Mindlessness, mindfulness or mindfluness?

 
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I had a flu last week and that meant lots of time spent lying in bed. So, I had some spare time to dig into a subject that's been interesting me for a while now, mindfulness.

Usually, the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions mindfulness is a bald guy sitting on a floor surrounded by incenses and maybe levitating. Have to admit, that I've also had my doubts about this and still have some.

Since I'm quite rookie in this whole thing I can't preach about the benefits of mindfulness nor can't say that it's complete nonsense. But if someone's interested in this subject but hasn't researched it yet, here's a quick summary of what I've come up with. 

 

What is mindfulness?

I've watched few hours worth of TED talks, random vlogs and read over a dozen articles about mindfulness. And if I'd had to sum up the main message in almost all of these, it's that mindfulness is now. That sounds like too simple argument and kind of makes no sense at all. But actually, it makes a lot of sense.

Your mindset consists of three main factors: the past, the present and the future. If you forget about those two factors that you can't do anything about, you'll only have the middle one. The present. And that's actually the tool to influence in those two other factors. I haven't still found the way to completely change future, but I've started to learn how to react when it happens.

So basically the key in mindfulness (so far that I know of) is to stay focused on what's happening right now

Before I started digging into this I thought that mindfulness equals meditation. Apparently, that's not the point. Meditation is just one way to get to that state of mind.

One researcher used an easy to understand example of a trip to somewhere (in this case, the destination is mindfulness). There are many ways to get to that place. You can drive, walk, fly, row or use whatever method you like to get there. And normally you choose the one that's the most convenient.

In achieving mindfulness, meditation is only one of those traveling methods. 

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How to get there?

 

It's kind of annoying that all instructions how to achieve mindfulness that I've found so far are so simple that they are almost too easy to understand. It's way easier to make a cake with recipe. First, you get the right ingredients, then you mix them, bake them and you have a cake. 

In mindfulness, your ingredients are time and breathing. Your mixing and baking method is basically doing nothing. And your result is something you can't get into your hands right away. The baking time makes this even more difficult. According to mindful-gurus, the baking time is usually your entire life.

If this whole thing is so easy, why aren't we all doing it? Speaking for myself the reason is simply laziness and lack of time. In fact, the latter is a made up excuse and the first one just is what it is.

 

Quick conclusion

How I see mindfulness after this short few days research, it's a game that you can (and should) play 24/7. Daily meditation sessions must be helpful to get into this game. But in the long run, elevating your awareness levels in everyday life is the key. So if it's something you can do all the time, then you shouldn't have problem finding time for doing it.

Many researchers talk about human beings autopilot mode and how that's preventing us from realizing what's happening around us. There are lots of scientific studies proving that an average person spends almost 50% of its entire life in an unaware state of mind. Here's actually a really good speech by Ellen Langer about mindfulness and mindlessness:

And as I'm a tech geek I'm trying to use technology as my mindfulness accessory. So far I've tried few apps but it takes a bit longer before I can make an honest review about those.

I'd also like to remind that I'm still in truly beginner mode with all this stuff. Some of my perceptions might be totally wrong. But this is definitely an interesting subject and I will be posting about my progress in future.

 

 

Packing for Bali - Favorite travel gear

Bali Ubud landscape

We are traveling to Bali tomorrow for one month and it's time to do the packing. 

Here's some essential stuff I usually take along with me.

 
Canon travel gear

Canon EOS 100D + Canon 50mm + Canon 18-55mm + Sigma 10-20mm + Tamron 70-300mm

I'm gonna post some travel content during the trip and that requires camera gear. It's kind of annoying to travel with SLR and all the lenses but I've noted that it's even more annoying to not have them with you when in need.

 
Skross world adapter pro

Skross World Adapter Pro

Along with all the gadgets comes a bunch of chargers. Normally the wall sockets in cheap bungalows are so old and loose that you can stick almost anything into them. But sometimes it's good to have a good old travel adapter with you.

 
GoPro Hero3+

GoPro Hero 3+

This one is a bit old and rugged but I haven't seen the need for a new one. It still shoots decent quality video in daylight and gives cool wide angles. When the sun goes down this little thingy is quite useless though.

 
UE ultimate ears Roll 2

Ultimate Ears Roll

This waterproof Bluetooth speaker is one of my favorite travel accessories. I really like the design. It's cool that you don't have to worry it getting wet and/or sandy when going to the beach. The sound quality is also pretty amazing for such a small speaker.

 
iPhone 7 travel gear

iPhone 7

I think this one is kind of obvious. Can't even remember how I survived alive from my first backpacking trip to India when we didn't have smartphones. Though it's nice to be offline while on a vacation, these things do also make traveling so much easier. 

