Japan and its culture have drawn people like moth to a flame. It’s incandescently captivating, irresistible, magnetizing. One even embraces and allows it to seep into their lives.
That’s what happened to Tong Cheuk Fung, a Hong-Kong born, Singaporean watch strap artist whose humble beginnings started in Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital.
Living in Japan made Tong love its crafts and culture, giving birth to 47Ronin — Tong’s very own watch strap brand designed and handcrafted by marrying horology, smartwatches, and Japanese art.
Japanese art on your wrists
47Ronin’s name traces back to a chronicle from over 300 years ago, where 47 Ronins — free-roaming Samurais without a master — exhibited bravado and loyalty through vengeance against the injustice committed to their late master.
The watch straps embody this tale to its designs, catering to a certain niche resembling Ronins; free-spirited individuals leading a life according to their own philosophy.
With pieces made and sourced from Japan, 47Ronin wraps the country’s history and beauty on people’s wrists through its watch straps. Most of its pieces were made from exotic materials such as leather, Kimono textile, and Katana elements — all sourced from Japan.
Where future meets history
Traditional crafts are declining; handcrafted straps are already considered a sunset industry. The advent of futuristic wearables made the younger generation prefer minimalist and sleek designs by the likes of Apple, Samsung, and Google.
For the fashion-oriented, hybrid smartwatches are the favored statement often sold by designer brands such as Fossil, Michael Kors, Frédérique Constant, and Skagen.
Yet even with a decline in demand and appreciation, 47Ronin perseveres to preserve the craftsman’s spirit and its culture. The brand cultivated designs that work with analog timepieces and smartwatches, putting the attention to the strap rather than the technology.
The traditional craft’s heritage lives on as 47Ronin forges its historic design into modern wristwatches. The Japanese-inspired Singaporean brand worked with technology companies like Mobvoi and produced bespoke designs for Apple watches.
Personalized, artisanal straps
Since 47Ronin’s watch straps are handcrafted by Tong himself, ordered pieces are instilled with the artist’s creative thoughts, and tailored to the customer’s wrist and watch’s components.
The Singaporean brand houses multiple collections, too, where customers can pick a design that resonates with their personality.
Most designs retail above US$ 200, entailing a personalized process — communicating to customize the lug width, length, and thickness, and sourcing rare materials — for four weeks and up to two months.
47Ronin certainly pushes itself as an exemplar of art rather than an accessory, creating a unique proposition among leather watch straps.
A heart for the environment and people
Nowadays, sustainability becomes an integral part of a business. 47Ronin partakes in the fight to a sustainable future through its up-cycling program.
The watch strap maker retrieves damaged watch straps and buckets to repair it, preserving an artisanal watch straps’ life. Old watch straps and buckles are also retrieved and reused to create new products.
Moreover, 47Ronin collaborated with 20 local watchmakers in Singapore as a means to lift each other up, as businesses and online sales have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
Shop custom, artisanal watch straps at 47Ronin’s online store with free worldwide shipping.
Should you worry about stalkers using an AirTag on you?
A few have already been victimized
Anyone who’s ever owned a piece of technology in the last two decades has had the anxiety-ridden experience of misplacing their favorite devices somewhere. It’s become such a problem that a few companies have created a niche for tracking devices specifically made to track wayward devices. Breaking out of that niche market, Apple recently launched its own popular version of the device called the AirTag. However, such a tracking device does come with a worrying problem for privacy-conscious individuals: Can stalkers use an AirTag to stalk their targets?
The story so far
Recently, a Sports Illustrated model Brooks Nader revealed that someone used the tracking device to follow her around. While she was partying in New York with friends, an unknown party slipped an AirTag into her coat pocket. The device had been tracking her for hours before her iPhone eventually alerted her to the device’s tracking as she was walking home.
Nader’s discovery is currently the most widely reported incident of unauthorized tracking using an Air Tag. However, the phenomenon has already been happening outside of celebrity circles. For example, a public Facebook post from user DAnna Biscoe-Farrell describes how someone attached an AirTag to her truck. The device had also been tracking her for miles before her iPhone alerted her to its existence.
With two major incidents tattling on the device’s more nefarious potential, is it finally time to consider the AirTag a security risk?
What are AirTags?
Apple launched the AirTag last year. Instead of just a spartan tracking device, the brand turned the device into a fashionable device to own. Users can add engravings and personalized key rings to go along with the new device. It even has a relatively affordable price tag, offering the device for only a decent US$ 29 per piece.
In terms of size, the AirTag is just as small as a poker chip. Though Apple does want its users to flaunt the tag with accessories, the device’s diminutive size does allow for its users to hide it from plain sight.
