PLAYER: Music Player App That Shows the Chords and Keys of a Song

An amazing new dimension has been added to music with the release of the new app PLAYER. The app allows you to upload any song from your music library and as it plays, it shows you the chords to play on a guitar, keys to play on a piano and more. The concept is revolutionary in that it provides a visual cue to learn and perfect the songs that mean something to you in a visual and practical domain. The app also pushes the concept of music discovery with a list of the most popular songs at the moment. Available now via the Apple app store.

Watch the Official Trailer for ‘Good Kill’ starring Ethan Hawke

Director Andrew Niccol, who has given the world films like Lord of War and Gattaca in the past presents the trailer for his latest, Good Kill, which finds a unique twist on the action/war genre. Starring Ethan Hawke as a Las Vegas fighter pilot turned drone pilot who fights the Taliban via remote control for half of his day, then goes home to his wife and kids in the suburbs for the other half – the film results in a visually stunning exploration of how a man’s psychological, emotional and moral boundaries are challenged by the realities of 21st century warfare. Look for Good Kill to hit theaters sometime this year.

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Polk County’s Record Year for Tourism

Pinellas and Hillsborough counties weren’t the only ones that enjoyed record years for tourism in fiscal 2014.

Polk set a new high water mark for bed tax collections with $7.7 million, a 12 percent increase over the prior year.

Like its more populous western neighbors, Polk continued a five-year trend in tourist tax growth going back to 2010. Its previous record was $7.3 million, set in ’08.

Pinellas bed tax revenue for the most recent fiscal year was $33.1 million. Hillsborough notched $23.7 million.

A statement issued by Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing, the area’s convention and visitors bureau, said the county performed well in an array of hotel metrics such as average daily rate, RevPAR (revenue per available room) and occupancy rate.

Polk lacks the beaches of Pinellas or Tampa’s allure for conventions. So why the boost? The agency attributed its strong year to a number of factors, among them:

  • The continued success of three-year-old Legoland Florida in Winter Haven.
  • Worldwide interest amid the golf community in Streamsong Resort, which opened in early 2014.
  • An extremely harsh winter up north.
  • The development of marketing platforms aimed at Latin America and the efficient targeting of key domestic and in-state visitor markets.

The CVB also cited the county’s ability to diversify the type of youth and collegiate sports events it hosted as a major contributor.

Absurd Florida: You Must Be Connected to Big Electric or We’ll Kick You Out of Your Home!

Robin Speronis lives off the grid in Florida, completely independent of the city’s water and electric system. A few weeks ago, officials ruled her off-grid home illegal. Officials cited the International Property Maintenance Code, which mandates that homes be connected to an electricity grid and a running water source.

That’s like saying our dependency on corporations isn’t even a choice. The choice to live without most utilities has been ongoing for Robin, the self-sufficient woman has lived for more than a year and a half using solar energy, a propane camping stove and rain water.

In the end, she was found not guilty of not having a proper sewer or electrical system; but was guilty of not being hooked up to an approved water supply.

Speronis is still being hassled by the municipality of Cape Coral for not having a connection to city water, nor proper sewage. That. regardless of the fact the city capped her sewers themselves.

Is Off-Grid Really Illegal?

In essence yes. To live off the grid means to not have to hook up to any corporate or municipal utilities. If a municipality makes it illegal to disconnect from any given utility, they are in essence making off grid living illegal.

“It means living independently, mainly living independently of the utility companies. Providing your own power. It does not mean living in the stone age, it’s not about bush craft. It’s about generating your own power, your own water, dealing with your own waste. Probably as part of a community, not living on your own like a hermit. It’s also about being more self-reliant and being less dependent on the system. Perhaps realizing that the system isn’t really protecting us anymore and we have to look after ourselves.” – George Noory

Exploring Our Potential Beyond The Grid

Our potential as a human race is quite extraordinary, we just don’t realize it. Sustainable living is not about giving up a certain lifestyle. We can still have all the modern amenities, design and beyond. We simply need to transition from one way of seeing housing to another.