 
Macbook Air 13"

MacBook Air 13"

Slim, lightweight and almost 10 hours of battery lifetime. Already few years old but still this laptop is one of those things I tend to take with me wherever I go.

 
Supreme Flip Flops

Flip Flops

Standard equipment.

Bar Cón - Taste of Barcelona in the middle of Helsinki

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Somehow finding a great place to eat in the shopping mall is an extremely hard.

I see why it makes sense for restaurants to serve usually average dishes, not too bad but not too remarkable either. Customers will vary a lot during the day so it's a safe shot to do everything along the golden mean. 

Luckily times change. Nowadays people are looking for special options instead of always navigating for the golden M-letters behind every corner.

And don't get me wrong, I love Quarter Pounders and all those double triple cheese creations they do. But it's nice to have something different once in a while. 

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Finland (along with all the other countries on this planet) is the promised land for kebab stands and 5 euro pizzas.

Actually, the local police made a raid some time ago just to find out which places do really sell pizza for 5 euros (tax wise that's naughty business). I hope the Finnish police force at least found their lunch places with that crusade.

But nevermind the fast food this time. There's also lots of other places to go in Helsinki. Little restaurants specialized in exotic cuisines open up every week. And that's cool.

When I heard that Shopping Center Kamppi in Helsinki was launching a bunch of new restaurants my first thought was that there's going to be two Chinese restaurants, one sushi place and a Hesburger (a Finnish hamburger chain). But I was wrong.

Now there's actually a good selection of prime restaurants at the two top floors of Kamppi. 

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One of them is Bar Cón. A Barcelona styled tapas bar created by Spanish chef Javier Ahedo.

With the largest selection of vermouths in Nordic countries, this place kicks ass in all other parts as well. 

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The place is decorated with Barcelona vibes and it's really roomy. Though it might get pretty packed later at night.

There's also a roof terrace with few places to sit and observe the streets of downtown.

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We got a chance to try Bellota Ibérico pork steak with mojo sauce and roasted parsnip. And damn that was good. The pork was perfectly cooked and the mojo sauce just clicked with the taste.

The dish goes by name Pluma De Paìs De Quercus. And it's really worth a try.

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If you're looking for a nice place to have lunch while in Kamppi, don't miss Bar Còn.

The dinner menu is a bit wider with lots of tapas options, and we'll have to go for that next time. 

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Bar Cón
Kamppi Shopping Center, Urho Kekkosenkatu 1, Helsinki, Finland

Superdoob score
★★★★☆

Paulig Kulma - a friendly Coffee corner in Helsinki

 
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For all of you who don't know, coffee is a quite big thing in Finland. In fact, it's so huge that every hundred coffee bean in the world comes to this crazy little country. Statistics show that average Finnish person consumes 12 kilos of raw coffee per year.

We even have a word for a person who drinks shitloads of coffee: "kahvitratti." Though there are some freaks among us who can't stand the taste of coffee (e.g. my fiance).

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Studies show that our fresh water is one of the main reasons why this brewed black gold is so popular here. I think another cause is that it's pitch dark in Finland 80% of the year. People need to stay awake somehow and other stimulants are too expensive (and probably illegal).

But yeah, coffee is popular and that leads to huge amount of roasteries across the country. Paulig is one of them. Probably also one of the most famous.

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Last fall they opened their corner coffee shop and Barista Institute in Helsinki downtown right next to Kluuvi shopping center. And if you're around I really suggest you stop by and give this place a go.

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The place is decorated with style and it's spacious enough that you can find a spot even during the rush hour. 

Baristas are friendly and they are always willing to tell you more about the drink you're about to order.

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And the drinks menu. To put it briefly, it's first class. All beans are freshly ground and your coffee taste buds will tingle from the first sip. If you're one of those who doesn't fancy a cup of java there's a variety of other good choices on the list. 

Paulig Kulma is also a great place to go if you are hunting for superfoods and healthy choices. 

If you're up for something special I recommend you to try their Super Coffee (Superkahvi in Finnish). It's like Bulletproof coffee on steroids and yummy yummy.

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Paulig Kulma
Aleksanterinkatu 9, Helsinki, Finland

Must try: Super Coffee AKA Superkahvi
Also must try: Finnish fresh doughnut called  'munkki'

Superdoob score
★★★★★

Apple Watch Series 2 - License to swim

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When Apple first introduced the Apple Watch series 1, I wasn't so stoked about it. With a quick look at the specs, it seemed like it was released way too early. And I don't like my apples raw. I decided to wait for the next generation.

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Last year they released the Apple Watch series 2 along with the big Nike collaboration announcement. The keynote was appealing and I thought that now would be a good time to jump on the Apple Watch train. 

