Heath Ceramics

2 years ago, we replaced all our Dinnerware with products from Heath Ceramics. After more than 10 years with our previous dinnerware we wanted a product that would last a long time and was incredibly durable.

Heath Ceramics has been making Dinnerware since 1948. Some of their pieces will be found in many restaurants around the country. Their products are hand made.

If you have a chance to visit their store in the Ferry Building in San Francisco, or their showroom in the Mission - it’s well worth it.

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AARKE Carbonator - make sparkling water at home

Since visiting Italy this summer, our family got hooked on sparkling water. Specifically we liked “less gas” than the American Sparkling water.

Purchasing sparkling water involves a lot of glass and waste. For a while I’ve been looking for something I can make at home that’s not Soda Stream (yes I am aware of them, but their products are aesthetically ugly). Further, I am just interested in “water” not “flavored water” - for that I cut a lime.

That’s when I discovered Aarke - it’s a really nice looking device made of metal. It uses the Soda Stream 60L / 410g cartridges so you can buy those anywhere.

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iPhone Xs and Apple Watch Series 4

Last year Apple released the iPhone X. This was arguably the biggest change in the iPhone since the introduction of the “Plus” sized phones a few years prior. You can read my review from last year.

I was very bullish on the iPhone X and I regard this as the best phones I have owned… until now.

The iPhone Xs and Xs Max are an evolution of this product. The changes are not significant but they are meaningful. Whether they are meaningful enough for you to upgrade - that’s up to you but I will spell out some scenarios to consider.

The biggest decision when considering the Xs is the size. I decided to purchase the “Max” or the bigger one. I will admit that this was the toughest decision or me to make. After living with the phone for a week, I’m glad I made this choice - but it’s not a perfect choice. I think the size of the new iPhone Xr (which I won’t plan to review) is closer to what I’d want.

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Tesla Model 3

3 years ago I picked up my Model S and wrote this review of it.

The Model S is the best car and driving experience I've ever had. So when my lease was up, I had a choice to make - another Model S or a Model 3. I decided on the Model 3.

When I ordered my Model S I had no intention of getting a car in that price range - but I really wanted to experience Tesla and driving a luxury electric car and a zero emissions driving experience. I produce more than enough solar power for my Tesla to be "off the grid" but Washington State's energy is majority hydro-power anyway.

I will say that 3 years with a Model S - it's actually rather uneventful and boring - meaning I don't feel that there has been a single compromise or downside to owning an elecrtric car - quite the opposite. I'm now irreversibly ruined by the experience. I'll be a Tesla owner for life if that's possible.

In the 3 years I drove my car I 1. never ran out of "electricity" 2. had any major issues 3. had the car save me from an accident twice 4. removed stress and worry from my life 5. produced many smiles on my face while driving it.

My car was primarily used for commuting and driving around town on the weekend. We took a few long range trips to Canada, Oregon and around Washington. I seldomly used Super chargers as the network in Washington is small compared to California - but this has changed in the past few years as there are now many more super chargers in Washington.

In the 3 years I drove 21,224 miles and consumed 7390 kWh of energy. That puts my efficiency at 348 Wh/mi - a bit below what Tesla says is "estimated range". If you want to understand this - if you power three 100W light bulbs for 1 hour that's about how much energy it takes to move the Tesla 1 mile traveling at 65 mph. Electricity math is neat.

The cost of energy in Seattle is about 12 cents a kWh - so the cost of driving this car is $616 dollars. I paid zero dollars in maintenance costs or repair costs. If we compare to gas, lets say I had an equivalent car that got 20 mpg, at 1060 gallons of fuel would cost about $3.50 for premium gas that amounts to $3,700 in fuel I didn't spend or pollution I did not create.

Honestly though, that doesn't really factor into the equation to me as this is one of the best cars out there if you consider purchasing, ownership, and driving. I will say that the convenience and driving experience make it stand out:

  • Regenerative braking - once you get used to this, it's hard to drive a gas car. You essentially learn to drive by just using the accelerator as the car slows down when you let go of the accelerator. You almost never use your brakes.

  • Auto unlock, auto lock, pretty much auto everything. The car is a robot and it's so nice not to think about opening the garage or locking your car. You just get in and drive. 

  • Safety - the car has so many safety features - mind numbing really. the car has managed to save me from a wreck a few times due to it's auto collision and lane warning features.

  • Updates - Tesla is the only car in the world that receives software updates on a nearly monthly basis. Due to how car dealers work, you are lucky if your car ever gets a bug fix. The Tesla experience is a relationship you have with the company that makes your car - not the dealership. Who likes interacting with their dealership? Who got a new feature on their car after purchasing it?

So, if I loved this car so much why did I get a Model 3?

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Twelve South AirFly Wireless Transmitter

I have fully made the switch to wireless headphones. I have a pair of AirPods I take with me everywhere and a pair of B&W PX Headphones for travel. Since they are wireless that presents some challenges when I want to listen to watch an airplane movie or play my Nintendo Switch. 

The Twelve South AirFly is a gadget meant to solve this problem. You plug it into a headphone jack and then it connects wirelessly to your headphones.

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