Early adopters of cool
Jeff Bridges has always been a true gent at heart. Yes, his portrayal as ‘The Dude’ in the Coen brothers’ The Big Lebowski was pretty close to the mark as far as Bridges’ real-life overtly laid-back persona’s concerned. But back in the day, though – and you’ll forgive him for the occasional ill-fitting Eighties suit – the now 62-year-old was one very stylish, dapper chap. Beautifully shot, too. 

Early adopters of cool
Loving this shot Sean Connery. Looking a bit frozen of face in his twilight years, if you get us, but forever the quintessential gentlemen. With the Bond franchise in mind, the only actor to come remotely close to out-Bonding to the charming Scot (‘remotely’ being the operative word) has been Daniel Craig. Pierce Brosnan? Please. 

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Early adopters of cool
Stirling Moss. Now, normally, we wouldn’t regurgitate anything from Wikipedia verbatim, given that, while a great fact-finding starting point, you should always take some of the ‘factual’ information with a grain of salt - a given, really.

That said, we’d be extremely disappointed if this quote from the iconic British motoring great - who, for the record, raced pretty much every classic sports car that mattered - weren’t true:

"For me the fact that I had danger on my shoulder made it much more exciting. It’s rather like if you flirt with a girl, it’s more exciting than paying for a prostitute, because while you know you’re gonna get it, the other one you don’t. And I think with driving a motor car, the danger is a very necessary ingredient. Like if you’re cooking, you need salt. You can cook without salt, but it doesn’t have the flavour. It’s the same with motor racing without danger, for me."

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Early adopters of cool
The late James Hunt. Possibly the quintessential Seventies race car-faring playboy and likely the man to have sparked the global women’s liberation movement. Wasn’t quite the archetypal gentlemen, but a worthy early adopter of cool all the same. Albeit with some rather questionable values when it came to the notion of women and relationships. Recklessly cool, you might say. 

To be fair, the former world F1 champ wasn’t exactly known for his chivalrous charm. More his brazen alcohol, drug abuse and shagging 30-odd British Airways stewardesses in the fortnight leading up to his title-winning victory over Niki Lauda in Tokyo in 1976. Add to that his renown for having bedded more than 5,000 women during his 45 years. If believed, a figure that makes Robert Plant, Mick Jagger, Lemmy Kilmister and the like look genuinely pansy. To quote Stirling Moss: ‘If you looked like James Hunt, what would you have done?’

Hunt’s quote to friend Richard Burton, who kindly ‘bought’ his then wife, ex-model Suzy Miller, sums up the racing legend, really: “Relax, Richard. You’ve done me a wonderful turn by taking on the most alarming expense account in the country.’ Different times, admittedly. But something that, today, would have woman around the world rioting in the streets. And in rightfully so, some might argue. 

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Early adopters of cool
Sean Connery. A given, yes, with the dapper Scot the proprietor of more charm than a Mayfair jeweller. And fitting (pardon the pun) given this year marks the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise. 

What’s interesting, though, is Connery’s influence on any discerning gent’s suit-ish persuasion, past and present. Thanks largely to London bespoke tailor Anthony Sinclair, the chaps charged with giving 007 his tailored-fabric swagger. And the brainchild of the Conduit Cut (Conduit Street, Mayfair, being Sinclair’s original home). That all Connery’s appearances as the charming British agent were in Sinclair suits speaks for itself, really. Suffice to say we’re fans. 

(Additional photo credit: Harry Myers / Rex Features.)

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Early adopters of cool
Few have since done raffish cool quite like the Rat Pack proper. So much so that you could argue it was the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. (to name but a few) who were the true ‘original adopters of cool’. More cool than permafrost, basically. That they set the template for charm and swagger goes without saying.

Individually, you had possibly the most talented entertainers of the generation. Together, though, it was their comraderie, class and style that forever etched them into popular culture. One could also argue they inadvertently handed Steve McQueen and Sean Connery the mantle. Both going on to become single-handed renegades of chivalrous cool in their own right, as you know.

Different times, we know, but all said chaps had the ultimate freedom in what was, without doubt, the 20th Century’s coming of age. Call it Sunday-induced, wishing-we-lived-in-another-time nostalgia, perhaps.

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Early adopters of cool
Robert De Niro. Forgetting his Meet The Parents-type roles of the last decade for a moment, the now 68-year-old would have to be one of the actors of his generation, bar Al Pacino. Pretty amazing career, when you think about it. And one of the handful of actors over the past 30 years to truly command your attention, on screen.

