Gadget Watch: Staying home with robots



Gadget Watch: Sept. 06, 2014

Who needs to go out outside this week? Not us: We have headphones, a home-monitoring video camera, a robot to clean the floors and a keyboard that sleeps on your desk, all ready to play with your iDevices. Determined to leave the house? Take the GoPro PowerPole with you and then offload the footage to a new wireless, battery-powered hard drive from Western Digital.

Sony QX1

Forget fiddling with those little magnetic iPhone lenses – the Sony QX1 puts proper E-mount Sony lenses onto your iPhone or iPad. It’s actually a tiny camera that clips onto your iDevice, complete with 20.1 MP sensor and even a pop-up flash, and works in concert with the iPhone via Wi-Fi and a companion app. $400

B&W P5 Series 2 headphones

You could buy these new B&W cans and never switch them on, they look that good. But they should sound good too, with huge drivers that “work like those in a hi-fi speaker” (whatever that means), a sweet padded headband and some shiny silver parts on the outside. The Series 2 even comes with a detachable cable with an inline mic for your iPhone. $300

Baron Fig goes international

Now you can buy the best paper notebook anywhere in the world – almost. The Baron Fig Confidant notebook now ships internationally, so anyone can enjoy its superior design, from the cloth-bound cover to the clever dot-grid paper to the fold-flat design that stays open on the table to the slightly wider aspect ratio for more comfy writing and sketching. And still just $16.

Dyson 360 Eye

Dyson’s first robot vacuum cleaner uses a panoramic cyclops eye up on top of the mercifully muted body to map out your rooms to the millimeter. A full-width brush teases dust out of carpets, and the cyclone separates dirt and dust. It runs for up to half an hour before returning to its dock to recharge, and you can even remote control it from iOS and Android apps. $TBA

GoPro PowerPole

It’s called the PowerPole, but that’s not even the best thing about it. The PowerPole takes the useless space inside telescopic 17-30-inch GoPro mount and fills it with batteries, enough for eight continuous hours of shooting. The aluminum pole also has a pair of USB ports for charging other gear. $119

Logitech K480 keyboard

The Logitech K480 is a different take on keyboards for mobile. It sits on your desk, waiting for your devices to dock in its slot, and then performs double duty as a stand and as a Bluetooth keyboard. A twisting knob selects between three paired devices, and the K480 has keys for Windows and Mac. The slot is big enough for a tablet and a phone together and it runs on a pair of AAA batteries. $50


Shutter Button

The only way the Shutter Button could be more minimal is if it ditched the fashion stylings and came in plain silver. It’s a Bluetooth remote shutter release for iOS and other devices, and it works by masquerading as a volume switch. Therefore, no companion app is required – any camera, even the built-in one, can work with it as long as the app allows you to take a photo using the iPhone’s own volume switch. From $29.

WD My Passport Wireless

This 1TB/2TB USB 3.0 drive packs a Wi-Fi radio and an SD card slot, making it the most useful pocket hard drive, like, ever. It works with your Mac of course, but also your iPad and iPhone. You can connect up to eight devices, use it as an Internet-sharing Wi-Fi hub and even stream movies to your iPad. The battery lasts six hours for video (20 hours on standby) and you can back up photos direct to the drive using the SD card slot. From $180.

Withings Home

Withings has long been able to track your body with its smart scales and health monitors. Now it tracks your home with this Internet-connected camera. The Home records 1080p video and can alert you to movement via the iPhone app. It works as a security camera, but also as a life-cam, with a timeline mode that lets you make a video diary. It even monitors the air quality inside your home, and works as a baby monitor. If it made breakfast too, I’d marry it. $220

How to set up a foolproof note-taking system for writers and other nerds (Part 1)

I started writing stories this year – short fiction and a couple of novellas so far – and I’ve found I need to make a lot of notes. The iPhone is pretty great for this, as you’d expect, but not always: Sometimes it’s just not appropriate to tap away on a cellphone, and sometimes you might want to make little drawings, or maybe you just find it easier and faster to pull out a paper notebook or index card.

The biggest advantage of iPhone notes is that they are sync-able and searchable. Paper is neither. But using a combo of apps, old-school paper hacks and an easy-to-maintain “workflow”, I came up with a simple note-taking system that keeps paper and pixels together, both equally searchable, sync-able and usable.

Baron Fig Confidant Is The Best Paper Notebook I’ve Used [Review]

Yes, we’re reviewing a paper notebook. The thing is – spoiler – this one is awesome. Forget Moleskine, which is nice marketing wrapped in faux leather wrapped around thin, porous, easy-bleeding pages. The Baron Fig Confidant is what you want.

The Confidant by Baron Fig
Category: Notebooks
Works With: Pen or pencil
Price: $16

It’s packed with clever “features,” and yet you don’t notice the book at all when you’re using it. Does any of that sound familiar to you Apple users?

Baron Fig’s Amazing Confidant Notebook On Sale At Last, And Worth Every Penny

The Baron Fig Confidant notebook started out on Kickstarter, and is today available to buy for just $16 – $4 less than the original price. I have one here on the desk, laying open at a fresh two-page spread without anything to weigh the pages down and stop the book from closing (that’s a Baron Fig feature by the way).

This isn’t a review – that’ll come later when I’ve filled the book with words and doodles. I just thought you’d like to know you can buy one, becasue it’s a pretty amazing notebook. In short, Moleskine can go suck it.