The Jot 8.5 eWriter brings notepads into the digital age [Reviews]

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boogie-board-jot-8-5 - 4
Still better than a "smart" refrigerator.
Photo: George Tinari/Cult of Mac

Nowadays it seems like we’re ready to replace just about every standalone device with a smartphone app or add a Wi-Fi connection to it, when the reality is that plenty of these devices work perfectly fine already. (I’m looking at you, Wi-Fi-enabled refrigerators.) So it was refreshing to be able to review a product that’s confident in what it is and what it isn’t: the Boogie Board Jot 8.5 eWriter.

The Jot 8.5 is an ultra-thin display that lets you write or draw whatever you want on it, then instantly erase all the contents at the push of a button. Think of it as a practical Etch-A-Sketch that doesn’t suck.

Finally, an adjustable standing desk you’ll actually use [Reviews]

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Work healthier with the Pro Plus 48.
Work healthier with the Pro Plus 48.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Spending countless hours sitting in front of a computer every day is bad for your body. Not only do you have to worry about bad posture when sitting for extended periods, but also the fact that you’re probably going to die faster (according to some studies).

A standing desk is a great way to alleviate some of these problems and keep your body active during a long day in the office. And with the Varidesk Pro Plus 48, you can turn almost any standard desk into a height-adjustable standing desk in a snap.

This particular desk is one of the largest models offered by Varidesk, which makes it ideal for multi-monitor setups and those who need plenty of room. It’s also pretty pricey at $495 — but is it worth that price tag?

After a year with Apple Watch, it’s time for a frank appraisal

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Apple Watches
Time flies when you're having fun.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

I’ve decided to take a step back and take a good, hard look at what I’ve been wearing on my wrist for an entire year. It feels like it was just yesterday the Apple Watch was revealed to the public, and everyone wanted one.

Has it become an essential bit of kit on my wrist, or is it another gadget for the junk drawer, left to gather dust?

Here’s my take on the year I’ve spent with Apple’s magical wrist computer.

Neato’s new vacuum robot will turn you into a neat freak [Review]

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Botvac Connected is the world's most thorough cleaning bot.
Botvac Connected is the world's most thorough cleaning bot.
Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

My dog has a new archenemy, and its name is Botvac. 

Neato’s tiny automated robotic vacuum stirs my dog into a fit of worried anger every afternoon I send it out for a round of sweeping and vacuuming. It’s so magical my dog doesn’t trust it. 

I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords. Mostly because I’m too lazy to be bothered with tasks like vacuuming.

Floating speaker rises above its gimmick with great sound [Reviews]

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The floating speaker part is fun, but it's the killer sound that makes it worth every penny.
The floating speaker part is fun, but it's the killer sound that makes it worth every penny.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Lust List: Mars Bluetooth floating speaker by Crazybaby

The Mars Bluetooth speaker has a fairly reliable gimmick: the top part — which looks like a little UFO from an old sci-fi flick — floats above the bottom cylinder. It’s a cool visual trick managed by some fairly strong magnets, but it’s just that: a fun gimmick.

What’s surprising, though, is just how great this speaker sounds. It fills my house with deep bass thanks to the subwoofer abilities of that lower section of the speaker, and the UFO attachment flies proud while reproducing the rest of the sonic spectrum with highs and mids that don’t get lost in the bass response, but are also not too brittle.

Turn this floating speaker up and you’ve got a serious powerhouse Bluetooth speaker that just cries out to be admired by everyone at the party.