Easy to understand, too, why he was such a lynchpin for Martin Scorsese’s finest works and the perennial mob aficionado. Best film? Where to start. His early performances in, say, Taxi Driver and Means Streets go without saying, really. For us, though, it’d be between Goodfellas and Heat. The latter being one of director Michael Mann’s quintessential films and ‘vintage’ De Niro.

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Early adopters of cool
Martin Greenfield: NYC male fashion aficionados’ and Boardwalk Empire’s go-to guy, well, tailor, actually, for fetching suits.

The 82-year-old’s client list (past and present) reads like an A-list who’s who: Paul Newman, back in the day, Bill Clinton after he was first inaugurated (not the humble suit’s finest era, coming off the back of Eighties, mind) and, hey, he even managed to make the dentally challenged Steve Buscemi look particularly dapper in Boardwalk (love the bloke, and one of our favourite actors, but, seriously, and let’s be honest, he isn’t exactly the handsomest of chaps). Given his age, you’ll forgive Greenfield’s creative direction (or lack of) regarding his website.

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Early adopters of cool
Steve McQueen looking like a pimping used-luxury-car salesman. Albeit a rather cool, impeccably dressed one. Would highly recommend checking out the aptly named Frédéric Brun’s Steve McQueen: A Need For Speed sometime - worth the stretch, in our opinion. It’s definitely one of the more comprehensive McQueen photo collections you’re likely to come across.

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Early adopters of cool
Enzo Ferrari. Last week saw the opening of the Enzo Ferrari Birthplace Museum in Maranelli, Italy, which you’ll find perched between Milan and Bologna. A proper tribute to the marque’s legendary founder and namesake, the complex takes in the house the man considerd Italy’s ‘Pope of the north’ was born in and adds a Jan Kaplicky-conceived space that’s built around the late designer’s original workshop and which, rather fittingly, sports a decidedly large Modena-like, bonnet-shaped yellow roof. Cool, we know.

What’s cool, though, is that the museum isn’t solely dedicated to simply showcasing Ferraris. In fact, the opening exhibition, which will run for the next two-and-a-bit months, features a heady mix of the Ferraris, Maseratis and Alfa Romeos the late Enzo raced in and built, pre 1947. Come June, the next one looks quite cool, too, paying homage to Ferrari’s fierce local rivalry with Maserati, also based in Ferrari headquarters’ home town, Modena.

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Is the iPad Useful? - Just the Facts


I’ve always been somewhat of a gadget guy. I was an early adopter of the earliest video game systems (think Tank Battle, Atari, Colecovision) and home computers (remember the Vic 20, Commodore 64, Commodore Pet?). I even bought one of the early Casio calculator watches in the 1980s. Continuing the trend, I picked up a Casio electronic organizer in the early 1990s, followed by the original Palm PDA with stylus, and the first HP tablet PC in the mid 2000s. Dell’s first tablet PC followed, then the iPhone, and now the iPad and iPad 2.

But, as much I’m a tech guy and an early adopter, I never bought a gadget because it was “cool.” I am too pragmatic and always analyze the usefulness of a gadget before I buy. And like you, I’m too busy to play around with gadgets. I need a gadget that saves, not costs, me time and money.

So when the iPad was introduced, I did my usual research to evaluate the product’s usefulness in my daily life. There is plenty written about the iPad’s “cool” features, design, and potential, and a fair bit written on its technical shortcomings. But, not so much written about its actual usefulness in daily life. With many people now asking me “how do you like your iPad,” I figure I would just write this article to help others determine if it is right for them – after all, it’s not a cheap buy.

General Observations


As with most Apple gadgets, the iPad is certainly a beautiful product to look at. Similar to the iPod and iPhone, it’s like buying a piece of jewelry. The iPad 2 further improves on the original design.


I find the iPad awkward to hold. This was a surprise to me since it looks so sleek. But, with its weight and rounded edges, it doesn’t feel comfortable. And, the more I try to grab it, the more likely my thumb will activate the touch screen in undesirable ways. Adding an optional case helps. For the iPad 1 I have Apple’s case, and it’s functional but, personally, I don’t like the look and feel of the material. The iPad 2 comes with the sleek new magnetic cover design – neat but it only covers the screen (which may be fine for some perhaps).


While I could write about the touchscreen, 3G, or its many other features, the features really only matter if you find the apps that you want to use. And, that’s too personal a choice for me to lend an opinion here.


