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Clikstand Stove vs Trangia 27

From the “Sometimes, I need to get things out of my system” dept.

I go through these really intense periods of time where I obsess about a specific subject. Some common themes include cycling, computer networking, and camping stoves. I’m currently working through the latter as I reflect about the backpacking trip the family took into Algonquin Park this fall and my aspirations to combine my love of cycling with my joy of camping by doing a bikepacking trip in 2021. I explain this to Jen as me, “getting it out of my system.” Sometimes1Most of the times that requires random ecommerce purchases.

I love the Trangia system and was hoping to take my Trangia 27 with me solo bike packing, but I have been thinking that a lighter weight system is more appropriate. Specifically, the type of bags used in modern bike packing, make for storage of my Trangia 27 a bit difficult. So in an effort to slim things down, I’ve gone through two routes by purchasing:

There are several, influential sources that link the Clikstand to bikepacking:

I procured a used Evernew Titanium 900 ml pot (non-stick ECA422) to partner the Clikstand and was able to finally pit it against my vintage Trangia 27UL (mid-late 2000s). Testing was conducted outside under the following conditions using a 85:15 ethanol-to-methanol mix:

SystemFuel Air Temp Volume Water Temp Boil TimeBurn TimeWeight
Trangia 27 UL
(mid 2000s)
30 ml11˚C / 52˚F500 ml20˚C / 68˚F07:2712:15833g
Clikstand Sierra Combo
+ Evernew pot 900 ml
30 ml11˚C / 52˚F500 ml20˚C / 68˚F06:3010:55484g
The Clikstand burned hotter and faster and the total system weighs substantially less (with sponge, chamois, etc.).

The differences in boil and total burn times with the Trangia 27, a system from the mid-2000s, make me think that the Trangia burner needs to be replaced.

The biggest takeaway is the weight. An equivalent weighing, which removes the second 1L pot and firesteel that I typically store in the Trangia 27, is 484 g vs. 833g respectively, between the Clikstand system and Trangia.4Add another 102g, 80g and 45g for the pot, multi-disc and firesteel combo. FYI, the measured weights include other things that I store, like the solid fuel platforms, chamois, plastic Ziploc storage bags and half-cut Scotch-Brite sponges.

I wished it was a bit more windy during my test. I would love to see how the Clikstand performs in high winds. I can tell you that the Trangia is superb in this regard. The stability of the Trangia is also leagues ahead of the Clikstand. While the Clickstand was stable, the interface with the smooth surface of the Evernew made it slide quite a bit, but keep in minde that I’ve been spoiled with how well the Trangia works.

I feel a bit ashamed, as I haven’t had an opportunity to use the Trangia 27 outside of hypothetical boil tests and that I’m having a hard time trying to figure where it fits in all my camping gear. For instance, I could purchase a 1300 ml Evernew pot to added to the Clikstand and it would be a virtual equivalent, less the frying pan. I guess I need to use it to actually determine if the weight is worth the stability and windproof qualities.

Titanium Siphon Stove

As much as I love the Trangia cooking system, if you are by yourself and just need to boil water, there are lighter tools that can be used. I mentioned some alternatives in my previous post:

I’ve been waiting for a good sale on the Toaks Siphon Stove all summer. I managed to find a titanium siphon stove from a manufacturer on AliExpress called “Rover Camel“. It is an OEM “homage” to the Toaks Siphon stove and is marketed under other brand names such as the:

It appears to be the same design, but with slightly larger dimensions (H x W) 50 mm x 60 mm vs. 43 mm x 50 mm on the Toaks. It has a slower blooming time than the Toaks (10-15 seconds) but it does have jets that output to a centralized area. This seems appropriate for use on “tall” and “thin” camping pots. There is no way to simmer the flame so this is basically a water boiler.

Making and designing these Capillary Hoop Stoves (CHS) is difficult. A lot of this innovation was driven by a Japanese Youtuber named Tektoba and he has some very innovative designs where he/she varied such things as the number of jets, apeture, width and depth of the reservoir. The video below shows the painstaking detail that Tektoba puts into these handmade stoves.

