(You're reading all posts by Charlie Sorrel) Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie on Twitter at @mistercharlie.
About Charlie Sorrel
The Snappgrip is a fantastic idea, with not-too-bad hardware to back it up. It’s an accessory grip for your iPhone that adds a Bluetooth shutter release, zoom buttons and control dial to the phone’s camera, as well as a wrist strap and a handy handgrip.
But in practice, you’ll be better off with the iPhone’s own volume switches if you want a hardware shutter release. Which is a shame, as I was super-excited to try the Snappgrip out.
Before the AeroPress, there was the moka pot, or cafetera as it’s called in Spain. There is at least one cafetera in every Spanish kitchen, and if you want a quick fix of something strong and good, it’s your go-to coffee gadget. Not bad for something invented way back in 1933.
I’ve had a moka since I first saw one in action a couple decades ago. Up until I bought an AeroPress, I used a moka every day, never tiring of its old-school charm and serious wake-me-up taste. But what is a moka exactly, and why is it so good?
Gadget Watch: June 20, 2014
A bamboo bay for your Beats by Dre? A cellphone-charging carabiner? A creepy drone that follows you around? What about an iPhone case that looks like a (tiny) broken skateboard? If you were looking for any of these, you’re in luck.
‘sup dawg? No – literally. What’s up? Dog? This is the AirDog, a drone/RC ‘copter that follows you around. Hang a camera from the mount under the hovering doggy and strap the AirLeash to your wrist. Sensors beam info to the drone and it will follow your exact trajectory, only up in the air. Launch and landing are automatic, and an iPhone app can be used to tweak the flight path for, say, a continuous loop. $1,195
Beats by Dre Station
Possibly most notable for introducing the term “DreStation,” this bamboo stand is much more affordable than the headphones it holds. And you don’t even have to use Beats cans – any over-the-ear headphones will hang just as easily from this dumb wooden desk tidy.
It’s not all good though: The lack of a hole on the base means you can’t charge the iPhone or iPod while it stands in there. $40
Who doesn’t love a carabiner? And who doesn’t find themself in need of a Lightning cable from time to time? Nobody, that’s who. And that’s who will buy the Nomad Clip, a carabiner that unfurls to become a charger for you iDevice. Made from steel and polycarbonate, and not suitable for climbing, you can also choose a microUSB version. $39
If you like the look of Adobe’s new Creative Cloud apps Sketch and Line, but don’t fancy buying the $200 official stylus to use with them, you should pick up Adonit's new Jot Touch instead. It has a tiny “Pixelpoint” tip instead of a disk or fat rubbery point, and it works just like Adobe’s Ink stylus, letting you copy and paste to/from the Creative Cloud as well as access files and Kuler color palettes. Best of all, it’s just $120.
Duck Head Saver
What’s a duck head? It’s the little interchangeable block of power plug prongs that slots onto every Apple power adapter from MacBook Pro to iPad. And the Duck Head Saver from DenVog is a widget that sticks onto the side of your AC adapter and adds a prong onto which the unused duck head can slip whenever you use a foreign duck head or the long adapter cable. $35
The cedar used to make the barrel of the Timbrr stylus contains lots of natural resins. Not only will this make it smell as good as a humidor full of Cuban cigars, but that resin also helps conduct the special human waves that are required by a capacitive screen to detect a touch. Otherwise the Timbrr is a regular ol’ stylus, with a rubber tip and a fat, easy-to-hold barrel. $34
Belkin wired iPad keyboard
How about a nice safe wired keyboard for your iPad? This Lightning-equipped number from Belkin doesn’t need batteries and doesn’t even require that Bluetooth be switched on on your iPad. It’s also thin, Apple-certified and comes with all the usual media keys for controlling your tablet. And with the wired connection, nobody can snoop on the keystrokes you’re sending over the airwaves. $60
Bowerbag modular bag
Can’t decide what kind of bag to buy? Then buy the Bowerbag, a modular system that takes five (5!) separate sacks and joins them together with a modular system. Each bag, complete with its straps, connects to all the others in a huge compromise of buckles and webbing. Who cares how much it weighs? You have choice! $360
Skate Deck iPhone Case
It’s an iPhone case. It’s fashioned from silicone. It looks like somebody snapped a skateboard in half. What’s not to like? Apart from the fact it won’t ever fit your pocket thanks to those wheels sticking out the back? Or the fact that you can’t reach the iPhone’s power button? Nothing, that’s what. Oh, maybe the price tag: $45
Logitech’s updated Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad Air replaced its predecessor mere months after the original’s launch. The most obvious difference between the two is the flip-out hinge that joins the keyboard to the iPad like a cover to a book, but in reality the two devices are completely different.
Is the new one better? In one way yes. In others? Nope.
I was all set to pull the trigger on Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography plan, which gives subscribers access to Lightroom and Photoshop as well as Lightroom Mobile for the iPad and iPhone.
After all, it’s just $10 per month, right? (or €12.29/$16.71 in the EU). That’s about what I spend on Rdio, or Dropbox, and I get Lightroom on my frickin’ camera.
But I decided to hold off and see if one huge doozy of a design problem is fixed before my 30-day trial of the service finishes up. This will also give me time to check out the amazing new Adobe Photoshop Mix, which is what Photoshop for iPad should have been all along.