The low price of technology today is amazing, so when evaluating the price of the iPad, I have to do so in comparison to other technologies. A somewhat-close comparison today (in terms of portability, anyway) is likely a netbook — one of those mini notebook computers that have recently become popular. Netbooks are available for half the price of the iPad, making the iPad seem expensive for a device that in some ways doesn’t do as much. Although, it could be argued that even though the iPad does less, what it does well, it does very well. So, it comes down to what you need the gadget for, and whether the iPad or a netbook better serves that need. Other new gadgets are entering the market, so there will be more options available.

What I like best about the iPad


Click a button and it’s on. No waiting. As a side note, the MacBook Air has near instant – very convenient.


It’s the easiest-to-use computer you will find, period. For people who don’t need the full capabilities of a conventional computer, the iPad is a perfect solution. If you have ever taught someone how to use a computer, you know how difficult it can be for an inexperienced person to navigate a computer operating system. Not so with the iPad. The learning curve is refreshingly gentle. In my mind, this same simplicity is what drove the success of the iPhone, perhaps more so than its multi-touch display and other innovative features. (iTunes on the other hand is another story; more on that below.)


The iPad is designed as a touch device, so the interface is made for finger interaction. Tablet computers that use conventional operating systems (like Windows 7) are clumsy to use by comparison. The onscreen keyboard is quite good as well (although, power users will likely still want to have the optional wireless keyboard).


It’s a great device to pick up and just start “doing.” And, it’s easy to share with others nearby. You will find yourself reading/watching/playing just for the heck of it. It’s kind of fun.


Compared to a conventional computer, the iPad gives you many more hours of use between charges.


Most iPad apps sell for under $2 and can be installed with a single click. And, there are many amazing apps that take full advantage of the tablet format.

Where the iPad falls short


Although I have looked, I have yet to find a good handwriting app. And, I don’t think I will because the iPad’s capacitive touch screen only works with a stylus that has a blunt sponge-like head (designed to mimic the electrical touch of a finger). This makes handwriting awkward for anything other than a few short words at a time with very large letters. Conversely, my Dell tablet PC with Windows 7 and OneNote allows me to use a typical pen-like stylus quite comfortably. I was hoping the iPad could replace my paper notebook, but not a chance.


Similar to handwriting, drawing with an iPad lacks precision. I’ve seen impressive drawings created by talented people using the iPad. But, I suspect that you have to be a very talented and patient artist to find it useful for drawing.


If you really want the full Internet, you need Flash. Too many websites rely on it (and for more than just games or animated banners). Maybe things will be different in 5 years time, but today, the lack of Flash support means I have to forgo much of the Internet that I find most useful. Apple has publicly suggested that the iPad will never support Flash. It’s an issue.


I frequently need to copy and paste text. While the iPad has this capability, it is slow and cumbersome to use, prompting me to jump frequently to my notebook computer to send an email or post a website comment.


Not having a camera limits the usefulness of the iPad 1 as a device to have around the home and on the go. Being able to capture impromptu photo moments is an important benefit of a mobile device. iPad 2 solves this problem with the addition of front and back cameras, similar to the iPhone 4.


The display is nice, but when you shut it off it looks like you were finger painting on it. A small but annoying inconvenience common to most touch devices.


It’s very short. (An extension is available as a separate purchase).


There are free apps and there are apps you must buy to try. It would be helpful if most apps were provided on a free trial basis, but it seems only a few apps are available this way. Luckily, most prices are quite low, so the risk of buying something that you don’t like is manageable. Still, who wants to buy five cheap apps just to find the right one?


The iPad locks you into using iTunes to manage your music, photos, and other content. While having a single application to manage content has its benefits, it can be very inconvenient at times (and costly). And, you have to have a computer to use it and enable your iPad for the first time. Maybe it’s just me, but I have always found the iTunes interface confusing and the program painfully slow, not to mention the frequent and annoyingly-large minor upgrades. iTunes is surprisingly one area where Apple’s design sensibilities continue to fall short.

Final thoughts

The iPad is essentially a large iPod Touch or iPhone without the phone. Its larger size makes it more useful at home than smaller mobile devices. It is more convenient (and fun) than a notebook, netbook, or tablet computer, but falls short in important ways. While using the iPad, I have to frequently run to my computer to send an email, browse a website, watch a video, or do “real work.” For those who do not need the capabilities of a full computer, it is a truly great option. For those who do not need the capabilities of a full computer, it is a truly great option. For those of you who do, it’s a nice gadget to have around the house for sure (especially if you have kids), but you can live without it – for now.

Mathew Georghiou, Founder and CEO, MediaSpark Inc

MediaSpark applies the power of educational games, simulations, and social networks

Source by Mathew Georghiou