While the Rover Camel stove functions, I don’t think it is an optimal design. The bloom time is significantly longer than the Toaks version from whom it derives its design from. Moreover, the denatured alcohol that I am using (in this case a 85:15 split of ethanol and methanol with some component of ethyl acetate), it suffers from thermal pressure and the heat of the system vapourizes the alcohol in the reservoir, as opposed to just in the sidewalls, igniting the extra alcohol vapour. This leads to incomplete combustion with sooting and varnishing of the pot at a ~2.5 cm (~1 inch) distance from top of the stove to the bottom of the pot. The sooting gets worse the further I raise the pot up. I’ve read that “Ethanol whips the wild stallion” on CHS-style burners and that this is a common problem with CHS-style stoves and denatured ethanol in general. The solution is to cut the fuel with some water, use 100% methanol, or add more methanol to the ethanol. All this does is reduce the over all BTU output.

I was hoping to use denatured alcohol having found a source in Quebec, but while you get a slightly faster burn time and less fuel usage than methanol (methyl hydrate), I dislike the soot and varnishing. Looking at the MSDS for this alcohol, it appears to have up to 5% Ethyl Acetate (typically a byproduct of distillation) and that may be creating the soot. There is minor soot produced in the Trangia system too. Since denatured alcohol is so difficult to find at the moment, I’m likely just going to stick with Methyl Hydrate from here on out (after I clear through the next 3 litres).

One thing that I notice is that I don’t really have a “system” with this setup. You still require a stove stand and windshield (likely some heavy duty aluminum foil or a titanium windshield). So while you save on weight (in a very big way), you lose out on the integration, simmering capabilities and ease of use provided systems built around the Trangia burner (Trangia 25 / 27 and Clikstand as examples). You optimize for weight and compactness, but you won’t get the best usability.

I was considering a Firebox Nano as a stand, but settled on the Toaks titanium stove stand (I found it on sale for $24 CAD). I figure I should go all in on the ultralight setup. The Firebox Nano probably was a better choice, but I think I am using this as a sort of pandemic therapy. May still pick up the Nano, it’s a solid product and may make more sense for me. I’m making huge gains on weight savings for a solo setup, but I lose out quite significantly on pot stability and usability of the entire system. Everything from the non-integrated cooking system (separate burner, stand, wind screen, etc.) to the fuel choice doesn’t seem optimal.

Trangia Stoves: In appreciation of good design

Every week I sit with the design team at Nulogy to run a critique session on their work but I have since started a new tradition of icebreaker questions for the team to improve shared understanding at the personal level and team safety in general.

One of the questions I asked was tell me object that you truly appreciate in good design. Now there are obvious things that come to mind, like the Lego brick, but I surprised my team when I spoke about a passion that I had developed for a line of vintage camping stoves made by the Swedish company Trangia. In particular, their line of weather proof Storm Cookers.

The Trangia series of camping stoves are built around a very elegant and simple alcohol burner made of brass–a design that was originally released to market in 1951.1You can find the entire Trangia historical timeline at the main Trangia corporate site. The burner and cooker system itself has seen some modifications during that time, but it’s more less the same. As an example, below is an image of a vintage burner from the late-1970s and one of modern manufacture. The only real difference is that the simmer ring design and lack of lower indent for a pre-heating plate (to be used in sub-zero temperatures). Otherwise, the system has a remarkable amount of backwards compatibility and functionally similar.

On the left, circa late-1970’s burner with original simmer ring attached. On the right, a modern burner and simmer ring. The new simmer is compatible with the old Trangia. Note the difference in branding at the base.

The brass burner allows for storage and relatively easy recovery of alcohol (in this case Methyl Hydrate or Methanol). The actual “Storm Cooker” is a nested cooking system that form an integrated base for the burner and windshield with the included pots and frying pan. It is stable and windproof with the frying pan becoming the pot lid. More modern models and accessories allow the system to accept solid fuel tablets (Esbit / hexamine) and even pressurized gas burners (isobutane or white fuel).

