Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Two of the nicest MCM Executive Office Chairs

This post is dedicated to those who want to outfit their home office with some swanky gear.

Here are two iconic MCM (MidCentury Modern) Executive chairs. Two of the expensive kind. Combined, you are looking at $5,000 for the set retail. $2,000 for the Knoll Charles Pollock on the left and $3000 for the Herman Miller Eames Softpad management chair.

These aren't your typical Aeron, Mirra, or modern equivalent ergonomic chairs so you can sit in your desk for 8 hour type chairs. These are made for the top tier executives and they're both my latest acquisitions. I would never have a plasticky, space-age looking ergo chair in my house. It would ruin the decor. These, chairs would look swanky.

Both are modern classics that have stood the test of time. The Eames Soft Pad was introduced in 1958 and the Pollock chair in 1965.

Unfortunately, these are bad photographs from my phone in front of my storage. My house is currently being renovated so I can't show you these chairs in better setting.  One chair will be in my den and the other in my bedroom office.

Of course, I would not pay $5,000 for the two. I got one at a major $1K discount and the other one is mint vintage that I scored for $250 off Craigslist. Guess which one was which. Both are authentic pieces as I do not deal in replicas of any sort. Both have luxurious Vicenza supple black leather. They both fit in any decor from traditional to ultra contemporary modern. They are over 40 years in design so they have stood the test of time. 

So which one?

I love the Eames. The Pollock is a great modern unknown chair with rich history. It is unknown by modern audiences but it is a great alternative to the "Eames."  The only chair I like better than these two is the Eames Time-Life Executive chair and that one goes for over 4K with Edelman all grain leather. That one is too rich for my blood. The Time-Life one is the one used by Don Draper in Mad Men. I would say the Pollock is closer to the Time-life in terms of "CEO" material than the SoftPad. The Softpad would be the top manager chair. Eames also comes in a lower price ($2k) ribbed model which is more of a Task chair than an executive chair. That one was also a consideration. So in order of food chain, I would rank them in this order: Eames Time-life, Pollock, Eames Soft-pad, Eames Aluminum Group Task.

There are countless knock-offs and replicas of the Eames that go for $350-500. The Pollock is replicated to a lesser extent with Steelcase "inspired" clones out there. Obviously, the Eames will always fetch a higher price tag and popularity. Here are a few things to look for when inspecting a piece. Check for tags and labels. If possible, the COA (Certificate of Authenticity) and receipts are important if you are buying vintage. Fake Eames usually have something off like an incomplete arm handles that do not make a full "D" while the Pollock clones have a different tufting and plating on the leg base.

Here are more professional photos:

I will probably post a fuller review later.

Links on where to buy::
Pollock Chair:

Eames Softpad

Friday, July 26, 2013

USB dongle for Samsung Chromebook

I can confirm the Apple USB 2.0 10/100 Ethernet dongle works fine with the ARM base Samsung Chromebook. It is a plug-n-play affair. Unfortunately, my gigabit ASIX dongles don't work yet.
So if you want a wired connection, you know where to start.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

iWorks for iCloud. Amazing

iWorks  for iCloud beta is the latest entrance into the online office productivity from Apple. In beta form, it is Apple's interpretation of the word processor, spreadsheet and presentation app. And it is simply amazing in terms of web technologies. I have not been so impressed with web design since the first use of invisible GIFs and sliced tables from 1996 (that is how old I am).

In their first try, Apple  pretty much out-classed both Google Docs and Microsoft's Office 365 in the online productivity space. Apple's first try at this is impressive indeed.

If you ever used iWorks (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) , you will be in for a surprise because the web versions are well built.

Straight up, this is amazing piece of web development - WebApps that don't act like web apps. They act and perform like desktop applications. Drag-n-drop, rotation, with UI that looks like a native desktop application. When you move elements around a page, you experience instantaneous page formatting and styling.

Here is an example. Pages on the Left. Google Docs on the right. Pages is like a layout application with the ability to layer. The User Interface is thoroughly thought out.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Apple TV 3rd generation

So I picked up an AppleTV 3rd gen (rev 2 model A1469).

I was on the fence about this for a long time. I have a dozen of different ways I can get my videos, netflix, youtube, and music to my television so why now? Answer: iTunes Radio and Mavericks.

I have iTunes match so the ability to stream my 20,000 or so music tracks along with free ad-free iTunes Radio (free for iTunes Match subscribers) persuaded me to buy this. I guess, I am deep in Apple's ecosystem and this is how they get you to buy their hardware. I also like the fact OSX 10.9 Mavericks has the ability to use Air Display spanning display which comes in handy if there is a video codec the Apple TV does not natively support. Airplay is incredibly useful if you run OSX.

With discounts around $75, it was a cheap buy.

The new revision 2 has a new A5 SOC so it consumes even less power ( 0.7W). Just for perspective, 0.7W * 24 hr/day * 365 days/year * 1KWhr/1000W = About 6KWHr per year. Assuming $0.12 per KWHr, that is $1.38 a year to leave this thing up and running 24x7.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Samsung Chromebook notebook review

Despite my misgivings, I broke down and got myself a Samsung Chromebook. Pictured above and stacked on top of my 15" Macbook Retina Pro, the Chromebook is tiny!

It is a basically a web browser using the internals of a mobile tablet in an 11" netbook form factor. I got it because I wanted to see if I could be cloud-only. Short answer, "hell no."  However, the free 100GB of cloud storage for two years pretty much pays for the device. I also wanted to play with ARM running a polished desktop OS (yes, I consider Chrome OS a real OS albeit different). And lastly, it makes a good computer for the guest room.

Read my end user review for my impressions on this device.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Seiki 4K TV now in 39 in size

Seiki, the company famous for the $1200 52" 4K monitor, just released a 39" version. At $700, it is a pretty good deal if you want to jump on the 4K bandwagon.

You can order it right now from Sears. At 4K, it runs at 30Hz so I won't be any good for TV usage. As a computer monitor, 30Hz, I can deal with that refresh rate just for coding. When you drop it down to 1080p, it does run at 120Hz. I'll have to see it in person to make a judgement. I'd have to see how it handles viewing angles and upscaling. Otherwise, this can make a good cheap tv for the kid's room.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Office acquisitions: Eames Lounge and Ottoman

This absentee blogger is busy furnishing his new house. I just ordered one of these for the office: An authentic Herman Miller licensed Eames Lounge and Ottoman (aka ELO). It was a pretty big purchase; setting me back close to $5K with tax/delivery. Yep. 5 with three zeros behind it. It has upgraded leather. I debated this heavily in my mind for quite a bit. I replace a laptop or computer every few years and those items cost me $2-$3K. Electronics are so disposable. I figure I'd keep this for a very long time and I could pass it along to my kids.

It is the real deal and should arrive in 6 weeks. I was looking at some fake reproduction ones and it bothered me to think about getting a fake. I love design and this is an iconic piece of 20th century furniture. Originally designed by the husband and wife team of Charles and Ray Eames in 1956, it has stood the test of time for over 57 years. 57 years is a long time to qualify this as a true classic. It is also a drool-worthy man-cave acquisition piece.

Trust me, this is the ultimate laptop lounging seating. This is one of the benefits of being fortysomething. I even got a matching portable walnut stand for my laptop.