One potential issue with off the grid living is that corporations will lose their ability to control others with their utility. This could be the type of political and corporate agreements that give people like Speronis issues to begin with.

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozled has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” – Carl Sagan

Moving Away From Dependence

The human race does not need to be dependent on these corporations for basic needs in the manner we have now. While we continue to feed this dependency, the planet continues to suffer. In order to move forward, we must start cooperating with each other, and realize just how much potential we have to create something we can take into our own hands and do sustainably. We can’t wait for these corporations to come up with solutions as they will likely be very profit oriented.

Recipe of the Week: Wild Boar Carnitas Tacos with Jicama-Mango Salsa

Ingredients:

For the carnitas:

  • 5 fresh (5-inch) marjoram sprigs
  • 5 medium garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 medium bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 medium white onions, peeled and quartered through the root end
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 5 pounds boneless wild boar shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes (do not trim the fat)

For the salsa:

  • 2 cups small-dice jicama
  • 2 cups small-dice mango (from about 2 medium mangoes)
  • 1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 2 medium limes)
  • 2 serrano chiles, stemmed and finely chopped
  • Kosher salt

For serving:

  • Corn or flour tortillas
  • Lime Wedges

Instructions

For the carnitas:

  1. Place the marjoram, garlic, coriander, and bay leaves in a small piece of cheesecloth and tie it tightly with butcher’s twine. Place the bundle in a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot along with the onions and salt. Arrange the boar in 2 layers and add enough water to just cover the meat. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Using a large spoon, skim and discard any foam that floats to the surface. Simmer uncovered, skimming the surface and turning the boar pieces occasionally, until the meat is tender and just beginning to shred apart, about 3 to 3 1/2 hours. (You may need to adjust the heat to medium low to keep it at a simmer.) Meanwhile, make the salsa.

For the salsa:

  1. Place all of the measured ingredients in a medium bowl, season with salt, and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For serving:

  1. When the meat is ready, remove and discard the herb bundle and onion quarters. Increase the heat to medium high and cook until the remaining water has evaporated and just the rendered fat is coating the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low and let the meat fry in the fat, turning occasionally, until browned all over and starting to fall apart, about 20 minutes. Remove and discard any large pieces of unrendered fat.
  2. Serve the carnitas in the tortillas, topped with the salsa, with the lime wedges on the side.

Grind and brew coffee from bed with a smart coffee machine

Connected coffee makers definitely aren’t a new idea at this point, but despite the fact that the concept has been floating around for the past few years, there still aren’t all that many of them out on the market. That’s about to change, though, as Smarter (the company behind the iKettle) has just joined the fray and announced a network-connected coffee machine.

Set to be on display at CES 2015 in Vegas next week, the machine is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from an app-enabled bean brewer. It can be remotely activated with your smartphone, send you alerts when your brew is ready, and even detect when you’ve returned home and ask if you’d like a fresh cup.

That might not be particularly groundbreaking, but networking tech aside, Smarter’s new coffee maker does bring a few new features into the mix — including a built-in grinder, which is a pretty big deal. On-demand bean grinding basically translates to fresher, tastier cups of joe; not to mention the fact that it saves you the trouble of grinding the beans yourself.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Smarter Wi-Fi Coffee Machine only brews one cup at a time. This might be music to your ears if you’re a singe-serving enthusiast, but if you’re the type who needs an entire carafe of caffeine to wake up in the morning, it could be a big drawback.

Smarter’s Wi-Fi coffee maker isn’t set to hit stores until March, but will be available for viewing (and hopefully making coffee) at CES next week, so be sure to circle back for details — we’ll definitely be stopping by.

Travel: Off The Grid Getaways

Take a journey to the end of the world at one of these three sustainable getaways. Hike mountains, eat local and enjoy white sand beaches, from Switzerland to the Seychelles. We’ll guide you through the apocalypse in style.

