Bellroy Elements Travel Wallet

Bellroy Elements Travel Wallet

The plastic bag to the left unfortunately symbolises how I travelled this summer. I looked extensively locally for a more elegant solution but the local market for carry appears to have changed. No longer can you easily find iconic cases for your iPhone, nor can you find beautiful products like this leather wallet from Bellroy (truth be told products of this quality are hard to find anywhere). In Taiwan, or at least the city in which I have live, perhaps interest has waned or simply changed to online retailers.

I have had one of Bellroys’ slim wallets for a number of years and can attest to the quality. It’s developed a lovely patina in places and still retains it’s original good looks and that great leather smell. It feels great in your hands too, a surprisingly often overlooked characteristic considering the amount of time wallets and cases are in our hands.

Bellroy’s Elements zip wallet features a water-resistant zip closure and vegetable tanned leather for all-weather protection, internal pockets for passport and currency, a micro travel pen with refill and Bellroy’s 3 year warranty. Perfect for your travel essentials or simply a fantastic way to protect your iPhone and a few items you need through-out your day. It’s on my wish list.

Bellroy Elements Travel Wallet

Bellroy Elements Travel Wallet

Bellroy Elements Travel Wallet

How to depict text messaging in film

Is there a better way of showing a text message in a film? How about the internet? Even though we’re well into the digital age, film is still ineffective at depicting the (digital) world we live in. Maybe the solution lies not in content, but in form.

Demand for smartphone apps is waning


According to The Telegraph, Smartphone owners’ appetite for new apps is waning, with the average number of apps downloaded per user per month declining considerably over the past year. While I am always looking for something new or interesting, once you find an app. that works it takes a truly unique approach to unseat what’s already on my home screen.

Almost one in three (31 per cent) of smartphone users in the UK do not download any apps on their device in a typical month, according to a report by Deloitte – a steep increase from less than one in five in 2013.

Of those that do, the average number of apps downloaded per month has fallen from 2.32 to 1.82.
The report also found that almost nine in ten people never spend money on apps or other smartphone content, suggesting that demand for paid apps is even lower.

However, this does not mean the size of the app market itself is shrinking. Deloitte claims that the decline in the rate of downloads per user is due to an increase in the number of smartphone owners over 50, who have less interest in using their phone as a data device.

Read full article.

Expat Apps – Where Would I Be Without You?

Since returning to the UK after living abroad for several years, I’m struck by how smartphones have transformed the expat experience for many. Plenty of the difficulties I faced when living in a foreign country have become obsolete now: things like translating a sign or getting lost are no longer an issue with the right apps installed on your phone. Having this information at our fingertips is both a blessing and a curse. It undoubtedly makes life easier, but at the same time it takes away some of the magic, which is perhaps what we left home for in the first place. That being said, here are three expat apps I wouldn’t be without:



Useful when: You’re trying to by an obscure item of stationary from a shop where everything is behind the counter.

Surely the most useful expat tool in the 21st century is a translation app. It’ll help you out of a jam when you’re looking for an object so uncommon that even your native speaking friends don’t know what you’re referring to. And if your pronunciation is still a little shady, you can just show the shopkeeper the word displayed on your phone instead of making a fool of yourself. iTranslate is a good choice, offering translations of more than 80 languages and the option to speak or type your word into the app. (iPhone or Android)



Useful when: You’ve forgotten your mum’s birthday for the third year in a row.

It’s a sad fact of life that special occasions like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day fall on different days in different countries. This makes it a nightmare for expats trying to remember who to buy flowers for and when. Say hello to Forget-Me-Not from FloraQueen, an app that reminds you when your friends’ birthdays are, along with the dates of special occasions in your home country. Impressively, it knows the important events in EVERY country and can be synced with Facebook to pull your friends’ details with ease. (iPhone only)

Google Maps


Useful when: You’re trying to find your way to a punk gig in a squat on the other side of town.

It’s hard to imagine a time before Google Maps, when you could still get hopelessly lost. Thanks to Google Maps, we take for granted that we will always find our way around town. And the latest version of the app is no exception. Among its standout features is the option to easily save an offline map of your area – perfect for when you get caught short without an internet connection. And you can now easily filter bars and restaurants according to opening hours – helpful for finding the perfect post-gig watering hole. You’ll never miss the support band again! (iPhone or Android)

But is an app-savvy expat a happier expat? Whether to download or keep it old school is one of the questions of our generation. There can be no turning back time, and to pretend technology doesn’t exist and not use it would be a bit perverse. But, at the same time, please don’t let it ruin the mystique of the experience.

Written by Matt Lindley, follow him on Twitter.

Peek Calendar

Peek Calendar screenshots

Peek is a quick and simple to use calendar for iPhone that could bring new values to peoples everyday lives. Beautiful interface.

Noise cancelling on your window

Silence has become a scarce and almost luxurious experience; it’s one of the experiences I look forward to when returning home to Eastern Canada. I’ve tried all kinds of noise cancelling techniques to help quell the noise pollution in the building where we live but poor building standards, a culture that loves noise, and loose enforcement of when you can use that concrete drill makes it impossible. This pebble like device you can see here lets you reclaim that silence for your home. It turns your window into an advanced noise cancelling system that allows you to eliminate and/оr control the sounds that pass through. I hope we see these mobile-like devices in the real world soon so that we can take our own personal decibel level with us where ever we go.



Silent Circle and Geeksphone have partnered to combine best-of-breed hardware with all the skills and experience necessary to offer, Blackphone the world’s first smartphone to put privacy and control ahead of everything else. Ahead of carriers. Ahead of advertising. Blackphone is re-shaping the landscape of personal communications.

It would be great to have this option in the marketplace.

Phone calls a thing of the past

Photo by Maggsinho

Photo by Maggsinho

The continuing decline of telephone culture: A recent Pew report showed that in 2012, 80 percent of cellphone users used their phones for texting; in 2007, just 58 percent did. In late 2007, according to Nielsen, monthly texts outpaced phone calls for the first time. Personally I seldom use the phone app. on my iPhone, any conversations, which are few, are done over Skype or Facetime.

As a freelance writer, I also have days, even busy ones, when I don’t speak a word aloud. Frequently, I conduct all professional and personal interactions by email or text from my apartment. A simulacrum of a bustling office is achieved by a quick survey of Facebook posts or Twitter messages.

Ten years ago, still in the social-media stone age of Friendster and not yet texting, I often talked to friends on the phone during the day, sometimes while walking or running errands.

Now, of course, hardly anyone calls, at least not without a pre-emptive “Are you free to talk?” text. Last month, I accidentally removed one of the bottom four primary buttons on my iPhone screen, and it took me a good five minutes to realize it was the “phone” function.

Work From Home? A Phone Call May Be a Rare Thing