It’s a time-tested design and it works beautifully. This year, I finally had the opportunity to use the Trangia 25 (larger edition) backpacking with the family for 4 nights in Algonquin Park off the shores of lake Guskewau. We had huge wind coming off the lake, a constan 25-30km wind at times and the Trangia was rock solid, stable and effectively wind proof. We also had two bouts of torrential rain during the trip, but the Trangia was a champ. I cooked for all four of us. This was in stark contrast with my brother’s MSR Simmerlite, which was knocked over several times and due to a bad windshield placement, burned up nearly half their fuel trying to boil water for ramen noodles in one sitting. (The MSR otherwise performed really well, boiling > 1L water in 3-5 minute vs. 10+ minutes for the Trangia).

The author enjoying using his Trangia.

I have to thank my sister-in-law’s aunt and uncle who gifted us the unused Trangia 25 back during Christmas of 2018. They had gotten it for camping but it was never used. The pots were missing, but the original “Fluon” non-stick pan, kettle, burner, base and windshied, ARNO strap and pot holders remained. “Fluon” is an old term for Teflon. I brought the alcohol burner to our Algonquin backpacking trip in 2019 and was impressed enough to add the missing pots back to the Trangia 25.

The thing was more a curiosity, but the more I researched the cooking system, the more fascinated I became with how timeless the system was. It spoke to me because I appreciate as a designer, how usable the system is. It is dead simple to assemble with its nesting base, windscreen and pots. The burner uses alcohol, a relatively safe and stable fuel that is purchasable from any hardware store.2In this particular case, I was using 99% Methyl Hydrate (Methanol) which is quite toxic if ingested or if absorbed through your skin. I have moved over to Denatured Alcohol (an 85:15 split between Ethanol and Methanol) and have since found a source 99:1 Ethanol and Isopropanol You can boil water, simmer foods and fry with it. The base is rock solid, difficult to tip over and built for inclement weather. Kids in Europe are often introduced to the Trangia when they are camping when young. The fact that the Trangia cooking system is virtually unchanged is a testament to its solid design and engineering.

Air enters the base where it is added to a heated convection current along the sides.

I hadn’t even used the cooking system yet, but I completed the system by purchasing additional hard anodized pots, a new simmer ring, a backup isobutane burner, a pan stand, a disc accessory and travel bag. A month after completing the Trangia 25, I bought a previously owned, more portable, 2-person model (Trangia 27-5 UL) cooking system. This trip to Algonquin Park was the first time I’ve been able to use either of the cook sets. (I still haven’t used the Trangia 27 officially, but I’ve kitted it out with all the things necessary, in addition to solid fuel/alcohol gel plate).

The Trangia Storm Cookers are not perfect. There are lighter, more compact systems available, for sure. There are higher performing alcohol stoves that burn hotter (faster boil times) or burn more efficiently, using less fuel. However, the Trangia burner still performs well relative to newer innovations and offers the ability to store unused fuel and provides a simple means to simmer your food. It’s really the best system out there if you want to “cook” your food as opposed to just boiling your water.

When combined with the rest of the cooking system, I haven’t really found anything as well integrated and as easy to use. There are some candidates that I may explore like the Clikstand from Ursa Designs. The other alternative that I’ve found is the Firebox Nano. The nano is an innovative twig-biomass stove design that can be used with at Trangia alcohol burner. Coincidentally, both of those systems are intentionally built around the same Trangia alcohol burner that I have much love for. I also think that of the alternatives I’ve mentioned, they are better suited for solo pursuits (like bike packing). The Clikstand seems to be made in mind of providing a system that is as stable as a Storm Cooker, nearly as wind proof, but is lighter and more compact. The Firebox Nano is aimed as a twig stove first, stove stand for the Trangia second.


I probably wouldn’t use the Trangia cook set for solo camping based on weight, but I haven’t really found a system that is as well integrated as the Trangia.