Eco-Hotel Spa Yves Rocher

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At Eco-Hotel Spa Yves Rocher, in the heart of France’s Brittany region, you’re definitely in five-star-hippie territory. Everything about the place, including the chic treehouse, is about immersing you in a sensual experience with nature.

Let’s start with the food. The restaurant, Les Jardins Sauvages, serves organic meals made from ingredients grown by local gardeners, bakers, craftsmen and apiarists, all within 20 or so miles from the hotel. Every June, they host the Festival Photo La Gacilly, the largest outdoor photo festival in France, which focuses on nature.

The 20 rooms have grass roofs to bring in direct sunlight and limit heat loss in winter, and have southern exposure
to optimize natural light. The two-person treehouse suite called The Cabane is nestled in a 200-year-old cypress tree with views over the kitchen garden and a woodland park. It’s the perfect place to weather the apocalypse.

Whitepod

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Before you build your new off-grid yurt home, you can test drive one at the eco-luxury Whitepod escape in the Swiss Alps, roughly an hour-and-a-half drive from Geneva.

This is off-grid-vacationing-meets-summer-camp at its most comfortable and in all seasons. With full showers and baths, the 15 geodesic tented pods are heated by a wood-pellet stove. Water is pumped directly from a nearby fresh water source. There is electricity. Nearby Malatray farm delivers fresh cheese and cold cuts, and local winemakers come for weekly tastings.

Activities here are all about hiking, with or without dogs. We recommend doing strenuous mountain activities in order to build up an appetite for the delicious local food at the mountainside restaurant, Les Cerniers.

North Island

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On an isolated island in the Seychelles off of Africa, you can live the ultimate barefoot eco-luxury life.

North Island is a private island and nature sanctuary that went to ruin after the collapse of the coconut industry in the ‘70s, but has been built back up by prominent ecologists over the last decades. They have not only renovated the island inn and spa, but have restored the indigenous flora, fauna and reintroduced lost species, too. Drink fresh-from-the-tree coconut water, hang out with turtles and rare indigenous birds like the Seychelles magpie-robin, and sleep in one of 11 architecturally thoughtful and sustainable cabins constructed with felled trees and stones by local craftsmen. Robinson Crusoe wannabes, this is your place.

Ride of the Week: Aston Martin Unveils DB10 for New James Bond Film

Legendary British car manufacturer Aston Martin lifts the veil on their latest build for the upcoming James Bond flick Spectre. Dubbed the DB10, the latest model was designed specifically for 007 and although technical details haven’t been released yet, the design illustrates a clean separation from the styling that has characterized Astons for the past few decades. Aston’s chief designer Marek Reichman and his team worked with EON Productions – the studio in charge of the Bond franchise – and created a new form with different design cues and applied them to a shape that looks similar to the current V8 Vantage, but with different lines.

Only 10 units of the DB10 will be produced although it’s safe to assume the DB10 will have an influence on the new generation of sports cars and luxury GTs from Gaydon. Look for the DB10 in action when Spectre hits theaters on October 23, 2015. Until then, enjoy the image above.

The True Story of Traditional New Year’s Lucky Foods

As funky fumes of sauerkraut blanketed our house year after year, the younger me resented the letdown of New Year’s Day. The excitement of Christmas was officially over, it was time to head back to school, and of course my family’s good luck food wasn’t something kid-friendly, like cookies or ice cream. My mother cooked up her annual big pork roast, mess of sauerkraut, and a pot of black-eyed peas. I wanted none of it, dining sulkily on a pallid pile of mashed potatoes.

Now I’m the one who’s gladly stinking up the house with kraut, pork, and peas; I like these foods and don’t just limit them to the turn of a new year. But I’ve always wondered about our family custom. My mother grew up in Ohio with lots of German and Polish neighbors, while my dad’s gaggle of military brat siblings lived on Air Force bases in Florida and Louisiana. Mom brought the pork and kraut to our table’s traditions; Dad, the black-eyes. But which cultures started these celebratory superstitions in the first place? And why those foods?

