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Fri, Oct. 1st, 2010, 08:46 am
ernunnos: Early Retirement Extreme.

Day 20: Own classics

I’d say using at least part of your money and paying 3-5 times above the average or typical price for something is worth it if it has those “classical” qualities. There’s no point in hoarding money for the sake of just having large numbers in your bank account. Consider your savings and investments to be assets that pay for your food, rent, and other fixed costs, and then spend your “working-money” on really good things that last a lifetime.

Mon, Sep. 20th, 2010, 10:17 am
ernunnos: Mayor Bloomberg understands durable living.

Bloomberg: Two pairs of work shoes in 10 years

He's been wearing the same shoes for 10 years.

"The mayor owns only two pairs of work shoes," his spokesman, Stu Loeser, told The Post. "One day he'll wear one, the next the other -- and when they get worn down, he has them resoled."

At least one of the pairs is likely a Cole Haan, shoe experts said.

The penny loafer looks like the "Dennehy," an "old-school Italian leather [model] we specialized in for decades but discontinued" this year, said a longtime Cole Haan salesman at the chain's Rockefeller Center branch. The shoe retails for $328.

Still, the term limits of shoes can be extended only so long, said cobbler Jim Rocco, 80, owner of Jim's Shoe Repair on East 59th Street.

"A pair of shoes like that could go 18 to 20 years if you put cream on them, shine them up, resole them every eight to nine months, and depending on how much you perspire, use cedar trees on the inside," he said.

Assuming the other pair cost as much, he's spent about $65/year on shoes, plus the cost to resole. And in return, he gets to wear $328 shoes every day.

Sat, Apr. 24th, 2010, 07:01 am
lds: (no subject)

It's no secret that I like my mechanical devices to be elegant in their simplicity, with as few moving parts as possible, rugged, easily understood, and just as easily fixed if broken. It's okay if a little special knowledge is needed to get the most out of simple devices; I like to learn. And while this approach often means "tried and true" or even "retro," I incorporate modern materials and technology where they mean simpler, more rugged designs are possible.

Take my motorcycles, for example. Sure, I like Harleys for their retro styling, but there's more to it than just the looks: I like that they've eschewed liquid-cooling when little advantage is to be gained by it, and I like that their entire product line is fuel-injected, because there really is the benefit of simplification to be had by getting rid of carbs. Some complain that the cam configuration isn't overhead, but sticking with pushrods means I can swap out chain-driven cams for gear-driven cams and get a super-reliable engine as a result. Can you think of any other engine for which that's the case?

My photography hobby followed the same pattern. I got into it just before digital cameras took the world by storm, so I had the very best autofocusing and auto-exposure lenses and logic to choose from just before the engineering efforts turned to digital sensors instead. Yet, my SLR cameras were the Pentax K-1000 and the Nikon FM2, both manual-everything cameras that did their jobs very well and would undoubtedly continue to do their jobs well if I still had the patience for getting 35mm film developed. I enjoyed learning how to control aperture, film speed, and shutter speed on my own to ensure I could make use of simpler, more robustly-designed equipment.

I sold the SLRs, but I've kept some collectible large-format Graflex Speed Graphic cameras to remind me of the elegant simplicity and beauty of all-manual cameras.

If this attitude carries into my shooting hobby, do you think I might grow tired of ongoing discussions about magazine reliability, spring compression, feed lip damage, stovepiping, double-feeds, limp-wristing, and gas tube obstruction? Do you think I might say to myself, "there's got to be a simpler, more reliable way?" Do you think I might be impressed less by the latest gee-whiz technology than I am by the tried-and-true designs with retro styling?

Some shooting friends pride themselves on taking this approach with their collections of 1911 pistols. The design is now almost a hundred years old, still highly popular, fairly reliable, and shoots a .45 ACP cartridge that still gets the job done well. It doesn't require much in the way of special tools or unusual maintenance, and has aged quite gracefully, with more companies in recent years jumping on the bandwagon to provide 1911 knockoffs to the growing market. I understand this philosophy, and while I don't own any 1911s myself, I enjoy hearing from my shooting friends about what they value in their collections.

But how much more affirmation can we get, how much greater is the vindication of time, when we talk about revolvers? If I weary of loading a magazine, inserting it into the handgun, shooting the rounds, ejecting the magazine, and inserting more cartridges into the magazine, how much more appealing might I find the simplicity of just doing away with the magazine altogether? If I crave a really old-fashioned but still popular style, might I find satisfaction with a modern reproduction of the 1873 Colt Single-Action Army, or the "Peacemaker?"

Might I find twice the satisfaction in owning and shooting two of them?

Enter the Ruger Bisley New Vaquero. Well, enter two of them.

Read more...Collapse ) (Cross-posted from my personal journal.)

Tue, Nov. 10th, 2009, 02:17 pm
inpetto: Motorola Motofone F3

I have finally worn out[1] the Samsung phone I bought over 4 years ago. It has served me in North America and New Zealand on both month-to-month and, currently, prepaid plans. It is unusual for people to "wear out" cell phones before upgrading, but generally all I want in a cell phone is lightness, call quality, and durability. Although the iPhone calls to me, I'll live for now with my iPod Touch and prepaid, saving the $80+/month.

As a replacement, I just ordered this. It's light, simple, supposedly has great call quality, and the reports of its durability are fantastic. Apparently it was intended for emerging markets but failed to catch on.


[1] It has a crack through the case and shuts itself off in my pocket, or now during calls.

Sat, Oct. 17th, 2009, 11:30 am
ernunnos: Dr. Martens For Life.

Every pair of For Life boots and shoes comes with a lifetime guarantee.

We have added weight and thickness to the inner core of the sole and used a highly resilient and supple leather called Hardlife. With a little help from you, these boots and shoes will give you years of wear.

Even so, they will eventually wear out. When they do, we will repair or replace them. We will go on repairing or replacing them for the rest of your life – guaranteed.

For Dr. Martens, delivering value for money does not mean making things cheaper. It means giving you a product that will last.

Wed, Oct. 14th, 2009, 03:09 pm
ernunnos: Spend lots of money - Financial advice from a tightwad.

The author of this blog post is the proprietor of saddlebackleather.com, and they charge a pretty penny for their products, so he's biased. But the sentiment is the essence of durable living.

Thu, Oct. 1st, 2009, 09:14 am
ernunnos: Ok, if you're not going to go with a straight razor...

...This is a good alternative. At $49 it's cheaper than all but the cheapest straight razors, requires no strop, and will still probably last a lifetime. And like most truly durable goods, is aesthetically pleasing. I can't imagine getting tired of using such a nice piece of hardware.

Sat, Aug. 15th, 2009, 10:29 am
ernunnos: Thought for today.

Not necessarily an endorsement, but you can't beat the sentiment.

Sat, Apr. 11th, 2009, 07:36 am
ernunnos: Another term for durable living.

Designing Through a Depression

And all of us who purchase these things should be thinking — and no doubt are, more and more these days — do I need this? Is there another one that’s more efficient? That uses less packaging? Will last longer? Has less square footage? Looks better? Is more fun to use? Is something I want to pass on to my grandkids? (This last notion, which aims for design to create things that are not throwaway but built to last, was recently termed “heirloom design” by innovator/inventor Saul Griffith, who under the umbrella of Squid Labs is working on everything from wind power to low-cost eyeglasses for the developing world.)

I'll be adding "herloom design" to the interests for this blog. Maybe it will attract a few people.

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