Tag: gadgets

  • Things I miss on my Surface Pro 7

    Things I miss on my Surface Pro 7

    I’ve been using the Surface Pro 7 instead rather than my iPad Pro for a week now, as part of my Surface Experiment. It’s a mixed bag.

    When you challenge your tools and workflow, there will always be friction. That’s why I’ve committed to this experiment. I don’t really expect to make a full switch to a Windows-driven ecosystem, but I want to know what it’s like on that side of the fence.


  • The Surface Experiment

    The Surface Experiment

    People who keep reloading my setup page knows that there’s a lot of Apple stuff there. Apple does quality hardware, and decent enough software, for me to lean on them when it comes to my computing needs. But there’s always a different side to the story, and it’s all too easy getting caught up – or plain caught – in what you have and know.

    So I’m typing this on a Surface Pro 7. Well, not the actual device, I’m using the Type Cover, but you get the point. The reason for this is twofold. Changes over at Divide & Conquer means that we’ll be without an office in a month or so. This is all fine, but it does mean that I need to lug my whole gadget park with me, to wherever I’ll plant my behind to get some work done. An extra Android phone is one thing, but the old Alienware laptop we’ve been using for Windows testing is twice as heavy as my brand new MacBook Pro, so that’s out of the question. Especially since I always carry an iPad Pro too, of the 12.9″ variety at the moment, as you probably know if you’ve gotten this far. I – we – need a Windows test device, and the Surface line is as good as any. That’s where it all started.


  • Flying habits

    Flying habits

    Like so many other frequent fliers, I’ve got my habits. They’re not hacks or unique in any way, just things I’ve started doing on a regular basis because it makes traveling less stressful. Key here is to reduce stress, because traveling takes a lot of energy as it is, and stressing about it just adds to the load.

    So here you go, things that I keep in mind when I zip back and forth across Sweden, and through Europe. Actual gear isn’t found here, although noise-cancellation headphones really should be on the list, because getting on a plane without them when traveling solo is out of the question…

    • Aisle seat, always. I’m tall, worst case that gives me room to stretch. Also, I get off the plane faster which could mean I’ll have a better shot at catching an earlier airport train.
    • Get a ticket with fast track if you can, because not only is standing in line stressful, said ticket often give access to a lounge as well. I use the time saved to write, maybe you have more important things to do.
    • Airport trains almost always trumps taxis, if the airport is outside of the city centre and your destination isn’t too far off.
    • Use apps for tickets, and suffer through airline apps for live updates on delays. Check-in queues are so 2000, right?
    • Never check luggage. Carry-ons are big enough, I’d rather buy additional things at my location. Oh, and remember that plenty of airlines lets you bring a second small carry-on for your computer.
    • Speaking of bags, make sure that you have one with easy access to your computing device, as well as your toiletries. That makes it easier and less stressful going through security.
    • Put as many things as possible in a coat or jacket pocket that you can close when passing through security. That makes it go more smoothly, especially if security is crowded.
    • I keep my toiletries and liquids in a see-through toilet bag. You could use a zip-locked plastic bag too, if you can’t find a toilet bag you like.
    • Generally speaking, rolling clothes is better than folding. Divvy up clothes in bags (I use disposable plastic ones) is often a good idea, and you can keep your clean clothes separated from your laundry using said bags.
    • Mesh bags with zippers are great for organizing smaller things like cables, vitamins, and other things you want to bring but don’t need to store in a toilet bag, or have easy access to. Some people swear by mesh bags for everything, but I like to have disposable bags as well.
    • I always bring my passport, despite rarely crossing a border where I actually need to show it. That said, weather could land you someplace else, and knowing I’m prepared for the unexpected helps.

    The best travel hack to date though, is pack less than you think you might need. There are a lot of nifty gadgets that sound like a good idea, but question each and every one of them. For example, external batteries are amazing when you’re out of power, but will you ever be that far from a power outlet at your destination? Each device, each gadget, each piece of clothing needs to earn its place when you travel. I’ve yet to use all of my packed t-shirts, ever, and I travel light. Apparently not light enough though…

    For more about the stuff I use, check out my setup. It gets updated on a somewhat regular basis.

    Agree or disagree? Let me know by tweeting to @tdh. I’m always interesting in opting my travel days with clever hacks.

  • iPhone X

    iPhone X

    There’s something horrible about writing a post on the latest smartphone from Apple. It’s such a luxurious gadget, so over the top unnecessary, that I almost feel bad for getting it. Which is obviously ridiculous, since my previous model has found a new home, and so it goes until these precious pieces of tech don’t work anymore. We’re not ruining the world as long as we pass our stuff forward, right?

    Be that as it may, a $1,149 phone is sort of mind-boggling. That’s a computer, two computers, or five, or whatever, depending on what you think is decent enough to be called a computer. Personally I’m struggling with this, which is such a weird thing coming from someone tapping away on an iPad Pro… I’m not blessed or anything, I’m just gadgetally inclined. My bank account hates me for it.

