Hario Skerton is a beautiful, high-quality ceramic coffee grinder – $34
If you have any ambitions to make coffee that actually tastes good then you need to buy freshly roasted, whole coffee beans and grind them yourself right before you brew your coffee. There are no shortcuts available here so just do it and enjoy a whole new level of coffee experiences. There are many other factors that you can experiment with to make better coffee, but fresh beans and a grinder is the absolute best way to start out. I’ll leave it to you to find good coffee beans that suits your own taste but I will recommend a few good grinders here on Pixels & Objects in the coming months.
When you start looking for the right coffee grinder you have a few options to consider. The first one is whether to get a burr grinder or one that cuts the coffee beans using metallic blades. The answer is always to go for a burr grinder since they produce much more evenly cut coffee particles and this results in far better coffee. The second choice is between an electrical or a manual grinder. Electrical grinders are fast and easy to use but they also take up a lot of space. Manual grinders are often nice design objects that are easy to store and pack when traveling, but they do require you to put in some work every time you use them.
The first grinder featured on this site is Skerton, a manual, ceramic burr grinder from the legendary Japanese glassware manufacturer Hario. Skerton is a beautiful piece of hardware that you probably don’t want to hide in a kitchen drawer. It lets you grind approximately 80-90 grams of coffee at a time which is enough to brew 5+ cups of coffee. You will have to put in a lot of manual work to grind that much coffee beans and my recommendation is to use it to make smaller batches of coffee. It’s perfect for brewing 1-3 cups, either as your main grinder or as a less noisy alternative to your electronic grinder when you don’t want to wake your family up. It can also be very useful while traveling or at a place where you simply need an extra grinder, like at work. The price is also pretty attractive compared to almost any electrical burr grinder available.
Hario Skerton is made out of metal, plastic and glass and all parts can be disassembled very easily if you want to perform some serious cleaning. It comes with a plastic lid that you can use on the glass container if you want to store some grounded coffee, but that’s not something I would recommend. Use a scale to measure exactly the amount of beans you need for your brew and you’ll get better tasting coffee every time.
Photo by: Pixels & Objects
COBURNS are a minimal and elegant pair of wooden iPad stands – $25
There are many iPad cases with built-in stands available but most of them add too much bulk and aren’t always that great to use. I prefer to keep my iPad in a slim leather sleeve for protection and then take it out when I want to use it. This works great at most times but a stand can be very useful in certain situations. Enter COBURNS, two wooden legs that grip on to your iPad and lets you position it in an unlimited number of angles in both portrait and landscape orientation.
The two legs snap together using magnets when not in use and they are compact enough to slip into pretty much any pocket. You can choose between light or dark wood and there are versions available for iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad mini Retina, iPad 3 and iPad 4. COBURNS started as a successful Kickstarter campaign but it is now available to the rest of the world.
Photo by: Pixels & Objects
Panasonic Lumix GM1 is a powerful Micro Four Thirds camera in an unbelievably small size – $698
I’ve been using Micro Four Thirds cameras from Panasonic for a few years now and they are the perfect fit for my photography needs. You get powerful features in a small package without losing the ability to switch lenses when needed. The majority of my photos are taken when traveling so the small size of these mirrorless cameras is a big selling point for me. Most Micro Four Thirds cameras are significantly compact compared to normal DSLRs but you really have to see the GM1 with your own eyes to realize just how tiny it is. The picture above shows the camera next to a standard sized match box from swedish brand Solstickan. This camera is not just compact, it’s actually pocketable.
Despite the small camera body Panasonic still managed to include a 16MP sensor, WiFi-support, 1080 HD video recording, a pop-up flash, a 3.0-inch display and a lot of other goodies. It comes with a 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 zoom lens that was designed specifically for the GM1. The body weighs in at 204 grams and with the standard zoom lens attached the total weight is 361 grams.
Visit the excellent website Digital Photography Review for an extensive review of the GM1.
Photo by: Pixels & Objects
Peek is an iPhone calendar app with unusual but very natural controls and a stunning UI – $1.99
No one can argue that there has been an overload of calendar apps for iPhone recently. I have tried a lot of them but so far none of them have really made me ditch the default iOS Calendar app. Apple’s own solution is working well for me but it sure has a few annoyances and unnecessary steps to access basic actions. So every time a new competitor shows up I’m checking it out.
Peek Calendar was released today and it looks like a winner to me. The official website uses the tag line “The calendar humanized” and even though that’s a bold statement I think they’re on to something. Peek has a very neat and flat UI that reminds me a bit about the to-do manager Clear. What’s even more important is the way you browse though the information and access the different controls. You can touch on a day to fold out all your calendar entries for that day and then touch again to close it. Touch and hold your finger for 0.5 seconds to create a new entry and then use all kinds of sliding controls to enter information. It feels very natural even though it’s a pretty different UI compared to most other apps.
I highly recommend that you watch this video because it made me buy the app:
Not only did Square Mountains create a good calendar app but they did a good job on the website and promo material as well.
Photo by: Square Mountains