The Round Up is my new bi-monthly column of snippets and commentary on the stuff I'm into at the moment.
Cold water adaptation
Ben Greenfield over at www.bengreenfieldfitness.com has launched a fundraiser for the month of April. It's a 21 day cold shower challenge: 5 minutes of daily showering on the coldest setting your faucet allows. I (yes, me - you heard that right) am 7 days in and I never thought I'd get this far. I used to be somewhere between this cat and this piglet whenever cold water touched my skin. No more, I dare say! I can now shower on the coldest setting without asphyxiating and squealing. It's still not pleasant, though, and I am still dialing down into the cold instead of starting the shower on the coldest setting, but it'll get there. I am quite sure that by the end of week 2, it'll come even more easily. What I found is that my resting heart rate in the morning has decreased about 5 beats from 60 to 55 since I started the challenge. Whether or not I'll be ice swimming next winter, this challenge is about overcoming weaknesses and stepping out of my comfort zone. What about you? Why don't you give it a try?
Apple's Lightning-to-SD-card adapter
I am moving my digital setup over to iOS, leaving behind "traditional" desktop computing. Recently, I made the move to the 12.9 inch iPad Pro and I have yet to regret it. Besides the Smart Keyboard and the Pencil, I also got the new Lightning-to-SD-card adapter for importing photos from my Fujifilm X100T. It has USB 3 speeds on the larger Pro and that's quite a deal. It's way quicker and easier to get my pictures into iCloud now than it used to be with the built-in camera wifi. When you connect the adapter, you'll be presented with the clean interface of Photos. This saves me the troubles of using Fuji's Camera Remote app which isn't even optimized for the iPad. If you are a photographer that still finds a use case for a dedicated digital camera besides the iPhone, you'll be happy with this accessory because who needs a Mac for photo management, right?
Decaf - blasphemy, right? Who would want to drink coffee without the bang of caffeine? Well, people are different and what's good for some might not be so for others . Regarding caffeine, the effects on different people may vary widely. For my part, I am a so-called slow metabolizer of caffeine which means an equal dose of caffeine has a much greater half life in my body than it does in someone whose metabolic processes run faster. In turn, even little doses of caffeine early in the day tend to mess with my nighttime sleep. Instead of a caffeine high, I often tend to get sleepy from drinking regular coffee. However, coffee seems to have quite a few health benefits to it and I surely don't want to miss out. Turns out, you probably still get most of the beneficial effects from decaf as you do from regular coffee . You can even do buttered decaf . I am sold and right now, I am trying all kinds of different brands. I'll keep you posted once I settle with a favorite.
New Email clients
Truth be told, I do not worry about email too much. I am one of those rare, lucky types whose work doesn't rely on email communication. Still, I do get emails and have to deal with them. For a long time, I have been inbox zero with the help of the recently abandoned Mailbox. By the time Dropbox announced the shut-down of Mailbox in December 2015, I started looking for alternatives. I am a Gmail user, so Google itself was where I started first. However, the Gmail app and Google's Inbox haven't won me over. At the moment, it's a email client showdown between Airmail and Readdle's Spark for me. I am still undecided, even though I am leaning somewhat towards Spark, mainly because it uses a more rounded design language. However, Airmail has better app integrations (for instance, I love the integration with Deliveries). I am keeping both for the moment to keep tabs on where they are going.
Jazz is the perfect fall music. However, there is always the time for great jazz and it's a great fit for early spring as well. I love piano jazz and these days I am hooked on Justin Kauflin. Check out his album Dedication on Apple Music.