Husband, father, geek.

by Chris Pearson

First Grind

For many modern fountain pen users a custom nib grind is a right of passage. This involves taking a fountain pen to some person who will grind away the nib to change it’s shape and so writing characteristics. This is generally to make the horizontal and vertical strokes different widths.

Being a somewhat handy person, and happy to wreck stuff on occasion I decided to attempt this my self. After all the nibmeisters1 had to learn some how.

The plan was to take a stock medium sized nib for my Kaweco Sport which I wasn’t overly fond of, having replaced the nib for an extra fine, and to apply an italic grind to it. This gives a thinner horizontal stroke to a broader vertical.

To ensure I wasn’t making a complete mess of things a quick google was done and some instructions located. I followed some by Ludwig Tan:

Grinding equipment

  1. A nibmiester is the term used to refer to someone skilled at re-grinding a nib. 

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TKVoice Is Out!

TKVoice logo

After a much longer gestation than I thought1 TKVoice is now available on the App Store.

Download on the App Store

TKvoice allows Troopers to achieve a film like sound when trooping. It will automatically detect your voice, apply effects and even give a static burst at the end of your sentence!

In order to troop, as well as TKVoice you will require a microphone, speaker and a splitter cable though you can test it out with just the headset that came with your phone. Further details on compatible hardware will be added to the tkvoice section of the site over then coming days.

This isn’t the end of the road and I already have several improvements planned based on feedback from beta testers.

I hope you try this out as a more affordable alternative to other hardware units. I look forward to hearing from users.

  1. Apparently the first commit was on September 15th, 2015. 

Pen Hacking

It all started when I bought our wedding rings. Everything was done I just needed to sign the receipt. The manager hands me a Montblanc Meisterstück Classique Rollerball. That was it, cheap pens were ruined for me forever.

It didn’t take long but soon enough I was listening to The Pen Addict podcast and had bought several fountain pens1 and a sea of different inks. Whilst I love using these they don’t always play nice with cheap paper and the ink tends to “feather” a lot. It was time to get a decent rollerball.

Lamy Vista and Montblanc refills

In the interest of cost, the Montblanc I used costs £310, I went with a more budget friendly option: A Lamy Vista. The refill that comes with it is a sort of blue-black and I wasn’t keen on the colour. Whilst I could have just bought a black refill I decided to attempt a “pen hack” and fit the Montblanc refill that started this all.

  1. Current count looks like 7, though I have 1 more coming some time next week. 

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The Decline Of Stack Overflow

Source: The decline of Stack Overflow

I’ve been a member on Stack Overflow for over 6 years. In the early days it was a great site and full of helpful people trying to help.

More recently I find myself agreeing more and more with John. The feel of the site has lost what made it great in the early days, the oppressive feeling is very apparent and I now hesitate to participate.

I don’t claim to have an answer for these problems but maybe it’s time for The Next Big Thing™.

Developing For The Fruit Company

As I mentioned in a previous post I’ve been working on a voice changer app to use with the Storm Trooper armour kit I’ve ordered. Well last night the prospect of this becoming a reality came one step closer.

I registered as an Apple developer.

Now this may not sound like a big deal but it was a £79 expense, so not throw away money. Especially as I have no expectation of earning this back.

This is something I’ve wanted to be able to do for a while so it’s pretty exciting. Whilst this is never going to be good enough to justify a trip to WWDC maybe I might be able to look into future development opportunities like the Apple TV dev kits after this years’ conference.

I Still Have An "Ancient" Mac Book Pro

Source: Why the 2012 non-Retina MacBook Pro still sells

Despite the low-resolution screen, slow hard drives, very little RAM, and CPUs that were middling even in 2012, it’s an open secret among Apple employees that the “101” still sells surprisingly well — to a nearly tragic degree, given its age and mediocrity.

Marco Arment (2016)

In the Apple tech press people have recently been rather mean about my laptop. Actually I have 2 as I got one for my wife too. The laptop in question is the old style 13” MacBook Pro pre retina.

I got both these laptops at the base spec in late 2012 early 2013 ish. I can’t remember what that means CPU wise but it shipped with 8GB of RAM, I think anyway, and a 500GB 5200rpm platter hard disk.

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Joining The Plus club

I hate to say it but #mykewasright.

Ever since Apple announced the iPhone 6 Plus back in 2014 I’ve been saying it’s too big and I’d never buy one. But here I am with a 6S Plus and I love it.

Okay, this is old news now. The plus sized phone is 18 months old and now in to it’s S generation. But like many normal people I’m on a 24 month upgrade cycle and have only just managed to upgrade.

I’ll spare the world yet another review but offer this: try it, you might just like it. The battery life is great1 and the extra screen space works well in so many apps.

One more thing, I have always been a big fan of Apple’s leather cases and have them, in black, for both my 5S, iPad Air 2 and now my 6S Plus. On the older two the leather was soft and grippy out of the box. However on this new 6S Plus case the leather is harder and less grippy. My wife went with the silicone case and having tried hers I think I went with the wrong case. A £40 mistake that I will just have to live with for a while, Apple cases aren’t cheap.

  1. I’m getting 2 whole days and overnight at the moment, but now I’m back at work I am expecting GPS use to butcher that. 

A Long Time Ago...

Many years ago I used to work for a large theme park outside of London each summer. At the end of each season they would have a big black tie ball to say thank you to the staff and everyone would have a few drinks and a good time.

Each year there would be a theme and one always stands out to me. As we approached the park gates 4 figures that would be familiar to anyone were waiting to greet us. Darth Vader with 3 Storm Troopers stood guarding the gate.

At the time I knew little about this but in the years since, I’ve come to learn they would almost certainly been members of the 501st Legion, a costuming group dedicated to the dark side Star Wars characters. Ever since I discovered it’s existence I knew this was something I wanted to do.

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The One About Watches

I’ve had my watch for a long time. I can’t remember exactly when I got it but it was bought using money I was given by my grandmother, I’d estimate I’ve had it about 12 years. It’s made by the respected Swiss brand Tissot and I’ve worn it more or less every day since I bought it.

But in April 2014 Apple changed everything. Watching the announcement of Apple Watch my interest was piqued. Something I’ve not been able to shake since.

We are now 6 months after its release and I find my self rationalising a purchase at least once a week. Occasionally I handle one in my local Apple Store and twirl the Digital Crown or try a force touch.

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