  • Stable base
  • Wind and rain proof
  • A complete, nested cooking system for up to 4-people (Trangia 25) or up to 2 people (Trangia 27)
  • Virtually silent
  • Fool-proof (it just works)
  • Can simmer food
  • Alcohol is a relatively safe fuel


  • Weight3My setups are not optimized for weight. They include sponge, camp soap, fire striker with additional magnesium bar, each has a Trangia disc accessory, pack towels, etc. The older Trangia 25 uses a heavier and thicker aluminum gauge common in older cookers.
    • My Trangia 25 setup weighs 1.3 kg, fully loaded
    • My Trangia 27 setup weights 900 g, fully loaded
  • Slower cook times with alcohol
  • Weight of alcohol fuel over multi-day trip can be an issue
  • Kids are sick of my praise for the Trangia

Kinesis Keymap

Remapped Mac keyboard shortcuts on Kinesis Advantage and Contoured Keyboards

In Part 3 of my journey in learning to type on the Kinesis Contoured / Advantage line of keyboards, I decided to document how the layout and split design has affected my keyboard workflow as well as my current solutions.

After the first week, I started to enjoy typing on the new keyboard. I’m at a point now where I’m typing ~60 WPM, which is fast enough for day to day use. I’m starting to think about how to best optimize my workflows now.

Things that I have found disruptive:

  • Word-by-word navigation using the Option (⌥) + ←,→ is very awkward with the default layout of Option (⌥) at the far most top of the left thumb cluster.
  • Similarly, moving to the start and end of the line is difficult because of the default placement of the Command (⌘).
  • Keyboard combinations pressing Command (⌘) + Option (⌥) are difficult.
    • Specifically combinations that need to be done all on the left hand.
    • The one I use most is to switching tabs in Chrome and Firefox (⌘ + ⌥ + ←,→).
  • Splitting the direction keys across two hands is very hard to adapt.
    • This makes multi-key combinations difficult as the most commonly used one are the left and right directional buttons which are on the same side as the Command (⌘) + Option (⌥) keys.
  • I make use of an application called BetterTouchTool that allows me to map keyboard shortcuts. Specifically, I use this to “snap”, “tile” or “maximize” my windows across my monitors. I’ve tied the keyboard shortcuts to Command (⌘) + Option (⌥) + Control (^) + ←,↓,↑,→ and 1,2,3,4. Not being able to use these shortcuts are difficult.
  • Moving back to my MacBook Pro keyboard causes some dissonance.

There hasn’t been much written on this, here is what I’ve come up with using the keyboards built-in remapping features.

Original Remapped Benefit
Command (⌘) Delete key on the left thumb cluster Facilitates easier shortcuts
Option (⌥) End key Easier Command (⌘) + Option (⌥) combinations
Control (^) Home key Easy Command (⌘) + Option (⌥) + Control (^) combinations

The first change makes Cut, Copy and Paste operations much easier as you no longer have to extend your thumb upwards to hit the small control key. It also makes using LaunchBar / Alfred / Spotlight much more easier. The second change allows me to “Mash” both buttons with my left thumb. Finally, the third change allows me to “Mash” all three buttons using my left thumb1.

  • Finally, I remapped and moved the keycaps of ← and→ directional keys to the square braces ([, ]) in the “↓ , ↑ , [ , ]” cluster. By physically moving and remapping keys, I’ve modelled it to the VIM shortcuts (←,↓,↑,→).

This reduces the acrobatics with my left hand although I still find I am moving all over the place as I accidentally hit the directions keys the M, comma and period keys.

