(You're reading all posts by Lewis Wallace)Lewis Wallace is a San Francisco-based writer and editor specializing in technology and culture.
About Lewis Wallace
Lust List: July 2015
Each month, Lust List rounds up the products that made us ride like the wind at double speed. This time we've got all kinds of stuff to make a grown man cry: earphones, wallets and even a (stolen) backpack.
Nyne TT Bluetooth speaker
Designed for the music lover on the go, Nyne's TT Bluetooth Speaker ($150) comes with a neoprene carrying case that lets you sling this music box over your shoulder and take your music on the run.
With a charging station for your phone and a built-in microphone, the TT is designed to be your ultimate musical travel companion. I found it to have excellent battery life, and it paired nicely with my iPhone to give my hotel rooms in Portugal the little slice of audio hominess I like while on the road.— Jim Merithew
Buy from: Amazon
Bison Rogue Wallet by Rogue Industries
I've heard the questions so many times that I brace myself when I take out my wallet: "What is that?" people ask. Or, "Is that a woman's wallet?"
The aptly named Bison Rogue Wallet has that effect on the beholder. It's a leather wallet made in Maine by some guys who went into the billfold business after they gave up trying to find the perfect front-pocket wallet.
Such things are especially smart for guys living in crowded cities, and this one is designed to follow the shape and cut of the inner pocket. Rogue even protects your debit and credit cards from digital pickpockets with a special liner to prevent RFID skimming.
Mine is made of bison leather, but Rogue also sells front-pocket wallets made from other leathers, ballistic nylon and canvas. — David Pierini
RHA T10i earphones
Handmade in the U.K. from injection-molded stainless steel, the RHA T10i earphones not only sound terrific, but they look great, too. Their fully adjustable over-ear hooks make them comfortable to wear and secure enough to work out with, and their built-in mic and remote lets you take calls and control your music when you use them with your iPhone.
The T10i comes with three sets of tuning filters that allow you to customize the frequency response for more powerful bass or greater treble. But no matter which one you use, the T10i’s dynamic drivers deliver supreme sound, particularly if you like bassy audio.
Vocals sound clear and crisp, and the balance is fantastic. The T10i provide a warm, rich sound that, coupled with their impressive noise-blocking abilities, immerses you in your music.
The T10i also come with a whole bunch of tips in different sizes that are organized neatly in a stainless steel holder, plus a nice carrying case. They take a little bit of getting used to because they’re pretty weighty, and they’re not cheap at $200 — but their outstanding sound and build quality make them well worth every penny. — Killian Bell
Buy from: Amazon
Booq Cobra squeeze backpack
Against my better nature, I've become a backpack snob. I want a simple bag to carry my MacBook, a change of clothes (for the gym) and some chargers and accessories.
Not too much to ask, right? And yet I've found it hard to hunt down a bag that has less, not more. All too often, today's backpacks are loaded with too much Velcro, too many pockets, and too many annoying straps and buckles.
Enter Booq’s latest urban-oriented commuter backpack, the Cobra squeeze. With its distinctive teardrop shape, the Cobra squeeze is simple — and it's just the right size for my daily carry. The shoulder straps are comfortable. I really like the leather carry handle. It has 13 compartments, including a pair of roomy side pockets that are good for easy access.
It is well-made and stylish. You'd never guess it's half cotton/half recycled plastic. Priced at $195, it ain't cheap, which is why I was so upset when it recently got stolen (with my MacBook, iPad, etc. still inside).
If it had been lost, I might have got it back. The bag has a unique serial number, tracked by Booq's Terralinq service; once registered, it might have helped me get the bag back. Alas, some scumbag's got it. — Leander Kahney
PlayStation Gold Wireless Stereo Headset by Sony
A friend got me these awesome headphones, and they've completely changed how I run my TV. I live in an apartment, and sometimes the upstairs neighbors get really loud. Instead of just sitting there and letting the hatred build up inside me, I put on the PlayStation Gold Wireless Stereo Headset and watch a movie. It's great for gaming, too, because Sony built a dedicated app for the PS4 and PS3 that lets you load up preset equalizers for the second channel (the first channel is an all-purpose default mode).
