will be like? Apple is being tight-lipped about it. I am also disappointed about a lack of long-term commitment to OS support for hardware. I haven't been able to upgrade the OS and many apps for 2 or 3 years. The same is true of one of our iPads. I know Apple is in the business of selling hardware, but I like to know support for perfectly-serviceable computers will be there for the long haul. THAT will motivate me to want to stay with Apple products.

a curious take you have on to whom the Apple Watch is marketed; to me it seems to aimed at the luxury watch people, which i think is a smart way for Apple to launch ; maybe the second or third generation will have something for non-fashionable, lower-salaried geeks like me

… and i have been examining my own loyalties lately; i catch myself making subtle excuses for my long-term psychic investments (in the Apple ecosystem, in my neighborhood, in my book collection…) that diminish the enticement of alternatives; i assume that am also *not* catching myself in some further bias, so i respect your position on reviewing Fuji

My loyalty to Apple (30 years of Macs) ended when they made a series of decisions that made it clear they weren't as interested in photographers any more. The new Mac pro being external expansion only was part of it, then the purchase of Beats (when they were rumored to be interested in Phase One). There was an interesting chart last summer of recent Apple executive hires, and essentially all of them over the past few years were from the fashion and pop-culture industries - interested in fashion forward hipster products, not creative tools. At the same time, Microsoft brought on the impressively bright Satya Nadella, who seems to be doing the right things to appeal more to creative pros (huge, fast cloud storage is nice - MS has a big part of my photo library backup).
Apple occasionally releases something appealing (5k iMac), but I no longer trust them to do that consistently, now that they're a cell phone company with a sideline in computers!

To each his own, I guess. I never liked wearing a watch so I have zero interest in this thing.

"...Acura doesn't understand guys like me after all..."

I don't think that's true. They gave it a shot, but I'm guessing there simply aren't enough of "guys like you" to make it financially viable.

I imagine that there's some engineer at Honda looking forlorn, staring out a window and sighing that he may not get the chance to pair the better engine with a manual again.

Mike, I think you need a new hobby. You need more favorites to be disloyal to - you write well under the strain of cognitive dissonance and the "but this is so cool!" impulse to try the next new thing. I suggest fountain pens. Sure, computers are great for longer-form writing, but for creating notes, lists, and scraps of ideas for writing, a good fountain pen gives you the sense of creating art as you write, so you look for excuses to hand-write something. And there are sooooo many cool colors, nibs, and pen styles to obsess over.... Check out Goulet Pens, Brian Edison's custom-made pens, and The Fountain Pen Network. (I have no financial or personal association with any of these.) I suggest starting off with a Lamy Al-Star with an EF or 1.1mm nib. Have fun!

Honda and acura seats have almost always sucked, at least in the USA . The JDM versions of some of the cars got Recaros, which can be retrofit to the USA cars, I had recaros in my GSR and in my current 2007 TSX (6mt). About the only decent seats in the US market hondas came in the s2000 and the NSX. I have an 86 CRX Si which also has recaros, as the stock seats suck (as do the 2nd gen CRX seats). The seats in the current generation Pilot Touring are ok for comfort but meh on support.

The ILX has a decent motor and tranny, but is overpriced and under-specced with too much lameness from the civic carried over (front struts as an example). It's acura in name only, and is a let down compared to the Integra GSR or even the RSX type S (even though that also had struts).

Unlike car companies, Apple has never lost it's penchant for excellence. And everything they made in the 90s, despite carping by wankers to the contrary, was still lightyears ahead of the rubbish from rival PC makers. Thank Steve Wozniak for Apple, not jobs. Jobs was mostly a dilletante and time wasting, useless pain in the ass in his first iteration at Apple. Even after he came back it took a while before he really became useful. Fortunately he was smart enough to hire great people and let them do great work.

Here Come the Apple Watch Ads ...

Meanwhile, mobile shopper marketing company inMarket said it can now help marketers deliver information to consumers’ Apple Watch devices at retail outlets using “beacon” technology. Beacons can be used to send users information and offers based on their specific location within stores, and are being tested by a growing number of retailers.


Be sure to watch the slightly creepy (if you're into personal privacy) video.

By the time Mike's ready for a new car, Honda (Acura) might be ready (finally) to sell him a new NSX. No traditional manual transmission but close -- a nine speed dual clutch box. The seats look nice too.


At the Detroit Car Show (NAIAS) last year, I asked an Acura representative where the NSX was. He told me (more or less) that it had been delayed so many times that it was embarrassing to have it on display.

It's baaack.

I'm currently a happy Honda owner, a 2010 Honda Fit. I actually really like the front seats. They're miles ahead of the GM split bench seats that I recall from my youth. Test driving other cars before buying the Fit, I found the Nissan Versa's seats to be quite uncomfortable and the Mazda 3's seats to be as good as the Honda seats. Maybe they're just good for my frame.

The best part of the Fit is the wonderful manual transmission. It really makes the car a joy to drive. I'd bet that with an automatic the car would be a dog, but with the manual, it's fun to drive. Similar to you, they'll pry my stick shift from my cold, dead fingers. I won't drive anything else from now on.

The Acura looks nice from the side and back, but the front spoiler looks as it it's been designed by a teenager. Too much. The interior could do with a bit more understatement also - all those complicated curves. [Can you have 'more understatement? Well anyway …]

A lot of Japanese cars these days look as if the manufacturers are employing too many raw art-school types in their design studios. 'Be creative' = overdone and rather ugly in many cases.

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