    I don’t hate the iPhone X though. It’s the best bloody phone – sorry, portable computer – that Apple has ever made. I love the fact that it’s smaller and yet bigger than before. Face ID is magic, the build quality is amazing, the camera(s) are what you expect from The Next iPhone, and, well, yeah. It’s great. Next generation. It has the wow factor.

    You shouldn’t get it.

    Again, best iPhone ever, which – honestly – means best phone ever. Period.

    But the money, oh all that money! Chances are that you, if you’re contemplating the iPhone X when your contract runs out, already have a decent phone. The battery might be struggling, running dry even, and it’s starting to get sluggish.

    Restart it. Reset it. Try again.

    You see, while I can’t help myself, you could be stronger. Don’t swap out your stuff just because hey new shiny!!! hits you. There was literally nothing wrong with my iPhone 7 Plus (now removed from my setup), it was – is – a great phone. The iPhone X might be better, but my iPhone 7 Plus was more than enough. I never wanted more power, not really. I did want a smaller phone, and I got that, but the rest is just gravy.

    Sweet, sweet gravy.

    Where was I? Oh yeah.

    Save your money. Consider what you need, then reconsider, and ask yourself if a new phone will make you happier.

    I didn’t do that. I’ve got the iPhone X by my side. It’s amazing, but it doesn’t make me happy. On the other hand, owning it doesn’t make me sad either. It’s just one of those things, another gadget that’s better than the last, that won’t change my life.

    But it sure is the best iPhone ever.

  • The device chain

    The device chain

    Steven Levy has a really interesting piece, albeit perhaps somewhat fluffy, on Apple’s new iMacs, as well as the accompanied new keyboard, mouse, and trackpad. It’s well worth a read, and there are a ton of things to quote if one was so inclined.

    I’m picking this one, which is Levy’s take on Apple’s Phil Schiller’s view on how the company’s devices add up:

    Schiller, in fact, has a grand philosophical theory of the Apple product line that puts all products on a continuum. Ideally, you should be using the smallest possible gadget to do as much as possible before going to the next largest gizmo in line.

    Start at the Apple Watch to keep your phone at bay. Then, on your iPhone, you do all the things that makes sense. Too small? Go to the iPad (and soon the iPad Pro), then to the Macbook. Finally, wrap it up on a 27″ iMac, or possibly a Mac Pro, if Apple would be so kind to release a proper Thunderbolt display with retina screen.


  • Magic glass

    I’m looking at images of Pluto and (the moon) Hydra on my phone, sent from a spacecraft that’s passing by. Science is awesome, and having a magical piece of glass and metal that gives me immediate access to that is sometimes mind boggling. Try to remember that the next time you refresh Twitter for the umpteenth time, wondering what it’s all good for.

  • Commodore PET

    Commodore PET, not the computer, launches in Italy, France, Germany, and Poland, soon. Wired:

    Now it’s appearing on a smartphone created by a pair of Italian entrepreneurs. It’s called the PET—sharing its name with Commodore’s other iconic PC—and its custom Android build includes two emulators so owners can enjoy old C64 and Amiga games.

    This isn’t the first time a product’s been built around the classic Commodore (or Amiga) brand. The chances for this smartphone are slim, I’d say. Maybe it’s time to let the Commodore brand rest?

  • Let the wifi charge your phone

    Brian Barrett writing for Wired about charging your phone by connecting to wifi:

    The system comprises just two components; an access point (a router), and custom-built sensors. “The goal of the sensors is to harvest RF (radio frequency) power and convert it into DC power,” explains Vamsi Talla, a researcher on the project. “The second piece, the access point, there we actually developed a custom solution on it, just a software modification that would enable the access point to act both as a good power delivery source and, simultaneously, also as a good Wi-Fi router.” In other words, it achieves power over Wi-Fi in a way that both works with pre-existing hardware, and doesn’t interfere with your Internet connection one bit.

    Lots of unknowns here, but a future where we wirelessly charge our mobile devices is coming, and not necessarily contained to charging surfaces either.

  • Apple Watch and Macbook status report

    Since so many of you are asking… I haven’t ordered an Apple Watch because it’s not out in Sweden yet, nor have I ordered the new Macbook, which officially launched on Friday last week (but never was in stock as far as I can tell). I intend to pick up both (black Sport, space gray 512 GB Macbook) when they’re available, but I’m in no real hurry. Gone are the days when new technology defines me. A lot of people would do well to dwell on that, I think.

  • Smart 9V battery for your smoke alarm

    From Gizmodo’s coverage of the Roost, 9V battery for your fire alarm that’s connected to your wifi network for instant push notifications if the smoke alarm goes off:

    Battery life is rated at an impressive five years, even while the Roost is connected to your home’s Wi-Fi network. But that’s because the Roost pretty much sits completely dormant until it detects your smoke detector’s deafening screech. At that point the Roost springs to life, connecting to your home’s Wi-Fi network in order to send notifications to your smartphone.

    Brilliant. Here’s the Roost’s website for some more information.