To dig a little deeper, I chose four popular regional American good luck foods of the new year—the pork and sauerkraut of the Midwest, the greens and black-eyed peas of the South, the pickled herring of Scandinavian immigrants, and the lentils of Italian-Americans—on a quest for the facts behind the fortune.

All About Cash?

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Cabbage, the star of sauerkraut, is green like money. As are collards and other sturdy braising greens, obviously. Round, disc-like lentils resemble coins. The silvery scales of pickled herring give off the glint of wealth. Pork comes from pigs, an animal rich with fat. As for black-eyed peas…one of the reasons tossed off lazily in encyclopedia entries and Internet listicles is that they resemble coins. Even my four-year-old won’t buy that one.

Coins, paper currency, richness: money, money, money. To me, though this oft-cited connection to moolah is as fishy as herring. Bank notes aren’t always green, for instance. Other meats, such as lamb, are marbled with lots of rich fat, not just pork. Plenty of fish have silver scales besides herring. Let’s examine not just the food themselves, but which cultures identify with them most closely, and what role those foods played in their daily lives, here in America and in their lands of origin.

Black-Eyed Peas and Long-Cooked Greens: From the Talmud to the Civil War And Beyond

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When you find a coin—any coin—that looks like a black-eyed pea, please call me. Until then, let’s go back at least 1,500 years to trace the good-luck associations of this healthy, historically significant little bean (and yes, botanically speaking, they are beans, not peas.)

“In the United States, few foods are more connected with African-Americans and with the South,” wrote Jessica B. Harris, a scholar of the foodways of the African diaspora, in the New York Times. “Without the black-eyed pea, which journeyed from Africa to the New World, it just isn’t New Year’s—at least not a lucky one.” Two physical properties of dried black-eyed peas (much more likely available in the depths of winter than freshly shelled ones) symbolize good things to come: the promise of germination when planted, and increasing significantly in size when cooked.

But black-eyed peas also have a little-known ancient history as a good-luck tradition that started not in Africa, but with a list of five foods mentioned in the Jewish Talmud to eat on Rosh Hashanah (the new year) to ensure good fortune. Black-eyed peas are not on this list, but fenugreek seeds are, explains historian Gil Marks in The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. The Talmud refers to fenugreek seeds as rubia, which sounds like yirbu, meaning “to increase.” Sephardim confused that with lubia, the word for black-eyed peas, and they began incorporating black-eyed peas into their new year’s good-luck spread. Some sources say that Sephardic Jewish colonists introduced this custom to the American South (Jews settled in Georgia as early as 1733).

Black-eyed peas, which were first domesticated in Africa 5,000 years ago, were thought to have made their initial arrival in North America though slave ships, predating the arrival of Jews in the colonies. And Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is usually celebrated in September. So it seems unlikely that the Talmud alone was the spark of the black-eyed pea’s associations with fortune in the South, especially when the food became so prominent in the diets of slaves—and, eventually, their masters.

After the Civil War, hungry Union soldiers ate up Southern crops, but they left behind black-eyed peas, which they considered livestock feed; the hearty legumes provided much-needed sustenance during the Reconstruction for Southerners of all classes.

“Peas for pennies, greens for dollars, and cornbread for gold,” goes an old Southern saying. It’s worthy of note that all three were staples of hard-working households that were not flush with income. Collards, turnip, mustard are all common braising greens of the South, though cabbage can make a cameo, too. Cheap, plentiful, and easy to grow, collards in particular are flat, like paper currency, and thus favored.

Paired with the rice and black-eyed peas of the iconic dish Hoppin’ John, greens make a nutritionally complete meal that balances color, texture, and flavor. Put on the Bud Powell Trio’s 1953 recording of “Collard Greens and Black-Eyes Peas” while supping on just that, and your year is already off to a fantastic start. Quite likely a hunk of cured pork flavors your beans or greens, raising your good luck up another notch.