And the little problem that could be a deal-breaker? You’re gonna love it…
I’ve tried a lot of cases for my Mac notebooks over the years, from a dorky aluminum briefcase for my white “icebook” iBook through cheap, zip-up neoprene sleeves and on to bulky, custom-fitted, shock-absorbing monsters. But the elegant, simple and beautiful Castello Davarg York, cut from a single piece of leather, is the only one that makes any sense for my MacBook Air.
Like the MacBook Air inside, you can’t help but finger and fiddle with the York case. It’s cut from 5-ounce, full-grain leather that’s folded and then hand-stitched along two sides before finishing the edges and … well, that’s almost it. The case has no fastening or closure, and lacks a lining or padded interior, but it is shaped perfectly to fit the MacBook Air. (I tested the 13-inch size, but it also comes for the 11-incher.) It even has a little cutout on the top edge that mimics the one found on the lid of the MacBook itself.
With iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, Apple is finally showing us its idea of how we’ll compute in the future. Perhaps not surprisingly, this pristine vision of our computing destiny — unveiled after years of secret, patient and painstaking development — aligns perfectly with how we currently use our computers and mobile devices.
The keynote at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month not only showed off a new way to think about computing, based on data not devices, but also silenced pretty much every criticism leveled at the company over the past few years.
Let’s take a look at Apple’s new way of doing things, which fulfills Steve Jobs’ post-PC plan by minimizing the importance of the Mac.
Do you like to wander the streets, camera in hand, ready to catch an amazing shot? Have you ever missed that shot thanks to the time taken to fumble your iPhone from your pocket and fire up the camera? Even if the answer to these questions is “No,” you should probably take a look at Shoulderpod’s S1 anyway – it’s not only a great camera grip, but also the best value you’ll get spending $30 on an iPhone accessory.
Welcome to the final part of our series about note-taking for writers (or anyone else). Today we’re going to look at getting clippings and bookmarks into Evernote, to be stored and accessible alongside your scanned, paper-based notes (Part 1) and your text notes grabbed on your iPhone or Mac (Part 2).
We’ll use a few apps and services to get this done – EverClip, Mr Reader, IFTTT and Pinboard are the main ones.
As ever, you could just do much of this using Evernote and its web clipper, but this only works in Safari and Chrome on the desktop. In 2014! Clearly that’s no good. Let’s see how we can do it better.
Gadget Watch: June 14, 2014
From waterproof e-readers and old-school (sort of) newspapers to stylish Mac stands and remarkably big buttons, here's what's new on the gadget front this week.
The Beach Vault is a threaded plastic chamber with a watertight lid. You screw it onto the sand down at the beach and use it as a sandy safe for your belongings. Not only does it make your gear harder for pickpockets to snatch, it also protects electronics from sand and salty sea.
It even comes with a matching towel. $35
Training wheels don’t teach your kid to balance a bike – how could they when they won’t let it tip? Here in Germany the 3-year-olds buzz around on balance bikes, little two-wheelers with low seats and no pedals. These let kids run and learn to balance and steer, ready for a big bike.
The FirstBIKE features a special seat that’s hard to slip out of, Schwalbe tires and a rear drum brake with a lever that won’t pinch kids’ fingers. Prices start at $130.
Grovemade desktop accessories
Grovemade produces great handcrafted wooden accessories for MacBook and iOS devices. Now it is turning to the desktop with a range of wooden stands and trays. From the $59 mouse mat (LOL) to the $19 paperclip holder, not all of it is practical, but the plywood Maple Monitor Stand looks beautiful and practical, and costs a relatively reasonable $79.
The Nova is a proper flashing flash for your iPhone, one that actually syncs with the camera instead of just acting like a dumb flashlight. You can even adjust the color and brightness of the light using the free companion app, and the whole thing connects using low-power Bluetooth 4. $60
Do you use a read-later service like Instapaper or Pocket? Click, save, ignore. Now you can have those unread articles printed into a real newspaper, which will land on your doormat just like in the olden days.
Save articles in the browser with a bookmarklet, then click to order the paper version, which will be printed at your demand and delivered to your door. Right now the service is U.K.-only, and invite-only, but it's supposedly expanding to other countries soon. £5
Hardware – it’s all about the software. The bttn is a single button that you hit to get something done. And that "something" depends on which service you hook it up to using the bttn servers. Just like IFTTT, only with a button, the device uses Wi-Fi or a cellular connection to trigger tweets, emails, your house lights or anything that hooks up to it. Yes, including IFTTT. Pre-order for €69.
Titan multi-tool collar stays
I’m not sure if these multi-tool collar stays are Skymall trashy or James Bond awesome. What I do know is that these little titanium sticks will not only keep your collar straight, but also let you MacGyver your way out of a sticky situation. They pack a half-Phillips screwdriver, slotted screwdriver, thread-cutter and bottle opener, plus imperial and metric scales on the sides.
Just keep them out of the washing machine if you value your shirt’s collar. $30.
Waterproof Kindle Paperwhite
One excuse the book-sniffing holdouts give for refusing to get with the 21st century is that you can’t read a Kindle in the bath. Which is crap – you just put it inside a Ziploc bag. But now you don’t even need that: You can buy this modified Waterfi waterproof Kindle Paperwhite and take it wherever you like, down to 120 feet below (where you should no doubt read some Jules Verne).
You can more or less double the price though – the waterproof version will cost you $240.
Yalta Noa backpack
Chrome makes some of the heaviest bags around, and this roll-top Yalta backpack, customized by Japanese artist Noa, is no exception. The hefty 3.4-pound water-shrugging sacks are cut from a canvas made by the artist, so, as the product page says, once they’re gone they’re gone. $140.