Presets include general things like "Action" and "Horror" settings for movies, but sometimes you can get one specifically made for a particular game. When I'm playing Bloodborne, for example, all of the game world's creepy noises and atmosphere go directly into my head, blocking out everything from the outside thanks to the headset's noise-canceling capabilities.
The PlayStation Gold ($100 list) runs from a USB dongle that you plug into the console, but it also has a standard jack and a cord so you can use it with other devices. It's easily the best set of headphones I've ever owned because you can do pretty much anything with them.
So if I use these and my Flippi at the same time, everyone is safe. — Evan Killham
Buy from: Amazon
UBi-IND premium jeans
Jeans designer Ulrich Simpson likes to say he makes jeans for everybody. And when he says "everybody," he really means "every body."
The biggest problem with premium jeans is finding a pair that fits. They tend to come in a very narrow range of cuts and sizes. Not so Simpson's UBi-IND jeans, which are available in five styles and sizes from 29- to 48-inch waist.
They'll fit any body type, from skinny skateboarders to Olympic speed skaters with grotesquely overdeveloped quads (see the Athletic cut). In fact, Simpson's customers range from NBA stars to surfers and cowboys. Simpson's jeans are 100 percent made in the USA from premium Cone Mills denim. — Leander Kahney
Epson Expression XP-420 all-in-one wireless inkjet printer
This “small-in-one” inkjet printer keeps your money in your wallet (thanks to a retail price of $99.99) and also works surprisingly well for a such a tiny unit. It may not have higher-end business features like an automatic document feeder, but you can still use this baby in your home office or dorm room thanks to its tiny footprint and low weight.
You can print in full color wirelessly from your Mac, iPhone or Android device, or via a USB cable you’ll need to supply. There’s even an SD card slot to print directly from your camera’s SD media.
This baby prints super-fast, especially for text pages (up to eight pages a minute), and delivers quality prints on all kinds of paper, from glossy photo to the plain copy stuff. If you need a small, useful printer with great print quality, easy setup and a low price, you can’t go wrong with this one. — Rob LeFebvre
Buy from: Amazon
Gear Pouch by WaterField Designs
I travel a lot to gaming and tech conventions, and I’ve always got to have my various chargers, devices, backup drives and tons of wires along with me. I’ve used minimalist backpacks, voluminous messenger bags and even shaving kits to keep track of all this digital ephemera, all to less-than-satisfying results.
WaterField Designs, however, has found the perfect solution: a travel gadget bag that’s not only rugged and useful, but incredibly good-looking. The Gear Pouch comes in four colors — black, brown, burgundy and navy — and three sizes to match your gadget carrying needs (priced between $40 and $50, depending on size). The medium one I tried out was perfect to fit my Lightning cables, Apple Watch charger, spare battery pack, backup hard drive and even my PlayStation Vita cords, plus a bunch of business cards for giggles.
The Gear Pouch zips right up into a beautiful little zippered pouch (with another zip pocket on the front) and stows quite nicely into my backpack or carry-on luggage. No more digging around the bottom of my bag to find the cable I need. — Rob LeFebvre
Buy from: WaterField Designs
Flippi v6 Personal Air Circulator by Vornado
My Cult of Mac co-workers knew when the first hot day was this year — it was the day I was even more hostile than usual. Once I finished apologizing, I ventured out into the sun-scorched world to find something that would make things a little more tolerable for me (and everyone else).
After wandering up and down the aisle with all the fans, trying to figure out my needs (How large should it be? How many speeds should it have? Holy shit, should it oscillate???), I saw the Flippi v6 by Vornado just sitting up on a shelf all unassuming. It's a smaller fan, but it has a pretty great vertical range of motion. The entire center section with the fan part in it rotates 180 degrees so it can point straight up, straight down or anywhere in between. Plus, it was like $18, and I get a nice kind of R2-D2 vibe off of it, so that was a quick sale.
It's sitting on my printer right now, blowing much-needed cool air on me. And I'm sure everyone around me is feeling the difference. — Evan Killham
Buy from: Amazon
It happened right after Apple took the wraps off of Connect, the social element of Apple Music designed to let artists share intimate moments with fans, from backstage video and unreleased tracks to private performances from couches anywhere in the world.