Pork and Kraut: Progress, Fermented Cabbage, and the Cycles of Farm Life

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Pork is a celebratory dish in any pig-loving culture. Pigs relentlessly root ahead as they eat, as opposed to the backwards scratching of chickens and turkeys, and so are considered a symbol of progress. “And sauerkraut with pork was eaten for good luck on New Year’s Day, because, as the [Pennsylvania] Dutch say, ‘the pig roots forward’,” historian William Woys Weaver wrote in Sauerkraut Yankees.

All over the Midwest, people pounce upon superstition and put a glorious hunk of pork at the center of a holiday table. I took a casual poll of friends who live or grew up in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, and they all immediately mentioned a meal of pork and sauerkraut as an indispensable New Year’s ritual. Besides the high population of folks with German heritage in the Midwest and swaths of Appalachia, there are also pockets of people with Hungarian, Polish, and Czech ancestry.

My mother’s pork roast (usually a boneless pork butt cooked separately from the sauerkraut, but a one-pot braise of pork and kraut is common) is only one manifestation of the torrid Midwestern pork-and-cabbage love affair. Pork-stuffed cabbage rolls and kraut with chunks of kielbasa also appear at New Year’s meals. They’re rib-sticking, savory fare for a wintery day, but is there a reason for this tradition besides the direction a pig dines?

“Everybody rejoices when November kills its pig,” reads a Latin inscription under a painting depicting pig butchering on the great clock of the Münster cathedral. Pork has always been a cultural touchstone in Germany and Eastern European countries. Peasants who raised pigs slaughtered them in the fall, in part because it’s a good food safety practice to embark upon the time-consuming task of butchering a large animal when it’s cold outside. The weeks following the slaughter afforded more fresh cuts of pork than the preserved hams and sausages relied upon otherwise, and a family could plan ahead and reserve a choice cut of pork for New Year’s Day.

As for the sauerkraut, the fall likewise was the height of cabbage harvesting, and thus the shredding and pickling of pounds and pounds of it to preserve as sauerkraut. If you’ve ever brined your own sauerkraut, you know it can take six to eight weeks to ferment—in fact, I start my own batch of kraut in late October with designs on New Year’s Day feasting. The timing is too perfect, as is the culinary pairing: rich, fatty, and salty pork is the soulmate of tart and lean kraut.

Besides that, the long shreds of kraut are thought to symbolize a long life. And then there’s the whole cabbage-green-money connection, even though American paper money hasn’t always been green. Besides, by the time kraut hits the table, any past resemblance to cash is long gone.

Pickled Herring: Silver Scales, Global Trade, and Migratory Flukes

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Silver-scaled herring probably look more like money than any other fish, and historically, the herring catch was crucial to economic prosperity of merchants in the market towns of the Hanseatic League of the North Sea.

Atlantic herring was and is an important food to many Europeans. It’s high in Omega-3 fatty acids and lends itself to preservation via pickling, fermentation, drying, and smoking. Pickled herring in particular are popular in Scandinavian, Dutch, Nordic, Polish, Baltic, and Jewish cuisines. The 17th century Dutch poet Voost van den Vondel referred to the fish as “royal herring,” not just for the nourishment the fish provided, but for the flourishing international trade it created. Imports of wood for shipping casks and salt for preserving and exports of pickled herring drove a sizeable portion of European trade.

It’s a quirk of herring that their migratory patterns are unpredictable; waters that were thick with the fish for decades could suddenly experience dismal catches. According to Time-Life Books’ Foods of the World: The Cooking of Scandinavia, “Herring, appearing offshore one year in shoals a half dozen miles long and wide, the next year could vanish almost completely…so varied was the herring that it was looked upon as a bearer of divine messages. Even when herring was abundant, there was always the hazard that there would not be enough available salt to preserve the catch.” To eat herring at the New Year was not only a celebratory rite, but a small prayer of sorts, a wish for the catch and the trade to line up with prosperity.