Using the AirTag is a simple process, too. The device pairs with a user’s iPhone (or other Apple device) using the Find My app. They can then check Find My to know where the tag is located.
Now, as you might have noticed in the above reports, Apple will also alert users if an unauthorized AirTag is somehow following them around without their knowledge. It can notify users either with an iPhone alert or chirps that the tag will eventually play. It’s a convenient security feature designed to prevent malicious tracking.
Should you be worried about stalkers?
The AirTag’s description does set up a double edged sword (or, more appropriately, reveals two sides of the same poker chip). The AirTag is inherently useful. It can help users find lost devices with a simple app. However, its unassuming design can become a security risk with enough malicious ingenuity.
However, before we get into why an AirTag is a bad idea, let’s run down the pros of the AirTag’s security features. Compared to other tracking devices, the AirTag was specifically designed to prevent unwanted tracking. Other devices in the market don’t even have alerts if you’re carrying an unauthorized tracker. For example, a quick search on Amazon and Lazada pings unbranded GPS trackers that can easily track people or vehicles without consent for a fraction of the price. Tile, the leading tracking brand before the AirTag came along, even offers different shapes and sizes. Relatively speaking, the AirTag protects against stalking more than any other product in the market.
That said, the AirTag’s security measures are still severely lacking. For one, the device will alert victims only if they own Apple devices. If you’re carrying someone else’s AirTag on your person but don’t own an Apple device, then you’re in potential and unknowable danger until the AirTag chirps. While Apple has made great strides in creating a robust ecosystem for its products, the Apple-exclusive has inevitably ostracized Android users from its security blanket.
Further, the sizable delay between attaching an unauthorized AirTag and alerting the followed user can be too late. In the above incidents, it took hours before the victims discovered the AirTags on their persons. By then, the stalker could have already attacked or discovered where the victim lives.
Finally, as a smaller niggle on the AirTag’s features, Apple doesn’t really offer any solution once a device discovers an errant AirTag. Though authorities can certainly check who owns the AirTag, Apple doesn’t have a system in place that can easily report stalkers.
What should you do if someone attached an AirTag on you?
Given the delay before an actionable alert, there aren’t a lot of hard-hitting solutions you can take against a stalker. However, that’s still no reason to panic.
If you detected the AirTag before you reached home, don’t go straight to your house. Leading a stalker to where you live is the worst case scenario. Instead, lead the device somewhere far from where you live. Once you’re in a safe and untraceable place, you can figure out what to do with the device.
The easiest solution is to throw the device away. Disposing the tracking device can already throw the stalker off. However, don’t attempt to destroy the tag. Besides alerting the stalker that you discovered their device, you run the risk of damaging the tag’s battery. A damaged battery is a safety risk and can explode.
There are, of course, more rigorous methods you can try to bring the stalker to justice. A functioning AirTag has the linked Apple device attached to its hardware. Investigating authorities can identify and locate where the owner of the tag is. Once you discover the tag and have transferred to a different location, you can report the tag to the police.
In terms of preemptive measures, always keep your things in sight especially objects that can easily hide a small object. Though people can easily slip something small into your things without you knowing, there’s no harm in keeping your belongings safe and staying away from strangers suspiciously close to you.
Sony adds party-ready WH-XB910N to wireless headphones range
For easy and personalized music listening
Sony announced the newest addition to its wireless headphones range — the WH-XB910N, which is tipped make music listening even easier and more personalized.
The WH-XB910N overhead headphones transport you to your favorite music venues from the comfort of your home with exemplary features which focus on bass and noise cancelling.
Bring the party anywhere
The WH-XB910N overhead headphones feature exceptional bass with improved noise cancelling which replicate the feel of your favorite festivals or clubs.
The EXTRA BASS feature allows for a deep and punchy sound while the Dual Noise Sensor Technology clears out everything else with next-level digital noise cancelling.
A dedicated bass duct on the headphone housing paired with more air-tightness between the unit and the eardrums elevate the music experience.
Listeners are still guaranteed to get high-quality and clear sound too, as if their favorite artists are performing right next to them especially with the device allowing 360 Reality Audio.
Crystal clear calls
When it comes to phone calls, the Precise Voice Pickup Technology combines two built-in microphones with advanced audio signal processing, so users answer calls hands-free while ensuring voice is clearly picked up.
Boost your listening experience
The WH-XB910N also uses DSEE (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine) in order to restore your favorite tracks to a high-quality sound, truer to the original recording.
Additionally, users may connect the device to the Sony | Headphones Connect app and tailor their sound with the Equalizer feature.
Of course, the WH-XB910N is also equipped with smart features that lets users tailor their listening quite more.