“You saw the Apple Connect?” Sonnleitner, CEO and founder of Mikme, asked during the getgeeked tech showcase here during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. “We have the tools!”
SAN FRANCISCO — Not content to conquer the Bluetooth speaker market with tubes and bigger tubes, Ultimate Ears made its latest portable audio device look like a lily pad. They made it waterproof, too. The only problem was, the UE Roll sank like a stone.
“As life would have it, it doesn’t float,” said Rory Dooley, Ultimate Ears’ senior vice president, during a visit to the Cult of Mac headquarters.
The solution? Create a tiny life preserver for the UE Roll, and give it away to anybody who orders the hottest speaker of the summer directly from UE’s website (while supplies last).
Not everybody has two-and-a-half hours to watch an Apple event. Tim Cook and crew delivered tons of updates at the kickoff for this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, and you can speed through all the news with this WWDC 2015 keynote supercut.
It’s just two-and-a-half minutes long!
Why is Leander super-excited about Apple’s new Beats 1 radio service?
It’s simple, really: For him, listening to BBC Radio 1 was possibly the greatest thing about growing up in England in the ’70s. More importantly, it’s still how he discovers loads of new music today — and Apple’s 24/7 live internet radio station promises that same kind of magic.
Get the lowdown in the latest Kahney’s Korner video.
Tick tock! Time’s running out to find the perfect gift for your Dad! Let Cult of Mac’s Father’s Day gift guide take all the hassle out of shopping for pops.
From Apple and audio gear to outdoorsy stuff that will be sure to bring a smile, we’ve rounded up thoughtful gifts at price points high, low and in between to make Father’s Day gift-hunting as painless as possible.
Cult of Mac is at WWDC and AltConf, fishing for ProTips. The world’s biggest gathering of Apple developers is a rich hunting ground filled with alpha geeks, experts par excellence. What’s a ProTip? A ProTip is a nugget of knowledge, a little bit of expertise from someone in the know — a pro.
SAN FRANCISCO — Designers can be a picky bunch, always ready to pick apart a colleague’s creation or slap down an idea with some withering snark.
But interaction designer Dave Wiskus is prescribing an attitude adjustment for his fellow creative types, especially those who seem to be engaged in some sort of bitchy competition to come off as the smartest person in the room.
“Just say no to cynicism,” he said Thursday during his talk at AltConf here. “It’s the enemy of everything.” (You’ll also want to avoid irony, sarcasm and passive aggression, which Wiskus called “gateway drugs” that can lead to full-on cynical addiction.)
SAN FRANCISCO — The key to crafting great Apple Watch apps can be summed up with a simple mantra: “Make the user happy.”
That’s designer Joe Cieplinski’s approach to all design, really, but the precept is even more important than ever for developers making apps for Apple’s new wearable. Instead of attempting to cram all the features of an iPhone app onto that tiny screen, devs need to focus as much on what they leave out as what they include.
“That’s how you get a successful product,” Cieplinski, who works for Philadelphia-based Bombing Brain Interactive, told Cult of Mac after his AltConf panel here Tuesday. “It’s not just trying to be philosophical.”
Apple’s big idea for transforming the way we experience music is bringing a personal touch — and a simple, unified platform — to the tangled technological mess that music’s become in 2015. Apple Music is classic Apple: putting a human face on technology that threatens to overwhelm us.
Tim Cook brought out high-profile artists, and Apple’s team of industry insiders, to show off what he called “the next chapter in music” today at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.
“I know your are going to love it,” Cook said, introducing Apple Music. “It will change the way that you experience music forever.”
Here’s what Apple Music will bring to your ears.
When Apple unveils its revamped music service Monday, it will mark a “tipping point” for mass acceptance of streaming over downloads, predicts Sony Music CEO Doug Morris.
The new streaming service, which Morris says will be unveiled tomorrow at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, will challenge on-demand streaming services like Spotify and Rdio thanks to a very particular set of skills Cupertino has acquired over the years.