With herring’s cultural significance so widely dispersed, the eating of pickled herring for good luck is thus not concentrated in any one region of the United States. However, areas with a large Scandinavian population, such as Norwegian and Swedish communities in Minnesota, will indulge in herring bonanzas this December 31, when tradition dictates to eat the fish at the stroke of midnight.

Italian-American Lentils and Ancient Roman Money

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“Of all the legumes, lentil is more frequently mentioned in Greek and Roman literature,” writes Kimberly B. Flint-Hamilton in Legumes in Ancient Greece and Rome: Food, Medicine, or Poison? Lentils were a staple in the ancient Mediterranean world, and would have been a common sight, especially in lower-class households. When I peer at the contents of my piggy bank, lentils do not spring to mind, but if you consider what ancient Roman coins look like—irreguarly round, often with a brownish patina—the connection between lentils and good fortune makes a lot more sense.

To this day, all over Italy, people welcome in the New Year with various lentil dishes (“It wouldn’t be New Year’s in Italy without lentils and sausage,” said Mario Batali himself), and the tradition endures in Italian-American families. One such dish is cotechino con lenticchie. Cotechino is a large pork sausage; when the cylinder is sliced, it likewise bears a coin shape. Brazil, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary also have special lentil preparations for the New Year.

Despite my own fondness for sausages, greens, lentils, and fishy things, this year I’ll stick to my family’s own mash-up of good luck foods, the pork roast and the stinky kraut and the slightly musky black-eyed peas (they go together surprisingly well.) Luck is something humans no influence over, but the solace we take in cultural and culinary identity is. These rituals of eating special foods remind us who we are, where we’ve been, and the ways we hope to thrive.

Facial Hair Is Back in Style in Business Settings

A century or so after the handlebar mustache made boardrooms look like a convention of Kaiser Wilhelm II impersonators, facial hair has found its way back to the professional setting.

As a new generation of men rises into positions of power in the workplace — helping to relax standards for what constitutes executive style — beards and even Hercule Poirot-esque waxed mustaches are becoming more common in the office.

The secret to pulling off this look, according to barbers and style consultants for businessmen, is striking the right balance of hair and common sense. That means understanding one’s industry and taking into account one’s age, general appearance — and physical limitations.

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“Facial hair can look great, but it has to suit the right person,” said Brent Pankhurst, owner of the Pankhurst salon in London’s Mayfair neighborhood. (It offers haircuts in the style of Steve McQueen, for the tousled tough-guy effect, and Montgomery Clift, for the more classically handsome.) And there’s a facial hair approach à la Michael Fassbender (stubble) or Ryan Gosling (medium length).

“A good barber takes into consideration how a guy looks when he walks through the door, what’s he interested in, and then makes him look as good as he can and gives him something he can manage,” Mr. Pankhurst said during an interview in his über-masculine salon.

In the booming industry of upscale men’s grooming, facial hair is like any other element of executive style. From a simple evaluation in a barber’s chair — Mr. Pankhurst’s chairs are designed by Bentley, with the same leather and cross-stitching as the company’s car seats — to a session with a consultant who dresses professionals and advises on facial hair, fingernail length, what-have-you, the aim is to find what works best for the individual in an environment where individualism may not always be celebrated.

“For example, the fisherman’s beard is a trend, but it will go out of fashion,” Mr. Pankhurst said, referring to the moppy, bunchy beards that can grow inches below the chin. “People will look back on photographs in 10 years and ask, ‘What the hell was I thinking?”’ he said. “Anything longer than a medium-length beard is a no-no for the boardroom.”

Of course, the workplace and the company’s style help determine what’s acceptable. For Joseph Rosenfeld, a personal brand and style strategist in San Jose, Calif., the hipster look of the Silicon Valley executive, combined with the nerd factor, has changed the approach to facial hair in the last decade or so, as the goatee went from an innovation to a trend to almost a cliché.

“When you’re dealing with a base of engineers who create all the different products and solutions in this area, it’s pretty acceptable for guys to wear facial hair in all different configurations,” Mr. Rosenfeld, 45, said in a phone interview. “But you have to be very careful because of the messages that could be conveyed by a beard that looks incomplete or not fully grown. It can be incongruous with a guy who gets the job done.”