  • Gadget moderation

    Ben Brooks writes about our compulsive behavior to always tweak, and replace our, well, stuff. This is worth remembering:

    There is only one thing I have learned: moderation. It used to be that I was obsessed with looking for the next thing to fix and that’s a terrible plan. My goal now is simple: wait until you are annoyed by something, and try not to read websites that find the best things, because then you will have to try those things yourself and down the rabbit hole you go.

    I’m struggling with that myself, and because I’m fortunate enough to not only work in the tech industry, thus easily warranting somewhat relevant purchases, but also be successful in what I do, it’s all too easy to just buy more stuff. I’m working on that.

  • Will.i.am's smartwatch isn't a watch

    Will.i.am’s smartwatch isn’t a watch, he says. Most people’ll disagree. Anyway, it’s happening and it’s not just an extension of your phone. The Puls, as it’s called, is a mobile device on its own, with impressive specs and its own 3G connection. This kills it for me, because there’s no way I’ll have a 3G transmitter strapped on my wrist at all times, that doesn’t sound healthy at all.

    The following quote is from The Verge:

    There was no word on the Puls’ battery life. At the end of the event, Will.i.am brought models out on stage who were wearing clothing that contained battery packs capable of transferring battery power to the Puls as long as part of it remained in contact with the sleeve. A jacket worn by one model is capable of powering the watch for two and a half days, he said. Technology should be part of more of the things we wear, Will.i.am. said. “Pardon me for dreaming, but fuck it — let’s dream,” he said.

    Make of that what you will, but if you have to make clothing to power your devices, I think you’re in trouble. No word on pricing or real release date yet.

  • The Perfect MacBook

    Every MacBook I buy end up being the best one I’ve owned thus far. Considering this, I have absolute trust in Apple’s ability to iterate and relaunch its MacBook line at regular intervals. That said, following rumors about a retina MacBook Air, I can’t help but tell you what I think would be the perfect MacBook.

    It’s really simple. I want a 12″ retina MacBook Air that can power a 27″ retina screen. That means decent GPU, adequate CPU and RAM starting at 8 GB. I’d also want, nay need, 512 GB or more SSD for all my music and photos and whatnot, preferably without paying with one of my kidneys. None of this is science fiction, this isn’t a dream setup or anything, it’s just what I want.

    I hope Apple’ll replace both the 11″ (which is wide enough but the screen lack in physical height) and the 13″ Air with this 12″ device. Cut the bezel and you’ve got a machine that is essentially the size of the 11″ Air, just a wee bit taller, but closer to the 13″ when it comes to productivity.

    The 13″ retina MacBook Pro is the best computer I’ve ever had, and I absolutely adore the screen. But I could make do with the same retina resolution on a 12″ screen, 13″ would do with a slight bump in optimal resolution if anything. 12″ just makes more sense.

    That’s what I want, and that’s what I hope Apple’s got in store for me. That’s the computer I’d buy to replace my current one. At least for as long as I need a traditional laptop at all…

  • The E-ink Typewriter

    Writing outside is a painful experience. Sure, you could do as I do now, sitting cross-legged in the shade on my lawn, tapping away on my iPhone. That works reasonable well, at least until my back gives in. It’ll work for today’s 300 words of the iPhone novel, but beyond that it’s just not ideal.

    An e-ink Kindle perhaps?
    An e-ink Kindle perhaps?

    I’d like to be able to put out a table, perhaps equipped with a parasol, and sit in a proper chair. I could do that, but it’d be far from ideal. Laptop screens just plain suck outdoors, and although devices like the iPad fare better, they still put an unnecessary strain on the eyes.

    What I really want is an e-ink display and a keyboard, I really don’t need much more than that. I can’t find it though, probably because e-ink is still too slow and unresponsive to make it truly work as a regular screen. But let’s dream a bit, shall we?

    The e-ink typewriter for modern writers who like to work outdoors:

    • 9–10″ screen, backlit and with a retina-like resolution (much like the excellent Kindle Paperwhite)
    • Keyboard support via bluetooth
    • Wifi and/or 3G, mostly for sync with Dropbox/other
    • Mad battery life (10+ hours should be a piece of cake for a device like this)
    • No need for a distraction-infested app store of any kind.

    The only thing the e-ink typewriter needs is a nice writing app, something inspired by iA Writer or Byword. Markdown support would be nice, but it really doesn’t matter. I’d like to be able to change the font size and margins, for a more personal workspace, but that’s not a must-have either.

    Please sell me this writing device. It’s all I want during the summer. Well that, and a new chair and table, possibly a nice parasol that I can angle anyway I like too. And sun, and a cold beverage, obviously.

  • The Logitech Tablet Keyboard And AAA Batteries

    I was a little bummed out when I got my Logitech Tablet Keyboard for iOS. People who follow me on Twitter or App.net have heard me complaining about the less than stellar plastic sleeve that turns into a stand. As a stand, the Tablet Keyboard is something of a failure since it risks sliding around on a flat surface such as a tabletop. I’m using said plastic thingy as a stand for my iPad mini as I’m writing this, and although it does work, I really wish I could motivate myself to go upstairs and fetch the excellent Compass stand from Twelve South.

    This isn’t about stands though. This is about batteries.