  1. I’m using a much older version of the Contoured keyboard that was never ever meant to be used with a Mac. In the default layout scheme for my model, there is no key to map Control (^) onto. In order to achieve this, I had to activate the “Windows” key and then remap it to the “Alt” button on the right thumb cluster using the hardware remapping tool. This mirrors modern Advantage keyboards in PC mode. I then navigated to System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Tab > Modifier Keys… and swapped the default PC keyboard mappings to something that makes sense on the mac. To enable the Windows key on older Kinesis keyboards, you can follow the instructions in my first post
Whatsapp image

First Impressions with the Kinesis Contoured Classic QD (KB133PC/QD)

[Update – 2020/02/29] – Leap Day update. I was able to repair the leads on flex circuit board using the conductive paint that I picked up at Canadian Tire. The ESC key works 100% now. I had wanted to lower the thumb clusters a bit, but realized that I didn’t have the right sized screws and will need to build proper spacers. I’ll fix that when I get the new circuit board and USB cable. Although I have purchased a new controller board and USB cable for repair I will likely jump on the Stapleburg Mod for additional flexibility.

[Update – 2020/02/23] – I ended up tearing down the keyboard again to address the ESC key. Cleaned the ribbon and button interface again with isopropyl alcohol. I also reinforced the PCB backing used to support the ribbon cable with some corrugated paper wicking material from a leftover humidifier wick. I’m glad to say that the ESC key is working much better and the reinforcement has improved the confidence of the function row substantially (they’d constantly collapse on both sides when pressed). It is still not 100%, but until I can make it to Canadian Tire and get some conductive paint (windshield defogger paint), I won’t be able repair it any time soon.

So I’ve been typing on the Kinesis Contoured Classic for the better part of the week. I’m at ~45 WPM1. It’s getting almost fast enough to be a daily driver for me.

A few things that I’ve noticed:

  • The PS/2 cord has some sort of short in it. I’m basically attaching it to and from different computers to practice, you can hear the keyboard shorting out (buzzing on the speaker, LEDs flashing). In some cases, this resets the keyboard memory and I lose all my key bindings and macros. This is very disappointing.
  • I used 3M Dual-Lock fasteners to attach an Apple Magic Trackpad V1 to the center of the keyboard. I thought that this was clever, the V1 Magic Trackpad fits perfectly on it. I placed some adhesive vinyl bumpers to engage the click buttons on the rubber feet of the trackpad. It’s great to have another option than my mouse to interact with. Scrolling and panning is so smooth.

Addition of Magic Trackpad.


  • I really miss the bumps that are typically found on the “F” and “J” keycaps. I realize that the Kinesis uses different keys for the home row that cradle your fingers for orientation, but I find them lacking. For the time being, I have blue masking tape bumps on them for orientation. This has increased my confidence significantly enough. I may have to use a grain of sand and crazy glue to create my own bump. Similarly, I placed some tape on the “C”, “V”, “M” and “,” key caps to help me prevent the over-reaching I typically when typing. This has helped somewhat, but I still hit the directions keys from time to time.
  • I really like having the built-in numeric pad.
  • I’m still struggling with adapting common Mac and PC shortcuts to the keyboard. Things like CTRL + Left or Right to move across words or (option-left right on the Mac don’t feel very natural. I also make use of certain hotkey functionality powered by BetterTouchTool to manage my windows. The location of the option key on the left thumb cluster makes it difficult to engage these type of text navigation shortcuts. Multi-key combinations need to be rethought.

For the first issue, the cable likely needs to be replaced. I was fortunate to find an eBay seller from the Netherlands selling an old Advantage1 Pro USB cable, the USB-PS/2 bridge board and the original control board this morning. As I understand it, the Advantage V1 (which replaced the older model 130s like the Kinesis Essential, Classic and Professional) were completely identical to the older PS/2 keyboards. The only addition was the conversion to USB through a built in USB-to-PS/2 bridge and 2-port USB hub. From the pictures, it looks like I should be able to use the cable as a drop in replacement. I might be able to salvage a spare memory chip too. I could even swap out the board completely if I choose to re-solder connectors (my key-well PCBs are slightly different and connect directly to the controller board through a molex connector). I’m going to try to swap out the ICs effectively “Frankenstein-ing” an Advantage out of my Classic.

I’m hoping that this will eliminate the short circuit and breathe new life into an otherwise perfectly functioning keyboard.


