A-Players: Week of January 10th

Hello again all,

It's been a properly cold week here in Michigan, the kind that makes one - like myself - feel like burrowing under the covers of a bed and not leaving them at all. While I haven't managed to do that all week long, I have had a nice chance to spend some time catching up on reading, and so I'm particularly happy with the interesting topics presented in this week's links. Camera reviews, The Apple Watch after 9 months, and the latest bag review from Ben Brooks.

Thank you all for reading along with me as always, and I hope you'll come back again next week for the next dose.

  • The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Review — Tools and Toys - After a long time coming, Josh Ginter reviewed his daily driver of a camera from the past year or two - The OM-D E-M5 Mark II. After reading Josh's piece I'm left with the impression that the EM-5 II is one hell of a camera, and after seeing all the great work Josh has done with it it's hard to argue that Micro Four-Thirds isn't the best jumping-off point into photography these days. A stellar review of what looks to be a stellar camera.

  • Fitbit HR Review Transcript - Audacious Fox - A new blog to me, Kyle Drager put out a really interesting piece recently transcribing he and a friend's thoughts on the Fitbit HR fitness band and how it worked its' way into their lives. Rather than a more traditional written review, or a full-audio conversation, Kyle brings us a back-and-forth Google Docs transcript - and I think that's really cool. A written conversation to present a product. That's really innovative - and something I'll consider trying myself going forward.

  • Fujifilm X-Pro 2 - Marius Masalar - One of the biggest moments for me this past week was waiting till midnight on Thursday for FujiFilm's big new x-camera announcement. It's been 5 years since Fuji came out with their X-line of cameras, and to celebrate they've launched the long-awaited successor to one of the X-line's most beloved cameras with the new X-Pro 2. Marius Masalar was fortunate enough to have his hands on the camera for several weeks now, and has put together a great first look at the new shooter. Judging from Marius' impressions the X-Pro 2 will be one heck of a release for FujiFilm, and I couldn't be happier that Marius got the chance to review it ahead of time. A great piece, and a great opportunity for a fellow writer.

  • Lodinatt Backpack and Shoulder Bag — The Brooks Review - Ben Brooks really never does stop reviewing bags, and it's great - informative - fun seeing what he'll favor next. In this case, he's reviewed a really classy looking shoulder bag that also converts into a backpack when the occasion calls for it. I've been intrigued by bags like this before, but this is the first one that hasn't seemed like a cluttered mish-mash of intentions. Even the Lodinatt doesn't look perfect, but Ben is probably right in thinking it's the best one out there so far. That canvas & leather look too, Mmm Mmm!

  • This is what I'm still using my Apple Watch for - iMore - I've been reading a series of posts across the Apple community recently all from different Apple Watch owners about why they've grown tired of the device and why they don't find themselves using it anymore. At the opposite end of things I've really enjoyed my 9 months or so with the device, and so I was happy to read this piece from iMore's Serenity Caldwell this week describing some of the little details that make the Apple Watch worth it in her life. Similarly to 'Ren, I too have a list of little details about the watch that make it and I inseparable, and so this piece resonated with me. I'm excited to see where Apple goes with version 2 of the watch, but I wouldn't write the first one off just yet either.

  • Asheville, City of Art and Industry - Life & Thyme - To end off the week, Life and Thyme brings us a photo-journal overview of their visit to Asheville, North Carolina. Beautiful photographs mix with the descriptions of these small businesses, and I do wish that I had the chance to be there in North Carolina right now, trying those tasty foods and venues myself. Maybe sometime in the future, maybe.


One more thing that was a fun little highlight in all this cold was that one miniscule BB-unit droid joined my company. I'd been tempted to purchase one of Sphero's app-controlled BB-8 droids ever since they came out last September, but the temptation really started bearing down once I'd seen The Force Awakens last month.


Some Amazon gift cards from Christmas, a little push from the girlfriend, and I ordered the little guy. He's absolutely adorable - whether being piloted around the floor or just sitting in his charging dock in my room. The guys from Sphero have imbued a lot of personality into such a relatively basic robot, and just having it around is loads of fun. It may be a little silly to spend money like this on what boils down to being a toy, but it's already brought joy to myself and others in my life. And I'll bet it'll continue to over the next several years and the next Star Wars releases.

Until next week.