All items tagged with "gadgets"

The Cult of Mac Guide to Traveling Light

Everything for a couple weeks away, including transport.

Everything for a couple weeks away, including transport. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Travel can be a chance to practice minimalism, or an opportunity to drive yourself nuts. What am I talking about? Luggage. You can pare down your essentials to fit in a carry-on – even if you’re away for a month – or you can throw in every item of clothing and every charger you have. The second approach will result in a broken back, and you’ll still find that you left something essential at home.

Over the years, I’ve perfected my packing technique so that I only take the bare minimum. And when I say “perfected,” I mean “struggled with.” But it works for me, and the principles can be applied even if you’re the kind of person who hires a boy to carry your trunks for you when you take a cruise on the Titanic.

So here’s the Cult of Mac Guide to Traveling Light, a roundup of strategies, product recommendations and other tips to make your next trip a breeze.

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The Franklin Tote is the George Clooney of bags

Tote-ally awesome: The Franklin Tote can go anywhere. Photos Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac.

Tote-ally awesome: The Franklin Tote can go anywhere. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

This is Waterfield’s Franklin Tote and I l-l-love it. It’s an open-topped leather bag with hand/shoulder straps and a bunch of pockets inside and out, and it’s just about the most practical daily carry-around I’ve ever used. Does is replace a backpack? Of course not.

Does it do the job of a messenger bag when on the bike? No frikkin’ way. But can I reach into my backpack as I walk to grab sunglasses, or drop in that sweet cantaloupe I just bought from the fruit store on the high street? I think you know the answer to that one.

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Gadget Watch: Hip flasks, shaving kits and a Spinning Beach Ball of Death tote

Gadget Watch: New gear for the beach, the bedroom and the kitchen

Tile Bluetooth tracking tag works great — if you live in San Francisco

The tiny Tile really is small and light enough to use anywhere. Photos Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The tiny Tile really is small and light enough to use anywhere. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Tile is a tiny plastic widget that never gets lost. In theory anyway. It talks to your iPhone via low-power Bluetooth and lets you track the Tile itself, and anything the Tile is attached to.

I’ve been using one for the last couple of weeks, and it works just fine. But so far it doesn’t seem to be much more useful than one of those keychain finders that beeps when you whistle. Why? Because to be truly useful, the Tile needs to reach a critical mass of users.

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Gadget Watch: New gear to trick out your iPad, your bike and your camera

The Qwerkywriter is an old school typewriter for your iPad and iMac

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Are you the kind of nostalgic soul who looks back at the Underwood, Remington, and Smith-Corona typewriters of yesteryear and sigh plaintively? Yet are you simultaneously a modern tech nerd, who couldn’t go without the conveniences afforded by an iPad or iMac? Well, then, the Qwerkywriter — an 84-key keyboard that looks just like a vintage typewriter — might be just the thing for you.

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Xistera crams every iPhone photo accessory into single awkward package

Xistera crams every iPhone photo accessory into single awkward package

Homely multitool Xistera packs many iPhoneography essentials into one pointy package. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Take the Xistera out of its box and you’ll be disappointed. It’s ugly as hell, like a cheap corkscrew, and it looks like it won’t really do much. But hidden in those graceless curves and eye-gouging corners is what a lazier journalist than me would call a “Swiss Army knife of iPhoneography.”

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Gadget Watch: Shooting, cycling, charging and … toweling?

Snappgrip iPhone camera grip fails to deliver on great idea

The wrist strap is the best part of the Snappgrip. Photos Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The wrist strap is the best part of the Snappgrip. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

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.

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