  1. I’m not a speed demon, I tend to top out at just over 60WPM. I’ve never really needed to push this as I don’t think faster than I type when I’m composing in free-form vs. transcribing. 
Kinesis Contoured Classic

Kinesis Contoured Classic QD (KB133PC/QD)

So one of my co-workers at Nulogy upgraded his aged Kinesis Classic QD. It’s an ancient, PS/2 mechanical keyboard (Cherry MX Brown switches) with combo QWERTY and DVORAK layouts1They stopped manufacturing these models in 2006. It doesn’t even have a Windows key. . It’s equipped with a PS/2-to-USB adapter. Most old or broken equipment gets placed in a “junk box” that sits in the IT room and when I saw it, I asked one of the admins why it was there. New keyboards (the Advantage2) sell for well over $400 CAD. He said it still worked (although I later found out that the ESC key is not great, but more on that later) and I decided to take it home to try out. After cleaning it very well, I am writing this post using said keyboard.

Image of the cleaned Kinesis Contoured Classic QD (KB133PC/QD)

My background in Ergonomics has interesting intersections with my professional interests in design and product. One of the things that I have often said in computing is that people often misplace their priorities with hardware preferring to prioritize CPU speed, RAM size, storage capacity and GPU ahead of the things that they actually interact with, like their mouse, their keyboard and monitor. In cycling there is a similar focus on touch points, your body-bike interface like your seat-chamois-buttocks or your foots-shoe-pedal interface. I’ve known about Kinesis keyboards for over two decades but have never had enough impetus to purchase one my self.

To find a working one for free is a glorious day indeed!

The condition of the keyboard wasn’t great. I ended up taking it apart and cleaning the entire internals. The manufacturing of the of device is quite interesting. The plastic base that the keycaps sit on probably has two dozen or more mold points. the PCB and super thin and curled along. The Cherry MX Brown switches are all soldered on. quite a bit of engineering and glue holds this thing together. Definitely hand assembled and I understand why they command the price that they do.

I ended up stripping the entire device down clean it. They use a very thin circuit board for the key well, a flexible ribbon cable for the silicon buttons on the function key row. It feels mushy and strange on such a high end keyboard. Kinesis moved to a hardware switches and a physical PCB circuit board for their Advantage2 keyboard. The silicon buttons on the top role feel out of place on such a high end keyboard. Based on the PCB, the manufacturing date is 02-11-00, indicating that it was manufactured 20 years ago. All the other keys work great. I’m still getting used to the Cherry MX Brown key switches. I prefer my Blues.

It is testament to the quality of the product that it stilworks (and remains virtually unchanged to this day) after 2 decades of use. Amazing.

Even after cleaning the ESC key and the flexible ribbon cable, the ESC key still isn’t responsive. In fact, I need to exert so much pressure, I collapsed the hard plastic riser holding the ribbon cable in place. I’m fortunate that the keyboard is programmable.

After consulting the manual, I reset the memory and remapped the ESC key to the Caps Lock key. I’m hoping that this temporary until I can get some conductive paint to repair the ribbon cable. I’ve uploaded the manual here for personal reference.

One thing to note: Getting to the Windows Key to work on this keyboard was trickier than I anticipated. The manual states that by default, the Windows key (or Command for Mac users) is located in the embedded “PrintScrn” and “Scroll Lock” keys. However, given the age of this model, it’s actually the letter “h” and “n” keys.

To remap the embedded Windows key to the top layer, I used these instructions:

  1. Turn Keypad ON.
  2. Press and hold the Progrm key and tap F12 (LED’s on keyboard will flash rapidly).
  3. Press and release the “h” key. (LED’s will slow down).
  4. Press and release the destination key, for example- Right Alt (LED’s will speed up).2This overwrites the Right ALT key with the Windows key when the “Keypad button” is off.
  5. Press and release the “h” key (LED’s will slow down).
  6. Press and release the KEYPAD key.
  7. Press and release the SAME destination key, example- Right Alt (LED’s will speed up). 3This overwrites the Right ALT key with the Windows key when the “Keypad button” is on.
  8. Exit by repeating step 2 (LED’s will stop flashing).

Now, in this example, the Right Alt key will function as the Windows/Command key when keypad is ON or OFF.

The cable is also a bit jiggly and seems to loose connection. I don’t see any way to fix this as it likely requires me to replace the controller board and at that point, I might as well buy a used Advantage 1.

At first I hated the keyboard, but after using it to compose this post, I find I’m getting more comfortable. I often over reach keys. Especially the “c, v, n, m, and comma” keys which cause me to hit the directional buttons. Learning the back space button at the left thumb as opposed to the pinky is tough. My keyboard shortcuts are all messed up as well.

That said, as a person who studied ergonomics and biomechanics, I’m impressed with the science and theory behind “keybowl-designs” like the Kinesis and Maltron. We’ll see how used I get to this. We’ll also see how this 20-year old keyboard works on a Mac. Not sure how that is going to work out, and may be a reason to find a newer version with more up-to-date firmware options.

image of man shining shoes

I’ve been shining my shoes wrong all this time

I’ve owned and abused shoes for decades. As my professional life has on occasion, I’d take out the old kiwi wax polish, buff my shoes and spray them down with whatever water repellent spray I had on hand.

This year, when I went to the Gartner Executive Supply Chain Conference, I had to upgrade my wardrobe quite substantially (Thanks to Trevor and Alex at The Source!). I also bought a pair of tan dress shoes from Johnston and Murphy. Through that, I’ve had to relearn how to take care of my shoes. That Kiwi polish? Shit. It’s all about leather conditioners, shoe cream and horse hair brushes.

I’ve been a steady customer of Johnston and Murphy and Ecco shoes. My research into proper shoe care has really opened me up to the world of hand made leather shoes and the craft that cobblers bring to the art. It is fascinating! Stunningly expensive too! The likes of Edward Green and Co. and Edmond Allen Shoe Company!

Resources that I have found useful:

IoT: Does everything need to be in the cloud?

On the Verge reports that Google remotely reset some customers Google OnHub routers:

Google has apologized to its Google Wifi and OnHub customers after it inadvertently reset a number of routers to their factory settings. Google blamed an issue with its Google Accounts engine for the problem, which forced OnHub owners offline in the middle of the US day, erasing their saved settings and forcing them to re-enter their network information.

This is why I have no interest in hosting these type of remote systems on my network.

The Cloudbleed bug caused multiple password resets across all my devices and sessions. Doing it on a phone or a computer is relatively simple, but having to re-enter that on a SmartTV sucked. I can’t imagine how’d I do that for a fridge or something.


2017: A new year

Reading Jen’s end-of-year piece made me realize that I haven’t written much of anything in a while.

Starting a new job the 2nd week of December at Nulogy has kept me busy.  Coupled with past holidays creates a certain type of gravity that prevents me from reflecting on 2016. As Jen and I talk about what we want to do about 2016’s family photo book, I realize that this year was more about recharging for me than anything else.

Given that 2016 was the year of “Post-Truth”, many people feel that it was a negative year.  With much of North America’s eyes focused on the run-up and outcome of the US election, the Syrian refugee crisis, and the death of many creative icons, I think there was a collective sigh of relief when we rolled over to 2017.

While I can’t deny that there are many happening in the world that bring me down, I personally ended off 2016 on a high note.



The highs and lows of the last two weeks

From the “I love show tunes” department

Two weeks ago I saw a the Chicago run of Hamilton: An American Musical.1

It deserves all the accolades and awards that it has garnered.  Lin-Manuel Miranda, Thomas Kail, Alex LacmoireAndy Blankenbuehler and the rest of the team have created a true “cultural experience”.  It is up their with Alvin Ailey’s Revelations 2.

As a Canadian, I was surprised how moved I was with emotion.  Hamilton is the type of show, much like Revelations above, that will continue to give more each time you see it.  It’s like the many layers of an onion.

I had listened to the soundtrack many times (Jen was obsessed with it). That said, I walked away from the performance stunned due to the gravitas and emotional weight of seeing it live.  I hope that the DVD release of the original cast carries the same weight.

You walk away with great hope, optimism and admiration for the country south of us. Hamilton inspires a sense of nobility.

If you can, just go see it.

From the “Lows of the lows” whereby I talk about the US Election

In a stunning contrast to the week before, the next Wednesday I’m greeted with the Surprise-Non-Surprise of America’s next President-Elect, Donald J. Trump.

I did not see the outcome of the 2016 presidential election at all.  The longer I search for reasons, the more I realize that I am totally out of touch as a well-to-do father living in an urban city like Toronto.3

The best analysis I can find as to what happened is Michael Moore’s article, “Five Reasons Why Trump Will Win“.  This was piece was written this summer, months before the election. It’s pretty spot on.

The frustration amongst Liberals is palpable. Aaron Sorkin’s letter to his daughter captures a lot of the emotion I’m feeling right now. His calls for action is the right thing to do (it’s in the same spirit, but not as militant or specific as Moore’s 5-point, “Morning After To-Do List” that has been making the rounds in Liberal Social media). For what it’s worth, I don’t necessarily know if what Moore is trumpeting will be helpful, but winning seats and creating obstacles through to the 2018 mid-term elections could energize the democratic populace, I guess.

There will be a lot of consequences when a man is put on the international stage as the leader of the free world who normalizes casual racism, misogyny and hate.  It will embolden others.

It already has.

I like to think that the majority of Trump supporters don’t buy much of his rhetoric; that is, they are not rascist, sexist or xenophobe.  That said,  the message they sent to Blacks, Muslim, Hispanics, etc. was, “We don’t hate you, we just don’t care about you.”   That scares visible minorities, the LGBT communities, etc.

Based on this analysis of Trump by the Atlantic, I doubt that DJT believes much of the rhetoric as well. He is driven by the pursuit to win. However, what he does next is anyone’s best guess.

Commentators talk about the divide–It’s real.  You read about the bubble that Liberal elites live in, but it cuts both ways too.

 And, of course, people on the coasts could stand to meet more rural and exurban people, to understand why they are anxious about a changing world and less economic opportunity. But rural and exurban people need to see more of America. People do not understand the depths of how little rural America travels and sees other people and cultures.

The optimist in me feels that this is more about class divide rather than race or gender.  Joan C. Williams has an interesting take on it at that outlines several reason’s why “white working class” Americans voted an outsider into office.

Is it just a statistical aberration that they cohort falls into white working class americans? Or is there something more sinister than that?  Doug Saunders sides with the latter and wrote an amazing piece for the Globe and Mail, entitled, “Whitewashed: the real reason Donald Trump got elected? We have a white extremism problem.”

In particular, he speaks of the radicalization of white voters and quotes Carol Anderson, a historian at Emory University:

You know, if you’ve always been privileged, equality begins to look like oppression. That’s part of what you’re seeing in terms of the [white] pessimism, particularly when the system gets defined as a zero-sum game – that you can only gain at somebody else’s loss.

Moreover, he ends the article with perhaps the saddest truth about the election:

After all, the tragedy this week was not just that a radical faction within the white community broke away from the rest of the United States and elected an extremist, but that they abandoned the Democratic and Republican parties in the process, leaving mainstream politics without a language that can lead to victory.

Making sense of this will take years.

  1. Thanks to C&C for providing Jen, the kids and I with a place to stay. 
  2. The Ailey company estimates that it has been seen by more than 23 million people in 71 countries — a larger audience than has viewed any other modern dance work. The Washington Post has a lovely piece discussing the history and impact of the seminal work
  3. Confirmation bias is definitely a work.  Take a look at the Wall Street Journal’s Blue Feed, Red Feed visualization
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A blog by Tai Toh