Watches I have known

I got a new watch. Again. I bought my last watch in 2001. There was nothing wrong with it. However, Casio brought out a new version that drops the moon phase and tide graph, and instead has 5-band radio atomic clock synchronization. As you can see, it’s not a major departure, visually speaking. The function of the buttons is slightly rearranged, the actual time is larger and easier to read, the time zones don’t have editable names, and the alarm now has a snooze function.

Phone vs watch

I gather that increasing numbers of people these days use their cell phone to tell the time, and don’t bother with a watch. However, the watch is fighting back. Behold, the quad band GSM phone in a wristwatch, with Bluetooth (so you can pair it with a headset for phone use) and OLED display showing analog hands. Plus 1.3MP camera, kinetic battery recharge, and MP3 player. At 13mm thick it’s still pretty bulky, but not much worse than my Casio G-Shock.

World famous in Germany

Once it was decided that we were going to Hamburg, I decided to do some research and see if there were any of the famous Germans I knew of were from Hamburg. In particular, I wanted to know if any of the musicians or bands I’m a fan of happened to be from the area. The answer, unsurprisingly, was yes. Holger Hiller was born in Hamburg. He played in various local bands, founded a band called Palais Schaumberg, then went on to a solo career in which he created the first album to be constructed entirely of samples from other albums—and a length of plastic drainpipe.

Trans Canada Highway

When Boards of Canada started achieving prominence, it was common for people to post on the Internet about how much they were like Autechre. Even today, they’re often spoken of in the same breath. Yet I’ve come to see Boards of Canada as the opposite of Autechre. Autechre’s driving force—and crippling problem—has always been their perpetual desire for novelty. Their first album was fairly conventional, at least by the standards of electronica; perhaps because it was really a compilation of unrelated tracks, perhaps because they were extremely limited in the equipment available to them.

Five Admirable CEOs

It has been alleged that I’m unthinkingly rude and negative about the rich, famous and successful. To disprove that assertion, here’s the first of a series of articles. 1. Aaron Feuerstein, CEO of Malden Mills. In 1995, a fire burned the Malden Mills factory to the ground. Everyone thought they were out of work, but no. The company CEO kept all the employees on the payroll until the factory could be rebuilt.


My new watch arrived. Casio G-Shock. I’ve never had a Casio last less than five years, which is two more than the expensive Seiko managed. Reading the web, it seems that Seiko Kinetics are quite notorious for breaking. It probably doesn’t help that I tend to occasionally walk into walls, doors, and other solid objects, but still… Essential features of the new watch: time, date, day of week, 24 hour format, waterproof (to 200m), solar powered.

Time flies like a banana

My watch is broken. Again. It’s a Seiko Kinetic. When it works, I love it. It never needs winding, never needs batteries, tells me the time and date and is accurate to within seconds a year. Unfortunately, this is the second time it has broken. It stopped at exactly 06:00 this morning. When I bought the watch, I hadn’t factored annual maintenance into the equation. I think I’m going to go back to cheap Casio watches, which will at least run for five years without failing.

Soyuz chic

The sky was overcast but beginning to clear as we walked into the reception area at the bottom of the Fernsehturm, the famous TV tower. The tower rises in brutal Soviet modernity overlooking Alexanderplatz, the area which used to be the showcase of the DDR. An illuminated sign said that there was no view to be seen, but I thought otherwise and the girl in the ticket booth was willing to take our money.