Loose that chill

On both of my recent trips to London, I've brought home a bottle of non-chill filtered single malt from the smallish duty free that is available at the City Airport - a 10 years old Ardbeg and a 16 years old Glenlivet "Nadurra". This is noteworthy because I think (I hope) it's indicative of a trend: distillers seem to increasingly loose the chill-filtering process. As a veteran member of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, I've grown to love their stuff, all of which is cask samples, i.e. not chill filtered and undiluted. To me, chill filtering is nonsensical as it removes not just clouding factor caused by etheric oils, but also a major taste dimension that is fairly easily discernible to the palate. Luckily this realisation seems to be gaining traction. So, next time you are having a Scotch (or two), try the difference. You're not going to want to go back.


Google babble

With the new version 2.2 of its operating system, iBonePhone (that's my new wallpaper btw) has finally become a rock-solid, dependable everyday tool that does everything (& more) and is genuinely fun to use. The battery survives a full day of heavy use now, it doesn't crash, no dropped calls to date, the handling is responsive and smooth, and each day, you discover new things to do with it. Just check out the Google Mobile app, for instance: start it, lift it to your ear, state your search terms and listen to a soft babble for a few moments while Google does its thing until you're presented with the results for your query. The babble - it's just this sort of attention for minute, apparently superfluous detail that makes using it such an enjoyable experience. For my next trip to London on Wednesday, I'm not taking a laptop - enough said. 


Orange trickery

Kassensturz revealed that my mobile phone service provider Orange has just hiked their talk rates illicitly (via small print) by moving from precise (per second) charging to charging in ten second intervals. This amounts to a hidden rate hike that will increase their revenue by about 15 to 30 Mio CHF per annum, according to Kassensturz. The programme is fair enough to mention that both major competitors (sunrise and swisscom) already charge in ten second intervals, so Orange obviously came to the conclusion that their more favourable terms are not paying off in terms of ARPU and/or retention. Alas, I'll have to have a closer look at what's on offer when my contract comes up for renewal ... meanwhile, tish & pish to Orange!

P.S. Most strangely of all, Orange has managed to charge my iPhone only yesterday, a full four months after delivery. Thank you for that unexpected generosity, Orange!


The Ricola man, turbo-charged

A wonderful piece of self-irony, playing on virtually all stereotypes about Switzerland and the Swiss - enjoy!


J to L

The seventh of fourteen volumes of the Historic Encyclopedia of Switzerland (HLS) has just appeared - yes, they keep printing encyclopedias on dead trees. But it's all good - the full text of all articles is available simultaneously in German, French and Italian (and partially in Romansh, too!) and can be referenced directly. No pictures, though; strangely, they are reserved to the print edition. 

As an example, here's the article about eminent historian Jacob Burckhardt (1000 words), and here it is in the Wikipedia edition (1438 words, 2 pictures plus a number of links, among others to the HLS article). For good measure, Britannica invests 1791 words. True, the number of words is not relevant: I prefer an efficient (terse?) text over a verbose one any day, but why they would use quite so many abbreviations in the HLS is beyond me. I prefer the Wikipedia article for its more comprehensive overview of Burckhardt, whereas the HLS shines on the substance of Burckhardt's work. It's a pity, though, that the editors haven't recognised that printed encyclopedias are definitely a thing of the past. Yet, their key remit is to produce a printed encyclopedia. But then again, they are historians for a reason ...