The Adaptive Sound Control senses the customer’s location — including places visited — adjusting the ambient sound accordingly whether you’re in a quiet room or out in a café, gym, or your office.
Keep the party going
With up to 30 hours of battery life, Sony’s latest wireless headphones edition provides enough power for even lengthy trips and long weekends.
A quick 10-minute charge when running low also gives up to 4.5 hours’ extra worth of play time with the optional AC adapter.
The WH-XB910N also features Sony’s popular Multipoint connection, meaning it can be paired with two Bluetooth devices at once.
It also supports Google’s Fast Pair feature and Swift Pair for easy connecting to a Windows 10 computer.
Furthermore, it is Google Assistant and Alexa compatible for hands-free help every day on the go.
The headphones is equipped with soft, oval-shaped earpads made from comfortable synthetic leather and urethane materials for exceptional wearability.
Its handy design allows the ear cups to swivel inwards and neatly into the compact and durable carry case for users to be able to take it everywhere.
Aside from the product being stylish, Sony designed the WH-XB910N with sustainability in mind.
Zero plastic is included in the packaging material for both models, reflecting Sony’s commitment to reducing the environmental impacts of their products and practices.
Pricing and Availability
The WH-XB910N is now available in the Philippines priced at PhP 9,999 available in colors black and blue. For a full list of specs and information, please click here.
3 everyday iPhone accessories to make your life easier
Perfect for either slow or fast-paced lifestyles!
For almost a quarter, I’ve been learning how to live a slowed-down lifestyle. Although, time and time again, it’s inevitable not to fall back into the rat race. The high-pressure, hectic work life creeps in, dismantling the routine I’ve built for myself.
Instead of being frustrated, I realized I have to balance living between a slow- and a fast-paced lifestyle. And that includes using accessories that help me live easier.
If you’re in the market for some accessories that make your life a bit convenient, here are some of my discoveries from Moshi.
Slim hardshell case
The first thing I looked for is a stylish, hardshell case that’ll match my Sierra Blue iPhone 13 Pro. I found the Moshi iGlaze Slim Hardshell Case in Adriatic Blue (US$ 40), and I’m so in love with it.
It looks classic — fusing design, functionality, and durability. It’s perfect for living a slow- or a fast-paced lifestyle, especially its shock-absorbing feature and durable construction made of hard and soft polymers. Simply put, it’s easy to grip, but it can still withstand drops from all angles.
Moreover, the polished design suits my aesthetic. I can overlook that glossy coating, though. After all, the case is scratch-resistant — something I badly need protection with when it comes to my smartphones.
Universal car mount
If you’re driving in Metro Manila, I think it’s fair to say you’ll survive anywhere in the world. The traffic in one of the most populous cities in the Philippines is just horrible, and having smart assistance would help you navigate safely and smoothly.
But driving with a smartphone is a no-no, whichever country you’re residing in. This is why I looked for a universal car mount and I stumbled upon Moshi’s SnapTo Universal Car Mount with Wireless Charging (US$ 80). Seriously, I’ve been in their online shop and I found almost everything I want.
And don’t get me started with those US$ 5 car mounts. When it comes to a car accessory, you’d need trinkets that you can trust. Your life is on the line. Luckily, this universal car mount uses powerful magnets inside the mount — which also supports various smartphones — to hold whatever phone you’re using steadily. iPhone or Android — they’re safe while you drive.
On top of the durability, the car mount comes with a vent-mount clip and a flexible mounting adapter for your dashboard, windshield, or touchscreen. Any way you like it, feel free to place it. Further, it uses a flexible metal ball joint. Move the mount left, right, up, down, or even rotate 90 degrees so you can preview your screen in portrait or landscape mode.
One last thing, the SnapTo Universal Car Mount supports wireless fast-charging. And it’s compatible even with the likes of Apple and Samsung. So if you’re running out of juice, just snap it so you can recharge while you drive — even when you’re using battery-intensive features like GPS.
MagSafe-compatible clear case
If you’re a MagSafe hoe, the Moshi Arx Clear Slim Hardshell Case (US$ 40) is the way to go. It supports MagSafe charging so you can recharge swiftly.
Don’t let its transparent looks fool you — it’s not a clear, jelly case! It can handle the daily wear and tear but without forsaking design. It’s extremely thin, transparent, and scratch-resistant.
In a way, it protects your iPhone discreetly while also allowing you to show off that Apple logo if you’re that braggart. It has military-grade protection that can safeguard your iPhone from drops, especially on corners and sides.
Sure, it doesn’t really look like one, but that tiny bit adds to the charm. Also, Moshi uses MicroGrid technology so you can lose your worry when it comes to watermarks and the unsightly yellowing of clear cases over time.
Sweet phone case, right?
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