Tame hairy cables gone wild — or don’t [Setups]

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"Honestly that's how it is supposed to be," one comment said of the cable mess. "Bushy just like the 70s."
Photo: dentalala@Reddit.com

A recurring theme across computer setups everywhere is the need for better cable management. It’s all about how well the careless, disheveled slob throwing together the gear — here we’re referring mainly to ourselves, not you — deals with the thorny mess of electrical cords and connectors that help make the workstation go.

‘Kestrel’ novelist Matt Gemmell embraces extreme minimalism [Setups]

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Matt Gemmel pares down the setup to distill writing magic.
Matt Gemmel pares down the setup to distill writing magic.
Photo: Matt Gemmell

The classic writer’s garret, a small room where a tortured scribe toils over lonely hours to put words on the page — using a quill or a fountain pen or maybe a Smith Corona typewriter — has been tastefully updated.

Now it’s all about a 12.9-inch iPad Pro locked hard into the Ulysses text editor to prevent any distractions. There’s also a highly customized mechanical keyboard and really nice noise-canceling headphones. At least that’s how Scottish novelist Matt Gemmell limits his gear in a minimalistic setup, he told Cult of Mac.

It helps him focus on writing. That, and sitting his ass down in the chair for hours a day. The chair is a Herman Miller Aeron, by the way. The spartan surroundings need not lack comfort, after all. It’s about limiting distractions.

Let there be lighted Zoom calls [Setups]

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You, too, can have a clean, well-lighted place for Zoom calls.
You, too, can have a clean, well-lighted place for Zoom calls.
Photo: UGenya806@Reddit

Redditor UGenya806, who works in marketing for San Francisco-based DocuSign in Germany, takes appearances on Zoom calls seriously. After all, their job has always been remote and will remain so, even when others return to offices following the COVID-19 pandemic.

UGenya806’s setup centers on an M1 Mac mini tethered to dual Dell 24-inch 4K monitors and a CalDigit TS3 Thunderbolt 3 Dock. The mini is connected wirelessly to a Magic Keyboard and a Magic Trackpad.

A stand-mounted MacBook Air rounds out the mix, but is usually used separately as a standalone machine, not with the peripherals.

Work/podcasting/gaming setup sees major upgrades [Setups]

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Nothing like a big new display and new furniture to put the
Nothing like a big new display and new furniture to put the "set" in "setup."
Photo: WRM2@Reddit

After working remotely as a digital marketer for a startup for more than a year, EU-based Redditor WMR2 decided it was time to upgrade the ol’ MacBook Pro-based work/podcasting/gaming setup. Enter new desk, chair and external display.

What, you were expecting a new computer? That’s not always necessary.

Apple joins rivals to create open standard for smart home devices

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Abode Iota is a security system by itself
Building your smart home is about to get a whole lot easier.
Photo: Abode

Apple is teaming up with Amazon, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance to create a new open and royalty-free standard for smart home devices.

Project “Connected Home over IP” aims to increase compatibility among smart home gadgets and make development easier for device manufacturers. It should also simplify smart technology for consumers.

Ikea’s dirt-cheap wireless charger is elusive for a reason [Review]

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The Livboj is under there somewhere.
The Livboj is under there somewhere.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

This is the Livboj, an inexpensive but hard-to-find Qi charging pad from Ikea. Last week, I visited my local Ikea to stock up on frozen cinnamon buns. I got lost, and found a stack of these amazing devices instead.

Despite its dirt-cheap price tag of 5 euros ($5.50), the Livboj is pretty great. So far I’ve experienced none of the problems other people report from far-more-expensive Qi pads. You should snap up one of these elusive chargers — if you’re lucky enough to spot one.

New Mac Pro grille is actually a terrible cheese grater

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Cheese grater pro
You *could* use the Mac Pro to grate cheese. But you won’t be happy.
Photo: Winston Moy

The new Mac Pro sure looks a lot like a cheese grater, but it turns out that it’s pretty bad at grating cheese.

YouTuber machinist Winston Moy painstakingly re-created the complex circular structure of the new Mac Pro grille using his Shapeoko mill to put Jony Ive’s work to the test. The video of the entire process proves quite fascinating. However, the end result kind of disappoints.

Skip to the 5:30 mark to see it in action: