A Pencil Filled with Pencils, Apple Airpods Max, and My Favorite Surface Laptop

1. Musgrave Pencil Company Heritage Collection
While I’m usually someone interested in technology, there are certain crazy tendencies that I continue to hold onto, including a lifelong love affair with pencils and pens. The Musgrave Pencil Company’s Heritage Collection of 12 pencils cheerfully addresses that affinity and allows me to enjoy a pencil held in a giant 13th pencil every month of the year. I just wish the “eraser” end could really be used as a real thing.

2. Iris van Herpen Earthrise Collection
One of the most exciting developments that has gained momentum in the fashion industry is the use of recycled materials, derived from the vast amounts of discarded plastic and microplastic that pollute our oceans. I was blown away by Iris van Herpen’s latest collection, Earthrise, which was presented earlier this month during Paris Haute Couture Week. Each wondrous dress is made from Parley Ocean Plastic from recycled marine litter from Parley’s Global Cleanup Network and is inspired by the historic Apollo 8 moon landing. Beyond!

3. Apple AirPods Max
I knew these over-the-ear headphones would seamlessly integrate with my other iOS and macOS devices and computers, and feature the details and materials that I have come to expect from the Apple design team. Either way, the AirPods Max doesn’t disappoint (the magnetic ear cups click into place for ASMR delight, and the Apple Watch-inspired crown dial feels just as good as a dial and button). But the AirPods Max’s excellent active noise cancellation came as an instant surprise, a boon for anyone needing to block out distractions during the work day. The rest buffer that the AirPods Max generate is noticeably improved compared to my Sony ANC cans of the older generation and I set them up even without music. I’ve just started looking at tracks developed with the newly released Spatial Audio treatment and I’m curious to see if the acceptance spreads beyond the currently limited catalog of tracks, but it warrants a few favorites with one new ear to listen to detail again.

4th Orbitkey desk pad
It’s a year later and I’m still using Orbitkey’s desk pad at home and pretty happy. The vegan leather has held up well and still looks like new despite more than a few spilled coffees. What I like most is the integrated channel in the desk pad, which, in addition to the magnetic cable holder, does not prevent any clutter so that my USB cable does not wander uncontrollably. A desk pad can seem like a frivolous accessory if you’re already using a mouse pad, but the Orbitkey’s larger scrolling area and smooth surface really improve a mouse’s everyday use, and it’s satisfying to write on it with a ballpoint pen while writing.

5. Surface laptop 4
I’ve been working harder and harder on Microsoft’s newest iteration of their 13-inch touch-enabled laptop, partly to familiarize myself with the ins and outs of the Windows 11 beta and to test out some PC peripherals. But also because I’ve increasingly set myself the goal of working away from the desk, and that’s why the Surface Laptop 4 has become a popular computer to work from the sofa while watching the NBA playoffs / finals over dinner Table or even from the back yard. The battery lasts forever, it comes with a very good keyboard and solid trackpad (admittedly, I still stubbornly pair it with a portable mouse when working at the table), the sandstone finish is gorgeous, and the build quality makes it painless to migrate from a MacBook Air and back without feeling the usual disruptive transition from a Mac to a Windows machine. It rocks a proud skin too.

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