Mr. Rosenfeld also sees facial hair as more than just a fashion statement or even something beyond an expression of masculinity or sexuality — especially in the workplace. It can help some workers feel more comfortable.

“Facial hair might give someone a cover if he’s more introverted, or he can grow a beard to put on a better face if, for example, he has pockmarks,” he said. “It’s no different than a woman putting on makeup.”

But especially in the start-up and tech world, many people have become executives at a young age — and with it attendant wealth and self-importance, Mr. Rosenfeld said.

“There’s a bit of ego at that level that they want to do what they want to do,” Mr. Rosenfeld said, citing Mark Zuckerberg’s fondness for wearing hoodies to Facebook’s board meetings and corporate events.

A prototype of the tech wunderkind is Lawrence J. Ellison, who founded the software company Oracle in 1977 and now, at age 70, is one of the world’s richest people. He has long sported some sort of beard-mustache combination.

“Larry Ellison of Oracle has facial hair, but it can look at little rough, like sandpaper on him, and he could be perceived as being abrasive to some,” Mr. Rosenfeld said. “I’m concerned about that kind of thing when I work with my clients.”

Mr. Ellison, through a spokeswoman, declined to comment.

As with any business, discovering what works best for the client involves a continuous quest. At the Ottoman Crew in the Bloomsbury neighborhood of London, the 18-year-old owner, Hasan Yaman, manages a group of young barbers. Many display their own styles of facial hair, in a sort of self-experimentation as they cater to ever-changing customer whims.

“About six or seven years ago most young guys wanted a slim jawline cut and, over the lips, something more detailed and more sharp,” Mr. Yaman said. “Now they’re going for a more natural look.” But, he cautions, “when it’s too natural, it’s a bit scruffy and out of hand.”

His old-style Turkish barbershop, complete with lavish gold-trimmed mirrors and sparkling chandeliers above rust-colored leather chairs, is at once cozy and spiffy. The barbers wear red-trimmed vests and serve Turkish tea. Mr. Yaman said it’s all part of the mood for the repeat customer, many of whom come in every couple of weeks for a tune-up, especially executives who want to maintain a consistent and clean look.

“With hair, you can really fix it up, but a beard is more stubborn, so it takes a bit of time and effort. When you comb it down, you still get bits sticking out,” he said. “Mustaches are becoming more trendy now, and I’m even seeing guys curling them up.”

The amount of care and use of “product” previously restricted to hair grooming is now often devoted to facial preening, Mr. Yaman said. “They’re twisting their mustaches and rubbing their beards instead of running their hands through their hair.”

Too fussy, though, is too much, according to Mr. Pankhurst, the Mayfair barber. “The most important thing is not to have hard, clean lines,” he said. “You should always leave it as natural as possible.”

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That is the aim of one of the Pankhurst patrons, Daniel Millar. Mr. Millar, 37, owns a Dubai-based commodities trading firm, Ferrocadia, but has his barbering done back in his native London whenever possible.

“In Dubai, with the locals you see a lot of beard-staches and lots of laser hair removal so that they have these perfect lines on their beards,” Mr. Millar said. “I always just leave a bit of stubble. I don’t like the long-bearded look. I don’t think that fits with board meetings.”

Another Pankhurst regular is Clive Darby, 48, a fashion and luxury consultant, who owns CD Consultancy in London.

“I dip in and out of going heavy on the beard, and I think the perception of facial hair today has changed so dramatically,” Mr. Darby said during a recent interview over drinks in the guyishly swanky Map Room at Claridge’s Hotel. “Men have all those metrosexual things and, just like for the ladies, these become security blankets. You like to put them on and you like to feel good and smell good. Men actually sit around a table and say, ‘By the way, you’re hair is looking great’ or ‘I really like your beard.’

“That would have never happened in my father’s era.”