Three main upgrades compared to the old one were the new S2 chip, built-in GPS and waterproof design. All these features seemed good enough so I ran to the local Apple store and pre-ordered my Nike+ model. 

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The wait was pretty long. Don't remember exactly how long, but I believe it took over a month until I got my watch delivered. In fact, I can't see the point in releasing a new product without an ability to ship it to customers. Maybe this is just one of Apple's "we can do this, so screw you guys, we do this" kind of things.

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Watches have always been my favorite accessories to wear. But since the day I've started wearing my Apple Watch I've been wondering do I really need this mini-computer on my wrist. And there are pros and cons.

Pros: 

  • It's cool to have a wearable gadget with you where ever you go. 
  • It measures your activity and beats your conscience up if you're being lazy ass shit.
  • You can go for a run without your phone and still listen to music and track your exercise.
  • You don't have to dig your phone from your pocket so often anymore (though you do that anyway).
  • It usually tells you the time.

Cons:

  • You'll have to charge it (almost) every day. 
  • Measurements aren't always so accurate.
  • Every time you move your hand in a movie theater, your wrist lights up.
  • More watch faces and apps would be nice.
  • Having tattoos around your wrist makes it hard to track your heartbeat.
  • You get hooked up on hi-tech and don't want to use your old cool watches anymore
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Talking about the activity measurements and the accuracy. It's kind of obscure area. Sometimes the measurements are really on point but annoyingly often they are not. 

We bought the exact same watches with my fiance (Nike+ 42mm and 38mm) and the activity results are usually pretty unequal. Though this might also be a hardware issue.

One thing I'm also wondering is the Apple's magnetic charging plug. Why can't it be charging from the both sides of the button? 

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Altogether the Apple Watch is a pretty handy gadget. It's easy to check your messages on the go without having to pick your pocket. It's easy to mute your calls by just laying your hand over your watch. It's easy to put the timer on when trying not to burn your pizza in the oven. And there are dozens of other cool features packed in this little thingy.  Also the quality of the case and display (even with the aluminium version) is reasonable and it doesn't get scratched too easily. 

Still I'm not sure do I really need this. But if they ever release Apple Watch Series 3, that's definitely one I need.

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Apple Watch Series 2 Nike+

Aluminium case
S2 dual core processor
Built-in GPS
Water resistant 50 meters
2nd generation Retina display

Superdoob score
★★★☆☆

Urbanears Plattan ADV Wireless - Affordable bluetooth headphones

 
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I've always been big a fan of wireless products. The future shouldn't be about flying cars and self-lacing sneakers. It should definitely be about wireless stuff. Most of the great new designs are still more or less ruined with cables and wires. Not only do they make things look messy but they also break way too often. I believe almost everyone has lost a pair or two of headphones due to a cord accident.

Luckily Apple turned the page and got rid of that 3.5mm headphone jack and opened the big market for Bluetooth headphones. Wireless or not, good headphones don't grow on trees. Even harder it is to find an affordable set with descent sound quality.

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I actually bought my first Bluetooth headphones right after purchasing iPhone 7 last fall. The first setup was Powerbeats2 Wireless, and that one sucked ass big time.

After few days struggling with poor fit and almost ridiculously loud bass, I returned them to store and got Onkyo E700BT in-ear buds. They've been serving me quite well but I wanted to get wireless headphones with a headband.

Swedish audio product company Urbanears released the first version of Plattan headphones in 2009. I remember buying my original pair of Plattans from Helsinki-Vantaa Airport somewhere around their first release. I've used them randomly since and really like the snug fit and sound quality. Three years ago they released a wireless version of that same design and that's still worth a try.

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Featuring 14 hours of playtime, washable headband, foldable design and easy touch controls on right earpiece make these a great deal in my opinion.

iPhone pairing was successful on the very first try and pairing hasn't failed since. Compared to my other Onkyo buds this is a great achievement. Their pairing seems to have problems now and then. Pairing Plattan ADV Wireless with MacBook Air and iMac was also easy peasy. 

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Details are pretty low-key and Scandinavian style. Which is actually good. The headphones don't feel as cheap as they really are.

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Charging is done by mini-USB and on the other earpiece, there's a 3.5mm headphone jack if you want to share your sound with that old school non-wireless friend. That actually comes pretty handy when you're watching the same movie from a laptop on a loud plane.

Sound quality and other details, of course, can't compete with high-end headphones, but I think that's obvious. All in all, Plattan ADV Wireless is a very good choice when you're looking for headphones in under 100€ price range.

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Urbanears ADV Wireless Bluetooth

Weight: 170g
14hrs playback time
Frequency response: 10Hz-20kHz
Impedance: 60Ω
Sensitivity: 98dB

Superdoob score
★★★★☆