Aether Apparel Highline jacket review

I first saw this jacket and tried it at the Aether Apparel store on Crosby in SoHo.  It was last spring and because it was so late in the season they didn’t have the size and colour I wanted.  I’d been hoping there would be a summer sale where I could pick this up at a discount.  Unfortunately that didn’t happen so I paid full price in late September (and then, of course, there was a Black Friday sale, but I was already using the jacket in Newfoundland when that happened)

1 copy

Cost is definitely a barrier for the jacket as it goes for $550, but I believe it’s decent value given the quality of materials, workmanship, and design.  It’s been my go-to jacket through the late fall and early winter and because I tend to keep quality gear for a long time, I’m happy.

2 copy

The key differentiator for this jacket is that it has a much slimmer, more “urban” style than most down or primaloft jackets.  It looks more like the quilted Barbour jackets that everyone wears in Italy in the winter, but has the functionality of most technical down jackets.  The outer material is Schoeller microfiber which is a big plus for me because I’ve been very happy with other items using Schoeller fabrics in the past.

Overall it’s been warm enough for use into the 20’s F (-6º C) and I expect it will still be practical for 10-15º cooler.  Water resistance is good although it’s not a rain jacket.  My only observation / complaint is that the water repellent treatment on the lower sleeves has worn after 3 months use.

Fit is great for tall people like me.  The body is long, and I love that it’s longer at the back.  The sleeves are also a perfect length for me – I wear 35″ in dress shirts. One of my favorite touches is that the inner lining on the grey jacket is bright red.  I also really like the multiple pockets on the chest and hips.  One of the inner chest pockets also has headphone cord routing.  There are many other great small details like this.

You do pay a premium for the style compared to a similar jackets from, say, Patagonia, Marmot or Arc’teryx but this is definitely a tough, warm, dry technical garment on a par with offerings from those brands.  If style is also something to think about – i.e. you don’t want to look like you just got back from skiing or ice-climbing when you are in the city – then I would certainly recommend this.

(Images above are grabbed from the Aether Apparel web site – all rights are theirs.)

Apple “just works”?

Marco started the conversation with his posting questioning whether Apple had lost the plot – an article which he now says he wishes he hadn’t posted.  I can see why he would rethink the language and tone of the piece, but he does raise an important point that the quality of software execution at Apple has been markedly poorer in the last 1-2 years.

I’ve been an Apple user since 1988 and shareholder since 2000.  I sold most of the shares I bought at $15 in late 2000 when the stock split and then hit $100 in 2007; it covered most of the downpayment on my apartment (may have been a poor choice in retrospect, but I needed a place to live).  Historically Apple didn’t release major OS updates very frequently and that frequency of release has accelerated since Lion in 2010.  It’s clear to anyone who pays attention that software quality has been problematic since then and is getting worse.

  • iTunes has major issues that haven’t been addressed for years
  • Yosemite had major functional problems in the initial release, and many serious OS X users have still not upgraded because of this (including me)
  • Apple Mail is outdated, inflexible, and barely functional
  • User security for iCloud is terrible and risks damaging Apple’s reputation altogether.

I could go on.

Five years ago I would have recommended OS X and iOS to friends and relatives because things were simpler and easier to use.  The hardware is higher quality and the integration between devices is still better than the other options, but this is mainly because the other options are so terrible. Microsoft lost the plot with Windows 8 and I almost never see it in the wild. Desktop linux is still reserved for enthusiasts and is still not an option for most users. I spend too much time in the work day wrestling with linux and solaris servers, I don’t need that for a desktop platform.

Apple is still my OS of choice but I worry that they really need to improve their software development and release process.  This probably means slowing major releases to 18 or 24 month intervals, but who would complain about that?


Update and clarification on my WinMo phone posting


That last blog posting generated the most traffic of anything I have ever posted here.  I certainly did not intend to enter the religious wars of the middle ages.

People certainly are invested with their choice of mobile device OS.  I didn’t think of that, because I don’t feel strongly either way.  I like my iPad and iPhone, but I don’t think it would be a great hardship to switch platforms (apart from the learning curve and repurchasing costs). I certainly don’t identify myself by those choices.

Happy New Year!